Thursday, September 25, 2008


Another cringe-inducing performance by Sarah Palin in part II of her interview with Katie Couric.

In the segment below, Couric presses Palin to explain why Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience. Palin doesn't seem to have improved her answer since she was asked the same question by Charlie Gibson.

Here's the transcript:

COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--


PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our-- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.


Posted by Mark

From The Nation

Herbert Hoover did not have the option of making a televised speech to the nation as the Great Depression unfolded.

That was, undoubtedly, a good thing--for Hoover and the nation.

Hoover was spared the responsibility of what George Bush took on Wednesday night--that of trying to explain a dramatic economic downtown without taking responsibility for the definitional role that his wrongheaded policies had in causing the crisis.

And the country was spared the painful image of scared president clutching a White House podium so tightly that his tension was audible.

"We are in the midst of a serious financial crisis," began Bush, who proceeded to tell America what it already knows: banks aren't making loans, credit markets are freezing up, businesses and families can no longer afford to borrow essential funds.

Grasp. Grasp. Rumble.

"The market is not functioning properly. There is a widespread loss of confidence," the lamest of lame ducks continued. "America could slip into a widespread financial panic."

Grab. Rattle. Grab.

"Fellow citizens, we must not let this happen," Bush went on.

Clutch. Clutch.

"Many Americans are asking: How would a rescues plan work?"

Squeak. Claw.

"The final question is: What does this mean for your economic future?"

Grasp. Grab. Clutch. Claw.

Nothing that Bush said was in an address that lasted barely ten minutes was sufficient to inspire confidence, which explained why he has invited the two men who are competing for the unenviable task of succeeding him to join him on Thursday to pitch for passage ofthe most sweeping economic intervention scheme since the New Deal was applied to the Great Depression.

Democrat Barack Obama has already accepted the invite.

Republican John McCain, who on Wednesday announced a scheme to suspend campaigning in order to focus on addressing the mess, will have to show up.

And the presidential race will become fully linked with the advancement of Bush's recovery plan.

If Obama is smart, he will take another listen to Bush's speech – not to the words but to the sound of a desperate man trying to claw his way out of a corner. And he will recognize it as the same sound that Americans would have heard if a clueless Herbert Hoover had addressed the United States in 1929 – or in the last stages of the 1932 campaign.

The question Obama must ask himself is this: If Hoover had tried to get Franklin Roosevelt to help him advance a flawed plan to bail out the bankers who made the mess, would Roosevelt have rushed to Washington for a show of unity. Or would the Democrat who gave us that New Deal have said: "Let the Republicans appear with Hoover. I'm going to keep talking about taking the nation in a completely different direction."

There is no mystery as to why Bush and McCain want Obama to join them in the Rose Garden. They want him to be a part of their process--as opposed to an alternative to it.

Of course, appearing with Bush and McCain Thursday may help Obama to appear presidential.

But, after eight years of George Bush, America does not need the appearance of a president.

America needs a president. Bush's agonizing address reminded a nation that long ago lost faith in his leadership that he is not up to the task. McCain's deer-in-the-headlights dodge of trying to freeze the campaign and avoid the debates confirms that he has nothing more to offer than Bush.

Of course, they want Barack Obama to stand with them on Thursday.

Herbert Hoover would have loved to have Franklin Roosevelt at his side, instead of proposing sounder solutions.

Bush is Hoover. McCain is Hoover on steroids.

Obama, at this critical moment, should not lower himself to their level. He should be Roosevelt.

AM Trackers Suggest Poor Reaction to McCain Announcement

We'll have polling data rolling in all day, of course, but the very early returns suggest that the public may not have responded in the way John McCain might have liked to his announcement yesterday that he was "suspending" his campaign to attend to the financial crisis.

Two polls have been released so far that were conducting work in the field yesterday. The Research 2000 poll has Obama jumping from +4 to +6, on the strength of a +7 in the daily sample conducted yesterday. And Rasmussen Tracking has him moving from a +2 to a +3, his largest lead over McCain since 9/6.

Gallup, Hotline, et. al. may well turn turn out to show McCain gains, so we'll see how these numbers look in a few hours. It should be a fun day for poll-watchers.


exclusive breaking news


In a WORLD EXCLUSIVE The NATIONAL ENQUIRER names GOP VP Candidate Sarah Palin's secret lover!


I can only imagine the firestorm if this were Obama. If this doesn't finish her off, nothing will. How could John McCain NOT suspend his campaign with this news and the BIG NEWS in the post just above this one. The press doesn't seem all that concerned. They save their judgments - and their good journalism -to use against the Dems when there's a story like this. Don't want to rant, but this just pisses me off. It does look, though, like the voters are finally saying no to the bullshit. Lets hope.

Remains Of The Day

Posted by Mark from

Maybe I'm grossly misreading this, but I don't think McCain's decision to "suspend" his campaign today self-evidently looks Presidential. It could look Presidential, or it could look like a stunt. Meaning, the way the decision is narrated by the media matters. And when you've lost Kathryn Lopez and David Letterman on the same day, things haven't gone quite to plan.

But really, McCain's problems have nothing to do with returning to Washington for a couple of days and calling on Barack Obama to do the same. That could have been a smart little ploy. Rather, the problem was quite specifically his call to postpone Friday's debate.

