The Jaker

Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.

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Thursday, August 31, 2006
Giuliani Too Nice?
John Dickerson of Slate says Giuliani might not be viscious enough to win the Republican primary.
As the mayor answered the last of the three questions from reporters, he talked about the root causes of terrorism: "oppressive governments that demagogue and blame and project their problems other places and do nothing to solve the problems of their own people."

"Sounds like the Democrats," shouted a man.

The crowd roared.

It was the kind of stupid remark candidates usually ignore. They either agree but can't show that they do, or they don't want to cause a stir by contradicting one of the partisans they've come to court. Giuliani's aides were already preparing to move him to his waiting SUV. He could have just left.

"Time out," he said bringing his hands together to make a T. "Time out." The crowd quieted down. "The other thing we have to learn is that we can't get into this partisan bickering. The fact is that Republicans and Democrats have the same objectives. … Democrats are loyal Americans. Republicans are loyal Americans. I think we have better answers, but we have to respect each other."

This guy is never getting the nomination.

Seems he took it all out on the homeless people in NYC.
posted by CB @ 7:00 PM   0 comments
Are you kidding me?
I think David Broder has gone insane. Or else he is just an idiot. Or else he was struck with a lightning-bolt of idiotness yesterday just before sitting down to write this Washington Post article about the Democratic Party's plans to add Nevada and South Carolina (two not almost exclusively white states) to the early primary calendar in addition to Iowa and New Hampshire (two almost exlusively white states).

Here's a choice selection from Broder:
This Democratic version of affirmative action leaves a lot to be desired. Unions are a major source of Democratic votes and money. Maybe Rhode Island should be rewarded for being a stronghold of union activity at a time when labor elsewhere is beleaguered. And gays vote Democratic; shouldn't the states that are home to San Francisco and Key West be allowed to vote early? And if Jewish contributors keep the party solvent, shouldn't New York be up there with the other pacesetters?

Affirmative action? It's not like they're letting just the minority voters in those states vote first. And it's not like only minorities are allowed to live in these states. Nevada is 65% White, 20% Hispanic, 7% Black, and 4% Asian. South Carolina is 66% White, 30% Black, 1% Asian. Boy, we've practically given the country away, haven't we David? What is so objectionable about wanting diversity on the most basic possible level? Or are you just afraid that the Democrats have wisened up and are now better prepared to elect a viable general election candidate than the Republicans are?
posted by CB @ 1:00 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Biden on 2008
Biden is really loose-lipped about 2008. He's already handicapping the race. His latest: "If John [Edwards] loses South Carolina, he's done".
posted by CB @ 11:23 AM   0 comments
Just $6
Here's an example of why Google Ads are good for blogs and websites.

Earlier today (it may still be there when you read this) there was an add on this blog for something called "Just $6". The subtitle read "Our democracy is broken - fix it with Just $6". It sounded interesting, so I checked it out.

Turns out it's a bipartisan group of former senators, many of whom I really respect (especially Bill Bradley), that is working to establish a fully publicly funded campaign system. And it turns out that public funding of all House, Senate, and White House campaigns would cost only $6 per person per year.

Imagine that. For only $6 a person, we could dramatically change the way politicians are financed and incentivized. It's a great idea, and I would say that it will probably happen - it's just a matter of when.

Check out the site, and see for yourself: (Or better yet, click on the ad at the right if it's still there).
posted by CB @ 10:47 AM   0 comments
Personal U2 Chart
Off-topic I know, but this is pretty cool. Go to and you can check off which shows you've been to and compile a list of all the songs you've seen live and how many times.

Here's mine:

You've selected the following 7 shows:

· 1992-11-07 - Oakland, California - Oakland-Alameda County Stadium (25 songs)
· 1997-06-18 - Oakland, California - Oakland-Alameda County Stadium (22 songs)
· 2001-06-03 - Hartford, Connecticut - Civic Center (21 songs)
· 2001-10-25 - New York, New York - Madison Square Garden (19 songs)
· 2004-11-22 - New York, New York - Empire Fulton Ferry State Park (11 songs)
· 2005-05-18 - East Rutherford, New Jersey - Continental Airlines Arena (22 songs)
· 2005-10-10 - New York, New York - Madison Square Garden (23 songs)

We found 63 different songs played during these shows.

