Let’s Play Palin VP Bingo!

With the eagerly anticipated Vice Presidential debate between Alaska Govenor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden, I thought now would be a good time for Sarah Palin Bingo. Although Sarah came on like gangbusters, lately her star has been falling. From the get-go she has lied about her record on the “bridge to nowhere”, Alaska’s energy contribution to the United States, her position on climate change and a whole host of other subjects. And although she’s conducted only a handful of interviews, her answers have made conservatives increasingly cringe.

Given all this and the fact that a growing number of right-wing strategists have said she should resign from McCain’s campaign, I thought it would be fun to keep track of the items sure to pop up during the debate on October 2nd. You can download and print out the PDF version of Palin VP Bingo so you can play along at home, or just check the Palin Bingo Page following the debate to see how we did.

NOTE: If for some strange reason the VP debate gets cancelled, it’s an instant Bingo. Now go download and have fun!

UPDATE: Well the debate is now one for the history books (thank goodness). I’m sorry to say we didn’t manage to call a Bingo! but it was fun none-the-less. If every space on the board had been filled with “maverick” then we all would have easily won. Sarah seemed to mention it ALOT in the last half of the event, especially in the closing minutes. And while she held her ground and didn’t provide the train wreck that I think so many on the left were hoping for, I think it’s pretty clear she doesn’t have the stuff to be one heart beat away from the Presidency. She didn’t answer questions, kept falling back on talking points, repeatedly mispronounced names and relied too heavily on “folksy” sayings.

Biden for his part seemed off-stride for the first half, but picked up steam in the end. He didn’t put his foot in his mouth as I expected he would (which was great) and gave more solid answers to a number of questions than Palin did. In the end, I don’t think this debate changed much, and after the right’s relief that Sarah didn’t screw up wears off, I think people will realize how little she actually said.

Dumb & Dumber

What a week it’s been. Threats of America turning back to the economic equivalent of the stone age. A main course of showboating with a side of grandstanding from McCain and an interview so embarrassing from Palin that even conservative columnists are afraid to turn their TV’s sound on. All this, and it’s only Friday. First, this lovely bit from the New York Times about McCain’s last minute stunt to push election momentum in his favor:

“Instead he [McCain] found himself in the midst of a remarkable partisan showdown, lacking a clear public message for how to bring it to an end.

At the bipartisan White House meeting that Mr. McCain had called for a day earlier, he sat silently for more than 40 minutes, more observer than leader, and then offered only a vague sense of where he stood, said people in the meeting.

Still, by nightfall, the day provided the younger and less experienced Mr. Obama an opportunity to, in effect, shift roles with Mr. McCain. For a moment, at least, it was Mr. Obama presenting himself as the old hand at consensus building, and as the real face of bipartisan politics.”

Let’s be clear about this. McCain didn’t “suspend” his so-called campaign so that he could “get things done”. He grandstanded and used the crisis this week to inject himself directly into a situation for the sole purpose of taking wind out of Obama’s sails. His last minute break-up of the about-to-be-signed bill is proof of that. He says he puts country first, but his actions at the White House yesterday prove this to be a lie of the highest order. He’s quite literally risking all our livelihoods on a grab for power and it disgusts me.

Then there is his sad excuse for a running mate, Sarah Palin. First she didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine was, then she sat down for a glass of warm milk and cookies interview with Sean Hannity, and now she makes a fool of herself with Katie Couric. Republican columnist Kathleen Parker tells the truth that dare not speak its name:

“Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

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.”

Ouch. Something tells me things are going to get a hell of a lot worse for McCain / Palin before they get better.

Twitter Takes McCain to the Woodshed

Not long after John McCain announced that he was “suspending” his campaign so he could give Palin more time to get her shit together devote his full attention to the financial bailout crisis, the Twitterverse started having their say on the matter. About the same time McCain told Obama and David Letterman he was “racing” back to Washington, users all around the globe were calling him out left and right. I’ve gathered some of the more memorable tweets from today’s musings. Enjoy.

