31 October 2010
30 October 2010
29 October 2010
I’ve been called a lot of names over the years and for the most part I tend to ignore them. Today however I was called a Nazi apologist because I was defending the right of someone, in particularly, Richard Iott, to dress up in an German war uniform and run around in a field with a bunch of other folks in German and American World War II uniforms reenacting events of the war. For as long as I can remember I have always been fascinated by World War II. I love reading about it, playing games based on it, and just generally learning every bit I can about the war, especially the Eastern European Theater. I spent many a night playing a World War II miniatures game called Command Decision with a group of folks in town. I never once felt like I was glossing over or even glorifying the horrors that the Nazi’s committed in the holocaust while I was doing it. I certainly can’t ignore those facts I really wouldn’t want to, but I enjoy learning about what it was like for solders on the front lines, and learning about the tactics of the battles, and I especially like taking battles where that were lost and seeing what it would take to turn them into victories and I don’t generally care if that means I’m playing as an American, a German, or some other combatant. It’s solely about learning about the war, one of the greatest turning points in human history.
And that is what reenactments are all about. Reenactments are about reliving moments in time, understanding what it was like to live the life of someone at a particular moment in history. There are hundreds of groups that do so around the country and the world and they cover almost every imaginable era of history, even if they tend to center around particular wars, like the Civil War, World War I, or World War II. Participating in one of these events doesn’t mean you want to gloss over the horrible things that happened or that you even want to ignore them. After the break are some videos from around the net from Reenactment groups.
I hope you have a great weekend. You'll see the usual Saturday and Sunday posts here, but not much else.
Here's to hoping that I go home this evening and find out that it's all a hoax...
28 October 2010
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) ventured into the age-inappropriate territory during a speech at a Cincinnati Catholic school, where she addressed a room of students ranging from first to eighth graders.Apparently, Representative Schmidt is courting the pro-life vote really early.
"Unexpectedly, towards the end of her address, Congresswoman Schmidt brought up the topic of abortion," Prinicipal Dan Teller wrote in a letter to parents, obtained by Cincinnati's WLWT.com. "Your children may come home with questions, especially if this is a topic that has not been broached in your home."
Though the abortion-related portion of the speech was reported to last under two minutes, it may be the only part anyone will remember.
“She defined abortion as the taking of a child's life in the mother's womb,” Teller wrote in the letter. "She indicated that abortion involves the killing of a child before it is born."
Noting that Schmidt "was not invited to further any political agenda,” he apologized to parents "for any confusion or fear that this may elicit on the part of your child, and for the awkward position this may put you in of introducing a difficult issue at a time that may be premature for you."
Abortion was not originally included in her speech, but Schmidt reportedly decided to address the issue in the question-and-answer period after her talk.
...like four to 10 years early.
This story is so supremely inappropriate that I am nearly speech (type?) -less. Regardless of your political bend, it is not your local member of Congress' job to teach your kids about abortion-related issues.
That is not in the job description.
Postscript: the principal is not the person who should be apologizing.
While I can understand that the metaphor is a good argument ("Rand Paul wants to stomp on the issues you care about"), the Kentucky Democratic Party is using a situation over which Rand Paul had no control as a talking point.
Now, had it been Dr. Paul in the video stomping on that woman's head, then there would definitely be an argument for advertising like this. Although, if that had been the situation, my guess is that the ad would have a dramatically different tone; e.g. "Rand Paul assaulted this woman!"
As it happens, this was an incident at which neither candidate was present. The stomper (Tim Profitt) is a fan of Rand Paul, but surely one cannot hold a candidate responsible for the (dickish) actions of one supporter.
It's just a weird ad. As TPM puts it:
Paul has, of course, made it fairly easy for Democrats to turn the jarring video of Valle's head getting stomped by Tim Profitt outside a Lexington debate Monday into their closing argument in the Senate race. Paul was slow to condemn the attack -- though he "dissociated" himself from Profitt soon after the event -- and has decided to keep the nearly $2,000 Profitt donated to his campaign."Pretty strange" seems to me to be quite an understatement. But maybe that's just me.
Still, it is pretty strange to watch a brutal physical assault turned into a message about the Fair Tax. Nevertheless, Democrats in Kentucky have made their choice, and that choice is to try and win with the Kentucky Stomp.
27 October 2010
"The door's not closed." -Rudy Giuliani, responding to a reporter's question about whether or not he has ruled out running for President in 2012. Because, you know, it worked out so well last time.
I guess that it is officially time to dust-off the "Election 2012" tag...
This was the last Aston Martin DB5 that appeared in the James Bond film franchise. It will be up for auction today:
The DB5 comes complete with all the original 007 specifications fitted to it by the Aston Martin factory for 1965's "Thunderball." They include front machine guns that shoot blanks, an ejector seat (that doesn't work), radar navigation, a nail spreader, tire shredders, bullet shield and a revolving number plate.Reportedly, the DB5 will fetch somewhere between five and seven million dollars. I think that estimate is a wee-bit high, but I would not be surprised if some crazed Bond fan drops that kind of scratch on this piece of movie history -- especially considering that it still has all of the quintessential 'gadgets' that were featured in the films.
The DB5 has only had one private owner, U.S. radio station owner and philanthropist Jerry Lee. He bought it straight from the Aston Martin factory in 1969 for $12,000. The self-confessed "huge" Bond fan says he's kept the car at home in Pennsylvania in his "James Bond room" for the past 41 years.
Despite being close to half a century old, the DB5 only has 30,000 miles on the clock. Lee told CNN he has only driven the car once: "I drove it for two blocks in London. I think it's a work of art," he said. "It's just pure beauty."
Did I mention that I have a birthday coming up soon?
