Friday, August 22, 2008

McCain's housing problem is growing

From Greenwald:

McCain lives a life that is about as far removed from the Average American as one can get, and has done so for decades. What's notable is how McCain was able to live that way. McCain himself isn't actually rich. He just lives off the inherited wealth of his much younger, former mistress and now-second-wife -- for whom he dumped his older and disfigured first wife -- and who then used her family's money to fund his political career and keep him living in extreme luxury...

Extreme luxury indeed.

And the grand total of houses the McCains own is...
...anywhere from eight to eleven homes, depending on how you count it.

And now we learn that McCain spends $270,000 a year on domestic servants to take care of his 8-11 homes valued at $13 million.

The fact that McCain had no clue about how many homes he owns tells you that he is not the slightest bit concerned about having to make mortgage payments. This is a family that can drop $2 million on a second beachfront condo in an incredibly posh resort community in California simply because “the kids” were starting to use the first one more frequently.

Yes, this definitely matters.
And the reason why the faux Rezko scandal isn’t going to work to counter this is because that whole situation only reminds people just how poor Obama is in comparison to McCain.
Do you think the McCain’s ever had to worry with negotiating with a nextdoor neighbor over a sliver of land just so that they could have a side yard on one of their homes? Not on your life. If they wanted more room, they just bought the neighboring condo to add to their property, like McCain did at his home in Phoenix.
And has anyone gone through all of these real estate transactions with a finetooth comb looking to see if the McCain’s got any breaks or special treatment? Were any of their financial backers involved? Where’s the so-called Liberal Media on that question?

And the other big question I have is how the heck does John McCain get away with paying only $4,000 in property taxes? That’s not much more than what I pay and my one and only house is worth only about a quarter of the loft apartment McCain bought for his daughter Meghan.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain’s houses

John McCain - so rich, he doesn’t even know how many houses he owns.

Asked how many houses he owned, John McCain replied, "I think — I'll have my staff get to you."

Yeah, that’s a really hard question. I’m always forgetting how many houses I own.
And they want us to think that Obama is the elitist?

And Kevin Drum has this:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Express-News conservative onslaught continues

The onlslaught of conservative/Republican commentary on the San Antonio Express-News editorial pages continues.
Below is a rundown of the opinion pieces that have been published in the E-N so far this week.

George Will - R
A big picture of John McCain adorns Will’s column declaring that it is time for McCain to “get ornery.”
I searched in vain for the “Paid for by the John McCain for President Campaign” disclaimer.

Victor Landa - I
Landa pens a typically apolitical column about the travails of new immigrants assimilating into American society.

Austin Bay (online) - R

Froma Harrop - R
Harrop dives into the John Edwards sex scandal with relish and uses it as an excuse to take a couple of cheap shots at Obama.

Mona Charen - R
With a headline that begins “Obama fails miserably...” what more can I say?

Rich Lowry - R
Lauds McCain for his faux-saber rattling over the Russia-Georgian conflict and takes more cheap shots at Obama.

Jonathan Gurwitz - R
Apparently frustrated by the Bush administration’s toothless and inept response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia, Gurwitz writes a truly bizarre column in which he viciously attacks not the people who are actually in charge of the government (i.e. the Bush administration), but Noam Chomsky (about something he wrote 30-plus years ago) and the political left (including Obama, I assume) that opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq five years ago. Unbelievable.

Maureen Dowd - D
Dowd gets a D this week as she finally turns her rapier wit on the hapless and extremely unpopular President Bush, but she carefully avoids making any critical references to McCain.

Ruben Navarrette - R
I have to hand it to Navarrette this week. His column looks at first glance like a sympathetic piece about Obama and the challenges still facing him before the Democratic Convention. But on closer inspection, it turns out to have been an excuse to air out old smears and rehash doubts about Obama left over from the primary race. We get to hear yet again about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy and the nativist suspicions that Obama is too “foreign.” Navarrette also determines in the course of the column that the real guilty party in bringing race into the campaign was “a Democratic operative” (i.e. Mark Penn) and urges minorities to remember this in future elections. He proceeds to set a high bar for Obama to clear in order to accomplish the “herculean tasks awaiting him in Denver.” No doubt, Navarrette has already written his post-convention column in which he will bash Obama for failing to accomplish those tasks.

David Broder - I (Online)


Cal Thomas - R
Ken Allard - R
Connie Schultz (Online) - Fluff
Meghan Daum - I

And don’t forget that each day on the Op-Ed page we are treated to another one of Bruce Tinsley’s grotesque and hate-filled parodies of Obama in his nauseating “Mallard Fillmore” comic strip.

