Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 29th, 2008

Palin doesn’t know what a VP does

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At 0:56 she misuses “whom” (using it as the subject of a clause—just one of my pet peeves: people who can’t use good grammar) and (more seriously) at 2:57 she wonders what is it that a Vice President does. Great choice, McCain.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 August 2008 at 12:40 pm

Posted in GOP

Ezra on Palin

with 3 comments

Very good post from Ezra Klein:

SARAH PALIN.

You can say this much, at least. She sure won’t be another Dick Cheney.

The choices were all bad. Tim Pawlenty was a lightweight. Joe Lieberman was a liberal. Mitt Romney was a Mormon. Over the past few weeks, it became clear that John McCain couldn’t pick anybody for vice-president. And so he didn’t. Instead, he picked Sarah Palin.

There’s nothing wrong with Sarah Palin. Indeed, she’s a perfectly normal politician. A hardline conservative with a good government streak who’s proven a skillful political comer in a tiny, remote state. It’s just a bit…odd.

McCain speaks often of the transcendent challenges we face. His whole campaign is based on the idea that we need steady, experienced leadership to guide us through a world populated with lethal foreign threats. McCain has amassed that experienced the hard way: He’s a 72-year-old man who’s served in Congress for almost three decades and spent five years languishing in a prison camp. The simple reality of his campaign is that, for reasons of message and age, his vice-presidential pick matters more than most. If the world really is as he describes it, then experienced leadership is enduringly crucial. And it is not unimaginable that there could come a time in his presidency when his understudy must sorrowfully step forward.

Sarah Palin has been in office less than two years. She’s governor of a state with a shade of 600,000 people, and before that she was a mayor of a hamlet with 9,000 people. She has no foreign policy experience. She has no experience making national policy. She has spent fewer than 700 days crafting statewide policy for Alaska. None of this is a moral flaw or personal failing. It just makes it hard to imagine her fit for the vice presidency.

This was, for McCain, a major decision. And we can learn from it. The calculations are gallingly transparent. Understanding that he needed to broaden his electoral coalition, he picked a woman, Understanding he needed youth, he picked a young politician. Understanding he needed to emphasize his reformist credentials, he picked a onetime whistleblower. What he didn’t pick was anyone able to help him govern, or capable of stepping forward in a moment of crisis. Palin is not an experienced foreign policy hand like Lieberman or a successful and experienced governor like Tommy Thomson. Today, McCain chose his campaign over his presidency. Over our presidency. In this decision, country did not come first. Polls did. Palin seems like a promising young politician, but McCain increasingly seems like a desperate one.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 August 2008 at 11:24 am

Posted in Election, GOP

Site to bookmark: Periodic Table of Videos

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Take a look at this one. Via Science News, which particularly recommended H, Na, and Hg.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 August 2008 at 11:18 am

Posted in Daily life

Design your own fabric

with 2 comments

I have no idea how many readers make their own clothing—or at least the occasional shirt, skirt, or whatever. I once worked with a guy whose wife made him all his suits. Amazing.

At any rate, Cool Tools reviews a site that allows you to design your own fabric. Take a look.

UPDATE: Link fixed. Thanks, Marsha.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 August 2008 at 10:35 am

Posted in Daily life

Obama’s acceptance speech

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From TPM Media:

And here’s Joe Klein’s take on it and also Kevin Drum’s.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 August 2008 at 10:19 am

Posted in Democrats, Election

Downplaying the differences

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For some reason the mainstream media wants to blur the sharp distinctions between Obama’s position on issues and McCain’s. Possibly this is because if McCain’s positions are clearly known, he has no chance whatsoever of being elected: he really is a worse version of George W. Bush. Steve Benen has an excellent post on this problem—worth the click—from which I quote this list:

* Global warming: The AP says both want to combat climate change “in earnest.” In reality, yes, both Obama and McCain agree that global warming is serious. The difference is, Obama has an ambitious policy to combat the trend, while McCain’s rhetoric doesn’t meet reality.

* Taxes: The AP says both want to cut taxes for the middle class. This neglects to mention that Obama’s tax cuts for the middle class are bigger, and that McCain’s tax cuts for the extremely wealthy are even more regressive than Bush’s tax policies.

* Iraq: While there’s been security progress in Iraq, to suggest there are minimal differences between Obama and McCain on Iraq policy is backwards. These two haven’t agreed on almost any aspect of the war for six years.

* Stem cell research: The AP says both want to end the ban on federal money for embryonic stem cell research. That’s true, but it neglects to mention that McCain is running on a party platform that would prohibit any and all research, publicly or privately financed.

* Gay rights: The AP says there are “only shades of difference over key questions about gay marriage.” This neglects to mention that while Obama is a supporter of gay rights, McCain is virulently anti-gay, even opposing civil unions and gay adoption.

* Cap and trade: The AP says, “They are both advocating a cap and trade system that would force companies that cannot meet targets to pay for the right to pollute.” This neglects to mention that McCain recently announced that he no longer supports the “cap” part of his “cap-and-trade” policy.

In other words, even on issues where the media says these two agree, they disagree.

Voters have a choice between two very different candidates, offering two very different agendas, at a critical time in American history. Why would media outlets like the AP deliberately paper over these differences?

Written by LeisureGuy

29 August 2008 at 9:51 am

Posted in Daily life, Election

LBJ’s speech that led to Obama’s speech

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Robert Caro, author of the fascinating biography of Robert Moses The Power Broker and of a multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, wrote a great column, which begins:

AS I watch Barack Obama’s speech to the Democratic convention tonight, I will be remembering another speech: the one that made Martin Luther King cry. And I will be thinking: Mr. Obama’s speech — and in a way his whole candidacy — might not have been possible had that other speech not been given.

That speech was President Lyndon Johnson’s address to Congress in 1965 announcing that he was about to introduce a voting rights act, and in some respects Mr. Obama’s candidacy is the climax — at least thus far — of a movement based not only on the sacrifices and heroism of the Rev. Dr. King and generations of black fighters for civil rights but also on the political genius of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who as it happens was born 100 years ago yesterday.

When, on the night of March 15, 1965, the long motorcade drove away from the White House, heading for Capitol Hill, where President Johnson would give his speech to a joint session of Congress, pickets were standing outside the gates, as they had been for weeks, and as the presidential limousine passed, they were singing the same song that was being sung that week in Selma, Ala.: “We Shall Overcome.” They were singing it in defiance of Johnson, because they didn’t trust him.

They had reasons not to trust him.

In March 1965, black Americans in the 11 Southern states were still largely unable to vote. When they tried to register, they faced not only questions impossible to answer — like the infamous “how many bubbles in a bar of soap?” — but also the humiliation of trying to answer them in front of registrars who didn’t bother to conceal their scorn. Out of six million blacks old enough to vote in those 11 states in 1965, only a small percentage — 27 percent in Georgia, 19 percent in Alabama, 6 percent in Mississippi — were registered.

What’s more, …

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

29 August 2008 at 9:34 am

Posted in Daily life, Democrats

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