August 31, 2008

Fear not, Americans!

This just in...

For the consumption of morons only!


Dateline August 31, 2008.

Concerns about the utter absence of knowledge of, or even curiosity about, foreign policy by the woman picked to be a heartbeat from the presidency were put to rest completely today by Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, during her appearance on "This Week" with George Stephanopolis.

When questioned about this obvious concern, Mrs. McCain, employing the logic which has made Republican political argument so appealing to the uninformed and those who, for one reason or another, have gotten where they are without using their brains too much and see no reason to start now, eliminated any lingering doubt about Palin's qualification to lead America through increasingly dangerous international relations.

Mrs. McCain offered an air-tight argument sure to frustrate even pointy-headed liberal intellectuals, noting that the state of Alaska, where Sarah Palin has been governor for nearly 20 months, is the closest state..... to Russia. Which is a foreign country. And full of commies. (or did Reagan get rid of all them? Can't remember.)

End of story.

Cindy McCain shown pointing up, indicating Alaska to the geographically impaired.

So there you go. The logic is impeccable:

1. Russia is a foreign country. (that's what "foreign affairs" is about, ain't it?)

2. Alaska is a state which includes some incredibly remote, barren, God-forsaken small islands that are closer to Russia than say, some other state.

3. Palin has been governor of Alaska for about half a term.

Put it all together, stir it around in the Republican moron seeking logic-sucking spin-o-matic device, and the result is inescapable; There's no reason to doubt Palin is completely qualified to deal with America's foreign affairs.

(Just do NOT think it through, whatever you do! REMEMBER: If a Republican says it and it sounds like it makes sense and confirms what you want to believe, STOP RIGHT THERE!!.... that's good enough. If you start up with that thinking crap, you'll end up with a negro secret Muslim commie that wants to kill white babies!)

So much for any concerns about Sarah Palin's foreign policy credentials.

Thank you Cindy! Thank you Lord!
A grateful nation breaths a sigh of relief.

ALSO JUST IN....

Concerns over Palin's ability to lead the largest military force in the history of the planet are deftly put to rest by noting that, as governor, Palin was actually in charge of the Alaska National Guard. (even though she never had to make any decisions regarding their use.)

How can you argue with that??? That's the last we'll hear about THAT silly concern.

Why, she's MUCH more experienced than Obama! She got a B.A. in journalism from the University of Idaho and wanted to get a gig on ESPN. Obama went to Harvard law and was the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, turned down millions with Wall St. firms to work in community organizing before getting elected state rep, state senator, and to the U.S. senate. Who you gonna trust?

Sure, I know, Palin does have a college degree and it would be even better if she didn't. But still. Palin's the clear choice. Smart people should never be trusted with running this country... ever!

THIS JUST IN: John Stewart notes the "close to Russia" argument and reminds us that Alaska is close to the North Pole too, so Palin must know Santa Claus.

Steven Colbert bristles at the charge that Palin is being used as a cheap, political ploy. Not fair, argues Colbert, "That is such petty cynicism. This is historic! For the first time in American history, a woman has reached the highest levels of being used as a cheap political ploy." So true. Sarah Palin = Rosa Parks (and Sen. Jacobs)

Note: It's doubly reassuring to now realize that, using the lovely Cindy's line of reasoning, we Americans have a wealth of foreign affairs experts to draw upon.

The governors of the states of Washington, Montana, North AND South Dakota (the state only has to be close, remember.), Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California are also entirely qualified and ready to step to the helm in guiding our country through the challenging and increasingly complex and perilous seas of foreign policy.

Besides Palin, the governor of Florida is probably the next most qualified foreign policy expert. It's very close to the Bahamas AND only 90 miles from Cuba. After all, the capitol of Alaska, Juneau, is over 1500 miles from Russia, further than the distance between Chicago and Miami.

Heck, maybe the governor of Florida is MORE qualified?? But he's not female. Scratch that.

Gustav provides cover for Republicans in retreat

What to do with the most unpopular president in modern history when you have to have him speak at your convention? That's a problem.

And what about the even LESS popular vice-president, who'd already been scheduled to speak?

Hell, what could you do when the Democrats just put on the most rousing, inspirational, amazingly brilliant convention in the country's history?

Meeting in the same town with two symbols of Republican neglect and hypocrisy, the collapsed interstate bridge and the Minneapolis bathroom where Larry Craig took his wide stance, things aren't going to be too swell to begin with.

And with the first ever back-to-back conventions, your convention is poised to look simply pathetic by comparison, both in enthusiasm, crowds, message, and .. well, everything.

And on top of it, another reminder of just how badly your party has mucked up the country is steaming across the gulf and aiming at the same area where many are still living in trailers from the last disaster.

What do you do??

Well, you HAVE to pretend to really care this time around, that goes without question.

And you use the storm as an excuse to keep Bush from getting anywhere near Minneapolis, and use the cover to cancel Cheney too. (Hey! Maybe hurricanes aren't so bad after all!)

But what about the woefully sucky convention itself? It'll look so bad coming on the heels of Denver that the entire party will be embarassed.

Well, let's see....

We could in effect cancel the entire program. Yeah, that's it.

Oh! I got it! Let's cancel everything and turn it into a telethon for hurricane victims! Brilliant! (Just don't remind Republicans that the money might be going to mostly black people or it'll fall on its face. Remember how before the storm was even over right wing pundits and talk show hosts were blasting the victims themselves for their fate and arguing against giving them government help? (But it was just fine to provide government help to those with huge second homes on the beach, like Sen. Trent Lott, whom Bushie personally pledged to help rebuild. Or the millions in aid to casinos struck by the storm.) Maybe just show white victims outside New Orleans.)

So that's it. Even though we were dead set against aid to black/poor victims of Katrina and we still haven't provided enough aid to make more than a dent in rebuilding, even though we mocked the victims at the time, now we can exploit another storm to our benefit.

We'll send McCain down to hang out with former super-lobbyist Haley Barbour, Governor of the only state, Mississippi, to get plenty of government aid, even though it was far from the hardest hit, but it was mostly well off whites who lost property along the exclusive coast in Mississipi.

But what about the evangelicals? Our big supporter Rev. Hagee said that God had sent Katrina because there was a gay pride parade scheduled in New Orleans. What's pissed him off this time? They wont' give a dime to people they think have incurred the wrath of God. So that's a problem. But hey, this isn't about actually raising money... it's about APPEARANCES like everything. Don't sweat it.

So we'll essentially cancel our entire convention out of shame.

