Friday, December 28, 2007

Pakistan in Iowa

Following up: the Washington Post today has a good cover article on how Clinton and Obama are trying to spin the Bhutto assassination to their own advantage. So far, Obama seems to be the more ghoulish of the two, but this is partly because it fits his message and partly because Clinton can take a softer tone. Clinton can claim a kinship to Bhutto as a woman and a mother, and Clinton knew Bhutto personally and so can address the tragedy personally. Obama has to hit Clinton as being part of the problem and in doing so he has to politicize the assassination, claiming that Clinton's vote for the war distracted us from dealing with al Queda in Afganistan and Pakistan. It's pretty awful.

They gave Edwards one paragraph and made him sound pedestrian. They didn't mention Richardson at all.

In the piece the quoted Hilary as saying, inaccurately, that America is "the longest lasting democracy in the world."

Read the piece.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pakistan Meltdown

So, Buhto is dead. Everybody saw it coming. It would have been surprising if she wasn't killed. It may indeed plunge Pakistan into civil war, and risk nuclear conflagration with India (all that bull about democracies never attacking each other is just that). It's pretty scary. If you look at it over there, it goes Iraq (with our troops) Iran, Afganistan (with our troops) Pakistan, our ally, and India. Three of those groups are nuclear powers. Add Russia to the north of Afganistan and Iran, China to the north of Palistan, and Isreal sitting over there in the middle of it all, and that's seven nuclear powers, with two shooting wars and a serious revolution brewing. Hell, Germany, Brittain, and France all have some sort of presence in either Afganistan or Iraq. That makes ten. Ten nuclear powers. And Iran wants to make it 11. If I'm not mistaken, the only nuclear power that isn't involved in one way or another is North Korea.

Now that's scary.

Of course all the candidates have to talk about the Buhto assassination, but none of them (so far) is talking about this. When this powder-keg finally blows how are we going to keep from getting blown up with it?

I know: Bin Laden is counting that we won't.

This is why we need somebody like either Richardson or McCain in the oval office. Rudy, Fred and most of the rest of the pachyderms would go in with guns blazing. Ron Paul would just ignore it. Huckabee would pray. Hilary would send Bill. That would help. Who kowns what Obama would do? Edwards would be too busy trying to feed the poor. Dodd would be trying to spin it so the unions could get some jobs out of it. Mitt would just want to open a taco stand. Dennis the Menace would be watching the night sky for visitors. Biden. Biden could do something. Maybe.

McCain would do something. He's the only republican who would have a plan.

But Richardson, whose dealt with all the issues on the table. He would know what to do. He would keep us safe--or at least have a better chance than any of the rest of them.

And nobody can actually see that.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On books

I recently read The Omnivore's Dilemma. It was great. My review of it is at The He-Man Martha Hater's Club. It was a really good book. One of the things I didn't mention in my review is how the author, Michael Pollan, eviscerates the animal rights movement. He starts out very sympathetic to them, and he never gives up his squeamishness about killing his food, but after trying vegetarianism for a while and then dismissing it, he manages to point up all the contradictions in the animal rights movement: the biggest being that, ultimately, what they do will lead to the destruction of millions of animals and the extinction of many species. They are ok with this because, in the end, they don't really care about animals. They only want to asuage their own misplaced guilt. They don't believe a species can have a right to exist, but that every creature has the rights of individuals as living beings. This means, for instance, that introduced feral pigs that threaten to wipe out an entire species of fox on Santa Rosa Island shouldn't be hunted because they have as much right to life as anybody, or that cows, chickens, dogs, cats, all the domestic animals that rely on human beings for their survival should just die and get out of our hair: their very existence, it seems, forces us into the inhumane acts of killing or imprisoning them (which it does, but their point is that it's better for them to be extinct entirely than for us to eat them or even play with them on occasion). He's got the Nazis pegged.