· Bullet The Blue Sky (6 times)
· One (6 times)
· Pride (In The Name Of Love) (6 times)
· Where The Streets Have No Name (6 times)
· Beautiful Day (5 times)
· I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (5 times)
· I Will Follow (5 times)
· Sunday Bloody Sunday (5 times)
· Bad (4 times)
· Elevation (4 times)
· Mysterious Ways (4 times)
· The Fly (4 times)
· Until The End Of The World (4 times)
· Vertigo (4 times)
· With Or Without You (4 times)
· All Because Of You (3 times)
· City Of Blinding Lights (3 times)
· Miracle Drug (3 times)
· Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own (3 times)
· Zoo Station (3 times)
· Angel Of Harlem (2 times)
· Desire (2 times)
· Even Better Than The Real Thing (2 times)
· Gone (2 times)
· Kite (2 times)
· Love And Peace Or Else (2 times)
· New Year's Day (2 times)
· New York (2 times)
· Running To Stand Still (2 times)
· Stay (Faraway, So Close!) (2 times)
· Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of (2 times)
· Walk On (2 times)
· Yahweh (2 times)
· 40 (1 time)
· Can't Help Falling In Love (1 time)
· Daydream Believer (Edge Karaoke) (1 time)
· Dirty Old Town (1 time)
· Discothèque (1 time)
· Gloria (1 time)
· Hallelujah (1 time)
· Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me (1 time)
· If God Will Send His Angels (1 time)
· If You Wear That Velvet Dress (1 time)
· In A Little While (1 time)
· Last Night On Earth (1 time)
· Love Is Blindness (1 time)
· Miami (1 time)
· Miss Sarajevo (1 time)
· Mofo (1 time)
· Original Of The Species (1 time)
· Out Of Control (1 time)
· Please (1 time)
· Redemption Song (1 time)
· Satellite Of Love (1 time)
· She's A Mystery To Me (1 time)
· Stand By Me (1 time)
· Staring At The Sun (1 time)
· The Electric Co. (1 time)
· The Ocean (1 time)
· Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World (1 time)
· Ultra Violet (Light My Way) (1 time)
· What's Going On (1 time)
· When Love Comes To Town (1 time)

We found 37 different snippets played during these shows.

· 40 (3 times)
· Break On Through (2 times)
· My Way (2 times)
· No Regrets (2 times)
· The Hands That Built America (2 times)
· Unchained Melody (2 times)
· When Johnny Comes Marching Home (2 times)
· Blackbird (1 time)
· Cuba (1 time)
· Everybody Hurts (1 time)
· Get Up Stand Up (1 time)
· In A Little While (1 time)
· In My Life (1 time)
· Into The Groove (1 time)
· Johnny Was (1 time)
· Love To Love You Baby (1 time)
· My Mammy (1 time)
· Neighbours Theme Song (1 time)
· Ol' Man River (1 time)
· People Have The Power (1 time)
· People I Don't Know Are Trying To Kill Me (1 time)
· Please (1 time)
· Psalm 116 (1 time)
· Pump It Up (1 time)
· Rockaway Beach (1 time)
· Romeo Had Juliette (1 time)
· See Me, Feel Me (1 time)
· Sexual Healing (1 time)
· She's A Mystery To Me (1 time)
· Shine Like Stars (1 time)
· Stand By Me (1 time)
· Stories For Boys (1 time)
· The Battle Hymn Of The Republic (1 time)
· Two Tribes (1 time)
· Van Morrison's Gloria (1 time)
· When Will I See You Again (1 time)
· Wild Horses (1 time)

Songs from 13 U2 albums have been played during these shows.

