Monday, September 29, 2008

Nitpicking the Junkmail 3D: My God, It Just Keeps Going

You know, I've never been on a right winger's email list. It's kind of sad, really. I mean, my dad will send me stuff once in a while, and I'll crush it and go on with my life.

Well, I recently found a way to get myself included in some wingnut email forwards, and I have to say that it's amazing the ignorant crap that people will believe.

My current "nemesis" (I'll use that term because it would make him feel important, if he was smart enough to know what it meant) is some guy named Kyle. I have no idea who he is, or how closely related his parents were (I can guess, but I don't have any proof, really).

Once again, he forwards me stuff without any critical thinking on his part. It's titled "DISGRACE!" and you know it's important because the title is all in caps. (The body of the email is in varying red and green, but at least the writer figured out that he should turn off the "Shift Lock" key...) It read like this.
Obama The Patriot - Removes American Flag From His Plane

The Patriot Room
Posted on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 8:11:07 AM by Bill Dupray

Barack Obama recently finished a $500,000 total overhaul of his 757. And as part of the new design, he decided to remove the American flag from the tail...

What American running for President of the United States would remove the symbol of his country? And worse, he replaced the flag with a symbol of himself... This is such a despicable act!

So, in the interest of fairness, I thought I'd respond. You know, just to help my boy Kyle face reality. I stuck to short words, because I didn't want to lose him too fast.
Damn, Kyle, didn't I say that you needed to learn to think for yourself? Instead of passing along other people's lies, shouldn't you just think up your own? Obama leased a plane from North American Airlines. When he finally bought it outright, he removed a stylized flag, WHICH WAS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF NORTH AMERICAN AIRLINES.

You're a Special Needs student, aren't you, Kyle? Could you at least look this crap up before you send it on? Let me help you out. Here's a picture of a North American Airlines plane. And for comparison, here's John McCain's plane.

Now, the flag you see there is the logo of a company. See, that's what trademarks are - images that belong to other people.

On the other hand, look closely at the tail of McCain's plane. That's not a flag either. In fact, that says ""! What a disgrace! Why does John McCain hate America?

Tighten your helmet, Kyle. You can't afford to hit your head too many more times.

God Bless,


I suppose that I could have gone on, but why? When the target isn't a challenge, why shoot at it again?

Update: Strangely enough, my fans in the Southeast didn't feel that way.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dusty Foggo, American Hero

Former CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo is charged with 28 counts of wire and mail fraud, unlawful money transactions and making false statements stemming from evidence uncovered in the prosecution of Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Dusty's defense, however, has taken an unusual turn — he is threatening to expose the identities of numerous agents and programs.
Prosecutors say Foggo has threatened "to expose the cover of virtually every CIA employee with whom he interacted and to divulge to the world some of our country's most sensitive programs — even though this information has absolutely nothing to do with the charges he faces."

Prosecutors also allege his lawyers are seeking to introduce classified evidence to "portray Foggo as a hero engaged in actions necessary to protect the public from terrorist acts" to gain sympathy from jurors.

Foggo's efforts to disclose classified information are "a thinly disguised attempt to twist this straightforward case into a referendum on the global war on terror," wrote prosecutors Valerie Chu, Jason Forge and Phillip L.B. Halpern in a court motion filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
Rather than throwing the usual tight lid on the entire proceding, the government is instead requesting that a judge hold a closed hearing, to allow him to determine whether the information is both relevant and admissible in this case. Dusty's lawyer is declining comment.

Foggo's indictment dates back to February 2007.
...prosecutors alleged that Foggo, in exchange for lavish gifts, pressured subordinates to award water and procurement services contracts to [longtime friend Brent] Wilkes and his company, ADCS Inc.

"Among the gifts that are provided are these lavish overseas gifts, including a $44,000, one-week stay at a Scottish castle," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sanjay Bhandari said. "Beyond that, there's a pattern of promises of future gifts -- a job at Wilkes' company."...

