A Cautious Man
July 31, 2008
The Audacity of Crap
The Republican Party has been kind enough to provide a website which collects the bits of mud and other slime they will be flinging this year, and called it the "Barack Obama Audacity Watch".

(As an aside, I guess we’ll be seeing a lot of use of "audacity" by the right-wing this fall, because that’s now a "bad word", like "hope" is now a "bad word", due to association with Senator Obama. It’s a tactic that most of you probably learned in junior high school, but some folks have never managed to grow out of.)

Personally, I think this website is an excellent source for laughs. In a recent installment, they got their panties in a bunch over Senator Obama’s campaign plane –

When John McCormick reported Obama replaced his Boeing 737 campaign plane with a Boeing 757, he noted the new aircraft had "a giant flag painted on its tail."

In yet another display of his patriotism, Obama replaced the American flag with the Obama Logo. Lynn Sweet reports that Obama’s 757 has been repainted "with the Obama sunrise logo on the tail."

Oh the audacity of Obama’s ego.

Wow. Senator Obama has a campaign logo on his campaign plane. John McCain wouldn’t do that, he’d have a great big American flag up there, right?

Er, maybe not

The Arizona senator, who has wrapped up his party's White House nomination, dubbed his new in-air home the "Straight Talk Express" after his campaign bus of the same name, so-called for the senator's tendency to speak his mind.

The bus, where the candidate dishes with reporters over policy and politics, is a key part of the 71-year-old's political brand.

So is his name, of course, but McCain expressed surprise when reporters riding with him mentioned it being emblazoned across the Boeing 737-400.

"Really? Is it?" McCain said after the flight. "I thought it just says Straight Talk Express."

Assured that his name also adorned the plane, McCain described how it felt: "Whoops! I feel wonderful," he said. "Maybe it's a little added free publicity, I don't know, at various airports."

Presidential nominees usually get a plane with their names and campaign slogans before the general election.

You can see the "JohnMcCain.com" emblazoned on the tail of the plane in this picture.

Oh, the audacity!

July 28, 2008
Sunday Night Springsteen
Yes, I know it’s Monday morning, but I have an excellent excuse. Last night we had a real "Sunday Night Springsteen", at the opening of a three-show stand at Giants Stadium in the Great State of New Jersey. The show was, for lack of a better word, "epic".

The opening song was a perfect choice for the E Street Band’s return to the Garden State. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”, where the first singing of the night is provided by the 50,000 members of the audience, singing the instrumental introduction to the song as Mr. Springsteen stalks the stage and urges everyone on.

Video of last night’s opening courtesy of NJ.com -

Bruce Springsteen takes the stage at Giants Stadium

And two other great performances from last night, “Radio Nowhere” and “Lonesome Day” –

Bruce performs Radio Nowhere

Bruce performs Lonesome Day

And yes, we are going back again tonight!!!!

July 21, 2008
Almost Crashed But The Lord Had Mercy
I wish. We had a small laptop malfunction on Sunday evening, as we were perusing the web for a suitable installment of "Sunday Night Springsteen". Actually, it involved spilling some liquid over the keyboard of said laptop, with said liquid finding its way into who-knows-where in that machine.

Recovery effort are under way (in other words, I need to get my in-house tech support, a/k/a the Cautious Son, to take a look at it).

July 18, 2008
Fungus Blogging
Our fun guy is back.

He's about a foot in diameter right now. I think he was around last year, but on a different side of the tree.

July 16, 2008
All I Got Was A Note That Said ...
Apologies in advance, but I laughed when I read this story today -

Montclair bank hit by robber who flees
Man handed teller a badly spelled note

A bank robber whose face was concealed by a lengthy head covering walked into the Bank of America in downtown Montclair yesterday morning, passed a teller an error-riddled note demanding money and escaped with an undisclosed sum of cash.

The robber, described as at least 6-foot-2 and wearing large white-rimmed sunglasses and a full-length blue garment, entered the bank at 9:47 a.m. at Bloomfield and Glenridge avenues and passed a note saying he had a bomb and a gun.

"I hava a Baun in the Bag and agum. I need 30,000 now hor I shouth you Plase houry now," the note read.

- because it immediately made me think of this -

July 14, 2008
There's A Joke Here Somewhere?
So there's this New Yorker Magazine cover this week, with caricatures of the Obamas.

We're supposed to understand that it's a satirical take on how right-wingers have characterized the Senator and his wife. If the illustration had included a character who was supposed to represent said right-wingers (say, if the illustration showed the Obamas posing for a cartoonist, who was drawing that caricature instead of how they actually looked), then it might have been a little clearer.

Why does the New Yorker cover ultimately fail as satire? Because today, it's hard to distinguish between satire and actual right-wing talking points. There's an audience which won't recognize the illustration as satire - the same audience that is targeted by Fox "News" stories like this -

July 13, 2008
Sunday Night Springsteen
We had a lazy week, okay? No posts since Sunday, and we just got back from a family event in New England.

