Wednesday, February 27, 2008

For Hillary, conspiracies everywhere

We've seen all sides of Senator Hillary Clinton over the last year--the side that is happy when winning, and the side that whines when losing. I was struck last night by her performance in the final Democratic debate--starting off so strong and then derailing herself by complaining that the moderators were being too hard on her. It was almost a microcosm of her entire campaign.

And if you missed it, here's the clip.


Not to mention her complaint against MSNBC making her "go first" twice in a row was as senseless as her complaints about Barack Obama being all style and no substance. Clinton wanted to prove she was a fighter, but there she was also battling the press. She batted the first question on health care around for most of the first 16 minutes making Obama look a little slow. She was doing fine. I thought to myself--this is a good tactic. Don't even let him talk. Run the ball, eat up the clock. And then she got a chance to answer the 2nd question first. And I honestly though--they're playing right into her hands.

And, rather than seizing it, and keeping Obama on the ropes, she complained about how unfair it was to go first twice in a row. Wha? Obama was obviously dying to talk and by not being able to go first he couldn't set the tone like she could. But she just had to get that odd jab in there, obviously written by some handler. Tina Fey? Saturday Night Live? Saturday Night Live hasn't been relevant for 15 years at least.

And it was passive aggressive complaint at that--that she found it curious she had to go first twice but was "happy to do so." What? No, you weren't happy, that's why you're complaining, right? The dark side of Hillary came out, seeing conspiracies everywhere. Is this the kind of president we want?

I was reminded of the George Packer article on Obama and Clinton from the New Yorker:

When I described to Greg Craig the Clinton campaign’s skepticism toward the idea of transcending partisanship, he said, “You’re getting to that five per cent of Hillary that I don’t like—which is to see in every corner a conspiracy or an opponent that must be crushed. Look at her comment ‘Now the fun part starts’ ”—Clinton’s announcement in Iowa that she would begin attacking Obama’s record. “There is a quality of playing the embattled, beleaguered victim that I find unappealing and depressing.” He added, “I want a President who is looking to move the country with positive inspirational ideas rather than to fight off the bad guys and proclaim victory by defeating the forces of reaction. I would like us to inspire the forces of reaction to join us in treating people better, and lifting more vulnerable people and people in jeopardy out of their vulnerability and jeopardy.”

I was so surprised that Hillary, knowing those are her weak points, would emphasize them in the debate. But she can't help herself. She has been spurned on prom night. She has been left at the alter. And now, conspiracies are everywhere.

Obama did not have a great debate. He let her filibuster on and on and he seemed to be subdued and tired. But he was dignified. Compared with his poise her blatherings seemed to border on the lunatic fringe. She may be brilliant, but that last 5% of her is so unlikeable it will cost her 100% of the nomination. You can see why 40% of Americans would never vote for her.
Even when she was the presumptive nominee there was a type of malaise about it among Democrats. It turns out we were just waiting for the right person to come along. And it's not her.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nader begins campaign to nowhere

GOP hired-gun Ralph Nader has begun yet another presidential run to nowhere, a thinly veiled campaign to derail the Democrats this November.

Nader, whose 2000 campaign raised zero awareness on issues while concurrently securing the state of Florida for George W. Bush, will run as an independent. In 2004 Nader received 0.38% of the popular vote.

Long since insignificant, Nader makes no difference in most states during a presidential election. But in battleground states where every vote is important, a third party candidate can become a type of king-maker.

In an ironic twist many of those who vote for Nader do so out of protest, opting for the extreme left-wing candidate who represents the greatest shift from the status quo. These unwitting liberals end up throwing their support to the GOP by denying their vote the Democratic candidate. Thus, Nader only takes votes from the left, sucking them up into his black void, and doing Republicans an important electoral service, further destroying the country.

Your seat belt is on too tight again, Ralph.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, blamed by many Democrats for their loss of the White House in the 2000 election, said on Sunday he is launching another independent campaign for the White House.

Nader, who will turn 74 this week, announced his longshot presidential bid on NBC's "Meet the Press" saying that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans were addressing problems facing Americans.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wisconsin Primary Summary

Tonight Clinton and Obama square off in the Wisconsin primary. Obama's sizable lead has dwindled. I have a feeling Wisconsin will blow this. I got that feeling this morning listening to sports radio here in the Twin Cities and some guy called up to complain about a Viking's broadcaster who, few years ago, said the Vikings were going to lose in the first round of the play-offs. The caller is still holding this grudge. Here's a grown man still stewing over this, whining about how the announcer sold the Vikings out and sounded like a baby. Grow up, man. My point? There are a lot of knobs up here in the great white north. Wisconsin's going to Clinton.

