Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sarah Palin shares the wealth!

"And Alaska, we're set up, unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs..." --Sarah Palin, socialist-hater

I will concede, though, that Keith did a slight bit of trickery here. He explains how Sarah said she was able to give out rebates to every citizen because, quote, "Alaska is sometimes described as America's socialist state because of its collective ownership of resources." The way he says it, it's as if she said that herself. Even I wondered about that, so I found the New Yorker article in question and discovered that Keith is quoting the author's words with the latter quote, not Palin. Technically, he's not wrong, nor does that change the point that Palin essentially endorses a socialist structure, but it does give critics something to play with. And she's still a fraud.

As for the Obama-McCain race, McCain has picked up a point here and there. So now he's losing handily by a slightly smaller amount. Football fans will appreciate Rachel Maddow's gridiron take on the final drive of this race:

That's about as good an analogy as it gets. In that respect, it's very much like the 2006 game between the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants at The Meadowlands. Saints fans will recall that the Giants didn't run a single offensive play in Saints territory the entire game. The end result? A 30-7 blowout by the Saints. I'll take it. Won't you?

Monday, October 27, 2008

What a dumb argument!

I don't understand how this whole "redistribution of wealth" hokey has caught on with conservatives lately. While it does make sense on a "anything to the left of my far-right view is radical communism" level, as well as fitting the whole Hail-Mary desperation mode of today's GOP, as an argument it's ridiculous.

Of course we have redistribution of wealth in this country; without it, we wouldn't even have a functioning society. By definition, taxation is taking money from one source and dedicating it to another. It's why we have roads, street lights, parks, schools, libraries, Medicare and Social Security. And as much as many Republicans and libertarians hate all of those things, I have yet to come across anyone clamoring to pave their own roads or dig their own drainage ditches. Apparently, redistribution of wealth is good enough for some things.

But the real sore point lies with (sneer alert) "social programs." How dare we spend money assisting those with nerve to ask for help? No one needs help, except maybe for directions to bootstrap class!

The entire economic premise of the Republican Party is that money is the indisputable sign of success. This leads to the following conclusions:

1) If you work hard, you will make a lot of money.
2) If you have a lot of money, it's because you worked hard.
3) If you don't have a lot of money, it's because you are lazy.
4) Low-wage jobs are that way for a reason, and anyone who works them deserves what they get if they don't have the drive/means/connections/luck to find a better job.

See, in a Republican world, someone who busts their ass for 60 hours a week at Burger King possesses less virtue than someone who spends the same amount of time speculating on the stock market. Call it a stigma tax. Inheritances apparently don't factor in either, except insofar as those poor people have to pay the dreadful Death Tax just for the crime of being born in a worthy bloodline (at least among those 2 percent of Americans who even have to consider it).

This mind-set allows them to get away with the some of the most heartless economic policy I've ever heard. They want tax cuts for the richest Americans and corporations because, in their view, economic relief is not about lifting millions of hurting middle-class Americans out of debt and financial uncertainty that ultimately reverberates into all tax brackets - instead, tax cuts are seen as a reward for achieving a high score. The super-rich need these cuts, we're told, so that these benevolent altruists can hire more workers and thus let their bounty trickle down. See? They're just trying to help! Why are you trying to punish success? What poor person ever gave you a job?

Well, in the past three decades we've seen just how well that works. Which is to say, it doesn't. Maybe giving rich people even more money to put away for a distant rainy day with no mandate to trickle it down (and every loophole possible to avoid paying income taxes) isn't the best recipe for economic success. Maybe "redistributing" that money to those most likely to need and spend it will jump-start the economy better. Not bogus "stimulus" packages, either, but lasting reductions in both income and payroll taxes that keep the middle class afloat financially. Historically, the U.S. has been healthiest economically under a progressive tax system - including the rich. The growing divide between rich and poor begun through Reaganomics is literally killing our country. It's unsustainable.

Anyway, isn't the GOP tax platform also redistribution of wealth? Those Bush tax cuts had to come from somewhere, and it wasn't Exxon-Mobil! Though I suppose with the record deficits we're now facing, the notion of "wealth" is a bit looser than it used to be. So it's more like, "distribution of debt." And with the socialistic takeover of the big banks by Big Government, that's one thing the GOP is only too happy to distribute.

This whole "redistribution" allegation is something the Republicans should really reconsider. I say we give them eight years or so to mull it over.

'Change. Thats what's up.'

The Budweiser "Whassup?" guys have teamed up once again in this pro-Obama video. The commercials were silly trifles in 2000, but this one has a sharp and surprisingly moving edge to it.