But we'll get some good "optics" (I absolutely HATE that deeply stupid term, which reporters and pundits think is so cool to say. Can't just say "visuals" anymore... or you won't be "cool". And it's not freaking "optics" anyway. Optics are made out of glass, damn it.) out of McCain. Maybe put him in some hip boots and take some shots of him handing out water for a few minutes. All good.

Get rid of Bush. Check.
Get rid of Cheney. Check
Just give up on competing with the Dem convention. Check.
And pretend we're doing it out of concern for people we couldn't care less about a few years ago. Check.

Psst. Wanna buy a button, t-shirt, poster or sticker?



Here's my contribution. Probably coulda sold thousands yesterday. (or not)

Somehow "McCain/Palin" still makes you scratch your head. Not too zippy sounding. Might as well have been "McCain/Zuphengruber" or "McCain/Perkins". It still is firmly in the catagory of things that make you go "huh???".

The more I think about this pick, the more I'm convinced that, like Fred Thompson before him, McCain just isn't really sure he cares about this whole Presidency thing anymore.

Gee, you liberals are so HATEFUL

Yeah, it's a shame, ain't it.

We don't make money selling reasonable, rational, fair-minded stuff like this to our side.

You can get this sticker, which isn't sexist or crude or stupid at all. Just a legitimate political view. And besides, the Republicans all feel that Hillary really got a raw deal, remember? They're full of compassion for her and her poor agreived followers.

And calling all liberals "Commies" is still real popular among the Republican brain trust.

This one is a real knee-slapper. Oh those zany Republicans and what they call humor. As fresh as today's headlines, if by "today's" you mean 50 years ago. Can't accuse them of living in the past.

It says "Nyet". That's Russian. Hillary's a commie, get it! ZING! Ouch, that hurts! Make 'em stop! I think I busted a stich. What'll they come up with next?

Heck, they loves them some Hillary now. Really feel like she got ripped off. But that doesn't mean that they don't think she's Stalin in a pantsuit. Check out this hilarious and patriotic shirt. So subtle, it's really clever, don't you think? A real plus for our political discourse, to be sure.

And for those who didn't get the memo about the end of the cold war, here's what every well-dressed Republican fossil will be wearing this campaign season. Boy, won't that impress people? Yowsa! Free Gary Powers!!

Of course, if you're a shrewd investor, you might want to snap up some of these items supporting the guy Republicans touted as the "next Reagan", until it became apparent he wasn't even the next Alan Keyes. Keep hope alive!!

And these examples are really, REALLY tame compared to some warm and fuzzy right wing super-macho views. These folks want you to know that they're oozing testosterone and all man. (until you ask them if they're enlist.)

But the shirt that really needs to be worn, if for no other reason than to warn other sane people to move to the other side of the street if they see you coming, is this gem. POW! All the wit and subtlety of a monster truck rally. It's got it all. That famous laugh-out-loud Republican wit, the not-so-veiled racism, and the intelligent, fact basesd political argument Republicans have come to rely on. (Well, really, it's all they got. What are they going to do, argue they got it right the past 8 years?)

It's a shame us Democrats and liberals can't be as sober and rational in our choice of what to wear and stick on our vehicles. Our discourse is so crude and, of course, "hateful". The Republicans who are so fond of hurling that term around at anyone who refuses to pretend failed, immoral, greedy, irresponsible, and destructive Republican policies deserve to be taken seriously are so right.

Compared to the brain numbing stupidity and gross distortions their supporters engage in regularly, I have a lot of work to do.

Illinois to Iowa for Obama

If you're wanting to participate in FINALLY getting our country back on course, you might consider this effort by the Obama campaign.

Fortunately, Illinois is considered to be a lock for Obama in November, but the states surrounding it are definitely not. In fact, they are the ultra-crucial swing states that will determine whether this country had to endure more of the same and be drug further down the same failed path.

Iowa is one of only two states that voted Republican in 2004 after voting Democratic in 2000. George W. Bush won Iowa by less than one percentage point – a switch of only three votes per precinct would have turned the state Democratic.

Though you can voluteer to help out in any neighboring state, the Obama campaign is asking people in western Illinois to sign up and volunteer to travel across the creek to Iowa for a massive get out the vote effort.

This is not the time to leave things to chance.

Get involved, even if it's just a little of your time.

Click here to get involved and do your bit for a brighter future.

Hee hee hee titter titter

Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin are both former beauty contest ladies. (Palin was Miss Wassilla and came in second in the Miss Alaska contest, but won Miss Congeniality) I'll leave it to you to decide what this says about McCain's idea of women.

Say what you will though, (and how can you not?) but Palin is definitely perky, complete with that high teen-ager voice.

Listen as she giggles her way through an interview with local shock jocks as they refer to her female political opponent (a cancer survivor) as a "cancer" and a "bitch".

Palin, quick to portray herself as a feminist these days, responds by giggling and inviting them to attend her state of the state address.



And what does she think about the office of vice president? She's not sure what a vice president does.
Larry Kudlow of CNBC’s “Kudlow & Co.” asked her about the possibility of becoming McCain's ticket mate.

Palin replied: “As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?



Another fun fact: Alaska, the state Palin headed for less than two years now, has a population of 683,000. This would only make it the 17th most populous CITY in the United States. Just ahead of Fort Worth.

"She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"
- Lyda Green, REPUBLICAN president of the Alaska State Senate from Palin's hometown of Wasilla, reacting to the Palin announcement.

And another glowing review of the Palin pick:
It's always said that the most important decision a presidential candidate makes is their pick for vice president. It shows their thinking and judgment. John McCain, in his first decision, has just told the world that he believes Sarah Palin is the most qualified person to be a heartbeat from the presidency. Forgetting all the available men for a moment, if John McCain felt it critical to select a woman in an effort to somehow grab the Hillary Clinton supporters, look at his choice of women he had available: Christine Todd Whitman, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Elizabeth Dole, Susan Collins, even - for goodness sake - Condoleezza Rice. Or Carly Fiorina. Each of these have marks against them, and perhaps some might not have wanted to run, but it's near-impossible to look at the list and suggest to the American public that Sarah Palin is the best choice of Republican women to be vice president. And again, this is ignoring the men he who could have been chosen.

It's not that Sarah Palin is inexperienced. It's that this is gross political misconduct.


And it seems, like nearly all women voters, (cough) Palin isn't a big fan of polar bears either. She wrote an op-ed in the NY Times back in January opposing adding them to the endangered species list, using the usual Republican tactic of cherry picking evidence and dismissing scientific evidence.

I've often wondered if McCain is really all that serious about becomeing president. Now I'm pretty sure it's just trying to get a better job, and if not, oh well.

