Friday, October 31, 2008
For bonus points, put Obama next to Bill Clinton, and try to tell me Clinton doesn't remind you of Shatner. I think I'm really on to something here.
It's also interesting to read the global news media to get a sense of what this election means. There is a sense emerging in many circles, here and abroad, that this election marks more than a change of parties or the rejection of George W. Bush. The election of Barack Obama represents the final and complete rejection of American conservatism as practiced since Ronald Reagan.
Is that really what is happening? Is the Conservative Era finally closing? I sure hope so, but I'm sober enough to know better than that. That political machine is far too large, far too powerful, far too entrenched to merely fade away into history. That conservatism and the Republican Party is a broken brand in 2008 is obvious. But it will not disappear anytime soon.
The cynics will say that Obama is merely a caretaker, like a housemaid who cleans up the hotel room after your rock band completely trashed the place. The maids come in, fix up the place, replace all the broken furniture, and leave just as the band is rested and ready for another blistering tour. No doubt this is what movement conservitism is thinking, and much of Bush's final weeks in office will be geared toward setting as many landmines as possible, and tying Obama's hands as much as possible. They simply cannot allow the return of the New Deal, of the successful Liberal State.
For Obama and the Democrats, simply fixing the financial mess and passing some reforms here and there won't be nearly enough. The Republican Right has built a terrifying machine, one that threatens American democracy and the world. It must be destroyed, completely and totally. The Bush Doctrine must be discredited and dismantled, in all its forms. The rush towards privatization of government must cease. The rise of the private corporate military must be stopped, its leaders held accountable for their crimes.
The Milton Friedman Shock Doctrine must be dismantled and hurled into the dust. Anything less will mean the Age of Obama will be a waste. It will only be a holding pattern, while the far right builds up strength for the next assault. And, like all things in nature, these cycles are self-repeating, but at ever faster speeds. The mad rush towards corporatism and fascism will be accelerated. This time we witnessed the Patriot Act, the doctrine of Preemptive War, torture, indefinite detentions, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Graib, domestic spying on a grand scale, Blackwater. Left unchecked, what will come from the next conservative wave? Death camps? Disappearances? Nuclear war? The end of the Republic, surely, in all but name. America, as a reality and an idea, would be bound and thrown into the grave.
America is seperated from Orwell's 1984 by a thread. Don't be a fool and pretend otherwise. The doctrine that gave rise to this, and the criminals responsible, must be prosecuted and removed from the stage of history. I'm one who still believes Bush and Cheney must stand trial for crimes against humanity. The temptation will be strong for Democrats to let bygones be bygones, to look the other way, to just let the crimes of the past quietly disappear. Bill Clinton made that very mistake when he became President. Look where that got us.
Movement conservatism is weaker now than it has been since its ascendence 40 years ago. We must strike fast and strike hard. We must defeat this menace, this most dangerous threat to the Old Republic. President Obama has the opportunity to seize history, and revive America to its lost greatness, a greatness born of the New Deal. I suspect he may have this in mind, a New Deal of the 21st Century. I suspect he holds many cards close to his chest. Obama is a brilliant mind, perhaps the smartest political figure of our lifetimes. He will not be a fool or a patsy. This is my great hope.
With the November 4th elections, America can begin to finally dig itself out of that grave. We can still save the Republic before it's too late, before greed, corruption, and corporatism destroys it forever. Humanity doesn't have any time left on the clock. Our pollution of the earth will render the verdict of God and Mother Nature. We need to radically change course and change it now; for ourselves and our grandchildren.
Last weekend, I posted something that was slightly tongue-in-cheek, and that was my best-case prediction for the Presidential election. Here it is again. To the best of my ability - based on all the polling data, the mood of the voters, various blogs, expectations of higher turnout - this was my scenario for a complete Obama blowout. These were the maximum number of states we could win on Tuesday.
Well, it's been the better part of a week, and we're heading into the final push. How does that map look now? Better. Much better. My dreams are far closer to reality, and I quite glad I took this stab when I did. My more cautious side kept wanting to go back and tinker around - maybe not this state, maybe not that one. Thank goodness I kept my ground. Besides, there's nothing at stake except bragging rights, and maybe a little bit of publicity for me and my blog
So where does Obama stand now? I think this map is doable, very doable. But it will not be easy. We will all need to work very hard these final days to push out as many voters as possible. This final weekend is crucial. Any bandwagon effect should start to kick in. We've seen it among moderate and old-school Republicans, and this may happen among the voters as well. Is LA really a 3-point race? Is that even possible? At this point in the story, anything is possible.
To my eyes and ears, the long-shot wins now include Montana, Georgia, and Indiana. I think those will be the toughest. I think we can win Arizona. I think N. Carolina will be won. Same goes for Ohio and Florida. They're Obama states now. Missouri is real close, very close. But the memory of that 100,000 crowd for Obama is too much to resist. I say we win Missouri.
Update (9:51 pm cdt):
My guess for Obama's final score is somewhere between 350-400 EV's. This best-case victory would put us over 400, a spectacular and historic victory. That's my over-optimistic hope. It's very interesting that there are so many states which are essentially tied. There are a lot of toss-ups out there, and it will come down to the ground game and turnout. Those, naturally, are nearly impossible to predict. But for the moment, I shall put my cynical "realism" aside and dream of walking on the moon.
If you wanted my "realistic" take on November 4, that being the more cautios and conservative one, here's what I'd say. Obama wins all the 2004 Kerry states, plus the following: Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia. North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota are possible pickups, but essentially they're toss-ups. Arizona, Georgia, and Montana are mad dreams of grandeur. And Ohio and Florida will remains corrupt swamps until the end of the world or the Republican Party, whichever is first.
Worst Case Scenario: Voting machines break down everywhere. Voting rolls are purged by the million. America, it turns out, is still just as racist as it was during the Jim Crow era, and Bradly Effect kicks in big time. The election is either tied or it's a slight McCain win. McCain is sworn into office, promptly drops dead from a heart attack/stroke, and then President Sarah Palin declares war on pretty much everyone. Most Americans conviently forget George W. Bush, then proceed to go through the whole damned farce all over again, note for note.
