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?"

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.


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.