Monday, December 31, 2007

Quote of the Day 12/31

"I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you're cute."

- Chelsea Clinton to a 9 year old "kid reporter" from Scholastic Magazine who asked if she thought her father would make a good "first man."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Romney and McCain clash in New Hampshire

Mitt Romney and John McCain are going mono-a-mono in the Granite State. Romney has to win there, given his close tie as Massachusetts governor and the time and energy he's spent there.

Meanwhile, McCain, who won the primary in 2000 has a legion of followers, and is trying to rejuvenate his campaign there.

The latest poll by Bloomberg and the LA Times has Romney ahead in New Hampshire 34- 20% over McCain. But McCain has been climbing, and if Romney takes a hit in Iowa (courtesy of Mike Huckabee in all likelihood) that'll get even closer.

In McCain's new ads he references the newspapers that endorsed him, and wrote up "anti-endorsements" of Romney.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Quote of the Day 12/28

13 hours after Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee inexplicably tied the death of a courageous woman to illegal immigration in Iowa.

Huckabee, in comments since "clarified," said that in the aftermath of the assassination, the priority "for Americans is [to] have an immediate, very clear monitoring of our border, and particularly to make sure, if there’s any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country. We just need to be very very thorough in looking at every aspect of our own security internally.”

Not exactly a good response for a guy trying to overcome a dearth of foreign policy experience.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Picture of the Day 12/27


A man mourns the death of colleagues and Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto. An assassin shot Ms. Bhutto, the first female prime minister of a Muslim country, twice before blowing himself up and killing 16 others. The tragedy occurred at a rally for Pakistan's January elections.

Ms. Bhutto lived in exile in the United States for years, but returned to Pakistan after a thaw in her rivalry with current president, Pervez Musharraf.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, from the hospital where Ms. Bhutto was taken, "It is not a sad day, it is [the] darkest, gloomiest day in the history of this country."

Law & Order: CSTU (cats stuck in a tree unit)

For the first time since records were kept in 1963, New York City will have fewer than 500 murders in a single year. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that all major felony crime dropped this year, and that it's down 26% since 2001. Read about the turn- around here, and FYI- in 1990 New York City had over 2000 murders.

Makes you wonder what the future holds for all those gritty New York TV crime dramas.

Dems' Closing Arguments...

With the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries just a days away, Democratic candidates (lawyers all) are formulating their closing arguments.

Hillary's New Hampshire ad:


In a recent "closing arguments speech," Obama harped on his change theme, arguing that his had already set the tone for the Democratic debate:

"...We felt that we might be able to not just change political parties in the White House, but that we might be able to change our politics. That was our bet and now 10 months later that faith has been vindicated, 10 months later what people said couldn't be done, we might do."

He also made a comeback comment to Bill Clinton's warning that the American people would be "rolling the dice" with an Obama presidency:
"Don't … try something different because that's going to be too risky, you… don't know what you're going to get. So even though you know what's been done in the past doesn't work, stick with it."


John Edwards unveiled this ad in Iowa, but for a very interesting in-depth look at his closing argument, check out the Caucus videos on the right sidebar here, and watch "John Edwards' Iowa Closing Argument."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Season's Greetings

Here's a pretty cool take on the Little Drummer Boy song for the holiday season.



And here's one that's not quite as cool based on Ron Paul.


Happy Holidays from SAM (I'm still waging the War on Christmas).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Romney's Strategy Questioned


All along, Mitt Romney's path to the White House has run through Iowa and New Hampshire. He and his team decided that he could win in Iowa on fiscally and (new) socially conservative credentials, and in New Hampshire based on his popularity as neighboring Massachusetts governor. Rudy Giuliani, the front-runner, would essentially sit those races out, waiting to make his mark on the bigger stages.

The momentum from those early victories could then carry Romney to the nomination, a la John Kerry in 2004.

But this strategy is close to being derailed by an unexpected source, Mike Huckabee. He's claiming the social conservative mantel and is threatening in Iowa. The Washington Post notes the challenge (although not the source) was completely expected, and questions the overall strategy.

Paul on the Civil War

On Sunday's episode of Meet the Press, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul criticized Ronald Reagan, would not rule out third party run, and regretted the Civil War (known in some circles as "the Time of Unpleasantry").

"Six-hundred-thousand Americans died in the senseless Civil War... No, [Lincoln] should not have gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original tenet of the Republic."

"Slavery was phased out in every other country in the world," Paul continued, responding to the question if America would still have slavery had there not been the Civil War. "The way I'm proposing that it should have been done is do it like the British Empire did -- you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans?... I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach."

Monday, December 24, 2007

SAM's Democratic Endorsement: Barack Obama

Our highly anticipated (by me) endorsement for the Democratic primary is upon us. Those of you who follow the site were probably expecting us to come out for John Edwards, based on some favorable posts written about him over the past few weeks. But no, instead SAM Online is for Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

As with our endorsement of John McCain let's address our pick's faults first.

He's inexperienced. Very. Abe Lincoln inexperienced, John Kennedy inexperienced. He was a state senator for seven years and served only four years in the US Senate. But don't let that fool you (see below).

His name (Barack Hussein Obama) is too close to a couple of major US enemies... well that didn't stop SAM from endorsing Adolf Cornwallis a few years back.

Let's also take a look at why we just aren't comfortable endorsing the other Democratic candidates in a very strong field.

Hillary Clinton lost me with her answer to the illegal immigrant driver's license question during the Halloween debate. Hearing her try to straddle both sides of the issue was deeply disturbing. It's an act she's run her entire Senate career, playing more moderate or conservative while anticipating her run at the presidency. I don't dislike her, but it's why so many people do. Her vote labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization is also unacceptable. Maybe they were worthy of that designation, but I don't see what purpose the vote served. And, considering President Bush's Constitutionally- challenged sense of entitlement towards attacking anything remotely "terrorist," it opened the door to war with Iran. She refused to play the old primary game, cozying up to the party's base before shifting moderate in the general election, and it cost her SAM's support.

John Edwards still has a soft spot for me. He's paying the most lip service to the poor and struggling masses of our country. He's tough and he's old-school. He may be a schmoozing plaintiff's attorney, but who cares? Plaintiff's need attorneys, too. He's not getting the nod from SAM because Obama has duplicated many of his strengths, but brings additional assets to the table. Still, hopefully Edwards plays a role in the next administration (insert worn expensive haircut joke here).

Joe Biden/ Bill Richardson/ Chris Dodd have canceled each other out to a large extent. In most other years they'd be strong contenders (you better believe Biden and Richardson are kicking themselves for not running in '04). Of the group, Biden's the best. But they are all smart, capable and experienced. But it's not happening.

