Posts Tagged ‘obama’


Friday, October 9th, 2009

When I arrived at work this morning, I thought I heard the sound of fireworks

barack obama peace prize winner

Barack Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

… but no, it was the sound of thousands of wingnut heads exploding at once.

Close calls

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Okay, it’s the night of the big election and the reports are pouring in.  And to generate excitement, networks are “calling” states for Obama and McCain.

Here’s MSNBC, calling South Carolina for McCain:

MSNBC calls South Carolina for McCain!

MSNBC calls South Carolina for McCain!

While I do realize that Obama has a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning South Carolina, isn’t it customary for the winner of an election to have more votes than the loser?

Here’s CNN calling Maine for Obama:

Maine goes to Obama!

Maine goes to Obama!

… with a grand total of three votes in!  I know that Maine is a pretty small state, but … three votes decides the election?  Obama by a 2:1 margin … literally.

Go vote!

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Tomorrow is election day.  Whether you’re a progressive or a conservative, you should go over to your local polling place tomorrow and vote.  It’s important, even if it means you have to go out in the rain.

That said, this is a progressive blog – and we here at Shrimp and Grits would prefer that y’all vote for progressive candidates.  Candidates that support real heath care reform.  Candidates that support (and do not mock in national debates) proper funding for science education – and education in general.  I could go on, of course, but I’m on a short break while waiting for my lab to start.

Sadly, your vote (and mine) for the more progressive Presidential candidate won’t mean much here in South Carolina.  Our electoral votes will almost certainly go to McCain instead of Obama.  But there is a better reason to vote, and it has to do with this mailer I reveived the other day from the (of all people) Republicans in the State House.

'The Scoreboard"

The Scoreboard

Here’s where your vote actually will count for something.  Tired of failed Republican governance and busted budgets?  Then you might want to consider that “scoreboard”

Debate #3: The Final Beat-Down

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

I didn’t have the opportunity to record my thoughts on the debate as it happened, but here are some thoughts on the final Presidential debate.  I’ll probably post some more as I get time.

Here’s a link to the debate transcript from CNN.

Let’s talk about education.  Here’s John McCain talking about what he will do about science education. He’ll cut spending on things that are useful to science education as wasteful “pork”.  Things like planetariums.

Sen. Obama has asked for nearly $1 billion in pork-barrel earmark projects… including $3 million for an overhead projector in a planetarium in his hometown. That’s not the way we cut — we’ll cut out all the pork.

I’m not sure who McCain thinks this tidbit – which he’s mentioned in the past two debates – is supposed to impress.  I do know that he’s probably managed to alienate any science educator in the country who is paying attention.  For those of you who weren’t – John McCain thinks science outreach is wasteful “pork”, and he will eliminate it.

And while we’re on the subject of “pork”, Obama happened to bring up an important point:

Now, Sen. McCain talks a lot about earmarks. That’s one of the
centerpieces of his campaign.

Earmarks account for 0.5 percent of the total federal budget.

So McCain’s campaign is built on obsessing over half a percent of the budget?  No wonder Republicans are so bad at controlling the national debt.  They can’t see the forest for the trees.

Rights and responsibilities

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I mentioned this in my Debate #2 liveblog, but I thought I’d highlight the attitude towards health care access on display by the candidates.  Tom Brokaw asked the candidates whether access to health care was “a privilege, a right, or a responsibility”.

Currently, access to health care is a privilege.  I work at a community college, and I have met plenty of folks who simply cannot obtain preventative care, treatments for illnesses that are not immediately life-threatening, etc.  That’s disgusting.  (I’ve talked about this before on the blog.) And it says something about our collective morality that we would allow this to be the case.  We don’t get to use “we can’t afford to provide our citizens with access to medical care” as an excuse, since financing doesn’t seem to stop other industrialized countries from providing access.

So, what did the candidates say?  Here’s McCain.

I think it’s a responsibility, in this respect, in that we should have available and affordable health care to every American citizen, to every family member. And with the plan that — that I have, that will do that.

But government mandates I — I’m always a little nervous about. But it is certainly my responsibility. It is certainly small-business people and others, and they understand that responsibility. American citizens understand that. Employers understand that.

So, it’s a “responsibility” for society that we ensure access to care.  He can’t bear to come out and say that it should be a right, because that implies that the government (and his administration) would be held accountable for protecting that right.  He immediately says that he’s uncomfortable with the government making sure access to care is available – transitioning to fear-mongering about “mandates”.  I suppose access to care for other Americans is an optional “responsibility”?

