Saturday, December 22, 2007

How Many Disagreements Does it Take Before it's No Longer a Consensus?

A report by Sen. James Inhofe contains the names of over 400 scientists who dispute many of the claims about global warming made by Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, many of these scientists were members, or former members, of that very same panel. The report also states that many of the scientists keep silent due to fear of retribution for speaking their own disputes of the supposed "consensus".

And they say Republicans use politics of fear...

In a display of typical left-wing response, an Al Gore spokeswoman tried to claim that 25 to 30 of those scientists were or are funded by ExxonMobil. That claim has since been dismissed.

French climatologist Marcel Leroo described the enviro-activist movement by people like Al Gore very well, "Day after day the same mantra — that 'the Earth is warming up' — is churned out ... Without realizing it, or perhaps without wishing to, the average citizen is bamboozled, lobotomized, lulled into mindless acceptance."

Nobody has yet to explain why Mars has been warming up at a similar rate as the Earth over the past 40 years, but yet the enviro-activists want to disconnect and/or ignore the global warming that occurs on Mars because it goes against their agenda. many scientists does it take to stop a consensus?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dem Polls Gone Crazy

Let's start with Iowa...

- Clinton 30%, Obama 28%, Edwards 26%, Richardson 7%, Biden 3%

- Clinton 31%, Obama 27%, Edwards 22%, Richardson 9%, Biden 5%

- Obama 33%, Clinton 29%, Edwards 20%, Richardson 8%, Biden 4%

Strategic Vision
- Obama 30%, Clinton 27%, Edwards 27%, Biden 5%, Richardson 3%

Clinton...Obama. Obama...Clinton. This has been a two-horse race for quite a while, but it seems that John Edwards has started to really gain some traction in the lower-20 percent range after a long and steady slide downward, and is overall looming as a threat to both Obama and Clinton, even tying Clinton for 2nd place in the Strategic Vision poll (can you imagine that? Clinton finishing 3rd?). In the CNN poll, only 4 points separate the "big 3" in the Democratic Party race.

With the news that the Clinton campaign has advised it's staffers to "lower expectations" for Iowa, could they be bracing for impact as their campaign grinds to a halt?

Heading down to South Carolina...

- Clinton 42%, Obama 34%, Edwards 16%, Biden 3%, Richardson 2%

Insider Advantage
- Obama 28%, Clinton 22%, Edwards 14%, Biden 10%, Richardson 2%

- Obama 33%, Clinton 33%, Edwards 17%, Biden 4%, Richardson 2%

Edwards' performance in South Carolina is, for the lack of a better term, piss-poor. He's from neighboring North Carolina, his southern accent is real (unlike Clinton's), he should be doing a lot better than this. It actually should speak volumes about his true viability as a candidate to be doing well in Iowa (where anything goes), but stinking up the joint in South Carolina. By the way, look at the Insider Advantage poll, and see where Joe Biden is getting 10% and only 4 points behind it an anomaly or a sign of things to come?

Clinton and Obama are in a dogfight here, and Edwards' generally poor showing here allows them to each claim larger shares of support, but neither one has gained a decisive advantage over the other.

To the national stage we go...

- Clinton 40%, Obama 24%, Edwards 15%, Richardson 3%, Biden 3%

- Clinton 40%, Obama 32%, Edwards 13%, Richardson 3%, Biden 3%

FOX News
- Clinton 49%, Obama 20%, Edwards 10%, Biden 3%, Richardson 2%

Interesting, Clinton polling anywhere from 40 to near 50 percent nationally. Obama polling an average in the mid-20's, and Edwards unable to break out of the low-teens. This is more in line with what the pundits expected. However, this may change dramatically if Obama wins Iowa and/or South Carolina. Right now, Clinton's popularity nationally rides on name recognition more than anything. Many primary voters won't pay serious attention until after Iowa, especially on the Dem side, where things are so hot and heavy.

Unless he finishes 2nd in Iowa, Edwards is cooked. Biden and Richardson are most likely positioning themselves for a VP slot at this point.

GOP Polls Gone Wild

Talk about some strange numbers, here's some of the latest out of Iowa...

Strategic Vision
- Huckabee 31%, Romney 25%, Thompson 16%, McCain 8%, Giuliani 6%, Paul 5%

American Resource Group
- Huckabee 28%, McCain 20%, Romney 17%, Giuliani 13%, Thompson 5%, Paul 4%

Insider Advantage/Majority Opinion
- Romney 28%, Huckabee 25%, Thompson 11%, McCain 7%, Paul 6%, Giuliani 5%

- Huckabee 28%, Romney 27%, McCain 14%, Thompson 8%, Giuliani 8%, Paul 6%

Now, this is interesting. In some of these polls, Fred Thompson has established himself as the presumptive "bronze medal" winner, but John McCain claims that title in other polls. I've always felt that Thompson and McCain tend to draw from a similar crowd (the C-SPAN crowd). That coveted "3rd place" spot is important for momentum heading forward, as both Thompson and McCain are trying to drive their campaigns forward.

Either way, once you get past Huckabee and Romney, Iowa is a total horserace.