Photo: Darin Schnabel/RM Auctions
An interesting tack from Mr. Crist:
Down one road is extremism; where Roe Vs. Wade is overturned, and being a moderate is a curse. That's the road Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and Marco Rubio want to take us down. It's a dangerous road.But, will it work in Florida?
It doesn't look like it will...
They’re reasonable, they’re lucid, and, damn it, they want their voices heard.... but like many Americans, I have a life. I have a family, and I cannot afford to simply drop everything and head to D.C. to "march" on Washington.
At a moderate conversational level, of course.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of activists and fans are expected to rally on the National Mall at the urging of two cable television comedians whose combined nightly viewership is somewhere south of a primetime repeat of FOX’s “The Simpsons.”
The message of Comedy Central “fake news” personalities Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert blends an ironic dig at political extremism of all stripes, a meeting of generally left-of-center minds, smarty-pants jabs at national media coverage, and a heartfelt – if jokey – appeal for more rational discourse in American politics.
From what I understand, Comedy Central will be airing the entire event -- LIVE -- so that folks from around the country can tune in. I'll likely check it out, if only for a bit.
I sure hope that Jon Stewart wears a lame-ass boy-band transparent microphone-headset like Glenn Beck wore at his rally... sweet.
If you are going, please e-mail with pictures and/or stories from the event. I'm interested to see what people think/do while they are there.
Yeah, Mr. Head Stomper goes there:
In the video, it appears to some that 23-year-old Lauren Valle is wrestled down to the ground by Rand Paul Supporters and then stomped on.Okay, so I can kind of buy the "we didn't know what she was trying to do" excuse. But, if you are going to attempt to stop someone from "rushing" a candidate's car, you don't need to stomp on their head. You hold them back and wait for the real authorities to arrive.
But to Tim Profitt, the the situation is much different. He says what the video doesn’t show is Valle’s aggressive behavior. Profitt says she rushed Paul’s car three different times; each time refusing to stop.
He says at the time, he didn’t know what she was trying to do.
“We thought she was a danger; we didn’t know what she was doing.”
Profitt explained that he used his foot to try and keep her down because he can’t bend over because of back problems. He also says police were alerted to watch her before Paul arrived because people in the crown [sic] recognized her as someone who may try and pull a stunt.
But, that's not what he does. I don't care how you spin it -- he was not simply trying to hold her down -- the dude stomped on her head. Multiple times.
Greg Sargent has the latest news on this story:
The Lexington Division of Police has identified a suspect in connection to the October 25, 2010 assault of a woman at 600 Cooper Drive.It will be interesting to hear what Mr. Profitt's story is -- aside the from the weak-ass excuse about his back -- as to the events leading up to this incident. No matter what he says about Lauren Valle (the woman that he allegedly assaulted), the videotape is some extremely compelling evidence that definitely does not do Mr. Profitt any favors.
On the 25th, at approximately 7:00p.m., officers were alerted to an active assault at 600 Cooper Drive (Kentucky Educational Television Studios).
Officers responded to the scene of the assault and made contact with the victim. She identified herself as a member of MoveOn.org and stated she was assaulted while attempting to take a picture with candidate Rand Paul. Division of Police patrol officers took an assault report and forwarded the case to the Division of Police Bureau of Investigation.
Today, October 26, 2010, detectives identified the suspect, involved in the assault, as Tim Profitt. Mr. Profitt is currently being served with a criminal summons ordering him to appear before a Fayette County District Court Judge.
One thing is certain, none of this side-show will have any real effect on the U.S. Senate campaign in Kentucky, as Rand Paul is poised to defeat Paul Conway in that contest.
26 October 2010
Hmmm... this is fast-becoming a real nail-biter:
The PA Senate race has tightened up considerably. The current survey shows the race as a dead heat at 46% apiece including undecided voters who lean towards one candidate or the others. Our August survey showed the Republican Pat Toomey with a 10 percentage point advantage among likely voters (Toomey 47% vs. Democrat Joe Sestak 37%). There are only 6% remaining who are undecided so this race will most likely continue to be hard fought until election day.It's going to come down to the wire next week. I think that this race really could go either way (though I still think Toomey will win it).
Sestak’s ability to fight back into the race appears to be based in part on his ability to convince Pennsylvanians that he is best positioned on a number of important economic issues.
Pluralities say that Sestak has better policies on “America’s policies towards China” (Sestak 33% vs. Toomey 28%), “Keeping jobs in this country” (Sestak 37% vs. Toomey 31%), and “Standing up for America’s interests” (Sestak 40% vs. Toomey 34%).
Toomey has more credibility on “Balancing our national budget” (Toomey 36% vs. Sestak 28%).
The two candidates are split on “Creating jobs for the people of PA” (Sestak 34% vs. Toomey 34%) and “Abortion” (Sestak 31% vs. Toomey 31%).
Tron = badass. The Daft Punk touch is a good one as well.
Here is a transcript of what Buck says:
I disagree strongly with the concept of separation of church and state. It was not written into the Constitution. While we have a Constitution that is very strong in the sense that we are not gonna have a religion that's sanctioned by the government, it doesn't mean that we need to have a separation between government and religion. And so that, that concerns me a great deal. So I think there are cultural differences, I think there, we are as strong as we, our culture, our culture gives us our strength, I guess is the best way to put that. And, and I am worried about the fact that we seem to be walking away from culture. And, and one thing that President Obama has done that I would certainly speak about is calling the Christmas tree, which has historically been called a Christmas tree in Washington D.C., a holiday tree. It's just flat wrong in my mind.My emphasis.
Now, I will argue that the Constitution does advocate a separation of church and state in the First Amendment, but that is an argument for another time. What troubles me about Mr. Buck's monologue here is that his little ditty about the "holiday tree" in Washington, D.C. is a complete fabrication... from an unsubstantiated forwarded e-mail. Snopes.com has all of the details, and FactCheck.org lays out a most reasonable response to this type of e-mail.
