It’s no fun watching a old man embarrass himself.

What crazy ass thing did I do THIS time?

"What crazy ass thing did I do THIS time?

John McCain’s week started with him singing R&B oldies. First it was “I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” followed by “I’ll Be There.”

He decided since he doesn’t know anything about the economy the best thing he could would be to “suspend” his campaign so  he could go back to Washington so he could add his leadership to the economic bailout package the Bush Administration and Congress are trying to put together.

Never mind the fact McCain isn’t part of the Senate Banking Committee and isn’t part of the Senate leadership.  Only he—the original maverick–could come to the rescue.   Nobody asked for him, but McCain invited himself anyway.

With less than 45 days from the election EVERY DECISION made by a campaign at this juncture has political considerations. Anyone who thinks differently doesn’t know jack about politics.

The notion that 48 senators were sitting around in Washington paralyzed by indecision waiting for “the original Maverick” to come riding to their rescue and using his well-know bipartisan powers hammer out an agreement that will satisfy everyone and bring joy and happiness to us all is pure nonsense. This is a guy who admitted he doesn’t know much about the economy. What the hell was he going to bring to the table that’s not already there?

The Senate Minority Leader’s last name is “McConnell,” not “McCain.” Senators are a notoriously independent group and I seriously doubt any of them (except Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham) are sitting around, chewing their fingernails, waiting for a sign–a light to come down from the heavens, or a crack of thunder and a whoosh of air heralding the arrival of St. John the Maverick.

There was nothing remotely honest about McCain’s grandstanding move to duck the debate. He played games with a clear and cold political calculation and it blew up in his face.

It was both gutless and cynical. Two words I never thought I’d associate with John McCain.

“Leadership” has nothing to do with looking grimly serious while the cameras are on. It’s “leadership” when the cameras are off  and you get the deal done.   McCain flubbed it spectacularly. All Obama had to do was sit back and watch him fall.

Leadership isn’t presuming you know more about the problem than anyone else or that everyone is waiting around with bated breath for your suggestions.

Leadership is also knowing when you can’t have the answer because you don’t even understand the problem.

Leadership is having the intelligence to know when you’re leading by example and not simply posturing for the camera.

Despite what his monstrous ego and his slavish followers presume erroneously, McCain does not have the power to compel the passage or rejection of legislation based on his force of will. He’s a spectator who thinks because he’s got a front row seat it means he should coach the game.

A small man getting smaller.

A small man getting smaller.

Obama, unlike the extremely presumptuous and supremely arrogant McCain, knows when the greater wisdom is in observing and playing your part instead of screaming, “I’m here to save to day,” swoop in, accomplish absolutely nothing except to get his picture taken and shift the focus from hammering out the details of a extremely tricky piece of legislation to one man’s insatiable lust for the spotlight.

Obama knows he is A senator. McCain thinks he is THE senator.

Leadership also requires a certain amount of humility and McCain is a total stranger to the quality.

Crime Story

My 18-yr-old nephew was walking north on Fairwood Avenue heading to Broad Street to catch a bus to his job at a Loews in a shopping center.

It was approximately 2:00 pm and the day was sunny and bright.

He passed an alley when a young Black male (I and my nephew are both Black) confronted him and told him to lie face down on the ground and give him his money or he’d blow his bleeping head off.  He pointed a gun at him.

My nephew quickly complied and his wallet, cell phone, keys, watch and a i.d. bracelet were stolen from him and the punk ran off.  Shaken, but unhurt, my nephew proceeded to work and called the police and his mother.  Later that day his father called me and gave me the shocking news.

I went to his house and hugged him and told him I would drive him to work if necessary.  i told him not to walk that route again (which was the same way he walked for years to get to East High school).

It shakes me to my soul to think we came this close to losing a good kid who has never been in trouble, has a job and is attending school at Columbus State trying to better himself and shape a life for himself.  ALL of it could have been snatched away had that punk decided he didn’t want to leave any witnesses or just was a complete sadist.

My nephew is a tall. skinny kid and not at all street-smart.  He’s a easy target for two-legged predators.   I thought immediately about my own son who is also 18, even taller, if not skinny, but equally green as grass when it comes to knowing his way around the streets.