For all of its other benefits, the YouTube age has graced us with video possibilities that weren't prevalent even four years ago. They've affected this election a great deal, and will continue to have impact on all corners of our society in the future. This breed is particularly exciting, I think: the commercial icons breaking away from endorsements to champion causes. With today's advanced video technology and uploading availability, these independent spots can be made to look every bit as professional as the shills. The corporations may not like it, but the public does. Yay for disclaimers! And these guys.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A simple question for conservatives

If Barack Obama promises tax relief for 95 percent of working Americans, doesn't that by definition not refer to those who don't pay taxes?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

'You could see the hand of God over her'

Sarah Palin visited Springfield yesterday, making a speech in the parking lot at Bass Pro Shops. It was everything you'd expect.

I suspected as much.

I wasn't at this splendid event, given that the weather started out cold and progressively worsened until the sky was dark gray and drizzly for Palin's big moment. Also, I don't like her voice, policies or apparent disgust for intelligence. And I had to wash my hair, which is starting to look like Dennis Miller's in his prime. You know, before he went all like-this-woman on us.

But if the newspaper coverage is any indicator, I didn't miss much:

On energy, Palin said she and McCain would tap the country's existing energy resources, such as billions of barrels of domestic oil.

While she was explaining the proposal, the sun shone briefly through the clouds, prompting Palin to say: "We all see the light. Yes! We gotta drill, baby, drill."

The crowd dutifully chanted the catchphrase.

I can see why Palin would appeal to those who see Jesus in their toast...

"I don't want our country deep-sixed like Sodom and Gomorrah," said Christina Flowers, a 38-year-old evangelist. "And I hate it when people call Obama a messiah. There's only one messiah."

...But why anyone else would want a leader who sees a single ray of sunshine and thinks, "God is winking at me to turn this sky black," should have any sort of power whatsoever bypasses me completely.

This next quote you might want to read only after any fluids you're drinking or food you're eating has safely passed through your throat. Ready? OK, good. Carry on.

She pledged that she and McCain would balance the country's budget by the end of their first term.

How are they going to do that, liquidate the entire military? On second thought, I don't want to know.

Says nothing about photographers, though...

I like this collection of quotes from Palin supporters at the rally. I wish I could say these are out of context, but I also wish for world peace and look how well that turned out.

McCallister said she started the election cycle supporting Democrat Barack Obama, liking the idea of having an African-American president and breaking down the country’s racial barriers.

But as she listened Obama’s hope-filled speeches, she became disenchanted with the candidate.

“Then I realized at the end of the day, I never could grasp what he was saying,” she said.

Granted, there are some who say they don't think Barack Obama offers much substance. I disagree, but they're entitled to their opinion. But this is the first time I've heard of anyone not being able to grasp what he says. "Hope, change, huh?"

Sandy Gumm, 53, of Camdenton, fears abortions would increase if Barack Obama is elected president.

“It’s going to be wide open season on unborn babies,” she said.

"I want to promote a culture of death, where more and more babies die." - Barack Obama, at a California rally last never.

Amber Theobald, 48, of Marshfield said: “We’re worried about America. We just wish America would stop drinking Obama juice.”

What she didn't tell you is that she's a distributor for Bush Beer. Look for her latest lines, Palin Punch and Coke-Cain!

This final entry speaks for itself. But you know I'll say something about it anyway.


Many voters expressed a faith-based connection to Palin’s Christian values and willingness to express them in public.

Ruben and Rebecca Cortez drove two hours from Grove, Oklahoma.

“We came because Sarah Palin is a Deborah and Esther of our day,” said Rebecca Cortez, referencing the Deborah and Esther of the Old Testament.

Deborah, a Judge of Israel, was chosen to help defeat the enemy Canaanites.

Esther was a Jewish Queen of Persia who helped Jewish people from a plot by a malefactor.

Rebecca Cortez said Palin was chosen, in part, to defeat the modern day enemy — Obama.

Rebecca said she never knew who Palin was until the day John McCain chose her as his running mate.

As she watched Palin appear on TV with McCain at a rally in Ohio, Cortez said, “You could see the hand of God over her.”

Just so you know, the weather Friday morning was clear and sunny. For Palin's speech, clouds and rain rolled in. Today, the weather is again clear and sunny. To paraphrase Eva Amurri in Saved!, "The real miracle would've been not having an overcast day at all."

All in all, though, I'd conclude the rally was a great secession, er, success.

