October 31, 2008

Convicted Felon Ted Stevens Losing It

Up there in The Alaska, Ted Stevens keeps repeating the deluded notion that he wasn't convicted of anything:

I’m not going to step down. I have not been convicted. I have a got a case pending against me, and probably the worst case of prosecutorial -- misconduct by the prosecutors -- that is known. I had a talk this afternoon, with one of the attorneys here, a former U.S. attorney, who told me he was appalled by what went on in that case.

So I think you’ll find out. I will succeed and I will be found innocent.

Is he that arrogant? That stupid? That committed to seeking some last ephemeral political advantage by the kind of lie best described as pointing at a night sky and saying "sunny?"

I was satisfied with him losing the trial and the Senate seat (assuming he does,) and retiring in well-deserved disgrace without prison time. But this attitude tells me how out of line, how arrogant, how power-drunk, and therefore how dangerous to the Republic, he really is.

The punishment in Rome for public corruption was tying him up in a bag with snakes and tossing him in the Tiber. Out of respect for his years of lack of respect for the American public, let's just send convicted felon Ted Stevens up for hard time.

Final Sarah Palin joke (I hope)

October 30, 2008

All I wanted for Halloween...

There is only one endorsement I anticipate in a presidential election, that of The Economist. For the past few weeks, I've been saying to myself, "I want to open my mailbox on October 31 and see a picture of Obama with the words 'It's time.'"

Well, I got my wish, including the title. (Okay, I thought they'd use a bigger picture of him.)

Now, there's an Isengard.gov angle to the Obama endorsement that I want to share with you. In the text of the editorial, The Economist notes:

"[The] Candidate McCain of the past six months has too often seemed the victim of political sorcery, his good features magically inverted, his bad ones exaggerated."

Well, folks, you read it first here on Isengard .gov, back in January!

And Now the McCain-Palin-Stevens Joke Firesale:

Sarah Palin: Little does she know.

Ted Stevens has been convicted of 7 felonies. A little know fact is that three of them stem from the assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln.

Sarah Palin has started a trend. Next time, the Republicans are running Carrot-Top.

John McCain is getting desperate. What are the signs?

  • Is offering to drive seniors to the polls, other than himself.
  • Called on media to expose widespread plot of voters to support Barack Obama.
  • Demanded staff look into this email thing.
  • Doubling down, will replace Sarah Palin with Jessica Simpson.

What does Sarah Palin remind you of?

  • A girl who once left me for a neo-nazi Skinhead. And then ran for Vice-President.
  • That I left my wallet at Hooter's.
  • That at least Eva Braun pronounced her "Gs."
  • A goldfish I once had to flush.
  • To never mention that I'm originally from Alaska.

How old is John McCain?

  • When he joined the Navy as a pilot, the aircraft had to be inflated.
  • He is for drilling. But he thinks it's for whale oil.
  • He is against global warming, but mostly because he is against globes.
  • He's constantly pestered by archaelogists with their damn fool questions.
  • He made himself a rich man by investing $1.50 in the latest "Cotton Gin."
  • He thinks the Internet is used to catch Interfish.
  • He looks forward to the holidays, when the family collects the sacred branches and pays homage to the Sun God.
  • He hates socialism because Karl Marx once burned him on an opium deal.

What is John McCain really like?

  • The community newspaper Letters to the Editor page, abandoned on a dirty table at Denny's.
  • Your uncle-in-law who keeps calling you a communist.
  • Bob Dole.

A Isengard.Gov CLASSIC:

All Alaskans owe Ted Stevens a debt of gratitude: when Mankind first crossed the Bering Land bridge into the new continent, Ted Stevens lead the way.

What are Ted Stevens' Proudest Accomplishments?

  • The Fairbanks Center for High Blood Pressure
  • The Magna Carta
  • The International Angry Shrimp Council
  • The Kotzebue Philharmonic
  • The rotting bodies of the interns who crossed him.

Can you give us the details of Ted Stevens' Multiple Felonies?

  • Used gift massage chair in an improper manner.
  • Let Major oil companies just wander in and out of the house.
  • Failed to report gift of free Monster Bong.
  • When offered delicious pulled pork sandwich, mailed $17 Billion to Exxon out of habit.
  • Use Federal funds to have teeth professionally installed.
  • Lived into 21st century- was against Laws of Nature.
  • A further charge of abetting witchcraft was dismissed because the witness had fossilized.
McCain-Palin. When the 19th Century just isn't old enough.

October 29, 2008

Free Legal Advice for Ted Stevens

The time to attack the justice system, the FBI, the courts and jury is AFTER the federal judge (who may have some interest in upholding the independence and honor of the jury and the legal system when it rules against arrogant pols) sentences you.

October 27, 2008

Senator Ted Stevens: GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS!

I guess from now on, he'll be chairing the Cigarette Appropriations Committee up at the Statesville Prison.

Anchorage Daily News: Stevens Trial Perspective

Note the headline and photo layout from from this morning's ADN website.

October 25, 2008

A Good, Free Registry Cleaner..?

Unusual for me, a software recommendation:

CCleaner - a tidy registry cleaner and file deleter, free at full-strength and appearing to work well (my Compu-brain 9000 runs a little faster easier), running Vista at least. It feels like you just flossed after about a year.

Half of this is optimistic projection I assume, but it still seems unusually good.

October 24, 2008

Hopefully the last "Waaassup!?" reference ever.

Wassup 2008:

Norm Dicks: "Treat People Nicely"

Norm Dicks, Democratic Congressman from Washington State favors Border Patrol checkpoints BUT, encourages the border patrol to focus on terrorism and smugglers first and to "Treat People Nicely".