Maybe it was the combination of being in the military and several trips to Times Square and 42nd Street before Rudy Giuliani hosed it down and cleaned it up, but you can’t walk around looking lost in your thoughts and whistling in a happy tune.  The idiots with more bullets than brains see that a sign of weakness and pounce.  You have to navigate the streets with what I call my “city face.”  My city face is  a head-up, eyes-front, neck on a swivel surveying the street and my surroundings.  One hand is partially in a pocket while the other one swings freely as I stride purposely.   My expression is a mean “don’t ask me for shit” face.   I try to carry myself with confidence.

I never had a problem bopping around New York or any other big city I’ve walked around because I tried to look like I belonged.   Not as a potential victim waiting to be hit.

Nothing can stop you from being a victim of crime if someone determines they are going to take from you something they want.   A “city face” only goes so far.  So does a can of Mace or a big dog or a concealed gun.

My nephew is alive partially of what his assailant didn’t do, but mostly what he did do.  He didn’t try to be macho.  He didn’t give the guy any lip and make a nervous idiot a trigger-happy nervous idiot.  He gave up the goods without a struggle.

There is nothing he lost that can’t be replaced.  His life cannot be replaced.

The only thing I can say my nephew did wrong was taking a longer route for a shorter bus ride where he wouldn’t have to transfer.   The safer way would have been to walk a block south of his home and to catch a bus on a busy main street that would have forced him to go downtown and transferred to another bus that would have taken him to work.  But I would rather leave 30 or 45 minutes earlier than expose myself to a similar experience again.

We’re all potential victims of crime.  Don’t live in dread or fear.  Don’t view every young male walking toward you on the sidewalk as a potential threat.  Be smart and be aware of where you are and how vulnerable you may be.

i know the cops won’t find the bastard.   If one Black kid rips off another Black kid, who cares?   If one Black kid kills another Black kid, that’s no big deal either.  Except for the survivors who have to put their lives back together without a piece of their heart.

While African Americans comprise 12% of the U.S. population, 45% of all murder victims in 2002 were African American, 91% of whom were killed by African Americans. Nationally, homicide is the leading cause of death for black men and second leading cause of death for black women ages 15-24.

It’s one thing to read those numbers.   It’s another thing entirely to know someone  you love came this close to being a statistic.

I don’t have the solution for Black-on-Black crime.  Neither does Barack Obama,   John McCain or even Jesus Christ himself.  Somehow too many young brothers and sisters got it in their heads that since it didn’t matter if they lived or died, why should it matter about anybody else living or dying, even when that other person looked the same as you?

Maybe someday when people can love and value themselves, they can find love for and the value of others too.

But that day is not today.

The worst thing to do is surrender to fear.  A certain amount of fear is fine because it can keep you safe.  Too much of it and you’ll never leave the house.

It’s just like the sage advice of the precinct sergeant from Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.”

Save a Corporation, Screw a Taxpayer

Before he lost his mind, Ralph Nader once described George W. Bush as a corporation impersonating a human being.

Turns out we didn’t know how right Nader was.   Last week, following the on the stock market plunging over 500 points in it’s biggest day of losses since 9/11, the crumbling of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch,  the government of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and the near failure of American Insurance Group,  Bush woke up to one of the greatest financial crisis the nation has faced since the Great Depression.

Now Bush wants a $700 billion life preserver thrown to his corporate cronies.

If first you dont succeed,  beg for the taxpayer to subsidize your failure

If first you don't succeed, beg for the taxpayer to subsidize your failure

The first thing to do is not allow the same bumblers like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stampede the Congress into saddling the American taxpayer with billions in bad debt to save stupid businesses from their stupid decisions.

McCain has mumbled something dumb about how the economy is fundamentally sound and how, if elected, he’d fire the SEC chairman (though that’s not a power the president possesses). Obama has said without offering specifics there should be be no bailout for Wall Street without help for Main Street. I agree, but for some more concrete suggestions I’m going to Senator Bernie Sanders for answers.

If the economy is on the edge of collapse we need to act. But rescuing the economy does not mean we have to just give away $700 billion of taxpayer money to the banks. (In truth, it could be much more than $700 billion. The bill only says the government is limited to having $700 billion outstanding at any time. By selling the mortgage-backed assets it acquires — even at staggering losses — the government will be able to buy even more, resulting is a virtually limitless financial exposure on the part of taxpayers.) Any proposal must protect middle income and working families from bearing the burden of this bailout.