August 30, 2008

For all the long gone daddies in the U.S.A.

The song has never been more powerful, more appropriate.

Hearing it at Denver Thursday while the cameras showed the diverse and inspired faces among the crowd was nothing short of stirring, especially when they showed a guy way, way, WAY up in the last, top row of the stadium, waving a huge American flag against the backdrop of the beautiful Rockies sunset.

Reagan tried to use Springsteen's anthem about the hopelessness of the America confronting a Vietnam vet upon his return during his presidential campaign, banking on the fact that morons everywhere would only know the chorus and think it was some jingoistic tune to the virtues of America.

It's not.

It's a joy to see it finally find it's rightful place and it's meaning restored.

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
'Til you spend half your life just covering up

[chorus:]
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

I got in a little hometown jam
And so they put a rifle in my hands
Sent me off to Vietnam
To go and kill the yellow man

[chorus]

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me"
I go down to see the V.A. man
He said "Son don't you understand"

[chorus]

I had a buddy at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone...
He had a little girl in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years down the road
Nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go

I'm a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

Student's for McCain

For sale at the official McCain store...



Vote for the educashon president!


Thanks to Nooncat for the catch.

Sure!

Sure John. Good move.

PALIN AND THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE.... John McCain's introduction of Sarah Palin as his running mate this afternoon was an interesting sight. If you watch the video carefully, and I hope you do, notice that in order to tell the audience his running mate's name, he had to carefully read it from a script. That's really not a good sign.

Palin's speech was rather routine, but there was a paragraph that stood out for me:

"...I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress -- I told Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, I said we'd build it ourselves."
The McCain campaign has been flagging this pretty aggressively this afternoon. It's a shame, then, that Palin wasn't exactly telling the truth. As TNR's Brad Plumer explained, Palin actually supported the funding for the much-derided bridge project.

That's not a good start for her very first public appearance as the Republicans' VP candidate. (But totally in keeping with Republican tactics.)

I'd add, by the way, that her reference to earmark spending is itself problematic. For all of McCain's alleged disgust for pork, Palin's Alaska receives more earmarks than any other state.

Ultra-conservative David "Axis of Evil" Frum and I agree

Never thought David Frum and I would be on the same page....
Frum, you may recall, is the Bush speech writer who put the infamous phrase, "Axis of Evil" in Bush's mouth.

He writes in the consevative "National Review":
Palin

The longer I think about it, the less well this selection sits with me. And I increasingly doubt that it will prove good politics. The Palin choice looks cynical. The wires are showing.

John McCain wanted a woman: good.

He wanted to keep conservatives and pro-lifers happy: naturally.

He wanted someone who looked young and dynamic: smart.

And he discovered that he could not reconcile all these imperatives with the stated goal of finding a running mate qualified to assume the duties of the presidency "on day one."

Sarah Palin may well have concealed inner reservoirs of greatness. I hope so! But I'd guess that John McCain does not have a much better sense of who she is, what she believes, and the extent of her abilities than my enthusiastic friends over at the Corner. It's a wild gamble, undertaken by our oldest ever first-time candidate for president in hopes of changing the board of this election campaign. Maybe it will work. But maybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I'd be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it's John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.

Here's I fear the worst harm that may be done by this selection. The McCain campaign's slogan is "country first." It's a good slogan, and it aptly describes John McCain, one of the most self-sacrificing, gallant, and honorable men ever to seek the presidency.

But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?


Frum is exactly right to notice the rank hypocrisy in McCain's pick.

Just how nearly criminally cynical and hypocritical is it to announce this pick from a podium adorned with "Country First" in front of a crowd waving "Country First" placards, when by the very choice McCain demonstrates clearly that he puts politics ahead of the safety and well-being of the country in picking a grossly unqualified person to be a heart-beat away from the Presidency, simply out of the hopes that it will dupe women voters into voting against their own interests?

As has been noted in comments, the 2008 presidential campaign has been longer than Palin's term as Governor of Alaska!

Even honest conservatives can't ignore the reckless cynicism in this choice.

Ain't that America

Law Enforcement stage pre-emptive harassment raids in Minneapolis, raid private homes in SWAT gear and drawn automatic weapons, forcing residents to lie on floor for nearly an hour and seizing computers, records, notebooks, anything they want.

Their crime?

It was thought they might be planning to participate in a protest march during the Republican convention.


Shameful.

I'm sure they're going to raid, in full combat gear with guns drawn too, the private homes of suspected anti-abortion protesters too, right?

August 29, 2008

Happy 94th Birthday Sen. McCain


What?

Oh.

Happy SEVENTY-SECOND birthday Mr. McCain. My mistake.

Be happy. Most people your age don't die for another 10 years or so.
Once you get elected, you can begin the inevitable decline in health, and Bitsy your Vice President can take over and maybe feed you pureed moose.

It's an important day you know. On this day a couple years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast and struck New Orleans.

Where was John McCain?

Celebrating his birthday with Bushie at his ranch. Oh they had such fun while people were drowning in their own homes and a major American city was being utterly destroyed.



In your honor, here are 72 virtual birthday candles.

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And this fine family took the time to wish you the best. Lucky thing the fire marshall didn't show up with all those candles.

Sarah Who?


A bit more info on Sarah Palin, the woman who would stand a 73 year old hearbeat away from the presidency were McCain, a guy with a history of cancer, elected:

Palin won the governor's office in Alaska with 115,000 votes. She served two terms on the Wasila city council in the 1990s and was elected mayor in 1999. She is a native of Idaho, and her family moved to Alaska when she was an infant.

She is a hunter, lifelong NRA member, snowmobiler and staunch conservative. She is said to favor mooseburgers.

Like Obama, Palin played high school basketball - captain of the Wasilla Warriors. Unlike Obama, she has been a beauty queen -- she placed second in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant in 1984.

Unlike McCain, who says he's never won any awards for "Mr. Congeniality'' in the Senate, she was "Miss Congeniality.''

Unlike Obama, her college education ended at the University of Idaho, where she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Obama is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Her husband Todd, is a native Eskimo and works in commercial fishing and oil drilling on the North Slope of Alaska -- a Steelworkers' Union member and snowmobile racer. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary today.

Their firstborn son, Track, joined the Army last year and is bound for Iraq in the infantry this fall -- "He'll be following the presidential camapign from afar,'' Sarah Palin said in her appearance with McCain in Ohio today, with Palin citing her pride in him and "all of the men and women serving.''

They have three daughters, seven through 17, and earlier this year, Sarah Palin gave birth to their second son, born with Down syndrome.

