Even Bloggers Need A Rest…Sort Of

It’s a long holiday weekend here in the USA and Canada (for different reasons…but to my Canadian Friends, Happy Thanksgiving!); so I’m taking some time off to spend with the family, and prepare a HUGE Italian Meal tomorrow. Columbus Day (celebrated Monday in the US but is officially October 12) is an HUGE Italian holiday here in the NYC Metro Area; I’m half Italian (Sicilian and Calabrese), the missus is 100% (Foggian and Neopolitan) and my kids are 75% Italian (all of the above).  The menu will be Raviolis, Meatballs, Sausage, and homemade SAUCE (don’t be fooled…it’s SAUCE, not GRAVY…despite what a lot of NYC Italians tell you.  The problem is, the guys that tell you that have no Sicilian Blood in them…that’s why they say that…LOL!  Damned Neopolitans!)  I’ll be up EARLY tomorrow frying the sausage and meatballs and dumping the whole thing along with San Marzano tomatoes and fresh herbs from the garden in a crock-pot to sit for 8 hours.  The entire house will be FILLED with slow simmering, garlic infused, herb laden SAUCE that will waft into the streets getting every neighbor hungry.

Oh, by the way…I’m an OUTSTANDING cook.

The other reason for the pause is I need to finish some music reviews for my friend’s website (a Progressive Rock CD and DVD review site) called ProgNaut.  I get some great free CDs and DVDs from him to review…the problem is, I get WAY too many!  (Ron, just joking!)  So, all I have to do in return is give my opinion…like I have any problem doing that, huh?  I’m WAY behind, so I’ll pause my blogging to keep my end of the bargain.

There will be LOTS to talk about on Tuesday, when I will return.  See you then.

“The teacher is like the candle; which lights others in consuming itself” – Italian Proverb

…And These Guys Want To Lead The Free World?

Sorry, no clever post from this humble blogger this evening due to prior family commitments.  However, there are two links to two articles that are MUST READS for a look into both John McCain and Sarah Palin.

From Rolling Stone; everything you always wanted to know (and then some) about John McCain but were afraid (VERY afraid) to ask: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/make_believe_maverick_the_real_john_mccain

Sarah Palin’s connections with the extremist Alaska Independence Party may be deeper the we have been led to believe.  From Salon.com: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/10/10/palin_chryson/

LATE BREAKING NEWS: The McCain/Palin Campaign has released a statement clarifying Todd Palin’s sworn testimony regarding Troopergate, as well as the Governor’s involvement.  Basically, this is a premptive strike (now we know what kind of Foreign Policy they have) in advance of the Alaska State Legislature’s report on “Troopergate”.

Juneau, we have a problem.

Needless to say, there will be LOTS to write about tomorrow.

The Incredible Smirking Man

He prowled across the back of the stage like an angry, trapped animal while Senator Obama was speaking.  He referred to a sitting United States Senator who should be accorded the respect and dignity of his office regardless of political differences as “That one…”.  He turned his back on the two African-American questioners who asked him direct questions about the economy, going so far as to say to one gentleman that “You’ve probably never heard of Freddie or Fannie before this past week”.  This is of course, assuming that the gentleman had no idea of just what those corporations were; which he may or may not have.  The error was in the assumption that he didn’t.

His rallies have gone way beyond the Nuremberg Rally feeling of the Republican Convention, and now border on witch hunts from the 1600s, or villagers with torches hunting Boris Karloff’s epic portrayal of the Frankenstein Monster in the mountains of Transylvania.  Senator John McCain’s attacks have become more than desperate on television and on the stump; his attacks, as well as those of his running mate, have (as the New York Times astutely observed today) ventured “into the dark territory of race-baiting and xenophobia”.  The crowds at both McCain and Palin rallies have been frenetic and fanatical, with audience members shouting “Treason!” or “Kill him!” when one of them refers to Senator Obama.

And they have done NOTHING to stop it, discourage it, dissuade it, or publicly distance themselves from it.

The old adage of “silence breeds consent” applies here, and I can only conclude by the vast roaring silence that is coming from the McCain Campaign is tacit approval.  The McCain surrogates when asked about these events seem to gloss them over and quickly change the subject.  Approval of a message of hate that could possibly mean harm coming to one (or BOTH) of the Presidential Candidates.  There are lunatic fringes on the Right AND the Left who could see this as a sign to unleash their insanity upon the campaign trail.  Has the McCain camp thought that by their silence on this matter that they may have also placed the Senator and Governor Palin in jeopardy as well?  Have they seriously considered that a mob mentality is what a Democracy, or ANY organized form or Government, is there to prevent?  Have they seriously considered that it might just be better to lose an Election rather than see harm done to someone?

I never thought that I would ever be writing these words in my life in a REAL LIFE situation, let alone a potential piece of fiction I may have worked on.  I never thought that after the deaths of so many of our own revered political and spiritual figures in our nation’s history, let alone other great men and women on this planet, that there would be abject SILENCE on the matter from ANYONE whose followers would resort to such brutal words and hate.  I never thought I would live to see the day when I would be writing about this happening in my own country…my beloved America.  Moreover, I never thought I’d be writing about a political candidate that did not stop IMMEDIATELY in their speech, point out the individual to the FBI and Secret Service and have them arrested; that after they had done that, they would tell the audience that THIS was not what America was about.  That it represented the worst in us, and that if you supported them you would stop even thinking that way let alone acting on it…otherwise they wouldn’t want your vote.

