Monday, December 31, 2007

W T F ! 2007: A Review

As we bid adieu to 2007 tonight, let’s take a look back at the things we should not repeat. Here are the W T F’s of 2007, in no particular order:

1.The Publication of I Did It: This year, Ron Goldman’s family won the rights to the book called If I Did It that O.J. Simpson wrote about if he had “hypothetically” killed Ron and Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. The Goldman family, still owed money from the civil trial (the Brown family also is owed money from this trial), was awarded the manuscript by a Florida bankruptcy court. After changing the title, the Goldman family and Beaufort Books released the book this past September.

Whether you believe Simpson did it or not, The Goldmans should take a page out of the Browns playbook – let it go. Yes, you are in pain. Yes, the court awarded you monetary damages. But seriously, is publishing this book going to bring back your son? What about Nicole’s children that already have to live with the facts of the murder of their mother and all of the previous published and aired news pieces on the matter? Is the money you made from the book worth it?

Still the only class act in this debacle is the Brown family, putting the kids first and trying to heal their inconceivable loss. Let’s hope there will not be any more W T F’s in this matter.

2.The Natalee Holloway Debacle: In the summer of 2005, I sat horrified in a foreign country as the media reported how this young woman on a high school graduation trip with 124 of her classmates and at least 8 chaperones in Aruba.

Again this year, the three original suspects, Joran van der Sloot and Satish and Deepak Kalpoe, were re-arrested and then released. The prosecutor said that the case would be closed without charges being brought against anyone.

We have problems in our legal system, no doubt. But, how can people not find even one viable lead or witness on a 20-mile by 5-mile island? I know we have unsolved cases here but, Aruba is only slightly larger that the borough of Manhattan and has 1.4 million less people. Sigh… it is frustrating to me as a parent and a BIG W T F.

3. Reality Shows – don’t make me laugh: Before some of attack me here me out. I don’t mean things such a Dancing with the Stars, Top Chef, Project Runway, etc. These shows are interesting as people are competing doing some task that many of us wish we could do as well as those competing.

I am talking about things that highlight the idiocy of our species – WifeSwap, The Bachelor, Big Brother, and anything on MTV. Do we really need to see how people are worse off than ourselves to give us a self-esteem boost? If you need the boost, tune into any entertainment show and get the latest on the Britney slow boat to emotional meltdown. In this day and age, do we need to see women so desperate for love and marriage they get on a TV show to throw themselves at some guy to take care of them. What happened to “I Am Woman”? Can we start a petition or a movement to get these things off the air… please? W T F!

4. Media in general – When did MSNBC, CNN, etc. start carrying such in depth coverage of celeb-u-tards? Look, I freely admit that I keep up with those things (to keep up with my students), but I go to specific outlets for those tidbits. I watch CNN to get world news, weather, etc. The fact that some debu-tard got out of a limo without panties should never run before the news of an impending snow day. W T F - everything has its proper place.

5. Holiday shopping- Look, I feel for people that are single parents, de facto single parents, or just busy parents. I am one and have been for years. I can feel your pain of trying to spread the holiday cheer with your kids in tow. However, please remember, your kids are people too and have limits. Never bring a toddler on a 6+ hour shopping trip with less than 2 weeks to Christmas and expect that the child won’t utter a peep. All the commotion that now surrounds the holidays is enough to make a grown-up who understands what is going on cry. Help yourself and the economy (a 2 for 1 deal), hire a babysitter, bribe a friend, threaten a family member and leave your cherub(s) home. You may find that everyone will be more in the holiday spirit for doing so... and you won't be screaming W T F in front of your impressionable children.

Here is wishing that we learn from our mistakes and grown form it in the New Year. Wishing all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Joe & Where We Live

Joe & Where We Live

Did anyone in CT catch Judas Joe on NPR’s Where We Live this morning, doing his “Islamist Terrorism” thing?

Yeah, in commenting on Benazir Bhutto’s tragic death, tragic Joe couldn’t resist spewing his “Islamist terrorism,” I-told-you-so rhetoric. After all, the show's feature wasn’t about the unfortunate passing of a world leader; it was about “me and my world view,” sayeth Judas Joe.

