Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Men's Room

The Men's Room

Without question, many of us at 1% More Conscious feel 1% more dead at the beginning of the new school year. There's simply too much to do to get ready for the arrival of those little cherubs and too much NCLB related paperwork to wade through before getting to the starting line. Nonetheless, it only takes a news cycle or two to resurrect us from our media comas.

So while the mainstream media in America was overdosing on the latest installments in the narrative of Michael Vick--they can't get enough of Mikey, Attorney General Gonzales finally goes by-by. Alas--talk about a bad case of "you're not welcomed here anymore." Iraq continues to spiral out of control albeit T.A.N.G. (Texas Air National Guard George) has recently decided to invoke the very thing he avoided his early adulthood life: Vietnam. And, viola, yet another "lewd" scandal emerges involving the ever heinously, hideously hypocritical GOP. Gotta love this "incident" in the men's room.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Different World

Youth and Politics (Again)

Young people have had a difficult time becoming interested or involved in politics for a long time. Mine is not the first generation to be apathetic by any means. But I feel that my peers, and those in the next batch of young people, are facing even more disadvantages in understanding, relating to and finding an interest in politics.

I have already discussed the lack of foundational education in schools. The other huge problem that I see with politics today is the way in which this particular regime runs their office. The Bush administration alienates, isolates and manipulates, and while I'm sure the adults in this country feel it as well, it is most detrimental to those being raised with this as their first exposure to political America.

When George Bush "borrowed" the 2000 election from Al Gore, I was in eighth grade. My biggest concern at the time was whether they would find a replacement for Ikaika, the rogue, departing member of O-Town on Making the Band. By the time I had really clued in that I should be paying attention, September 11th was long past and the war in Iraq had already began. It's like my generation woke up, and our life decisions were made for us. America is at war and hey, would we like to sign up to go to Iraq indefinitely? US/World relations have been shattered, the economy is shit and the President conducts his business either in secret or with a blatant disregard for any rule ever established in America.

This feeling of paralysis and helplessness is rampant in all demographics of America's society, but hits the hardest in the younger population. It takes a real effort to understand what's going on in the country, and once you've figured it all out, you wish you hadn't. Making the Band is still on the air (with Diddy at the helm, no less!) and my generation is still young enough to simply retreat to what is socially acceptable and intellectually easier - celebrities, television, movies. We might question the ethical implications of looking at pictures of Tara Reid's dress falling down, but it beats thinking about the part our country has played in the deaths of innocent Iraqi civilians in a war that we cannot understand.

But all hope is not lost. Even if they are doing it in bizarre, misguided ways, politicians are reaching out to young people. From YouTube debates to Barack's ring tones to Dennis Kucinich's Myspace page, they are trying to capture the attention of an otherwise uninterested demographic. And while I might criticize and question the effectiveness, they are better than what the current administration is doing. I can only hope that whoever is elected in 2008 recognizes the delicate situation they are walking into in regards to the country's youth.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vapid Vanity in America

What is up with America’s obsession with perfection? Recently, I have found that cosmetic procedures have gotten WAY out of hand and it is a symptom of a bigger problem.

I don’t mean your basic procedures – if you do not like the bump on your nose, have rhinoplasty. Have the tummy tuck if it makes you feel better after having children. (I admit I wish I could afford it at times.) If you have lost a great deal of weight, good for you! Now, go have that excess skin removed to finish what you started on the way to a healthier you.

I am talking about the excess of surgeries and the new procedures that take vanity to a whole new low. Sharon Osbourne has racked up $700,000 in plastic surgery in recent years. Elvis’ Priscilla (see above pic) has had so much face work done that she is unrecognizable. Last year, after appearing in a popular woman’s magazine declaring that she loved her imperfections, Ashlee Simpson showed up in Hollywood… after her plastic surgeon fixed her to look almost identical to her sister Jessica.

