Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday night

Sitting on pins and needles now (not good), waiting to see how the election turns out. I was hoping to go to an election party in Biscayne Park on Tuesday night, but the hosts have cancelled due to a medical situation in the family. I'd been looking forward to it. I'd been there for the last two big elections, which were (for most of the attendees) a bummer. Alas, this one could have been a good party vis-a-vis the election results (the hospitality was always flawless).

I'm very sanguine about the prospects of Obama's winning. I just hope we win a 60% majority in the Senate also, so we can get some really strong programs passed to make us more secure.

Changing the subject, contractors are coming on Monday to work in the kitchen. I still won't be able to use the kitchen, however (since July 2), but I'll have counters, and the drywall should be repaired. I'll have to schedule another work day to get the electric and the plumbing functioning again so I can at last use the kitchen. After that, I'll tile the backsplash myself with some iridescent glass tile and do some repairs and repainting. And it'll be done.

Another Florida story: 'Huffington Post Blogger Kills Lover, Then Herself'

I can kind of relate. From The Advocate here.

Police have determined that a popular HuffingtonPost.com election correspondent who had weighed in several times throughout this election season on LGBT issues killed her former lover after stabbing her some 200 times with a Phillips-head screwdriver.

Carol Anne Burger then took her own life last Friday, authorities told Florida's Palm Beach Post. This week authorities connected Burger to the murder of her former lover and roommate, Jessica Kalish.

Authorities had grown suspicious of Burger’s involvement in her former lover’s death prior to the freelance journalist taking her own life. Before police could question Burger, she shot herself in the head in the backyard of the Boynton Beach, Fla., house she and Kalish shared together.

Kalish and Burger had been broken up for more than a year when Burger killed her ex by stabbing her with a screwdriver 222 times, according to a police report. According to friends, the two still lived together for financial reasons.

Various reports said trouble began to brew between the two women when Kalish, who had married Burger in Massachusetts in 2005, announced that she had met another woman. . . .

Burger was one of several election correspondents taking part in "Off the Bus," a citizen-powered and -produced presidential campaign news page sponsored by the Huffington Post. She had been tapped to cover the election from Florida next Tuesday.

Obama last night on 'Daily Show' with Jon Stewart

Funny

(From MyDD)

Lucky watches Clinton and Obama tonight in Kissimmee, FL

Lucky's also an avid watcher of MSNBC. Kissimmee, by the way, is outside of Orlando. (The emphasis is on the "im", not the "kiss".) (So many news people get the pronunciation wrong. All they have to do is ask a local.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Only in Florida

Only in Miami

"Gettin' ugly." From TPM here. Read the full story at the link below (includes photos of the two guys).

McCain mob surrounds two Cuban-American Obama supporters in Miami before police intervene to hustle the two away to safety.

"People were screaming 'Terrorist!' 'Communist!' 'Socialist!'", said Raul Sorando, of the two Obama supporters. "I had a guy tell me he was gonna kill me."

Sean Quinn has the rest of the report from FiveThirtyEight.com.

See here.

Obama: 'I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich'

McCain on health care

The free-enterprise profit motive doesn't work for health care. The insurance companies can only profit by denying coverage to people who need it. That's the truth. It's time for a change.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Natural air-conditioning tonight

We're having a cold snap, the first one of the season. I have the windows and sliding glass door open, and the A/C has not kicked in since I've been home. (It must be in the 50s F. now.)

Lucky is pissed that I've closed the screen door to the terrace (where the slider is). Since he likes to go out there and sit on the ledge beyond the railing, I can't be constantly monitoring him. I'm afraid someday he's going to make a miscalculation and fall off (one floor below to the concrete pool deck, which he should be able to survive).

Recently departed Lucy used to do the same thing at my last apartment. She fell off the balcony more than once, before I put some netting on the railing (that wouldn't be a solution here). There it was also a one-storey fall, to the (soft) lawn. I'd then have to run outside and find her. She would be a mess and so would I.

'Noah's Arc'--the movie--just released

B. and I used to watch the TV show on Logo. Salon story here.

This weekend, per IndieWIRE, was a strikingly strong and instructive one, with the top-ranked independent release a film virtually unreviewed and unnoticed by mainstream media (including, ahem, this representative thereof). "Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom," a big-screen adaptation of the cable-TV series about a group of young gay African-American men in Los Angeles, virtually sold out its New York, Atlanta and Washington venues and grossed a flat-out amazing $30,000 per screen.

OK, that's a notch lower than the limited release of Clint Eastwood's "Changeling," but "Noah's Arc" doesn't have Angelina Jolie, or 1/100th of Universal's marketing budget. Or any name recognition among heteros or whites. Expect a marketing scrum to erupt over the black gay entertainment audience, and no, I'm not kidding. And for the love of God, why not? If that isn't a demographic that has earned the right to be temporarily pandered to in our glorious consumer democracy, then nobody has. Simply in search of a timely news hook, I was going to try to work Barack Obama into this item. But I thought better of it. Good-looking guy, though, isn't he? . . .

Sign petition demanding apology from Orlando TV station for phony interview with Biden

At Firedoglake, here.

It's a tale of two interview subjects and one GOP-agenda-driven "journalist." And what a tale it is. JedReport took a peek at [W]FTV's Barbara West and interviews with Joe Biden and John McCain. The side by side comparison is astonishing. . . .

Matt Stoller's done a series of posts recently about issues of bias in local media, and repeated use of hand-fed GOP talking points as "research" which is worth watching closely. With the advent of media consolidation, more and more local stations are in the hands of fewer and fewer large corporate conglomerates, and that's not good for fact-checking or diversity of opinion. . . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

Overheard at work

As some of you know, I work in a conservative outfit in downtown Miami. Miami is home to many native Cubans who came here to escape Castro's Communist dictatorship.

Today I overheard that someone said that if Obama gets into office, the Cubans could live with it since they'd already lived in a Communist state. Maybe it was a joke, but I found it offensive (but said nothing). The United States is and always has been an elected democracy that upholds individual rights and freedoms in its Constitution. That's why the Cubans (and so many others) came here to begin with. I grew up during the original influx from Cuba, and we welcomed the refugees with open arms.

To imply that Obama would impose some kind of Communist dictatorship is (aside from being false), quite frankly, insulting. (I said nothing then but I'm saying it now.)

(I'll say this also: If they keep voting Republican, they might really see something like Castro's Cuba happening in the U.S., at least when it comes to spying on its own citizens and otherwise eroding our cherished Constitutional rights.)

Fortunately, however, as the refugees' children become acculturated and embrace our values, we'll see a change in the political climate down here, if we're not seeing it already.

'Swift Boat'-type group brings up Obama's association with Rev. Wright

As Digby says here, "If you aren't a racist and you're still voting Republican, how do you see this and not feel dirty?"

Goofy Orlando TV anchor grills Biden on Marxism; Biden laughs

See TPM here.

Update: Keith Olberman just reported on Countdown that the woman's husband is a Republican media consultant.

