Friday, August 15, 2008


Open Thread

Try going for a world record eight in this thread, OK?

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I can't think of another individual -- including Hillary Clinton -- who could be a less fitting running mate for a so-called "candidate of change" than John Frickin' Kerry!

This has got to be a joke. Right?

Best line:
Polls show many voters question Obama's foreign policy credentials to be a wartime president. As a decorated veteran and longtime member of the senate foreign relations committee, Kerry could fill that gap.
Hmmm...that "decorated veteran and longtime member of the senate foreign relations committtee" did so well last time around, right? Against a non-veteran Republican.

Obama can do what he wants, but John Kerry seems like a really poor choice -- especially when Obam needs someone who would make him look more down-to-earth/less-elitist.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Powell 4 Obama?

That's what Bill Kristol is saying on Fox News today:
“He may well give a speech at the Democratic convention explaining his endorsement of Obama,” Kristol said, citing inside sources..
Take that with a grain of salt since Powell's office vehemently denies that he will attend either convention (though no mention of his endorsement plans).

On the other hand, The Huffington Post notes that Obama's VP will speak on the same convention night dedicated to national security and honoring veterans. While Powell isn't going to be Obama's vice president, it would be a good day for him to address the Democrats if he's going to cross over.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Why McCain?

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers makes one of the better cases for supporting John McCain for president. He gives Republicans jaded over the last few years some things to think about.

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Affairs & Political Shields

Even though the primary is over, Hillary Clinton's people are still spinning her campaign. Flack Howard Wolfson declared Monday that the former first lady would have won Iowa if Edwards hadn't remained successful in lying about his affair with Rielle Hunter.

Maybe. Maybe not. One argument is that the anti-Hillary vote would have congealed around Obama. Even though Wolfson said that "Our voters and Edwards were the same people," the fact is that Hillary didn't adopt her "working people" line until after Edwards dropped out of the race.

But more importantly, now that Wolfson is in the reassessment mode and admitting that issues of affairs have an impact in campaigns, maybe he should give Chris Matthews a break. Matthews infuriated Clinton and Co. for daring to speculate that the Monica Lewinsky affair helped launch Hillary Clinton's Senate career. After pressure from the campaign and various women's groups, Matthews apologized.

However, if Wolfson can say that Edwards' lying about his affair, "certainly had an impact on the election," why can't someone say, had the Lewinsky affair never come to light, Hillary Rodham Clinton might never have become a New York senator -- and then a candidate for president?

Hey, if we're engaging counter-factual, coulda, woulda, shouldas...

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Monday, August 11, 2008


Into RAG's iPod: "Suffragette City

So, this summer, I'm becoming reacquainted with my Ipod. For one thing, I lost my old 30G filled -one several months ago and I purchased an 80G.

The larger capacity made me realize I could be less judicious about what from my rather huge CD collection would go into my Ipod. Furthermore, transferring iTunes from my computer hard drive to an external drive also freed up important computer space (though created a glitch here and there).

In any event, this old DJ is immersing himself into the music again. One ever-expanding playlist is what I call "Love At First Sound." It's the songs that I've loved from the very first minute I heard them. And, when I say "loved", I mean it. These are songs that I would race to crank up the radio when they came on or I would play over and over again when I bought them on record or CD. Or they would become a signature song of mine at college coffee shop parties. They span the spectrum from '60s rock to '70s pop to heavy metal to disco to punk to New Wave to hip-hop and more.

Some are from childhood, many from high school and college, but there are couple from just the last decade. Most of them are uptempo, but a few are a bit slower or mellower. Some were huge hits, but a few qualify as obscure. Right now, the list is at 38, but it will grow as more come to mind.

Anyway, I decided to share some of my all-time faves on a regular basis here at RT, ably assisted with the sizeable collection that is YouTube.