Now, new, and in my opinion disturbing, procedures are becoming commonplace. Hey ladies, if you think your genital region is less than perky, have labiaplasty. Want to “feel touched for the very first time” again as Madonna sang in the 1980’s? Vaginaplasty is the answer for you. If you feel size matters, sign up for phalloplasty. Think your derrière could use a polish – try anal bleaching.

I could go on and on, especially about how the age of people seeking out plastic surgery in decreasing, and not just for breast augmentation. My problem with this latest tread is two-fold. With all the hunger, illiteracy, and problems in our country alone (mid-West is under water and The Big Easy still has not fully recovered from Katrina for example), couldn’t people with means find a more meaningful way to use their money?

My biggest fear is what effect this incessant vapid vanity is having on our youth. Everywhere they look, they are being bombarded with images of medical perfection, chiseled good looks, and seemingly ideal bodies. Life is neither fair nor perfect (if it was, life would be called guilt-free, endless chocolate cake instead). This latest trend is one more step our country is taking into the vast wasteland of sheer ineffectuality. As my good friend here at 1% More Conscious talks about Chimpy and Cheerleader Joe dragging our country into futility, I am afraid, dear readers, that this rising obsession with perfecting ourselves is a vain masking of how far we have fallen from being that all important “Number One”. Worse, we are bringing the next generation with us.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Summer Series - Hillary Clinton

Weekly Presidential Politics - 8/22/07

The ’07 Seven Candidates of Summer Series

Previous candidates: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, and the "Other Guys."

Final installment...

Hillary Clinton

Here's the deal about Hillary Clinton: She can win the general election. No, she's not the Democrats' best bet, but talk of her unfavorable numbers making her unelectable are overblown. Karl Rove's recent public attacks on her electability are his attempt to perpetuate this idea that she can't win. The guy's a master politician for the GOP. Why would this political genius attack an opponent in her primary when he claims she could easily be defeated in the general election? Does that make any sense? I mean, at all? If she was so easy to topple in November 2008, would Rove put her nominaton in jeopardy? Of course not.

That doesn't mean there aren't risks with a Clinton nomination, and that'll be addressed later in this blog. For now, let's examine her two biggest strengths:

1) Her husband.
2) Herself.

These two assets have the potential to propel her to the White House. Her husband, along with everything that comes with him (massive political network, White House and foreign experience, infectious personality), is an advantage to the Clinton campaign. If you ask Democrats and Independents, many explain the best part about a Hillary Clinton victory is knowing Bill will be close to every big decision.

Senator Clinton has also helped herself. Her performance in the debates have been exemplary. She's playing the "experience card" despite this year kicking off only her second term in public office. Her big lead in national polls allows her to go with the "don't screw up" strategy. She can consult with Bill and her team at every step and plan the best course of action for the campaign.

Of course, this leads to many describing Senator Clinton as "calculating," which is as accurate as it is understandable. She can sit on her lead in the polls, conserving money, take hertime and make smart, political decisions. The problem with this slow burn is that it excites no one. Barack Obama is famous for his oratory and attempt to spark change in Washington. John Edwards is noticably frustrated and furious with progressive issues not being addressed by either party. Both have, pound-for-pound, more passionate fan bases than Clinton.

Still, the greatest concern for Democrats and the Clinton-leaning voter is that pesky electability issue. Earlier I argued that she can win, and this is true. In fact, you could make a case that she's the favorite to be the next President! She is, after all, the favorite of the party that is the favorite to win the election.

All is not perfect or resolved. Republicans hate Clinton like Democrats hate Reagan. Much of the GOP is ashamed of their party, and while they wouldn't go as far as to support a Democrat next November, they might stay home and not vote Republican. But if Hillary Clinton is the nominee? They just might. There is fear among Democrats, as I outlined months ago, that a Clinton nomination brings Republicans out of the woodworks like no other candidate would do.

Ultimately, the Democrats are clearly playing with fire. In such a crucial and wide open election, one where a Democrat is actually supposed to win, nominating a wildcard like Hillary Clinton (or, for that matter, the young, inexperienced, and dare I say it, "un-white" Barack Obama) is questionable politics. Yet the national Democratic electorate still heavily favors her.