Her youngest child's plight underscores Palin's commitment to the "pro-life'' cause which McCain has pledged to make a central concern of his administration. She was not dissuaded by prenatal testing of the child and has said of him: "I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection.... Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?''

In the world of politics, what's a perfect vice presidential pick? Is it the pick that Obama made: Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and decades of experience in Congress? Or is it Palin, ex-mayor of Wasilla?

And in the debate that McCain will wage with Obama this fall, the question of Obama's "preparedness'' for the presidency will have to be addressed with a certain recognition that McCain has tapped someone who might have to stand in as president who carries a lack of national credentials unseen in a long time.

When Obama was looking at Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia as a possible running mate, Karl Rove, the "architect" of President Bush's election campaigns, dismissed his experience - a governor for three years and ex-mayor of 103rd largest Richmond.

We're not sure where Wasilla (Pop. 5,550) ranks.

But Palin runs the Alaska National Guard.


For comparison, according to the 2007 census, the town of SILVIS has 2,272 more residents than Wasilla, Alaska. A better idea of the size of the town Palin served as Mayor only two years ago would be the village of Colona, which has only a couple hundred fewer residents than Wasilla.

Well, you know what they say, "If you can run Wasilla, AK, within a couple years you can run the United States." Well, actually, I guess they don't say that. Because it would be absolutely insane.

Personally, I think she should be disqualified for no other reason than she actually named her son "Track". (Well, she has admitted smoking dope up there when it was legal.) Does she have a daughter named "Field"? Or maybe another named "Stream"?
They could be Track and Field, or Field and Stream. Just sayin'.

McCain VP pick makes the mind wobble

Huh??

It's alarmingly true that you never know what the hell McCain's going to do or say, and his habit of erratic and sometimes baffling direction changes is well established. The guy's a wild-card, a loose cannon who swerves from this direction to that often for no apparent reason. He touts his judgement, but makes horrible decisions on a regular basis.

Now he's further cemented that erratic reputation in his choice for vice president.

WTF??

That's pretty much the universal reaction upon hearing that Sen. John McCain has picked a first term governor of Alaska, a mother of 5 who only two years ago was mayor of a tiny town, a virtually unknown woman, as the person who will be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

And with a fossil like McCain, the odds she might actually end up as leader of the free world are not small. The idea that this woman could end up leading America at this dangerous and critical time in history should make any sane person shudder. Obviously, with this pick, McCain decided to toss that serious responsibility out the window.

McCain always tells us he puts country first over political ambitions. But with this pick he shows clearly that as far as the solemn duty to ensure the country is lead by an able leader in case he can't finish his term, McCain clearly put his political ambition ahead of the country's safety and well-being.

McCain has just picked Danielle Quayle as vice president.

One wonders what the hell they were thinking, but not for too long, as the pick is a huge blunder and if that's what they want to do, then fine. Give 'em enough rope, etc.

McCain admits he's clueless about economic matters. Maybe Romney would be good? Nah!

Better pick a virtually unknown governor (I can't remember her name at the moment.)who's currently under ethics investigations for abuse of office, who only two years ago was the mayor of a tiny town in Alaska,and who's considered even further to the right than McCain on social issues.

In making this pick, McCain is making the clear statement that the former mayor of Aledo or Orion is entirely qualified to become President of the United States.

But Obama doesn't have enough experience? Wave bye-bye to that argument.

Kay Bailley Huchinson was talked about. An experienced and respected Senator from Texas. But McCain didn't want any woman that might make him look bad, and reportedly had some personal grudge against Huchinson.

So they thought a woman would be just the thing. And they came up with... whatsername.

Yeah. That's the ticket! (literally.)

Historians will look back at this as the moment where the McCain candidacy officially jumped the tracks.

The McCain camp must have been crapping their collective pants after watching the Dem convention and been so terrified that they made this decision in a panic.

The only rationale for this bizarre pick seems to be a misguided appeal to Hillary supporters. The McCain campaign is apparently so desperate that they feel that his only hope for success is to somehow poach former Hillary supporters. And they were willing to throw away their VP pick on an utterly inexperienced zero as long as she was a female, thinking that's all it would take.

Women, they seem to be saying, are so simple-minded that any woman will satisfy them. Doesn't matter if she's a rabid right winger and supports everything they oppose. Women will be so stupid that they'll vote for a ticket with a woman simply because there's a woman, any woman, on the ballot.

Palin, I guess that's her name, even made a glowing reference to Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro in her comments after being picked, complete with the reference to the female Hillary supporters as "18 million cracks". (Does anyone else cringe every time they hear Hillary or anyone else refer to her female supporters as "cracks"?? Seems like a very unfortunate euphemism.)

This is the typical clueless Republian disrespect for women's intelligence. A simple-minded and stupid view of women voters and Hillary supporters as if they're mindless monolithic dupes who only supported Hillary because she was female, period, not because they fervently believed in her policy positions, causes, and political views.

They cynically believe that unhappy Clinton supporters will blindly vote for McCain on the basis that he has a VP candidate who lacks a Y chromosome, and totally ignoring that she's anti-choice, anti-health care, pro-oil, pro-war, anti-gay and further to the right than McCain himself. Brilliant!

The McCain campaign is trotting out the decidedly icky Heather Wilson, an arch conservative, to defend this pick. When the female reporter asked her if she could really envision this woman as president, Wilson replied, "I'm surprised to hear a woman ask that."

As if all woman should mindlessly believe any woman would automatically be a qualified president. Wilson was amazed that any woman would so much as question whether a complete rookie politician would be a good president. This completely confirms the contempt and simple-minded cynicism with which the Republicans view women voters. (But really, what do you expect when their candidate volunteers his wife for an ass-shaking, simulated sex act contest at a biker rally?)

All I can say is, good luck Republicans. But then again, Republicans live on the belief that you can fool all of the people, all of the time.

All I can say is.... well done, senator. Well done!

Bring on the vice-presidential debate!

Somewhere, Dan Quayle is smiling.

He always knew he'd be redeemed someday.


Waddaya think of McCain's brilliant pick?


**EXTRA**
This just in from right wing flying monkeys everywhere. Palin is a true HERO because she actually gave birth to a Downs Syndrome baby! Yes, that's right, she's HEROIC for actually bearing a child with a disability!

It's all over for Obama.

And even though this Downs Syndrome baby is still a three month old infant, anyone that dares to wonder how she's going to provide for the child if she's living 2000 miles away in D.C. and vice pres, is a horrible sexist! Why, there's plenty of mothers who have a family and a career! Republicans believe in "family values" and a woman should be able to be a mother and have a career. Anyone questioning how a mother could choose a political position which would require her to essentially abandon her Downs Syndrome infant and make it impossible to provide the care necessary is a horrible person.

