Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mike Connell

I am still at an age when where hearing of the death of a contemporary still seems shocking. Mike Connell has been around the political internet about as long as I have -- we've been to enough of the same conferences that we would certainly recognize each other at the cocktail parties at the Conferences we attended. He died this morning in the crash of the private plane he was piloting.

What I had no idea of, was that his death puts him at the center of conspiracy theory on the blogs. He had been forced to testify on the Monday before the election in a suit alleging he was a key player in fixing the 2004 Ohio vote. His "non-political" company was running the vote count website for the Ohio Sec. of State. As the returns were coming in and starting to show a Kerry lead, the site was switched from OH servers to ones in TN. According the allegations, after that was when the totals were changed as they came in in real time.

The lawyers pushing the case forward also alleged that Rove was putting pressure on Connell to take the fall or stonewall. They were even asking for court protection for Connell -- although it doesn't appear that Connell was asking for that protection. Another blog noted that Rove was predicting an upset until the day Connell testified -- the implication being that having to testify put the scare into Connell so he pulled the plug on fixing 2008 as he had in 2004.

So the speculation is that Connell was killed to keep him from testifying. Although if I accepted all that blogs alleged, I prefer the supposition that he was killed for refusing to the fix 2008 -- it's more Godfather.

Let me say that I have no first hand knowledge that would lead me to believe or disbelieve any of this. It just feels very weird to have this circulating around someone you shock hands with and would chat with until some more likely to give him business came into view.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kids and Prop. 8

This has radicalized my 8 year old daughter Edith -- whose uncle is gay and in a relationship that predates her birth. She says: "No 8 No Proposition 8" and made a poster. She wants to know what kids can do to have no Proposition 8s.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Children's Programing

As a father to an eleven year old and an eight year old, I have watched a lot of children's programing over the last decade. And it does bring up some questions and thoughts:

Blues Clues: I imagine a finalepisode where Steve is finally given the right anti-psychotic drugs, the hallucinations go away and he wakes up -- in a locked phsyc ward.

Max and Ruby: Here you have what appears to be a three year old being taken care of by a ten year old or so. Where are their parents? Where is child protective services?

The Good Night Show: I'm sorry, but I think the woman who hosts that program is hot. (Of course, I also think the same about the weird woman in the Progressive Insurance commercials).

I'm sure I'll think of some more while I'm watching Noggin, Nickelodeon, Disney, Sprout, etc.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Palin Anti-Semitism

I have been waiting for this shoe to start to drop (oh no, is mentioning shoes sexist?): but we have the first evidence of Palin's being an anti-Semite. Her quote about people in small towns comes from a writer so anti-Semitic that the John Birch Society fired him. He believed that Eastern European Jews were inherently Communist. So we know that Palin was reading extensively in his works. I thought something like this would turn up -- we killed her Lord, you know.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

De Je Vou All over Again

How many times have we come out of our Convention sure of victory and then watched as the Republicans in starting in their Convention and then in weeks after the steal our country from us. After watching them manipulate cultural symbols at their convention, white working class America seems to say to itself -- "at least they know enough to lie to us about things we care about in terms we can understand."

Finally, I worry that Marogolis is going to be this year's Shrum -- how can he take the Obama campaign and make boring ads?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Winning Coalition vs. A Governing Coaliton

Hinted at in the coverage of the Obama campaign but never made explicit is that they appear to have made the transition from trying to put together a winning coalition to putting together a governing coalition. A winning coalition strategy, perfected by Rove, is trying to put together 50%+1 votes in states with 271 electoral votes. With that strategy you essentially are able to win with 26% of the assuming they are exactly in the right places. It also means you focus like a laser beam on a few of the swing states and ignore the rest of the country.

The downside of the strategy is that it provides neither a mandate supported by the majority of the country nor a basis of power to then govern the country.