Foggo faces an 11-count indictment charging him with conspiracy, wire fraud, depriving taxpayers of honest services, conflict of interest and money laundering. He "affirmatively hid" the gifts from his superiors at the CIA before his resignation, U.S. Attorney Carol Lam told reporters.
Charges against Foggo have increased to 28 since then.
Foggo has denied any wrongdoing, saying through agency spokespeople that any contracts he dealt with were "properly awarded and administered." However, a source has told Newsweek that Foggo had acknowledged to associates that he may have tipped off Wilkes that CIA contracts were coming up for bid - an activity which, according to the source, Foggo said was neither improper nor illegal. The source is close to a group of poker players who took part in a 1999 game arranged by Wilkes and attended by Foggo, Cunningham and a nine-fingered former CIA officer named Brant Bassett, who worked for Goss when the outgoing CIA chief was House Intelligence Committee chair. Foggo denies giving Wilkes any such tip-offs, according to another source close to the outgoing CIA official; Bassett and lawyers for Wilkes and Cunningham had no comment.
(I think it's great that they included the description "a nine-fingered former CIA officer" -- it gives that scene a cheap-spy-novel feel.)

It is actually not that unusual for a defendant to claim he or she must release classified material as part of a defense -- the usual term is "graymail." Any time that national security issues enter into a case in this way, Congress has passed laws instructing the courts to create unclassified replacements that can be released in public.

What this boils down to, though, is the payback for eight years of increasing government secrecy, from an administration who would promote someone like John Negroponte to be Director of National Intelligence. Eight years of increased cronyism in government has led to unscrupulous people like Dusty Foggo having their hands on embarrassing or damaging information. It makes you wonder how many blackmail attempts are successful and we don't get to hear about them.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nitpicking the Junk Mail, part II

OK, if you're coming into this blind, I suggest you read the previous post first. (I was thinking about just updating that post, but it's getting a little bulky.) If you haven't read that, nothing that follows will make sense. (And it still might not. Oh, well - that's the burden I must bear...)

I was right, incidentally. I got hate mail. I knew it was going to get a little ugly, but these people were the ones drawing me into their stupidity. My wife was willing to just roll her eyes and passively try to ignore her cousins' rantings. Me, I like to take a more frontal approach. Particularly when it's low-hanging fruit like this.

I wasn't exactly overwhelmed, but at least one of them seemed a little heated. And I suppose that you could argue that it was a little unfair - they didn't ask me to interject sanity into their ignorant parroting of Rush Limbaugh's talking points, but my wife never asked them to include her in their mindless rush into ignorance. So I think we're even.

The first one was actually almost polite. A woman (I assume - it's possible that she was self-identifying when she mentioned the 16-year-old girl), who said:
I do not know who you are but please do not send me any more of your rants on your distaste for Sarah Palin. It is fine if you are not a supported but sending out random emails to people you do not know is a little absurd. If your wife was offended by the email she needs to to talk to the person that sent it to her- you do not need to talk to every person on the email list for her. You also sent your rant to a 16 year old girl. Next time make sure you know who you are sending things to.

Thank you.
Now, see, here's where I should almost feel guilty. If I'd actually attacked them for their ignorance, or been anything but calm and logical, I might. (Well, OK, I was maybe a little condescending; I don't feel guilty about it. There was a lot there to feel condescending about.)

I didn't actually answer that one. I was curious what she meant about her "You also sent your rant to a 16 year old girl," but I didn't ask. (The closest to distasteful that I got was that throw-off line about abstinence-only education working well for the Palin family. Maybe it's just that I was exposing the delicate young thing to non-GOP viewpoints.)

About an hour later, I got another one. At least this guy could spell.
That is very interesting. The way that I see this and the way I see you is that you have to find everything wrong with VP Candidate Palin ONLY because you cannot find anything good about Obama. It is completely understandable and good luck with your efforts. You can keep sending me these smear tactics on McCain and Palin but you need to remember that the worst of McCain and Palin is still better than the best policies that Obama can lie about because we both know that he is a Socialist, one step away from Communism. I don't like McCain and Palin, but they are the only logical choice
Again, didn't answer. Where do you go against that kind of mind-set? Because I responded with a few fact-checks to an unsolicited email, I was smearing both McCain and Palin. I don't recall even mentioning McCain. And what did he mean by "because we both know that he is a Socialist, one step away from Communism"? Wow. Good to know that his last civics class was in the Fifties.