Oh, and Metallica will put out a new album that is hailed as a triumphant comeback, but is so heavily compressed and brick-walled that it's physically impossible to listen to. Oh, wait. D'oh!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Ha ha ha ha ha!! This is really the worst campaign in American history, isn't it? Thank goodness it's also so much fun. Every time McCain harps on Joe The Plummer, it's comedy gold. Too bad he already picked Palin for his running mate, eh?
You know things are going bad for you when even your imaginary friends don't want to be seen with you.
I really love these series of videos. Who are these people, and why are they so funny? This must be the third video I've seen from them, and they're one of my favorite satirical ads of the never-ending campaign.
Minnesota politics have always been known for thoughtful, intelligent adults, without regard for blind party loyalty or ideology. Heck, the two main parties in this state are coalitions - the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, and the Independent-Republican party. It's no surprise that we are ground zero for third parties; Jesse Ventura is the best example.
My point is that there's no room in Minnesota for wingnut extremism as demonstrated by Bachmann. She represents the darker side of American politics, a vicious strain that stretches back to Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon. Her list of accomplishments are shameful, little more than witch hunts and thinly-veiled racist smears. She is a boon to aspiring comedians, that's for sure. But for everybody else, Bachmann has been a disgrace.
Calling on the media to investigate the "anti-American" members of Congress was only one notable example, but there have been many others. I for one will be glad to see her go. My only problem is that, should she be defeated on Tuesday, I'll run the risk of bumping into her on the street. What happens if I'm stuck in line at Caribou Coffee and Michelle Bachmann starts talking to me? Oh, no!!
It's a burden I'm willing to bear. Please fire this woman. Donate your time and money to El Tinklenberg's campaign.
Tinklenberg '08 for Congress
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
West Virginia appeared to dance around for the past few weeks, but McCain has been leading consistently and now appears to be sealing the deal. I think this is a state we can have success with in the future, but it's more of a long-term project. The state is placed just perfectly for future "battleground" status, as Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana trend Democratic, while Kentucky, Tennessee, and the deep south remain Republican.
If I were to choose any future victories in southern states, it would be West Virginia. But maybe that's just because I really like the place. Who could resist those mountains and trees? It's like an Elvis song brought to life.
Three of the latest polls put Obama at or just above 50% in Florida, and another puts him at 49%. Add in Governor Charlie Crist's decision to extend voting hours, and the possibility of a Democratic win for the state grows.
Like many of you, I'm still carrying the burn marks from 2000, so I'm not ready to relax and smile for Florida. But if the current trends hold, we'll be going into Tuesday with the upper hand. I wouldn't be surprised to see the state moved to "Lean Dem" before then. Cross your fingers, kids.
Looks like Indiana is going down to the wire. Earlier in the race, it appeared that McCain would take it. Then Obama seized all the momentum in the Big Ten region. Now, it's too close to call. My own suspicion - and maybe this is my hope, too, so take with a grain of salt - is that a number of these close states will, in fact, break wide open for Obama at the very last minute. Say, Monday. Once it's clear that Obama will win the Presidency, a certain bandwagon effect may kick in. People like to back a winner, and the losing side feels demoralized and may stay home.
Anyway, that's a possibility, but for now, Indiana could shift either way.
Oh no! Pennsylvania is turning purple! McCain could...well, sorta win...I guess...maybe...
Whatever. We're now less than six days away from the election. That is not a graph that is suddenly about to switch. The state is solid blue this year.
I can't imagine why the Fox News comedy show was cancelled. Everything these guys do is funny.
This has been the shortest celebrity marriage I can remember. At least Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton tried to stick it out for a while. I especially liked the part when the reporter, Dana Bash, tells a McCain staffer about Palin's little speech.
That's not a good reaction six days from an election. This thing is turning into "Sunset Boulevard." Only Sarah Palin is no Mona Desmond. I am really enjoying her, though. She has just the right combination of arrogance and ignorance. It's like George W. Bush, but played out as slapstick comedy instead of tragedy. McCain's people really made a collosal blunder by choosing her for the ticket. And Republicans are going to deal with the consequences. Ha ha!
Oh, I love this one! This is the one where President Obama sits in the pumpkin patch and waits for the Great Pumpkin. And then everyone goes to McDonald's and has Dolly Madison cupcakes.
Okay, a bit jokey. I'm surprised this 30-minute campaign shindig wasn't comedy fodder. It reminded me so much of those old variety shows and specials hosted by Bob Hope. The Obama Christmas Special! C'mon, you know you'd watch that. As long as they have The Muppets on that show, and maybe someone who can sing like Johnny Cash.
But, seriously, here's the full-length program that was broadcast this evening. Enjoy.
I've been sloshing my mouth with Chloraseptic, which works as a local anesthetic, and cold water works pretty good, too (I'm told a salt-water concoction works wonders). These feel like sudden attacks, not toothaches. Have I mentioned also that I'm not signed up with the company's dental/medical plan? Ow. Living in a third-world country sucks.
Again, why does the United States still not have universal health care? Our current system, which could be kindly called "A Punch in the Face," is a miserable disgrace. And yet ancient fears of taxes, long lines, and communism are trumped up endlessly by the conservative right. You know, the same ideologues that gave us the Wall Street meltdown, endless wars, crumbling infrastructure, rampant corruption, and a $10 trillion debt. How they continue to squeak by in election after election is a mystery for the ages. Sometimes I wish I wasn't living in the United States of Stupid.
I'll cross my fingers and hope my teeth behave, at least long enough for me to finally deal with going to the dentist and removing those rogue molars (or whichever ones the end teeth are). I remember going to the University of Minnesota sometime during the late '90s to see about taking them out. They charged per tooth, of course, plus the novocaine and the sleeping gas. I think the total bill for cutting my face up, removing all four wisdom teeth (they came in at crooked angles, which squeezes my teeth - upper teeth especially - in a stressful vice grip) would cost about $1,200. Twelve Hundred Bucks.
This is how you learn to put things off that you shouldn't, avoiding reckonings that you would be wiser to face. And now my days of putting this off are wearing thin. When your entire skull is aching and throbbing, you know you've got a problem. Heck, the nerve in my left foot is pulsating, more annoying than painful. But human beings learn to adapt to almost anything. Any steady pain soon becomes drowned out. It's just the cost of doing business, and you can eventually forget about it.