Also, if it were a male, no one would question this, so it's not fair.

Breaking news: All liberal/Democratic women abort their Downs Syndrome babies! Every one of them! They all abort children with Downs Syndrome!! All liberals abort babies with disabilities!!!

Palin is a HERO for actually bearing this child! Liberals would have aborted it!!!

This news sure to have a large impact on the election. Or at least right wing idiots who are too stupid to breath.

~~~~~~~~~
ANSWER: Once

QUESTION: How many times did McCain meet Palin before making her his V.P.

This was a desperation move, no doubt about it.

Set sail on a sea of whiteness

A few stats about the Democratic delegates for their convention:

- A little over 50% were women.
- 24% were black
- 12% hispanic
- 6% gay or lesbian
- 4% people with disabilities
- 14% were 36 or younger
- the youngest delegate is 17 years old
- 17% were 65 or older
- the oldest delegate is 91 years old
In other words, it pretty much reflected America.

Now cut to the Republican convention. You might think you're watching footage of a polar bear in a blizzard.

Sure, the Republicans are a "big tent" party and really inclusive. They welcome anyone who supports their agenda and outlook. Their delegation pales in comparison to the Democrats. Literally.

It just works out that many Republicans are and have always been racist and even though they'd likely pay handsomely any token minority who wanted to participate, the delegates will be overwhelmingly white... and male.

Of course like years past, they seem to favor having a lots of African-Americans as hired help, just to show how "hip" the Republicans are. They hire them as entertainers and waiters, waitresses, and maids for their hotels. You'll probably see a lot of black faces during their convention. Singing and dancing for them.

Considering that Mitt Romney spent a cool $1.16 million for every delegate he got, and he lost, you can be sure that you're looking at some pricey delegates.

I'm unable to find any information on the demographics of the Republican delegates to their convention. Evidently it's not something they're eager to publicize.

But I'll keep looking.

And now we learn that McCain has picked a virtually unknown woman who's under ethics investigation and who is considered even more rigidly right wing than he is.

Hey. Good move!

Good lord!

Hope they were able to bus in enough supporters to make the hall where he makes his announcement look less than vacant.

Look closely, I'm sure you might catch people wandering the crowd trying to ensure that they make an EXTRA large amount of noise, trying to counter the real and vast enthusiasm and excitment seen at the Dem convention.

Press & crowds at Obama VP announcement

Here's a clip of a Japanese journalist recording her report from the press filing area near the Old Capitol as another reporter quickly writes his report next to her.

video

I think she's saying, Damn! It's hot here!

Some of the satellite trucks near the Old Capitol before the event.



The press riser in front of the podium.

The press riser after the event. Some have taken refuge from the sun underneath.

Reporters who still remained after the event file stories in the shade.



Before the event.

CNN's stand-up location in front of Lincoln's law offices across the street from the Old Capitol.

The CNN mobile sat truck.

A Fox News stooge. I know someone can recognize and identify him.

The Fox truck, which apparently had been washed since February of '07



A portion of one block with lines going both directions.

The crowd watches the speeches on the giant screen. Most are packed along the curb in the shade.



The crowd on the way out after the event. It took hours for them to exit.

Obama's speech

Here's the text of Obama's acceptance speech given at Mile High Stadium Thursday August 28th, 2008

August 28, 2008

A hard act to follow

The 2008 Democratic Convention is history. Literally.

For the first time, a black man has been nominated to be his party's candidate for President of the United States. That's some big history.

Like all conventions, it had it's highs and lows. Some of the best speeches and best moments weren't even covered on cable or major networks, since all of them seemed intent on letting us hear them gab endlessly or else interview one partisan, and entirely predictable, Democrat after another.

But one thing's for certain; the Republicans are going to have one hell of a time trying to come close to this with their effort.

Obama appearing before a jam-packed 80,000 plus crowd in a stadium, with thousands more who couldn't fit in standing outside vs. McCain, who reportedly was struggling mightily to fill a 10,000 seat theatre where he expects to announce his VP pick, including the campaign having to resort to busing in people simply to avoid an embarrassingly sparse audience.

I may write a fuller review later, but for now, here's a spot for you to share your views of it, how effective you thought it was, and reviews of the whole show, how the stagecraft aspect was carried out, who you thought did particularly well, and why, or who you thought stunk up the joint.

Overall, I thought it was an awe inspiring production, unlike any before it, and was very well, with several exceptions.

What did you think? Did Hillary do enough? Did the Clintons effectively put to rest any doubt that they're entirely supportive of Obama? Or were they only doing what they had to do?

I know one thing. The country is fired up and ready to go.

Some memorable phrases:

Teddy Kennedy's, "The work begins anew, the hope rises again. And the dream lives on."

McCain isn't a "maverick". He's more of Bush's sidekick. - Bob Casey

Before McCain debates Obama, he should finish the debate with himself. - John Kerry after noting McCain's incredible list of flip-flops.

Hillary's quip about how it's appropriate that McCain and Bush are appearing in the Twin Cities this week, since it's so hard to tell them apart. And her "No way, no how, no McCain", which I think is a bit weak, but......

Bill Clinton's "Thanks, but no thanks." and what I thought was one of the best lines of then entire convention, his saying, "People around the world are more impressed by the power of our example rather than the example of our power."

There are many more. Feel free to add any I've omitted.

I hope to also link to full texts of some of the best speeches.

The convention was inspiring and moving, even beyond the speeches and partisan rhetoric. Just seeing the incredibly diverse crowd, and so many African-Americans fully engaged and hopeful, and witnessing how powerfully so many feel about this historic campaign, just how desperately they want this era of Republican selfish and foolish rule to end and to get some relief, how badly they want their country back, that so many were in tears, men and women alike, just at the fact that it was finally reality, that Obama was actually the nominee.

I think the country will now witness a election effort like none ever before in history. Within literally minutes tonight, the campaign had received over 30,000 responses to a text message invitation for people to volunteer to work on the campaign. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

As the Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, said after his rousing speech, "That's it baby! Let's go win this election!"

P.S. During coverage of the convention, I actually saw not one, but TWO people from the Quad Cities during cut-away shots from the podium, one at the Pepsi Center, and one at Mile High stadium. What are the odds?

August 27, 2008

The ugly truth

Republicans seem particularly fond of taunting any Obama supporter by noting that by all rights, Obama should have an enormous lead in the polls. How come it's so close, they ask.

Deep down, they know the answer, if they are capable of honest self-introspection, usually a rare trait in such types. They also know that since it can't be proven, they can adopt their favorite pose: smug and silly self-satisfaction.

Yes, they know why it's close, and rather than being rightfully sickened, they're instead pleased as hell with the situation.

