Friday, October 31, 2008

Methinks the Wingnuts are a Bit on Edge!

This is a picture of a bumper sticker I’ve had on my car for the last three years. For the past six weeks, it's been counter-balanced on the other side by an Obama-Biden sticker.

I live in the bluest of blue parts of the country, so I didn’t really expect to upset a lot of people when I chose to display it. I’ve gotten some compliments, mostly from friends and acquaintances, and a few thumbs up signs from drivers as they passed me on the freeway. Not one time in the last three years has anyone expressed a negative reaction to the sticker.

Until today!

I was parked in the lot next to the building my company shares with a Kaiser Permanente medical office, so there is a lot of foot traffic. When I got in the car to drive home, I noticed a note stuck under my wiper blade. It turned out to be the two page rant shown below:

Here’s the full text:
About Your Bumper Sticker

Excuse me but Bill Clinton was also a convicted perjurer. Furthermore, he was also accused of rape by Juanita Broderick (sp) on the 60 Minutes show. Ms. Broderick was a Democratic campaign worker who passed a polygraph exam after making the rape accusation.

Bill Clinton (Bubba) had a 20 year history of sexually harassing the females in his workplace.

So you see its not simply about blowjobs you dimwit.
Looks like someone was denied their prescription for Prozac!

Of course, I’m not such a “dimwit” that I actually consider the bumper sticker to be a defense of Bill Clinton!

Perhaps, if the note writer wasn’t so freaked out by the prospect of an Obama presidency (my wild-arsed assumption), he or she might realize it’s an implied indictment of George W. Bush, who has been accused not of a 20-something-year-old, impossible-to-prove, rape; but of a provable, ongoing, daily, six-year mass murder!

Compared to that, anything Clinton ever did, whether I liked it or not, was pretty much just a "blowjob!"

Yes We Carved!

Happy Halloween from Left-Over! My boys and I carved these last night.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Actually, the Make-Up Artist Earns Every Penny!

When I heard last week that the highest paid member of the McCain campaign staff was Sarah Palin’s make-up artist, I was intrigued. It seemed pretty outrageous, considering the dire condition of the campaign with less than two weeks to go! How could they spend the donations of hard working people like Joe the Plumber just to gussie up a former beauty queen?

So I did some research to see if I could find out why she was worth more than anyone else, besides the obvious fact that the rest of the campaign is a joke and clearly not worth much!

And I think I found it! Just keep in mind that it’s been quite some time since the former Sarah Heath was runner-up in the Miss Alaska contest and time does take its toll. Paying top dollar for a good make-up artist is much more reasonable when you see this shot of her as she begins her daily routine of preparing Palin for another public appearance:

In fact, this particular make-up artist is a real bargain when you consider that she also does double duty keeping McCain from looking like his early morning self:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Quote of the Day!

Alec Baldwin on Letterman tonight referred to Sarah Palin as "Bible Spice"!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Will Ted Stevens be the Anchor that McCain Uses to Sink Sarah Palin?

In the wake of stories about a growing rift between John McCain and Sarah Palin, I found it kind of amusing to hear McCain’s harsh vilification of newly minted felon, Ted Stevens:
Yesterday, Sen. Ted Stevens was found guilty of corruption. It is a sign of the health of our democracy that the people continue to hold their representatives to account for improper or illegal conduct, but this verdict is also a sign of the corruption and insider-dealing that has become so pervasive in our nation's capital.

"It is clear that Sen. Stevens has broken his trust with the people and that he should now step down. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will be spurred by these events to redouble their efforts to end this kind of corruption once and for all."
At this time next week, McCain will be licking his wounds and lamenting the complete evaporation of his reputation for honor and decency; while Palin will be flooding the airwaves (probably with the help of her new BFF, Elizabeth Hasselbeck) with all the reasons she could have beaten Barack Obama if not for the grumpy old boring dude who was dragging her down!

However, I’m going to predict that the spiteful McCain won’t sit back and take this for long, and we’ll soon start hearing a lot more about Palin’s many connections with Senator Stevens and his contractor friends, as described by Wayne Barrett in the Village Voice, including this snippet discussing construction of the Wasilla Sports Complex that Palin oversaw while she was mayor:
A list of subcontractors on the job, obtained by the Voice, includes many with Palin ties. One was Spenard Builders Supply, the state's leading supplier of wood, floor, roof, and other "pre-engineered components." In addition to being a sponsor of Todd Palin's snow-machine team that has earned tens of thousands for the Palin family, Spenard hired Sarah Palin to do a statewide television commercial in 2004. When the Palins began building a new family home off Lake Lucille in 2002—at the same time that Palin was running for lieutenant governor and in her final months as mayor—Spenard supplied the materials, according to Antoine Bricks, who works in its Wasilla office. Spenard actually filed a notice "of its right to assert a lien" on the deed for the Palin property after contracting for labor and materials for the site. Spenard's name has popped up in the trial of Senator Stevens—it worked on the house that is at the center of the VECO scandal as well.
As he has done many times in the past, McCain is going to have to find a way to rehabilitate his tarnished image. What better way to accomplish this than to become the harshest critic and chief finger pointer over the corruption and hypocrisy of others, like Ted Stevens and Sarah Palin?

