Saturday, September 13, 2008

Republicans Values = Racism, Lies, Smears

UPDATE: The organizers of the Voters Values Summit shut down the vendors of the product below and sent them packing, according to Christianity Today.
The makers of the product hail from Tennessee, and a video (note the video mark at 2:13) of them hawking their racist crap defends their belief that Sen. Obama is a Muslim, not based on any facts, but because "some people believe it" and so it's fair to make use of ignorance to make help the makers earn cash.


Republican Values offers this fake product to promote their large sense of morality (and racism) and campaign dirty tricks:

(image via/ more info via Rachel)

Which media outlet actually called out Sen. McCain for lying and gutter politics? The ladies on "The View".

"First of all, earmark spending, which she vetoed a half a billion dollars worth in the state of Alaska."

But she also put earmarks in, Ms. Walters noted.

"Not as governor she didn't," Mr. McCain said.

But as governor, she did. As the Anchorage Daily News among others, has reported, in Ms. Palin's first year as governor, she requested 52 earmarks valued at $256 million, and this year, her office asked the Alaska delegation in Washington to help land 31 earmarks valued at $197 million. Also, Citizens Against Government Waste ranks Alaska as having received the "most pork per capita" of all states this year.

Terrific! Yet another McCain lie has been exposed. Now what? Will the Times or some other news outlet put McCain or at least one of his surrogates on the spot about it? At one point on The View, Joy Behar emotionally and honestly told McCain to his face that his both infamous "sex ed" ad and sexism accusations were lies. McCain could only defend them by saying "Actually, they're not lies" (Yes, they are) and by suggesting Obama's ads are just as bad (No, they're not). He then went on to make an absurd defense of negative ads that he continues to keep making--that if only Obama had met him in town halls like he'd proposed, he never would have implied he was a pedophile who doesn't care about his country and only wants to elevate his celebrity status."

Could Hurricane Ike providing something facts and reality could not do and actually turn the political debate towards actually domestic policy with gasoline and natural gas prices set to shred the economic choices of Americans?

High Gas Prices Are Blamed On You

There are numerous reports about gasoline supplies in Tennessee and other southern states, wildly divergent prices and accounts of the why and the how of the changes.

Gov. Bredesen released a statement to assure residents he's on the lookout for potential price gouging crimes:

e will be very tough and very aggressive on people who take advantage of this situation. I hope people do not try to capitalize on the effects of these storms at the expense of Tennesseans, who are already struggling with high gas prices."

WBIR reports some complaints have been made but not very many.

Is it because of our location?

The increase was the biggest one-day spike since the days following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 according to AAA. Then, the price of gas rose by 14 cents and 16 cents on consecutive days in the aftermath of Katrina.

Sharpest spikes were in states that lie at the end of Gulf pipelines. That included the Carolinas, Tennessee and Kentucky. In the Triad on Friday, gas prices ranged from $3.60 a gallon to $5.95 a gallon.

In Galveston and Houston, prices rose 3.6 cents and 4.8 cents to $3.525 and $3.544."

Is it your fault?

Let's see - oil prices are markedly lower at around $100 per barrel, at it's high mark of $144 a barrel, prices reached the $3.80 or higher mark. The summer saw major drops in retail gas sales, so companies kept stockpiles low. The last two hurricanes prompted the shutdown of production in the Gulf. Now that demand at the pump is higher, the wholesale prices of fuel supplied to your area went much higher and now you must pay for that rate, not the rate at which existing supplies were purchased.

AAA spokesman Don Lindsey in the Kingsport press:

I think there’s little doubt that somewhere somebody is seeing an opportunity to take advantage of customers. I don’t think it’s widespread, though,” Lindsey said.

“I think there are stations that absorbed a lot of wholesale price increases over a period of weeks awhile back and watched their profit margin get squeezed and didn’t drop their prices down as quickly as others.

“Some station owners have got some tough decisions, and I think a lot of stations are in the business of keeping customers happy, not trying to take advantage of them and risk prosecution under state law for gouging customers.”

In some instances, Lindsey said stations may have increased prices Friday to stave off panic buying.

“If they’ve had a run on their supply and they’re seeing that they are about to run out, there have been situations where station owners have jacked the price up to slow that down. That’s not a good process, and I believe that some station owners were prosecuted for that (in 2003) before and during Hurricane Katrina,” he said."