I have proposed a four part plan to accomplish that goal which includes a five-year, 10% surtax on the income of individuals above $500,000 a year, and $1 million a year for couples; a requirement that the price the government pays for any mortgage assets are discounted appropriately so that government can recover the amount it paid for them; and, finally, the government should receive equity in the companies it bails out so that when the stock of these companies rises after the bailout, taxpayers also have the opportunity to share in the resulting windfall. Taken together, these measures would provide the best guarantee that at the end of five years, the government will have gotten back the money it put out.

Second, in addition to protecting the average American from being saddled with the cost, any serious proposal has to include reforms so that we end the type of behavior that led to this crisis in the first place. Much of this activity can be traced to specific legislation that broke down regulatory safety walls in the financial sector and allowed banks and others to engage in new types of risky transactions that are at the heart of this crisis. That deregulation needs to be repealed. Wall Street has shown it cannot be trusted to police itself. We need to reinstate a strong regulatory system that protects our economy.

Third, we need to address the needs of working families in this country who are today facing very difficult times. If we can bail out Wall Street, we need to respond with equal vigor to their plight. That means, for example, creating millions of jobs through major investments in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and creating a new renewable energy system. We must also make certain that the most vulnerable Americans don’t freeze in the winter or die because they lack access to primary health care. link

Leave it to a Socialist to come up with a plan to save failed capitalists.

Laissez-faire economists and their amen chorus have preached for years that government should get out of the way of the free market and allow it to work its magic. It would appear there are no rabbits in the magician’s hat and they have come with it in their grubby little hands asking the same government that permits 8,000 families a day to lose their homes in foreclosure, to now save them from their own sub-prime mortgage mess, among other failed financial schemes.

If Bush wants to send them a nice big wad of money, I think it’s entirely appropriate for the government to also do something for the millions of Americans who are out of work and facing the end of their unemployment benefits.

The unemployment rate in this country is just over six percent; the highest it has been since 2003. Since January, more than 605,000 jobs have been cut from the economy. Because the job market is tight, many job seekers find themselves out of work for many months. Unemployment benefits typically last 26 weeks, or six months. In June, Congress extended the length of time a recipient may collect benefits to 39 weeks. For those who find themselves out of work much longer, losing what may be their only source of income could result in financial disaster. Considering the number of currently unemployed people in this country, it is not unlikely that this could create a chain reaction that not only affects individuals and families, but also the nation’s economy.

National lawmakers must work quickly and extend the length of unemployment benefits for out of work Americans. If there is no extension in place by October, 800,000 unemployed people will stop receiving their much-needed benefits. There is currently a bill in front of Congress that would extend unemployment benefits for up to 46 weeks. States with high unemployment rates, like Michigan and California, will have the power to extend benefits for up to a year. link2

Billions for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, AIG, and BearSterns, but nothing but an I.O.U. for the taxpayers. Both Republicans and Democrats should put the brakes on this fast-track hand-out. Granting vast new powers without carefully understanding what Bush and Paulson, who worked on Wall Street, are trying to slam through would be yet another aberration of Congressional authority.

I intend to tell my representatives to take their time and if they grant this hand-out, get it done right, don’t just get it done fast the way Paulson wants it rammed through.    When you’re about to put taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars, it’s not a  bad idea to make the bankers and bureaucrats sweat for it a bit.  There should absolutely be no corporate welfare without restrictions, regulation, reform and relief for ordinary Americans.

Oh, and each and every one of the CEOs of the failing banks, investment groups, and insurance companies should be forced to resign, their golden parachutes taken away and given a job befitting their miserable managerial skills. Maybe let ’em run the mailroom or courier service.

Lighting Candles, Cursing Darkness

Every so often Mother Nature serves up a big steaming dish of humility and all you can do is choke it down as best you can.

In the wake of Hurricane Ike, Columbus was whipsawed by a burst of 65-miles per hour winds that knocked out power for most of the city and surrounding area.   My power went off around 4:30 pm in the middle of a dull 49ers/Seahawks football game.

Four days later it came back on at 4:00 pm.  By then my daughter’s entire week of high school had been canceled,  the plan to finish the last minute shopping for my son ‘s move to college was wrecked as we spent a couple of hundred dollars eating fast-food and at crowded restaurants.

I’m all for togetherness, but four days and nights bumping into each other in rooms illuminated only by candles and flashlights gets very old, very quickly.

This is what humility looks like.

This is what humility looks like.