It troubles me that a man who is running for a high office in his state would repeat falsehoods gleaned from a chain e-mail in a debate forum.
Surely Mr. Buck has access to the Internet -- since he clearly has access to e-mail.
"Yikes! It's like a Hitler Youth commercial! Let me tell you how stupid she is: 25% of the voters in Nevada are Hispanic and 80% of them are Mexican. She is a moron, on top of being evil. I'd like to see her try this ad in the South Bronx. Come here, BITCH! Try this in New York!" -Joy Behar, not mincing words in her reaction to Sharron Angle's ad (above) this morning on ABC's The View.
Head nod: JMG
[update: fixed link]
I'm still waiting for the remaining facts to come in, but this scuffle is really garnering lots of attention on the Interwebs.
A Rand Paul supporter stomped on the head of a MoveOn.org volunteer Monday night outside of a debate between the Kentucky Senate candidate and his opponent, Jack Conway.TPM has more details:
The woman, identified by CNN as Lauren Valle, was pushed to the ground -- her blond wig was pulled off in the scuffle -- and then held down. One man shouted out for the police, but another stepped on Valle's shoulder and then stomped down, his foot hitting her head. He backed off when someone else told him to stop. Valle stayed on the ground, motionless.
"These supporters were not very nice to me and my message, which is the same as everyone else. I just wanted to get out here with a sign, but I got my head stepped on," Valle told Louisville's Fox41. "I have a bit of a headache."
It was not immediately clear whether anyone would be charged in the incident. There was no sign either candidate -- Paul is the Republican nominee; Conway, the Democratic -- witnessed the scuffle.
Both campaigns have now reacted to the attack, which was caught on camera at multiple angles.I would absolutely agree with both campaigns' statements.
"Violence of any kind has no place in our civil discourse and we urge supporters on all sides to be civil to one another as tensions rise heading toward this very important election," reads a statement from Paul's camp, which called the incident "incredibly unfortunate."
"We are relieved to hear that the woman in question was not injured," the statement reads.
Mark Riddle, senior adviser to the Conway camp, told Huffington Post, ""Everyone is hoping she is okay and I don't think anybody believes this sort of behavior is tolerable."
"We can disagree on issues and be passionate about them but I don't think there is any room for someone throwing a young lady to the ground and stomping her on the head no matter how much they disagree with her," he said.
More as it develops...
25 October 2010
My eyes are wide open Ms. O'Donnell. Lucky for you I am not a resident of Delaware...
The former Senator from Pennsylvania is traveling around Iowa in the hopes of wooing the earliest voters:
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is putting all his presidential eggs into the Iowa basket. He's visiting other early primary states, sure, but it's becoming quite apparent that Santorum knows his only shot at capturing the Republican nomination is winning the Iowa caucuses in February 2012. His decision this week to join a three-day, 1,300 mile bus tour through 45 Iowa counties calling for the removal of three Iowa Supreme Court justices who helped legalize gay marriage is a shrewd political maneuver that will grant him priceless exposure to the state's grassroots conservative groups. It also confirms Santorum's strategy of approaching Iowa as an all-or-nothing gambit.I like that last sentence, "Santorum can kiss his White House ambitions goodbye." Awesome.
If he can effectively sell his social conservative platform to Iowa voters, Santorum has an opportunity to do what former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) did in 2008: Pull off a stunning upset by running hard to the right in hopes of exploiting the divisions between better-known top tier candidates who are more socially moderate. Even if he manages to pull it off, he's still a long shot -- but at least it's a shot. Conversely, if he loses Iowa, Santorum can kiss his White House ambitions goodbye.
But, isn't this the same strategy that former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani employed in the 2008 Republican Primaries? Granted, Giuliani waited well past the Iowa caucuses to really "start" his campaign, but the point remains that he placed all of his metaphorical eggs in the Florida basket. That appears to be what Santorum is doing as well.
...which, as you know, is the much older Jewish brother of the Apple iPod.
After selling more than 200,020,000 units, Sony is finally pulling the plug on the cassette-based Walkman. Personally, I was surprised to find that they were still being made.I think that I still have a cassette version of the Walkman somewhere -- though admittedly it is very likely a knock-off (not the Sony brand).
Note: To put that sales number into context, Apple has sold some 260,000,000 iPods worldwide.
However, I do currently use a Sony Walkman mp3 player, so I haven't missed a beat. Yet.
So much for "liberal" Hollywood, eh?
Cliff Clavin, America's favorite mailman and resident barstool know-it-all on the 1980's show Cheers, apparently has some strong opinions about the Senate race in Connecticut.Although I have to admit that, while I am a child of the 80s (ahem), I now think of John Ratzenberger as the guy who shows up in all of the Pixar animated movies (here, here, and here for example). I guess that this is what having young kids does -- an actor goes from a beer-guzzling mailman to, ironically, pork.
The campaign for Linda McMahon, the GOP Senate candidate and, released a Web video featuring John Ratzenberger, the actor who played Cliff, marching in a parade for McMahon and declaring that the former World Wide Wrestling CEO "lives the American Dream."
"The state of Connecticut needs someone like Linda to turn it around," says the 1980's fixture in the video. "Somebody who understands business, how to create jobs, she's really a force of nature."
Geez. This race is like watching a tennis match. Back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-and...
After spending last week endlessly chanting "Sestak. Pelosi. Nationalized industry. Extremist," as if they were a mantra specifically designed to gain entry to Nirvana -- or at least Capitol Hill -- Toomey leads Democrat Joe Sestak 47-42 percent with 11 percent undecided.I wonder what the polls will say in tomorrow's tracker? Probably Sestak up by 5 points.