Lindsey in the Knoxville press:

At least through the end of September and possibly beyond, we can expect price increases."

Production may be affected for many, many months:

The storm idled about 98 percent of oil production and 94 percent of natural-gas output in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said yesterday. Gulf fields produce 1.3 million barrels oil a day, about a quarter of U.S. output, and 7.4 billion cubic feet of gas, 14 percent of the total, government data show.

Ike is similar to Hurricane Alicia in 1983, according to Jim Rouiller, senior energy meteorologist at Planlytics Inc. in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

``It took them over a year to get their feet on the ground again,'' he said. ``The refineries were down for months. Basically, the whole infrastructure around the Houston metropolitan area was devastated.''

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita forced the temporary shutdown of at least 20 U.S. refineries during August and September 2005, idling 30 percent of the nation's capacity. Most of those plants resumed operations within a few weeks of the storms.

Gasoline supplies across the southern and eastern U.S. may be disrupted by Ike, Rouiller said.

``We could have this capability lost for a long period of time,'' he said."

So here's the deal - you, America, you dropped the demand for fuel over the summer, so supplies were kept at a bare minimum. As hurricane season approached (Aug and Sept), supplies were also kept low despite the near-constant likelihood storms would halt/slow production. Now, supplies are really low, production is at a bare minimum and likely to be so for months, and your demand is the real problem.

The rest is just business.

By stringing together various aspects of supply and demand, by ignoring the enormous reality that hurricanes shut down production in the Gulf, profits are maximized at the highest imaginable (and legally allowable) levels.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Panic Buying or Price Gouging For Gas?

UPDATE: WATE-TV notes that it is up to individuals to report price gouging, and then that complaint gets passed on and on --
To file a complaint about possible gas gouging in Tennessee, people can call (615)-741-4737 or click here.

The department turns complaints over to the state attorney general who determines whether to investigate or prosecute."

It's highly unlikely the state would ever, ever dare make an accusation much less conduct an investigation and that's pretty pathetic. Today Gov. Bredesen offered limp support for shortages and said nothing about checking on the rampant gouging:

The Environmental Protection Agency has waived specific fuel standards that are imposed during summer months on some Tennessee counties to help control emissions from motor vehicles.

As anyone can see from the post below, when prices increase by $1 or more in less than 12 hours - without any new shipment of supplies provided at a higher cost to retailers -- that is the very definition of price gouging, isn't it?

Sadly, layers of protective departmental procedures insure you'll may more and to hell with your complaints. The policy of summer gas and winter gas mixtures (which vary state to state, and region to region) is yet another way to insure that supplies are always offered at higher prices and constantly shifting supply rates.

Lines were rather long at gas stations near here and prices are hitting record highs - some prices were jumping as I sat and watched, even though they were not receiving any new shipments of gasoline.

The BP Station on the West A.J. Highway, the last one in Hamblen County before crossing into Jefferson County, had regular at $4.59, mid-level at $4.70 and premium at $4.90. The driver of a tanker truck told clerks this morning they would be lucky to get another visit on Monday, more likely it would be Thursday.

Watching a few stations all within eyesight of each other inside Jefferson City, prices jumped over the course of a half-hour period. The low price at Walmart was at $3.89 and went to $3.98; at the Food City station, the price went from $3.88 to $3.94 (imagine sitting in line and watching the price climb before you can reach the pumps); the Mobile Station had prices from $3.98 to $4.23 and they were changing the signs as I passed by; and the Shell Station in town had prices at $4.50, $4.60 and $4.70.

On Wednesday of this week the average price among these stations was $3.55.

Panic Over Fuel Prices and Supplies in TN

Between Hurricane Gustave and the current storm, Hurricane Ike, gasoline prices are passing the $4 mark (again) and many outlets are running out of supplies, with the situation likely to get worse over the next few days.;

Michael Silence and the KNS are filing reports: here, here and here.

So is the Greeneville Sun:

However, the local gasoline retailers The Greeneville Sun was able to contact this morning said they have fuel to sell,

They said they believe that, although individual stations will run out for brief periods, enough gasoline is "in the pipeline" and in the system to prevent a widespread shortage unless Texas refineries take a direct hit from the strong hurricane.