I'm feeling better now, but the dread, and the sense that I should have dealt with this ages ago, is still there, waiting, just like I know that long nerve in my upper gums is waiting. It's waiting to take me down like wild game. Bastards. Maybe a long nap will help things, and I'll go back to something normal. Or I'll wake up and still
It sure would be nice to have free dental in this stupid nation. It would be nice to finally enact Harry Truman's universal health care idea. You know, the one he conjured in 1948. Nineteen-Fourty-Freakin'-Eight. The same year the Democrats tackled racial segregation. Six decades later, and we're on the verge of electing America's first African-American President. And I still have to save up for months to pay the dentist, because the damned co-pays and deductibles are absurd. Sometimes I'm left to wonder what they're putting in the drinking water.
Ah, what does it matter? I should be thankful, grateful, that this is the one year where Joe The Plummer won't be the king-maker. Most other years and the peasants would be easily amused and seduced by the trivial and the stupid. This year, they're actually paying attention for a change. Perhaps this means we'll finally grow up a little and enact some painfully-long overdue remedies.
Oh, and one more free bit of advice: don't slosh too much Chloraseptic. The tingling stays in your mouth for days, like a slight dull numbing. It's like having a hangover without the benefit of earning it properly. This is what I retired from alcohol for? I need a good long nap. And then I need my wisdom tooth to behave, just a little while longer. Remember to brush your teeth, kids.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Florida Governor Charlie Crist, to the shock and dismay of Florida Republicans, just moved to extend early voting hours, a move likely to widen the Democrats' lead under a program on which the Obama campaign has intensely focused.
"He just blew Florida for John McCain," one plugged in Florida Republican just told me.
I'm just about finished with posting videos of the racists and crazies at McCain-Palin rallies. You know the score by now, and you should have been paying attention enough to know these people were always wandering around this land. They will be a lot harder to ignore these next four years, so keep your eyes and ears open. Be mindful. And somebody get these losers some Ray Charles and Coltrane records!
Oy, I can't believe I'm posting this. I hated that stupid commercial. But this, ahem, "sequel," had me laughing pretty good. If you're like me and have this feeling the whole nation is falling apart, you'll enjoy this.
One more week. Work, work, work! No slackers!
Younger, healthier workers likely wouldn't abandon their company-sponsored
plans, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain's senior economic policy
"Why would they leave?" said Holtz-Eakin. "What they are getting from their
employer is way better than what they could get with the credit."
Oops. Needless to say, Obama pounced on that statement immediately, and no doubt we will be seeing it in tv ads later this week. Not that we'd expect anything radically different under a Republican administration than what we have now. Which is nothing.
I really wish this nation could get its act together and enact universal health care. Every high-tech industrial democracy in the world has universal health care? Why not here? Why does the ancient and rusty charge of "socialism" (read: Soviet Communism) still work? I've been suffering from the worst toothaches today, thanks to my molars, which came in crooked and are squeezing my upper teeth in a vice grip. It's painful as hell. I sure wish I could go to a dentist and get it taken care of, you know, without going bankrupt.
I'd also like to see a doctor without going broke. Is that asking for too much? All I'm asking for is something the rest of the world already has. Rich countries that didn't turn communist. Like any of you remember what communism looked like. A whole generation of you grew up after the Soviet Union died. Are we supposed to still be afraid of the Ottomans, too?
So, really, folks, let's get our game together. Let's take a long, hard look at what everybody else is doing for health care. Then we steal all the best ideas, and treat health as a basic human right. And have I mentioned the US spends twice as much on its health care as the rest of the world? No wonder the economy is kaput. Thankfully, my teeth are behaving again.
Monday, October 27, 2008
So who is going to warn us about the dangers of the internet now? It's not just something you can drive a truck through! It's a series of tubes!
I wonder if this means he'll lose his reelection next week.
I think it's quite possible Obama can win this state; if so, it will prove a powerful psychological victory, as the new President builds a national party coalition. The 3 electoral votes won't affect the race to any meaningful degree. But to turn the Dakotas blue...now that is a powerful idea. Add in the growing Democratic successes in the Mountain region, and you're looking at the future of America.
Still, I have to admit I'm surprised. Perhaps I should have paid closer attention. Again, we see McCain's numbers just crash in mid-September, after the financial crisis hit. His bizarre actions - "suspending" his campaign, losing all sense of direction - really was the thing that did him in. Add in the debate performances, which voters gave overwhelmingly to Obama, and we have evidence of a campaign's self-destruction.
Still, anything is possible, so we won't take anything for granted. Let's see if Montana is moved into the "leans Dem" column later this week.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The Pittsburgh police were suspicious all along. I think anyone who could read two different news accounts and get a good look at the girl's photo would be suspicious, too. Good for them. And shame on the McCain campaign for shamelessly playing this incident for cheap political points.
It's almost funny. The gang of criminals has morphed into the Apple Dumpling Gang. I'll be so glad to see these Republicans gone.
Then again, materialist science has a real phobia with the idea of mind as real. That dogma doesn't allow for the existence of a soul, or anything beyond machine parts. As far as religions go, it's very uninspired and dull. And modern materialist science is most definitely a religion.
In a sense, the whole universe is a garden for the cultivation for mind, for information. It's an engine for producing and conserving complexity. The evolution of mind is an inevitable result of this. What would the final result of this be? Now that's the real question.
The Obama lead in editorial endorsements this year turned into a landslide, even a rout today, as dozens of additiional papers backed him, compared to the relative handful for McCain.
Obama still leads by almost 3-1 in all editorial endorsements. Updated with the latest from today his lead stands at 166 to 62.
The only reason to be nice to Lieberman is if the Democrats secure 60 Senate seats. But let's face it: he'll vote Republican on everything, anyway. I don't expect President Obama to be very generous with Lieberman in January.
Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 10/22 - 10/24; LV; MoE 4%
McCain (R) - 49
Obama (D) - 43
I'm still a bit skeptical about West Virginia (Obama trails McCain by 10 among independents), but anything is possible in this race. Obama's standing among Democrats is 68-24, so there's still a chance of bringing those votes home. Isn't is time to finally abandon the Dixiecrats? Are any of those losers still alive? Let's work extra hard and try to win this state.
