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  • Political Predictions for 2012
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  • January 30, 2008

    Irresponsible Reporting on the Foreclosure Crisis

    [Posted by ]

    By now we’ve all read dozens of stories about foreclosures. The formula is familiar by now: sympathetic family loses their dream home when their adjustable rate mortgage adjusts. They didn’t understand the fine print. They were mislead. They had vague other financial difficulties.

    Today the Capital Times joined the fray with an article about foreclosures here in Dane County. The sympathetic couple in this case:

    Stella Morris and her family lost their dream house, a west side condominium, last fall after the interest rate on their adjustable rate mortgage reset at a level they could not afford. Their story is one of frustration, shame and, finally, determination.

    "It was very difficult," Morris recalled.

    The increase in the interest rate, and monthly payment, for the couple's adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) came right when the condominium association raised its assessment rates and the family had some medical bills.

    "It started snowballing. We couldn't keep up," Morris said.

    But this isn’t just any family. Someone in the comments pointed my way to the Wisconsin court records of Morris and her husband. Doing a simple search, you find out that:

    • The husband went through a foreclosure in 2000
    • The husband was evicted from one apartment in 1997 and from another one in 1999
    • Morris herself was evicted in 1998
    • Morris has judgments against her from American Family Insurance, Ford Motor Credit Company and Dean Medical Center

    This is a sympathetic couple? How did these people ever get a mortgage? I can understand why a reporter might use them as an example of the type of incredibly risky loans that lenders made (and why the rest of us shouldn’t life a finger to bail them out), but that wasn’t the point of this article. This was just another sob story. Unfortunately, the reporter in question, Pat Schneider, didn’t do his research. This isn’t a couple who made a mistake or fell on hard times. These are people who knew exactly what they were doing. And judging from this quote I’m sure they’ll do it again:

    Morris says she and her husband will spend the next year or two reestablishing their credit rate, so they can eventually buy a house or condominium again.

    "We'll get through it," she said. "I think we'll do a fixed rate this time, unless we get extremely disciplined and have a larger down payment," she said.

    So, look for their latest foreclosure sometime in 2012 or 2013. You read it here first.

    Posted by at 08:02 PM | Comments (2)     
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    January 29, 2008

    Why I Didn't Watch the State of the Union Address

    [Posted by ]

    Did you watch last night's State of the Union address? I didn't. I've suddenly turned into one of those people that actually resent the President for bumping Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles from its regularly scheduled time. I remember a time was I was riveted to the screen and actually believed in a lot of the President's foreign policy agenda. What happened (and no, my liberal friends, I didn't finally "wake up" - believe me I'm still sleeping)?

    I think I lost some of my idealism. Idealism is inevitably associated with modern liberalism, but why is that? Modern liberalism is a cynical political philosophy. It assumes that people suck and need to be reined in in order for society to survive. The government has to take care of us because we a) can't take care of ourselves and b) won't take care of each other unless we're forced to. A small government conservative, on the other hand, idealistically believes that, left pretty much to themselves, people will be okay. Conservatives (or at least the kind of conservative that I want to be) also believe in the intrinsic value of freedom. It's the freedom to make something of yourself that's important, not what you actually do make of yourself.

    So what does that have to do with Iraq? Well, the idealistic conservative inside of me really believed that Iraqis would leap at the chance to participate in a democratic society. Um, not so much. Oh sure, "Abdul Iraqi" has had to put up with terrorists, but revolutionaries the world over have risked their lives for a chance at freedom. Why wouldn't Iraqis do the same?

    Maybe it's because that kind of commitment has to come from within a nation rather than be impressed upon it. Maybe it was stupid to think that a nation that didn't have the will to overthrow Saddam would embrace democracy on their own. Maybe it was foolish to believe that a nation without any tradition of democracy would easily become one. Maybe the best that we can hope for right now in the Middle East is the kind of relatively benevolent dictatorship embodied by Sheik Mohammed in Dubai.

    Whatever it is, I no longer believe that nation building is the key to defeating terrorism. Now, I ruthlessly believe that killing terrorists is the key to defeating terrorism. That's not the kind of attitude that inspires lofty rhetoric. It's not even the kind of attitude that tolerates lofty rhetoric. I'm sick of flowery words and political posturing. I want someone who is just going to 'git 'er done'.

