We Are One: Inaugural Celebration at Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, January 18, 2009

 

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The Opening Ceremony at The Lincoln Memorial

 

“The dream of our founders will live on in our time . . . What gives me hope is what I see when I look out across this mall.”

Tens of thousands of people showed up in frigid temperatures to be a part of the pre-inaugural festivities for President-Elect Barack Obama. The two-hour festivities culminated a day that began with a wreath-laying at Arlington Cemetery, followed by a church service. Along the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, people watched the festivites on giant screens, seemingly oblivious to plunging temperatures as they sang along to “America the Beautiful” and “This Land is Your Land.”

People at home watched courtesy of HBO, which televised the ceremony live free for subscribers and non-subscribers alike, and repeated the show again at 11:30 p.m. EST.

 

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Aerial View of Crowd at Inaugural Celebration

 

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Beyonce Leads "America The Beautiful"

Performers and speakers at the celebration included Martin Luther King III, Tom Hanks, Sheryl Crowe, Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington, Tiger Woods, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, Bettye Lavette, Herbie Hancock, Queen Latifah, John Legend, and many, many more.

 

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Pete Seeger & Bruce Springsteen Lead "This Land is Your Land"

 

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Tom Hanks in a Tribute to Abraham Lincoln

Both the president elect, and the vice president elect spoke briefly to the crowd.

 

Dinner, Drinks, and a Smoke With that Deregulation?

The Trifecta of Rogues: Cheney, Palin, and Bush

Dinner With Darth Cheney

President-elect Obama and the lovely Michelle had it pretty easy. I mean, they only had to visit with W. and Laura, and well, Laura is an intelligent, well-read woman who can converse on numerous topics with ease. And W., well, let’s just say that it was probably not a hard conversation for the President-elect to follow as long as President Bush didn’t speak about OB-GYNs, and putting food on families, and human beings and fish co-existing peacefully.

However, I’m really not sure what Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden should expect when they tour their new quarters with Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne. I mean, what’s going to be on the menu? Pheasant? Won’t that be awkward

Biden: Well, well. Pheasant. Who, I mean, where did you shoot it?

Jill: It looks lovely, really lovely.

Cheney: (teeth gnashing) mutters something incomprehensible, looks around for a shotgun

Lynne: Thank you. It’s an old family recipe. (checks watch)

Of course, I’m only surmising how the conversation might go. I could be totally wrong here. I am wondering if good old Joe will get taken on a tour of all of the double-secret locked down locations, you know, just in case.

Someone Get This Woman A DIet Dr. Pepper and a Spokesperson. Posthaste

Remember the good old days when Sarah Palin didn’t speak with the media? Remember when the Republican campaign still had control over that half of the ticket? Remember when a wink and a parade wave was enough to make everyone go ga ga, and all that we had to go on were guesses?

Ah, the good old days.

Seems that Governor Palin got back to Alaska and went into bright light withdrawal. Quick. Someone find the ex-candidate a cameraman and a microphone. She has something to say. On the record. Does it make sense? Who cares, gee golly. To date, she has spoken with Today’s Matt Lauer, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Larry King, local Alaska reporters, Santa Claus, the Abominable Snowman . . .

Some of her comments/arguments/complaints: “I know that I know that I know . . .” On the clothes fiasco: “Nobody is coming up to look at anything . . . Who said that anybody is coming up to look through closets?” Or how about the media: “There have been some stinkers, though.” Or on her interview Katie Couric: “What do you mean what do you read in Alaska? I read the same things that you read in New York and Washington State.”

I have a word of advice for the governor: Get yourself a spokesperson. You are a governor. Governors do not go on national television calling people stinkers, gee golly. That is why governors have spokespeople—to make themselves look better, look professional, look polished. When is the last time you remember a governor, or someone who aspired to higher office (hint, hint: the presidency) going on national television and calling people stinkers? The correct answer, by the way, would be NEVER.

