2008 - %3, January

Is This Old Dog Learning New Tricks Just a Tad Too Late? Bill Campaigns, Quietly, in Jersey

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 1:40 PM PST

From the NY Times:

Mr. Clinton made no specific references to his wife's main rival for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama. Nor did any of his comments seem likely to provoke the criticism the former president generated during the South Carolina primary, when some Democrats accused him of being racially divisive in an attempt to weaken support for Mr. Obama, who is biracial.

Too little, too late?

I truly believed that neither of them could admit their mistakes and retool. Or if it would do them any good at this late date. Or if we could forgive them if they somehow managed to swallow their Big Gulp-sized pride. I'm thinking that I'll need to see an actual acknowledgment of race-baiting and an apology (a quick "my bad" would suffice), however weasel-worded. Do they have it in them? We'll see.

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"Yomama bin Barack"?: Leave the Satire to the Professionals, Racists

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 1:20 PM PST

Check out what the troglodyte white racism Billary have been trying to tap into looks like in the light of day. It's from an local Long Island paper. Enjoy?

(Note: no excerpt because the publishers took it down with a quickness once they realized that the world is less full of racists than they thought. Alec Baldwin had one of his minions scan it in for him. For once, I'm glad someone has minions.)

When the dust settles, it will probably be the case that the Clintons helped quite a few folks realize that racism remains (you'd be surprised how many whites didn't) and that it affects everyone.

New Gnarls Barkley Track Leaked

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 1:04 PM PST

Gnarls BarkleyHey, a blogger seems to have snagged a new, "leaked" single off the forthcoming Gnarls Barkley album The Odd Couple. Update: oops, it's gone already, that was fast. But hey, I've just found it on YouTube, "sans" video:

Gnarls Barkley - "Run" (from The Odd Couple out April 8th)

The song is (as its title indicates) kinda speedy, tempo-wise; Vulture is saying "too fast," but don't they remember the almost drum-and-bassy tracks from St. Elsewhere, like "Go Go Gadget Gospel?" I kinda liked that one:

First Kennedy, Now Kerry Blasts the Clinton Campaign

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 12:24 PM PST

First it was Teddy Kennedy; then came John Kerry.

On Monday, Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama and wagged a finger at the Clintons. On Tuesday, Kerry accused the Clintonites of engaging in a "spin war" and practicing "the type of politics...a lot of us are trying to reject."

Kerry was talking to reporters on a conference call arranged by the Obama campaign. Minutes earlier, Clinton's top campaign aides had been on their own conference call with the media and had argued that the Democratic presidential delegates being selected in Florida during Tuesday's election ought to be counted by the Democratic Party. The problem: after Florida defied the Democratic National Committee and moved its primary to an early position, the party stripped the state of its delegates. All the major candidates, out of respect to the party and fearful of offending voters in the traditional early states, pledged not to campaign in Florida. But now that it seems that Hillary Clinton might do well in the Florida election (and now that Iowa and New Hampshire are done), her campaign is proclaiming, Honor the Florida voter.

Reporters on the Clinton call asked if the Clinton crew was trying to have it both ways: not campaigning in Florida (when doing so could have hurt her elsewhere) but now claiming its delegates should be recognized. Not at all, said Mark Penn, her chief strategist, and Howard Wolfson, her communications director. Should you be "seen as desperate"? one reporter asked. "Something unexpected happened," Penn explained, referring to the reported large turn-out in Florida.

Not Much to 'Prost' About: Germans Losing Their Taste For Beer

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 12:20 PM PST

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Germany's Federal Statistics Office reported yesterday that beer—"proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy," said Benjamin Franklin—is increasingly being replaced in German glasses by the likes of juice and bottled water. (Only six more signs until the Apocalypse, if you're counting.) Beer sales in the Fatherland have fallen to their lowest level since 1993. Between 2006 and 2007, beer consumption declined 2.7 percent, while non-alcoholic drinks rose 18.1 percent over the same period. The German government attributes the change to an aging population combined with an increasingly health-conscious public... in other words, beer drinkers are dying off faster than they can be replaced. (I have some German friends who are bucking the trend, but so far they've been unable to drink their generation out from trouble.) The overall decline in beer consumption comes at a time when beer prices worldwide, including in Germany, are on the rise. This seems not to have offended the Czechs too much, who recently surpassed the Germans as the world's most beer-loving culture. But with Germans abandoning their national drink, they still leave Americans in the dust: the average Deutschlander drinks 30.6 gallons of beer per year versus 21.6 gallons for the average American.

