In the manure lagoon.

Eric Zorn takes note of a Republican women’s club in California that used one of the seemingly scores of racist Obama caricatures in a newsletter. This one, to be specific:

food stamp

Anyone care to guess what their reaction was when called on it? Anyone? Yes, you there in the back — Coozledad, is it?

“What is, ‘Who, me? Racist?'”


Anyway, I’ve seen quite a few of these in my perambulations around the web. There’s this one:

watermelon one

And this one:

(Image removed at photographer’s request, who directs us to the original, unaltered picture, before it was co-opted by racists.)

From an Israeli newspaper:

black white house

(He’s painting the White House black, get it? Get it?)

Of course, what self-respecting campaign featuring a black candidate would it be without a huge-Afro image?


He’s a furriner, you know:


And a rapper:


And I could go on. I won’t.

I found these images in about 15 minutes of Googling (“racist obama” in Google Images was my best bet), but I see them all the time, sometimes with a comment that the poster knows it’s offensive, but it was “just too funny” not to pass along. I really have to wonder about people who can insulate themselves from reality to this degree. This explains, I guess, why so many of these pictures turn up in places where you’d think someone would know better — GOP newsletters, for example.

Today’s question for the room: Any thoughts? I know this welcomes a whole lot of back-patting and other head-nodding, but I’m really looking for a little cogitation here.

In other bloggage at this hour, the inevitable hits local government: A decrease in tax revenues, thanks to foreclosures, means local municipalities must cut services. Here it means layoff notices for sheriff’s deputies. Meanwhile, I heard through the local gossip grapevine that the contractor who has the dead ash-tree removal task from one of our local municipalities is very careful to take the trees down without major damage to their meaty bits, which he cuts into 12-foot sections and promptly sells to a flooring manufacturer nearby. Win-win! Can we put this guy in charge of something involving taxpayer money where we might get a little back?

“W.” has been getting generally bleh reviews. Trust Roger Ebert to swim against the tide. Four stars! Get outta town.

OK. Off to work and time to get into my zombie head. Braaaainns… braaainnns.

Posted at 10:40 am in Current events |

94 responses to “In the manure lagoon.”

  1. Crabby said on October 17, 2008 at 11:09 am

    The original un-shopped Palin pic came from here:

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  2. Peter said on October 17, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Oh brother, why am I not suprised? On the other hand, resorting to caricatures like that is a good indication that the GOP has gone from winning to bitching.

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  3. brian stouder said on October 17, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Well, if we are to skip past head nodding and back patting, let me say that this sort of “humor” or “satire” is really just lazy, and it is an equal-opportunity thing, in national politics (for example)

    Hell, Sarah Palin is essentially a walking self-parody. There was an article in Time a week ago or so about Real Sarah versus Tina-Sarah, and by the end of it my head was spinning. And it’s all too easy to dismiss McCain as a dottering old fool (which is surely an unfair caricature of the man), when he seemingly wanders the stage at a debate, and when his campaign lurches all over the place with contradictory messages (which one expects, when a campaign is trending toward defeat, and it wants to try and change that trend!)

    Look at how they lampooned Abe Lincoln’s physical appearance. The guy was very tall and boney, and so that gets exaggerated. If you didn’t like him, you draw him as a baboon. The guy was labeled a “black Republican”, and so you might also draw in any number of iterations of what he might be doing with various non-white people.

    Bill Clinton had his astroturf-lined pickup, and any number of other “Bubba” things to lampoon; Nixon had the long nose of a Pinnochio-like liar; and W reminds many of a monkey. And surely, there was no bottom to what some people think is “witty”, with regard to politicicans they don’t like.

    By way of saying, this all strikes me as akin to those rubber testicles that some folks hang from the back of their vehicle; the thing itself is of course in poor taste and lamentable (‘yadda yadda yadda’, as Seinfeld would say), but the real question is whether the person who proudly displays it realizes just what their choice says about them. They make an assumption about what “we” all “know” and agree upon. Their horizons are not wide enough to encompass the possibility that their point of view is not universal (“Me? Racist? Hell no!! I just thought it was funny, doncha know” or – in the case of the testicles – “Me? An exhibitionist pervert? Hell no!!” etc)

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  4. nancy said on October 17, 2008 at 11:20 am

    At this point I’m contractually obligated to acknowledge that yes, I’ve seen the “Sarah Palin is a cunt” T-shirts, but I had to work very hard to find them, and I’ve seen them in precisely one photo. It’s not like they’re out there on the street.

    Carry on.

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  5. LAMary said on October 17, 2008 at 11:45 am

    When Hillary was still in the running, one of my male co-workers showed me a very sexist, tasteless joke his grandfather had sent him. I don’t remember the joke, but it wasn’t funny. My comment to him after reading it was, “Ha ha. It’s funny Hillary has a vagina, isn’t it?” Apart from being racist, this stuff is just stupid.

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  6. brian stouder said on October 17, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Exactly, Mary. And when a colleague or friend presents it, the social requirement is to respond; and there is a credit-line that they (the presenter) are drawing upon, taking for granted that you “get it”. And if you give a polite chuckle, then you are in the manure laogoon; and if you don’t chuckle, then you have called them out – “made an issue”…and it is irritating to consider that this person wants to pull you into the manure lagoon. It is presumptuous and offensive in the extreme – as if you’re at a restaurant and the people at the next table are arguing a point (in the most stupid and uninformed way), and one or the other faction want to drag you into their utterly stupid conversation, and have you take their side

    I think the presumptiveness of the people who traffic this stuff is what is offensive; as Mary points out, the objects themselves are just stupid (and in the age of photohop, they’re lazy, too)

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  7. Laura said on October 17, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    The images are disappointing, though not unexpected. FYI, the Supreme Court just ruled against the Ohio GOP in the voter registration case.

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  8. Laura said on October 17, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Kirk, I’m curious: do you still think The Dispatch will endorse McCain?

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  9. Jonathan said on October 17, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    One thing that recently struck me was just how racist the “accusations” of Obama being an “Arab” or a “Muslim” are. I have to admit to not really noticing just how ugly it was when, after hearing someone yell out “Arab” at an Obama mention, that McCain had to correct him by saying “No, he’s not that at all. He’s a family loving man”, like “Arabs’ or “Muslims” are some horrible boogeyman that can’t be defended any other way. Very unsettling to me that I never noticed the dichotomy.

    I also read an interesting thing that discussed how to react when someone tells a racist or sexist joke – play dumb and ask why it is supposed to be funny. When they trot out the stereotype it is supposed ribbing on, question the stereotype itself. Perfect.

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  10. brian stouder said on October 17, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Laura – that is very, very heartening news!

    Here in Indiana, the GOP has launched a major legal challenge to hundreds of thousands of early votes – specifically in Lake County (aka East Chicago)

    If they pull that off, aside from disenfranchising large numbers of Americans, they could also steal Indiana away from Obama and gift the state’s 11 electoral votes to McCain

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  11. Kirk said on October 17, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    As I said before, I have no inside info, am not privy to the deliberations and don’t want to be, but I still would be very surprised if The Dispatch blessed Obama.

