Friday, September 26, 2008

Well played, Brave Sir John

Bravo, Sen. McCain. Is this the first time in American history that a major party presidential candidate has threatened to refuse to engage in a public debate? It's got to be unprecedented. Here's my theory: McCain is terrified of how decrepit he will look on TV standing next to Barack Obama. When I was in journalism school, we had extensive lectures on the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon debate. When people watched John F. Kennedy debate Richard Nixon on live TV, it was a blowout. Nixon was clammy and sweaty and jowly and Kennedy radiated youth and confidence. Game over.

John McCain makes Richard Nixon, circa 1960, look like Brad Pitt, circa 1997. Game over once again. Brave indeed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What happens when government doesn't regulate industry

This is what happens. If the Republicans retain control of the government, look for headlines like this--"Toxic Milk Poisons Thousands of Children"--to become commonplace in the U.S.

UPDATE: Mmmm, Republican laissez-faire economics--tastes like rocket fuel!

What we're up against


When I was a newspaper reporter back in the mid-1990s I covered this very town. Hung out with the cops and the firemen, chatted up the school board, sat through God knows how many hours of planning board meetings. It's hard for me to believe this kind of blatant racism will be tolerated there, but who knows. Fear combined with ignorance makes people do spectacularly stupid things, like voting against their own self-interest.

Did you know that under John McCain's health care plan, 158 million Americans risk losing their employer-provided health insurance? If this doesn't scare the shit out of you, you're not paying attention. And this is just one of the many, many things McCain and the Republicans will do, if elected, to further drive this country into the ground. But only if we let them. Do you think the guy who can't remember how many houses he owns--the guy who owns 13 cars--will fight for your middle-class interests? Please.

You have a choice, America. You can give in to your lizard-brain fears of the guy who looks different from you, or you can take a chance on real change. It's up to you.

Monday, September 22, 2008


We recently picked up a bargain bin copy of the Madagascar DVD, and it's been in heavy rotation in our house these days. The Peanut loves it--especially Mort the mouse lemur. I think the penguins are by far the funniest thing in the movie, though.

So I've been walking around for days saying, "We're gonna blow this dump!"--quoting the main penguin, "The Skipper." This cracks the Peanut up to no end. Thus it was awkward when, as we packed up to go home from a playdate at a friend's house yesterday, the Peanut declared, "We're gonna blow this dump!" which prompted a blank stare from the other kid's mommy, who of course had not seen "Madagascar" and simply thought the Peanut was calling her house a dump.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The princess and the superhero

Lately around our house the subject of Halloween is coming up almost as often as the subject of the Peanut's impending 4th birthday. ("Is it my birthday yet?" Is it my birthday NOW?") She keeps going back and forth between her original idea, some kind of superhero costume, and Princess Jasmine, who she simply LOVES. It looks at this point as if Jasmine will emerge victorious, which makes me sigh because I've been railing for so long against the insidious impact of the Disney princess narrative. She's seen bits and pieces of the "Aladdin" movie, which I have to admit I do love even in spite of its being a Disney princess movie, and ever since then I swear to God she has been talking about getting married. Allow me to repeat: SHE IS 3. It makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Anyway, I loved the idea of her being, as she put it, a "purple superhero." Using her powers of near-supernatural cuteness only for good. Fighting bad guys by shooting adorability rays out from between her unbelievably long eyelashes. Etc. But it seems it is not to be, at least not this Halloween. There's always next year!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The ad the Obama campaign should have made

THIS is what they should be doing in their advertising. Fighting back HARD against the disgusting McCain ad that says Obama wants to "teach sex ed in kindergarten" when the real intent of the law the ad references was to talk to young children about avoiding "stranger danger."

Where is the campaign? What the hell are they doing?? We the voters want them to bring a goddamn nuclear bomb to this knife fight. So far they've come with water balloons. Even though I have been very confident so far that Obama can win the election, I think he's in danger of blowing it if he doesn't prove he's tough enough to win. Ads that go nuclear would be an excellent place to start.

