Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What's The Matter With Harry?

Harry Reid continues to say the Senate will not seat anybody appointed by Illinois Rod Blagojevich. But it is not that simple. But I'm not sure the Reid and Senate could refuse to seat Burris. The Consitution gives the Senate the sole power as "Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own members." Because this is an appointment and not an election, the first two parts do not apply - only Qualifications. And the Adam Clayton Powell case of 1969 seems to kill that idea. There the Supreme court said that the "Qualifications" mentioned in the Constitution are ONLY those qualifications found in the Consitution, such as age, citizenry, residency, etc. I guess the new Senator could take the oath and then be expelled by a 2/3 vote. The problem with all this is that Burris does not appear to have any taint of corruption. What reason would anyone have to say Burriss should not sit absent proof of his own corrupt activities?

Some argue that "qualifications" can include a judgment of whether the appointment was legal and valid. But the examples in the LA Times article to which I link regard elections, for which the Constituion give final judgment to the Senate. The appointment of Burris is not an election.

Upon Request

Someone has asked that I write a post about her. So here are two of my daughter's favorite Youtube videos:

And here is video that tells her what I think of her:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sometimes, They Blame the Victim

Andrew Sullivan links, with approval, to Rob Horning who says:

Shelter is something you consume; it’s not an investment. Bailing out homeowners is rewarding the people who treated housing as an investment and not a consumption good, a fulfillment of personal need. Preventing foreclosures is often a matter of rescuing people from their failure to properly assess risk, not from some unforeseen natural disaster. Let’s not pretend this is any different from bailing out imprudent or inept investment bankers.
Andrew agrees, saying:
Every time the government protects someone or some company from the consequences of their own economic profligacy, the chances of future profligacy increase. It's vital that the government let the Big Three automakers go down, and vital that only minimal help be given for those so greedy or so stupid that they took on loans they had no way to pay off.
In an e-mail to Andrew, I heartily disagreed:

I am sick of you and some of your readers lumping all those who cannot
pay their mortgages together. And I find it disturbing you suggest
they are stupid or greedy. Some people went to a mortgage broker (who
is supposedly an expert) and asked "How much can I afford?" The
mortgage broker, instead of abiding by any ethical or moral standard,
gave an unrealistic answer. The buyer believed the "expert" and is
now screwed. In a society increasingly complex financially, it should
be no surprise some people must rely on "experts" to advide them.
When you take your car to a mechanic, is it your fault if the mechanic
gives horrendous advice regarding the inner workigns of your car?
When you go to the doctor, is it your fault if he tells you you need a
chemotherapy when all you really needed was radiation therapy? I
admit that there a many people who tried to make a buck and are now
paying the piper. And I admit that it might be hard, even impossible,
to tell your greedy idiot from my reliant tyro. But I would expect
you to admit the existence of the latter, and perhaps suggest a
solution for them. Would you support lawsuits against incompetent
mortgage brokers for negligence? Or would you consider that another
example of our overly litigious society?

As for the big three, I would ask that you offer a solution for the
possibly milliions of innocent workers who were not the incompetent
managers and officers before you blithely say the government must let
them "go down." Your macroeconomic theories are cold comfort to those
living in their microeconomic worlds. Some say a tough-on-crime
conservative is a former soft-on-crime liberal who has been mugged.
Some might say a big-government liberal is a former small-government
conservative who has a hard time paying the bills. The change is
often the result of an action over which the individual most adversely
affected had no control. You and I, Andrew, can currently pay our
bills. Will you be so cavalier if, through no fault of your own, you
suddenly cannot?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How the Attorney General of Illinois Lost My Vote

Lisa Madigan, the Attorney General of Illinois has filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order with the Supreme Court of Illinois asking the Court to enjoin Governor Blagojevich "from acting as Governor of Illinois." In her brief, she is relying on the portion of the Illinois Constitution which holds that the Governor shall be replaced by a successor if he "is unable to serve because of death, conviction on impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation or other disability." Her entire case is based on her interpretation of the words "other disability." She claims, and I agree, that it is not limited to mental or physical disability. However, her argument is fundamentally flawed in that it applies to a Governor who is simply impaired in his ability to serve, no unable. Her brief even cites the dictionary definition of "to disable" as "to make unable, unfit, or disqualified." The examples listed in the Illinois Constitution clearly relate to cases where a Governor is literally unable to perform his duties. He is dead, or impeached, or has resigned, or is ineligible to serve. In none of these examples is the Governor simply "impaired" in his ability to serve.

Think of the result if Madigan's interpretation was found to be correct. Then, an accusation of corruption by anyone, or perhaps any accusation of unlawful acts, could lead to the overthrow of a Governor. If the Illinois Constitution wanted one branch of Government (the judiciary) to have such power over another (the Executive), it would be in the Constitution, as impeachment (the power of the legislative branch to have ultimate power over the executive) is.