· Achtung Baby (9 songs)
· Pop (9 songs)
· Cover songs (8 songs)
· How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (8 songs)
· All That You Can't Leave Behind (7 songs)
· The Joshua Tree (5 songs)
· Boy (4 songs)
· Non-album songs (3 songs)
· Rattle And Hum (3 songs)
· War (3 songs)
· The Unforgettable Fire (2 songs)
· October (1 song)
· Zooropa (1 song)

Opening songs

· Elevation (2)
· City Of Blinding Lights (2)
· Mofo (1)
· Zoo Station (1)
· Vertigo (1)

Closing songs

· Walk On (2)
· Hallelujah (1)
· Can't Help Falling In Love (1)
· Vertigo (1)
· Bad (1)
· 40 (1)
posted by CB @ 10:01 AM   0 comments
Monday, August 28, 2006
He Didn't Do It
Turns out that John Mark Karr did not kill JonBenet Ramsey, at least if the DNA test results are to be believed.

I'm not surprised. I thought the whole thing seemed a little off, as I noted in this post in response to a NYTimes article that raised suspicion.

You've got to be pretty disturbed to falsely confess to murdering a child. And the mystery continues. Does this fuel even more speculation about the parents? The father seemed just a little too certain that this was their guy.
posted by CB @ 5:14 PM   0 comments
Latest Senate Polling
Democrats are leading 12 out of 16 competitive Senate races, according to the latest Zogby poll.

Most interesting, James Webb is now slightly ahead of George Allen in Virgina, 47.9 - 46.6 (within the margin of error). Allen is paying for the macaca comment, which in my opinion, rather than being a one-time verbal slip, shows what he the Senator is truly like. I just made a $10 donation to Webb. Feel free to do the same.

Beating Allen would be a huge blow to the Republicans, but more importantly, I think it would be a big help to our country, and not just because we'd have another Dem in the Senate. If Allen is defeated at the same time that George W. Bush's approval is at its low point, it could mean that Republicans stop nominating and electing dumbass frat-boy types who might be fun to have a beer with, but should not be put in charge of any small part of our country.

The polls also show very close races in Arizona (Republican incumbent), Michigan (Dem), Minnesota (Dem), Missouri (Rep), Nevada (Rep), New Jersey (Dem), and Tennesee(Rep).

That NJ race is one to watch. It's way closer than is comfortable. Republicans probably feel the same way about Nevada.
posted by CB @ 4:59 PM   0 comments
This is quite a headline
Rep. Harris Condemns Separation of Church, State.

Among the choice quotes:
"If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin,"
posted by CB @ 9:26 AM   0 comments
Friday, August 25, 2006
Site Redesign
Hope you like it.

My new features:
- 3 columns (easier to find what you're looking for, enables me to get some ads in)
- Full use of screen. There was so much wasted space before.
- Smaller font. More readable content at a time.

I'll be working on the header area at some point... need to find an image or something to spruce that up.

Enjoy the weekend everyone.
posted by CB @ 3:23 PM   0 comments
Friday President Odds Update
Hillary Clinton 5:3. Big article in TIME about her electibility. Poll was mixed. No change in odds for now.
Mark Warner 5:1.
John Edwards 5:1.
Al Gore 8:1. Dropping Al back a little further, from 11:2 to 8:1. His unfavorables are still somewhat high in Iowa (guess they don't go to the movies), and adding Nevada and SC to the early primary states doesn't play to his advantage. If CA or NY were near the beginning, it would be all his.
Evan Bayh 10:1.
Bill Richardson 11:1
Russ Feingold 13:1. He hasn't been joining the others in Iowa, as far as I can tell. I'm dropping him from 10:1 to 13:1.
John Kerry 14:1
Barack Obama 14:1.
Wes Clark 15:1. Same comment as Feingold. Dropping from 13:1 to 15:1.
Joe Biden 17:1
Tom Daschle 22:1.
Tom Vilsack 28:1
Chris Dodd 35:1. He doesn't have a shot, but he is running.
Mike Bloomberg 40:1. In light of his statement that he wouldn't run, I'm taking Bloomberg out. If anything leads me to believe there's a chance again, I'll bring him back into the rankings.
Bill Bradley 48:1
Brian Schweitzer 60:1
Bill Nelson 65:1
Howard Dean 85:1
Janet Napolitano 100:1