(Oh, and I just heard that last night, as Palin dropped the puck at a St. Louis Blues hockey game, the team's goalie slipped on her red carpet and had to skip the game due to the resulting injury. See, now that's what I call a sign.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mayberry, hold the Machiavelli

When you ask most Republicans what time period they'd like most to travel back to, the answer you're most likely to hear - aside from the 12th century, perhaps - is the late 1950s/early 1960s. Ah, the good old days, when men were men and women ironed without irony. When Mayberry exemplified all that was Good and Right with America! Forty years later, what would the good sheriff Andy Taylor and his precocious lad Opie think about such a heathen, colorful time as now? Why, there can't be a smidgen of gosh-durn doubt about who they'd vote for in 2008! Right? Whistle with me now...

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Ron Howard is a typical Hollywood librul! He with his corruptive Richie Cunningham, Apollo 13 ways! A Beautiful Mind just proves his intellectual elitism and Cocoon just shows he wants to ride the Wilford Brimley train! And that Andy Griffith, man, all that Christian music and Matlock just hides a scary terrorist-lover who regularly endorses Democrats in North Carolina!" Fine, you got me there. But the Fonz? Henry Winkler was a Bush-Cheney supporter in both 2000 and 2004, but even he's man enough to admit he was wrooooo....well, you saw the video.

In any case, it's hard to deny the support from interesting corners Barack Obama's been getting in the past few days. Colin Powell. Christopher Buckley. CC Goldwater. Scott McClellan. And now, Sheriff Andy, Opie and the Fonz. Wow!

But, McCain-Palin fans, take heart. You have your own celebrity couple to celebrate!

And, best of all, they're now! And who won't look back fondly on their era?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Template conservative blog post

I am not a close observer of politics, but I've been casually following this race. And I've decided to support John McCain and Sarah Palin, because Barack Obama is [something unbelievably inflammatory based on a long-debunked e-mail forward from my uncle] who will take America [into whatever communist leader's colon my pastor said he would]. McCain, on the other hand, is a war hero and Palin is real, just like actual women I know down at the Wal-Mart.

I realize that some of you might disagree with me or want to tell me where I'm wrong. Don't. No comments, please. Yes, I've given this post a provocative title, I've specifically targeted this message to some of you and have left the comment option open, but that's only because I want you to know how I feel. I don't want to engage in a debate or anything else that might lead to bad feelings or defensiveness. So just know that Barack Obama is [something not socially acceptable to say since 1964] and that anyone who supports him or doubts Sarah Palin is [anti-American garbage].

[Friend you used to respect]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I never want to feel this horrible again

Every once in a while, I have a dream that's a little too vivid in a bad sense. It may involve the death of an immediate family member, being evicted from my apartment on false pretenses or some other form of irreversible trauma. These dreams have such a lifelike quality that I'm still left wondering about their authenticity even hours after awakening.

Well, I had one of those dreams early this morning. And the thrust of it was that John McCain had won the presidential election.

The dream began on the early morning of Election Day. I get up and call up friends and family in my home state of Louisiana, urging them to vote (I had actually talked to my 18-year-old sister last night, reminding her to do the same thing - she doesn't need reminding, fortunately). Even though Louisiana seems like a lost cause for Barack Obama, I don't want my home state to go gently into the neocon night. I currently live in Missouri, one of the most-watched swing states, and this may be the first time since my first presidential vote in 2000 that it will actually count.

In the dream, I spend the rest of the day soaking up news and online coverage of the day. Predictably, pundits, voters and the candidates themselves have endless amounts of analysis. My job precludes me from officially aligning with (or contributing to) any campaign, so there isn't much I can do in traditional grass-roots avenues. But still, I feel satisfied that I've gotten friends and family on both (three?) sides to take an active interest in the race.

As I go to work on what promises to be a busy night of coverage, I feel more eager and energized than I have in quite some time. Even with the heavy work load owing to the election and the significance thereof, and my admittedly cautious optimism, I feel lighter than usual.

It's then that I realize, in all of the day's hoopla, that I've completely forgotten to vote. This occurs to me at almost the exact minute the polls close. My heart sinks. How could I forget?!! Not only is this disheartening, but it's embarrassing. What would everyone think? Yes, I could technically say I voted for Obama in the state primary on Super Tuesday, but I could never say I made a difference where it counted most - in the voting booth on Nov. 4. Fortunately, no one asks me even jokingly if I voted, because that's like asking if Chris Rock is funny. It's just implied. I finally get over myself by realizing that Missouri could go blue even without my help.

But before the electoral map even swings our way, it's over. At 9 p.m. CST, all of the major networks announce that John Sidney McCain III is the next president of the United States. And that Sarah Palin is the next vice president. As it turns out, McCain turned in such a stunning and unexpected performance in Ohio, Florida and even New England that the race is set to be an electoral blowout.

