Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What Would Sarah Read?

Grotesque Headline of the Day, London Times: “Man Chops off Own Arm Then Knocks at Neighbour’s.”

Okay, did everyone else picture him knocking with the chopped-off arm?

Katie Couric, as I mentioned in my last post, asked Sarah Palin, “When it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read?” Palin, more of a burner of the written word than a reader, failed to name any.

CONTEST: What periodicals might Sarah have read that established her world view? “Moose Fancy”? “Russki Watchers Quarterly”? “Global-Warming Denial Digest”? “Gun-Toting Beauty Queen Monthly”? “Witch Hunting Illustrated?” “The Journal of White Trash Baby-Naming”? “No Blinking Magazine”? “Maverick!”?

Got journalism?

Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin (video below, 9½ minutes) another of those “gotcha journalism” questions: what newspapers and magazines she read before becoming McCain’s running-mate. “Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.” She literally could not come up with the name of a single newspaper or magazine. And then went on to suggest that the question demonstrated a stereotype of Alaskans as being out of touch with the rest of America, a stereotype Palin has in no way subverted.

Asked whether a 15-year-old girl raped by her father should be prevented from having an abortion, she replied, more than once, that she would “counsel” the girl to “choose life.” I guess it’s something that she knows better than to give her true position out loud, which does not involve any counseling because she does not believe in the girl having a choice. But she did volunteer that she wouldn’t send the girl to prison if she did abort, which I think is jolly generous of her.

Asked three times about the morning after pill, which seems to be the minimum for her to give a semi-straight answer, she said that she personally would not “choose to participate” in that type of contraception. She did not cop to any plans to remove that choice for other women.

She said that she personally would not “judge” gay people, which I think is jolly generous of her. And she even has a gay friend, who “happens to have made a choice that isn’t a choice that I have made”. Great. We’ve finally found a choice she’s willing not to judge people for, and it isn’t really something one chooses.

Let’s call it a rescue, because it is a rescue

Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill to repeal Cold War laws allowing the firing of teachers and other public employees for being communists.

McCain has a cunning plan to convince the American people to support the Wall Street Bailout: “the first thing I’d do is say, Let’s not call it a bailout. Let’s call it a rescue, because it is a rescue. It’s a rescue of Main Street America.”

He also phoned Bush this morning to suggest that he simply go ahead without Congressional approval. Evidently Treasury’s got like a trillion dollars just sitting around.

Sarah Palin about Thursday’s debate with Biden: “I’ve never met him before. But, I’ve been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in like 2nd grade.” Admit it, Sarah: you never heard of Joe Biden (or, indeed, John McCain) until three weeks ago.

When the seemingly ubiquitous Katie Couric asked if Palin really wanted to be making fun of someone’s age and experience, she claimed that comment wasn’t meant negatively: “So he’s got a tremendous amount of experience and, you know, I’m the new energy, the new face, the new ideas and he’s got the experience based on many many years in the Senate and voters are gonna have a choice there of what it is that they want in these next four years.”

The new energy! The new face! The new, um.... ideas?

Monday, September 29, 2008


To deal with Palin’s contradiction of McCain’s “not in front of the children” position about invading/bombing Pakistan, they both went on CBS tonight for a joint interview with Katie Couric. 3½ minutes of pure damage control.

Both decried this as an instance of “gotcha” journalism, without explaining how quoting what she actually said in response to a member of the public constituted gotcha journalism. Even if it had, so what? It’s a gotcha kind of world out there, Sarah. Also, McCain noted darkly, the exchange took place in a pizza place, and evidently it’s one of the firm rules of politics that What Happens in Pizza Hut Stays in Pizza Hut.

Palin said “not only am I ready, but willing and able to serve as vice-president”. Which is sort of a paradox: that may be the biggest lie she’s told in her entire life and she told it with a straight face, but... telling huge lies with a straight face is pretty much the entire job description of the vice presidency. All Thebans are liars...

Dude, leave the ring alone, already.

We got a big problem

Sarah Palin isn’t much of a listener. She watched the debate Friday, but failed to register McCain’s attack on Obama for talking about launching military attacks into Pakistan, rather than simply doing it, since she told a student that we certainly should send troops in after Al Qaida members.  McCain had to repudiate her position publicly, since it conflicted with own, and made a heart-felt plea for the right of candidates to say whatever shit they want and not have it taken, you know, seriously: “In all due respect, people going around and sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that’s a person’s position?”

