Friday, January 11, 2008

on this day in history...

Who would have thought that today was such an eventual day, but here are a list of important things that happened January 11.

  • Six years ago, the first "detainees" arrived at Guantánamo Bay. The ACLU urges you to wear orange today to protest (urging Congress/Bush/the Court to close Gitmo). Learn more about the planned protests in your area--including a vigil at the Moss federal courthouse at 5 PM--by clicking on the icon.

  • If my ancestor were alive today, he would be 250 years old. No I am not talking about John V. Long. I am talking about my mom's side of the family--Alexander Hamilton. Wish him a happy birthday, and say thank you to him for making America an economic powerhouse.

  • In 1964, the Surgeon General issued a report pointing out that "Gee, cigarettes might be bad for you." Billions of dollars in lawsuits later, tobacco companies are still standing.

  • France and Belgium got greedy on this day in 1923, and invaded the Ruhr Valley in Germany, which would be like if Canada had invaded Pittsburg in the 1920s. This act of vengence for World War I, allowed Hitler to use the demoralizing event as an emotional tool to sieze power and militarize the country.

  • And East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1972. Unfortunately, the idependence from Pakistan did not relieve the country from annual monsoon floods and cyclones, and the occational earthquake or mudslide.

The first two I knew about, the rest are thanks to Wikipedia. Happy Friday everyone.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Trib thinks gun owners are stupid

Why do I assert this? Check out this lede:
It doesn't take a genius to know you can't tote your .40-caliber Glock through the metal detector at Salt Lake City International Airport. It does take a book of statutes to decipher the no-guns-allowed sign at the airport door, though.
It implies that you can't pack inside the terminal, but it lists a state law that says you can.
Then look at this picture:

(PHOTO CREDIT: Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune)

Actually, I think if you read the "PROHIBITED AREA FOR ALL WEAPONS" part and ignore the statute citations, you probably get the idea that you can't bring a gun into the airport. Unless, of course, you are a newspaper writer for the Salt Lake Tribune. Or a gun rights activist.

Do you really need to bring your concealed weapon into the baggage claim and check-in area when state law requires that the chamber be empty and in plain sight? Is it really that dangerous? I mean we have air marshals, airport, and city police officers, all who have loaded guns-- and far superior training than an average gun enthusiast has. The only person who will have a weapons will be those guys, or other people coming off the street besides our Second Amendment rights friends.

I will freely admit that I am just a city boy, and I a terrible shot (I did go on a turkey shoot down in Beaver once when I was like 13), but just don't get the need to carry a gun with you everywhere...unless you are afraid for your life because of a crazy ex-loved one/rival gang/war zone.

Would it really be so terrible for a concealed weapons permit holder to leave his gun in his car when he goes to the airport? Or to (his kid's) school? Or to church? Or to court? Or to an oil refinery?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

crow eatin' time

Well another prediction ruined by those pesky voters. Maybe I should get out of the prediction business. Then again, I did about as well if not better than those who get paid big bucks to conduct polls and pontificate on TV. Maybe I should get into this business. On this 1,316th post (plus a dozen or so of the early ones when I switch blog addresses from thethridaveune to 3rdave), I thought I would give you a two-fer, a mea culpa on what I got wrong and what I think these results mean more long term.

First, as always, the Democrats:

I had "Obama ... 36-40%" He got 36%. I had "Clinton ... 28-32%" She got 40% It seems I overlooked my own analysis: "She handled the media blow up over her 'tearing up' and those 'iron my shirt' morons very well. ... Bill and Hill are very frustrated, but they aren't out of it." In retrospect, it seems Democratic voters flocked to her in repudiation of the overt misogyny displayed by the media (especially those "iron my shirt" guys, who were shock jocks from Boston) and of the media's presumptive happy talk of the Clinton's demise.

Another thing to consider: Obama hired Kerry's Iowa organizer and Hillary hired Kerry's New Hampshire organizer. I don't think that is a coincidence that they both exceeded turnout expectations in those respective contests.

Obama needed to win Iowa to prove that he wasn't a flash in the pan. Clinton needed to win New Hampshire to prove that she wasn't Howard Dean redux. Both did what they needed to do to stay very competitive in this race. Edwards, on the other hand, needed to win Iowa, and he didn't. He came in at 17% in New Hampshire a point lower than my 18-20% estimation. He gave a passionate speech last night, and rightfully pointed out that 99.5% of voters haven't voted yet.