Monday, February 18, 2008

USDA: Most recalled beef has probably been eaten

Here's your daily OH MY GOD, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE alert:

Federal officials are trying to track down the 143 million pounds of beef recalled Sunday, but they say that most of it has probably been eaten.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

F'd up society alert

No, I'm not going to give any attention or thought to that misfit who killed seven people at Northern Illinois University. He looked like a pud was no-doubt repressed sexually.

Speaking of sexuality, you may have heard about Jane Fonda using the word "cunt" on the Today show. This word drew fire and was removed from subsequent broadcasts of the show and led to an apology from Fonda and host Meredith Vierra. But Fonda was on the show to promote her work in a play called "The Vagina Monologues" in which women
talk about their sexuality using frank language about their bodies and references to genitalia. How do you promote that play and not sound vulgar if using the "c" word is vulgar? Come on, people. Why have her on the show at all? If we're going to talk about a groundbreaking play boldly called "The Vagina Monologues" can the actress at least have the freedom to say what she wants? Isn't that the whole fucking point? I can't take much more of this.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Will President Bush pardon Clemens?

This whole Clemens / congress thing is a farce. Why not cap it off by a Presidential pardon for the Texas alumni?

One of Brian McNamee's lawyers predicted that if Roger Clemens is convicted in connection with the baseball steroids scandal, he'd be pardoned by President Bush. Lawyer Richard Emery also said some Republicans treated his client harshly because of the pitcher's friendship with the Bush family.

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Valentine's Day typically sucky

Top 5 worst days packaged, hyped, and perpetuated on the American public:

5. Valentine's Day. Enjoy being mocked? Nothing says romance quite like commercials telling everyone how to be romantic. Flowers? OK. Chocolates? OK. Teddy bears. Um... Pajama-grams? Ugh... Are we having fun yet? I can't wait until this shit is ova with.

4. Halloween. What started off as a fun day for kids has been predictably hijacked by 18 to 35 year-olds who zip-up in costume to mask their otherwise everyday juvenile and assholish behavior.

3. St. Patricks Day. What started off as a fun day for hard-drinking Irish has been predictably hijacked by 18 to 35 year-olds who zip-up in costume to mask their otherwise everyday juvenile and assholish behavior.

2. Cinco de Mayo. What started off as a fun day for hard-drinking Mexicans has been predictably hijacked by 18 to 35 year-olds who zip-up in costume to mask their otherwise everyday juvenile and assholish behavior.

1. New Year's Eve. A day of respite and reflection has been predictably hijacked by 18 to 35 year-olds who zip-up in costume to mask their otherwise everyday juvenile and assholish behavior.

I'm out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kanye Wins Grammys

I thought it had been a pretty quiet week. It turns out the sound I didn't hear was Kanye West crying, bitching, and moaning about being snubbed at the Grammys. I've been informed that West won four Grammys Sunday night giving him almost nothing to complain about other than the fact that the Grammys are a total sham.

"Did you know Jimi Hendrix never won no Grammy?" West was heard saying after the ceremony. "That just blows my mind. I guess the man just throws this junk at artists who are establishment enough."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Who Are the Superdelegates?

Everyone's talking about the Superdelegates, but no one's really saying anything. Who are they? You may be surprised to find out their information is a not so closely guarded secret, and their ranks swell like a 70s funk lineup. Included in the lineup are former Democratic presidents (guess who Bill Clinton has pledged to vote for?); current Democratic governors, senators, and representatives; former representatives; high-ranking members of liberal organizations; DNC officials; and a sprinkling of others. Each superdelegate gets a vote at the Democratic National convention, above and beyond the elected delegates from state primaries and caucuses. Since most of the superdelgates come from elected positions such as state governors or representatives their role is largely superfluous in the nomination process.

After the 1968 DNC convention, changes were put in place to limit the power of DNC party officials in the delegate selection process and more responsive to votes cast during the campaign for nomination. This lasted until 1980 when party leaders felt their power had diminished too far. In response the superdelegate rule was enacted after the 1980 election. By 1984 party leaders were already in the process of usurping the will of the people, handing the nomination to Walter Mondale largely on superdelegate support, taking it away from Gary Hart. Mondale went on to lose 49 of 50 states to Ronald Reagan in the general election. Now in 2008 they could once again trump the will of the people.