But then I hit comedy gold. This guy's name was Kyle Bennett. And he felt that he needed to hit "reply all." So this went out to the same 51 email addresses as both the original, and my response to it. (And yes, incidentally, "Bill" is correct. Which brings a little irony to that whole "nameless" thing. But I'm a big fan of irony, so I'll run with it.)
Look Bill,

Don’t be sending me or anybody else this kind of bullshit. Why don’t you send out a record of Obama’s voting record in the Senate or list what all he has done for this country, hell even his own state, besides the millions of dollars in earmarks, which is tax payers money (like me and your dumbass). By the way his wife, who stated that she has never been proud of America (b/c she is a Muslim Bitch), received an outstanding job with a huge raise because of one of Obamas earmarks. Hey Bill do you like high paying taxes? You better get ready because if that Muslim gets office and hikes up our taxes, which he will, it will be the month of July before you start earning enough money to support your family. A tax hike to 40%, is just plain wrong and unfair. He is absolutely going to kill America’s small businesses, which by the way, is what characterizes what the American Dream is all about. This guy (Obama) wouldn’t know whether to shit or go blind if something like 9/11 happened with him in office would he? Look you must be a hardcore Democrat which is fine, but deep down you know this is the wrong guy (Obama) to lead this country. Put your party affiliation aside and look at McCain’s & Obama’s voting records, health care plans, the oil crisis, energy development, and economic plans. WAKE UP!!!! This is a no brainer. Let me tell you what is going to happen with Obama’s health care plan, there is no good Doctor going to go through all that expensive and extensive schooling to become a M.D. and do it for hardly no money. What is going to happen is that there will become a shortage of quality doctors out there and the medical field and people will suffer because of it. OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!! By the way I’m tired of all this funding and spending by the government (Democratic Congress) for these damn government programs that have been going on for years and years with no results. What is happening we are giving people all these government contracts to people (organizations) to do research with no results. You know why there are no results? Because these people are getting rich, along with politicians, by keeping these projects going! We need to cut this funding, put this money back into the economy (I.E. small businesses, industries, opening up more jobs for the American People) So we can quit sending shit overseas to be produced only to by it back at a ridiculous markup. And guess what Obama wants to do? Give the damn government more money so this kind of shit will keep going on. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! Obama has been a major player (celebrity) in the Congress that on record has been the WORST ever in American and you want him to lead our country? HOW CAN YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT!! Am I a Republican, sure, but I am a country boy with common sense also, by the way I did like Bill Clinton and I thought he did some good things while in office. Now tonight I want you to look in the mirror and ask yourself this question “What the hell am I doing?” By the way who the hell is Joe Biden!!!!!!!!!!!


Kyle A. Bennett

P.S. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!!!!!
You hardly know where to go with that kind of ignorance. But here's where I went. A lot less polite, but still low-key. (Well, for me, anyway.) I didn't even embed any of the links - just printed them out there, available and obvious. (Frankly, I wasn't sure this guy was smart enough to click a hyperlink, and I didn't want him to miss that I had facts on my side.)

I even thought about replying just to him. And then thought better of it. First, I didn't want anybody to think that I'd just turned tail at the first sign of trouble. And second, I could throw in a nifty little disclaimer at the beginning, to let people know that I wasn't going to bother them unless they bothered me.
(To the rest of you: I'll cut you out of any future rants from Kyle. I hope he's good enough to do the same.)

