Saturday, August 30, 2008

Scholars Weight In on Palin's Credentials

It's going from bad to worse for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's surprise choice for vice president. She's being compared to Spiro Agnew! 

While Far-Right Republicans are lining up behind Palin, her thin resume and complete lack of national experience is likely to cause problems for the GOP ticket.

A Politico story posted today does not inspire confidence. Presidential scholars interviewed by the website include these damning assessments of Palin's background: 
Presidential scholars say she appears to be the least experienced, least credentialed person to join a major-party ticket in ticket in the modern era. […] 

That includes Spiro T. Agnew, Richard Nixon's first vice president, who was governor of a medium-sized state, Maryland, for two years, and before that, executive of suburban Baltimore County…. 

It also includes…New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, who served three terms in the House before Walter Mondale chose her in 1984 as the first woman candidate on a major party ticket. 

"It would be one thing is she has only been governor for a year and a half, but prior to that she had not had major experience in public life, said [presidential historian Matthew] Dallek of Palin. "The fact that he [McCain] would have to go to somebody who is clearly unqualified to be president makes Obama look like an elder statesman." 
This is a powerful stuff and yet another sign that the Palin selection was a mistake

The Alaska governor may wow 'em at the GOP convention in St. Paul, but the doubts are out there and they aren't trivial. Even if she comes off well next week, there's no getting around the fact that she has no national or international experience–none! 

Loyal Republicans are saying she's a "game changer." But she may be a deal breaker for a great many thoughtful and independent voters, people who know a light-weight token when they see one. 

Alaska Republicans Pile On Palin Pick: 'A Joke'

John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin isn't playing so well back home, where some of her GOP colleagues are questioning her qualifications.

Here are some snippets from Alaska Republican leaders:
State Senate President Lyda Green said she thought it was a joke when someone called her at 6 a.m. to give her the news.

“She’s not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?” said Green, a Republican from Palin’s hometown of Wasilla. “Look at what she’s done to this state. What would she do to the nation?” […]

State House Speaker John Harris, a Republican from Valdez, was astonished at the news. He didn’t want to get into the issue of her qualifications.

“She’s old enough,” Harris said. “She’s a U.S. citizen.”

Conservative Frum Blasts Palin Pick

Writing on National Review Online, conservative pundit and writer David Frum has laid out the Right's doubts about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's choice for vice president.

Maybe this gamble will work, Frum notes, but maybe not:

[M]aybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I'd be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it's John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.

Here's I fear the worst harm that may be done by this selection. The McCain campaign's slogan is "country first." It's a good slogan, and it aptly describes John McCain, one of the most self-sacrificing, gallant, and honorable men ever to seek the presidency.

But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sure, Gov. Palin is Ready to Be Vice President

The Not-Ready-for-Primetime Candidate: Our favorite Sarah Palin quote (so far):
"What is it exactly that the vice president does all day?" Palin offhandedly asked CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow in July.

Palin's First Flip-Flop: She's Both For and Against that Bridge to Nowhere

Gov. Sarah Palin, this year's version of Dan Quayle, has already contradicted her own record as a fiscal conservative.

The issue at stake is the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, a hugely expensive pork barrel project pushed by Alaska's famously greedy Sen. Ted Stevens. Gov. Palin said today she was against the project.

Too bad they keep records up there in Anchorage, where the daily newspaper has a nice quote from Ms. Palin saying exactly the opposite. Indeed, she is on record in favor of Alaska's infrastructure projects, including the Bridge to Nowhere.

So much for Republican consistency.

More Palin Fallout: McCain 'Failed the Test'

John McCain's decision to select an unknown and inexperienced Alaska conservative is not playing well in many circles. 

Gov. Sarah Palin may turn out to be a disaster, says Time's Mark Halpern. He goes on: 
On the face of this, McCain has failed the ultimate test than any presidential candidate must face in picking a running mate: selecting someone who is unambiguously qualified to be President. 

Palin is a talented politician who has both support among conservatives and a compelling personal story. But her short resume in Alaska and her nonexistent national track record will make it impossible for McCain to argue with a straight face that she was the most qualified person he could have selected.

McCain has his reasons for his selection, we're sure, but Palin is looking more and more like his version Dan Quayle, a lightweight politician of modest achievement who is utterly in over her head and unable to save McCain's now-faltering campaign. 