But here's an ugly secret: voters in presidential primaries vote for the "winner," not necessarily the best candidate. Exhibit A is John Kerry.

For Democrats, the results here mean the race will undoubtedly go on for another month at least. And that will probably be a good thing. If Obama had won another by a big margin, the coronation process would have begun and Democrats would have had their nominee with lots of time and money to spare...but they wouldn't know what they were getting until it might have been too late. Kerry's instincts during the spring and summer of let Bush and his surrogates attack him without any push back, made him look weak and gave credence to some of the attacks, even though many were factually falsehoods. Obama will be (assuming he still wins the nomination) a much stronger candidate for having to outright defeat Clinton over and over with less candidates on the field than merely sweeping IA and NH with people like Richardson, Dodd, and Biden in the way.

The same thing goes for Clinton. She can only count on using the media as foils for so long. The married women who voted for Bush (let alone the men) are not going to come to her defense if she is maligned during the general election like Democratic women did in the New Hampshire primaries. [My campaign junkie friend who ran a governor's race in RI claims that race placed a bigger factor in the results, but I am not buying it.]

"Richardson ... 8-10%" Reality was 5%, most of this dip went to Clinton I bet. Like I said last time, I expect him to hang around quietly until Nevada, and then exit gracefully. At first I thought he would endorse Clinton, but I think he isn't expecting a VP nod from her after what he did in Iowa. On the plane ride back from Iowa, Clinton's fundraiser (and former DNC chair) commented on how many key appointments Bill Clinton gave to Richardson, and implied that Richardson was not only ungrateful, but had betrayed the Clintons and was forever in the doghouse. Assuming it is still neck and neck between Clinton and Obama, look for him to endorse Obama.

Clinton is now going to fight in Nevada, where she was once up hugly, but now that Obama got the culinary union and local SEIU endorsement, he should be in great shape. South Carolina similarly should be intersting. He was up 20 points on the eve of New Hampshire thanks to his surprisingly easy Iowa victory, will black voters come back to Clinton?

Get out your popcorn, because it is now a two way brawl for the Democratic nomination. As long as Clinton and Obama keep it civil, both will be better for it. Clinton's victory speech was much better than I had seen her in a long time, and her "crying" moment seemed genuine and was excellent as well.

OK now on to the Republicans, where I seem to have a thing for Mitt.

"Romney: ... 32-34%" Actual result? 32% "McCain: ... 30-33%" 37% I wonder if those independents thought Obama didn't need them and pulled the lever for McCain. "Huckabee: ... 10-15%" 11% "Paul: ... 8-10%" 8% "Giuliani : ... 5-8%" 9% "Thompson: ... 3-5%" He got 1% (as did Hunter)

So what does this all mean on the GOP side? Chaos. My RI gubernatorial campaign vet thinks McCain is done. And his victory speech sounded like a farewell speech more than a rousing "win one for the gipper" speech. NPR this morning played the best clip of it but my wife and I were stunned by how flat his affect was. He seemed to be reading something and didn't really care what he was saying. He looked OLD.

Romney's troops seemed a lot more energized, although I am sure they were disappointed to be sure. Twice he was up in important early states, and twice his lead melted away to candidates with no money. My friend I keep referring to (he called, as he always does, on election night) lives in Boston now and said Romney's ads were really just terrible and very negative. The exit polls support his belief that all of Mitt's ads turned people off Romney and towards McCain. Those polls indicate a person dislike of Romney and like of McCain, which drove Lou Dobbs nuts. After all, his candidate has got to be Romney, now that Tancredo endorsed him.

Lou Dobbs has been having hissy fits with CNN because they won't let him blabber on about isolationism (both in the form of immigration and trade, but not necessarily on war) and slam the candidates rather than just report/analyze the results. And as unbearable as Lou Dobbs is, Chris Mathews is even worse. At least Dobbs has a point of view that is relatively consistent on issues rather than individuals or parties. Mathews clearly hates the Clintons and wants to call the race for Obama and McCain, results be damned. Keith Olberman tried, but it took semi-retired Tom Brokow to shut Tweety up for a couple seconds. Mathews talks first and thinks second, which is a virtue in today's media market I suppose.