Chris Marsh, president and CEO of Marsh Petroleum, said his company had two stations in Knoxville and one in Oak Ridge that ran out of gasoline last night, but added that that had not happened here, so far.

Marsh operates 22 Exxon and Conoco Phillips stations, including six in Greeneville.

"If (the hurricane) hits refineries, next week could really be awful," in terms of gasoline availability, Marsh said. For the time being, Marsh urged motorists to conserve."

And the Kingsport Times-News:

"Area and state consumers were in what can only be described as panic buying Friday as gasoline prices spiked.

Reed Burton, one of those waiting at Wal-Mart, was flabbergasted. Regarding Hurricane Ike fueling the increase in prices, he said," Well, they've always got an excuse, don't they."

Burton's anger was a constant theme Friday morning along West Stone Drive gas stations, where unleaded prices ranged from $3.86 to $3.96 at 11 a.m. One station, the Mobil in Mount Carmel, displayed $4.06 for regular unleaded.

"I think it's outrageous," said Kingsport's Martin Johnson at the West Stone Drive Shell Station pumps.

"They otta shoot those (expletive) oil presidents and it would be over with."

I'll try and update this as the weekend progresses. If you have seen price spikes and outages, please leave a comment and share the info.

UPDATE 1: Prices closing in on $4.50 a gallon.

UPDATE 2: Prices closing in on $5.

Camera Obscura: "Burn Notice"; "Fringe"; Those Coen Brothers

I took it on myself to watch some new/returning television shows, despite the risk of being exposed to The Awfulness.

The good news is a couple of shows which have gotten a small amount of critical praise, but which I have enjoyed immensely. Like the USA network show "Burn Notice." It's a very smart take on the con job and the private investigator riff with a great cast, including the supporting work of actor Bruce Campbell, a smarmy and world weary con artist. He's had shows all over the map on television (I was partial to "Adventures of Brisco County Jr.") so I'm glad to see his talents put to good use. Gabrielle Anwar looks most sexy, but her character usually has to be restrained from ripping into any problem with an AK-47. Sharon Gless is pure Mom-In-Miami, and has a perpetual cigarette dangling from her mouth as she needles her way into her son's life. Her son, played by Jeffrey Donovan, is the star of the show - a former CIA operative who got turned out of the agency for nefarious and mysterious reasons. He's trying to figure out the why of that, how to return to service and works as a fixer and a PI in the meantime with the help of Campbell and Anwar.

Shot with stylish flourishes, the show really plays like a 21st century version of "Maverick", a more intense "Rockford Files", with lots of humor and a steady tough-guy narration about how to play the con. The show does have sort of an over-arching theme of Donovan angling his way back into the CIA, but each episode stands alone as complex schemes involving the innocent and the guilty play out in the Miami sunshine. The show wraps up it's second season next week, and I hope it returns again next summer. It's great fun, has strong characters played at excellent levels and blends a lot of TV private detective shtick into a new brew.

I also made use of the online service of Hulu this week since I missed the premiere of the new J.J. Abrams series, "Fringe." Hulu was quick to post the episode and the sound and images were crisp, with just a few commercials, so I'll probably try them again. I just don't have the luxury of simply patterning my evenings around what is on prime-time TV so being able to pick both what and when I watch is a most welcome change.

As for the show -- well, Abrams is a savvy creator and storyteller. As with "Lost" and "Alias", he plays around with television conventions and expectations very well. And he can certainly create interesting characters. This pilot for "Fringe" ran 90 minutes, but might have been better served running at two hours ... perhaps. Maybe it was best to race through the set-up for the show rather than let the goofiness of it linger.

The basic set-up: super-secret government task force is tracking a worldwide series of bizarre beyond-science events, from teleportation to earthquake machines and a plucky FBI agent, Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), gets drawn into the mysterious group. But what made the show work for me was the character of Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), formerly a cutting-edge scientist and researcher who has spent the last 17 years in a mental ward. He's babbling, potentially dangerous, and of course, a genius. Sort of like a cross between The Professor from Gilligan's Island, if he had been a secret Pentagon expert who went a little crazy.

It was a decent start for an X-Files wannabe, but as usual, it will take several more episodes to see if it's worthwhile or just a little too silly. If nothing else, it's a chance to explore Abrams' work while I wait for new episodes of "Lost" and his reboot of the "Star Trek" franchise.

