Sunday, September 14, 2008

Washington Becomes a Satellite of Alaska

Proof That Cronyism Still Reigns!

(New York Times, Sept. 13, 2008)

Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.

So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she 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 a qualification 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.

Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.

Alec Baldwin was right when he said that McCain is not like Bush - Palin is. Will another high school friend become head of FEMA?

Poll Shows That Southern Evangelicals Are More Simon Legree Than Jesus

Is Obama Dead In The Southern States?

Or do they just want him tortured a bit?

WASHINGTON -- A new poll released Thursday (Sept. 11) finds that nearly six in 10 white Southern evangelicals believe torture is justified, but their views can shift when they consider the Christian principle of the golden rule. The poll, commissioned by Faith in Public Life and Mercer University, found that 57 percent of respondents said torture can be often or sometimes justified to gain important information from suspected terrorists. Thirty-eight percent said it was never or rarely justified. But when asked if they agree that "the U.S. government should not use methods against our enemies that we would not want used on American soldiers," the percentage who said torture was rarely or never justified rose to 52 percent.
So Obama has TWO things going against him in states like Tennessee and Alabama: he's black and he's against torture. Yesterday, we saw that racism is still in the picture when FRC took very slow action against a racist "political satire" display of "Obama Waffles" and now we learn that 60% of Southern Evangelicals (for the most part, read Southern Baptist Convention) approve of torture. Big surprise. Have we forgotten about the first 65 years of the last century? Did they not exist? Was Jim Crow a figment of someone's imagination? And deeper in history: wasn't the Southern Baptist Convention formed because of a pro-slavery stance? Will Obama lose the election because of his policies or because of his race? Or a combination of both? There is something strange about people who:
  • Say they are Christian
  • Are against Abortion
  • Support the Death Penalty
  • Support Torture
  • Say they are Pro Life
  • Act racist
  • Apologize for Slavery (150 years after the fact)
Obama doesn't have a chance with them. I hope he doesn't waste too much valuable campaign time on them.

Update: FRC Doesn't Have a Clue

Sarah Pulliam, Christianity Today:

Spokesman for Family Research Council J.P. Duffy said that those in the organization did not look closely at the box until someone brought it up. Duffy said the executive director thinks the box is racist and if Joe Biden were portrayed, it would have been fine.

The booth was set up yesterday and displayed large posters of what was on the front and back of the waffle box. Several organizations like Summit Ministries and the Witherspoon Fellowship set up booths, but the booth selling waffles was the only satire product.

"We have dozens of booths and we don't know what kind of material they have. Obviously we don't necessarily approve of the material," Duffy said. "We may have given them permission to purchase a booth, but if there's anything like that that crosses the line, we ask them to cease and they did."

Duffy's statements are pure, unadulterated bullshit. Publicity for Obama Waffles started on September 5th! They received a favorable review from bloggers BY September 12th. Creator Bob DeVoss told reporters that Obama Waffles had been called racist before. The display for the boxes was up FOR AT LEAST 24 HOURS. The Summit had an attendance of about 3000. It would have been difficult (or bizarre) if Duffy or someone like Tony Perkins had not seen the display. The "someone" who "brought it up" was Eric Herman of American Atheists. Therein lies irony: FRC hates atheists. Herman probably knew that he wouldn't get anywhere with FRC, so he told reporters to look at the display and the boxes. Duffy then heard the objections from reporters - not atheists.

And DeVoss said that the boxes had been "selling like hot cakes." Yep, they'd been there for a while; at least long enough to satisfy their sales.

And who were buying them? Collectors of "Campaign Memorabilia"? People who just wanted to buy a box of waffle mix? If Lou Dobbs was pictured buying one box (yes, he was), then Lou Dobbs' cable program may be slanted, shall we say, a little too much toward the right.

Family Research Council and Focus on the Family (co-sponsors) will undoubtedly blame the media and Democrats for painting them in such an unfavorable light. They will scream "Christian-haters!!"

Too bad.

Just a thought.

Post Mortem

From working at conventions before (book conventions), I can safely say that the costs of display, setup, rental and staffing (travel expenses) were at least $25,000. In order to break even, the makers of Obama Waffles would have had to sell at least 2500 boxes! And unless they had storage facilities in Washington, DeVoss would have sent to the exhibition only about 300 at most. This was a publicity stunt that paid off.