Look, Kyle,

Do you have the ability to think for yourself? Because, holy crap, you eat up every lie they feed you, don't you? Well, I'll try to educate you a little, but somehow, I don't think it's going to take.
"Why don’t you send out a record of Obama’s voting record in the Senate or list what all he has done for this country, hell even his own state,"
Easy enough.
"besides the millions of dollars in earmarks, which is tax payers money"
Palin asked for more earmarks than anybody else.
Where the average state got $50 per person in earmarked money, Alaska under Palin got ten times that. I'll assume that, since you know so much about Palin, you know that, back before he named her as VP, McCain named her his Pork Queen three times.
"Hey Bill do you like high paying taxes? You better get ready because if that Muslim..."
Barack Obama is not a Muslim. That's another one of those lies.
"...gets office and hikes up our taxes, which he will, it will be the month of July before you start earning enough money to support your family. A tax hike to 40%, is just plain wrong and unfair."
Oh, my god. Where did you even get that steaming pile? Here, from Business Week (go ahead, try to say that's "left-wing lib'rul media"):

"So where does the reality lie? According to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a joint venture between the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, two Washington think tanks, this round goes to Obama. The TPC took a look at the various tax proposals put forth by the two candidates and estimated that Obama's plan would lead to a boost in aftertax income for all but the highest earners, while taking a smaller bite out of government tax revenues than would McCain's plans."

Come on, dude. You wrote one (long) paragraph, and you got almost everything wrong. I could keep going like this, but, you know, I've got a job to do. You really need to watch something besides Fox News and wrestling. You even show your own ignorance in the last sentence:
"By the way who the hell is Joe Biden!!!!!!!!!!!"
I'll just cut this from Wikipedia for you.

"Born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania for ten years prior to moving to Delaware, Biden trained as a lawyer and became a senator in 1973 at the Constitutional minimum age of 30, making him the fifth-youngest senator in U.S. history... In his sixth consecutive term in the Senate, Biden has served for the sixth-longest period among current senators."

So, learn something if you can. And God bless you,

I thought that the "God bless you" was a nice touch.

But our boy Kyle didn't know when to quit. Again, he went for "reply all," so all 50 or so people got to see his brilliance. (And, incidentally, while I'm saving you from his somewhat unique spacing, that's all the editing I'm doing to this stuff.)
Okay Bill,

First of all I don’t know who you are or how you got my e-mail address but since you started this shit I figured I would finish it. Since you don’t think that I can think for myself well, here you go!! And this isn’t from one of your fancy little links from bloggers like “Nameless Cynic”.
Did I mention that I got all kinds of amusement from this guy? And there was no way he could know when he was being funny, some of the time)
1) From Barrack Hussein Obama himself “If the political winds should shift in an ugly direction, I will stand with the Muslims”

ARE YOU SERIOUS!!! Yeah Billy Boy he is not a Muslim…… WOW!!!!!

2) This country is so bad in debt that there is not a single plan out there that is going swoop in and rescue us (trust me someone would have thought of that already). Common sense, Billy, Common Sense.

If you think that Obama, or for that matter McCain, came up with these plans by themselves then you are seriously mistaken. Again common sense, Billy, common sense.

3) Encouraging Economic Growth: This is still part of #2. So Obama wants to tax the wealthy right? Define wealthy $100,000? $200,000? $1,000,000? Obama’s plan is staring at about the 150,000 range I THINK. Now let me put this into a little perspective for you. Every business owner, large or small, makes at least $150,000 you agree? Common sense, William, Common sense. All right why are we going to put heavy taxes on these people that are the backbone of America? I am not talking about the Bill Gates of the world, that has more money than he knows what to do with, no I’m talking about industries that produce for the consumer that give people like me and millions of other Americans jobs that let us provide for our families. This is not encouraging American Economic growth, It is DISCOURAGING it!!!! Common Sense, Bill, Common Sense!!!

4) This is not a POPULARITY CONTEST. This is who is going to be the next leader of our COUNTRY!!!!!!!! I’m sick of hearing how Obama is Elegant, Warm & Fuzzy,a Rock Star. This makes me want to PUKE!!!! I

I cringe to think what would happen to our country with him as our Commander-In-Chief!! HE DOESN’T EVEN CROSS HIS HEART DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM OR PLAEDGE OF ALLIEGENCE FOR AMERICA’S SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5) I could go on and on but the buck stops here!!!!!!!

Now Bill,

Erase my e-mail from your address book because I don’t want to be associated with America Haters like yourself. I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!!!!

