For those of you in favor of senatorial term limits, here’s your new poster boy:

Republican Senator Stevens was convicted yesterday on all seven felony counts related to his lying about the $250,000 in gifts and services he received from VECO, Corp., an oil services company, to renovate his Alaska home.

Rather than resign, like most convicted felons would do for the good of their party, Stevens vows to return to Alaska where he’ll restart his campaign for the senate seat he’s held for the past 40 years.

Full story here.

Will Alaskans reelect an eighty-four year old convicted felon to the Senate?  Stay tuned.

Last week we were hearing all about how Obama would be “tested” by anti-American groups if he were elected president.  Biden even said it, and it was reported as a gaffe, but I think the point Biden was trying to make was that Obama would be tested, but he would stand up to whomever does the testing and pass the test.

McCain didn’t see it that way.  He thought the very idea Obama getting tested was a sign of weakness, and that he, John McCain former POW, is not weak – so they wouldn’t mess around testing him. 

From an interview with Brian Williams for the Today Show:

WILLIAMS: You mentioned Senator Biden’s comment the other day about a new president and a test of the new president’s metal. One of your very closest friends in the Senate, Joe Lieberman said on “Face the Nation,” quote, “Our enemies will test the new president early. And it has happened throughout modern history.”

MCCAIN: Well, look, I’ve been tested. They know me. They know me very well. I’ve been tested.

Turns out that Al Qaeda is so comfortable with McCain winning the presidency that they’ve given him their endorsement:  Nicholas Kristoff reports why:

“Al Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election,” read a commentary on a password-protected Islamist Web site that is closely linked to Al Qaeda and often disseminates the group’s propaganda.

The endorsement left the McCain campaign sputtering, and noting helplessly that Hamas appears to prefer Barack Obama.  Al Qaeda’s apparent enthusiasm for Mr. McCain is manifestly not reciprocated.

“From their perspective, a continuation of Bush policies is best for recruiting,” said Professor Nye, adding that Mr. McCain is far more likely to continue those policies.

An American president who keeps troops in Iraq indefinitely, fulminates about Islamic terrorism, inclines toward military solutions and antagonizes other nations is an excellent recruiting tool. In contrast, an African-American president with a Muslim grandfather and a penchant for building bridges rather than blowing them up would give Al Qaeda recruiters fits.

…Al Qaeda militants prefer a McCain presidency: four more years of blindness to nuance in the Muslim world would be a tragedy for Americans and virtually everyone else, but a boon for radical groups trying to recruit suicide bombers.

Nice job John.  Al Qaeda wants YOU in the White House!

According to the latest Pew Research poll they are:

The good news for Republicans: You are happier than Democrats. You always have been, and you probably always will be.

Never mind that your presidential candidate is sinking in the polls while your president plumbs historic depths of popular scorn and your free market squeals for intervention while your Wall Street investments evaporate. You are not just happier than the other guys, but more of you are very happy, according to new survey results published Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

The pollsters were in the field asking about happiness this month, when economic news was gloomy for everybody and presidential campaign news seemed especially baleful for Republicans. Yet they found 37 percent of Republicans are “very happy,” compared with 25 percent of Democrats; 51 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats are “pretty happy”; and 9 percent of Republicans are “not too happy,” compared with 20 percent of Democrats.

The partisan happiness gap — unbroken for nearly 40 years — is impervious to electoral ups and downs. It has something to do with worldview.

“I’m very happy,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and a Republican. “When I was 12, I realized the world was not organized around my desires and wishes. The problem with guys on the left is they never figured that out at age 12. And they’re just irritated the world is not organized around their vision. This makes them grumpy.”

Chris Lehane doesn’t sound grumpy. The Democratic consultant is on the phone from San Francisco: “My guess is if [Pew] checked the cross tabs out in California, we’re all pretty happy out here. The wine is still good, the food is fresh, the people are beautiful.”

But seriously, Lehane said, if Republicans are more happy, it’s because they care less.

“The typical Republican is happy coming home to a 62-inch television, pulling out a fine bottle of cognac or scotch, putting his feet on the table and enjoying the fruits of his labor, but not caring what’s going on in the world outside their living room … and their gated community.”

Hard-core liberals are the happiest liberals, and hard-core conservatives are the happiest people on Earth. Self-certainty is like a happy pill. The bumper sticker may declare, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” but the guy behind the wheel is overjoyed.

Check out this video of hardcore Republicans lined up for a McCain rally.  Watch this ignorant, racist, lying throng of Republicans wallow in their happiness as they accuse Obama of being a Muslim terrorist baby killer:

Are you?  I bet you thought that by virtue of being an American citizen living in the U.S.A. you truly were a REAL American.  WRONG! 

You see, there are anti-Americans among us, and you may be one of them!

How can you tell if you are a REAL American.  All you have to do is do this simple math problem that Jon Stewart thought up for The Daily Show:

Why might you be concerned about your “American-ness?” Because some nutjobs have raised the issue:

“We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation.” –Governor Sarah Palin

“I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America, or anti-America. I think people would love to see an expose’ like that.” –Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann

“I can tell you that the Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia. But the rest of the state, ‘real Virginia,’ if you will, I think will be very responsive to Sen. McCain’s message.” –McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer

So if you are someone like me who grew up in small-town America and moved to a major U.S. city after graduating from college, you might think you are still a Real American, but these people think you are not.