As an added bonus, it will be the perfect way to stamp out the political future of a woman who bills her self as an “anti-corruption crusader,” but who shows all the signs of being another Larry Craig back when he could still bill himself as an “anti-gay crusader!”

What Next?

In the last two days, leaks from the McCain campaign have called Sarah Palin a - "Diva"............ claimed she is "going rouge"....................... and today called her a - "whack Job".

Somebody No Likey Ms. Palin!

Have to wonder what they say about her when the press is not around!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A “Team of Mavericks?”

Apparently, there’s a fine line between being a “maverick” and being a “rogue,” and it looks like Sara Palin is turning out to be a bit too mavericky for some McCain campaign advisors, while demonstrating that she didn’t earn the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” for her unselfish team play!

In fact, I’ll bet she’s ready to start showing her stripes as a “reformer” by taking on the entrenched powers within the McCain campaign, in order to try to make sure she comes out of next week’s landslide loss smelling like, well, something better than a tired old man whose political career is over and whose reputation is in tatters.

My guess is that McCain is having second thoughts about whether he really found his “soul mate,” or whether his VP choice is turning out to be a fatal attraction!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adventures in Surreality (Part 3)

I mentioned earlier that, in addition to Bill’s band, there was another band performing at the reunion. They were pretty good, mostly doing covers of familiar rock and blues tunes, but I was too preoccupied visiting former classmates to really pay close attention to them. It was background noise, although on the few occasions when I looked over to see what was going on, they certainly looked the part.

The band was called “St. John and the Sinners,” and the front man, whom I later learned was their namesake, seemed like the prototypical bar band guitar hero. When he wasn’t belting out songs during their set, he was wandering around the Scotia Inn like a celebrity, flashing a big smile to anyone in eyeshot, often with his glamorous looking girlfriend/wife/groupie on his arm.

At some point, I was standing toward the side of the room when I noticed this guy walking toward me with a purpose. To my surprise, he walked right up and asked, “Are you interested in politics? Are you familiar with Watergate?”

I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to admit my current obsession to this stranger, but I was intrigued, so I replied, “A little bit!”

That was enough for him, and he immediately launched into a lengthy story about how his full name was Saint John Hunt, and his father was E. Howard Hunt, the former CIA spy and prominent player in the Watergate drama. According to Saint John, his father had admitted to him, while on his deathbed, involvement in the JFK assassination. He claimed to have extensive evidence that his father had given to him, including a recording of his father’s voice, describing the other participants in the plot, which was approved by none other than Lyndon Johnson.

He said he had been interviewed on PBS and several radio shows in his efforts to get the news out, but that he had been largely thwarted by a reluctance of the media to accept and report the story. He also mentioned having written a book for which he was currently searching for a publisher.

Although it probably wasn’t necessary, when he started talking about some of the other Watergate participants, I was able to feed his enthusiasm by mentioning my past opportunity to meet and converse with John Dean (at the 2007 Yearly Kos Convention). Saint John noted that “Mr. Dean” was an extremely nice man, to which I could easily agree.

He then went on to describe the circumstances of his deathbed conversation with his father, and his frustration over his ongoing difficulties in setting the record straight. He directed me to his website, from which I could download the e-book version of his story for the nominal price of $5.99.

I promised him I would check it out, and made a mental note to arrange a date with “The Google” to research whatever I could find to either confirm his story, or establish that he was a delusional nut who might as well have been telling me about his meetings with Bigfoot, or the recorded conversation of his friend, the log! (another Twin Peaks reference depicted above)

As it turns out, my research confirmed both his identity and the apparent reasons for his difficulty in gaining credibility with the media in telling his story, since his history also includes a lengthy stint as a meth addict and dealer. Nevertheless, his website is here and the recorded voice of the man he claims is his father is here, and it all seems quite feasible.

Perhaps the best account of Saint John Hunt’s story is this article from Rolling Stone, which pretty much covers everything Saint John told me. It concludes with the same level of mixed belief and skepticism that I had as I retired to my room at the end of a surreal evening in which I arrived at a high school reunion and left wondering if I’d just learned who really killed JFK!

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Thoughts Exactly!

Every once in a while, I unexpectedly come across a post that so perfectly reflects my own thoughts that it’s stunning. In light of the growing sense of unease outright dread over the current financial meltdown, I really wish that I had written Eben Esterhuizen’s piece: What Happens to the Stock Market if Obama Becomes the CEO of America?
I don't want to put Obama on a pedestal, but I'm feeling bullish as an investor due to the underlying trends that are fueling his success. The same forces that are engineering an Obama victory will repair the American economy.

I am a South African working in the United States and I will probably apply for citizenship if Obama is elected. It's not because I want to live in a country with someone like Obama at the helm. It's because I want to live in a country that can go from the tyranny of George Walker Bush to the promise of Barack Hussein Obama in the space of eight years. It's because I want to live in a country where people can admit that something is wrong and fix it. It's because I want to live in a country where people believe in real change.
These are the bullish forces that will shape the outlook for the stock market. Think of a struggling public company: if the CEO is removed by the board, the stock price tends to shoot higher because investors reward companies that own up to their problems and fix them.
Of course, the flip side is the view of some conservatives who say the recent Wall Street freefall is because the market is already adjusting to expectations of an Obama Administration that will be unfriendly to corporations.