Sestak, whom we're sure must be feeling like Sisyphus these days, what with him rolling the popularity boulder to the top of the hill, only to watch it roll back down the other side, sees his unfavorables marginally outstrip his favorables this morning (35-37 percent, with 29 percent still unsure. Toomey, meanwhile, has his favorables/unfavorables evenly split at 36 percent, with 28 percent undecided.
Place your bets!
John Heileman has a great piece in New York Magazine analyzing Sarah Palin's presidential aspirations:
Until not long ago, the only people who took seriously the notion that Palin would make a White House bid in 2012, let alone win the Republican nomination, were those who really do live at the unicorn ranch--and spend their time there huffing pixie dust. When Palin quit the Alaska governorship in 2009, her political career seemed over. And even after she resurrected herself, emerging through her media ubiquity and her aggressive endorsement strategy as arguably the most powerful figure in the GOP, much of the political world believed that she was animated by non-presidential motives. To further pad her bank account. To redeem her reputation. To turn herself into the party's preeminent kingmaker. Or possibly all three."Read the whole thing, it's really good.
"But today the conventional wisdom about Palin is being revised again, nowhere more so than within the ranks of professional Republicans. Among two dozen senior strategists and operatives with whom I've spoken in recent days -- including many of those responsible for securing the nomination for the party's last three standard-bearers -- there is a growing consensus that Palin is running or setting herself up to run. All agreed that her entry would radically and fundamentally transform the race. Most averred that if she steps into the fray, she stands a reasonable chance of claiming the Republican prize. Indeed, more than one argued that she is already the de facto front-runner.
While I think that there is definitely an argument to be made that the Queen Mama Grizzly would/could run, I stand firmly by my assertion that she will not.
Being a "contributor" on Fox News and a paid-speaker-for-hire is an extremely lucrative business. As I've said here before, I think that it is clear that Palin
Sarah Palin, as Heileman's article correctly points-out, is the Republican Kingmaker right now. I don't think that she is going to leave that spotlight any time too soon...
....and it's not good news either Meg Whitman:
Defections from Meg Whitman's ranks on the part of women, Latinos and nonpartisan voters have fueled a surge by Jerry Brown in the race for governor, according to a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll.... or Carly Fiorina:
The shift comes after a tumultuous month for the Republican candidate that has led some voters to question her veracity and her handling of accusations by an illegal immigrant housekeeper.
Brown, the Democratic attorney general and former governor, led Whitman 52% to 39% among likely voters, the poll found. His advantage has more than doubled since a Times/USC poll in September.
Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer held onto her 8-point margin over Republican Carly Fiorina in the U.S. Senate contest. Boxer's 50% to 42% lead was statistically unchanged from September's 51% to 43% edge.So, as much as B-Diddy's hopes are up for Linda McMahon, Pat Toomey and Tom Corbett -- I would say that he had better write-off the Republicans in California.
Then again, most Republicans get written-off in California anyway, no?
23 October 2010
22 October 2010
This has been making the rounds on the Intertubes all week and I never got a chance to comment on it.
Here is the backstory.
I think that the security guys were completely out of line.
Mind you, I think the folks from the Alaska Dispatch were acting kind of confrontational -- but that is no excuse to physically restrain this guy. Not to mention that it appears that these "security personnel" have no legal power to do such a thing. I am not a legal expert, but my guess is that Tony Hopfinger -- the man who was detained -- could have a very good wrongful detention suit on his hands.
The video and story is disturbing on many levels. Particularly as they relate to First Amendment issues.
Now, Barack Obama has added his voice to the mix:
While I think that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is a supremely flawed policy, and that the President should have pushed harder to end it, I think this is a good step on his part. Andrew Sullivan points out:
It's beautifully crafted and gently put. I think it's the first time in history that a US president has spoken directly to gay Americans in support from the White House. Which makes it a milestone.Indeed. Which leads me to continue to believe that the majority acceptance and embrace of homosexuality and marriage equality is an inevitability in our country.
The only question that remains is how quickly that embrace continues to happen.
Tom Corbett (R) versus Dan Onorato (D) [for PA Governor]:
The gap between the candidates in both races seems to be tightening. According to Quinnipiac's survery (out today), this is due to more and more Democrats getting interested in voting:
In the Pennsylvania governor’s race, Democrat Dan Onorato, the Allegheny County Executive, has erased most of State Attorney General Tom Corbett’s 15-point likely voter lead and now trails the Republican 49 – 44 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.So, while there is plenty of momentum for the Republican candidates, it appears that Democrats are becoming more energized.
This compares to a 54 – 39 percent Corbett lead in a September 21 likely voter survey by the independent Quinnipiac University.
In today’s results, Corbett leads 86 – 7 percent among Republicans and 58 – 32 percent among independent voters, while Onorato is ahead 87 – 9 percent among Democrats. Only 6 percent of likely voters remain undecided. Sixteen percent of Onorato voters and 14 percent of Corbett backers say they might change their mind before Election Day.
“As we get closer to Election Day, Democrats are showing more interest in voting. This is often the case in off-year elections and that makes this a more competitive race,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato has the momentum, but Attorney General Tom Corbett still has the five-point lead with 11 days to go.
The GOTV effort will likely be a huge factor for this mid-term election.
Ah, the incoherent ramblings of a man who is completely and utterly insane:
If Mitt Romney were to become the next president, America would be done as an experiment in freedom. We would see this 235-year experiment in liberty perish before our eyes. That's a guarantee.If I'm Mitt Romney, I take all of this in stride baby. Who would want the endorsement of Joseph Farah anyway?