Sarah Palin, McCain's Political Unknown

How unknown is McCain's vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin? Here's a little background from our GOP friends, courtesy of the website Politico
"No one knows anything about her," complained one GOP strategist, who spoke on condition that he not be identified. "I don't know anyone who has even met her." 

"I don't know much about her, Texas Sen. Kay Baily Hutchinson told CNN this morning. I don't know Sarah Palin."
Oops! McCain's choice is looking more and more dicey. 

Zing! McCain's Judgment Takes a Hit

Democratic strategist Paul Begala on John McCain's vice presidential choice
For a man who is 72 years old and has had four bouts with cancer to have chosen someone so completely unqualified to become president is shockingly irresponsible. Suddenly, McCain's age and health become central issues in the campaign, as does his judgment. 

McCain's Choice: Sarah Who? Sarah Why?

Let's see, now. Does John McCain really think that an right-wing Mom and inexperienced governor from the Far North can step in a lead the country at a critical time in the nation's history? 

Apparently so. 

But this selection doesn't say good much about McCain's judgment. Instead, it says he's desperate to find an out-of-the-box candidate who can shore up his conservative credentials. (Too bad she's the least qualified vice presidential nominee since Dan Quayle.) 

Such thinking may work in Oklahoma, but most Okies were likely to vote for McCain anyway. 

The real test—and the one that may sink McCain's political fortunes—will be in those swing states, places brimming with independents and suburban voters, people who (1) have never heard of Sarah Palin, (2) recognize her complete lack of national and international experience, (3) don't care for her right-wing views. 

Is Palin a gamble for the GOP ticket? Absolutely!  Will she pay off in November? Don't bet on it. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Irony Alert: Chicken Hawk Cheney Speaks to the American Legion

Our favorite Chicken Hawk, Dick (Five Deferments) Cheney, spoke to the American Legion convention today in Phoenix.

This is rich. Cheney, who was of military age during the Vietnam years, never served a day in uniform. Instead, he got five (count 'em: five!) deferments from the draft. Cheney had, in his own words, "other priorities."

Yet Cheney had no problem sending other people's children off to a war that never had to be fought. Cheney had no problem lying about weapons of mass destruction, weapons that a more thoughtful and skeptical person would have questioned.

Turns out, Cheney was wrong. The Democrats (and a few brave Republicans) who challenged the administration were right. In short, Cheney is a classic hypocrite, a two-faced politician who says one thing and does another.

The American Legion is made up of veterans, of course, veterans who served their nation honorably. The irony here is clear: Cheney is not one of them.

Cheney's appearance before the American Legion is nothing less than a disgrace.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Call Him John McSame

AT's favorite critique of the Sen. John McCain, courtesy of Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania in a speech in Denver earlier today:
John McCain says he's a maverick. But he's voted with Bush over 90% of the time. That's not a maverick. That's a sidekick!

Bonehead Boortz: Radio Blabber Gets It Wrong (Again)

Right-wing radio is sometimes sad, sometimes funny, most often wrong. 

But hey, who needs actual facts or information when the whole idea of the wingnut blabbers is to exaggerate, distort and lie about people they don't like? 

Neal Boortz, the Atlanta-based talker heard in Tulsa on KRMG AM 740, defended John McCain's inability to answer a question about the number of houses he owns the other day with this question about McCain's opponent: "Let's ask Obama how many pray rugs he has," Boortz said. 

Okay, Neal, let's ask. 

We think Obama has a good answer: It's zero. Nada. None. After all, Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim. 

Then again, Boortz isn't really interested in truth. Why let the facts get in the way of a good smear?

Jon Stewart Hits Fox News Between the Eyes

AltTulsa's nomination for Quote of the Day comes from the Daily Show's Jon Stewart. 

Speaking this morning in Denver, Stewart nailed the Fox News gang for its Orwellian slogan: The "fair and balanced" motto, Stewart said, is an insult "to people with brains." 

Stewart continued: "Barack Obama could cure cancer and they'd figure out a way to frame it as an economic disaster." 

As the kids say, Score! 

