A moment ago here in beautiful Houston, the sun was shining through patchy clouds, there were occasional
isolated drops of rain, and there was hardly any wind. The traffic web site doesn't show any great exodus on the
westbound or northbound freeways. In the 4:00pm CDT public advisory, hurricane warnings have been extended
westward along the coast to just east of High Island (look for that little bay or "notch" south and east of
Houston). It's hard to believe we're going to have real weather here within 18 to 24 hours, but I think it's
likely. I'm ever so grateful I don't live in New Orleans, and greatly concerned for the well-being of anyone
there who decided not to evacuate.
Stella and I and The Girlz are as ready as we reasonably want to be. No one here in Houston is panicking.
Everybody has stocked up on food and drink; we spent our last excursion buying a watch battery and browsing a
bookstore. (Well, if you consider a Borders a bookstore... hey, it's close, and Stella had coupons.) I'll post
occasionally for as long as we have power, which may be straight through. If you are in the way of this monster,
please be safe; we'll be thinking of you.
It's almost eerie. The Houston sky is cloudy, but where I live, there's not a drop of rain, or a breath of wind.
The city is unsettlingly still, considering that Gustav is once again in the Gulf of Mexico. One would never
know it from glancing at the sky.
Oh, we'll get weather from Gustav, all right, but the current word is that there is about a 5 percent chance
that Houston will see hurricane-force winds... let alone the high Category 4 winds which Gustav is generating
at the moment. Houston is liable to see flooding instead, sometime around midweek. Houston, as a city, knows
about floods; look up Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. But we are accustomed to floods in summer, and except for
a few fools who come to grief trying to negotiate underpasses, few of us even lose cars in the floods typical
here. (Now watch this one prove me wrong.) There hasn't been a lot of rain lately, so the ground should be in
good shape to absorb the water. And absent a surprise course change, Gustav's storm surge will probably go
elsewhere. (Yes, we're 50 miles inland. Yes, a sufficiently powerful hurricane can send a dangerous storm
surge to Houston.)
Gustav, though, is huge, powerful and moving fast... and apparently headed for a landfall in a couple of days
on the Louisiana coast. New Orleans is at risk. Yes, long-suffering New Orleans, with levees still not repaired
to adequate functionality; New Orleans, built on a 10-foot-deep bowl; New Orleans, victim of presidential
contempt and neglect. FEMA's director says everything is hunky-dory, and from a GOP perspective, that's probably
true. As you know, NOLA is being evacuated right now, and I hope all the residents save themselves. My thoughts
are with them in the coming days.
And this is not the last storm of the season. Look at the NHC's
it appears as if the forecasters took colored pencils and doodled on the map. There's always one more storm to
I read somewhere that McCain has met Sarah Palin only once. Many note that his choice is cynical; I say this
also shows that he made the choice hastily and irresponsibly. I can't help thinking this will come back to
Attempts at dissuading McCain
Were certainly made, but in vain.
He's yet to be shown
What everyone's known:
That four-fifths of PALIN is PAIN.
has not one but three fine limericks on the subject, addressing the likelihood that women who supported Hillary
would ever vote for Pain, um, Palin just because she's female.
But she differs with Mr. McCain on a controversial environmental issue that centers on her home state: she
has been pushing for a new pipeline that would pump trillions of cubic feet of natural gas from the North Slope
to the lower 48 states in the hope of delivering Alaska another economic boom. Mr. McCain’s opposition to
drilling — even after he changed positions and began advocating for off-shore oil drilling — has upset many
A former colleague of mine in the oil business used to say offhandedly that pipelines, properly constructed and
managed, need not be a problem for creatures living in the Alaska wilderness. That is false on its face... a
pipeline is a major habitat change that will often redirect large animals from their normal pathways... but
worse still, the construction and maintenance of a pipeline involves so much disruption that actual operation
of the pipeline is the least of the sources of environmental damage.