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  12. Gasman said on October 17, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    The above imagery is why I won’t vote for a Republican anywhere, ever, until the party cleans house. Since at least Nixon’s Southern Strategy, which was a campaign based upon thinly veiled racism, the party has openly courted the votes of white bigots.

    The latest strategy of the McCain/Palin campaign is to incite the increasingly hate filled crowds who attend their rallies by impugning Sen. Obama’s character. McCain feigns surprise and outrage at offensive remarks made by these mental Lilliputians, and in the same breath claims to be a victim of similar remarks by Obama’s supporters. This is a damn lie meant to divert attention and responsibility from McCain. I would note that John McCain has still not openly and plainly denounced those supporters of his who have called for acts of violence against Sen. Obama.

    These acts are not isolated incidents, they are commonplace at McCain/Palin rallies. I would note that Gov. Palin seems to be especially fond of inciting the mobs which attend her rallies. This divisive tone has fostered racism beyond the rally mobs. Now the local GOP women of San Bernardino feel emboldened enough to bring out their sheets too. When a group like the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated, a largely philanthropic group associated with The San Bernardino County Republican Party can send out an overtly racist depiction of Barrack Obama, we should all be willing to agree that the splenetic tone of the McCain/Palin campaign has gone too far.

    John McCain and Sarah Palin will be directly responsible for any acts of violence which arise from this climate of fear and hate that they have knowingly helped create. This is not patriotism, this is the basest sort of hatespeak that they cultivate. Those supporters who do not speak out against this increasingly violent tone of McCain’s fellow supporters are guilty of at least tacit endorsement of such ignorance and hateful calls for violence.

    I have reached the limit of my patience with McCain, he has crossed the line. His burning lust for the presidency is so great that he is willing to sacrifice all and leave the country in smoldering ruins if he can’t have his way. Given the profoundly dishonorable depths to which his campaign has descended, how can any reasonable thinking person support McCain any longer?

    The McCain/Palin campaign demographic appears increasingly to be the disaffected lunatic right wing fringe of the Republican Party. The McCain/Palin message has become so strident, so divisive, so offensive that it can only appeal to those who are either congenitally or willfully too ignorant to discern its dangerous content, or those who willingly accept the deception and the inciting of the mobs as the price to pay to take the White House.

    Where is the honor in the McCain/Palin campaign? Where is the patriotism? Where is the basic sense of decency? Where is there any evidence of “Country First?”

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  13. Kirk said on October 17, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Lots of people seem to figure that, as they don’t shoot at or spit on people just because they’re not white, they’re not racists.

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  14. Dwight said on October 17, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Disgusting and inexcusable on every level. Period. Full Stop.

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  15. Catherine said on October 17, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I don’t want to say that racism is “just” another form of ad hominem attack. It’s worse, for a lot of historical reasons. But it does seem to come up in situations where people are incapable of talking civilly about the issues. Either they know they’ve lost on the issues, or they were never taught rational thought, or they have fears based on insecurities of their own. That someone goes negative is, as Brian says, more of a reflection on him or herself than anything else.

    My 11 YO asked my husband and me the other night who we would vote for, and why. We had two different answers, and I’m relieved that we kept it on the issues & positive for our discussion with her; that is, we said why we each liked our candidates. Then, she asked, why won’t you vote for the other candidate? That gets less positive, of course… and I wound up saying I don’t trust McCain’s judgment. But it was a good conversation, and it would be nice if things could play out on the national stage as civilly.

    Afterwards, I asked DH if he’s really still gonna vote for this guy who wants to take away so many civil rights and liberties, and, shocker, he said if Hillary were on the ballot, he would’ve considered voting for her. So, I have, what, 18 days to continue bringing him around!

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  16. James said on October 17, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Whenever I talk to folks about why they’re still “on the fence” or “worried” about a president Obama, they deny vehemently any racism, and start talking about how some of their best friends are black.

    Here’s my take on the GOP hate rallies, and especially that moment when it seemed too much for McCain.

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  17. Laura said on October 17, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Pretty spot-on, James.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on October 17, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Just last night we were discussing how six months ago both of us would have felt comfortable with McCain as president. Sadly, he has unleashed the kind of vitriolic trash that is hidden most of the time. I don’t think he believes in it himself; he’s just listening to all the advisors who don’t think he can be elected any other way. But it’s unforgiveable.

    Catherine, good luck on converting your DH. It’s a joy to me that mine is so compatible in this area (and truly, in most!).

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  19. Linda said on October 17, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    What a lot of racists and sexists posit, especially in the last 20 or so years, is that they are the oppressed ones–that “the establishment” has created a world of “political correctness” where nobody can get picked on but white males. So, in this bizarro universe, they are not oppressing anybody, but are thrillingly rebellious, bravely fighting the forces of conformity. On a thread a few days ago, some dope said that a movie like “Blazing Saddles” couldn’t be made anymore, because it wasn’t “p.c.” I pointed out that there are lots of un-p.c. people working in comedy now, like Carlos Mencia, but many of them work in tired stereotypes and confuse offensive for ground-breaking.

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  20. nancy said on October 17, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Julie, Alan said more or less the exact same thing to me the other day, the six-months-ago thing. This is the price you pay for selling your soul, I guess.

    And the thing is? It’s not working. At the end of it, he’s still on track for a humiliating defeat, along with the squandering of a reputation he worked very hard for. Pity.

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  21. Catherine said on October 17, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Yes, Julie & Nancy, I’ve had that conversation with DH, too, although insert 2000 for 6 months ago.

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  22. Jen said on October 17, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    I find racist jokes disgusting, but more than that – they’re not even REMOTELY creative. I’m OK with un-p.c., edgy humor, but it has to be creative. “Blazing Saddles” is a perfect example. The humor is still fresh today, because it uses tired, stupid, racist stereotypes in a different way. It is one of my all-time favorite movies. A joke that essentially says that Obama eats watermelon and KFC because he’s black is just stupid.

    It’s things like this that really irk me, and really make me not want to vote Republican, despite the fact I have tended to lean that way in the past. I don’t think Obama is a perfect candidate either, and I think some of his plans, while well-intentioned, will not necessarily work the way he intends. He doesn’t have a lot of experience, and the fact that he came out of Chicago politics can’t be ignored. But I’ll be darned if I can find much nice to say about McCain’s policies or his supporters, either.

    My brother-in-law, an incredibly smart guy who follows politics and has a degree in political science, said he’s thinking of voting Libertarian this year. I think I might have to stand with him on that one.

    Anyway, I’m off to see “W.”, to review for the paper. (I can’t wait to see the reaction of our conservative little town. I can’t even believe it’s playing here.) We’ll see if it’s as good as Ebert says it is.

