Monday, October 20, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Et tu, Ken Adelman? Adelman, perhaps the coldest warrior of them all, said this: "When the economic crisis broke, I found John McCain bouncing all over the place. In those first few crisis days, he was impetuous, inconsistent, and imprudent; ending up just plain weird. Having worked with Ronald Reagan for seven years, and been with him in his critical three summits with Gorbachev, I've concluded that that's no way a president can act under pressure."

Color Colorado Blue The McCain campaign is looking for some way to make the electoral map break their way without Colorado. Bad news for them - there is no way to do it without a miracle in Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania has not gone to a Republican in a presidential contest in 20 years, and Obama currently leads McCain in the Keystone State 54-39.

Time to let go of Joe Apparently the October Surprise is the McCain campaign standing in the public square, showering in gasoline and striking a match. Apparently, John McCain has banked his entire campaign on "Joe the Plumber" - who has been discredited as a wingnut, exposed as a tax cheat and revealed to be an unlicensed, illegal gypsy plumber who isn't sanctioned to do plumbing work in the state of Ohio. In spite of the fact that people seem to recognize him for the wingnut moron he is, and that people really don't like him very much (he's a little too ordinary - and we all know too many assholes) the McCainiacs plan to keep using him all the way to election day. Pathetic.

Finally a wronged wife doesn't just take it I seriously had hope there for a minute that Wendy Vitter would do David an injury on camera during that fiasco, but she ultimately disappointed me and there was no bloodletting. Terry Mahoney, on the other hand is not standing for it and she is not standing by her man, either. She filed for divorce today. Tim Mahoney, who replaced Mark Foley after a sex scandal, admitted last week to having had multiple affairs - and "causing pain in his marriage" - the pro forma transgression all these cheating bastards cop to.

Shorter Rick Davis: "We're getting our asses kicked! Hell yeah we might bring up Reverend Wright!" Okay - you do that. We'll bring up Hagee, and Parsley, and Robertson...and Bishop Thomas Muthee.

Things are looking good in Nebraska's 2nd District: Much of the theory about Obama's potential in Omaha centers around the large African-American community in North Omaha, as well as the smattering of liberals in the center of the city; venture west of 72nd Street, and the Applebee's-studded blocks are about as conservative as the rest of the state. But when I met up with my family at a Holiday Inn breakfast buffet right on 72nd St. Saturday morning, the first thing I saw was a guy with a mullet and baseball cap wearing some sort of "Metalworkers Union for Obama Biden" T-shirt. I made a dumbfounded face at my parents and pointed, as if at an exotic bird, but they just shrugged: It turned out they were used to it. My sister and her husband live way out in the suburbs in a brand new development—so new, in fact, that the area was just annexed into the Omaha city limits within the last year. Granted, it's an "entry-level" area, with small houses that appeal to young families, but I was still astonished to see four Obama yard signs on my sister's little street (see one above), and nary a McCain/Palin placard in sight. Suddenly, the Obama campaign's new West Omaha office made a lot more sense.

Michelle Obama reaches out to military spouses: Once portrayed as unpatriotic, Michelle Obama has quietly carved a niche on the campaign trail as a sounding board for military families, taking up a cause that could define her agenda as first lady. Every few weeks, Obama meets with military spouses in swing states, where she presents herself as a kindred spirit and Barack Obama as the best choice for their families. She attended the two debates with military family members. And at the Democratic National Convention, she led a day of service on behalf of Blue Star Families for Obama, a two-month old group with the tagline: "Pro-Military, Pro-Obama."

Still nothing good happening in Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe's opposition leaders boycotted a regional summit Monday, arguing the session was too limited to "knock sense" into Robert Mugabe and make a proposed unity government a reality. Soon after the opposition's chief negotiator, Tendai Biti, appeared at a news conference in South Africa, leaders from South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Congo and Mozambique gathered in Swaziland. They were meeting as a committee of the main regional bloc, the 12-member Southern African Development Community, or SADC, to try to resolve Zimbabwe's political impasse - but Biti was dismissive. "Going to Swaziland now won't resolve anything," Biti said. "Which is why we're calling for a full SADC summit."