It’s also no fun to throw away a refrigerator full of food.   That was a good $200 to $300 blown to hell and gone.

You spend a lot of time moving around in the day because at night it’s just too damn dark and creepy to roam far from home.   At least we got to reintroduce ourselves to a lot of our neighbors.  Misery and company do go together.

I’m not really complaining.  Sure it sucks to find out how accustomed we’ve become to flipping a switch and there’s instant illumination.   As crappy as television can be, it can be a bit disconcerting to not have the option of turning it off.   I spent a lot more time at the library waiting to log onto a computer for an hour, most of which was spent e-mailing editors that I wouldn’t be able to work on that assignment this week.

When you’re sitting in the dark feeling bored and sorry for yourself, thinking about those whose lives were impacted far worse by Hurricane Ike helps put things in perspective.

It just doesn’t make you feel any better about sitting in the dark.

Hypocrites, Pit Bulls and Republican B.S.

"What I said is not necessarily what I meant."

I understand the issues, I understand and appreciate the enormity of the challenge we face from radical Islamic extremism. I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn’t a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn’t a governor for a short period of time.

~ John McCain 10/21/07

McCain was talking about Mitt Romney then.  He’s talking about Sarah Palin now.

Something else I was thinking about this morning.

Republicans have damn near wetting themselves over Sarah Palin.  She’s pro-life but she hunts and kills animals (huh?).  She’s a gun nut.  She’s a member of the NRA.  She’s not some namby-pamby prissy-ass Democrat.  She’s a rough, tough, polar bear kilin’ “pitbull with lipstick.”

Anybody wanna try and put some lipstick on me?

"Anybody wanna try and put some lipstick on me?"

Is that really a flattering comparison?

Pit bulls kill a 4 month old

Two pit bulls have mauled a 4-month-old girl in her north Las Vegas home.

Police say the child’s grandmother was baby-sitting at the time. The grandmother was hospitalized with injuries she received, as she tried to protect her granddaughter.

Police say the dogs were in the backyard and entered the home by bursting through a screen door. Officers shot and killed both animals. link


Deputies kill 2 pit bulls mauling Wash. woman

SEATAC, Wash. —King County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed two pit bull dogs that were mauling a 71-year-old woman in Seatac.

The sheriff’s office says the woman was still being mauled in a driveway Monday when a deputy arrived and quickly pulled his gun. The other dog had run off but was shot by another deputy.

The woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with bite wounds from her legs to her head. Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart says the woman is listed in serious condition.

The attack happened several blocks from where the dogs lived. Animal Control officers talked to the owner and confiscated two other pit bulls from the home. link


Girl, 4, critically hurt by pit bull on Northwest Side

A 4-year-old girl is listed in critical condition in Children’s Memorial Hospital after being mauled by a pit bull on Chicago’s Northwest Side.

The girl was playing with the dog in the backyard of an apartment building in the 3500 Block of West Cortland Street at about 7:30 p.m. Friday. The pit bull suddenly attacked the girl and bit her several times for unknown reasons, said Amina Greer, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department.

The dog and the girl both live at the building, but the girl’s parents are not the owners, police said. link

Man mauled by 3 pit bulls in suburban Rochester


CHILI, N.Y. – Three pit bulls attacked a 70-year-old pedestrian in a Rochester suburb early Friday, knocking him over, biting him around the head and forcing passing motorists to use their vehicles to shield him from further harm.

The victim, Thomas Tziatzou, needed surgery for wounds to his face, had an ear bitten off and suffered other injuries to his neck, arms and legs, said sheriff’s spokesman Cpl. John Helfer. He was listed in satisfactory condition at a hospital.

Tziatzou was attacked while walking along a street in the suburb of Chili at about 5 a.m. A motorist told police he initially thought the dogs were pulling a garbage bag from the curb, then realized it was a person, Helfer said. link

Staten Island Man, Mauled by Pit Bulls, Dies

Henry Piotrowski, the 90-year-old man who was mauled by a neighbor’s pit bulls on Staten Island last month, died on Sunday. The Advance reports his death “means prosecutors are almost certain to pursue more serious criminal charges against the dogs’ owners, and has spurred renewed calls for a ban on the breed. ” Neighbors had apparently called to complain about the dogs before, and one who witnessed the attack said Piotrowski was essentially being “eaten alive.” The niece of the victim, a World War II veteran who spent the past six weeks in intensive care and had his leg amputated, said, “Uncle Hank’s legacy is whatever changes to the law happen because of this. I understand the police are busy. But when people call over five months saying there’s a problem, something should be done.” link

I don’t think pit bulls are cute. With or without lipstick. Trying to make a joke of a breed of dog that has its share of “issues” isn’t all that funny.