One more show I'll mention, but I classify it as a pure guilty pleasure, so your enjoyment will vary. The show is "Eureka" on the Sci-Fi network. It's a town full of scientists and researchers in a secret bajillion dollar complex who seem to always be creating some apocalyptic devices each week and the local sheriff, a non-scientific dude, muddles into each mess with his intuitive crime-solving and common sense nature to resolve it all.

What I like best in the show is that it's collected all the bizarre and complex tales from old pulp fiction sci-fi into a single town, so there are plenty of astounding events and addled geniuses. They fling theories and jargon around faster than you can say Beam Me Up Scotty, and I just like that kind of thing.


While the Oscar crowd raved about "No Country For Old Men" by the Coen brothers, I've been in a sizable community of fans for all of their movies since their very first, "Blood Simple". This week, they offer up another black comedy "Burn After Reading", a satire on the spy movie genre and populated with some moronic characters played by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. A lot of critics just don't - and never have - been able to process their movies while viewers laugh and enjoy their work.

A fine example of this split is in "The Big Lebowski", which got a deluxe DVD treatment this week in a double-disc collection which even comes packaged in a bowling ball. The movie, like all of their work, is layered with comedy and satire and unforgettable characters.

Here's the bottom-line - I have liked every single one of the Coens' movies and to hell with box office returns and critical acceptance. Their original screenplays always pop and sizzle with hilarious dialog and fascinating characters, the cinematography is flawless, the music always perfect, just like the acting. One of their lesser-appreciated movies was the black and white noir crime tale, "The Man Who Wasn't There." As with all their other movies, it looks fantastic and it's crammed with sly wit. A near-sociopathic barber (Billy Bob Thorton) and his wife (McDormand) get mired in the murder of a local retail store kingpin. The attorney they hire, played by Tony Shaloub, arrives and offers this take on "reasonable doubt" and physics and perception:

All of their films play within and around and mix film genres with incredible ease, able to be both aspects of the past and the modern. They make movies you like to watch many times, whether to grab bits of dialog, laugh, or simply marvel at their skills.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Playing Games To Prep For SATs

With reports showing a declining score from SAT tests, it isn't really surprising that the SAT creators are finding new ways to prep students and attract them to their tests -- put the prep test into video games, "FutureU" and "My SAT Coach".

Both Kaplan and Princeton Review say the games are just one aspect of the plethora of test-prep materials and courses they provide. But as video games, along with social networking sites like Facebook, become a larger part of students' lives, it "makes sense to take our curriculum and deliver it in a fun way," said Kristen Campbell, director of Kaplan's college prep programs."

This may be the best way to prep a student for that future college major in Nintendo Anthropology. How about that Criminal Science Degree in Grand Theft Auto maybe?

Narrative Fiction Rules The 2008 Campaign

"when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

It's both fascinating and a little sickening to see news reporters and their dubious pundits talk to each other about how they are being suckered and manipulated by the McCain campaign but are not posing those questions and concerns to McCain himself.

Likewise, the warping and twisting of language and ideas about women in elected office and women in general which the Republicans are whipping up a media and cultural frenzy:

In this strange new pro-woman tableau, feminism -- a word that is being used all over the country with regard to Palin's potential power -- means voting for someone who would limit reproductive control, access to healthcare and funding for places like Covenant House Alaska, an organization that helps unwed teen mothers. It means cheering someone who allowed women to be charged for their rape kits while she was mayor of Wasilla, who supports the teaching of creationism alongside evolution, who has inquired locally about the possibility of using her position to ban children's books from the public library, who does not support the teaching of sex education.

In this "Handmaid's Tale"-inflected universe, in which femininity is worshipped but females will be denied rights, CNBC pundit Donny Deutsch tells us that we're witnessing "a new creation ... of the feminist ideal," the feminism being so ideal because instead of being voiced by hairy old bats with unattractive ideas about intellect and economy and politics and power, it's now embodied by a woman who, according to Deutsch, does what Hillary Clinton did not: "put a skirt on." "I want her watching my kids," says Deutsch. "I want her laying next to me in bed."

Welcome to 2008, the year a tough, wonky woman won a primary (lots of them, actually), an inspiring black man secured his party's nomination for the presidency, and a television talking head felt free to opine that a woman is qualified for executive office because he wants to bed her and have her watch his kids! Stop the election; I want to get off."

