Thursday, January 31, 2008

Woody Allen's Typography

I've always appreciated how distinctive and familiar are the opening credits of Woody Allen's movies. Kit-blog reveals how Allen got the font (Windsor-EF Elongated), how it has changed over the years, and more. Very interesting to me, a longtime Allen buff.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

35 Years of Change

Hillary says she's been 35 years of experience making change? Hah!

Think of another woman who was a professional before marrying a political man, and who served as First Lady of a state governorship, and First Lady of the United States. Consider 45 years of change from Laura Lane Welch Bush--ten years more than Hillary Clinton.

If you don't investigate Hillary's history past the public-relations-speak, then don't investigate Laura's past either--it's all just "experience."

In 1963 -- 45 years ago --Laura was involved in a car accident when she ran a stop sign and crashed into another car, killing a friend and classmate, Michael Dutton Douglas. This began her lifelong pursuit of road safety. There is no accounting for the lives Laura has saved in her endeavor to make roads safer.

Laura decided to educate the nations' youth, and worked for four long years to amass the credits needed to help them. In 1968 Laura earned a BS in Education from Southern Methodist University. While Hillary was thinking about Politics (graduating in 1969 with a degree in Political Science), Laura was thinking about helping young people learn.

Laura went out to the trenches, helping kids learn as a school teacher in an elementary school in 1969. She served in the trenches, teaching children with humility and grace until 1972.

Seeking to enhance her ability to help children, Laura earned a Masters Degree in 1973, in Library Science (now called Information Science -- prescient indeed), working as a librarian and information specialist until 1977.

After 1977 she married and had children, for which she gave up her career to nurture, though continuing her service to information science and libraries.

As First Lady of Texas, Laura Bush served five years, focusing on women's and children's causes, as well as literacy and libraries. She was an agent for reading, for literacy, for the glories of experience that the written word can provide.

Since 2001, Laura Bush has continued her work to improve the state of children and women, and to battle for more books, libraries, and information in the public at large.

45 years of spectacular work from Laura Bush. It's ten more years than Hillary has admitted to.

There you go. Laura Bush is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be President!

PS: I read somewhere today a vox pop commenter saying they were going to vote for Hillary because she was such a good Vice President. So don't think the Hillary people aren't going for this kind of thing with the low information voters.

One Down

I must join in the general left-blogosphere relief , enthusiasm , and respect that greets the disappearance of Rudy Giuliani from the race.

He would have been the most dangerous President to come out of the Republican field, probably even worse than Bush. Personally, he is a creep. Publicly, the atavistic aggression erupting from his rictus is hard to bear.

So we can all be very glad that the worst possible choice is eliminated.

As for McCain, I'm liberal and think the guy's stands on domestic issues (choice, likely judicial appointments, gay rights) really stink, but his "war is always the answer" foreign policy would be nearly the equal of Rudy's vague bellicose bullshit.

McCain is very old. He will look very old, especially on HD, and especially when compared to Obama.

His speaking style sucks, both in debates and in speeches. In debates, he tends to regurgitate vaguely related bits of his stump speech like a doddering idiot until he gets to set a firm jaw and bellow some truculent nonsense. In speeches, he reads as though he were not only new to a tele Prompter, but reading aloud for the first time.

The guy is pathetic. I bet even Hillary or Mike Bloomberg will beat him.

But this brings me to something this blog has to touch on: how Obama effects people. In watching C-Span coverage of rallies, the only Democrat I can recall where I've heard people spontaneously break out into chants of "USA! USA!" is Obama. It's happened when he's just talking about the greatness of the idea of America. It appears to be evoked by a real infusion of love of the concept of America, not by any specific image.

It's a real evocation of patriotism, of a good sort.

I watched C-Span when Romney was rallying the other day, and he did the typical trick to evoke patriotic feeling in his listeners: told a story about an old veteran and a flag. It was a patriotism that looked back. And the crowd cheered a little bit, but I heard the "we're supposed to cheer here about this old story" in the crowd's response.

McCain does more or less the same thing, as does Bush, and Huckabee. I've never heard Hillary try to evoke patriotism in any dedicated way, so I don't know about her. But the Republican rhetorical trick seems to be, implicitly "Remember when you previously had a patriotic feeling? Well, recall that previous feeling now." While Obama's incitement to patriotism is implicitly "Remember how great this country is? How strong and enduring are the concepts that underly the United States?" And hearts swell and eyes well up and people cheer out of feeling a new patriotism now.

Monday, January 28, 2008

12,000 (est.)

This post, from "someone who votes predominantly Republican," is part of the reason Obama is shaking things up a bit. Apart from the estimate that there were 12,000 people lined up for a rally in DC, he writes:
We're both right of center, but there's something about the guy that even if he spent our money in all the wrong ways, we could at least respect him for the choices he'd make.