Thankfully, there was a round-table guest who did point out the OBVIOUS problem with Joe’s rhetoric: focusing on terrorism in general rather than seemingly assigning it to one particular group or religion is more beneficial in the long run. But, alas, Judas Joe is soooooo independent minded.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Men's Room

The Men’s Room

Another blog about Larry Craig? You wish.

It seems, though, that most of the mainstream media got stuck in the men’s room during their coverage of Craig’s indecent behavior and haven’t gotten out. Considering the media’s treatment of Senator Clinton’s bid for the Whitehouse, being stuck in the men’s room certainly seems to be the case. And while public restrooms can be sites of relief and satisfaction—perhaps on both literal and figurative levels, could we PLEASE at least move out of the stalls, wash our hands, and take a look at ourselves in the mirrors?

To say that the coverage of Clinton doesn’t smack of sexism is to say that racism no longer exists in America. We all know that both racism and sexism are alive and well and, much unfortunately, as American as apple pie. And whether we are supporting Hillary Clinton or not—I’m still undecided; there’s unquestionably a sexist undercurrent to the coverage of her campaign, her cleavage, her laugh, her “shrillness,” and her dress. Sorry—perhaps if John’s hair got more attention; Mitt’s make-up and sexy smile got even more attention; and pundits speculated—ad infinitum—whether or not Obama without a tie had to do with a strategy to appeal to female voters, I wouldn’t feel the need to raid the men’s room.

Leading the brigade is none other than Chris Matthews, who, night after night after night, morning after morning after morning (when he cameos on Today or Morning Smoe), seethes with hatred of Hillary. He repeatedly calls her shrill; he has—I kid you not—made issue of her laugh…and her cleavage; and he seems to book anyone on his show that would indulge him in his male castration fear disorder.

In fact, Matthews’ recent push for Obama seems to originate more from his hatred of Hillary than from a genuine appreciation of Obama. The same can be said for none other than Andrew Sullivan, who wrote an entire treatise for The Atlantic Monthly on why Obama can Kum Ba Ya and bring the country together—yeah, right. Again, much like Matthews, Sullivan also seems to anchor his argument more in his distaste for Hillary rather than in his alleged appreciation for Obama.

Matthews and Sullivan are just a few examples; the least said about the rest of the boys and their current fixation on Hillary's wrinkles, the better.

There’s no question that Hillary has glaring flaws and an electability issue, which the ever astute IC at Presidential Politics has examined in great detail. If we all are on the same page with equal opportunity, though, Hillary should get the same media treatment as everyone else, which brings me to my point: let’s focus less on the cleavage, the wrinkles, the laugh, the tongue-and-cheek comments about evil men, the wardrobe, the shrill tone, etc. Hillary Clinton may or may not be the best choice as the Democratic nominee for ‘08 but let’s allow the caucus goers to decide, not the mainstream media—from the men’s room.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yuletide Debris

Yuletide Debris

There is a sort of unidentified gravitational pull that gains strength this time during the year. Energized by the spirit of Christmas past, this black-hole force almost resembles the Sedona Vortex, which seems to have oddly enough re-located itself in our collective consciousness.

An unexpected Christmas card here; a strange e-mail here, or there at work, or yikes, there on your blackberry; a gift perhaps; a message from a friend…of your mother’s or–strangely—of your aunt’s; the worst—a telephone call—or even worse—a surprise appearance at the party you always attend.

Yes, folks, I’m talking about the Yuletide Debris, the uncanny re-emergence of former beaus, lovers, friends, and, well, f-buddies of the past that paralyze us all in our attempts to make old acquaintances be forgotten—and f**king dead.

I thought it was just me; like the Christmas cards that come in the mail, somehow, with karmic timing, I inevitably get an update about an ex and/or I get unexpectedly slimed by a former friend who WON’T GO AWAY. The most recent example manifested itself in a holiday greeting in which the perpetrator in question suggested that one of my children was fat. I kid you not. Hence, this person IS not a friend and thus I must make sure my virtual electric fence is on HIGH to brace myself against the shock waves of Yuletide debris.