What we need in 2012 is a president who is ready, willing and able to overturn all of Barack Obama's misdeeds and then some. As president, Mitt Romney would ensure that would never happen. That's his track record. He's a Republican appeaser – even worse. He himself proudly instituted Obamacare in Massachusetts as governor. He still boasts about it today.
Mitt Romney is the most dangerous man in America today because he is the only GOP presidential contender about whom I can make such an unequivocal statement. If he wins, we lose. America's toast.
I'm serious about this.
All the positive energy that was stirred up throughout middle America because of Obama's misdeeds will have nowhere to be channeled if he's the nominee.
Honestly, if he's the nominee, America's only hope will be revolution.
Also, does anyone find it supremely interesting that Farah is a Birther and he doesn't think that the usurper Sotero-Obama is the "most dangerous man in the America today"? It's almost as if Farah has given up on the Crusade for the Certificate...
21 October 2010
Juan Williams' comments are nothing, NOTHING compared to this kind of bile.
Williams was pointing out that he, and many Americans, harbor feelings of fear toward Muslims. While that admission is insensitive and offensive to the point that it pre-judges an entire religion, whether we like it or not, it is still the truth for some people.
Fox Newsbag seen above trumpets nothing but a lie. All terrorists are NOT Muslims.
Not even close.
"Everybody wants to know what I'm going to be for Halloween. I can tell you I certainly am not going to be a witch. I was thinking about just going as Dorothy. I killed the witch. There you go." -Christine O'Donnell, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Delaware, in an interview with ABC News.
Yes, Miss O'Donnell, I have a follow-up question: Didn't you say that you weren't going to do any more national media interviews? Yeah. You did. Your response?
...and it continues to look like good news (or better news at least) for Representative Joe Sestak (D):
The race for Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate seat is now a statistical dead heat with Republican Pat Toomey getting 48 percent of likely voters to 46 percent for Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.I disagree on the "Pennsylvania is a blue state" bit though. We're not. Trust me. James Carville said it best (albeit without tact).
This compares to a 50 - 43 percent likely voter lead for Toomey, a former congressman, in a September 22 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.
Toomey is beating Sestak 88 - 8 percent among Republicans and 56 - 35 percent among independent voters. But Sestak is winning 89 - 7 percent among Democrats. Thirteen percent of Toomey's voters and 9 percent of Sestak backers say they might change their mind before Election Day. The 5 percent of undecided voters includes 9 percent of independent voters.
"Pennsylvania is a blue state and Democrats there have begun to come home," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "They are more engaged than they were earlier in the race. This is not unusual, especially in off-year elections. Democrats often engage later in the campaign than do Republicans. The political environment is more favorable now for them, as evidenced by President Barack Obama's improved, but still decidedly negative, job approval rating."
I had previously been more-than-somewhat skeptical of Sestak-favorable polling because it was primarily being generated by Democratic-leaning pollsters such as PPP Polling. But, yesterday we had Muhlenberg/Morning Call, and now today we see Quinnipiac University polling and I think that it is difficult to ignore that the Sestak campaign is making something of a comeback. Again.
That said, I am still sticking with my analysis from yesterday:
[N]o matter how many polling outfits swing favorability to Joe Setak, I think that this election is Pat Toomey's to lose.Shhh. Can you hear that? I think that I can hear B-Diddy phoning in another donation to the Toomey campaign right now...
NPR News has terminated the contract of longtime news analyst Juan Williams after remarks he made on the Fox News Channel about Muslims.Here is the video in question:
Williams appeared Monday on The O'Reilly Factor, and host Bill O'Reilly asked him to comment on the idea that the U.S. is facing a dilemma with Muslims.
O'Reilly has been looking for support for his own remarks on a recent episode of ABC's The View in which he directly blamed Muslims for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walked off the set in the middle of his appearance.
Williams responded: "Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
Williams also warned O'Reilly against blaming all Muslims for "extremists," saying Christians shouldn't be blamed for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
But strong criticism followed Williams' comments.
Late Wednesday night, NPR issued a statement praising Williams as a valuable contributor but saying it had given him notice that it is severing his contract. "His remarks on The O'Reilly Factor this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR," the statement read.
For starters, I must say that I whole-heartedly disagree with Williams' portrayal of the proposed Park51 project. He is drinking the Bill O'Reilly/Sean Hannity/Glenn Beck Kool-Aid that this building will somehow be a "victory mosque" -- which is completely absurd (and I've talked about it many times before). That said, I don't think that Williams said anything overly (or at least intentionally) offensive here.
Looking only at this ThinkProgress clip, I can see why some liberals have their panties in a bunch. But that is not the entire segment. Williams goes on to tell O'Reilly that he needs to "be careful" (to which O'Reilly adamantly refuses) when speaking in generalities about a religion that includes billions of people.
Is it somewhat insensitive to admit that you get scared when you see someone dressed in traditional Muslim garb? Sure. But, the fact that Williams admits his fear signals that he doesn't want to be afraid, that his fear is irrational, and that he wants to work past that fear. Moreover, Williams goes on to argue the exact opposite of what many in the progressive community are accusing him: acceptance and understanding of others' religious liberties and customs.
Doug Mataconis points out -- I think rightly so -- that Williams' dismissal from NPR has some very interesting and similar parallels to the Shirley Sherrod incident earlier this year. In both cases, the speaker has comments taken out-of-context by political opportunists and, as a result of the ensuing commotion, gets fired from his or her job.
Shirley Sherrod was offered to go back to work with the USDA. Now the question remains, will NPR do the same for Juan Williams?
20 October 2010
The Brits are tightening their belts...
Fighting record debt, the British government on Wednesday outlined the largest cuts to public spending since World War II — slashing benefits and thousands of public sector jobs with an austerity plan aimed at restoring the nation's finances....and they should be. And so should Americans. It's time to get serious about paying down our nation's debt.