And it goes a long way that we'd be looking for that sort of thing instead of voting with people who share opinions on major issues.

The whole thing captures something about Obama's appeal, and helps explain why there were so many thousands waiting in the cold for a political rally.

One Important Word

From Obama's South Carolina victory speech: "It's about whether we settle for the same divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today, or whether we reach for a politics of common sense, and innovation — a shared sacrifice and shared prosperity."

The word that jumped out at me was "drama." It really rang a bell. Anything that Bill Clinton is involved in isn't just All About Bill, it's also a drama--or, even more aptly a melodrama. It's even become that in the few weeks he's been sleazing up the campaign trail on Hillary's behalf. Hillary sniffling and crying before her impending (and ultimately avoided) loss in New Hampshire was melodrama. Her campaign relies on this melodrama and it's pretty pathetic.

I'm tired of Clintonian melodrama on the national stage. I don't want manufactured psychodramas. I don't want drama therapy in the Oval Office.

Please, Clintons, go have your dramas in private. Stop inflicting your twisted psyches on the United States of America.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Clinton Fatigue

I share some of the feeling of Sir Charles when he writes of My own Clinton Derangment Syndrome?:
I've been mulling this over for the last day or two, and I think it comes down to this -- the sense that with the Clintons, it's always about them, and with Bill, in particular, it's always about him. No cause, no loyalty, no party or position supersedes their personal political needs.
That's one thing that has revulsed me about them in the past few weeks. Shortly after Obama was projected the South Carolina winner last night, Bill Clinton began speaking and, to kick off his talk, spent what seemed like five minutes talking about not Hillary but himself: his Presidency, his governorship, his great deeds. All this was a prologue to saying that even if he wasn't married to Hillary he'd still support her.

For one thing, I don't believe him. For another, all his purported good deeds are irrelevant to him supporting his wife. But, even his wife's loss was a chance for him to talk himself up. It was revolting, especially when added to the stream of dog-whistle sleaze he'd been pumping into the mediastream for the past few weeks, throwing the African-Americans who used to support him off the back of the bus.

A similar conclusion, but from a different angle, from one of Andrew Sullivan's readers:
But something essential shifted inside of me and in my 43 years, I have never experienced anything like it. After 15 years of unflinching, Blumenthal-level Clintonista tendencies, I woke up one day and realized I hated them.
Hate may be too strong a word, but I do feel revulsion toward both Clintons. They think that all will come together in Kumbaya if Hillary wins the nomination, and for many it may.

But not for me. I can't vote for someone who, when I see or hear them, my gorge rises. A month ago, Hillary was just a benign presence on the airwaves--not inciting great passions pro or con. I felt mildly but distinctly positive about her. That positive but dispassionate view of her is gone, and it will not return.

As I've said before, if Hillary wins, I will sign the Draft Bloomberg petition, hope he drafts a Democratic VP partner, and proceeds to dump a billion dollars--literally a Billion US Dollars-- of The Stink of Truth on Hillary Clinton's head.

I voted for Bill twice, and I've been a registered Democrat my whole life. But if I can't even see the Clintons without registering a physical repugnance, I am not going to vote for them. The best they can hope is that I stay home.

I can only imagine how African-Americans feel about how these pathetic jerks have treated them recently.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Welcome to the 21st Century, Just Like The 1990s

Old nightmares and fresh new ones to come.

More Clinton Scummery

Rules were agreed to.

Now Hillary wants to break her agreement I guess she takes her promises and contracts as seriously as Bill takes his marriage vows.

Bill wants his third term.

If the Clintons can't control themselves (and they apparently can't), then I say "Run Bloomberg Run" and dump a billion dollars against the Clintons so everyone can see them for the moral abcesses they are. And I've been a Democrat my whole life and voted for him twice.

I'm sick of these repellent people and all their hangers-on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bill Clinton Screws Again!

Only this time he's screwing his party on behalf of his wife, who, tough independent woman that she is, is having her husband carry on her battles for her. Some women aren't too happy about it.

But he must have his third term and a chance for fun in the Oval Office.

Never voted for a Republican before, but if Bloomberg runs and Hillary is the Democrat, Bloomberg gets my vote.

And Obama can say "I ask my supporters to vote for someone trustworthy and honorable." What's wrong with that formulation?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Lanny The Jerk

Lanny Davis: Asks Obama What Exactly in the Clinton-Era Nineties Did You Not Like?

Ok, Lanny, I'll play: How about the fact that it spawned dolts like Lanny Davis?