So why Obama? In the first place I'm done with the Clintons and Bushes. It's over, for the good of our country we need to move on. I love Bill as much as anybody, but enough is enough. These political dynasties turn my stomach. When Hillary talks about the estate tax, she talks about the US being a meritocracy, and having to earn your way. And she earned her way to an impressive extent, she campaigned hard and has been an effective senator for New York. But we're about to sign up for another round of Clinton, followed by the ultimate face off-- Jeb/ Hill '12. Do you really want to sit through those commercials?

Granted, my disdain for the dynastic has much more to do with the Bush clan (the Clinton's aren't even a real dynasty), but Obama offers a fresh perspective and a clean slate. The last eight years have been so bad that we need to kind of start over, and do so looking forward. Electing Hillary Clinton would be a step back. If Clinton's nominated, she'll win, and our country will be just as divided as it's ever been. The politics of personal destruction will intensify, and we'll slide ever further down that long slippery slope. O'Reilly, Hannity, Maher and Olberman benefit, but the rest of us lose.

Domestically, his presidency will probably run the same course as a Clinton one would. In Iraq, we can't pull out totally no matter what. So his policies and skills mean less than that he is a voice that we can all get behind. The rivalries, hang-ups and arguments of the Baby Boom generation can begin to fade into the past.

An Obama presidency will have a different feel, energy, bounce.

Meanwhile, high profile members of Hillary's team have sharply criticized Obama as inexperienced, most notably her husband and former Ambassador Joe Wilson.

Sam Stein's article for the Huffington Post puts this in proper perspective, going over Obama's trips and meetings as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. He also had the foresight to oppose the Iraq war from the beginning, and is the same age (46) as Bill was in 1992. Obama also has life experience, living abroad in Indonesia and the melting pot of Hawaii, as well as the rough-neck part of South-side Chicago.

Stein quotes Steve Clemons of the Washington Note:

"Hillary is on Armed Service Committee and has traveled all over the world. Barack has been an attentive member of the Foreign Relations Committee. There are differences between them but they are 10 to 15 percent difference. Whereas, the differences between the Obama or Hillary and Rudy [Giuliani] or [Mike] Huckabee are a 40 to 60 percent difference, just a staggering jump."
I know that Hill played a large policy role in her husband's White House, but that is just not the equivalent of working in an elected capacity. She did not have to deal with Congress or get an agenda passed (save the 1993 Health Care debacle), and her influence was almost entirely behind the scenes. So when Bill compares his wife's "35 years" experience to Obama's "one year" (before he launched his presidential campaign), it rings hollow.

And Barack represents progress. For all the crap that our country produces these days: the celebutantes in and out of rehab, the glorification of violence, sex and drugs, the materialistic idolatry, this is progress. A black man as president. This could not have happened in the last generation. Let's give the cynicism a break for once. Some things are getting better.

Now, Clinton's election would also signify progress. But not to the same extent. First, because she would still just be matching her husband (and if it wasn't for him she might be an Illinois Congresswoman stumping for Obama, waiting to take his Senate seat). Second because the history of racism and slavery is one of America's defining characteristics. It's our original sin. And this wouldn't absolve us, but it would be something.

In the end, I won't have a hard time voting for either of the two, but I just think our country will be a better place if we wake up November 5th with President- elect Obama. If you vote the way SAM tells you to (and you really should), then cast one for O. It's about change. And it's about time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

SAM's GOP Endorsement: John McCain

I'm not a fan of fast food, but as far as crappy burgers go, Wendy's is pretty good.

John McCain has been picking up key endorsements in the last week or so, including the Boston Globe (as in close to New Hampshire) and the Des Moines Register. And over the few weeks spent thinking about SAM's endorsements, choosing which Republican to back was never really hard. McCain leaps to the front of a somewhat lackluster field through a combination of his own merit and the shortcomings of his rivals.

First, let's deal with McCain's faults.

Yes he's old, he'd be the oldest elected president ever. But his mother is amazingly spry at 95, and 71 isn't ancient.

Yes, he pandered. He sucked up to Fallwell, Robertson and anyone else he thought might serve his policitical ambitions. He climbed into bed with them so fast you'd have thought they were Rita Hayworth (again, he's old).

But for all the miles on his odometer, and all the nauseating pandering he would still make the best president of any GOP contender. Let's take a moment to bash his rivals:

Mitt Romney: talk about pandering. Wow. Check out CP's post for more on this, but my problem with Romney is we just don't know who we'll get if he's elected. Will he be the moderate voice he was in Massachusetts or the guy who said he wanted to triple the size of Guantanamo? My bet's on the latter (remember the line from Clear and Present Danger: They want what every first term administration wants, a second term).

Rudy Giuliani: Liked him as mayor, but he's just too much of a loose cannon. Before intelligence reports revealed the true (unimpressive) state of Iran's nuclear program, you could see his trigger- finger twitch. He's also pandered to the Republican base, but to a respectable and understandable extent. The 9/11 mystique around Rudy is 75% BS, so in the end what's he really running on? A drop in crime that was essentially mirrored in other big cities around the country (and, to the extent that New York's happened sooner and slightly more dramatic, due in large part to an innovative police chief); and getting rid of sex shops in Times Square.

Mike Huckabee
: Basing his run on credentials as a Southern Baptist minister (he believes the world "may" only be 5000 years old, and rejects evolution), a consumption tax (patently unfair to poor and middle class who have to spend a much higher percentage of their wealth), and Chuck Norris' endorsement. Next.

Fred Thompson: The biggest dud of a performance since Tom Hanks put on an laughable accent in the Terminal.

Ron Paul: Cooky guy, interesting ideas, not a president.

That leaves McCain. He is a strong leader who has been at the political game a long time. He would step into the Oval Office on day one and know exactly what he wanted to do, and how to get it accomplished.

During the whole Iran showdown, he caught a lot of flack for his bad joke of singing "Bomb Iran" to the tune of "Barbara Ann," but as commander-in-chief he would not rush to war or put our troops in untenable situations.

He's been there, he's too experienced to do that.

McCain is also the only GOP candidate, with the exception of maybe Paul, with the guts to stand up against torture and try to curb US involvement in its legally ambiguous (at best) practice.

On Iraq, he was also the lone voice in favor of the surge strategy that has become so popular among Republican candidates. He was one of the first to call for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. He also tackled the minefield of campaign finance reform, and has battled tirelessly against pork barrel spending.

He has the character and leadership ability to make an excellent president, and the only time he gets into trouble is when he gets away himself in exchange for votes. His ambition can have a high price.

In the end, I don't think McCain will win his party's nomination, but, as his gaining momentum indicates, we haven't heard the last of him yet.

So, for me, he's a lot like a Wendy's double cheeseburger with a vanilla frostee. Looks good, and if I was a different guy I might go for it, but ultimately I just don't have to stomach for him.

Monday, December 17, 2007

...And You Don't Stop!