    Posted by at 10:41 AM | Comments (6)     
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    January 28, 2008

    A Message To You, ESPN

    [Posted by ]

    Dear ESPN,

    Last week, Packer fans had to site through a tense, ultimately heartbreaking NFC championship game. Then, the entire state was plunged into a week long deep freeze. Did you really have to show highlights from Super Bowl XXXII last night? Haven't the good people of Wisconsin suffered enough?

    That said - instead of picking the Super Bowl winner, I'm thinking of finding some of the goofy prop bets and making picks on those instead. Stay tuned.

    Posted by at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)     
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    January 27, 2008

    The Ten Best U2 Songs

    [Posted by ]

    I bought one of the 80 GB iPods last week. These “classic” iPods now have video, so I went to iTunes to get something to play on it and ended up with the video of U2’s classic performance of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” live at Red Rocks. Watching it reminded me of how much (and how long) I’ve loved this band.

    Trying to put together a top ten list was next to impossible. I had to narrow it down from a list of about 30 songs I love – and that’s not including collaborations like “In A Lifetime” with Clannad and “The Saints Are Coming” with Green Day.

    So anyway, here’s my list. Other U2 fans out there – I’d love to see yours.

    10. ”I Will Follow”, from Boy: While I love the guitar solo from “Twilight” on this same album, I think this is the better song, mostly because of the use of everyday objects like bottles as instruments. The bridge is also fantastic (“Your eyes make a circle…”) and was our first glimpse of the kind of musical drama the band was capable of.

    9. "Beautiful Day", from All That You Can't Leave Behind: I love the grandeur of this song. In an era when every other song is hip hop inspired and "features" 8 different performers, this is a throwback to music that moves you, rather than just moving your body.

    8. "Tomorrow", from October: This is the most "Irish" song U2 has ever recorded. Listen to the way the tension rises throughout the song until the rockin' end. It's hard to believe they were practically still teenagers when it came out.

    7. "So Cruel", from Achtung Baby: This song features one of Bono's better lyrics: "Between the horses of love and lust we are trampled underfoot". I love the quietly driving piano and drums and I'll admit to a weakness for songs with the word "sweetheart" in them.

    6. "The Unforgettable Fire", from (oddly enough) The Unforgettable Fire: When people talk about Bono's passion, they usually mean some of the crazy things he's done like climb the scaffolding at the US Festival or yelling out during "Sunday Bloody Sunday". I think of this song - when he's expressing romantic passion in lines like:

    And if the mountain should crumble
    Or disappear into the sea
    Not a tear, no not I
    Stay in this time
    Stay tonight in a lie
    Ever after
    This love in time
    And if you save your love
    Save it all

    Watching that video, I'm also reminded of how damn cute Larry Mullen, Jr. was. Oh, Larry...

    5. "Gloria", from October: This song is what going to church should be like.

    4. "A Sort Of Homecoming" from The Unforgettable Fire and Wide Awake In America. I love both the album and live versions of the song. The album version, with its sonic assault, almost sounds like something from Smashing Pumpkins. The live version strips all of that away to just the beautiful melody.

    3. "With Or Without You" from The Joshua Tree: It's the Bolero of rock! This is one of those magical songs that you can get so caught up in that you're in the music not just listening to it. So, when you realize the song is over, you have to play it again to actually hear it. As wonderful as the album cut is, live versions are even better. I have an Italian import CD of a Chicago show during the tour where Bono serenades the moon and merges the song with Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart". It's incredible.

    2. "Surrender", from War: This is a slippery, kinda sexy song with a great sing along chorus and some awesome slide guitar from The Edge. I love the War album, but this sounds like nothing else on it - it's the start of the band's sonic experimentation.

    1. "The Electric Co.", from Under A Blood Red Sky: Just so you all don't forget, U2 is a rock band! The link goes to their performance of that song at the US Festival, it's not the awesome version from Under A Blood Red Sky, but it is the show were Bono climbs to the roof of the stage.

    Posted by at 06:30 PM | Comments (5)     
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    January 24, 2008

    A Pre-Super Duper Tuesday Straw Poll

    [Posted by ]

    With the Republican field narrowed, now seems like a good time to poll our readership (well, those of you who aren't just here to find out who the Green Bay Packers "Bikini Girls" are) about who they're going to vote for in upcoming Republican primaries around the country.