Even the great IC of Presidential Politics, I’m told, had to deal with some trash coming out of his bag; Femme Fatale reports that a former ex has attempted to do her interpretation of Dickens’ ghost of IC’s Christmas trash. Poor IC; whatever will we do should he get really slimed during this intense caucus season?

So the questions are: What do we do with Yuletide Debris? How do we avoid the awful practice of taking it in—which I have foolishly done before—to re-gift for another episode of more of the same? What are your strategies to deflect the shock waves, the cries from the past, the yearning to reach out across the great divides of time, space, and conflict? Do you fight back like a Jedi Knight who understands the flow of the force, or do you succumb like a cowardly muggle?

I say the heck with the mistletoe—get out the garlic, the holy water, the strange little lady from Poltergeist to keep YOUR Yuletide debris back on the curb where IT BELONGS.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One Sentence on Each Republican Candidate

Weekly Wednesday Presidential Politics - 12/19/07

Here is one sentence on each Republican candidate that should get you up to speed if your temporary residence this month has been next door to a megadrile.

Rudy Giuliani - He's giving up on all of the early states to concentrate on Florida, which would set up Super Tuesday, reminding us of an adage regarding eggs and a solitary basket.

Mike Huckabee - Contrarily to Giuliani, Huckabee is putting nearly all his efforts into the early primaries, counting on the momentum to roll over into Florida and Super Tuesday, reminding us of an old adage about a hare.

Duncan Hunter - Hunter reminds us of a tortoise, the reason for which has nothing to do with an old adage.

John McCain - McCain has temporarily taken the headline wars from Huckabee, earning numerous newspaper significant endorsements as well as one from party-crossing Joe Lieberman, which should excite independents who can vote in the Republican primary.

Ron Paul - He picks up about a point every month, which means if this election is held in 2047... he has a shot.

Mitt Romney - Romney's starting to throw some jabs at Huckabee, but if Romney doesn't make up ground by the end of the week, expect to see some right hooks starting on December 26th, Boxer Day. (Even I was taken aback at my cleverness there.)

Tom Tancredo - Speaking of Romney, if he doesn't win Iowa, he can still win New Hampshire, which keeps him alive to fight until Super Tuesday.

Fred Thompson - Wouldn't making Die Hard 5 be more fun?

(Note: I'm writing a post every workday over at Presidential Politics for America.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Off the Wagon

Off the Wagon

My name is sptmck, a part-time blogger, and I AM “off the wagon.” After spending months of de-toxing and painfully abstaining from “going negative” on Judas Joe, formerly Captain Lieberman, formerly Oedipus Lieberman, formerly Joe Lieberman, Democrat from CT, I thought for sure that I twelve-stepped my way to a new found serenity. Unfortunately for me, and many CT Bloggers, God neither granted me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change nor the wisdom to know the difference.

It’s official: Judas Joe is back and more heinous than ever. Talk about a “double-birdie” to us Ned Lamont supporters, and, more surprisingly, to the Democratic Establishment that should’ve seen shameless Joe for what he was before they granted him those committee assignments.
Media-blitzing on his endorsement of Senator John McCain, Captain LIEberman just did a spot earlier tonight on Furball in which he stated to Chris Matthews—brace yourselves—that in his heart he IS a TRUE Democrat and that because Senator McCain ASKED HIM for his support, he said…yes. “Vengeance is mine,” sayeth Judas Joe.

Things are getting interesting in Presidential Politics, aren’t they? One can’t help ponder how Judas Joe’s latest move affects Billaryworld. Remember, it was ol’ Billy who came to CT in the summer of’06 to stump for then-known Oedipus Lieberman. Remember, it was Hillary to whom Oedipus appealed to get Billy out there to do his thing. And remember it was Hillary who remained on the quiet side when it came to her support of Ned Lamont. Much more can’t be said about Barack who, in the summer/fall ’06, during his book tour, slided around CT to AVOID a public appearance with Lamont, Oedipus’s nemesis at the time.

Maybe we should revisit John Edwards’ analysis of Washington insiders and how their actions have consequences. Maybe Mr. Edwards, who proudly supported Ned Lamont and true change, can offer a viable, sobering alternative to establishment politicians and the betraying bedfellows they keep.