"I hear the tone of the officers is pretty abrupt," Dicks told the newspaper. "Gruffness: that has turned people off. They need to try to treat people nicely, not try to terrify people." -Dicks

Fuck that Noise.

FSL Post Script- Norm Dicks' Campaign can be emailed here.

Maria Cantwell
Patty Murray

Welcome To The Constituton Free Zone

Here is the ACLU of Washington's tips on your rights, such as they are, when stopped.

  • American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches.
  • The border, however, has always been an exception. There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply. For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.”
  • But what is “the border”? According to the government, it is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the United States.
  • As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.
  • Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship. Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders. They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts.
  • However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose. On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
  • The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.

The McCain-Palin Lists to Starboard, Takes On Water.

Obama has double digit leads now in the battleground states, Georgia has an Obama lead, and the passengers are jumping ship.

My question for the Republicans who at the last minute are fleeing McCain: when one is switching sides and heading for the lifeboats, isn't it customary to put on a dress?

October 23, 2008

Finally, someone sums up the election cycle with a narrative I can relate to.

What if the current election were a Dungeons and Dragons game?

Favorite lines:

HILARY: WTF you guys. Why am I playing the cleric?

MCCAIN: Hilary, we've been over this.

HILARY: No, dude. I am so sick of being the girlfriend healer. Seriously, I can't even use a sword. Fuck this noise.


OBAMA: That's nice.


MCCAIN: Oh, Jesus. Here we go.


"There will continue to be checkpoints. Things are going to be happening,"

Border Patrol maps three sites for highway checkpoints on North Olympic Peninsula

"There will continue to be Checkpoints.", said Joseph Giuliano, deputy chief patrol agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Blaine Sector. "Things are going to be happening".

One sunny fall morning my wife was driving to Seattle on Highway 101 from our home in Port Angeles. She ended up in a long line of stopped traffic to find that the Border Patrol had set up a roadblock and was using officers and dogs to search cars. Each car was allowed to slowly roll by the checkpoint. Occasionally officers waved over cars for questions and more involved searches.

Later we learned that Homeland Security and the Border Patrol have quietly boosted their presence on the North Olympic Peninsula. Port Angeles now has 24 agents equipped with boats and aircraft. They are currently looking for a building in Port Angeles or Sequim to house a maximum of 50 agents. They state that their major emphasis is a continued search for terrorists.

The checkpoint operations have resulted in dozens of arrests. "Pretty much all of Washington is within the area where border checks are authorized," said Lisa Seifert, an attorney and member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Meanwhile, an "ICE Team", not affiliated with the Border patrol raided The India Oven, an apparent coven of terrorist activity.

More on the story and local protests here.

#3: Wes Anderson ad for McCain

Picked this up from the Daily Dish. The first two are marginal, but the 3rd is brilliant, and I've been replaying it in my head all day.

The Word on Stevens

Brenda Morris, the federal prosecutor who's been sweating Ted Stevens all week, delivered an indictment of Stevens that is true no matter the outcome of the trial:

And she delivered what may have been the most cutting words the former Senate president pro tempore has ever heard. "This trial has exposed the truth about one of the longest-serving senators," she argued, belittling him as a "onetime chairman of the appropriations committee" who "didn't know how to pay a bill."

The yawns and fidgeting in the jury box had subsided. Stevens, looking pale, slouched in his chair as Morris recounted for the jurors the most damaging part of the trial -- Stevens's own bullying testimony. "Behind all that growling and all those snappy comebacks and the righteous indignation, he's just a man and he needs to stand up and take responsibility," she said, asking the residents of the District of Columbia to do what "very few people have done: Stand up to him."

A Smidge and a Sprinkle of Jack-Booted Fascism

I used to run an ACLU state affiliate, and we've seen of heapin' help of civil rights violatin' and Constitution guttin' in the last few years- but it's this kind of thing that really scares me:

The American Civil Liberties Union today demanded information from the government about reports that an active military unit has been deployed inside the U.S. to help with "civil unrest" and "crowd control" – matters traditionally handled by civilian authorities. This deployment jeopardizes the longstanding separation between civilian and military government, and the public has a right to know where and why the unit has been deployed, according to an ACLU Freedom of Information request filed today.

"The military's deployment within U.S. borders raises critical questions that must be answered," said Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. "What is the unit's mission? What functions will it perform? And why was it necessary to deploy the unit rather than rely on civilian agencies and personnel and the National Guard? Given the magnitude of the issues at stake, it is imperative that the American people know the truth about this new and unprecedented intrusion of the military in domestic affairs."

According to a report in the Army Times, the Army recently deployed an active military unit inside the United States under Northern Command, which was established in 2002 to assist federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities. This deployment marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command.

Civilian authorities, not the military, have historically controlled and directed the internal affairs of the United States. This rule traces its origins to the nation's founding and has been reaffirmed in landmark statutes including the Posse Comitatus Act, which helps preserve the foundational principles of our Constitution and democracy.

Certainly the ACLU sounds the alarm a lot, but it's worth remembering that it's not an alarmist organization. The attorneys and analysts who work with the organization on the national level are among the best in the nation. Deployment of active military within the U.S. as described above is the deepest affront to the Constitution and to our liberty - not in the "are they reading my email? sense" (yes, by the way) , but in the "I wish someone would send me a nice pie in this tundra detention camp " sense.

The recent fairly brutal treatment of dissenters at the GOP convention in Minneapolis and many other repressive incidents tells me that there are fresh dangers to civilian authority in the United States.

Our salvation will not be legal, it will be political.