From the bottom of my heart,

Kyle A. Bennett

P.S. You mess with the Bull, You get the Horns!!!!
The cool part was, by the time I got this, I was off work, and didn't have to waste my lunch hour beating on this guy. So I responded.

To just him, by the way.
Oh, my God. Didn't I say you should think for yourself? You aren't good at much besides quoting other peoples lies, are you? And incidentally, "America Haters"? I spent 21 years in the military. What have you done for your country besides lie about it? But here, let me show you where you're wrong. And I'll type slow, to make this easy for you.

(You'll also noticed that I'm not spamming every other name on this list. You might know some of them, and I think it's polite not to embarrass you.)

1. That's a lie. Somebody sent you an email of misquotes and lies, and you fell for it.

2. Why do you keep using the term "common sense"? You don't seem to use much. You don't have a point here, so I'll move on.

3. Let's go back to the Business Week article I already sent you.
The TPC took a look at the various tax proposals put forth by the two candidates and estimated that Obama's plan would lead to a boost in aftertax income for all but the highest earners, while taking a smaller bite out of government tax revenues than would McCain's plans.
Or to give you actual amounts, if you're earning that $100K, Obama's tax bill would save you almost $300 more than McCain's.

4. I'm not sure what your point is here. Obama's more popular than you and that pisses you off? "HE DOESN’T EVEN CROSS HIS HEART DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM OR PLAEDGE OF ALLIEGENCE FOR AMERICA’S SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Well, besides the fact that you can't spell, how about this?

Or you could read about the whole smear campaign here.
but I've got to warn you, they use some big words there. Might be hard for you.

I don't have your name in my address book. I just reply when you email me. Incidentally, I love America. That's why I'm tired of seeing it ruined by people with no respect for the Constitution. (Look up the term "habeas corpus" sometime, and find out why it's important.)

"'P.S. You mess with the Bull, You get the Horns!!!!" - you're kidding, right? There's definitely bull all over your email, but you're more like a steer, son. Learn something. Try not to be this ignorant any more.

That was it from Kyle (so far). I did get one more brief note, from a woman named Kim, who wrote, to everybody:

First, let me state that I don’t know who either one of you are but I do have two comments.

Kyle, I LOVE your emails and would gladly call you a friend any day.

Bill, I will make sure to include you in my nightly prayers that God will bless you with some common sense. If he does not, please do us all a favor and move to Iraq.

God Bless America!!!

I decided to go with the old standard for her. It's cheating, but I think I earned it. (And, yes, I hit "reply all," in the vain hope that one or two of them could take a hint.)
Thanks, but in my 21 years in the military, I did two tours in the Middle East.

You know, I cut y'all out of my responses to Kyle. He isn't that polite.

God bless you, too,

That's been it, so far. I guess I'll get to see what tomorrow brings.

Update: And sure enough, they just don't stop.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Nitpicking the junk mail

My wife has a number of insanely right-wing, small-minded cousins in the Alabama-to-North Carolina area, and they sometimes like to pass along random emails with a somewhat political bent. And they sent another yesterday. So I decided to take the bull by the horns and answer it, rather than just deleting it. I could reprint it here as well, but that would double the length of this and waste everyone's time. If you get something that follows roughly the following parameters, feel free to cut and paste at will.
You know, my wife recently was sent an email (apparently copied, unattributed, from somebody's newsletter, but I'm not going looking for it; some of it was copied straight from Wikipedia) about Sarah Palin. Some of the rest of you might have seen it. In the first few paragraphs, it gushes "Details of Palin's personal life have contributed to her political image. She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles and owns a float plane." I'm really not sure why that would make her politically viable, but I'll let that go.

It starts "Finally an intelligent person selected for VP of the USA." Or a small-minded, petty bureaucrat, but you know, you can argue either way. It then goes on with "PRAISE BE TO GOD!!!!! He answered our prayers!!!!"

Depends on what you pray for, I guess.

Then there's a lot of unimportant biographical stuff about where she grew up. I'll skip that, to get to "Her husband, Todd, is a Native Yup'ik Eskimo." Which kind of makes me wonder why she's been quoted calling Eskimos "Arctic Arabs." That must make for some tensions at home.