Sorry, governator. You may be trying to appear to be an everyday kind of gal, but people really don’t want jane the plumber to lead them. In fact, people don’t even really respect jane the plumber when jane says berky kinds of things. So do yourself a favor, and go out and hire yourself a spokesperson to handle those media types that you can’t stand. That way, you save yourself some aggravation, and the Todders doesn’t have to worry about saying dumb stuff either. Okay? You betcha!

But one thing is for certain: We have not heard the last of the Governor, whether it’s the Senate seat that’s up for grabs or the presidential election of 2012, Sarah P. is just waiting for a door to open . . .

 Should I be mean and say what I really think should happen to her if there is an open door in front of her?

Executive Orders Withstand the Test of Time? I Don’t Think So

So what is W. doing in his final days in office? Just hanging around smelling the roses? Oh if only it were so. Like every president before him, Bush is busy signing bunches and bunches of Executive Orders, hoping to get them enacted within that sixty-day limit that makes them untouchable by President-elect Obama, or at least harder to touch. What W. is doing is “akin to fouling the water well,” according to Constitutional scholar Jonathon Turley of The George Washington University.

Some of the real beauties that Bush hopes to push through include the following:

  • a rule that allows natural gas pipelines to operate at higher pressures
  • a new limit on airborne emissions of lead
  • a rule that would ease limits on pollution from power plants
  • a rule that would allow current emissions at a power plant to match the highest levels produced by that plant, overturning a rule that more strictly limits such emission increases
  • a related regulation that would ease limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants near national parks
  • a rule to lift a requirement that environmental impact statements be prepared for certain fisheries-management decisions

But not so fast, Kemosabe.

Seems the Obama contingent has already familiarized Prez 44 with Congressional Review Act of 1996, which pretty much prevents the effectiveness of presidents from pushing through Executive Orders at the end of their administration. Public Law 104-121, which was signed by President Clinton, effectively takes any problematic rule and subjects it to review by Congress (go to http://www.thecre.com/pdf/congress-review-act-1996.pdf for specifics). in effect, there is a sixty day wait before anything can become effective, and another wait because Congress has adjourned, and then another wait before the new Congress is seated, and another wait for the new Congress to review, by which time, President Obama will have worked out the details for killing said stupid statutes such as the above.

We can only hope . . . coal-fired emissions near a state park? He’s kidding, right? Right? I know. He’s not. Which is why we love him so and can’t wait to see him go. W. W. He’s our man . . .

And on that note . . . more later. Peace.

My $150,000 Shopping Spree

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I don’t think that I’m the only one. Even though I’m not a Republican, I imagine that I’m not the only person who is more than a little torqued out of shape by the RNC’s decision to spend $150,000 on Sarah P. and family’s wardrobe update, not to mention $24k a month on a personal makeup artist.

Now, Corey and I have made a few contributions to Obama’s campaign, not substantial by any means, but they were what we could afford to contribute, and as the Obama campaign has proven, every little bit counts. But if I had contributed money to the campaign, and then that campaign used campaign money to buy Joe Biden $150,000 worth of ties, I think that I just might think twice about donating funds in the future. Now granted, the governator probably needed a style update for the trail (we all know that the Todders did), but to the tune of $150,000? Couldn’t they have found one of their rich benefactors to underwrite such an expenditure so that it did not come out of campaign funds? That certainly would have gone down easier with the Joe the Plumber electorate making $40k a year. I know that I would have been less pissed off, and I’m not even a Republican.

