I think they’re keeping the wrong damned candidate off the Sunday talk show circuit:
Total meltdown for McSame on “Meet the Press” this morning. Watch how defensive he gets when Brokaw’s cites poll after poll that indicates people don’t think Palin is qualified to be Vice President. “Because?! Not qualified…because?!” he snaps.
Then, after some creepy, nervous giggles about the Veep debate, McSame starts ticking off the reasons Palin is qualified to be President and gets completely lost in the bullshit.
MCSAME: She has more executive experience than Sen. Biden and Sen. Obama, together. She took on the governor of her own party because she had seen what she’s thought was corruption. She’s been a mayor. She has 24,000 people underneath her. Her husband is a, uh, works the third shift on the oil who…in…facilities in the North Slope. He’s a, ah… the-they have a won…she has executive experience…
No kidding. When you have to tell the nation that your VP pick is qualified because her husband works graveyards for an oil company, you picked the wrong fucking VP.
It would be hysterically funny if it wasn’t so appalling.
For yet more Meet the Press Fun with John McLame:
Fun fact: McCain was speaking to Brokaw from Waterloo, Iowa. Could this be a sign?
Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 10/21-23. Likely voters. MoE ±5% (10/5-7 results).
Reichert (R) 46 (49)
Burner (D) 46 (41)
Now that’s a sight for sore eyes, huh? The Right, on the retreat nationwide, has decided that this will be one of their “line in the sand” districts. The NRCC, the wingnut 527s, and the well-funded incumbent Reichert are dumping everything on Darcy, but she’s still somehow managed to close an eight-point gap in two weeks.
“Line in the sand,” eh? Looks like we’re about to cross right over it.
This election is shaping up to be more than a defeat for the Cons. It’s starting to look very much like a rout.
Dos mas. DOS FUCKING MAS!!
The two most recent polls show that Senator Obama has cut into John McCain’s once seemingly insurmountable lead in…. his home state of Arizona. Long considered a given for John McCain, Arizona’s ten electoral votes are an absolutely necessary component of his path to 270. Perhaps more important than those ten electoral votes themselves is what a tight race in Arizona foretells: If Arizona winds up being a 1 or 2 point race on election night, that likely means that Obama has already taken Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada.
The latest polls, released today, suggest that McCain maintains a slight lead:
Project New West: McCain 44; Obama 40
Zimmerman & Associates: McCain 44; Obama 42
This is how fucking lame McCain is – he’s lost the state he represents. He should have carried Arizona with double-digits. He wasn’t all that unpopular in the state when I was there – virtual fucking love fest, in fact, despite the occasional rumbling about his temper and his shoddy Republicon ways.
The fact that Obama is withing striking distance is phenomenal.
Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) really doesn’t like to answer questions, and is more than happy to let his thugs beat citizens asking about tax policy:
On Friday, two Feder staffers approached Congressman Wolf in a public location to ask him some questions. Two different individuals who were accompanying Congressman Wolf (staffers? relatives? friends?) assaulted the Feder staffers, as you can see quite clearly in the video. The first Feder staffer was hit with a cane and then punched. The second staffer (as you will see on the video) was pinned to a wall and forcibly held there. All of this took place in the presence of Congressman Wolf, who stood by and did nothing to intervene.
Note: this is a “moderate” Republicon. He’s supposedly not in thrall to the batshit sane elements of the party. Yet he seems to enjoy the violence just as much.
This should be a career-ender. I hope Judy Feder takes that cocksucker down. You do not, in a civilized society, tacitly encourage your hangers-on to beat citizens in your presence. These fucking thugs need to understand that there are consequences for such behavior.
Virginia. Do the right thing.
(Tip o’ the shot glass to Mark A R Kleiman at Daily Kos)
Today’s opining on the public discourse.
