Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Intellectual Dishonesty

From the International Herald Tribune:

In an effort to cast himself as independent of the influence of money on politics, Senator Barack Obama often highlights the campaign contributions of $200 or less that have amounted to fully half of the $340 million he has collected so far.

But records show that a third of his record-breaking haul has come from donations of $1,000 or more - a total of $112 million, more than the total of contributions in that category taken in by either Senator John McCain, his Republican rival, or Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, his opponent in the Democratic primaries.

Several points:
  1. The first paragraph discusses "percentages" the second switches to "totals"
  2. Sen. Obama raised a lot more money than either Sen. Clinton or Sen. McCain, so it's no wonder that his "total" large donations was larger.
  3. His "percentage" of large donations is smaller than both Sen. Clinton and Sen. McCain.
  4. In fact, almost half of McCain donors have contributed the maximum (or more), which means that an increadibly large percentage of his total donations is from people who have paid the maximum (probably around 75%)
  5. In sum, it's crazy that 170 million dollars has come from people who gave under $200 dollars.
  6. Don't believe everything you read on Drudge

Remind me again

From the Rocky Mountain Post:
Meanwhile, the Nevada's GOP's official convention did not reconvene. Instead, the state party's 12-member executive board simply appointed 34 delegates and 31 alternates - all presumed McCain supporters - to the Sept. 1-4 national convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
But again, the Democrats are the Party that "steals Delegates" as opposed to the "good GOP".

Bill Burton fails again

Via Ben Smith, Bill Burton fails to respond to the Paris Hilton ad well:

UPDATE: Obama spokesman Bill Burton reacts: "Whatever."

UPDATE: McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds emails: “It sounds like Paris Hilton supports John McCain’s ‘all of the above’ approach to America’s energy crisis – including both alternatives and drilling. In reality, Paris Hilton may have a more substantive energy policy than Barack Obama.”

NO! You say that her hybrid plan is like the one in the Senate that you support and McCain opposes! That's a good response, "Whatever" is not.

I love it

Paris Hilton just won a billion cool points in my book:

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Holy crap!

The water main busted on the floor above us and the two offices next to me are raining sewage water...

Disabled doesn't mean unable

I was ecstatic to hear this:
Goodwill Industries' workforce division will be assisting in the assembly of the prominent media and delegate bags to be distributed by the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee. Goodwill will have workers with physical and mental disabilities assisting in the assembly and packaging of the 20,000 bags needed for the Democratic National Convention at Goodwill's headquarters in North Denver.
So many physically and mentally disabled are discriminated against and not allowed to work. But, seriously, they are just as capable at doing certain things as we are.

Malia Obama is amazing

Over the course of the campaign, I have been impressed with the poise, intelligence and self-awareness of Malia Obama. This snippet of an interview with Michelle only deepens that feeling:

"I told them, 'Dad had a big night, and it appears he's going to be the Democratic nominee for president.'"

They were still sleepy — and rather underwhelmed.

"They basically said, 'Oh, good, Daddy won.'"

Mom tried again.

"This is really a big deal. There's never been an African-American nominee for president. Do you guys realize the significance of this?"

Malia nodded. "Well, African-Americans used to be slaves and we couldn't vote and we didn't have many rights, so of course this is a big deal."

Her mother smiled.

Then Malia added, "Just like it would also be a really big deal if Hillary Clinton had won because there has never been a woman nominee for president, and women used to not be able to vote and didn't have many rights, either."

How smart is she! Even Bill O recognizes it.

Tyra Banks as Michelle Obama

When I first heard that Tyra was going to be on the cover of Harper's Bazaar dressed as Michelle Obama, I took a deep breath and thought "Lord, I hope she isn't too crazy," because as anyone who knows anything about Tyra, the girl is a bit crazy.

But, I just read the article, and this was very moving:

When asked about the symbolism of the first black president of the United States, Banks pauses for a second and starts to tear up. "When Barack won the nomination, I just started bawling. I started calling all these people, and everybody was talking to me like I was crazy. They're like, 'Well, he hasn't won yet,' but I'm like, 'Yes, he has, because he's gotten this far.' I think he gives everybody so much hope."

She grabs a tissue. "I did a talk show, and we were testing racism with little kids. We showed them a picture of a black man in a suit and a picture of a white man in a suit. And we asked, 'Which one can be president?' These kids were all of different races — black, white, everything — and not one of them said that the black man could be president. Not one. So what gives me tears is if Barack Obama wins, kids are going to say that a black man can be president, too."