But, let’s just suppose that someone decided out of the goodness of his or her heart to give my family $150,000 to spend as we needed. Here is how we would spend it (and even though we all know that I love clothes and black boots and squishy leather bags, that’s not where it would go):

This is my $150,000 fantasy shopping spree:

  • I’d pay off all of the back balances on my utilities, especially the huge one that we owe on the gas bill so that we could have heat this winter.
  • Then there would be the past due amount on my health insurance. I figure that’s probably a good thing to take care of given my situation.
  • Speaking of health insurance, Corey hasn’t had any since he’s been out of work. I’m counting on the Obama health plan, but who knows how long that will take to implement . . .
  • It would probably be prudent to get caught up on the payments on our life insurance, you know, make sure the kids are taken care of, just in case.
  • I don’t even want to think about the mortgage payments and the late charges that we’ve accrued. That one gives me the cold sweats at night, but it would be great to get ahead by one or two payments
  • There’s the second mortgage we took out to try to stave off bill collectors, but that was ill-conceived, and now it’s just one more bill.
  • We started remodeling the house over a year ago, but haven’t had the funds to do anything with it in ages. It would be nice to finish that. But that comes at the bottom of the priorities for now. Although, I have to say, having a house that isn’t in a constant state of disarray would do wonders for my peace of mind. But hey, who needs peace of mind?
  • The dogs need to go to the vet; I wonder if the Louis Vuitton bag that one of the governator’s daughters got would cover that bill?
  • Both the Trooper and the truck need new brakes, and the Trooper needs a new passenger side window. I’m thinking that the red leather jacket that the governor was wearing would probably cover the cost of those repairs
  • And then there are the little things like the boys’ orthodontist bill, my doctors bills, the MRI that I need on my back, the glasses that my oldest son needs, the money that we still owe to the hospital for my back surgery.
  • The boys could use some new Levis and some new shoes, nothing fancy, maybe some Sketchers.
  • I could use a good night’s sleep and for my shoulders and back not to be tied up in knots.
  • Corey could use a job.

That’s my fantasy shopping spree. I don’t think that it even comes close to $150,000. I’d return the unused portion so that someone else could go wild and pay some bills. I’ll bet we could take care of at least three or four joe six-pack families out there, you know, real Americans who are going under just like us.

Real Americans who have worked, paid their taxes, served their country, and now find themselves in the unenviable position of being a one-income family with two-income bills, and that income is a disability income at that. I have to tell you, Governor Palin, being real Americans isn’t really making that much of a difference for us. We might have our honor, our pride, our patriotism, but we can’t eat that for dinner. It won’t keep us warm this winter, and it’s not going to get me the MRI that I need on my back. Sorry to be so cynical. Just cannot help myself.

So wink, wink right back atcha. You look mahvelous. As well you should, but have you thought about T. J. Maxx?

More later. Peace.

And The Winner Is . . .

Mixed Nuts

“Hey joe, Where you gonna run to now where you gonna go”

Obviously Senator John McCain’s brother Joe doesn’t believe that little things like the law applies to people like him, as is witnessed by this 911 call that he placed on October 21 into Alexandria’s 911 system:

Operator: 911 state your emergency
Caller: It’s not an emergency but do you know why on one side at the damn drawbridge of 95traffic is stopped for 15 minutes and yet traffic’s coming the other way?

Operator: Sir, are you calling 911 to complain about traffic? (pause)
Caller: “&%@k you.” (caller hangs up)

The 911 operator, apparently, unnerved by use of the 911 emergency number to complain about bad traffic, called back the phone number that placed the call.

The operator reached a voice mail message that said, “Hi this is Joe McCain I can’t take this message now because I’m involved in a very (inaudible) important political project… I hope on Nov. 4th we have elected John.”

Outraged by the operator’s action, the man called 911 a second time. That conversation went as follows:

Caller: Somebody gave me this riot act about the violation of police.
Operator: Did you just call 911 in reference to this?
Caller: Yeah.
Operator: 911 is to be used for emergencies only, not just because you’re sitting in traffic.  (http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/10/report-john-mcc.html)

Those McCain brothers sure have problems with their tempers, but calling 911 because you’re stuck in traffic? I’m glad Joe’s hand won’t be anywhere near any important buttons . . .

Stories From The Phone Bank

I was doing more work on the phones at Obama headquarters, and I have to share two stories with you. The first one is really wonderful but a bit disheartening at the same time. I spoke with a woman who is a very big Obama supporter who was telling me that her mother lives in Florida and is voting for the first time in 76 years. The woman’s mother is Puerto Rican, and at first, she had no plans to vote even though her daughter was pressing her do to so. What changed her mind? The women at her church.

