The All Spin Zone

Cost of Putting Lipstick on a Pit Bull?

$68,400. That's the total of figures being reported in campaign finance reports by the Republican National Committee. The figure went for makeup for vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. From the New York Times:

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Palin Is Sinking the McCain Campaign

Every single Democrat should be worried about the outcome of this election until at least midnight of November 4th. Still, the polls are encouraging, and they are showing, amazingly enough, that Sarah Palin hurts John McCain’s candidacy worse than does George Bush. There’s no turning that one around.



The first polls are out with even a hint of a reaction to the Powell endorsement of Barack Obama, and those polls should make Republicans weep.


The NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll gives Obama a 10 point lead nationally. 60% of respondents in the CNN poll think McCain’s attacks on Obama are unfair, a figure that hurts McCain’s chances further with independent voters. Reuters/Zogby has an 8 point Obama lead in its latest tracking poll. And the Pew poll, which takes into account cell phone users, has Obama up by 14 points. The prediction here is that these totals will go up in the next couple days as the impact of the Powell endorsement fully hits the polling results.



What’s the big news here? Sure, McCain has been hurt by his association with Bush for a long time. But in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, it appears that Sarah Palin is a bigger drag on the Palin/McCain ticket than is Dubya. She’s now seen as unqualified for the vice Presidential job by 55% of the public, and her negatives are now 47%, higher than her positives for the first time. Here’s a bit from the Pew results about the Palin drag on the ticket, and about McCain’s lack of judgement:

The Whack Jobs Holding Out for a Palin/McCain Ticket


The latest Washington Post/ABC poll has Barack Obama with 53% of the voters and a ten point lead. No, polls are not the final word, but 53% is a big number in Presidential politics, and with three weeks to go the trend line is strongly in Barack Obama’s favor. Here’s a little of the Washington Post reporting about this big number:

McCain has made little headway in his attempts to convince voters that Obama is too “risky” or too “liberal.” Rather, recent strategic shifts may have hurt the Republican nominee, who now has higher negative ratings than his rival and is seen as mostly attacking his opponent rather than addressing the issues that voters care about. Even McCain’s supporters are now less enthusiastic about his candidacy, returning to levels not seen since before the Republican National Convention.

Conversely, Obama’s pitch to the middle class on taxes is beginning to sink in; nearly as many said they think their taxes would go up under a McCain administration as under an Obama presidency, and more see their burdens easing with the Democrat in the White House.
OK, there are some amazing numbers underlying this poll, as there are amazing numbers underlying other polls. Newsweek investigates those numbers, like trying to find out just who the whack jobs are in their poll who are satisfied with the economy. In this poll, 8% of the people had worse opinions of Barack Obama. Those are the ones shouting “terrorist” and “traitor,” I’m betting. Yeah, whack jobs. Newsweek may think it has the answer, but it is just as easy to conclude there are whack jobs out there, and Republicans seem proud to have them on board and voting.

Thou Shalt Not Go Negative Against a Comedian


Al Franken, known far more as a comedian than as a politician, is certainly benefiting from the Obama surge in the last week or two, but it appears Norm Coleman is doing his part in boosting the Franken candidacy, as reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken has moved into his first solid lead over incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.


The survey, conducted Tuesday through Thursday by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among 1,084 likely Minnesota voters, shows Franken leading Coleman 43 to 34 percent. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley is supported by 18 percent of respondents.


. . .


The new poll suggests that one reason for Franken’s gain is voters’ reaction to the abrasive advertising in the campaign.


The survey shows that 56 percent of poll respondents consider ads criticizing Franken to be “mostly unfair personal attacks.” Only 42 percent said the same about ads criticizing Coleman.


Some of the ads by the Coleman campaign and national Republicans show Franken when he was an entertainer, cursing and ranting on political subjects.
I suppose voters understand that in his previous occupation as entertainer and comedian, it was Franken’s job to be abrasive on these issues. The Coleman attacks using old SNL footage are backfiring because Minnesota voters are smarter than Norm Coleman gives them credit for.


Go Stuart Smalley!

FEC Decides that the First Amendment Actually Applies to Bloggers

We bloggers are media! We get to exercise our rights to free speech! Who knew? Well, since we’ve had those rights for a couple hundred years, so I knew. The Federal Election Commission, however, has seen fit to confirm my rights as a blogger to write about . . . politics! Yes, even if I commit the sin of favoring a candidate!


Heck, you can even be political and all that stuff. Nope, you don't need any stinking "freedom of speech" to give you these rights. The FEC has assured them. The whole case evidently extends from a whine by the Clinton campaign against a blog in Iowa advocating for Barack Obama. The report on this action is from mediapost.com:

Is Helping Big Oil the New Third Rail in American Politics?

Another Republican incumbent has lost an election, this time a primary in Tennessee. He was painted as beholden to Big Oil, and that's what led to Dave Davis' loss. Meanwhile, John McCain is in opposition to the New Energy Reform Act of 2008 precisely because is scales back Big Oil subsidies. This is the stuff of political ads against McCain.

oil-contributions.gif

courtesy of Think Progress

So it seems. There was a primary in Tennessee yesterday, and the incumbent Republican lost. David Davis, who represented the Northeastern part of the state, was upset by the Mayor of Johnson City, Phil Roe. While this one is going to be in the Republican column come November, Roe worked hard to tie Davis to Big Oil, and the pundits are reporting that is why Davis lost. RawStory has the scoop, as does Ben Pershing at the Washington Post:

Has Cheney Been Disinvited to the GOP Convention?