Compare to Obama’s answer.

Well, I think it should be a right for every American. In a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they can’t pay their medical bills — for my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.

While I don’t think Obama’s health care plan is nearly ambitious enough, I like it that he gets that access to health care in the twenty-first century should be considered a basic right.  One that our nation has a moral obligation to protect.

Obama / McCain Debate #2 – Live!

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Starting late tonight, since we were busy reading to Cate.

9:23 – McCain is riding hard on earmarks, which seem to be just a distraction so folks won’t notice other problems.  Points out that Obama supported funding a planetarium.  This was meant to be a slam on Obama, but sounds like a pretty good idea to this science educator.

9:25  McCain’s still talking about bipartisanship.  Mentions working with Joe Lieberman.  So working with Lieberman – who is a Republican in all but name now – counts as reaching across the aisle?

9:27 Obama: “McCain likes to talk about earmarks a lot.”

9:28 Can someone take the crackers out of Tom Brokaw’s mouth, please?

9:30 McCain “We’ll have to have an across-the-board spending freeze”.  That sounds like panic rather than an economic plan – as if McCain’s just going to throw his hands into the air and give up trying to figure out what’s going on with spending and taxation.  And if McCain’s going to freeze spending, how’s he going to “get to work right away” on health care?

9:31 Obama reminds us of Bush’s “Go out and shop” after 9/11.  He also reminds us that “earmarks” are a small part of our current troubles.  Says McCain’s freeze proposal is like using a hatchet when a scalpel is more appropriate.  That’s a pretty good analogy.  Across-the-board cuts/freezes screw everything up instead of curtailing wasteful spending.

9:36 McCain says that Obama will increase taxes on half of small businesses.  I suspect Obama to hit back on this.  McCain says he doesn’t want to cut taxes for the wealthy.  That’s news.  Cutting taxes for the rich has been McCain’s stated plan from the day he began his preparations for this year’s election.  McCain also seems to think Obama favors “mandates” and “fines”.

9:27 Brokaw fails to allow Obama to respond to McCain’s bull.  Obama looks pretty pissed off about it.  Good for Obama.  So far, I’m not impressed with the format.  Looks like Obama’s going to go back to addressing McCain’s statements anyway – in answering the question on entitlement programs.

9:41 McCain He knows how to fix Social Security.  Says it’s easy, in fact.  He just won’t say what his solution is.  (This is probably because his solution would cost him the election.  Perhaps he wants to privatize it?)  Brings up the “94 tax increases” thing.  We’ll see if Obama hits him like Biden hit Palin for the same remarks during the VP debate.

9:43 A question for McCain about what he’ll do to make Congress move on climate change.  Nuclear power is the cure to all our ills, he say.   Oddly, though, he points out that he failed to get his proposal on climate change through Congress.  Sorta like he did the first time with the bailout bill when he “suspended” his campaign to push the bill through.

9:46 If McCain is going to play the “Obama voted xx times to raise taxes”, Obama’s going to hit McCain the same way on his environmental record.

9:48 Brokaw wants to know about whether we should start a “Manhattan project” for alternative energy.  McCain:  Pork-barrel projects!  Obama gave tax breaks to oil companies! Drill here, drill now!  What?

9:50 In terms of format, this debate is asinine.  What’s the point of a “debate” if the candidates aren’t allowed a rebuttal for obvious attacks?  I came here for an argument!

9:52 Obama brings up McCain’s “giveth with one hand, taketh with the other” proposal to give a tax credit and then tax employer-provided health care.  McCain talks about “shopping around” for insurance. Call me crazy, but I sure as hell don’t want to “shop” for health insurance.  Heck, I have allergies – I suspect the coverage I’d get on the open market would be much worse and much more expensive than what I have now.

9:56 McCain:  Health care is a “responsibility”.  Obama:  Health care should be a “basic right”.  I think that’s about right.

10:00  WordPress eats my last few comments.  Obama did respond effectively to McCain’s implications that he would need “on the job training” – saying that there are some things he doesn’t understand – like the reason we invaded the wrong country after failing to finish the job in Afghanistan.

10:06 “The McCain Doctrine” appears to be “Attack Obama First”.  And what’s with this “another Holocaust” thing that McCain mentions over and over?