What angers me is that Madigan must know she will lose. No Judge worth his or her salt is going to vote to remove a Governor based on an allegation, while the Governor is actually still able to fulfill his Constitutional duties. Blagojevich can still make nominations, sign laws, etc. A vast majority of the people might find it in bad taste that he continues to do these things, but that is what elections (and recall elections - if allowed by law) are for. If the legislature does not like an appointment (and if it has approval authority) it can reject it. If it does not like a Veto by the Governor, it can override it.

So Madigan has filed a very significant case she knows is without merit. Why? Politics. And that, while not as bad as Blagojevich's alleged actions, is an abuse of power.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gay Marriage

There is some talk over at The Atlantic about gay marriage and Mike Huckabee's appearance on Comedy Central. What no one talked about, and what pisses me off the most about the Right Wing opposition to gay marriage is the utter inconsistency with Right Wing arguments made in the 1980s about the perceived rampant sexual promiscuousness of gays. Now, when gays are saying they want the legal and social sexual limitations inherent in a marriage license, the Right Wing is saying no. So according to the Right, gays are too promiscuous, but when they want to put legal restrictions on the number of permissible sexual partners, they are trying to destroy our society. I say to the Right Wing - pick a side, dammit.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The National Review And "Milk"

I haven't seen Gus Van Sant's new movie "Milk" about the gay San Francisco City Councilor who was assassinated. But reading Mark Hemingway's review of the movie in the National Review demonstrates how some people can't let themselves enjoy a movie if it does not fit their political viewpoint, even if they actually did enjoy it. He says "the cast is uniformly excellent." Specifically, he describes Sean Penn's performance as "charismatic and disarming" and notes that Penn gives an "incredible performance." The one thing he does not like is the writing. He even complements the cinematography. So you would think that when he discusses the movie's Oscar chances Hemingway would argue that while it might merit acting and technical Oscars, it should get no kudos in the writing category. Instead, he gets snide, and writes "The March Oscar ceremony will doubtless be an insufferable parade of moral superiority, as the movie-industry lets America know that it voted for Milk as a statement against the rubes who voted for Proposition 8." Why can't he just admit that at Oscar time, the movie will justly receive a number of awards without a snippy comment? Because to do so would be committing the conservative heresy of admitting a liberal movie is, in some ways, worthy of praise. Maybe, the Academy will vote for Milk for the same reasons Hemingway, at least at first, seemed to enjoy the movie: it is very well acted and filmed.

I think I should have realized the review wasn't going to be artistically honest when Hemingway criticized Ann Hornaday's own review of Milk. She wrote, and Hemingway quotes, that "Once in a while, a movie arrives at such a perfect moment, its message and meaning so finely tuned to the current zeitgeist, that it seems less a cinematic event than a cosmic convergence, willed into being by a once-in-a-lifetime alignment of the stars." I read this as a statement that the movie comes at the perfect cultural moment. But Hemingway can only think about whether the movie comes at the perfect political moment. In essence, he cannot review the movie as an artistic piece; he must inject his political biases.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mumbai or Bombay

Just last year, I found out that Bombay had become Mumbai - in 1995. Boy, am I out of touch with Indian politics. Anyway, Christopher Hitchens, who can be both entertaining and infuriating, was the latter in a recent column about Mumbai. He writes that "Hindu chauvinists . . . forcibly renamed" Bombay, "Mumbai." He then compares the name change to the change of Burma's name to "Myanmar" by a military junta. Andrew Sullivan then claims he will no longer use the name Mumbai based on Hitchens' column.

There is absolutely no reason anyone should not use the name "Mumbai."
According to the article to which Hitchens links, Mumbai (then Bombay)
held free and fair elections, and the winners chose to rename the city
because of their heritage and the perceived colonial reminders of
"Bombay." Hitchens unfairly states that they "forcibly renamed it." He
offers no evidence of any force other than majority rule. Under
Hitchens' theory, anytime a city changes its name, it has been the
victim of unreasonable "force." Moreover, according to Wikipedia and Hitchens' link, the name Mumbai is not new but has always been used by Marathi and

I noticed that one reason Hitchens gives for condemning the use of
"Mumbai" is that we should want "Bombay" to be a "cosmopolitan city
open to its own citizens and to the world - a city on the model of
Sarajevo or London or Beirut or Manhattan." I was struck by his use
of the name "Manhattan" and not "New York City." Perhaps he
recognizes that under his theory Hitchens will now refer only to the "New
Amsterdam Times," and the "New Amsterdam Yankees" as New York City was
renamed only after a war between England and the Netherlands, and not
by any vote, but by an arbitrary decision by the Duke of York. In
fact, this would seem to offer a better moral reason to use the old
"New Amsterdam" than the old "Bombay."