Cheney To Disappear During GOP Convention

Speaking of Dick Cheney (see previous post), we learned this week that the vice president will be out of the country during next week's Republican convention. Press reports say the Veep will be visiting the embattled Republic of Georgia, the former Soviet satellite recently invaded by the Russians. 

We don't care for conspiracy theories, but it strikes us that the timing on Cheney's trip is, well, a tad too convenient. Most vice presidents, after all, would love to be basking in convention glory, wouldn't they? 

Then again, Cheney is not most vice presidents. He's one of the nation's least popular politicians, a man whose every instinct runs toward secrecy and deception. In Cheney's world view, pesky notions like accountability, transparency, and the public's right to know hinder the proper functioning of (secret) government. 

Last time we checked, however, the people were still sovereign and Cheney remained a public servant, not a king. 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Evidence of Dick Cheney's Iraq Duplicity

The evidence of Vice President Dick Cheney's disingenuousness in the run-up to the Iraq war continues to mount.

Here's a summary of a report released this week:
A new report on the documents from George Washington University's National Security Archive…presents compelling evidence that the Bush Administration pressured the CIA and other intelligence agencies to tailor their reports to back-up Bush's desire to invade. The report suggests the bulk of this effort was run our of Vice President Dick Cheney's office, backing up numerous other post-war examinations of the path to invasion that saw Cheney as the mastermind of the plan to oust Saddam Hussein.
Remember, Sooner fans, this is the same Dick Cheney who got five draft deferments during the Vietnam era and never served a day in uniform. He had "other priorities" during those years.

Yet Cheney had no problem beating the drums of war when it suited his political purposes, sending other people's children off to a war that no American needed to fight.

This is the same Dick Cheney that Sen. Jim Inhofe brought to Tulsa some months back for a fundraiser, ignoring the fact that Cheney has been wrong about every major policy issue for nearly eight years.

Come January, Cheney will not be missed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

McCain's 'Regular Guy' Problem, Part 3

It's not just his seven (or eight) houses, it's not just his trophy wife's $100 million beer distribution fortune, now it's his household servants. Yes, servants.

Here's a new report from Politico:
The McCains increased their budget for household employees from $184,000 in 2006 to $273,000 in 2007, according to John McCain's tax returns.

The additional cash supports an "increase in the number of employees," the McCain aide told Politico. The aide did not answer a question about whether the growing staff stemmed from addition of new properties to the family's real estate portfolio.

Spending more than a quarter million on servants in a single year raises this question: Does John McCain understand the lives of Joe and Lucy Sixpack right here in T-Town?

Based on his deluxe lifestyle, we rather doubt it.

Chump of the Week: GOP's Glenn Coffee

State Sen. Glenn Coffee is AT's unanimous choice as Oklahoma's Chump of the Week for his facetious invitation for Democratic candidate Barack Obama to visit the Sooner State.

Here's Coffee's comment, his tongue firmly lodged in his fat cheek:
Speaking on behalf of all Oklahoma Republicans, and in the spirit of true bi-partisanship, I want to join Governor Henry in inviting Barack Obama to Oklahoma.
Coffee's point (and we're sure he had one) was to belittle Obama, who has weak support in Oklahoma.

But let's suppose Obama did make a visit to Oklahoma and let's say that visit swayed a few independents and fence-sitters to vote for Obama and other Democrats. Would that move Oklahoma in the Obama column? Not likely.

But it might have unintended consequences—it might give a boost to, say, State Sen. Andrew Rice, who's mounting a strong challenge to the official Sooner State dinosaur and Dick Cheney's very dear friend, the weary Jim Inhofe.

So, yes, let's bring Obama to Oklahoma. If that pushes a few more voters into the Democratic column, Coffee will be eating a lot of crow.

McCain's 'Regular Guy' Problem, Part 2

AltTulsa's nomination for Political Headline of the Day, a follow-up to McCain's admission this week that he wasn't sure how many houses he and wife Cindy own
Official Net Worth: McCain $36.4 Million, Obama $799,000

McCain the Maverick? Not So Much

Candidate John McCain likes to present himself as a GOP maverick, an outsider who can buck the system when necessary. 