New Obama ad

Sunday night

Desperate Housewives was finally good tonight. The writing was strong and they were able to tie everything together, including the last three crappy episodes. Until tonight, I thought the show was doomed.

I watched it over the phone with my friend in Canada, but that wasn't much fun since--due to the difference in commercials -- we weren't watching the same thing at the same time (what I was watching was lagging behind what he was watching, or vice-versa). (They're not airing Obama commercials in Canada, for example.) So we couldn't really follow the story together and laugh (or boo) together. Well, it could have been fun.

Got a lot done today. Was back at Home Depot to pick up the spice-rack cabinet overlay that had to be specially ordered, and got a new washable A/C filter to replace the one that the plumber burned a hole into with his soldering torch while installing the new water heater. Went to the gym. Went shopping. Bought Lucky some new feather balls. Had dinner at Flanigan's (since I still can't cook). Got some cheaper gas. We're set.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Funny video

Also from Firedoglake. Lots of good stuff there.

'We’re All Socialists! The McCain/Palin Campaign for Big Insurance'

Great post here.

Not too many years ago in Texas, a right wing operative told the mainstream press I was a communist. Even in Texas the accusation (based solely on my mocking of '60s John Birchers in an old news story) was laughed at. Nobody'd seen a communist for a really long time. Around Texas there were more alien abduction reports than sightings of communists or socialists.

Lately, though, Republicans here and around the country are warning that there are socialist aliens among us, dangerous aliens probing our vulnerable parts and threatening to destroy the American way of life. John McCain and Sarah Palin say Barack Obama is one. In McCain and Palin's America, there are now two choices. You can be 1) a fake plumber; 2) a socialist.

What's up with this? Two words. No, three words. Big. Insurance. Lobbyists. There are a lot of insurance lobbyists on McCain's staff. With polls showing most Americans want and need health care reform, the health insurance lobby is desperate. So, they begin their campaign against reform by raising the specter of socialism - accusations that can be delivered by television ads paid for with federal matching fund (public) dollars.

The health insurance industry's dirty secret, that all its profits come from the denial of claims and exclusion of coverage, is a little less secret than it used to be. If millions of dollars can be used now to begin to label reform plans as "socialism," Big Insurance will have a head start in the 2009 Congress.

Of course, the term "socialized medicine" has long been used by the insurance industry and the really stupid doctors who've allowed themselves to become slaves to an industry that forces them to deliver poorer and poorer care. Actually, doctors started it way back in the 1920s, before the insurance industry really got into the health business. Until the 1940s, insurance execs couldn't figure out how to make money in health. They could insure property, because everyone's house didn't burn down. They could sell life insurance and earn a lot from investments they made with premiums before their policyholders died. But health? Everybody gets sick. Everybody dies. Where's the profit in that? (As it turns out, there is a lot of money in denying health care.)

When, in the early 20th Century, medical knowledge and training led to a wide disparity between rich and poor in health care, many reformers began advocating for some sort of solution. But these were the years of the Red scares. Industry barons labeled all solutions communist or socialist. Better dead than Red.

It's even cooler that McCain and Palin can get the socialism meme out there without really having to talk about health care, which might raise suspicions. Instead, they base the accusation on Obama's rather bland description of the decades-old American progressive tax system. Obama used the phrase "spread the wealth" when he answered Joe-Who's-Really-Sam-The-Plumber-Who's-Not-A-Plumber.

McCain spits out the words "spread the wealth" with the same derision he used to mock women's health in the last debate. McCain uses scare quotes a lot.

Fear of socialism is suddenly making a comeback. . . .

'America to McCain: We’re Okay with Higher Taxes and Spreading the Wealth . . . and Obama'

From Firedoglake here.

The most recent CBS/New York Times poll finds Obama now leading McCain by 13 percent, 52 to 39 percent among likely voters. But the most interesting result is how respondents react to McCain's anti-tax campaign. (h/t to Eric Kleefeld at TPM):

Do you think it is a good idea or a bad idea to raise income taxes on households and businesses that make MORE than $250,000 a year in order to help provide health insurance for people who are not covered by health insurance?

Good Idea 62%

Bad Idea 33%

Spreading the wealth . . . it's the new patriotism.

Krugman: 'Desperately seeking seriousness'

Read his complete column here.

[W]hy has the growing financial and economic crisis worked so overwhelmingly to the Democrats’ advantage?

As someone who’s spent a lot of time arguing against conservative economic dogma, I’d like to believe that the bad news convinced many Americans, once and for all, that the right’s economic ideas are wrong and progressive ideas are right. And there’s certainly something to that. These days, with even Alan Greenspan admitting that he was wrong to believe that the financial industry could regulate itself, Reaganesque rhetoric about the magic of the marketplace and the evils of government intervention sounds ridiculous. . . .

But I suspect that the main reason for the dramatic swing in the polls is something less concrete and more meta than the fact that events have discredited free-market fundamentalism. As the economic scene has darkened, I’d argue, Americans have rediscovered the virtue of seriousness. And this has worked to Mr. Obama’s advantage, because his opponent has run a deeply unserious campaign. . . .

Adam Smith used and abused

Adam Smith, the "father" of capitalism, never advocated "winner take all," which the Republicans now advocate.

The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. . . . The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. . . . It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

See here and here. On Alan Greenspan and Ayn Rand here. This is from the last link:

The essays Greenspan contributed to the 1966 collection [by Ayn Rand], like the rest of the book, praised the idea of unfettered, unrestricted, unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism. Sure, there were problems in the system as it existed at the time, but those problems were not the fault of capitalism. Real capitalism, pure capitalism, had never been tried. Under pure capitalism, there would be a complete "separation of capitalism and state," and the resulting markets would be self-governing and self-correcting. It was only the intrusion of regulations into the system that brought on instability and immorality. Kick government out, and the system would not only flourish, but express the innate reasoning and positive force of selfishness. . . .

Lucky watching CNN

(He's a tabby for Obama.)

'Opponents of Florida's Marriage Ban Charge Measure's Proponents With Illegal Activity'

"Leaders of an organization fighting to defeat Florida's Amendment 2 have filed a complaint with the state's election commission that Florida4Marriage, which supports the ban, has illegally used money from anonymous donors to pay for TV ads." Story here.

Lieberman: "Thank God She's Not Going To Have To Be President From Day One"

This via TPM.

More on that

More from the CNN article linked to in the post below:

"[Palin's] lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic," said another McCain source with direct knowledge of the process to prepare Palin after she was picked. The source said it was probably the "hardest" to get her "up to speed than any candidate in history." . . .

"She's no longer playing for 2008; she's playing 2012," Democratic pollster Peter Hart said. "And the difficulty is, when she went on 'Saturday Night Live,' she became a reinforcement of her caricature. She never allowed herself to be vetted, and at the end of the day, voters turned against her both in terms of qualifications and personally."

And speaking of Sarah Palin, 'The Knives Are Out'

Steve Soto's post is here.