If you weren't supporting Obama (who McCain just accused of being an constitutional law academic) before, I would suggest starting immediately.

October 22, 2008

The Communist Threat to Alaska

One man is running to protect Huffman and Oceanview from the Red Menace.


"It is all unfolding -- as I had foreseen"

I hate to say "I told you so," but... who am I kidding? I LOVE to say "I told you so!"

So here is is: back on September 1, I told you so.

Josh Marshall also likes him some "I told you so," and details the case in this video.

Further: nothing causes me more mirth than when I hear somebody say, "They're getting her ready for 2012." Her future as a national candidate is over. She will be remembered as the weaksauce on McCain's FAILburger. The best she can hope for is to get a TV show (one with a teleprompter), and that will only happen if she forgoes a second term as Governor, at the very least, if not leaving office next year to strike while the iron is hot. (Any one-hit wonder will tell you: fame is fleeting, and life is long.) The End.

Short Take on an Isolated Scariness

AP Poll has a new outlier: 44 Obama, 43 McCain. This is a small poll (only 800, a small N- the Pew poll taken at the same time, with a 14 point Obama lead, had 2600). Even the new Fox poll has a 9 point Obama lead.

11 Points in Alaska

New Alaska poll - McCain leading by a much lower 11 points.

That's closer than some places and a huge rebuke to the allegedly popular governor...kept up the good work, Alaskans; get it within 6 and the ground game might just turn Alaska blue.

Reading is Fundamental

You've probably seen this, but look carefully and see if you notice the subtle editing (hint: it's towards the end of the clip).

Real Terrorists Heart McCain

Al Qaida endorses McCain.

Washington Post here.

Update already! McCain campaign's spin call on this crashes.

The effect of the spin call - lots more publicity on Al Qaeda wanting McCain!

October 21, 2008

Architecture: It Fails Us Now

Attention, Mon. Latouche, wherever you are..

A devastating NYT review of brilliant architecture finally gone too far in legitimizing the unquenchable corporate maw.

Its mysterious nautiluslike form, which can be easily dismantled and shipped to the next city on its global tour, reflects the keen architectural intelligence we have come to expect from its creator, Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-born architect who lives in London.

Yet if devoting so much intellectual effort to such a dubious undertaking might have seemed indulgent a year ago, today it looks delusional.

The Daily Show in Wasilla

Pew Poll Porn

Read this. (PDF)

The good news for McCain: he's still leading with older white males.

In A Certain Mood

With the Irish bookies already paying off on an Obama win, I'm going to go ahead, knock on doors, remind everyone I see to vote, and start thinking about what's going to happen after January.

John McCain's expression in the last debate looked a lot like the expression of a man who really, really wanted to be president, and instead, won't. The race will tighten and loosen, but the early voting trends, the electoral vote distribution, the devasting Powell endorsement, the Republicans having to fight hard for Indianna, North Carolina, North Dakota, Georgia, and West Virginia (while, sadly, it's looking like Alaska is the new West Virginia), Obama's extremely well-organized and funded ground game (Christ, the pressure!) in all of this, little or nothing adds up to a McCain victory.

Outright fraud and initimidation by Republican operatives like 2000 and 2004 is much less of a threat when the race isn't tight, and really, it isn't.

You can imagine a scenario where McCain-Palin will win: we're attacked by unemployed alien terrorists with space dirigibles, the Dow doubles and everyone goes into the upper tax bracket, Obama's been a clown killer all along, stuffing the corpses under the crawl space with their giant shoes poking up through the joists and giving him away at the last minute; maybe the clouds break and Sarah Palin is divinely crowned Queen of the kingdom of God, just like in her dreams.

You will see the Republicans double down on the racist coding, the strip-mall fascism, the fear-flinging desperation which would work if their theory that most Americans really are small-minded, greedy, lily-livered, pinch-faced tools is correct.

It isn't. With a lot of work in the next two weeks, we're going to win.

And here's what had me thinking that my first order of business is creating a list.

What list?, you ask, noting the recently headless fellow in the illustration above. What am I, some latte-sipping, Honda-driving Robbespierre? I will admit I'm harboring images: Rep. Henry Waxman, in a Grand Inquistor's robes and hat, with unlimited powers to accuse and incarcerate without Habeus, the kind the Bush Administration so ably demonstrated democracy needs to survive. Ox carts parked on K Street, readied with handcuffs. Peoples' trials presided over by an old crone in a bonnet, who raises a crooked finger to mark enemies of the Republic, her accusations wickedly accurate and cheerlessly sarcastic and delivered in a dry, cackling voice as Bill Kristol is dragged off to the Bastille, his pristine white wig with pink highlights falling into a pile of ox shit on the ground as the villagers pelt him with rotten heirloom tomatoes.

Almost regrettably, I have to remind you that Barack Obama's rather too bright to indulge us in the scene above, even metaphorically. The call for unity is genuine, and urgent. The business of the country is too serious for street denunciations or reeducation camps, no matter how much fun and righteous and deserved that would be.

But I'm still thinking of that list. It is, at least, a list of Plutocrats and tools who spent the last eight years injuring the people, looting the treasury, erasing our historical liberties and endangering the Republic. For the moment, I'll just say that number 3 on that list is Bill Kristol.

October 20, 2008

Whither Mack Brain?

A fellow Isengarder has been encouraging me with a generous offer to help edit Rebar For Tootsie Rolls into a form that might actually be publishable. (In case you're wondering, the lack of continuity in the storyline would continue: the book design would feature a chapter, then an image of a waterlogged, torn Pulp magazine cover, then the next chapter. )

But there's a problem. Mack's last name: Brain.