A while back, I mentioned that Bush likely wouldn’t leave office without starting more wars. Looks like he has indeed decided to go out with a bang:
Seems the US attacked a village 10 miles inside Syria, two helicopters landed and disbursing commandos who then killed a bunch of, what Syria claims, were construction workers. As Brandon notes, 10 miles means it wasn’t a “mistake” and this is the first time the US has attacked there. I know Syria isn’t considered all that friendly to the US, despite having helped
quite a bit against al-Q’aeda, but either destabilizing them or encouraging them to retaliate through underhanded means (i.e., supporting terrorism or the Iraqi insurgency) seems… unwise. The foreign policy clown car that is the Bush administration continues to accelerate.
Further reports confirm this attack took place:
Local residents in a Syrian border town said that American forces killed seven men in a helicopter-borne commando attack inside Syrian territory.
Doctors in the town of Al-Sukkariya, some eight kilometres from the Iraqi border, said seven corpses and four wounded had been delivered to a nearby clinic after
The eyewitness accounts said that four helicopters were involved in the operation, with two of the helicopters landing in the town and eight American soldiers disembarking. The eyewitnesses said that the seven killed men were supposedly construction workers.
Afterwards, the US helicopters then left Syrian airspace with all the soldiers again on board.
No explanation or comment yet from US forces though as more reports come in, the number of dead has been increased to 9 with 14 wounded.
So, Bush has apparently decided that leaving office with two wars isn’t enough: he wanted a third, and Syria seemed like a country easy to kick around. What better way to announce that you mean business than to kill some construction workers? I’m sure he’ll try to spin us a good story about fighting the terrorists, but it’s sheer bullshit. Everything with Bush is.
That being so, it’s even more disturbing that McCain just today said that he “shares a common philosophy” with Bush:
Look, this isn’t even a close call. By now, we’ve all seen the clip with McCain bragging to a national television audience about having voted with Bush 90% of the time, “higher than a lot of my even Republican colleagues.”
Under the circumstances, one might assume that John McCain would try to avoid talking about George W. Bush altogether. Just pretend he doesn’t exist. If asked, he’d say, “George who?”
But, no. McCain keeps pushing his luck. A few days ago, McCain brought up Bush in order to
talk about how much Obama has in common with the president. A day later, McCain brought up Bush again in order to argue, unpersuasively, that he disagrees with the president about several key issues. McCain talked about Bush again this morning, acknowledging that he and the president “share a common philosophy of the Republican Party.”
I suspect the Obama campaign couldn’t be happier to have the discussion head in this direction. Indeed, Obama, campaigning in Denver today, plans to help McCain get his message out.
“Just this morning, Senator McCain said that he and President Bush â€“ ‘share a common philosophy.’ That’s right, Colorado. I guess that was John McCain finally giving us a little straight talk, and owning up to the fact that he and George Bush actually have a whole lot in common.”
But the connection obviously goes far deeper. As Tom Brokaw reminded McCain this morning, the senator has insisted, “[O]n the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I have been totally in agreement and support of President Bush.” A few months ago, McCain vowed to campaign alongside Bush as much as possible this year.
That, combined with McCain’s penchant for singing about bombing other countries, should give us pause. It’s a damned good thing Obama’s so far ahead in the polls, but still, I worry.
And that’s not all. McCain had a lot more to say on the topic of aggression:
Last weekend, Joe Biden predicted that U.S. enemies may try to “test” Barack Obama with an international crisis early on if he’s elected president, but Obama’s “spine of steel” will serve him well when faced with these challenges. The McCain campaign, ever since, has tried to characterize Biden’s remarks as some kind of important development.
Yesterday, McCain, again citing Biden’s comments, added some new rhetoric to the mix.
“I’m gonna test them,” Republican John McCain said at a campaign rally in New
Mexico this morning. “They’re not gonna test me.”
So much for walking softly.
Maybe McCain could take a moment to elaborate on what this means, exactly. He’s going to “test” rivals? Which ones? How will he “test” them?
