Sunday, September 28, 2008

"If that doesn't scare the hell out of you, it should."

"There's no excuse for that. She's supposed to know a little bit of this."

hat tip Rob S.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Banned Books Week

It's Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW's 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).
BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

How to celebrate Banned Books Week? Suggestions from the American Library Association include:

  • Stay Informed
  • Organize a Banned Books Read-Out! at your library
  • Exercise your rights- checkout and read a banned book
  • Encourage your book club to read a favorite banned book

(My added suggestion is: Don't accept Sarah Palin trying to ban books.)

We only have true freedom of speech and freedom of the press when everyone has access. In the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, characterizing Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Can't even hear her talk

McCain camp tries to to keep reporters out of Palin meetings

For Sarah's very first meeting with a foreign leader, the press was allowed to take pictures, but not listen. CNN refused to air pictures if they couldn't be in the room, so they were let in for a few seconds. Palin and Hamid Karzai talked about kids, which is the only thing they could possibly have in common.

After 29 seconds observing the meeting, CNN and other photographers covering the meeting were escorted out of the room.
Later, McCain-Palin press representatives chalked up the restrictions to a “mix-up, a miscommunication among staff.” The full pool — a print and wires reporter, along with a television producer — was then allowed in to observe Palin’s meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for 15-20 seconds.

29 seconds and then 20 more- almost a full minute, and she didn't (audibly) screw up once!


My Guinea pigs' favorite food is dandelion greens. On nice days like this when we are home, we put them outside in a little pen so they can eat all the grass and greens they want. (I don't spray chemicals on my lawn, so it's safe to put them out there.) We go out and move the pen every so often so they get a nice fresh supply of weeds and grass to forage. Yup, they just love their dandelions.

Why, yes, I do have a paper I'm supposed to be writing. How could you tell?

Break's over

Maureen O'Dowd envisions the meeting between Senator Obama and President Bartlett.

BARTLET: GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

Hat tip Jayananda

Monday, September 15, 2008

Am I registered to vote in nj?

You can find out if you're registered by contacting the Commissioner of Registration for your county. The state has helpfully listed them all here.

"Am I registered to vote in nj" is one of the biggest Google search terms that leads people to The Center of NJ Life. I hope this information helps.

Register to vote NOW

Oct. 14 is the last day to register to vote in Our Fair State for this year's election. The Division of Elections has a lovely new website with links to each county's clerk and forms to get you started.

You can apply for an absentee ballot in writing until seven days before the election (and in person until 3 P.M. the day before!) You can get an absentee ballot here.

New Jersey's FAQ for elections is here. If you need info about the election, try NJ Voter Info.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Toll increases on the Turnpike- better than a doughnut

AP writer Angela Delli Santi has a Q&A with Kris Kolluri, our Transportation Commissioner, about the proposed turnpike toll increases.

Q: You have been using a doughnut analogy to put the proposed increases in perspective?
A: At Dunkin' Donuts, one strawberry doughnut costs $1.06. We're saying if people are willing to pay $1.06 for one doughnut, they should also be willing to pay 50 cents more over 15 years to make sure roads and bridges are safe.

I don't need another doughnut. Neither do you. I do need transportation upgrades like bridge repairs, and we all need the THE tunnel.

Yes, I drive the turnpike- I'd rather go without the doughtnut and drive on safer roads.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Why is this not on the front page?

Why is it instead on page B2 of my Times of Trenton? And why can't we call it "lying", when that's what it is?

McCain's Claims Skirt Facts - AP, By Charles Babbington

Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a self-proclaimed tell-it-like-it-is maverick, keeps saying his running mate, Sarah Palin, killed the federally funded Bridge to Nowhere when, in fact, she pulled her support only after the project became a political embarrassment. He said Friday that Palin never asked for money for lawmakers' pet projects as Alaska governor, even though she has sought nearly $200 million in earmarks this year. He says Obama would raise nearly everyone's taxes, when independent groups say 80 percent of families would get tax cuts instead.
Even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain's skirting of facts has stood out this week. It has infuriated and flustered Obama's campaign, and campaign pros are watching to see how much voters disregard news reports noting factual holes in the claims.

Well, at least he was against dishonesty before he was for it:

McCain's persistence in pushing dubious claims is all the more notable because many political insiders consider him one of the greatest living victims of underhanded campaigning. Locked in a tight race with George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, McCain was rocked in South Carolina by a whisper campaign claiming he had fathered an illegitimate black child and was mentally unstable.
Shaken by the experience, McCain denounced less-than-truthful campaigning. Vowing to live up to his "straight talk" motto, he apologized for his reluctance to criticize the flying of the Confederate flag at South Carolina's state Capitol in a bid forvotes. When the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked the military record of Democrat and fellow Navy officer John Kerry in 2004, McCain called the ads "dishonest and dishonorable."
Now, top aides to McCain include Steve Schmidt, who has close ties to Karl Rove, Bush's premier political adviser in 2000.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I guess? How sad. How far the mighty have fallen.

Stop stealing the signs

Open letter to to the Mercer County Sheriff's Election sign thief/thieves:

Everyone has the right of free speech, even if they disagree with you. Stop it. It's petty and pathetic to steal campaign signs.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A new low for the McCain campaign

Rob S. has a good analysis of the latest low in the McCain campaign: an attack ad against Obama.