Early this morning George Bush, the President of Fail, called on Congress to pass the Free Cash and Hookers for Wall Street Act of 2008, saying, “Congress can send a strong signal to markets at home and abroad by passing this bill promptly.”  No, they wouldn’t be sending a signal, they’d be sending seven hundred billion freaking dollars.  There’s an old saying: if you want to send a signal...

$700 billion buys an awful lot of candy-grams, is what I’m saying.

He also said that “over time, much -- if not all -- of the tax dollars we invest will be paid back.” See? It’s not a bailout after all, it’s an investment, although with no possibility of profit, only of loss.

Later, he presented the National Medals of Science and Technology and Innovation, high-fiving Andrew J. Viterbi in recognition of his development of the maximum-likelihood algorithm for convolutional coding, known as the “Viterbi algorithm,” and for his contributions to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) wireless technology that transformed the theory and practice of digital communications.

You didn’t believe me about the high-fiving, did you?

He also made some sort of devil-worshipping sign with Carlton Grant Willson, who developed lithographic imaging materials and techniques, which is perhaps an odd thing to have sold your soul to the devil for, but then George did it for some “magic” beans.

Speaking of magic beans, later in the day, after the House failed to pass the Free Cash and All the Blow You Can Snort Act of 2008, Bush spoke again to express his disappointment and to explain the sophisticated economic rationale (he has an MBA, you know) behind the bill: “We put forth a plan that was big because we got a big problem.”

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The trouble with a kitten

is that
When it grows up, it’s always a cat. (Ogden Nash)

The same could be said of cat-blogging, but I thought some of you must be on the edge of your seats waiting for an update. Remember when Christabel came home with us three months ago today, gentle readers?

Picture 002

Well, she’s all grown up now, roughly six months old. Can’t fit under that chair anymore. She’s fairly smart, affectionate, good-natured (I’ve never heard her hiss; don’t think she knows how), will fetch a plastic bottle cap if I throw it, will attempt to eat almost anything (although she only tried to eat the liquid soap dispenser once), can hit the keyboard button for sleep mode with unerring accuracy, runs around like an idiot, um... turns out it’s hard to write interestingly about a cat. Pictures, then:





More here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

British politics update for Americans

The Labour Party held its annual conference this week, and here’s all you need to know: Foreign Minister David Miliband, who had been the odds-on favorite to succeed Gordon Brown after Labour loses the next election, is now widely – and I mean widely – believed to have blown his chances by breaking a cardinal rule of politics: when you already resemble a chimpanzee to a not inconsiderable extent,

do not allow yourself to be photographed with a banana.

What Matthew Parris wrote when a tired Tony Blair accidentally spoke the word “banana” in the House of Commons in 1997, “once you have heard a person say ‘banana’, a sliver of the awe in which you had held them is lost, never to be recovered,” may be multiplied several-fold in the case of being seen holding one.

What’s the Somali for “Arrr”?

Job of the Week, from a NYT article about Somali pirates: “The pirates are highly organized. They work in teams. There is even a pirate spokesman (who could not be reached for comment on Friday).”

From the LA Times: “The governor [Aahnuld] vetoed 27 bills Friday, including a measure requiring commercial exhibits of plasticized cadavers to get permission from the deceased’s family. He said in a statement that lawmakers’ late approval of a budget forced him to sign only the highest-priority bills.”

Additional thought about the debate

Jim Lehrer kept trying to get Obama and McCain to address each other. Was this the first time in his entire career that he’s tried to make a political discussion more interesting?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Presidential debate: If you have to do things, you have to do things


Well right off Obama called the place hosting the debate Old Miss when it’s proper name is clearly Ole Miss.

Obama: $700 billion is a lot of money.

McCain: “This isn’t the beginning of the end of this crisis, this is the end of the beginning”. And he will fight Fannie Mae on the beaches...

McCain says he’s been criticized for calling for the resignation of the head of the SEC. Actually, Johnny, you’ve been criticized for saying you would fire him, a power you didn’t know the president doesn’t have.