As always, it's wisest not to be swept away by any one poll, but wait for others to arrive. Still, this is the second poll to show a tight race. It could be won, kids. Obama could win this state.
One of the key lessons of the 2008 elections? Don't believe the hype. Hillary Clinton learned that lesson. Sarah Palin is learning that lesson right now. Joe The Plummer should be smart enough to know better.
I've been pretty easy on Joe, because, after all, he's just an ordinary guy who was swept into our vapid news cycles. There's no reason to ever bother with him; he was a causality of John McCain's painfully bad third debate (the jaw-dropping moment is still very funny). I don't fault the guy at all for taking advantage of his 15 minutes of fame. But if he really does think that he is now somehow qualified to run for public office in the next election....oh, joy.
Some people just never learn.
What Joe should have done is simple. Get a Hollywood agent. Get a book deal. Do some tv commercials. Become the next Jared The Subway Guy. Then take all the money you make and put it into the kids' college fund. Win, lose, or draw, this short moment of fame will fade and Joe will have to return to daily life. Best to live it up and enjoy the fun.
But for heaven's sake, don't believe the hype, Joe. You are not cut out for politics.
The NY Post runs with the headline, "Pit Bull Turns on Maverick: Now Palin's Bucking Her Own Ticket." Nothing really new to report, since we've been keeping score, but it's telling that this exchange was made to Rupert Murdoch's GOP-friendly paper:
The last straw for the vice-presidential candidate was the raft of criticism from the $150,000 worth of high-end clothes the Republican National Committee bought her, a campaign source said.
Palin showed how much that gaffe got under her skin yesterday at a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, telling the crowd she'd stepped off the plane and donned a warm, cream-colored jacket. "And it's my own jacket," she said.
A McCain insider told The Post that relations between Palin and some of the campaign aides with her have soured. "She's lost faith with the staff. She knows the $150,000- wardrobe story damaged her," the insider said.
But the novice vice-presidential candidate is partly to blame, the campaign official sniped. "She's an adult. She didn't ask questions about where the clothes came from?" the source said.
"She's now positioning herself for her own future. Of course, this is bad for John. It looks like no one is in charge."
This isn't just about who takes the fall for this historic loss. It's about positioning for the 2012 race. Palin may be a big star among the hard right of the GOP, but this doesn't mean she'll be even remembered a couple years from now. She needs to stake her own ground now, and move quickly before Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, or even David Patraeus (keep your eyes on that guy) establish themselves as the Republican frontrunners.
The Post article also points out - from McCain's people, no less - that Palin is, well, not too bright. Okay, she's as dumb as a bag of rocks. The $150,000 wardrobe is only the latest issue. Her frequent deer-in-the-headlights moments, her absolute cluelessness about issues, even about the Vice Presidency itself - Sarah Palin has been a programmed droid since day one. But now the droid believes the hype, that she is a real human being. And now she's wandering off the reservation to prove it to the masses. She's become the Ralph Wiggum version of the Tin Woodsman.
Back to the news media, the Telegraph UK has an article on the brewing civil war in the McCain camp, one that looks at the greater picture of a possible Obama landslide and historic shift in American politics. The Telegraph, more so than most US media, seems to grasp that 2008 is not merely a "change" election from the Bush-Cheney era; it is a change from a generation of conservative rule. It marks the end of the Nixon-Reagan era of government. And that is what will ultimately drive the GOP's factions apart at the seams.
We are facing an historic rout at the polls, and the Republicans know it:
Aides to George W.Bush, former Reagan White House staff and friends of John McCain have all told The Sunday Telegraph that they not only expect to lose on November 4, but also believe that Mr Obama is poised to win a crushing mandate.
They believe he will be powerful enough to remake the American political landscape with even more ease than Ronald Reagan did in 1980.
The prospect of an electoral rout has unleashed a bitter bout of recriminations both
within the McCain campaign and the wider conservative movement, over who is to blame and what should be done to salvage the party's future.
Mr McCain is now facing calls for him to sacrifice his own dwindling White House hopes and focus on saving vulnerable Republican Senate seats which are up for grabs on the same day.
Their fear is that Democrat candidates riding on Mr Obama's popularity may win the nine extra seats they need in the Senate to give them unfettered power in Congress.
If the Democrat majority in the Senate is big enough - at least 60 seats to 40 - the Republicans will be unable to block legislation by use of a traditional filibuster - talking until legislation runs out of time. No president has had the support of such a majority since Jimmy Carter won the 1976 election. President Reagan achieved his political transformation partly through the power of his personality.
Ahh, that's so good to read on a sloppy Sunday. The Telegraph article does an excellent job highlighting the fears among the GOP, the rift surrounding Sarah Palin, and the coming civil war within the party that echoes the UK's Tories when Tony Blair was first elected.
We'll be seeing and hearing a lot more of this in the coming weeks and months:
In addition to Mr Frum, who thinks her not ready to be president, Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan's greatest speechwriter and a columnist with the Wall Street Journal, condemned Mr McCain's running mate as a "symptom and expression of a new vulgarisation of American politics." Conservative columnist David Brooks called her a "fatal cancer to the Republican Party".
The backlash that ensued last week revealed the fault lines of the coming civil war.
Rush Limbaugh, the doyen of right wing talk radio hosts, denounced Noonan, Brooks and Frum. Neconservative writer Charles Krauthammer condemned "the rush of wet-fingered conservatives leaping to Barack Obama", while fellow columnist Tony Blankley said that instead of collaborating in heralding Mr Obama's arrival they should be fighting "in a struggle to the political death for the soul of the country".
During the primaries the Democratic Party was bitterly divided between Barack Obama's "latte liberals" and Hillary Clinton's heartland supporters, but now the same cultural division threatens to tear the Republican Party apart.
Jim Nuzzo, a White House aide to the first President Bush, dismissed Mrs Palin's critics as "cocktail party conservatives" who "give aid and comfort to the enemy".
He told The Sunday Telegraph: "There's going to be a bloodbath. A lot of people are going to be excommunicated. David Brooks and David Frum and Peggy Noonan are dead people in the Republican Party. The litmus test will be: where did you stand on Palin?"
