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Not Br'er Rabbit

Friday, August 29, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

Damn it, I agree with Krauthammer. That always worries me. The Master of Unearned Arrogance says:

The Palin selection completely undercuts the argument about Obama's inexperience and readiness to lead -- on the theory that because Palin is a maverick and a corruption fighter, she bolsters McCain's claim to be the reformer in this campaign. In her rollout today, Palin spoke a lot about change. McCain is now trying to steal "change" from Obama, a contest McCain will lose in an overwhelmingly Democratic year with an overwhelmingly unpopular incumbent Republican administration. At the same time, he's weakening his strong suit -- readiness vs. unreadiness.

The McCain campaign is reveling in the fact that Palin is a game changer. But why a game changer when you’ve been gaining? To gratuitously undercut the remarkably successful "Is he ready to lead" line of attack seems near suicidal.
For the last however many hours I've been experiencing that giddy sensation you feel when an opponent does something really stupid. Your first reaction is: they can't be doing this, can they? There's got to be some subtle trap they're laying for me. Some devious stratagem I'm just not seeing.

It has to be a Br'er Rabbit moment. Right?

Here's why Sarah Palin is such a bad choice: we had doubts about both Barack Obama and John McCain.

We doubted Obama because he's inexperienced. So he reassured us by picking a deeply experienced Veep.

We had doubts about McCain because he's 72 and sometimes shows it. So he picked a former beauty queen with 18 months experience running a province of Canada? Doubts not assuaged. Doubts magnified.

Bad move. My guess is that if McCain loses this will be a major chapter in the inevitable post-campaign blame-the-other-strategists books.

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I Don't Know, But Alaska (updated. twice.)

by Michael Reynolds



John McCain is the worst actor in American politics. It's one of the things I like about him.

I just watched his introduction of his new running mate, Sarah (WTF?) Palin, governor of the Canadian province of Alaska. One of two things is possible: either McCain is suffering from a hemorrhoid flare-up, or this choice was rammed down his throat. Watch him standing next to her as she speaks. Tell me he's a happy camper.

I'm not getting this. I don't know anything about Ms. Palin, but watching them together, listening to her speak, I'm just not getting it. Do they really think she'll bring in Democratic women? Why? Because she's a woman?

I could be totally wrong. But my first instinct is that this feels like a mistake.

Update: Yeah I screwed up the video the first time. Hope this works.
Update 2: Okay, still not not the right tape. If this still doesn't work, screw it, go find your own tape.

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Old Rage

by Michael Reynolds

Jake just found some ancient archived material from "Incoherent Rage," my old blog-within-a-blog at Mighty Middle.

(WARNING: regrettable language ahead.)

I have a personal note for the driver of the gray mini-van at Hardee's drive-thru this morning. (Oh, you know who you are.) Dear van driver: you don't spend five minutes perusing the goddamned menu. It's fucking Hardees, it's not Alain fucking Ducasse. It's not Charlie fucking Trotter. This is not the French Laundry or Citronelle or fucking Taillevent, this is fucking Hardees. It's all fatty, gummy, oversalted goo, what the fuck are you holding out for? You figure if you look long enough you'll find a goddamned omelet aux fine herbes? You think Combo #9 is poached eggs on toasted brioche topped with creme fraiche and a dollop of beluga? It's all crap, you imbecile, it's all the same, just pick your heart atttack and move the fuck on.

Here is the rule: you have PRECISELY eight seconds to place an order for one person. You get an additional five seconds for each additional order. This is not optional. I am telling you. This is now the law. Eight seconds for one person, thirteen seconds for two, up to the maximum of twenty-three seconds for four people. More than four people? Park, and go into the fucking restaurant because seriously, honest-to-God, I can, by straining every nerve in my body, give you twenty-three seconds.. But that's it. At twenty-four seconds I deploy the horn. Twenty-six seconds you get the angry bald man gesticulating in your rear view mirror. At thirty seconds I can no longer be responsible for my actions.

And by the way, have your goddamned money ready. Yes, of course I know that the fast food speaker box told you it would cost "hrs hnnh nn hihnhee hen." I understand that it's hard to figure out the precise dollar amount when you're dealing with an employee who sounds like a Spanish stroke victim talking with an eight inch kielbasa in her mouth, but that's no excuse. If it's one person, pull out a five. Two people, have a ten spot ready. More, then go with a twenty. And if it's more than twenty bucks, man, you need to sit down and take a good hard look at your sad fucking life.

Do not, repeat, DO NOT use a credit card. I am serious about this. Let me explain something, you thoughtless van-sitting s.o.b., there is a moral imperative that binds all of civilization together. There have been many theories on this, stretching back to Plato. Every philospher has weighed in on the question of what, precisely, we owe our fellow human beings. How are we to hold civilization together? Some, when facing this question, ask What Would Jesus Do?

Well, I'll tell you what Jesus would do: he'd have his fucking money out. And he wouldn't be pulling out his fucking Mastercard unless he was looking to give Mel Gibson material for a sequel. If you know what I mean. So, rather than ask, What Would Jesus Do, (WWJD) I want all of you out there on the great highway of life to ask, Am I In Michael's Way. AIIMW. There's your damned moral imperative, you inconsiderate, van-driving barnyard animal. If we all live the AIIMW ethic, we have civilization. Without it? Screaming bald guys. Nothing but screaming bald guys.