    For me, McCain and Huckabee are out of consideration. I'd still consider making a Ron Paul protest vote, but I'd feel dirty about it. I guess that leaves it between Romney & Giuliani. Neither thrill me and I know neither is any kind of real advocate of small government. Giuliani seems to be closer to me on social issues, so I'm leaning towards him. But, like I said, none of these candidates are anywhere close to what I want.

    How about you?

    Who will you vote for in your Republican primary?
    Rudy Giuliani
    Mike Huckabee
    John McCain
    Ron Paul
    Mitt Romney
      
    pollcode.com free polls
    Posted by at 09:25 AM | Comments (12)     
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    January 21, 2008

    Campaign '08 - The Bumper Stickers

    [Posted by ]

    With the end of football season (sob), now we can focus on that other important season. No, I'm not talking about primary season. I'm talkin' bumper sticker season! With the Presidential campaign in full swing, the streets of America will soon be full of cars with a viewpoint. W00t!

    Although, when you think about it, bumper stickers are an incredibly passive aggressive way to share an opinion. No one can challenge you, they can only silently stew in traffic behind you. Or possibly flip you off. I guess they could rear end you, but I wouldn't qualify that as a "political discussion", although maybe some crazy Madison liberals or Ron Paul fans would.

    So anyway - here's the first great bumper sticker of the 2008 Presidential Campaign:

    I'd like to establish the definitive repository of campaign '08 bumper stickers. So, to that end, keep your eyes peeled for any outstanding bumper stickers and when you see them, send 'em my way.

    Posted by at 11:56 AM | Comments (2)     
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    January 20, 2008

    A Post About Nothing In Particular

    [Posted by ]

    Posted by at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)     
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    January 18, 2008

    Quick Picks - NFL Conference Championship Games

    [Posted by ]

    My NFL picks seem to do much better than either my horse racing or college football picks. Let's see if I can keep it rolling.

    San Diego at New England: I can't imagine why anyone would wager on this game. No one knows what's going on with L.T. and Rivers. I don't think the Chargers have a chance, but I can't imagine picking this game against the spread, you know? So yeah, New England wins as part of their inevitable march to another Lombardi Trophy. Ho hum. The pick: New England.

    New York at Green Bay: The forecast keeps getting revised down. It's going to be miserable. Just the way we like it! The Giants are going to have to rush Favre constantly because their secondary is so depleted. Of course, the natural enemy of the pass rush is the screen play, which is, unfortunately, something the Packers aren't very good at. Brett will have to rely on Ryan Grant and short passes to make it through the game. It's going to be up to the receivers to make big plays. I think they will. The pick: Green Bay.

    Oh my god...

    Posted by at 07:28 AM | Comments (12)     
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    January 14, 2008

    If the NFL’s final four were Presidential candidates

    [Posted by ]

    Forgive me if I’m preoccupied with the Packers. I hope to stay this way for at least another three weeks. However, I am aware that there’s an election to ponder and candidates to discuss. So let me try to combine these two passions by mulling the Presidential candidates that the NFL’s final four most resemble.

    San Diego Chargers: Without a doubt, the Chargers are Hillary Clinton. They were expected to do well from the start of the season. Like Hillary, they floundered, cried, pointed fingers and generally acted like entitled little babies throwing a hissy fit when things went sour. It turned out well for Clinton in New England, but can San Diego really expect a similar triumph?

    New York Giants: The similarities between Barack Obama and the Giants are almost endless. They both lack experience in key roles - Eli Manning has quarterbacked for the same four years that Obama’s been a U.S. Senator. Despite being seemingly overmatched by more powerful opponents they’ve fought back with passion. They’ve even had to fight against former friends and allies along the way (if you want to compare Tiki Barber to the DNC). Like Obama, New England is not their favorite place. Unlike Obama, however, the Giants understand the importance of a strong defense.

    New England Patriots: The Pats are John McCain. Like McCain, there’s much to admire about New England. We know this because the media constantly tell us. Also like McCain, there’s just something under the surface of the Patriots that’s irritating. Maybe it’s just because they’re back again. Maybe it’s their whole attitude that they’re so noble and so far above the rest of us riff raff.

