Friday, November 7, 2008

Election leftovers

After the last two Presidential Elections, this was relatively painless. As soon as the polls closed on the West Coast Obama was declared the victor. It wasn't even close. Obama's lead was too large to even consider challenging. McCain gave a great speech and sounded like his old self again. Palin took her family back home to Alaska and is undoubtedly reading books about the rest of the country in preparation for her pending candidacy for President in 2012.

Surely, the Apocalypse will then be upon us. In the meantime President-elect Obama has been preparing for his transition into the White House. No vacation with family just yet.

The battle for Congress the Democrats won out, but they also fell short of their iron-clad majority, including a filibuster-proof Senate. Minnesota is still undecided between Norm Coleman and Al Franken, but that would still leave the Senate Democrats short of 60 by 4 votes.

Washington State's election was also less protracted than four years ago. Gregoire made some big advances in King County (which was a surprise) and pulled off a victory. Had he won, Rossi probably would have been a rising star for the GOP. Especially since he was a challenger in a Democratic year. Lucky for us he's no Sarah Palin. Democrats are no doubt breathing easier now that Gregoire will be returned, it is still amazing that she was in this much trouble in the first place. Also surprising is the amount of incumbents returned to the legislature. They were mostly democrats to begin with, but few incumbents lost and one longtime democratic Senator, Marilyn Rasmussen, appears to have lost to her GOP challenger.

Other issues around the country were controversial. The ballot measures banning gay marriage all passed. Colorado wasn't really a surprise, but California banning gay marriage is a little surprising. California is home to the two largest gay population cities (San Francisco and Oakland) and is a supposedly "liberal" state. MSNBC found that minority communities are not accepting of gay marriage, especially the African-American community.

Rounding out the results of the ballot initiatives in Washington, Sound Transit passed, Eyman's transportation initiative failed, and physician assisted suicide passed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Black Man in a White House: President Elect Barack Hussein Obama

“We will, and always will be, the United States of America.”
-President Barack Obama

Sweet Jesus, he did it.

This moment is for my Father who grew up during Jim Crow; who ordered burgers out the back door of a restaurant; who entered Truman's newly desegregated U.S. Army and stayed there for 30 years. This is also for my Mother who is a Korean immigrant, who has not been back to her homeland since she left almost 30 years ago; who faced high odds and a rigid glass cieling in corporate America; who overcame a language barrier by listening to country music. For me, this moment is for my son who will live in a markedly different reality than his father and grandfather experienced.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


The Iraqi government has stated that it wants US troops out of Iraq after 2011.

That's all.

Can we get some of that money back now?

They don't want us there. The American people don't want to be there. The only person that wants to keep us in Iraq is John McCain.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Less than a week

There has so much to comment on recently it is hard to say where to begin. The Presidential race seems to have swung so far to Obama that Buchanan is already hyperbolizing President Obama's 1st 100 Days. The "global financial crisis" is still in full swing and the first *GULP* billions should be on its way out of the Treasury and to the banks. And for the first time since 1958 the Federal Funds Rate is 1%.

What is most interesting at this point is watching the GOP cannibalize itself as people begin abandon the sinking John McCain campaign. Even Sarah Palin, who seems to be drawing bigger crowds than the top of the ticket, has been positioning herself outside of the McCain camp, taken stands on issues that have not been on message. It seems that Sarah Palin's presidential ambitions are not going to wait until after the election, she is positioning herself to run for the GOP nomination in 2012 (yet another sign of the coming apocalypse?). The McCain camp has traded the "maverick" tag for "diva" and called her out in public on it.

The choice of Sarah Palin has undone the McCain campaign. Perhaps the oddball choice of Alaska governor wasn't as smart as initially thought. Tom Ridge would have made McCain far more competitive in Pennsylvania and actually give them a chance at winning.

Back home in the "other" Washington the Governor's race is especially close. Rossi has hit Gregoire on traffic, sex offenders, and now has an ad of her endorsing a state income tax. Stick a fork in her, she is done. Gregoire managed to get touched by all three of the third rails in WA politics. She has no response to any of it other than the comparison to the Bush administration.

We'll have to see. It's not helping Gregoire out much that I can tell. We'll have to see about Burner and the legislative races. Personally I do not believe that Obama's enthusiasm gets to the bottom of the ticket. Rejection of that kind of partisanship is part of the reason he has done so well and a big part of the appeal to the younger independent voters that he has drawn.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

That One

“Mr. DuHaime rejected comments made last week by a Pennsylvania Democrat, Representative John P. Murtha, who told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, speaking of his home base, that ‘there is no question that Western Pennsylvania is a racist area.’

Mr. McCain referenced Mr. Murtha’s comments in his third stop of the day, at Robert Morris University here, when he said, ‘I think you may have noticed that Senator Obama’s supporters have been saying some pretty nasty things about Western Pennsylvania lately.’ As the crowd booed, Mr. McCain became tangled up in the rest of his remarks. ‘And you know, I couldn’t agree with them more,’ he said, to silence…”

-Elisabeth Bumiller & Jeff Zeleny; New York Times

Fourteen days ago Senator John McCain referred to Senator Barack Obama as “that one” in a debate in front of, at least, 90 million onlookers. The day prior to that, Senator McCain posed a simple question to a foaming crowd if we really know who the “real” Obama is. A worm in the crowd had an answer to that: a terrorist. The bellicose comment seemed to catch McCain briefly off-guard—that for a nanosecond he couldn’t believe what he has become: an angry threatened pol who will do anything to win. Joe Every-man is not on the good side of public perception. Death threats--Wallace, this rhetoric on both sides should end.

It is clear the McCain cadre gave the green light to race-bate this contest and caricature Mr. Obama as the mysterious otherman. This is the last resort, you see. Pat Buchanan volunteered his thoughts on the matter in saying, “he has to go there, or he will lose this election.” The spirit of Lee Atwater is alive and well in modern Republican politics.

The General Election has spiraled into the darkest of depths at similar speed to that of the stock market crash. Attitudes are vicious. There is now an element of hate and fear coming from Senator McCain's campaign that is careening out of control. The conservative intelligencia (Peggy Noonan; Bill Kristol; Christopher Buckley; George Will, and now, Colin Powell) have all rejected where McCain is going, in particular his nod to someone who equates seeing Russia from American soil to sound foreign policy experience. Senator McCain’s crowds have changed. They are not reflective or even remotely reminiscent of the bipartisan quasi-conservative lot that attended his primary experience.

What a difference a year makes.

Meanwhile, his opponent convenes an economic panel and a foreign policy panel to talk through the difficult issues we face.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Day After

Wall Street is rebounding from yesterday's precipitous drop of 777 points. An terms of market capitalization As of this moment the Dow Jones Industrial Average is back up 342 points.

The plan that was turned down by Congress would have authorized the Secretary of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to start buying up some the subprime securities and bad loans that are gumming up the books of financial institutions.

The House of Representatives failed the measure by a vote of 205-228 that would have authorized $700 billion to start buying back some of the bad loans and securities. Is this a Wall Street bailout or a Main Street? People on Wall St have been saying this is to save Main Street, and the people on Main Street just see where the money is going. The money is going to Wall Street firms and banks. The minority blamed the majority for being partisan when the bill did not pass.

And the market is up 376. Could Paulson and Bernanke being playing up the risks of inaction to cause panic? A day in the life of a stock trader must be very long indeed.

There is no doubt that having some benevolent entity take the bad loans off the books would help someone. Isn't that why pencils have erasers?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Taking it in the shorts

It's about time that this whole economic mess just played itself out. Another billion dollar bailout for irresponsible business practices. A loan, but still a bailout.

Just how big is too big to fail? How many companies are that crucial to our economy? How much money do we have to keep doing this?

There is a now a ban on the short selling of several financial stocks. For those unfamiliar with the concept of short selling it involves borrowing money on the margin and selling stocks with the anticipation that the price will drop. If executed properly the trader will buy the stock back after the price has dropped.

There is nothing particularly wrong with this. It is speculative, but then again it's the stock market. The problem arises when if the price of stock is manipulated by said regulation. Whenever a price is artificially high or low it will inevitably create problems and will eventually seek a new equilibrium.

We have essentially socialized the stock market. The largest capitalist institution in the world is now passing its risk on to the American taxpayer.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Poll Poll Poll

So there has been a shift recently, Rossi and McCain are both leading in the polls. Still within the margin of error but there has been a trend. McCain is getting a lot of attention for picking Palin and she does seem to be helping bolster his maverick reputation. She is already helping out in Michigan and other battlegrounds.

My feeling on Palin is that she won't last in the spotlight, she is a religious conservative and her stances on issues are not in touch with what most Americans believe. She is a pit bull with lipstick with a few good zingers. But her record is like an anchor. She has been repeating her "thanks-but-no-thanks" stance on the "bridge to nowhere" been taking travel per diem when she was not traveling and there are reports of her spending $10,000 of Alaska tax dollars to transport her family.