Seems that the lovely church ladies accosted her mother and said something along the lines of “you aren’t going to vote for that n**** are you?” Her mother was so insulted that she registered to vote the next day. She proudly called her daughter and told her what happened and how she had registered in protest of the women’s close-minded, racist remarks. They had helped her mother to cement her position.

Score one for the good guys!

I also spoke to another lovely woman who was very concerned about voter fraud. She wanted to be assured that she wouldn’t have any problems once she got to her precinct on election day. I did what I could to reassure her. I reminded her about Virginia’s laws about not allowing anyone to vote if they were wearing any kind of political garments or buttons, and told her to make sure she had a valid driver’s license. Other than that, I really wasn’t sure what else I could tell her. The thing that really disturbed me about her question was that it was a valid concern, one that I really hadn’t given much thought to in Virginia before. I cannot tell you how naive I felt, and how much it sickened me to realize that voter fraud may play a big part in this election.

The Obama campaign has registered unprecedented numbers in Virginia this year. It’s one of the reasons Democrats actually have a chance of winning not only the presidential election, but also numerous House seats, and the Senatorial race in Virginia. The grass roots campaign has been extremely well organized and executed. And the thought of losing because of people being turned away at the polls, well, it just makes me violently ill. Shades of Jim Crow.

The Unbelievable Stupidity of it All

I cannot let this pass. I was going to; I really was. But some things just need to have a spotlight shone upon them because, well, they are just so incredibly stupid and because some people are going to believe them. But I won’t give them excess coverage. Conservative radio hosts Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh (and I use the term radio host very loosely when speaking of Limbaugh), actually had the audacity to question Obama’s trip to Hawaii to spend time with his grandmother, claiming that in fact, it was a ruse to cover up the Senator’s ongoing problem with his birth certificate.

Birth certificate???? Dear god men, have you no shame. Simply because Obama did not leave days earlier, they claim that his grandmother could not have really been that ill and that he was going to Hawaii to create a birth certificate. EGADS!!! What about John McCain rushing off to Washington immediately during the financial crisis, only to leave a day and a half later after doing an interview with Katie Couric and having a sumptuous lobster dinner?

These people (and I use the term loosely) are scum.

No Real Winners Here

And finally, there is the story of Ashley Todd, a McCain field supporter. Todd is a 20-year-old college student who claims she was mugged by a 6’4″ black man who became enraged when he saw her McCain bumper sticker. The man, claims Todd, stole $60 and carved a B on her cheek. One big problem with Todd’s story, the B was backwards.

The good part of this story is that the Pittsburgh police who heard Todd’s story did not immediately lose their heads and start rounding up tall black men, reminiscent of what happened in the Charles Stuart case in Boston almost two decades ago when Stuart claimed that a black man had assaulted him and killed his pregnant wife after a birthing class. The Boston police overreacted by rounding up every Black man who fit Stuart’s description. However, in this case, the Pittsburgh police immediately suspected that something was not right with Todd’s story.

The sad part of this story is that Todd suffers from emotional problems, and as a result, she is being held for psychological evaluation instead of being charged for filing a false police report.

The pathetic part of this story is how it was handled by some in the press. Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin is jumping up and down saying “I told you so” because she decried Todd’s story as a hoax as soon as it hit the airwaves. To which I reply, so what?

No one wins in a situation like this. Not McCain. Not Obama. And certainly, not Ashley Todd. If not for the cooler heads that prevailed, this could have escalated into a horrible situation all the way around. Now, perhaps Todd will get the treatment she needs instead of the publicity she sought but did not need.

More later. Peace.