Mitt "The Flip" Romney was in the Master's denizen yesterday morning in Meet the Press. He fielded many questions, but Tim Russert (doing what he does better than most people do raising their kids) focused the questions on those adorable beachwear sandals: flip flops. Russert, as can be seen in the transcripts from yesterday's Q&A, asked Romney about his changed positions on abortion, stem cell research, immigration, support for Reagan-Bush, gun control, tax cuts, health care and his ambiguous support for Buckeye football (j/k). Romney, as polished as always, took the charges and tried his best to spin each situation.

On abortion, the former Massachusetts Governor claimed he had an Epiphany while examining the legislation on stem cell research. He essentially believed the process was wrong and led to his change of position. He admits he changed his position on abortion, and stem cell research, but that it's rather ludicrous to think folks will have a long, political career and never change their stance on a given issue.

True enough, but how many passes can a man get. Russert demonstrates time and again, from media sources to Romney's own speeches, the flip flops the former Governor has been able to pull off. All while conveniently appealing to the constituency whose support he's vying for. Hence, his current fire and brimstone stance against Gay marriage and federal laws protecting homosexuals in the workplace. This, of course, is a neat departure from his 2002 stance in favor of such initiatives.

This is demonstrated throughout the program, and the problem is quite fundamental. Romney does seem competent enough to be President, and his organizational skills of a massive bureaucracy like the Executive Branch ought not be doubted. But the questions must be asked: Is a vote for Romney a vote for the pro-life or pro-choice Romney? Will he have a neo-con foreign policy agenda or a more pragmatic one that the world requires? Will he re-enforce gun laws, or roll back gains made to keep guns off the streets of neighborhoods like Roxbury, Washington, D.C. and New Orleans? Expect this kind of confusion to serve as a liability for Romney among Independents when the time matters.

Old Hawk Comes Home to Roost

In November of 2006, the Democrats enjoyed an immense, historical victory, except in one of the bluest states in the union: Connecticut. And now, according to USA Today, the winner of the '06 Senate race from the Constitution State, Joe Lieberman is endorsing a candidate in the Presidential primaries, and it's not a Democrat. Mr. Lieberman is throwing his independent muscle behind the stalwart, southwest senator, John McCain (R-AZ). As lacking in pizazz as this story may be, it highlights a fundamental flaw with national Democrats, and that is their inability to remain steadfast in their conviction while facing the oncoming storm of opposition.

Lieberman was basically betrayed throughout 2006, with several major Democrats supporting his primary rival, Ned Lamond ('nough said), over the former 2000 Veep candidate. The traitors included Chris Dodd (who also betrayed Imus), his fellow CT senator, The Clintons (including The Hill), John Edwards and much of the CT congressional Democrats. All hoped Lieberman and his war-supporting self would take his principles and proverbially shove it. All believed his moderate opinions would have no room in the impending new majority. All hoped he would lose.

My, my, has the hawk come home to roost. It's purely understandable to intellectually disagree with Mr. Lieberman, and vote against him. It's cowardice to use one's political wisdom to sense the changing winds, and shift course to destroy a man's career. And now, the man isn't just a Democratic winner, he's an Independent Democratic winner. And the victor just sent the most unmistakable F-U to the Democrats - again! (The first time was telling Lamond and the whole party to think twice before messing with a holy man, declaring himself an independent, and doing to his opponent what Mayweather did to PTB's boy, Hatton - deliver a textbook beat down.)

Mr. Liberman's support of the equally venerable Mr. McCain showcases important qualities the electorate should find from such candidates: integrity and fortitude. The measure of a man is not only in his deeds through difficult times, but the stance he takes when his friends endure similarly. John McCain, probably the fittest man in every respect to be President dating back to 2000, is not doing tremendously well in the polls. He's climbing, but it's still a long way from where he was one year ago today. Still, Joe Lieberman stands beside him, unabashed and unashamed, because of the values they share, and the arduous roads they've been able to smooth together. Now that, ladies and gentleman, is class in an age of adulterated crass.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Piazza vs. Mota

This is a video I have struggled to find for years. It's one of my favorite Mike Piazza moments. Guillermo Mota had hit Piazza on several occasions over the years. At one point prompting Piazza to grab Mota by the neck as he passed the Mets bullpen, and warn him. The next year, Mota hit Piazza again, and ole' Mike flew off the handle. Below is the video of some of the consequences. After getting kicked out of the game, Piazza still enraged, reportedly went into the visitor's locker room demanding: "Where's Mota?"
video

In a move that sealed the Mets' fate in 2006 and 2007, the team traded for (and resigned) Mota. After an outstanding 2006 regular season, after which he tested positive for steroids, Mota gave up a deciding gopher ball in the Mets ultimately disappointing playoff run. The next year, Mota, presumably clean, was simply one of the worst pitchers I have ever seen. The Mets traded him last month for a player whom they subsequently released.

It was poetic justice.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Nose Knows

Hillary Clinton has apologized to Barack Obama because her campaign raised the issue of his old drug habit. Obama has admitted, both in print and in interviews, that he experimented with drugs as a youth. He smoked marijuana, snorted cocaine and "probably partied a little too much."

Some of Clinton's top advisers seemed to be testing the waters on how raising the drug issue would play out. And now one of them, Bill Shaheen, has resigned over it.

In my opinion, I think past drug use should be fair game. I'm all for privacy and taking the personal out of politics, but drug use indicates a person's decision-making ability and maybe some of the inner-demons with which they struggle. Besides, we already have a former cocaine user in the White House, and how is that working out?

However, when it comes to Obama, he has been nothing but up front about his past drug use. He has admitted to it, and even said what thinks drove him to it. He doesn't duck the issue, which is also an indication of his character.

Here is one story that he tells from his time in college (I'm not sure if it's from Occidental or Columbia):

"...[o]nce, after a particularly long night of partying, we had spilled a little too much beer, broke a few too many bottles, and trashed a little too much of the dorm. And the next day, the mess was so bad that when one of the cleaning ladies saw it, she began to tear up.

And when a girlfriend of mine heard about this, she said to me, “That woman could’ve been my grandmother, Barack. She spent her days cleaning up after somebody else’s mess.

Which drove home for me the first lesson of growing up:

The world doesn’t just revolve around you."
As an aside, SAM Online will endorse candidates for the GOP and Democratic nominations next week.

On the Mitchell Report (picture of the day 12/14)

Today's big time news story is the fall out from the report issued by former Sen. George Mitchell on steroids in baseball.

In all the frenzy, let's not just focus on the cheating players named in the report-- Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada et al.- but the players who weren't.

Mustache Madness

As those who know me may realize, I have a hard time growing facial hair. This is a cruel twist of fate, because I have an intense admiration for mustaches and the men who sport them.

You might be able to tell by the small number of posts recently that it is finals time here in the law school. Currently, I am gearing up for a final in perhaps the most difficult law school class-- Federal Income Tax. The four hour final is on Monday morning.

In past years I have gone unshaved during finals week, and decided to keep that tradition going this time around. It's a whole "growing it out for the playoffs" thing. But this year I'm going to add a little twist.