It's not the best, I'm forced to agree. It was slightly funny once, but it's not an good enduring character name. It was written long before I keep writing these stories, and right now has the effect of a slightly funny band name that gets less funny every time you repeat it, like Bunny and the Hoptones or Led Zepplin or something.

So I need your help: what are your suggestions for Mack's last name?

Worse, the current chapter turns on his name and is being delayed!

Fearless Leader Addresses the Financial Crisis

Which reminds me of a classic bit of Bullwinkle doggerel, sung to "The Irish Washerwoman".

The Potatos are old
and the meat is a fright
everything is left over
from Saturday Night
We sweep it all up
to put in the Pot
and we tell you it's
real Irish Stew that we got.

And my additional verses...

The headcheese is off
and the meatloaf inspires
to terrify you with it's
antlers and briars.
The cook is a drunk and
parkbench molester
He drowned the whole meal
In chinese Worcestershire.

Lament all you diners
for food you desire.
The remains of the mutton
Fell into the fire.
The orange is green
And the lemon chartreuse
And beware if the menu lists
Char-Broiled Moose

October 19, 2008

When Sea Otter Numbers Fell, Palin Switched Diet

By replacing a key noun in a headline in today's Anchorage Daily News with "Palin," I found an interesting wealth of new information:

Bore-Tide Palin Sucked Out Into Inlet

When Sea Otter Numbers Fell, Palin Switched Diet

Palin Erosion Threatens Sutter Homes

Palin Rupture Investigated

Palin Thwarts Village Fuel Run

North Pole Palin Charged in Crime Spree

Palin Caught Near Juneau Pizzaria

Federal Government Declares Palin Endangered

Palin, Missing in Sand Point, Shows Up in Street

Palin Confession Complicates Child Murder Case

Soup Kitchen Volunteers Ladle Out the Palin

Palin Territorial Guard Day Proclaimed

Palin Receives Youth Suicide Prevention Grant

Trails Group Attempts To Clean Up Mount Palin

Three Palins Enter Garage, Raid Freezer

Palin Floating Again After Taking On Water

State Puts 23 Year Old Palin on the Market

Palin Keeps Students Interested in Permafrost

Teachers Reach Palin Agreement

Spork Assault Gets Palin in Prison

Charter Hauls in Pair of 200 lb Palins

About a Third of Hunters in Alaska Manage to Get a Palin

Lure of Catching a Palin shark Dwindles

Stocked Palin Opened for Snagging

Palin's Victim is Improving

Giant Palin Fufills Angler's Alaska Dream

City Closes Palin's Run After Maulings

Fish and Game Once Again Tightens Palin on Kenai River

Where are Palin Bats in Winter?

October 18, 2008

Missive From Kotzebue

A recommended commentary from the pro-Alaska part of the Real Alaska.

October 16, 2008


October 15, 2008

Allegory of Good and Bad Government

One of the great achievements of the Renaissance, and one of the first post-Roman depictions of a real city and its inhabitants in Europe: Ambrogio Lorenzetti's "Allegory of the Effects of Good and Bad Government," late 1340's, in the Palazzo Publica, Sienna.

Blinking At the End of A Nightmare

At the tail end of a nightmare of betrayal and cynicism and inexhaustible, acidic greed, America just begins to blink awake.

I was reading this, drinking the best coffee in Seattle, listening to the Yeasayers. Am I setting myself up for possible crushing disappointment? Sure. To hell with that.

October 14, 2008

A View from West Virginia

I did my first precinct walking tonight, just about an hour in the (middle class, white) neighborhood where my house is located. My partner was Deniece, an African-American college student from Marshall University Students for Obama. We talked to about fifteen households.

I'm not sure we changed anyone's mind (we skipped the three houses with McCain-Palin signs in the yard) but we assured a few folks that Obama is a Christian, his wife is not an heiress, he was born in Hawaii, etc. Still, no hostility, friendliness in fact, and a lot of curiosity about a middle-aged White woman and a young Black woman showing up on their porches.

Deniece was nattily dressed but I was a mess. I started out by apologizing for my appearance: I'd just come from work fixing up an old house and I was wearing dirt and drywall dust. This proved to be an 'in' when people realized I was the person behind the rehab of 'that little red house.' In consultation with Deniece, we decided to use my scruffiness as an example of Change You Can Believe In. We can change Huntington, we're doing it, and Obama is on our side. (Also, Deniece wants to help with painting the inside of the house.)

I'll get a few more hours of door-knocking in this week and I hope to rack up more this weekend. Anybody want to do the homework for me on Obama's bailout positions? I've got a toilet to plumb and some kitchen cabinets to install. Give me talking points!

October 13, 2008

Gets a Little Drunk and You Lands In Jail

Beardie Wins a Prize

He should win another prize for "Best Blog Entry for Announcing You've Just Won a Nobel Prize."


Could it be that the whole thing has gone to his head?

Given my domination at fantasy football...

I've decided to tempt fate and make a prediction on the upcoming election:

Electoral College: Obama 344 McCain 194

Basically all "toss-up" states go for Obama, except Ohio, which McCain continues to campaign heavily in up until the last days of the election.

Any takers for better predictions?

October 12, 2008

Look, it's not about the beaches!

This excellent piece by Andrew Degraff completely misses the point. Refusing to drill the continental shelf is not about ugly beaches. It is about long term reality:

. We don't even know if there's oil there
. Even if there's oil there it's not enough
. Even if there were enough, it would take a decade (or more) to put it into useful production

But most importantly, feeding the oil addiction is not in any way a good long term strategy. Let the oil prices rise, it is the only way we will actually get motivated to get off the stuff.