It looks like all the votes matter to John McCain.  It certainly appears as if this behavior will continue at the Republican rallies with the unspoken approval of the ticket, until an epiphany happens…or God help us, the unthinkable happens; and by then it will be far to late to save a life, a soul, and the soul of a nation.  WE will have become the mob that let this happen, because we did not speak loudly enough.  WE will all be guilty, because one or two people at those rallies did not immediately point out these individuals to the proper authorities.

Some people are treating this cavalierly, or even worse, like some kind of a joke.  This is no laughing matter.  This is about how low we have sunk in politics, and how low we have sunk as a nation.  This is about how low we have sunk as human beings, and it’s on days like today that I question my own belief in the inherent goodness of Man.  I’m not going to end this on a flowery or hopeful note, because there is none to be found.

All I can think of is that prowling man on stage last night, and the smirk that will never be wiped off his face…the face of the Incredible Smirking Man.

“Solitude is strength; to depend on the presence of the crowd is weakness. The man who needs a mob to nerve him is much more alone than he imagines.” – Paul Brunton

The Thrilla In Nashvilla: Initial Reaction

Amazing.  I’m actually speechless at the moment…but I’ll give you a couple of quick thoughts:

  • Obama was cool, poised, and addressed the audience, the camera and Senator McCain.  Senator McCain addressed all of the above except Senator Obama, who he referred to as “That one” at one point.  He might as well said “Boy” or used an even worse term.
  • McCain prowled the stage when Obama was talking, and came across as an angry white man.  Obama came across as cool and Presidential.  It is clear McCain does not like or respect Senator Obama.

Obama won, not just on substance…but because he was a Human Being.  McCain only went on to prove that like his running mate (who he did not mention ONCE) has no soul.

I’ll have a detailed and thoughtful post tomorrow.  Right now I need a Xanax.

Tha Thrilla In Nashvilla: Pre Game Show

Lucky NY Giants Hat?  Check.  Lucky pack of Camel Crush cigarettes?  Check.  Tin Foil Hat for massive conspiratorial paranoia (in honor of McCain shill Tom Brokow)?  Check.  Tums for ridiculous McCain answers or attacks?  Check.

I think I’m ready for tonight’s Second Presidential Debate.  I hope these guys focus on THE ISSUES instead of attacking one another…especially after the Dow plunged over 500 points today.  Whoever attacks the other guy FIRST loses this debate, in my humble opinion.

QUESTIONS I WANT ANSWERS TO:

  • What will you do help the returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan who have PTSD?  What has been your track record on Veteran’s Rights?
  • Why will you tax Medical Benefits, Senator McCain?  Isn’t this the largest middle-class tax increase in history?
  • Why have you not spoken up about the attendees at yours and Governor Palin’s campaign rallies shouting hate and threats about Senator Obama?  What steps have you taken to make sure these people are questioned by the Secret Service and the FBI?

And that’s only a partial list that I can think of now.  See you with post-debate analysis later on.

PS>I have sworn to the Universe and my wife (and not necesisarily in that order) that I will quit smoking if Obama wins.  It’s about time I did anyway, but this gives me motivation (mentally) to do so.

Presidential Debates Round 2: A Town Brawl?

Tomorrow night we have Round 2 of the McCain-Obama Debates, and this one will be in a “Town Hall” format (with questions from the audience and the Internet), moderated by Tom “I Used To Be A Newsman” Brokow.  Based on today’s events on Wall Street, and the Full-Frontal Assault by both campaigns on each other; this might just prove to be the most interesting one of all.

This is supposedly McCain’s forte, these give and take sessions with regular folks like us…you know, the guys who are lucky to have one home let alone 12.  Regular folks like us who have to have both parents work, or have one parent with two jobs; not a Senate position that pays six figures (or a CEO job that pays eight) annually and a generous pension to boot.  Normal, average folks who struggle to pay their monthly bills, put food on the table, and try not to go broke because of Health Care costs.  Yup, you betcha’…regular folks just like us.  Questions that will come from an audience who could care less about Weathermen, and William Whatshisname and any schoolyard terrorists…er, bullies…that Senator Obama may have known because he was in the same third grade class as they were.  Yeah, this is Johnny Boy’s favorite format…until tomorrow.

Because that’s when Johnny Boy goes nuclear.

In his hate filled, trash talking campaign speech today, you could just sense that if Senator Obama were there in front of him, there would be a fight.  The hate and venom that was seething forth from the podium like a dry-ice fog at a 1977 Yes Concert was hard to miss; it was like watching the dials on a reactor slowly creep into the Red Zone.  It wasn’t the polls that made him this way, hell…it wasn’t even righteous indignation at the Wall Street crowd that had him mad as hell.  It was two little words that were whispered around the campaign for months, two little words that when uttered in this man’s presence could send him to a guaranteed fit of rage.  Two hushed words that have been avoided for over two years; the ones that Obama supporters have been waiting to hear for weeks now.

Pssssssssssst….”Keating Five”.

