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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where in the World is Osama bin Laden: The Ten Point Review

  1. I fell for it. The trailers made it look funny, I thought it might contain insight. I imagined it might reign in the preaching in favor of a balanced view of the Middle East, America, terrorists, and war in Afghanistan and Iraq. I fell for it.
  2. What it is turns out to be a shallow, rushed look at problems far too complex for any 93-minute movie much less one helmed by the likes of Mr. Spurlock, who disdains nuance in favor of glib and useless statements.
  3. It does have a lot of pretty pictures, though.
  4. And, in spite of itself, it’s interesting at moments--moments that are chopped too short by the rush to get to the next segment. Beware: when it starts to pique your interest it is seconds away from a jump cut and a cutesy graphic that will leave you wondering what the hell else his interview subject had to say.
  5. In fact, the bits where Spurlock focuses on himself and his life are the least interesting parts of the movie. If he let his subjects--an amazing array of people from all walks of life in Afghanistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and more--take center stage more often, allowing viewers to form opinions instead of making intrusive pronouncements about how Muslims are people just like us, well the movie might have been better. As it is, he is so intrusive that the movie feels overshadowed by his Michael Moore-sized ego.
  6. And does anyone think that the Israel-Palestine problem can really be resolved by fifteen minutes and a journalist telling us that the answer is really as simple as magically creating two states living side by side in peace? An answer that ignores all of the complicating factors in favor of something that sounds so nice?
  7. That’s not insight. That’s dumb.
  8. The Soul Calibur-esque fight between Spurlock and Bin Laden was pretty funny, though, with special moves like “mustache ride!” and “turban power!”
  9. Perhaps if it had been cut down to a twelve-minute segment on Celebrity Deathmatch it would have been a better film.
  10. From Wesley Morris comes a good summary.

    purlock interviews regular Egyptians and Moroccans and Palestinians and Saudis. A group of Hassids curse and shove him. He inexplicably dons traditional Arabic garments and walks around a mall in Riyadh asking whether anybody has seen you-know-who. Spurlock and his team of collaborators never find the movie amid all their material. If he’s a questionable journalist and a poor detective, he’s an even more woeful filmmaker.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mandriva for Me. Which Doesn’t Make Me Entirely Happy.

Ubunutu is my third favorite operating system (behind Mac OS X and the iPhone OS, which, though still a little immature, has made a real impression on me in terms of its simplicity, responsiveness, and innovative nature), which goes precisely nowhere in explaining how Mandriva has taken over the hard drive of my travel laptop.

Mandriva, which used to be Mandrake, is an older distribution and isn’t bad by any means, but it lacks some of the polish and reliability of the Ubuntu distribution that I was running for a while. I’ve had a number of hangs on startups, a few crashed applications, and one crash that forced a restart of the operating system--all things that shocked me from a mature Linux distribution. The interface (I’m running it with KDE without the more gratuitous windowing gimmicks, one of which makes the windows shake like Jell-o after moving them) is similar to Microsoft’s Windows, but it feels strangely twitchy in a way (and has some peculiarities) that Ubuntu didn’t.

Since the installed programs are similar (and in many cases identical) and each has a package manager to install any other necessary software, and since those software titles run much the same on each OS, how is it that I ended up with Mandriva instead of Ubuntu? Easy: there are some non-negotiable issues driving my choice of operating system.

With my work systems, the OS has to support all of the software in which I have invested thousands of dollars and it has to be quick and easy for me to use (which speaks more to my own preferences and biases than any native advantage to the OS itself). My work computer is fairly well limited to Mac OS X and I have no complaints about that.

The more travel I do, though, the more I realized that I didn’t want to risk the MacBook to the hazards of the longer trips. A low cost, reliable travel computer was in order and the non-negotiable issues changed significantly: the computer had to give me office applications at a low price, had to support my camera, had to be capable of recharging my iPhone and iPod, and had to support my laptop’s wireless card. It’s that wireless card that killed Ubuntu (and a number of other distributions that I preferred to Mandriva)--a card that didn’t work with any other free distribution that I tried. Out of the virtual box, Mandriva worked without having to do any extra work, a trick that I wish Ubuntu could learn.

So as I prepare to head off to India, Mandriva is being tweaked and modified to make sure that it meets all my needs and expectations.

One of the more interesting things that I’m finding as I explore the software available through Mandriva’s Install/Remove Software is that so much of the free software that is available is crap. Don’t get me wrong, there are some titles that are great (Scribus, for example, doesn’t do half the tricks that Indesign or QuarkXPress can manage, but it’s actually a really solid and flexible desktop publishing app), but much of the stuff filling the slots is rankly amateur in execution. Sometimes free is cool; sometimes free just sucks.

