Sniff. What’s that smell?

Oh, yeah.  Desperation.

Speaking to donors at a San Diego fund-raiser last month, Barack Obama reassured the crowd that he wouldn’t give in to Republican tactics to throw his candidacy off track.

“Listen, I’m skinny but I’m tough,” Sen. Obama said.

But in a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama’s skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.

Or, to paraphrase.  “A nation of underachievers will NEVER vote for someone better than them.”

Quote of the Day

Okay, yesterday. But it’s still really good:

Ted Stevens predates the State of Alaska. In 1953, he drove to Alaska Territory in a Buick, and–like a modern Al Swearingen–he built himself into a local luminary, successfully lobbied Congress to make Alaska a state, and then used his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to transform himself into a patronage-distributing warlord…

…a dying breed of primordial American, laid low by the encroachment of ethics, rules, and civilization.

Follow The Money . . .

Forget KBR, Halliburton, the CIA or even the Jews — it’s obviously Aramark who was behind 9/11:

Travelers using Kennedy International Airport who have not flown in a while may be surprised by the stores and restaurants they see on the way to their flights. The retailing mix in the airport is changing, with more new and unexpected offerings and more restaurants than ever.

There are a number of reasons. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, increased security means that people are arriving earlier for their flights, leaving them with more time to shop. A cutback in the food service on many flights has more people seeking sustenance in the airport. And the weak dollar has brought an influx in foreign travelers, many of them expecting more upscale offerings in airport terminals, like those in their home countries.

Several terminals at Kennedy reflect these trends, the newest being Terminal 5, JetBlue Airways’ $743 million, 635,000-square-foot facility, which is to open in September. The terminal is behind the old Terminal 5, which was once used by Trans World Airlines and has been closed since 2001. Plans for the older terminal have not yet been determined.

Among the new terminal’s 19 retail outlets will be the first airport store in the United States operated by Muji, a Japanese clothing and housewares retailer whose only other outposts in this nation are in Manhattan. Muji’s store will include an unusual detail: a fireproofed steel column will be left exposed, enclosed in glass. Hiroyoshi Azami, president of Muji U.S.A. Ltd., said this is to preserve “the very natural feel of the structure.”

The new terminal will also have the first branded shop anywhere for the New York AM radio station WFAN, offering products like T-shirts and mugs carrying the logo of the station, which caters to sports lovers, and licensed merchandise from local teams.

Other Kennedy retailers that have recently opened include a shop selling only Puma footwear, apparel and accessories — the first at a United States airport — in Terminal 4, occupied by numerous international carriers. Also, Solstice Sunglass Boutique has opened its first airport outlet in American Airlines’ Terminal 8.

Girdwood Explains a Lot, or Have You Ever Really Looked at Your Hand?

I hadn’t realized that Senator Ted Stevens (R-Indicted) has his home in Girdwood.

I spent a few weeks in Girdwood a number of years ago, and based on the amount of a certain herbal smoke that consistently wafted through the air during my morning walks, the Senator’s evaluation of the Internet as a “series of tubes” now makes perfect sense.

It’s called Matanuska Thunderf@#k for a reason.

Reconstruction Funds

The Iraqis have a lot of money. $120B to spend rebuilding their country, due to the record price of oil. Still, they’re pumping less oil than they were in the Saddam era.

It looks like the neocon plan of having Iraq finance its own reconstruction are finally coming true. Were they counting on $140/barrel oil to make it happen? Somehow I doubt they’d thought that much through.

Cory Booker Is The Barack Obama We’ve Been Waiting For

Cory Booker update — 2008 homicides on track to hit 10-year low. Cue zombies*:

Like Barack Obama, Booker embodies a promise kept, a deferred dream finally come true, living proof that the stain of slavery, our original national sin, might yet be lifted from our collective soul. Booker knows this, too — he has shown up in Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, and elsewhere as Obama’s surrogate during primary season — and he is fully capable of embroidering the cloth of Dr. King’s soaring rhetoric with his own echoic stitch.

In truth, Cory Booker is eager to do so. And when he proclaims, “We need a prophetic leader — somebody who can raise us above our baser angels and show that truly we are all tied in a common garment of destiny,” he’s speaking not only of Obama but also of himself, of King, of Gandhi — Booker’s a huge Gandhi fan.

But unlike Obama, whose knitted brow, faraway eyes, and dry, bony passivity rub thinner day by day, Booker fairly bursts with adolescent energy, fueled by his athlete’s physique and streams of caffeine and testosterone. To a Goldman Sachs guy, and to Marc Ecko, he’s not merely the longed-for fruit of the seeds of racial equality, he also is the captain of the varsity team, Henry V leading the charge, and Will fucking Smith, all formed into one hearty, brainy, humble stud. To many Newarkers, however, Booker is none of the above — he’s a creature they’ve never seen before, and they can’t quite believe he’s real.

. . .

“Oh, I’ve been working on Cory, the phenomenon,” [Rutgers-Newark history professor Clement Price] chuckles. “What is a black guy at the end of the day? We haven’t seen a lot of people like Booker in the post-civil-rights era; we actually saw more of them in the segregated era, when black people created an extraordinary hierarchy of well-educated, well-spoken, and noble men and women.

“In the post-civil-rights-movement era, we see them and they suddenly don’t strike us as being authentically black — because they can move very, very easily within the white world. One of the things that I think gets Cory into trouble is the extent to which he’s beloved in the white community. I saw him speak at Newark’s last synagogue. When he spoke Hebrew, the Jewish women on the first two pews, I thought they were having an orgasm. He’s good. He’s good.["]

*Speaking of which, Cory, it’s cool — you don’t have to feign all the outrage!