Furthermore, the comparison to the renaming of Burma is absurd. In
Burma, an overthrow of the government by a ruthless military junta led
to the name change. In Mumbai, a democratic process led to the name
change. The difference is self-evident.

I think a good rule of thumb would be that, without an extremely
compelling reason, if a city or country changes its name voluntarily
under democratic processes, we should use it. That would lead to the
continued the use of "Burma" but not the continued use of "Bombay."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just Let Us Enjoy The Damn Song, Will You!

Andrew links to a blogger named "Nige" who complains that Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" has "become all-purpose musical shorthand for any kind of vague spiritual yearning." He apparently thinks that a great song should only be appreciated by those who really "understand" it. What bunk! Hallelujah is a magnificent song. I posted about it over a year ago. I linked to a Rufus Wainwright version. John Cale's is also glorious. The song sets a mood perfectly. I fail to understand why Nige would have film makers, or singers, choose a song that is less able to set a mood just so he can feel that he is superior. It's like people who get angry that their favorite obscure singer hits the big time, because now they don't feel as special.

Another example of a song that sets a mood perfectly is the climax of Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. Should artists stop using it because it is too good at setting a mood? Apparently Nige thinks so.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Maybe Obama Was Telling The Truth. Have You Considered That?

Fred Barnes tells us that Obama might be a "secret centrist." Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive is upset that Obama hasn't thrown a bone to the left - actually suggesting Obama should have appointed Dennis Kucinich as Secretary of State. You don't see the silly right and the ridiculous left agreeing very often, but they seem to on this issue. I'm most disappointed with the Left, however. When McCain/Palin were accusing Obama of being a Far-Left pacifist-socialist, I thought all of us on the Left knew it to be ridiculous. But, to my surprise, some bought what Palin was selling, with glee.

Guess what. McCain/Palin's accusations was absurd. If you were paying attention, you knew Obama was a pragmatic Center-Left politician. Finally we have a President whose words mean something. Obama said he would govern with help from all, and that is what he appears to be doing.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fourth Inning Pet Peeve

In Baltimore, during the 2007 baseball season, my daughter and I saw a Red Sox/Orioles game. In the Fourth Inning, I took my 7 year old to a food stand and waited to get her nachos and "cheese." We stood in line for about 10 minutes, and when we got to the front of the line ordered the nachos. We were then informed that they were out of cheese. I was amazed (and said so) that in the Fourth Inning of a baseball game, they would run out of nacho cheese. I also complained that we had been waiting in line for 10 minutes, missing the game, and there was no sign that they were out of the "cheese." Luckily for us, a different stand (half way around the stadium) had the cheese I had promised my daughter. And so was born the "Fourth Inning Incident."

"Fourth Inning Incidents" happen quite often. It occurs when you wait in line for an extended period of time to order something on a menu, only to be told that they are out or you have to wait another extended period of time. I always ask why there is no sign up informing patrons of the delay or the absence. The answer is always a small embarrassed grin and an apology with a shrug of the shoulders. People, I ask you, how hard is it to put a sign up saying "Out of Bratwurst - Sorry;" or putting a piece of masking tape over the "soup" on the menu? Either which would have avoided "Fourth Inning Incidents" I have expereinced in the last year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Soon To Be Fox News Host Needs History Lesson

Glenn Beck, a Right Wing loon who will soon have a Fox News show, has asked, on his radio show, "do states have the right to secede anymore?" I think that question was answered in a little thing we call the Civil War. In fact, even before the Civil War, during the Andrew Jackson administration, South Carolina attempted to "nullify" a Federal tariff. When the Federal government held that nullification was unconstitutional, South Carolina came very close to attempting secession, and Jackson (hardly a Big Government kind of guy - he did not believe the Federal Government had the right to establish a National Bank or spend any money on state or local infrastructure) threatened force to keep SC in the Union. So, the answer to Mr. Beck's question is "States never had the right to secede. But idiotic, self-important blowhards are free to go."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Everyone, Take a Qualude

I don't really understand the concerns that so many Democrats have about Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. It is not in her interest as SoS to sabotage Obama's foreign policy. If she does, two things happen. First, a divided adminstration is likely to have a failed foreign policy, and her future (i.e. 2016) is tied to the success of the Obama administration. Second, if she sabotages the adminstration to the denigration of the Democratic brand, the Democratic powers-that-be will abandon her.