McCain believes in the “goodness and strength of the American worker”.

Christ, he’s going on about the study of bear DNA again.

McCain: I didn’t win Miss Congeniality in the Senate. You’d think he’d have dropped that line after picking a running mate who actually did win Miss Congeniality, but he’s really rolling out each and every sound bite he’s got (“I will make them famous, and you will know their names,” “I looked into Putin’s eyes and saw three letters,” etc).

Obama says we’ll be energy self-sufficient in ten years. Nonsense.

McCain on Obama: “It’s hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.”

What are the lessons of Iraq? McCain: “you cannot have a failed strategy that will then cause you to nearly lose a conflict.” So what he’s learned in the last five years – hey, I just realized: we’ve been in Iraq about as long as McCain was a POW -- what he’s learned is that you shouldn’t have a failed strategy. I know he was a crappy student at Annapolis, but couldn’t they have taught him that a failed strategy is, you know, bad, because of the, you know, failure and stuff?

Obama says the lesson is that we shouldn’t have gone in in the first place.

O. says McC wants to pretend the war started in 2007. (Personally I want to pretend it stopped in 2007. Or 2003. Or before it started.)

Obama says the “surge” was “a tactic designed to contain the damage of the previous four years of mismanagement of this war.” McCain’s snide riposte: “I’m afraid Sen. Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.” Obama: I do so.

Throughout, McCain is condescending like that. That smirk visible on split-screen whenever Obama was talking is more obnoxious than Gore’s sighing ever was.

McCain upbraids Obama for talking about sending troops into Pakistan. Not for planning to do it, mind you: for talking about it. “You don’t do that. You don’t say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to do things. ... I guarantee you, I would not publicly state that I would attack them.”

Obama says we lost legitimacy in Pakistan because we supported Musharraf. McCain defends supporting a military dictator, indeed supports the coup, because Pakistan was a “failed state.” Five minutes later he brings up his silly “League of Democracies” idea, with no evident sense of the contradiction.

On Iran, McCain: “We cannot allow a second Holocaust, let’s make that clear.” Okay, that’s clear. I guess they’ve focus-grouped the phrase “second Holocaust.” Obama should really stop supporting a second Holocaust, it’s probably not a big vote-getter in Florida.

Now they’re arguing about whether it’s okay to negotiate with Iran. Sigh. Obama: “The notion that we would sit with Ahmadinejad and not say anything while he’s spewing his nonsense and his vile comments is ridiculous.” McCain: “So let me get this right. We sit down with Ahmadinejad, and he says ‘We’re gonna wipe Israel off the face of the earth,’ and we say, ‘No you’re not.’? Oh please.”

McCain, trying a little too hard: “I know the veterans. I know them well. And I know that they know that I’ll take care of them. And I’ve been proud of their support and their recognition of my service to the veterans. And I love them. And I’ll take care of them. And they know that I’ll take care of them. And that’s going to be my job.”

WHAT MCCAIN KNOWS HOW TO DO: “I know how to heal the wounds of war, I know how to deal with our adversaries, and I know how to deal with our friends.”

I’ve yelled at times, but you’ve always been smiling

Today, Bush met with Hamid Karzai, whose country may be going through its seventh year of war and occupation, but Bush is having a fine time: “I’ve had a grand experience in dealing with President Karzai.”

Possibly because Karzai, at least in his public statement sitting next to Bush, didn’t mention all the recent civilian casualties he usually claims to hate, and just profusely thanked him and the US. Not that it would make a difference if he did bring it up: “It’s an honor to have associated with you, to have had your friendship, and to have had your support, and to have had your patience with me. Very, very nice of you. I’ve yelled at times, I’ve been angry at times, but you’ve always been smiling and generous, and just so nice.” That must be so incredibly annoying, him just smiling stupidly while you’re yelling at him. Reminds me of my last cat.

Then he met with Not-Tony-Blair, Prime Minister Brown (Brown by name, brown by nature).

GREAT: “The United States has got a great friendship with Great Britain.”

ASKED AND ANSWERED: “What the Prime Minister wants to know is, is the plan we’ve devised big enough to make a difference, and is it going to be passed. And I told him the plan is big enough to make a difference and I believe it is going to be passed.”