Anyway, sorry to get off on that diatribe. It is easier for me to tell you who isn't going to be the Republican nominee than who will win. Thompson is done. You can't get 4th in Iowa and not even give a speech, then follow that up with barely showing up for debates and getting 1% in New Hampshire. How demoralizing must it be to work for that campaign? Giulini is also done. He is fourth in his vaunted Florida, he isn't coming back. Ron Paul should lay low from now on and save up his war chest for that independent bid that his supporters crave. Clearly, his GOP candidate colleagues have no respect for him. In the debates, he is laughed off the stage by them, even when the audience roars in response to his answers.

Now on to who is still alive: Romney, McCain and Huckabee. Assuming McCain gets some big money and a shot of adrenaline in time for Michigan, it will be a two way race. If McCain is as ready to ride off into the sunset as his New Hamsphire speech (and my friend) indicate, then Romney walks away with his first big victory by a big margin. I don't see Huckabee being competitive there.

However, Huckabee should win South Carolina and Florida easily, which means second place will be important for McCain and Romney. So far, Romney is the only candidate that has gotten two second place spots in the top contests (and his Wyoming win). Huckabee and McCain have both received a win over Romney and a distant third.

So call me in a couple weeks and I might be able to tell you who will win on the GOP side. Bottom line, this is a very different race from 2004 and even 2000. I would say the closest examples would be 1976 and 1980, for Republicans and Democrats, respectively.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

NH predictions

Now that I am slightly more present than I was yesterday (thanks to all who tried to decipher that rambling post), I think I will venture another prediction thread.

First the Democrats, which I seem to have a better grasp of:

1. Obama
2. Clinton
3. Edwards
4. Richardson
5. Kucinich/Gravel

Obama was virtually tied in New Hampshire before his surprisingly strong win in Iowa, and 5 days was just not enough time for Clinton to right the ship. His crowds are huge, and every report I read is that even at other candidates rallies, people are taking about him and wishing they weren't in the overflow. Obama is doing two speeches now per an event, one for the people in the auditorium, another for the overflow outside. And to his credit, he is holding lots of events each day. His throat probably hurts like H-E-double-hockey-sticks. 36-40%

Clinton: She handled the media blow up over her "tearing up" and those "iron my shirt" morons very well. ... one blogger suggested she get out an ironing board and an iron at every rally, and I think that would have been a great idea. She seems bewildered that people are moving from her to Obama, whom she views has just a great speaker (with no real accomplishments). Bill and Hill are very frustrated, but they aren't out of it, even if they lose NH SC and NV as a result of IA. I saw a clip of Chelsea on the TV yesterday and she looks good. Her parents should really let her out in public more. 28-32%

Edwards: just like in 2004, New Hamsphire voters some how aren't drawn to Edwards. His middle class warfare rhetoric doesn't seem to work on them. In 2004, Kerry co-opted Edwards but in a milder form. With his built in good will from being their neighbor (and an army of MA volunteers), Kerry won big. The same thing is repeating itself in 2008 with Obama, who has a softer version of Edwards' populism. Edwards will stick around until Super Tuesday, hoping that Hillary listens to her advisors that suggest she should drop out after NH. 18-20%

Richardson: He is so happy to be in a debate with just the big three and thinks that Dodd and Biden voters will flock to him. Even if they do, that is only adding 2-4% I bet he gets 8-10%

Kunich/Gravel: who cares 0-2%

Now on to the Grand Old Party, which really seems to be be getting more complicated not less.

1. Romney
2. McCain
3. Huckabee
4. Paul
5. Giuliani
6. Thompson
7. Hunter

I know, I know, I picked Romney to come back last time, and I was way off, but hear me out.

