Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Is Palin Over?

She started out as a deliciously rich dessert for the press: she looks good on camera, did great at the RNC, has the necessary Christian credentials, and has a sort of a frontierswoman/Washington outsider appeal that seemed perfect. But after a couple of big interviews, she's come out as far less appealing. She didn't know what the Bush doctrine was, she thinks being across the water from Russia gives her foreign policy experience and she thinks Alaskan oil makes her an energy wonk when it actually makes her, paradoxically, a welfare state Republican.

Now listen to this -- it's from Kathleen Parker at the conservative National Review:
If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

If Palin were a man, we’d all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes. But because she’s a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true.

What to do?

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.
That's the end of a column that came out today. How can Palin even look like she's speaking the same language as Joe Biden? Conservatives are starting to see this, and it's freaking them out.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Try the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator

Try the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator. You just enter your name, and it tells you what the mother of Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow, and Piper might have named you.

I gave it a try, entering the name Martin. Here's my result:
Martin, if you were born to Sarah Palin, your name would be:

Bang Walmart Palin

Who knows, Bang Walmart Palin you just might be president one day!
Whew! Let's try another one. How about Julia? Grill Igloo Palin. Damn! One more. How about John? Stick Freedom Palin. I must stop.

[via The New Republic.]

David Brooks on Palin's Experience

The ever-so-reasonable New York Times columnist David Brooks cements his reputation as a liberal's favorite conservative with an indictment of Governor Palin's experience:
Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.
He echoes other conservatives, like George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum, and Ross Douthat in his nervousness about Palin's readiness to be second in command.

Here's some of what George F. Will wrote in the Washington Post during the RNC:
So, Sarah Palin. The man who would be the oldest to embark on a first presidential term has chosen as his possible successor a person of negligible experience.
Will goes on to make a nuanced argument, which is why he, like Brooks, is a joy for liberals to read (even when we disagree with them). "Clearly," Will writes, "experience is not sufficient to prove a person 'qualified' for the presidency. But it is a necessary component of qualification."

The National Review's Greg Pollowitz makes a half-assed counter to Brooks' column with a link to a Weekly Standard piece by Dave Juday that says "When it comes to energy policy, the Alaska governor is the most experienced politician on either ticket." The evidence being her serving on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

"I guess serving on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is a lot like being a board member with Bill Ayers and the Chicago Anneberg Challenge, only with responsibilities," writes a smug Pollowitz. Come on. Is that all you got?

This hollow defense may be one of a number of signs that the tide is turning, once again, to Obama. The New Republic pointed out yesterday that the McCain campaign is on the defensive again.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Quote of the Day: Karl Rove

"If Mr. Obama wants to win, he needs to remember he's running against John McCain for president, not Mrs. Palin for vice president."
Karl Rove, in an opinion piece in the September 11 edition of the Wall Street Journal, cites Dukakis's ill-advised focus on Bush running mate Dan Quayle and Adlai Stevenson's attacks on Eisenhower's 1952 running mate Richard Nixon.

Rove's right; the Democrats need to remember that running against Palin is as difficult for the Democrats as it is for McCain to run against Obama. It's bewildering that Palin's hasty nomination derailed the Obama campaign so easily.

Rove continues, "A debate between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Palin over executive experience also isn't smart politics for Democrats. As Mr. Obama talks down Mrs. Palin's record, voters may start comparing backgrounds. He won't come off well."

The real problem for Obama is that dignifying comparisons between himself and Palin puts them on an equal footing in the minds of the public. Democrats should do everything they can to discourage this.

Rove concludes, "Mrs. Palin may be the first vice presidential candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson to change an election's outcome."

So take it from Michael Dukakis, who offered this advice to Obama via The New Republic:
"I think this thing is going to be won in the field, with basic grassroots organizing ... and I don't think McCain has anything out there. Obama is attempting to do that more thoroughly and better, in more states, than I think anybody I can remember, including the guy you're talking to."
Yes, Obama is down in the polls in Minnesota, post-RNC. But how many pollsters call Americans who use cell phones as their primary home line? How long until Palin's utter lack of knowledge of American foreign policy affects the McCain campaign?