News is news

So here's some news you might have missed when it broke a week ago. I know I did. It's not big news--it's just a poll. But it's pretty amazing news, if you've been listening to the NEWS. It seems that nationwide, Hilary Clinton's numbers are up from November to December. That's right, up. As in higher. 45% of democrats support Hilary for president, as opposed to 27% who support Barak Obama. How did this happen? The polls don't mean Hilary is a lock, but if you've been listening to the news, or excuse me, NEWS she's in a free-fall and about to get steam rolled by the Obama tidal wave. Everything you here lately on the democratic side is Obama Obama Obama. He's on the rise. Oprah supports him. He's sky rocketing into the nomination. I understand primary math--that they're neck and neck in Iowa and he's got a shot in New Hampshire, and that could change the poll numbers. But I guess "Hilary is up" just isn't a big enough story.

Here's another one: the most electable democrat right now is Edwards. He trounces everybody. Haven't heard that one much either. People love to point out that Hilary is in a dead heat tie with Guiliani in national polls, but nobody seems to notice that Edwards is more electable no matter who the Republicnas run.

Oh, and nationally, my guy Richardson is polling 2%.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh my God!!!

I can't believe this! Tucker Carlson is going after Hilary Clinton with such venom that he's like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the first Terminator movie: always coming and attacking relentlessly, unstoppable and untiring. Either that, or he's a Jack Russel terrier nipping at her ankles. I find it hard to see Arnold in those bow ties. To be fair though, Tucker hasn't worn those since his post-John Stewart makeover. I'm not sure if I can see Arnold on "Dancing with the Stars" or not......

It is just too weird. In one evening Tucker has done reports on (a) Hilary's dour unlikability, (b) Hilary's un-electability, citing reports that Obama is beating every possible Republican challenger (interestingly, he didn't say whether or not Hilary was beating them in the poles, just that Obama's numbers are better), (c) a piece about Bob Kerry dropping a suggestion that Barak Obama was the "Muslim Manchurian Candidate," which Carlson labeled "sleazy, sleazy, sleazy!" and (d) a what to do about Bill piece that suggested Hilary would put Bill on the Supreme Court.


This strike has got to end!!! How am I supposed to make it through this election without John Stewart to sort things out for me?????

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Oh-oh factor

I think I said earlier: if Obama wins the nomination the turning point moment will be when Oprah endorsed him. I know from my students the power Oprah holds over America, expecially American women. Her endorsement automatically neutralizes any gender advantage Hilary Clinton might have had. My students are almost universally in awe of Brand Oprah. Every semester I have students in my public speaking classes give an informative speech about a person. Oprah is one of the most common subjects (I know more about her at this point than I ever wanted to). Students, particularly female students, look upon her as some kind of god. The power and influence that comes of being America's first black billionaire is pretty is not limited to the politicians and media she has access too: in fact that is minor compared tot he power of suggestion she has over her legions of fans.

But what of the other celebrity endorsements? There are other admired and worshiped celebrities out there. In fact, there is one other celebrity whose universal apeal among conservatives is such that his endorsement can only be seen as a major coup for the person who got it, and a springboard toward the whitehouse. I'm speaking, of course, of Chuck Norris. Check Norris, who can lead a horse to water *and* make him drink, has come out in favor of Mike Huckabee. This could be Huckabee's moment as well.

(Chuck Norris doesn't do pushups: he actually pushes the world down.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nazi attack

The fucking PETA Nazis are going after Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. They put out ghoulish adds dubbing them "The Trollsen Twins" because they wear fur and have fur items in their clothing line. Granted, they are scary looking--they are so skinny they look like those little twig talismins from "Blair Witch Project"--but every time PETA does something like this they just show how assinine and classless they truly are. I hope the girls stand their ground and tell the Nazis to go fuck themselves.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bowl Mania

Ok, since I'm such a big supporter of the bowl system, I figure I better actually pay attention to them. No, that doesn't mean I'm going to watch them all, but it does mean I can pick them all. Now, I didn't do anything scientific or anything like that. Like most of you, I don't know a thing about most of these teams. I never saw more than eight of them play all year. And I didn't look up the spread on any of the games. I just guessed. Or I picked the team I knew my mother would be rooting for. Or I picked the team that I think I had heard did something good this year. And then I tried to decide exactly how good Hawaii is and flip flopped about ten times between them and Georgia. If I couldn't make up my mind I went with my backup plan of picking the most southern team. Seems safe.