Rossi doesn't seem to have done anything to really deserve the lead, just more of the same coming out his campaign. Gregoire on the other hand can't seem to catch a break. The Huskies and Cougars are losing, supervision of dangerous criminals is lacking and they keep killing people. The budget shortfall must be hurting her too, especially with Rossi highlighting how much spending has increased under her term.

One more mess up by the state bureaucracy and she might as well start writing her concession speech. These races are going to be incredibly close. Get your popcorn ready.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Million Person March

Senator Barack Obama understands the dynamic of innocuously operating as a black man in the mainstream-majority liberal-institution called the Media. The perceived lovefest between Obama and the media is largely a fact. Journalism's high core had made up its mind.

This appeal is, in part, perhaps borne from the legacy of the minority experience in a Pax Americana. Of finding place and character within seemingly hostile environs and pulling up fallen boot straps. The opportunity to spend formative years in the prestigious Punahou private school, Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard is notable indeed and not afforded by all; but the notion of maintaining assimilation is the dark shadow that is casted behind all persons of color. T.S Elliot couldn't have said it better: "Between the emotion and the response falls the shadow." (T.S. Elliot in The Hollow Men.)

Trying to win the alter of the President of the United States, or POTUS, as White House civil servants refer to the position, has never been like this before. Revolutionary situations are not suppose to make it this far. The gripping reality of true, fundamental, change makes people nervous...including the other POTUS contender.

Last Thursday night, Obama gave the speech of a lifetime. We heard a little bit of Iowa, a bit of 2004 DNC Covention Speech, and a little Chicago. The best part of the night was, of course, the Brooks and Dunn tune at high decibels as he exited the stage with a huge smile and a generous wave. Thats right...Brooks and Dunn.

Obama is a politician and inevitably, pragmatic tendencies can't help themselves. He's placated on a variety of deliberations concerning energy, economy, religion and war since the beginning of his campaign. He is able, though, to at least listen to other arguments and be willing to alter his instincts after an idea is learnt. That is, after all, at the core of politics itself. The only difference between this and flip-flopping is integrity. He has carefully proven the soundness of his bipartisan underpinnings. Part of this is a play for the independent-middle; part of this is legacy; but the majority of it, is him as he has always been. See here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The 2008 Republican National Convention Pt. I

They looked like a collective mass of drooling banshees as they danced to Earth Wind & Fire. It was sad; it was a horrid scene of melting faces and bad dancers. This was the Republican National Convention. A party that dare not echo "4 more years" as they did in the serious summer of 2004. A scene that drew national anarchists and pseudo-military retaliation. A convention that was interrupted by the glaring reality that faces us: our warm earth.

I don’t make these judgment calls on the art of dance because of my clear partisanship, but because I can’t stand the Country First stiffness. As I looked at virtually every cable outlet and saw the beam of confusing rhetoric called the Republican National Convention coming from my TV, I got scared. I got scared because after all these mad years, this party has not taken steps to appear inclusive or unifying--especially against the backdrop of the first woman Republican VP candidate.

Say I was a swing-vote, unsure of where the winds would take me. Say I was an apolitical person and this was my first election I were to cast my power. Say I was a woman and a Clinton supporter who cared deeply about econo-security measures and the historical moment rife with gender identity. Would I want to hear the ever ironic "experience to hold the Oval Office" debate? (Most people running for the job for the first time don't have previous job experience doing the job.) Would I want to hear the insane argument that the Alaska energy paradigm equates to unilateral diplomacy with Russia? Would I be insulted that choosing an unknown woman would automatically garner my vote? If I was someone riding the fence, I would certainly hope the Palin move wasn't merely political.

Governor Sarah Palin is unequivocally impressive. Most were curious; others confused. “Who was she?” They thought. John McCain picked a nobody/somebody. In blackjack parlance, this was a necessary double down that needed to happen with stakes so high. But, oh..this convention is so confusing. We move from the red meat fodder from Fred Thompson (non-unifying) to Joe "Switchback" Lieberman and his mono-insistence that those slightly left of center should be--you guessed it--country first. And we end Wednesday with Gov. Palin serving attack after Republican attack on character and public service credentials of her opponents. I scratch my head and my ass, and I wonder, just who is this Convention is for?

Which Americans does she speak of?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Getting excited about Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin's teenage daughter Bristol is 5 months pregnant, aged 17 years and unmarried. A wedding is in the works. This makes me think that the Christian-right is going to have a difficult time getting excited about Sarah Palin. On the other hand, these kind of things do tend to happen and they are doing the "right" thing and getting married and keeping the baby.

There are rumors that it is not Bristol's first baby. Bristol was out of school for several months at the time of the birth of Trig, the infant son of Governor Palin. She was out of school for several months with mononucleosis, usually an ailment that only requires a week or two. A lot of the pictures of Governor Palin that don't show much of a baby bump. In other words, they are just rumors.

Hopefully this is the last nail in the coffin on the abstinence debate. Bristol is a good example of why abstinence is impractical and bad for kids. She is probably a wonderful young woman but she needs birth control and it's irresponsible of her parents to simply tell her that abstinence is all that you need. The question is, if she can't get the abstinence message through to her daughter how is it going to get through to the youth of the United States?

Sex (not gender) has been introduced to this campaign and the ironic thing is that Sarah Palin is an abstinence advocate. Sex. Sarah Palin. Abstinence? Seriously? The very idea of Sarah Palin advocating abstinence to in person to teenagers just makes me want to giggle. That would definitely a "Hot for Teacher" moment. And let's face it, if Sarah Palin is a superficial candidate. Her resume is so thin that it basically forces McCain to stop attacking Obama's experience, which is fine it doesn't seem to work anyway.

If McCain wasn't going to be the oldest President in history. She is a heart beat away, and the 72 years of beats on McCain's ticker really makes his VP candidate more important. We need a real leader not someone who was picked because she's the "hottest governor" and can fire up a little anti-abortion sentiment. Palin is going to be under a lot of scrutiny for the next two months, it will be interesting to see if anything turns up.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The High Watermark

One of my idols has always been Hunter S Thompson. To put it simply he had a way with language that made it jump. His words weren't written by some dead person or translated from another language. They were alive. Hunter's word's lept from his typewriter onto paper and made your brain dance with a tempo and pace that was as furious as the man himself.

It's quite difficult to look up to a man who committed suicide, you kind of have to look past a few things in order to have that kind of a hero. But Hunter would have known that. Hunter looked up to Hemingway, another famous American writer who committed suicide. There are some conspiracy theorists who think that Hunter did not commit suicide, but I cannot imagine that they would have let him go this long and nail him after his brief flirtations with fame. Maybe it's old payback. Maybe I'm next for even talking about it.

Most people know about "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for it's ridiculous drug addled humor. But it's lesser known title is "The Death of the American Dream." "The Wave Speech" is where Hunter is talking about the end of the 60s, the end of the movement. When the 60s turned into the 70s and the counterculture morphed back into the establishment.
There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

It is sad that Hunter couldn't take any more of the Bush years. One can only suppose that after trying to show people the truth for years to see W Bush elected twice was a travesty. Utter disappointment in democracy is the only way to describe it. That is why I wish that he could have seen Obama's speech last night. We are building that sense again. The sense that we are winning. That we will be riding a wave that cannot be stopped.

Setting the Stage

The Democratic National Convention is moving today. It is moving to Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium. This was decided several months ago for Obama to give a speech in front of 70,000 people to end the convention.

The talking heads are asking if this is too lofty or unapproachable for the common voter to feel a connection. They must need to need something to talk about. Politics is about the extension of self into society and how we are able to change our environment.

Setting the stage will be several Greek columns. This is somehow elitist. It is no mistake that almost all of the buildings in DC have columns. The Greeks are credited with the world's first democracy in Athens. The Romans are credited with the establishment of the Republic and idea famously proposed by Plato in his work by the same title.

Efficacy is a word that has been used in a few of my previous posts. It's definition means a personal sense of effectiveness in controlling or making change. I think that is what the Democrats are shooting for. Recalling the roots of democracy and reclaiming the long lost sense of American efficacy. We may vote,but there is a sense among Americans that they do not control their political destiny. Although we claim democracy it is clear that the citizens do not rule. This is more like an oligarchy they way the choke points in Congress are controlled by seniority and chairmen who are heavily influenced by industry and interests.

Obama is fighting the tag that all Democrats have been fighting, arrogance and elitism. Greek columns are never thought of as "elitist" in other settings so it must be the messenger. It is worth noting that the speech is open to the general public. It won't be just for party delegates. Obama is not trying to make himself out to be a god, but he is making an appeal to our more noble instincts and civic duty. Politics can be a noble pursuit, that is what people want.

The speech still needs to be made before final judgment is passed. It is Obama's strength, if he rises to the occassion his speech could be one of the most important in American history. The first Presidential acceptance speech by an African-American needs an equally historic moment that closes a chapter of American history and shows that the future is a tabula rosa ready to be written by each of us.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hillary's Big Night

Tonight is Hillary's big speech. Basically it is her time to throw her support behind Obama fully and recognize her shortcomings as a Presidential candidate.

Or not.