The lineup for the GOP Convention isn’t set, but Dick Cheney’s role seems set. He’s going to be absent. Evidently the current Vice President is so toxic in his disapprovals that few Americans, even Republicans, want to be seen with him. Everyone who is surprised, raise your hands.

We know that a whole bunch of GOP Senators, the ones up for reelection, are not attending this year's GOP Convention. We know that Mr. Bush will be making an early speech at the GOP Convention, then will likely be whisked off the stage. The current Veep, though, Dick Cheney? Evidently nobody is quite sure if Dick Cheney will attend, though it seems axiomatic that nobody wants Cheney to show up at the GOP Convention. Here's a bit on the subject from CNN.com:
Vice President Cheney will be a no-show at the Republican convention in Minnesota, Republican officials said, citing a desire by Sen. John McCain's campaign to turn the page on the Bush-Cheney years.
One GOP official told CNN there's a "mutual understanding" between Cheney's office and the McCain camp that he is "unlikely" to attend the convention.
A second Republican official said there are still "talks going on" between Cheney's office and the McCain camp and both sides are "still trying to work it out."
The conservative American Spectator first reported Monday that Cheney, who has low national approval ratings but is still popular among conservatives, is not expected to attend the convention.
A Wall Street Journal-NBC News Poll from June showed that while 31 percent of Americans had a positive opinion of President Bush, only 23 percent had the same feeling for Cheney.
Yeah, one can certainly understand why the Republicans would want to hide both Bush and Cheney when they dominate the airways during their convention. It is a bit odd that there's any confusion here, though. I would think even Cheney would immediately say he wouldn't attend. But these sources are not unanimous, that's for sure.

Karl Rove Cited For Contempt

The House Judiciary Committee voted this morning to hold Karl Rove in contempt of congress. Big deal. The entire Bush administration has held congress in contempt for the past seven years. And there is no intent on the part of the House to actually, you know, enforce the citation. So what's the point?

Wonderful.

So what?

The Bush administration has held congress in extreme contempt for the past seven-plus years. For five of those years, it didn't much matter. The past two years haven't made much of a difference either.

So, Conyer's committee cites Karl Rove for contempt of congress because he wouldn't comply with a subpoena, claiming "executive privilege". And now, the full House must vote on the citation, at least if that isn't off of Speaker Pelosi's table, too.

WHO Updates AIDS Model - Christian Conservatives Go Crazy


A new assessment of the AIDS epidemic by the World Health Organization drew an immediate response from the Family Research Council. Given the content of the FRC response, it appears that 25 years has done little to end the labeling of those with the disease as morally inferior.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

The inclination to view natural disasters and disease as signs of God’s wrath remains a frightening demonstration of the dangers of religious dogma. Time and again, a vocal group of religious leaders attribute these tragedies to the morality of those affected.


One long standing example is HIV/AIDS, though there are many more. When HIV first appeared, there were numerous religious leaders and politicians who chose to characterize the disease as punishment for homosexuality. Since the beginning, the fact that the infection rate in lesbians was a fraction of that found in gay men seemed to defy the efforts to apply a moral judgment. Regardless, the prevalence of these prejudices continues to exist.


The release of a new report by the World Health Organization, in which the organization acknowledges that HIV isn’t likely to become a heterosexual pandemic, has already triggered a new round of moral pronouncements. I’ll discuss the invective offered by the Family Research Council beneath the following excerpts. They are from an article in The Independent which details the reports conclusions.


A quarter of a century after the outbreak of Aids, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has accepted that the threat of a global heterosexual pandemic has disappeared.


In the first official admission that the universal prevention strategy promoted by the major Aids organisations may have been misdirected, Kevin de Cock, the head of the WHO’s department of HIV/Aids said there will be no generalised epidemic of Aids in the heterosexual population outside Africa.


Dr De Cock, an epidemiologist who has spent much of his career leading the battle against the disease, said understanding of the threat posed by the virus had changed. Whereas once it was seen as a risk to populations everywhere, it was now recognised that, outside sub-Saharan Africa, it was confined to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers and their clients.


[…] But we have to be careful. As an epidemiologist it is better to describe what we can measure. There could be small outbreaks in some areas.”

The Politics of Humanitarian Aid


After Cyclone Nargis ripped through Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta area, the Bush administration was wringing its hands over the Myanmar ruling junta’s delay in approving international aid, which is interesting, considering how the Bushies responded to offers of international aid after Hurricane Katrina.


Commentary By: Walter Brasch

President Bush was justifiably upset. A cyclone four days earlier had destroyed a large portion of Myanmar, and the country’s military junta was still refusing humanitarian aid. “Let the United States come to help you, help the people,” Bush pleaded with the junta. “We’re prepared to move U.S. Navy assets to help find those who’ve lost their lives, to help find the missing, to help stabilize the situation,” said the President, “but in order to do so, the military junta must allow our disaster assessment teams into the country.”



With more than 20,000 dead, possibly 40,000 missing, and close to one million homeless, the junta made it clear that it, not the international community, would provide whatever humanitarian aid was necessary.


A week before the cyclone hit, President Bush extended sanctions against Myanmar by another year because of what he called that junta’s “large-scale repression of the democratic opposition.” Paranoid about anything that could threaten its power, the junta was frightened that the United States would use the cyclone as a reason to invade the country.


The junta’s response the first week of May was little different than the international concern almost three years earlier. It wasn’t the destruction of villages and the rice farming industry, but the destruction of cities and the shrimp industry. It wasn’t a cyclone named Nargis, but a hurricane named Katrina.
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