That's the Democratic Party for you.

I hope you enjoyed the Summer Series here at 1%. Thanks for reading. More presidential politics can be found at my site, Presidential Politics for America.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cheerleader Joe

In the American tradition of re-naming, like Jay Gatz who reinvents himself as Gatsby, like Marshall Mathers who calls himself Eminem, like Hillary Rodham Clinton who has triangulated herself for ’08 as Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman should re-name himself. Senator Joe Lieberman, I-CT, also known as Captain Lieberman, formerly Oedipus Lieberman, formerly Joe Lieberman, Democrat from CT, can now be known as Cheerleader Joe…from hell.

Picture this: a sort of dark and dreary scene with those pom-pom extras from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video and Joe shouting “bomb, bomb Iran,” “let’s go n-u-c-l-e-a-r in India,” or his latest geopolitical ditty, “hip, hop, ho, the road to Damascus,” which pays partial tribute to General Petreaus’s efforts. But does Cheerleader Joe ever stop? Maybe he's stopped reading because even some of the staunchest supporters of invasion Iraq have recently forecast that Petreaus’s efforts are likely to yield little in the big scheme of things.

I kid you not: as Think Progress reports today, Joe composed yet another manifesto for victory for none other than The Wall Street Journal, the same publication that announced last week that George Bush lost his brain. Many of us folks in CT know that Cheerleader Joe—or whatever you want to call him—lost his mind a long time ago.

Sunday, August 19, 2007



Though not new, it’s certainly a PR strategy that’s been in the news—for lack of a better term—lately: in America, if you don’t like the truth or anything closely resembling the truth, revise and edit to make things fuzzy. Take a look at corporate America’s latest “fuzzing” of Wikipedia; if they don’t like something, they fuzzy it. Very Orwellian—yes, but I think it's more simple than that because many of the fuzzies haven’t read Orwell. Sorry. Remember: our President’s mantra in 2000 was “fuzzy numbers”; one never knew that that also meant “fuzzy realities.”

Invoking the name of General David Petraeus in the last few weeks as if he were banging his chest at a keg party, Bush has sought refuge in the General’s overseeing of the “surge”—really an escalation—and his forthcoming report on September 15th. Yet, this week we learn that Petraeus WILL not write the forthcoming report; it will be written by—frightening, I know—George. Bush and this team—I’m sure—will revise and edit whatever Petraeus reports; folks, any high schooler well-versed in cheating, lying, editing and revising knows that this is NOT a good thing.

Even Thomas Friedman, who makes me frequently “invoke” my impression of Linda Blair in The Exorcist, knows this is not a good thing. One might think that Friedman would have his pom-poms in a stir for this fuzzy Petraeus report, but no. In today’s column, Tom says it best:

Had the surge happened in 2003, when it should have, it might
have prevented the kindling of all of Iraq’s sectarian passions.
But now that those fires have been set, trying to unify Iraq feels
like doing carpentry on a burning house.

Nothing fuzzy ‘bout that. Love the “burning house” metaphor, Tom. So as Iraq burns and our soldiers yearn to get out, George W. Bush and much of his media continue to smokescreen the American public yet again by “fuzzying” reality to obscure the truth.

ADDENDUM: Please check out this post at Drinking Liberally for a more thorough overview of some of the fuzziness going on.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Fatigue '08

Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker wrote about Democrats and the overall 2008 saturation recently, and I think many Americans would agree: enough parsing, enough news, enough already. Yeah, we need to know about these candidates and their positions. Yes, we would like them to be more frank in their responses. Sure, we want to know whether or not they are representing the best interests of the people—yeah, whatever. But how many more debates, stump speeches, polls, thrusts and parries, and lies must we endure in this off election year? Sorry, Republicans, but Nosferatu Giuliani’s latest, ah, “exaggeration” about how much time he spent at the WTC clean-up handedly wins the Emmy for best performance of legend in one’s own mind. And The New York Times wins the award for best new drama for The Days & Conflicts of Martha’s Vineyard, starring the Clinton and Obama supporters.