Brown: “We talked about a number of issues -- Iraq, Afghanistan, the trade talks, what’s happening in Russia vis-a-vis, I think, Georgia, and about the general situation in the world economy.” He thinks Georgia? Is no one even pretending to listen to Bush anymore?

ALWAYS? BECAUSE I DON’T THINK “DON’T SHOOT UNTIL YOU SEE THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES” COUNTS AS “STANDING TOGETHER”: Brown: “America and Britain have always stood together as one in times of difficulty and challenge.”

I didn’t grow up in the ocean

Bush made a statement this morning on the Wall Street bailout, saying that basically nothing was happening. “And we need a rescue plan. This is -- it’s hard work.”

OH, THAT’S DIRTY: “The legislative process is sometimes not very pretty, but we are going to get a package passed. We will rise to the occasion.” Just so dirty.

Then it was on to the Smithsonian to talk about oceans.

HE’S NOT AQUAMAN: “First of all, you got to know I like oceans. I didn’t grow up in the ocean -- as a matter of fact -- near the ocean -- I grew up in the desert. Therefore, it was a pleasant contrast to see the ocean.”

Feel the Whoo hoo

Bloomberg: “JP Morgan Chase & Co., the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets, agreed to acquire Washington Mutual Inc.’s deposits and branches for $1.9 billion...”

I’m sorry, they agreed to “acquire” whose fucking deposits? Because I’m pretty sure some of that is my fucking money you’re talking about.

Some people would blame over-expansion, or its increasingly risky mortgages in an increasingly shaky housing market. Still more say it was doomed the moment it started calling itself WaMu (actual slogan, up on its website right now: “Feel the Whoo hoo!™”)(“feeling the Whoo hoo” is actually illegal in many states). Me, I’d go further back, to this moment.

I simply must quote the WaPo about WaMu: in their story on this, they bury this at the very end: “The Washington Mutual-J.P. Morgan deal is not subject to any of the reviews that normally attend a major bank merger. ‘When you have a failing institution, you don’t have time for that,’ [FDIC chair] Bair said.” How very reassuring.

Incidentally, a lot of people have been bringing up McCain’s membership in the Keating Five lately, but let’s also remember Bush’s brother Neil’s adventures in the savings and loan field.

The Sarah Silverman “Great Schlep” video, in case you’ve somehow missed it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska.

Before the conference with congresscritters over the Wall Street bailout, Bush spoke to the cameras.

WHAT HE WANTS TO THANK: “I want to thank the spirit of bipartisan cooperation that’s taking place here in Washington.”

Sarah Palin went to Ground Zero today to thank the spirit of 9/11, or something.

NEVER FORGETTING: “Every American student needs to come through this area so that, especially this younger generation of Americans is, to be in a position of never forgetting what happened here and never repeating, never allowing a repeat of what happened here.”

And there’s more to that Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin (note: the link is to excerpts, not a complete transcript, but CBS doesn’t make that clear). 10½ car-crash-can’t-turn-your-eyes-away minutes.

NOT A PART OF THAT CULTURE: Asked why she never had a passport before 2007, she said, well, she hadda work, doncha know, and “I was not a part of, I guess, that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world.” Careful about mentioning the mediums, Sarah, that pastor fella will probably try to burn them as witches.

Why will a “surge” work in Afghanistan? “Because we can’t afford to lose in Afghanistan”. Another one who thinks that saying “failure isn’t an option” is a magical talisman.

PUTIN REARS HIS HEAD INTO THE AIR SPACE OF THE UNITED STATES: Why does being able to see Russia from your house make you a foreign policy expert? (4:11 – you have to watch this part for her intonation and hand gestures) “Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. ... As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.”

On Ahmadinejad (whose name she pronounced perfectly; who says she hasn’t learned anything in her two-week crash course): “We’re hearing the evil that he speaks.”

WHAT SHE’S NEVER HEARD: “I’ve never heard Henry Kissinger say, ‘Yeah, I’ll meet with these leaders without preconditions being met.’” Yeah, I think when you met him, Henry had other... priorities.