We've already seen a steady exodus of moderate and classical Republicans, incuding a number of famous faces like Colin Powell and the granddaughters of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater. The punditocracy has already begun its little war, with people like David Brooks and David Frum on one side, the diehards on the other. Palin really does seem to be the focal point. In s sense, she is the perfect symbol for the cult of personality the GOP has become in the last 15 years.
Interesting that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are never mentioned. The hard right has a serious problem dealing with reality. And it's impossible to avoid seeing the sheer devestation left by the Bush administration. But the conservatives, like any authoritarian movement, cannot accept that the Party or its ideology could ever be at fault. Big Brother is infallable. The Party can do no wrong.
So instead, they're going to have a proxy war, with Palin at the center. She's the perfect symbol for the Bush years, its theocratic dogma, its hubris, its sheer stupidity. These are the people who need Daddy to tell them what to think, who to hate, who to be afraid of. Their world revolves around the alternate reality provided by Limbaugh, Fox News, Dobson, and the like. This election will shatter could shatter that fantasy world to pieces, especially if Obama wins in a cross-country landslide, and the Democrats win that 60th Senate seat.
Denial and repression are the fuels for this movement. They won't be going away anytime soon, but they will be tearing each other apart for quite some time. I don't expect the "sober" Republicans like Colin Powell or David Brooks to prevail. The Crazies are in charge, and they're too entrenched to give that up. Thankfully, they are a small minority in America, relegated to a few regions of the country, relegated to the ashes of history.
There will always be bad politicians, and we will always have the Masters of War among us. But we are through the worst of it now. We are finally emerging from America's long dark night of the soul. The Age of Dobson will pass, the Age of Limbaugh will pass, as all things must pass. It is the way of things. America is stronger than any of those wicked monsters. Democracy is stronger than any of them. It has faced greater threats and triumphed. We shall do so again.
"Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008," the e-mail reads. "Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake. Let's not make a similar one this year!"
A copy of the e-mail, provided by Democratic officials, says it was "Paid for by the Republican Federal Committee of PA - Victory 2008."
It warns "Fellow Jewish Voters" of the danger of a second Holocaust due to the threats to Israel from its neighbors and touts Republican presidential candidate John McCain's qualifications over those of Obama.
The state Republican Party is scrambling away from this mailer as quickly as possible, but there's a funny twist. The spokesman for the McCain campaign who is trying to move away from this story is Peter Feldman, the same man who aggressively pushed the "black mugger" hoax a few days ago.
The mid-level GOP operative who has been dismissed over the Jewish mailer insists that he was not a rogue element, and the party's authorization to mail them out.
You can catch up on all the details at TPM, and this post at Digby's blog as well. The final stretch will play out its worst elements here in Pennsylvania, so be sure to bring your raincoats.
End this damned war. Enough of this corrupt, bankrupt Empire.
Even by his own fucked-up standards of bullshit, this litany of predictions for 2012 is really stupid. Which begs the question: who's the more screwed up: Dobson, or the stupid dumbfucks who buy into all this shit?
Gimmie all yer money!! Daddy don't like you!!
Fuck you, Leper Messiah. If America ever truly turns fascist (and it's come dangerously close these eight years), it will be become a Christian Reconstructionist fascist state. Bow down to King Dobson or we'll beat your dog and send your children to Jesus Camp!
Beyond that, ehh. I don't share any allegience for anyone. Just gimmie some good football.
On the videogame football front, I'm still trying to decide whether to stick with NFL 2K1 or 2K2 on my Dreamcast. 2K2 has many more animations, especially with the running game, and that's fine for me because I love the run. But it does make tacking the running backs a real pain sometimes. This was something that Visual Concepts (yeah, they're called 2K Sports now) tried to balance in future 2K games.
Another real problem with NFL 2K2, and this may become a deal-breaker for me. The linebacker who is supposed to cover the running back keeps running away. Huh? What happens is that the linebacker follows the running back for a few steps, then suddenly darts off after one of the wide receivers (which is already being covered anyway). This means, of course, that the running back is wide open by 10-15 yards. Oops.
This never happens in NFL 2K1. Ever. So we'll see how things go.
Chat away, kids.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Since we're winding down the election, it's getting close to place our bets for the office pools. By now, all but the most lumpen-headed among us are aware that Barack Obama will become our next President on November 4. The trick is to guess what his final victory will look like.
This graphic shows my own personal "Best Case Scenario." I don't expect the election to swing in Obama's favor quite this heavily. But in the event of a landslide, I think this is the best possible scenario. Some of these states, like Georgia and Arizona, are long-shots (read: not too likely). Indiana, Montana, and North Dakota could swing either way. Ohio and Florida are blue, if the polling is any indication, but I won't trust any final result until all the votes are counted. Missouri should swing to Obama, alongside Virginia and North Carolina.
All of the existing blue states will stay firmly in the Obama column. The race now will close out in the red states. Given the troubled economy, McCain's continued bungling, and any fallout from the McCain-Palin fissure (to say nothing of overall turnout), I'd say McCain is in trouble in every close state. Where he is at 50% or higher, he's safe.
This is purely for fun. You can pull this map out in a couple weeks and have a good laugh at my expense. Hah! You thought this state could be won? What the heck were YOU thinking? Hah hah!
Consider the latest events as told to TPM by the Pittsburg tv station that broke the "mugging" incident.
I've seen far too many of Rove's dirty tricks to just toss this aside and chalk it up as a goof. Someone in the McCain staff was told to put on cheap makeup and tell the press that she was violently attacked by a black man for being a McCain supporter. She didn't just suddenly get that idea all be her lonesome self. Somebody would have seen something, somebody would have done something.
One of my "favorite" Rove stories was a Congressional campaign he was working on. Late in the campaign, they reported to the police that their main offices were bugged, accusing their opponent of the crime. It caused a media firestorm, and managed to draw enough attention away from the incumbent so that Rove's candidate could squeak by in a narrow victory.
As for the "bug," the police learned that the listening device could only have been set and turned on minutes before Rove's people made the calls. In other words, it was an inside job and total sham. Rove fabricated the entire thing, and almost certainly planted the bug himself.