Next, there are a number of Obama supporters who are concerned that Cabinet picks such as Eric Holder as Attorney General, and (perhaps) John Brennan (George Tenent's chief of staff) as head of the CIA, demonstrate that Obama is not as tied to changing torture policy, drug policy, and other policies as they would like. May I remind these worry-warts that Barack Obama was elected President. Not Brennan. Not Holder. Not Clinton. The buck stops with Obama. And if you think he is so weak that he can't stand up to his appointees, then you probably should have founf a different candidate. Personally, I get the sense he is tough enough. And I'm willing to give hime the benefit of the doubt for now.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

David Brooks' False Choice

David Brooks, in his latest column, approvingly cited by Andrew Sullivan, offers this choice:

Is this country going to slide into progressive corporatism, a merger of corporate and federal power that will inevitably stifle competition, empower corporate and federal bureaucrats and protect entrenched interests? Or is the U.S. going to stick with its historic model: Helping workers weather the storms of a dynamic economy, but preserving the dynamism that is the core of the country’s success.
While I don't disagree that those are two of the choices available, I do disagree that anyone in the current debate is actually suggesting we take the latter of Brooks' options. In fact, the choice currently before us appears to be between Brooks' first option and doing nothing - leaving the workers to fend for themselves in an economy spiraling downward. As I e-mailed Andrew:
What we need is a comprehensive plan that lets the Big Three fail but protects their workers (and the workers from the related industries; and the workers affected by the possible depression) from the economic hurricane.
But it seems to me that what Brooks and Sullivan actually dislike about the bailout is not the "slide into progressive corporatism" but the additional spending. If that's the case, then they should say so, and then add "Let them eat cake."

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Days As A Single Parent . . .

are over!!!!!

For almost three months, my wife has been living in Virginia while my daughter and I live in Illinois. Today, my wife moves permanently to Virginia. Allelujia!

Now a social comment: Anyone who wants to criticize single parents has to go through me first. I have a good, secure, well-paying job, with health-care. My daughter is going to a good school, with very attentive teachers. I don't have to worry about how I'm going to pay my bills. And after three months of single parenting I AM EXHAUSTED!!! The stress of being solely responsibled for a child is immense. I get home at 6, pick up my daughter from After-School Care, walk the dog, make dinner, get my daughter to do her homework, do laundry, wash dishes, feed the dog, eat dinner, get my daughter to bed, and then ... go to bed myself. Then, in the morning I walk the dog, get my daughter ready for school and get to work. I haven't watched a full grown-up tv show in three months. I actually have favorite kids shows (Avatar, ICarly, Phineas and Ferb). Adult conversation? Dream on. It is extremely hard, and I have all the advantages. Single parents are doing something almost impossible. They have my enduring respect and sympathy.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Message to McCain Supporters

Congratulations to all. Now we have to do something with this opportunity. Let me say something to all those people who are terrified about where our country is heading. First, I encourage you to look at this. It might seem a bit schmaltzy, but, hey, we're liberals, that is how we think. I also want to let you know that I know exactly how you are feeling. We might never agree on the merits of the issues facing this country, but I have felt that same fear you now feel. In 2000 and 2004, I had to wonder whether I knew what my country was, and fear where it was heading. And you know what happened? We survived. What is a rocky road? Sure it was. And I say to you now, my McCain supporting friends, this country is strong. Even if Obama is everything some of you think he is (a white-hating, socialist, closet terrorist) this country will survive. It might be a rocky road, but it will be just fine. I've been where you are. Looking down a dark tunnel wondering if it will end. It will. Either Obama is what you fear he is, and he will be rejected four years hence, or he is not, and your choice will be a little harder in 2012. Either way, we move on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Think About It

I saw this video on Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog at the Atlantic and got teary-eyed. Not because of the dancing, but becasue I started to think about who those women are. They are apparently African-American women born in the 1940s or thereabouts. They were teenagers before the civil Rights Act of 1964, and before the Voting Rights Act 0f 1965. They were forced to the back of buses because Rosa Parks hadn't demanded the right to sit wherever she damn well pleased. They had never heard of Martin Luther King. I'll bet those teenagers could not even imagine an African-American would even be considered for President. Now they are dancing to support Obama. They are in almost perfect sync. and I think its because the dance is not just a dance. It is more important to them then just a dance. It is their way of celebrating the unthinkably glorious. They have to be perfect, their teenage souls demand it. I, a 40-year old white man, say to those ladies: DANCE AWAY!!!! You have earned it! I have but one request - can I join in the second time around. I haven't earned the right to do it the first time.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

False Equivalency

I recently saw an MSNBC spot on its morning show "Morning Joe" with Joe Scarborough and others. One of the hosts, Willie Geist, went out in the upper west side of Manhattan with a McCain/Palin t-shirt, trying to find McCain/Palin supporters. Here is the video. Most importantly, watch the commentators' discussion at the end. They act as if the reactions were far out of bounds because they don't like what McCain stands for and refused to talk about it while they were living their lives. One host called it "troubling." Mike Barnicle called the people "closed minded" and insinuated it was "loathsome." Joe Scarborough called it "hostile." Later, one called the reaction of the Manhattanites "venom" (although it is not on the video - I saw it live). Geist says at the end that Republicans in Nashville would have disagreed "in a polite way" if he did the same thing there with an Obama/Biden t-shirt. I don't think this video shows much rudeness to be honest. Everyone seemed relatively polite. They just chose not to speak to Geist for very long if at all.