Why do I share this with you? Absolutely no reason whatsoever…

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Big Win for Republicans, Bigger Win for the American People (Potentially)

The end of the congressional moratorium on commercial development of oil-shale is a big win for Republicans who have made this a talking point during this election cycle, and a bigger win for Americans who want a common sense approach to energy production and development of natural resources in the United States.

A congressional moratorium blocking commercial oil- shale development expires Monday, and the Bush administration is moving quickly to script how future exploration will occur.

The Bureau of Land Management plans to issue final regulations by year’s end that will set out factors including what royalty rate companies will pay to lease federal land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Advocates of removing the ban, along with a ban on offshore oil drilling, rejoiced and declared Monday “American Energy Freedom Day.”

“It was a mistake to put the moratorium in last year, and it would be a mistake to keep it in this year,” said Republican Sen. Wayne Allard of Loveland. “The common-sense approach to ensuring Colorado’s economic future and our nation’s energy independence dictates that we safely, cleanly and efficiently explore and develop our resources.”

No one pretends that either this or expanded off shore drilling will fill all of America’s energy needs in the future, but a rational approach, to me, is a mixed approach that leverages new technologies and techniques to power our economy with everything from natural gas and clean(er) coal to oil shale and petroleum to wind and solar. And throwing in a series of nuclear power plants wouldn’t hurt my feelings, either.

The funny thing is that for this to happen, all it took was for congress to sit back and fail to act. I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere…

Hopefully the restrictions and lease terms put in place by the BLM won’t make it impossible for development on these new resources.

Read the story.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bringing Out the Worst in People

Sarah Palin is bringing out the very worst--the very ugliest--in people. Not liking her, not liking her politics, not wanting her to be close to the presidency are all things I understand. The political attacks on her record, on her beliefs, and on her qualifications are all fair game. That’s just the nature of politics (and if you think that ours are ugly, you should watch what British papers print about their political leaders).

But hacking email accounts, threatening her with being raped by black men if she ever comes to Manhattan (and what the fuck was up with the racist tones on that little rant?), and Andrew Sullivan’s completely insane insistance that Palin should release medical records and eye witness accounts to prove that her son is, you know, her son were all bad enough. Then there were the folks that insisted she wasn’t really a woman and, perhaps, wasn’t even human. All this animosity driven not by facts or reasonable thought, but by policy disagreements.

But, of course, all politics is personal, or so I’ve heard--and Rep. Alcee Hastings from Florida has made it about as personal as can be.

Rep. Alcee Hastings told an audience of Jewish Democrats Wednesday that they should be wary of Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin because “anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.”

That has to win some kind of award for idiocy in this election and I’m not even sure it deserves a reasoned response. All I can cook up right now is amazement that he would even make that kind of an accusation about Palin--anti-semitism and racism because the woman is a hunter? Sure, Sandra Bernhard insinuates that all the black men in Manhattan want to rape Sarah Palin--and tell me that isn’t playing to some of the worst and most disgusting racist stereotypes--but Alcee decides to paint Palin as a racist and a Jew hater.

Something about that kind of stupidity makes me want to embrace that personal side of political engagement, too. In fact…

Fuck you, Alcee.

Now then, that feels a bit better.

Via Gateway Pundit, who has all the requisite links.

Huh. Shocking. Didn’t See That Coming.

I never would have imagined that Clay Aiken was gay.

Clay Aiken appears on the cover of the latest People magazine holding his infant son, Parker Foster Aiken, with the headline: “Yes, I’m Gay.”

The 29-year-old former “American Idol” runner-up, multiplatinum recording artist and Broadway star credits his son, conceived by in-vitro fertilization with friend and producer Jaymes Foster, with making him realize that he could no longer hide his homosexuality from the world.

I mean, talk about hiding it well…

Anyway, read the story. I’m glad he’s finally found the fortitude to tell us something we already know.

I’m back from Vegas and I’m tired. Real posting resumes shortly--that is, shortly after I get through this mass of emails that piled up while I was gone.

Update: None of which changes the fact that Renee Zellweger looks a bit like hell. I’m watching Leatherheads--a lightweight movie with a few laughs but little substance--and realized that Zellweger is plain homely now. For a brief, Jerry Maguire length of time, she was utterly gorgeous. Hell, she even looked good during the first Diary of a Mildly Chubby, Neurotic Woman flick, she has a certain charm. But now her face is squintier and now she’s just funny looking.

And she was poorly cast in the reporter with moxie role--a misfortune that comes close to ruining the film.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Broncos Thoughts of the Day: There’s No “D” in DenverEdition

One of us is in Vegas. And it’s probably me. Which is why this will likely be the only post from me until Wednesday--but the game was so fun that I just couldn’t help myself.