What’s even more amazing is that we have over a year to go. Meanwhile, there is some “real” disturbing news on the electoral front that seldom registers on the front pages or in the American psyche, right, left or center. Take, for instance, this unsolved controversy over paper trail-less electronic voting and how “easy” it is to tamper with results. And what about how the Republicans in California would like to change how the electoral votes in the state are distributed? Yes, I’m being totally partisan—and a bit conspiratorial—but what about the corollary involving certain Secretaries of State, political parties, and voting outcomes? Sorry, I haven’t recovered from the 2000 cake-up of Kathleen Harris.

Indeed, we (and I mean everybody) are interested in 2008; we’ve all been terrorized enough by Bush and company. But instead of being over-saturated with nano-second news on which state will out-mojo the next for "the" primary date, porn-star named Mitt Romney’s family of boys, Hillary’s cleavage, and Johnny’s sexy hair, I think we could all focus on more pressing issues related to and not related to the election to avoid '08 fatigue.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's about 2008

It’s about 2008

As Captain LIEberman, formerly Oedipus Lieberman, formerly Joe Lieberman, Republicrat from CT, fantasizes about going nuclear in India, George Bush loses his brain. Who knows what will happen next, especially considering that Bush’s brain is also known as a turd?

But Rove’s departure should come as no surprise. It’s real simple: what do you with your party’s best campaign strategist when you have a president whose approval ratings—ooh…ah—hover in the high 20s to mid 30s and there’s no “clear” frontrunner emerging, despite rumors that troll-looking Fred Thompson can work some Hogwarts magic? Send in Rove, Karl Rove.

Sure, the media can fixate on and speculate about Rove’s departure. Pundits can and will buy into the lame excuse that blossom wants to spend time with his family—and I’m a staffer at The National Review. But the obvious reason for Rove’s timely exit stage to Texas is to get ready for 2008. That became abundantly evident in his interview for The Wall Street Journal and during his guest spot on the Rush Limbaugh show. And what better way to ceremoniously yet symbolically reveal his plans than to call Hillary a “fatally flawed candidate.” I have to admit: I do like it that Hillary is channeling her inner Pat Benatar and hitting back.

It’s about 2008, stupid! No doubt, like the hand at the end of Carrie, Karl Rove will be back.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer Series - Mitt Romney

Weekly Presidential Politics - 8/15/07

The ’07 Seven Candidates of Summer Series

Previous candidates: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Fred Thompson, and the "Other Guys."

Now it's time for the favorites. First, for the GOP...

Mitt Romney

This week, the Summer Series blends nicely with current events. The recent Ames Iowa Straw Poll saw a healthy victory for Mitt Romney, whose 4,500 votes bested second place Mike Huckabee by 2,000. Before addressing the Romney candidacy as a whole, let's first address the significance of Romney's performance this weekend.

Romney's domination of the Iowa Straw Poll was completely expected, and therefore not nearly as big of a victory as the numbers show. With Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and John McCain not even trying to win the ISP, Romney was supposed to trump the field while the second and third tier candidates jockeyed for a strong second place finish. Furthermore, Romney spared no expense to guarantee a victory, outspending the rest of the field combined. Still, a win is a win, and Romney should see a slight bump in numbers across the country.

The Iowa Straw Poll results are a great example of Romney's strategy in the Republican primary. His allocation of resources in Iowa and New Hampshire is already making him money elsewhere, exampled by the media coverage of the ISP attracting voters and money across the country. Furthermore, potential Romney voters across the country will be attracted to his healthy Iowa and New Hampshire polls numbers, despite him not spending any extra cash outside of those two locations. The more Republican voters see him as a legitimate candidate who can win the nomination, the more money he'll raise and the more voters he'll attract.