Don't talk about drilling the shelf as a bridge while alternative energy cranks up. That bridge is called conservation. We haven't run out of oil even if we have peaked. Getting another fix from the shelf or ANWR isn't even remotely a solution - it's simply a delay on rolling up the sleeves and really getting started on alternatives. NOW.

And Now You've Gone and Upset the Art Dealers

But the art dealers are truly pissed. There is nothing in this rant, from New York art dealer Edward Winkleman, that you do not already know and probably agree with, or if you're around here a lot, already written. But it is a first rate rate indeed.

Bush has never had any interest in how you'll get by when the sheriff comes to evict you. He never has had any interest in how you'll pay the hospital bills when you lose your job at the plant. He has never had any interest in how to rebuild your community when mother nature devastates it. He never has had any interest in what you'll live off of when you retire. He's spent his entire 8 years in the White House lining the pockets of his rich friends in the oil and defense and energy industries. He bankrupted the country to do so. He stole your children's future and, like trained monkeys being thrown doggie treats, you shout "U-S-A! U-S-A!" in response. Open your eyes. You have been swindled!

October 11, 2008

A Shift in Alaska?

Taken at the State of Alaska Governor's Mansion, in Juneau, this week.

From the Mudflats blog.

Learning to Accept a Favorable Reality

Fascinating post from Sam Wang at Princeton Election Consortium. Anything can happen of course. Obama could turn out to have buried a series of rodeo clowns in his backyard. McCain could reveal his secret cure for skin cancer. That being said...

I’ve noticed a lot of continued speculation about the Presidential race.
You ask about the Bradley effect, voter purges, and other detailed topics. It’s
all over the comments section, both here and on other sites.

As immersed as I am in the analysis, I am only now noticing that many of you are taking a little
time to adapt to current conditions. This post is directed at those of you who
are rooting for one side - Democrats and Republicans alike. It is time for you
to take a good, hard look at what is going on. Whatever your personal preference
may be, a Democratic sweep is coming. The storm is about to make landfall, and
we know where. The question is what you should do about it.

Where the Presidential race stands. By the standards of Presidential elections since 1992,
Barack Obama is far ahead. For most of this season he has been running about 50
EV ahead of
where John Kerry ran at the same point in 2004, which ended in a near-tie. Currently the gap is even larger - it’s nearing Clinton v.
proportions. In the face of a down economy and abysmal approval ratings
for the Bush Administration, a lead of this size by a Democrat is essentially

He notes on most of his analysis that it is simply a snapshot, not predictive, but Wang's argument for activists of all parties is that mathematically speaking, your most efficient efforts would be spending money and time in the close Senate races.

October 10, 2008

McCain Cornered!

McCain cornered!


Live blogging the Stevens trial, from the Alaska Political Corruption blog.

Musher Dean Osmar, dog-breeder David Monson, and Alaska State Balladeer James “Hobo Jim” Varsos all give testimony designed to make the point that the Siberian husky that Stevens got as a gift was worth far less than the prosecution suggests. Osmar and Monson know their sled dogs: The former has won the Iditarod and the latter has taken the Yukon Quest crown, and Monson's late wife was Iditarod legend Susan Butcher.

Osmar said he originally donated the dog for a charity auction because of its perceived low value. He said the dog was the runt of the litter, and was particularly unappealing for mushers because it was a blue-eyed female with light coloring. It might be an old wives’ tale, but the word around the campfire has been that such dogs tend to be “wheezers” that end up with breathing problems.

Some media coverage of the day’s events have a distinctly canine flavor. The ABC News website, for example, headlined its story “Senator, Sled Dog Champs, ‘Hobo Jim’ Testify at Stevens Trial.”

Note: Alaska folk singer "Hobo Jim" is a tool. I watched him singing "This Land is Your Land", stealing Springsteen's intro about Woody Guthrie's hidden lyrics, and then changing these lyrics from an anti-private property point to a right-wing anti-government anthem. Minor in the scheme of things, it was a moral lie, which is really out of bounds for an alleged folk singer.


From Princeton Election Consortium, a left-leaning but rigorous analysis of state polls based on the likelyhood of which states electoral votes will go. Sam Wang is starting to call it:

Look at the probability distribution, which is more spiky every day. This reflects the fact that based on current state polls (medians and original data), only four states have win probabilities between 5% and 95% : West Virginia (Obama win probability 12%), North Carolina (65%), Missouri (69%), and Ohio (93%). Assuming OH goes to Obama and WV goes to McCain, there are four major permutations formed by who wins NC (15 EV) and OH (20 EV). These possibilities contain a whopping 74% of the total distribution...

Which is another way of saying the McCain campaign has a very small likelyhood of success. Compare the 2004 Kerry Electoral Vote trend to the Obama one.

Notes: I am sticking with two gut predictions- 1) the most likely outcome is a significant Obama landslide, and 2) Alaska, in spite of the Palin nomination, may still go for Obama, at least if #1 happens. I should point out that #2 has little basis, currently the polls are 55-40 and 55-38 for McCain. It's a guesshopetimate based on a sense from reading the financial crisis, the likely victory of two Ds and a growing backlash in Alaska to Palin's allowing the McCain campaign to get between her various investigations and the Alaska public. Begich is back in the lead against Stevens. A note in this Ivan Moore poll says that Alaskans gave the nod to Biden in the debate. And Alaskans just love Outsiders bossing them around, he added sarcastically.

The last Obama rally in Alaska got about 1500 people- huge for that state, and the Obama campaign had all but pulled out. The last Palin rally was set up for about that many, and 200 people showed up.

