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Post Debate Thread: Beautiful theories destroyed by Ugly facts

So, who won and why?  I watched the debate with the sound off and the impressions I get from each candidate are:

  • McCain- solid, unflappable.  A sure port in a storm.  He shows his thought on his face.  His eyebrows are very expressive.  He is both bemused and impish.  He will stand there an listen to you, taking it all in and have some internal monologue that he will decorate with humor, sarcasm and mischief.  I wish he would look at the camera more to appeal directly to viewers but this may be an artifact of addressing a chamber that is always half empty.
  • Obama- youthful, playful, like a young puppy.  He moves constantly.  His opening statement was good.  He looked into the camera and seemed intense and puposeful.  Then in the rest of the debate, he moved around from side to side.  He punctuates his words with head bobs in the style of a preacher, ala MLK or Jesse Jackson.  His style is very reminiscent of African American icons and statesmen, which is not a bad thing, but it is imitative.  He does not have the same solidity of McCain.  One imagines that a slight gust of wind could carry Obama away.

What did I miss?

Debate Live Blog: Thread 2

Join the debate.  What are you seeing and hearing?

To view Conflucian Style, try the following:

  1. First, watch it on C-Span where your propaganda filter is minimal.
  2. If you have a DVR, set the debate to record and watch it the first time through with the sound off.
  3. Then go through the DVR recorded portion, verrrrryyyy sloooowwwlly.  Take as much time as possible to parse every word until you get to its true meaning.


Debate Watching, Confluence Style

Tonight is the first of the presidential debates and we at The Confluence watch our debates a little differently.  We act like English is not our native language.  That way, you’re not so taken with the flowery turns of phrase.  I was reminded of a chapter in Oliver Sacks’ book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat where aphasics in rehabilitation watched a debate with Ronald Reagan in it and couldn’t stop laughing.  Without language, they were able to detect the subtle signals that the body and face give that indicate deceitfulness.  So, we also pay a lot of attention to body language.  Obama’s disrespect and contempt for Clinton just oooozed from the screen during his debates with her.  He didn’t have to say a word.  So, if you want to watch the debates Conflucian style, here’s what you do:

  1. First, watch it on C-Span where your propaganda filter is minimal.
  2. If you have a DVR, set the debate to record and watch it the first time through with the sound off.
  3. Then go through the DVR recorded portion, verrrrryyyy sloooowwwlly.  Take as much time as possible to parse every word until you get to its true meaning.

Have at it Conflucians!  This is a live blog thread.

Scratching Post Friday Night – Debate Drinky time!

Topic of the evening:  “It’s the Economy, stupid!”

For PUMA-SF,here's your Juanita "Wonder Woman" Lunchbucket!

Good evening to my fellow PUMA and/or Clinton Democrats! So, how are we feeling today?  Yeah, me too.   I’m not in the greatest of moods.  Uncertainty is in the air as we countdown the minutes to tonight’s debate.

Without a definitive economic bill resolution in Congress, anything can happen tonight.  I’m with BostonBoomer in the sense of mistrust, and I’m partial to believe that both Dems and Reps are holding out to sway the election polls somehow.  One thing that’s curious is that Democrats OWN the economy issue, yet we haven’t seen any formidable leadership from Barack Obama, other than Hillary Clinton and other House & Senate Democrats at least trying to resolve this crisis.  Why so quiet Obama?  Are you still memorizing your lines for tonight?  You know Obama probably forgot everything he learned in debate practice with that DC visit yesterday. 

Anyway, this is an open thread.  Rico’s got well drink specials since we’re all too broke right now to buy any top shelf stuff.  Chips and salsa from Costco – the gourmet goodies were too expensive to buy.   Hell, Rico will even let you BYOB at this point.  Flo’s mad that her 401K plan from her day job is threatened to drop 20%, so she is ready to kick Gollum behind if any should appear with their BS.  

UPDATE: After the Debates, Matt has his show, “My Two Cents” with Mama E and Phil at 11PM.  Patsy “Soldier4Hillary” and Sugar from Sugar and Spice Blog, are special guests so you KNOW it’s gonna be a good show!  Click here to listen!

Here’s one that I dedicate to you all.  We may not have much, but we have each other.   I couldn’t find a good quality Billie Holiday “God Bless The Child” YouTube version, but here’s the 2nd best, Miss Liza Minnelli from her Liza with a Z special: 



¡Que viva los PUMAs!



Interview With Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney – Part II

You Said It, Sister!

You Said It, Sister!

The following is Part II of my email interview with the gracious, intelligent, fiery and fabulous feminist, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, after reading her book: “Rumours of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated.”

MadamaB: Your writing shows a real talent for framing that is sadly lacking in too many Democratic policiticans’ lexicons. For example, you make a great point that strip-club visits are considered tax-deductible, but child-care expenses aren’t. Have you had any success with framing the comparison the way you do in the book?