John McCain 2:1. Continues to tie up key GOP allies.
Rudy Giuliani 5:1.
Mitt Romney 9:1. Moving up again for the 2nd week in a row. He's getting pretty good traction in Iowa.
George Pataki 16:1
George Allen 16:1
Chuck Hagel 17:1.
Bill Frist 17:1. . Some of the criticism of Frist has died down, but if Nov swings the Dems way it will pick back up again. For now, I'll bump him one point.
Condoleezza Rice 18:1
Mike Huckabee 20:1. Not getting any traction in Iowa.
Sam Brownback 20:1
Jeb Bush 24:1
Colin Powell 35:1
Tom Ridge 35:1
Bill Owens 40:1
Haley Barbour 40:1
Mike Bloomberg 60:1. See above.
Dick Cheney 125:1
Christie Todd Whitman 150:1

posted by CB @ 11:09 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Iowa up for grabs for Republicans
Here's the thing about the Republican presidential nomination: it's totally wide open. At least it is if you think the Iowa caucuses matter.

A recent poll shows Giuliani out in front in Iowa, with 29% to John McCain's 17%. However, 2/3rds of respondents said they won't support someone with a different view on abortion, and 70% are pro-life. I'm going to guess that 5-10 of those 30 percentage points for Giuliani disappear when it becomes more widely discussed that he's pro-choice.

Then you go to McCain. But his problem is he skipped Iowa in 2000, and he's talked about how he thinks the caucuses are bullsh!t. So Iowans don't like him. They take their voting method pretty seriously, and many of them probably won't want to support someone who might want to take it away from them.

After those two, you've got quite a horse-race. And the caucuses are so much like a high-school popularity contest that it's hard to predict what deals will be cut and who will emerge. So who will step up to become the 3rd way in Iowa?


Not sure at the moment. But it's entirely possible that about 16 months from now, one of the people in that list, and not McCain or Giuliani, will be the frontrunner for the GOP nomination for President.
posted by CB @ 11:27 AM   1 comments
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The Real Bush Doctrine: Thinking is Overrated
Fred Kaplan of Slate lambasts Bush's morning press conference performance.

This part I absolutely agree with. Bush's comments here make me yearn for the days of a President who can have an intelligent conversation. Being a smart reporter covering Bush must make you want to bang your head against a wall.

Asked if it might be time for a new strategy in Iraq, given the unceasing rise in casualties and chaos, Bush replied, "The strategy is to help the Iraqi people achieve their objectives and dreams, which is a democratic society. That's the strategy. … Either you say, 'It's important we stay there and get it done,' or we leave. We're not leaving, so long as I'm the president."

The reporter followed up, "Sir, that's not really the question. The strategy—"

Bush interrupted, "Sounded like the question to me."

First, it's not clear that the Iraqi people want a "democratic society" in the Western sense. Second, and more to the point, "helping Iraqis achieve a democratic society" may be a strategic objective, but it's not a strategy—any more than "ending poverty" or "going to the moon" is a strategy.
posted by CB @ 6:28 PM   0 comments
Does Hagel have a shot?
The Washington Post discusses a new book on Chuck Hagel.

I once thought Hagel had a very good shot at winning the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008. He's an old-school conservative: favors tax cuts but not at all costs, believes in measured foreign policy intervention, thinks the govt should butt out of people's private lives, etc. etc. I thought that Hagel could be what it now looks like McCain is going to be: the anti George Bush, back to the roots of the party Republican candidate. [No surprise that McCain crowds Hagel out - they're both veterans with an 'outsider' tag].

I still think Hagel has an outside shot, mostly if something happens to McCain (eg. something that makes his age an issue - like a disease or heart attack). But he has been so critical of his own party that he's alienated many. It will be interesting to see if he does run, and whether he tempers that criticism or tries to capitalize on it.
posted by CB @ 4:17 PM   1 comments
Monday, August 21, 2006
New Hampshire and Iowa; Nevada and South Carolina
The DNC enacted the long-discussed and debated idea of mixing up the schedule of early Presidential primaries to have a more racially diverse group of voters pick the early favorite.

New Hampshire and Iowa are something like 95% white, and that just doesn't make sense in a country where Democrats get a large portion of their general election votes from minorities. You end up with a nominee like John Kerry, who doesn't reflect the desire of the party overall.

