Yearly Archives: 2007

The Hidden Vote

Interesting article in the Chicago Sun-Times about how Barack Obama’s campaign staff is for the first time, claiming in a memo released to the press that Obama has a “hidden vote” not seen by polls:

“…polls consistently under-represent in Iowa, and elsewhere, the strength of Barack’s support among younger voters for at least three reasons. In more than one survey, Barack’s support among Iowa young voters exceeded the support of all the other candidates combined. First, young voters are dramatically less likely to have caucused or voted regularly in primaries in the past, so pollsters heavily under-represent them. Second, young voters are more mobile and are much less likely to be at home in the early evening and thus less likely to be interviewed in any survey. Third, young voters are much less likely to have a landline phone and much more likely to rely exclusively upon cell phones, which are automatically excluded from phone surveys. So all of these state and national surveys have and will continue to under-represent Barack’s core support – in effect, his hidden vote in each of these pivotal early states. Of course, there are organizational challenges associated with maximizing this support, but we are heavily focused on that task.”

This may seem like a quasi ridiculous statement to older voters, but it obvious to anyone who spent time on a college campus. Obama has overwelming support among these “fuck land lines” young people, even with people who don’t like politics in general. Not only do people love him, they even always exclaim, “Doesn’t everybody support him? I don’t see how he can be down in the polls.” They all love him, but the problem is they also still believe they are in the passive, no use-in-participating system.

Obama needs to be issuing a challenge to all young voters. He needs to get more pro-active with them. Help them organize. Reach out in an unprecedented way. God knows he has to money that can help set-up a process to make sure college kids with cell phones vote. Obviously they never have before, or they wouldn’t always be excluded from scientific polls, so he should not be taking this issue lightly. The support is there to win the whole thing for him, he just has to make sure he can get that same support to the polls on election day.

Francona is blowing it for the Sox

Can someone tell me why Terry Francona continues to pitch Curt Schilling like he’s 25 years old? I mean this guy is forty-fucking-two and Francona just lets him pitch into the 7th and 8th innings every time he has a lead. I mean, as much as I dislike Schilling as a human being, it’s obvious he can still pitch, just like Roger Clemens can still pitch. But there is a reason Joe Torre strictly adheres to the policy of taking Clemens out at the end of the sixth: Because he’s fucking old.

How many games has Francona blown by leaving Schilling in an inning longer than he should? He’s got three all-star relievers in his bullpen, yet he just sits there and lets Curt give up a three run home runs after his arm gets tired out. It seems like it happens every other game, and he just never learns.

AP: Barack the Maverick

A politician telling the truth. How rare. Reason #684 why Barack Obama is a better choice than Hillary Clinton.

edb452a6-9028-473a-baab-46425b9f1dbd1.jpg

Via Huffingtonpost.com & AP

WASHINGTON — Democrat Barack Obama has a habit of telling interest groups what they don’t want to hear, even at the risk of alienating audiences critical to the prospects of a presidential candidate.

Not to be undone by his rivals, the Illinois senator has made remarks befitting the myriad of forums and debates he’s attended, praising the work of unions, upholding Israel to Jewish groups and decrying President Bush’s spending on education.

But he’s also uttered words not often heard, especially when Democratic constituencies gather. For example:

_Obama told the National Education Association that performance-based merit pay ought to be considered in public schools.

D.addClass(\\’top_news\\’, \\’inline\\’); _Cuban exiles are considered one of the keys to winning Florida, but he disagreed with leaders who want a full embargo against Fidel Castro’s government and instead called for allowing travel and money to the island.

_Michigan voters play an important role in national politics, but Obama visited Detroit to lecture the state’s biggest industry for failing to improve automobile fuel efficiency.

“I don’t do this for shock value,” Obama said in a recent interview while campaigning in New Hampshire.

“There may be people who chose not to support me because I’m not telling them what they want to hear or reinforcing their preconceptions,” he told The Associated Press. “I want to be elected to the presidency not by having pretended I was one thing and then surprise people with an agenda, but to get the agenda elected, to get a mandate for change. And you can’t do that if you’re not doing some truth telling.”

Obama’s approach was a signature of chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton’s husband in the 1992 presidential campaign. The strategy is known in modern politics as a “Sister Souljah.”

In addressing a black audience, Bill Clinton accused the hip hop artist of inciting violence against whites. Some black leaders criticized Clinton, but it helped reinforce his image as a voice of moderation against crime who refused to pander.

Also in 1992, Clinton gave back-to-back speeches to a black audience in Detroit and a white audience in the city’s suburbs, challenging both to reach across the racial divide to bring political change. A year into his presidency, Clinton told black ministers in Memphis that they must do more to stop violent crime in black communities.

“Telling a friendly audience something they don’t want to hear is a signal that you can stand up on the tough issues,” said Democratic consultant Jamal Simmons. “There will be people who will be upset, but many times the audiences aren’t the people in the room but the people on televisions who see you telling you something to a friend that they don’t like.”