Rudy Giuliani still leads national polls among Republicans with Fred Thompson almost always placing second, but with horse race coverage a very real aspect of the primary system, the winner of the early primaries are in the best position to win the nomination, most recently evidenced in 2004 by John Kerry and John Edwards overtaking Howard Dean just by defeating him in Iowa. In Iowa, Mitt Romney was trouncing the competition, even before the Iowa Straw Poll. He's led all Iowa polls for months, sometimes by as much as double digits. We should fully expect him to win the kick-off caucus.

Examining the primaries after Iowa, Romney is competitive in Nevada poll numbers, and he leads most New Hampshire polls. An Iowa Caucus victory for Romney would only strengthen his chances in those two states, perhaps securing a victory in both. Three wins there, or at least two firsts and a second, would send Romney off and running, especially with Republicans hesitant to support the socially liberal Giuliani.

In sum, regardless of current national numbers, Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for President of the United States.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove Resignation

Extra, extra! Read all about it. I thought I was hallucinating. Maybe the planets are aligning or something.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Testing Public Schools

Testing Public Schools

In Connecticut and elsewhere, public school districts are in a panic over recently released or to be released mandated, standardized test scores of students in the elementary, middle and secondary school levels. Understandably so: nowadays, test scores mean more than just mere data. Since NCLB reared its ugly head and Secretary of No Education Maggie Spellings—who hasn’t taught a day in her life—was appointed as "the" NCLB Bush crony, test scores determine whether or not a school district is meeting what is now known as “yearly adequate progress.”

On the one hand, a “standard” test—rather than what is known as a “norm-referenced” test—can provide valuable information. With a standard test, students’ performances are, in fact, measured against fixed standards; with a norm-referenced test, students’ performances are measured against the group of students taking the test—student A performed better than 80% of those who took the test. In this instance, who knows whether or not student A or the 80% s/he performed better than met, exceeded or fell short of the standard. However, in the public education arena standards based tests can thus contribute to the effort of leveling the playing-field, so to speak; if every student in every district and from every socio-economic background is measured against the same test, theoretically, educators are holding everyone to the same…standard.

On the other hand, a “standard” test—as you probably know—offers only select information on student performance—certainly not the whole picture. Common sense tells us that students develop or don’t at different rates and in different situations; student A may or may not have had a nurturing home environment, capable, competent teachers, and a sharp skill set that contributed to his/her 80% performance. But there’s no way to know for sure. Put simply, there are just far too many variables that factor into how a student will or will not perform on a mandated, standardized test.

What’s the answer? I really don’t know. I do, though, think it’s ridiculous to have a "dominating" approach to improving the public education system in America by overly relying on mandated, standardized test results. Yes, these results can offer some information but not enough to fully understand a school, its teachers, and its students. On the other side of the coin, I don’t think that school districts and teachers ought to be allowed to freelance as much as they do and as much as they see fit—and please know: I’m not advocating for a lockstep, non-creative approach to teaching. It’s just that I have witnessed many colleagues over the years simply “teach” whatever they want whenever they want simply because it’s what “they want”—never mind a curriculum or standards. Let’s not get started on student needs. But some educators have suggested that standardized testing can have a trickle-down effect to reduce this no-standards freelancing.

Clearly, testing in public schools is a mess and it looks like it will be some time before we clean this mess to leave it behind.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Different World

Last night, six Democratic Presidential candidates participated in a televised forum (click the link to watch) that discussed an issue often avoided in most campaigns - homosexuality. (LOGO, the channel that broadcast the forum, offered the same screen time to Republican candidates, and they all declined. Shocking, I know.) Fielding questions from a panel including Melissa Etheridge, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese and Jonathan Capehart, a writer for the Washington Post, the Democratic Presidential hopefuls who participated (all except Chris Dodd and Joe Biden) expressed their positions on gay rights once and for all.

And what are those positions? All support civil unions, hope to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and support a ban on anti-gay discrimination in the work place. John Edwards apologized for previously aligning his position on homosexuality with his religion; Hillary Clinton spoke of her "honest effort" to work towards gay rights during her husband's time in office; Barack Obama likened the plight of the LGBT community to the struggle faced by African-Americans during the civil rights movement; Bill Richardson (upon removing his foot from his mouth after suggesting that homosexuality was a choice) rattled off his relatively short list of pro-gay accomplishments as governor of New Mexico. The only outright support of total equality came from the two candidates least likely to ever find themselves elected to the White House, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel.