I couldn’t find any news accounts of pigs with or without lipstick mauling or killing anyone.

Piggies.

In every presidential campaign we get a phony outrage.  One side or the other huffs and puffs and blows away all the real issues with a long, drawn-out and totally meaningless discussion over a stupid incident that doesn’t feed one hungry person, get us any closer to the end of the war in Iraq or provide any health care for the millions of citizens who can’t afford any.

Who SAYS you cant put lipstick on a pig?

Who SAYS you can't put lipstick on a pig?

This time we’re wasting time over whether or not when Barack Obama said, “You can’t put lipstick on a pig”  he was taking a cheap shot at Sarah Palin, the self-described “pit bull with lipstick.”    Palin’s running mate (who’s zooming who?)  John McCain hurriedly released a commercial blasting Obama and later appeared on The View where he was roughed up by Whoopi Goldberg,  Joy Behar and even Barbara Walters.

Of course the right-wingers on radio and television and in the blogs are swearing up and down, “Oooh! Oooh!  Obama dissed Palin.  He called her a pig!  Oooh!”

Which according to Factcheck.org, an impartial site that monitors the ads and statements of both campaigns for truthfulness, accuracy and spin, couldn’t be farther from reality.

Let’s start with what the ad gets right. It does seem to be true that Republican v.p. candidate Sarah Palin wears lipstick. And it’s true that she mentioned this particular cosmetic choice at the convention, when she joked that lipstick is the only difference between a hockey mom and pit bull, as the ad shows before it goes completely off the rails. If this were a CoverGirl commercial, we’d be all set.

But it’s not; it’s a political ad. And it goes on to imply that Obama made a personal dig at Palin, calling her a “pig,” and that commentators decried his sexism for derailing the campaign. This is bunk. link

A simple thing like facts isn’t slowing down the false indignation of right-wingers who have never given a damn about sexism or women’s issues until Palin got in the race.

When it comes to “lipstick on pigs” John McCain was way ahead of Obama:

In Iowa on Oct. 11, 2007, McCain panned Sen. Hillary Clinton’s health care plan, calling it “eerily reminiscent” of the plan that failed during Bill Clinton’s administration, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

“I think they put some lipstick on a pig,” McCain said, “but it’s still a pig.”

On Feb. 1, 2007, McCain blasted a Senate resolution that would have criticized President Bush’s strategy in Iraq. Some had praised the resolution as a compromise measure, but McCain disagreed. “It gets down to whether you support what is being done in this new strategy or you don’t,” McCain said. “You can put lipstick on a pig, [but] it’s still a pig, in my view.”

It is simply impossible to view the complete remarks by Obama and conclude that he’s making a veiled and unsavory reference to Palin. Her name never is used in the preceding sentence. In fact, it’s hard to see how one could interpret Obama’s lipstick-on-a-pig remark as referring directly to McCain, either. We think it’s very clear that Obama was saying McCain’s effort to call himself the “candidate of change” is like putting lipstick on a pig, trying to dress up a bad idea to look better. Agree or disagree with Obama’s point, but his remark wasn’t the smear that McCain’s people have tried to make it.

If anyone’s doing any smearing, it’s the McCain campaign and its outrageous attempt to distort the facts. Did Obama call Palin a pig? No, and saying so is Pants on Fire wrong. link

We have reached a low watermark in this campaign when gas prices are spiking back up, financial insitutions are crumbling (Lehman Brothers) or requiring a federal bail-out (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), the Cold War is heating back up, over 40 million Americans have no health insurance, and McCain and the right-wing want to play semantics over pigs and lipstick.

You know you’ve crossed from merely being absurd to downright idiocy when even Karl Rove has no love for your negative advertising.

“McCain has gone in his ads one step too far, and sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100-percent-truth test,” said Rove. “Both campaigns ought to be careful about… there ought to be an adult who says: ‘Do we really need to go that far in this ad? Don’t we make our point and get broader acceptance and deny the opposition an opportunity to attack us if we don’t include that one little last tweak in the ad?'”