Also see this post from Sharon Cobb:

If you are biracial and born in a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs darn near 2 years and 3 major speeches to "get to know you." If you're white and from a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs 36 minutes and 38 seconds worth of an acceptance speech to know you're "one of us."

If you get 18 million people to vote for you in a national presidential primary, you're a "phony." Get 100,000+ people to vote you governor of the 47th most populous state in the Union, you're "well loved."

"Black teen pregnancies? A "crisis" in black America.
White teen pregnancies? A "blessed event."

If you grow up in Hawaii you're "exotic."
Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, you're the quintessential "American story."

Similarly, if you name you kid Barack you're "unpatriotic."
Name your kid Track, you're "colorful."

Is this simply the result of an election which has gone on for so long and had so many players rise and fall? Probably. Ever since these campaigns grabbed the phrase "campaign narrative" the facts lose their meaning and the fictions and fantasies flourish.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Recent Search Requests

I notice the odd ones, of course. Here is a sample of some recent searches which brought readers to this humble page:

Repellent for Porky Pines
Cats Who Look Like Kenny Rogers
Cats Who Look Like Castro
Worst Writing Super Burrito
Marriage Proposal Onstage, Evil Dead
How Was No Camera The Dark Knight
Person Dress As A Tree
They're Dead They're All Messed Up

Obama Talks Issues, McCain Whines

Virginia got a chance to hear facts and plans from Senator Obama yesterday:

Obama devoted most of his remarks to spelling out the differences between himself and his Republican opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, on a broad spectrum of issues including the economy, taxes, health care, energy, foreign policy, education, poverty and veterans benefits."


"As president, Obama said he would invest $15 billion annually to launch a decade-long energy resource initiative to free the nation from its dependence on foreign oil and supply the nation’s demand for electricity. Besides research and development initiatives for solar and wind power, Obama promised clean coal technologies such as carbon capture and storage will be a part of his energy policies."


"Obama said McCain should be ashamed for voting against benefits for veterans, particularly those returning from Iraq, and said McCain supported 90 percent of the policies of President George W. Bush."


" Obama said he doesn’t measure economic progress by how more wealthy the rich are getting, but how working families can get ahead, too, instead of struggle to make ends meet.

Obama said McCain wants to continue the tax cuts for large corporations and the 5 percent wealthiest Americans achieved by Bush, while Obama proposes to cut taxes to 95 percent of all Americans, particularly the working poor. Obama said he would invest in infrastructure improvements across the nation “and put people back to work,” and could easily do so with the $10 billion a month now being spent on the war in Iraq."


"“Something John McCain doesn’t understand,” he said, “is that part of the security for this country is to have an economically strong country.”

Obama said McCain represents more of the same kind of leadership, and likely results, as those achieved by Bush.

“You can put lipstick on a pig,” he said, “but it’s still a pig.” That remark practically blew the roof off the gym by itself."

Sadly, the whining from the camp for Sen. McCain remains mired in the muck, willing to talk about anything but the issues affecting Americans, anything but his plans, and willing to sling any lie into the ring in hopes of grabbing the attention of his angry, self-absorbed base.

"The McCain campaign is now saying Obama called Palin a pig, which he didn't." (via)

UPDATE 1: ACK does a roundup of the farce masquerading as political debate in 2008.

UPDATE 2: McCain sinks lower and lower into telling lies to prop up his empty campaign with bizarre claims.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Spice and Sausage Bandit

Odd crimes are plentiful. And yes, often crime is odd at it's very core. Still, imagine waking to an intruder in your home, an intruder who is rubbing spices on you, and is armed with a sausage. (via the Fresno Bee)

A burglar who broke into a home just east of Fresno rubbed food seasoning over the body of one of two men as they slept in their rooms and then used an 8-inch sausage to whack the other man on the face and head before running out of the house, Fresno County sheriff's deputies said Saturday.

Lt. Ian Burrimond, describing the crime as one of the strangest he's ever heard of, said a suspect was found hiding in a nearby field a few minutes later and taken into custody on suspicion of residential robbery.

Deputies, he said, had no problem linking the suspect to the crime.

"It seems the guy ran out of the house wearing only a T-shirt, boxer shorts and socks, leaving behind his wallet with his ID," Burrimond said.