That's how Karl Rove works a political campaign. Sound familiar to you?
At best, the McCain campaign, led by communications director Peter Feldman, rushed to the press to take advantage of a crime scene for the sake of scoring cheap political points. At worst, they staged the whole event, start to finish. Just let that reality sit in your mind for a while.
I have noticed that digial music pressed onto lp doesn't sound very good. The better ones are adequate, the terrible ones are physically painful, but none of them can match the sonic fidelity and depth of analog recordings. Digital music is best served on a digital medium, like iPods and CDs.
I remain somewhat torn on D-Mag. Musically, it's terrific, and if your favorite Metallica was the early years of the 1980s, then this album is for you. You'll have a blast. I don't plan on buying the CD anytime soon; getting burned once is enough for me, thank you very much. But I would like to have this album playing on an iPod (whenever I get around to buying one).
Thank goodness, again, for Metallica's free stream of the album. It's a perfect soundtrack to my blogging. The ten-minute instrumental Suicide and Redemption is probably my favorite track on Death Magnetic. It may even be my favorite Metallica instrumental; it's certainly the most tightly packed, with four of five major movements. I could listen to an entire album of Metallica instrumentals.
I'm still sore about the brickwalling, though. The loudness wars are so absurd, and so easily preventable. The music industry has no rational excuse for crushing the sound of their music so badly. Sooner or later, it has to stop. I still wish I could hear a "high definintion" version of D-Mag with the dynamic range and fidelity intact.
Ah, song's over! Time to hit the replay button!
Also, the heavier and bloodier the civil war becomes between these two factions, the better it will be for our side on election day. If only there were some way to stoke the fires, like Toshio Mifune in Yojimbo. A public meltdown by McCain or Palin is too much to ask for. I don't think even a saint could ask God for that. But humbling the arrogant and powerful is one of the Supreme Being's favorite hobbies.
More from CNN:
Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly
frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue."
A Palin associate, however, said the candidate is simply trying to "bust free" of what
she believes was a damaging and mismanaged roll-out.
McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate. They cited an instance in which she labeled robocalls -- recorded messages often used to attack a candidate's opponent -- "irritating" even as the campaign defended their use. Also, they pointed to her telling
reporters she disagreed with the campaign's decision to pull out of Michigan.
A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.
"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.
"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."
A Palin associate defended her, saying that she is "not good at process questions" and that her comments on Michigan and the robocalls were answers to process questions.
Ha ha ha! Now that was funny. You know your interview by the Republican Party hack has crumbled to pieces when the person you're talking to is laughing in your face. In a sense, this tv appearance by Joe Biden is a perfect microcosm of the two major political parties. The Democratic Party has become a true majority party, appealing to all parts of America, its leaders calm, collected, and sober. The Republican Party has collapsed into a farce, appealing only to the weak-minded, the stupid, and the delusional. This was once the "grown-up party?"
This is what happens when any movement has peaked, and burrows into smaller and tighter circles, its followers increasingly Puritanical and oppressive. They construct an alternate reality, a fantasy world where Daddy Is Perfect and everybody likes them. The GOP has become a party of sexually-repressed teenage nerds. All that's left is for them to start dressing up like Tolkein characters and carrying 12-sided dice.
All of these tired, comical lines from our wingnut reporter friend are all buzzwords for the geeks. Marx. Socialism. What a joke. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989; the Soviet Union died in 1991. Try telling it to these losers. Hell, the average American hears the name "Marx" in the 21st Century, they're probably thinking Groucho.
And you know the whole routine is only an act, a third-rate con game to be used on the suckers. No wonder the religious fundamentalists and televangelists are the ones in charge of the GOP. It's Jerry Falwell's party now, and it can follow him into the grave for all I care.
There's a faction within the McCain campaign has begun to whisper about Gov. Sarah Palin to reporters. The faction includes staff members and advisers who consult with staff members. It does not seem to include any members of the senior staff, although the definition of the senior staff here is a bit elastic.
This faction has come to believe that Palin, perhaps unwittingly subconsciously or otherwise, has begun to play Sen. McCain off of the base, consistently and deliberately departed from the campaign's message of the day in ways that damage McCain. ("palling around with terrorists" was a line that escaped HQ's vetting... Palin's criticism of the campaign for pulling out of Michigan was greeted by anger internally... Palin's expressed opinion that Rev. Wright is a legitimate issue -- which subtly knocks McCain for not raising it -- was perceived as an attempt to preemptively blame McCain's wobbliness for his loss, which would theoretically enhance Palin's standing with the base.) The complaints extend all the back to Palin's vice presidential vetting. Major disclosures, issue positions and associations did not come up, and the campaign was so overwhelmed with new information early on, it largely abandoned an effort to defend them individually. This is the claim, anyway. For the record, senior adviser Mark Salter, accurately identified everywhere as the aide who is closest to McCain, calls this scenario "bullshit."
Terrific job, putting the focus on that filibuster-proof Senate. Remind the voters that Republicans will be obstructionists, just has they have been these past two years. Will Al Franken be that 60th vote? It's hard to tell, but the chances of reaching that goal are more and more attainable.
Sarah Palin in 2012? Ha ha ha! That would be hilarious. The Jesus Camp fascist crowd will still pretend that they are anything but a fanatical pack of miserable closeted losers, a small minority left behind in a 21st Century America.
Right now, my guess that that the Republicans' 2012 candidate will be purely American Taliban. I say bring on these fascist fuckers. We're going to beat them back into the shadows for the rest of their lives. We can beat them again.
Tomorrow will see an avalanche of newspaper endorsements across the nation. Obama currently holds a commanding lead over McCain, so Sunday should be very fun for our side.
I've had enough of this pathetic little toad. McCain was the worst Presidential candidate in the history of American politics, a venomous vampire whose dying blood drips from his fingers. A one-man carrier of war, famine, pestilence and death. Thank God he is about to be banished to the coffins of history.
I really hate these sick pigs. Why don't they just start throwing fish heads while they're at it?