  1. Predominantly orange looks kind of strange now, doesn’t it?
  2. I like the “I’m a PC” ads. They own’t convert me, they won’t make me suddely believe that Vista is anything other than the abomination that it is, but the ad I saw was very nicely done. Does this spell the end of Apple’s “Mac Gently Mocks PC” ads?
  3. Man, if the Broncos could find a defense, they would be monsters. Rushing three for most of the game simply doesn’t get the job done--especially when it means you’re giving a quarterback like Drew Brees a ton of time in the pocket. Yes, the D did manage a fumble recovery and a late-game third down stop that were important to the win, but they also gave up huge yards throughout the game and almost saw the win get away from them.
  4. Fair is fair, though: that was a great goal line stand at the end of the first half. I can’t believe that Sean Payton ran it up the gut four times straight, but however questionable that play calling was, the Broncos answered the call with four straight, perfect stops.
  5. Which was tainted a bit by the Denver offense promptly giving up the safety and the Broncos’ special teams blowing the free kick. Damage: two points for the Saints and a missed Gramatica field goal--which, I had no idea that “Gramatica - Miss” was going to be the theme of the day.
  6. Is every game this year going to be this uneasy down the stretch?
  7. Turnovers kill. Absolutely kill. The Broncos were lucky to get past their mistakes, weren’t they?
  8. But two missed (and entirely makeable) field goals can be even worse.
  9. Three wins and no losses should feel better than this, shouldn’t it? Not that I’m complaining too much: the Broncos early schedule gives way to a whole lot of road games later in the year and they’ll need to build up as much of a buffer between themselves and the Chargers as they can.
  10. This team has used an entire year’s good luck to this point in the season; they need to find a way to win sans football god intervention. Right now they look like a team taht will make the playoffs, but it’s hard to imagine them winning a championship. The defense is too soft and the offense takes the kind of risks that will, sooner or later, catch up with them. But they’ll be fun as hell to watch and they might manage to set a few records along the way.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Do You, Don’t You Want Me to Love You?

Just wondering.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Indeedeheh: The Punting Democrats Edition

When it comes to economic problems, there’s no doubt that the Republicans aren’t blameless, so don’t imagine that I won’t be willing to hold them accountable for their actions--often irresponsible and self-serving--on this issue. But then there’s Harry Reid.

Let’s just say that I agree with a good chunk of this short article from Tom Bemis on MarketWatch.com.

U.S. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has said he doesn’t have a clue about how to fix the financial crisis.

“No one knows what to do. We are in new territory here. This is a different game,” the Democrat from Nevada said late Wednesday. In fact, Congress is likely to do what it usually does when the chips are down—punt.

Still it’s amazing that, in the biggest financial crisis since the Depression, the man in charge of the world’s greatest deliberative body can’t even think of the one thing everybody else has to do when times are tough: cut the budget.

It really isn’t brain surgery; it’s just addition and subtraction—well, really just subtraction.

The problem is, it’s so simple, probably only a hockey mom could understand it.

And that’s the real issue.

I do disagree with one thing, though: Bemis states that he thinks that proclaiming ignorance is a good political move for the Democrats. He might be right, but I can’t imagine that an elected official admitting that he’s clueless on an important issue is ever a good thing. If that casts any kind of a shadow on Obama at all--which, perhaps it doesn’t--then it doesn’t help his presidential bid, does it?

I personally think that Harry Reid just gave the Republicans a gift wrapped pro-McCain ad.

Picture it with somber music, an authoritative voiceover: “The economy is in trouble and our leaders need to take action. What is the Democrat’s plan?”

Harry Reid: “No one knows what to do...”

Voiceover: “Harry Reid and the Democrats aren’t ready to lead on one of the most important issues of our time, but John McCain has a plan to cut government spending, strengthen the economy, and make jobs.”

Seriously. Gift wrapped.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Good Day for Saggy Pants

Man, I just love that title. It’s fun to say. I mean, it’s not so fun to read, but it’s fun to say out loud. “A Good Day for Saggy Pants.” Sounds like a kiddie book advocating for potty training. Or something.

Anyway, dig this:

A judge has decided a law banning sagging pants is unconstitutional after a teenager spent a night in jail on accusations he exposed too much of his underwear.

Julius Hart, 17, was charged last week after an officer said he spotted the teenager riding his bicycle with 4 inches to 5 inches of blue-and-black boxer shorts revealed.

Hart’s public defender, Carol Bickerstaff, urged a judge Monday to strike down the sagging pants law, telling him: “Your honor, we now have the fashion police.”