    Green Bay Packers: It kind of pains me to say it, but the Packers are Ron Paul. Like Paul, they’re loved by their supporters with an almost religious fervor. Also like Paul, there’s a dark side to the franchise as it was long considered unfriendly to African-American players. Finally, while Paul is portrayed as the anti-establishment candidate, the Packers are the anti-everything team. They’re owned by the people instead of some greedy tycoon. They’re a small town oasis in the NFL’s urban desert. They’re gunslingers in an era of sophisticated, antiseptic offenses. Hopefully, unlike Ron Paul, they won’t be exposed as not-ready-for-prime-time players any time soon.

    Posted by at 11:20 PM | Comments (10)     
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    January 10, 2008

    Quick Picks - NFL Divisional Playoffs

    [Posted by ]

    First off, on the topic of football, I'd like to officially congratulate Squibby for her victory in our college football bowl poll. Squibbly pulled out a narrow (409-400) victory over Kilabe. I came in 9th of 11. Go, me! ;-)

    So, on to the NFL. The Big Four are back in action in what's usually the NFL's best weekend. Who's moving on? Who's making tee times? Let's find out.

    Seattle at Green Bay: The Packers had a week to get healthy while the Seahawks had a week to get hurt. The weather in Green Bay isn't going to be that cold, but I think it'll be a little mucky. The Packers' emerging running game with Ryan Grant (leading rusher over the 2nd half of the season) will be the difference as the Packers roll to victory, no matter what Matt Hasselbeck may say after the coin toss. The pick: Green Bay

    Jacksonville at New England: Jacksonville is the sexy upset pick this week, but it's not going to happen. I hate to spoil the rest of the season, but New England is going to win the Super Bowl. This whole season has felt like one of those awful late 1990s/early 2000s Packers/Vikings games where one of our corners would blow the coverage and Culpepper would launch an easy TD pass and all you'd hear is Pat Summerall saying "Randy Moss". Then, they'd show him and the rest of the Viqueen asshats yukking it up on the sidelines of their stupid dome and you want to punch them through your TV. It's all going to happen again. I can feel it. I'm not looking forward to it. The pick: New England.

    San Diego at Indianapolis: I love the city of San Diego, but I don't like the Chargers. They seem like a team filled with a bunch of finger pointers. Even great players like L.T. are just waiting for something to go wrong so they can blame it on someone else. That's not the attitude of a winner. I'm no fan of Peyton Manning either, but you've got to respect the Colts for the record they've put up and they way they've dealt with injuries this year. This is going to be an ugly, ugly blowout. The pick: Indianapolis

    New York at Dallas: Dallas has looked ordinary lately. The Giants have looked inspired. I think Dallas is the better team, but the Giants have got the kind of fire under them now that may only be extinguished by a trip to Lambeau Field. I envision New York's pass rush knocking Tony Romo on his sweet behind as well as causing him to throw a few passes to the wrong side (no, I'm not talking about Jessica Simpson. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but the pick is New York.

    I was 3 for 4 last week, can you beat me this week?

    Posted by at 01:23 AM | Comments (13)     
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    January 09, 2008

    Play the Candidate Match Game

    [Posted by james]

    Since so many republicans are having a hard time figuring out which candidate to to support, I thought that a few quizzes may be of help.

    Here's one at USA Today

    Here's on that seems to answer "Ron Paul," "Dennis Kucinich," or "Mike Gravel" for most every set of answers.*

    Here's one that makes you first assign weights to issues.**

    Here's one that grossly oversimplifies things.***

    From what I can tell, I should vote for Ron Paul or Mike Gravel or Dennis Kucinich or Hillary or Obama or Fred or Huckabee. Clear as mud, huh?

    I think that the best approach for me is going to be one similar to Vote For The Worst's American Idol strategy - I am going to vote for the most entertaining candidate, regardless of his or her political positions. So listen up, candidates - if you want my vote, now would be a good time to start giving debate responses in song, becoming frequently forgetful of your present location, running away from local fauna, dressing up in funny outfits, or just falling down a lot.

    Or anything else you think may win my fancy. Use your imagination.****

    * I tried twice.
    ** Which doesn't work for me, because I care about everything at about the same level: meh.
    *** Exactly like the others don't.
    **** Extra points if you say the word "penis"

    Posted by jkhat at 02:50 PM | Comments (5)     
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    Who's the Candidate for 'Don't Change'?

    [Posted by ]

    I watched a little bit of CNN's post-primary coverage last night. After watching Edwards', Obama's and Clinton's speeches I've come to the realization that America sucks. I suspect that if I watched the Republicans' speeches I'd still find that America sucks, but in a completely different way.