“I wonder if John McCain’s publicity is done by the same firm that handles Microsoft.” – danielpunkass

“Suspending X until the end of the Y crisis” is the new “In what respect, Charlie?” – toldorknown

“Maybe Obama should just take over tomorrow.” – Coudal

“Multi-tasking is a horrible ability for a president to have. Horrible.Things just happen one at a time in the White House. Nice & slow like.” – phillygirl

“I thought McCain already suspended his campaign. You know, back when he handed it over to Sarah Palin and Karl Rove?” – mat

“JOHN MCCAIN CAN’T DO TWO THINGS AT THE SAME TIME BECAUSE OF THE FUCKING VC, YOU INSENSITIVE ASSHOLES.” – Moltz

“McCain’t” – SeoulBrother

“This is surreal. McCain is not only off his rocker, he’s on the floor pressing the MedicAlert button.” – lefauxfrog

“I can understand why McCain wants to postpone – it’s not like his staff can prepare for a debate *and* lobby for this bailout all at once.” – jimray

“Did I call a time out after my stupid son blew up the Death Star? Hell no! I took the boys to Hoth and laid the smack down. Feh.” – DarthVader

Seeing Red

I love North Carolina, but sometimes living here can be frustrating. Today, on my three mile round trip to grab lunch at Wendy’s, I saw no less than 6 yard signs for McCain / Palin and not one for Barack Obama. This isn’t surprising considering I live in what my wife and I affectionately call, “the boonies”. McCain / Palin and even Bush support runs as high here as ever, which is remarkable considering around 80% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. To make matters worse, the homes that displayed these signs were, shall we say, not well off. One appeared to be a single bedroom home no larger than 1,000 square feet, and another was straight out of The Grapes of Wrath.

Logically, these McCain supporters would benefit more from an Obama presidency than from a McCain administration. Obama’s tax cuts on middle class Americans would seem to be right down rural North Carolina’s alley. Obama wants to stop shipping jobs overseas and give consideration to small businesses that strengthen our local economies, not weaken them. But it seems that folks around these parts vote more on their so-called “values” instead of the issues and policies that should concern them most. Strange when you consider that lately, even John McCain’s values have been anything but honorable. I’ve been driving around town with my Obama ’08 bumper magnet for weeks, but it may be time to finally upgrade to an Obama yard sign. I can’t let my neighbors have all the fun.

UPDATE: Maybe I just need to move to Charlotte. Check out the huge crowd that came to see Obama speak today. Somehow I just don’t see McCain / Palin drawing that kind of crowd, even in crimson North Carolina.

GED Index

Where There’s A Will, There’s a Way

I was watching Fox Sunday when Chris Wallace brought up Obama’s “McCain doesn’t know how to use a computer” campaign spot to strategist Karl Rove. Rove, who regularly advises the McCain camp, took the position that the critique was offensive and “over the line”. The argument goes that McCain is incapable of using a computer due to his injuries suffered as a prisoner of war – he can’t raise his hands above his chest and his fingers lack the dexterity to type on a standard keyboard. Rove felt Obama owed McCain an apology for such an out of bounds attack.

I’ve got news for Mr. Rove. There are millions of people in this country who do not have the use of their arms, hands or even their body and who use a computer every single day. One such man is Professor Stephen Hawking. Hawking is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, England. Hawking suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease and does not have use of the majority of his neural functions. He communicates via a computer system attached to his wheelchair which is operated via an infra-red ‘blink switch’ clipped onto Hawking’s glasses. By scrunching his right cheek up, he is able to talk, compose speeches and research papers, browse the World Wide Web, and write e-mails.