What Obama is doing is putting together a governing coalition. It has not only meant expanding the number of states in play and putting states in play through party building and registering voters -- but putting resources into states like Texas. Although Obama will never win Texas, taking a few state legislative seats will give the Democrats control of the legislature and redistricting. That means more Representatives voting on Obama's legislation in 2010. Also Members who's election Obama helped will have some reason for loyalty and sticking with him on tough votes. That is building a governing coalition.

But now comes the worry time for that strategy. It was implemented at a time when Obama's campaign thought it would be able to drown the McCain campaign with $. Now it is clear the Republicans have given up on the House and Senate and are putting everything into the Presidential. Although Obama should still be able to outspend McCain it is not going to be the blow out in spending it had looked like a few months ago. So our breaths are held.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Does Anyone Know the Books She Wanted to Ban

The Post of the books Sarah Palin wanted to ban turns out to be a list of the most popular books to ban (or would that be the least popular?). But clearly from the visceral reaction to seeing the books, if we could find out what she wanted to ban so much she fired the librarian, it would be helpful. I can't feel too bad about the fact it is circulating, it is a teaspoon to ocean of "Obama is a Muslim" emails.

The Books Sarah Palin Wanted to Ban

Below is a paragraph from this week's Time magazine article on Sarah Palin:

"[Former Wasilla mayor] Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." The librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire her for not giving "full support" to the mayor."

Mary Ellen Baker resigned from her library director job in 1999.

Here is the list of books Palin tried to have banned. As many of you will notice it is a hit parade for book burners.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen KingCatch-22 by Joseph Heller
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women's Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald DahlScary
Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

Too bad it leaves out the Wizard of Oz -- wanting to ban that ended the candidacy of a Republican VA LT. Gov candidate.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Black McCain Supporters

Recent Washington Post poll has Obama getting 94% of the African American vote and McCain getting 1%. This proves something I have suspected for a while -- ALL black McCain supporters are working as pundits.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Obama the Elititest

Looking at the whole Obama elitist controversy, as usual the people are not adjusting to the new paradigm -- for Obama it is really basketball v. bowling. And even the people who still bowl, are following basketball and had their brackets in the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile Hillary is going all "Mitt Romney" as born again bowler and gun-nut. And of course, Obama's net worth is less than a tenth or fiftieth of Clinton's or McCain.

When it actually comes down to the election and the economic problems we will be facing, we should remember that FDR wasn't much of a bowler either.

John McCain's Rural Jobs Program

John McCain's rural jobs program is called "Stop Loss".

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

End of the Primary Campaign

It isn't over until the lady in the pantsuit sings!

Amazing Image

From Petreus's testimony- we don't see a light at the end of the tunnel and we have pushed the champagne bottle to the back of the fridge. Amazing.

Charlton Heston

I guess we can finally get his gun away from him.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Are we in a Pre-Colonial Situation?

I did a lot of my academic work studying colonialism. In most colonies there was a "pre-colonial" period, in which forces external and internal reshaped society in way that lead to becoming controlled -- both economically and politically -- by an external western power. And in such a way that the colonial power could exert the control with an amazingly small number of its own people.

The key was the creation of a "mediating elite." These were folks who even while local manufacturing was being destroyed by factories in Manchester were making bundles and improving their economic and social positions by selling those products in the local markets. You could see them as economic traitors or of as free marketers. They often seamlessly became the local collaborators with the positions in the colonial administrations once the economic domination was supplemented with political control.

There just seems to be a parallel between this piece of history and people like Sam Walton and becoming rich with Walmart's role in replacing American manufacturing with made in China. There also is a deeper connection with many of the policies of the last eight years that I will explore in later posts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Of course

The Pentagon on Wednesday said an eruption of violence in southern Iraq, where US-backed government forces were battling Shiite militias, was a "by-product of the success of the surge."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spitzer 24/7

CNN broke into their non-stop Spitzer resignation coverage with the BREAKING NEWS that Spitzer had resigned. This was an hour after had happened and they were covering nothing but.

Also, at 11 their Showbiz show is covering "What can Spitzer learn from past Hollywood Sex Scandals", in other words this an excuse to re-cover every juicy star sex scandal for the last century.

