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Senator Obama, would you like to take a whack at Hillary?

Afflicting the comfortable

Barbara West: Afflicting the comfortable

The Obama campaign is acting like a Diva with a Florida media outlet because one of it’s reporters, Barbara West, asked Biden some questions that made him lose his temper on the air.  {insert smiley emoticon rolling eyes.)

I know why Obama/Biden are getting testy and snotty about this outrageous assault on the civility of their campaign.  It’s because the media has practically fellated them up to this point.  THEY can accuse YOU of being a racist if you question their political philosophy, utter Obama’s middle name or state that Obama has been a personal acquaintance of an unrepentant domestic terrorist.  But don’t YOU dare ask any provocative questions that merit a smiling face and a measured response.  Only the little people should be subjected to that kind of treatment.

Or female junior senators from NY.

Let’s turn the way back machine to Oct. 30, 2007 at Drexel University in Philadelphia.  Watch Hillary, Senator Biden, to see how it’s done

Part 1

Part 2

Change! Change! Change! Change!

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!

{{catching breath, wiping eyes, clearing throat}}

You were there, guys.  Russert handed each one of you the cudgel and you all took a whack at her.  And there she stood for more than an hour of the most brutal treatment by the media that I have ever witnessed in my life.  So, please do not look for any sympathy from us that now you are shocked and appalled that some blond Fox Newsesque newsreader in Florida didn’t get the memo to treat you with kid gloves.

Suck it up and deal with it.

Monday: Hits and Misses

There are a couple of posts around the web that got my attention last night. You might have already seen some of them. We have a few hits and a few misses. One is tempted to say, “I told you so” to the middle one but it probably wouldn’t do any good. {{sigh}}

  • Rebecca Traister kind of misses in her Salon piece Why Clinton Voters Say They Won’t Support Obama. The biggest miss is that she assumes that Hillary lost. We don’t believe there was any reason for Hillary to lose. The problem is that the process was flawed, the game was rigged and the superdelegate system failed to give us the stronger candidate. The superdelegates could still give the nomination to Clinton. If FL and MI are counted in full, the delegate count narrows to less than 100 and is statistically insignificant. For whatever reason, supers are not inclined to do this but there is still time for them to change their minds. What we need is a fair and transparent convention. With the DNC unable to pay its convention bills, we can hope they will come around in time to realizing that behaving badly will not open the money spigots. But she’s also totally clueless about whether we’ll come around in November. She thinks we’ll come crawling back because we have no where else to go. It’s all about reproductive freedom. Ok, we went over this last week in The Roe Ruse. The SCOTUS already has enough justices to overturn Roe v. Wade and this will not change unless one of the conservative justices quit, which will be like… never. Anyway, the real issues revolve around business, commerce and civil liberties and we have already seen what Obama feels about privacy in his FISA position. So, please, trust us Rebecca, we’re not coming back. Really.
  • Regarding Obama and FISA, Big Tent Democrat tries to make sense of it John Cole’s mysterious poker metaphor in On FISA, The Media and Poker while Hunter at the Big Orange Cheeto finally has a “Soylent Green is People!” epiphany in Even Barack Obama Thinks You’re Stupid. (Sorry, no link, we’re honoring the strike) Yes, Hunter finally wakes up and smells the coffee. Except, in Hunter’s case, I don’t believe he ever bought the Unity Pony shtick in the first place. He went along to get along. It wasn’t that he loved Obama so much as he absolutely couldn’t stand Hillary for reasons that are probably still a mystery, even to himself. But I suspect it goes something like this: the Kossack buzz words were carefully played, first by Joe Trippi and then by David Axelrod. Oh, yeah, she was an establishment corporate toadying, lobbyist money sucking harlot of the first degree. And she liiiiiiiiiies. But the final straw was that damn Kyl-Lieberman amendment thingy that was a symbolic, no-committment vote that whipped Kossacks into a shrieking, hysterical frenzy and one she no doubt probably felt she had to vote for in order to establish her national security creds. (Do we have a vote for that for Obama? No, we do not. How conveeeenient.) And now, Obama goes out of his way to vote for FISA for I suspect the same reasons that Clinton chose to vote for Kyl-Lieberman: he needs national security creds. So what if it’s your civil liberties in jeopardy? Isn’t winning important to Kossacks? This is apparently where Hunter draws the line, like all the other $&*( Obama campaign pulled during the primary season wasn’t enough. As if using the term ‘racism’ as a weapon against half of the Democratic base wasn’t sufficient reason to be completely disgusted with the arrogant lightweight. I’d say it was better late than never but frankly, as much as Hunter loathes him now, he’s probably going to still vote for him because I’m betting he still thinks Hillary would have been worse. No need to ask for proof of this. Psychological conditioning is complete.
  • Finally, Anglachel gathers up some of Bob Somerby’s recent posts on the death and glorification of Tim Russert, aka Pumpkinhead, in The Heart of Their Culture. I have to admit that I only recently started to notice the Irish Catholic Parochial School Graduate phenomenon at MSNBC. It was pretty clear with Maureen Dowd though. It’s not so much the prudery or the prosecutorial manner in which the MICs do their jobs at MSNBC as much as the obedience and devotion to it. Somerby touches on the intersection of Jack Welch and the MICs only tangentially but they are actually quite harmonious. The rank and yank system that Welch created a way to promote the aggressive employees who excel from the losers who need to be cut free depends on pleasing the person who will ultimately rank you. It encourages slavish devotion and obedience and there’s no better training for that than with the Sisters who subscribe to group punishment and zero tolerance. It makes perfect sense. (And lay off the pearl clutching over the MIC label. My Dad was from a MIC family and they never shied away from the label. Anyways, they always told me that there was a gun in the basement of Saint Joe’s church with my name on it and any time I was ready to join the IRA, I was welcome to it. I’m kidding!, Kidding)