Jacob Weisberg in Newsweek:
What with the Bush legacy of reckless war and economic mismanagement, 2008 is a year that favors the generic Democratic candidate over the generic Republican one. Yet Barack Obama, with every natural and structural advantage, is running only neck and neck with John McCain, a subpar nominee with a list of liabilities longer than a Joe Biden monologue. Obama has built a crack political operation, raised record sums and inspired millions with his eloquence and vision. McCain has struggled with a fractious campaign team, deficits in clarity and discipline, and remains a stranger to charisma. Yet at the moment, the two appear to be tied. What gives?

If it makes you feel better, you can rationalize Obama's missing 10-point lead on the basis of Clintonite sulkiness, his slowness in responding to attacks or the concern that he may be too handsome, brilliant and cool to be elected. But let's be honest: the reason Obama isn't ahead right now is that he trails badly among one group, older white voters. He lags with them for a simple reason: the color of his skin.

Much evidence points to racial prejudice as a factor that could be large enough to cost Obama the election. That warning is written all over last month's CBS/New York Times poll, which is worth studying if you want to understand white America's curious sense of racial grievance. In the poll, 26 percent of whites say they have been victims of discrimination. Twenty-seven percent say too much has been made of the problems facing black people. Twenty-four percent say that the country isn't ready to elect a black president. Five percent acknowledge that they, personally, would not vote for a black candidate.
...
Such prejudice usually comes coded in distortions about Obama and his background. To the willfully ignorant, he's a secret Muslim married to a black-power radical. Or—thanks, Geraldine Ferraro—he got where he is only because of the special treatment accorded those lucky enough to be born with African blood. Some Jews assume Obama is insufficiently supportive of Israel, the way they assume other black politicians to be. To some white voters (14 percent in the CBS/New York Times poll), Obama is someone who as president would favor blacks over whites. Or he's an "elitist," who cannot understand ordinary (read: white) people because he isn't one of them. We're just not comfortable with, you know, a Hawaiian.

Then there's the overt stuff. In May, Pat Buchanan, who frets about the European-Americans losing control of their country, ranted on MSNBC in defense of white West Virginians voting on the basis of racial solidarity. The No. 1 best seller in America, "Obama Nation," by Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D., leeringly notes that Obama's white mother always preferred her "mate" be "a man of color." John McCain has yet to get around to denouncing this vile book.

Many have discoursed on what an Obama victory could mean for America. We would finally be able to see our legacy of slavery, segregation and racism in the rearview mirror. Our kids would grow up thinking of prejudice as a nonfactor in their lives. The rest of the world would embrace a less fearful and more open post-post-9/11 America. But does it not follow that an Obama defeat would signify the opposite? If Obama loses, our children will grow up thinking of equal opportunity as a myth. His defeat would say that when handed a perfect opportunity to put the worst part of our history behind us, we chose not to. In this event, the world's judgment will be severe and inescapable: the United States had its day, but in the end couldn't put its own self-interest ahead of its crazy irrationality over race.

Choosing McCain, in particular, would herald the construction of a bridge to the 20th century—and not necessarily the last part of it, either. McCain represents a cold-war style of nationalism that doesn't get the shift from geopolitics to geoeconomics, the centrality of soft power in a multipolar world or the transformative nature of digital technology. This is a matter of attitude as much as age. A lot of 71-year-olds are still learning and evolving. But in 2008, being flummoxed by that newfangled doodad, the personal computer, seems like a deal breaker. At this hinge moment in human history, McCain's approach to our gravest problems is hawkish denial. I like and respect the man, but the maverick has become an ostrich: he wants to deal with the global energy crisis by drilling, our debt crisis by cutting taxes, and he responds to threats from Georgia to Iran with Bush-like belligerence and pique.

You may or may not agree with Obama's policy prescriptions, but they are, by and large, serious attempts to deal with the biggest issues we face: a failing health-care system, oil dependency, income stagnation and climate change. To the rest of the world, a rejection of the promise he represents wouldn't just be an odd choice by the United States. It would be taken for what it would be: sign and symptom of a nation's historical decline.

August 25, 2008

Things that caught my eye in Springfield.

This isn't a black and white picture. The road down to Springfield was a big foggy in places. Clouds of mist hung just above the ground, sometimes rising off the ground to float like little clouds.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

The WQAD Newsmobile was headed to Springfield.

A newsstand only feet away from the Old Capitol told the news of the day as it was about to unfold just behind it.

Preorder your Obama Llama today!!


There's television, and then there's... POLIVISION!! And of course, Polskiradio WNVR at 1030 on your dial.


Here's a shot I got a particular kick out of.

This was sitting along one of the streets where thousands of Obama supporters were lined up in both directions. Rather apropos, is it not?



There was a shop downtown with some great gifts.


Here's the Bush Voodoo Doll. "Stick to him like he's been sticking it to you!"

"An action figure we can believe in."


Get your very own Jesus Action Figure! With poseable arms and gliding action! Or perhaps "After the Rapture" mints. "For those of us who aren't going anywhere."

Or perhaps a lovely mug? There's the "Jesus Shaves" shaving mug, and the "Jesus Saves" coffee mug depicting Jesus thriftily cutting coupons. And of course, there's Jeez-its sticky notes. "Note unto others."



Actual "limousine liberals"!!!

Actually this was rented by some young Chicago area Obama staff to make the trip. (on their own dime, I'm sure.)

Some guy checking out the throng while on the phone in his top floor room at the Abraham Lincoln hotel.

And of course, the Obamalac, owned by the Quad City resident and father of blogger extraordinaire Rich Miller was present.

Doesn't sound like a good deal to me.

Fired up and ready to go!

"Let's go change the world".


Sounds good to me. This van was just one of the endless stream of vehicles with Obama stickers and other signs of support that stretched literally for hundreds of miles after the event.

Next up: Media

Tee-shirts, Basset Hounds, and massive security

Here's a continuation of the Death Valley.. er.. Springfield event where Obama introduced running mate Joe Biden to the country.

Security was interesting, and much more extensive and oppressive than Obama's announcement here back in frigid February 2007.

(Extensive coverage and pictures (I covered the hell out of it. It's good, trust me.) of Obama's announcement in 2007 begins here.

And here.

Media and political big-wigs here and here.

And here. And Chris Matthews uncut here.

And yet more here. Good stuff and well worth a look back to the days when I still thought the blog was worth the effort.)

At the February event, there was a loosely fenced off area near the capital where press and apparently invited attendees could get close to the podium. There was no security procedures whatsoever as far as screening the crowd. Anyone that wanted to walk up and listen could do so.