NO SECOND GUESSING, NO SECOND HOLOCAUST: “We shouldn’t second-guess Israel’s security efforts because we cannot ever afford to send a message that we would allow a second Holocaust, for one.” But, Katie asked, can’t the US even express an opinion? Oh, sez Sarah, we can express our concerns, just not second-guess. Huh? sez Katie. “We don’t have to second-guess what their efforts would be if they believe that it is in their country and their allies, including us, all of our best interests to fight against a regime, especially Iran, who would seek to wipe them off the face of the earth.”

WHO ARE THE GOOD GUYS IN HER WORLD: “It is obvious to me who the good guys are in this one and who the bad guys are. The bad guys are the ones who say Israel is a stinking corpse and should be wiped off the face of the earth. That’s not a good guy who is saying that. Now, one who would seek to protect the good guys in this, the leaders of Israel and her friends, her allies, including the United States, in my world, those are the good guys.”

It’s hard work to get a state after all these years

This morning, Bush took some time out from solving the financial crisis to meet with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman.

WHAT LEBANESE-AMERICANS CARE DEEPLY ABOUT: “There are a lot of Lebanese Americans who are paying attention to this visit. They care deeply about their ancestors.”

Later, he met Palestinian President Abbas.

TALKING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, PRESIDENT STUFF: “You and I have met a lot since I have been the president and you have been the president.”

IT’S HARD WORK: “no doubt it must be frustrating at times for you, because it’s hard work to get a state after all these years.”

WHAT THERE IS A FIRM DETERMINATION TO DO: “But nevertheless, there is a firm determination on your part and on my part to give the Palestinians a place where there can be dignity and hope.” So they met in the Bush White House?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bush address on the financial crisis: These are not normal circumstances

Bush spoke, robotically, to the nation.

WHAT OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS MANY AMERICANS HAVE FELT: “Over the past few weeks many Americans have felt anxieties about their finances and their future.” John McCain, for example, is worried about his future; everyone else is worried about their finances. (That semi colon was in celebration of National Punctuation Day).

A LOOOONG PERIOD, NOT MY FAULT AT ALL: “Well, most economists agree that the problems we are witnessing today developed over a long period of time.”

HE WAS FOR IRRESPONSIBLE ACTION BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST IT: “I faced a choice: To step in with dramatic government action, or to stand back and allow the irresponsible actions of some to undermine the financial security of all.”

NOT NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES? YOU’RE PLANNING TO GRAB BILLIONS FROM THE TAXPAYERS AND GIVE THEM TO YOUR RICH FRIENDS. SOUNDS LIKE NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES TO ME. “I’m a strong believer in free enterprise. So my natural instinct is to oppose government intervention. I believe companies that make bad decisions should be allowed to go out of business. Under normal circumstances, I would have followed this course. But these are not normal circumstances. The market is not functioning properly. There’s been a widespread loss of confidence.” I wonder why....

THE GOVERNMENT HAS PATIENCE, SEE? SO PASS MY BILL NOW! NOW! NOW! NOOOOOWWWWWW!!!! “The government is the one institution with the patience and resources to buy these assets at their current low prices and hold them until markets return to normal.”

MORE FINANCIAL BUBBLES FOR EVERYONE! “As they do, they must ensure that efforts to regulate Wall Street do not end up hampering our economy’s ability to grow.”

SO THAT’S OKAY THEN: “Despite corrections in the marketplace and instances of abuse, democratic capitalism is the best system ever devised.”

Every form of witchcraft is what you rebuke

Palin and the witch-hunter pastor Thomas Muthee.

I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to ya

Sarah Palin was interviewed by Katie Couric today. 5:40, if you want to watch the Palin-Couric perky-off

She defended McCain campaign manager Rick Davis, saying he “recused himself from the dealings with Freddie and Fannie, any lobbying efforts on his part there.” Since Davis was being paid by Freddie Mac, I don’t think she knows what the word recused means.

WHAT SHE’S ILL ABOUT: “I’m ill about the position that America is in and that we have to look at a $700 billion bailout.” CBS, whose transcription was a touch spotty, has that line as “I’m all about the position that America is in”.