After the country spent billions bailing out indebted banks, and suffered a squeeze on tax revenue and an increase in welfare bills, Treasury chief George Osborne staked the coalition government's future on tough economic remedies.
Osborne confirmed there would be 81 billion pounds ($128 billion) in spending cuts through 2015, which he claims are necessary along with some tax increases to wipe out a spending deficit of 109 billion pounds ($172 billion).
As many as 500,000 public sector jobs will be lost, about 18 billion pounds ($28.5 billion) axed from welfare payments and the pension age raised to 66 by 2020, earlier than previously planned.
Even Queen Elizabeth II will take a hit, asked to trim the budget the government provides for her palaces and staff by 14 percent.
Hugh Jackman talks Wolverine 2 with Vanity Fair's Vulture:
This is Wolverine. This is not Popeye. He’s kind of dark… But, you know, this is a change of pace. Chris McQuarrie, who wrote The Usual Suspects, has written the script, so that’ll give you a good clue. [Darren Aronofsky is] going to make it fantastic. There’s going to be some meat on the bones. There will be something to think about as you leave the theater, for sure.Wait. Wait. Wait.
The dude who wrote The Usual Suspects is writing Wolvie 2? Oh, hell yeah.
Have you seen Suspects? If not, you really should. I watched that movie when I was in high school and it's STILL, to this very day, blowing my mind...
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, in a scrap for his political life, has lent his campaign $200,000, according to newly filed financial records.My emphases, and I emphasized those particular points for a reason.
Frank (D-Newton), who’s facing a stiff challenge in the 4th Congressional District from upstart Republican Sean Bielat, sent his campaign the cash Tuesday, Federal Election Commission records show. The loan was first reported today by Washington-based Web site Politico.com.
Frank filed a new campaign finance disclosure this week which reported that he raised $316,000 and had more than $1 million in his war chest. Bielat, a Marine and business consultant, has $364,000 in his campaign account.
Bielat has been dubbed a “Young Gun” by the national GOP, which has targeted the race as part of a nationwide campaign to pick up congressional seats. A poll released by Frank’s campaign this week showed the 15-term congressman up by 19 points.
"...in a scrap for his political life" does not correlate with Frank being "up by 19 points". Does it? Am I missing something here? Since when does being up by nearly 20 points constitute a bitter election battle?
Postscript: Please do note the lack of irony in the two of the three post-tags ('Barney Frank' and 'Poll Smoking'). After all, these are the legitimate topics of this post.
Here we go, again? Really?
In a voice mail message left at 7:31 a.m. on Oct. 9, a Saturday, Virginia Thomas asked her husband’s former aide-turned-adversary to make amends. Ms. Hill played the recording, from her voice mail at Brandeis University, for The New York Times.....and now we can re-open that whole fiasco once again. Yay.
“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas,” it said. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.”
Ms. Thomas went on: “So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. O.K., have a good day.”
Photo: Bill Snead
...unless there is some H U G E bombshell that rocks the Cuomo campaign onto it's heels, Paladino appears to be finished. Here is the latest polling from Siena College (.pdf):
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo has extended his lead over Republican Carl Paladino to an overwhelming 63-26 percent among likely voters. With 69 percent of voters having an unfavorable view of Paladino, he is viewed far more unfavorably that Governor David Paterson, who is viewed unfavorably by 58 percent, according to a Siena College poll of likely New York voters released today.David Paterson is unpopular, but Carl Paladino makes him look like a rock star.
Okay, maybe not a rock star, but you get the point.
This election is now Andrew Cuomo's to lose. And, given Paladino's performance thus far (ahem, ahem, ahem), Cuomo ain't gonna lose.
...and this one is from the non-partisan Muhlenberg/Morning Call poll:
Joe Sestak has pulled ahead of Pat Toomey after trailing for months in their closely watched Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race, an independent poll confirms.Well, if Pat Toomey is "hard to distinguish from Rick Santorum", then Sestak has this one in the bag. Pennsylvanians did not like him in 2006.
Democrat Sestak now leads Republican Toomey 44 percent to 41 percent with 15 percent undecided, a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College Tracker poll shows.
The numbers are the first from a nonpartisan source to confirm the race has tightened two weeks before Election Day.
In May, the same tracking poll was the first to show Sestak catching and eventually surpassing U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary. A tracking poll shows who's ahead and by how much each day until the election.
Many experts credited the Delaware County congressman's victory over Specter to an electorate unhappy with the 30-year incumbent senator, not because they were overly impressed with the younger, upstart Navy admiral.
But maybe Sestak's political prowess is vastly underestimated. He's an unconventional campaigner and less-than-stellar orator, but he plays the part of tenacious underdog well.
"He's off the charts in terms of his energy and work ethic," Muhlenberg pollster Chris Borick said. "There is something to be said for sheer tenacity."
Republicans are expected to make gains across the country this mid-term election by capitalizing on nationwide frustration with the slow pace of the economy. Toomey's message of smaller government and fewer taxes seems to be resonating even in Pennsylvania, which tilts Democratic.
It's hard to explain Sestak's latest apparent comeback. There's a sense that faithful Democrats are paying closer attention in the closing weeks as President Barack Obama crisscrosses the country making the case for keeping Democrats in charge.
And Sestak's campaign appears adept at using an opponent's own words against him in political TV ads. On air now is a commercial showing Toomey, a former Lehigh Valley congressman, saying his voting record is "hard to distinguish from Rick Santorum's."
However, I think that the most interesting factor in this poll is not that Sestak has gained and surpassed Toomey -- but rather that the data is coming from a non-partisan pollster.