We'll see what she has in store for us tonight.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Odds and Sods

The Governor's race is tightening as the final ballots are being counted. Deja vu all over again. Rossi 46% Gregoire 48%. It's going to be getting even closer as the counting for the primary continues and count down to November begins.

Will the voters in the General Election be significantly different than the Primary voters? Usually the primary is a dry run for the get out the vote to test organizationWho was really trying to get their voters out?

Is this a democratic tide?

Doesn't seem like it. It doesn't seem as anti-incumbent as I would have guessed but it isn't 2006. McKenna is doing well in his statewide race. Sutherland is losing in the face of scandal and poor management, losing the election is the political trinity. And Darcy Burner can't seem to get over the hump. She has been campaigning for too long not to have made more of an impact in that district, but Reichert did catch the *ahem* Green River killer.

Here are some new items, youtube candidate questions answered by Rossi and Gregoire. Rossi's are way more slick, kind of an active background with the candidate positioned slightly right of center. The Governor's ad looks like it was shot in the laundry room in a dorm. Gregoire faces the camera with a background of Gregoire campaign signs, oh and Obama posters too. 2 signs for Obama and 2 for Gregoire.

And check out the link to in the sidebar to keep up with the latest returns.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Art of the No-Story Story

The Top 2 primary went off yesterday and produced few if any surprises. There will be a few legislative races that pit two members of the same party against each other. Hopefully a few of them get nasty and start airing some dirty laundry.

Gregoire seems to have won the plurality of votes cast, although she is hovering dangerously close to 50%. If I was Gregoire I would be worrying right now. Any type of slip up or major admission of error by the state between now and the election will cost her the race.

Secretary of State Sam Reed and McKenna in the Attorney General's race shows that these are almost lifelong offices and that there is not going to be a wave of anti-GOP resentment. Either that or no one really cares or knows about what it is that these offices really do. Reed is rock solid. McKenna is more than likely safe during the general unless Ladenburg really goes negative on him. Current results show Ladenburg narrowly losing to McKenna in Pierce County, probably more results to come in will trend to Ladenburg. They had to be hoping to win Pierce County.

Sutherland is caught in the middle of a scandal regarding a former female employee at the Dept. of Natural Resources. He's losing right now.

So there is nothing new or noteworthy. Campaigns that were supposed to be in trouble are and the races that were supposed to be competitive are.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


As I sit at my second job--really my only paying job aside from my futile attempts to survive in the mortgage industry--I look outside and think to myself, "Hell! I should get a five week vacation!" I start daydreaming. Ohhhhh, what fun I could have with a paid five week vacation. I started asking myself a series of questions that all had the same answer, beginning with:

Who in America gets a paid five week vacation anyway?

Where could I work and put creativity to work? A place where no idea is too dumb. In fact, nothing I think of even has to work, but it has to be different than how we do it today; and, it needs to be something that can eat up at least a year's worth of discussion before the next five-week vacation. That's the only criteria. It would be like kindergarten all over again. Where could I work and get paid to use my imagination?

Wouldn't it be nice to just think something up, talk about it, then have it happen? It would be whimsical. Just thinking and talking about this makes it feel like something's changing already. I feel powerful.

Where could I embrace and love diversity and change so much, that I wouldn't change a thing because it might offend someone.

Hold on, I have a customer. I'll have to get back to this. The economy is backwards. I have to work two jobs to keep afloat. Times are tight. The world is practically at war. Oh if only Clinton were still president. If only there were a few statesmen (and women) left. Things have really gone to shit around here.

What's the opposite of progress? Congress!

Primary Day

It's the inaugural run of the "Top Two" primary in Washington State. There has been much discussion about the effects of this new primary on turnout and who will make it to the general election.

Making the "Top Two" in the primary doesn't seem like all that big of a hurdle, especially since the point is to be "first" anyway.

I haven't been commenting on any of the candidates at this point, there are independents who have registered, but if they are really campaigning it remains to b seen. If any of them even come close it will be a story.

Friday, August 15, 2008

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Missile Defense

Russia is dropping hints that Poland may find itself on the receiving end of an attack for its involvement with the United States in a Missile Defense shield. Why would a major power threaten a small-fry like Poland over a defensive system?

On the face of it a missile defense shield seems like a good idea. The threat of nuclear annihilation did not end just because the Cold War is over. There are several more nuclear powers in the world, India, Pakistan, and a few of the former Soviet states but the theories about the way that nuclear weapons would be used in a conflict have not changed.

Nuclear weapons are incredibly devastating. The one time that they were used it was against a state that had no capacity to retaliate. In fact the bombs dropped on the industrial centers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki severely limited Japan's production and ability to fight the War. They had to surrender.

The Cold War brought about some of the best acronyms that government minds had to offer. Nuclear Utilization Theorists (NUTs) developed the framework of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) that guided us through the Cold War without nuclear fallout. MAD plays out like this: Country A launches attack against Country B, Country B retaliates with however many nuclear weapons weren't destroyed during the first strike. This is a little simplistic, there are submarines capable of launching nuclear attack and bombers in the air ready to retaliate (a la Dr. Strangelove), but the point is made.

This is why there was an arms race. It wasn't enough to have bombs enough to annihilate your enemy, you need to have a second strike capability that is a credible deterrent to a first strike. Primary targets of nuclear weapons are usually major cities and other nuclear weapon complexes. If you can wipe out a county's nuclear arsenal they cannot retaliate. So the supply needs to be large, theoretically large enough not to be destroyed by the other country's missiles.

If there was no threat of a second strike then there is no deterrent to launching the first strike. This is incredibly destabilizing to a system that has prevent a nuclear war for decades.

The idea of a missile defense shield is a relic. A tip of the hat to Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" program. It has never worked in testing. It will likely never work. It is one of the many principles of physics that makes it a near impossibility to hit a moving object out of the sky. The theory goes that you can know where a missile is at any given time and you can know it's trajectory and speed, but you cannot know both at the same time. Increasing the accuracy of one measurement decreases the accuracy of the other. If missile defense is going to work you need to know both.

Bottom-line is that the stupid shield won't work and it gives the countries behind the shield the opportunity to strike first without being retaliated against. The MAD deterrent has been working just fine, so don't mess with it. The Russians are not happy about it and have made some threatening gestures to Poland for even thinking about it. The Russians know the difficulties of a feasible missile shield. They know their physics. But even during the Cold War they felt that if anyone could make such an idea reality it would be the Americans.

Theories are fine, but people are rarely that predictable. If you have not seen Dr. Strangelove of the Fog of War, I strongly suggest you do so. They illustrate the irrationality of people and dictators. Chilling moment during the Fog of War when Robert McNamara recalls a conversation with Fidel Castro about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Unless Castro was thumping his chest to the former Sec of Defense, we were a lot closer to nuclear war than anyone would have liked to admit.

Sure we would have been destroyed, but I still would have bombed the US. Fuck you guys anyway. So much for the assumption of a rational actor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Georgia on My MInd

It is important to note that this particular Georgia is not a member of these United States. It is actually south of Russia and borders on Turkey and the Black Sea.

Georgia is one of the former Soviet states that broke away after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Georgia is in the "hot zone." It is part of the larger theater of Iraq-Iran and figures heavily in the Petro world. The oil pipeline is speculated to be the real reason, and the involvement of the west in Iraq surely must be the other.

Georgia was one of our allies in Iraq, they had troops along the Iran-Iraq border. They obviously had an interest in keeping Iran from gaining in the Iraq conflict, but the Georgians have much larger problems at this point.

This is the worst case scenario playing out before our eyes. The conflict in Iraq is spreading to neighboring areas and we do not have the forces necessary to be a deterrent to other states who wish to impose their will on other states.

The deterrence of collective security has been one of the hallmarks of foreign relations since World War I.

The basic concept of collective security is that when a state becomes aggressive to another state's sovereignty the other states will band together and attack the aggressor. This is what happened in Kuwait that precipitated the first Gulf War. Kuwait is a major oil port, much like Georgia. The Georgians are being accused by the Russians of depriving other ethnic minorities in South Ossetia of their rights?

Pot? This is the Kettle, you're black.

Are they serious? The Russians are using human rights violations as an excuse to invade. They don't even have a leg to stand on. They don't even have a bloody stump to stand on. They have a horrendous human rights record.

Aside from not having available military forces to deter Russia. Europe is dependent on Russian oil and gasoline. So they can't afford a conflict with Russia.

The new model for foreign security was supposed to "interdependence." While similar to the deterrence of collective security, interdependence simply states that the world is too depend on world trade to instigate conflict. However, some states are more dependent on others. Case in point, we need Russia a lot more than they need Georgia. So we can't enforce collective security and we do not have a credible deterrent against major producers of oil.

Trade and interdependence was supposed to save the post-Cold War world, in this case it appears to have hamstrung us terribly. What does this lesson teach China? That we are not a credible threat to them or Russia. Does that mean that other conflicts are going to start cropping up? Does this mean that countries such as South Korea and Japan can no longer count on American military might to act as that deterrent?