Immediately before my Fed Tax test I am going to shave everything except my mustache (blond and thin as it may be) and let the power of the 'stache do its thing. I haven't shaved in about a week, so this will be about 10 days worth of stubble. I'm pretty excited about it. I also plan on keeping my mustache as I go out on the town Monday night.

I'll post a picture of me and my facial hair to this site Monday afternoon.

Roc Boys Video

This has nothing to do with politics, but a couple of weeks ago I was awake early registering for next semester's classes. It was so early (about 8 am) that there was music on MTV, and I caught Jay-Z's video for "Roc Boys."

I had already thought American Gangster was his best album, but the video took this song to another level, it's probably the best video since videos stopped mattering. And since I just found it on YouTube I figured I'd post it.


Rolling Stone just named "Roc Boys" its song of the year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mission Accomplished: Victory in the War on Christmas!

Bill O'Reilly declared victory in the "War on Christmas." Thanks largely to O'Reilly, the "Taliban- like oppression against [Christmas]" has ended. Our long national nightmare is over.

Take that S/Ps*!

*- S/P stands for Secular/ Progressivist, O'Reilly's term for those on the "far left" who hate things like God, tax cuts for the rich, tractors, preemptive war, Toby Keith, shady defense contractors and Applebees

Check out the video clip below to see O'Reilly (ever-so-humbly) congratulate himself.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Quotes of the Day 12/12

In honor of finals week here at Notre Dame...

“Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do”
- Oscar Wilde

“I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.”
- Oscar Wilde

“I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have.”
- Leonardo da Vinci

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The CEO vs. The Cat- Herder

The Huffington Post has a must read interview with columnist Thom Hartmann. Below, Hartmann explains his view on a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans, and why modern Republicans tend to be more effective at communicating their message.

The other problem, both at the level of party and of congress, is the fundamental psychology of conservative versus liberal. Chris Matthews likes to make the joke that about how Republicans want a leader, Democrats want to have a meeting. It's actually true. Republicans, [who assume] that people are intrinsically evil, want to have a wise, good person take control. Democrats, believing [in] a collective wisdom, want us all to have a voice in how things are done.

What this means is that the Republican Party runs like a well-oiled machine, it really runs like a corporation. Top down, hierarchical, power driving from the top down. And when Bush talked about he was going to be the first CEO president, it made a lot of sense to Republicans. The Democratic Party on the other hand is a coalition of coalitions. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are herding cats. That's the weakness of the Democratic Party, but it's also its strength. Because it means that the institution itself is democratic, that it is reflecting the values that it seeks to uphold.
Also in the piece, Hartmann identifies John Edwards as a potential second coming of FDR and Barack Obama as potentially the next JFK.

Again this is really interesting stuff.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Quote of the Day 12/8

"Bill is every bit as black as Barack... He's probably gone with more black women than Barack- I'm only clowning."

- Noted civil rights leader and attorney Andrew Young, a lieutenant of MLK, in a live interview on Atlanta television. Young noted that he supports Hillary Clinton over Obama, because of Obama's age.

"I want Obama to be president-- in 2016... It's not a matter of being inexperienced. It's a matter of being young," Young said. "There's a certain level of maturity ... you've got to learn to take a certain amount of sh--."

Too young to be president? What is this guy talking about?

You know who was elected president at 46?

Bill Clinton.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Picture of the Day 12/7



Nobel laureate Al Gore forgoes the traditional motorcade and takes public transportation to go pick up his Peace Prize.

After Oslo, it's off to London, home of Guinness World Records, where he'll pick up his award for "World's Largest Left Hand."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cajun Style

My old boss, James Carville, was on my favorite show, 30 Rock, tonight. So it was good times in my world.

James steered Jack Donaghy, Toufer and Frank through conflicts.

"Change the story. Remember what Karl Rove did in the last election? He made it about gays and swift- boats, what's your swift-boat?"
He also taught someone how to steal candy from a vending machine.

Cajun style.

To check out the episode, and all episodes from this season, click here.

Cheney Blasts Dems, Phallic Symbols Abound

In an interview with the Politico, Dick Cheney went off on the Democratic leadership and their agenda. He said that senior House Dems like John Dingle and John Murtha, "March to the tune of Nancy Pelosi to an extent I had not seen, frankly, with any previous speaker... I’m trying to think how to say all of this in a gentlemanly fashion, but [in] the Congress I served in, that wouldn’t have happened.”

When asked if the men had lost their spines in following the first female Speaker, Cheney said: "They are not carrying the big sticks I would have expected."

Asked to be more specific, Cheney said:

"Look, the problems with the Democratic leadership run deep, balls deep. Their agenda has been held up... and who knows what their guys are packing. All I'm going to say is: polls indicate they're losing support. And when it comes to politics, size matters."

US and Climate Change


Something of substance at the federal level may finally be coming out of the endless political rhetoric regarding climate change. In a vote that fell largely along party lines, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 11 to 8 in favor of legislation that would set caps on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from electric utility, transportation and manufacturing industries beginning in 2012. The legislation aims at cutting emissions 60 percent by 2050. The bill would establish an incentive system that would give credits to industries that cut pollution while forcing industries not in compliance to buy credits from others.

Whether or not this landmark legislation will ever become law remains to be seen. Not surprisingly Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) has been outspoken in his criticism of the bill, “The thing I think that will kill this will be the same thing that killed the McCain-Lieberman bill two years ago and that is this constitutes – or that bill constituted – a tax increase 10 times greater than the Clinton-Gore tax increase of 1993. Now this is far greater than that, and yet there’s really no guaranteed benefits from it.”

First it should be noted that Senator Inhofe is consistently at the forefront of opposition to any legislation that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He has referred to global warming as "the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state." Senator Inhofe also happens to represent Oklahoma, the only state with active oil derricks on the grounds of its state capitol. (See photograph, no that’s not photoshopped).

In regard to the Senator’s economic analysis, it has been estimated by the Washington Times that such legislation could cost each American $494 a year in the form of higher energy cost. However to put this figure in perspective the Congressional Joint Economic Committee has estimated that the Iraq War has cost the average American family of four $16,500. Oddly enough Senator Inhofe has not mentioned the cost of the Iraq War in his ostensible crusade of fiscal conservatism.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ragin' on the BCS

My man, James Carville, was on ESPN's First Take this morning ragin' (as he is prone to do) about the BCS formula, and all the credit given to Big Ten schools.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Picture of the Day 12/4


- Johan Santana, perhaps baseball's best pitcher, accepting award from the president of his native Venezuela, the demented Hugo Chavez.

Santana is the jewel of MLB's winter meetings, and is sure to command close to $20m/ season when he's a free agent in 2008.

I'm sure he'll let Chavez and his Communist party re-distribute that money to Venezuela's poor.

Hat tip to the Mick (who also designed our handsome new header) for the photo

Back the Truck Up (quote of the day 12/4)

"I view this report as a warning signal that they had the program, they halted the program. The reason why it's a warning signal is they could restart it."