So when Karl Rove and says John McCain “can’t” use a computer because of his war injuries, what he really mean is that John McCain “won’t” use a computer. There are plenty of ways to do so besides standard input devices, as is evidenced by Professor Hawking. No, this isn’t about physical limitations, this is about mind set. John McCain doesn’t see the need to surf the web, organize thoughts and send emails. He has staff that does all that for him. He lacks the will to do these basic tasks for himself. Why does this matter? For me it makes all the difference.

All during George Bush’s Presidency we kept hearing about how American’s wanted a President they can relate to, a man they could “sit down and have a beer with”. I don’t drink, but I sure as hell use a computer, and so do millions of Americans every single day. I want a President who is curious enough about the world to use the World Wide Web on his own. I want a President who has an intricate understanding of technology, where it’s heading and what challenges we are likely to face. I want a President that computer users can finally relate to.

How can I expect John McCain to really understand the threat of anti-Net Neutrality legislation when he doesn’t deal with his own Internet providers? How can McCain fathom the threat of anti-spam laws getting struck down if he doesn’t send and receive his own email? Now more than ever, we need a President that is in tune with the world we live in, not one that makes excuses about why he can’t click a mouse.

Geeky Pastimes

Sometimes you have to take a break from the big stuff and just enjoy the little things in life. For me, one of the things that gives me pleasure is spotting flubs in television and movies. Called continuity errors, they are gaffes made by the filmmakers that are antithetical to the story or the staging. Today I spotted one such error in one of my all-time favorite episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Take Me Out To the Holosuite.

In the episode, the crew of Deep Space Nine is challenged to an old-fashion baseball game by a group of smug Vulcans. Captain Sisko spends two weeks getting his fellow crew members up-to-snuff on the Great American Pastime. At one point we see Colonel Kira coming off the field and her jersey reads “Kira”. But a little later in the episode, her jersey magically changes to read “Nerys” (her birth name) and remains this way for the rest of the episode.

Like any die-hard Trekkie (yes, I’m a Trekkie, not a Trekker) I’m more interested in why this costuming error occurred in the first place. All the other Niners with surnames and birth names have their surname embroidered on their DS9 baseball jersey. Captain Sisko’s is “B. Sisko” as opposed to “J.Sisko” which we see on Jake’s back. Doctor Bashir’s is simply “Bashir” as you would expect. But in the Star Trek universe, Bajorans traditionally list their family name first, then their birth name (like Asian cultures). So although Kira’s character is called “Kira Nerys“, Nerys is really her first name and Kira is her family name.

Given this, which jersey in the episode is the wrong one? It seems to me that the character should indeed be wearing the “Kira” jersey, and not “Nerys” that she wears for the majority of the game. Then again, they are in an informal setting and so she might have opted to use Nerys among friends. Memory Beta, one of the numerous Trek Wikis simply says “In a costuming error, Kira’s uniform says “Kira” early in the game, and “Nerys” later.” but it doesn’t explain which is which.

Strangely enough, this is the kind of question that geeks like myself can spend all day debating, so if you’re a Star Trek fan, I’d love to know which name you think should be on Kira’s uniform. And if you happen to think this entire post was a waste of time, I know some friendly folks that are dying to meet you.

Heckuva Job, Sarah

Blogger Andrew Sullivan has been on a roll lately with his insightful coverage of the Sarah Palin / John McCain journey into dishonor and distortion. In a recent post he highlights bits from a recent NYT article that states Palin’s tendency to hire long-time friends instead of qualified individuals for important positions. Sound like a certain President from Texas you know? From the NYT:

“So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, [Palin] appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as one of her qualifications for running the roughly $2 million agency. Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages.”

I cannot overstate this position: We simply cannot afford 4 more years of Bush style government that Palin and McCain represent. Sullivan’s summary of the situation sums it up perfectly: “Does that not seem eerily reminiscent of George W. Bush’s appointment of Michael Brown to FEMA? Cronyism, debt, lies, religious fanaticism, and utter ignorance about foreign policy. You want another four years of Bush? McCain-Palin is the ticket.”

Support Barack Obama for President.