If Biden’s remarks suggest U.S. enemies may try to create an international crisis, it sounds as if McCain’s message is, “I’ll show them; I’ll start an international crisis first!”
Looks like Bush got there first.
This saber-rattling and attack come courtesy of the same party that’s so desperate to stop a Democratic tsunami that they’ve resorted to outright insanity:
They actually went there:
“Pennsylvania Republicans are disavowing an e-mail sent to Jewish voters that likens a vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to events that led up to the Holocaust.
“Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008,” the e-mail reads. “Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake. Let’s not make a similar one this year!””
The Pennsylvania Republican Party claims that this mailer went out without their authorization, and that they have fired the consultant who was responsible. That consultant, however, says
“”I had authorization from party officials” to send the e-mail, Rudnick said, but he declined to say who had signed off on it. “I’m not looking to drag anyone else through the mud, so I’m not naming names right now,” he said.”
“Despicable” is a word that comes to mind here. Disgusting, beyond outrageous, and appalling all queue up, but nothing quite seems to express my feelings. A sane, stable, and sober political party does not do things like this. A desperate bunch of power-mad, self-righteous, amoral shitheads, on the other hand…. they’ll stop at nothing.
I hope their defeat on November 4th can be described as “crushing.” The last thing we need is to validate this kind of vitriol by voting for them.
Flies like us.
We had a pet fly for a few weeks one summer in Page, AZ. Friendly little bugger – he liked to hang out with us in the kitchen, never caused trouble, and would sit contentedly on a knee cleaning himself while we chatted. We felt a kinship with him.
Turns out there may be good reason for that.
Meet Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly. Yes, the same fruit fly Sarah Palin disparged just a bit ago. She mightn’t be putting dear old Dro down if she knew how much we share. 61% of disease genes, in fact. 50% of mammalian genes, even so. Fruit flies have led to some – forgive me – fruitful research when it comes to understanding how genes affect everything from birth defects to why alcohol leads to lust.
They have a lot to tell us about how genes affect embryonic development, and about the diseases that result when our genes turn against us. They make effective research subjects for a variety of reasons. For one, they’re not cute, so it’s unlikely PETA’s going to show up demanding we set them free. Secondly, their genes are elegantly simple, which makes them much easier to research and manipulate. Thirdly, their short life spans and profligate procreation means we can study them over generations in a usefully short amount of time. And finally, the fact we all evolved from the same source means we can apply what we’ve learned from them to other research animals, and eventually to us.
It starts with Hox genes. Those are the subgroup of homeobox genes that come in clusters on vertebrates, and basically let the developing embryo know what bits are where. They can get a little complicated in mammals, but they’re dead easy in fruit flies:
This becomes critically important when we try to understand how genes make the mammal. Studying Drosophila gives us a basic outline of the processes involved. Once we’ve got those basics down, we can start translate that understanding to more complex critters. Like us.
Understanding the basics of how genes work is vital to understanding what happens when they don’t work. Take birth defects. A lot of medications cause them, and mitigating those side effects is a huge thing. Imagine if we could understand how and why the medication is affecting genes, and come up with either alternative therapies or develop “rescue” therapies that will prevent the problem. Enter the humble fruit fly, who is now helping scientists do just that with MTX, a drug that treats everything from cancer to arthritis – but at a horrible cost. The flies suffer the same defects. Through them, we’ve discovered something important: “Many of the genes found to be affected by MTX are involved in cell cycle regulation, signal transduction, transport, defense response, transcription, or various aspects of metabolism.”
Knowing is half the battle. And the humble little flies will allow us to test therapies as they’re developed, eventually leading to fewer birth defects due to life-saving and life-enhancing drugs.
Need a bigger brain? Studies with Drosophila lately identified “timer” genes that regulate when and how stem cells stop producing more neurons. I’ll let Dr. Alex Gould, who led the research, explain the importance:
Dr Gould said: “This discovery has relevance for future stem-cell based therapies in two ways. Firstly, while we know how to grow massive quantities of neurons from neural stem cells in a petri-dish, it’s also important to understand how to stop them growing if they are to be transplanted safely into a human brain.”