Too bad his campaign staff belies that idea. Here's what the Sacramento Bee found when it looked at McCain's ties to the telecommunication industry:
More than 60 present and former telecom lobbyists work for McCain's campaign as staffers and volunteers, some in high-echelon posts while on leave from their firms. 
Like George Bush before him, McCain's outsider status is a myth. In a McCain Administration, the telecom giants will get a seat at the White House. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Bush Misconduct: Misuse of Presidential Signing Statements

January 20 can't come soon enough. That's the day America will be rid of George W. Bush, one of the worst presidents in U.S. history.

As evidence, we present the latest report on the Bush signing statements, highly questionable documents misused by the White House:
The Bush Administration’s use of presidential signing statements to indicate disapproval of enacted legislation has generated confusion and has undermined congressional oversight of national defense policy, the House Armed Services Committee said in a report this week.

78 percent of President Bush’s more than 150 signing statements have raised constitutional or legal objections compared with only 18% of all of President Clinton’s.
Since they arrived in 2001, the Bush-Cheney team has repeatedly usurped Congressional power and thumbed its nose at the people. Despite their highly optimistic predictions, history will not be kind.

John McCain, His Houses, and His 'Regular Guy' Problem

The Arizona senator's latest gaffe, one that contradicts his "good ole boy" persona
Sen. John McCain said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own. 

"I think—I'll have my staff get to you," McCain said. "It's condominiums where—I'll have them get to you." 
This is more than embarrassing. It underscores the fact that McCain is hardly a the regular guy he pretends to be. He's the son and grandson of prominent admirals, who got divorced from his first wife to marry a much younger woman (read: trophy wife) who happened to be one of the richest people in Arizona. Sweet! 

The couple has several houses, depending on who you ask. McCain's staff says four, Newsweek says seven, though Cindy McCain has been quoted as saying seven or eight

Whatever the real number, McCain appears clueless—not a good sign in a guy who wants to the Leader of the Free World. 

UPDATE: New reports out today put the total value of McCain's seven houses at a cool $13 million. Hmmm. Who's the real elitist running for president? 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rice Moves Up on Inhofe in New Oklahoma Poll

State Sen. Andrew Rice, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by former Tulsa Mayor Jim Inhofe, is moving up in the polls. Rice's website reported yesterday that Rice had moved to within 9 points of Inhofe, a veteran politician with high name recognition in the Sooner state.

This strikes us a great news for Rice, a first-time candidate in a state-wide race.

Yet Oklahoma remains one of the reddest of the Red States and Inhofe, despite his ties to an unpopular president, is favored in November.

But Inhofe is not invincible. He looks and sounds tired. He was wrong about the war in Iraq. He has nothing new to say about health care, troop support or energy policy. His policies are the same old GOP talking points as he trots out every election, heavy on tough talk and little else.

But there's less to Inhofe than meets the eye. Inhofe is increasingly ineffective as a Oklahoma politican, something more and more Oklahoma voters are figuring out. It's time for Inhofe to go.

With a few more supporters and some additional money, Rice may be the guy to give Inhofe the kick in the butt he needs.

For more on Rice, check out his website at

Friday, August 15, 2008

Republican Woes Mount: Eight GOP Senators Will Skip St. Paul Convention

It's going to be a long election season for some incumbent Republicans, so much so that they are skipping next month's GOP convention in St. Paul.

After the continued incompetence and failed policies of the Bush-Cheney years, it's not too much of a surprise that some Republican leaders will keep their distance from the party regulars, including John McCain

Here's a summary, courtesy of the website The Raw Story
Eight Republican Senators are skipping the Twin Cities convention, and two more say they might have better things to do Sept. 1-4. It's a troubling sign for a party that already expects to lose more seats in Congress this year and indicates that John McCain continues to be saddled by the baggage of President Bush's last eight years, says one observer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ansel Adams Photography Show Comes to Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum

Tulsa photography buffs will be treated to the work of a modern master with the opening of the Ansel Adams show at the Gilcrease Museum

The show, which opens tomorrow, promises to be well worth the trip. It includes 138 photographs, including many of his most well-known photographs from Yosemite National Park in California and other places in the West. 

Adams is known to darkroom types for his mastery of the Zone System, a method of photo printing that produces incredibly beautiful black-and-white images.  