For me, this combines with Esterhuizen’s theory to form one of my greatest dreams, which is that the most extreme conservatives will keep bailing from the equity markets, even as the rest of the country starts to turn more optimistic about the future. By the time they realize Obama’s policies are working, they will have lost billions from selling at the trough and whining about why Obama is bad for the economy, while Obama’s supporters will have already ridden a bull market back to new wealth.

It’s still a dream, but it could happen!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who is John McCain? (spoken in an ominous tone)

I’ve been holding this for a little while, as I tried to find time to restore my home PC after a minor “catastrophe” required reinstalling everything, including Photoshop.

The idea came after watching the following video of the cackling McCain as he touted the great strengths of Sarah Palin as a running mate:

Palin has soured a bit since that time, but McCain still reminds me of the same evil supervillian that he invoked as he was waddling around the podium barking out deceptive lies about Palin, much as he has been barking out deceptive lies about Barack Obama.

I think it’s this guy:

Or maybe his equally evil twin:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who's The Elitist Now!

Obama has been on the trail for nearly two years and has raised a record amount for his campaign - and yet chooses not to spend any of it on a new pair of shoes. Palin however, has spent $150,000 at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue for a mere seven weeks of wardrobe.
If she had been on the trail as long as Obama that would pencil out to $2,2250,000!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

McCain Campaign to Focus on Setting up Post Election Whining Strategy?

Recent reports indicate that the McCain campaign is giving up on states like Iowa, Michigan and Colorado and starting to look at Pennsylvania as the key to winning the Electoral College. But he’s further behind there than in states he’s abandoning, so what gives?

I think DDay nails it:
I'm just not seeing what makes Pennsylvania the firewall state, other than process of elimination. But perhaps it's this:
The state Republican Party filed an injunction Friday against Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes and ACORN, alleging a fair vote on Nov. 4 is impossible because of rampant voter fraud.

The injunction signals a step up in action against ACORN, which for weeks has been the recipient of attacks from the state GOP and John McCain's presidential campaign.

At a press conference in the Capitol, state GOP Chairman Bob Gleason Jr. said the sheer number of registrations submitted by ACORN has overwhelmed many county election offices and the state department has not provided the local bureaus with enough support.

"I am not confident we can trust the results of this election," Gleason said.
We all know this is absurd, completely absurd. But maybe it's the last thing McCain can cling to. Consider that:

• Pennsylvania does not have early voting, and absentee voting is restricted.
• Unlike Minnesota and Wisconsin, Pennsylvania doesn't have same-day registration.

So voting is concentrated on Election Day, and the state GOP is trying to make the election illegitimate.
McCain knows he's going to lose, so he just wants to have an excuse that he can cling to – like voter fraud in Pennsylvania - in order to rationalize the loss and maintain his bloated opinion of himself!

The party also knows McCain is going to lose, but they want a hook – like voter fraud in Pennsylvania - with which to try to undermine Obama's legitimacy over the next four eight years.

The problem with this strategy is that if the GOP continues to be seen as obstructionist during an Obama presidency where he has an overwhelming mandate from voters all across the country and the oratory skills to inspire them to act, the GOP is going to get pounded again in 2010, and again in 2012.

Obama is willing to reach across the aisle and respect conservatives by giving them a seat at the table. But by the 2014 midterms, if they are still trying to hound the Obamas the way they hounded the Clintons (however few of them may be left), we’ll be talking about voter imposed extinction for the GOP!

(Note: Image above is from the notorious "Brooks Brothers Riot," with numbered participants identified as GOP staffers whining about shutting down the counting of Florida votes in the 2000 election.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Can Now Say “General Powell Speaks For Me”

I’m not talking about his meticulously reasoned endorsement of Barack Obama, although I agree whole-heartedly with his reasons for endorsing.

I’m not talking about his condemnation of the negativity and outright fear mongering by the McCain-Palin campaign, although I am equally disgusted by those tactics.

I’m not talking about his direct challenge to McCarthyist bleatings of Michelle Bachman (R-Toast), although I think she is a disgrace to her district, her country, and, quite frankly, to the entire human race.

I’m talking about two points made by Colin Powell that I’ve been waiting to hear from anyone with a microphone loud enough to command the attention of the American people.

I’m talking about the fact that Powell, after stating the fact that Obama happens to be a Christian, was willing to ask the more important question, “So what if he were a Muslim?

And I’m talking about the fact that Powell was finally willing to call “bullshit” on the entire GOP argument that “all taxes are bad” by pointing out the obvious fact that, by definition, taxes are income re-distribution, and that people get them back in services!

I had gotten a little tired of hearing nothing but defensive responses to wild accusations regarding Obama’s religious faith, or about the motives behind his tax plan.

Frankly, I’m a little shocked and surprised that I had to wait for a Republican to say these things!

Not So Deep Thought . . .