I'm Black and a Woman: Let Me Know When You Decide Which Knee I'm Supposed to Jerk, OK?

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 12:19 PM PST

San Francisco Chronicle:

It's just strange to watch some of the nation's pioneering elected black leaders - civil rights heroes who raised our self-awareness, our political power and who helped define our self-determination - withholding their support for the most legitimate black presidential candidate in the nation's history.

So, blacks are supposed to vote for any "legitimate" black presidential candidate, all other considerations aside. Also, I'm to believe that the undeniable misogyny Clinton has faced amounts to a left-wing "psychological gang bang". Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama is:

"...the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He's picked the new guy over us. He's joined the list of progressive white men who can't or won't handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not "this" one). 'They' are Howard Dean and Jim Dean (Yup! That's Howard's brother) who run DFA (that's the group and list from the Dean campaign that we women helped start and grow). They are Alternet, Progressive Democrats of America, democrats.com, Kucinich lovers and all the other groups that take women's money, say they'll do feminist and women's rights issues one of these days, and conveniently forget to mention women and children when they talk about poverty or human needs or America's future or whatever.

Negroes, sisters: if you can't think in more than one dimension, speak for your own damn selves! Especially if you're going to be hysterical. No wonder young blacks support Obama and young (ignorant, ungrateful) women think feminism is passe.

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Fascinating Anecdote About Richardson and Obama

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 11:33 AM PST

This is interesting, though it probably says more about Richardson than it does about Obama.

"I had just been asked a question — I don't remember which one — and Obama was sitting right next to me. Then the moderator went across the room, I think to Chris Dodd, so I thought I was home free for a while. I wasn't going to listen to the next question. I was about to say something to Obama when the moderator turned to me and said, 'So, Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?' But I wasn't paying any attention!
I was about to say, 'Could you repeat the question? I wasn't listening.' But I wasn't about to say I wasn't listening. I looked at Obama. I was just horrified. And Obama whispered, 'Katrina. Katrina.' The question was on Katrina! So I said, 'On Katrina, my policy...' Obama could have just thrown me under the bus. So I said, 'Obama, that was good of you to do that.'"

From WaPo via Andrew Sullivan.

My Only Comment on Handshake-gate

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 11:21 AM PST

This guy says it all.

Actually, I think it would be cool if we had a nationwide election to choose the perfect spouse for Flava Flav. We could have caucuses and primaries across the land to choose the two top contenders, and then have a nationwide popular vote via text message to select the winner. That's how we're going to select presidents in 2020 anyway.

Or, if you are a brown person, the chip installed in your brain by President Giuliani will automatically know who you want to vote for.

Bring Back Jim Webb!

| Mon Jan. 28, 2008 8:11 PM PST

It's hard to be a worse speaker than George W. Bush. But Kathleen Sebelius, the Democratic governor of Kansas, gave it a shot. Sebelius gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union. She's not a good speaker—she's obviously glued to the teleprompter, and the speech itself is awful. It's really too bad, because this could have been a great moment for the Democrats. Bush's speech is already being dismissed as a lame duck's list of unfulfilled plans and missed opportunities. Democrats could have capitalized on that. But instead of trying to draw a clear election-year contrast between her party and the huge numbers of congressional Republicans who are still loyal to Bush, Sebelius mailed it in.

The State of Our Union

| Mon Jan. 28, 2008 6:55 PM PST

George W. Bush has delivered the final State of the Union address of his presidency. There were (as we predicted) countless bold proposals, assertions of rightness, and, of course, standing ovations. Please hold your applause.

Our liveblog of the event follows after the jump, so if you didn't see the speech (or if you did and didn't get your fill of actual facts), read up!