Circuit Judge Paul Moyle ruled that the law was unconstitutional based on “the limited facts” of the case. Technically, however, the charge hasn’t been dropped yet: a new arraignment awaits Hart on Oct. 5.

Voters in Riviera Beach approved the law in March. A first offense for sagging pants carries a $150 fine or community service, and habitual offenders face the possibility of jail time.

Sagging is stupid. It’s an idiotic style and people sporting it tend to look dumber than your average 9/11 truther. Okay, maybe not quite that stupid, but playing the same game. Stupid style isn’t a crime, though--a fact which millions of ankle-warmer wearing women in the 80’s are exceptionally thankful for not to mention the mulleted hordes with a Joe Dirt-esque fashion sense.

Hopefully the law will be repealed. Not, admittedly, on grounds of good taste, but because cops shouldn’t be consigned to the role chasing down the aesthetically inept.

If we decide that I’m wrong, though, can we go after the velvet Elvii next?

Bad Decision Making in the Clinton Camp

Hillary Clinton’s decision to pull out of a rally because Sarah Palin was also scheduled to attend is bad choice on both politics and principles.

Hillary Clinton has pulled out of an appearance at a New York rally next week to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, her aides say because she doesn’t want to be seen alongside Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in a “partisan” event.

Several American Jewish groups plan a major rally outside the United Nations on Sept. 22. Clinton had previously accepted the invitation to join, but her aides objected when they learned the Alaska governor will be part of the rally. Palin is also expected to meet with several foreign ministers during the U.N.’s opening General Assembly session.

“Her attendance was news to us, and this was never billed to us as a partisan political event,” Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines said Wednesday. “Sen. Clinton will therefore not be attending.”

Americans like to see politicians put aside politics for principle (which is why the Palin camp’s response, which you can read in the linked article) will go over far better than Hillary’s. While those photo op togetherness moments for our elected overlords itch at the cynical region of my brain, the truth is that most of us still end up thinking happier thoughts when politicians find common ground. Complaints about it being a “partisan” event aren’t going to make the situation better--especially since the organizers were obviously hoping for a bipartisan pair of politicians to support their cause.

While it’s a small thing, I also don’t imagine that it will help Obama or Hillary maintain the Democrat’s traditional advantage in wooing Jewish voters.

Halperin, who is Jewish and called Clinton “a far better candidate” for Democrats than Obama, suggested that her actions could backfire on the Democratic ticket.

“Jews traditionally vote Democratic, and if a major Democratic leader does not join in the fight against Iran, where are those voters going to go?” he asked. “It’s problematic from the very point of view that says you have a national poltical leader who fundamentally is choosing not to stand up against Ahmadenijad.

“It changes my view of (Clinton’s) wisdom, of her ability to take a situation, analyze it and come out on the right side, and that is deeply troubling to almost every voter in America, not just Jewish voters,” Halperin said, adding that Clinton’s move “is the kind of thing” that could tip voters toward McCain.

To me--a conservative Republican, admittedly, so not much Hillary’s target audience--this is a slap in the face to all of us who believe that Iran is a real and credible threat and that the survival of Israel, one of the United States’ very few friends in the region, trumps party politics every time.

To be fair, though, it isn’t as bad a decision as, say, contracting someone to write a new book in the late Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s series. Those books are so tied to his voice and to his skewed world view that it’s hard for me to imagine any other writer doing justice to the subject matter. Perhaps Terry Pratchett but even that seems a stretch.

Perhaps I’m being too pessimistic, but the Spider Robinson/Robert Heinlein abomination left me a little scarred.

Besides, who the hell is Eoin Colfer?

(Thanks, Jerry.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ten Reasons the Broncos are 2-0

  1. Shanahan’s gutsy call on the two point conversion...
    In the last half minute of the game, Mike Shanahan set himself up to either return to genius status or to be reviled by all of Denver for at least the next week. Down by a touchdown, beneficiaries of a favorable call (the second really big call of the game that went for the Broncos--and more on that later) that kept the ball in the Broncos’ hands, Denver pulled to within one point with a great touchdown pass from Jay Cutler. Typically this is an easy call: go for the extra point and get the game into overtime.

    There was no hesitation on the Broncos sideline, though, and the call was for a two point conversion. Instead of taking the safe play, Shanahan gambled on winning now--a gamble that left him either hero or goat for the week.

    Hey, hero.

