Daily Archives: October 21, 2008

Photo Break: American alligator

Herpetoblogging some more, but on a slightly larger scale.  Full story behind this photo (and you know it must be a doozy) below the break.

American alligator

American alligator

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Pulling up the weeds in Virginia

The American News Project has caught a slice of McCainicana on camera, which it might behoove Colin Powell, Douglass Daniel, and others bent on finding anti-Muslim bigotry where none exists to watch. (Link via Hot Air).

The scene opens on a couple of cranks on the outskirts of a pro-McCain rally in Woodbridge, VA, who are hawking “Obama is a secret Muslim socialist” flyers and bumper stickers.  Their clever catchphrase is “Obama for CHANGE,” with the C replaced by an Islamic crescent and star and the G replaced by a hammer and sickle. Charming stuff.

The footage continues with a few clips of raving and ranting, before a couple of rally attendees start to amble over.  Not because they’re curious — certainly not because they sympathize — but because they can’t believe what they’re seeing.  They are all McCain supporters, they are all young, and many of them are Muslim (one is a Muslim convention delegate for McCain who chairs his Maryland operations).  All of them, regardless of faith, are determined to challenge the nutcases with the mad-on for Islam.

Fairly soon it dawns on the cranks that the ralliers will no longer content themselves with ignoring the rotten apples in the barrel.  They stop waving their bumper stickers, clam up in front of cameras, refuse to talk to reporters, avoid their challengers, and eventually slink off with their tails between their legs.  Best parting line, called after them as they retreated:  “Are you deliberately trying to lose us this election?”

Upon their departure, there was much rejoicing indeed.  Congratulations, guys, you’ve just made the political world a little cleaner, at least for a while.  Keep it up, because there are people like them, from both wings of the ideological spectrum, who will try to leech off your candidate’s success and high profile.  In the meantime, have a well-deserved round of applause.

Secretary Powell?  Mr. Daniel?  Are you listening?  Will you bother?

(Need I say, “watch the whole thing”?)

The year’s most unsurprising surprise

Former SecState Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama on Sunday is eliciting surprise from a lot more people than it should be.  He’s been making sotto voce noises about it for months, and frankly his announcement on “Meet The Press” was fairly anticlimactic, and late enough in the game to look like he’s just scrambling for what space there is left on the bandwagon.

For his part, John McCain was “disappointed” that Powell didn’t think to give him a heads-up a little bit ahead of time, and that he never even took the time to meet Sarah Palin (though that didn’t stop him from trashing her as “not ready,” which is odd given the presidential candidate he’s throwing over for a newbie like Obama).

What strikes me most about his endorsement, though, is what he doesn’t say.  Check the video:

When Powell goes into specifics, his reasons for voting for Obama have nothing to do with Obama, but with McCain.  Powell says the senator seems “unsure” how to deal with the economic crisis; he thinks McCain’s running mate is “not ready” (once again, without having met her, which if he wanted to do all he’d have to do is ask).  When he talks about Obama directly, the specifics fail him:  he’s a “transformational figure;” he has an “ability to inspire;” he “reaches across lines” (leading one to wonder which Barack Obama he’s been watching, as does his assertion that Obama hasn’t jumped around from one position to the next).

Powell cites none of Obama’s positions that appeal to him; it’s all image.  His statement of support for Obama is so vague and airy, it may as well have been written by the other “big O” in this race, Oprah.

Powell also gets in a hell of a cheap shot that I once thought beneath him; he ascribes the “Obama is a Muslim” rumor, long since debunked, to Republicans, when it was promulgated during the Democratic primaries and reinforced (for what it was worth) by an email traced back to the Hillary campaign showing Obama in African Muslim garb.  This rumor has long since lost all meaningful currency it might once have had, and no Republican with any shred of a reputation has repeated it; for Powell to rehash it and cram it into the mouths of unnamed “members of my own party” is just low; it sounds like he’s searching for an excuse to throw in his lot with Obama.

UPDATE: Was Secretary Powell just in need of a little attention?

Murtha: “Rednecks,” not “racists.” Better?

Two words for Rep. John Murtha:  Stop digging.  Fertheluvvagawd, stop digging.

Rep. Murtha made news last week with his announcement that western Pennsylvania was overrun with racists, and that was why Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was having trouble finding traction in that part of the state.  A day or two later, he apologized for those remarks, and for good measure he cancelled a scheduled debate that night with his opponent this year, Bill Russell, ostensibly to escape probing questions about why he’d say something so inexplicably boneheaded.

Today, he figured he’d “clarify” those remarks.  He scaled back the scope of his name-calling to “certain segments” of the region, and in the process called western Pennsylvanians “rednecks” instead, adding that such folks frequently had trouble accepting a black candidate (in effect, repeating the “racist” smear he’d just apologized for a week earlier, only applied to slightly fewer people).

Just days after classifying western Pennsylvania as racist, Murtha took a step back from those comments, albeit a small one. 

“What I said, that indicted everybody, that’s not what I meant at all. What I mean is there’s still folks that have a problem voting for someone because they are black,” Murtha said. 

Murtha said the history of southwestern Pennsylvania is rife with racism. 

“This whole area, years ago, was really redneck,” Murtha told Channel 4 Action News.