“Secondly, we know that the human brain retains a few neural stem cells into adulthood. If we could learn how to influence the internal clock of these cells it might be possible to rejuvenate them so they can make replacement neurons. These could then be used to help repair damage caused by neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
That’s tremendous. This research could end up helping us regrow damaged areas of the brain. It could end the tyranny of neurodegenerative diseases and brain injury. (And, as an SF author, let me just say it’s fun to extrapolate this into the idea of a strap-on brain – who wouldn’t want to grow an extra one to help us remember and comprehend things?)
From growing new brains, it’s just a short hop over to understanding why some of them grow wonky. Take autism, for instance. We’ve got pretty good evidence that abnormalities in the gene neurexin 1 has something to do with autism. Neurexin is a critical protein – it’s the stuff required for connections between neurons to form and function the way they should. How do we know that? Drosophila told us. And now it’s going to tell us even more:The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism. “This finding now gives us the opportunity to see what job neurexin performs within the cell, so that we can gain a better insight into what can go wrong in the nervous system when neurexin function is lost,” said Dr. Manzoor Bhat, associate professor of cell and molecular physiology in the UNC School of Medicine and senior author of the study. The study, published online Sept. 6, 2007, in the journal Neuron, is the first to successfully demonstrate in a Drosophila model the consequences that mutating this important protein may have on synapses.
Pretty incredible stuff. Drosophila turns out to be quite the font of information – and it can tell us about ourselves even when it doesn’t share our heart. Heartless (well, multi-chambered heartless) Dro has taught us quite a bit about the genes that play a role in the development of one of our most vital organs. It’s also got plenty to teach on the subject of diabetes. While fruit flies don’t suffer from that disease, they share almost all of our insulin-signalling circuits. That wonderful fact has already, in just two short years, led to three new drug targets.
Amazing that an insect, a pest no less, shares enough in common with us to help us understand how our biology works and how to fix it when things go awry. Drosophila, it turns out, may be among our best friends. Move over, Rover.
Just be careful if you buy Dro a drink to celebrate our commonalities. They, ah, lose their inhibitions and, well, might get a little fresh. Among other things.
See here for an eye-popping list of Drosophila research. As always, click the pics for sources and additional delights.
Aside from his policy, leadership qualities, intelligence, caring, and other excellent things too numerous to list, he actually used Batman to hammer McCain in a political speech:
“It’s like Robin getting mad at Batman,” he says of McCain’s recent efforts to distance himself from Bush.
McCain as Bush’s sidekick. Masterful. I adore this man.
On the relative enthusiasm front, Obama and McCain were both campaigning in Albuquerque today, which gives us an unprecedented chance to compare respective crowd sizes. Obama outdrew McCain (if I have my ratios right) 45:1.
45,000 people showed up to see Obama. 1,000 came out for McCain.
No. Fucking. Comparison.
(Disclaimer: to all of you comic book geeks who might be inclined to dig deep within the Batman mythology and find instances where Robin showed independence from Batman, got mad at him, etc., stop. Just stop. Take a moment to appreciate the fact that the majority of the American public only sees Robin as Batman’s bitch. That’s what Obama meant. All right? Jeez.)
The Mormon Church is in lust with Prop 08, which would amend California’s constitution to destroy same-sex couples their chance at wedded bliss. They’ve spent upwards of $10 million, deployed doorknockers, engaged in extortion, and made a general nuisance of themselves trying to legislate their morality. If you’re in California, you’ve likely gotten a phone call from these fuckers trying to arm-twist you into voting yes for discrimination.
The Mormon church, whose members have emerged as the leading backers of a ballot measure to end same-sex marriage in California, is scaling back its Utah campaign operation but will continue to support the initiative.
Church members will no longer be making phone calls from Utah to California voters, Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a prepared statement Friday.