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thankfully, WaPo's Chris Cilliza offers a shorter summary of Robert Draper's piece (he wrote the Bush bio Dead Certain, btw). This should be the first of many salvos on the post-mortem of the McCain-Palin campaign. Somewhere between now and November 5, the fractures will really emerge, and we'll probably see two factions arise, one around McCain, the other Palin, each side blaming the other for their historic defeat.
Well, I'm off to try and score tickets to Henry Rollins tonight. The show's sold out, but maybe some rush seats are available. Maybe some soul will take pity on me.
University of MN/Humphrey Institute (10/21 - 10/23); MoE: 4.7%
Tinklenberg (D) - 45
Bachmann (R) - 43
Anderson (I) - 5
Undecided - 7
Pretty much the same numbers as yesterday's poll. Bachmann is fighting for her life after last week's "anti-America" rant. Predictably enough, she tries to play it both ways in her media appearances. She apologizes for her statements, then flatly denies ever accusing Obama of being anti-American (and demanding that anti-American members of Congress be rooted out), then repeating the same charge in slightly different ways.
Bachmann made an appearance on a local radio show today, continuing to dig her own grave. Hopefully, this clip will make its rounds across the blogosphere:
But Bachmann was bringing up Chris Matthews on her own during an interview on the Mike Gallagher radio show. Bachmann raised some familiar-sounding issues just a day after her St. Cloud speech.
"What are Barack Obama's policies?" Bachmann said on the show. "Are they for America or will they be against traditional American ideals and values? And I'll tell you what, punishing tax rates, redistribution of wealth, socialized medicine, inputting censorship in the form of the un-Fairness Doctrine and taking away the secret ballot from the worker has nothing to do with traditional American values. That's why your listeners need to know. Otherwise the United States may be literally changed forever if Barack Obama becomes the next president."
Bachmann also told Gallagher and his audience that she's desperate for financial help. Her Democratic opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, has raised $1.3 million since Friday when Bachmann appeared on MSNBC. And, the National Republican Congressional Committee has canceled the TV ads it scheduled on Bachmann's behalf on Twin Cities stations. Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said it intends to spend more than $1 million in TV ads to defeat Bachmann.
"Desperate for financial help"? Now you understand what it meant when the NRCC pulled its ads from the district. Bachmann was left to drown in her own waters. Serves her right. Defeating this meanspirited demagogue will be one of my top goals for November 4. We must make this race a national priority. Send money now!
Tinklenberg for Congress
President Obama will face enormous challenges on the scale only faced by a few Presidents. By no coincidence these - Abraham Lincoln, FDR - are revered as America's greatest Presidents. We need every penny of political capital at our disposal.
Naturally, this will be excellent news for John McCain. Isn't anybody going to vote for him?
This week, Fried announced that he has voted for Obama-Biden by absentee ballot. In his letter to Trevor Potter, the General Counsel to the McCain-Palin campaign, he asked that his name be removed from the several campaign-related committees on which he serves. In that letter, he said that chief among the reasons for his decision "is the choice of Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis."
Here's Fox News' Executive VP John Moody:
If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting.
Case in point: look at the youth vote. According to this poll from Invester Business Daily (ahem), John McCain wins the youth vote (18-24), 74-22. Yeah, that's right. 18-24-year-olds are really loving McCain, 3-to-1 over Obama. It's all they can talk about. Oh, wait, what's that asterisk on that line? "Age 18-24 has much fluctuation due to small sample size."
It's just a self-contained little fantasy world this group lives in.
James K. Pinkerton, writer for The American Conservative and Fox News contributor, reveals on his blog a shocking revelation that may shake the Presidential election to its core. If revealed to the outside world, it just may win John McCain the election! What is this October Surprise? Brace yourselves...
Barack Obama...is in league...with Satan!!!
Absolutely. Dead. Serious. This just may be the single funniest political column of our lifetimes. The Republican Party has now become the crazy guy on the street with the sandwich board.
It's amazing, really, that these were the people in charge all these years. The complete collapse of the Republican Party will be a marvel for historians and comedians alike.
Still, no slackers! We continue to work hard until November 4! We're not letting up for one day! This is an historic election, and we need each and every one of you to do your part. Whatever creative ideas you have, use them. Be creative now. Volunteer for the campaigns. Donate money. Staple flyers to poles. Shake hands. Knock on doors. Create YouTube videos. Send text messages. Write blogs. Share emails. Arrange car rides for voters who don't have cars. March in the streets. Play music.
Do whatever you can. Do everything you can. We have no time to lose.
As a result of all of this, there is now no perceptible rebound for John McCain; in fact, the race may still be trending toward Obama, although the safer assumption is that it's flat. Meanwhile, Obama's electoral position appears as strong as ever. John McCain's chances of winning the election have dwindled to 3.7%, down from 6.5% yesterday.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tinklenberg (D) - 47%
Bachmann (R) - 44%
Bob Anderson (I) - 6%
Undecided - 2%
You can scan through all the internals if you want. Very interesting. Note how the political ideology breaks down:
Conservative: B - 80; T - 13
Moderate: B - 29; T - 63
Liberal: B - 10%; T - 83
This must have been the numbers the NRCC was seeing when they decided to pull their ads out of the race. Bachmann has a lock on conservatives, but moderates? Look at those numbers, kids. Tinklenberg holds an almost 3-to-1 lead.
Take a look at this one. We would expect Bachmann to hold the religious vote easy, but the numbers skew the same as political leanings:
Attend Religious Service
Regular: B - 50; T - 43
Occasion: B - 40; T - 50
Almost Never: B - 35; T - 56
This is just stunning. I expected Bachmann's numbers here to mirror her support among conservatives. But among regular churchgoers, she leads by 7. Tinklenberg is at 50% or higher for the other groups. In fact, no numbers poll heavily for Bachmann except conservatives. Beyond party affiliation, there's nothing. Hell, Tink even leads by 3 among those earning over $50K.
No wonder the Republican Party cut Michelle Bachmann loose. She could shore up a few more conservative votes, but that's pretty unlikely at this late stage, especially given the McCain defeat. It's going to come down to morale and turnout, and frankly, I'm fired up to help win this for Tinklenberg. I'll be working my tail off these final days. Can you expect Bachmann's conservative base to say the same?
I say this race is over. Bachmann is going to be fired. Good riddance. She can come back home and stalk gay parades.