I keep harping on this issue because we are in the midst of a very important campaign season and for most people their sole source of in-depth news and analysis comes from their local newspaper. It is therefore grossly unfair to have a local paper which fills its Op-Ed pages with reams of rightwing agit-prop and Republican hit pieces while limiting liberal commentary to maybe one or two articles a week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama and the VP challenge

I’ve been loathe to speculate too much about Barack Obama’s imminent VP selection which could come anytime now. In the past, I’ve been as surprised as everyone else when the selections are finally announced.
But I do think that Obama has to be especially careful this time in light of the fact that the Democrats’ last two VP choices have, in retrospect, turned into disasters.
First, there was Joe Lieberman, the turncoat who just eight years after sharing the presidential ticket with Al Gore is now campaigning hard for John McCain and the Republicans. And now we have the scandal-tarred John Edwards who, up until just a few days ago, still seemed like a good pick. I remember at the time when John Kerry picked Edwards thinking it was a politically smart move, and yet I was unhappy with it because I knew it would cost us a seat in the Senate. Which it did.
A much better VP pick was Bill Clinton’s selection of Al Gore back in 1992. Today, the Oscar-winning, Nobel Laureate who rightfully won the popular vote in the 2000 presidential race has seen his political fortunes rise into the stratosphere.
The late Lloyd Bentsen was another good choice back in 1988 who clearly boosted the hapless Dukakis campaign by taking out the clueless Dan Quayle in their one and only debate. But go back a little further and you have the historic and desperate selection of Geraldine Ferraro who today has become an embittered pariah in the party threatening to join Joe Lieberman in the McCain camp after making several intemperate and ill chosen, if not racist, remarks about Obama.
So Obama needs to be careful because, win or lose, these people stick around and become key players in the party for good or bad.

At this point, I think Bill Richardson would still be the best choice for Obama, but has probably been dismissed as too risky for having two minority candidates at the top of the ticket. The short list according to the conventional wisdom crowd right now includes Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden. And maybe Kansas Gov. Karen Sibelius, though I think she is just window dressing at this point. Of those choices, I like Biden the best for his experience and foreign policy expertise.

Texas Olympian robbed again

It’s been a rough couple of days for Nastia Liukin, the 18-year old Olympic gymnast from Parker, Texas since she won the coveted All Around Gold Medal at the Beijing Olympics.
Two days ago she was clearly cheated out of a medal in the individual vault competition by ignoramus judges who scored a Chinese gymnast higher even after she practically fell on her ass on her first vault.
And then last night Liukin was awarded the Silver Medal in the individual uneven bars competition despite receiving the exact same score as the Chinese gymnast who took the Gold. It used to be the case that if two people got the same score, they would get the same medal. But for these Olympics, some jackass decided to come up with an impossibly complex “tiebreaking” scheme that can only be figured out by a computer. So, in effect, the computer flips a coin and Liukin gets screwed out of a gold medal. Outrageous!
I hope lots of people are telling the Olympic committee where they can stick their tiebreaking system right now. They should just junk the scheme right now and hand Liukin the gold she deserves before this gets any worse. And to top things off, they had another tie a bit later in the men’s vault competition leaving some other poor schmuck stuck with a Silver following a Gold Medal performance.
I don’t fault the judges so much in this case. Having had the privilege in the past of juding UIL speech and journalism competitions, I know how hard it can be to separate out winners and losers. But a tie is a tie, and unless you are going to have the gymnasts compete again head-to-head it should stay that way.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Term Limits Blues

My city council person recently found herself in some hot water as a result of a vacation she took in 2007 in which she stayed for free in a condo in Cancun belonging to one of her wealthy campaign contributors (who just happened to have some development business before the city).
An innocent mistake? Naive? Something a more experienced council person would not have done? Perhaps. But needless to say we have been seeing lots more of these kinds of mistakes with our term-limited, neutered city council.

But now I find out that this latest scandal is being used by some folks as an excuse to oppose extending term limits. Are these people nuts!?! If it weren’t for term limits, I would still have Art Hall as my city council person and Diane Cibrian would not be in office today.
Jaime Castillo makes the point very well in the above linked column. What we are seeing today is not a reason for limiting terms, it is the direct result of having such a moronic term limits policy in the first place.

Who do the troops support?

If I asked what was the ratio of active duty military personnel supporting John McCain over Barack Obama, you might think 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 or even 4-to-1 would be expected.
Nuh uh. 6-to-1 in favor of Obama.
That’s right. Active duty troops are supporting Obama over McCain by a ratio of 6-to-1.
You think they might be a little fed up with the Bush-McCain quagmire in Iraq?
Oh yes, and Obama is also leading McCain among Christian voters as well, according to this poll.