She claims that “Americans are waiting to see what John McCain will do on this proposal. They’re not waiting to see what Barack Obama is going to do.” She’s right: for the last several days I for one have just been sitting on the living room floor in my underwear waiting to see what John McCain will do on this proposal, without eating, sleeping, bathing. The cat is getting worried about me.

I kid. Of course the cat isn’t getting worried about me.

She says we may be on the road to another Great Depression (Palin says that, not my cat).

Asked to name examples of John McCain leading the charge for stricter oversight in the past 26 years, bar one mention two years ago, Palin said “That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.” Pushed further she added, irrelevantly, “He’s also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party... trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about - the need to reform government.” Pressed again by the perkily persistent Couric for actual, you know, examples of that mavericity in relation to financial oversight, she again dodged, whittering on about his “foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities.” Asked one last time for concrete examples, she meekly replied, “I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to ya.”

I know the McCain people insisted that in the veep debates responses be limited to 90 seconds, but I think Palin will find that 90 seconds can be very long indeed.

(Update: is it just me or, when Palin said that last line, did she sound just like Catherine O’Hara playing some clueless but chipper character in a Christopher Guest film?)

These agreements are mutually benefit

Today Bush met in New York with leaders of countries in the Western Hemisphere, and talked about trade.

IN OTHER WORDS: “In the five years since the free trade agreement between the United States and Chile took effect, trade between our two nations has increased by more than 180 percent. And that’s positive. In other words, these agreements are mutually benefit.”

OBVIOUSLY: “There are three free trade agreements pending in the Congress today: South Korea, Panama and Colombia. Obviously, two of those are with nations in our own hemisphere.”

“The Colombia free trade agreement will be good for Colombia; it will be good for America ... and Congress needs to pass it. The Panamanian agreement is good for Panama, it’s good for America, and Congress ought to pass that agreement, too.” He did not say whether the South Korean agreement is good for South Korea, good for America and whether Congress ought to pass it. Now we may never know.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bush and the UN and the Almighty and the universality of freedom

In the afternoon, Bush, along with Laura and Condi, met with various dissidents from Russia, Burma and I don’t know where else (not from the US, of course), then posed with them with the Statue of Liberty in the background, which is kind of faulty imagery because they want to breathe free in their own countries, not here. Bush said of the meeting, “I assured them that this government, my government, believes in the universality of freedom. We believe there’s an Almighty, and a gift of that Almighty to every man, woman and child is freedom.” So Bush’s government, his government, believes there’s an Almighty. It’s official.

“Say there, little guy, you Buddhist types don’t believe in an Almighty, do you? Then how can you believe in freedom, I don’t get it.”

To further show his commitment to freedom and democracy, later in the afternoon Bush met with Ugandan President Museveni, who he praised as a “strong leader,” which I guess is one way of putting it.

He praised Uganda’s efforts against AIDS: “infection rate went from a lot to, you know, a much smaller number.” I trust Bush will apply that same command of higher mathematics to the financial situation.

In the evening, he met Iraqi President Talabani.

NO DOUBT: “there is no doubt that the situation in Iraq has changed substantially. There’s no doubt that mothers are able to send their child to school without fear of carnage.”

In his next sentence, see if you can spot the word that gives something away: “Oh, there are still killers amongst your -- in your midst, but your government has been steadfast in bringing people to justice who are trying to undermine your democracy.” The word is “Oh.” Re-read that sentence, and imagine if the leader of a country whose troops invaded and occupied your nation spoke of the continuance of murder so dismissively.

When citizens around the world suffer, we suffer with them

Bush is hanging out at the UN today. Oh good.

This morning, he met new Pakistani President Zardari (aka, Mr. Benazir Bhutto). He expressed condolences from the “collective heart of the American people” about the weekend bombing in Islamabad that the collective brain of the American people never heard about or paid attention to.

WHAT WE WANT: “We want our friends around the world to be making a good living.”

Later, he attended a meeting on food security, a personal concern of his since that pretzel tried to kill him.

“The United States is a compassionate nation,” he proclaimed. “When citizens around the world suffer, we suffer with them.” And when they go hungry, we...um...

But we’re doing something about it. “We’ve committed about $5 billion of taxpayers’ money over the next two years to make sure people don’t go hungry.” In fact, CEOs of financial institutions will get $5 billion each just to make really quite sure that they never have to miss a meal.

