Frontier Former Editor

August 30, 2008

McCain taps Palin for Veep slot

 

DAYTON, Ohio – Republican John McCain introduced long-term comedian and travel writer Michael Palin as his vice presidential running mate Friday, a stunning selection of a well-known Liberal newcomer who relishes lampooning the establishment.

“She’s . . . er, he’s exactly who I need. He’s exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of ‘Me first and country second,’ ” McCain declared as the pair stood together for the first time at a boisterous rally in Ohio just days before the opening of the party’s national convention.

Palin, the first Liberal and English citizen on a presidential ticket, promised: “I’m going to take our campaign to every part of our country and our message of constitutional monarchy to every voter of every background in every political party, or no party at all.”

“… Politics isn’t just a game of competing interests and clashing parties,” added the Oxford-educated Palin, 65, who has built his American career in large measure by appearances on early episodes of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and some rather delightful and inightful travelogues on the Public Broadcasting Service.

In the increasingly intensive presidential campaign, McCain made his selection six days after his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, named another comedian, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, as his No. 2 on the ticket.

The contrast between the two announcements was remarkable — Obama, 47, picked a 65-year-old running mate with long experience in government and a man whom he said was qualified to be president. The timing of McCain’s selection appeared designed to limit any political gain Obama derives from his own convention, which ended Thursday night with his nominating acceptance speech before an estimated 84,000 in Invesco Field in Colorado.

Public opinion polls show a close race between Obama and McCain, and with scarcely two months remaining until the election, neither contender can allow the other to jump out to a big post-convention lead.

On his 72nd birthday, McCain chose Palin, a man somewhat older than two of the Arizonan’s seven children and a person who until recently was the MP from County Ineyne . He settled on Palin six months after first meeting the governor and following only one phone call, argument and being hit on the head lesson between them last Sunday and a single face-to-face meeting Thursday, according to a timeline provided by his campaign.

The Obama campaign immediately questioned whether she would be prepared to step in and be president if necessary.

“Today, John McCain put the former Member of Parliament and upper-class twit of the year with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency,” Adrianne Marsh, a spokeswoman for Obama, said in a written statement. A statement was put out on Obama’s plane with the candidate merely welcoming her, er, him to the campaign.

President Bush complimented McCain for “an exciting decision.”

Palin is a proven reformer who is a wise steward of taxpayer dollars and champion for accountability in government,” a presidential statement said. “By selecting a working mother with a track record of getting things done, Senator McCain has once again demonstrated his commitment to reforming Washington.”

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who came so close to being the first major party woman presidential candidate, said in a statement: “We should all be proud of Michael Palin‘s historic nomination, and I congratulate her . . . er, him and Sen. McCain. While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, the honorable Mr. Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.”

“It’s an absolutely brilliant choice,” said Mathew Staver, dean of Liberty University School of Law. “This will absolutely energize McCain’s campaign and boost Monty Python CD set sales,” he predicted.

Palin’s name had not been on the short list of people heavily reported upon by the news media in recent days, and McCain’s decision was a well-kept secret until just a couple hours before Friday’s rally.

McCain’s campaign said that Palin and a top aide met with senior McCain advisers in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Wednesday night. The next morning, the campaign said McCain formally invited Palin to join the ticket on the deck of McCain’s home near Sedona, Ariz., and later Thursday the governor flew to Middletown, Ohio, with staff to await Friday’s event in Dayton.

Describing the process that led to her . . . er, his selection, Palin told reporters he’d received word that he was McCain’s choice on Thursday and had met privately with him that day to discuss it. He spoke briefly as the two running mates surprised shoppers at the Buckeye Corner in Columbus, Ohio, where they purchased Ohio State University sports memorabilia. McCain and Palin started a bus tour across Ohio and to Pittsburgh, where they will hold a campaign rally Saturday. Ohio and Pennsylvania are two states that figure prominently in who wins the election this fall.

Asked why McCain chose her . . . er, him, his campaign manager Rick Davis said, “Part of it is personal fit.”

“He sees Michael Palin, as the future of the party,” he added. “These are people he’d like to elevate in that regard. reformers.”

“I liked the Limey c***sucker because of that Heinrich Bimmler bit he did years ago,” McCain said. “He reminded me of that rat bastard-faced f****er who ran the Hanoi Hilton.”

Sharyl Odenweller, a retired teacher from Delphos, Ohio who was visiting the store, said she was pleased that McCain had chosen an Englishman and someone “very pro Commonwealth.” But, Odenweller also said, “I’d like to know more about her . . . er, his experience. If something happened to him, would he be qualified to step into the presidency?”

With his pick, McCain passed over more prominent contenders like John Cleese and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, as well as others such as former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, whose support for abortion rights might have sparked unrest at the convention that opens Monday in St. Paul, Minn.

A self-styled hockey mom and political reformer, Palin became MP after ousting a Tory with hints of photgraphy, candid photography, wink wink nod nod say no more!

More recently, she has come under the scrutiny of an investigation by the Republican-controlled legislature into the possibility that she . . . er, he ordered the return of a dead Norwegian blue parrot. 

