The Daily Parker

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Tribune fact-checks Palin

Good piece in the Chicago Tribune this morning analyzing the speech GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin gave last night:

Some examples:

PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."


FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

And then there was Rudy Giuliani's speech, about which I will defer to Talking Points Memo:

With Rudy's speech, to riff on the brilliance of the immortal Molly Ivins, I think I preferred this speech in the original German.

CNN Smackdown

Via Talking Points Memo, the McCain campaign has trouble explaining Gov. Palin's foreign-policy experience. Even CNN is fed up: Alaska bordering Russia, and Palin having "command" of the Alaska National Guard, are neither "foreign-policy experience" nor a combination of things we'd ever want to see taken to a logical conclusion. But here's the interview:

After Palin goes the way of Harriet Miers, perhaps "Fast Draw" McCain might vet the next candidate?

History tonight

I'm overwhelmed, even though everyone knew it was coming, even though it's "just politics:" tonight, for the first time ever, the United States has a nominee for President who is not a white man.

I have a degree in U.S. history, so I know full well that many of the most important events in our past passed right by the people living through them. This one, though, this one happened on international TV, in real time, and everyone watching knew it was important.

The best part? That he's black doesn't really matter. He's the nominee on the merits. People will vote for him because he's qualified, he's competent, he's shrewd, he's cool-headed, he's smart, he's a good judge of advisers, and he's exactly what we desperately needed (but desperately didn't have) to guide us through the horror of September 2001. His skin color does not matter in any of that. And yet, incidentally, my party has nominated someone who doesn't look like the guys on the currency to be its standard-bearer. And it only took 220 years.

I can hardly wait for 68 days to cast my fourth[1], and most important, vote for Barack Obama: our next President.

[1] I voted for Obama for Democratic nominee to U.S. Senate, March 2004; U.S. Senate, November 2004; and Democratic Nominee for President, January 2008.

Judge deines stay to Bolten, Miers

I admit, I missed HRC's speech, and I'm looking for it right now on YouTube. But so many bloggers are commenting on it right now that I am, as my dad would say, "taking a Pasadena."

Instead, I would like to highlight (via Talking Points Memo) a ruling today, in which a Federal judge denied Harriet Miers's and Josh Bolten's motions to avoid testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee. This is a non-trivial victory for the legislature over the executive, probably in the short term at least as important as the Democratic Convention. From Chairman John Conyers (D-MI):

Today's ruling clearly rejects the White House's efforts to run out the clock on the Committee's investigation of DOJ politicization this Congress. I am heartened that Judge Bates recognized that the public interest in this matter is best served by the furtherance of the Committee's investigation. ... The Committee intends to promptly schedule a hearing with Ms. Miers and stands ready as always to consider any reasonable offer of accommodation with the White House.

"Reasonable," in its plainest meaning, means that the White House will turn over the documents requested. We'll see.

Mickey Mouse copyright case

This is interesting. I opposed the Mickey Mouse Protection Act of 1998 (officially the Copyright Term Extension Act), sponsored by Sonny Bono (R-CA), because I (a) believe that copyright protection already went on too long (50 to 70 years), and (b) it was such a naked lobbying bid by Disney.

Well, it turns out, Disney's copyright in the Mickey Mouse character may actually have lapsed in 1998 despite the Act:

Film credits from the 1920s revealed imprecision in copyright claims that some experts say could invalidate Disney's long-held copyright, though a Disney lawyer dismissed that idea as "frivolous."


Today, title-card claims are no longer required. But when courts rule on historical copyright issues, they follow the laws in place at the time—in this case, says [Georgetown University law graduate Douglas] Hedenkamp, the 1909 law requiring that the word copyright or its symbol be "accompanied by the name of the copyright proprietor"—a rule scholars said means in the immediate proximity.

The article isn't exactly law-journal ready, but it gives a reasonable outline of the issues. I'm not expecting anyone to challenge Disney on this, but it's funny to me how they spend a lot of time yelling and screaming to protect their Mickey Mouse trademark even when they know they've lost the copyright on several films, and possibly the character itself.


I just finished Paul Johnson's History of the American People, which I started four weeks ago. Well-written as it was, I couldn't help noticing, around when the book got into the Harding administration, that perhaps Mr. Johnson leans farther to the right than I do. He made some good arguments for more-conservative views of modern American history, and I'll think about them, but parts of his discussions of Nixon, Reagan, and Bush père made me snort.

Still, I recommend the book, and I found it a great way to review, essentially, my college degree.

And now, as a palate-cleanser, I will snack on the next Discworld novel (specifically, #13, Small Gods). One's reading mustn't be too heavy all the time, what what!