August 4, 2008

Degraded Political Battle

Posted in News, Politics tagged , , at 10:55 pm by Katharine Lackey

It’s that time of the political race again — when the battle for the White House degrades itself into a series of attacks between the two primary candidates.

Nooooooo!

There’s the ‘race card’

The Obama is like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears (we’re really going to try to make that connection?)

‘The One’?

For his part, Obama doesn’t seem to be engaging in ridiculous attack ads, unless I just haven’t seen them. He released an ad today about his energy policy, attacking McCains, but its not in the same light as McCain’s ads which don’t seem to really say what McCain will do so much as try to point out Obama’s flaws.

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July 30, 2008

President-in-Waiting?

Posted in News, Politics tagged , , at 10:19 pm by Katharine Lackey

Is Obama acting like the presumptive next President? Not just the presumptive Democratic nominee? Dana Milbank at the Washington Post seems to think so. Barack Obama has been acting presumptuous lately, not just presumptive, the columinst says.

Fresh from his presidential-style world tour, during which foreign leaders and American generals lined up to show him affection, Obama settled down to some presidential-style business in Washington yesterday.

Traffic was shut down for him as he zoomed about town in a long, presidential-style motorcade, while the public and most of the press were kept in the dark about his activities

Remind me to be thankful that I don’t have to commute to D.C.

Secret Service entered with Obama through a side door at the Cannon Caucus Room. Capitol Police cleared the halls — both of these events were what would take place for the actual president.

The press has begun to complain about Obama’s behavior, saying Obama’s campaign was “acting like the Prom Queen” and being more secretive than Bush.

After meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister, Obama’s aides issued a presidential-like statement, “I had a productive and wide-ranging discussion. . . . I look forward to working with the democratically elected government of Pakistan.”

But aren’t all campaigns about confidence — about saying you’re going to win? No one wants to listen to a candidate who says, “I will try to win, but I’m not sure I will.” And doesn’t Secret Service have a right to protect the candidate as they see best? I would think Obama would face more threats than McCain as he is more controversial. Still, Obama’s recently dealings with the media do raise some concern as to whether he’s restricting access.

July 29, 2008

News of the Day: July 29

Posted in News, Offbeat tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:42 pm by Katharine Lackey

  • An Israeli student has apologized for taking Obama’s prayer, which was published in a paper, Religous News Service reports. I updated my previous blog on the subject earlier.
  • Olympic horses are being treated like rock-stars aboard their flight to Beijing, the New York Times reports. “The horses fly with an entourage — team grooms, veterinarians and at least one ‘flying groom,’ an equine flight attendant whose job is to make the horse as comfortable as possible,” Times reports
  • Officials at an animal shelter in Camden County, NJ, were surprised to receive a 44-pound cat who appears to have escaped from its house, the Courier-Post reports. Nicknamed Princess Chunk, it is unclear how the cat escaped its rightful owner, “She’s built like a quarterback,” said one shelter volunteer. “I mean, how do you lose a 44-pound cat?!”
  • A British family has fulfilled its quest of visiting all 50 states (plus D.C.) in the U.S., the Hattiesburg American reports. “People in America don’t realize what history they do have,” the wife and mother says. Yes, because our history only dates back 300 years, whereas England’s goes back many more centuries.
  • A New Zealand inventor has created a jetpack that he plans to market next year at $100,000 a piece, the New York Times reports. “There is nothing that even comes close to the dream that the jetpack allows you to achieve,” one man says.
  • Two groups in St. Louis are holding prayers at gasoline pumps to ask God for lower prices, The News & Observer reports. The group thinks their prayers are being answered as gas prices have lowered in the past two weeks. What happens when they go back up again?
  • A phony Joker was arrested in Michigan after he attempted to steal items related to “The Dark Knight” movie from a local theater in Three Rivers, the Detroit Free Press reports. “…police officers who were dispatched early Sunday to the Three Rivers 6 theater arrived to find employees restraining a man wearing a purple suit, a green wig and face paint in the style of Batman’s nemesis in ‘The Dark Knight.'”