This is eerily similar to what has happened before. Things don't happen the same way twice. The world is far less stable than it was before the Iraq war, and in relative terms, other countries are stronger militarily because of our involvement in Iraq. This war has proved to be not only unnecessary and ill-conceived, it weakened us dramatically.

Although if there was a point to bring democracy not just to Iraq but to the whole of the Middle East, instability was bound to be a part of that change. On many levels, politics is conflict, and war is just another political process. We have been incredibly naive up to this point. It's time to start thinking ahead. If this conflict does spread we had better start watching the President very closely. This could be his excuse to not hold elections and to remain in office as the first American Emperor.

It is my truest and most sincere hope that this conflict subsides before it spreads further. There are too many states and parties with too much at stake, if the conflict spreads or even continues more and more people will become involved with the conflict.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tax Fairness

The General Accounting Office (GAO) recently released a report that declared that 55% of corporations with "with more than $250 million in assets or $50 million in gross receipts" paid no taxes in 2005. Of that total, 80% were not showing a profit on the books and the rest using other deductions and credits against income tax owed.

The only real reform an overly complicated tax structure is a more simple tax structure. There is no doubt that the current Federal Income Tax code is complicated, and grows increasingly complicated with each Congress, it becomes increasingly difficult for one individual to understand the entire code.

Does any amount of tax reform solve this issue?

If these corporations can legitimately claim that they are not making a profit, they can't be taxed. Besides corporations were designed to escape liability in the first place. That includes tax liability.

It is important that people have confidence in the government. Especially the money that they pay. A lot of people living paycheck to paycheck are going to see this statistic and get pissed off when they look at their paystubs and see how much money the government takes away.

Ordinary people don't show much of a profit either. But they are the ones paying the bills. They are just paying the bills to themselves. Or their parent corporations. Business Week has a great blog on this topic.

Just who is paying income tax anyway?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sir, You Are No Paris Hilton

Just when you think that things aren't going to get any weirder. McCain pulls another attack that bears the acme of the GOP.

Celebrities are highly sought after commodities in politics. Politicians and actors have what the other one wants. Actors want power and influence and politicians want to be cool. Politicians are the ugly cousins of actors and DC is their Hollywood. Another difference is that people will actually listen to celebrities. So they have a marriage of convenience.

The stereotype is that celebrity actors in California are liberal, there are several conservative stars. Celebrities aren't usually from Hollywood are they? Charlton Heston set the bar for celebrity conservatives, before him there was Ronald Reagan and most recently there has been Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Governator of Callyforneeya.

Celebrities become politicians, but rarely has a politician crossed over to become a celebrity. Kennedy did, to a lesser extent Clinton did, Reagan was already on the B-list when he was governor of California, and now we have Barack Obama.

The GOP has been trying to cast Obama as elitist and out-of-touch-with-regular-Americans tag throughout this entire campaign. So John McCain tried to compare him to Paris Hilton.

It kind if makes sense, Paris is part of the elite and so fabulously out of touch, it is a decent political analogy. A better analogy would be a wiley coyote with the same tired bag of tricks that cannot catch up with a the roadrunner on a lonley Arizona highway.

But did you ever look to see who John McCain married? Cindy McCain is more like Hilton than Obama is. Cindy is more a Patty Hearst-style heiress category than Paris Hilton is (translated, Cindy is more accomplished, possibly more talented). She has a few internet rumors of her own if you care to do a little research. And believe me Cindy's rumors are way hotter than "One Night In Paris." Is it slightly hypocritical of McCain to make this comparison given his own penchant for rich blondes? At least Cindy is moderately accomplished. She ran a couple of non-profits (embezzled prescription pills from one of them) has her pilot's license (big deal) anything else? Oh yeah she's rich. Made even more money when Anheuser-Busch sold to the Belgian brewer InBev earlier this summer, but she isn't going to disclose her income tax return. Taking care of John McCain is quite charitable of her she has to comb his hair, he can't lift his arms above his head thanks to years of torture. Kudos to you Cindy.

McCain wouldn't have made this attack if he thought that he was winning this campaign. Barack is incredibly popular for a reason, it's got nothing to do with fake celebrity like Hilton.

But at least it gave Paris an excuse to put herself back out there again. Check out her campaign ad. Hopefully this is the red light at the crossroads of popular culture and politics. Thanks to the internet this video will forever live as part of the indictment of our culture, the true death of the American dream

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

BTW, I know Paris Hilton, Paris Hilton is a friend of mine.....we used to make movies together. Paris, call me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The 'P' in GMAP Stands for...Politics

In 2005, shortly after The Election, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed Executive Order 05-02 creating a government program. Government Management Accountability and Performance, or GMAP, was designed to turn the Polis into the Market, as author Deborah Stone would say. It was designed to run government by way of advanced quantitative means--through a positivistic lens all with the hope of achieving better results from state government. (I cough the word, 'transportation' and sneeze through, 'Department of Corrections.'

Outside observers viewed the wonk-centric effort as a rare initiative and bold; at least on the scale that it was employed. Most in Washington, however, saw this as political pragmatism or an iterative government scheme that seemed like 'more of the same' regarding bureaucratic performance. Interestingly enough, the central theme that allayed from the Governor's communication shop was that GMAP is for hard working tax paying citizens who want their government to perform at a high level and become more transparent. That statement could have come from a Republican.

Cut to mid 2008. Gregoire and Rossi hover around a 3 point split, which is notable considering the Obama touchpass. State agencies are thoroughly confused about 'GMAP', the average citizen in most hamlets have no idea what it is and publicly funded higher education institutions have all rejected the schema.

I touch on a singular issue, yes, but perhaps this example puts sunshine on the inherrent problem that the Gregoire campaign now faces: an identity crisis. I will vote for her, for a variety of reasons, but won't find myself shocked if she loses. Missteps are earth shattering in high stakes politicking; and all this rests against the virulent reflection of 2004 that has come to fore with 46-48 percent of Washingtonians.

Gregoire and Rossi

Usually when a democratic woman runs for anything in Washington State she wins. This has been particularly true about US Senate races. Murray walked all over Nethercutt and Cantwell didn't wind up getting much of a challenge from Mike! McGavick.

I've always wondered why Christine Gregoire barely won in 2004. She should win big. She only carried King County and won a contested election. It doesn't look good and reinforces the provincial attitude towards Seattle/King County politics. The surrounding area is starting to look at Seattle differently. To put it simply, Seattle used to the blimp, now it's the rope. There are plenty of little brothers in this state who wouldn't mind stealing a little of the thunder from Seattle. Sorry about the bad Sonics pun, I swear I didn't even know I was typing it.

Gregoire definitely is carrying a lot more baggage than Cantwell or Murray. Murray was the mom-in-tennis-shoes and Cantwell cashed out of the RealNetworks casino after short stints in both the Washington State Legislature and one term in Congress. Gregoire has been the Attorney General AND the former head of the Dept of Ecology.

Could Rossi really be that much better of a candidate than McGavick? McGavick has a lot more money to blow than Rossi. Cantwell was a relative newcomer and 2004 was a better year to be a member of the GOP.

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. What is it about this race, in this state, that made it so close to begin with? She really should have won more easily. How do you vote for Kerry and then vote for Rossi? That is what really doesn't make sense.

Her problems now are a little more obvious, the atmosphere says change and she is the the incumbent. The incumbent can't really run on RE-FORM, but people sure do like it. I maintain that Gregoire really doesn't have a lot to hang her hat on and the forecasted budget deficit is another straw on the camel's back. The transportation issue has it's own vote this year, but it's still the main issue in Washington. And there seem to be no solutions coming anytime soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obama's Home Run

Before returning from his whirlwind tour of Western Asia, Middle East, and sold-out crowds in Europe Obama went on Meet the Press in London with Tom Brokaw. Although watching Brokaw was awkward, Obama was completely natural basking in his Rock Star status. Drawing a crowd of 200,000 in Berlin drew echoes of Kennedy and (possibly more importantly) Reagan.

The talk before this trip was about a potential gaffe. About the man-with-the-funny-sounding-name going to the land-of-funny-sounding-names.

This entire trip couldn't have gone better for Obama. Not unless Barack hit two three pointers against the Shiites and was carried off the court by the new ruling coalition of Iraq. Luckily for McCain it was just one three pointer, and it wasn't even a game of HORSE.

In all seriousness, Obama has benefited from the recent success in Iraq. Brokaw started to scratch the surface of this on MTP. The surge that Obama was against and that John McCain was for, was the stabilizing force that allowed the "Sunni Awakening" to survive. The irony of this was pointed out in an LA Times article.

McCain never should have said anything about Obama not visiting the Middle East. He should have went himself. He should have been the one touting the success of the surge from Iraq and then laying out the schedule to withdraw with Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki.

McCain has allowed Obama to draw level on foreign policy. Obama has an international status that is unmatched by all except true celebrities. Could McCain draw a crowd of 200,000 anywhere? Hard to say, not likely. And Obama has turned a weakness into a strength.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Umm...what the f__k is this? Its sheer amazement, folks, at the unconscionable melee we have right now. First time in almost 30 years that we send a diplomat to Geneva for direct, unilateral diplomacy with Iran and it happens to be under the lamest duck presidential situation in our nation's history.