It’s just not the week to really impress anybody with that $5 billion figure, is what I’m saying.

And he addressed the UN General Assembly. He told it that “the ideals of the Charter are now facing a challenge as serious as any since the U.N.’s founding -- a global movement of violent extremists. By deliberately murdering the innocent to advance their aims, these extremists defy the fundamental principles of international order.” Dude, murdering the innocent to advance aims is the fundamental principle of international order. You could look it up.

Anyway, the speech was about how terrorism is bad and should be dealt with pre-emptively, democracy and freedom are good, “clarity of vision” is required and so on.

See if you can spot the word that gives something away: “In the decades ahead, the United Nations and other multilateral organizations must continually confront terror. This mission requires clarity of vision. We must see the terrorists for what they are: ruthless extremists who exploit the desperate, subvert the tenets of a great religion, and seek to impose their will on as many people as possible.” The word was “a” in “a great religion.” Just one religion. He’s pretending to be talking about the evils of terrorism, but what he means is Muslims.

WHAT SOME MAY BE TEMPTED TO ASSUME: “As the 21st century unfolds, some may be tempted to assume that the threat has receded. This would be comforting; it would be wrong.” How does he know what will happen as the 21st century unfolds? “The terrorists believe time is on their side, so they made waiting out civilized nations part of their strategy.” See, they’re especially dangerous when they’re not doing anything at all.

WHO SOME? WHAT SOME? WE WANT NAMES ALREADY. “Some question whether people in certain parts of the world actually desire freedom.”

NOT PATERNALISM: “Experience also shows that to be effective, we must adopt a model of partnership, not paternalism. This approach is based on our conviction that people in the developing world have the capacity to improve their own lives -- and will rise to meet high expectations if we set them.” And our setting high expectations for them to meet is not paternalism how exactly?

FOR EXAMPLE, I’M STANDING RIGHT HERE AND NO ONE IS PUTTING ME UNDER ARREST: “For example, there should be an immediate review of the Human Rights Council, which has routinely protected violators of human rights.”

Laura Bush, Ban ki-Moon’s wife, and Carla Bruni (Sarkozy’s wife) listen to Bush’s speech being simultaneously translated into French, Burmese, and Percocet.

The hockey mom and the Iranian dictator

Sarah Palin never gave what would have been her first foreign policy speech, at the anti-Iran protest at the UN, the one from which Hillary Clinton withdrew when she found out Palin had been invited, and then Palin was disinvited. But the text of the speech has been released. She calls Ahmadinejad “the Iranian dictator” who “dreams of being an agent in a ‘Final Solution’ - the elimination of the Jewish people.” Also, that he showed up for a test completely unprepared and in his underwear.

Of course the most important way to stand up to Ahmadinejad, sez Sarah, is to achieve victory in Iraq. Stands to reason. “If we retreat without leaving a stable Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be bolstered.”

And of course he should be arrested. “President Ahmadinejad should be held accountable for inciting genocide, a crime under international law.”

So sad that she’ll never be able to give that speech, huh?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sarah and I are going to get on that chopper and ride it straight to Washington!

I got nuthin’ today, except a backlog of pictures of McCain and Palin and the kiddies out on the town, with McCain just biding his time, waiting for Obama to take any position on the financial bailout so that he can take the other side.

He started out the week so well. Here he was yesterday after his weekly bowel movement.

This next picture is entitled, “Are you my new daddy?”

Introduced, in Media, Pennsylvania, by one of his many friends in the bikers-with-oversized-mustaches community.

Wait, I just stopped to look that guy up. His name is Paul Teutul and he has a show on... the Learning Channel. And because 13 cars aren’t enough vehicles for one man to own, Teutul gave McCain a motorcycle.

McCain responded, “Sarah and I are going to get on that chopper and ride it straight to Washington!” Quite an image. Sarah seems happy with the idea, or perhaps she is looking at Teutul and asking, “Are you my new daddy?”

Always happy to meet and/or lick his supporters.

Possible images of McCain for his presidential commemorative 5½ cent stamp.

Oh no! Sarah Palin is trapped inside a Teleprompter! Her ability to field dress a moose cannot save her now!