Here we go:

Poinsettia Bowl, 12/20: Navy over Utah
New Orleans Bowl, 12/21: Florida Atlantic over Memphis Bowl, 12/22: Southern Miss over Cincinnati
New Mexico Bowl, 12/22: Nevada over New Mexico
Pioneer Bowl, 12/22: UCLA over BYU
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, 12/23: Boise State over East Carolina
Motor City Bowl, 12/26: Purdue over Central Michigan
Holiday Bowl, 12/27: Arizona State over Texas
Champs Bowl, 12/28: Boston College over Michigan State
Texas Bowl, 12/28: TCU over Houston
Emerald Bowl, 12/28: Maryland over Oregon state
Meineke Car Care Bowl 12/28: Wake Forrest over Uconn
Liberty Bowl, 12/29: UCF over Mississippi State
Valero Bowl, 12/29: Texas A&M over Penn State
Independence Bowl, 12/30: Alabama over Colorado
Armed Forces Bowl, 12/31: Cal over Air Force
Humanitarian Bowl, 12/31: Georgia Tech over Fresno State
Sun Bowl, 12/31: South Florida over Oregon
Music City Bowl, 12/31: Florida State over Kentucky
Insight Bowl, 12/31: Oklahoma State over Indiana
Chick-fil-A Bowl, 12/31: Auburn over Clemson
Outback Bowl, 1/1: Wisconsin over Tennessee
Cotton Bowl, 1/1: Missouri over Arkansas
Gator Bowl, 1/1: Texas Tech over Virginia
Capitol One Bowl, 1/1: Michigan over Florida
Rose Bowl, 1/1: USC over Illinois
Sugar Bowl, 1/1: Georgia over Hawaii NO1 WAIT! Hawaii over Georgia....Umm....
Fiesta Bowl, 1/2: Oklahoma over West Virginia
Orange Bowl, 1/3: Kansas over Va Tech
International Bowl, 1/5: Rutgers over Ball state
GMAC Bowl, 1/6: Tulsa over Bowling Green
BCS Championship Game, 1/7: LSU over Ohio State

THe Kennedy Speech

Mitt Romney made his big religion speech this week. Everybody said it was supposed to be his “Kennedy” speech, where he assures the nation that his religion will not get in the way of his being president. But when you look at it, Romney’s speech was the antithesis of Kennedy’s. Kennedy said that religion was a private matter and did not belong in private life. Romney called secularism a new religion, and called for an active place for faith in public life. His message should be frightening to atheists and agnostics, troubling for non-Christians, and at least disturbing for moderate Christians. We have known for years that conservative Christians have wanted to jettison the establishment clause and turn America into that “shining city on a hill,” a Christian nation, a theocracy. Freedom to these fascists means the freedom to conform to their religious views or have no place at the table. By playing to this crowd, as Bush has done, Romney is selling out 80% of America. Jefferson is spinning in his grave.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

More football madness

FIrst of all, let me admit that, under my girlfriend's influence, I've become something of a Michigan fan, and I hate it when Ohio State wins anything, let alone gets to play in the national championship game. But that's not what bugs me about the *huge* developments in the BCS over hte weekend, when both #1 and #2 got beaten on the las Saturday of the season, throwing the BCS into chaos (admittedly, it's the type of chaos that is fun and that I rellish, as opposed to the type they've got in Iraq). One thing that bugs me is the inevitable calls for a playoff system. I talked about this with my students on Tuesday: that the calls for a national championship game are the natural result of televison--particularly ESPN--taking ove college football, and that the only group that benefits from a national championship game is the tv networks who get to sell advertising for the game, and that the bowl system is better for students, athelets, and schools-those who should really matter in all this. On ESPN, only Kirk Herbstreet seems to be willing to stand up and say this. The rest of them are whores to the advertisers. But I've writtena bout all that before.

It doesn't particularly bother me that a 2-loss team will play in the national championship game while undefeated Hawaii gets another bowl game.

It *did* bother me that my cable started pixilating with about six minutes to go in the West Virginia game. I was like that TV commercial when the guy was sure the tree would fall the other way. That bothered me!

But what really bothered me was that Cal lost to Stanford int eh Big Game. Nothing in football cuts deeper than that. Who cares about Ohio State vs. LSU after a disaster like that!