Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Can't Get Enough Palin: All the News

via TPM

YouTube - Palin: I Read All the News

stunt patrol

flash forward: 2008.11.11 Obama Didn't Budge.



David Letterman Monday continued to demonstrate to John McCain that lying to the late night host is never a good idea.

In his monologue, Letterman used a joke about the bailout to hit McCain for canceling last week, saying, "Senator John McCain is in favor of the bailout. He loves bailouts — he bailed out on me."

Later, in an interview with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Letterman continued going after McCain, mentioning that not only did McCain not get on a plane to Washington when he told Letterman he was, but he also stayed the night in New York to speak to the UN the following morning.

"The information I was dealing with apparently was not true," Letterman said.

"Well I don't care for that at all," Louis-Dreyfus said. "I think that that was very rude, very bad manners, and so in an effort to show my support for you and to set the universe straight, I also scheduled an interview for exactly this time right now — and I'm not showing up for it."

Louis-Dreyfus explained that the interview she was skipping was one with Katie Couric on the "CBS Evening News" — the same show McCain ditched Letterman to appear on — which allowed Letterman to show the internal CBS news feed with Couric alone at her desk, a move that surely won't make him any more friends at the network.



Flash Forward November 22, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

DOJ Report On U.S. Attorney Firings To Be Issued Monday


By Zachary Roth - September 26, 2008, 4:07PM

The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General will on Monday morning release on its website its report into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, according to David Iglesias, one of the former U.S. attorneys whose firing is at issue.

Iglesias told TPMmuckraker that he had been notified about the report's imminent release by Mark Masling, one of the investigators on the case. Iglesias said Masling told him that the report, which has been in the works since March 2007, is "very long" but wouldn't offer further details.

The probe, which centers on the firing of Iglesias and seven other U.S. attorneys, expanded to address allegations that a DOJ official, Monica Goodling, illegally took party affiliation into account in the hiring and firing federal prosecutors.

In July, Iglesias made some predictions about the reports conclusions, telling Harper's:

I expect them to conclude that there is sufficient evidence to show that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty committed perjury in their statements before Congressional committees and investigators.
. . .. ... .. . .

TPM timeline

Thursday, September 25, 2008

crash and burn

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

a reckless act by an impetuous and struggling politician

via TPM

"The Republican presidential nominee is hoping that his abrupt decision to suspend campaigning, seek a delay of Friday's debate with Democrat Barack Obama, and return to Washington to help prod negotiations over a financial rescue package will be seen as the kind of country-first, bipartisan leadership he believes Americans want.

What he risks, if things don't go as he hopes, is a judgment by voters that his move was a reckless act by an impetuous and struggling politician that hardened partisan lines in Washington at just the wrong moment and complicated efforts to deal with the biggest financial crisis in more than half a century."

In the wake of this afternoon's events it seems like

'a reckless act by an impetuous and struggling politician that hardened partisan lines in Washington at just the wrong moment and complicated efforts to deal with the biggest financial crisis in more than half a century,'

is an accurate description.

Talking Points Memo | TPMtv 9 24 2008

Talking Points Memo | TPMtv: The Dog Ate My Debate


Talking Points Memo | I Don't Know Much About Geography


the daily dish

A reader homes in on what we are learning about John McCain:

I'm poring back in memory, over all the touchstones of McCain's recent public life, and it's all starting to make sense: his "stands" on tobacco litigation, campaign finance, immigration, taxes, even (briefly) torture. All ultimately about a self-dramatist creating a drama at which he is the center.

All failed efforts, but one now sees that success or failure - or principle - was not at all the point, ever. Who cares about those things when you get to be at the center of a great drama?

So now, as with canceling the first night of his own convention (over a storm, incidentally, that inconvenienced no one), he is lurching from one dramatic centerpiece to the next, trying to upset the metrics of this election, trying to recapture that old magic. In a moment when calm is called for, he sets his hair afire.

I know these tendencies a little too well: I'm like McCain in some ways. But that's why I decided I wasn't cut out for electoral politics.

--Andrew Sullivan
. . .. ... ..... ........ oOo ........ ..... ... .. . .