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  23. Catherine said on October 17, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    I’m interested to see W (unlike most of Stone’s films) because of an interview I read with Josh Brolin (sorry I don’t have a link). He, it might be inferred, had many of W’s issues with his own wildly successful father, James Brolin. Genius casting, potentially.

    And no, I’m not sure how to apply that to a zombie movie.

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  24. Jolene said on October 17, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    What a lot of racists and sexists posit, especially in the last 20 or so years, is that they are the oppressed ones–that “the establishment” has created a world of “political correctness” where nobody can get picked on but white males.

    I’ve mentioned before that I occasionally read a right-wing blog. It’s a downscale community–definitely not associated w/ National Review–and I see this idea mentioned constantly, along w/ the idea that, if Obama is elected, there’ll be no putting up with any talk about racial inequality because, you know, if we have a black president, that means thereare no further barriers. I’ve never heard so much fear, anger, and irrationality. Really incredible. One of the themes that crops up is what will happen if Obama loses–the idea being that blacks will riot–but I’m more worried about them.

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  25. Gasman said on October 17, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    When in the history of our nation have we ever had a perfect candidate for president? George Washington and Abraham Lincoln had their flaws, and they are the gold standard by which we judge all others. It’s silly to expect this election to be any different. Do not unfairly judge a candidate against some mythical standard of perfection. However, when you look at the sum total of each candidate’s words and deeds, both before and during this campaign, Obama is clearly more of a statesman and far more in keeping with our notions of what kind of conduct is presidential. You may disagree with some of Obama’s policies – hell, I do, and I’m a zealous liberal Obama supporter – but you cannot disagree as to who has conducted their campaign with a greater degree of dignity and magnanimity.

    As for Bob Barr, his conduct during the political lynching of President Clinton renders him unfit for any elected office in perpetuity, in my opinion. By supporting an overtly inappropriate application of impeachment, he was more than willing to risk the viability of the constitution in order to gain a transient partisan advantage over a popular president whom the Republican party could not best politically. Barr hasn’t been sleazy in the same manner as McCain, but he certainly fails the patriot test.

    In that three way contest, there seems to be but one man whose conduct has been consistently honorable.

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  26. Jolene said on October 17, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Jen: I’m voting for Obama because I see him as someone capable of understanding and becoming knowledgeable about the full range of issues the president must address. Of course, I support his positions too, but it’s his understanding of the world and of our country that is most impressive.

    McCain is, essentially, a war and peace guy. Lately, he seems to have developed something of an interest in climate change, but his real issues are duty, honor, and country. Apart from the obvious example of his imprisonment, he’s never had to think hard about his own well-being or that of anyone close to him. He’s a military romantic, and we’ve had enough of that.

    Obama, on the other hand, is, I believe, genuinely interested in health care, education, transportation, energy, the environment–the full catastrophe. And he understands the relationship between them–that education is the foundation of national competitiveness, that energy consumption patterns are linked to environmental issues and national security.

    I don’t mean that McCain can’t think in these ways, but it’s not what comes naturally to him. He’s not a 21st century man. The time when the United States could maintain its way of life by selling more cars and building bigger guns is long over, and we need someone who understands that and can give us a new vision.

    Also heartening is that, despite his limited experience, we can see in Obama someone pays attention to getting things done. His campaign is a marvel of creativity and organization. Several analysts have written about this, and I can post the links if you’re interested. The takeaway point, though, is that there would be no Katrinas under a President Obama.

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  27. brian stouder said on October 17, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Jolene – you have pretty much refined and encapsulated precisely my feelings and reactions to the presidential aspirations of Senators Obama and McCain.

    This sentence, though, threw me –

    Obama, on the other hand, is, I believe, genuinely interested in health care, education, transportation, energy, the environment–the full catastrophe.

    hmmmmm. “cornucopia”? “continuum”? “Monte”? “spectrum”?

    Aside from that, a bit of trivia: the ship that McCain flew off of, on his way to his 6 year layover in Hanoi, was the USS Oriskany (CV-34)*, which had been my dad’s ship, back in the 1950’s….which, if this was 20 years ago, would be enough to exert lots of pull upon my vote.

    * The ship is now a man-made reef off of Pensacola (a very interesting Discovery Channel show exists, about how they sank her out there. If my dad had been alive to see it, it surely would have affected him

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  28. Dexter said on October 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    This shit is disgusting. I agree with Dwight.
    The only one with class was the paint-rolling Obama…what African American could not cheer that one?
    I was surprised to see a pitcher of Kool-Aid on the racist’s money bill…where was the grape drink?

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  29. Jolene said on October 17, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Brian: Here’s the source of “the full catastrophe.” It’s been generalized to mean, roughly, “all of life” or “everything that can befall us”.

    If you google it, you’ll find lots of entries. In particular, Jon Kabat-Zinn made it famous with his book, Full Catastrophe Living.

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  30. joodyb said on October 17, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    brian, AG trying to scrub rolls in Wisconsin – GOP making these efforts in many states where elections procedures are dubious or laws recently changed.
    no one cares to this day about the Diebold question in Ohio in 00 and 04. interesting. and it will probably happen again, the same way.

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  31. brian stouder said on October 17, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Jolene – well, I learn something new every day, especially here at nn.c, it seems!

    Full Catastrophe Living, eh? Well, I guess I’ll have to rent that Quinn movie (I’m still chuckling over last week’s rediscovery of Dr Strangelove; a very nice dvd rental, out of the dollar-for-a-week racks)

    joodyb, with this year’s crop of Ohio GOP operatives knocked out of commission by the Supremes, I was breathing easier. But your cautionary note is well taken

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  32. Jonathan said on October 17, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Chicago Tribune, for the first time in its history, endorses a Democrat:

    Not sure just how surprising that is, given Obama’s political roots, but still…

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  33. alex said on October 17, 2008 at 4:41 pm


    The “came out of Chicago politics” meme is overplayed and has about as much merit as “pals around with terrorists.”

    I lived in Chicago. And let me tell you, from the start Obama’s been outside the establishment. He pissed off the Chicago machine from the very beginning, when he ran for a state legislative seat and won in the primary; the occupant of that seat had run for higher office and lost in the primary and the machine demanded that Obama step aside and let the other politician keep her seat. He refused and then went on to win in the general election.

    Later he tried to run for Congress challenging Bobby Rush, a former Black Panther backed by the Chicago machine, and lost.

    Years later he ran for the Senate. Again, Obama wasn’t favored to win at all. The Chicago machine had a much better known and well-funded Dem candidate and the Illinois GOP also had a very well-known, well-funded candidate. Fortuitously for Obama, the Dem front-runner was exposed by his enemies as a wife beater and had to withdraw from the race and Obama won the primary. Then, as luck would have it, the GOP’s candidate was brought down in a sex scandal. The GOP then tried to run fringe lunatic Alan Keyes against Obama, and the rest is history.

    So you see, he’s had quite a charmed journey on his path to the presidency. And he wasn’t a Chicago machine politician, just as he wasn’t the Dems’ anointed one in this presidential race. The party establishment wanted Hillary. Glad they didn’t get their way.