There were no real surprises. No radical pledges of sweeping reform. In fact, most of the candidates were surrounded by what was unmistakably a giant, impenetrable forcefield of gray. Questions were danced around and only half answered, John Edwards tossed his hair around and I'm sure Hillary Clinton's campaign song was playing on a loop in her head the entire time - all in all, a regular stop on the campaign trail. But the purpose of the stop (to discuss gay rights) and it's participants (individuals who stand a real chance of becoming the next President), when put together, is entirely irregular. A high profile, nationally televised conversation about a political hush point is a huge step towards progress in this country, and however lackluster the performance of the candidates, the simple fact that it happened, even if it was only Democrats, is fantastic. Brian Graden, the president of LOGO, summed it up best: "Simply seeing the candidates step on a stage to speak to a national gay television audience may be as moving as anything they say." Indeed.

Kiss of Death

Before President Bush went on yet another vacation, he gave a press conference yesterday that was rather telling.

Amidst more insanity and a stubborn refusal to acknowledge reality, President Bush was candid in this press conference about the rationale for the Iraq invasion and the Neocon philosophy in a nutshell. In short, Bush admitted that by invading and occupying Iraq, he and the Neocon loons hoped to change the conditions in the Middle East to prevent radical, Islamist fundamentalism, which tends to have an association with terrorism, from spreading; hence, the Bush/Neocon battle-cry “Democracy is on the March.” Even Chris Matthews picked up on Bush’s admission on last night’s edition of Furball.

But the fates and irony have no mercy for George W. Bush, just as they have no mercy for any tragic character. Albeit many of us know about the shady history of American-backed governments in the Middle East, The New York Times reports today that now more so than ever any direct or implicit backing by America or the Bush administration of a group/political party/faction/country in the Middle East is akin to a kiss of death. Check out Hassan M. Fattah’s “U.S. Promotes Free Elections, Only to See Allies Lose” to see why the battle-cry "Democracy is on the March" is nothing more than bad lip service.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Summer Series - The Other Guys

Weekly Presidential Politics - 8/8/07

The ’07 Seven Candidates of Summer Series

The Other Guys

When I began the Summer Series, I promised eight blogs during the summer - seven for each of the seven major candidates and one for all the minor ones. I've already tackled Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Fred Thompson. Two more to go, each of whom I deem the favorites in their primary. Before we get to them these next two weeks, however, it's time to quickly address the rest of the field.

Here is a list of all the other candidates, in ascending order of probability that they will be our next President.

Group Zero (Zero chance)

Duncan Hunter - He regularly comes in at 1% in national polls, which is less than the margin of error. That means that there's a chance his poll numbers are below zero.

Tom Tancredo - The classic one issue candidate has yet to realize his dream - not of being President, but of eradicating the country of brown people.

Tommy Thompson - The classic one state candidate. He's put all of his resources into Iowa and could see a top 5 finish. Then it's all downhill.

Mike Gravel - Ha.

Group 1 (Unannounced potential)

Chuck Hagel - This vocal anti-war Republican Senator is the perfect candidate for the Republican voters... but it's not what the party wants and he'll get squeezed out quickly if he runs. He knows this, so I doubt he will enter the race.

Newt Gingrich - He's one of the smartest Republican in the country, and one of the best debaters I've ever seen. He said he'll enter at the end of September or the beginning of October, depending on if the conservative issues are being properly addressed.

Al Gore - The Gore heads have been quiet of late and it doesn't look like he's going to run. But everyone reading this understands the potential of a Gore candidacy.

Group 2 (Snowball's chance)

Dennis Kucinich - Everyone's favorite liberal Congressman running for President has never been able to raise his profile enough to be a truly legitimate candidate.