So I say well done to Howard Dean and the DNC for forcing this through. With NV and SC in the mix, this will be a much better process. New Hampshire is already crying bloody murder, but they're just protecting their state's financial well-being, and you can't really blame them. For the good of the country, this needs to happen.
posted by CB @ 11:39 AM   0 comments
Lieberman going right
Joe Lieberman has hired a Republican pollster. The guy currently works with Rick Santorum.
posted by CB @ 11:14 AM   0 comments
Friday, August 18, 2006
2008 President Odds Update
Hillary Clinton 5:3. When I was at Saratoga Race Track a few weeks ago, Hillary came to the box at the finishing line to watch a race. She was initially booed (upstate NY is pretty red), but there were plenty of admirers too. That's Hillary in a nutshell I suppose. (No this is Hillary in a nutshell. How did I get in this bloody big nutshell. What kind of shell... has a nut... like this...)
Mark Warner 5:1.
John Edwards 5:1. Adding Nevada and SC to the early primaries plays right into his hands.
Al Gore 11:2.
Russ Feingold 10:1
Evan Bayh 10:1. Aggressively hiring staff in Iowa. He'll be one of those candidates who just coasts along for awhile, and will hope to have a kickass debate or two to propel him forward.
Bill Richardson 11:1
Wes Clark 13:1
John Kerry 14:1
Barack Obama 14:1. Could he run? Could he? I think he could.
Joe Biden 17:1
Tom Daschle 22:1.
Tom Vilsack 28:1
Chris Dodd 35:1
Mike Bloomberg 40:1
Dick Gephardt 45:1. I'm dropping DG from the rankings. Haven't heard a peep.
Bill Bradley 48:1
Brian Schweitzer 60:1
Bill Nelson 65:1
Howard Dean 85:1
Janet Napolitano 100:1

John McCain 2:1
Rudy Giuliani 5:1.
Mitt Romney 10:1. He's apparently raising tons of money, and signing up a bunch of Bush's "Pioneers". I'm going to jump him up into 3rd place, at 10:1. I haven't seen any poll yet on how being Mormon would affect his support from the right wing. When I do, I'll update again.
Newt Gingrich 11:1. . At least he's not a racist.
George Pataki 16:1
George Allen 16:1. Dropping from 9:1 to 16:1. Racist remarks aren't good from a future President, and apparently Republican insiders think he's too much like George Bush, who no one would elect a 3rd time. It's curtains for you, Senator Allen.
Chuck Hagel 17:1.
Condoleezza Rice 18:1
Bill Frist 18:1.
Mike Huckabee 20:1
Sam Brownback 20:1
Jeb Bush 24:1
Colin Powell 35:1
Tom Ridge 35:1
Bill Owens 40:1
Haley Barbour 40:1
Mike Bloomberg 60:1
Dick Cheney 125:1
Christie Todd Whitman 150:1

posted by CB @ 10:33 AM   1 comments
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Did he really do it?
The NYTimes article on the arrest in the JonBenet Ramsey case brings up the possibility that the guy, John Mark Karr, despite his confession, may not have actually killer her. He apparently has been obsessed with the case and done tons of research about it, which would obviously lead him to know a lot of the details others don't. His ex-wife says they were in Alabama the day of the killing.

I hope they can do DNA testing or something.

Update: Apparently there was foreign DNA they can test.
posted by CB @ 9:37 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
He meant mohawk?
George Allen says that "Macaca" was a play on "Mohawk", a nickname given to the Webb cameraman by the Allen campaign. The cameraman actually has a mullet, not a mohawk, but let's not worry about that and give them the benefit of the doubt.

I'm even willing to speculate (though Allen didn't say this) that he was searching in his brain for the nickname "Mohawk", couldn't find it, and instead came up with "Macaca".

The question is, why did he even know this word? Did any of you? I'd be willing to bet that it's because he's used it before as the racial epithet we all now know it to be. Your racist past has caught up with you, George.
posted by CB @ 3:48 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Imagine This
It's 2026. China has been an economic powerhouse for the past 20 years. Personal incomes have grown (everybody in the world wants to buy the things they make, including not just small items but cars, computers, etc). Maybe even democracy, or some other forward-thinking governmental system, has taken hold in the former communist state - the population has rallied around good economic leaders who have so far generally stayed out of worldwide conflicts.