Digby said of Lanny, after Lanny wrote an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal (!) in support of war-monger Joe Lieberman (!):

As for Lanny, well, nobody takes him seriously. He was the single most inept Clinton defender ever. When he would show up on Fox or MSNBC back in the Lewinsky days I would cringe knowing that whatever blond former prosecutor harpy they had on would rip him to shreds. (I swear, he must have uttered the words "deplorable" and "reprehensible" at least 15,000 times.) I knew they hired him for just that purpose and I have heard that there is no love lost between him and the Clintonistas, which doesn't surprise me. He's still at it. In the course of his usual ineffectual non-defense he's managed to make both his friends Joe and Dick look like hanky wringing losers which is fine by me.

And, make no mistake, Lanny Davis is a Bush fan, just like Joe. He's a frat brother who, just days after the recount was settled, wrote an opportunistic brown nosing op-ed in the NY Times attesting to Bush's good character. (Talk about rubbing salt in the wound. I'll never forgive him for that.)

Here's Lanny lobbying for the poisonous partisan Ted Olson as a good Attorney General nominee (!).

Here's Wolcott on the idiocy of Lanny Davis saying that Democrats shouldn't "politicize" the conviction of the Republican grand-thief Jack Abramoff.

It's just too bad that the New York Times has behind a firewall the column Davis wrote right after the 2000 election praising George W. Bush. That would show his prescience and ability to assess leaders.

So, Lanny, you're one thing about the Clinton years that is a continuing embarrassment to Democrats and the country at large.

One great boon from an Obama win would be to brush away the same old crowd of people that populated the Clinton circus. Not all of them, to be sure, but simpering idiots like Lanny Davis.

The Reality-Based Community: Bill Clinton defends the indefensible

I've been wondering why Bill Clinton has been so exasperated, angry, and fulminating (often falsely, at least recently). Mark Kleiman may have it figured out:

Sometimes, a man who gets caught cheating on his wife tries to make up for it by giving her jewelry. I think this is the first time a two-timing husband tried to give his wife the most powerful position in the world instead."

Probably more true than I would have thought.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Publius over Digby

Publius at Obsidian Wings is certainly right here:

Perhaps I’m being na├»ve, but I sense a lot of discontent among “thinking conservatives” these days – more so than usual. My hope is that they’re tired of watching these juvenile shows. This discontent, in turn, is what gives someone like Obama a window that few Democrats have had lately. There’s a realistic chance of seeing “Obama Republicans” in a general. “Hillary Republicans,” more doubtful.

So it makes it odd to me that Digby is so wrong here:

Look, I know this is weedy stuff and probably doesn't matter to the average voter under the age of 45. But to long time liberals who lived through this period as an adult, it's like waving a red flag in our faces. Reagan ran explicitly against the left(and in the process normalized the kind of indecent talk that made Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter millionaires.) Because he won big in 1984, leaders in both parties accepted this omnipotent Reagan myth and have run against liberalism ever since --- and have ended up, through both commission and omission, advancing the destructive conservative policies that brought us to a place where we are debating things like torture. It would be helpful if ending the era of Democrats running against the liberal base could be part of this new progressive "trajectory."

I have some sympathy there. But the thing is, there's no progressive "Trajectory." Democrat's strength is largely due to the utter malevolence and incompetence of the Bush administration.

Obama is trying to make Obama Republicans, without that trajectory. Cut him a break.

It's almost as if Digby is willfully misreading Obama (where he does not indicate support for Reagan's policies so much as the transformative nature of his presidency), when usually she is so savvy about reading the tea leaves.

Better Obama -- who is perceived as more moderate than he is, than Hillary Clinton, who is a DLC democrat but is perceived as a flaming liberal.

Obama could be a game-changer. It's almost impossible that Hillary will be that. Either one of them could screw things up, but Obama's foreign policy impulses are much more sane.

I guess you can tell who I support in the primary. Despite Digby's denials, such an uncharitable misreading indicates we can tell who she supports too.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Andrew Cuomo, Racist Dumbass

I'd like to say to Andrew Cuomo: Andrew, you went to Albany Law School and may not know it, but one doesn't "shuck and jive" their way to President of Harvard Law Review.

Racists since time immemorial, however, have been using the phrase "shuck and jive" to denigrate black people. You're willing to act like a racist for political benefit -- I'd say that's pretty racist in itself.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I guess we won't see Stages 3-5 for a while, if ever. But I can see why I was getting that feeling: I heard on MSNBC that the last internal polls in Obama's camp showed him up 14 and Hillary's last polls showed her down 11 percent. The must have been in such dire straits.

I really wonder what happened that last day. I don't think a 15 point (or so) swing is explainable by any one thing, but I hope some level headed person can plow through the data and figure it out.

If a large contributor to that was Hillary misting up about her plight, all I can say is: Oy!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


I'm not saying it's over yet, not by a long shot.