If you accept the view of Rush Limbaugh and others that Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama is 100% race related, then does John McCain have any valid endorsements?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Adventures in Surreality (Part 2)

Having covered a little of the history surrounding the Scotia Inn, and a few of the pleasantly surprising aspects of my visit, I can now get into the really weird stuff, the kind of experiences that made me feel like my life was temporarily being directed by David Lynch. Or at least like I had stepped back in time and was watching the past unfold again, with a different understanding of its meaning, but with no ability to change it even the slightest bit.

The first incident involves an old acquaintance with whom I had recently re-connected through Facebook, and who had traveled down from his current home in Snoqualamie, WA, which was the actual setting for David Lynch’s surreal classic series, Twin Peaks (from which I’ve borrowed some images for this series.)

This guy, whom I’ll call Bill (because his name is Bill), is a musician, and he had alerted me to the fact that he was bringing his band down for the event. There was another band also scheduled to play after the dinner, so Bill and his boys were planning to fill in with a few short sets during the regular band’s breaks.

As it turns out, Bill has grown in a more, shall I say, “counterculture” direction than the average Fortuna High graduate, so when he started singing his first song, which was essentially a character study, perhaps even a caricature, of a prototypical environmental activist, who “wants to chain herself to a tree” and who enjoys “carrot juice enemas,” and “not shaving her legs,” some of the natives immediately started to get restless!

Accustomed to bland lyrics and familiar dance covers that require no thought whatsoever, a number of them were heard voicing complaints like “How dare he come in here and sing about being an Earth Firster! Can’t he see all the redwood in this room?”

By the time Bill’s band was ready to start their second set, the buzz had spread to the point where the entire group of people who had been shaking their butts to “Cisco Kid,” and “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” suddenly decided to express their disapproval by walking out en masse.

Aside from a few stragglers chatting in the back of the long room, I was one of only two people remaining to listen to the boys as they charged through another set of tunes. The only other person beside me (who happened to have been my best friend from grades 1 through 4) leaned over and reminisced about having taught Bill his first guitar chords back in high school.

After the music was over, I was standing in the back talking to the boys as they put away their instruments, and I had just about rationalized it all away. Perhaps the dancers all just had to go take a group pee (there was a bit of drinking going on!) But then Deb, the coordinator of the event, came up to say that people really were still upset about the first song. Her words were, “You’re gonna have to do something to make things right!”

We stood there, looking at each other, and simultaneously came to the conclusion that things were right! Bill said the incident “made it worth the trip down” as I congratulated him on having the power to single-handedly cause his entire high school class to regress into the childish herd behavior of shunning something they didn’t even understand.

So here, courtesy of Bill whose friend wrote the song, are the full lyrics that got the panties of the entire Fortuna High class of 78 in a twist:
Hippy Chick by Brett Shuler

Barefoot and PC I’ll chain myself to a redwood tree
I’m gonna have a baby, I’m gonna name her River
I grow mushrooms in my head and listen to the Grateful Dead
‘cause Jerry, Jerry makes me quiver

I’m not missing out
I’m happy blissing out
I could sit and space out all day
I feel good and I feel loose
An enema of carrot juice
Really helps me start my day

Two things that knock me out
Are Birkenstocks and bean sprouts
And meat meat meat is no good

I won’t even eat eggs
And I refuse to shave my legs
Even ‘though most men say I should

I’m not missing out
I’m happy blissing out
I could sit and space out all day
I feel good and I feel loose
An enema of asparagus juice
Really gets me on my way

Barefoot and PC I’ll chain myself to a redwood tree
I’m gonna have a baby, I’m gonna name her River
I’m gonna name him River
I’m gonna name ‘em River
It was quite an amazing experience, but it was after this unusual bit of high drama that things got really weird . . .

Friday, October 17, 2008

Latest Sarah Palin WTF moment!

Palin earlier today at a rally in North Carolina via the New York Times:

“Being here with all of you hard-working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation."

Palin later "clarifying" the above statement to the press corp on her plane:

“Every area, every area across this great country where we’re stopping and where also the other ticket is stopping and getting to speak at these rallies and speak with the good Americans, it’s all pro-America. I was just reinforcing the fact that there, where I was, there’s good patriotic people there in these rallies, so excited about positive change and reform of government that’s coming that they are so appreciative of hearing our message, hearing our plan. Not, not any one area of America is more pro-America patriotically than others.”

That's much clearer. Thanks for explaining!

Not So Deep Thought . . .

Didn't John McCain have dinner with a close "pal" of domestic terrorist Bill Ayers last night?

Come to think of it - McCain has been seen in public with this same shady "pal" of Ayers several times over that last few weeks.

Please Ask Joe!

Somebody ask "Joe the Plumber" if he has heath insurance for he and his son!

Wanna bet that he doesn't?

So along with his Obama tax-cut, he would be receiving heathcare that he either doesn't have currently, or is paying through the nose for.

Another safe bet is that "Joe" never ever - reaches the $250,000/year mark!

These stupid Republicans just keep voting against their own economic interests and "Joe the Plumber" is their new poster boy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why the Image of McCain and Joe the Plumber Won’t Help His Campaign!

Apparently, John McCain’s decision in last night’s debate to stop talking about “his friends” and focus on one particular friend named “Joe the Plumber” may turn out to be just one more in a long line of stunts by the McCain-Palin Stunt # 5 campaign.