Obituary: Martin K. Tytell, Psychoanalyst for Your Typewriter

The death of Martin K. Tytell signals the end of an era. The 94-year-old typewriter repairman, whose shop advertised “Psychoanalysis for Your Typewriter” died in the Bronx last week. His clients included Dorothy Parker and David Brinkley and he apparently stocked 2 million typefaces. Here's an excerpt from his obit in the New York Times describing Tytell's role in the Alger Hiss case:
In 1950, lawyers for Alger Hiss, the former State Department official who had been convicted for lying to a grand jury about passing secret information to a Communist agent, Whittaker Chambers, hired him to prove that unlike a fingerprint, a typewriter’s writing pattern is reproducible.

Hiss had been convicted largely because the government presented expert testimony maintaining that the documents passed to Chambers were written on a typewriter owned by Hiss and his wife, Priscilla. At his sentencing, Hiss famously accused Chambers of committing “forgery by typewriter.”

Afterward, to prepare for an appeal, Hiss’s lawyers hired Mr. Tytell to build a typewriter whose print pattern would be indistinguishable, flaws and all, from that of the Hisses. It took him nearly two years, but he succeeded. His work became the foundation of Hiss’s plea, ultimately unsuccessful, for a new trial and, after his release from prison in 1954, of the debate over his guilt, which goes on to this day. Hiss died in 1996.
Ian Frazer profiled Tytell in the Atlantic Monthly in 1997. Frazer, whose typewriter needed fixing, described entering Tytell's downtown Manhattan shop:
I got on the subway to Fulton Street right away and carried my typewriter up the stairs to his second-floor shop at 116 Fulton. I saw that he was indeed an old man, standing on a teetering stepladder and moving a heavy typewriter onto a high shelf while a woman's voice offstage told him to be careful and reminded him of his recent heart surgery. He climbed down and shook my hand. He was wearing a clean white lab coat over a light-blue shirt and a dark-blue bow tie. His head was almost bald on top and fringed with white professor-style side hairs that matched the white of his small moustache. His blue eyes were slitted and wary and humorous, and all his features had a sharpness produced by a lifetime of focusing concentration down to pica size. He examined the typewriter and gave me a claim check and told me I could pick it up in a few days. His shop fixed the e and completely overhauled the machine and got it running better than it ever had.
That was the first of many visits for Frazer.

Tytell had Alzheimer's. He retired in 2000. The cause of death was cancer.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Word of the Day: Maverick

The word maverick entered the English language in the late-nineteenth century. It was the name of a Texas cattle rancher -- Samuel A. Maverick -- who did not brand his calves. Merriam-Webster defines it as "an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party." It also means "an unbranded calf."

Samuel Maverick was born in South Carolina in 1803 and moved to Texas in 1835. He served two terms as mayor of San Antonio, amassed a huge amount of land, and died in 1870.

The Handbook of Texas Online describes his ranching legacy
When he returned permanently to San Antonio with his family, Maverick left a small herd of cattle originally purchased in 1847 on Matagorda Peninsula with slave caretakers. It was this herd that was allowed to wander and gave rise to the term maverick, which denotes an unbranded calf. In 1854 Maverick and his two eldest sons rounded up the cattle and drove them to their Conquista Ranch near the site of present Floresville before selling them in 1856. During the years between Maverick's return to San Antonio and his death, he expanded his West Texas landholdings, which in 1851 totaled almost 140,000 acres. By 1864 they had burgeoned to more than 278,000 acres, and at his death they topped 300,000 acres. Maverick gained land primarily by buying such land certificates as headright certificates and bounty and donation certificates. In the 1850s and 1860s he was one of the two biggest investors in West Texas acreage, and Maverick County was named in his honor.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

I was standing outside of the Bloomingdale's in SoHo wondering why everyone kept pointing cameras down Broadway. It was the 9/11 lights on Ground Zero.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quote of the Day: Kim Hastreiter

I was scanning the Internet for some proof that it really was Paper Magazine founder Kim Hastreiter I saw at the Zegna fashion show this week, when I found this quote:
“I really never understood the next big thing. How can someone be a genius this season and next season they’re not?

“This completely drives me crazy. Everyone can be raving one season about how great a designer is and then the next season they’re dumped.