    The candidates are fighting over who gets to carry the banner of change. Change. Change. Change. Change. Change. But here's the thing: America is awesome. We're the richest and most free nation on Earth. In America, even the homeless have televisions. Americans are ridiculously wealthy and privileged. We're spoiled. While bloggers get arrested in Saudi Arabia and Mark Steyn fights the law in Canada (Canada for god's sake), Americans can pretty much say whatever we want. More importantly, we can be who we want to be without government interference - gay couples and teen couples can show affection in public, you can worship how you want to (even if you're a Scientologist!), you can wear what you want to without fear of someone sticking the religious police on you (although you may want to worry about ending up as a Glamour "don't"). We've got it good.

    Oh sure, we've got problems. Health care is ridiculously expensive. Our government is bloated. We've got ourselves into a dilly of a pickle in Iraq. There's an group of illegal immigrants who have no respect for American law and an even bigger group who have no protection under the law. We can be a better nation, but I'm digging my heels in the sand against change for the sake of change. I remember some of the changes under the Clinton administration - the rise of speech codes and the persecution of religious wackos. I don't want anyone changing the essential nature of America under the guise of doing so for the "greater good" or to promote tolerance, diversity, pleasantry, etc. To be sure, tolerance, diversity, pleasantry are all generally good things - but my ancestors sure as hell didn't come here because of them. They came here for the chance at a better life and the ability to do whatever the hell they wanted (to be fair, my Polish ancestors at least were a tad, uh, intolerant of government itself). That's America.

    America's not a bad football team. You shouldn't build us up by tearing us down. We're more like a really, really good team that just needs that extra piece to take it to the next level. Oh my god, I think I somehow just compared the President to Randy Moss. Oh man...

    Posted by at 09:56 AM | Comments (3)     
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    January 08, 2008

    TNR Charges Ron Paul as having Paranoid, Racist and Bigoted Past

    [Posted by james]

    Today, The New Republic published a damning expose of what they call Ron Paul's bigoted past. As evidence, the author cites hundreds of newsletters circulated by Paul throughout his career. Filled with racist statements and paranoid ramblings, the recently unearthed publications may spell the end of his 2008 campaign.

    Some excerpts.

    On Blacks:

    “[O]ur country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists—and they can be identified by the color of their skin.”

    “Korean-Americans, hated by blacks, never riot, and in fact are some of the most productive people in America (the reason for black hatred).”

    On the "Coming Race War"


    .... a newsletter warned of "The Coming Race War," and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, "If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it."

    In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, "Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo." "This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s," the newsletter predicted. In an October 1992 item about urban crime, the newsletter's author--presumably Paul--wrote, "I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming." That same year, a newsletter described the aftermath of a basketball game in which "blacks poured into the streets of Chicago in celebration. How to celebrate? How else? They broke the windows of stores to loot."

    “Two years ago, in a series of predictions for the 1990s, I said that race riots would erupt in our large cities. I’m now predicting this will be the major problem of the 1990s.

    The campaign's response leaves a lot to be desired - they say that Ron Paul didn't personally approve all of the content in the newsletter bearing his name ("The Ron Paul Political Report," "The Ron Paul Survival Report"), and the he therefore doesn't necessarily agree with everything that was said.

    It's hard to believe that, over the course of the many years that the various publications ran, Ron Paul was none the wiser. But whether Ron Paul agrees with the statements or not may not matter. He has, if nothing else, shown a bizarre willingness to let others use his likeness to promote whatever personal cause they wish. He may call it "libertarianism," but I have a hard time seeing it as anything other than classic pandering or tacit approval.

    Posted by jkhat at 02:51 PM | Comments (4)     
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    January 07, 2008

    Exclusive! Presidential Candidates Choose Their Theme Songs

    [Posted by ]

    Many people say that a Presidential candidate's choice of a running mate is their first important decision and is a reflection of the wisdom (or lack thereof) they'd govern with. I respectfully disagree. I believe that any candidates' first important decision is their campaign theme song. Think about it - would Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" campaign be the same without the strains of "Born in the USA"? Would Bill Clinton have effectively communicated his "change" message as well if "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)" wasn't his theme song. Of course not.