"What? How? No electoral model I saw made that even remotely possible," I think to myself. Not even Karl Rove's. As it turns out, the popular vote is close - but in the counties where it counts most, the vote skewed McCain's way. I'm ready to scream voter fraud, but exit polls and voter interviews suggest that voters simply made 11th-hour decisions to vote McCain. Fraud can't explain this.

Now I began to feel bad about my own voting inaction. When Missouri officially goes red, I feel worse. Pundits on TV note that the Obama campaign's successful efforts to draw millions to register and to court the youth vote had been canceled out by Election Day complacency and a sudden groundswell of conservatives who suddenly weren't.

Regardless, there is a general feeling that no one really hails McCain's election. Obama supporters are devastated, and Republicans are merely saying meh, we dodged a bullet.

"How can this be happening?" I ask, the dread in me palpable. "We squandered a chance to make history to have a president-elect that gets no one excited?" Someone around me says that McCain was the safe choice, and that they had fallen back on him when the time came to mark the ballot.

The scene then changes to me sitting in my apartment the next morning. Weather-wise, it's a perfect day, and I open the windows of my lake-view apartment to let the sunshine in. I'm sitting on my living-room floor, folding laundry, with CNN on in the background. Just then, Sarah Palin begins her victory speech.

I don't remember exactly what she said, but the accent and the smugness were as real as if I had it blaring on my speakers right this minute. And I remember the sinking feeling. And how I couldn't even think about Obama or hope anymore. I had the same feeling that I had during the hardest time of my life, which my unconscious brain is unfortunately able to conjure with dead-on accuracy. Except I felt it for the both the U.S. and the entire world.

Then I woke up. Relief wasn't instant, but I eventually came to my senses. And now I realize how no one who cares about the future of this country should allow this nightmare to happen. I will not forget to vote on Election Day, and neither should you.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama

With all of the newspaper endorsements Obama has received in the past few days - even the Houston Chronicle, which hasn't gone Democrat since 1964, and the Chicago Tribune, since ever - Powell's word has to be the strongest and most principled. Towards the end, he says that Obama isn't a Muslim, but that a Muslim has every right to be president; he then relates an anecdote about Muslim-American soldiers dying for their country. He also praises Obama's positions, intellect, timeliness and eloquence - which, he says, is something to consider in a leader. And, of course, he laments the negative and reactionary direction in which the GOP has taken John McCain's campaign, as well as McCain's rightward political shift. Even then, however, Powell is complimentary of McCain's works and service to his country. I don't know if there's such a thing as a perfect endorsement, but this comes close. It's going to turn a lot of heads. I know it got my attention.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The all-important plumber's-crack vote

-- "Back in Arizona, Evan Mecham and I used to hold guys like you at arm's length."
-- Worst bitch-slap. Ever.
-- Even McCain had to admit it was first down for Obama
-- "Americans need a hand up, not a handout. Just don't pull too hard, because I'm an old man dry-rotted by an ancient ideology."
-- "If I hold my arm out like this, you won't notice that I'm not wearing a flag pin."
-- "I was a POW, so I can't do the terrorist fist jab all that well."
-- "See my ring? Joe the Plumber rooted it out of the drain."
-- "Oil can!"
-- Frank Luntz: "All right, who in this room now supports Obama?"
-- Inscription on his hand: "Time for a bathroom break? M"
-- "Psst,'s the name of every voter who thought I won the debate. No, the bottom two fingers."

-- Leave it to McCain to pick the worst possible way to look Reaganesque
-- "Pretzel!"
-- Wow...he really is frozen in carbonite...
-- Yes, John, it's hard not to swoon over Obama
-- For the first time, McCain reveals his initial reaction to the Sarah Palin pick
-- Fox News: "Once again, John McCain reaches across the aisle, only to be ignored by Obama."
-- "Mmmm...lipstick!"
-- "I'm open!"
-- McCain dances with the ghost of Lee Atwater
-- "My plan to tax employer health care benefits will leave a lot of Americans looking like this."
-- McCain cringed as his maverick reputation slipped out of his hands, to float away forever
-- Someone could use a McCane
-- ....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Clever blog title here

--I want to see Fireproof and An American Carol. But I don't want to pay for them.

--In order to watch the American Carol trailer on an official site, I had to sit through an ad first. I don't get it; aren't trailers themselves advertising? Are we headed toward a day when commercials themselves have commercials? "Get a flame-broiled Whopper for much? Stay tuned to find out. And now, here's a message from Valtrex!"

