Saturday, September 06, 2008

It's WTF For Dinner?

With a generous hat-tip tip to Kirsten, from whom I stole the entire list, here is the Omnivores 100 - the 100 items that are a must-eat before one ceases to care about food. Those in italics are ones I have actually tried.

1. Venison.
2. Nettle tea.
3. Huevos rancheros.
4. Steak tartare.
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding.
7. Cheese fondue.
8. Carp.
9. Borscht.
10. Baba ghanoush.
11. Calamari. - at a restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.
12. Pho.
13. PB&J sandwich.
14. Aloo gobi.
15. Hot dog from a street cart. - In NYC, no less. Only the best
16. Epoisses.
17. Black truffle.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes.
19. Steamed pork buns.
20. Pistachio ice cream.
21. Heirloom tomatoes.
22. Fresh wild berries.
23. Foie gras.
24. Rice and beans.
25. Brawn, or head cheese.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper.
27. Dulce de leche.
28. Oysters.
29. Baklava.
30. Bagna cauda.
31. Wasabi peas.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl.
33. Salted lassi.
34. Sauerkraut.
35. Root beer float.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar.
37. Clotted cream tea.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O.
39. Gumbo.
40. Oxtail. - I hesitate, because does soup count?
41. Curried goat. - in a little street-side Indian restaurant on Connecticut Ave, NW in Washington.
42. Whole insects.
43. Phaal.
44. Goat’s milk.
45. Malt whiskey from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more.
46. Fugu.
47. Chicken tikka masala.
48. Eel.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut.
50. Sea urchin.
51. Prickly pear.
52. Umeboshi.
53. Abalone.
54. Paneer.
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal.
56. Spaetzle.
57. Dirty gin martini.
58. Beer above 8% ABV.
59. Poutine.
60. Carob chips.
61. S’mores.
62. Sweetbreads.
63. Kaolin.
64. Currywurst.
65. Durian.
66. Frogs’ legs.
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake.
68. Haggis.
69. Fried plantain.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette.
71. Gazpacho.
72. Caviar and blini.
73. Louche absinthe.
74. Gjetost, or brunost.
75. Roadkill.
76. Baijiu.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie.
78. Snail.
79. Lapsang souchong.
80. Bellini.
81. Tom yum.
82. Eggs Benedict.
83. Pocky.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef.
86. Hare.
87. Goulash.
88. Flowers.
89. Horse.
90. Criollo chocolate.
91. Spam.
92. Soft shell crab. - on a sandwich.
93. Rose harissa.
94. Catfish.
95. Mole poblano.
96. Bagel and lox.
97. Lobster Thermidor.
98. Polenta.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
100. Snake.

41 out of one hundred isn't bad. Of those I haven't eaten that are on the list, crocodile, snails, horse, hare, black pudding, absinthe, haggis, insects, sea urchin, eel and head cheese are those I have or will seek out to add to it. And sweetbreads are out thanks to Hannibal Lecter. Even though at one time I would have loved to try them.

Saturday Rock Show

There is something about the German language. The heavy metal band Rammstein has that something - their use of their native language (unlike fellow Germans Scorpions) just seems to give their music that extra edge. All semi-gothic theatricality and pomp, they certainly seem to know what they are about as they rock a Nimes, France football stadium (my guess, probably about 75,000 folks) with their song "Links":

Some "Meta" Thoughts On The Presidential Campaign

With the conventions over, the tickets selected, and the race to November 6 on, I think it is time to consider why it is the I believe that Barack Obama and Joe Biden will win. First and foremost, I believe that there has been a fundamental shift in American politics over the past three years, and the Republican era, in force since Richard Nixon narrowly defeated Hubert Humphrey in 1968, is over. The odd thing about this era is that the Republican dominance has never been overwhelming, despite two historically high re-election contests (Nixon in '72, Reagan in '84), and a relatively high win for George H. W. Bush in 1988. The Republican era has been a marginally majority thing, with the GOP only taking over Congress in 1994 and only managing to hold that majority for 12 years. Their grip on power was always tenuous, and their approach to governance dominated by spectacle and an appeal to division rather than substantive. This is not to say that, especially with the advent of Ronald Reagan they did not come with a plethora of ideas and proposals; it is also not to deny that, since the late-1970's, American liberalism as embodied in the Democratic Party was not ideologically anemic, and skittish of the constant barrage of criticisms put out by the Republican Party.

