Thursday, November 29, 2007

Massachusetts should have waited on the primary

As expected, Governor Deval Patrick earlier this week signed the bill moving our presidential primary from the first Tuesday in March to February 5. February 5 is the date that many other large states--including New York, California, Florida--are holding their primaries. Many observers expect that the primaries will essentially be over after the fifth.

That was the idea behind Massachusetts moving up; state leaders were afraid that the nominees would have already been chosen by the time came for us to vote, and by moving to February, Massachusetts would have more of a say in the primary process.

I think moving the primary up was a mistake. I don't believe the commonwealth will have more power in the nominating process and I don't think candidates will spend any more money or time in the state in an effort to woo voters.

We already get as much coverage, commercials, and information about the candidates as anyone else in the country, seeing as the Boston media is the largest player in New Hampshire. Most candidates have already started blanketing the Boston stations with their ads, the city's news organizations devote significant resources to the New Hampshire primary, and candidates heading to the Granite State frequently stop in Boston to tap into the coffers of wealthy Democrats. None of that will change with a February election. And with other delegate-rich states up for grabs on the same day, I would expect candidates to concentrate their efforts in areas where the voters haven't already been engaged.

However, if the nominations weren't wrapped up on February 5, those states who hold later primaries will be in the position of king-maker. Let's say that on February 5, Hillary Clinton wins the east and west coasts, Barack Obama ekes out victories in the Midwest, and John Edwards pulls out a state or two in the South. Suddenly, instead of having a clear-cut nominee, you have two strong candidates that still need a few hundred delegates to go over the top. (The same thing could happen on the Republican side, too).

By holding on to their March date, the commonwealth could have set themselves up to be the most important constituency of the nominating process. Sure, the risk is that our votes would mean nothing, but it seems to me that in this, of all election cycles, the risk would be worth the potential reward.

Instead, we follow along with everyone else, and ensure that our influence will be diluted.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mitt's "Sanctuary Mansion" and other thoughts on tonight's GOP debate, Part 2

All right, here comes the second half of the debate, (part one is here) started by a crazy gun nut.
  • Speaking as someone else from a small town, I don't have any affinity at all for guns.

  • The whole gun thing is weird to me. This guy is asking about an old Giuliani quote suggesting that gun owners should have to take a test. Here's the thing I find fascinating. Many Republicans who would be against a "test" to own a firearm would, in some cases, be the same people who would be in favor of similar restrictions on voting rights.

  • Mitt Romney: The way to fix the problems of the inner city are to get "more moms and dads." Oh brother! What a naive gas bag. Would Romney be willing to allow the illegal immigrant mothers and fathers of American citizens to stay? That would keep more moms and dads in the inner city.

  • Giuliani is really in a rough spot with the gun control laws and abortion questions.

  • Huckabee is so good. I'm telling you, he could almost convince me that the Death Penalty is OK. He can't, but he's a very attractive candidate.

  • Oh geez, and now they ask Giuliani about the Bible. Could he be any more uncomfortable?

  • Why can't Mitt Romney answer a simple question about whether or not he believes the Bible is literal or not? Any time he is asked a yes or no question, you can see that he just dies inside.

  • Huckabee, on the other hand, hit the question out of the park. What a contrast. Where it was obvious that Romney and Giuliani were scared to death of answering incorrectly, Huckabee is obviously so comfortable with the topic (as an ordained minister) that he could say that parts of the Bible were allegorical and you knew he meant it, and believed it.

  • Funny stuff from Giuliani. King Kong and less snow. Nice.

  • This woman is dressed like a Muslim and has an Arabic sounding name, but she keeps saying "eye-rack" instead if "ee-rock". She sounds more like George Bush Sr. than someone of Middle Eastern descent.

  • What a bunch of war-mongers. McCain can't have it both ways. Saying he's in favor of the war and the surge, but that he's against Rumsfeld won't fly as well as he thinks it will.

  • Andrew Jones of Seattle, WA has the American flag backwards in his video. I wonder if he realizes he's being unpatriotic.

  • Oh, there goes Romney again, explaining why he won't answer a question. This thing about not wanting to answer about waterboarding because he doesn't think a president should tip his hand about what interrogation techniques is baloney. He doesn't want to answer because he doesn't want to be pinned down by his opponents.

  • Good for McCain for skewering Romney on his wishy-washiness. Either you're for torture or you're an American.

  • Thompson is just a taller older Mitt Romney. He doesn't stand for anything either.