Compare that to videos such as this, this, and this.

Oh, how I long for Republican kindness and politeness. Those Democrats are so rude.

NOTE: I especially love the McCain supporters who yell at the Obama supporters to "Get a Job!" As if people going to a McCain rally have jobs, but those protesting at the same McCain rally must not.

Don't Panic

Democrats and other Obama supporters are a skittish bunch. Every time a tracking poll shows Obama's lead down a point, we are sure it is a trend. If his lead goes up a point, we are sure it is just staistical noise. As a Red Sox fan, I had many years of experience in this area of emotional masochism. The latest point on my graph of pessimism would have to be FoxNews new poll, which showed Obama's lead down to three from his nine point lead only a week before. Panic set in.

But then I, and others, checked the internal numbers, and discovered that the later poll had a much smaller democrat to republican ratio than the earlier poll. Doing some basic math shows that if they had used the ration from the earlier poll, Obama's lead would have been seven points (50-43) instead of three.

Now many of us would like to believe this is another example of Fox bias (as if we needed another one). But as Nate Silver at www.fivethirtyeight.com correctly points out: Fox News has never weighted for party identification, so this is simply the luck of the draw. The fact that Fox hasn't pointed out the difference is, however, the example we are looking for.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Since I've Been Gone

I have found a couple of new blogs to enjoy. The entire stable of bloggers at The Atlantic is good. I've read Andrew Sullivan for years now. And recently, I have become hooked on Marc Ambinder for good and fair election news, and Ta-Nehisi Coates for a true heartfelt liberalism from an entirely different perspective than my own. Another good site for liberal perspective is Matt Yglesias' at Think Progress. I'm sure I'll think of more after I sign off, but those will do for now.

Seuss Meets Palin

To very funny results.


You want some evidence of McCain supporter desparation? Look no further than The Corner. Here is the full quote from the National Review's On-line editor, Kathryn Jean Lopez, speaking of the new arrow in John McCain's quiver:

You know, he could bring out some crowds in some battleground states. If I were the McCain campaign, I'd beg him to campaign all next week.
Who is this rallying savior of the McCain campaign? It is too obvious: It is Fred Thompson. Fred Thompson? Yes. Fred Thompson. He who received 13% of the Republican vote in Iowa, and reached his peak at 25% of the REpublican vote in Wyoming.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'm Back and Better than Ever

It's Better Left Said went unattended for too long. Now I'm back and re-energized to help (in the last few days) make Barak Obama our next President. After that, I'll just be spewing my thoughts on whatever catches my fancy. But most importantly, we now have to win an election. So let's go!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pot, Have You Met Kettle?

Geraldine Ferraro said about Barack Obama:

If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position . . . And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.
Lest you forget, Geraldine Ferraro was the 3-term congresswoman from New York who Walter Mondale chose as his running mate in 1984. Does she really think she would have been in that position if one of her X chromosomes had been a Y? Please. In politics, who one's parents are and various other factors totally out of one's control are extremely significant. Would Hillary be Senator from New York if she had not been First Lady? Would George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, or Al Gore reached their political heights if they did not have their parents? Probably not. So get over it Gerry.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Even A Stopped Clock . . .

Not long ago, I said that maybe there wasn't much dirt on Obama. Well, I'm not as stupid as I might sound.

David A. Paterson

Who, you say? Probably a very happy man today. Even if he says otherwise. And if Fox News can be trusted. Oh. Never mind.

Blithering Idiocy

How exactly does one pass the "National Security Threshold?" If you are the VP nominee, does the Presidential nominee have to physically carry you over it when the convention is over?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Teen Freedom of Speech

To all teenagers, if this is not reversed on appeal, you should all walk out of school. What the hell was the District Court Jusge thinking?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Obama On Education

If you care about education, I think this tells you why Barack Obama should be President. Man, he is good. Can I get an Amen!

Friday, February 29, 2008

It Is Getting Emabarrassing

If Hillary sues over the Texas delegate selection process, every super-delegate should immediately throw in with Obama.

Why "We" Haven't Been Attacked

Andrew Sullivan wonders why we haven't been attacked since 9/11. Here is my e-mail to him:

What amazes me about the analysis of why “we” haven’t been attacked since 9/11, is the limit of what “we” means. No, the US hasn’t been attacked, but Spain, Great Britain, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and probably more, have been attacked. It is a fallacy to think the Islamofascists are at war only against the US. They are at war against the modernist way of thinking. So “we” have been attacked.