It's kind of catchy. "Arctic Arabs." She should work it into a campaign slogan. It's not like a lot of Eskimos are going to vote for her. And actually, Todd is only an eighth Yup'ik. (It's important to get the details right.)

Then there's the passing reference to the fact that "Todd works for BP." That's British Petroleum. Which puts an interesting spin on the fact that Todd likes to sit in on his wife's executive meetings. Is that conflict of interest, or just that Todd doesn’t trust the little woman to make decisions on her own?

Then they talk about her family for a while. I'm not going to make fun of her family... except to point out that Governor Palin pushed the "abstinence only" agenda in the Alaskan schools, because it apparently worked so well in her family.

"She also ran for governor on fiscal conservative agenda" - you know, so did George Bush, and he took a record budget surplus and turned it into a record deficit. Did you know that Bush has borrowed more money than all of the other presidents added together? He's running the country on credit cards. Kind of like what Palin did as mayor, taking a town that owed no money, and running it 22 million dollars in debt.

How is that fiscally conservative again?

"She SOLD the wasteful spending jet (the previous governor bought) on EBay, and made a profit for the state of Alaska!!" Well, no. That's a lie. She put it on eBay, but it didn't sell. So instead, she sold it to a campaign contributor for $300,000 less than it was worth.

No, that doesn't look suspicious at all, does it?

"She stopped the wasteful $$$$ Bridge to Nowhere" (I'm really not sure why somebody felt that sentence needed four dollar signs. Strange.) But that's not quite true either. She supported the bridge, until she had the money in hand. At which time she used it for other projects instead of either building the bridge or giving the money back - I'm not sure whether that's fraud, but it's definitely less than honest.

"She fought the Eco-Nazis to get the polar bears (12,000 more than before) OFF the endangered species list, that were just put there to keep oil companies from being able to drill....) and WON!!!" Well, that's interesting in a lot of ways. First, the polar bear was classed as "threatened," not endangered, and that was because their habitat is shrinking. Secondly, you remember that her hubby works for British Petroleum, right? (Things that make you go "hmmm...") And third, they "won"? When did that happen? They only filed in August. That seems to be a lie, too. (But let's just chalk it up to over-enthusiasm, shall we?)

"She's always had a between 80% & 90% approval rating in the state of Alaska." That's odd. The July 30 Rasmussen poll says that 64% of Alaskans rate her as excellent or good. Not bad, but not "between 80% & 90% approval" (at least, not in any of the schools I went to).

I suggested that they could feel free to stop sending us stuff like this. Or at least find something a little more honest.

Somehow, I think I'm going to get a little hatemail for this one.
Update: And you know what? I was right.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Known Unknown

So, what do we know about Sarah Palin? Well, to be honest, we can't be sure. In the words of Donald Rumsfeld, "We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know."

She's a wife, a mother of five, and, in fact, recently proved her right-to-live cred by having her fifth child despite knowing that he would be born with Downs Syndrome. But more on that later.

The Republicans, in what has become a fairly common tactic, tried to scrub her wikipedia entry, but that triggered a pushback from the left that may have ended up supplying more information on her than was readily available before.

They also tried to scrub her gubernatorial website - if you try to go to "," you find yourself redirected to However, a blogger named Michael Petrelis saved us the trouble and pulled up web archives of her site. There are even official Alaskan state sites that have been scrubbed, where you find interesting details like her approval of Barack Obama's energy policy.

(The Republicans also don't want to mention that, despite her claim in her acceptance speech that "I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that Bridge to Nowhere," part of her campaign for governor included pushing for the bridge to get built: she even told Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." Of course, once she got the money, she used it for other things; the only part of the bridge that's getting built was is an access road to the beach where it would have gone. That money was earmarked, and would have to have been returned.)