UPDATE: OK, it appears they're on top of it. Freakout over for the moment anyway.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven years

Where's Osama bin Laden? Oh, that's right, we can't find him. Oh well.

To understand the significance of this, let's play my favorite game: "Imagine if (fill-in-the-blank) was said/done by a Democrat." Imagine for a moment that the worst-ever terrorist attack on American soil had occurred on the watch of a Democratic president. Then imagine said president not being forced to resign immediately in disgrace. Try not to snort coffee on your keyboard laughing at this premise.

But since we're in the realm of fantasy, let's just say that this theoretical Democratic president not only was able to stay in office but later "elected" to a second term with the help of illegal voter list purging in Ohio, among other dirty tricks. Then let's say that several MORE years had gone by with no progress in apprehending the alleged foreign mastermind of the attacks. Try to imagine what they'd be screaming about in the bought-and-paid-for corporate media on the 7th anniversary of the event. Methinks it would be something other than this (the lead story on CNN at lunchtime today).

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Do other people's kids talk like this?

The Peanut has developed a very distinctive speech pattern where she puts a lot of emphasis on certain words. I keep trying to figure out where this comes from, and I now suspect she is imitating us when we speak to her and, without meaning to, emphasize certain words she's having trouble pronouncing or whatever. This weird emphasis thing, combined with the usual 3-year-old tendency to jump very quickly from topic to topic, is a scream when she goes off on a monologue, as she often does when we're in the car. Also she says "Mama?" after practically every sentence to make sure I'm still listening. So she sounds like this:

I wish we could just FLY to school because then we'd get there faster. I wish the car had WINGS. But we'd have to be careful not to make too many turns or I'll BARF again. I hate it when I BARF in the car. Mama? Did you know people can SHRINK? Yesterday Owen said when he and his cousin went in the ocean when they were on vacation, they went all the way to the bottom and they SHRINKED! For REAL, Mama! And then when they came out of the water they UNSHRINKED! I wonder how they did that? Mama?

I don't like pink anymore. Now my favorite colors are purple and teal and KUR-QUOISE. Kur-twoise? Quor-quoise? That's a hard word to say. Maybe we can find me a superhero Halloween costume with ALL my favorite colors in it, even QUOR-TOO-QUOISE. Maybe we can get a little superhero costume for Mainey (the Peanut's teddy bear--full name: Main Teddy. It's a long story). She can have a little cape and we can FIGHT BAD GUYS! Mama? Can you make Mainey a little tiny superhero cape? That would be SO CUTE!

Mama? At my birthday party I get the PRESENTS, right Mama? And everybody else gets the GOODIES? Do we have goodie bags for the party yet, Mama? Is it October yet? It's my birthday SOON, right? Mama?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

This is why I love the English...

...They have such a highly-developed sense of the ridiculous. They're having some kind of street theater festival in Liverpool, during which a 50-foot mechanical spider which is currently perched on the side of a building, will be let loose to roam the streets as part of the festivities. Good times. I can just imagine walking around the city with the Peanut, checking out the art exhibits, maybe getting a snack, enjoying the overall vibe as we did in London a few weeks ago, and then we turn a corner and come upon a spider the size of a house.


Also, best comment from the above Huffington Post story:
To see that thing crash the Republic National Convention with an Obama sticker on it would have been cool. Nothing suits me better than a bunch of terrified racists.

Friday, September 05, 2008

All over but the shouting

So, what a crazy couple of weeks. I’ve had about 65 moments of witnessing some Republican atrocity on TV and spluttering with rage while simultaneously realizing what a great blog post it would make, yet I’ve been way too busy to post. I’m really glad this train wreck of a convention is over now so I can finally collect my thoughts on it. I’ve been going back and forth on the significance of Sarah Palin and the overall meaning of the hard-right tack taken by the McCain campaign, but today, after the old man’s acceptance speech last night, I’m actually feeling pretty confident. What do the Republicans have to offer middle-class America? A big fat pile of nothing. With a generous side order of hypocrisy.