Chris Dodd - Northeast liberals should be disallowed from the Democratic nomination process. I like Dodd, but the White House should be the Democrats' top priority.

Joe Biden - I seem to like him in the debates more than most. He's furious with the Bush Administration and doesn't feel it's appropriate to remain reserved like Clinton and Obama. Plus, Biden knows Washington and the military as much as any Democratic candidate, so if anyone should have confidence in the debates, it's him.

Group 3 (A scenario exists...)

Mike Huckabee - A scenario exists in which Republican voters simply cannot trust the contenders as true conservatives, and they turn to a conservative with executive experience who makes more sense than most Republicans on state and church.

Sam Brownback - A scenario exists in which Republican voters simply cannot trust the contenders as true conservatives, and they turn to a Senator with foreign policy experience who has been a classic conservative his entire career.

Bill Richardson - A scenario exists where the best resume of any presidential candidate finally resonates with the voters, not to mention his clear potential to swing New Mexico and Florida into the blue column makes him an attractive asset.

But let's be serious, folks, none of these candidates will be our next President. Only seven have a realistic shot. Five down, two to go. See you next week.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Is This New Information?


It seems that things have not improved with the newly passed legislation that enables Chimpy to continue to spy on Americans. It seems like Chimpspionage as usual. Perhaps it’s the release of The Bourne Ultimatum that has curious George doing somersaults in his cage as if he really were a spy on a mission. No doubt, the Democrats failed to deliver a real ULTIMATUM to our Commander-in-Chief. While they lost their spines, they put their index fingers on their noses and said “not it” when it comes to confronting the moronic monkey and his Cyclops, surrogate father. The Republicans were no better; they just did the usual: lockstep to “skip-to-my-lou,” my monkey.

The Senate just gave the Chimpernator the green light; the House put up a bit of a fight and just flatlined to go on vacation to get some sort of “compromise” of the bill. Meanwhile, the spy who “loves” you and me continues to do what he wants, when he wants, and however he wants, regardless of approval, disapproval ratings, or the constitution for that matter. Is this new information?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday Morning Horror Show


On Sundays we wake up with the children. We have breakfast and many cups of coffee, of course. We try to read the papers while keeping the kids busy; N. likes his trains and The Backyardigans; C. likes anything to chew on because she’s teething. We usually take a peek at the Sunday morning political shows, just to see what’s cooking. Later in the morning, we may or may not get to mass; hey man, we’re Catholic, so allow us our confessions.

I was actually anticipating watching the Republican debate on This Week with Georgey S. Thus far, though, it’s been a flipping horror show. I started to get worried when “I want to re-write the constitution” nutbag Sam Brownback pontificated about abortion and porn-star named Mitt Romney’s multiple stances on that issue and many others. I got real worried when Nosferatu Giuliani started the frat-boy gang-bang of the Democratic candidates because---I swear he said this—none of them said the 1 word “Islamic Terrorism” in their debates. I panicked when porn-star named Slick Romney pounced on Senator Barack Obama’s suggestion to meet with world leaders like Chavez and Castro. My coffee almost went flying from my mouth in “Linda Blair” pea soup fashion when many of them played the typical game of hiding behind the “soldiers” to defend Chimpy’s War of Error in Iraq.

I’m going to continue watching this horror show, though, because Ron Paul does seem--from time to time--to make sense; maybe he and other sensible, Goldwater Republicans can rescue their party from the hijackers who seem to destroy it.

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Different World

I love (most) reality television. Big Brother, America's Next Top Model, The Real World. Stick people in a house with hidden cameras and I will probably watch. But even I have my limits. And my limits are being tested by a show currently running in Holland (originator of most competition-based reality shows that we have today in the US), called The Golden Cage.