Obama came and went from his motorcade into and out of the hotel and anyone who happened to be in the lobby could see him and his family walk by and perhaps shake his hand.

That's not to say that there wasn't heavy security. There were plenty of police and secret service there, and the ubiquitous sharp-shooters on the roofs, and I'm sure much more security measures were in effect. But it wasn't a huge ordeal to simply come and see and watch Obama speak.

Of course, the arctic temps kept the crowd relatively small, as did the fact that Obama, though a hot property to be sure, wasn't exactly the Democratic nominee quite yet.

But with everyone bundled up like Nanook of the North, it would have been much easier for some lunatic to conceal a potential weapon.

People being overdressed was not a problem on Saturday, though amazingly enough, I did see several people wearing suits, and of course the poor Secret Service guys who dress like they're going to a funeral at all times. I even saw a very obese guy walking along dressed entirely in black, with a tie, no less. I gave him about 4 minutes until he keeled over. But tee-shirts and shorts were the order of the day, and most people were dressed for hot weather.

And security was several orders of magnitude larger. It truly appeared as though there was about one cop/SS agent/quasi-military person for about every 10 people in the crowd. Hell, they had even called in the Illinois Conservation Police.

Every state law enforcement person in the state appeared to be in Springfield at that moment. (which might explain why no cops were seen on the highway the entire trip.)

People hadn't hesitated to bring their kids, from infants to toddlers to school age, no doubt for them to witness a piece of history. It was inspiring to see that, as well as how many diverse sorts of people were all there to show their support of this candidate in whom they've placed their fervent hopes for ridding the country o of Republican "leadership" that doesn't give a rat's ass about them.

Particularly poignant were the many people in wheel-chairs or who were obviously handicapped. When you saw them determined to be there, enduring the retched weather, you knew instantly that the health care debate was more than a mere debating point to them and went beyond silly abstract argument raising the spectre of "socialism" and other phony scare tactics to fight against giving people the care they need. These people, like millions of other Americans, have experienced first hand just how broken our health care system is, and they are committed to supporting someone who is pledged to do something about it besides offering schemes that don't change a thing.

A lot of people brought their dogs along, apparently wanting to share the experience. Not sure the dogs cared, really. Many of them had kerchiefs around their necks and Obama buttons on. While I was standing around on the street, I started hearing these baleful weird noises, loud as hell, like someone was skidding a semi truck at about 2 mph or something. I started to try to find where it was coming from, and it wasn't hard, due to the volume. It was a couple guys who'd brought three Basset Hounds to the event, and they attracted a lot of attention.



I love Bassets, and there happened to be one of the three who felt the thing to do at that moment was to howl, and they howl like no other dog. (when they're not splayed out sleeping or taking it easy, which is 9/10th of the time.) I got a kick out of it as one of the owners pretended to be trying to teach the dog to say "Oh-bah-ma" as the dog howled.

Of course, there were hundreds of interesting tee-shirts. One that stood out was a guy wearing a white shirt with green lettering which said, "Another Irishman for O'Bama"

I got a chuckle when I saw an African American woman walk past with a shirt that said, "Once you go Obama, you never go back." ha! There was "Obama is my home-boy", and every kind of design you can imagine, complete with some including Martin Luther King Jr. and many with the theme that the time is now, and of course, "Yes We Can!"

And I should mention the vendors. They were like a swarm of flies. You literally had a hard time walking 10 ft. without running into one trying to peddle their shirts, hats, pins, belt buckles, dog tags, and on and on. One oriental guy who could barely speak English even had the nerve to use a newer model Mercedes parked in front of the Hilton as his display rack. (Maybe it was his? Who knows. Maybe the tee-shirt business has been good to him.)

One guy I spoke with said he had seen a box van on a side street and inside there were tee shirts stacked to the roof filling the entire truck. There's no doubt about it, political events have become almost like Grateful Dead shows in as far as the incredibly army of street vendors they attract. (although the swag at Dead shows were much more interesting and creative, though no less a rip-off.)

Perhaps in response to the pesky vendors, some people even resorted to making their own spur of the moment magic marker tee-shirt statements. Here's a couple:

These two had made their own magic marker customized shirts. "Yes We Can" and "Obama '08".

This gentleman (or hero if you prefer) was watching the screen nearby. He had a hat on adorned with an American flag and USA. Judging from the shirt, he's Chris Lund, a Vietnam vet for Obama who plans on traveling to Denver to support him. He can't afford the gas for the trip though, "Need gas money for 1990 Obama Wagon" is the bottom line of his shirt, as best I can tell. That probably explains why he is in full support of someone who doesn't represent a continuation of the dark ages we've endured under Republican rule.

And the Official Obama store already had Obama/Biden shirts for sale. (Must have been cranking them out overnight.)


Oh yeah, security. There were numerous snipers on the roofs of surrounding buildings, and even a couple on the rotunda of the Old State Capitol.



And this trooper on a scorching rooftop apparently didn't find much to look at through his binoculars in the crowd (which was in front of the building) Maybe there was a hot secretary in the building or something? (Trust me, the women were hotter outside. And the men, children, and dogs too. EVERYTHING was really hot.)



After the event, suddenly a couple snipers walked past in front of me. They don't have their skis in those backpacks. Also, it's apparently not enough to have high powered rifles with scopes, as they also pack pistols and various other stuff on their belts.



I'm not sure why, but somehow I don't feel any more secure to see heavily armed people able to kill someone in a split second. It seems like there'd be too much room for error. And like doctors, these guys bury their mistakes.

I found myself wondering just how and when they'd ever have to actually shoot. (A chilling thought, but one that's hard to avoid.) With a crowd standing shoulder to shoulder, how would they make the split second decision to shoot. They all had radio communications, I'm assuming, so would they have to get orders first? Would that be too late in some instances? And what if some innocent bystander was in front of the target? All rather disturbing to think about. I can't imagine having that sort of responsibility, essentially tasked to be able to kill someone at will if need be, even with all the training in the world. They couldn't pay me enough. I suppose I should be glad that these guys are able to do what they do. I assume it's possible that a situation might arise where they could literally save a candidate's life, no matter how unlikely. And of course, in that light, it would be horribly irresponsible if they weren't deployed.

There was overwhelming security this time around, with the presence of snipers, rather menacing and intimidating Secret Service agents and hundreds of police, many with full body armor, unmarked black SWAT team trucks crawling through the street with shadowy figures in military garb peering out the darkened windows, concrete barriers and dump trucks used to block access, bomb sniffing dogs being run up and down every alley and building, police planes overheard, and that's only the visible part.