First the sports memorabilia market, now the art market: The mood was frosty at London's Frieze Art Fair. Bidders were sparse at Christie's and Sotheby's. Even Andy Warhol's multicolored skulls failed to lift the art world's gloom. A week of slowing sales and sagging prices suggests the global financial meltdown has finally ended the art-market boom that saw paintings and sculptures become must-have commodities for the world's elite. At Sotheby's and Christie's — where price records have tumbled regularly in recent years — the major autumn auctions of contemporary art generated at least a third less money than predicted, with many works going unsold. "A lot of the froth and hype has gone from the contemporary market," Melanie Gerlis, art market editor of The Art Newspaper in London, said Monday. Art world observers have been predicting a crash since the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis began rippling around the world. Many of the buyers driving the art world sales frenzy were hedge fund and private equity millionaires — among the first to suffer as the credit crunch took hold.

Venezuela makes a play for world domination, Bond-villain style: President Hugo Chavez says a big naval base will be built on Venezuela's largest island. Chavez says Margarita Island's strategic location off Venezuela's coast in the Caribbean Sea makes it perfect for "a naval base of large proportions." Margarita covers an area of 1,020 square kilometers (394 square miles). It is a popular tourist destination and is home to about 450,000 Venezuelans. Chavez says a naval base there will help authorities fight drug trafficking. Chavez's office said Monday that the president visited the island on Sunday along with American actor Sean Penn and Venezuelan Indy car driver Milka Duno. U.S. officials have expressed concern about Venezuela's Russian-backed military buildup. No word on whether a deranged man named Largo will be involved.

How stupid do you have to be these days? A Parkville man has been convicted of sending a threatening e-mail to Gov. Martin O'Malley and has received a suspended sentence. Walter Abbott Jr. received a suspended sentence of six months in prison and two years of unsupervised probation on Monday. Abbott, a 44-year-old construction worker, rejected a plea deal of probation before judgment and went on trial in Baltimore County. He will have to pay a $500 fine and stay away from the governor and his family. In March, Abbott sent an e-mail to O'Malley's official web site. In the e-mail, he expressed anger at the governor's policies on illegal immigrants. He also wrote that he would strangle O'Malley if he ever got close enough to him. Abbott's attorney argued that his client didn't mean the threat literally, but a prosecutor contended that threats against public officials are serious business.

Until we see the police report, we call bullshit Why the hell is Memeorandum picking up a wingnut site that chronicles the wacky adventures of a group of losers in deep denial calling themselves the Stop Obama Tour? They are saying on their site that the "Straight Talk Express" - which is apparently touring without candidates and handing out campaign chum was attacked with a paint ball gun or guns, and a that a window had been shattered by a .22 round. We have not heard this from any credible source, and if no police report is produced, we will assume that these delusional wingnuts are just making shit up.

Scott Bloch decides to call it a day, but wants to collect a few more months of government pay: The nation's top protector of whistle-blowers, who himself is being investigated for allegedly retaliating against employees, said Monday he will resign at the end of his term in January instead of staying on until a replacement can take over. Under the law, U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch could stay for up a year--until his successor is confirmed by the Senate--after his term ends Jan. 5. But in a letter to President Bush, Bloch said he will leave at the end of his five years on the job, much of which has been marked by criticism and calls for his resignation. "As you well know, doing the right thing can result in much criticism and controversy from every side," Bloch wrote in his two-page resignation letter. NONE of the Bushies should be kept a moment longer than necessary.

That pesky troopergate business just won't go away! Sometime this week, "Palin and her husband will meet this week with an investigator determining whether she violated state ethics law when firing her public safety director. Thomas Van Flein, the attorney for both Sarah and Todd Palin, said Sunday the separate depositions by an attorney for the Alaska Personnel Board will be held out of state. The investigator, Timothy Petumenos, will fly to meet the Palins. Van Flein declined to say exactly when or where the interviews will be held, only that they will occur later in the week. ‘I estimate each interview will take about three hours,’ he said."

This just makes me sad This poor deluded woman is more to be pitied than scorned. Five will get you ten that Diane Fanning could not define "socialism" on a multiple choice test.

Oh sweet goddess if irony, I give you alms! Over the weekend, a joint task force of police and state investigators in California swooped in and arrested the owner of a firm that had been hired by the republican party to register voters - on charges of voter registration fraud. Voters charge that Mark Jacoby duped them into joining the California Republican Party by making them believe they were signing a petition to toughen penalties against child molesters. Zachary Roth at TPM Muckraker summed it up succinctly when he said “Ironic that, for all the GOP-generated sturm und drang over ACORN in the last few weeks, it looks like it’s in fact a Republican firm against whom there’s actual evidence of systemic fraud.”