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  34. LAMary said on October 17, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Jonathan, I will always read that as Tiny Earl, every time I see it.

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  35. Jolene said on October 17, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Alex, isn’t it also true that the Chicago machine ain’t what it used to be? I lived in Chicago for several years, but it’s a long time ago, and I haven’t kept up. My impression, though, is that since The Old Man died, things haven’t been quite the same, despite the continued presence of the Daleys at the top of the political ladder.

    The Washington Post, by the way, also endorsed Obama today, and Fred Hiatt came online to discuss their reasoning.

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  36. coozledad said on October 17, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    My wife and I just got back from walking a targeted canvass in Roxboro. It’s wet today, and finally starting to feel like fall. Our campaign has until now been operating out of Miracle’s Barber Shop. This black-owned business sits on what used to be Gallows Hill, where all the lynchings were carried out, up until the early sixties. The tree the toothless crackers used to carry out these acts has been bulldozed away, but a house that burned down near the site happened to char a hundred year old oak that sort of helps your imagination along.
    Our second office, the one that affords us wi/fi, is a small flower and gift shop on Depot St. that shares the building with a very unhappy old white worm who runs a store catering to the blood diamond trade. He’s been complaining to the landlord about the Obama signs hanging in the window. I’m going to hang some signs on the Obama side of the building tomorrow and hopefully I’ll simultaneously be watching the old fuck have an ischemic event, or piss his pants, or stretch himself out on the sidewalk and have an eye-rolling John McCain shit hemorrhage.
    Oh, and lest I forget. There are no racists down here,either. Just defensive, violent people with substandard cortical wiring.

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  37. Jen said on October 17, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Hmmm, all good things to think about. Luckily I still have a little time to make a final decision, and do some good solid research!

    I hate to think of myself as a one-issue voter, but I’m really, really concerned about the health care issue, because my husband is a cancer survivor and health insurance is a pain in the butt because of it. At first blush, Obama’s health care plan seems to be better than McCain’s for people with medical problems/pre-existing conditions/etc., but I really need to do my research before I vote. (I haven’t been keeping up as well as I’d like, because I’ve been more concerned with working two jobs and trying to help my husband find a new job – which, by the way, he did! Yay!)

    “W.” is an interesting movie. I’m still not sure how I feel about it – I’m going to have to ponder it. It was DEFINITELY well-acted, almost to a creepy degree, and it was put together well. I’d really like to see a movie about George W. Bush in 20 years, or to watch this one in 20 years, after we know how the whole Iraq War turned out. The end really hammers the question, “What is G.W. Bush’s legacy?” and, of course, we can’t REALLY know that until we’ve taken a step back and looked at it through the lens of history.

    Also, completely off-topic, I LOVE a good zombie movie. Kind of makes me want to go home and watch a “Night of the Living Dead”-“Shaun of the Dead” double feature!

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  38. alex said on October 17, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Jolene, the Chicago machine’s still going strong. When veteran politician John Stroger died a few years ago, the machine handed his office over to his incompetent son, Todd Stroger. The media made a huge ruckus about the blatant nepotism, but family dynasties are the norm in the Windy City.

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  39. brian stouder said on October 17, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Plus, Governor Blagojavich (spelling?) is wildly unpopular all across the state, and he will go to prison when he leaves office (as all Illinois governors do anymore, it seems). All across Illinois, he won in only one county…..

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  40. Jolene said on October 17, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks for the rundown, Alex.

    Jen, I posted this article re the two candidate’s health care plans last week because I found it unusually clear in terms of getting at the essential difference between them. Since you want to do research on this topic, I thought I’d post it again in case you missed it. Short summary: McCain’s health care plan is awful for people who actually need health care.

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  41. alex said on October 17, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Blago’s also part of a dynasty, hence the hubris. His father-in-law’s a big Chicago machine politician.

    The Tribune says it better than I could (scroll down a ways to see its endorsement of Obama, the first Democratic presidential candidate ever endorsed in the paper’s history):

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  42. Gasman said on October 17, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    As if Palin’s unethical behavior wasn’t bad enough already, there’s this:

    Even Nixon didn’t try this crap. I am going to enjoy watching Gov. Palin’s demise. After she loses the upcoming election, she will not be able to enjoy the relative anonymity that she was previously afforded in Alaskan politics. The national and international media will continue to press for the e-mails and she will be smacked down in court. I predict that she will not serve out her entire term as governor.

    She will also be the sacrificial scapegoat for the diehard McCain supporters. It will be Sarah The Guilty that was responsible for McCain’s defeat. She hid the skeletons in her closet too well, she went off message too often, she fomented the ugliness at the end of the campaign against McCain’s better judgement, or so the McCainanites will say. McCain has shown no sense of honor during the campaign, why should he start once it is over? She should enjoy the next two weeks, because after that, her life is going to get very unpleasant.

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  43. moe99 said on October 17, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    an untypical Homecoming reminiscence:

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  44. Deborah said on October 17, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    I’m still in New Mexico, but came back from a hike and read that the Trib has endorsed Obama. Now, in my 5 years so far in Chicago I’ve never subscribed to the Trib and rarely read it. I actually cried while reading the endorsement aloud to my husband. The first Dem ever in like 161 years or something! Granted he’s got deep deep Chicago connections, but I was totally surprised the Trib would do this. Makes me want to reconsider the Trib, and maybe actually subscribe to reward them for doing the right thing.

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  45. Gasman said on October 17, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Where abouts in New Mexico?

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  46. Bill said on October 17, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Where to start. We visited Albuquerque last week and were able to see the Friday morning Balloon Fiesta with the launching of 85 special shaped balloons. The rest of the weekend was a wind-out (above 10 mph). So, we went to Santa Fe and gawked at the aspens and ate New Mexican cuisine.

    The McCain-Obama thing has had me in tizzy, but in spite of living in the Chicago area, I’m tilting to OB. He’s a typical Chicago pol. He’ll say anything and do anything to get elected. But he has the ability to evoke optimism and hope. And his running mate has some ability and experience. Living in Illinois, it really doesn’t matter if I vote. OB is going to take the state. My congresswoman (R) is going to win. The rest don’t matter. But, I’m planning to vote early and avoid the rush and any last minute surprises.

    Gasman, the Church Street Cafe was excellent.

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  47. brian stouder said on October 17, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    moe – that was an atypical homecoming!!

    This passage made me laugh out loud –

    Stewie was known around campus as ‘the incredible horny man’ because he had a habit, freshman week of wearing a trench coat around campus and not much else. He reportedly did this to impress the girls (remember this was before women’s lib had made a dent yet in some colleges and many of us, even girls, just sorta took it in weary stride). Stewie and a confederate appeared in the student dining commons on afternoon as lunch was in full swing and Stewie started belting out “Duke of Earl”.

    Somehow, your observation that ‘lunch was in full swing’ just cracked me up!