Two interesting notes from the American Resource Group poll. One is that 36% of caucus goers were "undecided". Another note of interest is that 98% of Romney supporters say their support is "definite", same goes for 80% of McCain supporters and 67% of Giuliani supporters. However, only 38% say the same for Huckabee. This means that anyone who will be running a solid, aggressive campaign in Iowa over the next few weeks (Fred Thompson comes to mind) might be able to break into Huckabee's seemingly impressive poll numbers.

On to South Carolina...

- Huckabee 24%, Thompson 17%, Romney 16%, Giuliani 16%, McCain 13%, Paul 11%

- Huckabee 28%, Romney 18%, McCain 16%, Thompson 15%, Giuliani 12%, "Other" 7%

- Huckabee 23%, Romney 23%, Thompson 12%, McCain 12%, Giuliani 11%, Paul 5%

A lot of uncertainty in South Carolina, despite Huckabee's lead in all 3 polls. In the Rasmussen poll, only 51% of Huckabee voters were "certain" to vote for him in the primary, and Romney could only count on a certain vote from 41% of his bloc. Fred Thompson can rely on 59% of his supporters, McCain get's 55% certainty, and Giuliani 53%.

It's odd how the front-runners (Huckabee and Romney) have the least amount of certain support. The question remains, can any of the candidates behind these 2 capitalize on their shaky base of support?

Looking at the national polls...

USA Today/Gallup
- Giuliani 27%, Huckabee 16%, Thompson 14%, Romney 14%, McCain 14%, Paul 3%

- Huckabee 19%, Giuliani 16%, Romney 15%, McCain 15%, Thompson 11%, Paul 6%

- Giuliani 23%, Huckabee 22%, Romney 16%, Thompson 13%, McCain 12%, Paul 4%

The Rasmussen Poll is crazy, as no candidate cracks 20%. The only poll where Giuliani really appears to be "the" front-runner is the USA Today/Gallup poll. He's virtually tied in the Reuters/Zogby poll and losing to the Huckster in the Rasmussen poll.

McCain and Thompson, again, seem to be battling for the same group of voters. Romney is joining those 2 on a national level, but is really fighting Huckabee and Thompson in Iowa and South Carolina.

Ron Paul keeps marching along, snagging up about 4-6% in the polls and being very loud and active with his fundraising. Those dollar bills, however, have not added up to support in the polls.

Sacha Baron Cohen No Longer to Play Borat or Ali G.

This is really disappointing, to be honest. I always liked both characters. I used to watch "Da Ali G. Show" reruns with my buddies in college. "Borat" was one of the funniest movies to come around in a decade.

Cohen says that their time has come and passed, and he's moving on. I'm sure he'll one day revisit those now-legendary comedic characters, but I think that Cohen should also be applauded for moving on and pushing forward with his career.

Cohen is quickly becoming part of the top ranks of comedic actors. I thought he was really hilarious in "Talladega Nights" as Jean Girard, the homosexual French rival of Ricky Bobby. I have also heard that he is a riot playing the character of Pirelli in "Sweeney Todd", nearly stealing the movie from Johnny Depp.

Podium Positions: Social Issues

My position on "social" issues.

Two things need to happen. One...overturn Roe v. Wade, so we can go forward with the next step. That is step number the legislative responsibility of this issue back in the hands of the states.

What this allows for is better representation of the people on such a bitterly divisive issue. For instance, a state like Massachusetts may allow abortion and provide funding for it and will have the support of the majority of the population. However, a state like Utah has a majority of anti-abortionists, so the will of the people in that state would be different and would probably lead to no practice of abortion within that state's borders. However, I would also not be opposed to allowing people to travel from a non-abortion state to a pro-abortion state to get an abortion if they so desire.

While I'm personally opposed to abortion, the only real federal actions I would approve of in this situation would be upholding the ban on partial-birth abortions, as that is infanticide, in my opinion.

Gay Marriage
Again, this is a state-to-state issue. What may play in socially liberal states will not play in socially conservative states. Represent the population, but as with the abortion laws, state governments must also pay attention to opinion changes and demographic shifts to keep laws up-to-date with the mood of the populous.

Socially moderate/conservative states may want to at least allow civil unions with marriage-style rights. Let the actual term "marriage" be determined by the churches, not the state.

I personally do not oppose gay marriage or civil unions, and I think that some relaxation and/or compromise in this area would be good for Republicans, who probably don't realize how much of the vote they are losing in this demographic due to their current positions, anyway. However, given the anti-homosexual opinions of many social conservatives within the party, I don't know if that will happen anytime soon.

I also believe that we have not come to a scientific consensus on whether or not homosexuality is a result of "nature" or "nurture" (I believe that both of those are roots of homosexuality, as I've seen scientific research that supports both theories), but either way we should not discriminate based on this. I don't believe it to be very Christian to do so, to be honest.

Civil Rights/Discrimination
Basically, we need to move towards putting everyone on an equal plane of treatment. It should not matter whether you are White ,Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, African, Male, Female, Transgendered, Straight, Gay, or Bisexual. "Hate Crimes" should cover crimes against any race/gender/orientation, with no extra or special punishment for crimes against certain groups.

In the workplace, we need to get to the point of hiring the best people for the job. We are in the 21st century, we do not need to place quotas based on race, gender, or orientation (though, I don't know of any place that says "you must hire X number of gays", but you get my point).

Understandably, this is not a goal that can be achieved overnight, but society needs to start moving in that direction, as it is not fair for someone to get special (or detrimental) treatment because of their race, gender, or orientation.