Why has the US not been attacked on its own soil? Hard to tell. But don’t start thinking that the pause is somehow a first-time happening. Remember that between the two attacks on the World Trade Center, seven years went by with no Islamofascist attack on our soil. I am still waiting for the great outpouring of thanks to Bill Clinton for his ability to protect us. And perhaps the admission that, given Clinton’s Bush-like record defending the homeland, torture and warrantless wiretapping are not necessary.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ohio Debate

Two comments about the debate in Ohio last night and the reaction thereto.

First, Hillary complained that she always gets asked the first question in debates. she then segued into a "joke" culled from an SNL skit, and stated that "Maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow." I think she thought it would be a good laugh line to quote SNL, but it certainly felt forced. I suspect if Obama had been asked the first question she would have complained that the first person to answer gets to frame the debate and then used the same line.

Second, it is a current meme that the press has been too easy on Obama. It seems the claim is that no one has looked deeply into Obama's past to find dirt. But why do people assume that dirt exists? We've heard about Obama's connection to an indicted land developer, and his church's controversial views, and his drug use. Maybe that's it. Maybe the reason Russert seemed more tough on Clinton last night is because more ammunition exists. you can't blame Obama or the press if there is no dirty laundry to air.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I'd like to thank those who place comments on the blog. I encourage them to continue (that includes you "godfather")and for all to read the comments and join in.



According to the New York Times, Hillary is now arguing that Obama suffers from the same foreign policy naivite as George W. Bush:

“We’ve seen the tragic result of having a president who had neither the experience nor the wisdom to manage our foreign policy and safeguard our national security,” Mrs. Clinton said in a speech on foreign policy at George Washington University. “We can’t let that happen again.”
Well, I'm ready to defend Obama on the wisdom portion of this accusation. If I remember correctly, Obama was against invading Iraq, and Hillary was willing to trust Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. with the power to invade.

I am surprised Hillary went this way. It is such an easy accusation for Obama to counter, and brings up one of her biggest weaknesses in the Democratic primary.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Someone Took the Brown Acid

Mark Steyn at the Corner says that Michelle and Barack Obama are pessimists.


We've got one candidate, John McCain, whose entire campaign is going to be about spending 100 more years in one war, the inevitability of others, and the horror of terrorist attacks. We've got another candidate, Obama, who speaks of the things we can do as a nation to make ourselves better, and how he believes we can do it. Hell, his campaign slogan is "Yes We Can!" How exactly is that pessimisitic.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Historically, when a candidate wraps up his party's nomination for President, he immediately runs to the Center in order to appease moderates and other general election swing voters. For the first time I can remember, a candidate, John McCain, is being forced to run to the Right instead. This is confirmation of my claim that McCain has lucked into the nomination. If the Republicans really wanted him, he wouldn't be pandering to the base of the party even after they elected him.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What's In A Name

We love to tell our children that they could be President someday. But that might not be true. A person's name would seem to be a disqualifying factor in some circumstances. For example, there is no way someone named John Hitler will ever be President. Nor will young Charlie Manson. Just think about the fuss over Barack Hussein Obama's name. Does it sound too much like Osama? Will people think thet are voting for the illegitimate son of Saddam Hussein? But it is not just people with names similar to the infamous that cannot win, people with silly names also cannot win. For example, Mike Huckabee will never be President. Why? Because his last name is Huckabee. Just say the last names of the last 10 Presidents and you will understand: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush. Now say the names with "Huckabee" at the end. I dare you not to giggle. Sure, Eisenhower wasn't a name without obvious ethnicity, but it sure didn't sound silly.

Now what about Obama? Not exactly a normal American name. I suspect that a white politician named Barack Obama would have no chance, as the name is so foreign to us. But white America doesn't find it so odd that an African-American has an African sounding name. So white America does not find it so silly. "Huckabee" sounds silly no matter who has the name.

Some other politicians I think can never be President solely becasue of their names: Senator Jeff Bingaman, Senator Mike Crapo, Governor Mike Beebe, Governor Sonny Perdue, Governor Linda Lingle, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, Governor Ted Kulongoski, Rep. John Boozman, Rep. Elton Gallegly, Rep. Anna Eshoo, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. John Shimkus, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (actually, anyone with "Berry" as a part of the last name is doomed not to be President), Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Rep. John Boehner, Rep. Darlene Hooley, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte.

I'm sure there are more. I tried to stay away from names that were simply ethnic, and stay with silly as my test. Anyone got any others I missed?

Oh, and one person destined to be President? Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Not-So-Super Tuesday

Who'da thunk that after Super Tuesday, the Democratic race would be no different than prior to Super Tuesday? Hillary is still the frontrunner by a hair, but Obama is very much in the race. Way too close to call.