  2. Brandon Marshall’s return...
    Brandon Marshall--eighteen catches for 166 yards and a touchdown--had the kind of day that Eddie Royal had a week ago. That is, brilliant. His first game back after the one game time-out was as good as Broncos fans had hoped, and he’s shaping up to be one of the best receivers in the league.
  3. The rest of the receiving corps...
    And the rest of the Broncos did pretty well catching the ball down field, too. Six other Broncos caught at least one pass on the day with tight end Tony Scheffler’s six catches and two touchdowns really standing out. Eddie Royal didn’t have the kind of week that he had against the Raiders, but his five catches, touchdown, and reception for the two point conversion were all important to the Broncos winning the game. This team knows how to throw the ball. Or, more precisely, Jay Cutler knows how to throw the ball…
  4. Jay Cutler...
    What a great game. Take away the one interception--on a ball that he never should have thrown--and his four touchdown, 350 yard day was superb. He is starting the season in Pro Bowl form. Did the Broncos get the best quarterback of the 2006 draft? Maybe so. He did put the ball on the ground twice today, though, and the game could have gone in a very different direction.
  5. The running back committee...
    For the second straight week, the top three running backs for the Broncos each averaged more than four yards per carry, with Selvin Young going for a gaudy 9.8 yard average. I’m not entirely sure that the Broncos will end up with a 1,000 yard rusher this year, though it’s not beyond either Young or Hall to make that mark, but I feel pretty certain that the Broncos are going to keep running the ball successfully this year. Young and Hall both have good moves, speed, and strong legs and Pittman, who has become an important part of the rushing offense, is showing his value, too. Great stuff.
  6. The offensive line...
    Coming into the year, I was worried about the Broncos defense getting pressure on quarterbacks, giving up too many yards on the ground, and not closing the deal when they get opposing teams into third and long situations. My next biggest fear was an offensive line. While I’m still wondering why the Broncos couldn’t put the Chargers away when they had a big lead, why they let the Chargers convert some long third downs in the second half, and how they let San Diego’s Sproles do so damned much running, receiving, and returning the ball, apparently I didn’t really need to worry about the o-line. Cutler has time to pass, running backs are finding lanes, and defenses are getting pushed around on the goal line.
  7. No Merriman and very little Tomlinson...
    San Diego could have used Shawn Merriman and a healthy LT. Just sayin’.
  8. A defense doing just enough...
    While the Denver defense didn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence today--they gave up big plays, watched long third downs converted with regularity in the second half, and had serious problems in coverage--they did do just enough to win. Included in “just enough” was forcing San Diego to settle for field goals twice when it looked like they were marching for touchdowns. If both of those second half drives had ended in seven points instead, the game wouldn’t have been a giddy, weird Broncos win. It would have been a tremendously disappointing loss.
  9. A newfound willingness to score touchdowns...
    Last year, the Broncos scored pretty regularly. Unfortunately a lot of those scores were field goals. This year has been different: the Broncos are scoring touchdowns--lots of touchdowns--and they are doing it from everywhere on the field. Short or long doesn’t matter: Shanahan’s team has remembered how to score big points and it is serving them well.
  10. The football gods looked upon them and smiled...
    Two reviewed calls went the Broncos way that shouldn’t have--although both calls were also completely in line with the rule book. Both calls involved possession (Champ Bailey’s interception and Jay Cutler’s late fumble) and both possessions ended in Broncos touchdowns. Luck only plays so much of a role in life, but today chance might have taken center stage. The Broncos won’t win too many games with this kind of luck, and might not win too many games with this kind of performance.

    Not that I’ll complain too loudly. I’m greatly appreciative of the kindness of the football gods.

Update: Darren does the play-by-play. Apparently he was also in the San Diego locker room after the game--and I’d love to hear the raw sound bites from that excursion.

Friday, September 12, 2008

We’ll Return to Politics Shortly. For Now, Let’s Talk About Ike.

I generally don’t pay too much attention to hurricane news--living in Colorado has left me fairly well insulated from worry. Ike grabbed my attention, though, because the company I work with has two events scheduled for the new future in the region. One, in Texas City, happens about four weeks from now and the other, in Baton Rouge, comes a little more than a month after that one.

No, I’m not mentioning names, industries, or events--I still work to keep my professional life separate from my personal life.

Anyway, watching the news over the last few days I’ve become a little obsessed with the path, the regional reactions, and the potential damage that the storm is going to do. Frankly, the size of the damned thing is terrifying and Brendan Loy’s warnings aren’t making me feel any better.

What is really bizarre to me, seeing the warnings from the National Hurricane Center in particular, is to hear that people are refusing to leave Galveston. Apparently “certain death” isn’t enough of a guaranty.

I’ll be watching the news tomorrow, hoping for a miracle, and hoping that some of our friends in the Gulf region are okay. Hell, I even hope the idiots who chose to ignore the warnings are all okay, too, although a little spanking wouldn’t hurt.