We begin, for no particular reason, with my all-time favorite Bowie tune. I first heard this at St. John's College, though I don't remember if it was hearing it in a dorm or at a coffee shop party. The best way to hear this song, of course, is on the The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars album, just for the great contrast and shift from the mid-tempo title track, "Ziggy Stardust" and the guitar-driven frenzy of this song:

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Late-Summer Reading

Okay, so the summer is idling away, rolling to that dreaded Labor Day, the unofficial beginning of Fall. Still, there's yet time to get in some reading -- all recently published works by friends and acquaintances of the host of Ragged Thots (thereby pressuring said host into getting his book ideas underway).

1) With the conventions just a few weeks away, Michael Cohen's recently released work on campaign speechmaking, Live From The Campaign Trail is ideal for the political season. Most books of this nature focus on speeches made while either taking office -- or in office (that is, of course, not true for non-officeholders such as Martin Luther King). Michael though takes readers on an historical tour of campaign rhetoric and its effectiveness (or, the lack thereof). Cohen is pretty much a partisan Democrat, which actually makes his take on speeches by candidates on the right both interesting and occasionally amusing (both intentionally and not so). Regardless, he does his homework and style makes for a good, smooth read.

2) A much lighter work can be found from my New York Post colleague and friend, Max Gross. He has his first book,
From Schlub to Stud, now in stores. It can be ordered at Amazon here. The book came out of a Post article inspired by the Judd Appatow/Seth Rogen farce, "Knocked Up." An interview with Max where he talks about what schlubbiness means to him can be found here. Max's musings on everything schlubby can be found here. Publisher's Weekly has some strong praise here. Oh, and for those of you in New York, he will be signing books at Barnes & Noble Tuesday evening.

3) Hallie Leighton is a fellow St. John's College alum (though the lovely Ms. Leighton is several years younger than yours truly). For a second time, she and her father Jan plunge into the world of rare words, with the aptly-titled Rare Words II! The topic should entertain wordsmiths and fans of wordplay everywhere -- of which anyone who reads Ragged Thots should be counted (well "tolerant" of wordplay anyway)!

The Leightons ' technique is to use the power of rhyme to help readers recall new and challenging words. The results are both pithy and witty.

A few examples below can be perused.
Who knows -- one day, they may well be used!

1) fatidic (pronounced fuh-TID-ik)
n. pertaining to prophecy; prophetic.

A critic
of the fatidic
says “Get off it!”
to the prophet.
2) precant (pronounced PREK-unt)
n. a person who prays.

To preserve his soul,
the atheist in the foxhole
will become a precant
within a second.
3) gravid (GRAV-id)
n. pregnant.

pavid (PAV-id)
n. fearful; frightened; timid.

Rosemary, gravid
became somewhat pavid
when she found out that maybe
she bore Lucifer’s baby.
4) pudency (pronounced PYOO-den-see)
n. modesty.

is what rude men see
as a barrier
if they don’t want to marry her.
5) pococurante (pronounced po-ko-koo-RAN-tee)
n. an indifferent, nonchalant person. adj. indifferent and unconcerned.

You can up the ante,
but the pococurante
still doesn’t care.
Now that’s laissez-faire.

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August Blues

A rather depressing weekend past -- even without Russia's invasion of Georgia:

The rather spectacular Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics on Friday were immediately overshadowed by the Beijing slaying of the father-in-law of the men's volleyball team. The assailant promptly committed suicide. The action was said to be "random" by a clearly deranged individual. That may be the case. However, such an action could well have the the by product of potentially discouraging any Westerners who might consider speaking out on human rights abuses.

Then, Saturday morning brought the news of comedian/actor Bernie Mac's death at the relatively young age of 50. It was surprising only because more recent reports were that he was recovering from the pneumonia that had hospitalized him a week before.

Then, on Sunday comes word that Isaac Hayes, a true pioneer in soul, funk and disco died in his home. While a younger generation knew him as
South Park's Chef, his contribution to modern popular music is looms far higher. A songwriter, singer, actor and proto-rapper, he was something of a Renaissance man. Among other achievements, with his "Shaft" soundtrack, he became the first black musician to win an Oscar.

The following is a live recording of Hayes doing "Walk On By":

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