Mojo - October 2008

The Cutest News Report You Will See in 2008

| Wed Oct. 29, 2008 1:44 PM EDT

I'm not sure what I like best: the line "Senator Biden is now my homeboy" or the fact that Biden talks so long the kid's arm gets tired.

From Partnership for Learning, via The Stranger.

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Conservative PAC Holds Press Conference, Accuses Obama of Everything Ever

| Wed Oct. 29, 2008 1:21 PM EDT

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Earlier today, the Our Country Deserves Better PAC concluded its nationwide "Stop Obama" tour with a press conference at the National Press Club in downtown Washington DC. The speakers — who included a conservative talk radio host, a Marine mom, and the singer of a Sarah Palin tribute song entitled "Sarah Smile" — and their supporters gave voice to all of the paranoias that have come to grip the conservative base in the closing days of the campaign. Obama is an authoritarian thug who will deny First Amendment rights if he is made president; he attacks anyone who speaks against him; he will put the country at risk of terrorist attack; he will make America a socialist state; he wants to give American money to Africa; he himself may be foreign-born.

Herewith, a collection of all the things of which Barack Obama stood accused:

MotherJones.com: Like Getting the Paper Six Months Early

| Wed Oct. 29, 2008 12:23 PM EDT

Back in March, Stephanie Mencimer wrote a story for MotherJones.com about Daniel Troy, the former chief counsel to the Food and Drug Administration. As FDA, chief, Troy introduced a questionable legal theory called preemption, in which agency lawyers would show up in state courts and argue that companies whose products had been approved by the FDA were protected from lawsuits even if they injured people in violation of state laws. Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee released a report (PDF) revealing that "key FDA career officials strongly objected to Bush Administration drug labeling regulations that would preempt state liability lawsuits." According to the report, FDA career officials said "that the central justifications for the regulations were 'false and misleading'" and warned "that the changes would deprive consumers of timely information about drug hazards." In her story, Stephanie explained how much the FDA's embrace of preemption represented a break from the past:

What's The Problem With Conservative Columnists?

| Wed Oct. 29, 2008 11:45 AM EDT

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"Many of them lie in print," says New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, speaking to the Guardian about U2 frontman Bono joining the Times' op-ed page.

Hey, Andrew? Isn't it your job to make sure the columnists you publish don't "lie in print"? Or do you just believe that the facts have a liberal bias and allowing conservative columnists to lie is your misguided attempt at "balance"?

In not-unrelated news, Bill Kristol will be on the Daily Show Thursday night.

(h/t Brian Beutler)

Video: The Miami-Dade Wild Card

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 6:35 PM EDT

In Miami, non-Cuban Latino voters are more concerned with health care than with the Castros, and this year they are beginning to surpass the Cubans in vote registration. Unlike the Cubans, they tend to vote Democratic—when they vote.

John McCain is paying attention: Colombians are the second largest Latino group in Miami-Dade County. During the final presidential debate, he advertised his support for the Colombian Free Trade Agreement, which most Colombians support and Obama opposes. Still, most of these new immigrants seem more concerned with domestic issues than with their homelands. Could new Nicaraguan, Colombian, and Cuban citizens swing Florida this November? Watch the video above. Then click here for the full story of Miami's Hispanic swing vote.

Video by Elizabeth Méndez Berry and Don Duncan.

MOJO VIDEO: Palin for President?

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 5:30 PM EDT

At a Sarah Palin rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia, earlier this week, Mother Jones found rank-and-file Republicans excited about John McCain, but even more excited about his potential VP.

— Taylor Wiles, Jonathan Stein, David Corn

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How Much Does U.S. Spend on Spying? Almost $60 Billion

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 4:27 PM EDT

How much do the spies of the US government spend on their spying? Over $47 billion a year, according to budget numbers released on Tuesday by the Director of National Intelligence. And if you count the military intelligence program, the total amount is closer to $60 billion. This is only the fourth time in U.S. history that the government has publicly disclosed the intelligence budget. Secrecy News explains:

The aggregate intelligence budget figure (including national, joint military and tactical intelligence spending) was first released in 1997 ($26.6 billion) in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Federation of American Scientists. It was voluntarily released in 1998 ($26.7 billion). The National Intelligence Program budget was next disclosed in 2007 ($43.5 billion), in response to a Congressional mandate, based on a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. And then there was today's release for 2008.
In recent years, the most passionate opponent of intelligence budget disclosure has been none other than Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), whose own financial non-disclosure practices have recently earned him multiple felony convictions.
In an October 4, 2004 Senate floor debate, Senator Stevens usefully marshaled all of the traditional arguments against disclosure. Most of them were false at the time. Others have since been disproven.
"No other nation, friend, or ally, reveals the amount that it spends on intelligence," Sen. Stevens said then.
.
In fact, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and other countries have published their intelligence budgets for many years without adverse effect.

Mccain's Newest Ad: Reprising a (Debunked) Lie

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 2:04 PM EDT

John McCain doesn't seem to care about how he finishes the race—with integrity or without. In recent days, he keeps claiming that Barack Obama is an untrustworthy pol who will say anything to get elected. But let's look at the newest McCain ad, Here's the narration:

Iran. Radical Islamic government. Known sponsors of terrorism. Developing nuclear capabilities to generate power, but threatening to eliminate Israel. Obama says Iran is a "tiny" country, "doesn't pose a serious threat." Terrorism, destroying Israel, those aren't "serious threats?" Obama—dangerously unprepared to be President.

This is about as dishonest an ad as the McCain campaign has produced. In fact, it's a repeat of an ad the campaign tried in August. When that earlier ad was released, Factcheck.org explained why it was fraudulent. Obama, it noted, had in May said this:

Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries. That's what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That's what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That's what Nixon did with Mao. I mean think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela—these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.

What's Missing from GOP.com?

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 11:37 AM EDT

Any mention of, information about, or support for John McCain, outside of a link to McCain's campaign store and an outdated opportunity to volunteer for McCain on "Super Saturday," October 25th. A Fred Thompson video, in which John McCain gets four sentences and is mentioned by name only once, gets top billing.

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Compare to Democrats.org:

Literally, Get Off of My Lawn

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 10:00 AM EDT

From the AP:

A teenager was wounded in the arm by a man who said he wanted to stop the boy and another from taking his John McCain yard sign.
Warren Township police Lt. Don Bishop said 50-year-old Kenneth Rowles told officers he got out a .22-caliber rifle Saturday afternoon to fire warning shots, not hurt anyone. The two shots hit the van the teens were in.
Rowles pleaded not guilty Monday to felonious assault. A preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 4, Election Day.
Kyree Flowers, the 17-year-old passenger in the van, was wounded in the arm and was treated at a hospital, Bishop said.

Is this a one-act play staged at an experimental theater? The old man with the gun is John McCain. Kyree Flowers is Barack Obama. The yard is America. The gun is accusations about Bill Ayers. Or maybe its Joe the Plumber. The cops who let the kid off without charges are American voters.

Or, you know, something like that. All I know for sure is that the inevitable Daily Show bit about this will be hilarious.