- President Bush on yesterday's revelation that Iran disbanded its efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon four years ago.

This came as a shock to many, but perhaps it shouldn't have.

After all, we've been here before.

A few weeks ago, President Bush said that those "interested in avoiding World War III" should work to keep Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities. The country's president was ridiculed as an oppressive tyrant (which he may be). The war drums were beating when the Democratically- controlled Congress classified Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization (which it may be).

We nearly invaded a country again, this time to bomb uranium enriching sites. We nearly did it for an overblown threat, again. No weapons of mass destruction, no active nuclear weapons program.

Bombing Iran was probably not going to happen during this administration, not because they didn't want to, but because of limited public support and time.

Hopefully this will serve as another reminder question what we're being fed, and not succumb to the tempting and almost comforting fear that comes with splitting the world between good and evil.

Hopefully.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Quote of the Day 12/3

"Other than that, not much has changed. Dick Cheney is still a war criminal, Hillary Clinton is still Satan and I'm back on the radio."

- Don Imus welcoming himself back to the airwaves. He noted that his show will touch more on race relations, but that its content won't be much different. Imus also once again apologized to the Rutgers women's basketball team for his controversial comments last spring.

Senator, I knew John Kennedy...


With Mike Huckabee now nipping at Mitt Romney's heels in Iowa, the Massachusetts Mormon has planned a JFK- style speech addressing concerns about his religion.

In 1960, then- Sen. Kennedy gave a speech to the Houston Ministerial Association to make clear the Vatican would not have undue influence over the Catholic Kennedy. Romney had hesitated to make this speech in the past, but it now appears necessary as Huckabee's Christian conservative campaign gains steam.

The speech is so big for Romney that he's even writing it himself. He's got to try and let the Republican base know that he won't be unduly influenced by his religion, but by their religion as he changes his position on abortion and other social issues, and (of course) by corporate and other high income interests who seek to alter the tax code, and win government contracts.

The speech, called "Faith in America," will be a huge moment for both Romney and Huckabee.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Breakfast Club

This morning in Manhattan, Sen. Barack Obama had a 40- minute breakfast meeting with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The meeting has fueled speculation that either Bloomberg is looking for someone to endorse or Obama is looking for a billionaire to buy him breakfast.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The CNN/YouTube Republican Debate

In “Post Game Spin” after the last democratic debate, Goose discussed his disappointments with the way the debate was organized and moderated. My initial thoughts from tonight’s Republican debate are similarly critical. I like the idea of letting “the people” ask the presidential candidates questions but I do not think that allowing YouTube videos in from across the country is the best way to do it. The opening clips of the ridiculous questions set a strange feel for a debate that is discussing such serious and difficult issues. Similarly, why would CNN choose to follow the bloopers with a sophomoric and misplaced song about the candidates? If I saw that song on YouTube, I would have stopped watching after two verses and I did not enjoy having to sit through it at this debate. Before moving on to more substantive matters, I think that the questions asked to the candidates should be done in a respectful manner. The debate is a relatively serious and important venue to learn about the candidates that could be running our country. Some of the questions came from individuals wearing backwards hats and sunglasses, an Uncle Sam cartoon, and an individual eating corn and slurring his words. It also seemed like CNN did not do their homework and review the candidates’ videos before they were aired. Anderson Cooper had to improvise after Thompson’s 30 second video and, rather than go to commercial as he’d planned, he just asked Thompson “What’s up with that?” It just did not seem like the tone of the debate was appropriate or that CNN had planned the debate carefully.

One thing that immediately caught my attention was the focus on Hillary Clinton in the 30 second candidate’s ads. Multiple candidates (Giuliani, McCain and others) focused their ads on the differences between them and Hillary and how they could beat Hillary. McCain’s tagline at the end of his ad was “The Conservative that will beat Hillary.” Last I checked, Obama is gaining a lot of ground on Hillary in Iowa and the race is far from over. Yes, Hillary is in the lead but why are the candidates focusing on how they can beat her? I would think that, for the Republican presidential candidates, it would be more important for them to differentiate themselves from eachother than to attack Hillary.

The discussion of gun control seemed like an NRA pep rally. The candidates proudly talked about their personal gun collections and when Giuliani suggested putting reasonable government restrictions (like a written exam) on access to guns, he was met by Boos. I thought that this section of the debate did not add much to our knowledge of the candidates’ status on this issue.

With respect to the candidates’ performances, I was impressed by Mike Huckabee. First, I thought it was hilarious that the first person they showed in the audience was Chuck Norris (who endorsed Huckabee) and then, during the first question to Giuliani, they showed him again in the audience. What I liked about Huckabee’s performance was that he respected the time limits and answered the questions. Like Joe Biden at the democratic debates, Huckabee kept his answers short and answered the questions presented to him. I could not say the same thing about Fred Thompson who seemed to sidestep most questions. For example, Thompson could not choose 3 federal programs he would cut but rather, said he would cut 100 programs and he did not specify the top programs he would focus on.

I thought that Giuliani sounded like a broken record throughout a lot of the debate. Joe Biden once said that Giuliani can only say “a noun, a verb and 9/11” in every sentence he speaks. Tonight, he seemed obsessed with how dangerous NY was before he was elected mayor and the percentages of crimes that went down while he was mayor.

I thought that Mitt Romney was one of the more impressive candidates. I thought he did an excellent job of replying to Giuliani’s attack about a “Sanctuary Mansion.” Living in Los Angeles, I think it would be virtually impossible to never hire a company or eat at a restaurant that employs undocumented workers. It’s not reasonable to fault Romney for hiring a company that hired illegal immigrants. So, I thought Giuliani’s attack was pretty tasteless.

BC Eagles crowned college football champions

The weekly feature, Tuesday Morning Quarterback, on espn.com, asks the question: If academics mattered, who would play for the national championship?

This might seem purely rhetorical fare, but the authors have provided an answer courtesy of Lindsey Luebchow, a policy analyst of the New America Foundation and a contributor to Higher Ed Watch. Ms. Luebchow devised an equation to provide an answer, and crown a champion of the A/BCS (Academic Bowl Championship Series).

The A/BCS formula starts with the football team's four-class average federal graduation rate, which includes all football players who entered college between 1997 and 2000 and graduated within six years. Football programs then earn or lose points based on three criteria. First, the gap between the graduation rate of the team and the overall school. Second, the gap between the black-white graduation rate disparity on the team and at the overall school. Third, the team's Academic Progress Rate, a measure developed by the NCAA that evaluates how many student-athletes are advancing toward a degree.
The winner among the nation's top 25 college football teams? Well, it wasn't even close, and, as you can probably guess by the simple fact that I am writing this post, my very own Boston College Eagles came out on top with a score of 127.8.