“[People do not become] un-brilliant. Designers really suffer from this because you get lifted up and put in this place and then someone else comes along and is put in that place and it’s never really about the work.”
That's from an article last week by Guy Trebay in the New York Times.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Quote of the Day: FDR

"These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers, in Congress and out, had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him -- at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty-eight million dollars -- his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself--such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog."
That's Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a speech to Teamsters in September of 1944.

I came across part of the quote in an article by Michael Crowley in The New Republic about McCain's campaign, an article subtitled "The most sarcastic campaign ever."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Andrew Sisters

In the recent spy thriller Breach, Chris Cooper plays Robert Hanssen, a former Soviet expert who was selling secrets during the Cold War and Ryan Phillippe plays Eric O'Neill, the FBI agent assigned to spy on him. The Cooper character is a devout pre-Vatican II Catholic, a "sexual deviant" and big Andrews Sisters fan.

The Andrews Sisters, from youngest to oldest, were Patty, Maxene, and LaVerne -- three Norwegian-Greek singers from Mound, Minnesota (on Lake Minnetonka). Patty (b. 1918) is the only one still alive. They got their break at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis in 1931.

According to biographer John Sforza's quaint description,
They were three girl-next-door, real-life sisters who, if rumor and their mother be trusted, did not get along very well. They had the fastest, loudest harmony this side of the equator, all accentuated by wild yet almost perfectly syncopated choreography and a comedic flair that surfaced readily during their personal appearances.
In Breach, the 1940s trio's music is a hyper-patriotic and over-simplified symbol of the America that Hanssen has betrayed.

We can only guess that he listens to them when he's anxious about his treason, but we as viewers are treated to an odd montage in which women -- O'Neill's wife (Caroline Dhavernas) and his boss (Laura Linney) -- are seen sitting, waiting while the two men are on their way to a drop. It's odd because the wife is modern and inquisitive and the boss is, well, a woman -- both antitheses of the American women represented by the Andrews Sisters. It's an odd scene because neither character is the type to wait on a man. And yet there it is.

The Palin Fakes

I first spotted the fake Sarah Palin in-patriotic-bikini-with-rifle photo on Paper Magazine's Fashion Schmashion blog. At first, I prayed it was fake. Five minutes later, I prayed it was real. Is it not the perfect Sarah Palin nightmare fantasy for liberals?

One friend said "It's hyperreal. It's the body politic served up like a commercially prepackaged masturbation fantasy."

Alas, it's phony. The Kansas City Star's Prime Buzz blog (Thanks for the link, Nazli) tells the whole story. John Hawkins at Right Wing News may have been exaggerating when he said "I probably just saved two days' worth of stories on the Daily Kos that would later be picked up by the New York Times and Keith Olbermann," but not much. The left is dying for something like this. But then, so is much of the right.

See more Palin fakes at

Thursday, September 04, 2008

McCain Addresses His Friends

When I look at the McCain-Palin logo, it reminds me of a certain corporate logo:

My first thought as I watch the RNC is -- and I hate to say this because it's been said so often -- McCain looks old. He has some nice words about Palin, but I think the Atlantic Monthly's moderate conservative Andrew Sullivan nailed it when he said, "I'm sorry but when he speaks of Palin he seems as if he's praising a very promising student."

And I can't stand when conservatives talk about how liberals want to let bureaucrats stand between us and our doctors. How the hell is the HMO system any different?

And the more I watch how flat he is on stage, and how old and bland he looks against a blue background (it's supposed to be blue sky, but it just looks blank), the more I'm convinced he picked Sarah Palin as a running mate to take the news coverage off Obama's stellar speech the night before. I think the timing was planned and the decision was calculated to be sensational.

McCain is going need a lot more of that if he wants the media to pay attention to him. Obama -- agree with him or not -- may be the most charismatic and commanding presence the Democrats have seen since Kennedy. He's just that good in front of an audience. Bill Clinton had presence, but not like this.

He's the kind of candidate who can say Al Gore-esque technical things in ways that sound inspiring instead of wearying and condescending. I think that when McCain has to debate him, he will effortlessly make the Republican look old, scatter-brained, and slow-witted.

A survey of live online political coverage so far agrees with my general assessment:
Ramesh Ponnuru (National Review): "No New Cold War" -- Smart to have that line in there. But overall I'm finding the speech flat.