Thank you.

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Giggling Past The Graveyard

by Michael Reynolds

Seven months ago I wrote:

Don't bother telling me all the reasons Obama isn't ready. I know them. Don't bother pointing out every half-formed policy, every wrongheaded position. I know. Hillary's more right than Obama. (And McCain's more right than Obama on a number of issues.)

But it's about more than policy papers now. Its about being sick to death of Atwater-Clinton-Rove politics. It's about being nauseated by the idea of more automatic, tit-for-tat partisanship, more strategic divisiveness. Enough of Republican fear-mongering. Enough of the Democratic politics of envy and resentment. Enough of using patriotism as a weapon. Enough of triangulating. Enough with the seething and the ranting and the rage-aholism.

I'm not giving up all my cynical armor. I'm keeping the snark and the smirk and the wry look. But I'm taking off the chainmail. I'm taking a chance. I'm throwing in with Obama.

And a month later:

I support Obama for this reason: he promises to reach across the aisle, move away from idiot gotcha partisanship, and try to accomplish something useful. Emphasis on "promises." The fact that he promises this means he will at the very least have to go through the motions of non-partisanship. He will have been elected on that promise. Even if he doesn't mean it (always a distinct possibility) he'll have to at least make an attempt. That's more than we'll get from Hillary, who is ready from day one to start up the same tired old shit.

I am sick to death of the same tired old shit. I think the country is, too. We have three possible candidates at this point: John McCain who is, I'm sorry, the candidate of the past, representing a party in serious need of a long rest; Mrs. Clinton who embodies and defines the same tired old shit; and the new kid who promises it won't be the same old, same old.
I have not changed my feelings about Mr. Obama. He has neither surprised nor disappointed me.

Conservatives have flailed away at him. He's everything from a naive waif to a ruthless manipulator. They've tried everything. But he's still standing.

They even tried nominating the one Republican least liked by Republicans, the one Republican who had even a prayer of being elected this year, John McCain. But despite the fact that McCain comes in with a huge reputation for independence, despite the fact that he is experienced, witty and heroic, he has not put the skinny new kid away.

The Republicans play their same tired games. Phony outrage, attacks on patriotism, the spreading of lies and slanders, and it hasn't put Obama down. They've displayed their usual tics: the faux-hauteur, the bluster, the knowing giggles, the snark and the smirk. And Obama is still standing. They float around Obama like a cloud of gnats, coming at him from every possible direction, irritating without stinging.

The Republican party is a party without a clue. The Grand Old Party is not so grand, mostly just old. It needs to go to its room and think about what it has done. It needs some serious chin-stroking. It needs to take out its yellow pad and make some lists. The Republican party has become the party of deficit spending, cronyism, incompetence and recklessness. It is a party off the rails. A party out of touch with its own head and heart.

Obama isn't much more than a hope. That criticism is correct. He's nothing but a hope. And yet an exhausted, discredited Republican party offers even less.

I read the conservative pundits and bloggers with amused detachment as they fling their wild accusations, as they tool and retool their boogey-men, as they sneer and slander and giggle smugly to themselves. The sad, lost, silly heirs to Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan.

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Hillary

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

Is it kosher to refer to a woman as a mensch?

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Something Really Important

by Michael Reynolds

More important than the Democratic or Republican convention.  Not just a little more important.  Ten times more important.

More important than Iraq or Afghanistan.  More important than global warming.  Renewable energy.  Gay rights.  The housing crisis.  More important than all of it together.

It's a tidal wave that is rolling toward us, a new headline every week.  It may change the very nature of the human race.  

Wow.  Seriously:  wow.  

30 years ago I doubt we'll care much about the tensions between Barack and Hillary, or how many houses John McCain has.  But we will care about this.

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Fearless Predictions.

Monday, August 25, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

I am bummed that I won't be able to watch the conventions.  The six hour time difference is tough to get around.   

But just because I'm cut off and clueless that doesn't mean I can't make predictions.  

The mistake will prove to be putting Bill on after Hillary.  Bill Clinton will give an 80% speech.  Nothing objectionable you can put your finger on, but he'll hold back.  The Obama people will be irritated but try to put a positive spin on it.

Hillary will go all in.  100%.  She's always been a better human being than Bill.  More of a grown-up.  But Bill will undo some of that.  If they'd gone the other way you could have used Bill's churlishness to give extra emotional impact to Hillary.   You want to go from low to high.  
Mark Warner will fall flat.  Biden will do fine, but not even Obama has the skills to overcome all the damage Bill and his dead-enders will do.

The wild card is Teddy Kennedy.  He's scheduled for the first night.  I hope they find a way to bring him back in on the last night.   He can bring the Clinton dead-enders into the fold.  They want to be in the fold, but they'll be hearing dog whistles from Bill.  Teddy can solve that -- if he's physically able, and if the Obama people figure out how and when to use him.

If Bill does damage, Obama will come out of convention up by 5% and more or less hold that through to the election.  (McCain will get a 5% bump from his convention, but that will evaporate within a week.)  If Bill plays nice or if Teddy can neutralize him, Obama comes out up by 7%.

Or not.  

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