Hero Complex

TPM Reader JB gets it ...

The current stunt is certainly at the top of the list, but I think there is another aspect of his rash decision to suspend the Republican National Convention that has not been commented on enough. It wasn't just that he truncated the convention. It was that his campaign leaked that he might give his acceptance speech by live feed from the disaster zone. As if he, John S. McCain III, somehow had to be there......doing what? Commandeering FEMA? This idea that McCain had to be there in the disaster zone instead of addressing his party in St. Paul is in some ways even more ridiculous than the notion that only he could save the Wall Street bailout and that the only way to do that is to "suspend" his campaign. (Although as you and John Aravosis point out, he has a funny way of suspending his campaign given that he's doing everything he was planning on doing anyway, except debating Obama.)

--Josh Marshall

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Official Google Blog: The democratization of data

Official Google Blog: The democratization of data

9/21/2008 03:57:00 PM
The Internet has had an enormous impact on people's lives around the world in the ten years since Google's founding. It has changed politics, entertainment, culture, business, health care, the environment and just about every other topic you can think of. Which got us to thinking, what's going to happen in the next ten years? How will this phenomenal technology evolve, how will we adapt, and (more importantly) how will it adapt to us? We asked ten of our top experts this very question, and during September (our 10th anniversary month) we are presenting their responses. As computer scientist Alan Kay has famously observed, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so we will be doing our best to make good on our experts' words every day. - Karen Wickre and Alan Eagle, series editors

Information technology has enabled the "democratization of data:" information that once was available to only a select few is now available to everyone. This is particularly true for small businesses.

Fifteen years ago, only the big retailers could afford intelligent cash registers that tracked inventory and produced detailed daily reports. Nowadays cash registers are just PCs with a different user interface, and the smallest mom and pop retailer can track sales and inventory on a daily basis.

A decade ago, only the big multinational corporations could afford systems to allow for international calling, videoconferencing, and document sharing. Now startups with a handful of people can use voice over IP, video, wikis and Google Docs to share information. These technological advances have led to the rise of "micro multinationals" which can leverage creativity and talent across the globe. Even tiny companies can now have a worldwide reach.

These changes will have a profound effect on the global economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, "small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all firms, they create more than half of the private nonfarm gross domestic product, and they create 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs." Information technology has already had a huge effect on the productivity of large businesses, but the benefits from "trickle down productivity" may be even more significant.

We think that Google can play a significant role in helping small businesses utilize the power of information technology. Our search technology provides answers to questions that only companies with large research libraries could answer decades ago. Our advertising programs allow small business to sell their wares to consumers around the world, as well as providing revenue opportunities for small publishers. Google Docs provides productivity tools for remote collaboration.

Google also provides data for business intelligence that only large companies were able to afford a few years ago. For example, Google Trends can help businesses track the popularity of specific queries, enabling them to identify new business opportunities. Website Optimizer allows businesses to test different versions of a website to see which one works best. Rather than waiting a month for a sales report, businesses can instantly learn of spikes in traffic to their website using Trends for Websites. All these services are available for free, allowing even the smallest businesses to make use of these tools.

Technology available to large firms has traditionally trickled down to smaller enterprises, making it relatively easy to forecast the sorts of capabilities will become available to small businesses in the future. We just have to ask: what can big companies do now that small companies can't currently afford?
  • Today, only the largest companies can afford to hire consultants and experts. In the future, even small companies will be able to purchase on-demand expertise and other services via the Internet.
  • Today, marketing intelligence are costly reports describing data many months or years old. In the future, small businesses will have access to real-time data on market conditions.
  • Today, only the largest companies can run expensive experiments with their advertising campaigns. In the future, even small business will be able to run carefully controlled marketing experiments that will enable them to better reach their potential customers.
  • Today, only large companies can sell products in many countries. Tomorrow, businesses of any size can use online services and outsourced logistics to buy and sell in every corner of the globe.
Google will be a part of this global economy, helping both large and small companies to grow their markets and manage their information. Exciting times are ahead!