John McCain's election night watch party might be missing John McCain. Instead of appearing before a throng of supporters at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix on the evening of Nov. 4, the Republican presidential nominee plans to deliver postelection remarks to a small group of reporters and guests on the hotel's lawn.
Aides said Thursday that the arrangement was due to space limitations and that McCain might drop by the election watch party at some other point.
McCain's remarks will be piped electronically into the party and media filing center, aides said. Only a small press "pool" — mostly those who have traveled regularly with the candidate on his campaign plane, plus a few local Arizona reporters and others — will be physically present when he speaks.
I do try not to get swept up in daily events, because it has always been a weakness of mine. Better to carefully consider and reflect upon each event, and wait mindfully for a moment before reacting. It's very hard to look at this and not see that McCain has conceeded the race. I don' t know what other possibility there could be for him to shun his own election night party.
If this is true (and we'll hear greater details in the next couple days if it is true), well, I'm speechless. I'm very surprised. Perhaps it's just eight years of Bush-Cheney, and standing alone in protests so many times. It's hard to believe this is over. It's hard to believe we're going to win, and win a historic landslide. This really does feel like the closing chapter of an era. I'll have to start printing out diplomas for everybody :)
Getting back on track, if this is true, it speaks very poorly of John McCain. This race is still relatively close, and his staff must still work night and day until November 4. He must also coordinate with the GOP on Congressional races, plan strategy, allocate resources. Heck, these people need coffee and doughnuts, dagnabbit!
And here is McCain, the war hero, the maverick. Turning tail and sulking off. He's been behaving like a spoiled brat who can't have his cookie for ages. This election has been one endless humbling for his ego; another great surprise of 2008. I never expected this of the man. I thought better of him. But I've been saying that with great frequency this year.
Now the possibility of a landslide, a blowout, looms larger and larger. If the GOP base could stay fired up, McCain could still keep Obama's victory relatively small. But now? How much longer before the inevitable defeat infects the entire campaign, and then the voters themselves? Seeing McCain walk away and skip his own election night party sends a strong signal: it's over.
The polling next week, as we close in on Halloween, will be very telling. If McCain's floor bottoms out, it will happen then. And we will continue to work as hard as ever. We must work as though it's the year 2000, and the race is tied. Every vote counts. Never forget that, kids. Every vote counts. I can't win this game without you. I need you to completely destroy this wretched political machine. I never want to see the Republican Party in power again.
The vandal has not been caught yet, nor do we have any compelling leads. At least, not anything the police are willing to discuss publicly yet. That's fine by me, as we don't want the villains to have advance warning. Each of the homes were vandalized with the same messages: threats, calls to resign, "psalm 2." I think it's obvious that these are politically-motivated crimes, but they are not aimed at any one party. The home of Norm Coleman was targeted just as Amy Klobuchar's has been.
Clearly, this villain has an authoritarian bent, an obsession against the government, which is sadly common among extremists in America (Timothy McVeigh, for example). This is precisely what I have been warning about these past few weeks, as the temper and mood of the campaigns have darkened, as crowds have become increasingly agitated, as threats of violence increase and increase. Couple the results of a generational shift in this election with the deeply troubled economy, and you have a fire that's just waiting for fuel.
We have a problem in this country where political violence is excused if it happens to the other guy. September's RNC was the prime example of that. At least it was for me. But what most people do not understand is that this growing violence will not be contained to any one side. Stoking the fires of racism and fear at McCain-Palin rallies will not result in violence against Democrats. Republicans, too, will fall victim as well. It's a sad thing that we realize here that we are all truly equals. In life and death, there are no sides. We are all together.
This has been a very ugly campaign, and we need all leaders, of all parties, to work together to curb the darkening mood of hate and fear. We are facing a very long and difficult recession, the kind that Americans have not faced in a generation. Or perhaps we are on the edge of another Great Depression. Raising the rhetoric of fear and loathing, feeding paranoid conspiracies, depicting the other side as evil or harmful - these are all very reckless and dangerous actions. We cannot be so foolish as to throw sparks onto these fires. America is facing a new day of violence if this is not stopped.
For that we need everyone - Democrat, Republican, Independent - to do their part. And we must always practice Dr. Martin Luther King's gospel of non-violence. America must appeal to the better angels of its nature during these challenging times. To give in to hate and violence is to hurl this world into the grave.
There have already been a steady trickle of oldschool, almost "classic" Republicans who have thrown their support to Obama. The GOP is in such thrall to the hard right that nobody else wants anything to do with them. We're nearly at the point in the shipwreck when Celine Dion starts singing. So, yeah, painful for all of us, but strangely mesmerizing.
And well, there you have it. For decades this has essentially been the Republican strategy, since they can't run the country the way they'd like with all these pesky voters running around. From 1980 when Paul Weyrich famously said "I don't want everybody to vote...our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up, as the voting populace goes down, right up until today.
So this is, ultimately, why the right is making ACORN famous, calling for defunding and investigations and the like. It's to cover their real agenda of trying to disenfranchise voters. It's been the GOP ground game for a long time. And every time you think you've got it tamped down, it rises up somewhere else. Particularly slippery this year has been the "lose your house, lose your vote" effort to use foreclosure lists to challenge voters. Even after it was revealed and part of a lawsuit in Michigan, where the GOP was forced to surrender its effort, it has popped back up around the country.
I didn't say libruls are anti-Mur'ka. Those libruls are twisting my words. Because, you know, they hate Mur'ka. Everybody's out to get me! Waaah!!
"Chris Matthews did what Chris Matthews is paid big bucks to do: Twist my words and set them up for full-fledged distortion when his next guest came on," she wrote. "And, when the liberal blogs got hold of little clips of my appearance, the spin machine really kicked into overdrive. ... They're motivated entirely by their hatred of me and my conservative beliefs."
This is precisely why Obama must be our next President. With a Republican in the White House, war with Iran would be inevitable. And America cannot afford another Imperial Adventure. I expect Obama to be wise enough to resist them, but this enormous machine that has its claws in our government, this Military-Industrial Complex, will fight tooth and nail to preserve their own power.
We will have our hands full, kids. The real work begins on November 5. Everything up to now was only a pre-season scrimmage.