You can already begin to see why Gov. Palin is an excellent GOP vice presidential selection... from a
Democratic standpoint. From a Republican standpoint...
Well, there's the size of the state
she brings with her, which is... oops, 47th in population among states, with fewer than a million
Well, uh, there's her Christianity and her conservative social views, which should please
fundamentalists among McCain's supporters... oops, a lot of those fundies don't approve of women in executive
Well, there are all those lesbians among former Hillary supporters who have vowed to vote against Obama... oops,
opposes same-sex marriage
and even domestic partner benefits. How far will women go to spite Obama for defeating Hillary?
Well, surely there's some GOP constituency Palin is supposed to draw, right? I mean, no one would pick a veep
candidate unsuitable even for one's own base, just for the momentary shock value of upstaging an opponent's
nomination, would they? Well, would they??
Look. Today is McCain's 72nd birthday, and I wish him a long, happy retirement. But if he became
president (by election or by theft), there's a good chance he would not survive one term in office, and a high
probability he wouldn't survive two. His veep choice is of paramount importance, because if McCain is elected,
she is regrettably liable to become president someday. I doubt Palin has the social and political skills for
the job... and don't get me started about her likely diplomatic skills. Her term as mayor of a town of 9,000 and
her less than two years of one term as governor of Alaska make her look like an amateur beside Obama with all
his experience. Uh-oh... there goes the "Obama's inexperienced" talking point for McCain.
And... not that Gov. Palin is a bad public speaker, but can you wait to see Joe Biden chew her up and spit her
out in the vice presidential debate?
As I said, this could be very good news for Democrats, and hence for the nation.
Yes, I think he accomplished what he needed to do. One reporter afterward on Charlie Rose (Al Hunt?) said that
on his reporter's checklist of essential matters... his experience, his patriotism, his ability to serve as
commander-in-chief, his specific approach to the typical Democratic issues, notably the economy and health care
this election, and the whole gamut of national security issues... Obama nailed them all. And there were some
good one-liners. Regarding McCain's voting with Bush 90 percent of the time, "I don’t know about you, but I’m
not ready to take a ten percent chance on change" resonated particularly with me.
When Obama won the primaries, I was somewhat disappointed... but I increasingly believe I was mistaken, and
that he will be an effective candidate and president. I guess the highly staged conventions of our
era still serve one purpose: to introduce a candidate to an almost impossibly large and diverse body politic.
(Speaking of diversity, McCain just announced Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. More about this later.)
Welcome to the other "convention" in Denver. There was little enough justification for shoving the
CodePink demonstrator to the ground. But arresting her to interrupt her statement to reporters and bystanders
afterward is completely un-American. Great job, Denver... not that the police of any other city in which
conventions have been held since, oh, say, 1968 have been notably better.
At one time, it was possible to buy a T-shirt printed with the First Amendment. People wore them to protests
and reported some success in reminding police of their constitutional right. In the case shown in the video,
how much difference do you think such a reminder would have made?
Stella has a print by satirical artist
titled "House of Too Much Light," a send-up of Thomas Kinkade's cozy-cottage paintings, in which the cozy
cottage is being raided by the cops, and various nudes from famous artworks are in the process of being busted
for prostitution. Kite is a master at satirizing the masters, not to mention the likes of Kinkade. (Stella will
kick me for that last observation.)
But who knew Kite had a rival in the oppo "research" wing of the GOP?
points us to Eric Kleefeld's
post on TPM
about Colorado GOP chair Dick Wadhams acknowledging, without intending to, a hilarious fact about their
operation in Denver:
Just consider this the Ministry of Truth.
Hmm. "Don't know much about his-to-ry..." or literature. I think Wadhams would do well to put an Ingsoc in it.
This should have been a post about the first night of the Democratic National Convention, Senator Kennedy's
speech and Michelle Obama's speech. Or about Hurricane Gustav. Or anything else but this. Life really isn't
When M.A. and her parents moved in next door to me in the house I occupied before this apartment, she was, I'd
guess, about four years old. It was difficult to tell with M.A. She had a congenital (?) disease which, among
its other effects, kept her small for her years.