Notes From the Road #2 (If I Were On the Road)

Fifteen Days and Counting

You Meet the Most Interesting People Sometimes

Yesterday I was working the phone banks at the Obama Campaign Headquarters, and I spoke with a 67-year-old woman who hasn’t voted since the Kennedy election. She told me that she hasn’t really wanted to participate in politics since then, but she decided that this election was too important not to participate. She also said that she thought that Barack Obama was the first candidate to come along since Kennedy to give her hope.

Most of the people on my calling list were over 65, and I was surprised by how many said that they were voting for Obama. Of course, several people hung up on me right away, which is always the case when you are making these kinds of calls, and then you have more people who screen now, so you leave the scripted message for the answering machine or voice mail, and hope that they listen to it. But with a lot of the elderly, you find that they are willing to talk to you because they do not get many telephone calls, so they are more generous with their time. Corey found himself on the phone with one gentleman for half an hour and ended up talking about FDR and Truman; he said that it was one of the most interesting telephone conversations that he has ever had. The gentleman was 88 years old.

One of the things that really impresses me about this campaign is how organized they are in Virginia. In Hampton Roads alone, they have over five headquarters; whereas the Kerry campaign had only one. The other thing that I think is really great is that these people are making sure that anyone who needs a ride to the polls is going to get one. Giant marker board already have lists of names and destinations. “Get out the vote” is alive and well in my town! How awesome is that. A Democrat hasn’t carried Virginia since Jimmy Carter. I’m not counting any chickens, that’s why I plan to volunteer as much as my back will let me these next two weeks.

Colin Powell Endorses Barack

He may be a Republican, but his endorsement carries weight. Former Secretary of State said in an interview on “Meet the Press” that he endorses Democratic candidate Barack Obama for president even though he has known John McCain for over 20 years and the junior Senator from Illinois for only two because he believes that Obama offers offers a better chance to repair “frayed” relations with countries around the world. Powell also said that he is “troubled” by McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his choice of Vice President and that he does not believe that she is ready to be Vice President.

Many believe that Powell’s endorsement will be especially helpful to Obama’s campaign in counteracting charges that he is not ready to be Commander in Chief, especially since Powell commands a great deal of respect as former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bush I. Personally, I really liked what the General had to say about the comments accusing Obama of being a Muslim. In essence, Powell said, he’s not, but what if he were? As a country, we have to recognize that we are a country composed of people of many faiths, and just because someone is a Muslim, does not make them un-American or not patriotic. Powell then went on to relate the story of a mother grieving over her son’s grave at Arlington cemetery. The boy was 10 when 9-11 happened, and he waited until he was old enough to enlist so that he could serve his country. He happened to be Muslim.

Sarah P. on SNL

Never thought you’d hear me say this, but props to Sarah Palin for her appearance on Saturday Night Live. The governor actually did a good job in her cameo on the show Saturday. I think that it was a great idea to pair her with Alec Baldwin. Actually, I don’t know why I’m so surprised. Palin is a born performer; it obviously her milieu. She loves the spotlight and the cameras do love her. It’s just real people that she doesn’t do so well with . . .

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the youtube clip. I would post it here, but it’s such a long clip that it would eat up my allotted space.

And Now a Word from Our Sponsor

I finally managed to nab an Obama/Biden yard sign. I’ll keep you posted on whether or not it stays in my yard. I’m surrounded by McCain/Palin signs. After a quick drive through the neighborhood, I’ve espied only three other Obama signs. While Democrats might carry the state, I doubt they’ll carry my neighborhood. They definitely won’t get my mother’s vote. She’s still one of the old guard who believes that he’s a terrorist, and there is no convincing her otherwise. One of the people Corey talked to on the phone yesterday told him that she was convinced that if Obama won the election that the White House would become the Black House. Fortunately, I didn’t talk to any people who responded in that way, and I’m not really sure what I would have done if I had. Bit my tongue I suppose since it wasn’t my telephone or my call, technically.

That is one of the problems with calling on behalf of someone. When you are representing someone else, there is a certain amount of decorum required. Even I, in my curmudgeonly ways know that, but it’s still an irksome position in which to find oneself when you would like nothing better than to start spewing facts and statistics.