Simmons said the politician also has to have enough credibility with the audience to deliver a tough message like telling blacks they need to do more to stop crime. “Other than Bill Clinton, I don’t know a white politician who could say it,” he said.

Since Obama offers blacks a chance to put one of their own in the White House for the first time, he comes with instant credibility.

He has told blacks that they are letting homophobia stop them from fighting the spread of AIDS. He repeated a similar message at the largely white Saddleback megachurch, telling the congregation that they should stop preaching abstinence only and instead promote condom use.

He says blacks need to vote and clean up their neighborhoods. He has decried movements against affirmative action and unequal spending in black and white schools, but he has said parents also have a responsibility to better educate their children.

“Turn off the television set and put away the Game Boy and make sure that you’re talking to your teacher and that we get over the anti-intellectualism that exists in some of our communities where if you conjugate your verbs and if you read a book that somehow means you are acting white,” he said during a speech in Selma, Ala., to commemorate the civil rights march there.

The comments were reminiscent of controversial statements made by comedian Bill Cosby, who said lower-economic people are not parenting and are failing the civil rights movement by “not holding up their end in this deal.”

Cosby was criticized by many blacks and accused of elitism and reinforcing stereotypes. Obama sees a difference in their approaches.

“I think language matters,” he said. “I think that the African-American community recognizes there are problems in terms of black men not being home and an element of anti-intellectualism that’s in the community. And I think people can hear that as long as you also recognize that the larger society has neglected these communities and that some of this is an outgrowth of segregation and slavery. So you put it in context so it doesn’t seem like out of the blue you are quote-unquote ‘blaming the victim.'”

Perhaps his ultimate diss came when he said he won’t go to any more forums because he said he needs the time to campaign to voters beyond the party’s core activists. It also cuts into his time fundraising and he has acknowledged that the short time for answers at the debates are not his best format.

“I do think that the Democratic Party should be greater than the sum of its parts,” Obama said.

Outdated Ratings Systems

I’ve had enough of the sexually-charged 1-10 ratings scale, as well as the phrase “Cloud 9″, and I’ll tell you why. Neither one is able to correctly convey accurate descriptions on the sexy vixen you’re staring at or the degree of happiness you’re feeling.

 If we’re going to continue to hand down scathing judgements of superficial appearance from our faultless thrones, we need to embrace it totally. There’s no reason to half-ass an exercise that is already demeaning. Now, the “5” falls right in the middle of the rating scale, constituting an average, nondescript individual. And of course, no one has ever seen a “10”, because who can honestly say they’ve seen perfection. We are animals that thrive on hope, and naming a ten would be like saying there is no greener grass over yonder. So this shitty scale is actually 6-9. Four numbers to rate people with? No! I say, why are we reserving valuable numbers for people sitting on the 0-5 levels? WHY are we even wasting our time to rate these people? They’re obviously bottom of the heap scum, whether by their unseemly appearance or the rater’s inflated cranium.

 So now, the average, boring person will fall between 0 and 2. Keep in mind, if they are worth even rating, then that’s a compliment. A 2 should be grateful for the opportunity to even get a number.

 The same holds true for “Cloud 9″. This phrase is overused and should be considered inadmissible for situations like getting a job. How can working put someone on the highest absolute level of happiness? Endorphins aren’t absolutes. If I remember psychology correctly, they are released in varying amounts, depending on what the situation merits. So where the fuck did clouds 1-8 go? Sitting on a cloud at all would make me pretty damn happy. Think about it.

Scared of the Snowman

appletv20070530-1.jpg

Last Monday all eight Democratic candidates for President participated in the inaugural Youtube/CNN debate, where ordinary citizens were able to submit their questions to the potential nominees in the form of 30 second video clips. The Democrats fielded tough questions regarding health care, gay marriage, the War in Iraq, and the environment, which seemed, at least to me, to elicit more revealing answers than the normal media elite-driven debates.

Earlier this week, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, among others, cited “scheduling conflicts” and announced they would not be participating in the corresponding Republican Youtube debate. The only candidates of the ten that confirmed their attendance were Ron Paul, McCain, and Tommy Thompson, probably the three Republicans that are willing to speak bluntly on issues, and three who have the least to lose. It’s a spineless excuse and shows exactly how far out of touch the party is with the general population, but if I was Romney or Guiliani’s campaign manager, I would never let them do a YouTube debate under any circumstances. These days, being a Republican and being asked questions by people who are not your supporters is a dangerous task and has the potential to ruin a campaign.

