Thursday, October 30, 2008


Late Thursday, and the latest New York Times poll is out. Sen. Barack Obama maintains his apparent lead over Sen. John McCain (51-40 among likely voters in a head-to-head battle; 52-39 when third-party candidates are included). And the news for McCain goes downhill from there.

The poll also indicates Gov. Sarah Palin has become a millstone around McCain's neck. A couple interesting grafs to share:
Nearly a third of voters polled said that the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favored Senator Barack Obama. ...

While a majority viewed Ms. Palin as unqualified for the vice presidency, about three quarters of voters saw Mr. Obama’s running mate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, as qualified for the job. The increase in the number of voters who said that Ms. Palin was not prepared was driven almost entirely by Republicans and independents.

Overall, views of Ms. Palin were apparently shaped more by ideology and party than by gender. Ms. Palin was viewed as unprepared for the job by about 6 in 10 men and women alike. But 8 in 10 Democrats viewed her as unprepared, as well as more than 6 in 10 independents, and 3 in 10 Republicans.
You know you're in trouble when 30 percent of your party thinks your veep pick is inadequate. What seemed daring a month ago now looks desperate. But Sarah Palin is no Dan Quayle. She'll be back.


Just in time for trick-or-treaters, the bad-ass known as Desdinova has re-posted his list of the Top 50 Halloween songs.

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound, it's time to put on some BOC and mourn the loss of Tokyo. Happy Boo Year's Eve.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The Democratic presidential nominee was here last summer. Late Wednesday, word trickled out that Barack Obama would make a return visit to Springfield on Saturday night.

No official word yet on where. But the visit raises a few questions:

--Does Obama feel so comfortable about his chances in other swing states that he believes he can spend last-minute time in a region where he is almost certain to lose? The last Democratic presidential nominee to win Greene County was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

--What are Republicans thinking? A bigfoot Dem is invading their turf on the Saturday before the election, tromping on their two-yard line.

--What's it mean, gentle reader?

You tell us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Barack Obama's friendship with Rashid Khalidi is no surprise, even though it is October. The frantic right wing of the GOP wants to turn that friendship into a last-play game changer that propels John McCain and Sarah Palin to a destiny that is not dusty.

Before Tuesday you will hear more than you ever thought possible about Khalidi and how he ties in to scoundrel William Ayers, the former bomber linked to Obama in a convoluted political version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Added bonus: Media cover-up! Stop the presses! Roll the breaking news animation! Newsteam, assemble!

The conservative media and its pundits are acting like they've hooked King Kahuna. They see Khalidi as the best way to turn niggling doubts about Barack Obama's unusual name and heritage into fear. To them, because Khalidi is pro-Palestinian and a critic of Israel, he's a scary bad man who might hurt you and everything you love, including your country, the flag, apple pie and that new song by Pink.

And right there with the terrorists/guys with weird names is the evil media, covering up the secret ties between Obama and Khalidi because reporters are having Obamagasms at the thought of a black Democrat in the White House.

Listen to the right's latest shout: The Los Angeles Times is trying to suppress proof that Obama and Khalidi are thisclose. The proof is a videotape of a dinner, five years ago, where Obama paid tribute to Khalidi and his wife.

The McCain camp says the Times is "intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi."

National Review pants over the Times' "refusal" to hand over the tape.

The Times has a copy of the vid and won't hand it over to the demanders. That's absolutely true. But how does everyone know the Times has the tape? Because the newspaper already told us what's on it.

The Times published a long story about Obama's friendship with Khalidi. It's been out there since April. You can read it right here. It's true: Google can be your friend.

The lede on that newspaper story comes from the video. So does this description of what Obama said:
A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.

His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. ... It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table," but around "this entire world."
So clear now, eh? Obama is the Antichrist. Damn the Times for trying to cover up the Khalidi scandal and refusing to give the American people what they need in these last hours of Vote 2008 -- red meat to rip, and more political ads with grainy images of Men You Should Fear.

Another distraction in what's supposed to be an election about ideas, not innuendo. Meanwhile, the Phil Spector retrial starts Wednesday, and Court TV is sorely missed. Trial coverage on the rebranded truTV ends at 2 p.m. in the Midwest. Any hope of seeing Spector in all his glory, dashed.


Is the local newspaper worth 75 cents a pop?

We all get to find out Monday, when the News-Leader increases its single-copy price. If letters like this one are any indication, the paper's making a grab for the sliver of the wingnut audience that can read. Hope it works out for the typists on Boonville Avenue.

Friday, October 24, 2008


A huge crowd -- at least 10,000, and The Associated Press estimated twice that number -- turned out Friday to see Gov. Sarah Palin at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield.

Like all crowds, this one had all kinds. Most of them were there to rah-rah for the former cheerleader-turned-city manager-turned-nominee for vice president. Others were curious mellow, just out to see the show.

At least a couple were there because they believe in this:

She's no Nazi. A couple of her local supporters are. Such is life in the mighty-white Ozarks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The blogger known as Fat Jack has called the meeting. Local bloggers will gather at Patton Alley Pub at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, to do some live blogging.

Mainstream media alert: Patton Alley will be the place to be on Election Night. Only question still hanging: how early will the presidential race be called for Barack Obama? For the first time in two cycles and eight years, it looks like an early night for calling it.

This, of course, will give John McCain supporters an excuse to blame the mainstream media for the defeat of their candidate. Some things never change.