That time has passed. I said it two years ago, and no one believed me. I predicted sweep of the Congressional elections in late summer, and was told that Republican smears, Republican tactics, and even Republican illegality would steal the election. I was told that the Republicans would win, but I could only conclude that people believed that because Republicans had been winning for quite some time. Even with the Mark Foley scandal, the presence of Tom DeLay (even after he quit Congress), and the historically low approval ratings of President Bush, I kept hearing how the Republicans would win and there was nothing we could do about it.

Being vindicated by actual events, we are in another national campaign where the Republicans, I am told, could still win because they are running a Republican campaign playbook that has been so successful in the past. Yet, consider some things. The American economy is very weak. We are, for all intents and purposes, in another era of stagflation, with energy and food prices again being the culprits. Our financial system is shaky at best. People are unhappy with the way the country is being run. The word "change" was heard so often over the past week, I kept checking my pants pocket to see if they were talking about coins. Both parties recognize the public's desire for effective, substantive leadership.

With the national conventions, we were offered a look at the way the two parties address the concerns of the country. The Democrats spoke candidly of the realities we face, of the challenges facing whomever is elected in eight weeks, and offered the American people not just fluff and guff, but some serious options as to how they would go about addressing the multiple problems in which we find ourselves embroiled.

The Republicans, on the other hand, spent much of their convention, belittling the Democratic candidate for President. We had the spectacle of a former liberal Republican governor of an eastern state deriding "eastern elites". We had the former mayor of our largest city - in many ways the first city of the world, not just America - insisting that the choice of the Governor of Alaska as the party's VP nominee was being derided as not cosmopolitan enough. Both the Presidential and Vice Presidential nominee spoke not of what they would do in the face of myriad challenges facing America, but rather insisted that such things were of little importance because both had interesting, even compelling biographies (which, at the same time, are not to be scrutinized too closely). While it is true that both John McCain and Sarah Palin have interesting personal stories, I came away from the Republican convention wondering why anyone would consider them for high office because they did not once offer a policy statement, a message to the new Congress that will also be elected this fall, or anything else that addresses our times. Trying to make Barack Obama in to some kind of lightweight (silly on its face), they have refused to allow the press access to their VP nominee. In fact, in the waning days of the convention and yesterday as it wrapped up and the delegates scattered back to their homes across the country, it became clear that the Republicans are running an anti-media campaign as much as a campaign against Barack Obama and the Democrats.

In essence, the two campaigns appear as follows:

*The Democrats - We know you are facing challenges and serious problems, and here are some ways we will try to address them.

*The Republicans - The eastern elite media wants to hide the fact that Barack Obama does not have the experience to lead the United States because it asks questions about the lack of qualifications of the VP nominee and demands serious, substantive positions of the Presidential nominee.

I fail to see how the Republicans can win with this approach. My own feeling is that the McCain campaign, chronically faced with personnel changes and shifts of emphasis and message as it has been for the past year or so, will continue to drift as it searches for a message that it can use to pull ahead of its Democratic rival. Obama, on the other hand, will continue his "rope-a-dope" approach, allowing McCain/Palin to wear themselves out with futile gestures, messages, and attempts to take Obama out, then come back with short, effective hits that keep McCain off-balance.

A combination of a strong GOTV movement being run by Obama and the Democratic Party, plus the changing socio-political climate and the general dissatisfaction with the way the country currently is will combine to provide the edge. While never underestimating the possibility that some disaster or great event might alter the equation somehow, my own feeling, as I've expressed many time before can be summed up as follow:




Friday, September 05, 2008

Laugh At Them, Following This

Nobody does it better than Jon Stewart.

For ER First, Then Anyone Else (UPDATE)

ER and I have traded our love - its a kitschy rather than groovy kind of love - for the tracts of the legendary Jack Chick. He's on the web, and he's archived all of them, including my favorite. Now, scienceblogs is featuring one that is so wonderful I want to go to rest area, truck stop, Denny's, anywhere and find it. I collect them, and have found them in as wildly divergent places as an endcap shelf in Wal-Mart; a restroom in a rest area on New York's Route 17/Interstate-86; a bathroom in a truck stop outside Columbia, MO; and I had one given to me by a friend as a birthday present.