On a federal level, most of the social issues need to be deferred back to the states. Issues such as abortion and gay marriage, due to their controversial and divisive manner, should have their legality and funding determined by the states. States whose populous support these issues can deem it legal in their state, and states whose populous do not support these issues do not have to make it legal.

We should also move anti-discrimination legislation to treat all people equally.

Handing social issues back to the states is a healthy, federalist approach to these issues that tend to be create bitterness and tension between people of different ideological standpoints. Also, it allows for smaller-scale experimentation with various types of legislation, which is a way for people to find out if certain legislative actions are feasible and functional before it gets introduced on a national level.

Marshall On The Brink of a Senate Run

Apparently, Del. Bob Marshall has announced the formation of an exploratory committee, which means he is one step away from officially running for the GOP Senate nomination against former Governor Jim Gilmore.

Interesting that Chris Saxman did not run, but Marshall is. Marshall has very good leadership skills and I like some of his fiscal policy stances, but his vocal stance against gay marriage will both turnout the social conservatives and the GLBT community.

The GOP will be holding a convention to select it's nominee, which may very well favor Marshall. The Dems are having a traditional primary with former Governor Mark Warner and progressive activist Julien Modica.

(h/t Citizen Tom)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Linda Ellerbee to Teach Kids How Jamie Lynn Spears Got Pregnant?

Um, I don't think that would be suitable for broadcast on a basic cable network.

Honestly, I wouldn't want Linda Ellerbee teaching my kids anything. Given what I have seen on past episodes of Nick News, I'm sure that somehow, little Jamie Lynn will be given a free pass from any kind of scrutiny for her behavior.

I'll hand it to Nickelodeon for using the "Nick News" episodes to bring about a reasonable discussion on many topics so kids understand what's going on, but sometimes she ventures into territory on these topics that make many parents understandably uncomfortable (see the link above where she shows how to use a condom to a 10 year old).

I personally believe Nick news needs a new host, but since she co-owns the production company that produces Nick News, I don't see this happening any time soon.

More Presidential Nomination News, Notes, and Insanity

- Despite an apparent wealth of grassroots and blog support in Virginia, Duncan Hunter has failed to make it onto the Virginia primary ballot. Unlike Tom Tancredo's withdrawal, this one surprised me a bit. I figured Hunter had the grassroots to make it on the ballot, and I would've signed a petition so he could at least make the ballot (of course, nobody contacted me), even though I'm a Fred Thompson supporter. I like Duncan, I think he's a decent politician and man, and I'm sorry he didn't make it onto the ballot.

- On the heels of his dropout from the GOP Presidential race, Tom Tancredo has endorsed Mitt Romney.

- No foul play suspected in the death of Dennis Kucinich's brother Perry, an autopsy will be done on Wednesday, Dec. 26th.

- From the Green Party ranks, former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has announced herself as a candidate for the Green Party's presidential nomination. McKinney has been elected, unelected, reelected, and re-unelected from the same Congressional seat (GA-04). Ironically, both times she was knocked out of her Congressional seat, it was in the Democratic primary (shows you her popularity).

McKinney joined the Green Party only two months ago, and is an extremely controversial (if nothing else) person. She has been accused of anti-Semitism, is a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who believes Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks, is an activist for the release of all documents related to the death of 2Pac (she introduced a bill to do this in Congress), attempted to bring about impeachment proceedings against President Bush, holds Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez in the highest regard, wants Nancy Pelosi replaced with Cindy Sheehan...oh yeah, and she was the one who punched a United States Capitol Police Officer when she attempted to re-enter the Capitol without the proper lapel pin for identification.

Yet, I don't see anything that stands with the Green Party's stances on environmentalism and she hasn't done much of anything on the environment and praises socialist/communist leaders. Hmm...

- John McCain is in a fight with the New York Times over an unpublished-as-of-yet story about a key telecom legislation that is currently before the Senate Commerce Committee. The story would lay out charges that McCain may have been providing special treatment to a lobbyist. The NYT is supposedly investigating the validity of the claims, but are frustrated with McCain's strong efforts to halt any and all publication of this story, as well. The lobbyist in question states that McCain has not shown any special treatment towards her.

McCain has hired high-powered attorney Bob Bennett to "stop the smears".

- Barack Obama stated that he would consider putting Republicans in his cabinet if elected President. Some of the names he mentioned: Sen. Chuck Hagel, Sen. Dick Lugar, and...California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

- Rudy Giuliani spent the night in a St. Louis hospital after suffering from flu-like symptoms. Feeling better after the overnight stay, Giuliani decided to go home for the holidays before heading back out on the campaign trail.

Lakota Tribe Renounces Treaties With U.S., Declare Independence

The Lakota Sioux, whose tribe is ingrained within American history due to Chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have announced formal independence from the United States and declared themselves a sovereign nation.

Native American rights activist Russell Means made the announcement at a Washington, D.C. church.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us,"

Those 5 states are Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

A delegation of Lakota leaders have been visiting the embassies of Bolivia, South Africa, Venezuela, and Chile. Who wants to bet $10 that Hugo Chavez recognizes their sovereignty immediately?

Anyway, the Lakota have withdrawn from their various treaties with the United States, some of which are over 150 years old. This is apparently legal, per article six of the Constitution.