The Adams show runs through January 4, 2009, so there's plenty of time to see these images. For more on the show, go to the museum's website here

Obama Beats McCain in Military Donations

AT's nomination for Political Headline of the Day
Obama Tops in Donation from Troops
Looks like the Bush-Cheney-McCain elective war in Iraq isn't playing so well with our soldiers and sailors. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bush Administration Pushes Accountability— Not

Campaigning for president against Al Gore in 2000, George W. Bush made a point of stressing "accountability." Unlike the corrupt and double-dealing Clinton-Gore Administration, Bush declared, members of his administration would be accountable. In a Bush Administration, he would hold individuals fully responsible for their actions.

Despite the lofty rhetoric, the last seven-plus years have demonstrated that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft, Gonzales and a host of other Bush loyalists and hangers-on have not been held responsible for their actions, at least not officially. Bush has sacked some of them, to be sure, but legal, ethical and/or moral violations and abuses have been elided or ignored wherever possible.

Today's New York Times story makes the case once again:
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Tuesday rejected the idea of criminally prosecuting former Justice Department employees who improperly used political litmus tests in hiring decisions, saying he had already taken strong internal steps in response to a “painful” episode.

So much for the Bush team's accountability. They forgot about it years ago. If we're lucky, maybe the Republicans will pay for their sins in 2008.

Some Republicans Shun McCain, Support Obama

It's not really a surprise, but it is now official: Some Republican Party leaders are supporting Barack Obama for president.

Here's a news brief confirming the switch, courtesy of (yes!)
Barack Obama’s campaign is rolling out a number of centrist Republicans who are endorsing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee over Republican rival John McCain - in a show of his ability to win cross-over votes.

Cheney's Latest Goof: The GOP Sinks Lower & Lower

Republican blowhards are always waxing eloquent about their family values and other supposed merits of the conservative philosophy. To hear them tell it, everyone to the left of center is a Godless communist, bend on destroying the American family, religion, the flag, and apple pie.

But moral posturing and exaggeration will only carry a political party so far.

In the real world, Republicans like Vice President Dick Cheney are as duplicitous as most other politicians, always willing to compromise principle when it's politically expedient.

Here's the latest chapter in the continuing saga of Republican hypocrisy, fresh from San Diego:

Cheney to attend fundraiser for congressman caught with prostitute

Channel 10 News in San Diego reports that Vice President Dick Cheney attend a fundraiser for Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) tomorrow and “will also deliver an address at a reception for Rep. Calvert at a private residence in San Clemente.”

In 1993, Calvert was caught by police with a prostitute in a parked car in California and tried to drive away from the scene. “We’re just talking, that’s all,” he told police as he “continued to cover his unzipped pants with his hand,” according to a police report.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Oklahomans Sour on U.S. Economy

You'd think a booming oil market would improve the economic outlook of Sooner state voters.

You'd be wrong.

The new Sooner Poll, reported in today's Tulsa World, found a mere 4 percent of Oklahomans who said the economy was improving. The vast majority, more than 80 percent, said the economy is getting worse. The poll included 750 likely voters in Oklahoma.

Given this enormous gap, even Oklahoma voters may be having second thoughts about the economic policies of John McCain. As the Democrats have noted, McCain's economic policies closely resemble those of George W. Bush.

Given the current situation, voters ought be steering clear of another four years of Bush-O-Nomics.

Go West, Young American

Another winner from The Onion, our favorite humor publication. In the paper's "Our Changing Nation" column, the Onion's writers "report" on the nation's quest for success with these two headlines:
Nation To Try Its Luck Out West
Entire Population Seeking Greener Pastures

OKC Gets Raves from Times Travel Writer

As long-time Tulsans, we don't usually get jealous of Oklahoma City. But we do admit to a little envy of our fellow urban Sooners after the appearance Friday of a positive travel article in (yes!) the New York Times.

The headline says a lot about the tone of the piece: "Booming With Oil and a New Exuberance."

OKC? Really? Who woulda thunk it?

The article goes on to praise the city's Museum of Art and its collection of Dale Chihuly glass, as well as such mainstays as the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma City Memorial.

Obviously, such publicity in a national publication is good for OKC and the Sooner state. Let's just hope the national media sticks to reviews of Bricktown and such. If they start writing about Oklahoma politics and politicians, the news will be, well, embarrassing. (Remember Rep. Sally Kern?)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Our Government at Work: The Bush Years, Part 256

AltTulsa likes to be optimistic. Ordinarily we don't usually believe in government conspiracy theories, nor do we think of ourselves as especially paranoid.