McCain once said he would rather lose an election than a war. He seems to have modified that to he would rather lose his honor than a election.

I love how the Republicans have gone from almost total disinterest in the presidential campaign to complete confidence they have got this thing in the bag since Palin made the scene.

Sure Palin has revitalized a Republican base that was lurching around like zombies in a George Romero flick, but I’ve yet to read even ONE suddenly cocky right-winger that has considered, “What if Palin has woken up overconfident Democrats that thought they had this in the bag?”

Sarah Palin is Clarence Thomas with Breasts

"I've screwed all THIS up? Wow, I really DO suck."

You’ve got to hand it to the Republicans.  When it comes to making affirmative action look bad, they’re consistent.

From the same party that gave us the incredibly untalented and mediocre Clarence Thomas comes the equally untalented and mediocre Sarah Palin.

After several days of hiding her from the press, the McCain campaign permitted ABC News anchorman Charles Gibson to interview Palin.   She made no major mistakes, but appeared utterly clueless when Gibson asked her about The Bush Doctrine regarding the use of preemptive force against nations that support terrorism or offer them safe haven.

The bar was set low for Palin. She still tripped over it.

...and a mediocre, minimally qualified vice presidential candidate.

...and a mediocre, minimally qualified vice presidential candidate.

Not a flat-on-your-face SPLAT, but she stumbled badly and at the very least showed her grasp of foreign policy is shallow.   Predictably, some conservatives rushed to her defense and said Gibson’s question about the Bush Doctrine was “gotcha” journalism and not important.

There’s nothing “gotcha” about asking a person who could be Commander-in-Chief what some of the particulars of a important military and foreign policy doctrine excercised by her predecessor.

Would it be a “gotcha” question if it were asked of Joe Biden? Lower standards for Sarah Palin, I get. No standards, I don’t get.

James Fallows of The Atlantic makes the case why the Bush Doctrine question was neither “gotcha journalism” nor pointless semantics.

Mention a name or theme — Brett Favre, the Patriots under Belichick, Lance Armstrong’s comeback, Venus and Serena — and anyone who cares about sports can have a very sophisticated discussion about the ins and outs and myth and realities and arguments and rebuttals.

People who don’t like sports can’t do that. It’s not so much that they can’t identify the names — they’ve heard of Armstrong — but they’ve never bothered to follow the flow of debate. I like sports — and politics and tech and other topics — so I like joining these debates. On a wide range of other topics — fashion, antique furniture, the world of restaurants and fine dining, or (blush) opera — I have not been interested enough to learn anything I can add to the discussion. So I embarrass myself if I have to express a view.

What Sarah Palin revealed is that she has not been interested enough in world affairs to become minimally conversant with the issues. Many people in our great land might have difficulty defining the “Bush Doctrine” exactly. But not to recognize the name, as obviously was the case for Palin, indicates not a failure of last-minute cramming but a lack of attention to any foreign-policy discussion whatsoever in the last seven years. James Fallows

I have a good friend I could probably converse with for hours on end about politics and never run out of conversation. By his own admission, my friend is not a big fan of sports. So, if I want to engage him in a detailed discussion of how San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan misused and eventually destroyed the team’s 2005’s first-round choice, quarterback Alex Smith, he might listen politely but have absolutely nothing to contribute to the conversation having never cultivated an interest in the intricacies of NFL football teams.

When Clarence Thomas was asked during his confirmation hearing what his thoughts on Roe v. Wade he said he had no thoughts and had never discussed the landmark decision. For some that was when Thomas revealed the degrees to which he would go to get the job. How could any legal mind not have even discussed possibly the most controversial decision ever made by the Supreme Court?

The answer was no one could not have discussed Roe v. Wade unless you were an ambitious man with a bare minimum of qualifications for the job you were auditioning for but a burning desire to get on the High Court and supported by a powerful group of interests determined to get you there. Thomas played the dumb game and tried to run out the clock on his opponents. Now he sits on the Court with a lifetime appointment and a rigid determination to overturn Roe v. Wade if he can only get one or two more like-minded conservatives to replace the aging liberals.

Palin is Clarence Thomas with breasts. A minimally qualified and intellectually stunted woman who’s most endearing trait is a blind obeisance to far-right dogma. Like Thomas, Palin is how cynically the Right considers affirmative action and elevates a person’s external traits over their experience and competence.

Osama been forgotten?