Unlike many who get bent out of shape by Chick Tracts, I love them for the same reason that some people like ugly dogs, or Michael Jackson has the Elelphant Man's skeleton in a display case in his house - freaky stuff has a certain cachet, as it were. They are harmless, mindless, and clearly so over the top one could not imagine them meaning anything other than the way I feel about them - they are like a snowglobe that hold something precious. The person who put the little bit of platinum in the snowglobe knows the platinum is pretty, is heavy, and other people seem to think it is important, somehow. But it is surrounded by kitschy, awful, cheap water, bits of plastic, and the preciousness of the platinum inside is obscured by the cheapness of the surroundings.

Yet, my love for them is real. It is the same love I felt as a child for a cat we had that was not only cross-eyed - seriously cross-eyed; we called him Clarence, after a lion in a short-lived children' TV series - but borderline retarded. This cat could jump off the porch and still miss the ground. And I loved Clarence. And I love Chick Tracts. My hope is that someone sends me a copy of this one. In the meantime, you can see it by clicking on the link.

UPDATE: Alan mentioned a tract I had not heard of - "Doom Town", an anti-gay tract - and one of the panels in it is below:

Did Jack Chick draw that or Tom of Finland?

No Reason Given

In 1992, not long after former Chair of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Willaim Crowe publicly came forward and endorsed Bill Clinton for the Presidency, Will wrote a column that has stayed with me for sixteen years. In it, he said that then-President George H. W. Bush was offering no compelling reason to vote for him for the Presidency, and Will was at least nodding towards Bill Clinton because the Arkansas governor was at least offering substantive reasons to consider him for the office of the Presidency, even if he (Will) didn't agree with all of them.

Last night, McCain offered not a single substantive policy, not a single compelling idea, not one scintilla of evidence that he is offering the people of the US any reason whatsoever to consider him for the Presidency. Indeed, the constant invocation, not just in his speech last night, but over the previous few weeks, of his time in a North Vietnamese POW camp, reminds me not so much of the strength of character he has shown by coming through that ordeal with his sanity intact, but that it happened forty years ago, and is the only thing, in the end, he has to offer. This is not to belittle his experience; rather, it is to wonder out loud of the relevance of the issue.

What about the economy? The soundness of our financial system? What of the degradation of our military, and the shrinking of services for those returning from service, including wounded soldiers? What of the Constitution, to which the President swears an oath (not to the people, or to protect the physical integrity of the US)? The Republicans complained that the Democrats said the US is facing difficult times. There's a reason for that. The Democrats weren't talking down the United States; they were addressing the realities we face, and offering solutions. McCain offered nothing more than his biography as proof that he would . . .

I have no idea.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

What He Said (UPDATE)

ER is skittish. Others are just as jittery.

Matt Yglesias, and the inestimable digby (God love her), however, remind us that panic, at this point, is a bit extreme to say the least.

First, Yglesias in full:
A remarkable number of liberals of my acquaintance seemed ready to move into panic mood after it turns out that Sarah Palin can deliver a competent attack dog speech. I don’t see why. It was competent, but no more than that. And it wasn’t a speech that even tried to do either of things that John McCain’s campaign needs to do — separate McCain from George W. Bush or convince people that McCain can improve the economy. It didn’t even try to address those subjects.

This stops the downward spiral, maybe, until perhaps people focus on the fact that Palin’s signature accomplishment as Governor of Alaska was to oppose a bridge project that she in fact favored, but McCain was losing the race before Palin was ever announced. Stopping the slide doesn’t get you to a win.

Now, digby:
But the bottom line is that while she may not sink this ticket (at least immediately) she can't save it either. They'll get out their base, which until now was a questionable proposition. But that won't be enough. Their base has shrunk. They have to win over a chunk of independents and I just don't know if they can successfully separate themselves from the disaster of the past eight years, even if Maverick decides to move the White House to Point Barrow.

In other words, she did nothing more than provide a sandbag in the leaking dyke of McCain's support. Period. Even that will, I bet, end soon enough, because Obama and Biden are lying in wait.

I'm not panicking. I'm confident that the Palin pick for the VP slot seals the Republican's loss. In the long run, as I've said before, McCain is toast.

UPDATE: James Fallows weighs in (please read the whole thing):
[B]oth Reagan in 1964 and Obama in 2004 were effective because, apart from their personal skills, they added something to their party's constituency that had not been there before. Reagan began recruiting the "Reagan Democrats," starting with white Southerners. Obama tried to recruit people tired of divisive partisanship.