By launching their missiles in triplicate last week, Iran effectively broke smoke in this grand chess game. They're going to leverage every ounce of the precarious situation they've created to set the stage for the deal of the century with either Senators Barack Obama or John McCain after the General Election.

We shouldn't get ahead of ourselves; or more accurately, I shouldn't get ahead of myself here. Israel is the X factor in all of this. With hair trigger sensibilities, their foreign policy framework is quite different from most nations: they are willing to go in preemptively. There are specific reasons for this, of which I won't state here, as I would imagine there is character limit to this blog. They are growing more impatient over failed multilateral diplomacy and will closely monitor this recent exchange between the U.S. and Iran. I mean, let's face it, Israeli intelligence knew about the open channel dog & pony show opportunity before, perhaps, anyone.

So, the decision to send an envoy Wednesday will be the exact opposite policy the Bush Administration and the U.S. has held the last 29 years and thats kinda wierd. Hope for the best.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Friends like these

I thought that the presidential election wouldn't get any weirder than when McCain's former jailer gave him his endorsement for President.

Jesse Jackson wants Obama's nuts. The New Yorker wants to make him unelectable. Or at least satirize him as a radical extremist, but it's only a joke right?

The response from the New Yorker, "Not my fault that not everyone is smart enough to get it."

The only thing that could have been more offensive would have been to show Michelle Obama as Aunt Jemima and Barack as lil' black Sambo. Michelle Bernard said that today on Hardball. Full credit to the lovely and intelligent woman, she has been a breath of fresh air during the coverage of this campaign.

Obama definitely has handled it all very well, not even worth responding too. But given all of the misinformation regarding Obama's candidacy this cartoon reinforces all of the racism and bigotry behind the opposition.

There are people who think that Respeck Knuckles (aka "dap") is a terrorist gesture, and that because his middle name is Hussein that Barack is a bad guy, secret Muslim.

Swift boating Kerry was bad enough, the media didn't even respond to whether those allegations were even true or not.

Obama just got "New Yorkered."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence

Happy Independence Day everybody!!!

Even if you get your fingers blown off today, I hope that you will still celebrate the triumph of the will of the free over the tyranny of the monarchy. Even if you don't have fingers, your spirit is indomitable.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

$75 Million just to leave

Isn't it amazing how an NBA franchise with millionaire owners can hold a city hostage?

The amount that Clay Bennett and the Supersonics settled with the Sonics is comparable to the amount that they wanted to chip in for a new arena. $60 million is what they claimed they could lose at KeyArena over the next two years. $75 million. That is almost a third of what a new arena was going to cost.

If that doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth, you have been eating from Clay Bennett's trough. Mmmmm, tastes good doesn't it?

I am putting a curse on the Seattle Superokies. May you and your ill-gotten franchise forever carry the burden of great expectations and mire in mediocrity and NEVER win a playoff series.

As far as curses go, I still like the Cubs fan who bought a ticket for his goat and was refused entrance to Wrigley Field. Maybe the lesbians at Safeco put their own curse on our baseball team? I digress.

At least PJ isn't going to be coach anymore. I don't like that dude's style, let the players play PJ!

There is a catch in all of this. If Seattle can land another NBA franchise, the settlement will be reduced. Perhaps the Memphis Grizzlies are on their way back to the Pacific Northwest. The Grizz are a long way from being competitive. Or even interesting. They are the team that Bennett deserves. Punk ass bitch.

City of Seattle, Supersonics settle lawsuit

The case has been settled. Apparently the Honorable Marsha Pechman will issue her ruling at 4pm, the Mayor's office will hold a press conference at 5pm to announce the details of the settlement.

Apparently there was an offer made in February of $26.5 million to break the lease and allow the team to move. It was rejected by the city. It is probably safe to assume that any settlement offer would be more than that figure.

Both sides still have the right to appeal to the 9th circuit court of appeals.

I'll keep you "posted."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Echoes of '04

The motivations and intented audience for Barack Obama's Father's Day speech have been getting some of the attention as a byline to the death of Tim Russert.

I suspected that the speech was intended by Obama to show that his words give better insight into his values than the "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright. This speech given on Sunday was Obama at his iconoclastic best. His comment regarding the absence of black fathers from the lives of their families is very similar to the speech that Obama gave at the 2004 Democratic Convention where he spoke about the "slander" that a black child with a book is "acting white." It is the kind of truth that only a black man in the United States could have experienced and speak honestly about.

I don't think that he was really trying to get to men, he may really be that sincere, but his speech will have a greater effect on women. Women seem to be a weakness in the Obama supporters, it may be Single mothers, older women, the Hillary Clinton pantsuit-set, this is what they all want to hear. An appeal to values, about family, and responsibility.

It's almost conservative. Family values has been a rallying cry for the GOP, it's popular and is usually very effective in bringing voters to your side. This definitely doesn't hurt Obama in any significant way that I can see, it will be interesting to see how much it helps Obama with older white voters, specifically women.

It's post-racial, post-feminist,

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert dies of heart attack

Tim Russert, NBC Washington Bureau Chief and host of "Meet the Press," has died of a heart attack. Russert was a former Congressman from Buffalo/Upstate New York.

This leaves a pretty big hole in the NBC political team, not the mention "Meet the Press." NBC does have several other pundits, including Tom Brokaw, Chris Matthews, and several others that could potential host the long running Sunday morning show.

We are going to be missing an insightful and thoughtful voice during this pivotal election.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Nightmare Team

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hillary conisidering VP position

As Barack Obama increasingly adds to Hillary Clinton's long odds for winning the nomination, Hillary is coming back down to earth. Not too long ago Hillary was chastising Obama (immediately after a debate where she said it was her deep honor to be on the same stage) for a negative mailing. Even more recently, the very possibility that she would lose was ridiculous, and therefore wouldn't even consider a the possibility of being Obama's Vice-President.

Hillary told a group of Empire State legislators today that she would consider a position as Vice-President.

It is still a terrible idea, especially for Obama. But at least the Clinton's are trying to make nice, in their own way. The two Clinton's would take up too much of the spotlight. Bill especially. Bill has lost his touch, his game is gone. It's sad really, it's like he doesn't realize that the microphone is on. He really needs to have less of a personal stake in it, or it needs to be more about him. It was always about his personality and empathy anyway, the fact he could actually govern was an added bonus.

I think that Richardson really makes the ticket work. He is possibly more qualified than Obama, especially in the international arena, and instead of trying to balance a ticket it plays to both of their strengths and several hot button issues. Race, immigration, energy policy, the war in Iraq, these two are uniquely qualified to talk about these issues. They are descendants of recent immigrants and have accomplished far more in that short time than generations of Americans have. Richardson conducted negotiations with Saddam Hussein and was Secretary of Energy.

If Hillary doesn't concede to Obama today, she will do it soon. She needs to make nice before the convention, and let the healing begin.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Washington Superdelegate endoreses Clinton

Another one of Washington's undecided Superdelegates has declared, and has declared for Hillary Clinton. Eileen Macoll, the vice-chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, will be casting her support with the Clinton's. At least the Chair of the state party had the good sense to go along with popular sentiment and winner of Washington's presidential caucuses.

There are still a few undecided delegates left, including the former Speaker of the House, Tom Foley, who lost in the GOP mini-revolution of 94 to George Nethercutt. There has been some speculation that Foley is in the Clinton camp, although many could point to the Clinton's as the reason why Foley lost his historical election. No other sitting Speaker has ever lost their election. At that point 94 was the largest swing to power in Congressional history. The Clinton's took a fair part of the blame, balancing the budget was the right thing to do, but it was a tough decision politically and congressional democrats took the blame. Not only the budget was a Pyrrhic victory, Hillary-care fell flat on its face and made a lot of people look bad and played into the fears that the GOP was telling people about the Democrats.

Obama is still going to win the nomination. So why would anyone be coming out for Hillary at this point in the game?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Look Who's Self-Destructing Now

Hillary Clinton hasn't been doing a very good job of following her strategy. She just needed to keep her mouth shut, play to her positives, and see if Barack Obama had another Reverend Wright in his past. Apparently she is waiting to see if Barack Obama gets assassinated.

Mike Huckabee, former GOP presidential candidate, also made a terrible joke at an NRA meeting. After a crash off-stage Huckabee joked that Barack Obama fell off his chair when someone loaded a gun. I would have jumped too. It's not like Barack Obama was invited anyway. It's the NRA.

Turn out the lights, the party's over.

This is too horrible to consider. Everyone knows what happened to RFK. He was killed by a Islamic extremist, Sirhan Sirhan, and the party LOST the election to Richard Nixon.

Is this the model that the democratic party wants to follow?

Hillary, it's time for you to be quiet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


You can forget about social security, the IRS, or health care, the REAL third-rail issue in American Politics is Israel. There is a real lack of honesty about the situation between Israel and what is left of the state of Palestine.