However, facts and statistics are lost on the ignorant and closed-minded. I should know this after encountering it numerous times on my own. When an individual has already taken a stand based primarily on fear and ignorance, nothing can change that position, least of all logic. Fear is one of the greatest motivators known to humankind. It’s what drives terrorism, wars, cults, murders, and all kinds of violence, domestic and other. What we fear, we seek to destroy. Only those who choose to enlighten themselves, to take another path to rid themselves of their fears, are able to overcome fear without violence, whether that violence is internal or external.

Oddly enough, it was a stream of consciousness quote on “ER” for the character Abby that reminded me of some of this. The first part of the quote was from Job Chapter 3. In verse 25 Job says, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” But as Abby is leaving the ER, she has moved on, and the stream of consciousness has changed to Chapter 38, which is actually god’s response to Job:

“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
       or walked in the recesses of the deep?

 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
       Have you seen the gates deep shadows?

 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
       Tell me, if you know all this.”

Now, I really don’t know a lot of Bible verses. This just happens to be one with which I am familiar because it is beautifully poetic, and when I heard it, I knew that I remembered it from somewhere, so I Googled it. But as I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I am a believer in signs, and I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the hate and anger that has been bandied about on this campaign and what that means, and how the charges of anti-Americanism are being hurled so easily.

And all of this has reminded me of being a little girl with olive skin, newly back in this country and how hate was so easily thrown my way, and I had no idea as to why. So I ponder hate and racism and bigotry frequently lately, and I watch the clips of the rallies, and I worry about the lunatic fringe. And then I hear beautiful words such as “Have you comprehended the vast expanse of the earth?” and for a moment I feel peace and hope, and I pray that in the end, people will remember that we are all Americans, that a different name, and a different skin color is just that—different, nothing else. Not worth hating. Not something to be “greatly feared.”

Peace. More later.

Enough With the Mudslinging

When You’ve Got Nowhere To Go But Down

Hoisted on His Own Petard

John McCain seems to have returned to sanity, or at least to have had a brush with his own decency, but it may be too late to save his campaign, which is sinking as quickly as the stock market. At a town hall meeting in Lakeville, Minnesota on Friday, McCain found himself in the unusual position of actually defending Barack Obama not once but twice as members in the audience made claims against the Democratic candidate.

One man said that he was afraid to raise his unborn child in a country run by a President Obama, and another woman actually openly declared that Obama is an Arab. McCain, obviously uncomfortable by both declarations, said to his supporters, “I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States,” and was promptly booed by the crowd. As to the woman who declared Obama to be an Arab, McCain, took the microphone away, and quickly shook his head no repeatedly. “No, ma’am. No, ma’am,” McCain said. “He’s a decent family man, a citizen who I just happen to have serious differences with on fundamental questions.”

This is the McCain I have seen before, the one who Joe Biden respects. It’s obvious that McCain has realized that he has started a fire (or someone in his campaign has) that is running out of control, and it is leaving a very bad taste in his mouth (apologies for the mixed metaphor). Can he salvage the situation? Unless he can muzzle Sarah Palin, I don’t think so. She enjoys her role as pit bull too much, and there is something afoot in these crowds, a mob mentality that is truly frightening, and I’m not being sarcastic here. For everyone’s sake, I hope that the Secret Service is being just as paranoid as I am, because this is the type of wildfire that makes loonies want to do something “for the good of the country.”

Speaking of Which

I can’t hold my tongue any longer on this whole William Ayers matter. Palin truly is like a pit bull with lipstick. Once her jaws lock onto something, they simply will not disengage. Ayers is 64 years old, almost a contemporary of John McCain, certainly not a contemporary of Barack Obama. Obama and Ayers served together for three years on The Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty foundation. Obama joined in 1993 and attended a dozen of the quarterly meetings with Ayers between 1993 and 2002, when Obama left his position on the board. Ayers and Obama also appeared together on a University of Chicago panel on juvenile justice in 1997 and another academic panel in 2002, which was sponsored by the Chicago Public Library.