Tim Russert 1950-2008

Tim Russert died today as a result of heart attack caused by coronary artery disease. He collapsed while he was preparing for Sunday’s upcoming broadcast of Meet the Press. In spite of immediate attempts to resusitate him, Russert never regained consciousness.

The Confluence wishes to express our sympathy to Russert’s family on their sudden loss.

Sunday- Spring Forward!

I overslept this morning and it felt so good. Last night was a logistical nightmare getting home from Manhattan. The train system in NJ was designed by Berlin Wall escapees from East Germany. All trains from the burbs are routed to centralized collection centers and then funneled from Newark into Manhattan’s Penn Station. That’s because some genius back in the 60’s allowed the decentralized commuter rail system, the Central New Jersey Rail Road, to go bankrupt. The tracks are still there and are owned by conrail but they aren’t being used. No, instead we drive half an hour from the house to one of the NJ Transit stations to catch the train. Even the closest stations put me an hour and a half from Manhattan (on a good day) even though it’s only 36 miles from my house. I don’t drive directly to Manhattan because only cab drivers who never graduated past the “I am young and immortal” stage can navigate the streets without permanent mental damage.

So, I split the difference. I drive directly to Newark’s central collection train station that most NJ Transit trains go thru and take the PATH train. The PATH train is a small commuter rail train that goes from Newark to Manhattan and terminates at the World Trade Center (WTC) on weekends. On the weekdays, it takes you further up 7th avenue to around Penn Station. This is more convenient for me because I can drive most of the way, park my car in Newark in a safe lot near the train station for a mere $8 buckaroos for the whole day, fill my Metro card with $10 worth of rides (that’s 6 rides) and the adolescent, “Brook” and I share the Metro card between us. It’s perfect.

Except yesterday, it wasn’t. The rain was coming down really hard on the trip to Newark on Rt 78, a nice big highway. Ususally, the traffic moves at s nice clip on the weekends. We would have been in Newark in about half an hour. But the rain really slowed us down. We jumped on the PATH train with about 45 minutes to spare to make our 2:00 matinee for Curtains (highly recommended. David Hyde Pierce is a riot). But the PATH train got stuck in a tunnel underneaath the WTC, which already tends to give me the willies. We sat on the train for about 10 minutes with no particular explanation for what was holding us up. I got out of the WTC station at 1:45 and grabbed a cab. It was pouring rain and we had to get about 60 blocks to the theatre. The BFF was texting me frantically on the phone. He ended up leaving the tix at willcall. In fact, 45th street, where the theatre is located, was jammed. We sat in the cab a for a few minutes while the heavens opened up and the cab itself was in gridlock. From inside the taxi, we could see the theatre and with no time left, Brook and I got out of the cab and made a run for it. We got into the theatre after the overture, soaked to the skin and waited at the back of the theatre for a break between scenes to be seated.