Bolt upstages Phelps

I never would have thought someone could upstage Michael Phelps winning his eighth gold medal at the Olympics, but Usain Bolt’s incredible 100-meter dash last Saturday did just that. Wow!
The guy blew away the fastest runners on the planet, broke the world record by .3 seconds and did it without even trying very hard. He didn’t even run all the way through the finish line!! About 15 meters short of the finish he started to let up and just coasted the rest of the way. Like a football player starting to do his celebratory dance before crossing the goal line, Bolt was already starting to pound his chest and acknowledge the crowd before the race was even over.
But it didn’t even matter. He still shattered the world record and made all the other runners who gave everything they had look like they were in the wrong event. Incredible!
He probably could have shaved another half second off the world record if he had kept running at full pace, but he didn’t care. Like he said at the end of the race, all he was concerned about was winning. It was his world record to begin with.
How did he do it? One clue is that the guy stands 6’ 8” and thus his stride is longer than all the other runners. Usually that is a hindrance for a sprinter, but not for Bolt. You can see his legs churning at the same pace as the other runners, but he gains an extra foot with each step.
I predict that in the next 10 years or so you will see the average height of sprinters steadily climb until 6’ 8’’ becomes the average rather than the exception.

I was ticked last night after watching the women’s gymnastics in the individual vault competition. Alicia Sacaramone of the U.S. was clearly robbed of a medal by the judges who scored the Chinese gymnast higher despite landing her first vault on her knees.

TPA Roundup 8-18

It's Monday, and that means it is time again for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly round-up.

To kick the week off right, the TPA is unveiling its newly redesigned website where you can connect with the Alliance and our member bloggers via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, DFA, Party Builder, Ning and other social networking tools.

Mike Thomas of Rhetoric & Rhythm looks at a week's worth of opinion columns from the San Antonio Express-News and determines there is a nearly three-to-one imbalance of conservative/Republican columns compared to liberal/Democratic ones.

On Bluedaze, TXsharon busts the myths that Natural Gas is cleaner, that shale drilling will make us safer, and that Domestic Drilling can make us Energy Independent.

There was no attempt of a citizens' arrest of Karl Rove while he visited Houston last week, raising money for Texas House Republicans. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs hoped it would happen, to no avail.

WhosPlayin is concerned about operators wanting to drill for gas in Lewisville's urban forest area near Central Park.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders why sexual assault equates to perjury - wink, wink - if you're a person of power in Texas.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on HD-52 Democratic candidate Diana Maldonado's opponent Bryan Daniel sharing his campaign office with a local charity, IRS Complaint Filed Against Round Rock Charity.

Off the Kuff takes a look at the possible effect Libertarian candidates may have on some close State House races.

Texas Liberal uses the ancient epic Gilgamesh to discuss reactions to vulnerability and innocence in both the ancient and modern world.

McBlogger takes a look at the latest Republican fundraising pitch and finds that it's only appealing only to the same geriatric patients who are McThuselah's base. And those elephants are very tacky.

This week jobsanger is outraged by an Arkansas city that's trashing the Constitution and a small Texas country school that's allowing teachers to carry guns.

refinish69 awards the Infamous Cheese Tray Awards over at Doing My Part For The Left.

Mean Rachel supports Obama but argues against Maureen Dowd's assertion that Hillary Clinton's appearance in Denver will "dampen the dreams of our daughters."

Libby Shaw puts the pieces together for us over at TexasKos in his dairy Military Contractors Charge U.S. Taxpayers $85 Billion. Not only are we NOT saving money by outsourcing military support functions, we are pissing off people worldwide. Worst of all? Eisenhower's worst fear has come to pass, the MIC is real , alive and in control....

Justin at Asian American Action Fund Blog marvels at the coming Charlie Wilson Chair at UT, which will become the first Pakistan Studies chair in the nation.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at a scandal that links State Sen. John Carona (D-Dallas) to a condo development in Houston that is falling apart.

Don't forget to check out other TPA member blogs for the latest news on Texas and national politics: The Agonist, Asian American Action Fund, B & B, Bay Area Houston, Beginning to Wonder, BlueBloggin, Bluedaze, Brains & Eggs, Burnt Orange Report, Capitol Annex, The Caucus Blog, Common Sense, Dallas South Blog, Dig Deeper Texas, Doing My Part For The Left, Dos Centavos, Easter Lemming Liberal News, Eye on Williamson, Feet To Fire, Grassroots News U Can Use, Half Empty, In The Pink Texas, jobsanger, Latina Lista, Lubbock Left, Marc's Miscellany, McBlogger, Mean Rachel, MindSpeak, MOMocrats, Musings, North Texas Liberal, Off The Kuff, Para Justicia y Libertad, The Red State, Rhetoric & Rhythm, Same Blog, Different Day, South Texas Chisme, StoutDemBlog, The Texas Blue, The Texas Clover Leaf, Texas Education, Texas Kaos, Texas Liberal, Texas Truth Serum, There... Already, Three Wise Men, TruthHugger, Who'sPlayin'?, and Xpatriated Texan.