    With that in mind, we're pleased to reveal the official campaign 2008 theme songs:

    The Democrats

    Hillary Clinton: Most pundits expected Clinton to go with Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'". They felt the song reflected Clinton's campaign for a better future. However, in the last few week's, Clintonites have come to the bitter realization that Hillary is not the candidate for change. Her voters don't want change, they want to go back in time to when heroin chic was chic, the nation was approaching zero unemployment and 9/11 was a number, not a date. Hillary's official song, Prince's 1999 conjures up that yearning for a more innocent time.

    John Edwards: In a Dem field featuring a black man, Hispanic man and white woman, someone has to appeal to the good 'ole white male. John Edwards' theme, Ben Folds' "Rocking The Suburbs" does just that with lines like:

    y'all don't know what it's like
    being male, middle class and white

    Mike Gravel: The crusty Alaskan will find his voice with the protest of punk of The Clash's "What's My Name?"

    Dennis Kucinich: Never one to bow to convention, Kucinich's theme song, The Stray Cats' "Flying Saucer Rock 'N Roll" will remind voters of one of his more embarrassing revelations.

    Barack Obama: As a candidate, Obama is all about the power of positive thinking. With him as President, we can change the world. Some might think that's too naive. In any case, his feel-good campaign will be powered by upbeat tempo and message of Elvis Costello's "Peace, Love and Understanding"

    Bill Richardson: The New Mexican Governor communicates a very simple, yet powerful, message through his theme song - Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me).

    The Republicans

    Rudy Giuliani: Like Mike Gravel, Rudy, not surprisingly, goes with a Clash song, in his case it's the obvious "Rudie, Can't Fail. Giuliani staffers hope that the electorate ignores lyrics like:

    How you get a-rude and a-reckless
    Don't you be so crude and a-feckless
    You bin drinking brew for breakfast

    Mike Huckabee: Huckabee may not believe in evolution, but he's definitely a "Daydream Believer. Clever voters will appreciate that the campaign chose a song by The Monkees. ;-)

    John McCain: While McCain's choice of "All At Once" by The Fray may seem uninspired, a quick look at the lyrics show exactly what the campaign is going for:

    There are certain people you just keep coming back to She is right in front of you You begin to wonder could you find a better one Compared to her now she's in question

    And all at once the crowd begins to sing
    Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same

    Maybe you want her maybe you need her
    Maybe you started to compare to someone not there

    Looking for the right one you line up the world to find
    Where no questions cross your mind
    But she won't keep on waiting for you without a doubt
    Much longer for you to sort it out

    The GOP didn't think they need John McCain. But now, with the rise of Huckabee, the small government folks are starting to realize that they won't find a better one.

    Ron Paul: Angry Paul supporters will undoubtedly get behind the campaign's theme song Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It". Libertarians and Libertarian-leaning Republicans will also appreciate the nod to Dee Snider's campaign against big government censorship.

    Mitt Romney: Romney's choice of Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise" is really no more than a simple reminder to folks that Romney doesn't need three tickets to paradise. Know what I'm sayin'?

    Fred Thompson: Following Fred's tough talk on terror, his theme song, REM's "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" seems even more appropriate. The Thompson campaign wants voters to be well aware that if we don't vote for Fred we're all gonna die.

    So there you have it. Who made the best choice? What songs would you pick for the candidates?

    Posted by at 12:55 PM | Comments (13)     
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    January 06, 2008

    Andy Rooney - Ethnic Names Aren't Presidential

    [Posted by ]

    Much like this Daily Kos diarist, I only watch 60 Minutes because I have to when The Amazing Race is delayed due to football. I don't care for the show and I especially don't care for Andy Rooney. After tonight, I suspect that many Americans aren't too happy with the old curmudgeon.

    This week, Rooney's rant was about how some of the major candidates' names are funny (i.e., not WASPy):

    Both Roosevelt and Jefferson had names that sounded presidential, too. I like that.

    This year we started the presidential process Thursday with what we call "the Iowa Caucus." The winners were named Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee.

    Do you think the name "Barack Obama" compares to "Abraham Lincoln" or "Mike Huckabee" to "George Washington"? Maybe "Obama" is the new Washington, the new Lincoln.

    The former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, wants to be president of the country. Our nation's capital was named after our first president, George Washington. If Rudolph Giuliani had been our first president, do you think Washington would be called "Giuliani"? "Giuliani DC"?

    If you were flying from New York to London, maybe you wouldn't go to Kennedy Airport anymore. Instead you'd fly from Mitt Romney International.