Arrested was Antonio Vasquez Jr., 21, of Fresno.

Burrimond said deputies headed to the victims' home in the 300 block of South Thompson Avenue near Kings Canyon Road shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday regarding a burglary in progress.

The victims, both farmworkers, told deputies they were awakened by a stranger applying "Pappy's Seasoning" to one of them and striking the other with a sausage."

Completely Crooked Straight Talk

Politics has always, always been a landscape dominated by the surreal.

A centuries old tactic relies on repeating blatant lies until they shine with a glow of truth. A tactic the Sen. McCain for Prez Campaign is celebrating with unbridled enthusiasm.

The McCain camp has made her signature issue shutting down the Bridge to Nowhere. But as The New Republic put it today that's just "a naked lie." ... On earmarks she's an even bigger crock. On the trail with McCain they're telling everyone that she's some kind of earmark slayer when actually, when she was mayor and governor, in both offices, she requested and got more earmarks than virtually any city or state in the country.

"Think about that. On the stump, not a single word that comes out of her mouth -- or not a single word that the McCain folks put in her mouth -- is anything but a lie. I know that sounds like hyperbole. But just go down the list. None of them bear out." (via)

Also see the way CNN tackles lies from the campaign trail.

Another viewpoint: "
This is her introduction to the national scene; this is when her image is being cemented into the public mind. And her image is increasingly that of a guiltless liar."

Oddly, rigorous debate on economic issues and policy plans from Sen. Obama can be seen courtesy of ... Bill O'Reilly?? Link.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday's Apocalyptic News

It isn't a science fiction story, it just sounds like one. Scientists will fire up a massive particle accelerator on Wednesday aiming to discover the hypothetical 'God particle', aka Higgs Boson. A worldwide network of some 60,000 computers are to be tasked to sift through results of the test to find the elusive particle.

The collision of particles, which will occur at near light-speed, is meant to create conditions which existed in the universe just after the "Big Bang". However, some fear the event will create a wee tiny micro-black hole which will devour the planet and maybe the solar system.

Maybe you should say the things you've always meant to say, do the things you've meant to do, since we may all explode soon. (A live webcast of the test firing will be shown here.)

Other Signs The End Is Near:

Sunday, September 07, 2008

McCain Promotes Myth and Amnesia

The presidential campaign being waged by Sen. John McCain isn't just scraping bottom - it is digging through the bottom in search of new awfulness. The GOP is celebrating the McCain Myths and Legends Tour, and the fictions which prop up this tour just grow and grow.

- Executive Experience: "
The biggest project that Sarah Palin undertook as mayor of this small town was an indoor sports complex, where locals played hockey, soccer, and basketball, especially during the long, dark Alaskan winters.

The only catch was that the city began building roads and installing utilities for the project before it had unchallenged title to the land. The misstep led to years of litigation and at least $1.3 million in extra costs for a small municipality with a small budget. What was to be Ms. Palin's legacy has turned into a financial mess that continues to plague Wasilla."

- Corruption and Reform: Sen. McCain continues to extend the lie about the sale of the Alaska governor's private plane despite the truth. It was placed for sale on eBay and after months, no takers. Despite that fact, Sen. McCain tells audiences the Myth - "You know what I enjoyed the most? She took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay -- and made a profit!" McCain declared in Wisconsin at a campaign stop on Friday. It could not be immediately determined what that profit was."

- The Amnesia Platform: The recently ended RNC convention was full of folks with amnesia, casually forgetting it was their party and their president who have failed and failed to devise any strategy to overcome the issues facing the nation. Any topic is better than the long record of failure, and if amnesia doesn't work or needs help, here's a feisty lady to divert your attention: "Listening to McCain, you'd think it was the Democrats who occupied the White House the last seven-plus years and it was time to throw the bastards out.

Given that 82 percent of voters believe we are heading in the wrong direction, it's a logical position to take. But for the American people to buy into the notion that McCain, who has raced to Bush's side on tax cuts, on offshore drilling -- even on torture -- is this campaign's agent of change, it's going to require an incredible suspension of disbelief. Or a serious case of amnesia.

And this is clearly McCain's campaign strategy: inducing amnesia about the past and confusion about the future, attempting to hoodwink the American people about what he has become. Which is where Sarah Palin comes in. As a major distraction. In the effort to divert attention from the matter at hand -- McCain's embrace of all things Bush -- Palin is the perfect storm."