Question: who's funding this stuff? 4-color boxes are hellishly expensive to produce unless you have a breakpoint at about 10,000. How long has their website been up?

Facts? Who Needs Facts When You've Got Sex and Guts!!

Let's face it, the Republicans are running this race on sex and guts: Palin's sex and McCain's POW guts. Ann Coulter has made it quite cxlear that she'll vote for the Republican ticket because there's a woman on board. She's referred to Palin as "our poor brave Sarah" when it comes to the media and every introduction of John McCain recounts (ad nauseum) his record as a courageous Viet Nam hero put to the test by all sorts of tortures. Palin has overtly lied about more than several of her qualifications. The latest stretch of the imagination is this:

PALIN: Let me speak specifically about a credential that I do bring to this table, Charlie, and that’s with the energy independence that I’ve been working on for these years as the governor of this state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy...

But, as the non-partisan points out, Palin’s claim about Alaska producing 20 percent of America’s domestic energy supply is “not true. Not even close.” In fact, “Alaska’s share of domestic energy production was 3.5 percent.”

And even if Palin confused "energy" with crude oil, she would have been off by quite a margin: 14%, not 20%. And this is a woman whom John McCain touted as knowing more about energy than "anyone else in the entire United States." And McCain and the economy:

As the Wonk Room has noted, McCain’s tax cuts would produce the highest federal deficit in 25 years. After inheriting Bush’s $407 billion deficit, yearly deficits under McCain would increase sharply, beginning with at least $505 billion in FY2009.

McCain has not specified how he would pay for his tax cuts, though he claims he will balance the budget in his first term. Recognizing that McCain’s math doesn’t add up, McCain’s top economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin has said, “I would like the next president not to talk about deficit reduction.”

When will the American public realize that being entertained with sex and guts is not the same as watching a candidate who is backed by facts? I'm reminded of lyrics in the musical Chicago: "Give 'em the ole razzle-dazzle, razzle-dazzle 'em. Give 'em a show with lot's of flash in it and the reaction will be passionate." Palin and McCain are little more than 8' glossy cardboard cutouts. If elected, these cutouts will be running the country.

Obama Waffles, But Perkins Stands Firm on Racism

O.K., this one's been circulating around the blogs for the last 24 hours, but it's worth another voice. Leave it to Tony Perkins and his Values Voters Summit to finally introduce race into the presidential campaign. In a big, but stereotypical way.

At the Values Voter Summit this weekend, vendors sold an item called “Obama Waffles” featuring a racist cartoon of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) on the box front — with “popping eyes and big, thick lips” — and another image of him wearing an Arab-like headdress on its top flap. Its creators, Mark Whitlock and Bob DeMoss, said it was meant as “political satire,” and sold the box for $10 from a booth at the Family Research Council event. CNN’s Lou Dobbs stopped by the booth and exclaimed, “My wife will love this!” A photo shows Dobbs with a box of the mix in his hand.
Now we know just how Lou Dobbs REALLY feels about Barack Obama (or at least how his wife feels)

Values Voter Summit organizers cut off sales of Obama Waffles boxes on Saturday, saying they had not realized the boxes displayed "offensive material." The summit and the exhibit hall where the boxes were sold had been open since Thursday afternoon.

David Nammo, executive director of the lobbying group FRC Action, said summit organizers were told the boxes were a parody of Obama's policy positions but had not examined them closely.
Either David Nammo (and by extension, Tony Perkins) is a complete idiot, or he and FRC thought they could pull a fast one. Keep in mind: FRC had invited BOTH Obama and McCain to speak. Even if they had fantasies that Obama would show up to be booed by a crowd of bigots, they would not be so stupid as to have any product sold at the summit that was a "parody". The summit "organizers" knew what they were getting into. We have all been to large conventions before (as for size, this one is tiny) and we know that the organizers know the properties of every single item up for sale. "An Obama parody" in itself would have been a tipoff, "Obama Waffles" would have been smelled miles away (in Washington). Perkins will be screaming as to how terribly the media is treating his poor Christian ass.

It will be "Persecution!" and "Democrats hate Christians"
No, Democrats distrust Christofascists. Democrats don't want a theocracy. Neither do I.

Just a thought.