  • Well, I guess it took me about 95 minutes to be totally fed up with these guys. I should get a medal for my patience.

  • I give McCain credit. I think he's a true believer. I think he's wrong, but I think he is genuinely committed, unlike President Bush, who goes along to get along.

  • Thompson wants a powerful VP because if elected, he plans on napping frequently.

  • Have you heard that Duncan Hunter built a fence?

  • What an uncomfortable round of applause for the gay man. I wonder how many people in the room are seeing an openly gay man for the first time.

  • So let me get this straight, political conservatives shouldn't be forced to fight along side gays?

  • And there goes Mitt dodging again. Either you stand by your support of gays in the military, or you no longer support it. This "I'm going to do what the military leaders tell me to do" is both disingenuous and dangerous. It's disingenuous because he's obviously just trying to avoid answering (for good reason, either he's a flip-flopper or a liberal based on his answer). It's dangerous because the president is the civilian in charge of the armed forces, not the other way around. He is elected to tell the military what to do, not to take orders from them. If we wanted to take orders from generals, we would have set this country up as a military dictatorship.

  • No Rudy, Blacks don't vote for Republicans because they know that 1/3 of you hate them and wish the Confederacy had won.
And my tape has run out. Guess the debate ran a little long.

Winners and Losers? I'd say the Huckabee train continues to pick up speed. He was really good. I think he connects with voters and comes across as a leader. Giuliani and McCain were OK, although Rudy had a rough when the subject turned to guns, abortion, and the Bible. Romney had a really bad night, to the point that he was being booed and heckled after the 14th time he refused to give a straight answer. Thompson was also a disappointment.


Mitt's "Sanctuary Mansion" and other thoughts on tonight's GOP debate, Part 1

You're looking not quite live at...well, I'm not exactly sure where they're at, but it doesn't really matter since the questions are all coming via YouTube. It's the Republicans' turn, and you just know they're terrified of being the one to get the question from the snowman. And away we go...
  • They're in St. Petersburg, Florida, FWIW.

  • I would not have figured that big guy would have that little squeaky voice, although I hear that's not too unusual for Florida's Republicans.

  • Did Duncan Hunter just say "Thanks Dad?"

  • Governor Crist just called the Colorado rep "Tom Cantredo."

  • OK, enough of this stuff, let's get on with it.
  • Chuck Norris in the house.

  • Oh Dear God, here we go. A friggin' song? This is worse than that awful Terry Cashman stuff they insist on singing at Fenway whenever the Red Sox have a ceremony. I'm embarrassed for these guys.

  • Can you really "deploy a fence," Rudy? How do you do that?

  • Mitt Romney owns a "sanctuary mansion." Nice line. That is the way to go after Mitt. Get him riled up. That's exactly what Ted Kennedy did when Romney started to challenge him in 1994. Get him red-faced and let him implode. Good start for Rudy.

  • I wonder how many Canadians really want to come here right now. If I lived in Canada, I'm not sure what America holds at this moment in history that would be more attractive than the great white North.

  • The idea of cutting off federal money for sanctuary cities is more bluster than anything else. How much federal money actually goes directly to American cities?

  • Good grief, who is the Hank Williams, Jr. wannabe?

  • Tom Tancredo: "I'm not going to aid any more immigration into this country."

  • Sigh. Duncan Hunter continues to claim "I built that fence." If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to find a picture of Duncan Hunter building that damn fence.

  • Mike Huckabee gave an excellent answer on education for children. Romney seems like a grinch in comparison. I think Huckabee won the day.

  • Unbelievable. Ron Paul actually does believe in the North American Union. This guy gave him a softball where he could have proven that he isn't really a nutcase, and, well...he is really a nutcase.

  • Instead of sending bills full of pork back to congress, I wonder if Romney would rather send it to the Muslims he won't appoint to his cabinet. That'll show 'em.

  • Fred doesn't have the kind of specific answers that this questioner wants. He has no idea of three programs to cut.

  • These guys are serious about dumping the income tax. I'll go on the record right now as saying they'll never dump the income tax.

  • The US did not allow Hitler to come to power through isolationism. To blame WWII on the America First crowd as McCain did is an incredible distortion.

  • Looks like no one in Florida cares at all about farm subsidies. Those of us in Massachusetts don't either.

  • Oh good, here come the videos. And Tom Tancredo can't even string together a 30-second clip of his speeches without stammering and fumbling his words. He might be the least articulate candidate since Admiral Stockdale.