Looks like the real life Joe the Plumber may turn out to be: a) not a licensed plumber, b) a registered Republican and McCain supporter, c) a tax cheat, and possibly even d) a relative of Charles Keating!

Who knows whether these things are true, but clearly he’s now out there citing McCain talking points, so the contrived nature of McCain’s fixation on him during the debate seems to suggest he was a plant. A gimmick! A stunt worthy of David Blaine, and not of a candidate running for President of the United States!

McCain is going to go down in history as one of the most pathetic losers ever to represent a major any party in a presidential campaign. Even Ralph Nader is starting to look like a realist compared to this dumbass!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Live Blogging to Their Faces (Well, I Would!)

8:23 PM (seenos) - Oops, I got sidetracked before signing off. More than any of the other debates, this one was the angry undisciplined guy against the calm controlled guy. McCain tried hard to pound on Obama, who mostly just grinned and took it rather than escalate the confrontations, so that he could keep going back to explaining what he wants to do for the country. While I would have preferred to see Obama counterpunch a little harder, I can’t say that his approach wasn’t the best one. He was very effective at defusing the ticking time bomb that was John McCain, so that a minimal amount of time was spent on the negative attack issues that McCain wanted to make the focus of the debate. All in all, it was yet another zen win for Obama.

7:28 PM (seenos) - Apparently McCain thinks that autism is the same thing as Downs Syndrome, because he keeps saying that Sarah Palin knows a lot about autism, but Palin’s baby has Down’s Syndrome. I’ll bet she’s also an expert on dementia from her time on the campaign trail.

7:18 PM (seenos) - At times while Obama is talking, McCain almost seems to be snorting like a cartoon bull getting ready to charge!

Someone tell McCain that there is no such thing as a “pro abortion” lobby

7:10 PM (seenos) - McCain: You don’t need one of those gold-plated Cadillac health care programs that covers cosmetic surgery or transplants. Somewhere, Cindy McCain is cringing, but not about the transplants!

7:01 PM (seenos) - I’m watching the CNN instapolling and clearly women don’t like Joe the Plumber! Every time McCain brings him up, the dial drops like a ski slope.

6:52 PM (seenos) - The hell with all this boring policy shit. I’m voting for the guy with the flag pin!

6:42 PM (seenos) - Obama is clearly committed to trying to defuse conflict, while McCain finally is clearly trying to create it. Therefore, when McCain brings up Bill Ayers, it’s too much to hope for Obama to parry and then riposte with William Timmons, or the Alaska Independence Party.

6:20 PM (seenos) - McCain keeps throwing out a whole bunch of unrelated shit. Obama can’t try to systematically refute everything. He needs to pick one thing and respond forcefully to that!

6:17 PM (seenos) - This format doesn’t suit Obama quite as much as when he gets to walk over and stand next to McCain periodically.

McCain: I know how to cut spending by getting out a hatchet, followed by a scalpel, followed by one of those sets of tweezers like when you play “Operation”

6:01 PM (seenos) - McCain: Americans are very, very angry. Therefore I have more in common with them than my opponent.

5:55 PM (seenos) - I guess the big question tonight is whether McCain is really going to do what he's been telegraphing for a couple of days (Remarkable, really!) Will he say it to Obama's face? I think just about everyone on both sides, albeit for different reasons, wants him to follow through with his threats.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Adventures in Surreality

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend my 30-year high school reunion. It was held at the historic Scotia Inn in the small community best known for once being the quintessential company town owned by the Pacific Lumber Company. During my youth growing up in the nearby town of Fortuna, Pacific Lumber (or PL, as the locals called it) was a model of “sustained yield” forest management and for excellent treatment of employees. The town of Scotia was entirely occupied by workers from the mill and their families, often following several previous generations of their own families who also worked at the mill.

The town was beautifully quaint and impeccably maintained by the company. Although it was much smaller than Fortuna and several other towns nearby, it was the only town with an indoor swimming pool suitable for competitions (a must in rainy Humboldt County). Consequently, a large chunk of my young childhood consisted of carpooling down to Scotia for swim practice.

Pacific Lumber became famous quite a few years later, when it was involved in a hostile takeover by a Texas firm, Maxxam, whose CEO, Charles Hurwitz, financed the purchase with “junk bonds” issued with the aid of convicted felon, Michael Milken; and then set out to pay off the bonds with a rapid acceleration in the clear cutting of old growth redwoods, which essentially led to a taxpayer funded ransom for the Headwaters Forest.

Today, the mill is still operating, but at greatly reduced level. Most of the employees, including many who were among my high school classmates, have moved on to new careers after being laid off from the mill, or voluntarily getting out earlier after seeing the writing on the wall.

The Scotia Inn is still beautiful, having been carefully restored and furnished with wonderful antiques. It is a regular inn for travelers, but because it is somewhat off the tourist track, is more often used for weddings and banquets such as my reunion. When the manager, a former classmate who was also in charge of planning the reunion, offered rooms at the inn for a bargain rate, I jumped at the chance to stay there.