Phyllis Young, another long-time Lakota activist, tried to soothe relations by saying "We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren,"

Why am I skeptical of that statement?

Tancredo To Drop Out of Presidential Bid

Not really surprising.

However, I would like to see Tancredo run for Senate in Colorado, and he could put his national campaign funds towards that. The Dems are putting a lot of money into winning the 2008 Senate contest in Colorado (currently held by the retiring Wayne Allard), so a figure with as much national recognition as Tancredo would be a big help for the GOP here.

While I am against illegal immigration, I always felt Tancredo was about two notches too far on the issue in the sense that he wanted to limit legal immigration, which I believe needs to be expanded and streamlined into a more efficient process.

An Upcoming Series, Inspired By Vivian J. Paige

Lately, I've seen that Norfolk blogger Vivian J. Paige has done a series of posts about her personal Legislative Agenda. Vivian has always been a bit of an inspiration to me as how I should go about blogging and presenting myself on my blog, even though she and I pretty much disagree ideologically.

Anyway, I figure that I should put my own positions out there in a clear, concise manner such as this. This feature will be called "Podium Positions".

Now, if a position needs to be updated or changed, I will go back and do so if necessary. Ideas, like people, sometimes change in their approach or way of thinking.

Maybe this way, I can give people a better sense of what I believe in, as it seems like I'm constantly repeating myself all over the blogosphere. Who knows, maybe I'll start up a conversation and someone can change, refine, or support my position.

A big thanks to Vivian for the inspiration.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

BREAKING: Brother of Dennis Kucinich Found Dead

Perry Kucinich, brother of Ohio Congressman and Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich, was found dead in his home today by a third Kucinich brother, Larry.

Kucinich was on the campaign trail, but is now currenty en route to Cleveland to be with his family at this time.

The Podium offers it's condolences to the Kucinich family as they suffer through this ordeal.

More will come as it happens...

Rudy Giuliani Ads

It's nice to see the lighter side of candidates, as Rudy is doing in these two holiday-themed campaign ads.

"Holiday Wishes"

"Same Gift"

Fred Thompson on "Hannity and Colmes", Campaigns in Iowa

Talk about renewed confidence...

Alan Colmes: "I want to give you a chance to do a hand show, are you in the mood for that today, or not?"

Fred Thompson: "Alan, I'm not raising my hand until Chief Justice John Roberts swears me in."

That's what I want to hear. Here's some more stuff on Fred...

Fred as quoted in The Des Moines Register: "I'm not sure where some of these other guys are. When I read that Mr. Huckabee believes that if we played nice with other people they'd like us, (that) causes me to consider whether he understands the world that we live in."

From CNN: "His red meat speeches are redder. His arguments for why he should be president are sharper."

As I said, almost makes you think this whole situation with Thompson was planned a long time ago, as to keep Fred from being targeted as the frontrunner the way Giuliani, Romney, and now Huckabee have been bullseyed. If that's the case, that's smart campaign strategy. This quote from a separate Des Moines Register article speaks volumes about the endorsement from Rep. Steve King.

"On Monday, he picked up the surprise endorsement of Congressman Steve King. Of all the endorsements flying around these days, that one could move the most numbers. It sends a powerful signal from one of Iowa's most conservative leaders to others on the right around the state: We've now got a horse we can ride..."

Thompson's emerging surge should change up the Iowa caucus quite a bit.

TIME's "Person Of The Year" is...Vladimir Putin

Actually, I found this to be a bit of a surprise. I expected Putin to be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Runner-up...but the actual "Person Of The Year", quite a surprise. The Russian President is, however, a very noteworthy individual on the world stage, even though he does butt heads with the American government on several issues.

TIME did explain their reasoning for choosing Putin rather well, especially in these two paragraphs.

When this intense and brooding KGB agent took over as President of Russia in 2000, he found a country on the verge of becoming a failed state. With dauntless persistence, a sharp vision of what Russia should become and a sense that he embodied the spirit of Mother Russia, Putin has put his country back on the map. And he intends to redraw it himself. Though he will step down as Russia's President in March, he will continue to lead his country as its Prime Minister and attempt to transform it into a new kind of nation, beholden to neither East nor West.

TIME's Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is not an endorsement. It is not a popularity contest. At its best, it is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world—for better or for worse. It is ultimately about leadership—bold, earth-changing leadership. Putin is not a boy scout. He is not a democrat in any way that the West would define it. He is not a paragon of free speech. He stands, above all, for stability—stability before freedom, stability before choice, stability in a country that has hardly seen it for a hundred years. Whether he becomes more like the man for whom his grandfather prepared blinis—who himself was twice TIME's Person of the Year—or like Peter the Great, the historical figure he most admires; whether he proves to be a reformer or an autocrat who takes Russia back to an era of repression—this we will know only over the next decade. At significant cost to the principles and ideas that free nations prize, he has performed an extraordinary feat of leadership in imposing stability on a nation that has rarely known it and brought Russia back to the table of world power. For that reason, Vladimir Putin is TIME's 2007 Person of the Year.

The runner-ups were interesting, if not slightly predictable.

1st Runner-Up - An Inconvenient Former VP, Al Gore (if anyone saw this as a surprise, they should be smacked for false ignorance, I'm just glad he didn't win).

2nd Runner-Up - Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, whose fame is pretty much up now that the Potter series is over and done with.