The Keating Five was finally mentioned by the surrogates all weekend, building up to the release of a nicely done 15 minute video on the history of the Great American Savings And Loan Scandal from the late 1980’s by the Obama Team today on a separate web site and on You Tube: http://www.keatingeconomics.com/

There it is, in all it’s infamous glory, no longer a whisper but out into the light of day like a scream made by a wailing banshee.  You could see the anger being tightly controlled as he uttered the words of his oh-so poorly worded text (Johnny Boy, you REALLY need better writers.  I’d offer my services gratis, but I’ll only work for honorable people).   You could see that the very fact that he was resorting to the most vile of campaign tactics in the past few days wasn’t paying off for him…and he knew it too.  Imagine!  The sheer AUDACITY of the Stock Market to pick THIS moment to COLLAPSE and overshadow his well-planned moment of attack but a mere week after he single-handedly saved the economy (and the Republic) by his Divine influence on his fellow Republicans to vote for the bailout Bill!  (Curse you, Barack Obama!)

I’m almost certain that Johnny Boy was getting ready to have a very different Town Hall tomorrow night.  He would have most certainly laid a trap for Obama to fall into: he could mention something about his middle name of Hussein, or his connection to a 60’s radical (now a Professor)  who lives in his neighborhood who committed acts of violence when Obama was 8.  Perhaps he could mention that there were more terrorists in Obama’s closet, and maybe now was the time he could in fact reveal that Barack Obama was responsible for the Crimean War.  (See?  I predicted this just last week!)

Well, like Bob Dylan said, “It’s all over now, baby blue”.  You’re just going to have to discuss ISSUES tomorrow night, Johnny Boy…that is, unless your mainstream media-whore Tom Brokow feeds you a question on the matter (which wouldn’t surprise me at all).  Otherwise, you’re on your own.  You’ll have to talk about how your Medical Plan would be the single greatest middle-class tax increase in history by taxing employer health benefits.  You’ll also have to talk about how part of how your plan on paying for this is by cuts in Medicare and Medicaid; that should win you Florida, Johnny Boy.  You’re going to have to talk about paying the bills around that mythical kitchen table (one of the dozen or so you have)…especially paying the Mortgages.

Ah yes, Mortgages!  As in, the very instruments that got us into this Financial Disaster; the ones that were made possible not only through greed and avarice on Wall Street, but made possible by the very legislation you and Saint Philip of Deregulation championed.  Mortgages that are making Banks and other Financial Institutions fail, leaving thousands of stockholders and Taxpayers a hell of a lot poorer…some whose life savings and 401Ks were invested in those companies and who are now wiped out.  Mortgages that are toppling the Stock Market; not only causing our Financial Markets to crash, but others across the globe.  You’ll be forced to play by the rules, Johnny Boy; unless you decide to go tangential like Sarah Baby…only on you, it will appear like the onset of senility; not hubris masquerading as carelessness.

Remember…YOU started this, Johnny Boy.  YOU decided to go negative.  Barack Obama has already indicated that he will not be the first one throwing the punch, but he will certainly be the last one throwing one.  This all could have been avoided.  You decided to throw caution to the wind maintaining your poor judgment of the past few weeks…hell, the past few years.  The same poor judgment that the Senate found you lacking in the Keating Five scandal.  You weren’t found guilty, censured, or exonerated either.  You were damned by your own poor judgment…IT’S PUBLIC RECORD.  So tomorrow night, I’d stay away from playing in the mud, Johnny Boy because if you do, those two words that you hate so much will be brought up in this Debate because THEY ARE RELEVANT TO THE CURRENT FINANCIAL CRISIS AND TO THIS CAMPAIGN.  The two words that Barack Obama will utter, and explain clearly to the American people as only he can; millions of them watching on television.  The two words that will make you lose it:

Keating Five.

Senator Obama, duck fast…I hear Johnny Boy has a mean right hook.

“Never start a fight, but ALWAYS finish it.” – Ambassador David Sheridan (Retired) (Babylon 5/jms)

“Boom Today!”

“No ‘Boom!’ today, ‘Boom!’ tomorrow.  There’s always a ‘Boom!’ tomorrow” – Commander Susan Ivonova (Babylon 5/jms)

Way back in my first post, I stated my love for the television show, “Babylon 5”; and that in fact, this blog is named after an episode of that series.  I also professed my admiration of the show’s creator and writer of about 90% of the show, J. Michael Straczynski, and his magnificent ability to inspire me.  There were also moments of sheer terror on that show which reflect much of what we are going through in this day and age: a totalitarian regime dominating Earth and subjugating freedom by imposing martial law; an organization called Night Watch which encouraged spying on your neighbors and anyone who may be “disloyal” to the establishment…and this is only some of what was going on.

Joe, if you’re reading this, please let me know what next week’s lottery numbers are.

While I certainly could go on about the show (and I will from time to time in the future), today I did something unusual: I started the Blog with a quote, and one from the space station Babylon 5’s irracible, sarcastic, sometimes fatalistic, but always entertaining Russian Commander.  Given the current state of the Stock Market, a truer statement she never made during the show’s 5 year run  (well, maybe not…) but it sure as hell appears as if someone pulled the drain on the bathtub…because the whirlpool is running, and our economy is going with it.  So are the rest of the World Markets.

Boom, today.

THIS WILL BE A RUNNING BLOG THROUGHOUT THE DAY Monday, October 6, 2008.