From the moment that he picked Palin, some of us knew two things:

It would get bloody inside the campaign in the closing weeks as it became clear she was a cancer; and the party launched its own poison pill for 2012 when McCain elevated Palin into a national GOP figure, letting her believe that she was a real player when in fact she is the face of extremist Armageddon for the Republican Party.

As to the first point, McCain’s people have finally had enough of the prima Donna.

With 10 days until Election Day, long-brewing tensions between GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin and key aides to Sen. John McCain☼ have become so intense, they are spilling out in public, sources say.

Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue."

McCain has no one to blame but himself for creating this problem.

McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate. They cited an instance in which 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 says 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."

Pretty catty stuff, and yet she really does think that she is the front runner for 2012, even though polls say otherwise. Democrats should welcome the intraparty GOP fights over the next four years.

'Sarah Palin's élite Washington friends'

"The Insiders: How John McCain came to pick Sarah Palin." Complete New Yorker article here.

By the spring, the McCain campaign had reportedly sent scouts to Alaska to start vetting Palin as a possible running mate. A week or so before McCain named her, however, sources close to the campaign say, McCain was intent on naming his fellow-senator Joe Lieberman, an independent, who left the Democratic Party in 2006. David Keene, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, who is close to a number of McCain’s top aides, told me that “McCain and Lindsey Graham”—the South Carolina senator, who has been McCain’s closest campaign companion—“really wanted Joe.” But Keene believed that “McCain was scared off” in the final days, after warnings from his advisers that choosing Lieberman would ignite a contentious floor fight at the Convention, as social conservatives revolted against Lieberman for being, among other things, pro-choice.

“They took it away from him,” a longtime friend of McCain—who asked not to be identified, since the campaign has declined to discuss its selection process—said of the advisers. “He was furious. He was pissed. It wasn’t what he wanted.” Another friend disputed this, characterizing McCain’s mood as one of “understanding resignation.” . . .

Charles R. Black, Jr., the lobbyist and political operative who is McCain’s chief campaign adviser, reportedly favored Palin. Keene said, “I’m told that Charlie Black told McCain, ‘If you pick anyone else, you’re going to lose. But if you pick Palin you may win.’ ” (Black did not return calls for comment.) Meanwhile, McCain’s longtime friend said, “Kristol was out there shaking the pom-poms.”

McCain had met Palin once, but their conversation—at a reception during a meeting of the National Governors Association, six months earlier—had lasted only fifteen minutes. “It wasn’t a real conversation,” said the longtime friend, who called the choice of Palin “the fucking most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” Aides arranged a phone call between McCain and Palin, and scrutinized her answers to some seventy items on a questionnaire that she had filled out. But McCain didn’t talk with Palin in person again until the morning of Thursday, August 28th. Palin was flown down to his retreat in Sedona, Arizona, and they spoke for an hour or two. By the time he announced her as his choice, the next day, he had spent less than three hours in her company. . . .

Also in dispute is whether Palin disclosed to the campaign, as she and officials have said, that her unwed teen-age daughter was pregnant. “I am a hundred per cent sure they didn’t know,” McCain’s longtime friend said. Another campaign source, however, insisted that McCain’s team knew about the pregnancy.

The selection of Palin thrilled the Republican base, and the pundits who met with her in Juneau have remained unflagging in their support. But a surprising number of conservative thinkers have declared her unfit for the Vice-Presidency. Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist, recently wrote, “The Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It’s no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain.” David Brooks, the Times columnist, has called Palin “a fatal cancer to the Republican Party.” Christopher Buckley, the son of National Review’s late founder, defected to the Obama camp two weeks ago, in part because of his dismay over Palin. Matthew Dowd, the former Bush campaign strategist turned critic of the President, said recently that McCain “knows in his gut” that Palin isn’t qualified for the job, “and when this race is over, that is something he will have to live with. . . . He put the country at risk.” . . .

John McCain’s comfort level with Palin is harder to gauge. In the view of the longtime McCain friend, “John’s personal comfort level is low with everyone right now. He’s angry. But it was his choice.”

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Daniel Radcliffe naked in 'Equus'

Cast mail-in ballot last week

Was able to verify that the ballot was received by going online to the Miami-Dade County election website. So I know my vote was counted (there's a "paper trail"). (At least Miami-Dade County is doing something right.)

Joan Walsh

But while these strangely disturbing female faces -- one gussied up with the best makeup money can buy, the other tough to look at, mutilated by self-hate -- visually dominated the news Friday, a parade of male Republicans endorsing Obama this week was the real story. Charles Fried, Scott McClellan, William Weld, Arne Coleman and of course Colin Powell last Sunday -- each laid out a devastating case for why they had to abandon their party, and most of them focused on McCain's irresponsible pick of Palin as a major factor in their decision. Christopher Hitchens likewise came out for Obama, calling McCain "borderline senile" on "Hardball" Friday. The news was weird this week, but still, it's all bad for McCain-Palin.

Column here.

My heart goes out to Ohio

“This job is a challenge, and I like that, but it’s also sad and depressing. You see all these poor people that don’t have anything, but they’re still supporting the wrong party that’s the reason they don’t have anything. I’ve canvassed single mothers with three kids, and they still don’t see what’s wrong with the Republican Party.” She thought for a moment. “Obama’s one of us,” she said. “He comes from a blue-collar family. But people don’t really see that.”

Bamboozled into voting against their own self-interest. (Emphasis added.) Let's hope they see the light. Story here.

'McCain's Unsolvable Problem: Sarah Palin'

Full post here.

Most of Obama's supporters are voting for him because they hate the failed policies of the past 8 years and want change. If those were the only issues, it would be a close race. But Obama will win this election because of the many voters outside the core Democratic base who cannot accept the idea of Sarah Palin being so close to the Presidency.

In addition to her lack of qualifications, there's the rejection of her ties to the radical right and religious fundamentalism.

Turnout will be enormous because two factors are at work: Support for Obama and opposition to Palin.

Sarah Palin will cost John McCain the presidency. She is his insurmountable problem. He has no one to blame but himself and his advisers. He chose Palin in a desperate Hail Mary pass to save his fledgling campaign and it didn't work. Not with women who formerly supported Hillary, not with Independents and not even with leaders of his own party like Colin Powell.

Sarah Palin is the train wreck the McCain campaign didn't see coming. The rest of the country can't take its eyes away, which is why stories about her are number one on so many news sites and why SNL's ratings are sky high.

Nothing shows John McCain's lack of judgment and ill-suitedness to lead our country more than his spectacular blunder in picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. It's the prime reason that on November 4, voters other than true Obama supporters -- those that might have voted for McCain -- will run in the other direction. . . .