3rd Runner-Up - Chinese President Hu Jintao

4th Runner-Up - General David Petraeus, who should honestly be flipped with Gore, because Petraeus managed to forge success when the new Congressional majority (Democrats) tried to give him every conceivable path to failure.

UPDATE: Henry Ryto brings up an EXCELLENT point in the comments below...where is Nicolas Sarkozy on this list??? That man may single-handedly change European-American relations, and actually has been a catalyst for the rapid improvement of Franco-American relations. Good call, Henry.

Two-Alarm Fire at Eisenhower Executive Building

Actually, it was in Dick Cheney's suite of offices.

Quick response from the DC Fire Department (the world's finest) limited this fire to smoke and water damage in Cheney's offices, and kept the fire from spreading to other offices. The only injury was to a U.S. Marine stationed at the offices, who had to break a window on the 5th floor of the building to escape and cut his hand in the process. He was rescued from the building's ledge.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

Dems Abandon SCHIP

Now, they're going along with the GOP's plan and will keep SCHIP as it is until March 2009, when the new form of SCHIP that will be debated in the beginning of the 2009 Congressional session will take effect.

That actually dampens the ability of Dems to use SCHIP as a campaign issue, as well as keeps SCHIP expansion from being used as the "knife to the throat" of military funding for operations in Iraq.

Haven't I said multiple times before that Congressional Republicans have traditionally done well when they don't have full majorities in Congress?

Presidential Endorsements From VA Political Figures

Let's see who's supporting who, here.

- Gov. Tim Kaine - Barack Obama
- Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling - Mitt Romney
- A.G. Bob McDonnell - Fred Thompson
- Rep. Bobby Scott - Barack Obama
- Sen. John Warner - John McCain
- Fmr. Sen./Gov. George Allen - Fred Thompson
- Fmr. A.G. Jerry Kilgore - Rudy Giuliani
- Pat Robertson, founder of Regent University/Christian Coalition - Rudy Giuliani
- Del. Bill Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates - Mike Huckabee
- Del. Chris Saxman - John McCain

Can anyone add to these updates?

12/20 - Added Bobby Scott and Bill Howell endorsements.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Watch Ron Paul Lose Any Hope of Winning the GOP Nomination

In 3...2...1...

"When facism comes it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross..."

First of all, how many Democrats have said this? And secondly, while Ron Paul is entitled to his opinion and I'm fine with the fact that he doesn't want to pander to the evangelical vote...that's still a very stupid statement to make when you're running for the Republican Party nomination.

I'm convinced that he's pretty much giving up on a GOP nomination and looking at a Libertarian Party bid.

Pro Bowl Announced, Sean Taylor Makes Team Posthumously

Taylor actually was the top vote-getter at free safety for the NFC, and had been the top vote-getter even before his death. Still, it is a tribute to both his hard work on the field and his untimely death.

Teams with the most Pro Bowlers - Dallas with 11, New England and San Diego with 8 each, Minnesota with 6 each, Seattle and Indianapolis with 5 each, Green Bay, Chicago, and Pittsburgh with 4 each

The Washington Redskins will send a total of 3 players to the Pro Bowl, the aforementioned Taylor, as well as LT Chris Samuels and TE Chris Cooley.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, who have a 10-4 record after this past weekend, sent nobody to the Pro Bowl. This came as a surprise to some. However, one must keep in mind that Pro Bowl voting is done by the fans...which partially explains why the 12-2 Dallas Cowboys (with their large fanbase) are sending 11 players to the Pro Bowl, but the undefeated Patriots are only sending 8 and the 12-2 Green Bay Packers are only sending 4.

Bloomberg Making Moves Towards Presidential Bid

I simply cannot get a handle on current NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Now it seems that he's making some moves towards a run as an independent candidate for President. These moves include...

- Interviewing and contacting various advertising companies.

- Contact with previous campaign aides and advisors about an '08 bid

- Contacting various political consultants about a possible presidential run.

I don't know who Bloomberg would appeal to, he was a lifelong Democrat who became a Republican in 2001 (just in time to run for Mayor), then declared himself an Independent in June of this year "in response" to the current political climate in our nation's capital.

However, he has the personal coffers to win, having noted that he would spend up to $1 Billion of his own money to self-finance his own campaign. Other speculation has him self-financing a campaign from the slot of a VP candidate.

Nonetheless, I don't think Bloomberg could win a presidential run. He would, however, pull in most of the Independents, which leaves the party-affiliated voters left. We may see a candidate win the presidency with only 37-38% of the vote if that happened.

Omnibus Spending Bill Passes in House

Two separate votes took place on this bill. The first was a 253-154 vote in favor of clearing the actual spending measure, the second was a 206-201 vote in favor of allocating an extra $31 billion to the troops in Afghanistan (good job).

Republicans aren't exactly thrilled about this bill, though.

Republicans attacked the omnibus package, pointing out that many earmarks were “airdropped” into the bill at the last moment. They also were critical of Democratic leadership’s decision not to include Iraq war funding in the measure. Those funds are expected to be added by the Senate.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a vocal critic of earmarks, said a few of the airdropped earmarks simply seek to allocate money to cities without explanation.

Flake rattled off the names of cities and how much the bill will allocate to those locales.

“For what?” Flake asked. “We have no idea.”