This show is what Big Brother would be if it exchanged its anti-psychotics for PCP. Contestants are locked in a house and asked to live like millionaires, with the winner receiving a multi-million dollar prize at the conclusion. There is no orderly way to remove other house guests, however, as there are no nominations or evictions. Thus, the contestants resort to bullying and harassment, hoping to annoy or intimidate their opponents out the door. The results, as I'm sure you can imagine, are disturbing and uncomfortable to watch. In one particular clip, a number of house guests target a female contestant and her boyfriend. While the latter is forcibly restrained by other men, the women rip off the clothes of his girlfriend as punishment for "acting like a princess." The producers, I might add, insist that they take no responsibility for the psychological or physical well-being of the participants.

National petitions and attempted intervention by politicians have not been able to remove the show from the air. And now, thankfully!, the rights have been purchased by ABC for America's enjoyment. But how far away from this type of programming is the US already? Earlier this week in the Big Brother house, a forty-something year old man who calls himself "Evel Dick" sexually harassed, verbally and physically assaulted a much younger female house mate and received only a verbal warning from the show's producers. After all, Dick and his tirades bring in the ratings that CBS so desperately needs. I signed up for alliances with ridiculous names and food competitions, not watching a creepy old man berate the nanny from Beverly Hills. Earlier this year on the same channel, a Survivor hopeful ate a live snake in his audition video.

People have been arguing that television programming has crossed the morality line since its inception. But, I mean, really, this is just too much. Is it Holland that has gone too far? CBS or ABC? Reality television? The American public? Whatever the reason for this debauchery, I will not be tuning into this Golden Cage business. I'll stick with Tyra Banks, thank you very much, whose models are hungry and cranky and sometimes crazy, but always in a good way.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Summer Series - Fred Thomson

Weekly Presidential Politics - 8/1/07

The ’07 Seven Candidates of Summer Series

Fred Thomson

What I wrote on the 7th of June this year: "He has conservatives abuzz as possibly the first viable true conservative. Until he gets in the race, however, I don't it can be argued that he's viable or a true conservative. Still, the mere fact that a candidate potentially fits the bill goes to show you how desperate the GOP is for that candidate."

This has never been more true. The Republican primary is a mess. The two top contenders, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, are a Mormon and a social liberal, respectively. The previous frontrunner, John McCain, reported less money than second-tier-at-best Ron Paul in the second fiscal quarter. True conservatives and religious beloveds, Sam Brownback and Mike Huckabee, rarely register in Republican polls and have serious problems fundraising with the big boys.

Simply, there is a vacuum of power in the Republican primary. The potential to fill that vacuum remains. Two Republicans have the ability to fill that void: Newt Gingrich and Fred Thomson. The former may not run, while the latter is about a month away from announcing, therefore it is the latter that has the most potential to be a player in this race.

What makes the Thomson candidacy very interesting is that he's doing great in the polls without even being an official candidate yet! For example, in the latest Rasmussen Poll, taken during the week of July 22, Fred Thomson was tied with Rudy Giuliani in first place in national Republican polls with 25%. Other polls consistently have Thomson polling in the top 3 both in national polls and in all-important primary states Iowa and South Carolina. And Thomson hasn't even started spending money yet!

His success before he even gets started is a direct result of the two factors already discussed: the displeasure of most Republicans with their leading candidates and Thompson's potential to be a true conservative. Therefore, before Thompson enters the race, because Thompson hasn't entered the race, he is still the conservatives' dream candidate. There is nothing wrong with him like all the other candidates.


See, Thompson is too good to be true for the GOP, I promise you. As soon as this guy gets into the frey, his weaknesses will show, most specifically his role as conservative savior of the 2008 Republicans. Frankly, that just can't be his role to claim. For proof, here's Newsweek, the Washington Times, and a stinging editorial from a conservative author.

So while Thompson looks golden from afar, it's not until the Republican voters see him up close that they realize the 64-year-old (65 in two weeks) actor-turned-Senator-turned-actor actually has some blemishes on that balding head of his. (And yes, that was a blatant reminder that he's pretty old. Just imagine when he has to start debating Mitt Romney. Can you say Nixon-Kennedy 1960?)

Yes, right now, Fred Thompson looks golden to the GOP, and many believe that there is no more accurate application of the term "fool's gold."