Lucky in the kitchen

Lucky inside the cabinet that will hold the sink. He's curious about the noises he hears coming from the sawed-off drain pipe. (Notice how he matches the new all-wood cabinetry, which is a far cry from the rotting stuff we had before.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On temporary hiatus

Will be back soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Biden: Stop these robocalls

Obama Ends Two Day Fla. Tour With Miami Rally

"Thousands Filled Bicentennial Park To Watch Barack Obama Speak." Full story here. I'd like to know how many thousands. The Metromover heading down to the park was packed like sardines. (I'd never seen that before.) I'd planned on taking it to the Omni bus terminal just north of the park to catch my bus home, but slogged through the traffic jam on the bus instead. There was no way I was getting onto the packed 'Mover with my roller bag (or without).

"Erratic': New Obama ad playing in battleground Virginia

See here.

Kitchen update -- more shenanigans with Home Depot

Here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

'STD postcards: You've got mail — and more'

"Early data shows it helps to have partners break bad news online." Full story here.

Thanks to a new Internet-based service called inSPOT, people are now receiving anonymous e-mails about sex, but they aren’t spam and there is no hidden ad for herbal concoctions to increase the size of anything. Rather, the “e-cards” are notices from a previous sex partner that the recipient may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease.

The site, www.InSPOT.org , is a way for people newly diagnosed with an STD to notify their partners to be tested, too. The e-cards, a sort of greeting card you’d rather not receive, are direct and to the point. . . .

Yoga slows aging

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New kitchen blog post

Here.

'The Last Refuge Of A Scoundrel: McCain Goes McCarthy'

From Big Tent Democrat, here.

See TChris yesterday. Anti-American? Socialist? Yes, the Red Scare is upon us again. Saturday, John McCain said:

You see, Obama believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe [the sort of Plumber], in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism. And a lot of Americans are thinking along those same lines. In the best case, "spreading the wealth around" is a familiar idea from the American left. . . . At least in Europe, the Socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives.

The Democratic Party as a secret Socialist cabal? I guess McCain is jettisoning the bipartisan schtick too, running as an anti-FDR Republican now (McCain like Joe the Plumber and Joe McCarthy, thinks Social Security is Socialism too.)

The last refuge of a Party of Scoundrels:

McCain advisor on the 'real' Virginia

From TPM

Colin Powell endorses Obama on 'Meet the Press'

'A devastating blow to John McCain'

Colin Powell endorses Obama. Joan Walsh column here.

Colin Powell destroyed the last hope John McCain had to defeat Barack Obama and become president. I have never heard such a devastating and thoroughgoing critique of McCain's issue-free, fear-mongering campaign. While Powell's endorsing Obama on "Meet the Press" Sunday was expected, the way he did it was stunning.

Powell called the current economic crisis "a final exam" for both candidates, and basically said McCain failed. "He was a little unsure how to deal with the economic problems. Every day there was a different approach," Powell told NBC's Tom Brokaw. Remarkably, he said he was "concerned at the selection of Gov. Palin," who he called "distinguished" but "not ready to be vice president." He saved his harshest words for his Republican Party, which he said had "moved more to the right than I would like to see it." He blasted McCain and the party's focus on issues like Obama's connection to former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers, specifically denouncing the shameful "robo-calls" tying Obama to Ayers and terrorism.

To focus on Powell's damning comments about McCain, Palin and the GOP should not obscure that his endorsement of Obama was enthusiastic and strong. He called Obama "a transformational figure," praised him for his "inclusive" campaign, his "intellectual curiosity" and his leadership. He acknowledged his 25-year friendship with McCain and sounded genuinely sad when he said, "It isn't easy for me to disappoint Sen. McCain as I have this morning, and I regret that."

It's hard for me not to see Powell's endorsement of Obama as a way to clear his conscience for the role he played in selling the Iraq war, which Obama opposed from the beginning. Powell brushed aside Brokaw's questions about his role in making the case for war, insisting it's "not a correct assessment by anybody that my leaving the administration would have stopped it." . . .

Palin on SNL

Videos here. See this also.

Obama draws huge crowd in St. Louis

On Saturday. See this.

Lucky watching TV

(HGTV to be exact)

The Undecideds

Found at Hullabaloo

Movie review: 'W'

Full review by Dennis Hartley here.

If the Bush administration had never really happened, and this was a completely fictional creation, I would be describing Stone’s film by throwing out superlatives like “A wildly imaginative look at the dark side of the American Dream!” or “A vivid, savage satire for our times!” But you see, when it comes to the life and legacy of one George W. Bush and the Strangelovian nightmare that he and his cohorts have plunged this once great nation into for the last eight years, all you have to do is tell the truth…and pass the popcorn.

Frank Rich: 'He Just Can’t Quit W'

Full column here.

Even Republicans are rapidly bailing on a McCain resuscitation. It’s a metaphor for the party’s collapse that on the day of the final debate both Nancy Reagan and Dick Cheney checked into hospitals. Conservatives have already moved past denial to anger on the Kubler-Ross scale of grief. They are not waiting for votes to be counted before carrying out their first round of Stalinist purges. William F. Buckley’s son Christopher was banished from National Review for endorsing Obama. Next thing you know, there will be a fatwa on that McCain-bashing lefty, George Will.

As the G.O.P.’s long night of the long knives begins, myths are already setting in among the right’s storm troops and the punditocracy alike as to what went wrong. And chief among them are the twin curses of Bush and the “headwinds” of the economy. No Republican can win if the party’s incumbent president is less popular than dirt, we keep being told, or if a looming Great Depression 2 is Issue No. 1.

This is an excuse, not an explanation. It absolves McCain of much of the blame and denies Obama much of the credit for their campaigns. It arouses pity for McCain when he deserves none. It rewrites history. . . .

At least McCain had half a point on Wednesday night when he said, “I am not President Bush.” What he has offered his country this year is an older, crankier, more unsteady version of Bush. Tragically, he can no sooner escape our despised president than he can escape himself.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Miami Herald endorses Obama

See here.

Indeed, the way the two candidates responded to the economic meltdown offers a lesson in contrasting styles of leadership. Both have put forth a series of worthwhile policy options, but where Sen. Obama was calm, Sen. McCain was frantic. He first put his campaign ''on hold'' and suggested he would cancel the first debate, and then suddenly decided to take part even as the first bailout deal cratered. He said the fundamentals of the economy were strong, then a few days later vowed to ''name the names'' of those responsible for the financial crisis.

In other elections, voters have complained of having to make a choice between two bad candidates. That is not the case this time. The nation is fortunate to have good candidates and a clear choice. Sen. Obama represents the best chance for America to make a clean break with the culture wars and failed policies of the past, and begin to restore the hope and promise of America as the world's greatest democracy.

See here also (other endorsements).

Lucky wants to play feather ball with Bootsy

The feather ball is by Lucky's paw. Bootsy not interested.

Al Smith Dinner

Priceless

More videos here

Mirabile dictu

B. has broken up with the crooked ex-security guard/alleged drug dealer and is back living with his parents. I'm so relieved. I'd been afraid he'd end up in prison as an accessory to a crime. Maybe there is a god. We talked tonight on the phone. Long story, so I'll keep it brief.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama not out the woods yet

See Talk Left here.