    Tourists in the nation's capital wouldn't have a "Washington Monument," they'd go climb the "Huckabee Monument."

    The names of our government leaders have always been important in this country. A lot of schools were named "Roosevelt." Both Lincoln and Washington have a lot of things named after them: streets, parks, even cars -- the Lincoln Continental for instance. How about a Biden Continental or Kucinich Navigator?

    In other words, Rooney thinks there's something wrong with ethnic-sounding names. This is borderline racist and certainly class-ist. As a proud American whose last name ends in a vowel, I'm appalled that CBS aired this. I'd say the usual "can you imagine the uproar if a Republican said this?", but I think people who heard it or have already heard about it are pissed off enough, judging from the comments already on the CBS website.

    So, why did this air? My theory is that a) CBS treats Rooney like a nutty uncle and doesn't care what he says or that b) Rooney and CBS are pushing for the far more Presidential sounding "Hillary Clinton" and want to reinforce how scary a name like "Barack Obama" is. I guess it just depends on whether you think the media is merely incompetent or simply manipulative.

    I could go either way.

    Posted by at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)     
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    January 05, 2008

    Quick Picks - The NFL Playoffs

    [Posted by ]

    Happy Wild Card Weekend! With the four glamour teams on the sidelines, the first round of the NFL playoffs looks a little ho hum to me. Maybe that'll mean that the games will turn out to be spectacular nailbiters. I hope so. Here's what I think is going to happen.

    Washington at Seattle: I really want Washington to win because I think they could beat Dallas. Therefore, it's obvious that Seattle will win. The weather in Seattle is supposed to be foul, but Mike Holmgren certainly knows, from his time in Green Bay, how to adjust an offense for poor playing conditions. The pick: Seattle.

    Jacksonville at Pittsburgh: Most of the country is rooting for the Jags here because they think they could go up to New England and take care of the Patriots. Everyone, Jaguars included, seem to think Jacksonville is going to win this game. I wonder if anyone told the Steelers about the inevitability of all of this. I doubt it. My guess is that the Steelers are going to come out pumped up and pissed off. They'll take and early lead and Jacksonville won't know what hit them. The pick: Pittsburgh.

    New York Giants at Tampa Bay: The Giants played with fire and heart last weekend in a meaningless game against the Patriots. The football Gods will reward them for that effort. Of course, the "reward" might very well be a trip to Green Bay in January if the Redskins happen to win Saturday. The pick: New York.

    Tennessee at San Diego: California is supposed to be hit with some huge storms this weekend. Sometimes bad weather levels the playing field (pun intended), but I don't think it will level it that much. San Diego closed the season with six straight wins, including a victory over the Titans in Tennessee. I know Vince Young is great in big games, for now I just don't think the Titans have the horses. The pick: San Diego.

    So, what do you all think?

    Posted by at 11:03 AM | Comments (12)     
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    January 03, 2008

    Life with Dennis Kucinich

    [Posted by ]

    As you may have heard, Dennis Kucinich is off the Texas Democratic primary ballot. Kucinich got the boot because he crossed off part of the application that required him to support the Democratic nominee, whoever it was.

    A lot of talk on the issue has centered on why the Dems would require such an oath or why Kucinich thinks it’s acceptable to accept the party’s perks without accepting the requirements of membership. I’d rather focus on exactly why all of this happened in the first place.

    Kucinich refused to sign the oath unless the eventual nominee pledged “not use war as part of foreign relations”. Seriously. Remind me not to take Kucinich with me next time I go car shopping: “We really, really want this car, but if you don’t meet our price, we are absolutely not walking out that door.” Or what about a day in the Kucinich household? “Son, even if you do that one more time, I’m definitely not going to spank you.” At just imagine what Kucinich would be like if he was asking for a raise: “Sir, I deserve this raise. But, if you don’t give it to me, don’t worry – it’s not like I’m going to quit or anything.”

    Don’t get me wrong, war sucks. It’s a last resort. In the meantime, however, it’s an excellent deterrent. You can’t tell me that Americans and American interests around the world aren’t safer because everyone knows that if they mess with us they could be in for a world of hurt courtesy of the U.S. military.

    Kucinich might be right to fight the Party’s insistence on absolute loyalty, but the rest of us are right to ignore a naïve idiot like Kucinich.

    Posted by at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)     
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