Daily Shot To Cover the Political Consultants Convention

I'm going to the American Association of Political Consultants convention in Santa Monica and so is the Daily Show. Here is the e-mail from the AAPC about it (personally, I would love to be interviewed by John Stewart on the couch, but if any of those other guys come by with cameras -- RUN AWAY):

The Daily Show To Cover 2008 Pollie Awards and Conference
Hello Pollie Stars!

Well, the good news is you may get press on the Daily Show - yup the same one that's attracting young voters and the rest of us all over the world. The bad news is to remember that they tend to devise great humor at the cost of their subjects. Comedy Central's hugely popular The Daily Show hosted by Jon Stewart is planning to do a story on The Pollies and has indicated some interest in using your entry in the piece. We have provided The Daily Show a list of firms that have submitted entries. That list includes ONLY the name of the piece, the name of the firm who produced the piece, and the category that the piece was submitted in. We have instructed the producers of The Daily Show to directly contact the firms who have submitted entries in the categories in which they are interested and to ask permission to use a piece on the show. You may receive a phone call or email in the next couple of days from a producer at Comedy Central requesting your Pollie entry. The Daily Show is one of the most popular shows on TV and there is no doubt, this is an unmatched opportunity for free publicity for your work. However, as President of the AAPC it is important that I let you know a couple of things before you turn over your entry to the producers of The Daily Show:
If you are not familiar with The Daily Show, it is a comedy show specializing in satire of the news. The "bread and butter" of their program is to spoof a lot of things that our profession does.
If you are lucky enough to be interviewed by The Daily Show, do not try to "Out-Daily Show" The Daily Show. They are experts at what they do and can edit the piece. Just be yourself and represent your profession to the best of your ability.If you turn over an entry piece to The Daily Show, you do so at your own risk. The AAPC cannot offer any guarantee of how the piece might be used on the program.The AAPC takes a lot of pride in being an advocate for our profession and seeks to put the interests of our profession and membership first. While your entry on appearing on The Daily Show might be prestigious, there is a possibility your entry could be made fun of. That is why, rather than the AAPC turning over all of this year's Pollies entries to The Daily Show's producers, we thought we would give you the opportunity to choose whether to participate or opt out. Please note that the AAPC has not turned over ANY Pollie Awards entries to The Daily Show. Good luck and I look forward to seeing you at the 17th Annual Pollie Awards and Conference!Best Regards, Tony FazioPresident, AAPC

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Settle it Now

Here is my plan to settle it between Barack and Hilary:

-- They have both earned a place on the ticket, they agree that it will the two of them. Order will be decided by who has the most elected delegates when the primaries are over. That way they can still "let the voters decide" but no have the incentive not make this a mutual destruction situation where whoever wins gets a worthless nomination.

-- They also agree that they will switch off -- so Obama is President for 4 years, then Hilary, then Obama is young enough that he can run again. Whoever is VP has enhanced responsibilities -- so Hilary might have more National Security responsibilities in the first administration.

-- An Obama/Hilary ticket also plays to the traditional campaign roles of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates. Obama is the ideal inspirational leader and Hilary can certainly fill the attack dog role we will need in going after McCain and the Republicans.

-- Florida and Michigan are re-run as caucuses. Just rerunning them favors Hilary, but having them be caucuses favors Obama. Also with caucuses you are building organizations that will be useful in the general elections while primaries encourage running of negative TV ads which end up hurting whoever the eventual nominee.

I think with that we have a system that will produce a strong ticket without damaging the eventual chances for victory.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


All of the following happened in 1936:

Hitler invades the Rhineland
The Lindbergh Kidnapper is executed
Max Shenling Fights Joe Lewis
General Francisco Franco starts the Spanish Civil War
Jesse Owens stuns the Berlin Olympics
King Edward VIII abdicates for "the woman I love"
Roosevelt Beats Landon for a 2nd Term


John McCain is born.