UPDATE AT 13:21 EST (-5GMT):

Stock Market still dropping (currently at -537 points approx 9770 total); McCain Camp still focused on William Ayers, and Obama Camp pushing Keating 5 all over the place.  I think Johnny Boy better come prepared for tomorrow night’s debate with another set of Depends.

UPDATE AT 15:33 EST (-5GMT):

Have you even seen the movie with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster called “Run Silent, Run Deep”?  Gable playes an obsessed sub Captain trying to get back at the Japanese who destroyed his previous sub, and Lancaster plays his XO.  There’s a scene in the movie where The Captain keeps running drill after drill and shouting, “Dive!  Dive!” every time the sub crew didn’t perform the drill up to snuff.  The sub goes down, and the sub surfaces.  That’s been the stock market the past week…one big sub exercise with the word “DIVE” ringing in our ears.

And so far, we’re running deep, but no one is silent.

Right now, I am hearing some of the most hateful words from John McCain about Barack Obama prefaced with the words “Who is Barack Obama?”  Dear Jesus, what’s next Johnny Boy?  Sheets at your rallys?   Free rope with admission?  The American public is GOING BROKE thanks to YOUR spearheading of deregulation.  He just had the balls to ask what has Senator Obama done in his career?  He sure as hell didn’t torpedo the economy.  He also called Obama a “touchy” Chicago politician.  I’m half Sicilian Johnny Boy, and I don’t take to kindly to that remark.  TOUCHY?!  Seems that Johnny Boy is a bit touchy himself once the words “Keating 5” were uttered.   The desperation is evident in the way Johnny Boy and Sarah Baby have been paying attention to everything BUT the Economy.

People are losing their jobs, people are dying, and people are going broke…and all the Republicans can do is talk about anything…ANYTHING… but the Economy.

MARKET CHECK: Dow down 471; 9800 approx. index

FINAL UPDATE UNTIL 20:00 EST (-5GMT) POST:

DJIA -370; Index Closes below 10,000 for the first time since October, 2004.

And Johnny Boy and Sarah Baby want to talk about bullshit?  Amazing.

Other notes from the trail: Judas Lieberman was there in Florida with Sarah Baby as she gave her William Ayers terrorist mantra.  Gee…I wonder what ethnic group they were trying to focus on?  And while Senator Obama was briefly talking with reporters during some time off during his debate prep for tomorrow night, stating that the most important thing the campaign needs to focus on right now is the economy, his Team released a 15 minute history of exactly what The Keating Five scandal was, and Senator McCain’s involvement in it was.  You can find it here: http://www.keatingeconomics.com/

NEXT POST: The Second Debate: In A Town Brawl Format?

THE FINAL WORD HERE: The differing Management Styles of McCain and Obama as depicted by Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington from the movie, “Crimson Tide”.  Cya later…

Fasten Your Seatbelts, We’re In For A Bumpy Ride

This is going to get ugly, real fast, real soon right up until November 4th.  With their prospects for the White House dropping faster than (or in conjunction with) the Stock Market; the McCain Campaign made very clear that over the weekend they were going to use aggressive tactics against Barack Obama.  In other words, the same kind of tactics that Lee Attwater and Karl Rove had used in the past to make sure a Republican got elected to the White House.  In other words, a complete distortion of the facts; stretching of the truth; grasping at straws; and when in doubt, push the shiny red button.  The same tactics that fooled America into electing George HW Bush in 1988, and George W Bush in 2000 and 2004 will be on full display.  The big question is, will anyone believe them this time?  Will Americans be so gullible as to fall for it YET AGAIN?

Smear tactics doesn’t get you a job.  Lies don’t pay your mortgage.  Covert and open racial overtones will not put food on the table.  Once again, the Republicans (if they can even be called that anymore, because I have no idea what Party they are now) are using FEAR and INTIMIDATION and now there’s the racial element to play upon as well.  With all of the serious challenges facing this country, can these guys please ADDRESS THE GOD DAMNED ISSUES?  They cannot, because 8 years of GOP control of the White House and 6 years of them in control of BOTH Houses of Congress have left this Nation a shell of its former self domestically and internationally.  The divide between rich and poor grows ever wider, while with each passing day more people die in an unjust war.  More people are being thrown out of their homes and are literally beginning to form Tent Cities, the 21st Century Equivalent of Hoovervilles.

Our civil rights are disappearing with each stroke of a pen or a signing statement that King George III makes because he will not listen to the very laws that Congress passes and he had just signed into law; perhaps even moments before.  Our Nation’s ports have not been adequately secured against potential Terrorist Attacks, nor have our Transit Systems in American Metropolises.  The price of food is rising; utility bills are becoming oppressive.  The quality of Education has left not only children behind, but teachers as well.  The all-too familiar Politics of Fear are trying to replace The new Politics of Hope.

And THIS is what they do…AGAIN?  They have the unmitigated gall to do this AGAIN?  Well guess what folks, in the immortal words of Governor Moosebrains, “You betcha!”

The GOP should realize that they are traveling down an EXTREMELY dangerous slope.  Johnny Boy is NOT Mister Pure and Chaste.  He has his own veritable laundry list that can (and WILL) be rolled out by the Democrats of necessary, according to the Obama surrogates today.  The Keating Five scandal is being mentioned more and more in the past few days.  McCain’s deep connections with the Native-American Gambling industry are also suspect. He effectively stonewalled and got defeated a POW-MIA Bill that passed UNANIMOUSLY in the House years ago that would have provide some solace for families by allowing classified documents pertaining to their loved ones to be de-classified, but he used his power to quash it.