There is a pretty massive gap in the American consciousness regarding the state of Israel. Israel does a lot of questionable actions, such as the policy of settlements in the West Bank and the destruction of Palestinian homes when there are suspected militants. Obviously this is not a path to peace but to escalating conflict.

Bush is doing his part to fan the flames. His comments regarding the Democratic candidates for President were deplorable, and made on foreign soil. (Dixie Chicks anyone?) Bush should shuffle off the stage, and he should do it silently.

Our sitting President has zero credibility. At home or abroad. It would almost be laughable if it weren't for the fact that Bush is still President and those kind of smears work. When the issue is irrational those kind of attacks are particularly effective.

The first, and most important, is the situation on the ground and the readiness of the parties themselves to take the lead, irrespective of what America is doing. Anwar Sadat’s heroic overture to Israel, and Menachem Begin’s response, made the Jimmy Carter-engineered Camp David peace treaty possible. The painful, post-1973 war stalemate between Israel and Egypt and Syria made Henry Kissinger’s disengagement agreements possible. The collapse of the Soviet Union and America’s defeat of Iraq in the first gulf war made possible James Baker’s success in putting the Madrid peace process together.

What all three of these U.S. statesmen had in common, though — and this is the second criterion — was that when history gave them an opening, they seized it, by being tough, cunning and fair with both sides.

I don’t want a president who is just going to lean on Israel and not get in the Arabs’ face too, or one who, as the former Mideast negotiator Aaron D. Miller puts it, “loves Israel to death” — by not drawing red lines when Israel does reckless things that are also not in America’s interest, like building settlements all over the West Bank.

It’s a tricky business. But if Israel is your voting priority, then at least ask the right questions about Mr. Obama. Knock off the churlish whispering campaign about what’s in his heart on Israel (what was in Richard Nixon’s heart?) and focus first on what kind of America you think he’d build and second on whether you believe that as president he’d have the smarts, steel and cunning to seize a historic opportunity if it arises.

Thomas Friedman, New York Times May 18, 2008

I think that Friedman has been getting it right for a while now, and he appears to be spot on again. Read his whole column to really get the feel of what he is saying.


Today in Oregon

Today is the primary, it would appear that Obama has Oregon in the win column, the real question is can he soften the blow in Kentucky and land a knockout in Oregon?

It appears that Senator Obama has some momentum in Oregon. This video was from Sunday at a rally attended by 70,000+ people. This must be what being in the Beatles felt like.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The First Lady

The Tennessee GOP has released a viral video on youtube that features Michelle Obama, the wife of the presumptive Democratic nominee. Michelle Obama's made a comment to the effect that she wasn't really proud of her country until her husband Barack started running for President.

Barack has denounced the attack and essentially said that if you want to attack someone, bring it. But it's already been broughten.

What is off limits when your family is out campaigning for you? Chelsea was finally asked about how her father's infidelity affected her and her family. But, she is out there. Michelle Obama is out there. And so is Cindy McCain and Bill Clinton. Cindy has some baggage, pill addictions, taxes, etc. Being born pretty and rich doesn't mean you are perfect I guess.

I smell a Michelle Obama Cindy McCain cat fight a brewing. That sounds like a much better way to settle the Presidency, less controversy than an election. Michelle and Cindy, get ready for Thunderdome....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What a Mike Tyson Uppercut Feels Like

The news is fresh, but old at the same time. Regardless of the Democratic outcome, McCain and the Republicans have absolutely no chance in November--this is the fall of the neo-cons, the other side of the hill, as it were. It is effectively over for them.

I say this because after the West Virginia shoulder jab to Obama, the John Edwards endorsement served a Tyson uppercut to the Clinton campaign--the identical size and scope of the one he laid on Spinks. This blow, however, reverberates over to the other side of the fence. The faith that John Edwards has put forth sends a message to Americana: this is where we should be going.

Republicans are essentially watching the Democratic political intelligencia coalesce around Obama and it is galvanizing America. Governor Richardson's endorsement perhaps orients the Latino vote and provides Obama increased validation on his geo-political diplomatic visions. Kennedy's vote of confidence secures the progressive congressional establishment. This and other stories like it, are getting serious air time and pumped into millions of American homes. You see, the Republicans are watching a revolutionary movement along with the rest of us--how do you squash that?

There is a great desire to wrap the Democratic nomination up as soon as possible in order to secure enough time to develop strategy, unlock voter lists, access money, etc. Valid, yes, but the press is giving tremendous focus on the historical Democratic situation at the moment and this is changing state voting patterns (e.g., more new voters; independents moving left, etc). And as more and more unpledged delgates place their allegiance with Obama, a guttural emotion is re-developing among Americans, in that, as the world watches the situation play out, the more the movement that started on January 3rd 2008, becomes reality.

The right isn't getting much air time right now, but they will. And that is why highlighting party unity while the Dems have free air time has become part of the current DNC strategy and back room talk. That being said, it is only a matter of time before the 527 organizations (you know, the fall out political organizations of modern campaign finance reform) unleash the hounds of hell. Stay tuned, right?

Let the revolution continue to be televised! Perhaps the prolonging of this campaign is a good thing for us and a death knell for the sitting junta (The Bush Administration, that is) and all it's surrogates.They can see the bottom of the hill. I titled this treatise the way I did because the metaphor is supposed to signify, that a Tyson uppercut is so fierce that your mama feels it. This is a blow to Clinton AND the modern neo-con movement--other wise known as 'yo mama.'

Make sense

Hillary is up to it again, this time with a semi-coherent argument. What if there is another Reverend Wright in Obama's political closet? What if there is something worse that could really knock him out?

Valid concern given Obama's newness to the national political scene. But if there was something worse wouldn't the Clinton campaign have used it already? They have done all the digging, Clintonites like Mark Penn have called him a drug dealer and a hate monger and god knows what else when the cameras are off.

The Reverend Wright is spurious argument at best. The Clinton's have associated with far more nefarious characters. Despite the fiery rhetoric from Rev. Wright and the shock of hearing "Not God Bless America, GOD DAMN America!" there really isn't much of a controversy other than the length of time that Obama took to say that Wright had gone off the deep end. Obama may have given Wright too much rope, but he definitely hung himself with it by trashing Obama personally and publicly.

Odds are the Clintons haven't found anything, and they probably won't, I'm sure they have been scouring the earth for something. But she'll be there in case he trips. To swoop victory from the jowls of her defeat.

And I just couldn't resist......

During one of the most difficult periods in the presidency of Bill Clinton, he addressed a group of clerics at an annual prayer breakfast in September 1998 just as the Starr report outlining his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky was about to be published.

Isn't that? Rev Wright?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oil Reserves

The Senate voted 97-3 to suspend the purchase of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Bush administration wants to continue filling the reserve to capacity, it is currently at 97% of capacity. The reserve was established to maintain supply in case of another shortage.

Oil isn't getting cheaper in the immediate future, it could be cheaper to keep buying it now. The Senate seems to believe that the demand induced by increasing the reserve would be more harmful to our economy.

The price of oil is political and not economic, so says keepkalm. We have record gas prices and record profits for the oil companies, why haven't these people been drug out into the street?

Oh yeah, they all moved to Dubai.

Senate votes to halt oil reserve shipments

Sunday, May 11, 2008

End of an era

The Clintons have long been transformational figures in American politics. William Jefferson Clinton was born of tremendous talent and intelligence and overcame tremendous obstacles in his life and eventual rise to power. Bill Clinton's story sounds like Huey Long with a twist. Run for statewide office, run for governor, then run for President. Don't get assassinated.

What Bill will be known for is winning. Beating George Bush Sr. in 1992 was the last time a challenger defeated a sitting president. He is also known for, and villified in certain circles in the base of the democratic party. Clinton made the Democrats the party of free trade, much to the chagrin of union backers who favor protection of homegrown industry. Gave most favored nation status to China when there were serious questions about product safety and most importantly human rights violations.

A few years after this landmark policy, Wal-Mart is the world's largest corporate organization and largest private employer in the United States. The vast majority of Wal-Mart's products are made in China and sold in the US. Hillary formerly sat on the board of the corporate giant.

The Clinton years will be remembered for balancing the budget and the unprecedented run of growth for the American economy.

Hillary was the presumptive nominee in 2004 and in 2008. By not making an announcement and by raising money in 2004, Hillary took the wind out of the sails of everyone else who was ready to run against George W. She would have been a much better candidate than John Kerry or Howard Dean. She would have shored up a key demographic that abandoned the democratic party in favor of the republican incumbent. That demographic is women.

"Soccer moms" were now "security moms" who didn't trust Kerry over Bush. I think that women would have been more likely to trust one of their own gender over Bush, but it is mere speculation at this point. Hillary chose not to get her hands dirty in 2004 and thought that she would walk to the White House when it opened up in 2008.

But it didn't happen. Her miscalculation 4 years ago cost us all dearly.

Have the Clinton's forgotten the reasons why they built their political machinery?