The Other Roger Stone

The Washington Post Sunday Magazine has a little section where they ask readers to send in their experiences. They asked for true tales of being mistaken for someone else. Here is what I wrote in (we'll see if they take it):

The Other Roger Stone

I happen to share my name with one of the more notorious (at least among my circle) Republican operatives. This has been particularly dicey because I am a Democratic consultant and have a listed number and he has tended not to, so I get his calls.

I first became aware of this when my phone rang at about 4:30 a.m. one morning in 1987.

“This is mmmmm, we met at the Kemp Fundraiser.”
“You heard that Congressman McKinney died.”
Then the caller’s words came tumbling out. “Roger, I need your help. The Democrat is a nightmare, and no one else is conservative enough. We need State Senator XXXX to make the run. I want to go up to him at the funeral and say we have $200,000 lined up. I can’t raise that kind of money. I need your contacts. I need 100 people you can call and will do a $1,000 from them and a $1,000 from the wife. Can you help me?”
“You know there is more than one Roger Stone in DC.”
“I work for Senator Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota.”
“Oh Sh-t. They are going to be laughing at me in cloakroom tomorrow. You’re not going to go to the press with this?”

We got a good story in the Hartford Courant with the unfortunate headline: “Leaving the Wrong Stone Unturned.”

Roger Alan Stone is CEO of Advocacy, Inc. a pioneering political internet services and consulting firm.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Buyers Remorse Redux

An amazing 51% think McCain is a moderate.;_ylt=AhHG8N9mrp9PFuo_Bm0.0jKs0NUE Although he has his differences -- largely on personality and a few issues -- with some of the conservative leaders, his positions and beliefs are very very conservative. I worry that just as folks were surprised at how conservative Bush was when he got elected (thinking he was just a rerun of his dad), we will have a lot Independents and even Democrats voting for him and then being very surprised with what they end up with.

With Friends Like These

As a rational human being, I am always amazed at how stupid the extremes can be in their determination to lose. According to an article in Politico, groups on the left want to recreate 1968 at the Democratic Convention with anti-war protests and civil disobedience.

Perhaps their plan is to insure the future of the anti-war movement by electing McCain -- then the movement could last 100 years. Or perhaps it is sixties envy gone wrong by people who missed the decade.

Another article in this issue of Politico made the point that Nader did not lose the election for Gore -- the people who voted for him did. So that there are groups silly enough to call for recreating the 1968 protests is one thing, if they actually get people to show for it would be another.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

McCain's Running Mate

The New York Times had an article saying that McCain might try to balance his ticket by trying to pick a younger running mate. Of course he will -- how could he pick an older running mate? Strom Thurmond is dead and Senator Byrd is a Democrat.

Friday, February 22, 2008

How did she miss out on being a talking head?

Another mystery of the Vicki Iseman story -- given how she looks, why has she never been featured as a Republican talking head on any of the cable shows? Or is that her future now that she has been noticed?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

She was his mistress

How else can you explain the Vicki's meteoric rise -- she comes to DC with a degree in primary education from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She gets a job as receptionist at lobbying firm and with no Hill or other experience is a Partner at the firm (probably pulling down a half a million a year plus) before she is 30. That doesn't happen. Check out the profile of her in her alumni magazine -- she's probably their most accomplished or at least today most famous grad.

Of course the fact that she is the spitting imagine of a younger Cindy McCain is more damming evidence -- guys have types and clearly McCain has his.

Obama Luck

Is history repeating itself? In 2004 Obama was able to waltz into the Senate because after he secured the nomination, his Republican opponent had a sex scandal and had to drop out. If that pattern holds then like in 2004, the Republicans will replace their presumptive nominee with Alan Keyes.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cheeseheads at the Convention

Seeing a clip of Hilary saying she loved Cheeseheads in a speach in WI, in which you could see some Wisconsinites wearing cheesehats reminded me of Democratic Convention in 1988. Wisconsin had been a key state in Dukakis's nomination battle and was going to be a key battleground in the general election so they gave the WI delegation a prime location. It was right down in front of the poduim. They were in literally every shot of a speaker and they wore those damn cheesehead hats.