Another surprise may be brewing in West Virginia, which has two polls showing an Obama lead, and I'm guessing may have something to do with the secret efforts of Isengard.Gov behind the scenes, as a key member of our crack team is there on the ground.

Props, BTW, to the Laird, for finding the key dynamic in the race: riskiness. McCain decided to go risky, far too early (believe me, you want to click on this link), noting the ugly mood of America about Republicans, and trying too late to reprove that he is some kind of maverick, while Obama has made huge strides in building the feeling of personal steadiness. McCain himself supplied the perfect phrase, a steady hand on the tiller, for Obama.

It's Ahab vs. Starbuck. You know what happens when you vote Ahab.

Capital (It Fails Us Now)

October 09, 2008

Nice to Know I Wasn't an Alarmist

A lack of shock: NSA busily listened to and transcribed personal phone calls of Americans without cause, or even a hollow shell of legality.

Let me remind you: this kind of action is indistinguishable from dictatorial powers, and what it demonstrates is the existence of dangerous, anti-democratic factions in the U.S. government, actions beyond unconstitutionality and deeply into criminality.

Found on the internet, author unknown.

Four score and fifteen years ago our forefathers, Morgan and Rockefeller, brought forth on this continent a new bank, the Federal Reserve, conceived in secrecy and dedicated to the proposition that all men’s wealth is the banks’ wealth.

Now we are engaged in a great financial crisis, testing whether this bank, or any bank, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great market in that crisis. We have come to dedicate a portion of that market, as a final resting place for those corporations here that gave their wealth that the bank might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this market. The leveraged corporations, solvent and bankrupt, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the solvent, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who splurged here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored bankrupt we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of money – that we here highly resolve that these bankrupt shall not have gone bankrupt in vain – that this bank, under nobody, shall have a new birth of inflation – and that this Federal Reserve of the banks, by the banks, for the banks, shall not perish from the earth.

October 08, 2008

Bad Night For Sean Hannity

Shown on Olbermann tonight, with a post-script poem written by John Cleese (!).

Distraction: The Alaska Accent Issue

Alright, as a question of honor, we need to straighten this out: I am convinced Sarah Palin's accent is basically alien to Alaska - probably some combination of a small knot of Northern Midwestern farmers who settled around the tiny agricultural area of Alaska outside Palmer, and the crazy fundamentalist churches she's attended, with a heap of affected Hee-Haw.

Diane Benson, a Native Alaskan who recently ran for Congress as a progressive Democrat, has what I would consider a far more distinguishably Alaskan accent.

Being from Alaskan originally has meant daily humiliations on the national news for several years now, and here is where I draw the line: that nasal, corn-pone, Fargo prostitute, Mayberry- by-way-of Falwell accent of hers is not a typical Alaska accent. I spent 30 years there- there are Alaskan accents, and you can hear them on any number of cable channel shows (my pitch for a show: It's More Desperate and Expensive in Alaska) but Minnesota-style accents are spoken by Minnesotans, who might now live there, or perhaps their kids. I simply will not have it said that the harshest, most unappealing of all American accents is in any way typically Alaskan; not without strong evidence.

I've known thousands of Alaskans. Exactly none of them speak this way, unless they were from that region around Minnesota and the Dakotas. On the other hand, I knew many Alaskans with Scandanvian, Canadian, Texan, Samoan, and Japanese accents, all unlike this Palin-esque offense to the mother tongue. I know Alaskan women, and while there is sometimes a rural casualness, thank god they don't talk like this.

Alaskan accents are by and large far more parallel to Seattle and Portland than anything else - remarkably neutral American accents. There is an accent that becomes more pronounced as you go farther out into the deep rural areas, influenced by Native Languages. But this sounds nothing like Sarah Palin.

Discuss. The honor of Alaska is at stake.

Who says the private sector doesn't spend enough on basic research?

Google takes aim at drunken messaging

(Full disclosure: I drunk-naked-short-sold Google before I drunk-blogged this.)

October 07, 2008

Why I'm changing my vote

As you know, I've been for Obama for a long time, but after tonight's debate, in which McCain pounded Obama into a thin paste and used him to fertilize the lawn of one of his many (hard-earned) homes, I can no longer deny the overwhelming case for McCain to be the next president. I only have eight hours to write this, so I'll try to distill it into three items.

Experience. I already knew that McCain knows how to win wars. Obviously. You've all read the history books, and have studied his military campaigns. He really never needed to state this, and he didn't even bother in tonight's debate, because that's yesterday's news. Not everyone knows, though, that McCain knows how to solve the current financial crisis, and I'm glad he finally said so for the benefit of voters who may be ignorant of all of the financial crises he has solved in the past. If you weren't aware of this, I have some other news for you: McCain knows how to fix Social Security. In fact, as he told the American people, "That's easy." Do you really think we should elect a president who would have a hard time fixing Social Security? (I didn't think so.)

Overhead-Projector-Gate. McCain has run a very positive campaign so far. As he has said many times, he doesn't just want to win, he wants to win with honor. But, being a seasoned politician, he knows when one must bring up a criticism of your opponent's past if only because, in the end, the American people have the right to know.

Tomorrow's headlines in the New York Times and Washington Post might have been about the financial crisis (which may continue as long as January 21, 2009, when McCain will solve it), but now there's a new crisis that the MSM is going to have to play catch-up on: Obama sneaked in a 320-billion-dollar earmark for an overhead-projector for a planetarium in Chicago. Yes, 100 years from now, your children's children, and their children, will be paying for this fancy overhead projector which probably won't even be under warranty anymore.