Miami Herald wraps up on phony 'Joe the Plumber'

Here, via Talk Left.

As has been reported all day at blogs and news media sites, Joe the Plumber is not who he pretended to be. The Miami Herald has a good wrap-up.

Some of the early news:

Never served in the apprentice program or got a license, according to Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 50, in Toledo. Doesn't make anywhere near the $250,000 that would subject him to higher taxes under Obama's proposed tax plan.

Now, there's this: Tom Joseph, the business manager of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 50 union in Toledo, says:

Joe claimed on a social networking site to be a working union member and even used the pipefitters' insignia as a background. ''He's never been a member of the union,'' Joseph said.

Turns out, Joe works for a small plumbing shop in Toledo that's on call for leaky pipes, running toilets and gas leaks; but without licensing, he's years away from owning his own business -- legally, at least.

In fact, Joseph said, Joe isn't even supposed to work as a plumber in Toledo or the surrounding suburbs because he's not licensed under any of the local codes. ''Unless he's way out in the boonies working on some farmer's leaky pipes, he's not allowed to do any plumbing,'' Joseph said.

Yesterday, Joe was being flown around the country to appear on tv shows. Today, he's got reporters camped out in his yard asking him when he's going to pay his back taxes.

The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (UA.org) are angry over McCain's use of Joe the Plumber. In February, it was the first international union to endorse Sen. Barack Obama. You can view their videos and endorsement letter here.

More on Joe the Plumber

From Steve Soto here.

It figures. Joe the Plumber is a self-admitted Limbaugh fan and McCain supporter. He is also unlicensed as is his boss. Neither are licensed to work as plumbers in the county where they live.

Yet he was elevated by McCain as the benchmark for everyday voters.

McCain is a sleaze

(Click above to enlarge.)

Fort Lauderdale Mayor's Race Heats Up With Two Gay Candidates

"Remember the Fort Lauderdale mayor who wanted to spend $230,000 on a 'robo-toilet' to cut down the number of men who have sex with men in public restrooms? His name is Jim Naugle, and after 18 years in office, come spring 2009, the homophobic mayor will bid adieu to City Hall. Two gay men are seeking to take his place and, in aligning themselves with Barack Obama's bid for the White House, hoping to make Florida a blue state in 2008."

Big story from The Advocate here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

'Queer As Folk' Brian hurt in accident

He's on "Desperate Housewives" now. Story here.

Oct 16th, 2008 LOS ANGELES -- Officials at a Los Angeles hospital say "Desperate Housewives" actor Gale Harold is improving after suffering serious injuries in a motorcycle accident.

Officials at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center said Thursday evening that Harold is under observation in the intensive care unit.

The actor had swelling on the brain and a fractured shoulder but is expected to recover. Officials say he will be transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when a bed becomes available.

Harold plays the boyfriend of Teri Hatcher's character on the ABC show. He was injured Tuesday.

Joe the Plumber

Is a jerk (and not a real plumber). More evidence of John McCain's rash judgment.

Wednesday night late

I'm glad Obama did well tonight. I'd been afraid McCain would somehow turn things around for his campaign with this debate. From what I've read, though, all he managed to accomplish was to make points with the Republican base--and he needed to appeal to the undecided voters. I couldn't bear to watch it, however. Went to the gym instead (was a gym night anyway). The debate was playing on the TVs at the gym (no sound but with subtitles). When I saw it, I averted my eyes.

Ever since Bootsy bit me on the arm one night last week while I asleep--he was lying right next to me and I must have disturbed him somehow--I've been shutting the cats out of the bedroom before I go to bed. (The wound became infected, since I didn't disinfect it at the time, but is OK now.) Since then, the cats have been upset about not being able to sleep with me, if they wished. Maybe tonight I'll make an exception. (Or not.)

I've been sleeping much better since I've been keeping the bedroom door closed to keep the cats out. For one thing, the light from the living room doesn't stream into the bedroom in the morning and wake me up, even though I have all the blinds closed and am wearing my blindfold. Also, Bootsy doesn't wake me up meowing for breakfast, after which I get up and chase him out and close the door and try to fall back to sleep before the alarm goes off.

Did a kitchen blog entry. Had some unpleasant news today.

David Gergen video

(From Talk Left)

Even Fox focus group goes to Obama

(From MyDD)

From the debate

A clip from Firedoglake. Read Jane Hamsher's post here (“I Sold My Soul to the GOP And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt”).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

'Not my dad's GOP: Buckley leaves National Review'

Story here.

A week after endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president, Christopher Buckley, a writer and son of William F. Buckley Jr., is leaving National Review, the conservative magazine founded by his father more than 50 years ago.

"Within hours of my endorsement appearing in The Daily Beast it became clear that National Review had a serious problem on its hands," Buckley wrote in a blog posted Tuesday on http://www.thedailybeast.com, the online broadsheet founded by Tina Brown.

"So the next morning, I thought the only decent thing to do would be to offer to resign my column there. This offer was accepted - rather briskly! - by Rich Lowry, NR's editor, and its publisher, the superb and able and fine Jack Fowler."

Buckley, a best-selling novelist who had been a featured columnist at the National Review, infuriated conservatives last week by declaring himself "the latest conservative/libertarian/whatever to leap onto the Barack Obama bandwagon."

He criticized Republican John McCain as "irascible and snarly" and credited Obama with having "a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect."

"It's a good thing my dear old mum and pup are no longer alive. They'd cut off my allowance," he wrote for The Daily Beast. . . .

The debate

As Trapper John said here.

"The pundits are going to talk about the issues and details of the debates, as they should. And it's true that this was Obama's best debate, and possibly McCain's worst. But for me, the story of the night -- hell, the story of all three debates -- is the sang froid of Barack Obama.

"Nothing can get under his skin. Nothing. No attack can cause him to lose his equilibrium, to cause him to squint or gawp or stare like McCain seems to do three times every minute. Barack Obama is a fundamentally cool cat -- and that's one of the reasons he's not just going to win this election, but win big. Americans respect a person who won't get thrown off his game, who won't let his enemies and opponents rattle him.

"And Barack Obama isn't just cool -- he's redefined cool in politics. He's gotten past 20 years of presidents who equate anger with passion. There hasn't been a president who could keep an even keel since Reagan -- and even then, he was more easy-goin' than cool. Reagan was detached. But Barack Obama is engaged, intelligent, and calm -- but he's no Adlai Stevenson. He's always cool. . . ."

From TPM here.

[T]here were just repeated split screen moments in which Obama's talking about this or that and McCain is there just looking like he's seething -- stiff, like he can barely contain himself. Just tight and angry. As David Gergen just said on CNN watching McCain on the split screens was "almost like [seeing] an exercise in anger management."

P.S. re: catnip post

I made some emendations to the post below. Sloppy writing. Maybe I was sniffing the catnip. (I should never write on catnip.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Canada's Conservatives projected to win election

Full AP story here.