Sarah Palin, at least tonight, did not seem interested in bringing anyone new into the fold. A speech that was great in the convention hall. We'll see how it affects the electoral lineup.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hee Hee (UPDATE)

Oh dear Lord.

I just love Noonan's "It's over."

UPDATE: With a generous hat-tip to Oliver Willis it seems Peggy Noonan's opinion of Sarah Palin has changed drastically . . . in a couple short days (assuming she didn't write this column this morning):
Because [Palin] jumbles up so many cultural categories, because she is a feminist not in the Yale Gender Studies sense but the How Do I Reload This Thang way, because she is a woman who in style, history, moxie and femininity is exactly like a normal American feminist and not an Abstract Theory feminist; because she wears makeup and heels and eats mooseburgers and is Alaska Tough, as Time magazine put it; because she is conservative, and pro-2nd Amendment and pro-life; and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing -- who is really one of them and who is not -- and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy.

Other than the nonsensical idea that there are "real" feminists on the one hand, and "Yale Gender Studies" feminists on the other (God, what an old, tired bit of crap this is), it seems she is working awfully hard here to gild this particularly rotted lily.

To be blunt - all the evidence suggests Sarah Palin ran Wasilia, and now Alaska, as a thug, silencing critics and opponents, using state resources to carry out personal vendettas, and even trying to ban books in the public library. She is as far out on the extreme right as one can get and still have any hope of success even in as red a state as Alaska. She is no more a feminist than I am a White Supremacist. In a sane world, she would be laughed at, McCain would be laughed at, and Obama would do no campaigning because the laughter at McCain's really stupid pick would continue all the way until Election Day.

Since we don't live in a sane world, we're going to have to put up with, in Peggy's own words, "political bullshit" until then. But, we can still laugh.

Why Do We Make Fun Of The French Again?

This is a picture of French Justice Minister Rachida Dati. Besides bearing a strong resemblance to a certain Democratic First Lady of a bygone era, and being my age as well (wow!), she is unmarried and with child. Now, the French have a wonderful approach to these kinds of things, an approach that would be unthinkable in the United States. The difference betrays just how dysfunctional, obsessed with trivia, and ridiculously puerile our politics and political journalism is:
Dati says she has no intention of revealing the father’s identity and offers this marvellous comment: “I have a very complicated private life, and that’s where I draw the line with the press. I won’t have anything to say on that subject.”

It would be impossible for a political figure in the United States to respond in such a manner. In fact, if an unwed woman in a position of authority in the United States become pregnant, she would most likely be asked to resign, if not fired outright.

The French are grown-ups. French politicians are grown-ups. I think we could learn a thing or two from them.

Now They've Done It

While he already lost Joe Klein, it seems McCain's hissy-fit yesterday - refusing an interview with CNN's Larry King - has really ticked off the press:
But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God." The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.

I thought yesterday that McCain's refusal to do Larry King would turn around and smack him in the face. Now, he's got Joe Freakin' Klein ticked at him. I suspect that in the next few weeks more and more press outlets are going to drop the whole "Maverick!" garbage, and go after this guy hard. The only thing to make it even better would be for Obama to court the press with wine and cheese. Then watch Sen. Screamin' Meemies really lose his cool.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Senator Pouty Pants

Unless the press give him a tongue bath, it is clear McCain wants nothing to do with them.
Yesterday, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds appeared on CNN for an interview with Campbell Brown. Brown was tough on Bounds, refusing to let him spout typical campaign talking points. She repeatedly pressed him on Palin’s foreign policy experience and qualifications, asking him to name one decision that she made as commander-in-chief of the Alaskan National Guard. Bounds was unable to do so.

Today, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer revealed that because of that tough interview, the McCain campaign has canceled the senator’s appearance on Larry King Live tonight. . .

This just keeps getting better and better.

Palin Agonistes II

It seems we might have a Thomas Eagleton moment brewing.
In this afternoon’s New York Times story on the Sarah Palin (R) insanity today was this sentence:

Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina said that he had heard no discussion about removing Ms. Palin from the ticket.

Sometimes, it’s the questions being asked that are more important than the answers.

Expect the drumbeat to get louder as the media starts doing the vetting the McCain campaign didn’t bother to do.

If McCain should drop her - a move that I find highly doubtful, but anything could happen at this point - expect the entire episode to become a talking point in his favor, rather than another mark against his judgment.

