Open Mic Night at the RNC

No, I don't mean just because they're letting anyone speak (Romney and Giuliani?) I'm talking about Republican hacks Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy caught on live mics expressing their real feelings about Sarah Palin (via TPM).

This is a truely amazing video. It's not really that surprising to people who pay attention, but it is stark to see the contrast between what they really think and the party line they regurgitate on TV. Pass this along!

Chuck Todd: Mike Murphy, lots of free advice, we'll see if Steve Schmidt and the boys were watching. We'll find out on your blackberry. Tonight voters will get their chance to hear from Sarah Palin and she will get the chance to show voters she's the right woman for the job Up next, one man who's already convinced and he'll us why Gov. Jon Huntsman.
(cut away)

Peggy Noonan: Yeah.

Mike Murphy: You know, because I come out of the blue swing state governor world: Engler, Whitman, Tommy Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. I mean, these guys -- this is how you win a Texas race, just run it up. And it's not gonna work. And --

PN: It's over.

MM: Still McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech to do himself some good.

Lieberman's Great Speech

Wow. Just wow. I think that Joe Lieberman is a phony and a charlatan, but he just delivered one hell of a keynote at the Republican convention. Here is the video:

He hit all the right notes; Um, ladies and gentlemen, and did it with his folksy charm and trademark cadence. That was a dagger to Obama's heart.

(In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic!)

Respect.

I caught a small amount of the RNC tonight, but I saw enough. I saw Fred Thompson call Obama a baby killer. I saw Joe Lieberman cuddle up to his right-wing overlords. I saw one of the 36 black GOP delegates. And I saw a markedly different attitude towards military service than the GOP showed four years ago.

Everywhere I looked I saw signs with "Service," "Country First," and slogans honoring POWs and veterans. But I'll never forget that this was the party that distributed band-aids with purple hearts on them to mock Sen. John Kerry's service just four short years ago. Suddenly the party that swiftboated on behalf of a draft dodger is running on a platform of service to one's country? Spare me.

Cargo Cult Politics

In one of my favorite speeches, the 1974 CalTech commencment, physicist Richard Feynman decried what he called "cargo cult science." Cargo cults are the anthropologically fascinating result of the interaction between primitive cultures and developed ones.

Most famously, during the U.S. island hopping campaign in the Pacific during WWII, we built military bases on many small pacific islands. The native inhabitants previously had little or no contact with modern materiel, and when the war ended and the bases were deserted. Not understanding the source of the equipment, many native societies formed cults to bring back the supplies. They constructed all the superficial trappings of the military bases; they built runways with bamboo airplanes to lure the planes back. Men sat watch with coconut and bamboo radio headsets. Soldiers marched with wooden rifles.

Thoughts On Palin

Since McCain picked Sarah Pali, Governer of Alaska to be his Vice Presidential running mate, everyone has been scrambling to figure out "what it means" and "how it plays." I have a few general thoughts, and what better place to air them than the internet? Here they are in no particular order.

1) This was first and foremost a political pick. If the first major decision of the presidency is picking a vice president, McCain just failed and Obama passed. Obama picked a politician for both political and practical reasons; Biden is a great surrogate, but he is also a reasoned and experienced voice to have as counsel. Biden and Obama by all accounts developed quite a rapport over the campaign, and with Obama's trust, Biden will be an effective advisor and confidant.

McCain, on the other hand, had no relationship with Palin at all. She was picked first and foremost to shake things up, as the McCain camp understood they couldn't win on the fundamentals. I don't know how many times McCain and Palin have ever even met before the VP search began, but I'd be surprised if it were more than a handful of times. Also on her side was the paucity of good picks for McCain. As my mom pointed out "who the hell else was he going to pick? Romney? Giulliani?"

Things That Make My Ears Bleed

Cable news.

Specifically, when I come home and turn on the TV and hear talking heads complaining that politicians and parties "don't get" the problems of "average" Americans, and that these politicians and parties need to "explain" what they're going to do. I'm looking at you Tom Brokaw.

Perhaps I find this so exasperating because Obama's plans are so easily found on his website, accessible to any American with access to the internet (which certainly includes members of the media). Meanwhile, cable news spends hours upon hours complaining about the lack of substance, or policy, or details, or solutions, and quite literally no time examining the policies or proposals of the candidates.

I've seen hundreds of hours of news coverage this election, and not once have I seen even a 5 minute substantive report on the competing healthcare proposals, or energy proposals, or tax plans, or Iraq plans.

I have heard quite a lot of opinions and speculation from Tom Brokaw.

Dunces in the Corner

Last night at Drinking Liberally somebody who wasn't familiar with the National Review Online's "the corner" blog asked why we all thought it was the "most retarded collection of thoughts on the internet."

It would be impossible to document even a small fraction of the absurdity and stupidity at the corner, but I offer this non-comprehensive collection of corner highlights from the very recent past anyway. Note that this is a non-comprehensive list, in no particular order.

Starting recently, a mere 40 minutes ago, Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote the following:

McCain-Clinton 2008 Watch [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Carly Fiorina meets with Tony Rodham.

08/20 11:24 AM

No, Sister Mary Kathryn, McCain-Clinton isn't going to happen. Next?

Yesterday, at 11 AM Kathryn Jean Lopez dropped a huge scoop on the cornerites.

It's Rudy [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

So many e-mailers this morning are predicting that the McCain trial balloon is really about Giuliani. I'm not there, but here's one:

I don't think it's being floated for Liebermann or Ridge.
I think he's considering Giuliani.

Glenn Beck Falls for the Hype

After the Olympics last night I briefly flipped to Glenn Beck (why do I do this to myself before bed?), and though I was expecting him to say any number of astonishingly ignorant things, I didn't expect him to talk about the BIG HUGE BREAKTHROUGH IN SOLAR ENERGY THAT WILL REVOLUTIONIZE EVERYTHING!

I couldn't resist a little debunking, in case anyone else has heard of this.

The short version is this. MIT researchers led by Dr. Daniel Nocera made a genuinly interesting and important discovery in electrocatalysis. Their discovery was an electrocatalyst for water electrolysis that uses more readily available elements than platinum, is about 70% energy efficient rather than sub 50%, and is self-healing (ie can be used without being replaced) and it surely has important applications.

More Speechifying

The Big Dog smacked around the GOP pretty well.

Joe Biden brought the heat also, but I can't find the video up yet. In the meantime here is his bio/hagio-graphy

One of the nice things about being a Democrat is all the elder statesmen of our party. Compare Clinton, Biden, and Kerry with Guilliani, Romney, and Thompson(!). We win.

Hillary Clinton's Convention Speech

Was pretty good I thought. I actually thought it was one of her best oratorical performances this campaign, but perhaps that's just because I'm predisposed to the message.

Meanwhile, The Daily Show skewers the dead enders. Gotta love how they brought in a child psychologist!