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  48. del said on October 17, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Jen, regarding your election decision I have to second Jolene’s 3:35 p.m. post. Very insightful. [And Jolene, thanks for explaining Full Catastrophe Living. I knew what you meant but to me the expression had rested on a John Mellancamp song, The Full Catastrophe of Life. Great song.]

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  49. brian stouder said on October 17, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Hey, I just read this on – and I gotta say, I’ll take the votes offered up by racists like these folks, ten times outta’ ten!

    So a canvasser goes to a woman’s door in Washington, Pennsylvania. Knocks. Woman answers. Knocker asks who she’s planning to vote for. She isn’t sure, has to ask her husband who she’s voting for. Husband is off in another room watching some game. Canvasser hears him yell back, “We’re votin’ for the n***er!”

    Woman turns back to canvasser, and says brightly and matter of factly: “We’re voting for the n***er.”

    In this economy, racism is officially a luxury. How is John McCain going to win if he can’t win those voters? John Murtha’s “racist” western Pennsylvania district, where this story takes place, is some of the roughest turf in the nation. But Barack Obama is on the ground and making inroads due to unusually strong organizing leadership.

    So – not a particularly pretty story, but heartening; heartening. Folks ain’t never gonna be perfect, nor even particularly improved, on the whole, but this is the sort of imperfection that strikes me as a damned-sight better than it could be!

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  50. del said on October 17, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    One more thing Jen. You mentioned that your smart brother-in-law may vote Libertarian. Joe-the-Plumber doesn’t seem to be particularly smart but seems to be a Libertarian: he wants a flat tax; doesn’t want his American Dream destroyed by having to pay higher taxes once he gets to $250,000 a year in salary; nor, for that matter, does he believe in paying his full share of taxes anyway (or adhering to licensing requirements). A Libertarian vote is a protest vote. Sometimes there’s a place for that, but I hope you vote for one of the two guys in the hunt.

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  51. Jolene said on October 17, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Brian, that story is hysterical. Awful, but still very funny. Having lived in Pittsburgh and being familiar w/ the environs, I don’t doubt it for a moment. The reporting on field operations that the 538 guys have been doing is just great–well-observed and clear, witty writing. Very impressive work, as, of course, is the statistical work that is the foundation of the site.

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  52. Gasman said on October 17, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    I’m glad that the Church Street Café was to your satisfaction. Did you hear about the death of the pilot who struck a powerline on Friday? While the winds at the Balloon Park were 5-7 mph, up north of there the surface winds were closer to 15 mph. Several hard landings with a couple of serious injuries. The one balloon bounced and then tangled in power lines. Both pilots were ejected at between 45-60 feet in the air. One died, the other is still in critical condition. The gondola caught on fire and then the empty balloon with the flaming gondola traveled another 15 miles northward. One of 3 or 4 fatalities in 30+ years.

    You said of Obama, “He’ll say anything and do anything to get elected.” And John McCain won’t? In addition to say and do anything, McCain will kiss and eat anything as well.

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  53. Gasman said on October 17, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    What do you think the odds are that Joe the Unlicensed Plumber will ever earn above $250,000? Sounds pretty unlikely to me. Truly, pipe dreams. However, while he is vacationing in the Ohio State Penitentiary for tax evasion, he could use his free time to put together a business plan for buying that business when he gets out. He might even have time to get that plumber’s license.

    How is it that he questions Obama about the exact income level where Obama’s higher taxes begin? A two person plumbing company with unlicensed plumbers doesn’t net over $250K. He was told to say that. It appears that the McCain campaign spent about as much time vetting Joe the Tax Evader as they did Sarah Palin.

    I don’t know if anyone linked to this:,0,7557571.story

    I wrote to Frank Schaeffer thanking him for his piece. He responded with a nice e-mail in return.

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  54. Linda said on October 18, 2008 at 6:07 am

    Yes, the odds that Joe the Plumber will ever crack a quarter million hover somewhere between slim and none. But to admit that, even to yourself, in this country, means you have to honestly admit you lost out on the American dream, and for a lot of people, that means admitting you are a loser. People would rather die than do that. My brother votes a Republican ticket all the time, and is patiently waiting to get the big tax cuts that Republicans talk about, and sees them being handed out to people who have lots more money than he does.

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  55. John said on October 18, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Pres. Merkin!

    Brian, I was just talking about “Dr. Strangelove” to someone in their late 50s who had never seen the movie and didn’t know a what a merkin was either.

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  56. nancy said on October 18, 2008 at 7:55 am

    It’s not just Merkin, but Pres. Muffley Merkin.

    On a related topic, one of those Things I Learned En Route to Learning Other Things: The merkin was originally invented to hide syphilitic hair loss. (One of the journalism fellows was researching a book on the history of syphilis, which is truly a wonderfully historic and culture-changing disease…if not actually a wonderful disease.)

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  57. brian stouder said on October 18, 2008 at 9:30 am

    and, watching the dvd extras on Dr Strangelove, I learned that Peter Sellers originally played president President Merkin as having a bad head cold, so that in every scene in the War Room, he was sneezing, squeezing an inhaler into his nose, and generally fighting post-nasal drip…..for what it’s worth

    (and, in looking up “merkin” just now, I also had to look up the word “pedunda”. What a person can learn reading nn.c is just…. amazing!)

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  58. Julie Robinson said on October 18, 2008 at 10:40 am

    And here’s another one, Brian, from our very own Journal Gazette, in a story about Palin’s Indianapolis speech:
    “Fort Wayne real estate agent Alva Clay, 76, sat only feet away from Palin. To get the VIP tickets, she volunteered to make 300 get-out-the-vote calls. During those calls, if a person said they supported Obama she told them he or she was a socialist.”

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  59. Deborah said on October 18, 2008 at 11:05 am


    I’m in Abiquiu, NM. today’s our last full day here, a full week of relaxing and enjoying the views, leaving tomorrow to go back to Chicago. The only good thing about the trip back is that we always stop and have brunch in Santa Fe at Pasquals. The rest of the trip is sheer misery. I do love Chicago though. Will be back in Abiquiu for the holidays. Hard to imagine that the election will be over by then.

    I certainly found the Frank Schaeffer column interesting.

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  60. Hattie said on October 18, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    My attitude was, “These don’t make me laugh. What kind of person thinks these things are funny?” I had the same reaction to anti-Hillary photos and the Hillary nutcracker.
    We don’t want to believe that some people are no damn good, but my conclusion is that some people are no damn good.

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  61. Kirk said on October 18, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    In the interest of historical accuracy: It was President Merkin Muffley, not the other way around. I checked recently because a guy who works here looks very much like him.

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  62. caliban said on October 18, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Is it possible to be a bigger asshole than to claim you can’t be a racist because you voted for Alan Keys?

    I don’t think anybody’s pointed it out, but W push-polled MCain in 2000. Illegitimate black kid.

    How does a candidate respond to scurrilous lies?