The thing I love most about Tyra is her authenticity and confidence. Like Michelle Obama, she's a great role model. Also, the pictures I've seen so far look good.

Updated Here are more Tyra as Michelle pictures.


According to the Hotline, the McCain campaign has scaled back advertising dramatically in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Iowa. Here is the dollar amount:

-- In OH, McCain's campaign spent $197,018 for the week of 7/29-8/4. From 8/5-8/11, the Republican is spending $108,450.

-- In PA, McCain's campaign spent $92,808 for the week of 7/29-8/4. From 8/5-8/11, the Republican is spending $50,134.

-- In IA, McCain's campaign spent $45,844 for the week of 7/29-8/4. From 8/5-8/11, the Republican is spending $10,543.

-- In NM, McCain's campaign spent $25K for the week of 7/29-8/4. From 8/5-8/11, the Republican is spending nothing.

Pennsylvania is a very expensive media market, so it looks like John McCain is down to a couple ads on cable news channels. I wonder if he's been paying attention to the latest polls showing Sen. Obama locking it up.

Bob Schaffer: worst candidate?

Seriously, is Bob Schaffer running the worst campaign outside of John McCain's? Now even his own son is dooming his candidacy. By the way, the son appears to be a complete douche-bag. Guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree...

What luck... Toby Keith is an idiot

Apparently, I gave Toby Keith too much credit, this is from HuffPo:

Now, Keith has trained his sights on Barack Obama, attacking him in language that startled even the notoriously reactionary radio jock Glenn Beck. During Keith's appearance on the July 30 broadcast of Beck's show, he remarked, "I think the black people would say he [Obama] don't talk, act or carry himself as a black person."

"What does that even mean?" the audibly shocked Beck replied.

"Well, I don't know what that means," Keith drawled, "but I think that that's what they would say. Even though the black society would pull for him I still think that they think in the back of their mind that the only reason he is in [the general election] is because he talks, acts and carries himself as a Caucasian."

*sigh* I still like his music....

Republicans take the cake

If the Republicans can claim their un-televised protest to unsuspecting tourists has "lowered gas prices," why haven't they shared this magic ability before?

On a related note, I claim responsibility for Sen. Obama winning Louisiana, because I was in the state when it happened. Moreover, I actually voted for him! (I guess this means I have a better claim than the Republicans...)

I love Toby Keith

I'm a huge fan of country music, and I love how Toby Keith responds to critics of his song "Brought to you courtesy of the Red, White and Blue":

Keith still bristles at how the song painted him as a gung-ho right-winger when he's a lifelong Democrat. It also associated him with a war he never supported.

"First of all, you can't go make everyone understand what you do. Most people who talk about 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue' never even heard the song. If you read it word for word, you know what it means: Let's go out and get the people responsible for 9/11. They attacked New York, they attacked the Pentagon. They came and killed a bunch of innocent Americans. Now, two years after that song comes out, we go into Iraq. Now, all of a sudden, I'm responsible for the Iraq War. I can't go tell everybody to listen to the words and tell them I have nothing to do with the Iraq War. ... My philosophy on that is I think we need to take care of Afghanistan and get Osama bin Laden. But I'm not going to apologize for being patriotic, and wherever the troops go, I'll go there and play.

Word. Also, I know there is some controversy over his song "Beer for my Horses," but I really don't think it's racist. The guy in the video looks Italian, not Black. Also (and these are some graphic links), I think it's pretty clear in the song that he's referring to the Old West, not the Old South way of justice. That said, lynching was very uncommon in the Old West, so I think it's definitely not something I would have put in my song.

Give Bobby Jindal the keynote address

It makes sense that you would give one of the five minorities in your party the keynote address. Btw, the five are: three Representatives, one Governor and one Senator, making 4 out of the 5 Florida Cubans.

Anyway, I've seen him speak and Gov. Jindal comes across as a big phony. Big brain, no heart. :P

John McCain is so old

Normally, I wouldn't just call him old, but this stood out to me in the pool report:
McCain and Cindy swung by one store and bought four T-shirts, two black and two burnt orange which he grabbed hastily. He paid for them with cash from what appeared to be a black Velcro wallet and asked how business was doing.
I can barely understand the whole no computer thing, but a Velcro wallet????

What Republicans are concerned about Obama?