Michael Crowley (The New Republic): It's not over yet but this is a very underwhelming speech. Familiar points explained in pedestrian terms. No overarching themes--right now it's sounding like a State of the Union laundry list. Even the crowd in the hall isn't jazzed. This is the sort of reception Tom Ridge got.

Andrew Sullivan (Atlantic Monthly): We have half an hour left of this convention and I still don't know what he is proposing to do.
Of course I'm being slightly selective, but until he got to his P.O.W. story, the speech wasn't special.

The P.O.W. story? Creepy. It just made me uncomfortable. I think it was a mistake.

And finally, the spastic conclusion (Fight! Fight! Fight!) seemed really awkward. The New Republic's Michael Crowley made a bizarre observation:
A fascinating footnote: McCain's storied speechwriter Mark Salter was seated in the front row tonight, perhaps 20 feet from John McCain. I didn't notice him until the closing minute or two of the speech, but as McCain reached his text's conclusion, Salter leapt up and assumed the role of an orchestra conductor leading a wild crescendo. With McCain reaching his closing refrain of "fight... fight... fight... stand up... stand up... stand up..." Salter was on feet, back totally stiff, clapping furiously. I could see him shouting the words from memory along with his candidate. In the speech's final moments Salter was posessed [sic], pounding a fist rhythmically into his palm, and, finally, thrusting his clenched fist downward at moments of emphasis, obviously flush with an incredible intensity. It was, frankly, lot more stirring than watching McCain himself.
I actually think Palin made the more rousing speech.


Beta Blockers

University of Minnesota bioethics professor Carl Elliott has a great article arguing in favor of allowing the use of beta blockers in the Olympics in the current Atlantic Monthly.

They don't enhance performance so much as they eliminate the outward signs of nervous tension, he writes. Here's a snippet:
One of the most compelling arguments against performance enhancing drugs is that they produce an arms race among competitors, who feel compelled to use the drugs even when they would prefer not to, simply to stay competitive. But this argument falls away if the effects of the drug are distributed so unequally. If it's only the nervous performers who are helped by beta blockers, there's no reason for anyone other than nervous performers to use them. And even if everyone did feel compelled to use beta blockers, it's unlikely that anyone would experience untoward health effects, because beta blockers are safe, cheap, and their effects wear off in a few hours. So unlike users of human growth hormone and steroids, users of beta blockers don’t have to worry about their heads growing or their testicles shrinking. You don’t even have to take them regularly. All you have to do is take a small, 10 mg tablet about an hour before your performance.
It almost sounds too good to be true.

But then should we include the ability to handle nervous stress in our measurements of great athletes? Musicians and public speakers take beta blockers. Are athletes gaining an unfair advantage by using them?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Quote of the Day: Jonah Goldberg

"My God, he's going to run as Goldwater!"
Today's quote was invoked briefly by the conservative National Review's Jonah Goldberg, who was one of the editors live-blogging Sarah Palin's RNC speech last night.

It comes from an anonymous political reporter covering Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater's acceptance of the Republican nomination for president in 1964. This was in response to the speech in which Goldwater uttered some of his most infamous lines:
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"
As former Nixon speechwriter William Safire recalls in his Safire's Political Dictionary, the next day the moderate Republican Nelson Rockefeller responded:
"To extol extremism whether 'in defense of liberty' or 'in pursuit of justice' is dangerous, irresponsible, and frightening. Any sanction of lawlessness, of the vigilante and of the unruly mob can only be deplored. ...I shall continue to fight extremism within the Republican party. It has no place in the party. It has no place in America."
Jonah Goldberg, who is the editor of the National Review Online, wrote "My God, She's Going to Run As Palin," presumably upon hearing Palin's "spunky" and folksy style. (NBC reporters used the word spunky.) His cute conservative in-joke would make more sense if Palin had decided at the last minute not to run in drag as a man. She didn’t really say anything as shocking as Goldwater said 44 years ago. Her very being there as a Republican nominee –- and one nobody has ever heard of -- is the shock.