In a perfect, or even rational system, your vote would count directly on who you want to be nominated for your party. In our system it goes towards a % of delegates for various candidates. Then there are the additional superdelegates who make up 20% of the nominating delegates at the convention. No one voted for these people to nominate anyone. Therefore your vote is 20% less effective because people like Bill Clinton need to be able to vote for their entrenched party peers (in this case, his lovely wife). It makes no sense to me but I enjoy how it is passed off so casually on Sunday morning shows as if the superdelegates play some important check in the nominating process. I haven't read that particular talking point. It seems to be to be a left over idea from the good-ol-boy network.

In closing, the superdelegates of the DNC are an antiquated notion, tied to a desire for a few people to retain undue control over the party. Their presence adds an unnecessary layer of obfuscation to an already ridiculously complex nomination process. The superdelegates are at best undemocratic and at worst completely unnecessary. Their existence is almost as unfortunate as the Electoral College.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Obama wins Grammy

Is there anything this guy can't do?

Fresh from their feud on the campaign trail, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama beat Bill Clinton in a contest almost as closely watched as the primaries being waged across the United States -- the music industry's Grammy Awards.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Obama sweeps 3 states, Virgin Islands

Viva, Obama!

Sen. Barack Obama swept the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington state Saturday night, slicing into Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's slender delegate lead in their historic race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

George Will: Democrats Living Dangerously

Another pundit, this time Republican George Will, articulates the Democrat's dilemma perfectly.

Forewarned, Democrats now are forearmed -- not that they will necessarily make sensible use of the gift. Tuesday's voting armed Democratic voters with the name of the candidate that their nominee will face in the fall. Will their purblind party now nominate the most polarizing person in contemporary politics, knowing that Republicans will nominate the person who tries to compensate for his weakness among conservatives with his strength among independent voters who are crucial to winning the White House?

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Welcome to the Year of the Rat

The Chinese New Year predicts bad times in the year of the Rat. Just what I needed stuffed in my fortune cookie.

The Year of the Rat threatens to see a build-up of international tensions, natural and air disasters, and a more turbulent stock market, soothsayers and analysts say.

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Super Tuesday Wrap-Up

As an Obama supporter, I'm pretty happy with his showing on Super Tuesday. Six months ago Hillary Clinton was the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination. Since then she has been slowly loosing ground to Obama and yesterday he broke even with her on the biggest day of the nomination process. This essentially bought him another round in the fight. He has the money to go further and he has the momentum. The Clinton camp will try to play this off as a victory, but clearly Obama did better than expected.

On the Republican side John McCain seized control of the GOP nomination, all but eliminating Mitt Romney. Mike Huckabee did well thanks to a strong showing in the south but he really has no chance anymore. Right now he is playing for vice president. A McCain-Hukcabee ticket could be interesting and formidable: experience plus values. You know how the conservatives love those things (reminds me of Cheney + Bush).

This brings me to an interesting situation for the Democrats. Thanks to the results on Super Tuesday they already know who they will be playing against in November. The Democrats can now pick the more formidable opponent to face McCain. This opponent is not Mrs. Clinton.

Clinton has been running on her so-called experience. McCain will neutralize that in a second. He has far more experience than Clinton does. McCain also has very high negatives among conservative voters. Clinton's, of course, are much higher. While McCain may not be able to unify and ignite the GOP electorate, the specter of Billary back in the White House certainly will. If someone like John Kerry incited so much contempt among the right-wing, what will they make of Hillary?

Many Democrats look at this and say--who cares? She's our candidate, and they don't have to like it. But the Democrats should carefully consider the losers they have run for President post-Clinton. Al Gore and John Kerry, while certainly experienced, and deserving, were certainly not charismatic. The fact that both of those luminaries could lose to a knucklehead like George W. Bush shows how much charisma does matter.

Enter Barack Obama. There's a reason why Mr. Obama is still alive and well, and gaining speed. There's a certain void open in the middle that Mrs. Clinton cannot fill. She is divisive and works the fringes and divides and conquers. Obama is filled with the rhetoric of unity and pragmatism. He says things like "we are the change we have been waiting for." He understands it takes all of us, the right, the middle, and the left, to create change. And he is not ashamed to say so. That might be why every Republican I know voted for Mr. Obama yesterday.