Which is why we need to start seriously busting the pork barrel projects and wasteful spending with more transparency in government and by forcing justifcation for these earmarks before shoving them into bills at the last minute.

(h/t The Hill)

Gallup Poll: Congress Poll Numbers Low, Both Parties Suffering

I hear a lot of Democrats state that the sole reason for the extremely low poll numbers Congress has are the fault of the Republicans, who are "blocking" their agenda, which they believe America supports whole-heartedly.

I don't think that's the case.

According to the most recent USA Today/Gallup Poll, the two parties are within the 5 percent margin of error of each other. Republicans drawing an approval rate of 26 percent (68 percent disapproval), Democrats at 30 percent (64 percent disapproval).

Dems might want to start rethinking the blame game, because their overall ineffectiveness and the negative nature of their approach to legislation is turning on them quickly.

Excuse Me, Could You Say That Into My Good Ear?

From CNN...

Former President Bill Clinton said Monday that the first thing his wife Hillary will do when she reaches the White House is dispatch him and his predecessor, President George H.W. Bush, on an around-the-world mission to repair the damage done to America's reputation by the current president — Bush's son, George W. Bush.

"Well, the first thing she intends to do, because you can do this without passing a bill, the first thing she intends to do is to send me and former President Bush and a number of other people around the world to tell them that America is open for business and cooperation again," Clinton said in response to a question from a supporter about what his wife's "number one priority" would be as president.

A spokesman for the George H.W. Bush was not immediately available to comment on whether the former president would chip in some diplomatic help after his son leaves office next year.

What in the blue hell...? Either Clinton is lying or Bush Sr. is going senile. The RNC replied to this with a disturbingly benign response.

"In 2009, a Republican president will be working with our friends and allies abroad to continue to keep our nation safe," said RNC spokesman Danny Diaz. "The American people expect our leaders — both current and former — to present serious solutions to the very real challenges confronting our nation."

Ugh...can we get beyond Bushes and Clintons after 2008?

UPDATE: Bush replies by nicely saying, "no chance, Bill."

Cents and Sensibility, A Look at Tim Kaine's Proposed Budget

Let's take a look at some of the highlights (and lowlights) of Governor Kaine's proposed budget...


- The current $641 million shortfall will be taken care of by using $261 million from the "Rainy Day fund", overall cuts of $300 million, and $96 million will come from agency savings (i.e. unspent money).

- The 2008-2010 projected to be a little over $78 billion, which is the smallest increase in 12 years, only $4 billion more over the last biennial budget. Projected revenues are about $81 billion, so we might come out of this with a surplus.

- No new taxes, but an increase in the license renewal fee from $5 to $15. However, the once-a-year car inspections will now be once-every-2-years, and that price goes from $16 to $20. Ok, we're not saving on the renewal fee, but we'll actually save a whole $6 a year with the change in car inspect

- No government pay raises in 2008. However, state employees get a 3% pay increase, and teachers get a 3.5% pay increase, in 2009. I'm going to put this under savings, but I'm not sure why Kaine is using Daniel Snyder-esque "back end loading" of spending increases.

The explanation I've heard about why these increases are being structured this way is because of the "hope" that the economy improves by 2009, so the state will "hopefully" exceed revenue projections. "Hope"? That's the same platform Barack Obama runs on, so I'm guessing that's why Tim Kaine supports Obama.

So that's the "Politics of Hope", simply "hoping" things get better. That explains a lot...


- Education: $56 million to expand public preschool programs, $44.3 million in increased operating costs for colleges and universities (didn't I talk about how this could be a place to cut funds in an earlier post?), $1.6 billion in bonds for college/university campus construction projects (buy now, pay later...?), $36.4 million increase in student financial aid. $1 billion to upgrade education requirements for K-12 ("education requirements"? Like, the standard curriculum? That should only require a few pieces of paper).

- Business: $68 million to recruit businesses to Virginia. This should be spent wisely...although, isn't the state already a magnet in and of itself for business? The $7 million in subsidies allocated for small businesses to provide health insurance to lower-income employees is agreeable, as it would help take people off of medicaid, etc...

- Juvenile Delinquents: $159 million to provide special schooling and foster care for juvenile delinquents. If they're in foster care, shouldn't they be going to a real school?

- $46 million to repair "gaps" in the mental health care system, including $14.6 million for crisis mental health care. $14.6 million for "crisis" mental health care? We have to have funds on hand in case of a "crisis". Shouldn't our money go towards averting a crisis in the future?


- $180 million in transportation funds reverted back to the general budget for this biennium. Wait, didn't we have a BIG debate over the abuser fees that were supposed to pay for the supposed transportation needs? And now Kaine, who supported the fees and wanted them imposed on Virginia drivers only, wants to take money AWAY from the transportation fund?

There has been a lot of negative reaction on the blogs...some of it warranted, some of it not.

- On The Spot is not happy with this. In fact, there is a lot of sarcastic commentary about the budget.

- Right-Wing Liberal sees this as a very "Clintonian" way of expanding government without necessarily increasing spending. Decrease the amount of money spent and number of government employees, but no decrease in the actual size and scope of governmental power.

- Spank That Donkey notes that Kaine made a promise during his 2005 campaign not to touch the transportation fund for other purposes...oops. He also makes an excellent point that when you're looking at a possible recession, "the most prudent action of the government should be to trim spending, and provide a stimulus to the people."