--If I weren't so angry at the Republican Party for all it's done to ruin this nation for pretty much my entire lifetime, I'd pity them. They hate Obama, don't particularly care for McCain and see Sarah Palin as an icon of feminism. It must suck to be so hateful, divisive and eager to believe that a majority of Americans are terrorist sympathizers. And desperate on top of that. William Ayers? Yawn. Even Republicans who've worked with him have defended him and decried the party's effort to make him into some kind of right-hand monster. Next?

--I can't wait until Election Day. Seriously, I can't. I'm ready for this to be decided. Let me rephrase that...I'm ready for the campaigns to be over. But Obama can just keep on talking.

--Yesterday I got cut off in traffic by some jerk with an Obama sticker on the back window and...well, I'm sure he didn't mean to.

--My hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana is currently touting itself as one of the best places in the country to do business. Sounds good, until you realize that's like saying you made the best disco record of 1985.

--Did I really just see some Cajun spell "Rezko" as "Rezceaux"? And here I thought they'd run out of words to "eaux." Maybe the G-EAUX-P figured that talking point would play well in Louisiana. As if it wouldn't anyway.

--I saw a thread on Democratic Underground this morning that called out those who remain negative no matter how well things turn out. The writer said they understood the need to be cautious, but that constant negative energy is tiresome. I agree. It's one thing to address worst-case scenarios, but it's another to say, "Obama seems poised to get 100 more electoral votes than he needs, but what if the delegates change their minds on January 6?" Or, "The Saints trashed the Raiders 34-3. But they played dreadfully, because there were plenty of plays in which they didn't score at all. Reggie Bush scored two touchdowns. He's clearly not living up to his hype." Hell, I'm getting tired just thinking about it.

--The Saints played like they meant it against the Raiders. Next step: getting Morten Andersen to retire as a Saint like he's practically begging to do. Hey, if Taylor Mehlhaff doesn't work out...and even if he does...

-- And now an entry from today's guest blogger, my back: "Ow."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

McCain doesn't equate Obama with the Antichrist; booing ensues

Pay particular attention to the stretch between 0:30 and 0:44. At that point, you're seeing John McCain effectively conceding the race. His sudden praise of Barack Obama mirrors Hillary Clinton's as she realized it was impossible for her to clinch the Democratic nomination. Whether or not that shows McCain's class and mavericism is anyone's guess, but it almost certainly reflects the acceptance phase of grief.

Republican supporters, on the other hand, seem firmly fixed in the anger phase. GOP crowds have made headlines lately with their hostile behavior, accusing Obama of everything from treason to socialism, with some even calling for him to be killed. Leave it to conservatives to test the boundaries of free speech...go figure...

This hostility carries into McCain's call for civility. The crowd boos loudest when McCain asserts that Obama is a good man:

"I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments, and I will respect him." BOOOO!

"He is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States." BOOOOOOOOO!!

I could understand if the audience jeered because they felt McCain was not doing enough, or if he was taking cheap shots at Obama a la Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin and everybody else. But they're booing him because he called on them to not be afraid, and because he said Obama deserved respect. They want to hate, and McCain - a candidate the base has distrusted from day one for that 10 percent of the time he didn't vote with Bush - wants them to treat Obama like a human being. The crowd wants red meat, not a nutritious dish. And that alone suggests how little these people deserve four more years.

Not that they won't try. It's up to us to ensure that the current Obama momentum carries into Election Day. If we can do that, we'll finally have the sound, reasoned, intelligent leader we've lacked for the past eight years. And then these people will really have something to complain about. Everyone wins!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What happens when you merge a revved-up mind with back pills

All right, I'm officially pissed off.

Just in past two hours, I have read enough bullshit to make what's left of my head explode. Even worse, much of it's coming from a crowd of people I consider good friends. Intelligent, caring people who nevertheless seem to have a serious screw loose when it comes to this election. It's not just one person, it's several, and it all seems to be coming at once. What I'm reading boils down to these composite thoughts:

"I don't like John McCain or his policies. He is a continuation of the disastrous Bush years. It's time for a change from someone progressive who will restore this country's morale and standing in the world. But I'm going to vote for McCain, even though I don't want to and hate his guts, because Barack Hussein Obama has a funny name and I disagree with him on abortion."

"I used to be a liberal but then I married an ultra-conservative soldier. And even though he sees the Iraq war as illegal and the worst possible thing we could've done, he wants to go because we need to keep fighting this war. If we don't, then our kids will be fighting it. So we need to stay there and fight."

"If you vote for Obama or McCain, then you are part of the problem. There is no difference whatsoever between the two. None. So vote McCain, like me. Because I'm willing to hasten this country's economic and moral bankruptcy just to make an obvious point."