As I was leaving (I’ll jump back to the actual reunion a little later), I went to the front desk to settle my bill only to find a handwritten note indicating that another of my former classmates was in the process of cooking breakfast. There was no one around, so I wandered until I came across the large industrial kitchen where I found a small group huddled around the stove watching John, the former quarterback of our prep football team, frying eggs and potatoes.

Someone handed me a plate of food, which I wolfed down as I looked around for the manager, Deb, to ask about my bill, as I needed to hit the road soon. When I found her, she said, “Oh, don’t worry about the bill. I’m just going consider the rooms as freebees.” A little shocked, I said I’d send her a check anyway, which she could put in the fund for future reunions if she didn’t want to take it for the room. I thought back to the evening before, and was thankful that the group had most certainly ran up a hefty bar tab that would contribute to the Inn’s cash flow.

The whole situation reminded me of what many people really value about small town life, where the decisions and actions of individual people trump the rules and routines designed to keep the masses in order and the wheels of commerce turning smoothly. A snap decision to let people stay at an inn for free probably wouldn’t, and couldn’t, happen in a more urban area where every type of lodging is owned by a parent corporation with accountants who scour the books looking to boost the bottom line.

Of course, there are also some things about rural life that aren’t so “refreshing,” while at the same time being quite entertaining. I’ll follow up a little later with a couple of examples; but as a teaser, I’ll just say now that they involve a sudden flashback to high school clique behavior that resulted in a mass boycott, and a conversation with someone who claims to know who is really responsible for shooting JFK (and who might actually be right!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

If the GOP are so Worried about Widespread Voter Fraud . . .

All of a sudden, every GOP talking head on every news network is gasping for breath over the possibility of “widespread voter fraud” being perpetrated by the “radical left wing organization” called ACORN. I just watched Lou Dobbs, looking like his head was going to explode in anger over what he called “an assault on our voting system.”

It seems that "the most respected name in news," CNN, has exposed what they think is a blockbuster story about how ACORN is illegally registering thousands of new voters who are actually dead or fictitious people.

Is this a massive sudden collapse of the credibility of our voting system? If the GOP are so worried about voter fraud, how about if we take care of it with a simple solution?

Both parties can agree to officially validate the presidential election in each State with exit polling that would consist of three simple questions:

1. Who did you vote for?

2. Are you alive?

3. Do you exist?

If the winner in total votes for each State matches the polling results for question one, counting only participants who answer “yes” to questions two and three, then we will know, with statistical certainty that is accepted in other democracies throughout the world, that the election was not determined by voter fraud!

And while we’re at it, we can probably overturn the last two presidential elections as well!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

John Lewis Correctly Calls McCain-Palin for Inflammatory Rhetoric

After a week of campaigning with rhetoric appealing to the most rabid and seemingly unhinged portion of the right-wing base, I was glad to see Georgia Rep. John Lewis call out John McCain and Sarah Palin for their choices by invoking comparisons to George Wallace.

Of course, McCain quickly responded with self-righteous indignation; and the Obama campaign distanced themselves from the Wallace reference, but not the accusation of inflammatory rhetoric (particularly from Palin).

I’ve been thinking a lot about the potentially dangerous tone that the McCain-Palin campaign has been taking in light of comparisons between Barack Obama and John Kennedy. I think it is important to let McCain and Palin know that they will be held accountable for any consequences of their rhetoric.

McCain likes to talk about his strengths as a leader, which implies an ability to inspire action among his followers. If his followers end up becoming increasingly violent as a consequence of his or Palin’s words, then McCain shares responsibility for any harmful actions they might carry out.

The McCain-Palin campaign’s current attitude of denial seems somewhat analogous to parents who teach their kids to hate the police and disrespect authority, and then act shocked and surprised that they would be held legally responsible if their kids get into trouble with the law!

Friday, October 10, 2008

New McCain Slogan!

John McCain and his ridiculous slogan "Country First" are such an insult to our nation's intelligence that it hardly deserves any space on this blog. It is so directly opposite of what his campaign is about. To see it slapped everywhere at his campaign stops as he whips the crowd into what amounts to an angry lynch mob - makes my stomach turn.

John McCain has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the country is the last thing on his list. If he were truly a Maverick who puts his "Country First" he'd shut the hell up and endorse Barack Obama. That would be truly mavericky!

Here's my suggestion for the a more accurate slogan. One that might actually get him some women votes!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Great Moments in Web Advertising!

About a week ago, I had the strange urge to see what kind of people decide to set up their own pages on McCainSpace, an area on his website designed to appeal to the most technologically "advanced" of his supporters. In order to see it, I had to create an account, so now I’m on the e-mail list of people that McCain thinks are his real friends.

So, I got my first e-mail from John McCain today, and I have to share it because it shows that, while he may not be a very good candidate, he’s a good vehicle to deliver targeted advertising.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
(click to enlarge)

Yes, that’s an ad for Enablex, a drug promising to "reduce bladder leaks.” Interestingly, the general theme of the e-mail sounds like it’s coming from someone who can relate to what I’ll call “the number two problem” facing the same target audience:
The naval term "steady strain" has become a constant mantra throughout my life . . . . We're facing great challenges as a nation and we must keep a "steady strain," because it is not only essential at sea, but in life and in politics.
Too bad he didn’t choose Mitt Romney as his running mate, so they could reprise Mitt’s discussion of the “three legged Republican stool!”

