Monthly Archives: September 2008

My Campaign Pledge

David Marat

Grave Error is not a political blog. That was never its intention. The problem is that sometimes I get a little carried away by what I perceive to be extreme political cynicism (yeah, like over 130 times just this year). As a matter of fact, I have always been rather sensitive to and disturbed by all sorts of injustices, cynicism, and falsehoods. While this blog does give me the opportunity to rant about these things, it is also supposed to be fun, full of quirky digressions and absurdities. So to keep with the original intent of the blog (and to address my brother’s concerns), I am making an official campaign pledge to not write about the campaign for five days. This will be rather difficult considering Palin just got less eloquent on foreign policy, Letterman has been ranting about McCain’s no show, we potentially have the first presidential debate tonight, and McCain’s campaign is tanking. But with baby steps, it will be doable.

So in the spirit of non-political digressions, here is a list of some of my favorite old posts from the close to 800 that I have written in the last two and half years (in case you’re new to Grave Error): Continue reading



Filed under Digressions, Obama 08

The McCain Palin Microcosm

How would you even begin to analyze the recent footage from Katie Curic’s interview with Sarah Palin? If you thought that predator lenders were evil in pushing mortgages on naive Americans who wanted homes but couldn’t afford them, imagine a national congressional veteran convincing a small town rookie (and attempting to convince voters) that she was qualified for a position light years beyond her abilities? You almost feel embarrassed for her, like she’d been tricked, fooled by the Washington insider.

Not only is she not qualified, she isn’t even ready for a televised debate. She gets all of her terminology wrong and can’t speak in complete sentences. This interview definitively answered my question. McCain is right to keep her from the press. Like Paulson who wanted us to have 100% faith in his ability to unilaterally manage the $700 billion bailout, McCain — keeping Palin from the press — is essentially begging us to have faith in his choice and not to vet her.


Filed under Essays, Obama 08

McCain at the CGI but Not the Debate?


I thought that McCain had suspended his campaign and was calling to postpone the presidential debates to focus on solving the country’s economic woes. It was better to be on Capitol Hill than at a debate in front of the American people. That wasn’t just a cynical last ditch effort to turn around the latest polls. It was, you know, America First!

Although McCain and Obama will meet later today at the White House, how did McCain find the time to address the Clinton Global Initiative in New York? Where were those famous McCain priorities in a time of crisis? If there was no time for the debate, why was there time for addressing the Clinton cronies?

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

Let’s Call the Whole Thing (Temporarily) Off

McCain says “tomato” and then he says “tomoto”, why not temporarily suspend the campaign so he can get his story straight? Remember last week when the economy was fundamentally sound? Now it is in such dire straits that he has postponed his campaign and tomorrow night’s presidential debates so he can crash his straight talk express into Washington and solve the problems afflicting his campaign.


Just look at the numbers of a recent Washington Post/ABC poll showing that McCain is behind by nine points nationally. Another two polls show him behind in Michigan. This isn’t the firs time, though, that McCain has reacted to an Obama lead by threatening to suspend campaigning. He did it right after the DNC Convention when he delayed the GOP Convention. The excuse then was bad weather, but we all know that the McCain team desperately needed to keep W. from speaking.

This also isn’t the first time that McCain has showed his rash, shoot ‘m up judgment on the campaign trail. Continue reading

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

Unprecedented Censorship: How Bad Can She Be?


The press has threatened to boycott Palin’s U.N. speed date today with world leaders because the McCain Palin team were refusing to allow reporters access to the Republican vice presidential candidate. She still hasn’t held a single press conference. For the vice presidential debate, the Republicans have negotiated a format of short questions to further shield Palin from having to say too much.

Does McCain have that little confidence in Palin that he needs to censor her? Where is the transparency and openness? There is no other precedent in American history for a national candidate being kept this far from the public eye. Like we wouldn’t notice? You’d almost think she was a sequestered juror in a high profile murder case or an Alaskan teenager being protected from exposure to protection or certain unseemly reading materials.

I just wish someone out there would take us, the voting public, seriously. Come on, let her answer a few questions. How bad can she be?

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

Why Would You Want to Win?


Whenever I speak with my father about these elections, I always ask his opinion about Obama’s chances of winning. And ever since early January of this year, he has always had the same response, “Why would Obama want to win?” His argument was, even way back nine months ago, that whoever wins would face two insurmountable obstacles making reelection in 2012 almost impossible. The first was a nasty and complicated Iraq pull out, and the second was an economic recession and financial crisis.

