Near Earth Archive

A backup of Near Earth Object by Paul Fidalgo

Month: July, 2008

Obama Vows to Please Lanny Davis

Acknowledging his lack of support from an all-important constituency within the Democratic Party, presumptive party nominee Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., announced his intention to focus his efforts upon winning the Lanny Davis vote.

Davis, an attorney and an irrationally rabid supporter of New York senator Hillary Clinton’s during the Democratic primaries, has been extremely critical of Sen. Obama, and also astoundingly vocal about that criticism.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Sen. Obama said, “It is obvious to me now that I have not done enough to win Lanny Davis’s trust and support,” adding as he fought back tears, “He has shown me the many, many, many errors of my ways, and I now plan to rectify those errors in any way that Lanny sees fit.”

“Just tell me what to do, Lanny,” said Obama.

Reached for comment, Mr. Davis was less than appreciative of Sen. Obama’s conversion.

Said Davis in a phone interview, “Oh, so now he thinks that by placating me he can undo the damage he’s wrought upon our vulnerable, quivering nation by denying Hillary Clinton the presidency? I find it insulting – insulting on the behalf of Senator and President Clinton.”

Added Davis, “And by President Clinton, I of course mean Hillary, because she should be president. And Obama shouldn’t. Because.”

Only yesterday, Davis scolded Obama for rumors that he might, conceivably, in theory, place a on the ticket with him a woman other than Sen. Clinton. Davis says now that Obama called him to apologize for even letting anyone think that he would do such an obviously terrible and sexist thing.

“I appreciated it for a second or two, before I remembered to get mad at him for something or other that I had just made up just then,” said Davis, who we had trouble getting to stop talking and hang up the phone.

Caught somewhat off guard by the suddenness of Obama’s utterly unwarranted contrition earlier in the day, members of the press later sought elaboration on what the hell Sen. Obama was thinking.

“Thanks to Mr. Davis, it is clear to me that not only was it a mistake to run adds contrasting my positions with Sen. Clinton’s in the primaries, but to challenge her for the presidency at all,” said a clearly broken Obama. “My entire campaign is a sham. I have offered the nomination to Hillary, which she has so kindly, but frustratingly, refused, and so I remain, if ever so reluctantly, the Democratic nominee. Darn it all.”

The McCain campaign released a statement following Obama’s announcement, excoriating the Illinois senator for being “in the pocket of ‘Big Lanny'” and for appearing “soft on Davisism.”

In a television interview, however, Sen. McCain himself said, “I don’t know who ‘Danny Davis’ is, but I will tell you that Senator Obama ran over your dog and makes angels cry.”

Foreign Debts! Homeless Vets! AIDS! Crack! Etc.!

The guy who actually did start the fire is running for office. Bernie Goetz is running for the Independence Party’s nomination for…um…a committee…council…guy…or something. In New York. I mean, you know, finally! Right?

So let’s sing it!

Foreign debts, homeless vets

Bernie’s for the In-de-pend’ce

Corrupt Alaska sen-a-tor

I can’t take it anymore!

That’s not very good, actually. Good thing this is only the Internet.

Gang of Four for Number Two

I really do think that most of the veep vetting process is done for show, for other people’s benefit, or for other reasons not directly related to the vice presidency. Conventional wisdom as of today shows a four-way between Sens. Bayh and Biden and Govs. Kaine and Sebelius for Obama’s #2. Utterly non-scientific surveys of coverage indicate that Biden seems to be last among this mix, with word that he is being “under serious consideration.” Since he’s not making it to the top of punditry piles, I am guessing (yes, just guessing) that this means he is being vetted primarily to serve as secretary of state.

That leaves three. Most of the universe seems to think Tim Kaine is the best shot, but I have a nagging suspicion that his associates are being so leaky about his prospects because they already know it won’t be him, and he needs this last chance to boost his national profile. Again, a guess.

So we’re left with Kathleen Sebelius and Evan Bayh. Both check some similar boxes, but Sebelius is nowhere on foreign or military affairs, and is a little less than dynamic. Bayh, however, is so establishment he almost negates Obama’s entire narrative. But if this group of folks really is the final four, I put my money, if hesitantly, on Bayh. I hardly think he’s the best choice (snooze), but he fills most of the gaps in Obama’s public perception.

But I really think he’ll pick Chris Dodd, ’cause I just think Obama likes him. I mean, how can you not?

Update: Along these lines, my hero Mark Halperin makes this point that has been nagging me for some time:

There has been an absurd amount of talk about the foolishness of announcing a pick during the Olympics – as if there won’t be any news covered during the Games, and as if an announcement of a selection wouldn’t break through. (Indeed, imagine the sports related puns cable news would use to blare major veepstakes news).