And the Bill Russell campaign ad footage just keeps on coming.  At this rate, look for the next Murtha/Russell debate to be rescheduled for sometime in late 2011.

Allahpundit and Miz Michelle have more.  Gateway Pundit has more links.

Stevens trial: It’s all over but the sequestering

Testimony ended Monday as the defense rested its case in Sen. Ted Stevens’s corruption trial, apparently back on track after a major snafu by prosecutors led a judge to threaten a mistrial three weeks ago.

Closing arguments were delivered after Sen. Stevens himself was cross-examined, by what must have been a very exasperated prosecutor.  The Los Angeles Times describes a very cagey senator who, though expensive items were left at his house by their owners and never retrieved, somehow didn’t count as “gifts:”

Public integrity attorney Brenda Morris repeatedly challenged Stevens on the witness stand Monday, saying his explanation that the items in question were not gifts, even though they remained at his homes, was not plausible.   

Morris asked Stevens about a $2,700 Brookstone massage chair delivered to his home in Washington in 2001. Stevens has taken the position that the chair was a loan from a friend. But he acknowledged on cross-examination that it remains in his home to this day.

“How is that not a gift?” Morris asked.

“We have lots of things in our house that don’t belong to us, ma’am,” Stevens replied.

I’ll bet you do, Senator.  It’s going to be tough to convince a jury, I think, that you were never billed for any of them.

Stevens is accused of accepting over $200,000 in gifts, including home renovations, furniture, and sculpture, and failing to report it to Congress’s ethics office as required by federal law.

Who’da thunk it? WaPo pins crisis on Democrats

An editorial in Monday’s Washington Post sets the record straight — at long, long, long, long, long, long last — on who bears the lion’s share of the blame for the current economic collapse. (Link via Captain Ed.)

Now that the worst is over and people have settled on the Bush Administration and John McCain as the blameworthy ones, the WaPo has jumped in to save the day with their brilliant revelation (which the hobos of the blogosphere have been screaming at the top of our virtual lungs for weeks now) that everybody’s got it precisely backwards.

They’ve finally clued in to the fact that the culprit was the deliberate loosening of lending standards by Democrats so that poor people (read: people to whom no sensible lender would ever think of issuing a mortgage) would be able to take out a home loan, regardless of ability to pay the thing back.  Not only that, but Bush and McCain in particular pushed more than once to exercise tighter oversight over this lax new policy’s primary vehicles, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  These efforts at better regulation were stiffarmed at every turn by Banking Committee Democrats in the House such as Barney Frank and Maxine Waters, and those in the Senate such as Christopher Dodd and — the horror! — Barack Obama.  Dodd and Obama each took more campaign money from Fannie and Freddie lobbyists than all 98 of their Senate colleagues, which is an achievement for Obama, who has been in the Senate less than four years.

In Hot Air’s “Quote of the Day,” Allahpundit cites Orson Scott Card (described in an Editor’s Note as “a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism”):

If you [in the journalistic trade] want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation’s prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama’s door.

Read the whole opinion piece, because it’s a scorcher.

Joe the Plumber strikes back at media brickbats

Joe Wurzelbacher is joining the quixotic effort to remind the frenzied media army descending on him that all he did was ask a question. (Video from Fox News via Gateway Pundit.)

Allahpundit is less than impressed with the appearance on Fox News’s “Huckabee.”

Coverage from the Toledo Blade:

Already in the national spotlight, Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher last night strode onto the set of Fox News Channel’s Huckabee program to thunderous applause…

“Hopefully they’ll have me to thank for it as far as telling people to get out and find their own answers,” Mr. Wurzelbacher said. “That’s where I hope they go with it.”

In the days since the debate, it became known Mr. Wurzelbacher is not a licensed plumber, is not buying a business that makes enough to be taxed more under Mr. Obama’s tax proposals, and has some tax liens against him.

On Friday, the East Valley/Scottsdale Tribune in Arizona reported that Mr. Wurzelbacher’s Arizona driver’s license was suspended in May, 2000, following nonpayment of a court-imposed fine for civil traffic violations. He lived in Arizona from 1997-2000.

Mr. Huckabee said that Mr. Wurzelbacher only asked a question when Mr. Obama happened to stop by his current neighborhood a week ago. Mr. Huckabee asked how Mr. Wurzelbacher felt about the scrutiny he’d received.

“It actually upsets me,” Mr. Wurzelbacher said. “I am a plumber, and just a plumber, and here Barack Obama or John McCain, I mean these guys are going to deal with some serious issues coming up shortly. The media’s worried about whether I paid my taxes, they’re worried about any number of silly things that have nothing to do with America. They really don’t. I asked a question. When you can’t ask a question to your leaders anymore, that gets scary. That bothers me.”

Mr. Wurzelbacher confronted Mr. Obama over his tax proposals, asserting that the Democratic nominee’s plan would tax him more if Mr. Wurzelbacher bought a plumbing business.

In the course of their conversation, Mr. Obama said, “It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success, too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

I loved that little jab about his driver’s license.  I mean, you know, as long as they’re ticking off the various personal hit jobs on Wurzelbacher since he dared make things mildly uncomfortable for Obama, might as well stick one more in there.

I pity the next poor soul who gets up the nerve to ask Obama a question that doesn’t begin with, “Senator, given your immense popularity, impending presidency, and rugged good looks…”