He probably means she's not changing her personality or beliefs to fit what the Party needs or wants; she's being herself. And being herself worked -- she looked confident and relaxed. But as courageous as Goldberg paints Goldwater's speech, remember: Goldwater lost big. Comparing Palin to Goldwater is to compare her to a tragic and ultimately powerless conservative figure. Goldwater is no Ronald Reagan.

But maybe Palin is. Having her attack Obama is either a brash mistake or an ingenious move; it's the latter if it makes Americans see them as equals in stature and experience. Comparing her service as a small town mayor to Obama’s as a community organizer (It’s like a community organizer, she said, only with actual responsibility) is laughable, given how much farther he’s come than she has.

Then again, maybe substance isn't the issue here. A friend of mine called me with a brainstorm during the speech. She thinks the Palin choice was more about appealing to regular young American women with a celebrity mom. A mom of the Lohan and Spears variety, only more wholesome.

Any attack on Palin as a mother will backfire because of this. And they should; such attacks are better left for tabloids. Any smart liberal won't concentrate on her gender, her motherhood or her experience, but instead try to show how much more prepared and experienced Obama/Biden are.

The trick here for the Republicans is to dare the Democrats to attack Palin, especially for things like motherhood and political inexperience, and then shame them for kicking a puppy. Done right, they can have it both ways. It’s the dirtiest of tricks, but playing Governor Palin as a defenseless naïf when it makes Democrats harp on her and playing her as a rugged, accomplished political outsider when they need her to attack the Democrats is the sort of thing that has worked for GWB for years. Low expectations work.


UPDATE: Ethical Dilemma: Broken Glasses

Last May, I wrote about how guilty I felt for not helping a guy on the street whose glasses I may have accidentally broken. (Read that post here.) One commenter said he thought it was a scam right off the bat. I wrote back saying that it had occured to me that it could be, but that I didn't think it was.

Today, months later, I got an anonymous comment from someone who said the same thing happened to them:
I think it's a scam. It happened to me tonight across from Century 21 on Church. Did I bump into him? Did he bump into me? It happens fast. Glasses fall. I say, "You okay?" He says "Yeah." I walk away, then..."I'm sorry but you broke my glasses." He says they are $145 bucks. At first, I offered him ten bucks because maybe I bumped, I thought. Then he was like, that's not enough and goes, "so what are you going to do now?" I gave him my business card and tell him to call me when he fixes the lens and I'll reimburse him when I see the bill. My guess is, he won't be calling.
So I googled the words "dropped glasses scam," and I came up with a Gothamist post from 2006 describing similar scams on the Columbia campus. Here's a description from the Columbia Spectator:
Their modus operandi is simple. Walking into unsuspecting passers-by, the couple—a young man and woman—drop a plastic bag containing a glass bottle. The bottle shatters. The man angrily demands to be repaid for the contents, while the woman insults the stunned fall guy. If the “bottle job” is successful, the couple runs off with cash.
The police told the Spectator that there was a "You Broke My Glasses" variation.

Of course it's a scam. But I didn't think it was because the guy didn't push very hard for cash. However, the fact that he was reluctant to go to a glasses store with me sounds scammish. Then again, the fact that he gave up so easily and seemed sympathetic when I said helping him out would mean no lunch for me that day and no lunch for the rest of the week, makes it seem genuine again.

Ah, life in the Big City. This, my coworkers assure me, is what makes New Yorkers such jerks: the relative confidence that everyone has an angle.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Word of the Day: Sphairistike

My eyes lit upon a genuine old Sphairistike racquet. I couldn't block my involuntary exclamation. Jane looked puzzled.

'That? I thought it was an old tennis racquet--'

I sighed. People really hurt my feelings sometimes. 'Once upon a time, love, a retired major invented a game for playing on the croquet lawn. He invented a name, too. Sphairistike. It's called tennis now.'
That's a passage from "The Firefly Gadroon," one of Jonathan Gash's (the pen name of the English doctor John Grant) Lovejoy novels, a series about a crooked, womanizing antique dealer in East Anglia, England. It was also a BBC series starring Ian McShane (that's him on the cover above).

According to Michael Quinion's World Wide Words, Major Walter Wingfield patented the game that used "the net from badminton, the ball from fives, and the scoring from racquets" in 1874. The name came from an ancient Greek ball game.

