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FRED AND JOE….In case you’re wondering where I’ve been for the past few hours, the answer is: I took the afternoon off. I really felt like I had to get away from Palin-mania for a few hours and clear my head. I’m sure I’ll get back into the mix by tomorrow, though. In fact, maybe I’ll even tell you about my Sarah Palin nightmare. Maybe.

But not right now. How about some reaction to Fred Thompson’s keynote address instead? Do you think it was a good idea to dump Giuliani in his favor? Doesn’t seem like it to me. I sat there waiting and waiting for Fred to deliver some red meat, and it almost never came. Finally, when it did, it seemed….sort of….blah. All the usual phrases were there, but Fred is so droopy sounding that it just didn’t seem very rousing. The CNN talking heads seemed to think that it really energized the crowd on the convention floor, but I’m not so sure about that. They didn’t look all that energized to me.

Still, this is the kind of thing that’s almost impossible to judge if you’re not the audience for the red meat. So maybe Fred did better than I thought. But my take, for what it’s worth, is that they should have stuck with Rudy.

Joe Lieberman, on the other hand, who’s speaking right now, strikes me as fairly effective. No red meat (yet), but that’s not what he’s there for. His flat, droning speaking style is probably just the ticket for this particular message, and he’s doing a pretty good job of talking to the home audience and sounding oozingly sincere in his appointed role as bipartisan truth teller. His speech is a clear plus for McCain.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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