 Jon Stewart asks if you are “Pfriend or Pfoe:”

That’s funny, but if deep down inside you are feeling very pissed off at these people for questioning your patriotism, you should listen to what Keith Olberman says about these asswipes:

And if all this sounds familiar to you, well you should reread this 2002 comic from This Modern World.

And again I ask, Who is the celebrity now?

From Politico.com:

The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore took heat for changing his clothing hues. And in 2006, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was ribbed for two hair styling sessions that cost about $3,000.

Then, there was Democrat John Edwards’ $400 hair cuts in 2007 and Republican McCain’s $520 black leather Ferragamo shoes this year.

A review of similar records for the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee turned up no similar spending.

But all the spending by other candidates pales in comparison to the GOP outlay for the Alaska governor whose expensive, designer outfits have been the topic of fashion pages and magazines.

The entries also show a few purchases at Pacifier, a top notch baby store, and Steiniauf & Stroller Inc., suggesting $295 was spent to accommodate the littlest Palin to join the campaign trail.

An additional $4,902.45 was spent in early September at Atelier, a high-class shopping destination for men.

Yes, Ms. Joe “Pit Bull” Six-Pack spends a lot of the RNC’s money on fancy clothes so she and her family can look sharp on the campaign trail. 

Hmmm… Just wondering if this could be considered “pork barrel” spending. 

And I guess that lipstick is not the only difference between a hockey-mom V.P. candidate and a pit bull.  Now we know that the elite pit bulls also have unlimited expense accounts for designer suits and accessories.

Update from The Caucus blog at The New York Times.  Here’s a list of the RNC pork-barrel spending.

-Neiman Marcus (the R.N.C. misspelled it in their campaign finance report as “Neimon Marcus”) on Sept. 10: $75,062.63.

-Saks Fifth Avenue in New York on Sept. 10: $41,850.72.

-Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis on Sept. 10: $7,575.02.

-Bloomingdale’s in New York on Sept. 10: $5,102.71.

-Barney’s New York on Sept. 10: $789.72.

-Macy’s in Minneapolis on Sept. 10: separate charges of $4,396.94 and $512.92.

-Macy’s in Minneapolis on Sept. 22: $4,537.85

-Lord & Taylor in New York on Sept. 25: $349.50.

-Atelier New York, a men’s clothing boutique, on Sept. 10: $4,902.08.

– Pacifier, a high-end baby store in Minneapolis, on Sept. 10 and Sept. 25: two separate charges of $98.

-Steinlauf & Stoller, a sewing supply store, in New York on Sept. 25 (it was rendered in the report as Steiniauf & Stroller): $98.50

-Gap in Minneapolis on Sept. 25: $133.

“The Old Viking” forwarded me a viral email today.  I did a quick Google search and found that it’s up on quite a few sites.  I get a lot of these from both sides and I don’t usually post them, but I really like this one, so here it is:

What if the resumes of Obama/Biden and McCAin/Palin were switched around?  Think about it.  Would the country’s collective point of view be different?  Could racism be the culprit?

Ponder the following:

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if Obama couldn’t read from a Teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama’s family had made their money from beer distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does.  It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:

Barack Obama:
Columbia University – B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in
International Relations.
Harvard – Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:
University of Delaware – B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law – Juris Doctor (J.D.)

John McCain:
United States Naval Academy – Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin:
Hawaii Pacific University – 1 semester
North Idaho College – 2 semesters – general study
University of Idaho – 2 semesters – journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College – 1 semester

Washington is a blue state, so we don’t get anywhere near the number of presidential campaign ads as those who live in the tightly contested states like Missouri, Iowa, and Pennsylvania.  We do, however, have a tightly contested gubernatorial race, and Biden did visit our state on Sunday to campaign for Obama and our incumbent Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire.

During the week leading up to this rally, Obama started running what I think is his best campaign ad that I’ve seen so far.  It’s referred to as the “90% Ad” and it’s directed at McCain’s overwhelming support of Bush’s failed polices.

The Obama campaign’s equating of McCain with Bush, a very unpopular president and perhaps the worst president ever, is nothing new.  What makes the ad really great is how it took McCain’s best line from the last debate and turned it against him.  You all remember it:  “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.”

McCain had to say that because the Obama campaign has successfully portrayed a McCain presidency as four more years of Bush, and nobody wants that.  The successful framing of an issue by a Democratic candidate is something we have not seen in a very long time, and as Roger D. Hodge put it in his November “Notebook” entry for Harper’s Magazine:

Public opinion, the will of the people, is therefore not the cause but a byproduct of political struggle.  It is largely the political fighters (…) who frame and determine the subject matter and scope of political debate, the pressing matters of national interest – the menace of homosexual marriage or the grave and rising threat of Saddam Hussein – which the people dutifully discuss in their homes and offices, on the athletic field and at the bar after work.  Whichever party to the political struggle best controls the terms of discussion thereby defines the boundaries of public opinion and generally ends up running the country.

This ad takes John McCain’s own words, turns them around and uses them against him.  The ad is so excellent and so effective, one has to wonder if the Obama campaign has hired former Republican advertisement producers to create their new TV ads.

Watch and Learn.