Good Christ on a bike (as a friend of mine used to say) it simply cannot be possible that the country will be taken in by this pile of crapola AGAIN. Right? Please tell me that’s not possible. I mean, really…Obama bases his entire campaign on the theme of “change.” The last eight years have sucked for everyone but the uber-wealthy. This is beyond dispute. So what does McCain come back with? What’s his response to Obama’s message of reform? Two messages: “Vote for us and we’ll put ultra-right-wing theocrats in charge of everything,” coupled with “We’re going to clean up this mess around here.” And there you sit in your living room, listening to this clamor for “reform” from the political equivalent of the Gambino crime family, wondering whether you’ve slipped down some wormhole in the space-time continuum where GEORGE BUSH AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY DIDN’T CONTROL THE WHITE HOUSE, THE CONGRESS AND THE COURTS FOR THE LAST EIGHT YEARS. Does nobody see the problem with this? The Republicans’ whole bid for four more years of executive power is that they’re going to fix the mess made over the last eight years by, well, pretty much all the same Republicans, enacting pretty much the same policies they are currently promoting. OK then. No cognitive dissonance there.

Meanwhile the Republican party has suddenly discovered feminism, which is highly amusing on a number of levels. They made Hilary Clinton out to have horns and cloven hooves, and excoriated her mercilessly when she cried sexism (rightly or wrongly) during her presidential bid. Yet their new standard bearer, AK-47 Moose-Murdering Barbie, no one may dare criticize, lest the entire Republican establishment simultaneously explode with righteous rage. How dare the press try to ask her questions about her professional and political background, just because she aspires to be the second most powerful person in the world? How dare they print stories about her pregnant 17-year-old daughter, after the McCain campaign itself announced the girl was pregnant? For the record I agree the whole teen pregnancy thing should be out of bounds in the media coverage of the campaign. It has no relevance either to Palin’s experience or to her qualifications. That said—they put out a freeeeking press release about it. They didn’t expect anyone to run a story? Are these people living on Mars?

It’s also quite fun to see how the Republicans are suddenly leaping to the defense of working mothers. All these years they’ve been demonizing ordinary women who have babies and then go back to work out of economic necessity, yet when Sarah Palin launches a vice presidential bid four months after giving birth to a special needs infant, all they have is praise for her. Imagine, just imagine, if Michelle Obama was the one who had recently had the Down syndrome baby. All we’d hear 24/7 is how scandalous it is that she left the side of the newborn baby to go off campaigning. Also, needless to say, just imagine the shitstorm if it was the Obamas who had the pregnant teenage daughter, by the way. The script they would follow writes itself: “Don’t these blacks know how to raise their kids right?”

And am I the only one who thinks McCain just looks tired? He looks like he wants to go home. I don’t think his heart is in this anymore. I’m actually starting to feel sorry for him. He had his moment, eight years ago, but it’s slipping out of his grasp and I think he knows it. He looks defeated. He has had a hard life, and he deserves to sit on the porch with a drink in his hand, watching his grandkids (does he have any grandkids yet? Presumably he will soon enough) playing. He should go on a long vacation and spend some more of Cindy’s money. Maybe take a nice cruise.

Because after that ginormous clusterf*!k of a convention—they are so clueless, they couldn’t even keep the protestors out of the building! They’re so inept, they Google-searched for a photo of Walter Reed Medical Center and came up with some elementary school with Walter Reed in the name, and nobody caught the mistake!—it’s all over but the celebrations on the day we inaugurate President Barack Obama.

UPDATE: I almost forgot: how hilarious was it when, at the end of McCain's speech, they put up a video of fireworks on that giant screen behind the stage? Take that, Obama campaign. You guys had real fireworks but we had, uh, really nice pictures of fireworks!

If that doesn't sum up this whole presidential race I don't know what does.