McCain would have his hands full against Mr. Obama, who is not running on insider experience or beltway connections. He is running on the power of grassroots and the power of the common person. He is youthful, and utterly unashamed. He claim the middle voter that McCain desperately needs to win.

The Democrats find themselves in an amazing position to win. The 2004 election loss was inexcusable for two reasons. One, George W. Bush was such a dope. And two, all the Democrats had to do was pick a person who neutralized his strengths. Someone like Howard Dean who did not vote for the war. But they went with Kerry, who tried to be like Bush, and was chewed up, spit out, and booed off stage. Will the Democrats make the same mistake in 2008? Or are they in it to win this time?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Police: Fla. driver's beer was buckled up, infant was not

On Super Tuesday, a reminder of how dumb people are.

A St. Augustine, Fla., woman stopped for suspected drunken driving on Super Bowl Sunday made sure the seat belt was snugly around her front-seat passenger: a case of Busch beer. Trouble is, according to First Coast News, Tina Williams' 1-year-old daughter in the back seat had neither a belt nor child seat.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Keillor Endorses Obama

I'm happy to report that Lake Wobegon has thrown its friendly hat into the ring for Obama. Rhubarb pie, anyone?

Obama? Ya.

Garrison Keillor, host of public radio's "A Prairie Home Companion," has endorsed Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president, Obama's campaign announced Sunday.

"I'm happy to support your candidacy, which is so full of promise for our country," the best-selling author and humorist wrote in a letter declaring his support. "Seven years of a failed presidency is a depressing thing, and the country is pressing for a change and looking for someone with clear vision who is determined to break through the rhetorical logjam and find sensible ways to move our country forward. That's you, friend."

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Obama packs Target Center in Minneapolis

I was at the Target Center in Minneapolis today to see Obama.  People were lined up around the block and jammed into the skyways to get into the arena.  The man is a rock star.

Presidential politics landed with a bang in Minnesota on Saturday, when thousands thronged to the Target Center to see Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was set to greet supporters at a more intimate gathering in Edina.

Obama drew almost 20,000 to the arena for a speech that brought the audience to its feet when he spoke out against lobbyists, promised to spend more on students and said he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. A couple of parents hoisted small children onto their shoulders for a better view.

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Hillary's Looming Electability Crisis

Talk of Hillary's electability (read: un-electability) is ratcheting up in the days prior to Super Tuesday, which will probably decide who becomes the Democratic nominee. I'd like to think I was ahead of the curve on this one. I personally know at least six Republicans (read: every Republican I know) who will vote specifically against her if she becomes the Democratic nominee. Those same people would vote for Obama if he gets the nomination.

Here's an article from Huffington Post which articulates my point.

There are moments in time when you see a slow-motion disaster unfolding before you, and you can only yell out and hope those around you notice in time. Now is such a moment for Democrats, and "in time" means before the Super Duper primaries this Tuesday across the nation. Hillary Clinton may be a good U.S. Senator, and has deep symbolic importance as our first viable female presidential candidate, but three factors represent crippling structural flaws for the Democratic ticket this November if she becomes our candidate.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Finnish patient gets new jaw from own stem cells

Brave new world alert: a Finnish man had his upper jaw replaced by a new jaw grown from his own stem cells and incubated in his abdomen for nine months.

Somewhere a big American dog barked.

Scientists in Finland said they had replaced a 65-year-old patient's upper jaw with a bone transplant cultivated from stem cells isolated from his own fatty tissue and grown inside his abdomen.

Researchers said on Friday the breakthrough opened up new

ways to treat severe tissue damage and made the prospect of

custom-made living spares parts for humans a step closer to


Yes, I'll take a new jaw, with a side of gleeming white teeth please.  Thank you. :D

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The Worst Building in the History of Mankind

Whoever designed this North Korean building should be shot. In fact, he probably was. By the way, how phallic can you get?

The one-hundred-and-five-story Ryugyong Hotel is hideous, dominating the Pyongyang skyline like some twisted North Korean version of Cinderella's castle. Not that you would be able to tell from the official government photos of the North Korean capital -- the hotel is such an eyesore, the Communist regime routinely covers it up, airbrushing it to make it look like it's open -- or Photoshopping or cropping it out of pictures completely.

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