For the Republicans, they got lucky. They have stumbled into nominating their best candidate. I suspect McCain is neither the first or second choice of a majority of Republican voters, but the chaos of the campaign has let him win "winner-take-all" states with under 40% of the vote.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is There An Editor In the House?

i don't read much of Dick Morris' work, as he is a political whore who cares more about selling books than he does engaging in actual intelligent discourse. But when I do, I usually can't make it through more than two or three paragraphs before getting bored. In any event, this post is not about Morris, it is about the so-called editors at The Hill, a respected Congressional newspaper. In his most recent column for the newspaper, Morris analyzes Hillary Clinton's strategy of pulling out of South Carolina prior to this Saturday's primary. One sentence jumped out at me:

Blacks in Nevada overwhelmingly backed Obama and will obviously do so again in South Carolina, no matter how loudly former President Clinton protests.
Blacks in Nevada are going to support Obama in SC? Is there a massive bus convoy from Las Vegas to Myrtle Beach? My rudimentary search found no non-stop flights from Reno or Vegas to Charleston. It is amazing that so many African-Americans in Nevada will spend the time and money it takes to get to South Carolina and break various election laws by voting twice.

I know, I know. we all know what Morris meant. But I don't care if you write dumbass things as much if you don't write like a dumbass.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Truly Terrifying

My co-worker, who blogs as Great Stone Face, sent me an inspired Kurt Vonnegut quotation:

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover your high school class is running the country.

Apropos of Nothing (Tyra Banks Edition)

Has anyone else out there watched "America's Next Top Model?" Someone must be watching as I think it is in its 9th or 10th season. What kind of ego does Tyra Banks have? If you ever watch the show, turn it to another channel until the very end, when Tyra is announcing who gets to stay and who has to go. Just about every reality show has the same ending. But what I find interesting is where the host stands or sits when he/she announces who is in and who is going home (or at least to a hotel pending the end of the taping of the show). Look at these photos:

Notice that in each case, the host and judges are at the same level or below the contestants. But look at Tyra in her reality show, when she is delivering the good or bad news. Ignore (if you can) the rant. She has placed herself above the contestants. They all have to look up at her. And then she has the gall to lecture this one girl that she doesn't know what Tyra's been through. Read about her difficult life. Oh, the humanity!

What a egomaniacal dope.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Great Video: 1 to 100

Posted many places but I watched it on Stone Face Blog.

Maybe It Should Have Been Left Unsaid

Obviously, when it comes to politics, I have no idea what I'm talking about. But I'll try again. I am now leaning to the idea of a Hillary victory overall. She has successfully changed the story line from "change" to "race." Also, I know some pretty smart people who are buying what Hillary and her supporters are selling about Obama. For example, my dear mother cites Obama's lack of experience as her primary reason for supporting Hillary. And a co-worker of mine was actually persuaded by this hit-job on Obama. As Andrew Sullivan points out, Richard Cohen links Obama and Louis Farrakhan even though Obama's representative, David Axelrod, explicitly stated that Obama disagreed with his pastor's support for Farrakhan. But if intelligent people are falling for this stuff, I suspect its working nationwide.

As for the Republicans: What a glorious mess. A friend of mine believes, and I agree, that to have a real shot at the nomination, a 2008 Republican candidate needs to win one of Michigan, SC, and FL. Romney has his win. I think its between McCain and Huckabee in SC (and possibly Fred Thompson), and the loser of that battle versus Giuliani in Florida. That makes for a possible three way race on February 5, and hopefully a brokered convention.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Its a Good Day For Kucinich

Not only has Dennis Kucinich convinced a Nevada State Court that he should be in an MSNBC debate; but numerous people in Texas have reported seeing a UFO last night.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tunnel Vision on Islam and Iran

Fred Thompson is no fool. That is why his statement at the most recent Fox News debate is so scary and disturbing. When discussing the recent incident in the Strait of Hormuz involving Iran Revolutionary Guard and the US Navy, Thompson said:

"I think one more step and they would have been introduced to those virgins that they're looking forward to seeing."
Apparently, Thompson does not understand that the Iran Revolutionary Guard is a branch of the Iranian military. It is not a group of martyr wannabes, who would, I guess, expect virgins upon thier martyrdom. I assume, of course, some of the Revolutionary Guard are, but not all. In other words, it is not Hamas. This is a classic example of conflating a political/military enemy of the United States with terrorists in order to inflame fear.

This is why the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment is so dangerous. It designated the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Therefore, under Thompson's thinking, they must all be suicide-bombing Islamists who deserve to die. Scary!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bush in Israel

If you need a reason to be glad January 21, 2009, is fast approaching, look at this picture:

He just looks too damn happy to be receiving a lame T-shirt.