- The GOP has their own doubts about this budget.

- Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is "very disappointed."

Personally, I think Kaine's overall budget keeps the size of the actual "meat and potatoes" of the government's spending the same...but has some back-end increases in areas that don't necessarily need the increases. That's where the disappointment lies. Why increase spending on projects like Kaine's attempt at gradually implementing universal pre-K? We're not in a financial position to consider such a project, which is not even a good idea in the first place.

Kaine is to be commended on keeping his spending increase down...but if you're going to increase spending, do it to the areas that need it (infrastructure, transportation, commerce) and stop increasing it in less-important areas (universal pre-K, non-justified increases in secondary education spending).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bill the Revisionist

From an AP article today...

Bill Clinton says Sen. Barack Obama is a callow, highly ambitious political prodigy who is asking voters to "roll the dice" and elect him president.

He should know — that's a fair description of Clinton when he sought the presidency in 1992.

The fact that the former president is stealing a page from the same Republican playbook used against him 15 years ago underscores the threat Obama poses to the candidacy of Clinton's wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

It also illustrates Clinton's penchant for rewriting history.

Actually, that is a pretty accurate description of Clinton in 1992. But, it goes on...

As a first-time presidential candidate, Clinton cast himself as an "agent of change" in troubled times, and faced criticism from Republicans about his youth and inexperience.

Obama finds himself in the same boat, with Clinton manning the torpedoes.

Well, Clinton had been Governor of Arkansas for a decade or so by the time he started his run at the White House. However, he still was a relatively unknown political figure outside of Little Rock and Democratic pundit circles in 1991, when he started building towards his candidacy.

However, this statement from Clinton makes me laugh.

"Even when I was a governor and young and thought I was the best politician in the Democratic Party, I didn't run the first time. I could have," Clinton said on PBS's "The Charlie Rose Show," referring to the 1988 presidential campaign.

"And I had lots of Democratic governors encouraging me to. I knew in my bones I shouldn't run — that I was a good enough politician to win, but I didn't think I was ready to be president," Clinton said.

No, might've won the nomination, but I know you would not have won the Presidency in 1988. Ronald Reagan was still popular, George H. W. Bush was the Veep and the "heir apparent", and America was going well with the Republicans in the White House. There is no chance in hell that Bill Clinton would have won in 1988. Hey Bill, it's the economy, stupid...and the economy was going along very well in 1988, which means your campaign theme would've been shot.

Edwards, Richardson, Kucinich May Not Make It To Virginia

According to Jack Landers at Rule .303, John Edwards managed to submit 10,081 signatures to get onto the Virginia primary ballot...while Richardson and Kucinich each slid in with 10,000 signatures even. However, since there is bound to be a variable amount of invalid/disqualified signatures, none of those 3 may actually make it onto the ballot if the signatures are challenged. If any candidate challenges the signatures, they are reviewed one-by-one.

As Jack also points out, it would be in Barack Obama's best interests to challenge the signatures, because if he knocks Edwards off of the ballot, the race boils down to a two-candidate race in Virginia, and Obama will take all of the support he can get (most Edwards supporters, in my estimation, would prefer Obama to Clinton).

Richardson and Kucinich are pretty far down on the ladder, support-wise. However, John Edwards is polling a solid 3rd in all reputable Dem polls and is still considered to be a potential "Hillary spoiler".

A Contested Convention...?

A column in the Washington Times anticipates the possible spectacle of a contested Republican Convention. This being based upon the fact that there doesn't seem to be a real frontrunner, and each of the candidates could carry large numbers of delegates into the convention.

There has not been a contested presidential nomination at a convention since 1948's Republican National Convention, when Thomas Dewey finally triumphed over "The Boy Wonder of Politics" Harold E. Stassen and Robert Taft right before the 3rd ballot due to Taft's concession.

It would be interesting to see such an event, although it may mean more fragmentation within the GOP. However, having the national convention be more than a glorified coronation would be a lesson in politics for the current generation, and it would also provide infinite amounts of topics and events for us pundits.

It would also be interesting to see Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and even Ron Paul duke it out in a convention, especially once a candidate was would be very interesting to see who those delegates would support.

Iowa Rep. King Endorses, Fred Thompson!

Courtesy of the Campaign Spot blog at NRO.

Iowa Rep. Steve King endorsed Fred Thompson for President today. The reason why this endorsement is noteworthy is because all of Team Romney was in attendance, thinking King would announce an endorsement of their candidate.

In fact, speculation is that King may have changed his endorsement mid-speech, as if while talking about the candidates, the decision to go with Thompson just dawned upon him.

Isn't it said that your "better sense" usually triumphs in the end? Looks like Steve King is an example of this ;)

UPDATE: Upon reading other articles, it seems that this endorsement is actually ringing very true amongst Iowa conservatives, and is one that many in Iowa were waiting to hear. This should be another key boost the the Thompson campaign, which has been gaining serious momentum for the past week. I really expect that Thompson will snatch at least a solid 3rd in Iowa...and if the tide that has begun to turn against Huckabee and Romney continues, I think we may see Fred snatch 2nd or even 1st place. Who knows at this point.

Philly News Anchor Gets Road Raged

More strange news out of New York City today...

Alycia Lane, anchorwoman from KYW-TV in Philadelphia, was arrested in New York City yesterday after punching a female police officer in the face and calling her a "dyke bitch", among other things. She is charged with assaulting a police officer.