    W never showed up in Alabama. That is a fact. McCain: they did that lying shit to me and it was heinous, but if they do it to my opponent that’s reasonable. Straight-Talk? Tortured. Waterbparded.

    McCain and W are lockstep. Say that ain’t so, Joe. Well, you lie.

    Joe the Plumber? Thing nobody seems to point out: Carefully crafted, moronic question. Just like Jeff Guckert. Remember Guckert” This was a plant. Inept and insidious. Made up financial situation. Ambush situation. Guy that looks like WWF reject.

    How about somebody in smoking rags asking Poppy “Why did you bail, you phony war hero”?

    McCain was a very bad pilot. Crashed and crashed and crashed. Like Happy Jack, sans brains. This war hero shit is just a chancre. Kerry is, but he knows it doan mean shit other than saving compadres. Republicans guarded OClubs. Voters are such dumbasses they buy this bullshit?

    McCain was an incompetent pilot bound to get shot down, couldn’t fly to save his life.

    If somebody’s looking fo a Vietnam hero, we have John Kerry. Knew it was wrong put his ass on the line. Where did W measure up?

    Look into McCain and how he japped on Kerry and claimed authorship.

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  63. Deborah said on October 18, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Wow, my former hometown, St. Louis, turned out for an Obama rally in droves – 100,000. Check it out

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  64. caliban said on October 18, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Do any of you think there’s an ounce of sincerity in anything fromSllimer McCain. Does anybody think the Big 10 is better than the Mac?

    Nobody thinks those things are funny. They’re racist aholes. How bout those Republicans? We don’t act like racist

    Had it but Penn State vs. Mississippippi


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  65. Gasman said on October 18, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    When you’re passing through Pojoaque, wave to the right and toot your horn as you drive down 285 toward Santa Fe. I’ll be up in the hills to the west in Los Alamos. Pasquals is THE breakfast stop in Santa Fe. Did you get to smell any of the chilies being roasted?

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  66. caliban said on October 18, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Who’s the best girl drummer in all of music?

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 18, 2008 at 8:50 pm


    Hope Frank Schaeffer sees this.

    Oh, and . . . Debbi Peterson, of course.

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  68. brian stouder said on October 18, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Who’s the best girl drummer in all of music?

    Whoever Pearl Jam hires, and Stewart Copeland

    Re Dr Strangelove…and Peter Sellers was going to play the pilot of the Buff, too, but it was just too much to play 4 major roles in the movie. (Can’t imagine not having Slim Pickens bareback-riding and ye-hawing the weapon to oblivion)

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  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 18, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I should add, for the reassurance of all Democrats and Obamacans and anyone who cares about free and fair elections, that Jennifer Brunner, our Ohio Secretary of State, is putting on a class act in interview after interview, responding to challenges from the right and the left with calm and clarity.

    She’s wisely repeating the statement that “before” (which means before Ken Blackwell), there was an understood policy that the elected official who oversaw elections did not announce a preference or even hint at one. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to figure that she’s for Obama, but this right-winger is quite content with her fairness and enforcement, and i’m not the only one (but you won’t hear us quoted on Fox anytime soon). Ken’s not such a bad guy as he’s been painted, but coming out four-square for a candidate of any sort, let alone for Bush, was a dunderheaded move.

    Brunner deserves consideration for future, higher office if Nov. 4 goes as well as she’s tried to set it up to play out. If there’s a long line anywhere, it won’t be because she warned the county board and tried (within ORC) to get them to make and state a plan to manage the turnout.

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  70. Deborah said on October 18, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I’ll be waving and tooting. Chilies were roasting at Romero’s one of our regular stops on our way from the Albuquerque airport to Abiquiu (it’s just outside of Espanola). Mmmmm.

    Jeff (tmmo),
    I’m becoming very wary of the secret service, so what they say happened at a Palin rally doesn’t necessarily make it the truth. I have read that the secret service has been helping curtail the press from questioning attendees at these rallies, by keeping them corralled into a press area and watching them closely to keep them from straying. I don’t know about you but this conjures KGB tactics. Tinfoil hat notwithstanding.

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  71. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 18, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Well, i prefer Reynolds’ heavy duty. You can use it to make hobo dinners, too. But i think keeping Barack Obama alive and safe and unharmed is Job #1 for pretty much every Secret Service employee on the rolls today. They could be white washing this one (can i say that?), but i truly doubt it. Maybe it just didn’t happen, but lots of folks really want it to have happened? I’d like to see more data at this point that one reporter saying they heard it without a single other confirmation.

    It’s killing me that i can’t think of the name of the place at Chimayo that showed me what happens to chile peppers when they die, who said all their prayers and lit all the right candles. Rancho something? Ohhhh, they were nice and tasty and fiery, but in a good way. A sweet burn that lasted well into the evening.

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  72. Calliope said on October 18, 2008 at 10:25 pm


    The Secret Service have only determined that ONE incident, at one rally, was unfounded. This incident consisted of a reporter hearing it, but there was no audio or video tape of the incident.

    So of course it never happened. (/sarcasm)

    There are several other incidents, at other rallies, that are on tape. The Secret Service is still “investigating” those.

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  73. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 18, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Mmm. My wife got home and informs me it was Angelina’s, in Espanola, w/ the chile rellenos. I had something else with goat in Chimayo, she says (also quite good, Rancho de Chimayo, duh).

    Obviously i stand corrected.

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  74. Gasman said on October 18, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Racho de Chimayo burned this summer and is closed until at least January. That is a problem, because for the last several years a senior citizen friend of my wife’s would treat us to a birthday dinner there in late Sept. or early Oct. No birthday dinner this year!

    As to the “Kill Him!” remark, there have been at least two alleged. Scroll to the top of the thread and see the artwork that has been produced by good God-fearing, Christian, patriotic McCain supporters. It doesn’t seem very improbable that someone capable of producing the above images might be also capable of yelling a threat while sheltered in a large angry crowd.

    I would note, that their is no reciprocal behavior by Obama supporters, despite McCain’s ridiculous assertions to the contrary.

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  75. Jolene said on October 18, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Thanks for the report on Sec. Brunner, Jeff. I won’t have the occasion to vote for her, but I’m glad to hear that she is handling the situation effectively.

    I’ve been very disappointed in many news reports. They’re much too simple. In particular, they don’t reinforce the distinction between flawed (or, assuming intent, fraudulent) registration applications and actual voting fraud. And they don’t mention the important contextual factor I mentioned the other day, i.e., that ACORN is legally prevented from implementing a control process that would catch the errors that result from what might be called poor employee recruiting and supervision–although I think it’s really just what happens when you ask people to do dull, thankless, and easily subverted work for low pay.

    I really am troubled about this. In part, I just don’t like it when there are major public misunderstandings that don’t get corrected, but, in this case, the situation also reflects poorly on my political allies, and I sure don’t like that–especially since it’s more likely the other guy’s people who are actually causing the trouble.

    I should mention, by the way, that I saw two good discussions of election security on PBS, one on The NewsHour and one on Bill Moyers Journal. Both very much worth a look.