We know that the vetting process for Sarah Palin was a little more rushed than normal: John McCain only met her once before announcing her as his selection for Vice President; this has left some of the contenders, like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, feeling used and manipulated. (Of course, maybe McCain had other reasons for selecting her...) But one theory about her selection, put forward by Frank Rich, gives a different reason for her pick as VP:
The latest good luck for the Democrats is that the McCain campaign was just as bamboozled as the press by the false Hillary narrative. McCain was obviously itching to choose his pal Joe Lieberman as his running mate. A onetime Democrat who breaks with the G.O.P. by supporting abortion rights might have rebooted his lost maverick cred more forcefully than Palin, who is cracking this particular glass ceiling nearly a quarter-century after the Democrats got there first. Lieberman might have even been of some use in roiling the Obama-Hillary-Bill juggernaut that will now storm through South Florida.

The main reason McCain knuckled under to the religious right by picking Palin is that he actually believes there’s a large army of embittered Hillary loyalists who will vote for a hard-line conservative simply because she’s a woman. That’s what happens when you listen to the TV news echo chamber. Not only is the whole premise ludicrous, but it is every bit as sexist as the crude joke McCain notoriously told about Janet Reno, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.
We know that she's a fairly pretty woman, and even won second place in the Miss Alaska pageant, although nobody is clear on how that might make her a viable choice for Vice President. (On the other hand, the videos of her work as a sports anchor in the eighties are interesting.)

Although Ms. Palin is describes herself as non-denominational, she attends a Pentacostal church, one of the major evangelical churches in America. This fact probably makes her more appealing to the Religious Right, but some have found troubling indications in her choice of religions.

Some on the right have deep reservations about her selection, too; David Frum, from the National Review, writes:
Here's I fear the worst harm that may be done by this selection. The McCain campaign's slogan is "country first." It's a good slogan, and it aptly describes John McCain, one of the most self-sacrificing, gallant, and honorable men ever to seek the presidency.

But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?
Noah Millman, a blogger at, is even more blatant (and he's a supporter, too):
If McCain were to die in February 2009, I hope Palin would have the good sense to appoint someone who is more ready to be President to be her Vice President, on the understanding that she would then resign and be appointed Vice President by her successor.
Or, to put it another way, "Hey, thanks for your time. You've been a good little girl, now could you get out of the way and let the men get to work? Oh, and get us some coffee before you go."

And then there's the fascinating rumors coming to light. First, an investigation was launched against her for the possible abuse of power in trying to get her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper. This might not be much of an issue in the election: unless the Alaska Attorney General is more efficient than the rest of them, I doubt this investigation will be wrapped up in less than a year. But according to State Sen. Hollis French, who leads the state Senate's Legislative Counsel Committee, Ms. Palin might be deposed soon.

More interesting (and definitely more appealing to the National Enquirer readers): some bloggers are finding great glee in pointing out the following parade of facts:
1. Nobody knew Sarah Palin was pregnant until she admitted to being seven months along.

2. The day she gave birth, she gave a speech in Texas where she claimed to be leaking amniotic fluid, and then took a seven-hour flight to Alaska, and drove 45 minutes ot a remote hospital. And then she returned to work three days later.

3. Her daughter had been out of school for about five months, with a claim of mononucleosis.
And yes, that looks suspicious. On the other hand, that same daughter has just turned up pregnant at age 17, (hey, way to teach the family values, mom!) and I don't see her getting pregnant again this quickly.

So let's consider a third possibility. Ms Palin is a college-educated woman. (OK, yes, she's also a beauty-queen runner-up, but she went to college. That has to count for something.) She's had four children before this. So let's assume that she knew something about pregnancy. Like when the amniotic fluid is leaking, that's important. Like when an airplane goes up thousands of feet, the pressure changes can affect the pregnancy. Like time is important in situations like this. And, incidentally, that a larger hospital (like, say, in Texas) might have more equipment to ensure that the baby survives childbirth.

Now, further than that, she says that she knew that the child had Downs Syndrome, and raising a Downs child is a challenge. And she'd just been elected the youngest governor (and the first woman governor) in Alaska's history. What is an up and coming, dedicated pro-life politician to do?

Wouldn't a miscarriage have been convenient?

I think this is a question that somebody needs to consider.