WHY?  Because if certain POW records were released to the public, HIS OWN TAINTED AND COWARDLY acts would have been revealed.  How did the North Vietnamese know the flight patterns of every jet or bomber that flew on sorties shortly after his capture come under intense attack?  How did he manage to survive in much better health than most of his fellow prisoners?  Why weren’t his medical records by the North Vietnamese and independent physicians and psychologists of the Red Cross ever made public?  Was it perhaps because that John McCain led the Congressional contingent to request normalization of relations with Vietnam?  Perhaps as a reward, those records are in a nice secure vault in Hanoi.  These have been the stories circulating on the Internet for a number of years now, and so far they have not been proved.  But it’s starting to quack like a duck, if you ask me.

While I think the Keating 5 and the Gambling Connections are worthwhile of further use in a retaliatory campaign, ESPECIALLY because they are TRUTH; that last point I made is a road NO ONE wants to go down…even if there IS evidence that we are not privy to…but if it could be proved, that would be the Dems nuclear option.

The height of hypocrisy is Sarah Baby accusing Senator Obama (“our opponent” as she says…call the man by his title, Governor…he’s earned it, same way you did yours) of being in league with terrorists; specifically William Ayers who was a member of the 60’s radical group “The Weathermen”.  Any charges against Ayers were DROPPED a LONG TIME AGO.  The absolute gall of this woman, who is under her OWN LEGITIMATE INVESTIGATION ABOUT HER ABUSE OF POWER, to accuse a man who was EIGHT YEARS OLD at the time of the Weathermen unrest is beyond the realm of reality.  Senator Obama probably remembers when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated.  I know where I was, because I am the same age as the Senator and I was the one who told my mother both times.  How old was Little Sarah Moosebrains? 4 years old!

Does she remember growing up watching body counts from Vietnam on the news every single night like Senator Obama and I did?  Does she remember the Mai Li Massacre?  I do, because I watched my mother weep one morning when she read the front page of the NY Daily News and saw the photos.  Does she remember an America where we had genuine heroes like the Astronauts?  Or does all she remember is an America of MTV and Beauty Contests?  For this shell of a human being, this travesty of politics gone amok, to accuse a man of integrity like Senator Obama of this insane accusation goes beyond hubris and crosses into the territory of meglomaniacal behavior; all the while her running mate engages in his own erratic behavior.

The attacks are going to get worse right up until Election Day.  The Democrats have already indicated that they are prepared and ready to retaliate this time; no more Swiftboating.  I hope that the lies and smears put forth from the McCain campaign don’t even make a blip on the radar; because retaliation might be necessary, but HARD AND FACTUAL retaliation is the moral equivalent of a just war.  Tuesday’s Debate should be interesting, especially since NBC Newsman (and current liaison between the Network and the McCain campaign) Tom Brokow will be moderating.  And they said Gwen Ifill had a conflict of interest?  Brokow has been nothing but an obvious shill for the McCain campaign for MONTHS.  Expect Johnny Boy to get away with a lot of stuff, and a lot of the nastiness to carry over from the prior few days.  Who knows, the Senile Senior Senator might just very well pull an “October Surprise” or perhaps even Senator Obama might just do the same.

At the very beginning of this campaign, Johnny Boy said he was going to run a clean and honorable campaign.  He has done nothing of the sort.  He has sold out completely to the right wing Evangelical lunatics in his Party.  He has deliberately kept Americans in the dark regarding his health history.  He excised incredibly poor judgment in selecting a woman who is clearly not qualified for Vice President or President (God help us!) should the unthinkable happen.  He has been completely erratic and incoherent over the past 3 weeks of (only the first phase) of this Fiscal Meltdown we’re in.  He is now planning on flinging the most mud in the history of Presidential Elections.  He has lost every single shred of honor he might have once had.  I said it a few weeks ago, and I will say it this evening once again, for all to read:

John McCain is a COWARD.

“Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes of men.” – Bishop Westcott

My Two Hour Oasis From Life, Monday Through Friday

After an entire day of bad news on Wall Street, the latest insanity in the political arena, driving the kids to the myriad of after school activities, and writing my memoir and this blog…I take a time out.  A well deserved time out; an intelligent and thought provoking respite from the syncopated pandemonium that is my life.  I switch on the home theater, flip over to FIOS Channel 103, and sit back for two hours of fantastic news analysis and discussion with Countdown With Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC at 8PM and 9 PM Eastern Standard Time.

I’ll admit it: I’m an out of the closet Liberal-Libertarian who absolutely MUST watch these two every night.  These are two of the smartest people on television, both with wicked senses of humor and a unique (READ: REALISTIC) view of the day’s events.  Bill O’Reilly and Hannity & Colmes?  Please, I’d rather have all my teeth extracted without any painkillers by a student dentist from National Health in Great Britain.  Campbell Brown and Larry King?  I’m starting to like you Camp, especially after your grilling of clueless McCain lackey Tucker Knowsnobounds…but you’re just not quite there yet.  And I don’t who looks more like the living cadaver of the year: Larry King or Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, but it’s pretty damned close. (One of these days, I’m fully expecting a headline to read “Larry King Dead” and it’s unintentional puny consequences will be just too priceless.)  Plus Larry’s getting downright cranky in his old age!  While I get my straight news from various sources (and I can NAME them all too!) on the Left and the Right, I do like my commentary to be left-leaning, and thoroughly entertaining.