I totally agree, but now I can say it out loud because Mark said it first. Thanks, sir!

Not Smart Enough?

Watch this. It’s 20 minutes you’ll be glad you spent. I’m not smart enough to tell you why it’s so great, but then again, after watching, I’m not sure I know what “not smart enough” even means.

Science vs. Stuff

This will be brief. As you might know, there are lots of folks around the country who don’t want students to subscribe to evolution, and many of them happen to be on school boards. Right now there’s a battle over teaching evolution’s “weaknesses” in Texas, which the state school board would very much like to do.

All I would like to do in this post is highlight a quote I found in the Austin Chronicle from one of the aforementioned board members, Don McLeroy, who opposes teaching science over creationism because:

“. . . science is always trying to find problems with stuff.”

Well, yes. That’s, um, that’s what it does, sir.

I don’t know how to adequately express in written words the action of hanging one’s head in exasperation with an utter drainage of hope for the species. I guess it just proves my limitations as a writer.

Two McCain Quickies

Eew, no that’s not what the title means. Jeez, you’re so juvenile.

Anyway, I just want to bloviate on two points, briefly.

1. The CBS News McCain Edit Flap:

(This is what I’m talking about) Despite CBS’s defense that mistakes happen and that interviews do get edited for time, sorry folks, you don’t get to substitute one answer for another, whatever your reasoning. It is, in fact, lying. I don’t pretend to understand the true intentions behind CBS’s editing nor its explanations, but they are just flat wrong on all counts.

2. The (now canceled) McCain Oil Rig Speech:

Speaking of things I don’t pretend to understand, as you may have read, McCain had planned to deliver a speech on board an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana, but the event was scrapped due to impending weather related doom. The idea was to attack Obama for nay-saying off-shore drilling amidst a crisis in gas prices while Obama is delivering his speech in Germany.

Wait. Really? That’s was the plan? To counter the biggest news event of the summer, to counter the sight of a young, charming, African American presidential candidate delivering an inspiring address overseas as all three network anchors go along to gaze at the bright, healing sun that is Obama, to try and siphon off positive coverage of this mother of all photo ops, the McCain camp thought they should station the old man on an oil rig? So the contrast they wanted was Obama-and-adoring-fans versus McCain-and-drilling-equipment? I know, I know, the idea is to showcase McCain focusing on the needs of “real America” while Obama prances about Old Europe. I get it.

But, come on, guys. An oil rig? What’s the narrative here? “McCain: The Oil Candidate.” Or, “Don’t just hope for hulking, destructive, resource-guzzling machinery lurking off your coast. Vote for it. McCain.”

Okay, that’s all. I just had to get that out.

Update: Now it turns out that the reason the oil rig event was scrapped might have been because of an oil spill. Me, I think McCain should just bathe in the stuff and scream, “See, Barack? I’m not afraid of oil! Why are you afraid!?!

Local Scum Ruins a DC Metro Train

I don’t know who “Tory” is, but clearly, he either thinks extremely highly of himself, or has some really big fans. Oh, and he (or his fan) is obviously a mind bogglingly wretched asshole.

Let me explain.

Riding on the DC Metro last night after class, I came upon this bit of graffiti, right in front of me:

Now, this is not wholly unusual, but I couldn’t think of any other recent instances of full-blown graffiti of this nature on the Metro. I wasn’t even sure it said “Tory” – it could have been “Toky” or some other nonsense.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when out of the corner of my eye, I spy this gem:

Tory strikes again! Not only does he rule that panel in front of my seat, he rules the whole diz-trikt! So amused by this was I, and so intrigued by what a hell-of-a-guy this “Tory” must be (I assume guy, because a girl would be “Tori,” right?), I scanned further around the car.

There were at least two other instances of his name being sprayed on other sections of paneling, but since I was trying to be all sly and inconspicuous about taking the shots, they came out all iPhone-blurry.

Of course, then I found Tory’s coupe de grace, his real masterstroke, right here:

That’s right folks. “Bomb the trains,” right under the poster with the little girl, no less.

You see, I spend a lot of brain power wondering about graffiti in its various incarnations. I struggle to decipher it when sprayed in bubble letters across decaying buildings. I ponder what strikes young men that so compels them to sketch pictures of phalli and scribble misspelled exhortations concerning groups they loathe, and who does and does not “suck cock” (and why do so many boys have pens at the ready while they are defecating?).

This one I can’t get out of my head. Jesus, “Tory,” was this supposed to be funny? It wasn’t. Was it supposed to make you look tough? You look childish, pathetic, and cowardly. If nothing else, I’ve always taken a kind of subconscious pride in the fact that at least DC’s trains were not littered with this crap, and Tory has utterly ruined that for me and the hundreds who have now had to bear witness to it throughout its existence. I hope no kids came across it.