"I don't like Barack Obama because he draws massive crowds and people are infatuated with him and his message. I can't trust someone like that."

"I want you to know my beliefs, so listen up! If you disagree, shut up."

"I love John McCain! His policies speak to me a person, and he really inspires me to be the best U.S. citizen I can be." (OK, I made that one up.)

What I've come to realize is that this election is not about Obama vs. McCain; it's about smart vs. stupid. If anyone can make a solid case for voting Republican this cycle, I'd love to hear it. I'll even give it the benefit of the doubt, as I always have. But I never, ever hear reasoned arguments. It's always, "Obama sucks, he's weird and different, blah blah blah." I guarantee you, if it was the Democrats who chose the sellout still riding the 1960s, known for a volatile temper and questionable family values, who chose a running mate based solely on her gender and whose pregnant teenage daughter is direct proof of both the failure of abstinence education and the hypocrisy of the pro-life camp, conservatives would be calling for that person's HEAD. Dead or alive. And they'd have a point.

But because Sarah Palin says "ya betcha" and reminds shallow people of themselves, everything's forgiven. And no amount of logic or reason can penetrate that anti-matter force. While I expect the religious right and narrow-minded bigots to vote for their own kind, it frustrates me beyond belief when they drag down some bright minds in the process. People who aren't narrow-minded or bigoted, but who somehow buy the line that those who don't want a theocracy must be out to destroy American values.

My problem, as I've often been told, is that I overthink things. Maybe I do, but too many people don't think at all. And that's the real problem. Intellectually, the McCain campaign boils down to this: "Times are tough. We need change. Four more years! Who better to right the wrongs of the present than the people who screwed up in the first place?" If people thought with their brains instead of their hormones, McCain wouldn't win his household vote. Any of the households.

But no. People choose their votes through anger, fear, self-centeredness and superficiality. I can't decide what's worse: people who refuse to vote for Obama because of e-mail lies, or because even though they've been given proof that the lies are wrong, they still choose to believe it. It's not that they don't know the facts; they don't even want to know. When it comes to rational thinking, they're suddenly pro-choice. And they choose to be ignorant.

On my end, I'm voting for Obama not because he's black, or young, or because I like his position on every single issue. In fact, I have significant disagreements with him on gay marriage (he's against it) and "clean" coal technology (which he cheers along with alternative fuels). But I like him as a whole. I think he is the best person to lead this nation, because he appeals to a wide cross-section of people. I'm more in line with Dennis Kucinich ideologically, but I understand this election is not about Ian. Obama's positions are important, but so is his desire to involve all Americans in his vision and dream. For him, America is more than about malls, wars and profit - it's about a community of people who share wants, needs, loves and experiences. It's the understanding that what affects one affects all of us, that we are at our best when we participate and have a passion to change society for the better. This is at odds with the worship-the-rich climate we have today, and why it's so grating for me to see people with hardly any money (and who have been gutted the most by the Bush administration) deride Obama for suggesting that rich people and institutions be held responsible for their excesses.

Then there's religion and "morals." If the recent video of Sarah Palin's church proves anything, it's that none of Obama's haters ever cared about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, they just wanted something to hang on Captain Different. After all, Palin has also had a controversial black preacher pray over her, imploring God to help her win public office and scare away all the witches. Not a peep. And before you reply with, "Yeah, but he wasn't her pastor for 20 years," consider this: Wright was an ex-Marine whom the Obama family had known for more than a decade before he made that single, out-of-context comment. We all have friends and relatives who've said disagreeable things, but we have other things we love about them that keep us going back to them again and again. Palin didn't have that kind of relationship with her witch-hunter, so it's hard to imagine that he was there for any reason beyond his snake-handling abilities.

And no one has yet sold me on McCain's morals. The man who once said, "I hated the gooks and always will;" married his rich second wife illegally after deserting his loyal first wife; wants to cut programs that help the less-fortunate; has reversed his position on torture despite firsthand experience; and wants to continue an illegal war, is somehow more moral than Obama in the eyes of many. How? Because he (now) supports an end to abortion? Is that all it takes to have character these days?

In the past, I've disagreed but understood why people voted Republican. Even George W. Bush, wretched leviathan that he is, appealed to some on an earnestly patriotic (or economic) level. But the McCain-Palin ticket is all anger, all cynicism, all show. They're like a dim, dingy light bulb in a dark room - good enough for navel-gazing, but nothing compared to the lavish sunshine outside if you'd just muster the energy to swing the dusty blinds open.