The police department's story: Lane and her boyfriend were stuck behind a slow-moving, unmarked police car when Lane's boyfriend got out of the car at a red light and asked why they were driving so slowly, when the cops replied that they were looking for a perp, he retorts "I don't care if you're a cop! Drive faster!" Immediately, the cops got out (there were 3 of them), and started questioning Lane's boyfriend. Lane got out and, as a reporter would do, started snapping pictures of the cops questioning her boyfriend...but did so by getting right in the questioning officer's face. The lone female officer approached Lane, told her she could take pictures but would have to step back, Lane then shouted at the cop and punched her straight in the face.

Lane's retort: She claims that she did not know the 3 were cops. Somehow, I don't believe that.

Lane is most famous for e-mailing sexy photos of herself in a bikini to NFL Network anchorman Rich Eisen, only to have Eisen's wife discover the photos. It has never been completely known why Lane e-mailed those photos...except for the intent of getting Eisen's attention.

Chemical Explosion at Fox News

There has apparently been a chemical explosion at the headquarters of Fox News (which is inside the headquarters of it's parent company, News Corp) in New York City. One man has been confirmed to be injured from chemical burns, and 700 people were evacuated. Fortunately, no other injuries have been reported.

So far, this has surprisingly not had an effect on Fox News broadcasting, and the channel is still up and running (probably from it's D.C. studios).


UPDATE: Apparently, it wasn't a major explosion, but was enough to evacuate floors 42 through 45 of News Corp's headquarters. Still, a scary situation, I'm sure.

Playoff Hopes Still Alive: Skins Beat Giants

Hail to the Redskins! They triumphed over their divisional rival, the New York Giants, 22-10 despite a frigid, swirling wind that wreaked havoc on the passing and kicking game of both teams. They won due to tough defense, a strong running game, and a solid gameplan.

Clinton Portis ran for over 120 yards and a touchdown. Todd Collins, filling in for the injured Jason Campbell, made his first start in a decade and threw for 166 yards, including 75 yards to Santana Moss, who he hit twice on deep passes. The offensive line looked solid, the defense played a good "bend-but-don't-break" style.

Next week, the Redskins (7-7) will be playing at Minnesota (7-6, plays Chicago tonight on MNF) in the game that could decide who gets the final playoff spot in the NFC.

The Giants (9-5) will take on the Chicago Bears next week.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

2400 in 24

From Friday to Saturday, The Fred Thompson campaign put out the challenge to get donations from 2400 donors in 24 hours. It was a success, and a rousing show of support for the future President of the United States.

The goal was not to see how much money could be raised, but how many different people could donate. Good to see Thompson supporters successfully meet and exceed this challenge. This should be yet another boost to Fred's campaign.

Hot Off The Presses: Lieberman to Endorse McCain

Breaking News from The Weekly Standard. This is big.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), former Democratic Party VP candidate in 2000, will announce his endorsement of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for President in 2008.

If McCain wanted support from the independents, this was a good way to get it, as Lieberman is probably the most respected Democrats (well, ok, technically he's a former Democrat, but he still caucuses with the Dems) out there amongst independents and moderate/centrist Republicans.

Now, this will probably further fuel speculation of a possible VP run for Lieberman on the GOP ticket. Meanwhile, I expect a revival of the "traitor" chants from liberal Democrats directed towards Lieberman.

Read more detail about it at Fox News.

New Addition to National Blogroll

This blog has actually been around since December of 2004, but still pumps out some really good blog posts. It's also another sign of the growth of diversity in the Republican Party and for conservative politics, in general.

Go check out Hip Hop Republican, which is what many have tagged me as being (even though I'm a fan of all kinds of music, I'm a hip-hop fan first...which may surprise some).

Fred on Face The Nation

Fred Thompson appeared on CBS's "Face The Nation" this morning, and turned in another impressive performance by promoting his consistent record and common sense politics.

Host Bob Schieffer try pin down Thompson with questions about immigration and opponents Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. Thompson managed to denounce the two GOP opponents mentioned by bringing up their records, but did not get nasty with his statements.

When the topic of illegal immigration came up, Thompson explained why strong border security and tougher sanctions against the employment and entitlements given to illegals would actually lead to a war of attrition of sorts. By eliminating the opportunity to simply "hop" back and forth across the border, and by taking away the ability for illegals to gain employment or welfare, they would begin to leave on their own. In essence, this is a simple way of eliminating the problem of illegal aliens in our nation that are border-hopping, because rounding them up and shipping them out, as some have suggested, is not feasible nor is it practical. Once again, Thompson has a smart, common sense solution to a looming problem in our nation.

This would then leave us with the issue of handling those who simply have expired visas and the problems with have with the smuggling of people from China through our ports...which is a surprisingly quiet issue that I believe should be included in our talks about "border security", as our ports lie on the borders of our nation, too.

Anyway, I found this to be another excellent performance by Fred. You probably won't see much of him on the national airwaves until after Iowa, as he is planning to criss-cross the state, making at least 5 planned stops a day, and innumerable unplanned stops. You almost think that the standout performance at the Iowa debate and now non-stop holiday blitz in the Hawkeye State was part of some great plan to create momentum that wouldn't have time to fizzle out. Let's see if this holds true.