Palin has a long history of run-ins with the Alaska Oxford alumni association, giving her genuine maverick status and reformer credentials that could complement McCain’s image.

Her . . . er, his wife, is part Yup’ik Eskimo, and is a blue-collar North Slope oil worker who competes in the Iron Dog, a 1,900-mile snowmobile race. The couple lives in Wasilla. They have five children, and Palin enjoys golf, strangling animals and masturbating.

August 24, 2008

And for what could very well rival any song that William Shatner ever interpreted . . .

Dawn, singing Steely Dan . . . .

While I still think Paul Anka has the championship title of worst song in the world, I’m amazed that this duo managed to suck every bit of angst, despair, irony and darkness out this song.

Playing with Movie Maker and old Cold War literature

I’ve been thinking years about doing this, and finally got around to it . . .

August 23, 2008

I got my text from Obama, dahling!

 

Why didn’t he just tie piano wire around his scrotum and hang a cinderblock from it? Same effect.

August 21, 2008

I’m just nuts about Brazil (and I had the measles 41 years ago)

Filed under: cool stuff, music, public health — Tags: , , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 9:59 pm

In honor of Max’s recovery from an apparent case of measles (by the way, if you had gone to the public health dept, you could have been case No. 132 reported in the last few weeks) and her potential phobia of South American nuts . . . .

Pink Martini and China Forbes

I had a rip-roaring case of stomach flu once, just hours after eating Vienna Cremes cookies, and I couldn’t touch the things again for 10 years because of the memory of how well they reverse direction.

Enjoy.

I’ve finally worked up my Election ’08 spleen . . .

and, for reference, I checked msnbc.com and cnn.com before I started just to make sure that Barack Obama still is about to announce his vice-presidential candidate any time now and hasn’t. Reminds me of that old joke, “How do you keep a moron in suspense? . . .”

Now, for all his faults, John McCain is a hero. He refused repatriation from North Vietnamese captivity as a matter of principle and honor, and I have to respect that. He’s far more of a hero than his fellow Republican and now-convict Duke Cunningham, who became the first American ace over Vietnam and went on to demonstrate his underlying lack of character while McCain got into a scrape over the savings and loan industry in the 1980s and came clean about his involvement.

Makes McCain sound like a saint, eh?

Well, while McCain certainly has a reputation as a straight talker, he also has a reputation for inconsistency, for impulsiveness, and for a general lack of depth when it comes to the more intellectual aspects of engaging in representative government. Case in point: McCain’s fellow prisoner of war Jeremiah Denton, who also became a member of Congress and who generally showed consistency and thoughtfulness during that career regardless of one’s opinion of his party choice.

As for Barack Obama, I don’t have any particular reason to doubt the general sincerity of his candidacy. I also don’t pay a great deal of attention to the McCain camp’s attempts to depict him as a rank amateur, because just about every President was an amateur at being President before they were first elected and/or sworn. Theodore Roosevelt was an amateur – albeit a reasonably gifted amateur – before he got bumped up a pay grade in 1901. Bush fils was definitely an amateur – a strong reason for the Republican National Committee to step back and think about its anti-Obama cant this late summer and fall, given that Obama hasn’t run any oil company into the ground and that he actually completed higher education with some degree of consciousness and good performance. As for Obama’s lack of military service, again refer to Bush fils and his performance as Commander-in-Chief.

Given that short-form assessment of the probable ballot choices in November, I’ve still not been even a smidge impressed with either man because they simply have lived down to the expectations upon American political candidates of the last few decades.  There’s not been many Washingtons, Lincolns or Roosevelts out there lately (and I seriously doubt that a Lincoln or Washington could get elected these days given the level of trust that government has engendered  amongst the citizenry), and McCain and Obama definitely don’t fall in their weight class. Even Reagan – perish the thought – had a concept of how he wanted to make a difference. Even more than in past years, this campaign basically has been a competition between two men presenting vague, disjointed, shifting and piecemeal platforms with damn little theme except the catch phrases of change vs. consistency. And when either candidate does happen to change a position for a good reason, then the imagery of shower shoes is dragged out for a noisy intermission.

I wish Sam Nunn would run. Probably the true architect of a resurgent moderate Democratic party that made Bill Clinton’s presidential pension possible, Nunn was no slouch on domestic and foreign policy issues and would have been a giant among candidates from 1992 to today.  And if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle . . .

Since Nunn’s not going to make the ticket, then let’s at least consider the issue of vice-presidential candidates. I haven;t heard of any apparently useful specimens listed among McCain’s supposed short list, but I can actually vouch personally for one of Obama’s list: Tim Kaine. I’ve known him since he ran for lieutenant governor, and have a had a few chats with him during that race and some contact since. I editorially endorsed him for his run for governor, and he’s done a pretty good job along with his predecessor Mark Warner in working through the fiscal wreckage left in Virginia by George Allen and James Gilmore. He may not be experienced in things like foreign and defense policies but, at the risk of sounding sappy and mushy, Kaine is a decent human being and has shown consistency, principle and ethics in his career.