Weekly Best of Tennessee Blogs

A roundup of bloggers in Tennessee has several perspectives on the "unavailable to the press for interviews" candidate and Queen of the Culture Wars, Sarah Louise Heath Palin. (via TennViews)

SPECIAL NOTE: Our condolences to Katie Allison Granju, whose father passed away unexpectedly.

• 55-40 Memphis: 55-40 Memphis: Failin' Palin: Some are betting that McCain's current VP pick, Sarah "Failin'" Palin, won't last through Friday. Others are not so sure.

• Aunt B: Palin Thoughts: Okay, America, let’s have a brief talk about whether it’s wise for Palin to continue to harp on her "small town" roots. Those of us who grew up in small towns, who are watching her, know her. We recognize her. PLUS: Stacey Campfield, Put Up or Shut Up: This stuff Campfield claims? That the children of illegal immigrants are allowed to go to school without proper immunizations? It’s utter bullshit. Nowhere in the state law that I could find is that allowed.

• Carole Borges: A Republican star is born! But wait! Isn't celebrity vapid?: It is exactly the same old same, same old, only now it's wearing high heels and a skirt. As a feminist Sarah worries me.

• The Crone Speaks: Mortgage Delinquencies Rise, Health Care Costs Rise: The one thing I need to note is that all of these things that have seriously impacted people’s lives all come from the GOP’s mismanagement, and the deluded notion that free markets promote competition. As these reports show under GOP leadership, more people are hurt. PLUS: TN R. Delegates Vote for "George S. McCain" « The Crone Speaks: Why a Freudian slip? Because McCain, no matter how much he tries to distance himself, is so much like Bush, it keeps slapping him in the face. AND: Palin summed up here and here.

• Joe Powell: Political Mother: I did learn some reasons why Sen. McCain picked Gov. Plain to be his running mate. She's George W. Bush in heels, all hat and no cattle, and she did what McCain could not do - unify their party behind his campaign. PLUS: US Media FAIL says Brit Media: Meanwhile, England's Guardian newspaper says the best thing about American bloggers is they resemble Brit media in general.

• Don Williams: McCain’s heroic story isn’t the whole story, questions need asking: It won’t be easy to challenge this man who is rapidly becoming a living icon of military heroism. Still, here are a baker’s dozen pertinent questions -- plus corollaries -- that should be asked before it’s too late for our nation and the world...

• TNDP: Sarah Palin’s Speech Under Scrutiny: That bastion of liberal media bias, Comedy Central, no wait, the Associate Press, today reports that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was lying in her Wednesday night Republican National Convention speech.

• Enclave: Revenge of the Community Organizers: So the question bears repeating: who is more worthy of scorn? Community organizers or the lobbyists who help Sarah Palin stay in office?

• Fletch: Angry

• KnoxViews (Rocketsquirrel): How Far the GOP Has Fallen: How far the GOP has fallen...Just as Eisenhower warned of the emerging military industrial complex, so too did Goldwater warn of religious extremists thinking they could control our public discourse and political decisions. PLUS: (Rikki): dunced around: This flagrant violation of Constitutional checks and balances persisted for months as Congressmen sent letters of protest and disgust to the White House. Finally, the House of Representatives voted to hold Bolton and Miers in contempt. Karl Rove was declared in contempt by a House subcommittee. Contempt was appealed, rejected and a stay denied. Miers is scheduled to appear before Congress Thursday. AND: Convention coverage archive.

• Lean Left: Why Does John McCain Hate America?: It’s not just Sarah Palin who’s the darling of the anti-government fringe. McCain himself is seeking lists of supporters and pledged delegates from a person who is simultaneously a flagship leader of an extremely radical fringe party and also a member of McCain’s own party. [..] Not only are McCain and Palin both on record as courting secessionist and anti-government groups, but the GOP is fine with having two of that group’s presidential nominees in its own ranks, and McCain’s platform is apparently close enough to the anti-government party’s platform to enable an endorsement.

• Left of the Dial: Meet Sarah Palin

• Left Wing Cracker: Heh. Think THIS may be how Palin was vetted?

• Liberadio(!): Misconceptions: A Reflection of Values: I’ll be glad to grant the Palins their privacy. But the circumstances they wish to keep private, they, and others like them, keep foisting on the public through cynical public policy that fails.