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

McCain’t Gonna Happen!

Like an overmatched 15 seed losing to a 1 seed during March Madness, John McCain just got beat in a game played at his preferred tempo, and it wasn’t even close! He had been whining about his desire for “Town Halls” for months, and when he finally got one, he did little more than waddle around the stage like a penguin, making no real connection with the audience at the debate, or the audience watching on televisions across the country.

In fact, at one point McCain was so clueless that while Obama clearly set him up for a big punch line, McCain tried to be clever and interject sarcastic appreciation for Obama’s false praise, only to be battered with the obvious response. Take a look:

Essentially, McCain couldn’t even tell that Obama was winding up for the punch, so he proudly stuck out his chin, thinking it would score him some points, and then got his block knocked off like a Rockem Sockem Robot! McCain was clearly smirking with cocky pride as he butted in, but afterward he was dumbfounded. His face went blank as he sheepishly lumbered back to his chair, where he stood fuming while Obama finished tearing him apart.

In a particularly boring debate where the format seemed designed to eliminate any drama, it was a devastating moment for McCain, and may have been the primary reason he quickly scampered from the auditorium – presumably to salve his wounded pride on the Straight Talk Crooked Chin Express – while Obama mingled with the crowd (and possibly picked up a few more Tennessee votes!)

This was McCain’s big chance to debate his way, and it passed with little more than a whimper from McCain, who spent the previous week slinging nasty insinuations that he was clearly afraid to say to Obama’s face. When the history of the 2008 Presidential campaign is written, it’s going to be all about Obama. McCain is going to be a minor character, notable only because he was the first man to strive for the presidency while relying on a girl to fight his battles for him!

Image of the Day!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Debate Liveblog

7:41 PM (seenos): I’ll sign off for now, but as a parting shot, let me say that this seemed like the most inane debate format I’ve ever seen. What’s the point of having a “town hall” when the moderator is constantly cracking the whip to prevent any informal discussion between the candidates, or interaction with the audience. They could have saved a lot of money and effort and just held the debate via videoconferencing.

7:36 PM (seenos): Too bad debates aren’t won or lost based on an ability to inhale inaudibly Compared to McCain and Brokaw constantly sucking air past the microphone, Obama looked like he should be out riding with Lance Armstrong!

7:28 PM (seenos): When Ahmadinejad says that “Israel is a stinking corpse,” John McCain says “Hey, I resemble that remark!”

7:24 PM (seenos): I just switched to CNN, so now I’m too mesmerized by the favorability tracker at the bottom of the screen to keep liveblogging.

7:09 PM (seenos): McCain: “We need a cool hand at the tiller.” If ever there was a perfect opportunity for Obama to get up and say that he and McCain are in complete agreement, this was it!

7:01 PM (seenos): McCain: “We have gone to the four corners of the earth!” Someone tell him it’s not a big rectangle.

6:55 PM (seenos): Hey McCain: What the hell is a “refundable tax credit?”

6:44 PM (seenos):Brokaw is a stickler for the rules, except when he wants to alter the question to give his own editorial slant. He’s also mastered the delicate art of simultaneously talking and gargling! He must have the minty freshest breath of any debate moderator in history!

6:35 PM (seenos): Obama seems like he has been working on his pacing, giving up some of the pauses that usually mean he’s choosing the perfect words to express his point. In this format, it’s more important to smoothly transition from thought to thought, even if it means drifting from the original question.

6:30 PM (seenos): McCain is going to ask Americans to sacrifice by giving up education, health care and the ability to retire before they drop dead.

6:25 PM (seenos): For the sake of the audience members, I hope McCain used some breath freshener. He’s getting much closer than I would feel comfortable having him.

6:15 PM (seenos): McCain’s vaunted skill at town hall style meetings appears notable only when compared to his wooden performance behind a podium. Repeating the questioners’ names while earnestly sticking his face in front of them isn’t all that effective.

6:01 PM (seenos): I heard today that Tom Brokaw dismissed any talk of the Keating Five Scandal as “ancient history.” I guess that means that he will be making sure both candidates talk only about what they intend to do for the future of America. Not!

5:35 PM (seenos): After today’s continued tanking of the stock market heading into tonight’s debate, let’s just say that Adam Smith’s invisible hand of the market appears to be giving John McCain the invisible finger!

I’m not quite sure how McCain is going to avoid talking about the economy, which his campaign has already admitted will cause him to lose! He may have no choice but to take a page from Sarah Palin’s playbook, and simply address the first townie in the hall who asks about the economy with a response like:
I’m just not going to answer the questions that you, a representative sample of the American people, want me to answer. Instead, I’m going to talk directly to the American people . . . who want to hear me talk about how Barack Obama is the Antichrist!
It promises to be quite an evening, and I’ll try my best to keep up a running series of, probably snarky, comments – at least until I snap and throw my laptop at the grinning, blinking, slime-spewing, not-really-my-friend, image of John McCain on the teevee!