Is it just about winning? Or is it about standing up for a world view? The speculation now focuses on whether Hillary will accept that she is going to lose the nomination or try to win with superdelegates, and the delegates from the states of Florida and Michigan. The rules were agreed upon at the outset of the contest, Hillary seems poised to move the goal post. Or perhaps more appropriately she is playing Lucy to Barack Obama's Charlie Brown, convincing him to kick the ball through the uprights only to have the ball yanked away at the last possible second.

I hope that the Clinton's remember that they have a legacy to defend. A very popular and effective presidency that offers stark contrast to our current economic and geopolitical situation.

Hillary's real problem is that she doesn't have the talent that Bill had, and definitely doesn't have the talent (or consistency) that Obama has. She has risen further than any other first lady, she also appears to be the only first lady that ever had that kind of ambition for elected office. She has been tacitly accepting help from Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos," encouraging GOP faithful to vote Hillary in the primaries in order to prolong the contest. I wouldn't normally give Limbaugh this kind of credit, but given how well Hillary is doing with white voters with less than a college education (which is not a typical democratic constituency) it is worth noting that Limbaugh's key demographic are uneducated white people who are hyperactive and impressionable politically.

I would have never thought that there would be this kind of opportunity for the GOP. The democrats have let McCain into the race by not having this contest decided already.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Special Session on Sonics unlikely

Apparently the Governor will not call a special session to work on an arena proposal for the Seattle Center/Supersonics.

"The last we checked, the votes aren't there," Gregoire spokesman Pearse Edwards said. "So why would we bring people down here (for a special session) to vote no on something? The governor is not going to waste the taxpayer dollars to have a debate in Olympia when the votes aren't there. The speaker of the House, the Senate majority leader and both minority leaders are going to have to show that the votes are there before we bring people back to town."
Seattle PI: Special Session on Sonics Unlikely

Couldn't agree more. Bennett has two pending lawsuits, one by the city to keep the team to its lease until 2010 and the other by Howard Schultz over Bennett's bad faith effort to keep the team in Seattle.

Schultz v. Bennett

The lawsuit over the Seattle Supersonics has been officially filed. Cynical voices have deemed this little more than a publicity stunt for Howard Schultz, who has been the target of criticism for not selling to a local owner in the first place. When someone from an outside city buys a sports franchise it is a pretty good bet that they will try and move the team back home.

So the suit alleges that Schultz sold the team to Bennett with the condition that he try and keep the team in Seattle. Schultz knew what seemed obvious to everyone, Bennett wanted a team for Oklahoma City. Bennett was a part owner (investor?) in the San Antonio Spurs, part of the reason why Sam Presti and PJ Carlesimo were brought over from San Antonio. Bennett is also close with RC Buford, majority owner of the SA Spurs. Bennett was also tried to keep the new Orleans Hornets in Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is the top team in the West, OKC wanted the Hornets, Sonics are the next best thing.

Stern also know Bennett. Stern doesn't want to move the Hornets out of New Orleans. If the NBA works for New Orleans and the owner wants to keep them there fine. That is the way it ought to be.

They have scuttled, aka rebuilding, the Sonics to erode fan support for the next couple of seasons. Sonics aren't going to be in the Playoffs in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

Read these articles, it is pretty clear that Bennett made the deal with Schultz only to move the team or sell.

The Sonics don't deserve this. They have been pretty good citizens. Gary Payton, Detlef Schrempf, Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen, and Nate McMillan all made significant contributions to the community. It is true that we still had Ruben Patterson (sexual assault charges)and Dale Ellis (DUI, back in the 80s when a DUI was a lot tougher to get in WA).

Here are some supporting articles and some of the court documents. Pop some corn and get comfortable we're going to overtime.

ESPN - E-mails key in Schultz's suit to reverse Sonics sale - NBA

Seattle PI: Bennett knew he would flip team

Schultz suit filing

Friday, April 18, 2008

Supersonics vs. the future of the Seattle Center

Although I am a massive sports fan and active participant, I have tried to keep politics and sports separated as much as possible. However the news surrounding the Seattle Supersonics has crossed the line from sports into politics.

The NBA Board of Governors voted 28-2 in favor of letting the ownership group move the Seattle Supersonics to Oklahoma City. The two dissenting votes were Paul Allen and Mark Cuban, owners of the Trailblazers and Dallas Mavericks. Allen is a local guy, owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Cuabn has been the Maverick owner in the NBA often criticizing the league and it's officials.

The Sonics have been in Seattle and the NBA since 1967. This is their 40th season in the league (altough it has been one worth forgetting). One year removed from the World's Fair Seattle was able to convert one of the pavilions into the Seattle Coliseum. Professional basketball was a lot different then. Everything was different then. Going to an NBA game now is a full blown spectacle. When the game isn't going, it's like the circus is in town. During the 60's and 70's it was a much more low-key affair.

It is hard to say what changed exactly. Most of the change can be described in simple economic terms. Players wanted more money, tickets went up. Fans expect more when the pay more and to keep the interests of the casual fan the circus was allowed to go on during pre-game, halftime, and the much maligned "media-timeout."

You could say that it was all about the game back in the day, and that is what made professional sports so popular. You didn't need luxury suites or restaurants in the arena, the game was what mattered.

OKC has tapped into what Seattle tapped into in 1967. The World's Fair was a recognition that Seattle was no longer the last fishing village on the way to Alaska. Seattle was a "Big League City." Seattle was important to the rest of the country in ways it never was before. Seattle was the major manufacturer of air transportation and potentially "Supersonic" Transport.

The Sonics have been a bell weather for our city for as long as they have been here. During the 80's we were overshadowed by LA. During the 90s grunge and the technology boom had the city riding high, the Sonics with Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp were the high-flying stars of the explosive Supersonic teams that were title contenders for several seasons.

After the boom, well things haven't been so great. Gary Payton was traded (still makes me a little sad and nostalgic, he's still my favorite player) for Ray Allen, and we haven't seen any success lately. The team has been lost. There seemed to be no direction for the team, and it seemed to be run strictly on the personality of the ever petulant Payton stifling the team's growth and success.

Now the Sonics are a symbol of our political impotence. Our inability to compromise and support our own. The Sonics are a much bigger symbol than the Viaduct, the 520 bridge, or the ferry system. The personalities and egos are calling the shots right now. Greg Nickels and Howard Schultz couldn't agree on a new lease that would have kept the team here and both refused to back down. Frank Chopp wasn't going to let a public financing bill even come close to the floor of the House in the State Legislature and the Governor wasn't putting any weight behind the effort either.

This seems really anti-climatic, it seems over with a whimper. Schultz, who up until this week had been a villian for selling to Bennett, is suing Bennett for breach of contract by not acting in good faith to keep the team in Seattle.

Bennett did spend a lot of money lobbying and designing a new arena, it certainly looked like he tried, just not very hard.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Top Two

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the State of Washington, and ruled in favor of the popular will of the people. Citizens rejoice!!! There will be no more partisan primary balloting in the State of Washington.

Ok, so there aren't people in the streets. But, 2008 just got a lot more interesting. More interesting because we will be able to see if any "safe" districts cannibalize themselves in the general election. Most districts are designed to be safe, safe for one party to win election. When districts are drawn, they are drawn to give safe seats to both major political parties and they determine where the battleground is going to be decided.

For those of you who know your ancient chinese philosophy, whoever dictates the field of battle wins. And wins handily.

The parties now can have two candidates in the general election provided that they are the top two vote getters. The question is just how happy is the party establishment with their incumbents? I wonder if any legislators are going to be targeted by their own party for defeat. This certainly changes things a bit doesn't it?

Welcome to the State of Washington, home of the Thunderdome.

PS we also bring you the real thunderdome ;)


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dr. Cornell West on Sen. Barack Obama

"I told Obama that when he wins--which I think he will--I will celebrate for one day. I'll break-dance in the morning and party in the afternoon. But the next day, I'll become one of his major critics. His calling is one of progressive governance, and my calling is Socratic and prophetic. But all the criticism will emanate from my deep love for him."

-Dr. Cornell West

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mississippi Goddamn

On March 4th, Senator Hillary Clinton won, presumably, 3 out of the 4 contests that were up for grabs. I say presumably because Texas is largely undecided. After the popular vote accounts for its sixty-five percent, the caucus system kicks in and allocates the remaining 35 percent. Complicated, yes, but profoundly rooted in good ol’ fashion Texas populism. There are over 250 counties in Texas, more than any other state in the nation. The varied nature of caucus venues mixed with the complex calculation of Texas delegates may present either a statistical tie or a win for Obama considering his impressive ground level organization.

It is worthy to note his level of campaign organizing. It’s essentially a hybrid of sorts that includes on the ground activism coupled with cutting edge technological innovations. This is a deviation from the Internet-roots movement Dean unfolded in ’04. What’s different is that the impetus is placed on the individual to act. The campaign provides important technical assistance to precinct activists/citizens and the ownership is handed to them. At the core of this is quintessential community organizing with the attempt to inspire everyday folk to be a part of something, only on a much broader effort with technological innovation and a lot more money. Obama also didn’t frame his strategy on winning dense, highly populated locales; he focused on setting up an organized grassroots effort in every state tapping into existing ad hoc support. He did lose most of the big states, but with minimal damage—he averaged 45 percent of the vote and got a decent proportion of delegates. He believed in small hamlets and large centers.