I’ve been a fan of Keith Olbermann (may I call you Keith?) since his early days on ESPN where he and Dan Patrick would just have me in stitches.  Keith’s intellectually funny in a way that Dennis Miller used to be before he was replaced by some sort of pod person, and he’s also pretty straight up funny as well.  When Keith goes off on a rolling cascade of humor, there is no one better.  (The best part for me is the laughs from the camera crew and staffers in the background; it very much reminds me of those Ernie Kovacs kinescopes I watched- and still do, thanks to DVD).  On his “Worst Person’s In The World” segment last night, the #1 Worst Person was a National Review editor who had written about Sarah Palin’s debate performance like some sort of steamy short story in Playboy (which had to be read to be believed).  As only Keith could, he read through that turgid prose inserting relatively “excitable” emotions as the writer might have intended them to be, then chided him, “If you’re going to go off and masturbate, at least don’t let America know about it!”.  Good God, I was doubled over laughing.

Now Keith is also a serious journalist…make no mistake about that.  He’s done dozens of outstanding interviews with political figures, asking pertinent and intelligent questions, always showing respect for the person he’s interviewing regardless of political persuasion.  Where he truly shines is in his “Special Comment” section, which usually happens at least once every 4-6 weeks or more frequently as the need arises.  It’s usually something that Keith is very passionate about and has to completely step out of the role he is on the screen at that moment and be a complete human being on display, most times showing outrage at the complete stupidity or utter lack of humanity someone or something has displayed.  Hillary Clinton has been a target after her “RFK Moment” in the primaries.  The GOP was a target after they completely aired an inappropriate so-called “9/11 Tribute” that featured footage that both psychiatrists said should never be aired, and networks agreed never to air again.  The networks then got suckered in to airing it.  In his most infamous “Special Comment”, Mr Olbermann lambasted President Bush for giving up his golf game when asked what sacrifices he made since the Iraq War began.  It ended with Keith telling President Bush to “Shut the hell up”.  When asked in a magazine article why he said that, he replied “Because I couldn’t say ‘shut the fuck up’ on National Television”.

Then we come to Rachel Maddow, who is quickly becoming a sensation in cable news, and rightly so.  An Oxford scholar, she did her thesis on AIDS among the incarcerated in America’s jails.  She has a full-time radio gig on liberal Air America every day just before she goes on with her own TV show at 9PM.  She started as an MSNBC correspondent and began to fill-in for Keith Olbermann on Countdown when he ill or had a few days off.  What the network found out was that people wouldn’t easily turn off Countdown when KO wasn’t there…she was holding the audience.  What I found out was, I was doing the same.  I liked her intelligent delivery, skillful writing, and rapier wit.  So did the Network.

Her show has been on almost a month, and it’s beaten Larry King numerous times, and those two clowns on Fox Noise regularly.  Not only does she hold on to the Countdown audience, she actually builds upon it.  She is incredibly prepared, and took that sharp writing style and rapier wit with her to her own show.  What I absolutely love about her interviewing style is that it’s non-confrontational, but she will not hesitate to point out (respectfully) when you’re not quite telling the truth (OK…LYING!).  She will always ask an intelligent and thought provoking question, and an equally challenging follow-up.  What’s more, she asks the questions that are NOT obvious; the ones that make you say, “Damn!  Why didn’t I think of that?”.

While she may be a left-leaning lesbian (she’s open about it and is in a long term relationship with an artist), if you expected her analysis after the recent Presidential and VP Debates to be propaganda, you would have been dead wrong.  Her analysis was as non-partisan as they get.  Her debates (and sometime agreements!) with Pat Buchanan are a delight to watch because you have the Georgetown and Columbia educated Pat versus the Stanford and Oxford educated Rachel.  Two outstanding minds going at it is always a pleasure to watch, especially in this day and age.

So, yes…these guys are my two hour oasis amid the talking heads of television, the politicians, my wife, my kids, my cats…these guys are my SANITY on some days.  Every time I want to tear my hair out and scream at the TV because of something outrageous Johnny Boy and Sarah Baby did or said, they make me feel all better, somehow making me not feel alone in my disgust, outrage, or amazement at sheer stupidity.  I even have my 11 year old daughter hooked on both of these guys, and she often stays up to watch them with me.  Yeah, she’s only in 6th Grade, but she’s getting a great education in politics.

And outside of me, I can’t think of two better teachers.

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” – Edward R. Murrow

Open Thread: OK…So What The Hell Do I Write About Now?

After that little tirade last night (at a VERY late/early hour), I’m at a loss for words.  I’m still drained from being all worked up, and aside from the fact that the Bail Out was signed into law and the Market fell the minute the pen touched the paper and before the ink dried.

I’m taking tonight off to recoup and try and come up with something later on today or tomorrow.  This campaign ALWAYS provides material…so who knows?  Any suggestions of where I go from here?

Discuss!

Beat Me In St. Louis

Joe Biden was absolutely magnificent.  He was knowledgeable, respectful, and well…Vice Presidential.