Now, when Bill Ayers was at the height of his political radicalism in the late 60’s and early 70’s as part of the SDS and then as part of the more radical Weathermen, Obama was just a child. It was a tumultuous time in American history. The Viet Nam war was hugely unpopular, and protesting was prevalent and towards the end, violent. Ayers, and his wife Bernadine Dohrn were key players in this violence, bombing the New York City police headquarters, the U.S. Capitol, and the Pentagon in protest of what they viewed as a hugely unjust war.

The couple eventually turned themselves in to authorities in 1980, and both have apologized for their actions. However, in an interview in 2000, Ayers was quoted as saying that he didn’t “regret setting the bombs.” Ayers subsequently said that his words were distorted and that he had no regrets about trying to stop the United States’ war efforts in Viet Nam and felt that the country as a whole could have done more, not that they could have set more bombs.

Today, Ayers is currently a distinguished professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education. Ayers has earned the support of a number of prominent Chicagoans, including Mayor Daley. Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman suggests that while Obama was “justly criticized for his ties” to Ayers, that connection should be matched by equal coverage of John McCain’s association with infamous Watergate criminal, G. Gordon Liddy, who, by the way, is certifiably whacko and a textbook case of a domestic terrorist if there ever was one. (After the federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, Liddy advised listeners of his radio show: “Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they’re going to be wearing bulletproof vests. … Kill the sons of bitches.”) But that’s just my opinion, of course.

The Peanut Gallery

Cindy McCain

Would someone please tell Cindy McCain to ease up on the Botox? I understand that she has suffered a recent loss of her half-sister, so I won’t be too unkind; however, if she is going to be one of her husband’s pit bulls, then she needs to leave her hair down so that her face at least looks as if it still has the ability to move from the eyebrows up. Oh, and if she’s going to criticize Obama for not passing a bill to fund the troops (which he later passed), she should make sure that she remembers that her husband also didn’t pass a similar bill, which should have made her blood run similarly cold (but maybe she just couldn’t feel it).

And someone please tell Michelle Obama to start wearing suits instead of short-sleeved dresses to important events. It matters. I know that it shouldn’t, but it does. She looked great when she showed up for the The Jon Stewart show, so why doesn’t she wear something similar for the debates? Future first ladies are scrutinized for the most bizarre things. Tim Gunn, where are you?

Did everyone get a chance to see the (supposed) Palin home pictures that are making their way around the Internet? I sure hope so. Hockey mom in ultra mini skirt and ***k me heels does not look like conservative fundamentalist, looks more like swinger ready to exchange car keys. All of the teenagers have bottles of booze in various levels of depletion. Yep, bless their hearts, those Palins are just down home folks, dontcha know? Probably wanted to get rid of the trooper brother-in-law so they wouldn’t get any DUI’s (or should I say more DUI’s, Todder?). Excellent stuff that Photoshop.

On that note, just waiting for Wednesday night. I’ll be glued to MSNBC from 7 p.m. on . . .

Sarah Palin: The Vice Presidential Debate Performance of a Lifetime

I’ve waited a few days to weigh in on the vice presidential debate to give myself some time to digest the debate performance of Republican candidate Sarah Palin mostly to see if my reaction was sexist, as in, do I discount her abilities because she is a former beauty queen who doesn’t seem to have a brain in her head (not do I discount her abilities because she is a woman). After doing some soul-searching, I think that my reaction to Sarah Palin is feminist: I react to her the way that I do because I resent John McCain choosing her thinking that placing any woman on the ticket would be a way to win women voters, regardless of that woman’s qualifications, as in, women are interchangeable because of their parts.

But let me step back for a moment. Admittedly, the debate was not a train wreck (more like an episode of The Brady Bunch, sans kids and dad on the right side of the stage, but more on that later), and for that, the Republicans can all breathe a collected sigh of relief and get back to the matter of trying to make their presidential candidate look presidential. Good luck with those numbers, and too bad about Michigan, guys.