Here are how the BCS bowls would shake out if academics were taken into account:
Allstate BCS Championship Game:
Boston College (127.80) vs. Cincinnati (97.25)

Rose Bowl Presented by Citi
:
Auburn (73.15) vs. Boise State (68.90)

FedEx Orange Bowl:
Virginia (60.45) vs. Virginia Tech (60.15)

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:

Clemson (59.35) vs. USC (51.65)

Allstate Sugar Bowl:

West Virginia (47.85) vs. Arizona State (46.35)

Exiled to the bottom of the A/BCS and the pre-New-Year's bowls named after lawn equipment and mufflers:

21. LSU (29.95)

22. Ohio State (28.55)

23. Oregon (8.35)

24. Texas (7.85)

25. Hawaii (-2.35)
So BC, which routinely graduates between 98-100% of its footballers, had a score of close to 130, while no other school cracked 100.

BC is currently ranked #11 in the BCS, and takes on Virginia Tech (60.15) for its conference championship on Saturday.

English Only?

In today's opinion section of the Wall Street Journal John Fund takes Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to task for "holding up a $53 billion appropriations bill funding the FBI, NASA and Justice Department solely to block an attached amendment, passed by both the Senate and House, that protects the [Salvation Army] and other employers from federal lawsuits over their English-only policies."

The assimilation argument is on.

Fund points out that the assimilation was the policy of the US government, even as immigrants poured over the boarder in the early 1900s.

The U.S. used to welcome immigrants while at the same time encouraging assimilation. Since 1906, for example, new citizens have had to show "the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English."
Fund points out that English-only policies are still very popular (77% in a new poll support the right of employers to have English- only policies), but says that "hardball politics practiced by ethnic grievance lobbies is driving assimilation into the dustbin of history."

This showdown comes as a result of a lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of two Salvation Army employees of a thrift store in Massachusetts. The employees were given one year to adjust to the company's English- only workplace environment, and were fired after they did not comply.

We'll see how far Pelosi is willing to take this battle, but judging by the numbers it could be a winning cause for Republicans.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jackson: The best candidate for African Americans? John Edwards

In today's Chicago Sun Times, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, a formidable presidential candidate in 1984 and '88 wrote an op-ed about the failure of Democrats to speak to the plight of Black America.

Jackson points out that blacks provided the margin of victory for Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in key battle ground states. He asks: Can Democrats get the votes they need by simply not being Republicans?

In a campaign with two minorities at the top of national polls, including perhaps the most "viable" African American candidate ever, Jackson singles out a white man as speaking the best to the tough issues facing Black America.

Yet the Democratic candidates -- with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans' Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign -- have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country.


Wow. Think that caught the attention of Barack Obama's campaign? Hillary Clinton, the wife of "America's first Black president," is stung by the assessment, too, but her campaign probably likes it because it makes Obama look worse, especially with Oprah getting ready to hit his campaign trail.

All in all, though, it's hard to argue with Jackson's points. It's not an unique sentiment. Obama's numbers among African American voters have been less than spectacular, prompting his wife to assure that Black America will "wake up and get it" when it comes to supporting her husband.

Well, it looks like Jackson is sleeping through Obama's campaign thus far. And that, in his view, Democratic candidates are sleeping through a tremendous opportunity with Black voters. Well, almost all of them anyway.

NY Times: Spitzer Profile

The New York Times has an interesting profile of NY Governor Elliot Spitzer and his "rough" first year in office. My feelings on the issue are well-trod, so check this out for yourself.

The most interesting part is how Spitzer is trying to reshape his governing style, and essentially his personality. He's gone from focusing on the no-holds-barred style of a Roosevelt or Al Smith, to the more sticks and carrots approach of LBJ.

“I’m not naturally suited to this job, perhaps,” Mr. Spitzer said in the interview. “But maybe, at this point in time, we need someone who is not naturally suited to it to get done the transformative things that the public wants done.”

Picture of the Day 11/27


President George W. Bush welcomed the American winners of the 2007 Nobel Prizes at the White House, yesterday. Among them was former Vice President Al Gore, who split the peace prize for his work on global warming. The two former rivals met privately in the Oval Office before the rest of the delegation arrived. For Gore it was his first time in the Oval Office since he left the Vice Presidency in 2000.

When a White House reporter asked Gore if he missed the White House, Gore responded, "When you leave this beat, I'll ask you the same question."

Gore won the popular vote over President Bush, but lost the electoral college by 537 votes in Florida after the Supreme Court stopped the recounts there.

The Heavyweight Undercard


In msnbc.com's "First Read" segment today, there is a report about former President Bill Clinton and talk show queen, Oprah Winfrey, and how they'll be stumping for Senators Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama, respectively. The two will be in Iowa today doing their best to convince voters to support their candidate, and each bring a certain measure of star power doused with credibility. Clinton, a former Commander-in-Chief, can communicate like no other pol can, and not reek of hackery like the rest of them. Oprah reaches millions of women daily with her syndicated show, and has a well-round track record of endorsing products people believe she genuinely feels positive towards.

And it will be those same women, among other demographics, that Mr. Clinton will be gunning for. Oprah may have the cultural lock, speaking to them on a daily basis, but he may feel his good track record on women's rights will swing the ladies to the side of his wife. Each person carries considerable weight when it comes to influencing demographic opinions.
Let's not ignore the racial components that come into play. Oprah, despite her massive success and predominantly white audience, still holds considerable sway among Blacks as a woman of integrity and dignity who made it despite being handicapped by what still holds many Black folks behind. Meanwhile, President Clinton has the honor of being considered the first Black President of the U.S., something Obama has yet to address. Being a white man and considered a Black President has to be an elephant in the room for the Obama campaign, and the one person to remind folks that godly communication skills don't negate racial features and achievements is Ms. Winfrey, herself.

Still, there's something quite unauthentic about this Democratic primary, and leave it to the showdown between two of the greatest communicators of their generation to bring that point home. Obama has a message of hope and change, but is cast as an inexperienced politician. The Hill seems to bring a message of competence and also change, yet is cast as a calculating tactician who will do and say almost anything for power. Neither has really shown that they can shake off these labels, whether on the stump or in debates. Each candidate has their moments, but too often are seen exemplifying their caricatures. Getting big names to stump is almost like spraying potpourri in a putrid-smelling room. It may be nice for now, but the source of the problem still persists.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Quote of the Day 11/26

“It's [time to] take the mask off and take a look at what kind of governor was he... He throws stones at people. And then on that issue he usually has a worse record than whoever he’s throwing stones at... I think there’s a difference between a guy who gets results, real results, that were applauded nationwide and somebody who had a mixed record at best as governor.”

- Rudy Giuliani in his most pointed attack on rival Mitt Romney. The gloves are off, and it seems that Giuliani is ready to try and take a chunk out of Mitt's big lead in New Hampshire.

This is a rhetorical shift for Rudy, who has been saving this kind of language for Hillary Clinton, in an effort to portray himself as the presumptive nominee. So the fact that Rudy is going after Romney now is probably a good sign for Mitt. Now he just has to respond. So far, the Romney campaign called the comments "nasty."