In a grand show of misplaced solidarity, I’ll also be dying into Sean Stewart’s wonderful Galveston. And I’ll be listening to Kenny Roger’s best song, too--although that’s just a personal, current preference and it has absolutely nothing to do with politics or hurricanes. “I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in...”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hollywood v/ Palin

Hollywood’s heroes are stepping up the war against Governor Sarah Palin--and eloquence isn’t their friend.

First, Matt Damon demeans Sarah Palin achievements and calls her a mere hockey mom.

“You do the actuary tables and there’s a one-out-of-three chance, if not more, that McCain doesn’t survive his first term and it will be President Palin . . . It’s like a bad Disney movie,” said Damon, who has ponied up $4,600 to Barack Obama this year and $28,500 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“ ‘I’m just a hockey mom from Alaska.’ And she’s the president,” he continued. “And it’s like she’s facing down Vladimir Putin and using the folksy stuff she learned at the hockey rink. It’s absurd. It’s totally absurd.”

There is nothing to be ashamed of in being a “hockey mom,” but (while he pays lip service to her being “mayor of a really, really small town” and being “governor of Alaska for less than two years") when he sees her as Vice President he sees “just a hockey mom from Alaska.” Her experiences in government and her popularity with the citizens of Alaska just disappear and suddenly Sarah Palin is just a mom shuttling kids to hockey practice and cooking brownies. Given that he doesn’t ask the same question about Obama and his extremely limited governmental experience, I wonder what that says about Matt Damon?

Does it say that he thinks that a man like Obama is automatically more capable of dealing with the Russians that a “mere hockey mom” (who also happens to have stints as both mayor and governor on her CV)? Or is it just that he doesn’t like either Palin or McCain’s politics and he’s grasping for reasons to tear down what he sees as the biggest threat to Obama’s campaign?

Honestly, I have a hard time imagining the former, but the latter is more then enough reason to discount his words. He may not be a sexist pig (hold the lipstick, please), but he’s definitely carrying water for his candidate’s campaign. Luckily, America doesn’t seem to give much notice to its stars’ political opinions.

And Pamela Anderson demonstrates the wisdom of America’s citizens.

The reporter asked Pam if she saw a recent Newsweek article, which showed a gigantic bear hide in the office of Palin’s house.

“I can’t stand her,” Pam blurted out. “She can suck it!”

Which argument makes Matt Damon’s pronouncements look positively brilliant by comparison, especially coming as they do from a woman who made a career from artfully bouncing down beaches on the boob tube, playing second fiddle to David Hasslehoff. Her main claims to fame subsequently are short marriages, explicit tapes, and exceptionally funny taste in men. She’s not what you might call a good role model for young women.

When folks like this take shots at a woman like Palin--especially with arguments like “She can suck it!"--it just increases the public sense that she is one of us. She represents someone who understand our concerns and problems in a way that most actors in Hollywood never will.

Like I said yesterday: Obama’s supporters continue to be the GOP’s best friends. More hearty thanks to Anderson and Damon for helping the cause; we truly appreciate everything you do for us.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Joe Biden: Obama’s Bare-Knuckled Blunderer (And How the Race Has Shifted)

The McCain campaign strategy in bringing Sarah Palin on as VP has worked brilliantly to this point. It caught Obama’s people flat-footed, it brought out the worst in her opponents and in some of Obama’s biggest supporters, and it completely stole the spotlight from the DNC. It was as if the left couldn’t even imagine McCain making the pick of a woman as a running mate.

Biden, in contrast, was a safe choice. He was meant to be Obama’s bare-knuckle fighter. Biden was supposed to solve the experience gap. Some people even called Biden a great pick.

Ultimately, he was meant to solve the problem of that famous 3 a.m. call.

During the media roar over Palin--a schizophrenic reaction swinging from digging in the dirt to treating her like a rock star--Biden has almost disappeared. Unfortunately for the Obama camp, when Biden does surface it’s by inviting a paraplegic, wheelchair-bound senator to stand and then admitting that he may not have been the best choice for the job.

“Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States. Let’s get that straight,” Mr. Biden said. “She is qualified to be president of the United States of America. She is easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America, and quite frankly, might’ve been a better pick than me.”

Strangely, I agree with him on at least one part of this: Hillary would have been a better pick.

The biggest mistake of the Obama campaign was in not finding a way to bring Hillary into his camp. It would have brought together a base of voters that would have nearly guaranteed a winning campaign. And to those people who say that there was too much tension between the two camps, I submit that you don’t have to like your VP pick to recognize the smart political choice. The only thing you have to do is trust them to act in to help carry your policies forward in office and trust that they will help you win the election. Hillary, out of a sheer sense of political self-preservation, would have done both.