Palin Agonistes I

If anything has become clear over the weekend, it's that the McCain campaign did not do any vetting of Gov. Palin before the Senator announced she would be his running mate. It seems she was chosen by a bunch of conservative Christians, who overrode his first choice, Sen. Lieberman of Connecticut (and wouldn't that have been a hoot and a half?).

It is also clear that neither the Republicans nor the McCain campaign think she is prepared for the feeding frenzy in the media. Whether it's lying about when and/or if McCain knew about her daughter's pregnancy, or lying about when and/or if McCain actually had people check out her record for any potential embarrassments, the entire episode smacks of McCain either being frog-marched to his choice by a bunch of hard-right Christians or closing his eyes and pointing at a list of names. Neither scenario bodes well, and Gov. Palin's absence from news programs, from speechifying, from interviews all smacks not of disciplined message control but desperate lid-clamping.

My guess on Friday (I kept it to myself because my track-record on political predictions [Obama/Gore! McCain/Giuliani!] has been pretty poor) was that, while McCain gained a certain advantage by announcing his VP choice the day after Obama's speech; that he gained a certain advantage by naming a relative unknown to his ticket; that his pick managed to dominate the news cycle the entire holiday weekend, edging out Hurricane Gustav; even with all that, I felt that this would be a long-run disaster. My reasons for believing this are simple. First and foremost, despite media-love for the guy, McCain has always managed to display horrid judgment. He sees his campaign not as a way to display his bona fides for governance, but as a way to show he can dominate media coverage. There is something not so much narcissistic as solipsistic about the whole thing. McCain is running for President so that the news reports can be about John McCain. To be frank - I think he just loves all the attention.

Second, his choice of a relative unknown, without a prior release of information to the press on her record as governor of Alaska or mayor of Wasilia should have been proof enough that they had no idea who they had picked. Usually, there's some kind of cursory list - even a bullet-point presentation - but everyone (including most especially me) was sitting around scratching their heads.

Finally, since the first reports concerning Gov. Palin were bad (TrooperGate), then worse (personal issues, membership in a fringe, secessionist political party), I felt confident that this would backfire on McCain. With polling numbers coming out showing Obama pulling away from McCain over the weekend, I think the picture that's emerging will become more and more clear. McCain managed to redirect the fervent gaze of the media on himself and his campaign, but in a way that, as the dust settles, I am quite sure he does not want, or appreciate. She may be loved by the Christian right, but most Americans, even after a cursory look, are shaking their heads and saying, "Nah."

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day

I will just mention that my maternal grandfather was a founding member of the CIO in the state of Ohio, being a machinist. Before that, his father had been a member of the IWW (Go, Wobblies!). My grandfather rose through the union ranks to become head of the political arm of the CIO in the state, and held the post even after the AFL and CIO merged in the 1950's.

My paternal grandfather kept his position with the Lehigh Valley Railroad during the Great Depression because, even though by the 1920's he had moved to a low-level front office job, he kept his union dues paid up. He went back on the road and stayed there until his retirement.

My father was a member in good standing of both the NEA and the NYEA, and was a negotiator with the Waverly, NY Central School District during the 1970's.

All I will say, in the words of the old ILGWU song, is look for the union label.

Monday Music

I recently did a post on the top ten recordings I would take with me if I were stranded on a desert island. This album missed that list, but just barely. The only American record of the past thirty-five years better than Blood On The Tracks is Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run. The interesting thing about Blood On The Tracks is that, on the eve the record was due, Dylan tossed months worth of tapes in the trash, went in to the studio with his band, and recorded the record pretty much live and in one take. At least that is the myth. Rather than a carefully crafted product, Dylan trashed it all and gave us this record that, for all that it has no weak tracks, and some soaring moments of real triumphs, contains one song that is transcendent. With little rehearsal. And in, at most, a couple passes on each song.

First, I love this little tune, "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go":

I don't know who "Idiot Wind" is directed at. Whether it's a personal take on some incident in his life, transformed into myth, or an allegory for how stupid some music critics are (my own opinion is that it is the latter), I think the chorus sums up so much of the right in this country (Idiot wind, blowing every time you open your mouth;. . . You're an idiot, babe, it's a wonder you still know how to breathe):

Finally, "Shelter From The Storm" is one of those songs that is so personal, I wonder how Dylan had the strength not only to compose it, but the courage to perform it. Having said that, on multiple listenings, I now believe it to be Dylan recounting his experience with music, and how fame came with the package; yet, as always, it was music that gives him shelter. Even if that is so, consider how completely exposed Dylan is here. He sings for five minutes about his own weaknesses, his losses, his fears, and there is a "she" who will shelter him. No matter how you interpret this song (and I don't think there is a "correct" interpretation) . . . Damn, this is a beautiful song.