On the way back, we hit a different set of problems. We exited the restaurant and the BFF walked us to 7th avenue where we coud catch the subway to the WTC and pick up the PATH to Newark from there. HE gets to go to Grand Central and takes Metro North home. HIS trip is blissfully uncomplicated. Ours is, um, different.

We get on the 1 line going to the WTC except that it actually stops at the Chambers street station about 4 blocks from the WTC and we have to walk the rest of the way. Don’t ask me why this is. The line clearly shows it going all the way to WTC but it never actually does. But last night, they decided to surprise us. At 14th street, the conductor announced it wasn’t even going to Chambers street. Nope, it was ending right here. Everyone off and find the 2 line. So we fumbled around in the grimy, poorly signed station for the 2 and took it to Chambers street, then hoofed it to the WTC. It’s spooky inside the WTC station. The station is right over the Pit and as you pass through it, you can see the huge eerie void and construction equipment working away by the light of some high powered spotlights. People pass through it silently as if to not disturb the dead any further. Personally, I don’t know how people in office buildings will ever be able to work there normally, but I digress.

So, we find the PATH tracks. Now, here’s where those East Germans display their brilliance. It turns out that after 7:00pm, you can’t go directly back to Newark from the WTC. No, first you must go to Hoboken. But, you say, you left your car in Newark. This is correct. So, after the PATH goes to Hoboken, it turns around and reverses itself partway and finally ends up in Newark. It roughly doubles the travel time but whatever. Sigh. We get on the PATH train, standing because there’s not a seat to be had, and wait a few minutes. Then a voice crackles over the loud speaker, “Due to weather conditions, there is a signalling problem on the PATH train tracks. Everyone off the train and find alternate means of transportation to Newark and Hoboken”. WTF?!! Now, what? Well, there’s only one way to catch a train to Newark and the car: NJ Transit. And the only way to get to NJ transit is to schlepp back to the Chambers street station and take the 1,2,3 back to Penn Station at 34th street.

Twenty minutes later, we’re at Penn Station at the NJ Transit hub. And here is a new twist on the commute strategy. Because we get to the station at 9:30pm but the East Germans have set it up that the Northeast Corridor line that we need to take will leave Penn on the hour and 14 minutes after. Brilliant. So now we have to wait half an hour to catch the NE Corridor train and the NJ Transit collection area, although nicely refurbished, is already filled with Jersey commuters. There’s not a chair to be had. People are sprawled on the floor and on the stairways. And it’s early. Brook and I find a couple unoccupied stairs and make ourselves comfortable. 25 minutes later, the collection area is literally packed to capacity as NJ commuters filter in from all over the city, many of them refugees from the PATH train, like us. We all stare up at the track sign waiting for the assignment. And this part is crucial, because when the track is assigned, you don’t want to be at the back of the line. Finally, the track assignment goes up and there is a mad, frantic dash for the one person escalator to track 10. It’s really insane. It looks like something from Tokyo with this mass of humanity, hundreds and hundreds of very annoyed New Jerseyans pushing and shoving one another down the escalator to the track and sprinting for the nearest open car. Everyone is desperately looking for a car where they won’t have to stand. Brook and I walk forward a long way before we find a seat. Twenty minutes later we are in Newark and 35 minutes after that, we are home. The whole trip from the restaurant to home took about 3 hours.

Is this any way to run a railroad???

Sorry I went on like that but I happen to be a big fan of mass transit. My grandfather was a Pittsburgh PAT bus driver. I stick to mass transit when I go to Europe on business trips and I love the efficiency of the Paris METRO-RER system. Last time I visited France, I only took a taxi once in the whole week and I visited two company sites, one in Paris and one in Toulouse. It was bliss. The trains run frequently, the stations are clean and the signs, even in French, are easy to figure out and plentiful. We have BADLY ignored our mass transit infrastructure in this country. it’s almost criminal. With oil at its peak, we have to get our act together on mass transit and from what I’m hearing coming out of NYC with “congestion pricing” and ignoring the defunct Central New Jersey Railroad (with Conrail owned tracks still in place *hint, hint*) in favor of digging a new expensive tunnel underneath the harbor, we are dangerously misguided in our attempts to get ahold of this problem. I hope that when Hillary is elected that she puts someone who’s spent some time in France in charge of the Department of Transportation because these East German dudes are going to be the death of us.

In other news:

NBC’s Tim Russert breathlessly exclaims that Obama won Wyoming!!! He WON it! He gains 2 delegates over Clinton. Why won’t The Monster concede already?

Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.