It appears that we are already in said financial crisis. And if my father’s assessment is correct, things don’t look great for Obama because McCain looks even worse. Continue reading

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

Remember Paula Jones?


Do you remember Paula Jones? I bet you remember Monica Lewinsky. Paula was suing Bill Clinton, and in the course of the discovery process, Bill tried to hide his relationship with Monica, just in case it could be used as evidence against him. Later when he was being investigated for perjury and suborning perjury, President Bill Clinton said that he didn’t have to play by the rules because he believed the case was baseless.

Now Sarah Palin’s “first dude”, her husband, is refusing to testify in an abuse of power investigation into his wife’s conduct as Governor of Alaska because he “no longer believes the legislature’s investigation is legitimate”. Back in 1998, I was appalled that Clinton thought he was above the law and had some special right to bypass the judicial process. As I wrote last year about the matter,

President Clinton repeatedly justified his alleged “obstruction of justice” as having been in response to Ms. Jones’ unfounded and frivolous lawsuit. But if the President shared his feminist constituents’ beliefs and trusted the legal system, he would have allowed justice to run its normal course instead of trying to impede a woman’s right to bring a sexual harassment case against her employer.

I feel the same way today about the Palin’s. What right does Todd Palin (or anyone else for that matter) have to ignore a subpoena to testify in an investigation? Is his opinion about the legitimacy of an investigation superior to that of the democratically elected Alaska legislature? Does he have jurisdiction over the legislature? Why do we have legislatures, judges, courts, juries, or law enforcement if it all comes down to guys like Clinton or Dude Palin extra-judicially determining they’re above the law?

What Clinton didn’t understand then and what Palin doesn’t understand now is that they are not fighting to protect their rights, but are disrespecting and undermining the public institutions that comprise the American democracy. If they believed in the system, then they would show a little more faith in the rule of law in this country — like ordinary Americans are forced to do every day in court — and let justice run its due course.


Filed under Essays, Obama 08

How Do You Talk to an Angel?

Believe it or not, I was just reading something that was not about the U.S. presidential elections. It was much more profound. I happened upon an article about the new 90210 spin-off. The original Beverly Hills, 90210 came out during my first few months of college back in 1990. That was also the year of “Hammer Time“, “The Groove is in the Heart”, Godfather III and Rocky V.

When I really press my memory and think back hard enough, I can bring back a couple of different images and sensations from that first semester of college: the Washington fall — dark nights and crisp cool air. My small gang of friends talking crap, thinking we were smart, taking the day off for the Star Wars Trilogy. There was my roommate, Dave; Fred who was accused of being a pseudo-existentialist yet complimented for being so ethnic. There was Julio, next!; Mo’, “that’s cool” (may he rest in peace), and Kevin who today is the father of my goddaughter. And if I let my memory bleed into the beginning of 1991, I see myself sitting in bed one January evening watching CNN televise the first Gulf War, being called to the floor’s lounge to panic about a possible draft, and I can also smell the scent of tear gas from riots in Mount Pleasant that found there way across town.

Nevertheless, when reading about 90210, I was thinking about something else from those days. There was a short lived TV show from the same time period about a young band; the show had a cheesie theme song. I couldn’t remember the name of the song for the life of me, but I could remember that Dave and I used to make fun of its ridiculous lyrics, something absurd about an angel. I did every google search possible, and finally after various word combinations, I found the name of the show and song: The Heights and “How Do You Talk to an Angel“. According to wikipedia, the show ran from August 1992 to November of the same year, but I don’t think those dates are correct. All of my recollections of trying to figure out how communicating with an angel was also like catching a fallen star took place in the dorms which I had lived in until May of 1992. Continue reading

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Filed under Digressions, Friends / Family

Bring in the Marines


John McCain is a tough guy, and like all tough guys he solves problems by being tough. Toughness is definitely what we need, and if John Wayne McCain were president, he’d fire the chairman of the S.E.C. Then he’d probably convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff and bring in General David Petraeus to clean up the mess. Continue reading

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

In Praise of Regulations

One thing that has historically set the U.S. apart from other nations is its strong adherence to the Rule of Law. Not just through legislation, but through regulations (and the U.S.’s special brand of rules for promulgating regulations), the country has been able to afford all sorts of protections to consumers, workers, investors and businesses without having to increase the size of government a la European socialism.

I know it’s a Republican catch phrase to call everything that they don’t like “big government” but there is absolutely no relationship between regulating activity and increasing the size of government. So it is no wonder that McCain’s recent schizophrenic attacks don’t quite square with reality. Continue reading

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08