Monday, October 06, 2008

While McCain Goes Negative, Obama Goes Factual

Throughout his entire presidential campaign - in the Primaries against Hillary Clinton (and others), and in the General against John McCain - Barack Obama has been supremely prepared for everything his opponents could throw at him. McCain may sneeringly suggest that Obama “doesn’t know the difference between a strategy and a tactic,” but at every step, Obama’s campaign has shown that his “strategy” has always included any number of “tactics,” ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice, to trump any card that McCain or anyone else could think to play.

Now, as McCain prepares his all out slime assault during the next few weeks, Obama is ready with an impeccably documented account of why McCain’s Keating Five shenanigans make him the wrong man to lead America during hard economic times.

A less confident and less disciplined politician (like McCain) would have played this card a long time ago, perhaps winning a few points in the polls before the majority of voters even started paying attention. By the time October rolled around, it would be long forgotten and he’d have nothing left.

But Obama had the foresight and temperament to wait until the right moment, and to carefully prepare the facts so that even though his account of the Keating Five saga is a negative for John McCain, it can’t be mistaken for the reactionary mud-slinging that will undoubtedly make up nearly everything you hear from McCain, Palin, or any of their surrogates in the coming weeks.

Clearly, Obama knows the difference between a strategy and a tactic. McCain, on the other hand, doesn’t even seem to know the difference between a tactic and a tantrum!

Friday, October 03, 2008

It’s the Competence, Stupid!

OK, it’s still the economy too (stupid!), but it’s really a combination of many things, all viewed through the prism of competence. We’ve got a lot of problems in this country, and if we don’t have leadership who can perform well on the little things, what hope do we have that they will perform well on the big ones? And competence is clearly where Obama-Biden runs rings around McSame-Such As. (Or, based on these debate “word clouds,” perhaps McSame-Also!)

Remember the ads running on the morning before the Presidential Debate already declaring McCain the winner? It was a silly mistake, made worse when he got his ass kicked during the event according to most polls. Apparently McCain’s campaign does not learn from its mistakes. Today’s version of incompetence, shown above in another web ad from the Washington Post, includes a quote from some generic “famous person” declaring Palin the winner of the VP Debate.

I suppose it makes sense that someone as vague and vapid as Palin wouldn’t garner the praise of anyone specific. And I guess people who actually believe her shallow talking points might be impressed by praise coming from someone the campaign assures them is both “famous” and a “person!” But this is just another screw up from a campaign that has become known for them.

As for the claim that Palin won the debate, just about every poll I’ve seen begs to differ! Not only was Biden more knowledgeable on the issues, he was much more appealing as a person. I was watching on CNN, where they had a real-time favorability tracker measuring independent Ohio voters. While Palin alternately cycled above and below the neutral point depending on how smoothly she was reciting her talking points, Biden almost never dropped below zero and frequently flatlined at the top of the scale.

She may have been “the star” of “her evening,” but only like, say, Sasha Baron Cohen was the star of “Borat!” However, to go so far as to say that she “killed” sounds more like confirmation of my pre-debate post than a description of her competence in the debate!

[Also] Based on Palin’s stated reading habits in the Katie Couric interview, I’m actually surprised they didn’t just attribute the quote to all of them famous people!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

This Does My Heart Good!

Here’s of the best Obama ads I’ve seen so far, and there have been a lot of good ones:

Kinda makes me regret that I cain’t be at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park fer both Saturdee and Sundee! I’ll be there Saturdee, but ol’ Ralph Stanley is performin’ on Sundee. Too bad.

By the way, I’m thinkin’ ol’ Ralph ought to keep things fair n’ balanced by offerin’ up a song fer John McCain to use at his campaign rallies durin’ the next month:

What Kind of Debater is Sarah Palin, Also?

Is it just me, or does Sarah Palin seem to have the ability to spew bullshit with the self assurance and confidence of a sociopath? Like a Ted Bundy, she can seem charming and forthright, as she cheerfully spouts the most meaningless of words. But if we suddenly find out that the basement of her Alaska home is filled with human remains, I won’t be particularly shocked.

More seriously, however, I suppose shameless lying can be considered a skill. It might even make one an effective debater. According to Andrew Halcro, who has debated Sarah Palin “more than two dozen times,” she is actually quite skilled at evading questions, while using superficial, folksy banter to win over the audience and the media.

As I suggested before, the most important thing for Joe Biden to do in this debate is to make sure he sticks to answering the questions as closely as possible, while finding ways to politely remind viewers when Palin is reciting unrelated bullshit, particularly when what she says makes no sense at all.

He might even start some of his responses with something like:
Boy, I think I'm going to have to go back and look at the transcript to figure out what the Governor just said there, but . . . (insert substantive answer here)
[Also] I didn't get a chance to liveblog this one because I was stuck in a meeting in San Francisco until late, which resulted in a last minute decision to watch the debate at the official Obama-Biden campaign event, which happened to be held at a club only a few blocks away from my meeting. I'll put together my impressions of the debate and the event in the next day or two, but for now, I'll just mention that my absolute favorite line of the night was when Palin fumbled and said:
John McCain is the man who should leave, er, lead!
With about 400 people in a San Francisco club, that line resulted in a cheer worthy of a last second touchdown pass for the 49ers (except that I was cheering too!)