Let me digress for a moment. One of the reasons I probably turned out to be a Democrat is because of Ronald Reagan and Bugs Bunny. When I was a kid, once every now and then, they had Bugs Bunny specials scheduled for prime time ... I looked forward to these for weeks. But invariably, invariably! -- or so it seemed when I was six years old -- they'd be preempted by Ronald Reagan giving a speech. I was sure what Mr. Reagan was saying was very important ... but I absolutely hated him as a result.

Americans feel about the debates they way I felt about Bugs Bunny. The cumulative audience between the three Presidential debates will likely significantly exceed that of the Super Bowl. They like watching them, and look forward to them. If McCain denies them that pleasure, they are likely to be angry with him, perhaps in ways they have difficulty expressing.


Imagine instead if McCain had called on Obama to return to Washington, and also called on him to meet him at Georgetown University on Friday night for a "civil discussion" (a.k.a. a High Noon showdown) on leading America's economy forward. That could have been brilliant. Obama would probably have had to agree to the change of venue and subject matter. McCain would have needed to follow-through by actually winning the debate, but if he had, that would almost certainly have been a game-changer. But that's not what McCain did.

Palin's Big Oil infatuation

She is as much a product of the oil industry as the current president and his vice president.
By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
September 24, 2008

I was water-skiing with my children in a light drizzle off Hyannis, Mass., last month when a sudden, fierce storm plunged us into a melee of towering waves, raking rain, painful hail and midday darkness broken by blinding flashes of lightning. As I hurried to get my children out of the water and back to the dock, I shouted over the roaring wind, "This is some kind of tornado."

The fog consolidated and a waterspout hundreds of feet high rose from the white ocean and darted across its surface, landing for a moment on a moored outboard to spin it like a top, moving toward a distant shore where it briefly became a sand funnel, and then diffusing into the atmosphere as it rained down bits of beach on the harbor. For 24 hours, a light show of violent storms illuminated the coastline, accompanied by booming thunder. My dog was so undone by the display that she kept us all awake with her terrified whining. That same day, two waterspouts appeared on Long Island Sound.

Those odd climatological phenomena led me to reflect on the rapidly changing weather patterns that are altering the way we live. Lightning storms and strikes have tripled just since the beginning of the decade on Cape Cod. In the 1960s, we rarely saw lightning or heard thunder on the Massachusetts coast. I associate electrical storms with McLean, Va., where I spent the school year when I was growing up.

In Virginia, the weather also has changed dramatically. Recently arrived residents in the northern suburbs, accustomed to today's anemic winters, might find it astonishing to learn that there were once ski runs on Ballantrae Hill in McLean, with a rope tow and local ski club. Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don't own a sled. But neighbors came to our home at Hickory Hill nearly every winter weekend to ride saucers and Flexible Flyers.

In those days, I recall my uncle, President Kennedy, standing erect as he rode a toboggan in his top coat, never faltering until he slid into the boxwood at the bottom of the hill. Once, my father, Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, brought a delegation of visiting Eskimos home from the Justice Department for lunch at our house. They spent the afternoon building a great igloo in the deep snow in our backyard. My brothers and sisters played in the structure for several weeks before it began to melt. On weekend afternoons, we commonly joined hundreds of Georgetown residents for ice skating on Washington's C&O Canal, which these days rarely freezes enough to safely skate.

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil and its carbon cronies continue to pour money into think tanks whose purpose is to deceive the American public into believing that global warming is a fantasy. In 1998, these companies plotted to deceive American citizens about climate science. Their goal, according to a meeting memo, was to orchestrate information so that "recognition of uncertainties become part of the conventional wisdom" and that "those promoting the Kyoto treaty ... appear to be out of touch with reality."

Since that meeting, Exxon has funneled $23 million into the climate-denial industry, according to Greenpeace, which combs the company's annual report each year. Since 2006, Exxon has cut off some of the worst offenders, but 28 climate-denial groups will still get funding this year.

Corporate America's media toadies continue to amplify Exxon's deceptive message. The company can count on its hand puppets -- Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, John Stossel and Glenn Beck -- to shamelessly mouth skepticism about man-made climate change and give political cover to the oil industry's indentured servants on Capitol Hill. Oklahoma's Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe calls global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American public."

Now John McCain has chosen as his running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a diligent student of Big Oil's crib sheets. She's something of a flat-earther who shares the current administration's contempt for science. Palin has expressed skepticism about evolution (which is like not believing in gravity), putting it on par with "creationism," which posits that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.

She used to insist that human activities have nothing to do with climate change. "I'm not one ... who would attribute it to being man-made," she said in August. After she joined the GOP ticket, she magically reversed herself, to a point. "Man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming," she told Charles Gibson two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Alaska is melting before our eyes; entire villages erode as sea ice vanishes, glaciers are disappearing at a frightening clip, and "dancing forests" caused by disappearing permafrost astonish residents and tourists. Palin had to keep her head buried particularly deep in an oil well to ever have denied that humans are causing climate change. But, as Upton Sinclair pointed out, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

Palin's enthusiastic embrace of Big Oil's agenda (if not always Big Oil itself) has been the platform of her hasty rise in Alaskan politics. In that sense she is as much a product of the oil industry as the current president and his vice president. Palin, whose husband is a production operator for BP on Alaska's North Slope, has sued the federal government over its listing of the polar bear as an endangered species threatened by global warming, and she has fought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Alaska's coast to oil drilling.

When oil profits are at stake, her fantasy world appears to have no boundaries. About American's deadly oil dependence, she mused recently, "I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can't drill our way out of our problem."

I guess the only difference between Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney is ... lipstick.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is an environmental lawyer and a professor at Pace University Law School.