Where does a 66 terrorist hide?  Anywhere he wants for the last seven years

Where does a 6'6" terrorist hide? Anywhere he wants for the last seven years

Relax.  This isn’t yet another sad and sober reflection about where I was on September 11, 2001 or how the world has changed forever.  It changed all right, but when the dust settled it changed right back.

This is about the man who brought this shitstorm of evil upon America:  Osama bin Laden, and really there’s only one question that needs to be asked.

Why is this son of a bitch still walking above ground drawing breath?

I scanned Barack Obama’s website  and found it disappointingly thin with specifics about the War on Terror. There is a page on Homeland Security that also links to a PDF  that can be downloaded, but it too lacks specifics about how he would fight the war on terror.

That is a serious shortcoming by Obama because one of his biggest weaknesses with unconvinced  White voters is whether he’s tough enough or committed enough to wage a war against terrorism and Islamic extremism.

I will point out that he said at his joint appearance with Senator McCain at the site of the World Trade Center, “Let us remember that the terrorists responsible for 9/11 are still at large, and must be brought to justice.”

Why is that significant? Because while supporters of how President Bush has waged the war on terror proudly point out there have been no attacks on American soil for seven years, it is also seven years where Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri have roamed free and without punishment for the murders of 3,000 Americans.

Strangely we didn’t hear anything about that at the Republican National Convention or from George Bush.   For all the talk about how tough Sarah Palin is I haven’t heard how she plans to hunt down bin Laden and gut him like a fish.

There is a long, but very interesting article on Salon.com written by Michael Smerconish where he painstakingly details where bin Laden and al-Zawahri are holed up and the seemingly lack of effort or will to capture or kill them. Smerconish, a host of a talk show in Philadelphia and a contributor to both daily newspapers, has only found one candidate who seems to be serious about getting tough with Pakistan and that is Barack Obama.

“If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets, and President Musharraf won’t act, we will. We can’t send millions and millions of dollars to Pakistan for military aid, and be a constant ally to them, and yet not see more aggressive action in dealing with al-Qaida.”

~ Barack Obama/8-1-07

The reaction by other presidential candidates and the media was one of eye-rolling derision. How could Obama threaten to invade a sovereign nation and one of our allies in the region? How naive was this neophyte Senator anyway? As it was, Obama was only taking the next logical step of The Bush Doctrine where the president said, “Any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

Smerconish’s article is well worth the reading. You’ll come away with a better understanding of the U.S. efforts to hunt the heads of al-Qaida down and the frustrations and brick walls experienced by those tasked with the job of bringing them to justice.

Don’t get me wrong, a more sustained United States assault against the terrorists squatting in Pakistan is welcome news, and it signifies a more urgent effort to hunt down and snuff out the greatest threat to Americans’ safety on our own shores.

But it’s about 2,555 days late and $11 billion short. Seven years after 9/11, the country is stoking what was supposed to be a complete and consuming “war on terror” with faint signs of a sustained operation in the country where the bad guys have been hiding for years.

How appalling. I doubt the families of the 3,000 innocents murdered on 9/11 — and of the 4,000 Americans killed in Iraq — are content with it. After all, it’s seven years, thousands of troops and billions of dollars later, and our country has failed to deliver on what we really owe them: justice.

Nor have we answered the most important question pertaining to our nation’s future: Can we really win this war with Islamic extremism? Because if we don’t have the fire in our belly to defend the American troops stonewalled by the Afghan-Pakistani border; to hunt down and destroy the Taliban and al-Qaida militants camping out on the other side of that border; and do everything we possibly can to capture and kill Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, I fear we’ll be left to deal with another fire — one raging in another building, burning a hole in another American city.

Why this lifelong Republican may vote for Obama.

McCain can talk shit about how he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he’s looking in the wrong place.   It gets mighty cold on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.   Should he be elected, McCain may want to dress a little more warmly while hunting for bin Laden.

It’s not enough to remember the victims of al-Qaeda’s savagery with moments of silence and laying wreaths.  Seven years of bin Laden running free and laughing at our memorials is seven years too long.

Conservatives like to act as if only a Republican President can protect the country from another terrorist attack and conveniently choose to ignore the greatest act of terrorism occurred under a Republican President.

But hey, they regrouped and got their shit together.   Let’s see al-Qaida try and start something now.

Wouldn’t it ironic if it took a President Obama to put Osama bin Laden down like the rabid dog he is?