But the Clinton Campaign is stepping through Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief.

1. Denial: The initial stage: Most of her campaign in 2007, and "It can't be happening."
2. Anger: "It is wrong...." or Let's squash the bastard!
3. Bargaining: examples to come?
4. Depression: examples to come?
5. Acceptance: examples to come?

If Clinton undertakes the 527 strategy that Thomas Edsall writes about, I figure the number of Democrats who will outright revile the Clintons will be close to the number of Republicans who do. I haven't even read about the Republicans pulling that stunt in their primary yet, and they're the scorched earth party. I figure some rich republicans may be putting something together to take Huckabee out if it looks like he's getting to close to winning.

But here would be an important difference: Republican plutocrats have a real reason to not want Huckabee in the race. After all, he seems to sincerely believe it's a good thing for government to help the poor, and the plutocrats hate that.

Democrats have no real policy reason to hate Obama--other than he's standing in the way of Clinton's ascension to the throne. If they do that, it'll be further evidence that Hillary's motive for running could be summed up in the phrase "It's my turn, dammit!"

And who knows, someone may whip up a 527 against Hillary in response. It would be a bad thing, but so would Clinton's anti-Obama 527, if it happens.

Monday, January 07, 2008

That Reminds Me

America has the best health care system in much the same way it has the best Yacht Delivery System.

If you can afford a yacht, it's the best!

also this.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Video/Audio: O'Reilly and Obama, Nashua, Sat.

You may have read about O'Reilly striking or shoving an Obama staffer today in Nashua, New Hampshire. Here are reports by John Dickerson at Slate, and Lynn Sweet at the Sun-Times.

As both reports note, Obama spoke with O'Reilly after the incident, apparently unaware of O'Reilly having shoved the staffer.

C-Span carried the rally and, as they often do, kept the camera and microphones rolling after the speech. I recorded the event and noticed that part of the Obama-O'Reilly exchange was caught by C-SPAN. Here is the video:

What follows below is a rough transcript. With distant miking, crowd noise, and crosstalk,it's hard to tell exactly what was said, but I'm pretty sure this is an accurate account of what I could hear--what I couldn't hear, of course, I couldn't transcribe.

Obama Nashua Rally. Sat, January 5, 2007
C-Span onscreen time at the beginning of this clip is 11:44 a.m. ET, and the exchange ends just before the minute rolls over to 11:45.

Obama working the crowd
(Audio is the C-Span voiceover, not transcribed.)

About 33 seconds into this clip the audio
switches to the audio in the room. O'Reilly
and Obama have apparently just begun
speaking (though I can't tell exactly when).

Obama points to the audience spillover room and
says to O'Reilly: "I've got --
there's a whole bunch of people over
there and I need to talk to them ...."

O'Reilly: [Unintelligible]

Obama: Sometime.


Obama: How about after the primary? Alright?

O'Reilly: Alright. Thank you very much. You're
a good guy. We've liked you...

Obama: Thank you. After the primary we'll ...

O'Reilly: After New Hampshire?

Obama: After the primary [Transcribers NOTE: Perhaps that's
"after the primaries," plural?]. Alright? [Crosstalk]

O'Reilly: Alright

Exchange ends about 54 seconds into this clip.
I may tweak the transcript if I (or my commenters) hear something that I missed in this initial transcript.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sad Fact

I mentioned this over at Oliver Willis' place, but it is, sadly, worth repeating.

Who was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win over half (over 50 %) of the popular vote?

Jimmy Carter in 1976.

It's been over 30 years since a Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority of the popular vote.

Since then, Republicans have won 4 elections with more than 50 percent of the popular vote (Reagan twice, Bush Sr. in 1988, and Bush Jr. in 2004). Clinton's "landslide" in 1996 was the result of 49.2 % of the vote -- again, not a majority! In 1992, Clinton won with only 43 %, thanks to Perot. I'm glad Clinton won both elections, but he never won a majority of the votes cast.

I happen to think that, in a 2 party system, not getting a majority of the vote for over 30 years is a problem for Democrats. Others may not find it a problem, but I do.

How we address it is a matter upon which opinions can differ, but stating that it's an important issue is not bashing Democrats. It's a fact.

This was in response to the hyperventilation about Obama mentioning vote percentages. It's pretty hard to read what he said as an "attack" on any past candidate--though it is a good thing to point out in regards to Hillary Clinton. She has a large chunk of the electorate who now say they won't vote for her. I certainly agree with Oliver Willis that the reaction was more about what the writers thought about Obama than about what Obama said.

Regardless of how you feel about Obama, it's a sobering trivia fact that can really stuns many of my fellow Democrats when I riddle them: The last Dem to win over half the vote was Carter over thirty years ago. Republicans have done it 4 time since then.

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