Oct 14th, 2008 OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the first major world leader to face voters since the global financial meltdown, led his Conservative Party to victory in Tuesday's election, Canadian national media projected after the polls closed. . . .

The opposition Liberals have traditionally been the party in power, forming the government for most of Canada's 141 years. But the left-of-center vote was divided among four parties, giving an edge to the Conservative Party.

The party winning the most seats generally forms the government, with its leader becoming prime minister. The opposition parties could unite and topple Harper if they won enough seats for a majority, but analysts said that was unlikely because the parties have no tradition of forming such coalitions. . . .

Liberal leader Stephane Dion's campaign was hindered by his unpopular plan to tax all fossil fuels except gasoline and by perceptions he is a weak leader. A former professor from French-speaking Quebec, Dion also suffered in other regions because he frequently mangles English grammar and his accent makes him hard to understand. . . .

"Americans are running deficits. We're running surpluses. Americans are incurring debt. We're paying down debt," Harper said. "We have the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years ... We have a better economic situation than the United States because, for two and a half years, we have made better choices." . . .

Recent polls indicated Harper had shored up support in the past week as he argued he was the best candidate to manage the economy and that Dion's proposed carbon tax would hurt the economy.

Opponents sought to paint Harper as a right-winger who would seek to reshape Canada like a U.S.-style Republican and sought to tie him to the unpopular President Bush. . . .

Harper supported the U.S.-led war in Iraq when he was in the opposition in 2003. Dion was part of the Liberal government that opposed the war. . . .

Many expect Dion to be removed as party leader if he loses the election.

If Dion was ousted as leader after a loss, he would be just the second Liberal leader to fail to become Canada's prime minister. The only other was Edward Blake, who led the party to defeat in the 1882 and 1887 elections.

I trust Canada knows what it's doing. (Sounds like they need a new Liberal leader.) See here ("Harper, Bush Share Roots in Controversial Philosophy--Close advisers schooled in 'the noble lie' and 'regime change.'")

Obama radio ad mentions Ayers by name

I don't know about Wisconsin (see link), but I heard it on my way to work this morning. It aired during the Stephanie Miller Show. Listen here.

Cats on drugs

God must have loved cats. He gave them their very own recreational drug: catnip. And it's all natural, of course. I used to pick it fresh in our garden in Montana. My lover's cat, Oscar, could eat a whole, large plant in one sitting, stems and all.

Of course, tonight I served it dried, on recycled paper plates.

The blurb on my "Smarty Kat" 100% certified organic catnip ("Safe, pure and potent") reads:

Satisfies your cat's need for... Stimulation

For most cats, catnip provides fun, focused energy and enthusiasm that mellows into purr pleasure. An aromatic oil in the leaves and blossoms of the catnip plant safely stimulates play and pleasure in cats. . . .

Right now they're zonked out on their favorite sleeping furniture.

[Colored emphasis in the original quote.]

Monday, October 13, 2008

'Nobel Memo to America: Turn Away from the Far Right'

Complete Firedoglake post here (I've added some punctuation below).
-------------------------------------------------

Giving the Nobel Memorial prize to Paul Krugman was not just recognition of his theory of economic geography, but a strong message. This would not be the first time, nor will it be the last time, that those awarding the prize have sent a message.

One part of this message is on trade and globalization, and why developed nations should not fear global trade; another, however, is more direct and more blunt: it is about a changed world. In a year which has seen more tumult in not only the markets, but the basic institutions that support them, it is a message that the United States can no longer maintain an exceptionalist policy.

It is a message that the era of Reagan is over, writ in large letters. A message that Europe sees the Republican Party as having turned dangerously towards politics and policies that are coming close to spiraling into the abyss.

There is a great deal of fear in Europe about the possibility of a resurgent far right in Europe and globally. Many in Europe look at the recent elections in Austria with the creeping fear that comes from memory. For Americans, the 1930's were "The Great Depression." For Europe, it was the rise of Nazi Germany. Some people regard the satire of Jesus' General in comparing the GOP to Naziism as over the top. But really it is the Republican Party which has gone beyond reason. Krugman has seen this side of America's far right as well. . . .

'A Very Political Nobel Prize'

From Turkana at The Left Coaster, here.

As is the case with most Nobel Prizes, Paul Krugman's was not awarded because of his recent work or writings. In that sense, this was not about politics. His prize-winning research took place decades ago. Nobel committees generally wait that long, to ensure that an historic breakthrough has been validated, and has had great impact. That's why there are usually dozens of candidates for each prize, each year.

Krugman, today, acknowledged that he had thought this day eventually might come, but he also admitted that he didn't think it would be this particular day. And that's the proof that this day was, actually, very much about politics. Because Krugman is relatively young, for a Nobel winner, the committee very easily could have waited another year or ten to honor him. He would have remained a perpetual candidate. But the committee clearly is aware of Krugman's political writings. They clearly knew that this award would lend to his political writings the ultimate form of popular validation and prestige.

With a critical election looming, and an economic crisis roiling the markets and frightening the public, the Nobel committee wants people paying attention to Paul Krugman. His political critics will continue to snipe at him. But how many of them are Nobel Prize-winning intellectuals?

Paul Krugman wins Nobel Prize

Maybe Obama will listen to him now. Full N.Y. Times story here.

Paul Krugman, a professor at Princeton University and an Op-Ed page columnist for The New York Times, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday.

The prize committee cited Mr. Krugman for “having shown the effects of economies of scale on trade patterns and on the location of economic activity.”

Mr. Krugman, 55, is probably more widely known for his Op-Ed columns in which he has been a perpetual thorn in George Bush’s (and now John McCain’s) side. His columns have won him both strong supporters and ardent critics.

The Nobel, however, was awarded for the academic — and less political — research that he conducted primarily before he began writing regularly for The Times. . . .

From Krugman's Op-Ed column at the link:

Mr. Gruber finds that a [health care] plan without mandates, broadly resembling the Obama plan, would cover 23 million of those currently uninsured, at a taxpayer cost of $102 billion per year. An otherwise identical plan with mandates would cover 45 million of the uninsured — essentially everyone — at a taxpayer cost of $124 billion. Over all, the Obama-type plan would cost $4,400 per newly insured person, the Clinton-type plan only $2,700.

That doesn’t look like a trivial difference to me. One plan achieves more or less universal coverage; the other, although it costs more than 80 percent as much, covers only about half of those currently uninsured. . . .

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday night

New kitchen blog post here.

Today was a lot more productive than yesterday. I was back at Home Depot, buying counter support brackets, which I later primed. (I'll paint them tomorrow, in advance of the counter installation.) I was also back at the gym and the grocery store, buying paper plates and cat food. Since I can't really wash dishes (no kitchen sink and no dishwasher yet), I've been using a lot of paper plates. (I've always used them for the canned cat food.) Actually I do have a dishwasher, but it's been disconnected since July 2, the day the old kitchen cabinets and counters were demolished.