Sarah Palin thought she was back in the Miss Alaska contest.  She did NOT answer moderator Gwen Ifill’s questions, going so far as to even STATE THAT SHE WOULDN’T ANSWER THE QUESTIONS to both Senator Biden and Gwen Ifill.  That was incredibly disrespectful to both of these professionals.  And that was only the beginning of “The Sarah Palin Show”.

Her answers were mini-stump speeches, dropped in whenever she felt like it.  She winked at the audience…winked!  She may not blink, but she sure can wink!  She was snarky, and conveyed a know-it all attitude that had my jaw dropping.  Her non-answers to important, potentially earth-shattering questions were astounding.  I literally had my hands on my head, shouting at the TV how absolutely DUMB this woman was.  There was all the style, and scripted substance.  Inside that shell of a human being (if you could even call her that…and I’ll get back to this point) is no soul.  She is robotic, programmed by her handlers and the McCain campaign as well as the GOP Right Wing.  Her demeanor toward a sitting Senator and a respected Journalist (and yes, part of the Mainstream Media that the Republicans hate so much) was condescending and conveyed that she had a vast superiority complex.

Well, let me tell you something Sarah Baby, you had NO BUSINESS being on the same stage as those two people, let alone on the same planet.  Sarah Baby, your answers were just what they told you to say and all at the wrong times.  While Biden was thoughtful and intelligent and ANSWERED THE QUESTION THAT WAS UP FOR DEBATE, you chose to dismiss that little fact.  While everyone is going to spin this one their way in both Presidential Campaigns, I’m going to tell you what I saw.

I SAW A WOMAN WHO WAS “NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME”, LET ALONE THE VICE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES, OR HEAVEN HELP US…PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

There.  I feel all better now.

Well not quite, because there’s that little bit about Humanity, Sarah Baby.  You know, the species that Joe Six-Pack belongs to.  The one you would clearly jeopardize by your brush off of an answer to nuclear proliferation.  The race you belong to that could be put in danger because the very thought of putting the US Embassy in Jerusalem could inflame every single Arab Nation that surrounds Israel, possibly negating existing treaties with Egypt and Jordan and ignite a regional war that will surely end in millions dead.  You know, the people that vote…the people that are like “some of my best friends are gay” implication you made when asked about Gay Rights.  You know…the voters who AREN’T all Joe Six Pack.  The ones who have brains in their heads, something you clearly don’t have, Sarah Baby.  Because you’re totally on Johnny Boy’s script and can’t think of a thing yourself…except for the fact you want power and more of it.

The very fact that tonight’s debate featured a moment where Sarah Baby wants to exert more power in the Senate, the Legislative Branch of Government…something NO VICE PRESIDENT HAS EVER DONE, because although the VP “presides” over the Senate in the powers granted to that position in the Constitution, it is not meant for full time Legislative activities.  It is meant as a person who breaks ties in the Senate.  There is a President Pro Tem who runs the show in the Upper House…and even they don’t run the show most times.  They are there as a Parliamentarian.  What Johnny Boy and Sarah Baby plan on doing is nothing short of a takeover of the Legislative Branch of Government and dominate that Branch as a part of the Executive Branch of Government in order to completely control the way the United States of America does business.

Make no mistake about it, a McCain Administration would be nothing short of the death of the Republic, with Sarah Palin spearheading the charge toward a Fascist Dictatorship.  Dick Cheney started this process with his Machiavellian scheming from the all powerful “Undisclosed Location”.  The prospect of Sarah Palin as Vice President is frightening in its implications alone, let’s just hope there is no implementation of that process.

When Joe Biden had an emotional moment recalling the death of his first wife and infant daughter in a car crash, Sarah Palin did not blink.  When it was her turn to respond to the question, instead of showing compassion for the man, she chose to resort to a rehearsed answer immediately afterward.  NONE.  Not even an ACKNOWLEDGMENT.  It just proved that it’s all about Sarah Baby.  It’s all about the show that is being perpetrated on the American Public every time she or Johnny Boy go out and speak.  She even had the balls to pretty much say that she was done giving interviews for the rest of the campaign.  Right after Joe Biden’s moment of humanity.

One moment of humanity, Sarah Baby…you could have shown it and it might have even been a real moment of compassion.  Instead, it was back on message and the hell with Joe Biden.  The hell with Gwen Ifill or the audience in that auditorium.  In fact, the hell with all of us, because you showed us your true colors tonight Governor.  It’s all about YOU and Johnny Boy and the Right Wing doing ANYTHING to WIN and MAINTAIN POWER AT ALL COSTS…even your own Humanity in the process, if you had any to start with.

What was on display was a shell with no soul.  What was on stage was all eye candy.  It was all a rehearsed script with lots of writers and the pages were all tossed up and in the wrong order.  It was a sham of a debate…hell, it was a debacle!  There was no debate because she chose her own debate questions and answers; just the same way the Bush Administration has for the past eight long years.  Complete and utter disregard for the citizens of this country and a thorough lack of understanding or respect for The Constitution of The United States of America.

You got beat in St Louis, Sarah Baby.  You’ll feel the aches and pains in the morning, when the fact checkers are done and the pundits focus on the one moment in the debate that wasn’t scripted…your lack of compassion.  THAT will be your Achilles Heel; the one you said you didn’t have by not answering the question that pertained to that very subject in the debate.