To my many dear friends who may be reading this, I beg of you to please look inside and ask yourself why you support who you do in this election. I'm not asking you to agree with me, but I hope that your support is grounded on a firm foundation and isn't guided entirely by your hatred of the other guy or because you're afraid of what the neighbors might think.

Come to think of it, shouldn't everything pass that test?

Liberals DO have backbones!

Despite my exploits as a blogger, I don't feel like I exude politics in my everyday life. But apparently I do.

Yesterday I consulted my doctor about my back, being that my wonderful friend sciatica is giving me trouble once again. He referred me to an X-ray lab to get some hot pictures of my backbone. After clearing all the ID hurdles (yes, the Ian McGibboney), an X-ray technician greeted me. She seemed about my age and was rocking the pink scrubs. We introduced ourselves and walked down the hallway, making chitchat. I felt ugly around her, clad as I was in my workout clothes and untamed hair, limping like I'd just ridden the entire Tour de France without a seat. Yay for self-consciousness.

When we got to the X-ray room, another technician met us, an older man. As she instructed me on how I should lie on the platform, he pipes up:

"You following the presidential race?"
[Gesturing at woman] "Tell me, which candidate does she look like to you?"

It was then that I realized that she looked very much like Sarah Palin. A younger, smarter, prettier, pleasant-sounding Sarah Palin.

I laughed. "She does look like Sarah Palin," I replied. She laughed and rolled her eyes as if she'd heard this a hundred times already.

"But, ah, er, it's not a bad thing, you know, in terms of, uh, looks."

"In terms of looks, huh?" The man laughed. "But everything else..."

"I take it you're an Obama guy, huh?" she asked, as I attempted to hyper-analyze her tone of voice. I concluded she was either OK with this or, at worst, apathetic. I thought back to the Fox News blaring in the waiting room, and how I hoped that was someone else's idea.

"Oh yeah," I said, somewhat surprised that I was so confident about it to a complete stranger, especially one about to calibrate a giant radiation generator aimed at my lower torso. (Is it safe?)

"You know," the guy said, "Palin sounds OK, as long as she has the cue cards. And how about McCain pulling out of Michigan? Do they ever do that so early?"

"It happens in campaigns a lot, especially when they need to save money," I said. "He'll probably go back before it's over." He nodded as the two stepped behind a window to activate the bone camera.

"OK, hold your breath!" the woman called out. I did. Snap. OK, this is starting to hurt.

"Can I breathe now?" I rasped.

"Oh, yeah, you're fine now!" she replied.

"You keep forgetting to tell them when they can breathe!" I hear the guy say.

"I know! I'm bad," she laughed.

After she escorted me back to the front entrance, I took my X-rays in hand and headed for the pharmacy for some medication. Total cost for the afternoon: $20 for the doctor's visit, no charge for the X-rays and one cent shy of $27 for two bottles of pills. Medical insurance is awesome.

Once I got home and made the pain stop, it occurred to me that John McCain wants to end the tax incentive for businesses to provide medical benefits. He favors instead a tax credit for employees to buy their own insurance on the free market. Setting aside the obvious fact that the credit wouldn't cover this cost for most people, and that individuals actually pay less when going through an employer, this whole free-market thing is ridiculous. Personally, I find employer-sponsored health insurance to be a convenience, not to mention a safety net. If businesses no longer offered health benefits - and you know they'd go the way of pensions in many companies - that would leave a lot of people out in the cold. You can already buy health insurance on the open market, so why deprive employees of what is probably the simplest and cheapest option out there?

Of all the planks in the 2008 GOP platform, this one makes me the angriest. It smacks of the heartless, profit-at-all-cost mentality that has wrecked this economy and the morale of millions of American workers. I've gone years at a time without medical insurance, and I sure didn't see that as some sort of virtue. Insurance allows us to be more proactive in our health care, which ultimately saves costs and lives because we don't have to wait until a crisis brews to consult a professional. I, for one, appreciate such a perk, and can't understand why so many conservatives see this as such an evil idea. I guess they'd rather use taxpayer money to fund their self-sufficient wars and businesses that are thriving under this deregulated free market.

A McCain-Palin presidency would kick far too many people off the path to affordable health insurance. And that could conceivably render me unable to get X-rayed by a Sarah Palin lookalike. No one wants that. Health-wise, of course.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ten years already? (Actually, it's felt like it)

My 10-year high school reunion was held this past weekend. I wasn't able to attend because I was in the wrong state. It seems like everybody who attended has posted pictures of the event online, though, so I've been checking those out to see how everyone is looking these days (in some cases, as great as when I had crushes on them). And this being a group of south Louisiana kids, I've also learned much about their personal drink preferences (and whether or not that has changed much since 1998).