(Except for the cat plates, I do try to recycle the paper plates by cleaning them off and letting them dry in the dish drainer (which is still sitting on a card table in this room).)

Watched "Desperate Housewives" tonight. How lame the shows have been this season (tonight was the third one). What happened to the old writers? Where did they go? I feel sorry for the wonderful actors when they have to work with such bad material. And it's hardly funny anymore.

Did not go to Magnum. Will go back there soon.

'The Oracle: The many lives of Arianna Huffington'

New Yorker article here.

[H]er political evolution has, she claims, hinged on a simple revelation: that the private sector was not sufficient to solve society’s ills.

I think she's great, but I have a real problem with her accent. I think she could afford to get a coach to get rid of at least some of it. Sometimes I find her almost incomprehensible, which is a shame, since I'm sure she's saying something intelligent, only not intelligible--I feel like I'm missing out.

Saturday night late

Today was a total waste, but maybe that's what I needed. I slept most of the day and then had a big dinner at Flanigan's, which appeared to be pretty gay tonight.

In yesterday's mail was B.'s mail-in ballot for the November election. Tonight I walked it up to his restaurant, but he'd already gone. I left the ballot with a waitress, who said B. would be working tomorrow and that she'd make sure he got it. Apparently B. hasn't notified the county elections department of his change of address (he left here at the beginning of February). I threw out the last ballot that came here. It was for a minor election. But I wanted to make sure B. votes for Obama.

Tomorrow won't be a waste. I have to go to Home Depot to get some brackets for the bar counter top (coming soon!). (I hope the kitchen designer will be there, since I have no idea what I'm getting.) Plus it's a gym day. Maybe I'll go early and then head down to Magnum for a cocktail or three.

'Palin's Alaska vendetta adds to McCain's woe'

"When John McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate, his supporters declared the move a masterstroke. But Republican poll ratings have been falling day by day - and now the 'Troopergate' scandal has turned the Hockey Mom from Alaska into a liability for a campaign that has lost its way. Paul Harris reports" from The Observer (UK). So sad!

Palin electrified voters, taking McCain ahead of Barack Obama in the polls and bringing in legions of undecided women. The Obama campaign floundered as it tried to come to terms with a phenomenon so novel that the old game-plans had to be torn up. In teaming up with a political ingenue with grassroots appeal, McCain had taken a terrific risk. And it appeared to have paid off.

Then came Katie Couric. The network TV anchor did not so much grill Palin as give the Alaska governor enough rope to hang herself. Palin floundered against even the most harmless questions, such as what newspapers she read, and became the butt of jokes on Saturday Night Live. Satirists competed to offer the best impression of her bumbling incoherence. But then Palin surprised everyone again with a strong performance in her debate against Senator Joe Biden, resurrecting her supporters' belief that she could change the campaign.

That hope has probably died with the Troopergate report. The enormous microscope of a presidential campaign has magnified an obscure staffing dispute in Alaska - over whether Palin pursued a family vendetta against state trooper Mike Wooten - into a major political story. With the release of a damaging report this weekend that concluded Palin did abuse the powers of her office, her political trajectory has once again changed course. Gone are the dreams of Palin bringing in the desperately needed independent voters, former Hillary Clinton supporters and soft Democrats the McCain campaign need so much. Instead she has now been firmly assigned to the traditional role of the vice-presidential candidate: attack dog.

It is a role she does well and it plays to the Republican base. There is still no doubting that Palin can powerfully move a Republican crowd. Her angry attacks on Obama stir supporters far more effectively than does McCain's more measured style. But she is now largely reduced to stumping in the rural Republican heartlands of America. She is a powerful tool in working up the party base, ensuring that they turn out on election day, but her crossover appeal has gone. Indeed, even Republican critics of Palin have been stamped on for questioning her. Several high-profile conservative writers - such as David Brooks in the New York Times and Kathleen Parker in the National Review - have poured scorn on her. Brooks even called her 'a fatal cancer on the Republican party'.

But the response among the base was instant and brutal. Parker received no fewer than 12,000 outraged emails, including some wishing she had been aborted, after writing that Palin should step down. There seems little doubt that Palin is still the darling of a huge section of red state America. But what works for the Republican base no longer works for the country as a whole. . . .

Troopergate has come as a body-blow to a campaign that was already on a losing streak. All last week, as the polls showed Obama pulling away, the atmosphere at McCain rallies had become angrier and angrier. . . .

Mention of Obama's name prompts cries of 'traitor', 'treason' and 'kill him'. Members of the press, universally suspected of Democratic sympathies, are targeted and insulted. At one rally in the South a black network TV cameraman was racially abused by a McCain supporter and told: 'Sit down, boy.'

Inside the Obama camp, and increasingly among Republican insiders, there is a growing feeling: this is what losing campaigns look like. . . . After months of holding on against what seemed impossible odds, McCain's chances of keeping the White House in Republican hands are sinking fast.

The wheels are coming off his campaign as the key states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania all swing firmly towards Obama. . . .

But it is possible that the attacks using Ayers are but the prelude to a more ominous main event. Despite urging from some quarters within his campaign, McCain has not yet himself raised the issue of Obama's former pastor, the Rev Jeremiah Wright. McCain is believed to have termed the issue off-limits so far, even though news of Wright's incendiary sermons, condemning America as a racist society and blaming Aids on government, almost derailed Obama's candidacy when they first emerged.

But, as the November election gets closer and closer, and if the polls do not shift, McCain may be tempted to let the Wright issue loose. He is already facing pressure from Palin to do just that. In an interview with conservative columnist Bill Kristol, Palin urged her running mate to bring the Wright issue out of the box. 'I don't know why that association isn't discussed more ... but, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up,' she said.

That interview of course, took place before the Branchflower report. Now Palin may find that the attack dogs are chasing her.

The column doesn't even mention the Palins' association with the treasonous Alaskan Independence Party.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Eye candy

More craziness

TGIF!

Getting tired from all that posting, plus it's late and I was at the gym tonight, after a long, boring day at work, following an iffy night's sleep. (Bootsy bit my arm in the middle of the night--long story. We've since made up.) I did take a short nap after work, however, interrupted by Lucky's grooming himself while leaning on my back.

Lately I've had a having a craving for boiled eggs, of all things. While I do know how to boil eggs, my kitchen is still basically non-functional except as a storage area (fancier now, though, since the cabinets were installed last Thursday.) Tonight after the gym, I stopped at the nearby Publix and found both hard-boiled eggs and deviled eggs, in the deli area. I was also craving roast beef, so I grabbed a package of that, too (lean bottom round). Later I had a nice, satisfying snack, savoring the roast beef with some horseradish mustard.

The deviled eggs are gone--they were excellent. (I was pleasantly surprised.) The boiled eggs and roast beef were perfectly good. I'd never bought roast beef at a deli before this kitchen project kicked in, since it's something I've always prepared myself on a regular basis. I can do it a lot cheaper, and it tastes the same if not better. Also, I'd never bought deviled eggs, or boiled eggs, shelled, in a bag (a half dozen). (I once bought a boiled egg at a convenience store and it was nasty.)