China also has the world's largest military - 5 million soldiers, with the most advanced missile technology and satellite weaponry.

Imagine also that the Chinese government gradually becomes unsettled with what's going on in the U.S. - the Americans continue to build dangerous weapons technologies, including biological warfare agents and nuclear weapons, and after all it was the U.S. that started the space weapons race. And though the U.S. has refrained from using the worst of these new weapons, they have nevertheless shown their willingness to proactively and pre-emptively use military force around the world when it's in their interest (Iraq, maybe a few bombings in Iran, North Korea, Africa, etc.).

Maybe we also have an election that looks questionable - charges of vote rigging, electronic machine manipulation, etc. - that puts a tough-talking, swaggering, volatile figure in power... someone like, oh let's say, George W. Bush. The international community pressures the U.S. to disclose the details of its activities, but the U.S. claims it cannot, for security reasons. China warns the U.S. and wants to get rid of specific weapons programs, but the U.N. refuses to act swiftly.

So the Chinese government decides that the world cannot afford the terror that is the American government, overthrows Washington and installs its brand of government on the U.S. It believes it will be greeted by the American people as enlightened liberators. In the process, thousands and thousands of American civilians are killed indiscriminately by Chinese bombing raids on weapons facilities. The two main political factions, which have split pretty evenly between the minorities and caucasians, fight brutally over who will take over the country when the Chinese leave, killing thousands more in race-tinged riots all over the country.

Would the Chinese action be right?


3,400 Iraqi civilians were killed in July 2006 alone. Are there really people who argue that Iraqis prefer this life to life under Saddam? I know the parallel is crude, and that the U.S. government is no Saddam. But sometimes we seem to forget that there's no rule that America has to be the world's superpower. We should be careful what precedents we set. World history has a long memory.
posted by CB @ 5:12 PM   0 comments
Ahmadinejad on "60 Minutes"
I watched Mike Wallace's interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on "60 Minutes" last weekend.

First of all, Mike Wallace is too old and stodgy to be doing these kinds of interviews. He just didn't seem to have the stamina, the patience, the sharpness of thought that I would have liked to see in someone interviewing one of the most important people in the world. In fact, 60 minutes needs pretty much a complete re-fresh. Even someone like Anderson Cooper would have done a better job with that interview.

Secondly, regarding Ahmadinejad, I'll be careful what I say, as this blog is a matter of public record. He comes across as a somewhat intellectual man, who follows events in the U.S. (citing Bush's low poll ratings), makes fairly reasonable arguments for wanting civilian nuclear energy (natural energy supply is not limitless), and is not just a religious nut as we might expect. But he also seems like one of those incredibly stubborn guys you could debate for hours and hours and would never ever change his mind. His persona in interviews like this (very measured words, earnest criticisms of American foreign intervention) runs in sharp contrast to horrifying and irresponsible public statements such as calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map".

And, if the past is a guide, Ahmadinejad may be a truly evil man who has just learned how to tailor his quotes for an audience. The WSJ, in an article listing questions they wished Wallace had asked (subscription req'd), says the following:

Mr. President: Are you aware of a man named Mansour Ossanloo? He is the leader of the independent trade union representing the workers of the Vahed Bus Company in Tehran. A year ago, your security forces raided one of their meetings and cut out a piece of Mr. Ossanloo's tongue. Now he speaks with a lisp. Is this how "dialogue" is conducted in the Islamic Republic of Iran?

Something like this is exactly what should have been asked, but perhaps the setting was such that Wallace was intimidated into being more general.

60 Minutes is a good show, but better personnel could make it much better.
posted by CB @ 4:12 PM   0 comments
New Feature
You'll notice on the right a table sponsored by ActBlue. These are the 6 candidates I currently think are most worthy of your financial support between now and November.

I may change them occasionally as the dynamics of the races change. But my general criteria is: good Democrats running in winnable races.

Here's a quick rundown of why I picked each of these six:

James Webb
If there’s any race I want the Dems to win in November, it’s this one. George Allen is (or at least was) a racist bigot, and represents a lot of what I hate about the Republican party. Taking him out would be great for the Dems’ Senate takeover, and would kill off a right-wing 2008 Presidential candidate.

