Thursday, October 02, 2008

She flings her words like bean bags at a blackboard

What are the odds of Sarah Palin becoming President? If John McCain wins the election in November, the chances of him dying in office and being succeeded by her, are really, really good.

From last night's Vice-Presidential debate: "nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people and too many parts of our planet."

"The most likely cause of her undoing will – strangely – be the McCain campaign. In St Paul, unveiled as the goose who could lay for the Republicans the golden egg of the presidency, she brimmed with the inflated self-assurance of the small-world conqueror, and held a national audience in the palm of her hand as she recited the same confident platitudes that served her so well in Alaska. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and McCain and his advisers should have left well alone, left ‘Sarah’ to be her vote-winning self. Instead, they seem to be no less alarmed by her than liberals are, and have taken to force-feeding her, stuffing her gullet with ‘talking points’ on foreign and domestic policy. Under their frantic tuition, Palin has recently looked less likely to lay the golden egg than to produce inferior goose-liver pâté." -- Jonathan Raban, London Review of Books.


JUMP!, originally uploaded by rachiestar_me.

I've mentioned the rich and deep vein of apocalyptic thinking that rushes like a torrent through American culture, from recent movies that eagerly imagine the destruction of New York City (Cloverfield, I Am Legend), to novels (Cormac McCarthy's The Road, soon to be a movie), to TV shows like Jericho. Someone came up with this great shot on Flickr, above. Even before I saw it, I was musing absent-mindedly on what magnitude of crisis on Wall Street might bring the news that a ruined financier, as several did in 1929, leaped to his death rather than face life in the gutter with the rest of us?

More Apocalypse is coming to your TV screens, thanks to HBO, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter:

"What if the current financial crisis in the U.S. becomes so severe that Americans start to flee the country?

Welcome to "Americatown," a Chinatown-like enclave of U.S. immigrants in cities around the world.

HBO is developing the futuristic drama series project, which hails from writer Bradford Winters and producers Tom Fontana, Barry Levinson, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy.

Set 25-40 years into the future when the precipitous decline of the U.S. leads to a mass exodus of its citizens, "Americatown" takes place in a cluster of newly arrived American immigrants in a big foreign city."


I long for a nation-wide rejection of the Republican candidate, an election result as decisive as this one.

Latest polling data from CNN puts Obama ahead in some battleground states:

Florida: Obama 51%, McCain 47%, with a ±3.5% margin of error.

Minnesota: Obama 54%, McCain 43%, with a ±3.5% margin of error.

Missouri: Obama 49%, McCain 48%, with a ±3.5% margin of error.

Nevada: Obama 51%, McCain 47%, with a ±4% margin of error.

Virginia: Obama 53%, McCain 44%, with a ±4% margin of error.

Four of these states were won by George W. Bush twice, with Minnesota being the only exception. All totaled, those four red states add up to 56 electoral votes -- and John McCain can barely afford to lose even one electoral vote from the Republican column.

Also, CNN has changed their map to favor Obama a little bit more -- Minnesota has moved from Toss-Up to Leans Obama, and Missouri from Leans McCain to Toss-Up.

-- via


I want a hero: an uncommon want
When every year and month sends forth a new one,
Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one.

Byron, Don Juan

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Nothing left

It's been years now since I said that George Bush and the Republicans were using the federal government like an ATM machine. These recent surreal days: don't you feel uneasy, watching Wall Street go crazy? Doesn't it feel like something vast and ghastly, a dark coda to 9/11, the Iraq adventure, Katrina, all those other crazy events of the last eight years, is going down?Don't you feel queasy? To mangle John Lennon, "Grow old, become a bum / The worst is yet to come."

And so, yet again, with inexplicable absence of moral outrage or even just rage, the New York Times:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury’s proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."

So, they are robbing us blind as the curtain is falling. At least we now know that George Bush was never the fascist some said he was. He was just a thief. On dollar bills it should read: "In this god we trust."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Buddy, can you spare me a dime?

"So what we now have is non-functional government in the face of a major crisis, because Congress includes a quorum of crazies and nobody trusts the White House an inch. As a friend said last night, we’ve become a banana republic with nukes." -- Paul Krugman

Scream, America! Scream!!!

"In a stroke, McCain gratuitously forfeited his most powerful argument against Obama." -- Charles Krauthammer.

Shocking News from Someplace

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Out like a light

Someone I met twice briefly two weeks ago for the first and as it turns out, only times, dropped dead of a heart attack on Thursday afternoon. He was 56. I'm shocked and sad.

He projected a aura of hilarity, probably to his misfortune. Shortly after meeting me he was telling in graphic detail his recent embarrassing "medical procedure," and then, the second time I met him, he told me all over again, but with more detail. He stretched the 'e' in procedure way out. "Proceeeeeedure."

Since then I have learned more of him: he was married and had four grown-up children. He was finally considering filing suit against the Catholic Church for the sexual abuse he experienced as a boy. He came from a wealthy family in South Carolina. He was packed and ready to leave for S.C. on Thursday evening, the day he died, to attend his brother's second wedding, which has now been cancelled.

In other news, I bring attention to the above graphic. It's less than two months until the election. I have been convinced for many months that a win by the Democratic candidate will usher this country into unprecedented change for the better. His mere presence in the White House, without even lifting a hand, is significant. Whether you agree with me or not, we are privileged to witness these times, this era. It means the unleashing of potentials. If he wins...

"Anything can happen, the tallest towers

Be overturned, those in high places daunted,
Those overlooked regarded."

If the Republican candidate wins, then enjoy the America you deserve.

I am slightly sad that the man I mentioned above, did not live to absent-mindedly notice events happening as he might have done had he lived, standing as I remember him, on Tenth Avenue, fretting over that embarrasing "medical proceeeeedure."