With the recent polling data coming from Democratic-leaning pollsters, I have been more-than-somewhat skeptical at the results. When you add the Muhlenberg/Morning Call poll into the mix, I am wont to take a closer look at the trend lines.
Moreover, what will this type of polling do for the respective campaigns? I think that two varying arguments can be made here...
1) Perhaps most obviously, all of these recent polls could greatly help Sestak's campaign. The positive press that he gets can/will surely boost his perceived electability with moderate and independent voters, not to mention Democrats.
2) But what of the possible negative impact of these types of polls? What happens if Democrats -- who are already predisposed to feelings of electoral malaise -- see the positive numbers for Sestak and decide to "sit this one out"? According to these polls, Sestak may be catching up to Toomey, but it is still clear that Sestak needs every vote that he can get. If Democrats get lazy or feelings of indifference, then the election will undoubtedly go to Toomey.
The bottom line is this: no matter how many polling outfits swing favorability to Joe Setak, I think that this election is Pat Toomey's to lose. Sestak was a relative unknown when the general election campaign started. Everyone, including Yours Truly, thought that this election was going to be between Pat Toomey and Arlen Specter -- but Sestak beat Specter in the primary and now all bets are off.
Photo: Harry Hamburg/AP photo
19 October 2010
Last week, there were some polling numbers that contradicted each other, but PPP released their latest round of polling for the race for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania this morning -- and it looks like good news for the Sestak campaign:
Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak has cut deeply into Republican rival Pat Toomey’s lead in Pennsylvania’s competitive Senate race and now holds a 1-percentage-point edge, according to a new poll.While the polls that show Joe Sestak pulling even with (or even ahead of) Pat Toomey are few and far between, I think that they should not be discounted. The Keystone State is solidly purple and, despite the President's low approval ratings, I think that Pennsylvanians could go either way in this race.
The survey released Tuesday by Democratic-allied Public Policy Polling found Sestak winning 46 percent of the vote to Toomey’s 45 percent support, within the 3.7 percent margin of error. That’s a stark turnaround from PPP’s survey in August, when Toomey, a former three-term congressman, held a 9-percentage-point edge.
Though it’s only the second public poll to show a significantly closer race, the results echo internal polling from both parties, which increasingly forecast a tight contest within the margin of error. That narrowing has come as Sestak’s campaign increases its TV ad buys and more voters tune into the race. A Rasmussen Reports survey released last week found Toomey still enjoying a 10-percentage-point lead.
Although, my gut continues to tell me that Toomey will eke out a win in November...
In case it wasn't clear already, the governor from New Jersey is beginning to quote William Sherman to bat down insinuation of a possible presidential run:
So, he says he’s out there saying the state is cutting spending without raising taxes, but stresses, again, that he’s not running for president.Heh.
Christie says, “If nominated, I shall not run. If elected, I shall not serve. How about that? I’ll try that one tonight.”
Photo: Ed Murray/The Star-Ledger
Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell of Delaware on Tuesday questioned whether the U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, appearing to disagree or not know that the First Amendment bars the government from establishing religion.If the Tea Party is truly the movement that represents the Constitution, then they need to run from O'Donnell as quickly as their metaphorical feet will allow.
The exchange came in a debate before an audience of legal scholars and law students at Widener University Law School, as O'Donnell criticized Democratic nominee Chris Coons' position that teaching creationism in public school would violate the First Amendment by promoting religious doctrine.
Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that "religious doctrine doesn't belong in our public schools."
"Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?" O'Donnell asked him.
When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O'Donnell asked: "You're telling me that's in the First Amendment?"
To claim to be the candidate who is all about the Constitution of the United States and returning to what the forefathers intended, and literally not know the First Amendment includes the separation of religion and government, is more-than-dumbfounding to me. How can an O'Donnell supporter even begin to defend such ignorance?
I can't wait to hear the spin...
The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alaska can't seem to catch a break. First you have Miller's "security detail" arresting and detaining a blogger/journalist at a campaign event: P
rivate security guards working for Joe Miller, the Tea Party Senate candidate who defines himself as a constitutional conservative, handcuffed and detained the editor of an Alaska news website who was attempting to ask Miller a question at a public town hall event Sunday....now we have Miller reversing his previous statements on alleged ethics violations:
Tony Hopfinger, editor of Alaska Dispatch, says he was thrown against a wall and handcuffed by men wearing suits with Dropzone Security Services, which is employed by the Miller campaign.
Republican U.S. Senate nominee Joe Miller acknowledged Monday that he was disciplined for violating the Fairbanks North Star Borough's ethics policy in 2008 when he was a part-time borough lawyer.It looks like Lisa Murkowski may not lose her seat after all...
The statement, made in an interview on CNN, represents a reversal for Miller, who vowed last week not to answer any questions about his past after questions were raised about his borough work history. Miller, while continuing to refuse to speak with the Daily News and some other Alaska news media, went on CNN on Monday and conceded to anchor John King that he had been disciplined.
"John, I'll admit I'm a man of many flaws. I'm not going to sit back and say that I've conducted my life perfectly," Miller told the CNN anchor. "I will tell you that anything that I've done that's not right, it's been accounted for and it's been taken care of and I move on and I learn from mistakes."
So, do you remember when Katie Couric asked then-VP-candidate Sarah Palin what newspapers she reads? It appears that we can scratch The New York Times off of the list...
Head nod: GOP12
18 October 2010
A very, errr, interesting Colorado senatorial debate on Meet The Press yesterday between incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet and the Republican challenger Ken Buck. Most notable:
Mr. Buck I want to start with you. The issue of gays in our country, in a debate last month you expressed your support for "don't ask, don't tell," which we talked about with Mr. Gibbs, and you alluded to lifestyle choices. Do you believe that being gay is a choice?So there you have it folks, you can't choose to be an alcoholic, but you can choose whether or not your are going to be gay.