Can you imagine the horror these campaigns are probably fearing could come from these 30 second clips from ordinary Americans?? They got a taste of it from the Democratic debate and they know the questions will be quite similar. It is one thing for Giuliani and Romney to sit and listen to abstract questions from Wolf Blitzer about whether or not we need to stay the course in Iraq. They can babble senselessly about “listening to Gen. Patraeas,” “setting no timetables,” and “fighting on the offensive” for hours. Those meaningless talking points can be spouted out ad nauseum. It is quite another task entirely for them to watch a widowed wife or a grief stricken father sit there and describe their son or husband’s death while asking why we are still fighting people who just want us out of their own country.

Or what about when, just as in the Democratic debate, you have people with Alzheimer’s, diabetes, or cancer explaining how they cannot afford health insurance or are going bankrupt because of incomplete or no coverage. They will ask why we are the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t treat basic medical care as a right, and why their lives have to be ruined just because they got sick. The candidates will have to watch these videos and then say into the camera they don’t support universal health care because it might drive down the profits of insurance companies.

Or what about when an illegal immigrant comes on the screen with his three little kids, ages 9, 7, and 3? He explains how he is a single parent and works 60 hours a week in a job that no one else will do just to feed his family. And then he asks, if he is willing to pay a fine, why can’t he stay in this country? Each candidate is going to have to get up there and say since he crossed an imaginary line “illegally,” the man is a criminal and subject to deportation. His kids can stay, though, because they were born in the US. Unfortunately for them they will probably have to be separated and given to foster parents.

The party that peaches “family values” is not really going to want to respond to such a video. They’re not going to want to explain why 47 million people cannot have health insurance. And they certainly don’t want to explain why Americans have to continue to die in Iraq just to mediate a civil war. Of course, there are major “scheduling conflicts.” CNN has decided to move the debate to accommodate Giuliani and Romney. But as long as the candidates are forced to respond to questions from actual Americans facing the consequences of their party’s actions, something tells me their schedules will be perpetually full until the election.

Watch Corrupt NBA Ref Absolutely SCREW The Suns

NBA referee Tim Donaghy resigned Tuesday following allegations by the FBI that he was involved in a mafia-run gambling ring, bet on NBA games, and affected the point spreads in contests that he personally officiated.

Phoenix Suns fans, still smoldering over the Spurs Playoff Series because the fallacious and lopsided suspensions of Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudamire in Game 5, and the gashed nose of Steve Nash that kept him out of the end of Game 1, will no doubt be even more furious watching this:

Below is video highlights of Tim Donaghy absolutely butchering Game 3 of the same series. The officiating is so atrocious that the national TV announcers, Mike Breen and Jon Barry, actually call him out by name.

Makes you wonder if, barring events outside of their control in Games 1, 3, and 5, Phoenix could have swept the series, nevermind win it. Instead they went down in six.

Fear and Loathing on the Murdoch Campaign Trail

murdoch1.jpg 

As controversial media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his company, News Corporation, made clear their intentions to buy the Dow Jones Company (in the area of $5.5 billion), and namely its chief asset The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper industry has been buzzing as to the implications of such a monumental sale.

Murdoch’s desire for the Wall Street Journal, one of America’s most venerable print institutions as well as one of its few remaining family owned publications is well documented. It’s an interesting question for the journalism world, especially in such uncertain times. What will happen to the Journal under the stewardship of a man among whose prize commercial possessions include the New York Post and the not so venerable Fox News Channel? A member of the Dow Jones board has already resigned in protest to the sale, fearing for the Journal’s journalistic standards.

Continue reading

The Definition of "Progress"

“Progress” as defined by Dictionary.com:

1. a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage
2. advancement in general
3. continuous improvement

——–

George W. Bush on Iraq:

7/17/07: “We can report that satisfactory progress is being made…”

Mid 2006: “Progress will be steady…”

Nov. 2005: “Iraqis are making inspiring progress.”

Oct. 2005: “Iraq has made incredible political progress.”

April 2005: “We’re making good progress in Iraq.”

Sept. 2004: The United States is “making steady progress…”

Oct. 2003: “We’re making really good progress.”

——–

He must be using a different dictionary than me.

Ahhh, Hypocrites

david_vitter1.jpg This is David Vitter with his lovely wife Wendy (you know, the one with the pained, tense, humiliated expression), as they appear at a recent press conference. David, the Republican Senator from Louisiana, is probably wishing that his telephone number wasn’t among those found in the rolodex of the now infamous DC Madam Deborah Jeanne Palfey. Wendy on the other hand, is probably wishing, among other things of course, that her up and coming hotshot husband not only didn’t sneak off for a little R&R while away on business in the Capitol, but that he didn’t once describe marriage as, “the most important social institution in human history”.

You see, Vitter started making a name for himself politically voting in favor of Bill Clinton’s impeachment because he was (get this) “morally unfit” to serve as President. He recently was an avid proponent in passing a Constitutional ammendment banning same sex marriage to protect the very instution he conveniently forgot when he was placing calls to pay for sex WHILE VOTES WERE BEING TALLIED ON THE SENATE FLOOR.

Continue reading