When I first met the family, M.A. wasn't expected to live more than a couple of years. Defying all
predictions, M.A. not only outlived expectations, but indeed appeared to enjoy life, apart from her episodes of
illness. Few people I have known were as good-natured and cheerful as M.A. Her upbeat attitude was a tribute to
the caring and compassionate nature of her family.
Last night, I received word that M.A. has died. This afternoon, I plan to attend her funeral. I've been out of
touch with the family for several years, but I believe M.A. must have been a late teenager, or perhaps 20. As I
said... life really isn't fair.
R.I.P., M.A. You will be remembered, and missed.
(I have of course deliberately obscured M.A.'s identity above.)
Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Barack Obama sought to assure voters in Wisconsin that he was just like them, as
Republicans argued Democratic presidential candidate chose his running mate to compensate for weakness on
OK, GOP campaigners; I know you're a bunch of vacuum-heads, but have you given even a moment's thought to where
this tactic leads? I.e., what, exactly, will Democrats say about McCain's choice of running mate?
John McCain picks a running mate who is noted as a cool-headed clear thinker. Therefore McCain is
compensating for his widespread and apparently well-deserved reputation for being hotheaded and
John McCain chooses a running mate who is younger than he is (he could hardly do otherwise),
obviously to compensate for his being older than dirt and treading on the edge of senility.
John McCain, compensating once again, picks a veep candidate who actually earned his fortune the hard way,
and stuck with his first wife, rather than ditching his ailing wife to marry one who is younger, more
attractive, and... most of all... obscenely wealthy.
John McCain selects a vice presidential candidate who has never crashed even one aircraft, let alone
John McCain chooses a veep candidate who graduated first in his class at a military academy, rather than
5th from the bottom of the class.
etc., etc. ...
OK, this game is beginning to disgust even me. Or maybe it's McCain's compensations for repeated failures and
countless shortcomings that are disgusting me. Either way... do GOPers really want to start this kind of fight?
Stella's father is still in the hospital, but to my knowledge there have been no further nearly catastrophic
incidents. She's visiting him this weekend, about 30 miles north of here. Tabitha, Samantha and Steve are
finding it awfully quiet around here.
Obama's running mate will be Sen. Joe Biden (D-Credit Card). OK, how about a bit of Gershwin...
It's... Biden this time;
That's... a choice that's no crime;
He's not lightnin',
Nor too frightnin',
Biden... this time.
Next year, next year
Somethin's bound to happen
This year, this year
We can keep on nappin'
The choice is as unexciting as it is uninspiring... and maybe that's no bad thing. Biden reportedly knows a lot
about foreign policy; that's good.
This is outside a local fancy-schmantzy grocery store. I presume this version is for use by Obama supporters:
considering what is coming out of the McCain campaign lately, their version would read
All these ladies really rock. And in this pic, not one of 'em is off her rocker...
A note of concern: the photo was taken over a week ago, in happier times. As I write this, Stella's father is in
the hospital, in surgery. Yes, it's serious. Your prayers are appreciated.
UPDATEFriday about 5:45pm: Stella's father is now out of ICU, trying to
recover some lost sleep. The docs are trying to analyze the cause of the problem. With luck, there will not be
any recurrences of the post-surgery episode that scared the daylights out of everyone. If you still have any
spare good vibes to send his way, I'm sure we'd all appreciate them.
John McCain, asked how many houses he owned, couldn't remember, and had to ask his staff.
(YouTube video of Obama campaign
commercial.) His eventual answer... questioned by some as being too low a number... is seven houses, and by the
looks of the pics, they ain't cheap. Hey, if I were running for prez, I'd forget that fact, too, at least in
front of reporters.