Nina Simone would certainly be proud of Barack Obama because the theory of his campaign is about hope and the praxis is about the people. Mississippi and Wyoming are indeed ‘small’ states, but he won them, which continues his streak of winning the states and holding the lion’s share of pledged delegates. He inevitably drew a sharp contrast with the way things were and where we should be going. Clinton’s strategy becomes more and more transparent and stuck in the old Establishment ethos of below belt attacks and top-down management. I respect Hillary Clinton and cherish the idea and potential reality of a woman winning the presidency, but she is running a fucking awful campaign.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ten in a Row

Ten elections since Super Tuesday with Wisconsin and Hawaii have gone to Barack Obama. He has wiped mat with Clinton. He is outperforming in the big democratic precincts where the most delegates are available. Texas and Ohio are next, where Clinton is widely regarded as having the edge based on the demographics of the two states. Texas has a large Hispanic population that seems to favor Clinton, and Ohio where the economy is a big issue. NAFTA is going to sting her a bit there because of the loss of manufacturing in Ohio.

The key for Barack Obama in Ohio and in Texas is turning out big numbers in major cities, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Cleveland and Cincinnati that have large black populations in the most loyal democratic precincts.

There is no way that Clinton can win with any margin of victory that is worth talking about. Barack could potentially clean up. He's been moving up steadily in the polls after every victory.

If he wins and Hillary doesn't concede the nomination there is going to be a war at the convention. If she loses the next two there is almost no conceivable way that she could win a majority of pledged delegates. That would mean that she is going to try and win with Superdelegates or potentially the delegates from Michigan and Florida. Both would be disasters of epic proportions.

Said disaster is the ONLY way that McCain gets into the White House. Childish squabbling over the nomination would make both candidates look terrible.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Precinct 250 Gives Obama 6 Delegates and Clinton 1

We walked into the school unsure what to expect. Through a hallway, a couple of steps and a corner later, we entered a relatively small auditorium that was shockingly swollen. Young and old packed tight together with a long line outside consistently feeding the frenzy. It was pure political chaos and this was the bluest vein the neighborhood. Side conversations, confusion and technical difficulties—you couldn’t ask for a more surreal and historical local moment.

The MC had some difficulty talking over the crowd, but managed to utter something to the effect that in all her decades as a local party organizer, she has never seen a crowd this large come to a caucus. This came with cheers. Without any hesitation, I got the sense that this was an Obama crowd. There were no overt gestures to suggest this; sure there were a couple of buttons and stickers, but not at ‘rally’ levels.

The day before, Obama filled the Key Arena 20,000 strong with at least 3000 turned away at the door. Upon hearing this, Barack Obama later grabbed a megaphone and made his way outside to address the huddled group of seemingly starstruck, rain soaked believers. The dedication to the average voter here is notable, and unmistakably galvanizing. I felt the importance of that moment all the way down here in Olympia especially as I casted my vote for him today. Our precinct went 6 to 1 for Obama because we felt as convicted about being in the moment as he did outside the Key Arena with a cheap megaphone talking to complete strangers who couldn’t get inside. He didn’t have to do that, and I didn’t have to vote for him, but he, like all of us, knew the collective importance in doing what it takes to affect real change; that perhaps this simple gesture was a clear shift over the conventional ethos of modern politics. Fucking unbelievable.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Romney Suspends Campaign

Mitt "Soundwave" Romney has officially suspended his campaign. This news may come as a shock following the infusion of cash that gave his campaign from his personal fortune. There must have been some serious campaign debt to pay off if that is the case.

McCain-Huckabee '08

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What's So Super About Tuesday?

If it wasn't for the fact that there were so many primaries on one day there would be nothing "Super" about Tuesday. It was more hyped than the Super Bowl though and McCain has made himself out to be the Eli Manning of the day. No one gave him a shot and he has managed to pull off a dramatic upset and has left political prognosticators stunned.

For most of us in the Evergreen State, this Saturday will be a first for most Washingtonians. A Presidential Primary that matters. That REALLY matters for both parties. The Obama and Hillary are in a statistical dead heat, with a slight delegate advantage for Obama. Bill Clinton is coming to Seattle and Barack will also be here later in the week. Welcome to the "other" Washington.

McCain has a substantial lead in delegates and has to be the odds on favorite to win the nomination for the GOP. Washington State should turn out heavy for McCain both for caucuses and poll voting. Ron Paul has done very well in Washington, at least fundraising, we'll see how he does.

Hillary and Obama are going to be the real story this week leading into Saturday.

Check out this little run down on the former first lady. Politico

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Lighter Side of Camelot

I typically have a hard time finding my muse, but when I read headlines that beam things like Edward Kennedy endorsing Barack Obama, it cues me right up.

This is a big one. For Kennedy, It demonstrates a clean break with Establishment pals, including the Clintons, and serves as a ‘passing of the baton’ to a whole new generation of politicos. The Clinton’s were furiously vying for Kennedy’s backing, but came up short, in part due to Mr. Clinton’s weirdness as of late. As you’ve unfortunately read in my previous postings, my unorganized ramblings are essentially political accounts from a layperson—written with limited knowledge in national affairs. Though one thing is for certain, the double knighting from the Kennedy camp (Caroline Kennedy also officially endorsed Obama) is so defiling to Billary that their only strategy is devout prayer for a surplus in delegates on Super Tuesday.

There is a decent amount of contention in political circles over the meaning of obtaining an ‘endorsement.’ What makes the topic squishy is the fact that endorsements vary. It could mean access to massive voting lists, a one day fanfare that fosters strong media attention or both. Yet, when you land old Establishment kudos that is something quite different and notable. It could mean adding another layer of prestige and a series of power players following suit. A week from Tuesday shall be interesting indeed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Romney is a Robot

I don't have the energy to write about this fool. See here to view a former picture of Governor Romney.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Attack: (verb) take aggressive action against a place or enemy forces; oppose fiercely

"I have said for months that I would much rather be attacking Republicans, and attacking the problems of our country, because ultimately that's what I want to do as president."

-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D), December 2007

“We are not a collection of red states or blue states, we are the United States...”

-Sen. Barack Obama (D), January 2008

Recently, the former Presidential contender and current Massachusetts Senator, John Kerry personally sent me an e-mail. As I read on, I was anxious to find a veneer of personal trickery, but it appeared sincere. After a couple of cocktails, I thought to myself, "Okay, either this occurred because I'm on a damn mailing list, or this jackball has mistaken me for another dope smoking Motel Martin."

The Kerry letter was poignant. In summary, he paralleled his Swiftboat, Willie Horton-esque political experience with that of the current events between the Obama and Clinton campaigns. Kerry goes on to ask all of us to engage in a national push back campaign against concerted attacks on Obama. That's actually one of the few things I can agree on with Kerry. My support for Obama is obvious, so the bias exists in that any challenge on the man will be a perception by me as an "attack." That aside, the opening quotes to this treatise, perhaps taken out of context, may provide insight into the character of both the candidates possibly highlighting who indeed holds the tendency to 'attack.'

Well, shit was going down in South Carolina. Yet, one of the most intriguing moments during the heated exchange between Hillary and Barack, came during a brief pause by Obama to address the national audience. He articulated that it is important to address the charges from the Clinton camp to demonstrate to Americans what type of leader he would be--a truthful and earnest one. Of course, that drew swift rebuke from Hillary, but the fact that he highlighted a seemingly heated personal exchange and turned it into an intellectual lecture on the value of the political sparring match between him and Clinton was fucking brilliant. The arguing did drag on, and he knew this, which made the comment to the audience translate into a couple more delegates and a couple more votes.

I guess Kerry would be proud; as well as Willie Horton for that matter. Horton, wherever you are, just know that a brother is running for President who won't exploit your past transgressions and will utilize his deft political instincts for quelling any bullshit that comes his way.

Snowball Effect



This happened on the same day? Definitely not the top of their game. This is truly remarkable given A) The Clinton's historically strong relationship with the black community, B) The prominence of the African-American voters in South Carolina, and C) The fact that both of these events happened on the same day. How is the public going to react to Obama playing so rough with that little old lady? It never looks good to hit a girl, even if she is playing dirty.

Obama is at the top of his game. Does any one remember that Bill Clinton was once the "man from Hope?" 1992 doesn't seem as dire as 2008. The parallels are quite similar really, the economy was in recession and the first Gulf War had just ended, and a Bush was in the White House. 2008 is fruition of the seeds planted in 1992, and to a lesser extent 2000. The war has been ridiculously expensive and has greatly burdened our economy for decades, and should have been won in 1992. The Bush tax cuts have magnified the cost of the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama is an incredibly gifted speaker, the question is not whether he has the support of the American people, the only unknown is if he can transform his vision into reality. He will win because he is grounded in his beliefs and seems the most natural politician running for the office of President in either party.