Barackbook

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , , , at 2:24 pm by Katharine Lackey

The Republican National Committee is running and financing a Web site that aims to discredit Barack Obama on many of his issues, at www.barackbook.com and www.meetbarackobama.com.

Here’s the problem — the GOP insignia in the right hand corner of both pages is not readily noticeable. I first visited BarackBook without realizing that it was run by the Republicans. I thought it was odd Obama would be “friends” with Tony Rezko and would have the status, “Barack is hoping to settle on an Iraq policy before November.” It was then I finally noticed the GOP header.

The other problem is that BarackBook looks like Facebook — and I wonder if there are any copyright or infringement issues there? Also, will people quickly see the that the site is run by the GOP or will they believe its a legitimate site about Obama?

With both sites, its easy to see that the RNC is targeting youth voters — those familiar with Facebook and other social networking sites — but won’t older Republicans or even Democrats be confused by the design?

While I’m sure we will see both sides attacking one another over the issues, I would hope the Democrats would not use the same tactics that the RNC has taken.

The only John McCain Web site that I can find that is somewhat similar is John McCain is Really Old. The site is clever and funny (see: Naps for America, and No Child on My Lawn), and, most importantly, is not run by the Democratic National Committee. While the DNC does launch similar attacks on its main Website — it is much clearer who the attacks are coming from — the opponents.

Both sites, however, do focus on a number of mistakes both candidates have made in speeches and interviews, as well as “flip-flops” in policies — which is good so long as they link to reputable sources.

To both candidates: I get tired of the back and forth that surrounds presidential elections. Don’t all these attacks just even themselves out? Couldn’t you find a better way to spend donated money?

July 28, 2008

Mr. Almost President

Posted in Politics tagged , , , at 11:09 pm by Katharine Lackey

While focus has exceedingly been on Barack Obama’s recent foreign trip, the New York Times is quick to point out that both Obama and McCain have their own far-reaching faux pas.

While Obama has stood on a podium with a faux presidential seal and adorned his jet “O-Force One,” McCain gave a speech looking back on his first term in office and recently began giving radio addresses every Saturday.

It is unclear when the two presidential candidates will hold their first state dinners, spend their first weekends at Camp David or welcome this year’s N.B.A. champions, the Boston Celtics, to the Rose Garden.

Oh, wait, neither of these guys has been elected yet.

The article is extremely interesting and I cannot do it justice by paraphrasing it — so go read it!

Also, read the Times Opinion piece by Frank Rich, which also touches on the same subject.

News of the Day: July 28

Posted in News tagged , , , , , , at 10:52 pm by Katharine Lackey

  • Texting while walking, rollerblading, biking, etc, can land you in the emergency room, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. “It’s amazing how instinctive it is for people to [text while doing other things]. Texting is kind of like hearing. It’s almost another sense,” says emergency room doctor. Upside: I have a sixth sense!
  • Violence in Iraq has reached a “normal” level, USA Today reports. Because violence is always normal… right.
  • McCain gained on Obama in a new USA Today/Gallup poll, USA Today reports. That trip Obama took — didn’t help.
  • Robert Novak has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, the AP reports. Last week the columnist received a citation after hitting a bicycist in D.C. The columnist is best known for revealing Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity in a 2003 column.

July 27, 2008

‘As word spread throughout the land about the Child’s wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.’

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , at 2:50 pm by Katharine Lackey

Gerard Baker, an editor at the Times in London, created a hysterical retelling of Obama’s trip to the Middle East.

(To see video — go to Jeff Jarvis’ post.)

Among memorable quotes:

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

And the Child spake and the tribes of Nato immediately loosed the Caveats that had previously bound them.

And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child’s journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.

And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.

Go read the rest!!

Obama’s Prayer Published

Posted in Politics tagged , , , at 12:32 am by Katharine Lackey

An Israeli paper has published the prayer Barack Obama left in Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the AP reports.