How many houses do you own? One? Two, counting a vacation trailer somewhere? Zero? Bingo... I own no real
property of any sort. (I used to own a trailer; Hurricane Rita remedied that.) I suppose that's because I'm not
wealthy. (John McCain says you aren't wealthy until you earn $5 million a year.) Or maybe, per Phil
Gramm, I'm just one of those whiners.
John McCain repeatedly says that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Do you think John McCain has
one fucking clue what your life is like? No? Me neither.
Voters in Poll Want Priority to Be Economy, Their Top Issue
By MICHAEL COOPER and DALIA SUSSMAN
Published: August 20, 2008
Senators Barack Obama and John McCain are heading into their conventions neck and neck in the presidential race,
with voters focused overwhelmingly on economic issues but convinced that the candidates are not paying enough
attention to their priorities, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
Slim majorities said neither candidate had made clear what he would do as president, suggesting that both need
to use their conventions to provide voters with a better sense of their plans for addressing the deteriorating
economy, high energy prices, access to health care and national security.
Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is still closely associated with the deeply unpopular President
Bush. Nearly half of those surveyed said that they expected him to continue the Bush administration’s policies
if he were elected president. But voters, by a wide margin, view Mr. McCain as better prepared to be president
than Mr. Obama, and as more likely to be an effective commander in chief.
Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, was trusted more by voters to handle their top concern, the
economy. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said they were confident that Mr. Obama would make the right
decisions on the economy, compared with 54 percent who expressed confidence that Mr. McCain would. When it came
to foreign policy, the image was inverted: 66 percent expressed confidence in Mr. McCain to make the right
decisions, and 55 percent in Mr. Obama.
But the economy — not national security — is shaping up as the far greater concern this year. Four in 10
voters called it their top concern; only 15 percent cited the Iraq war. Taken together, a series of pocketbook
issues — including the economy, jobs, gas prices and energy policy — were the leading concerns of more than half
of those surveyed. Terrorism and national security, along with the war, were cited as most important by just
under a quarter.
Are you listening, Senator Obama? I'm not saying you should ignore the national security issue, but all the
evidence is that you can never, ever, ever win by emphasizing security in your campaign. Take a hint from Bill
Clinton instead: it's the economy, smarty.
I haven't gotten one of these in a long while, but there it is, in my inbox:
I have a secured business proposal of Twenty Two million Four Hundred
Thousand United State Dollars only for you.l will like to know if you
are willing to assit me,lf intrested please contact me on my private
email address(email@example.com) for more details.Your
earliest response to this mail will be highly appreciated.
My Esteemed Regards,
Nothing half-"assit" about that proposal, eh?
(I mangled Mr. Poon's email address; don't bother sending to it.)
(HaloScan is defunct as I post this. Apologies if it still is when you attempt to comment.)
John Amato of Crooks and Liars
has it, and he has the screen shot and text copy off the wire to prove it: AP referred to Joe Lieberman
as the "Democratic vice presidential prick in 2000" (emphasis mine). Couldn't have said it better myself!
Kevin Drum will be starting a
at Mother Jones. Steve Benen will take up the thread (so to speak) at Drum's former blog,
Political Animal, i.e.,
the Washington Monthly. This all happens on Friday.
I am reverting to the original name of the blog, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat. It's all silliness
anyway, but for what it's worth, here are my reasons:
I am committed to voting the Democratic slate, including the presidential ticket. Ever the pragmatist,
I find that as elections approach, the possibility of a GOP win drives me ever further from the notion of
voting for someone other than the Democrats, or staying home. (Anyone who expected me to do either of those
things doesn't know me very well.)
Many local Democratic candidates are very impressive, and those that I have followed for years in
other offices... Chris Bell and Rick Noriega come to mind... have my active endorsement. (If I had money or
working feet right now, they'd have more than my endorsement. The money will have to wait, and the feet, I'm
afraid, will never be the same.)
I read somewhere that the convention vote-counting problems for Florida and Michigan are on their way to
being resolved in a manner one could call fair. If that is so, it removes one of my main objections to
full participation in the Democratic Party this year. (I need to confirm this.)