• Newscoma: Tennessee Soybean Festival ‘08: So, I’m guessing this is a Hooterville Exclusive.

• Pesky Fly: A Question for the Candidate, plus: Future Leader of the Republican Party

• Progressive Nashville: Judgement call: The McSame campaign wants us to believe this election is about the experience to make good decisions, but we've seen nothing but horrible decisions come out of the campaign and the GOP leadership. Even if we forgive McSame's role in the Keating 5 scandal, we still have to deal with the fact that he thinks George Bush is doing a swell job and that it might be good for us to remain in Iraq for 100 years.

• Resonance: The American Oil Refinery Shortage Myth: According to rightists, the second-most common response to energy crisis, behind "Drill! Drill! Drill!", is that gas prices are high because environmentalists have prevented America from building any new oil refineries in 30 years (or whatever duration it is). How does this claim square with marketplace reality?

• RoaneViews: Governor Bredesen Endorses Ruppe for State Senate PLUS: The Governor Campaigns for Becky Ruppe, with photos. (Ed. note: This one is a must-win, folks!)

• Russ McBee: McCain imitates Caligula: The nomination of Palin for the office of vice president sends exactly the same message to the American people and to the US Senate (in which Palin would be the presiding officer and tie-breaking vote): he thinks so little of them that he believes any random fundamentalist wingnut plucked off the street would be qualified to lead them. PLUS: Labor Day scorecard: American workers not doing well: That's the "ownership society" for you: workers get shafted, while one of the two main presidential candidates doesn't even know how many houses he owns.

• Sean Braisted: Kissinger Most Expensive Baby Sitter Ever: I'm sure Palin has at least basic knowledge of the national issues at stake (just like most Republican politicians), and so the "soft bigotry of low expectations," can only help her in the coming weeks. Given that Republican ideas are generally formulated by a select group of pre-schoolers high on glue, its not that hard to remember GOP talking points. Taxes bad, spending bad, liberals bad. PLUS: More Republican Comedy: Of course, its perfectly plausible that a 50+ year old man from Georgia has never heard that phrase used in a negative light towards black people...just as its perfectly plausible that David Duke didn't know what the Klan was all about...or its perfectly plausible that Sarah Palin was McCain's first choice for VP.

• Sharon Cobb: A Wrap Up Of Sarah Palin's Speech At The Republican Convention Wednesday Night.: Still half asleep, I rolled over and opened one eye and asked, "Why is Sally Fields speaking at the republican convention?" PLUS: Senator John McCain: A Hero, Yes. But A Maverick, No. The Republican Convention Speech Last Night: According to CNN, McCain had 169 lobbyists in the front of the auditorium during his acceptance speech. You simply cannot sell yourself as an agent for change when you've been a U.S. Senator for decades.

• GoldnI: Things I Learned Today: I was vetted more thoroughly by Wash U Law than Sarah Palin was by John McCain. PLUS: Republicans -- Make Up Your Minds: How is she going to handle foreign leaders if she can't handle "Meet The Press"?

• Southern Beale: Permission Not Granted: Should be the new slogan of the McCain-Palin ticket. The funniest is this statement from the principal of Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, California... PLUS: Return Of The Wedge Issue: But really what Sarah Palin has done is bring the evangelical base back into the voting booth. And along with them come those rancorous, divisive social issues. Karl Rove is ecstatic.

• Vibinc: Joementum to Educate Palin: Palin will also not be available to the media for an undetermined time while she gets her affairs in order back in Alaska. I guess they’re going to use some of that time to get her up to speed on their Cold War era worldview of foreign policy. Personally, I don’t think she needs it.

• WhitesCreek: What are we changing here?: I thought I had seen the nastiest lies ever in the past two presidential elections, and somehow, I though John McCain would be slightly better at sticking with the truth. WRONG! PLUS: Moose and Snow: McCain's Veep pick seems to be up to her miniskirt in the rankest form of good old boy and girl corruption and cronyism.

• Women's Health News: Just a Thought on Palin: Sure, campaigning and being VP may be demanding. However, if, with all of the resources at Palin’s fingertips, the situation still seems inadequate for providing for a child, if the deck still seems stacked against working mothers, imagine how women without the luxury of these choices must feel.