Laying On Your Head

Tommy Smothers, in Chicago a week before Election Day 1972, via Bruce Miroff’s The Liberals’ Moment: The McGovern Insurgency and the Identity Crisis of the Democratic Party, p. 115:

I was wondering what happened to the passion that we all had a long time ago and how we felt so outraged and incredulous [at] things going down … When you get six years of Johnson followed by four years of Nixon, you’ve got ten years of laying on your head, and now if Jesus Christ was running on the Democratic ticket, you’d say he was full of shit too.

My Friend

Some things that shouldn’t have been said at the Democratic National Committee Convention last week:

Joe Biden:

John McCain is my friend.

Hillary Clinton:

Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend.

John Kerry:

I have known and been friends with John McCain for almost 22 years.

There was no need for anyone to proclaim their everlasting friendship with John McCain at the convention to nominate his opponent. Why push this out at every opportunity? The man’s a disaster waiting to happen to the country, and the most recent Democratic presidential candidate, the person who almost won this year’s nomination, and the current vice-presidential nominee are all driven to express their abiding ties to McCain? Sure, they complained about his policies, too, but this kind of chummy relationship goes just too far.

Can anyone remember John F. Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson talking about being pals with Richard Nixon? Or Johnson and Hubert Humphrey saying what a good buddy Barry Goldwater was?

World of Hurt

From one of Tom Tomorrow’s Democratic convention posts for the New Haven Advocate:

Speaking of speeches, there was a line in Michelle Obama’s speech that also showed up in Nancy Pelosi’s, and these things don’t happen by accident: “Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq *responsibly.* And I can’t help but suspect that within that one word qualifier lies a world of hurt.

Kicking Around

Kari Chisolm at Blue Oregon:

Is there a veep pick that Obama could reasonably made that would have made you Nattering Nabobs of Naderism happy enough to get on the Obama train 100%?

Sycophancy is what Kari’s advocating here, folks.

Thoughtful support isn’t what Kari wants. It’s slavish boosterism and adulation.

Why the hell would I “get on the Obama train 100%”? I’ve never been on anybody’s train 100% (or 1000%). I don’t even support myself 100%; I know too many of my own flaws.

And the choice of language cues is truly priceless. Next thing you know, we’ll be hearing about “peace with honor” in Iraq.

Bad At Math

Apart from the many, many other reasons (can you say “Iraq”?) I would have hoped Barack Obama would pick someone other than Joe Biden as his running mate, the guy’s just a walking, talking gaffe-machine. And unlike John McCain, whose penchant for sticking his hoof in his mouth is only barely beginning to penetrate the media, Biden’s rep for misstatement is decades old.

Here’s just one small piece of an article from 1987:

The tape, which was made available by C-SPAN in response to a reporter’s request, showed a testy exchange in response to a question about his law school record from a man identified only as “Frank.” Mr. Biden looked at his questioner and said: “I think I have a much higher I.Q. than you do.”

He then went on to say that he “went to law school on a full academic scholarship – the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship,” Mr. Biden said. He also said that he “ended up in the top half” of his class and won a prize in an international moot court competition. In college, Mr. Biden said in the appearance, he was “the outstanding student in the political science department” and “graduated with three degrees from college.”

Comments on Assertions

In his statement today, Mr. Biden, who attended the Syracuse College of Law and graduated 76th in a class of 85, acknowledged: “I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school and my recollection of this was inacurate.”

As for receiving three degrees, Mr. Biden said: “I graduated from the University of Delaware with a double major in history and political science. My reference to degrees at the Claremont event was intended to refer to these majors – I said ‘three’ and should have said ‘two.’ ” Mr. Biden received a single B.A. in history and political science.

“With regard to my being the outstanding student in the political science department,” the statement went on. “My name was put up for that award by David Ingersoll, who is still at the University of Delaware.”

In the Sunday interview, Mr. Biden said of his claim that he went to school on full academic scholarship: “My recollection is – and I’d have to confirm this – but I don’t recall paying any money to go to law school.” Newsweek said Mr. Biden had gone to Syracuse “on half scholarship based on financial need.”

Maybe Biden thought that 76th out of 85 was in the “top half.” His degrees weren’t in math or anything. Maybe McCain can turn that whole 894th of a class of 899 at the Naval Academy into something more positive.

Spy Trackdown

spy trackdown

I was totally unfamiliar with the Spy Gear series of games and toys from Wild Planet, but apparently it’s been around for a decade.

Now, thanks to a long — if very sporadic — association with the wonderful people at Seattle board game developer Forrest-Pruzan Creative, I can claim a very small part of the Spy Gear world, having worked on some prototyping for the new Spy Trackdown game. I can hardly wait to play it.

Did Einst├╝rzende Neubauten Play At the Berlin Rally?

You heard the story about how John McCain’s campaign went after Barack Obama because he didn’t visit wounded soldiers in Germany during his campaign swing last month, then the allegations that McCain’s people were ready with the charge that he had been using the troops as props if he had gone to visit them. “Oh, no!” they cried, “We would never do that!

Well, here’s an example of how they would.

Currently, McCain is blathering on about how much of a “celebrity” Barack Obama is. All McCain’s people are talking about how he draws huge crowds because he’s such a “rock star.” Not that there’s anything there, of course.

But two short months ago, when Obama drew a crowd of more than 70,000 people to Tom McCall Waterfront Park here in Portland, the storyline from McCain’s supporters was quite the opposite. This is what Robert Knight at the conservative Media Research Center’s Newsbusters site said:

From CNN to the New York Times, the media hyped Barack Obama’s Portland, Oregon rally on Sunday, some comparing him to a rock star.

Unmentioned in national reporting was the fact that Obama was preceded by a rare, 45-minute free concert by actual rock stars The Decemberists. The Portland-based band has drawn rave reviews from Rolling Stone magazine, which gave their 2005 album Picaresque four and a half stars (out of five), and another four and a half stars for 2007’s The Crane Wife.

How many of the people showed up to hear Obama, and how many to hear the band?

Just over two months later, and the same site’s running a poorly-executed parody cover of Tiger Beat with Obama as the main squeeze.

And, pereant qui ante nos nostra dixerunt, I see as I’m finishing this post that The Guardian‘s Oliver Burkeman already wrote this piece, along with the information that the band that played in Berlin was Reamonn. He also notes that NewsMax and others were still trying to make the case that the only reason 200,000 people came out to see Obama there was to hear some free pop-rock, while the McCain people are pushing the opposite line.

All Hail The Rude Pundit

Several years ago, I had the good luck to get a link from Atrios, and as an exceedingly low-level blogger, I knew that anyone else in the same position would be interested in what sort of short-term spike in readership you get from that kind of thing. So it would be remiss of me to not mention how yesterday’s plug from The Rude Pundit affected page views.

Back in the spring of 2005, the Atrios link to my parody TIME covers (which was the entirety of his post and which are still the most-viewed items on my site) brought in more than 7,500 readers in the first 30 hours. Over roughly the same period of time, as an update to The Rude Pundit’s already-posted article on McCain at Sturgis, about 1,100, which I won’t be sneezing at.

Thanks to both of them for the support and the years of poking through the internet, dredging up chunks of interest and occasionally palming off some of my stuff.