  • Duncan Hunter wants us to Buy American. Good Luck. I don't think there is any way we can go through a day without using anything from overseas. In fact, my shirt was made in Bangladesh, my slippers were made in China, my running pants are a product of Taiwan, and my underpants are from El Salvador. If I only went American, I'd be naked most of the time.

  • Fred Thompson's little video was an attack ad? Are you kidding me? The man clearly has no rationale for running. He has nothing to say.
It's been 55 minutes. I'll end the first round here. I'd say Huckabee and Giuliani are probably winning so far. Romney has been battered pretty hard and hasn't looked good. Thompson hasn't been very good either. More to come...


Maybe he'll come to Clinton, too

In Iowa Monday, my favorite presidential candidate said that if he's elected, he'll spend the night with "average Americans" as he travels around the country.

Maybe he can follow the lead of the last president to do that very thing, and come to Clinton. Better yet, if he comes to Sterling, he can stay with us.

(via TPM Election Central)


Monday, November 19, 2007

Now this is a political ad

Best ad of the year, courtesy of the Mike Huckabee campaign.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 11

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Green Bay (-9.5) over Carolina
Minnesota (-4.5) over Oakland
Jacksonville (-3) over San Diego
Cincinnati (-3) over Arizona
Indianapolis (-14.5 ) over Kansas City
New Orleans (+1.5) over Houston
Detroit (+3) over N.Y. Giants
Cleveland (-3) over Baltimore
Miami (+9.5) over Philadelphia
Tampa Bay (-3) over Atlanta
N.Y. Jets (+9.5) over Pittsburgh
Seattle (-5.5) over Chicago
Dallas (-11) over Washington
San Francisco (+3) over St. Louis
Buffalo (+16) over New England
Denver (-2) over Tennessee

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   5- 8- 1   .393
SEASON 64-71- 9 .476
THIS WEEK 0- 0- 0 .000
SEASON 64-71- 9 .476
Straight Up
LAST WEEK   5- 9      .357
SEASON 94-50 .653
THIS WEEK 0- 0 .000
SEASON 94-50 .653

Friday, November 16, 2007

Governor Patrick goes too far on casino bill

I haven't completely decided whether or not I think casino gambling in Massachusetts is a great idea. I tend to think that opening one or more casinos would probably be in the state's best interest--that the rewards would outweigh the risks--but it's possible that someone might talk me out of it.

But regardless of my soft support for the concept of casinos, I cannot support Governor Patrick's version of the bill. The part of the bill that puts me over the edge--and the part that should worry both gamblers and non-gamblers alike--is this little tidbit the Globe uncovered earlier this week:
Even as Governor Deval Patrick seeks to license three resort casinos in Massachusetts, he hopes to clamp down on the explosion in Internet gambling by making it illegal for state residents to place a bet on line. He has proposed jail terms of up to two years and $25,000 fines for violators.

The provision, buried deep in Patrick's bill to allow three casinos to the state, puts the governor at odds with a fellow Democrat: US Representative Barney Frank, the sponsor of federal legislation to license and regulate online gambling nationally. Yesterday Frank strongly criticized the governor's plan to punish online gamers while inviting casino operators to set up shop.

"Why is gambling in a casino OK and gambling on the Internet is not?" Frank said. "He's making a big mistake. He's giving opponents an argument against him."
He's also giving his supporters an argument against him. Many of the folks who would support the opening of casinos in the state also gamble online. I play poker online. Not a ton, but I have an account with a poker site and play five-dollar games and tournaments every once in a while. I'll be damned if I'm going to be fined or sent to jail because I want to play cards online.

But more than just the selfish argument that I don't want one of my forms of entertainment taken away, I don't want the government making those decisions for me. Congressman Frank is right. It is hypocritical and invasive for the state to decide that any behavior is OK if it is done in a state-sponsored venue, but illegal in the privacy of my own home. It would be like allowing smoking only in government buildings or state-sponsored smoke houses, but not in one's residence.

Patrick's proposal has led me and others like Harvey Silvergate to wonder if the governor's form of "liberalism" leaves "liberty" out of the equation:
Far from taking a pro-liberty position, it appears that Patrick’s support for casino development in this state is premised entirely on the real or imagined economic benefits – and specifically the taxes and other revenue the state would be pocketing, at least at the start, from introducing casinos....