Possibilites and Peace: All in Vain?

This week, Israeli, Arab and American leaders and diplomats meet in Annapolis, MD to try and hammer out a Middle East peace deal that all sides (and this is this blogger's hope) look to have lasting, positive impacts. Bush's two-state plan will be discussed, as well as several of the classic points that have always made their way onto the agenda of these American-brokered negotiations. From border redrawings to refugees to national identity recognition, all that will be discussed is vital in and of itself to Israelis and Palestinians, and each issue impacts the greater Middle East in uniquely profound ways.

Msnbc.com reports of President George W. Bush's optimism about the talks, this following his meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. This president's optimism, it should be noted, is as dependable to go on as Iago's advice to Othello. The outline of what is to be discussed has yet to be agreed upon, Syria has, at the eleventh hour, decided to join the negotiations and they haven't agreed on the agenda, and representatives from Hamas were not invited, despite the fact that they control the Gaza Strip, home to over one million Palestinians. Further undermining Mr. Bush's optimism (or it should, at least) is the fact that Iraq's democratic project has yet to yield any political results since the "Surge", and the diplomatic showdown with Iran leaves open questions to Tehran's military support of Hezbollah and Hamas. Nevertheless, Mr. Bush is positive he can work something out, and in the end, possibly steal the Nobel Peace Prize President Clinton lost due to his failure to bang out a pragmatic agreement.

Of course, a pragmatic agreement should be the goal, but it never seems to be the aim of these summits. What's going on between Hamas in Gaza and Western Israel is nothing short of war, just as that between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is nothing short of civil war. Yet, Hamas is absent from the negotiations, despite being democratically elected in a Western-sponsored election. Many will say consequences follow democratic elections (we should know), and that the Palestinians must deal with the consequences of electing Hamas. Those same critics always fail to note the precarious position the West and Israel placed Palestinians in, resulting in these two choices: a corrupt incumbency that's done little to improve living standards, or a militant organization at constant war with the obvious aggressor, Israel (obvious to Palestinians, of course). There's no excusing Hamas shelling western Israeli towns and suicide bomb runs, and Israel must retaliate beyond accordingly. But to negotiate sans your enemy does more than further antagonizes him; it makes him an entrenched obstacle to any implementation of policies agreed upon by "all" sides.

Msnbc.com also has a piece highlighting the pessimism among Palestinians and Israelis, those living under the current system, and who will live under any agreeable condition. They've been here before, as have we all, watching America take the lead in something no other Middle Eastern state seems capable of handling, if indeed they had the stomach to. It's a process led by history, and that's always the first mistake. Rarely, if ever, has there ever been an analyses of the status quo and future aspirations of the peoples involved. Whether it was Arafat unreasonably demanding the return of every Palestinian refugee or Barrack irresponsibly agreeing to partition Jerusalem, there's never been any lasting agreement because the most dominant player, and peace broker, doesn't live with the consequences of the decision. Instead of leading negotiations, the U.S. should propel Mid East leaders to assume such a role.

I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt much will change come next week. Israelis on the Golan Heights will continue to feel at home, but not at peace. A Hamas soldier will be ready for another day of battle with the Zionist occupiers. And a region rich in history, culture and bloodshed will continue to spiral away from a world advancing and modernizing.

Bush responds to McClellan

Not sure if you heard, but former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has a new book coming out in which he says he was given false information, which he unwittingly passed on. McClellan blames 5 top White House officials, including the president and vice president, for allowing him to brief the press using lies.

During the CIA leak investigation, McClellan said that White House officials, including Karl Rove, were not involved in the outing of covert agent Valerie Plame. They were.

The woman now in McClellan's old job, Dana Perino, said President Bush "has not and would not knowingly pass false information."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I knew this would happen (before I didn't)

If you needed any more proof that I don't know what I'm talking about, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has hired a foreign policy expert, who is briefing him on international affairs. The expert, Nancy Soderberg, was US Ambassador to the UN, a Clinton foreign policy adviser, and has been described as "Bloomberg's Condi."

This is the strongest indication that he'll run for president next year.

I've already flip flopped on this issue, so I'll stay quiet on it

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Supreme Court to Decide 2nd Amendment


“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

For the first time in 70 years, the US Supreme Court will rule on the 2nd Amendment, it was announced yesterday. The justices will hear a case on Washington DC's 31 year old ban of handguns in private residences.

A wealthy libertarian lawyer recruited a plaintiff and financed the suit, which was successful in the DC court of appeals. The plaintiff is a security guard who carries a gun at work, and wants to keep it at home for protection. Under DC law, he is unable to do so.

At issue is whether the Second Amendment, quoted above, grants an individual right to arm, or if that right is tied to the formation of a militia. To me, the word militia is in the same sentence, so...

The court has shifted conservative over the past 7 years, so I would expect the DC law to be struck down.

Also of note, this will spark the gun- control debate in the presidential race, and it will be interesting to see how Rudy Giuliani handles it. Giuliani was a staunch gun control advocate as NYC mayor, but has distinguished that stance (rightly so, I think) from hunter's rights, and gun control in less dangerous situations.

However, this is Washington, DC we're talking about. One of America's most dangerous and crime- ridden cities. If Giuliani is consistent (honest, really) he'd probably be in favor of DC's restrictive law.

This is going to be interesting.

Rudy Ad

I've been doing a lot of Rudy stuff recently, I don't really know why. Here's his new ad:

Monday, November 19, 2007

9/11 Chairman endorses... McCain?

In a certain blow to the Rudy Giuliani campaign, Former NJ Governor and 9/11 Commission co-chair Tom Kean will endorse John McCain for president today in Boston.

Giuliani has formed his campaign based in large part on his leadership in New York City after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was originally a member of the 9/11 commission but was removed for poor attendance.

In rebuttal, the Giuliani campaign released a statement of endorsement from New Jersey state senator (and former Senate candidate) Tom Kean Jr., who is, as you might have guessed, Tom Sr.'s son.

“Rudy Giuliani is the proven leader New Jerseyans want as our next President,'’ the younger Kean wrote. “We have witnessed his leadership firsthand and know he will win New Jersey in both the primary and general elections.”
In related news, the group 9/11 Firefighters & Families will be holding a town hall at Dartmouth College. According to their press release:
“9/11 Firefighters & Families are deeply offended at how Rudolph Giuliani has exploited the 9/11 terrorist attack to weave a false myth that he is the only person with the credentials and experience to lead the nation as our next president. They plan to set the record straight.”
If Giuliani gets the nom, expect big things from that group.

Meanwhile, this is a quiet victory for McCain, whose campaign continues to gain new life.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Political Ad of the Year

As I mentioned last month, Chuck Norris endorsed Mike Huckabee for president. Huckabee is not hesitating to take advantage of that star power. Below is his first television spot, and it's Chuck approved.