Dukakis lost, and not one blames the cheesehats, but in 1992 the WI delegation was in the nose bleed seats next to American Samoa.

Intelligent Design

Edith, my seven year old asked me why God created mosquitoes. (We really need to take her religious education in hand; I think right now most of it is coming through her West African nanny.)

Since I don't know why God created mosquitoes, but do have the answer to how mosquitoes evolved to fill an ecological niche -- which is much simpler to explain -- I went with that. I threw in Darwin's visit to the Galapagos Island's and his finches.

I guess the best answer to the intelligent design folks that I have heard lately is that the design is hardly intelligent. If it were, then we wouldn't have bad lower backs, too many wisdom teeth for the space in our jaws and appendixes. Not to mention the Platypus (unless it shows that God has a sense of humor).

What we really need is a foundation that would pay for putting a copy of the Origin of Species into every hotel room along with the Bible (and in the case of Marriott, the Book of Mormon).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Someone at CNN is losing their job

The deli I was eating in had CNN. The announcer said "Turning to Politics, Obama has a huge lead ..." and proceeded to do a few minutes of political coverage. When that wrapped up he said, "Turning to Politics, Obama has a huge lead . . . I just read this. Could we turn to something else, this isn't how we do things."

I think the guy who loads stories into the teleprompter is getting let go.

Form over Function

A Capitol Hill cop accused of setting fires is trying to get her statements through out because she wasn't advised of her Miranda Rights. I'm a huge civil libertarian, but since her job involved advising people of their rights, shouldn't she know them? Actually as one of my law professor's pointed out, everyone with a TV knows them.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Let's wrap it up -- NOT

The commentators all seem to think that it is some horrible thing for the Democrats that they are still fighting it out while the Republicans have it wrapped up. This is just wrong. In 2004 the Democrats wrapped it up much to soon -- while the primaries were being contested there were all the candidates beating up on Bush and being covered. Once Kerry had it wrapped up, it was quiet until the convention and Bush was rebounding.

Everything is so front loaded that we forget that we are still fairly early in when candidates have their nomination wrapped up. Usually most primaries wouldn't have happened by now. The period from whenever the nomination is decided until the election will be plenty long.

Finally, having the eventual candidate have to campaign in all these states and build organizations and generate the level of excitement this generating is going to a huge help going into November.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sea Change on Sexism in Public Discourse?

With MSNBC suspending a commentator for making an offensive sexist comment -- saying the Clinton Campaign was "pimping out" Chelsea -- may represent a cultural milestone in ending polite acceptance of sexism. With Hilary Clinton's campaign and the commentary on the commentary their is now an awareness of the issue. In fact, the reaction to what Mathews and others said probably put Clinton back into the race in New Hampshire.

In the middle of all of this, Earl Butz died. As a precousious child in the mid-seventies, I remember Earl Butz (how could any adoloscent male not be amused by that name). For those who don't remember the aply named Butz, he was Ford's Secretary of Agriculture and he had to be fired in the middle of Ford's relecation campaign for telling an incredibley offensive joke about colored people. That in the mid-seventies someone as high as a cabinate offical could be fired for telling that kind of joke forever made those sorts of racist comments taboo in the workplace and polite society. It just isn't done anymore.

It will be interesting if this election ends up marking the same sort of moment.

Will Bush be featured at the Republican Convention?

One interesting thing to watch will be what role they give Bush at the Republican Convention. I remember in 2000 they had "Clinton" Day and then turned focus to Gore. But that was with a realitively popular President, so I wonder how they will play out.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Long Memories Strike Again

According to reports from people closed to Ted Kennedy one of the things that pushed him over the edge into coming out against the Clintons was actually Hilary's comment about Martin Luther King and LBJ. Not for the obvious reasons that everyone else objected but because Ted took it as a devaluation of JFK's role in introducing the bill before his assisination. So undoubtably without meaning to, the Clinton's were taking a side in the feud between the Kennedy's and LBJ. Amazing.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mormon Bumpersticker

Mormonism: The Scientology of the Nineteenth Century.