And what led to this welcome state of affairs? People like you. The Courage Campaign and NO activists exposed their fuckery, applied public pressure, and sent them reeling.
If you want to apply the boot and kick some self-righteous ass, you can sign a letter to President-Prophet Thomas Monson expressing your desire for him to knock off the moral mafiosi tactics. Then you can donate a few bucks to NO. Send them a message:
The lesson we should take from all of this is to keep it up. Keep up the focus on the Mormons. Keep exposing their lies and blackmail. Keep pointing out the hypocrisy of a religion funding lies and distortions. We can respect their freedom to choose not to conduct same-sex marriages, we only ask that they respect Californians to make up our own minds on whether we should take away the rights of loving couples to marry.
The moral mafiosi are relentless.
So are we.
(Tip o’ the shot glass to Teddy Partridge at Firedoglake)
Holy fucking shit, Batman!
Myers Research (D) & Grove Insight (D). 10/23-24. Likely voters. MoE 4% (No trend lines)
McCain (R) 44
Obama (D) 40
Early voters (34% of the sample)
McCain (R) 46
Obama (D) 47
The sample was 40 percent Republican, 33 Democratic, and 26 percent independent. ASU has its own survey coming Monday, and they’ve hinted at similar results. Makes me wish I would’ve polled Arizona instead of Tennessee.
Four points? Four fucking points?! And ahead in early voting? This is fucking Arizona we’re talking about, right? McCain’s home state? His stronghold? The one he should have walked away with for free? Rassmussen had it at fucking 59-38% last month, for fuck’s sake! Myers showed a 14-pt lead! And now we’ve got Obama within spitting distance?
Hot damn, home state! You go! Kick that carpetbagger in the nads!
I’m so proud of you! *sniffle*
(And before you all start screaming “outlier,” consider this. Maybe the locals at KAET knew something the nationals didn’t. Not to mention Bruce Merrill, professor emeritus at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, thought just a few days ago that new polls would show McCain with a very narrow lead. You can take him, AZ!)
Today’s opining on the public discourse.
I’m not psychic, don’t even believe in psychic powers – and yet, my spider-sense is tingling. I do believe we are about to witness a bloodbath:
The Lord of the Flies climate at McCain campaign headquarters continues, with a pro-Palin faction reportedly at odds with the loyal Bushies McCain brought in to run the operation.
Even as John McCain and Sarah Palin scramble to close the gap in the final days of the 2008 election, stirrings of a Palin insurgency are complicating the campaign’s already-tense internal dynamics.
Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain’s camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain’s decline.
“She’s lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,” said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to “go rogue” in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.
“I think she’d like to go more rogue,” he said.
According to the piece in the Politico, Palin’s people blame handlers for not letting her be herself. McCain’s people blame Palin for being unprepared and unable to answer questions coherently. Palin’s people don’t want the governor to get the blame if the ticket loses, and McCain’s people resent the lack of loyalty and discipline.
Recall that Sarah Palin has a history of biting the hands that feed her. McCain should probably be looking into prosthetics about now. Unless, of course, his advisers can cut Palin off at the knees:
Ben Smith’s impressive item earlier about the infighting among McCain campaign aides has caused quite a stir, but just as importantly, it’s also caused more McCain aides to start pointing fingers more aggressively.
McCain sources say Palin has gone off message several times, and they privately wonder if the incidents were deliberate. They cited that she labeled robocalls — recorded messages often used to attack a candidate’s opponent — “irritating” even as the campaign defended their use. Also, they pointed to her telling reporters she disagreed with the campaign’s decision to pull out of Michigan.
A second McCain source tells CNN she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.
“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said this McCain adviser. “She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.
“Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.”
Gov. Sarah Palin’s signature accomplishment — a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 — emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, an Associated Press investigation shows.
In interviews and a review of records, the AP found:
_Instead of creating a process that would attract many potential builders, Palin slanted the terms away from an important group — the global energy giants that own the rights to the gas.