The publication has drawn criticism from many, including a Rabbi,Shmuel Rabinowitz, supervisor of the wall.

“The notes placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make any use of them,” he told Army Radio. The publication “damages the Western Wall and damages the personal, deep part of every one of us that we keep to ourselves,” he said.

The note reads:

“Lord — Protect my family and me,” reads the note published in the Maariv daily. “Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.”

UPDATE 11:55AM July 29

An Israeli student is apologizing for taking Obama’s prayer from the Western Wall, according to Religious News Service.

“I’m sorry. It was a kind of prank,” the student, identified only by the Hebrew initial “Aleph,” told reporters Sunday. “I hope (Obama) wasn’t hurt. We all believe he will take the presidency.”

The article also reports that the newspaper that originally published the prayer faces legal sanctions. Obama’s prayer has also since been reinserted into the Wall, the article says.

July 26, 2008

McCain: 16-month plan “good timetable”

Posted in Politics, War on Terrorism tagged , , , at 12:44 am by Katharine Lackey

Somewhere, right now, Barack Obama is smiling.

In an interview with CNN Friday, John McCain had interesting comments on Obama’s 16-month withdrawal plan.

“I think it’s a pretty good timetable,” Mr. McCain said Friday in an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room,’’ before adding that it should be based “on the conditions on the ground.’’

This is basically exactly what Obama has been saying lately, even as people have accused him of flip-flopping for saying he would listen to top commanders and tweak his plan if necessary.

McCain did go on to elaborate more about the 16-month withdrawal — trying to differentiate himself from his Democratic running partner.

“I think it’s a pretty good timetable, as we should — or horizons for withdrawal. But they have to be based on conditions on the ground. This success is very fragile. It’s incredibly impressive, but very fragile. So we know, those of us who have been involved in it for many years, know that if we reverse this, by setting a date for withdrawal, all of the hard-won victory can be reversed.’’

This is nearly 2 and a half years different than what McCain said in his rejected New York Times letter:

I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

Is this all a reaction to al-Maliki practically endorsing Obama’s plan?

July 23, 2008

Fist Bump USA

Posted in Business, Politics tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:44 pm by Katharine Lackey

The fist bump, or “terrorist fist jab,” as one FOX news reporter refered to it, is making its way into the business circle, replacing the more common handshake, USA Today reports. If we’re unlucky enough, ththe phrase “that’s a firm handshake you got there,” will be downgraded to “that’s a sweet fist bump.”

According to the USA Today article, though, not everyone is happy with the bump.

“I have not encountered a fist bump and would judge anyone who tried it as a total redneck,” says Dr. Grace Keenan, medical director of Nova Medical and Urgent Care Center in Ashburn, Va. “I hope that it never is seen as a replacement for a handshake in the business community.”

The article brings up an interesting point — that the fist bump commonly occurs between two male colleagues and one source says a female employee thought the bump was a male-domination gesture. Another woman points out its an advantage for women who get crushed by manly handshakes.

The fist bump came into the national spotlight after Barack Obama and Michelle Obama bumped in victory when he clinched the Democratic nomination in early June. It was at that time that a FOX news anchor teased a segment on the fist-bump, or “terrorist fist jab.” Since then, The New Yorker published its satirical cover, which also shows Michelle and Barack engaging in a fist bump.

Now, Vanity Fair is jumping on board with its own McCain version of the New Yorker cover released on its blog, although its a lot less sensational. It depicts McCain using a walker while George W. Bush stares down from a picture above the mantle. Oh, and the constitution is burning in the fireplace. Cindy McCain is holding pill bottles, which I actually missed since I didn’t know she had an addiction a long time ago.

While the Vanity Fair’s satire on a satire is sure to get some press coverage, (as it already has) I do not think it will be received as negatively since die-hard Republicans will easily brush it off, and we’ve already gotten used to the number and variety of “John McCain is old” jokes.

Side by Side Comparison

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