Sarah Palin: Not Ready for Prime Time

John McCain’s so-called running mate shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office. It’s now painfully clear she doesn’t have the first clue about the United States’ role on the world stage. Not only that, but she doesn’t even have a firm grasp on her own party’s foreign policies or how they’ve be applied around the globe. Witness her utter unfamiliarity with the “Bush Doctrine”:



And forgive me if I, and the rest of the free world think that going to war with Russia over Georgia or another one of its former states is the worst idea in the history of the Republic. To saber rattle in this fashion is not only arrogant presumption, but plain dangerous. Especially since she and McCain haven’t even been elected, as least not yet. McCain and Palin represent a bleak future for this country. I pray to God the rest of the country realizes this in the weeks ahead.

Oh, and by the way, the revelation that Bush went into Pakistan this week without the country’s permission to root out Al Qaeda was exactly the same policy that Obama put forth last year. You know, back when such action was labeled by right-wingers as dangerous and naive. Obama had it right all along.

UPDATE: Any conservative who tries to tell you “there is no Bush Doctrine” is pushing bullshit. The Bush Doctrine was clearly outlined after September 11th, 2001 and has been referenced over and over in the main stream media and even by the GOP itself. John McCain himself knows what the Bush Doctrine is as is evident in this second video. Any attempt to defend Sarah Palin’s ignorance of the subject, and of the larger context of her lack of foreign policy is a farce. She has no excuse:

Yaz and I

They say kids can be cruel and that’s never more true than when you have an unusual name. Growing up, I knew my parents had named me after my grandfather, Gedeon Oliver Maheux. That being said, it was a little tough for me to appreciate my family heritage when neighborhood kids would call me all manor of strange and hurtful names. At some point in our lives we all get called mean things and if we’re lucky, it ends up building character instead of warping our “fragile little minds”.

But by the time I was seven, I disliked my name so much that when my mom and dad sent me off to 2 weeks of Catholic summer camp, I insisted they register me with my middle name of Paul instead of Gedeon. I had the brilliant idea that I would hide behind my dad’s name to avoid the inevitable onslaught of ridicule that would come with a cabin full of strange, new kids. All our clothes had to have name tags sewn on them for laundry identification, so for two weeks both my clothes and I were known as “Paul Maheux”. The clever charade worked great except that camp councilors thought I was going deaf since they’d call out “Paul!” and I wouldn’t even so much as turn my head in response.

Then when I was eleven years old, my father took me to my first big league baseball game. Living in New Hampshire, naturally it was the Boston Red Sox I saw that fateful day in 1980. Like most children, I can easily remember the first time I emerged from the concession tunnel to see the Green Monster. Although I had played baseball a bit at school, this was the first time I can honestly say I became interested in it. I sat with my father and watched the game unfold in unassuming fashion until a strange man took the field and the place went positively nuts.

Not being familiar with the players or the history of the Red Sox, I couldn’t understand why this scrawny guy was being greeted with such thunderous applause. Who was this man? What had he done to deserve this? Then the PA system blasted his name and quite literally changed my life. The announcer simply said one word as the scoreboard brightly flashed it over and over – “Yaz!”. Every fan in Fenway knew him to be Carl Yastrzemski, the legendary hitter and outfielder that fans lovingly referred to as Yaz. By the time I saw him that night, his profesional career was winding down, but I didn’t know that. All I knew was this man was loved and respected by thousands of people and to top it off he had a strange name, just like me.

After that fateful game, you couldn’t call me Paul if you wanted to. I was proud to be called Gedeon, but my smile grew if you called me simply Ged. I realized that it wasn’t a bad thing to have a unique name, in fact, just the opposite. Try a Google search for “Paul” and then one for “Gedeon” and you’ll know exactly what I mean. As I grew older I wore my name with pride and thanked my parents for setting me apart from the crowd. Today, I wouldn’t have it any other way and I have my family and a player named Yaz to thank for it.