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  76. Gasman said on October 19, 2008 at 12:19 am

    There has been no “voter fraud” committed because none of these bogus forms has resulted in a single vote. The process has been working, I would note, with ACORN themselves identifying many of the fraudulent forms. If you pay minimum wage for a boring crappy job, there will always be people that try and cut corners and in this case, that’s all this appears to be: a case of goldbricking and fraud committed against ACORN, not the voters. This is yet another straw man being trotted out by Republicans to try and taint the results which they are sure will be going against their party.

    The New Mexico Republican Party has alleged that there were 10 such bogus voters registered by ACORN which voted in the June primary. The trouble is, ACORN found two of the voters the Republicans said did not exist, and not only do they exist, they are legally registered to vote. The Republicans nationwide have a long and sordid history with employing the illegal strategy of vote caging. The recent ACORN nonsense appears to be more of the same.

    Again, I would happily note that there is no comparable behavior by Democrats. How come it seems disdain and contempt for the constitutional right to vote seem to be the exclusive province of one political party?

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  77. Ricardo said on October 19, 2008 at 12:42 am

    I wish it were so easy for me to paint my house. Three roller strokes and it is almost done. OK, Obama will take VA, PA, NC, IN, OH, CO, NV, FL, and maybe WV and ND. Republicans will not know what hit them. Dems will have a 60/40 senate and a huge majority in the House. The state houses will be affected too. Sarah Palin will be lucky to keep her office after the Alaskans sort through her corruption and McCain will serve out his last term. I would like to see an amendment to the bailout bill that everyone signing will declare that Reganomics and “trickle down” is a total failure and will never be mentioned again. The contract with America is also dead and all of those rats behind it should just crawl back into their rathole. Then we should hope that the governing Democrats remember what happened and not become like their opponents.

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  78. Ricardo said on October 19, 2008 at 12:51 am

    Oh, and best female drummer is probably Sheila E. Ran the Magic Johnson talk show band too. Worked with Prince. There was Gloria Medina from my high school, led Medina and the Meditations, but she probably doesn’t play any more. Neither does Karen Carpenter.

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  79. Gasman said on October 19, 2008 at 2:40 am

    On a recent Rachel Maddow show, I heard Doris Kearns Goodwin quote Adlai Stevenson and it seemed to be especially appropriate today, given the conduct of a certain party’s nominees for president and vice president.

    “I’m not an old, experienced hand at politics. But I am now seasoned enough to have learned that the hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.”

    In this contest, which candidates have proven themselves unworthy of the offices they seek?

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  80. Gasman said on October 19, 2008 at 3:23 am

    I would note that the San Bernardino County Republican Party website now has a disclaimer condemning the use of the “Obama Bucks” image depicted above. I wrote a very strongly worded e-mail to them – as I must assume did thousands of others – shortly after seeing the image above on Friday morning. I would have hoped that they would have done so before being prompted by outraged citizens, but late is better than not at all in this instance.

    The climate of intolerance that is being intentionally fostered by the McCain/Palin campaign creates an environment where the narrow minded feel emboldened by the mob to act upon their baser instincts. The image in question was sent by Diane Fedele, the president of the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated, ostensibly a philanthropic group of Republican women, with some racial diversity, I would note. That Fedele, far removed from the intoxicating encouragement of the mob could feel that it was proper to send such an image to 200 others and still claim no racist intent indicates the reach of this enveloping fog of intolerance and hate.

    This must be stopped.

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  81. Linda said on October 19, 2008 at 6:57 am

    What makes the voting fandango in Ohio so infuriating is that Brunner met with election officials and officials from both parties all over the state months before this, to prevent this lawsuit crap:

    That she was backed by a Republican state supreme court (yes, we have partisan supreme court elections here) should diminish the cries of foul. We have competent people striving for an honest result.

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  82. caliban said on October 19, 2008 at 8:18 am

    What the surge accomplished:

    And River doesn’t grace the internet any more. This is the last thing she posted:

    The surge amounted to handing out millions sans receipts and accountability to Sons of Iraq thugs and putting 30,000 more US troops in danger for no reason but to advance Cheney’s assaults on the Constitution, rule of law, human rights, decency, humanity. Those troops are still there.

    And, of course, Sadr went along with all of this out of the goodness of his heart and no cash changed hands.

    Nearly eight years of stolen election hubris, and more than 20 years since Newt Gingrich hijacked America’s collective brain and soul. They set out to steal Iraqi oil, like so many devious Kuwaitis, and they failed. They set out to suborn the Constitution, with the astoundingly odious David Addington, that makes Jabba look like Fat Albert. Conservatives are left holding a bag of steaming PNAC anti-American shit. And they don’t like it. But WTF did they think would happen? Racism?

    How do we live in a country populated with nitwits that teeter on buying each new version of trickle down (i.e. being pissed on)?

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  83. caliban said on October 19, 2008 at 8:31 am

    What makes the voting fandango in Ohio so infuriating is that Ken Blackwell got away with fraud in 2004. In Cuyahoga County, Republicans engaged in caging and other nefarious voter suppression techniques. The Chairman of the state’s Republican Party said he’d deliver:

    Yup. Disenfranchised thousands to elect the odious little piece of shit draft dodger cocaine addict. Well, he proved malleable. Dumber than grunt, yet people believe signing statements sugsume law, because, you know, the pretzeldent is wise. Shit.

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  84. nancy said on October 19, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Jennifer Brunner is a friend of mine (and Jeff Borden). At least, I’m on her Christmas card list and my e-mails get answered — for whatever that’s worth.

    One J.B. story, from when she and her husband, our mutual friends Wade and Futz and several others went to the Donnie Iris/Nazareth show at Vet’s Memorial in Columbus. Jennifer was enormously pregnant with her first baby. Donnie Iris was a Cleveland act we all wanted to see; Nazareth, less so. The opener was pretty good, and then Nazareth started with that “Now you’re messin’ with a son of a bitch” song at ear-destroying volume. The baby started kicking ferociously, which we interpreted as a sign that it wasn’t enjoying itself, so we left.

    All of Jennifer’s kids are very musical. (I know this from the Christmas newsletter.) And she’s a class act.

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  85. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 19, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Who th’eck don’t you know, chief? That’s cool. (Did Nazareth have a second hit, or are they the one-off sort of band?)

    Sub-text to all the ACORN corniness: very hard to get anyone on either side to talk candidly about the fact that Republicans and Democrats are both ideologically very consistent and highly invested in exactly this sort of fandango, but for all sorts of reasons no one wants to get quoted on it.

    Republicans see voting as a right with aspects of a privilege, and while there is (as in all things) a spectrum on this, generally Republicans would say “disagree” to the statement “the more people who vote in an election the better the outcome.” They have always been fairly lame about GOTV activity because they don’t believe in it even for “their own,” and Republicans love rainy days with a chill wind, because it means only the committed and informed and self-motivated will vote.