Why is this considered news to Mark Halperin? On a related note, Fred Hiatt is not "center-left," he is an idiot enabler of the wingnuts at the WaPo.

Economics 101

So, I create a study that looks at the effects of the sale of umbrellas and rainfall. Wow, my study finds a high correlation between the sale of umbrellas and rain coming down!!! Buying umbrellas makes it rain, right?? No.

Just like "being a member of Oprah's book club" doesn't make you vote for Sen. Obama. People that are more likely to be members of Oprah's book club, were also more likely to be Obama supporters. The study itself doesn't include correlativity data, probably for this very reason.

Sad but true

Steve at No More Mister Nice blog reminds us that according to the press, all Republicans are mavericks.

Mental Health and Katrina

It's imperative that we create a national health system that more adequately provides for our country's mental health. No where is this more important than in disaster areas, where the effects of a natural disaster linger for years in the form of PTSD.

Thankfully our state government is doing something:
The $89 million package of bills authorize creation of crisis centers and eventually permanent mental health centers that will provide continuous care, make it easier to commit dangerous patients, and allow teleconferencing counseling sessions in the state. The bills provide funding statewide, but the bulk will be spent in the New Orleans area.
This really hits home for me, because my mother is one of the leading disaster/recovery mental-health researchers. I did a lot of psychological interviews in the New Orleans area, and it's incredible what these children have been through. I talked with children that had been shot at, stabbed, seen relatives die, and abused. Truly horrific things.

Not too shabby

John of Americablog points out that Evan Bayh has a 89% rating with the Human Rights Council, which really is quite good considering he's considered conservative/moderate. His fellow Indiana Senator, Richard Lugar, has a big fat ZERO.

He also linked to this contrary view, and it includes the reason I think Evan Bayh is a bad choice:
He Voted For Iraq. Unlike Feingold, Bayh voted for the Iraq war. This, obviously, conflicts with Barack Obama’s principled opposition to the war, and makes him a difficult fit on the ticket. If, as Obama has said, he really wants an independent Washington outsider, Bayh would not be your choice. His father, Birch Bayh, was a senator from Indiana for almost 20 years.
Also, I think there is no way anyone by Evan Bayh could become a Democratic Senator of Indiana, and that vote is too important to lose. (See above voting pattern)

On a lighter note

I watched a ton of anime growing up, and like any purist, I know that only subtitles can capture the language/vibe accurately. Dubbing remains the bane of my existence, so it's interesting to read this first hand perspective of the life of an European subtitler. The whole thing is excellent, but this made my laugh the hardest:

Once I had to do a whole series of funny American cartoons for kids. In one episode the expression “it is raining like cats and dogs” was used in combination with an image of actual cartoon cats and dogs falling out of the sky that totally belied my earlier argument that I do not have to mention these creatures in my translation. After all, this time the animals were shown on screen. So what does a good translator do in a case like this? Well, first of all you cry a little and curse the fact that you chose to become a subtitler.

Fuck Russia

And your horrible country. I saw this via Andrew Sullivan and words can't describe how happy I am to not live there:

The unnamed executive, a 22-year-old from St Petersburg, had been hoping to become only the third woman in Russia's history to bring a successful sexual harassment action against a male employer.

She alleged she had been locked out of her office after she refused to have intimate relations with her 47-year-old boss.

"He always demanded that female workers signalled to him with their eyes that they desperately wanted to be laid on the boardroom table as soon as he gave the word," she earlier told the court. "I didn't realise at first that he wasn't speaking metaphorically."

The judge said he threw out the case not through lack of evidence but because the employer had acted gallantly rather than criminally.

"If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children," the judge ruled. [...]

According to a recent survey, 100 per cent of female professionals said they had been subjected to sexual harassment by their bosses, 32 per cent said they had had intercourse with them at least once and another seven per cent claimed to have been raped.

WTF - 100% of women face sexual harassment and it's okay because that's how you make babies. In my world babies should come from consensual love/planning between two people, not someone's boss forcing themselves on a woman.

I love Michelle Obama

I think she's smart, beautiful, down-to-earth, confident, and is such an excellent role model for any woman out there. It makes me sad to read this part of an interview in Essence Magazine:
On considering her husband’s run for President:
“I took myself down every dark road you could go on, just to prepare myself before we jumped out there.”
Can you imagine having to prepare yourself for your husband's assassination, and then going forward because you think it's the right thing to do?