Political Daze

What just happened? I'm feeling dizzy. I have no idea what to make of the New Hampshire results for the Dems. My analysis still holds up for the Repubs, I guess. Can you think of a more exciting, nail-biting election?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Division Is Not his Best Subject

Bret Stephens has a mostly unremarkable column in the Wall Street Journal basically letting us know how lucky we are to live in America. But his first paragraph (which really has little or nothing to do with the remainder of the column) is just plain silly. He writes:

Barack Obama, still fresh from his victory in Iowa last week and confident of another in New Hampshire tonight, has as his signature campaign theme the promise to "end the division" in America. Notice the irony: The scale of his Iowa victory, in a state that's 94% white, is perhaps the clearest indication so far that the division Mr. Obama promises to end has largely been put to rest.
In other words, Obama's win in Iowa demonstrates that division based on race no longer exists in America. Now, this might come as a surprise to those in the inner cities of this country, and in our justice system, but even if it were true, Stephens is misrepresenting Obama's claims of division.

Obama does not talk of a racial division in the country. Instead, he speaks, quite eloquently, of a political division. I can only assume that Mr. Stephens wants to further his own belief that racial division (and I assume unequal opportunity) needs no cure in this country. But why he feels a need to preface his column with a misleading claim of irony escapes me.

Who Would They Want?

One significant problem for the Republicans this year is that they seem to hate all their potential standard bearers:

Mitt Romney - Mormon flip-flopper
Rudy Giuliani - Pro-gay, anti-gun, pro-choice
John McCain - weak on immigration, pro-campaign finance reform, weak on tax cuts
Mike Huckabee - unelectable, tax-hiking, big-spender
Fred Thompson - good on issues, but doesn't seem to care

So the question is: If Republicans could choose a candidate, who would it be? the only person I can think of is Newt Gingrich. Any other ideas?

NH (and after) Predictions

It is not hard to predict Obama and McCain victories. But what happens then? I figure if Obama wins by more than 8 or 9, he will definitely win South Carolina (where recent polls have him up by double digits already) and probably in Nevada (where the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, a very influential group in Las Vegas, is likely to endorse Obama). If Hilary had more money than Obama, I would say she still had a good chance in the big states voting on February 5. But Obama will have equal financial ability and a lead in the polls. So, unless Hilary can do something dramatic, or Obama does something dramatically stupid, I think the nomination is his.

As for the Republicans, I have no idea what happens next, but I'll take a stab at it. I think McCain's win in NH leads him to a win in Michigan, and kills any real chance Romney has. But Huckabee, with a third place finish in NH, then probably wins in South Carolina, where he has a significant lead in the polls. then it all comes down to Florida. If Romney is all but out by then, I think his votes break for McCain and Huckabee more than Giuliani. Therefore, I think Giuliani's current lead in Florida disappears. And believe it or not, I think Huckabee wins Florida. What then? I guess Huckabee, McCain, and Giuliani fight it out on February 5. I don't know who has the most money - probably Giuliani. My guess is that the three candidates start relying on different places for support. Giuliani looks to NY, CA, NJ, etc, places with moderate republican leanings. McCain probably looks West, and Huckabee looks South. that would seem to be a winning strategy for Giuliani because his states are more delegate rich. So I'll take a flier and say it is Obama vs. Giuliani in the general.

Friday, January 4, 2008


What a set of results! First, I must admit to my failure as a political seer. I had no idea the results would be Huckabee by 9 and Obama by 8, with Hilary third. This throws both races into turmoil, with only 5 days until New Hampshire.

What effect does all this have on the races? Damned if I know. I think the Huckabee win helps McCain and Giuliani (and obviously Huckabee). It helps McCain because Romney, who was already faltering in Hew Hampshire, has lost any positive momentum, and McCain appears likely to win NH. It helps Giuliani (gulp!) because it means no Republican candidate is likely to be the front runner before the Florida primary. Therefore, Giuliani still has a good chance there, and will go to the Super Tuesday primaries on 2/5 with a win.

Obama's win is, I think, transformative. As Juan Williams noted on Fox News last night - who'd have thought a black man could win a caucus in such an extraordinarily white state as Iowa? I think this will propel Obama to wins in South Carolina, and a number of other Southern states. Why? Because, I think a large portion of the African-American vote has been going to Hilary on the assumption that a black man cannot win in November. After Iowa, that assumption is much less valid. Hilary might still win in NH, which will reenergize her campaign, but what was once a not so competitive race after SC becomes a real dog fight. A loss in NH will really hurt her, and require something big to recover.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Iowa Caucuses

Now the fun begins. And already, I have to change my predictions. I now think it is Obama and Romney. This probably kills Huckabee's chances. If Edwards beats Hillary, he still has a fighter's chance. If she comes in second, and Edwards is third, he is history.