    Democrats see voting as a “y’all come” act of the “demos,” the people (God bless ’em), and would emphatically “agree” with “the more people who vote in an election the better the outcome.” In many areas, Democratic officials have made the case for allowing undocumented residents to vote with a minimal standard to reduce duplicate voting (aliens, recent move-ins, whatever); this is not to say D’s are for voter fraud (ask Nancy’s friend Jennifer about that!), but they think a pulse and presence in the voting district on the election day . . . i mean, within 30+ days of the date set for official balloting, is all the qualification voters should have to show.

    Obviously, folks can go straight to Carville, Louisiana and elsewhere to show how property, literacy, or poll tax tests have been used to disenfranchise certain groups, particularly Native Americans and African Americans. Ironically, the original internal party struggle for Republicans in the 1850s and on into the 1870s was over just how “radically” they wanted to extend the franchise to those they were at least agreed to free from slavery. This is where some of Lincoln’s least attractive quotes come from, out of the context of trying to maintain a Republican coalition over ending slavery without freaking out the faction within his party that said, in effect “but you don’t mean you’d just let them vote after you freed them, do you?”

    As i said, it’s a hard subject to get reasonable conversation about, because there are old unhealed wounds, and there is plenty of room for immediate questioning of decency, shouting past the reasonable points both sides have as to “informed electorate” vs. “universal franchise.” Both are necessary parts of the American conversation.

    Hey, i oughta go preach! BTW, i endorse no one from the pulpit; given that i preach mostly in congregations from abortion-neutral official stances, there’s little reason for me to raise even tangential support/disapproval for a national candidate, & i’d safely guess not a half-dozen out of hundreds actually have even a hint of which way i lean, and i’d guess a snap poll would be wrong by a few deciles as to how Jeff’s gonna vote.

    Nice to hear confirmation that Ms. Brunner is the class act she comes off as on TV/radio. Shalom!

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  86. Dave K. said on October 19, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Gen. Colin Powell just delivered a very strong endorsement of Barack Obama for President on “Meet the Press”. In my eyes he is a true patriot.
    Link to video:

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  87. caliban said on October 19, 2008 at 9:55 am

    If John McCain knows how to get Osama Bin Laden, but he won’t tell anybody, shouldn’t he be turned over to the CIA for enhanced techniques?

    Nazareth was a Slade tribute band right? Noddy Holder! Oi! Oi! They did strangle a marginally decent song by the astoundingly overrated Graham Parsons.

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  88. Catherine said on October 19, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Jeff said above that the Democrats’ attitude is “the more people who vote in an election the better the outcome.” This isn’t just a gut feel thing, it’s based on good research, such as that found in the book The Wisdom of Crowds.

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  89. John said on October 19, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Karen Carpenter is currently playing with “a hellava band”.

    Dick Nixon had a secret plan to end the war prior to his election which he didn’t want to share either.

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  90. LA Mary said on October 19, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Nazareth was a skanky band from Scotland, no? A friend was a roadie for them one summer in the mid to late seventies and they all had hepatitis. That band that is, not my friend.

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  91. Gasman said on October 19, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Yes indeed, Nazareth had the ballad “Love Hurts” which was a fairly substantial hit in its day.

    As to the culpability of both parties in honoring the franchise, let us look to the recent record. The Republicans have been making a lot of noise regarding vote fraud. They were doing so after the elections in 2004. If fact, it was those voter fraud claims, here in New Mexico, that led Republicans Rep. Heather Wilson and Sen. Pete Domenici to try and pressure U.S. Attorney David Iglesias into pressing charges against a former President of the State Senate, Democrat Manny Aragon. Wilson and Domenici, along with the rest of the state GOP movers and shakers had pressured Iglesias to announce grand jury indictments against Aragon as an October Surprise just prior to the 2006 elections. I would note that Wilson was running for reelection and won by (I believe) less than 200 votes in the end.

    The same GOP crowd further tried to pressure Igesias via complaining to the White House and Karl Rove. Then, lo and behold, after Iglesias properly told them all to stuff it, he was fired in the now infamous purging of U.S. Attorneys who were not obedient enough. Ultimately, the U.S. Justice Department ruled that the voter fraud allegations were trumped up and without merit. Yet, a Republican Congresswoman and a U. S. Senator were willing to violate the law (it’s illegal for an elected official to interfere in federal grand jury proceedings) in order to improperly influence an election.

    Iglesias is the only Republican that I have even an ounce of respect for right now because he was willing to call out his own party for illegal and unethical behavior. Damn few Rs willing to do that. As a footnote to that story, Aragon are-a-gone; he just pleaded guilty to accepting a $650,000 and will be spending time in the big house. For anyone who would accuse me of blindly touting Democrats, I am overjoyed that Aragon is going to prison. He was our state’s answer to Benito Mussolini.

    The 2000 election gave us Florida’s infamous voter suppression efforts of the GOP. Hanging and/or dangling chads, butterfly ballots, and recounts were but distractions from the main issue: the willingness of a sitting Governor and Secretary of State to illegally disenfranchise some 75,000 voters who were largely black and/or Hispanic. Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris should still be in federal prison for their involvement in that scheme.

    How about the tens of thousands (or more) instances of voter caging by the Republicans in Ohio in 2006? How about the various voter suppression tactics that the GOP has currently in operation? How about the fact that the U. S. Constitution makes no mention of any kind of qualification to vote regarding an “informed electorate.” That is utter tripe that Republicans use to justify illegal attempts to keep citizens away from the polls. That attitude bespeaks a sense of contempt for democracy. It also buttress my assertion that conservatism has always advocated an aristocracy instead of democracy. Their idolization of the glittering men and women of wealth and their hostility toward universal suffrage would seem to confirm that.

    The stance of the Republican Party regarding trying to limit access to the polls makes them the ideological successors of the Jim Crow South. Notice that these Republican efforts to limit voters is nearly always focused on minority citizens. I’m sure there are isolated examples of Democrats engaging in voter suppression, but as a party, the Ds have not had the systemic problems that the Rs have had.

    I’m sticking with the party that most respects the constitution.

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  92. Dorothy said on October 19, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Gasman and Bill – my cousin is the man who was killed in the hot air balloon accident on the 10th of October in New Mexico.

    Our mothers are sisters. He was about 18 months younger than I am. I didn’t go to the funeral but my youngest sister did drive up to Butler PA from Virginia. A very sad time, especially for my Aunt Peg, who is 81 and not in good health. She is, of course, the mother of the deceased.

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  93. Gasman said on October 19, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    My condolences on your family’s loss. It seems that all in Northern New Mexico grieve each time there is a serious balloon accident at the Balloon Fiesta. We feel very fondly for those who risk life and limb simply for the rest of us to enjoy the beauty of the balloons. You and your family are in our collective prayers.

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  94. Bill said on October 19, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Add my condolences. We witnessed the Friday morning balloon session and only found out about the accident later in the day. For some pictures of the day, go to:
    and click on “Albuquerque” at the top of the page.

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