All I will say concerning the discussion of Gov. Palin's daughter is that this type of thing has no place in our public discourse. Period. It has nothing to do with her qualifications (or quite obvious lack thereof) for the Vice Presidency. It is a terrible invasion of the privacy of a seventeen year old girl and her family who have quite enough on their minds right now.

One more thing. John McCain is rightly criticized (although it's difficult to find any mention of the whole incident in traditional media) for a horrible joke he told about Chelsea Clinton (I refuse to repeat it). I fail to see any qualitative distinction between that joke and this post over at tbogg. I say this knowing full well that I will probably get some kind of criticism from someone about this. Sorry, but there is no way anyone can convince me this has any place in a political debate about Gov. Palin's fitness for national office.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Pepsi Challenge

Over here, Marshall Art offers up an article from American Thinker (I do not link to racist, factually-challenged publications, so sorry) and challenges his liberal readers to find fault with it.

It was easy. The author claimed that Sadaam kicked UN weapons inspectors out in 1998, when in fact it was the US did so, ahead of a short but intense bombing campaign given the very-poorly named Operation Desert Fox. They refused to return not because Sadaam was mean to them, but because the United States was attempting to use them as intelligence sources. I linked to the Wikipedia article on Operation Desert Fox, and included a quote from Richard Butler in which he specifically sites US pressure as the reason UN inspectors left ahead of the bombs falling and missiles flying. Marshall's response was, in essence, "So what?"

He asked for evidence there was something wrong with the facts in the article in question, I showed him one instance, indeed one of the first ones used by the author over at AT, and he dismisses it.

There's no pleasing some people.

In order for fairness to reign, I am offering this post by Glenn Greenwald for Marshall to read (yeah, his posts are long, but I figure I read something at American Thinker and that felt long). My challenge to him (and to anyone on the right) is to find a glaring factual error - even a niggling one! - with a link to the source which, in turn, must be fact-based. In other words, I don't want a link to National Review On-Line and an opinion piece by Jonah Goldberg that says "Glenn Greenwald is a silly liberal". The source can be conservative, but the question is not ideological bias, but factual erroneousness.

A Case-Study In Really Dumb

In my childhood and youth, a politician could lie with impunity, because the reaction time was so slow. It might be a day or two before a letter to the editor, or an op-ed, or the occasional "fact check" kind of thing appeared on a news broadcast to point out that Mr. or Ms. Politician was a wee bit stretching in this comment or that statement. Mark Green, one-time McGovern operative, Democratic candidate for mayor of New York City in 2001, and old-style liberal, published a book in 1984 called Ronald Reagan's Reign of Error, a compilation of all sorts of erroneous statements Teh Gipper made during his long and illustrious political career. Sadly, the book was a paperback, and the binding glue failed years ago, but it was a fun little read, reminding me of the kind of person Ronald Reagan was. He enjoyed a good anecdote, a good story that sounded real. As atrios is want to say, facts are stupid things; they get in the way of a good punchline.

Today, it is much more difficult for a politician to lie. Not that they don't. With Google and other search engines, with literally millions of bloggers of any and all political stripe out there waiting to pounce, every tiny detail is given the closest scrutiny to ensure there aren't any statements at variance with the facts. Before sitting down with a reporter for an interview, or putting the earpiece in and getting pancaked before a camera, or sitting with a sycophant like Mike Wallace, it might be important to make sure the facts one has in one's mind are just that and not a steaming pile of poo.

It is for this reason that I am just astounded by John McCain's various performances during this past spring and summer. A day has not passed in which something he has said somewhere has not turned out to be flatly, irrevocably, unmistakably wrong. One would think that, being praised by the press as the best in the business, his Republican handlers would have noted this a while back and cautioned their candidate against making any statement that could be fact-checked. Maybe they would insist on it.

I think that is why I find this kind of thing so astounding. He just sits there and lies. He makes up excuses for not doing something he claims to support. He even manages to dismiss a point of fact as irrelevant.

Does he not realize how bad this makes him look? Does he not care?

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More