Sunday, December 16, 2007



As we sort the dirty items in the Democratic laundry bin this week, we suddenly learn that there’s far more to consider than meets the eye. Sure, there might be some mud here and grease marks there, but there’s a whole lot of other dirt that gets missed at first glance.

Let’s not forget, folks, that our last President, ol’ Billy Boy, went up (or down, if you prefer) in flames due to a “genetically-stained” dress. That episode alone, and not an illegally prosecuted war, almost cost him his presidency. An even scarier truth that many Democrats want to avoid: the Republicans know that Americans love dirt and are thus far better at sorting, managing, and dry-cleaning their “dirty laundry” than Democrats will ever be. Whether it’s Mudslinging, Willie Horton-i-n-g, or Swiftboating, team Red knows how to smear and scare voters into a false sense of pandemic Obssessive-Compulsive-Disorder that yields them votes and wins.

Take this week, for example. I’m stunned by the ineptitude of the Clinton campaign’s utter transparency in bulldozing dirt—and snow-plowing some “trim”—into the Obama laundry basket. Geeze, this campaign of “tested experience” makes a high-school rumor mill look like a well-oiled, sophisticated organization; hey, if Team Clinton is reading this blog, I could recommend a student or two to help you all out for a bargain price. That Mark Penn and folks didn’t or couldn’t anticipate that the idiots in the mainstream media wouldn’t sniff that one out spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Whatever will they do should they get to the general election with cross-dressing, flip-flopping, out-right lying and adulterating, DIRTY Rudey, who’s managed to make most of America BELIEVE he’s America’s clean, stain-tested mayor?

What’s even more troubling is how many people are NOW downplaying and dismissing dirty politics. This laundry list includes key Democrats and the many idiots in the Mainstream Media, who remained paralyzed during the Donna Ricing of Gary Hart, who allowed Bill Clinton to be “genetically” impeached, who permitted war hero Kerry to be swiftboated, and who resigned Dan Rather to reap the benefits of the AARP sooner than expected. You folks doth protest too much, methinks.

The fact is that ALL is FEAR in love, politics, and war, and, like it or not, there’s a kernel of truth in what the Clinton campaign hideously fumbled this week: the Republicans will NO DOUBT go after Barack or any Democratic candidate for past, present, and potentially future indiscretions. Unless the Democratic Party takes a crash course from a Republican strategist or two or from the industrial strength approach of Servicemaster to manage dirt, then we will once again have great difficulty achieving a clean win in November.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Iowa Updates

Weekly Presidential Politics - 12/12/07

(Note, over at Presidential Politics for America, I am doing daily updates regarding the upcoming Iowa Caucus)

Here are the two major Iowa polls released this past weekend. This clearly frames the upcoming week into two main stories.
1) Huckabee vs. Romney in an elimination caucus.
2) Clinton vs. Obama, with Iowa as a microcosm.

From Mason-Dixon (December 3-6):
Huckabee - 32
Romney - 20
Thompson - 11
McCain - 7
Giuliani - 5 (!!!)*
Undecided - 19

From Newsweek (December 5-6):
Huckabee - 39
Romney - 17
Thompson - 10
Giuliani - 9
Paul - 8
McCain - 6
Undecided - 8

Analysis on Republican polls: Both Romney and Huckabee, as well as the rest of the Republican Party, surely know this - unless Rudy Giuliani completely falls apart in national polling, there is only room for one candidate to be strong enough heading into Super Tuesday to compete on a national scale. Romney and Huckabee also know that both of their hopes rest on Iowa. A second place finish for either one is unacceptable and is a prelude to a death knell in New Hampshire.

Romney needs a victory there because he has outspent the rest of the field combined in Iowa, and to still lose despite the money advantage would be a huge hit to his credibility in the subsequent primaries. Huckabee needs a victory because his recent appeal across the country has been directly related to his surge in Iowa. If he loses Iowa, it would presumably be because Iowa voters became disillusioned with him, and if a guy like Huckabee can't win a state like Iowa, then he is not going to win a country like the United States.