No matter how you view the Biden pick, it was still a dumb thing to say and it gave even more ammunition to the Democrats’ opponents--the same opponents who grabbed onto Biden’s earlier statements about Obama’s lack of experience. Right now, small mistakes and tiny flubs are being magnified in no small part because the party of the left seems to be floundering and unsure of itself.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that some of Obama’s biggest supporters are becoming the GOP’s best (if inadvertent) friends.

Thanks, folks. From those of us on the right, I’d like to let you know that we appreciate your hard work.

While Obama may be laying claim to being the one, the only Gaffe-O-Matic, Biden has shown himself to be a bare-knuckled blunderer. He was meant to shore up Obama’s weaknesses, but, in retrospect, he’s just magnifying the sense that Obama isnt quite ready for prime time. Biden was an overly safe pick for a wildly exciting candidate--and likely an irreversible one.

I know some folks are suggesting that Obama will “throw Biden under the bus,” but that would be political suicide. It would be more evidence (especially in the face of McCain’s inspired choice) that Obama isn’t quite up to the job and a “me too” invitation to Hillary would be an offensive and desperate decision that would relegate Hillary to the position of token woman. Can anyone possibly imagine that it would help save Obama? I think it would damn him to also-run status.

The only way that Obama negates the Palin pick isn’t by switching his old white guy for a woman; he negates the Palin pick by discrediting the pick--which, of course, runs the risk of demeaning or diminishing women.

The McCain camp moved brilliantly to grab the media and the country. Obama will be walking a tightrope as he works to discredit Palin and risks angering women who had overwhelmingly supported him earlier in the election cycle. Not only that, but the Democrat’s presidential nominee is campaigning against the Republican’s vice presidential nominee--a situation that distracts the Obama camp from what is arguably the more important target, but also diminishes Obama to comparisons with the GOP number two. Biden, if he didn’t say crazy stuff like he did today, would be nearly invisible in the race at this point.

With just a few months to go, the GOP is working to consolidate small leads, take back some of the battleground states, and force Obama to spend more time and money in states that his folks probably considered safe.

Far left hand-wringing aside, nothing is decided. There is a lot of time for the race to tip one way or the other and it’s hard to predict whose voters will actually show up at the booth. While Obama tries to figure out the Palin puzzle, though, McCain has solidified a good portion of the Republican base and is making serious inroads in wooing independents to the cause.

But from a strategic standpoint, the Sarah Palin pick was a bold, exciting, and utterly brilliant bit of political maneuvering by the McCain camp--and that’s not even having discussed the message that it sends to the Republican party about the kind of leaders that the GOP is promoting right now.

Again I say: Palin - Jindal 2012.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ten Thoughts About the Broncos Opener

  1. I’m not saying there should be a mercy rule, but...
    Pro sports don’t need mercy rules, but it’s hard to avoid thinking that the Raiders fans deserved some anesthesia by the end of this one.
  2. Don’t make too much of it...
    While the Raiders might be as bad as advertised--and I still expect them to end up at the bottom of the AFC West heap--I’m not so sure that the Broncos are quite as good as they seemed. Denver is tremendous on offense, but the defense was playing against a team that happily shot its own toes off all night. Aside from two good drives (one ending in a turnover and one ending in a touchdown) the Raiders were hideous bad all night and didn’t even show a lot that could encourage fans for the rest of this season. The late touchdown pass hardly counts since it came when the Broncos seemed to have lost a little interest in the game.
  3. Eddie Royal...
    On a night where Brandon Marshall was serving his one game suspension for rampant tomfoolery, the rookie Eddie Royal made his case for being one of the big picks of this year’s draft. Not only did he catch a lot of balls (9) and put up a lot of yards (146) for a touchdown, but he did it most of the night against Oakland’s best cover man, DeAngleo Hall. If he does this regularly, he’s going to be a big star--and Denver will be well served by having this guy playing opposite Brandon Marshall. Impressive as hell. He’s also smart--he did a bunch of little things that made him look like a seasoned vet.
  4. The running game...
    The Broncos didn’t feature one back tonight, they featured all of their backs tonight. Three rushing touchdowns and some big yards on the ground weren’t the big part of the running story. The big part was that the top three rushers all rushed for more than 4.5 yards per carry--Andre Hall rushed for 6.1 yards per carry and Selvin Young rushed for 5.1 yards per carry.
  5. Jay Cutler is a star...
    Jay Cutler is a damned fine quarterback. He’s got a hell of an arm, he sees the field well, and he’s making smart decisions. If he stays healthy, this is shaping up to be a hell of a year for him.
  6. Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates...
    Spending that much money on Seinfeld (at least I assume it took a big chunk o’ cash) and the best you can come up with is “adjust your shorts?” What a dumb, dumb ad.
  7. Al Davis...
    I still say that the biggest malfunction in the Raiders organization--aside from a relative lack of talent and a clueless coaching staff--is Al Davis, the guy who bullies his staff and makes the majority if the personnel choices. He is the head of a dysfunctional family that hasn’t been even passably good over the last four years.
  8. Still not convinced about the Broncos pass rush...
    The Broncos defense did get good pressure on the quarterback today--one of their key weaknesses over the last few years--they did it on a team that was playing from behind early. When the game was out of hand for the Raiders, the Bronc’s defense took chances and really pushed the Raiders around. But will that translate into any of the better teams in the league? Not so sure.
  9. Next week...
    The home opener against San Diego will be a much tougher test for the orange and blue, especially coming off a painful and close loss.
  10. For now, though, it’s always fun to watch the Raiders lose...
    ...Especially when it’s the Broncos doing the bullying.