It's a shameful ad. It's pathetic. It's desperate. It's horrifying to me that people may believe it. But, as the Republicans have shown so many times, if you repeat something enough times everyone begins to believe it, regardless of how stupid it may be.

Even worse: with two months to go, this will not be the lowest they will sink this campaign season. Of that I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

World without end?

I have a friend who is convinced that the world is ending. Not in some religious cataclysm, but in a black hole to be created on the France-Switzerland border in a couple of days. Normally, I ignore the doomday predictions of most people; however, the last time this same guy had a paranoid episode that something terrible was going to happen was on Sept. 10, 2001. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here- this grants a little more attention than the usual.

If you need to relieve some anxiety about it all, check out The end of the world is nigh.. or is it nay?

In two days, we'll know if he was right to be paranoid. I expect, he's overreacting.

I hope so, at least.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Did they vet her at all?

A lot of folks have questions not just about how thoroughly the McCain campaign researched their VP choice, but if they even bothered to at all.

By Richard Mauer, Lisa Demer and Sean Cockerham for the Anchorage Daily News:

Questions surround Palin's background check

McCain's presidential campaign spent the day trying to assure fellow Republicans and the nation that Palin's background was thoroughly vetted. The pregnancy of Bristol Palin, 17, came as no surprise to them, they said.
But in Alaska, it was hard to find anyone who had been contacted by McCain's campaign.
Thomas Van Flein, the Anchorage lawyer representing Palin and her office in the legislature's investigation into the firing of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, said he spoke to several representatives from McCain before Palin's selection was announced Friday.
But Van Flein appears to be in a small minority in the vetting of Palin.
The former U.S. attorney for Alaska, Wev Shea, who enthusiastically recommended Palin back in March, said he was never contacted with any follow-up questions.
Republican Gail Phillips, a former speaker of the Alaska House, said Friday that she was shocked by McCain's selection of Palin and told her husband, Walt, "This can't be happening because his advance team didn't come to Alaska to check her out." She said she would've heard had someone been poking around.
"We're not a very big state," Phillips said. "People I talk to would've heard
Monegan, fired by Palin in July, said that no one from the McCain campaign contacted him, either. His firing is now the subject of a special legislative investigation into whether Palin or members of her administration improperly interfered with the running of his department by pushing for dismissal of a state trooper involved in a divorce and custody battle with Palin's sister.
Alaska Senate President Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, told The New York Times, "They didn't speak to anyone in the Legislature, they didn't speak to anyone in the business community."

Better still, the campaign is acting like they did do a thorough vetting job and not telling the truth about it:

On Sunday, The Washington Post quoted McCain campaign manager Rick Davis as saying the FBI conducted a background check of Palin.
But Monday, the FBI told the Atlantic Monthly no such check took place.
"In general, we do not do vetting for political campaigns except as it might regard investigations needed for security clearances," the magazine's Web site quoted John Miller, the chief FBI spokesman. If the agency had conducted a security check of Palin, it wouldn't have shared it with the campaign, the magazine said.

Do we really want a president who barely met or even researched the person whom he wants to be his replacement, if needed? Someone who then tries to backtrack to pretend that he did check her out?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Why Palin bothers me so much

I don't mind about any (possible, hopefully NOT) vice president having an pregnant teen daughter. These things happen, even to politicians. I wish only good things for Bristol and the baby. They have tough times ahead but will be fine with guidance and love.

I also don't care if the president gets a blow job, or the first lady killed someone in a car accident, or the vice president has a gay daughter. Your personal life is your own business, as far as I'm concerned. I vote based not on family or personal proclivities, but on ability to do the job how I hope it will be done.

What concerns me here is how obviously little the McCain campaign bothered to vet this unquailified pretty face before tapping her. This choice was intended to:
1. Rally the conservatives with an NRA anti-women's-rights beauty queen, and
2. Garner support from former Hillary swing-vote supporters, who obviously vote based on the vagina content of their candidates.
Her ability to do the job doesn't appear to be part of the question; she has close to none. The mayor of East Windsor, NJ, has more executive experience than this pin-up.


This country does not need another Republican sell-out who panders to voters and rushes headlong into stupid, uninformed choices because his handlers told him it would be a good idea.

Obama says the exact right thing, once again

From MSNBC: Children are off limits

"I've heard some of the news. I've said before I think families are off limits, children limits. It has no relevance," Obama said. "I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. My mom had me when she was 18. And how families deal with issues of children shouldn't be part of our politics. "
Regarding to the accusation from the McCain camp that rumors of Bristol Palin were being spread by liberal bloggers, some with connections to the Obama campaign, the Illinois senator replied: "I am offended by that statement. There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us. I hope I'm as clear as we can be. We don't go after people's families. Our people were not involved in any way. And if I thought anyone in my campaign they'd be fired."

Wonder what the conservative base thinks of this one

Teen daughter of GOP VP pick is pregnant

The McCain campaign says they knew this before they picked Palin. (And if anyone, anywhere, seriously, can believe that, there's a bridge in Brooklyn on sale that the CoNJL would like to show you.)

Such a well-vetted, carefully thought-out choice, this unknown and unqualified yet female Governor Palin!!