As to her actual performance in the debate, I will say that she exceeded my expectations. Palin did not fall of the stage. She pronounced multisyllabic words. She was able to string together sentences. Granted, they were her sentences, and not necessarily related to the questions she was asked. Palin declared early on that she was going to use her own game plan: “I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record.” Well, okee dokee, governor. And that’s exactly what she did. If she didn’t like the questions, she went back to something she was more comfortable with, as in “I’m still with that tax thing.” I counted at least six mavericks. Please, no more, and at least two contradictions, increase regulation in one answer, while reigning in government to get it out of the way in another. But does the woman even know what an “Achilles Heel” is? It’s not a good thing, but that didn’t stop her from going on for 90 seconds about her positives, including a supposed (incorrect) Reagan reference to the City on the Hill.

I wish that format had been stricter so that Ifill had done more follow-up as Lehrer did and had made the candidates answer the actual questions. Both candidates had a few factual errors, but Palin was prepped well on her key points and stuck with them—over and over and over again. Joe Biden, god bless him, managed to be succinct most of the time, not condescending, and to hammer Palin with facts. He was better after the first forty or so minutes when he finally decided to become more aggressive, and I loved it when he finally called her on the maverick thing.

But what I could not take, could not stand, absolutely could not abide for one more second was the bless his heart, you betcha, doggone it, “say it ain’t so Joe, there you go again” (awkwardly stitched together Reagan reference), supposedly joe(?) six pack-speak that was meant to endear Palin to the common people. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t want a common person in the presidential or vice presidential seat. I want individuals in both seats. I want to know that the person in charge and the person who is next in charge will be able to lead this country in times of peace and in times of crisis with a cool head and an above average intelligence, a savvy articulate negotiator who will be able to go toe-to-toe with any world leader and not come off as some kind of backwoods idiot, a person who will be able to stare down a Putin or a Kim Jong-Il, will be able to garner the respect of someone like the iron maiden British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—a person like Barack Obama, a person like Joe Biden.

The last thing this country needs is another president like George Bush who cannot find the verbs in his sentence. We have a whole industry devoted to Bushisms. It’s a national pastime.* Bless our collective hearts, but we just don’t need the humiliation again.

Please. Winks? Crinkling of the nose and opening the eyes really big like a high school cheerleader?Shoutouts? This was not a PTA meeting or a Wasilla town council meeting for gosh’s sakes. “Hey, can I call you Joe?” It was phony and condescending from the first moment. More and more, Palin reminds me of Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch, with her big family and her can-do attitude and her absolutely sunny attitude. But even as a child, I knew that there had to be something wrong with Mrs. Brady; I imagined that she was probably a secret alcoholic (I know it was the early cynic in me), but how else could you put up with that group of kids and that irritating husband and one bathroom? You would have to be a bitch behind closed doors when no one was around, but only the other moms would realize it. The other dads would be thinking of ways to get in your pants because you looked so good for having so many kids. And it was the men in the audience in particular who found this endearing. Pat Buchanan post debate declared Palin a clear winner, and in his commentary used the word “attractive” no less than four times in his description of the candidate. That definitely is a clear indicator of a good vice president. How could I miss that?

But perhaps the worst offender was Rich Lowry of the National Review’s “The Corner,” who wrote, “when Palin dropped her first wink, [I] sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can’t be learned; it’s either something you have or you don’t, and man, she’s got it” (10/3). Thanks to Keith Olbermann’s Countdownfor sharing the wonderful bit of pure ickiness, which just goes to show which part of their brains male supporters are using when they are assessing Sarah Palin’s qualifications.

This was a vice presidential debate that was viewed by 70 million people around the world. Have some dignity. At least the Todders wore a dark suit and a tie.

And PLEASE, it’s noo-clee-ar, not noo-cue-lar. DAMN!!

*For a really good read on how to diagram Sarah Palin’s sentences, see this article in Slate http://www.slate.com/id/2201158/