Kirsten Gillibrand
This is the district my wife is from, and where I got married, so it has no business being Republican. Plus John Sweeney is a partying frat-boy who adds nothing at all to the Republican party besides blind support for President Bush.

Claire McCaskill
McCaskill is a wonderful politician who deserves to beat Jim Talent handily. I’d love to win Missouri.

Jon Tester
Montana is turning blue, and Jon Tester is going to win this Senate race (with our help).

Harold Ford, Jr.
Bill Clinton and others have called Harold Ford Jr. the future of the Democratic Party. He’s a Congressman running for Bill Frist’s Senate seat. We need to keep this guy in a job, because he’s whip-smart and a great asset.

Sheldon Whitehouse
Lincoln Chafee has no business being in the Senate as a Republican. He’s from Rhode Island, and often seems confused about which party he’s in. Let’s put RI firmly in the left column.

If you'd like to contribute a single amount to be split equally among these candidates, you can do so here:

My contribution: $

posted by CB @ 2:22 PM   0 comments
Did George Allen repeatedly use a weird racial slur?
According to the Washington Post, Sen. George Allen (R-VA), at a rally in Virginia near the Kentucky border, repeatedly referred to a campaign volunteer for his opponent, Jim Webb, as a "macaca". Apparently the word could be referring to a monkey, or could be a racial slur against African immigrants.

The volunteer was of Indian descent, and was born and raised in America. But that didn't stop Allen from saying things like "Let's give a welcome to macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia".

For reference, Allen is the wanna-be-President that used to affix the Confederate flag to anything he could and has a clear history of doing racist things.
posted by CB @ 10:10 AM   1 comments
Friday, August 11, 2006
Iraq has been ruined, but let's learn a lesson
The gradual descent of Iraq into civil war (and it's not a question of whether civil war will happen - it is happening now) has cemented the fact that our invasion ruined the country and the lives of millions of people. Most people, myself included, believe that our actions in Iraq were wrong. Not just executed poorly. But ill-conceived, immoral, and unwise.

Since we have no good options on how to correct the situation at this point, and the sad, horrifying, downward spiral will likely continue for years, at the very least we must learn from this. And what we should learn is that the so-called 'Bush Doctrine' of pre-emptive regime change and democracy-slinging cannot work in countries that are not ready for it, and especially cannot work when perceived as imposed upon them by outsiders who have, at very least, the perception of perverse motives (yes, I'm talking about oil here).
posted by CB @ 12:37 PM   0 comments
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Low blow?

The GOP apparently photoshopped a photo of Howard Dean to put a Hitler-mustache-like shadow on his face. Check this out.
posted by CB @ 5:09 PM   0 comments
Another reason to dislike Joe Lieberman
The message about the war has been given load and clear, but here's something I didn't know (and don't like) about Lieberman: in 1993 he led the charge in the Senate to encourage the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which basically tells companies how to do their accounting, to back down from their desire to make companies account for stock options given to employees as an expense.

Lieberman got the Senate to pass a non-binding resolution 88-9 opposing the proposed change, and FASB backed down. A few years later, options were being given left and right and helped bring about the 'irrational exuberance' and subsequent burst of the tech bubble. Even now, executives are about to go to jail for illegal back-dating of options grants.

All this would have been taken care of years ago, before it could become a problem, if Lieberman and company had butted out.

Thanks to Angry Bear and American Prospect for bringing this to my attention.
posted by CB @ 10:42 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
So Lieberman Lost
Wow. I have to say I am surprised, and have been for the last two weeks since that Q-Poll came out showing Lamont leading Lieberman by 13%. It turns out the the CT Senate primary narrowed substantially in the final days, and Lamont only beat Lieberman by 4 points.

But the fact that we're even saying that is amazing, and must be considered in context. Lieberman is an 18-year Senator and was a hair away from the Vice Presidency. He had a 50 point lead over his basically unknown, single-issue (at the time) challenger a few months ago. Nobody except a few bloggers were supporting Lamont.

I've been on Ned's email list for awhile, but never thought he stood a chance (until 2 weeks ago). Lieberman totally underestimated the response, to the extent that even JUST A MONTH AGO, he was giving the OPENING ARGUMENT ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE against Kerry/Feingold's motion to set a target date for bringing the troops home.