I found something that I had forgotten, from 20 years ago. A performance from a Rock "'n" Roll Hall of Fame induction. This huge group of stars on a stage doing the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There". For the last part, George Harrison and Mick Jagger nudge Mr. Springsteen to the microphone, to finish the song. I like the interaction, and the way the "newbie" (Mr. S) kiddingly defers to Mick Jagger on "And before too long I ...".

It's a "passing of the torch"? Just musing, that's all ...

July 06, 2008
Sunday Night Springsteen
Ironically enough, the passing of Senator Helms has determined tonight's selection.

Mr. Springsteen and Tracy Chapman singing "My Hometown". Because, among other things, the attitude of folks like Mr. Helms encouraged working-class people to look down on their neighbors, as a distraction from the larger issues, such as the decline of American working-class communities.

Stuff The Right Wing Doesn't Get
All through this Independence Day weekend, I am sure that you have been hearing or reading that famous phrase from the Declaration of Independence about truths being self-evident, and all men being created equal, and being endowed by their creator with rights, etc.

Right-wing commentators seemed to flock to those phrases, without any regard to the rest of the Declaration.

Leaving aside the fact that the document in question was written in order to throw off a form of government (kind of a liberal concept, don't you think?), would it kill anybody to just look at the next phrase, as they piously summon up the spirit of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"? -

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

That "government" part never seems to make it into the right-wing commentaries. They seem to think that "rights" will take care of themselves.

Well, this is a little cold hard truth. "Rights" are secured by the people, through their government. If the people are heard by their government, they can secure their rights. Any government which merely pays lip-service to those rights, can expect to be confronted by a people who believe that the government should be changed.

That's what the Declaration is all about.

Following Up On The Prior Post ...
I try not to use harsh or "shock" words in posts, unless it's absolutely necessary. The post from Friday seemed to be one in which it was appropriate. I didn't provide "back up" at the time, but someone pointed out a David Broder column from 2001 that serves the purpose. In August of 2001, Senator Helms had announced that he would not be running for reelection the following year. Mr. Broder penned a very bluntly-worded column, which I think is okay to reprint, since it was addressed to Senator Helms while he was still very much alive.

Those who believe that the "liberal press" always has its knives sharpened for Republicans and conservatives must have been flummoxed by the coverage of Sen. Jesse Helms's announcement last week that he will not run for reelection next year in North Carolina. The reporting on his retirement was circumspect to the point of pussyfooting.

On the day his decision became known, the New York Times described him as "a conservative stalwart for nearly 30 years," the Boston Globe as "an unyielding icon of conservatives and an archenemy of liberals." The Washington Post identified Helms as "one of the most powerful conservatives on Capitol Hill for three decades."

Those were accurate descriptions. But they skirted the point. There are plenty of powerful conservatives in government. A few, such as Don Rumsfeld and Henry Hyde, have been around as long as Helms and have their own significant roles in 20th century political history. What really sets Jesse Helms apart is that he is the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country -- a title that one hopes will now be permanently retired. A few editorials and columns came close to saying that. But the squeamishness of much of the press in characterizing Helms for what he is suggests an unwillingness to confront the reality of race in our national life.

My own paper, The Washington Post, carried three stories about Helms's departure. In their 54 paragraphs, exactly two -- the 10th paragraph of one story and the last paragraph of another -- alluded to the subject of race.

Let me be clear. Helms has fought many battles in his career, and whether you agreed with him or not on small issues such as the funding of the arts or large ones such as Cuba, China, the Panama Canal and the United Nations, you had to respect his right as an elected and reelected senator to fight for his beliefs.

Even if you thought, as I did, that he was petty and vindictive in using his power as a committee chairman to block the appointment of former Massachusetts governor William Weld as ambassador to Mexico and, just this year, to force concessions from President Bush on textile imports before the top Treasury officials could be confirmed, you had to admit that other senators also have used their leverage to advance personal political agendas.

What is unique about Helms -- and from my viewpoint, unforgivable -- is his willingness to pick at the scab of the great wound of American history, the legacy of slavery and segregation, and to inflame racial resentment against African Americans.

July 04, 2008
Blame It On The Truth
Jesse Helms died today.

Nobody should die before their time, and those who loved him should be comforted. On a personal level, losing a loved one is tragic.

That having been said,

He was a racist prick. He gained power by being a racist prick, and there's no use overlooking that fact.

Sorry, but that's just the truth.

July 03, 2008
Independence Day Springsteen
First, go read the Declaration of Independence. Seriously. The part in the beginning about having "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind" is still kind of relevant, no?

Personally, I still like my post from last year with multiple versions of Little Steven's "I Am A Patriot", and shamelessly recommend it to you. For this year, a song we've seen in a different version here before. The last time, we noted about the performance - "This video is a performance that, well, was from a time when we assumed that our own government could not be accused of imprisoning or holding people without any basic rights, a time when we thought that those who did that were the 'others', in those other, repressive and distrusted countries."

We may be entitled to be a little more hopeful this year, that some changes are going to come. So, to celebrate Independence Day, a performance of Bob Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom" from 20 years ago, this 4th of July -


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