Saturday Night Live - McCain Approves Open - Video - NBC.com

Saturday Night Live - McCain Approves Open - Video - NBC.com

(I couldn't get the sound to play in Firefox, but it worked fine in Chrome)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Youth for Goldwater for Obama

by kos

Wick Allison, current editor-in-chief of D (Dallas) Magazine:

In 1964, at the age of 16, I organized the Dallas County Youth for Goldwater. My senior thesis at the University of Texas was on the conservative intellectual revival in America. Twenty years later, I was invited by William F. Buckley Jr. to join the board of National Review. I later became its publisher [...]

[T]oday it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.

This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.

That is, in a nutshell, the conservative argument against Bush/McCain. Elegantly done so, but he's not the first to make this case. But Allison then does something I had yet to see -- make the conservative argument for Obama:

I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally. The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.

“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.

How can Allison claim Obama has a "deeply conservative view of the world"? Because of his definition of "conservatism":

Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results.

That's a romanticized definition, no doubt, but one I had embraced in my Republican years. My break with the Right came when 1) it was hijacked by cultural conservatives, attempting to impose their theocratic abstract theories and utopian schemes on society at large, and 2) when that "skepticism" over solutions to our problems manifested as outright hostility to change. In other words, I'm not afraid to try new solutions to our problems even if those solutions sometimes involve the government. Skepticism is healthy, and a demand for accountability is crucial, but being paralyzed in fear of change does nothing but impede progress.

Modern conservatives have long abandoned Allison's definition. As he states clearly, Republicans are now the party of "abstract theories and utopian schemes". Witness the failure of deregulation currently costing taxpayers tens of billions and financially destroying countless people, or the failure of utopian schemes to "defeat evil" around the world, costing us thousands dead and closing on a trillion taxpayer dollars. Yet Republicans shrug off the painful lessons and insist on staying the course. The results are irrelevant, their ideology trumps all.

Remember, conservatism can't fail, only people can fail conservatism.

But when you get past ideological blinders, it's clear that modern-day conservatism has utterly failed. If reality-based conservatives want to claim Obama's pragmatism and realism are "conservative", then all the power to them. We should embrace them with open arms.

CNN keeping 'em honest

via C&L

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Whose Elitism Problem Now?


E.J. Dionne, Jr.

In democracies, all political factions run against an elite. Since the New Deal, Democrats have cast themselves against the financial and business elite. Since the 1960s, Republicans have thrashed the cultural and intellectual elite.

Over the weekend, the moneyed class became a richer target. The foolishness of our financial geniuses now threatens to bring economic sorrow to Main Street. Franklin Roosevelt's 1936 attack on "the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties" never sounded so up to date.

Americans don't mind wealthy and even rapacious capitalists, as long as they deliver the goods to everyone else. But when the big boys drag everyone else down, Americans rise up in righteous anger. The New Deal political alignment endured for decades because the financial elites were so profoundly discredited by the Great Depression. The New Deal coalition dissolved only when prosperity began to seem durable and only after the GOP discovered the joys of baiting Hollywood, the media and the academy.

There is always something slightly phony about anti-elitist politics. Plenty of investment bankers are Democrats, and Republican politicians who claim to speak for devoutly religious cultural conservatives are usually far removed from the world (and the values) of those whose votes they court and whose resentments they stoke.

But the captains of John McCain's campaign figured they might wring one more election victory out of the culture war. They ridiculed Barack Obama as the celebrity candidate loved by Europeans -- the right always consigns Europe to the elitist camp -- and harped on his unfortunate comments, ripped out of context, about "bitter" voters who "cling to guns or religion."

For good measure, McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. A religious and proudly gun-toting mom, Palin has turned expertise itself into a badge of elitism, proclaiming pleasure in her lack of a "big, fat résumé" that "shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment."

But anti-Washington politics is itself rooted in the interests of the financial elite. When the private economy goes haywire, it is always the federal government that has to step in. When those whom Teddy Roosevelt called "malefactors of great wealth" get out of hand, Washington is the only town with the authority to hold their power in check.

Therefore, the party of the business elite has always pursued its interests behind slogans proclaiming a war on Washington and its "bureaucrats" -- and never mind that a little more regulation might have prevented the subprime-mortgage-buying, short-term-profit-maximizing Wall Streeters from wrecking the economy.