Why Judaism Is So Popular

I was sitting around with my in-laws comparing Jewish views on the after-life with Christians. They asked me if we had Heaven and also Resurrection. I told them that the Orthodox believed that when the Messiah came that your body would rise up. That was the reason that cremation is an abomination to them. Not only would the body come up, as is, but the Jews would come together in Israel. Orthodox aspire to be buried in Israel, because otherwise they would have to burrow through the Earth to get there.

I had to assure Jeneva that I wasn't making this up. (So I had to find it online in the Jewish Encyclopedia " Those that are buried elsewhere will therefore be compelled to creep through cavities in the earth until they reach the Holy Land (Pesiḳ. R. l.c., with reference to Ezek. xxxvii. 13; Ket. 111a).")

So in short, the Jewish view of the after life is a whole bunch of naked old Jews crowded into Israel for all eternity. The Christians have heaven, the Muslims have the virgins for Martyrs and we have Miami nude Beach -- I now see why over the last 2,000 years we have had so much success getting converts -- who wouldn't want to join?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Vietnam Veterans Last Chance

John McCain represents the last chance for a Vietnam Veteran to be elected President. Every other war has had one or more veterans become president. The usual pattern was set with our first President, where the over-all commanding General succeeds to the Presidency, this seems to be especially true for our big wars -- Grant from the Civil War and Eisenhower from WWII. The war of 1812 gave us Andrew Jackson and the First Harrison. The Mexican American war gave us Zachary Taylor and Spanish American War gave us its one hero -- Teddy Roosevelt. WWI gave Truman as its vet that served (that's counting Ike as a WWI vet, although he was also WWI) Both the Civil War and the Second World War were long tail conflicts as far as vets becoming President -- from Grant to McKinley we were electing Civil War Vets and WWII vets were getting in until 1992 when Bush the first finished up his term.

Korea may or may not be an exception -- Carter was a Korean War era vet, but studying nuclear subs did not see action.

So McCain is the last hope for the Vietnam vets.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

No Comment

While I was growing up, my mom used to get MS. Magazine. It had a section called "No Comment" the simply reprinted the most amazing sexist documents or other things they found. It was the most interesting part of the magazine.

Here is something that I am just not going to comment on:

At one of the precinct caucus in Nevada they have break a tie in dividing up 5 delegates. So they drew cards. The Obama person drew the ten of Spades. He was beaten by the Clinton supporter who drew the Queen of Hearts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Even I didn't think they could go lower

I really thought some kind of bottom had been hit in 2000 in the SC primary when McCain was attacked for having a "black" daughter -- he had adopted a girl from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh.

But now a hit piece is circulating accusing him of cooperating with the North Vietnamese and being a bad pilot! I guess it is the ultimate blame the victim.

(I admit I had pledged to not blog on politics, but somethings just call for it).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Causation v. Correlation

Here are three of my favorites -- I think they have shaped how I view the world.

1. In the fifties a series of studies showed that children who grew up with nightlights in their rooms tended to need glasses when they got older. So parenting advice was to avoid putting nightlights into children's rooms. But later studies re-crunched the data and what they found was that parents with bad eyes had trouble seeing in the dark and had a greater tendency to put nightlights in their kid's rooms. So the kids needed glasses not because of the nightlights, but because of genetics.

2. I remember in my psych text book's discussion of suicide they had a long discussion of the symbolism of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was the furthest point West, the end of the line, etc. Then the book noted the supreme irony that every one who jumped off the bridge jumped looking back at the city, not out towards the ocean.

Years later when I lived in San Francisco, I would walk across the bridge. I noticed that the walkway was only the city side -- so if you wanted to jump, as opposed to being hit by a car -- you had to jump facing the city.