MR. BUCK: I do.
MR. GREGORY: Based on what?
MR. BUCK: Based on what?
MR. GREGORY: Yeah.
MR. BUCK: Well...
MR. GREGORY: Why do you believe that?
MR. BUCK: Well, I guess you can, you can choose who your partner is.
MR. GREGORY: You don't think it's something that's determined at birth?
MR. BUCK: I, I, I think that birth has an influence over like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you, you have a choice.
I'm so glad that Ken Buck cleared that up for us.
Photo: NBC News
This is what I look like today. No joke. Throw a beard and glasses on that guy, and it's me.
If you follow my Twitter feed (and why the hell don't you?), you probably noticed a couple of tweets yesterday wherein I complained of feeling a bit under the proverbial weather. Things haven't gotten all that much better since then.
So, I might get a post or two in today... and I might not. No big deal. As long as I don't pass out at my desk, I'll consider it a good day.
17 October 2010
16 October 2010
15 October 2010
In case you were sleeping under a rock yesterday, you might have missed this, errrr, interesting exchange on The View. Of course, after the video became viral, folks on the left and right were clamoring to denounce O'Reilly's speech and Goldberg & Behar's actions.
Peter Wehner tackles Bill O'Reilly's wrong-ness:
O’Reilly’s claim is unfair – and O’Reilly should understand why. Here’s an illustration that might help clarify things. Assume that Sam Harris went on The O’Reilly Factor and, based on the child-abuse scandals that tarnished the reputation of the Catholic Church, made the sweeping claim that “Catholics are child molesters.” My guess is that O’Reilly would (rightly) respond, “No. Some priests molested children, and it was a horrific thing. But you can’t indict an entire faith based on the sins of a relatively few number of priests.”Very well put. Moreover, I think that Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar weren't the only ones on stage who looked pretty stupid.
We shouldn’t kid ourselves; there is a not-insignificant strand of people in the Muslim world who align themselves with the ideology of al-Qaeda – and an even larger number who more or less accept its narrative of history. The condemnations by more moderate Muslims against its militant strand could certainly be more muscular. At the same time, the militant Islamists who attacked us on 9/11 don’t represent the vast majority of Muslims in the world – and certainly not the views of most Muslim Americans.
I understand that in the midst of a passionate debate on television, you can say things in imprecise and offensive ways; we have to leave some room for that to happen in our public discourse. We’re all fallible, and we all, from time to time, say things we wish we could take back. Words that wound shouldn’t necessarily be a hanging offense. Still, I do wish that, on reflection, Mr. O’Reilly, rather than defending his comments, had simply said that in thinking over his statement, he made a mistake. His comment was far too sweeping. It was, in fact, an unfair indictment against all Muslims. And the distinction between radical Islamists and the wider Muslim world (including, of course, Muslim Americans) is important to maintain.
The ladies could have sat there and pointed-out that O'Reilly's sweeping generalization about Muslims was grossly unfair. They could have explained that, while he surely is passionate about this topic, to suggest that all Muslims attacked the United State on September 11th is nothing short of preposterous.
But, to make things exciting for the teevees, they decided to get up and walk out, thus effectively ending the debate.
Warner Brothers has released three new posters in anticipation of the upcoming film. My favorite:
You can view the other two posters at GeekTyrant.
Everything that I've read seems to be quite tame. Craig Crawford has a pretty good summary:
Candidates are so scripted that even their debates are live performances of TV ads. Harry Reid and Sharron Angle stuck to their ad lines Thursday in a Las Vegas showdown. Reid pressed the message that his GOP Senate challenger is extreme - so extreme that he used the word throughout the debate. Angle often used exact words from her ads, claiming Reid wants to give tax breaks and Social Security to illegal immigrants. For all the jabs back and forth this was a classic example of a debate that could have been nearly duplicated by instead screening the ads.Doug thinks that Angle won. But barely:
In the end, though, neither candidate acquitted themselves very well last night. However, this was Harry Reid’s debate to win or lose. As a five-term incumbent, he shouldn’t even be in this fight for his political life and the question going in to the debate was whether he would be able to give Nevada voters a reason to vote for him rather than Angle. He failed.Personally, I tend to agree with Doug on this point.
This was Reid's debate (and election) to lose -- and he appears to be doing a damn-good-job of it on his own.
Make no mistake, Sharron Angle is a terrible choice for Nevada voters. But, given Harry Reid's record and his performance in this campaign, I will not be the least surprised if/when Angle emerges victorious.
... for not burning the Muslim holy book:
SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey car dealer plans to keep his word after offering Florida pastor Terry Jones a new car if he promised to not burn a Quran....but it's a Hyundai! Why does Terry Jones hate America?!?!?!
Car dealer Brad Benson made the offer in one of his dealership's quirky radio ads, which focus more on current events than cars. But he was surprised when a representative for Jones called to collect the 2011 Hyundai Accent, which retails for $14,200.
"They said unless I was doing false advertising, they would like to arrange to pick up the car," Benson recalled. At first he thought it was a hoax, so Benson asked Jones to send in a copy of his driver's license. He did.
Jones, of Gainesville, Fla., never burned a Quran but told The Associated Press on Thursday that the offer of a car was not the reason, saying he learned about the offer a few weeks after Sept. 11.
He said he plans to donate the car to an organization that helps abused Muslim women.
"We are not trying to profit from this. We are not keeping the car for ourselves," Jones said by telephone from California, where he was taping television appearances.
The pastor will have to pick up the car at Brad Benson Mitsubishi Hyundai in South Brunswick so he can fill out paperwork. No date has been set for the handover.
So, now the crackpots are going to come out of the woodwork. But at least the guy honored his word.