Adding to the mix the nearly unbearable heat, which of course affected the hundreds or thousands of security folks as well, especially in their full uniforms and heavy armor, and it was just a dicey situation, a powder keg. Back in the day, urban riots always occurred during the hottest parts of the summer. Heat puts people on edge.

But despite that fact, the crowds were very well behaved and friendly. Many seemed to be having a good time, and there were a lot of smiles and friendly banter and no trace of friction that I noticed. Of course, this could be because these were Democrats and that's their nature. ;-)

And I also found it odd that there were no trace of protesters. Very odd. Even at the February announcement, there were an extremely vocal group of abortion zealots holding up their grotesque signs and chanting during Obama's speech trying to drown him out. (The even louder chorus of "shut up!" kind of made them wither.)

I'm not sure if the added security and planning contributed to the absence of protesters, or if they hustled them off, or if the heat kept them away, but there was no trace of the sort of protest these sorts of events inevitably attract.

The nearly oppressive security made me feel very uneasy, and I struggled to figure out why. I certainly had no reason to fear. It wasn't my guilty conscience or anything. But I couldn't put my finger on it. At first I thought it might be because it made me feel so self-conscious, with all the unseen eyes scanning the crowds constantly, and everyone probably being monitored at some command center. There were even some guys walking through the crowd in casual dress that just oozed Secret Service, being as they were in top shape, had crew cuts, and shades, and weren't too interested in the event, but seemed to be staring right through everyone they passed, and they never stopped walking around.

I figured that the feeling of being watched like a suspect made me uncomfortable, like I had to be completely conscious of every move I made, lest I arouse some suspicion somehow. Maybe someone would think I didn't look right. At least I didn't have to worry about looking nervous and arousing suspicion by sweating like a pig. Hell, EVERYONE was. (except maybe the Bassets. And their owner provided a big water dish everywhere they went.) You almost felt like you shouldn't even look at any of the cops lest you be considered a suspect.

I thought that maybe the reason I was uncomfortable was the simple fact that I don't like being around guns. I mean, guns, crowds, making a wrong move without having a clue that you had, let alone realizing it? It was just the atmoshere, with so many guns, and so many cops, the intense heat, and all taking their jobs very seriously, as if somewhere in the crowd was the enemy. Something very bad could conceivably happen. Maybe some crazy person would do something nearby and suddenly a hail of bullets would erupt. I just didn't like that atmosphere.

But that wasn't it entirely. It took a while, but I finally realized that all that security in your face at all times, the appearance of a military occupation, it all was a constant reminder that they were there for a reason, and that reason was, yes, primarily to ensure that nothing bad happened to begin with, but also because there is a real threat that someone may attempt an assassination. And that's a thought that scares me to death, particularly with Obama.

It was subconscious on my part, but it was there. It was a huge military/law enforcement scene, guys decked out head to toe for mortal combat, and that almost heightened the dread of the unthinkable. I suppose I should have felt more reassured by their presence, and to a degree I was. But it was also disturbing in its way, that we now live in a time and place where a presidential candidate can't appear in public without such an overwhelmingly massive police state being instituted.

Downtown Springfield in many ways resembled scenes from some South American coup with troops surrounding the palace to either take it over or defend it. Either that or some action movie where you expect some action star to come rappelling down the face of a building with a huge knife in his teeth. It was a bit jarring to see this in a Midwestern town, in your country, not some banana republic, let's put it that way. And more than a bit sad that it's apparently justified. I think that thought alone was what troubled me.

Here's a few more shots that fit under the security heading.

Some Secret Service agents talking shop with a local policeman. Either that or they're some door-to-door Mormons wanting to talk to Obama and Biden. Nah. I've never known any door-to-door religious types to wear ear pieces.

They'd hauled in big concrete barriers to block off streets. Guess parking vehicles across them wasn't sufficient. These barricades caused a huge bottle-neck when the thousands of people tried to leave the area. Since they couldn't move them, like they could trucks or vehicles, the crowd, who'd had to enter one by one, had to exit through tiny openings as well. With people trying to escape and get to air conditioning before they literally dropped, it got pretty frustrating and tense as they all crunched up against these barriers trying to get out and had to struggle towards and through the narrow openings. At this point, people were exhausted and so was what little patience they had left. An ordeal getting in AND out. Not good planning at all.

This was clear throughout... the priority was on security, period. No thought or planning towards the safety or convenience of the enormous crowd was evident whatsoever, even when it wouldn't have affected security in any way. (such as being able to remove barricades after the event to avoid the crush at the gates, or any attempt at all to provide direction and help in letting people know where to go. And if you were outside the secure zone, you were on your own. If you collapsed or had a health problem, tough luck. There was not one single cop on the streets outside the secure zone. None. And no medical workers to circulate in case of heat stroke, etc.

There was not a single person to help direct people to where to go to find the end of the line, or to answer questions on what the proceedure would be, and I saw many people in wheelchairs who had somehow managed to make their way all the way to the entrance point, being refused entrance by police and getting no help at all when then asked where they should go. The cops were of no help, apparently not knowing what to tell them, and there was no one to direct them to a handicapped entrance, which was hidden down a side alley where you'd never know it was there if no one showed you. (I only noticed it by accident while taking a shortcut.)



After hours in line in the baking sun, and finally getting past the narrow entrance (just off camera to the right) where they had to toss away any liquids and toss any umbrellas (Searing heat, and no liquids or umbrellas allowed.) and take all their pins off, they were then herded to a very large tent, shown below, manned by Secret Service personel to pass through a bank of metal detectors and get further scrutiny before being allowed to enter.

As the speakers began, they allowed some of the people in line to enter through an alley entrance. I walked past latter and noticed this pile of umbrellas and water bottles taken from people and tossed on top of a couple utility boxes nearby and then abandoned. (and I also got accosted by a vendor, even though we were the only two people back there! They were EVERYWHERE.)




More to come (yeah, I know, you're thrilled, right?) Next up will be the media circus, though I couldn't cover it as well as I did the last time Barack spoke in Springfield. The time involved with preparing pictures and vid clips and uploading them is enormous, and I hope I can get to it before this is old news. (which is kind of is already.)
But some people might find it interesting, who knows? I've already had at least two people use this blog as a place to advertise their own coverage, so why not?