I mean, if nothing else, Malcolm Gladwell is losing his mind.

But seriously, now I wish that I had at least said something to the Metro folks as soon as I saw it, so it could be removed right away. Let’s just not do this, okay? Can we all agree that we are all free to make fun, to satirize, to question, to protest, but this is just something we’re not going to do, okay?

And just so I’m clear: Fuck you, “Tory.”

* * *

Update: Since posting this here and on my diary at DailyKos (where I watch the sharks go insane in their feeding orgies), attempts have been made to enlighten me on a handful of issues.

– One person tells me that “bomb the trains” could be a call to add more graffiti rather than a call to violence. That may be so, and while the intention is more benign (but still shitty), it still strikes me as toeing the border of shouting fire in the crowded theater.

– Another tells me that it was not done with spray paint, but with marker. I have to confess, I don’t care.

– It was posited that the various markings were not all made by the same person. But whether “Tory” is one person or a group of folks, again, I don’t care.

– A lot of discussion on Kos about the artistic merits of graffiti in general, and it seems to me that graffiti-style art is all well and good, but no one has a right to vandalize someone else’s property. “Tory” (or whomever) is free to put up signs saying bomb this or that or wear a T-shirt with his name on it, but I’m pretty sure that the train car doesn’t belong to him. Oh, but I still managed to be called a fascist on Kos. Awesome.

Death Knell

A few posts ago, I put up what I said was likely the best thing currently existing on the Earth Spanning Lattice known as the Infobahn. Of course, millions had already seen it before I put it on display at my little back alley journal here, but it’s always good to share.

I thought I knew what the worst thing ever to stain this glorious electro-mesh of the Web, and I made a big stink about it, but I think something else has stolen the crown of poo. And it is believed to have happened about 15 years ago.

We thought we’d seen the worst of what beauty pageants have to offer (and the eye-rack everywhere like such as), but ladies and gentleman, hold on to your digestive systems.

[No! This video is gone from the intertubes!]

It’s okay, I couldn’t watch the whole thing either. And really, I’m sorry I even brought it up.

Consumerist Must Think I’m Exquisite. . .

. . .because they keep using my photos. As previously mentioned, they have used two of my pics from the iPhone Death March, and now they’ve grabbed one I took of a piece of real estate that is “absolutely exquisite” for a piece on mortgages.

And yes, I will be wasting your time about it every time it happens.

Here’s the Consumerist post, What It Takes To Qualify For A Mortgage In A World With Standards.

More bloggy developments very soon.

Someone Named John McCain Also Running For President

by Paul Fidalgo, Near Earth News

SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE – Somewhat calling into question the conventional wisdom of the 2008 campaign, it was discovered Monday that Arizona Senator John Sidney McCain III, 71, is also running for president.

The disquieting news was unearthed as legions of reporters covering the overseas fact-finding trip of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, found e-mails on their Blackberries containing a press release from the mysterious senator’s “campaign” criticizing something-or-other about Sen. Obama, D-Awesome.

Half-hearted inquiries have revealed that Sen. McCain is a former P.O.W. from some war, married to a woman who is associated with beer, and is a member of an organization known as the Republican Party, also known as the O.P. (the “Old Party”).

Cursory investigations utilizing few resources have learned that the Republican Party stands for such principles as the abolition of slavery, the “busting” of “trusts,” and the flying of the Confederate flag over public buildings.

“I thought Obama was running against Hillary, and I thought he won,” said one reporter covering Sen. Obama’s exciting trip. “Now I’m really confused.”

Presidential Candidate John McCain tries to wave down reporters who are not listening.

Presidential Candidate John McCain tries to wave down reporters who are not listening.

During his first press conference abroad, the way-ahead Sen. Obama was asked if he felt the discovery of Mr. Mc-what’s-his-name’s campaign worried him at all.

“I honor this man’s service to our country,” said likely-president Obama, “but you will have to remind me who he is before I can comment further.”

Not long after, the man in question, who we have just now remembered is named “John McCain,” took to the microphone at a town hall meeting in South Portland, Maine, where the “candidate” defended his relevance.

“I promise you, I will out-campaign Senator Obama, I will work day and night, talking with the American people, making it absolutely clear that I do, in fact, exist,” said the funny old man.

“My friends, Senator Obama would have you believe that I am not running against him, and that I will be dead soon,” he added. “This is almost certainly untrue, as far as I know, and is an example of old, divisive politics.”

“That’s not change we can believe in,” said McCain, after which many in the small crowd turned to one another, arching their eyebrows and mouthing the word, “What?”

“Never mind,” said the senator.

* * *

This article has been cross-post at the very silly web magazine Receiving Me?