Romney: The Mittster pulls of a mini-miracle, but the press won't want to cover it, grouchy that their favorite lost (no more unlimited access and booze). With Obama surging, Independents ditch McCain while Republicans go back to Romney, who has been effectively pointing out all of McCain's apostocies (Immigration reform, voting against Bush Tax Cuts, Campaign Finance Reform, etc.) Romney 32-34%

McCain: It was fun while it lasted. McCain's nail biter second (or first) means that both he and Romney are still viable for a big Michigan show down. 30-33%

Huckabee: third place isn't bad when you have no money, no churches, and no endorsements in your favor. Thank goodness you booked that cool local band, Leno, and Chuck Norris. 10-15%

Paul: If ever there was a place to shock the political establishment in a GOP primary, "Live Free or Die" is the best state to do it. My favorite part of this primary season so far has to be Sean Hanity running "for his life" from Paul supporters (second favorite has to be O'Rielly shoving an Obama staffer because his camera couldn't get a good view, then claiming he did it to protect the constitution) Fox News is providing the entertainment of this primary season which has nothing to do with what they put on the air 8-10%

Giuliani: he makes a last ditch effort to do better in NH due to his dreadful showing in Iowa, and tries to spin it away again. hate to break it to you, but you are not going to win Florida, let alone the nomination or the presidency. 5-8%

Thompson: zzzzz...oh yeah he showed up for the debates and had a couple zingers after everyone else had taken Mitt down. After that, back to some other state he is going to snooze and lose. 3-5%

Hunter: usually, if you bother to show up to Dixville Notch and Hart's Location, the handful of voters there feel bad about not voting for you. No one felt this problem with Duncan Hunter. 1-2%

Monday, January 07, 2008

wash your hands

On Saturday, my wife and I had lunch with a friend from high school (and her husband) that we lost touch with.  Another couple that met due to our mutual high school was supposed to join us but the female was sick.  The friend we did have lunch with said there was a bug going around her household and that her siblings, mom, and children were all feeling badly.  

We thought that was too bad, but never really put much more thought into it.  Yet early this morning, I suddenly got violently ill and could keep anything down until about 10 am. 

While I am starting to feel better I want to warn everyone to wash their hands and drink OJ.  

Ifnally got through reading some blogs about the state of things in NH.  It seems clear that Obama will win there and in SC, where sme polls have him now up 20 points. 

What troubles me is how biased the media is towards their the candidates they hate (Clinton, and to a lesser extent Huckabee) and they love (McCain, and to a lesser extent Obama).  It really is disgusting how misoginistic the coverage has been towards Hillary at times.  I saw the clip of her geting "teared up" and I thought it was a real genuine moment by her.  She really does believe that she is the best person for the job and is confused why people would rather opt for Obama, who she thinks has no clue how to do things.  

When John Edwards get choked up, the media (if they cover him) say he is being passionate, but with Hillary, she is weak.  Or if she attacks Obama, she is "shrill" ...please.

It seems like sexism is going to take longer to get over than I thought.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

cross purposes

Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney are in the same boat: they both were up in New Hampshire, and both thought they could win both Iowa and New Hampshire, and crush the field. Turns out, it didn't work that way, and they both lost Iowa by 9 points.

Hillary needs McCain to win New Hampshire to take Independents away from Obama so she can win. I would say that Obama is up around 4-5 points, well within the margin of error. Hillary's crowds look HUGE, which is always a good sign for her campaign.

Conversely, Romney needs Obama to win so that McCain will not have his Independents so that the Governor can win. I saw a peek into Romney's stump speech on CNN this morning and he was already presuming an Obama win, arguing that he would be a better change agent than McCain, who he argued had been the Senate for too many decades and too old to go up against that whippersnapper. Then he said "or it could be Hillary. I would can't wait to meet Hillary face to face." That was the biggest applause line.

Of course, the one Republican that Obama has matchup problems with is John McCain (currently he cleans the clock of Giuliani, Huckabee, and Romney). So while Clinton could still win the nomination even if she loses NH, SC, and NV (because of her overall delegate count), it could be short sided if Obama manages to create a real bandwagon effect.

Similarly, Hillary's presence of the ticket is the best thing for Republicans in terms of exciting their base given that their base is really not that into their field. And currently, the weakest Republican in swing states against the Democrat's top three is Romney. By contrast, McCain is the strongest against the Democratic field (although he loses to Clinton and Edwards and is close to Obama)

Perhaps the long term interests of the Democratic and Republican parties and the short term interests of Clinton and Romney might be at cross purposes.

PS, I wish I was up in New Hampshire right now. I remember freezing my butt off in the Granite state weekend after weekend, holding up signs, going to rallies, and meeting voters. It really is fun and exciting. I would recommend anyone to get involved in a campaign some time.