Friday, November 16, 2007

New Survey Says Men Prefer Less Successful Women

In a recent sociological study done in New York, a Columbia economics professor found that when choosing a potential spouse, men were often threatened by successful women. Men preferred to date successful women to a point, but on the whole, they did not usually choose a suitor that had a higher salary than they did. In contrast, women always preferred the more successful man.

I don't know exactly what to make of this. Except, perhaps men are just the more jealous sex of the two. Or maybe men still prefer to be the breadwinner and leave the women home to take care of the children. Either way, the point of the article was that Hillary Clinton might have a better chance of winning the primary and eventually the presidency if men weren't threatened by successful go-getter ladies.

I am interested to hear your reaction to this article. It seems like a plausible, yet surprising result to me.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/opinion/14dowd.html?_r=1&n=Top/Opinion/Editorials%20and%20Op-Ed/Op-Ed/Columnists/Maureen%20Dowd&oref=slogin

WSJ: Affluent Voters Switch Brands

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent piece today on the shifting voting patterns of the wealthy. The Journal traveled to traditional- Republican- turned- swing state, Colorado, and spoke with people who have altered their allegiance in favor of Democrats.

Take James Kelly, an executive at the $7B firm Vistar, who supports Barack Obama. For all the Democrats' talk about rolling back the Bush tax cuts on top wage earners, Mr. Kelly still writes big checks to Democrats.

From the article:

"The Democratic Party stands more for creating equal opportunity," says Mr. Kelley. He says the party "speaks more to me on issues of the environment, and even more to me on national security," while he criticizes Republican stands on "so-called moral issues" such as gay marriage.

As for proposals by Democratic congressional leaders and presidential contenders to raise taxes on high earners, Mr. Kelley says: "The pocketbook, the taxes, that's issue 11. And the balance has swayed so far in [favor of] the 10 other things."
It's a pattern that has developed nationally over the last four years. In 2004, voters making at least six-figures favored President Bush 58% to 41% over Democrat John Kerry. During last year's Congressional races the margin was cut to 51% to 47%. According to a new Wall Street Journal- NBC News poll, "Americans earning more than $100,000 want Democrats to win the White House next year by 48% to 41%, and want Democrats to win control of Congress by 45% to 42%."

And don't think that shift hasn't already been felt in the '08 fund-raising race, where the top 5 Dems have raised $242M to their conservative counterparts' $167M.

In my opinion, the shift seems to be the product of the deep division the Republican party has dealt with post- Reagan, between social and fiscal conservatives. The uneasy truce between the two appears to have faded, and we now see the fallout. The social conservatives are having a hard time backing a candidate like Rudy Giuliani, and the fiscal conservatives are so turned off by the party's recent priorities that they've defected.

The old adage says that people will always vote their pocketbooks, but it seems that, like much of the traditional wisdom in this election cycle, has undergone a profound change.

Post Game Spin

After sitting down in front of my set for a few hours tonight hoping to watch a spirited debate, a few thoughts come to mind and I wonder if anyone out there shares them. Before I begin I would preface my comments by saying to this point I was an Edwards backer, but his performance of late has left me wondering about his ability to turn his campaign around so I now consider myself to have a "soft verbal" commitment to his campaign.

I was really looking forward to this debate. After the last MSNBC debate i thought the field had gotten closer and the media was doing a better job of refraining from a Clinton love fest and actually analyzing the candidates and their performance. I will not speculate here about who won the debate, I think both Clinton and Obama had good showings, and even "my boy" Edwards said some important things although he didnt get much facetime. But I will talk about who lost this debate. CNN and Wolf Blitzer. How AWFUL was their perfromance tonight? Oh let me count the ways.

1) Rules are ok, they are the reason debates tend to be organized and the moderato's bias is minimized. How many times did I count Wolf (I love Hillary ) Blitzer cut off Edwards or Obama when they were criticizing Clinton? Just about every single time. Some conspiracy theorists out there argued that he was trying to break up anti-Hillary sound bites. I just think he realized there was a time limit when he was hearing things he didnt like. Further, every time he addressed Hillary he began the sentence by saying "Hillary you have beeen criticized for...". First off, stop making her the victim, secondly this is a debate, ask her about issues, not about how she feels about being beat up on. I agreed with Hillary tonite when she said "They arent attacking me because I am a woman, they are attacking because I am in the lead". So lets move on and discuss issues.

2) CNN, nice touch with the undecided voter pool in the front, but next time actually let them participate instead of giving them questions to read for Wolf. Seriously though, those people were struggling to pronounce the words in the questions they were asking. Let them ask the questions they want, I know they may not sound good or capture the answer you would like the candidates to address, but wasn't that segment really suppossed to be about them? Maybe not. Also, as a laws student I appreciated the question about the Supreme Court Justices, but Wolf Blitzer did the same thing the abortion groups (either pro or con) have done for the last 30 years (if not more). He Hijacked the position of Supreme Court Justice and boiled it down to 1 issue, abortion. Abortion is an important issue, but i am pretty sure the young lady asked about what would make up an ideal justice, not whether they were for or agaist abortion. The Permanent link between the two, the judiciary and abortion rights is tired. Call me a West Wing ideallist on this one, but will we ever consider jsutices on anything other than their thoughts on Roe v. Wade? Wolf even tried to ask the audience memeber whether she wanted the candidates to answer her questions or Wolf's, to which she answered her own, haha take that Wolfy.

3) And finally, because its bedtime more than because I am not still dissapointed by this debate, can we please get some post game analysist that did not work for the Clinton presidency. I know Bill was in office for a long time, but there have to be high profile Democrats out there that can do post game analysis who dont owe the Clintons for prior appointments (looking at you here Gergen and the Ragin' Cajun). The debate was defintiely the Hillary and Barack show, but their analysis that claims that Hillary took the boys to school is biased and flat wrong.

4) And really CNN, you ended on a question about diamonds or pearls? Ugh.

At this point some of you probably think I hate Hillary Clinton. I dont. I actually think she would be a great candidate and is probably our (read Democrats) best chance to win in November, but what I cant stand is the love fest. Be objective, isnt that what the press is suppossed to be about? I thought one of the most important moments of the debate was when Obama made the comment about the middle class not being 6% of the population. The crowd went crazy and Hillary looked stunned. But after a full hour of post game spin that moment wasnt mentioned once. (although i did take a brief bathroom break, but you get the point). MSNBC had done some of the same early on, but as the race got closer they got their act together. CNN let me down tonite and I wonder if anyone else out here noticed any of the same things?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bill Loves his Burgers... Impressive Clinton Ad

The Clinton campaign must have a top marketing firm working their ads, because this is pretty damn good.

Hillary pokes fun at herself and her husband, and gets a charming hand from the people of Iowa. Not bad. video

This video is off, the sound doesn't start until about 10 seconds in. So check the link here to see a corrected version.