*An explanation of my exclamations. Giuliani is now consistently polling single digits in Iowa, placing fourth and fifth in most polls, and going in the wrong direction to boot. The cause of this, aside from him never having a good shot to win the state anyway, is that he has pulled money, staff, and other resources away from Iowa to deploy them in states (New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina) where they would be more useful. Be prepared to hear from the Giuliani campaign that they put very little effort into Iowa, which would serve as the explanation as to why the Giuliani message did not resonate with Iowan voters.

From Mason-Dixon (Dec. 3-6):
Clinton - 27
Obama - 25
Edwards - 21
Richardson - 9
Biden - 5
Undecided - 11

From Newsweek (Dec. 5-6):
Obama - 35
Clinton - 29
Edwards - 18
Richardson - 9
Biden - 4
Undecided - 5

Analysis on Democrat polls: Examining the most recent results of the last seven major Iowa polls (Newsweek, Mason-Dixon, Strategic Vision, Zogby, American Research Group, Des Moines Register, Rasmussen) taken in the last two weeks, Obama leads four of them, and Clinton leads three of them. If you average the results of those seven polls, Obama leads by a miniscule 1.6 percentage points, practically meaningless in the world of polling data.

What makes this tightness all the more interesting is that these are becoming two decidedly different types of candidates. Not only do they clearly identify themselves as the candidate of change (Obama) and the candidate with experience (Clinton), but in the past few weeks, they have attacked the other for basically what their opponent is touting about themselves. Obama chides Clinton as partaking in politics as usual (experience), and months ago he famously referred to her as "Bush-Cheney light." Meanwhile, Clinton consistently blasts Obama as being drastically under-experienced (change) to be the President of the United States.

These two platforms are so strikingly different, yet in Iowa, the two candidates are fascinatingly tied in polling. Though Clinton still holds double digit leads nationally, losing to Obama in Iowa when they both are putting so much effort into the state would undoubtedly help Obama and hurt Clinton in votes, momentum, money, legitimacy, and undoubtedly other categories. Of course, it would not ruin her campaign, but in a primary that is shaping up to be the closest in a generation, even a slim Iowa loss would sting a lot more than Clinton would ever let on.

(And don't forget about John Edwards.)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Iowa Caucus "Second Choice" Wrinkle

Weekly Presidential Politics - 12/5/07

The recent Des Moines poll still has political America in a tizzy. Obama's roaring, Hillary's vulnerable, and Edwards is fading. Thus spake the masses.

What if I were to tell you that an Obama-Hillary-Edwards finish is just as likely as an Edwards-Hillary-Obama finish? Or an Edwards-Obama-Hillary finish, or a Hillary-Edwards-Obama victory, or, well, you get the point.

See, what's consistently overlooked when it comes to the Democratic Iowa Caucus are the interesting rules attached to the contest. These rules are unlike any other primary of either party, including the Republican Iowa Caucus. The most important of these rules is: if a candidate doesn't reach a particular threshold (percentage of votes), the votes that were going to him go to the voter's "second choice."

Example: The threshold is placed at 15% (It's usually between 15 and 25). Only the three candidates end up exceeding that threshold. Richardson gets 8%, Biden get 6%, etc. The votes intended for Richardson, Biden, et. al get scattered into the top 3, depending on the voter's second choice. (Note: The reason for this is because Iowans want to make sure their votes go their top candidates and a viable candidate, if these two aren't the same person. Not that bad of an idea, especially when you think of the Nader dilemma in 2000.) In the 2004 Iowa Caucus, for example, only John Kerry, John Edwards, and Howard Dean earned national delegates to the convention.

Okay, so, what does this mean for 2008? Well, the Des Moines Register poll revealed:
Barack Obama - 28%
Hillary Clinton - 25%
John Edwards - 23%
No one else above 9%

Say that ends up being the numbers for the Iowa Caucus itself. Those first three numbers mean that 76% of voters have chosen one of the big three, and 24% have not. Therefore, 24% of the vote is still available to be divvied up among the top 3 candidates!

Therefore, second choice is hugely important in the Iowa Caucus. The question is: Who of the Big Three is the most popular second choice of those who are voting for someone not in the top tier? Who of the top 3 has the most support beyond those who are already planning on voting for them?

This will be examined throughout the month, but I think you at least know this: It's not Hillary Clinton.

(Note: You can read more on the Iowa Caucus all month at Presidential Politics for America.)