Then we saw this story in yesterday's New York Times:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday that it had improperly obtained the phone records of reporters for The New York Times and The Washington Post in the newspapers’ Indonesia bureaus in 2004.
All righty, then: The FBI, those men and women who are supposed to be enforcing the law, are once again bending—if not breaking—the law instead.

As we said, we hate to be paranoid. But isn't there a pattern here?

Don't You Just Love the Internet?

AT's nomination for the Headline of the Day, courtesy of our friends over at The Onion, the humor paper that calls itself (wink, wink) "America's Finest News Source:"
Local Idiot To Post Comment On Internet

Thursday, August 7, 2008

You Get One Guess: Which Candidate is the Real Celebrity?

Now that the McCain camp has criticized Barack Obama as a mere celebrity just like Paris Hilton, it comes out that McCain is the one courting celebrity status.

As some of the Talking Heads are reporting, McCain has more than a passing acquaintance with celebrity culture. He's hosted Saturday Night Live, for instance. He's been on the television show 24 and the movie Wedding Crashers. He is a friend of actor Warren Beatty.

And let's not even get started on his much-younger trophy wife who is one of the richest people in Arizona, who has a pilot license and owns a jet.

This doesn't sound like someone who hides from the camera.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More Bad News for Bush-O-Nomics

The election can't come soon enough for most Americans. A new Time poll out today shows that only 21 percent of Americans approve of the job President Bush is doing in handling the economy.

Apparently, a lot of these Bush supporters live in Oklahoma, since recent polling in the Sooner state shows Republican John McCain with a sizable lead over Democrat Barack Obama.

Given the Bush record, won't be surprised if the Republican advantage shrinks between now and November.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Escaping the Heat: AT Goes North

The AT folks will be on a light schedule this week while we head north, a welcome escape from T-Town's sweltering temperatures.

If circumstances permit, we'll do a few posts. If not, please check back next week. Until then, stay cool and pray for rain. Our yard in midtown Tulsa is quickly turning to dust.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Bush Terror Legacy: Exploitation and Fear

AT's nomination for "Quote of the Year," from Jane Mayer's The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals:
Fear and anxiety were exploited by zealots and fools.

--Phillip Zelikow, director of the 9/11 Commission

Friday, August 1, 2008

McCain's Negative Ads Could Backfire

Republican presidential candidate John McCain promised to run a positive campaign. This week, however, McCain ran a stupid and widely ridiculed attack ad against Barack Obama.

So much for that McCain promise. Apparently, Karl Rove is alive and well and working for McCain.

But at the Chicago Sun-Times, Rovian tactics look like a bad bet for McCain. Here's a portion of the Sun-Times analysis:

WASHINGTON -- John McCain's stepped-up aggression raises the question: Will Americans vote for a scold?

A new ad launched Wednesday suggests Democratic rival Barack Obama is nothing more than a lightweight celebrity akin to a Britney Spears or a Paris Hilton. McCain has suggested Obama would rather lose a war than an election and ridicules him for the ''audacity of hopelessness'' in his Iraq policies.

''He's the biggest celebrity in the world,'' his latest ad says. ''But, is he ready to lead?''

Some Republicans welcomed McCain's confrontational strategy. New Hampshire GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen said Republicans in his state ''like to see the McCain campaign on offense.''

But in striking an aggressive pose, McCain is in danger of of letting the caricature of an angry, petulant candidate take seed, and angry candidates don't win elections.

Tulsa Writer Featured on NPR

Tulsa author Teresa Miller, known locally for her television show Writing Out Loud, was the featured guest yesterday on NPR's Diane Rehm Show

The occasion was Miller's new book, a memoir called Means of Transit, to be published this fall by the University of Oklahoma Press

Miller told guest host Susan Page about growing up and becoming a writer in Oklahoma, including her sometimes painful childhood in Tahlequah. She also offered advice for aspiring writers, something she does routinely at OSU Tulsa, where she heads the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers. 

Miller, who has a distinct "Southern" accent, was quite charming on the radio, a fact that should serve her and her publisher well. 

There's much more about Miller and her book, book signings, and literary links at her website,