In honor of my reunion, I took my high school football jersey out of retirement on Sunday. This actually had more to do with the game of flag football I played with some coworkers and their friends, but still fits with room to spare, and that's what matters.

(Photo by Chris Brewer, the dude in red)

Despite the sciatica that has afflicted my back and leg once again in recent months (I had surgery for it in 2001), it felt awesome to get back out on the field and successfully defend surprisingly agile sportswriters. My team lost 49-39, but part of that was my late-period stint as all-time defender. On offense, I scored on a bullet pass thrown into double-coverage by a current high school quarterback and netted at least one rushing TD (photos not available, but it's true, I promise). I even got in a few reps at quarterback, through which I showed my consistency at fumbling pitchouts. In past pickup games, I really felt the shape I was not in (or was that merely the soul-sapping Louisiana humidity?). Yesterday, though, all those bike miles I've been clocking really helped out. It was a lot of fun.

I may not have been able to catch up with old friends this weekend, but I definitely reconnected with some of the sweat and pain from that era. And it felt great!

Friday, October 03, 2008

"...But it does mean Palin nailed that thar de-bait"

Of all the reactions I've read about last night's vice presidential debate, this comment from The Daily Advertiser forum may be my absolute favorite:

Just because she can't spout statistics and regulations per batem doesn't mean she can't govern.

I like to think that, when this person breaks their arm on the floor of their double-wide after slipping on a stray Larry the Cable Guy CD, their doctor fixes it with duct tape. "Just because he can't spout elitist medical terms and the Hypocritical Oath don't mean he can't fixeded my arm real good!" Of course, then I realize they probably don't have medical insurance to begin with, and I just get sad inside.

Supporters of both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin probably both felt their candidate won the debate last night. And it's easy to see why: Biden brought out the statistics and specifics and kept his inner tantrum to a minimum. Palin didn't completely space out, so she cleared her low hurdle as well. Yes, she quoted Ronald Reagan enough to make P. Diddy sound original, and it's hard to tell if her constant "you betchas" and "darn rights" and other hokey colloquialisms are real or forced (and which prospect is worse), but if you ignore the fact that she stuck to the script (questions be damned), then she gets a passing grade. And that, of course, means it's time for a whole different test.

The basic debate exchange boiled down to this:

Palin: "Obama voted to not support our troops. How could he not support the troops?"
Biden: "That's not true. Actually, Obama voted against that particular bill in 2007 because there was no timetable attached to it. John McCain also voted against that bill. Obama and McCain both had on blue ties that day."
Palin: "Wanting to withdraw is like WAVING A WHITE FLAG OF SURRENDER!"
Biden: "Even George W. Bush and Jalal Talabani are now considering the withdrawal plan that Obama first proposed. I mean, come on."
Palin: "I want the most for our sons and daughters in Iraq. Like mine."
Biden: "I sympathize. My son's being deployed tomorrow." [Lip quivers]
Palin: "There you go again!"

That wasn't "per batem," as the reg'lar folk say, but the idea's the same. And it's enough for me to think that absolutely no one's mind was changed last night. Biden's crew got what they wanted and Palin's fan club got what apparently little they wanted. Considering the current momentum of the polls, I'm just fine with that.

Now let's go out lunch. I know a place.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A pereleel to Seereh Peelin's deep deeposity

And when asked what kind of car she drives, Palin responded, "I drive it fast. I've driven all the cars I've ever driven. People think you can't drive in Alaska because it's in Canada, but there are vast varieties of roads!"

At least George W. Bush admitted he didn't read anything other than the Bible and Bias. That kept him from having to fake the admittedly difficult task of naming ONE MEDIA OUTLET ANYWHERE ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH! Politicians have to know how and when to be evasive. But poor ol' Lipstick not only sucks at being evasive, but she chose the most embarrassingly easy thing in the world to be evasive about.

My favorite YouTube response says it all: "She can't name a newspaper? A news station? A magazine? She could have said 'All of them, but CBS is my favorite' even to score some points..."

I can't WAIT for the debate. They should put it on pay-per-view. Just make sure that none of you decide to drink every time Seereh mentions a news network, because you know she'll overcompensate for this and you'll die a horrible death from cirrhosis.

Funny thing is, she has a communications degree, and used to report the news. You know, it's getting as hard to write jokes about Sarah Palin as it is for Barack Obama, for the completely opposite reason.

No one let this woman near the bailout talks, please! They're stalled enough as it is without having to spend an entire taxpayer-funded session explaining to Palin why she didn't have to bring the bucket.