Maybe this will be a "normal" weekend, with no water leaks and no repair people coming round. I expect to be able to sleep in tomorrow (past noon!). I tend to be a night owl on the weekends, but normally I stay up pretty late anyway.

I wish I'd bought a tankless water heater, but it's too late now. Maybe in a few years I'll get one. It'll save me some space, and they're supposed to be more economical. But as it is, I only turn on the water heater when I plan on using hot water. I've been doing this for years.

Last month my electric bill was pretty high, so I've been trying to make economies. Lately I've been turning the A/C up to 80 F. before leaving for work in the morning, but I'm afraid the cats aren't comfortable at that temperature. They were looking droopy and acting stressed when I got home. This morning (10/10) I turned the A/C to 77-78, and the cats appeared to be more chipper when I got home.

Joan Walsh: John McCain’s dishonorable campaign

From her Salon column here (includes videos).

It kept getting worse all week. Again on Friday a McCain-Palin supporter called Barack Obama a “traitor,” and John McCain said nothing. He used to challenge racist hecklers on the trail; he used to say he wanted to run an honorable campaign. But lately he and pit bull Sarah Palin are attacking Obama personally and politically in every city, from every platform. And they seem to be savoring the disgusting hate they’re fomenting — Obama being called “terrorist,” “traitor,” “socialist.” Haters screaming “Kill him.”

Finally McCain kinda sorta stood up to a supporter in Minnesota who denounced Obama as an “Arab.” McCain replied, “No, ma’am, he’s a decent, family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with.” At another point, he said, ”I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States,” to boos and groans from the crowd. . . .

It’s no accident McCain stood up after several honorable Republicans and former McCain supporters began to speak out about his campaign’s hate-mongering. On Friday Michigan’s former GOP governor William Milliken started backing away from the guy he endorsed.

“He is not the McCain I endorsed,” Milliken told a local paper. “He keeps saying, ‘Who is Barack Obama?’ I would ask the question, ‘Who is John McCain?’ because his campaign has become rather disappointing to me.

“I’m disappointed in the tenor and the personal attacks on the part of the McCain campaign, when he ought to be talking about the issues.”

Frank A. Schaeffer, a McCain friend and former supporter (McCain blurbed his book on military service), has denounced the McCain campaign in a Baltimore Sun Op-Ed he cross-posted on Open Salon.

“Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs,” Schaeffer warned. Strong words, but he’s right. Even former McCain staffers like Mike Murphy and John Weaver are criticizing the tenor of the campaign. As David Gergen said on CNN Thursday night: “There is this free floating sort of whipping around anger that could really lead to some violence. I think we’re not far from that.” . . .

'McCain booed when he asks his supporters to "respect" Obama'

From Think Progress here.

During a campaign rally this evening in Lakeville, MN, an audience member asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for a “real fight” with Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) at next week’s presidential debate. When McCain responded, “We want a fight, but we will be respectful,” the crowd broke out into loud boos. Ana Marie Cox reports, “McCain, visibly angry, stopped them: ‘I want EVERYONE to be respectful, and let’s make sure we are.’” The crowd then applauded. Watch it:

Earlier today, McCain’s spokesperson appeared to defend the recent spate of violent remarks made by McCain supporters at campaign events.

"Off With His Head!"

From Kevin Drum, at Mother Jones, here.

"OFF WITH HIS HEAD!"....Steve Benen describes the ugliness of the Republican Party's recent rallies and campaign events:

The McCain campaign has deliberately been whipping the angry, far-right Republican base into a frenzy. That includes increasing frequency of "Hussein" references, but it also includes looking the other way while campaign supporters exclaim "treason!," "terrorist!," and "kill him!" during official rallies.

On Wednesday, during a McCain harangue against Obama, one man could be heard yelling, "Off with his head!" On Thursday, Republicans erupted when an unhinged McCain supporter ranted about "socialists taking over our country." Instead of calming them down, McCain said the lunatic was "right."....Slate's John Dickerson described the participants' "bloodthirsty" tone.

The danger here is not mobs of violent Republicans marching through the streets. The danger is that John McCain is setting us up for a repeat of the 90s, an era that conservatives to this day have never been willing to come to grips with. If the looney-bin right decides to treat President Obama as not just an opposition leader, but as a virtual enemy of the state, as they did with Bill Clinton, it's going to be a very, very long eight years. Whatever grownups are left in conservative-land really need to step up to the plate soon before their movement goes even further off the rails than it already is.

'After New NIE, Bush Officials Now "Privately" Admitting Afghanistan Is The Central Front In War On Terror'

From Think Progress post here.

For years, the Bush administration has incessantly claimed that Iraq is the “central front” in the war on terror. “Iraq is the central front of al Qaeda’s global campaign,” the White House claims. But a draft of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released this week concludes that Afghanistan is in a “downward spiral.”

After the new NIE draft, however, Bush administration officials are revising their stance. CBS’s Katie Couric reported yesterday that administration officials are now “privately” saying that Afghanistan is the primary national security threat to the U.S.:

A draft of the latest National Intelligence Estimate says conditions are worst now since the 2001 U.S. invasion. Bush administration officials said privately today that Afghanistan is now the single most pressing security threat in the war on terror.

* * *

McCain/Palin whip up hate frenzy

Seen at Matthew Yglesias

Troopergate report: Palin abused power

Story from Anchorage Daily News here.

Biden on the economy in Springfield, MO

Seen at Taylor Marsh

Biden: McCain couldn't look Obama in the eye

William F. Buckley's son comes out for Obama

"Sorry, Dad, I'm Voting for Obama", by Christopher Buckley

Cleveland Street scandal erupts at male brothel

Today's (10/10) "featured article" on Wikipedia.

The Cleveland Street scandal occurred in 1889, when a homosexual male brothel in Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, London, was uncovered by police. At the time, sexual acts between men were illegal in Britain, and the brothel's clients faced possible prosecution and certain social ostracism if discovered. It was rumoured that one of the brothel's clients was Prince Albert Victor, who was the eldest son of the Prince of Wales and second-in-line to the British throne. Officials were involved in a cover-up to keep the names of the Prince and others out of the scandal.

One of the clients, Lord Arthur Somerset, was an equerry to the Prince of Wales. He and the brothel keeper, Charles Hammond, managed to flee abroad before a prosecution could be brought. The rent boys, who also worked as messenger boys for the Post Office, were given light sentences and none of the clients was prosecuted. After Henry FitzRoy, Earl of Euston, was named in the press as a client, he successfully sued for libel. The British press never named Prince Albert Victor, and there is no evidence he ever visited the brothel, but his inclusion in the rumours has coloured biographers' perceptions of him since.

The scandal fueled the attitude that male homosexuality was an aristocratic vice that corrupted lower-class youths. A few years later, such perceptions were still prevalent when the Marquess of Queensberry accused Oscar Wilde of being an active homosexual. . . .