Update: Another man enjoying the moment.

On Obama: No Secret Muslim

Is Obama an undercover Muslim?

I don’t see what benefit there is for the GOP in focusing on Obama’s verbal gaffe--a small mistake that reinforced the questions some people have been asking about his religious beliefs--and obsessing about whether he is secretly Muslim. A little bit of confusion during a conversation does not qualify as evidence; a lengthy membership in a Christian church (even one that many of us find repulsive) is a far more convincing measure of his convictions. Of course, that works both in the positive (for those that care, it should be reassuring that he is a Christian) and in the negative (for those that care, and I am one of them, the long association with the church implies some philosophical questions, as well).

Beyond that, though, it distracts from real issues and the real differences between the candidates. With momentum on the side of the Republicans after Sarah Palin’s introduction to the country, getting stuck in this dead end conversation only blunts the forward motion.

Hell, for that matter, I wouldn’t much care if Obama were a Muslim. While I’m fairly sure that America isn’t ready to vote a Muslim into office, I can’t personally see that it would change my vote, and not just because I’m not planning to vote for the guy. Atheist, agnostic, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Toaist--I don’t really care. The only question to me is whether a candidates political philosophies and policies match the template I’m shopping for.

For me, Obama isn’t that guy regardless of how he chooses to worship. 

Sunday, September 07, 2008

All Your Yards Are Belong to Us (Good Lord, That’s Getting Old, Isn’t It?)

Fantasy football--for all you mini Al Davises out there--could become a very different thing in the future. Or, at least, it could be come a little bit more expensive.

Apparently the NFL Players Association believes player statistics are something that belong to the player and that operators of fantasy football sites, like CBS Interactive--owe the NFLPA a little bit of licensing money.  Which seems mighty stupid to me.

CBS Interactive has filed a federal lawsuit in Minneapolis to clarify who can use the statistics that underlie fantasy football leagues.
[...]
CBS seeks a ruling saying that the players cannot control use of the publicly available numbers and cannot demand that CBS pay for their use.

Let’s just say that I’m on the CBS side of this argument.

Read the rest.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It’s a Shame About Palin…

Shame that conservatives hate women so damned much. This Palin person might have a good future ahead of her otherwise.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

On Sarah Palin

Barring some truly scandalous information and barring some disaster, if John McCain is elected president, Sarah Palin will be the first female president of our country.

Not only is she an amazing public speaker, but she’s a fighter, she’s smart, and she has a great story. She knows how to deliver a message and she’s relentless.

Every speaker did well tonight--I was surprised by how good Huckabee sounded and Giuliani fed the believers a metric ton of red meat and funny lines--but none of them compared to the excitement generated by a woman the Obama camp would have you believe is a mere hockey mom from a small town in Alaska. The folks on that side of the argument were served a hell of a message tonight: she’s a woman who has made a political career of punching way above what everyone else assumed was her weight, and she’s not done yet.

That was a hell of a speech.

More thoughts from ViewpointJournal.

Patterico, too.

Goldstein’s readers seem to be impressed.

As I said a few days ago: it was a big risk to bring Palin into the McCain campaign and I still don’t know if it will work out in the end. But it is the most exciting thing to happen to a Republican candidate--any Republican candidate--since Reagan. She is injecting life, youth, and a small town, working class spirit into the race. Amazing.

Remember to monitor Founding Bloggers for ongoing posts, video, and great photos. Brilliant stuff.

I think Kate loves Sarah. I don’t blame her.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Grrrr….

… Argghh.

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