As for Joseph Biden? What in hell was Obama thinking? Yeah, Biden has experience in foreign relations, and so did Ribbentrop, Molotov, Count Ciano and others. Biden also has shown poor judgement and even poorer skill in citing his sources.

It’s 1:07 pm Eastern time and I still haven’t checked back to see if there is a Democratic vice presidential nomination hopeful. Now I’m depressed and I’m going to stop here.

And I’m writing in Sam Nunn for President and Tim Kaine for Vice President on the first Tuesday in November.

August 17, 2008

Call me perverse, but

Filed under: cool stuff, music, old times — Tags: , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 9:11 am

I happen to find this bit of dichotomy touching, despite it being a love song to a straight razor . . .

 

And one for Stiletto, since she likes The Band . . . . (Go to comment #2 for a working link or go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ3LOu9IK7Y&feature=related . For some reason, it won’t allow an embed or .

Robbie Robertson (also directed by Martin Scorcese, but he didn’t have to hide a rock of coke in Robbie’s nostril like he did with Neil Young in ‘The Last Waltz’)

August 16, 2008

The blood red-haired, low-aspect ratio bitch from Wyoming County, West Va.

Filed under: journalism, old times, semi humor — Tags: — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:18 pm

I have to get this one out of my system only because it bubbles up every couple of years or so and makes me sick, hateful and unclean.

In my mercifully brief West Virginia phase in journalism, there was a night desk editor at the paper whom shall be referred to only as M.

M was what one could charitably term as low aspect ratio. In real terms, she was damn near as wide as tall. Her normal choice of leggings or tights gave her the appearance of a two-legged medicine ball. Her hair was the color red one would expect in a dried pool of blood or the spatter on a slaughterhouse wall.

 One might accuse me of being mean, horrible and abusive because of her weight.

In all fairness, my description of her actually mutes my intense disgust, repulsion and almost-hatred of her for her character defects – stupidity, arrogance, vengefulness and mean-spiritedness. M expected reporters to grovel at her feet – which boggled my mind because I couldn’t swear that she’d seen them in several years – or exacted continuing revenge upon and forced tribute from anyone who would dare question her knowledge, sense and news ability.

After I left that particular news organization, she was on duty the night that Nixon died. Her contribution to the next morning’s edition was to put the article on his death on the back page of the A-section, under the weather report.

Before I left, though, she managed to perform many miracles of editorial incompetence. Several favorites of mine included her datelining many of my stories on Virginia localities in West Virginia. But my all-time favorite – and the one that ensured the withering of our tense relationship was the photograph of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

I had accompanied a group of teachers on a field trip to Kennedy Space Center in the summer of 1992 and came back with dozens of decent photos and a pretty snappy feature story. On my return from Florida, I brought back two rolls of developed film, some captioned prints for reference, and instructions to call me at home with any questions.

One of the photos was a Saturn V rocket, stages separated and displayed in front of the center’s main office building and suitably captioned. The photo appeared in the paper a couple of days later with the caption, “Space Shuttle Endeavour, ready for launch.” (Editor’s note. And she might have gotten away with it except for two small details: the rocket was horizontal and dismantled, and there were a number of tourists milling about the rocket’s constituent parts.)

Recriminations flew, tempers flared and relations were arctic. Of course, this should not surprised me given that the paper a decade earlier ran a story about a rather gruesome suicide by shotgun with a hastily proofread headline: “Man Kills Self with Shitgun.” (Editor’s note: M was not at the paper at the time of the suicide headline and, even if she was, didn’t have the subconscious imagination to make such a wonderful fuckup.)

From the day of the ‘shuttle’ photograph, my pet name for M was ‘that fat, stupid, hateful bitch.’

Some time after I left, she finally got fired for excessive mistakes. I’m amazed they caught it as fast as they did. Turns out that she now is a day editor at a community newspaper in the suburbs of Richmond, Va. They certainly got whatever they paid for.

Moonlight sonata . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:36 pm

or another reason why I’m getting a Nikon D50 before the end of the year . . .

Moon over Norton, Va., taken with an old-as-the-hills Nikon Coolpix 950 with damn near no aperature control

Moon over Norton, Va., taken with an old-as-the-hills Nikon Coolpix 950 with damn near no aperature control

August 13, 2008

Some culture for the unwashed, semi-washed and fully-showered and/or bathed

Filed under: cool stuff, music, politics — Tags: , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:53 pm

For those of us who – heaven forbid! – read, might I recommend for a final summer read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals ? Speaking as a former history major, I can say with a modicum of authority that it is one of the better monographs on the political machinations and philosophical debate leading to Lincoln’s election as President. And it leaves one wondering how close things came – read and you’ll see. It’s good history and good literature.

And while I’ve gotten my Steely Dan fix for the week, I still have a spot in my black, shrivelled heart for Paris Combo. Here’s a dose for those of you wishing they were sitting in a Left Bank cafe . . .

Hopefully I’ll work up to my bitter, climactic screed on why no  candidate this year is even marginally worthy of attention as the right person at the right time to start this country turning to something better some day.

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