If Sen. McCain won or otherwise took the presidency, I'd have to move somewhere else; I'm not willing
to live out my last few years in a state of perpetual war. In "honor" of Sen. McCain, I'm thinking my
destination might be Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia.
I firmly believe that the Democratic Party in its pre-"new Democrat" form must be restored, or a
suitable replacement for it quickly established, if the nation is to be saved. Contrary to everything the
neocon's have been bleating for three decades, the United States of America was founded on liberal
principles, and thus must have at least one liberal party.
Sometime after the national convention, my endorsement of Barack Obama will reappear in the sidebar. The man
needs a lot of work on his rough (i.e., conservative) edges to make him a suitable leader for a liberal nation,
but I believe the materials are there... the brains, the judgment, the street smarts, the political skills...
that, notwithstanding his annoying rightward leanings during the campaign, there is potential to turn him into a
fine president if we can just get him elected. And I don't even want to think of what life would be like if,
instead, The Brain-Dead Scold were to take office. I think you can understand why I am resuming my Democratic
(If you've changed my blog name in your blogroll to the Yellow Doggerel Something, thank you for your
consideration, and please feel free to leave it that way. I also answer to either my first or middle name, for
Here is a short op-ed
by Paul Krugman on the return of nationalism in the second age of globalization. Krugman uses the work of John
Maynard Keynes to compare today's globalization with the earlier instance, and offers some words of caution for
today based on what happened to that era of global trade in the face of rising nationalism. Krugman calls his
piece "The Great Illusion"; I might instead have called it "Why you should not poke a sleeping bear with a
that Bush plans to gut the Endangered Species Act by essentially leaving federal agencies to regulate
themselves regarding compliance with the Act. Today,
has a few notes on the matter (not to mention a scathing assessment of the Bushists' approach).
So what's new? This: after already issuing the proposed regs virtually in secret, after allowing only a 30-day
public comment period on them... the Fish and Wildlife Service is no longer accepting email from the
public during that period. Supposedly one can comment on
but the clear intent is that you not comment at all. Welcome to limited government, Republican-style, where the
government limits you, not the other way around.
Far be it from me to suggest that the Fish and Wildlife Service find its phone system saturated over the next
few weeks. Denial-of-service tactics are ugly and inappropriate!
Asking questions seems a normal classroom activity, but how about shooting first? A one-school district in
North Texas wants to allow its teachers to
For the record, and to dispel Texas stereotypes (fat chance), every Houston-area district administrator or
school administrator asked about the decision in Harrold has replied with alarm that it is a terrible idea. I
couldn't agree more.
My late father, who was a school counselor at the time, once disarmed a seriously disturbed student who carried
a loaded pistol in her jacket pocket into the principal's office. Everyone was fortunate that Dad had been
trained years earlier for such an action by the U.S. Navy. No one was hurt. The incident was isolated; everyone
Now imagine what life at school would be like if troubled students knew there was likely to be a gun in some
teachers' coat pockets or desk drawers. How soon would a student perpetrate a violent incident? How soon would
some pistol-packing teacher, possibly untrained in weapons use, respond violently rather than attempting to
defuse the situation?
The Harrold school board pointed out that the nearest police station was 30 minutes away from their one school.
Fine: let them hire a police officer to be stationed on campus. Among the possible violent threats faced by
students and school personnel, there are none that can be effectively dealt with by amateurs. Arming everyone is
the wrong solution to the problem.
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John McCain: Uncooperative, Vindictive
Amy Silverman of the Phoenix New Times offers an extended article,
Postmodern John McCain: the presidential candidate some Arizonans know — and loathe,
on her personal experiences as a journalist covering John McCain over the years, and on other people's
experiences with the man. It is not a pretty picture, and the article is rather long, but for maximum effect,
please read all of it. Short quotes will not do the work justice; you will be well rewarded by reading the