10:14 Obama slaps back at McCain’s insinuation that he wants to invade Pakistan.  “Bomb bomb bomb Iran”  “Next up, Baghdad!”  McCain gets silly in response:  He “knows how to get bin Laden”, but he can’t tell anyone.  He’s said this before.  But why he hasn’t told … say … the current government about his great plan, so bin Laden might be brought to justice?

10:20 The Russia / Georgia stuff is the same thing they said in the last debate – both for McCain and Obama.  Where’s the fast-forward button on the live debate?

10:25  Oh, not this “preconditions” crap from McCain again.  It wasn’t convincing during the last debate, and it’s not convincing now.  It’s not even relevant to the question being asked.

10:31  Okay, the last question asked is one of those trick interview questions.  “What don’t you know?”  I suspect Obama and McCain will just use this to make their closing statements  Yup – that’s exactly what they did.  McCain says we need a “steady hand at the tiller”.  Sounds like he just endorsed Obama rather than his wild, maverick-y self!  Come to think of it, I didn’t hear the word “maverick” at all.  Is this the death of John McCain’s self-proclaimed “maverick” status?

Here’s the debate transcript.

Some debate thoughts

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Last night, I watched part of the Obama-McCain debate.  Since I only saw about the last half of the debate, I’m not going to try to say who “won”, overall.  But here are a few assorted thoughts.

  • Like many other folks, I found it off-putting that McCain couldn’t bring himself to look at his opponent.  He also took every opportunity to sneer condescendingly at Obama – talking no fewer than five times about how Obama was “naive” or “didn’t understand” some point of foreign policy.  Oddly enough, he did this even on Georgia. where Obama and McCain are rather similar.  For the part of the debate I saw live, McCain was in full-on “bitter old man” mode.  Bitter, obviously, that some young guy is running for the office that he is rightfully entitled to.  Especially bitter that this young guy is currently winning.
  • If you have to call yourself a meverick, are you really a maverick?  That’s like telling everyone how cool you are instead of actually being cool.
  • How many wars will John McCain start by accident?  Unless he’s much more in control of himself across the table from leaders of rival nations than he was at the debate, quite a few.
  • McCain dug himself a nice, deep hole with the flap over “preconditions”.  Perhaps he should go discuss this with his advisors?
  • I’d like to have seen Obama hit McCain a little harder.  For instance, there was no mention of McCain’s rug-buying expedition with Lindsey Graham, where McCain McCain visited a market while under heavy military guard and then claimed he walked around freely.  Still, I understand that Obama needs to not be seen as overy angry.  He must be the cool-headed leader that Americans can depend on in a crisis.

How could I have missed the most crucial issue of all?  NotVeryBright urges us to consider the flag pin issue! Obama had a flag pin, McCain didn’t!

Palin’ in comparison

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

I haven’t had a whole lot of time to blog lately, but I can’t resist laughing at the culture wars.  Yglesias links to this post from an “oasis of rational conservatives”, titled “THIS IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW”:



So … the Democratic nominee for President can ride a bike, while the Republican nominee for Vice President can stand in front of a motorcycle?

But this post really compares apples to oranges.  They should have McCain on a motorcycle (making sure to hide the scaffolding holding him up).  That, or find a picture of Joe Biden on a bike.

New poll tells us … the obvious

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Courtesy of The State, here’s a poll whose results will surprise no one:

Likely voters in the Deep South — those in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina — preferred McCain by a 25-point margin, 56 percent to 31 percent.

I wonder why that is?

Likely Mississippi Voter

Likely Mississippi Voter

Maybe voters in the Deep South are informed about McCain’s stands on the issues and prefer them to Obama’s?

“Illegal immigration needs to be controlled,” said 76-year-old Evelyn Perry of Fort Mill, who was among those surveyed. “I just haven’t really understood what (McCain’s position) is on that — but it needs to be controlled.”

Even without those specifics, Perry said she trusts McCain more. “Overall, I just think McCain understands better.”

Or … maybe not.  But I can sympathize with Ms. Perry just a bit.  John McCain himself hasn’t figured out what his immigration position is.

Many mansions

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Notverybright wants to know how many houses John McCain owns.  John McCain wants to know how many houses he owns, too. Obama knows, and here’s the answer:

Seven.  Or at least, that’s what we thinkThis house-owning stuff is hard.