3. There was a doctoral dissertation about the vast vast majority of American barns being painted red. It looked at the symbolism of the color red, it examined the barn colors in the various countries that emigrants came from. Finally, it concluded that barns were painted red because red paint is made from iron oxide -- in other words -- you can make it from rusty nails and it is the cheapest paint to make to cover large areas.

Here's a real stretch

While eating lunch, they had on MSNBC and they were talking about the politics of the recession we appear to be heading into. One commentator said the Republican strategy could be to say this actually a continuation of the Clinton recession, only with a hiatus because of Bush's wonderful tax cuts.

Just amazing that they would even think of trying to blame this on Clinton after 8 years of Bush.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Staying away from Politics

I think I will stay away from political posts for a little while -- until I can't resist it. After writing a very perceptive obit for Hilary Clinton's Presidential career right before NH, I should probably give it a rest.

Pregnant Women in Bars

In Slates Dear Prudence column, she gives advice to a woman who had asked an eight months pregnant woman to meet her at a bar -- the pregnant woman thought that was insensitive, even though her friend made clear that she was expected to only order soft drinks. Prudence said she could understand why an 8 months pregnant woman would not want to try to perch on a narrow bar stool.

I comment because this answer leaves out 2 more important and likely reasons she might not want to go to a bar. The first in most jurisdictions would be 2nd hand smoke. But even more uncomfortable is the high likelihood that just being in a bar while that visibly pregnant would generate a long loud lecture on fetal alcohol syndrome from a stranger. For some reason, the normal social constraints are not felt regarding the conduct of pregnant women -- their seems to be some societal proprietary interest in fetuses that over rules it. I think this must have something to do with the choice vs. right to life debate, but I am not sure what.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hell has offically frozen over

It snowed in Baghdad.

I'm not sure if that means we will now elect a woman or an African American President --- but surely this is a predicate for something.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Hope for Hillary

Hillary may end up as the new Ted Kennedy. After his brother Robert's assicination, he was the heir apparent to the Presidency and spent the time from 1968 to 1980 either running or not-yet-running for the Presidency. But after his disatourous run in 1980 it was apparant that he would never be President.

But rather than sulk, he settled into what he has been for the last almost three decades -- one of the nation's truly great Senators.

Hillary has that potential. Imagine her, for the first time in her life free from running for the Presidency. She will also, like Kennedy, have a safe Senate seat. She can be free from being poll and advisor driven.

In her first few years in the Senate -- as part of establishing herself as a candidate independent and capable apart from her husband -- she made a tremendous effort to show what an adept Senator she could be. And showed a real talent for it. She was able to work effectively even with those who made their careers opposing her and her husband. She reveled in the detail work that many lesser Senators neglect.

So assuming she is not the nominee this time, check back here in 30 years to see if she has in fact become one of history's great Senators.

I do not want to contemplate her taking the other option that her loss would present to her -- thinking campaigns mistakes were tactical ones that she could correct the next time -- ending up running less successful race after race. So her choice would be between becoming Ted Kennedy or Harold Stassen.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Fun Obama Quote

"This feels good. It's just like I imagined it when I was talking to my kindergarten teacher."--

Sen. Barack Obama, quoted by the New York Observer, on his new status as Democratic frontrunner. Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign has claimed that Obama has been plotting a presidential run since he was in kindergarten.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ron Paul Experiment Continues

Now it has generated hits from Texas (I've been expecting that) Canada and Qatar. Amazing.

Ron Paul

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Notes to New Parents

Anyone who has worked in Politics should understand parenting -- as soon as the baby is born -- remember they are the candidate and you are the staff. You should be used to unreasonable, self-centered demands at all hours of day or night --- catering to their every need, paying no attention to your own. And of course the sleep deprivation.

But remember that the election isn't going to be for another 18 years at least!

Ron Paul Experiment Update

The Ron Paul Experiment is working! So far it has generated random visits from Arizona, Massachusetts and Greece! So let's give it another try -- Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul.

And if you have found this blog through looking for Ron Paul, let us know with a comment. Did you look at anything else?