Post your Election Night predictions now. Popular vote percentages, electoral numbers, time the winner will be announced by the Big Three networks. We'll climb onto the limb first: 51-47 for Obama, 338-200, and 9:01 p.m. Central.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Composed the theme from the TV series "Batman." Also came up with themes for "The Odd Couple," "Barefoot in the Park."

He used to be a Big Band trumpeter. And he won a Grammy for the Batman theme. Truly, a blessed life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


With a little less than 24 hours to go before the final presidential debate of the 2008 season, we can be sure of certain things:

-- John McCain will huff and puff. He may bring up the Bill Ayers issue, as he threatened to do on Tuesday:
"You have another debate coming up. The final debate. Many of your supporters are eager for you to confront Senator Obama on the Bill Ayers relationship in particular. Hillary Clinton even brought this up during the primary. Sen. Obama says you should have the guts to do it in person. So will you?" McCain was asked by KMOX's Mark Reardon.

"Oh yeah," said McCain. "You know, I was astonished to hear him say that he was surprised for me to have the guts to do that. Because the fact is that the question did not come up in that fashion so -- you know -- I think he's probably ensured that it will come up this time."
But only if the moderator brings up the issue first. We think. Probably.

-- McCain will try to mute the manic. He must do this to even have a chance of winning. Barack Obama's biggest strength in the past two debates was his serious calm. He acted like a president; people could see him in that role. That put him on level ground with McCain.

-- Obama will do everything not to screw up. He's the only one who can lose this race. He's got to know there are millions of people looking for an excuse to opt-out of voting for Obama. Some don't like him because he's black. Some don't like him because he's got a thin resume. Some don't like him because he's the modern-era Slick Willie, always a little too smart for his own good. One false move by Obama on Wednesday and daylight will disappear between him and McCain.

-- Everyone will smile when it's over, and we will know nothing more of substance about either of the two men running to run our world. The debate commission should starts charging the candidates lowest-unit rate for the ad time. Viewers get talking points, burnished by months of stump time. Lots of sound, little fury. Maybe we should make then dance.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


A little less than a month before the presidential election and the result is already becoming clear -- Barack Obama is going to win. The latest polls show him hovering at or above the 50-percent mark, ahead of John McCain by a half-dozen points and winning the perception game. Many McCain supporters expect Obama to triumph, even though the feeling is acid to their intestines. Lost faith, abandoned hope.

Only a cataclysm -- the proverbial dead girl or live boy -- can keep Obama from winning on Nov. 4. He'll be nicked and bloodied plenty before the votes are cast, but McCain cannot stop him. Neither can Sarah Palin, no matter how loud her bark. Devoid of discussion about their plans for our future, the GOP ticket has been reduced to incessant yapping about the badness of their opponents. They are Bob Dole without the humor, Walter Mondale without the eloquence. All they can do is smile and bray and pretend the hurricane hammering the screen door is only a drizzle.

Pretending -- or, as they like to call it, creating a new reality, a master trick of this century's Republican Party. As one of President Bush's senior advisers said in 2002:
"[W]e create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
People attached to that "senior adviser" (read: Karl Rove) are now in John McCain's campaign posse; their greasy thumbprints are all over the place, instantly recognizable to the naked political eye.

They're rolling out the dogeared book of dirty tricks and pulling out their favorite reality changers. The biggest crowd-pleaser, naturally, involves demonizing The Media. Rolling Stone publishes a solid on McCain's unflattering past, but most conservatives won't bother to read it -- they're convinced the mainstream media is out to get their guy and his purty sidekick, dadgummit, so you can't believe anything The Media says.

This, of course, is a reliable hypocrisy from the camp that loves to hate. In their twist on twisted reality, The New York Times is a vile snakepit of liberal Obamabot liars, except when they write about Obama's connections to '60s radical William Ayers. That's when the Times is gospel money.

(One of our favorite conservative alternate-reality pranks is the "you won't see this in the mainstream media" snipe hunt. About once a month somebody will send an e-mail with a story or pictures about a heartwarming, positive story, datelined Iraq, with the header: You Won't See THIS In The Mainstream Media. The story, without fail, was written by The Associated Press and published across the country.)

The neo-reals have also uncorked the "some say" genie, a cousin to "fair and balanced." The latter claims "both sides" need to be heard, even if one side insists science is valid and the other clings to supernatural magic. Thank God the people who spew this line weren't reporting in 1945; they would have asked the Nazis for their side of the Holocaust -- you know, just to be fair and balanced.

Their "some say" attacks are clumsy but effective. "Some say Barack Obama is a Muslim." "Some say Obama is a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda." "Some say Obama is actually Osama bin Laden's second cousin, once removed." It might be bilge water, sure, but some say it's true, so why not have that debate? We don't expect McCain to go that far in his Tuesday debate with Obama, but anything is possible when a certifiably insane man runs for president. There could even be knives, though we suspect the debate commission will probably run both candidates through metal detectors before they take the stage.

McCain has no choice but to throw the long, noxious pass -- think of it as a Hail Mary stinkbomb. If it lands just right it will cover Obama in muck so deep and vile that every other Chicago politician will seem spotless by comparison. And even that might not be enough to stop Obama.

This is John McCain, distilled. Half a lifetime spent gladhanding and grinning, plotting and attaining, now reduced to one last gambit that probably won't work. Purgatory can be peculiar, especially in an unreal reality.