_Despite promises and legal guidance not to talk directly with potential bidders, Palin had meetings or phone calls with nearly every major candidate, including TransCanada.
_The leader of Palin’s pipeline team had been a partner at a lobbying firm where she worked on behalf of a TransCanada subsidiary. Also, that woman’s former business partner at the lobbying firm was TransCanada’s lead private lobbyist on the pipeline deal, interacting with legislators in the weeks before the vote to grant TransCanada the contract. Plus, a former TransCanada executive served as an outside consultant to Palin’s pipeline team.
_Under a different set of rules four years earlier, TransCanada had offered to build the pipeline without a state subsidy; under Palin, the company could receive a maximum $500 million.
And this is the “maverick” who will “reform” D.C.? That’s fucking hysterical, that is.
It’s little things like those that have driven Republicans to endorse Obama in droves, and have given her somewhat of a less-than-bright future among all but the religious frothers who just lurrves them some Caribou Barbie. Even then, she has to contend with the fact that Rev. Mike Huckabee – yes, Reverend – is vying for their affections. Buh-bye!
So, just how bad is the situation with the McCain campaign? Very:
It’s a tough economy out there. Just be glad that you don’t have this as the latest entry on your resume, though, if you’re in the job market:
One well-connected Republican in the private sector was shocked to get calls and resumes in the past few days from what he said were senior McCain aides — a breach of custom for even the worst-off campaigns.
Yeesh. If that’s your best foot forward, taking responsibility for the McCain debacle, you might just want to, well, lie, and instead put down “Learned Lotus 1-2-3 in prison after conviction for buggering underage goats.”
Yup. So bad they’re already job-hunting when they’re not busy sniping at each other. I don’t ever want to call an election before it’s over, but let’s just say that McCain’s only chance of winning is if Obama and Biden get busted buggering underage goats.
Or visiting that awful terrorist country that begins with an I. No, not Iran – Bush has actually decided that we can start playing nice with Iran, just like Obama said we should. I’m talking about Iceland:
One of the casualties of the financial crisis which has gotten little notice in the US is Icleand, and it went down in a particularly ugly fashion. Gordon Brown, the UK’s fantastically unpopular Prime Minister, said that Icelandic banks had threatened to not honor obligations to British account holders, so he declared Iceland a terrorist country and seized the banks assets. This caused the banks to go under and the Icelandic economy to implode to the extent that if Russia hadn’t sent them billions of dollars, they would have literally starved, since they need to import food.
Yes, they asked the US and their friends in the EU for money first, but apparently only Vladimir Putin cared enough about Iceland’s impending famine to do anything about it. It’s times like these when you find out who your friends are. I imagine the Icelanders are feeling a lot warmer towards Russia these days. Perhaps Putin would like a nice naval base there?
Leaving aside, for just a moment, the absurdity of labeling Iceland a terrorist country, the problem is this: Icelanders are saying “prove it” with respect to the allegation that they threatened to not honor account withdrawals, and so far Gordon Brown hasn’t come up with proof.
I see Britain’s managed to get their very own batshit insane psychopath who will twist the laws for his own power and political gain. And this is after kicking out Blair. They should know better than to choose anyone whose last name is a one-syllable word beginning with B. Look what happened to us.
Some people never learn. Like the Bush White House:
Looks like the White House is having trouble getting out of the habit of using the Department of Justice for political purposes.
The Washington Post reports that President Bush has asked DOJ to look into a request by House Republican leader John Boehner that would force Ohio’s Secretary of State to provide local election officials with information on 200,000 newly registered voters who have mismatched registration data. That could make it possible for Republicans to issue challenges to many of these voters, perhaps forcing them to cast provisional ballots.
Well, we all know how well that worked the last time. I suppose they figure one more scandal for the road can’t hurt. Or two. Or several dozen.
We should get him a wrecking ball for Christmas. It might make his destruction of his own party go a little quicker.