CM: Every once in a while you have an ‘aha’ moment – when you see the absolute correctness of a particular position. How you frame an issue helps other people have that ‘aha’ moment. Sometimes you get there by giving your issue a face – I called my DNA bill after Debbie Smith, a woman whose rapist was identified because of a cold hit after her DNA kit was processed. The prosecutors were able to obtain a conviction because of the DNA contained in the rape kit. Debbie came to be the representative of hundreds of thousands of women whose rape kits were gathering dust on the shelf. Every one of those kits belongs to a woman who has a compelling story, and we couldn’t tell all of them. But we could tell Debbie’s, and we could talk about what happened to her, and how processing the DNA in her kit made all the difference. And it helped other members of Congress understand the importance of passing my bill because they understood what happened to Debbie.

MadamaB: Another great frame is your concept of a bipartisan “decency deficit” Could you explain what you mean by that?

CM: Many on the right talk about ‘family values’ which often translates to being anti-choice, anti-gay and, I would argue, anti-family. How can you be for family values if you do not support laws that protect work/life balance? The most important values in my view are what I would call human values: tolerance, compassion, generosity, honesty, humility. Or, to sum it up in one word: decency. Over the past seven years we’ve had an inordinate abuse of power, arrogance, disregard for the constitution – in short, a decency deficit. We need to restore the decency and provide basic needs for those who require it most. We’re the richest nation in the world, but we don’t have paid family leave or paid sick leave. We have no child care system. Health care is unaffordable for millions of American families. As a nation, we need to pay down the decency deficit and restore human values – and I believe women will have a lot to do with that.

MadamaB: In the book, you demonstrate how punitive the second-income tax is to working women. Is this a secondary result of conservative anti-government activism, or do you feel it was specifically intended to punish women?

CM: The marriage penalty is probably an unintended consequence of an effort to end a system that some people felt discriminated against single people. I was surprised to learn that it was adopted in 1969, just before the women’s rights movement gained momentum. There are scholars who are far more expert than I in this subject. I would recommend a wonderful book by Edward J. McCaffery, Taxing Women, who has explored this subject in great detail.

Continue reading

Friday: The Treasury Secretary begged Pelosi on his knees?!

According to the NYTimes, the meeting on the financial bailout yesterday at the White House had definitely gone into fiasco territory:

The day began with an agreement that Washington hoped would end the financial crisis that has gripped the nation. It dissolved into a verbal brawl in the Cabinet Room of the White House, urgent warnings from the president and pleas from a Treasury secretary who knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support.

“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared Thursday as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.

WTF?!  This “sucker”?  That’s the way *I* talk, but I’m a blogger.  It’s part of my charm.  Shouldn’t we expect the President to behave like this is a very serious matter?  Oh, nevermind.  And what’s with Paulson falling to his knees before Pelosi?  This isn’t public theatre. What’s next?  A slug fest in Congress between the Democrats and Republicans?

Usually, I don’t do the sanctimonious little finger wag at the players in dramas like this when they get a little ‘exercised’ and passions erupt.  But this is so over the top:

In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”

The bailout deal looked resolvable until John Boehner pulled the rug out from everyone and said the Republican caucus in the House would not support more government regulation.  Everything is going as Anglachel predicted the other day.  This is a set up and trap by the Republicans to hang the whole stinky mess around the Democrats’ necks:

But a few blocks away, a senior House Republican lawmaker was at a luncheon with reporters, saying his caucus would never go along with the deal. This Republican said Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the chief deputy whip, was circulating an alternative course that would rely on government-backed insurance, not taxpayer-financed purchase of mortgage assets.

He said the recalcitrant Republicans were calculating that Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, would not want to leave her caucus politically exposed in an election season by passing a bailout bill without rank-and-file Republican support.

“You can have all the meetings you want,” this Republican said, referring to the White House session with Mr. Bush, the presidential candidates and Congressional leaders, still hours away. “It comes to the floor and the votes aren’t there. It won’t pass.”

It will also expose Obama’s tender underbelly.  When push comes to shove, he will save his backers on Wall Street over the hardworking American men and women who are going into massive debt on their behalf.  Er, that would be *us*.

If Obama had any core Democratic principles, he would know not to yield.  If he weren’t a lightweight, he could add his critical mass to the Democrats in negotiation.  Hey, here’s his first opportunity to reach across the aisle to get things done with Republicans in a post-partisan fashion and they are about to eat his lunch.  So much for the future leader of the free world who thought it was more important to strut his stuff in Berlin than sit with his advisors and hammer out policies that might work or that he actually believed in.

To be a successful president, and believe me, George W. Bush has been successful beyond expectations, you have to be able to do long term planning.  You have to be able to think several moves in advance.  OR you have to believe in what you *say* you believe and stand your ground.  Obama seems to be lacking in both of these areas.

I hope the Superdelegates are uneasy.  I hope they are regretting what they did last summer when they ignored the woman with the public support, the steely spine and the nasally voice of the policy wonk. SHE wasn’t even invited to the party and had to make her case directly to the American people, talking to bubble headed newsreaders who wanted to know what she thought of Sarah Palin.  I have nothing but contempt for the Superdelegates and it will give me great pleasure to vote against Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine when they run again.

What was their point, exactly?  Why support *this* man at *this* time in our nation’s history?   Someone better start talking.  The grown-ups out here are losing patience and the Democrats are headed for a four year time out.