Foreign Policy. I don't want to scare anyone, but come January 20, 2009, the United States could be in a nuclear war with Pakistan -- if Obama is elected. Obama said, in so many words, "I'm gonna nuke Pakistan, motherfuckers!" John McCain knows that you don't tell a country ahead of time that you're going to nuke them. You surprise them with it, just like Teddy Roosevelt would have, when he was walking/talking/mumbling softly and carrying a big stick. (Movie trivia: the Capone-baseball-bat scene in The Untouchables was lifted directly from Roosevelt's memoirs.) That's something Obama just doesn't get: foreign policy isn't about clearly stated policies, objectives, positions, or boundaries, it's about keeping other nations guessing when you're going to turn one of their cities into a radioactive slag-heap. Who does understand this? John McCain.

My course is now clear. Retrieve the voter information pamphlet from the recycle bin, figure out where my polling place is, and what day they're holding the election. Then get my vote on...for McCain!

An Oldy But a Goody

Specifics on Diebold Hacking

Make sure that everyone you know gets out there and votes twice.

October 06, 2008

Everything I Needed to Know I Learned at Gladys Wood Elementary

I say, too, with education, America needs to be putting a lot more focus on that and our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving. Teachers needed to be paid more... My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate. "

-Gov. Sarah Palin, in the debate.

Gov. Palin:

I went to Gladys Wood elementary when I was in the second grade, the year it opened and the year we all spent, like you, huddled around the crystal radio set listening enraptured to the endlessly broadcast speeches of freshman senator Joe Biden.

It was designed as an open-education school in a suburban neighborhood of Anchorage that was barely twenty years old. I recall the yellow ochre carpets, the folding walls, the run-around design, the black spruce forests behind the school, with branch forts we made that were perfect for endless missions against the imaginary Nazis.

Gladys Wood is where I learned to diagram english sentences, and, on occasion, complete them. I learned to spell "canoe," the hard way, by public failure in my first spelling bee. It was where I learned effective and accurate sex education in sixth grade, on a filmstrip, the clinical line drawings of the deed advancing to the next image with that particular "bing."

Gladys Wood Elementary was where I learned about the basic drive of American history, and the extraordinary promise of American equality and democracy. I learned about Washington and Lincoln, who really did place the national interest above their own. I learned about the drive for justice in America, the endless struggle to avail itself of its own promise.

And Gladys Wood was where I learned how America had once lead the fight to defeat the insatiable monstrosity of fascism. It was where I learned that Richard Nixon had betrayed the United States, that the Constitution of the United States that we were learning was being spit on by the President, by the Republican right wing, by a dictatorial vision of the Executive. It was where I learned that we were in bad war: I remember vividly Walter Cronkite reading the body counts coming in every night, our soldiers dying, our strategy of bombing and bombing cities and jungles and people solving absolutely nothing. It was where I organized for McGovern, because it was clear to even a seven year old that Richard Nixon was a terrible and destructive president.

Gladys Wood was where the beautiful Ms. Jackson, my favorite teacher, taught me about the beauty and power of art, and encouraged a lonely little kid to ask questions and speak up rather than accept it when little people get pushed around by bullies who just want to see how far they can go. Gladys Wood was where I learned science, about skepticism and investigation, and about the delicacy and interdependency of Nature.

It was where I learned about Alaska, about its own extraordinary promise, the essential equality of people on a rough Frontier, where Sourdoughs and Bush Pilots roamed impossible places with daring and freedom, precisely because their survival depended utterly on the embrace of the human community in the face of a great and indifferent nature. It was where I learned to love Alaska, the free, independent but progressive state that I knew before it sank into the moral swamp of crude.

Gladys Wood was also where someone stole my new yellow Schwin and frankly I'd still like it back. It was were I first argued with a Texan about oil (I won the argument but lost the war.) Gladys Wood was where I learned to spot my first recognized, pure bullshit in print: a claim on a little posted article in the laundromat that chlorine is not a pollutant because "in fact, it is used to purify water systems!" I hear that same self-serving voice now, indifferent to truth, coming from you about the earth's climate.

So, Gov. Palin, can I call you Sarah? Sarah, you are a profound embarrassment to the State of Alaska and to the United States. You are a threat to the Republic. Keep Gladys Wood Elementary out of it. I do not appreciate your using my fine old elementary school to heap glory on yourself with your bogus and cynical comments on education. That little school is where I learned that in order to defend the United States that I love, to defend as a citizen the values of law and freedom and progress and democracy, I would have to fight politicians like you, the tools, the liars and the prideful ignorant, for the rest of my entire life.

October 05, 2008

What would Grant say?

"No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works."
To General S.B. Buckner, Fort Donelson

"As the United States is the freest of all nations, so, too, its people sympathize with all people struggling for liberty and self-government; but while so sympathizing it is due to our honor that we should abstain from enforcing our views upon unwilling nations and from taking an interested part, without invitation, in the quarrels between different nations or between governments and their subjects. Our course should always be in conformity with strict justice and law, international and local."
First State of the Union Address

I believe that our Great Maker is preparing the world in His own good time to become one nation, speaking one language, when armies and navies will no longer be required.
Second Inaugural Address

"You can violate the law. The banks may violate the law and be sustained in doing so. But the President of the United States cannot violate the law."
Reply to brokers who urged him to lend $44 million from the US Treasury reserve to banks.

"Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the State forever separate."
Speech at Des Moines, Iowa (1875)

"I leave comparisons to history, claiming only that I have acted in every instance from a conscientious desire to do what was right, constitutional, within the law, and for the very best interests of the whole people. Failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent."
State of the Union Address (5 December 1876)

"My lord, I have heard that your father was a military man. Was that the case?"
To Arthur Richard Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington, son of the Field Marshall Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

"I know only two tunes: one of them is 'Yankee Doodle', and the other one isn't."

Remember to breath

It probably isn't a good idea to hold your breath until the election is over.

I'm just sayin'.

October 03, 2008

Enough with the politics!

October 02, 2008

A Telling Moment

What's really amazing is the transition over to Palin at the end of this:

Here's what I saw: Biden chokes up recalling the death of his wife and near death of his son. Seconds later, Palin responds with a (re-hashed) talking point and a phony smile.

I'm becoming convinced that Sarah Palin could actually be a very competent, nay, totally awesome saleswoman. The problem she's having now is that she has a crappy product to sell.

This Guy "Brings It"

Speech by Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO (July 1, 2008) where he confronts racism among working-class Americans:

In Wool We Trust

Our President-in-Exile forwards these critical, and all too real, provisions of the Bailout Bill:

7-Year Recovery Period for Certain Motorsports Racetrack Property. The bill extends a special 7-year cost recovery period or property used for land improvement and support facilities at motorsports entertainment complexes. The provision expired on December 31, 2007. This proposal extends the provision to the end of 2009. The proposal is effective for property placed in service after December 31, 2007. The estimated cost of this proposal is $100 million over ten years.

Wool Trust Fund. The bill would extend a provision that reduces import duties on a limited quantity of imported wool fabrics and places duties otherwise collected on the import of certain wool products into the Wool Trust Fund, which promotes the competitiveness of American wool. The provision is extended for five years. The estimated cost of the proposal is $148 million over ten years.

Excise Tax Exemption for Wooden Practice Arrows Used by Children. Current law imposes an excise tax of 39 cents, adjusted for inflation, on the first sale by the manufacturer, producer, or importer of any shaft of a type used to produce certain types of arrows. This proposal would exempt from the excise tax any shaft consisting of all natural wood with no laminations or artificial means to enhance the spine of the shaft used in the manufacture of an arrow that measures 5/16 of an inch or less and is unsuited for use with a bow with a peak draw weight of 30 pounds or more. The proposal is effective for shafts first sold after the date of enactment. The estimated cost of the proposal is $2 million over ten years.

Q: What Other Provisions are in the Bailout Bill?

$3 Billion for Vole Empowerment Correction. Corrects a clerical error in a 2004 voting access bill which, instead of funding access improvements for voters, directed billions in personal therapy for the improvement in self-esteem for millions of small field rodents. Crops have been devastated.

Biscotti Sur-Tax repeal. Will end a 400% import duty on biscotti imposed as pressure on Italy to help invade Iraq in the wake of 9-11.

Wealth Improvement Disbursements. As emergency stimulus, will direct the federal treasury to mail unmarked checks to those making over $40 million per year in pre-tax income for an amount to be determined by specific financial desires of the recipient.

Isengard.Gov's Urgent Political Questions

Left: John McCain, (R) encounters Sen. Larry Craig in the US Senate Men's Room.

1. Could a young woman governor of Alaska learn and grow in office, like a ficus plant?

Left: John McCain, (R) recalls having left the oven on at house #6 in Tempe, AZ.

2. Can a conservative military white Republican really beat a liberal African American Democrat in a state like North Carolina?

Left: Sen John McCain, (R) -Arizona, watches a pack of wild hogs gruesomely devour the corpse of campaign advisor Phil Graham.

3. Can George W. Bush beat Tanya Harding's disapproval rating?

Left: Sen John McCain, (R) -Arizona, views a Windows default screensaver.

4. Will conservative Congressional Republicans change their core principles to help out the needy business community?

Above: Sen John McCain, (R) -Arizona, is informed that due to a paperwork oversight, he really did select Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as Vice-President of the United States, not Vice-President of Alaskans for McCain.

5. Surrounded by the U.S. and Russian navies, are the dreaded Somali sea-pirates going to release the ship, tanks, guns, and hostages?

Above: Sen John McCain, (R) -Arizona, accidently wanders into "Congress, " the Washington DC version of New York's famous "Scores."

6. Are the dreaded Somali sea-pirates the only ones stopping illegal international arms shipments?

Above: Sen John McCain, (R) -Arizona, encounters Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska after accidently walking into the U.S. Senate Women's Restroom.

7. It must be a bit tense in there. How are the dreaded sea-pirates getting along with each other?

Above: Sen John McCain, (R) -Arizona, discovers Cindy McCain cooing with John Edwards at a DC cocktail party.

8. Are the dreaded sea-pirates available for weddings and bar-mitzvahs?

Above: Sen John McCain, (R) -Arizona, burps.

9. Is George Bush sad?

Above: Sen John McCain, (R) -Arizona, is reminded that he has a teenage daughter.

10. How many uncomfortable silences are happening right now inside Sarah Palin's head?

Above: Sen John McCain's laser-controlled debate assitance computer control system catastrophically malfunctions.

October 01, 2008

Presidential Voting Begins

Early voting is beginning in Ohio, as the courts clear the way against GOP whining about phantom "voter fraud," which is of course a naked, un-american attempt to stop people from exercising their fundamental right to vote.

This is happening just as the polls are giving a persistent lead to Obama in major swing states, including Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. Princeton's electoral map is looking very positive.

Easy Voter Registration through the Obama Campaign is here. You'd be surprised at the number of people -otherwise smart people- who aren't registered, so pass it on. Better yet, take time today to ask people. The deadline for many states is THIS SATURDAY.