Lieberman's concession last night also troubles me somewhat. We all know he's running as an independent now (though many think he'll drop out), but this language strikes me as anti-democratic:

For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand.”

Careful Joe.
posted by CB @ 10:54 AM   0 comments
Friday, August 04, 2006
Clinton (Bill) praises Gore (Al)
Speaking in Tennessee yesterday, Bill Clinton heaped praise on Al Gore, which is interesting considering the potential implications if both Gore and Hillary run for President in 2008.

Among Bill's comments: "I ran a partnership, not a one-man show. And if it hadn't been for Al Gore, a lot of those things wouldn't have happened."

That's pretty serious credit. Clearly Bill is not actively engaged in giving Hillary the upper hand. Perhaps Bill knows more than we do about Al's 2008 plans.
posted by CB @ 12:52 PM   0 comments
The Forgotten War
A must read op/ed in the NYTimes today, about a soldier's remains being escorted from Boston to Washington on a commercial flight.

George Bush hasn't attended a single military funeral, saying it's not fair to attend one if he can't attend them all.

On that I have two comments:
1. Do you think there's really a military family that would be jealous that Bush went to another serviceman's funeral? Of course not. It would be a sign of respect and gratitude to all of them.
2. The real reason he won't do it is because it would be big television news, and bring the war home to people, as this piece does somewhat, further eroding any remaining political backing for Bush's misguided war.
posted by CB @ 12:23 PM   0 comments
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader?
Kos discusses a rumor that Harry Reid may want to step down as Democratic leader in early 2009, and would support Hillary for the job should she decide not to run for President.

Very interesting. Kos says he's always thought Hill was not a total lock to run, and if that's the case maybe a job like this would appeal to her.

I think that whole pair is way too ambitious for Hillary to pass up the chance at being the first woman President. But interesting idea, nonetheless.
posted by CB @ 1:34 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Throw your 401k in Socially Responsible Funds
I really shifted the asset allocation in my 401k to substantially increase my investments in Socially Responsible funds (specifically, the one I have is the Neuberger Berman Socially Responsive Invesment Fund, NBSRX).

I'd like to make the case that you should invest in these funds (especially in your retirement account which presumably allows the most time for trends to play out), and would like to do it on purely financial grounds, leaving aside any benefits of feeling good about helping the world, etc.

1. Socially Responsible funds outperform, or at least match the S&P 500
For the last 3 month, last 1 year, last 3 year, and last 5 year periods, the NBSRX outperforms the S&P by between 0.5% and 5.1%. It's trailed the S&P by 0.8% in the last 1 month, but that's a pretty good record overall.

2. Socially Responsible funds are becoming more attractive
As more money is invested in socially responsible funds, as is the expected trend, the companies that these funds can invest in (the socially responsible ones) will get bid up by the increased investment, and therefore the funds will outperform.

3. Business schools are emphasizing 'Corporate Social Responsibility'
The generation of students at business schools since Enron has learned about CSR in tandem with finance, marketing, leadership, etc. When they get in corporate positions of influence, starting in a few years, they will (hopefully) carry this with them, and operate their companies better, opening up more companies for these kinds of funds to invest in.

4. Reduced legal risk
Generally, companies that make a concerted effort to show social leadership and avoid conflicts with the community and the environment are less likely to face lawsuits, especially the large class action kind that can crush a stock. So a portion of the downside risk of these companies is removed.

So there's four purely financial reasons to invest in Socially Responsible funds. Plus, you help save the world! (I couldn't help myself).
posted by CB @ 10:10 AM   0 comments
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Howard Dean interview with Matt Bai
This is an excellent listen. Matt Bai, in my opinion one of the New York Times's best political writers, interviews DNC Chair Howard Dean about the problems in the Democratic party, the 50 state strategy for November 2008, some personal things about Dean, etc.

I've said it a hundred times before, but Dean is one of the absolute most articulate and intelligent Democrats around today, and he is exactly right about what the party needs to do to win. I challenge you to listen to this and disagree.
posted by CB @ 3:58 PM   0 comments

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