All of a sudden, the culture war seems entirely beside the point, an unaffordable luxury in a time of economic turmoil. What politicians actually believe about the economy, what fixes they propose, whether they side with the wealthy few or the hurting many -- these become the stuff of elections, the reasons behind people's votes.

And nothing more exposes the hypocrisy of financial elites riding the coattails of those who revere small-town religious values than a downturn that highlights the vast gulf in power between the two key components of the conservative coalition. Even cultural conservatives will start to notice that McCain's tax policies are geared toward the wealthy investing class and Obama's toward the paycheck crowd. Even the most ardent friends of business have begun to argue that a re-engagement with sensible regulation is essential to restoring capitalism's health.

For some time, McCain's strategists figured they could deflect attention from the big issues by turning Palin into a country-and-western celebrity and launching so many ill-founded attacks on Obama that the truth would never catch up. The McCain strategists' approach reflected a low opinion of average voters, and some Obama supporters began worrying that their opinion might be right.

But those so-called average voters understand the difference between low- and high-stakes elections. They develop a reasonably good sense of who is telling the truth and who is not. And though it sometimes takes a while -- and a shock like this week's economic news -- these voters almost always turn on politicians who manipulate cultural symbols as a way to escape the consequences of their policies. In 1936, FDR argued that "private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise." He insisted that "freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place." The stakes in this year's election went way up this week. The days of Paris, Britney and the exploitation of divisions around race, gender and religion are over.

Monday, September 15, 2008

from: The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Off the Merits

Fox's Megyn Kelly Works Over McCain Flack

Jason Linkins, HuffPo

A fortnight ago, we noted of the way CNN's Campbell Brown stumped McCain spokesperson Tucker "Anchorman" Bounds with a bunch of questions to which he could provide no straight answer. But that was before the "Hey! Has Anyone Noticed That McCain Lies All The Time" Media Backlash of 2008. Now, Bounds cannot even obtain safe quarter at Fox News.

This morning, Megyn Kelly roadblocked several of Bounds' attempts at glib explanations, ordering Bounds to "stay on point," relating that "every independent analyst who took a look at" McCain's contention that Obama would be raising taxes on the middle class noted that "that's not true," suggesting that McCain "level with the American people," and even providing pushback on the McCain camp's misleading contentions on an age-appropriate sex-education bill that Obama voted for in the Illinois State Senate.

"I looked at the language of the bill," Kelly stated, "Age appropriate sex education about child predators and inappropriate touching. What is wrong with that?" Well, what's wrong with that, of course, is that Obama opted against those precious town hall meetings that McCain wanted, so now children aren't allowed to be protected from pedophiles, I guess.


full segment from foxnews.com


McCain Loses Fox News: Megyn Kelly Rips McCain Flack For Claiming Obama Would Raise Middle Class Taxes [ThinkProgress]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"she scares the bejeebers out of me"

In Office, Palin Hired Friends and Hit Critics - NYTimes.com:

“I’m still proud of Sarah,” she added, “but she scares the bejeebers out of me.”

-Laura Chase, the campaign manager during Ms. Palin’s first run for mayor in 1996

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

on the increasing viscosity of history...

Talking Points Memo | Google copying, storing more stories fit for print

Google Inc. is trying to expand the newspaper section of its online library to include billions of articles published during the past 244 years, hoping the added attraction will lure even more traffic to its leading Internet search engine.

The project announced Monday extends Google's crusade to make digital copies of content created before the Internet's advent, so the information can become more accessible and, ultimately, Google can make more money from ads shown on its Web site.

As part of the latest initiative, Google will foot the bill to copy the archives of any newspaper publisher willing to permit the stories to be shown for free on Google's Web site. The participating publishers will receive an unspecified portion of the revenue generated from the ads displayed next to the stories.

Google is touting the program as a way to give people an easier way to find a rich vein of history. The initiative also is designed to provide a financial boost to newspaper publishers as they try to offset declining revenue from print editions that are losing readers and advertisers to online news sources.