"However," Quinion writes,
"in his patent, Major Wingfield also called it lawn tennis, chosen to distinguish it from the much older indoor game often called court tennis. A modified version of his game immediately became hugely popular under that name, though it was soon abbreviated just to tennis, so that the aficionados of the older game in snobbish retaliation started to call theirs real tennis, a term later mistakenly converted to royal tennis in Britain and some other countries."


My Friends, Meet My New Friend Sarah Palin

Billboard in the Twin Cities on 494 and 77.

So about Sarah Palin. The consensus among most of my politically conscious friends is that she was a last-choice, last-minute pick designed to upset the media love-fest created by Obama's Kennedy-esque speech the night before. As Washington Monthly's Steve Benen pointed out today, "The McCain campaign did not conduct an FBI background check, did not talk to Republican officials in Alaska, and didn't even talk to Palin's next-door neighbors."

Not that she's a bad Republican. She may have evolved into a Party star eventually without being picked as a running mate. But I think Ross Douthat, author of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream got it right when he said in New York Magazine that McCain "brought her out onto the national stage four or eight years too early."

Sure, one could argue that no political record (mayor of a town of 6,700 doesn't count; does two years as governor of a state just over a tenth the size of Minnesota?) is a good political record in these times. But Dan Quayle looked like a sound choice compared to her. If you're a Republican, you're calling her a breath of fresh air and proof that McCain is still a maverick. If you're a Democrat, you're calling her a desperate choice, a last resort, and proof that McCain will try anything because he thinks he's losing. If you're impartial, you're probably wondering what the hell McCain was thinking: there had to be a better choice.

Or are we all wrong? Maybe she isn't a Republican Geraldine Ferraro. Maybe, as Douthat says, she's "a potential bridge between movement conservatism and the American middle."

If Joe Biden doesn't come out all Al Gore on Palin during debates, I think she may crumble under the new-found pressure of being in the national -- no, international spotlight -- and come across as the novice she is. Regardless, if I were the McCain camp, I'd keep the untested Palin as far from inquisitive Democrats as possible.

And, if I were in the McCain campaign, I'd be seriously worried about the old man losing his temper or train of thought in a debate with Obama. This is not the Goldwater-esque Arizona Republican everyone loved from eight-twelve years ago. This is a man who, mortified by the sands falling through the hourglass, is doing everything he can to leave more of a legacy than that quaint quasi-liberal McCain-Feingold folly.

Modern Republicans, if not conservatives, are positively immune to hypocrisy (evidence the Swift Boat attack from supporters of a guy who went AWOL), so no amount of Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant news will sway them. The strongest forces the Democrats can rely on this election are evangelical apathy, general conservative balkanization, and Obama-fever.

But still, Obama supporters should be jubilant if they really think Palin is that poor a choice; they're not though. Liberals worry that McCain's wacky decision is just crazy enough that it might work.

I've heard some say that Obama fans are under-counted because of the preponderance of young people who use mobile phones in lieu of landlines (pollsters can't easily track their opinions) -- I hope that's true. Because whether you're an old-school conservative or a typical liberal, McCain-Palin is the last thing this country needs after eight years of GWB.

Need some ammo to use for your McCain-supporting friends? Try John Heilemann's article "Is John McCain Bob Dole?" in the April 13 issue of New York Magazine.

[As a side note, Alaska -- if the wikipedia is to be believed -- has 3 million lakes. Minnesota's license plates boast 10,000 lakes, and even though it's actually closer to 15,000, I'm still disappointed.]


Monday, September 01, 2008

Spotted in a Connecticut office. The kitchen area has no dish soap, wash clothes, sponges or any other dishwashing supplies.

Quote of the Day: Vogue India Editor Priya Tanna

Baby's bib by Fendi, $100.
“Fashion is no longer a rich man’s privilege. Anyone can carry it off and make it look beautiful. You have to remember with fashion, you can’t take it that seriously. We weren’t trying to make a political statement or save the world."
That's Vogue India editor Priya Tanna, responding to critics who thought the magazine's 16-page fashion spread featuring extremely poor Indians with extremely expensive accessories in the August issue was "distasteful." Tanna advised her critics to "lighten up."

Umbrella by Burberry, $200.
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