Sarah Palin might not have been the death knell for the McCain campaign as was feared this evening.  If John McCain and Sarah Palin are elected it will surely be the death knell of the Republic, and possibly the planet.

And then we will look back and wonder who really got beaten in St. Louis.

“Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” – Thomas Jefferson

AUTHOR”S NOTE: I resent the term “Joe Six-Pack”.  It is a demeaning term to men who should not produly wear it with a badge of honor.  I am a recovering alcoholic, and I was never Joe Six Pack.  As sure as I am here, I have been blessed by sobriety through the good grace and redemption of my soul because I was saved from that which almost killed me.  Joe Six Pack takes on an entirely different meaning for me, because it represents the ashes from which I and so many others like me have arisen from.  Do not assume that we all fit nicely into a particular box or category.

“Because of our kinship in suffering, our channels of contact have always been charged with the language of the heart.” – Bill Wilson

The VEEP Pre-Game Show

For me, it’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”, and the lucky NY Giants cap AGAIN for this debate.  (It seemed to have worked out nicely last time).

I got a lot of butterflies this time.  I don’t know if it’s because Joe Biden is prone to a magnificent gaffe at the worst possible moment, or the fact that as long as Palin breathes successfully for 90 minutes; she’ll be declared the winner.  I have a feeling this is going to be something that no one expected…and why shouldn’t it be?  Nothing about this election has been ordinary.

There’s an old expression: if you can’t dazzle them with knowledge, then befuddle them with bullshit.  Let’s just hope Palin gets called-out if (and most likely WHEN) she tries to do this, and continues to be the bad oral essay test that she has been with the media for the past several weeks.

See you after the Debate with some quick takes and analysis.

Quick Notes On Site Navigation And Some Comments From The Author

Just in case some of you are new to reading blogs, here’s a quick way to access all of the writings of Yours Truly on this Humble Site:

  • I usually post daily after 8 PM EST (-5GMT), so the most recent post will always be at the top of the blog.
  • Previous posts will always appear (in their entirety) below the current post.  You can read a post this way, or by clicking on the post title, you will be able to comment on it.  I would appreciate anyone reading the Blog to do this, as I am able to see on my statistics page which articles are receiving more traffic than others.
  • The 10 most recent posts are also highlighted in the section “Recent Posts” (clever title, huh?).  Click on one of them to read and/or comment on one.
  • Older posts (those not in the Recent Posts section) can be accessed by clicking on the (ingeniously titled) “Archives” section, click on the month you wish to view, and then finding the article you wish to read and click on the title of the article.  Even though an article is still in the Archives, you may comment on it.  I will most certainly see it, and I will address it directly in the twice-monthly “Fan Mail From Some Flounder Section”, or with you by e-mail.
  • The Recent Comments section features comments from readers regardless of the time period of the post’s original publication date.  So, if you wish to comment on an article from September on a day in November, comments that you just made on the original article will show up in this section, on that hypothetical day in November.

I DO read every comment sent to me.  I will occasionally respond to a comment, not on the original reader comment, but in a separate comment on my own.  I encourage you to comment on any post, so long as you keep to the topic.  Links and shameless self-promotion are also encouraged, so if you have a blog, hype it up here (as long as the Blog is not a sex maniac site or something…you get the drift).  If you’d like to have your Blog cross-referenced in the “Places I Frequent” section, please send me an e-mail and I’ll read through your blog for a few days and then (hopefully) post your blog reference to mine.  Also, please visit those site I frequent.  They are some great blogs and great sources of information.  My Comments Section has been and will remain unmoderated for the foreseeable future.

Please feel free to e-mail me at ark3blog@me.com if you wish to correspond directly, or make a comment “off-line”.  I will always reply to an e-mail.

I’m always amazed on how folks get referred to this place, outside of the usual suspects and word of mouth, of course.  This blog has been referred by many sources that I would never expected to be a source of referrals.  I’m also amazed at the search terms used by various search engines that refer folks here as well.  I actually had a reader translate one of my pages into Italian the other day!  (See, I DO look at my Blog Stats page!)  I’m enjoying myself immensely with “Intersections…”, and I hope you’re enjoying reading it.  It’s great to be able to get my opinion and voice out there in the hope that I can make someone think or nod their head in agreement, or perhaps get a chuckle or two in their day.  Maybe I’ve made you shed a tear or two, and rest assured that there are occasions when I write a piece that I get that same lump in the throat; the Yankee Stadium piece pretty much tore me up while writing it.

With any luck, you’ll see a new post in a few hours.  I’m trying to get one more in before tomorrow night’s debate between the VP Candidates; because I will probably have a short post-debate post and a more detailed analysis the following day…same as I did with the first debate.

Thanks for reading…and like I said a month ago in my initial post, I’ll try my best to make every word you read worth your time.

UPDATE: I’ll hold off on another post until tomorrow after the debates.  There’s just so much information coming in now, I don’t know where to start.  The Senate just passed the Bail Out…er…Rescue Package 75-25.  Yes, both Presidential Candidates voted FOR the Bill as did Senator Biden.

If I think of anything worthy of posting prior to the Debate, I will; otherwise expect a quick analysis from me about 11 PM EST (-5GMT) on 10/2/08.