This kind of unprincipled pragmatism – which rejects the necessity of certain liberties, like the liberty to engage in private gambling even in the shadow of glitzy, state-sponsored public gambling – gives the committed civil libertarian pause about how extensive Governor Patrick’s commitment to freedom is.
Governor Patrick should remove the online gambling prohibition from his casino proposal. Failing that, the legislature should either reject the proposal altogether, or pass their own version of a casino bill which protects individual liberties.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

"We need a collegeral collaboration." and other thoughts on tonights Democratic debate

You know, I wasn't going to blog tonight's democratic debate, but then Wolf Blitzer lied and said this was the first ever debate in Nevada (what about this one?), and Chris Dodd came out and appeared to have dyed his eyebrows gray (finally!) and I said "Who am I kidding, I'm going to sit here and snark anyway." So away we go...

  • Or not. Wolf is still talking. Michelle asks "Is Campbell Brown pregnant?" (Eight months so, apparently).

  • Hillary says she is wearing an asbestos suit. No one laughs. It wasn't that funny.

  • Why does the first question of every debate have to go to Hillary about whether or not she can be elected, and the second one go to Obama about why she can't. Do the networks actually think that they've come up with something new?

  • Michelle: "She looks really funny standing like that." I keep staring at Hillary to see what she's talking about. Michelle is talking about our dog.

  • Obama is not going to take this laying down. Someone in the audience is heckling Wolf for not letting the other candidates answer.

  • Apparently Biden has forgotten that his mic is open. Edwards just said that not everyone is perfect and Biden let out an "Oh, come on!" Does he mean that he (or one of the others) is perfect?

  • Wolf has absolutely no control over this discussion.

  • Fat man with an ugly tie, live on CNN.

  • Joe Biden looks really gray, and he won't shut up.

  • John Roberts is using the republican "you were for it before you were against it" line. He should be called on that.

  • John Edwards just can't stay on the attack. He's all over the place. Does he want to let Hillary have it, or does he want to talk about poverty. He started by talking about Hillary's inability to hold a position.

  • Michelle says Dodd looks like he had his eyebrows trimmed, but not dyed. They just look lighter because they aren't as thick.

  • People are going to take Richardson's exhortation to be positive as lead blocking for Hillary. Hillary's ready applause at the line doesn't change that perception.

  • Obama is fumbling his line about going after employers who hire undocumented immigrants. And now he's clearly uncomfortable defending his position in favor of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. Twisting himself into a pretzel. He clearly knows it's an unpopular position.

  • Chris Dodd says we need "clarity" then he bloviates for 45 seconds before getting to his answer. That is example #1 why a senator hasn't been elected in forever.

  • Michelle has determined that Chris Dodd must have gone to the salon and had a complete makeover. He got his eyebrows trimmed and a "cool dude haircut." I wonder if he got a manicure and wax too. Actually, I wish I hadn't thought of that...

  • Richardson has put on a little weight. And yes, I'm totally not paying attention to anything these guys are saying. I'm listening enough to realize that no one has said anything new, however.

  • Hillary: "we need a collegeral collaboration." I don't believe collegeral is a word...

  • I disagree with the way Wolf has framed the "Is Human Rights more important than American Security?" But more than that, I can't believe that Dodd and Clinton have fallen into the security trap. Human Rights are obviously more important than Security. What is the point of security if we are sacrificing freedom and dignity for it? Security first is a George Bush position.

  • John Edwards just tried to dismiss Kucinich by calling him "cute." He is not connecting. He's not doing well at all.

  • Frankly, I don't think any of them are doing very well. Maybe I've just seen too many of these. No one is wowing me at all.

  • Hillary is going to impose a "trade time-out?" Is it a full time-out, or a 20-second timeout? Do we need to hire Supernanny to put trade in the time-out chair?

  • Obama is "opposed to South Korea." Wonder what they ever did to him.

  • Here is the problem with this and most debates: the reporters and moderators have all of these smart questions that they think they have to ask, so they cut off any real discussion to get to the next question. The whole group was about to get engaged about the issue of China trade after Joe Biden attacked the president, and Wolf Blitzer cut off the back and forth to go to John Roberts for a question about Yucca Mountain. Fine. But what is wrong with letting the candiadtes go and actually debate and challenge each other. I'd much rather hear them go at each other with some passion on the issues, than parry with the reporters.

  • "My opponents are not attacking me because I'm a woman, they're attacking me because I'm ahead." Probably the line of the night.

  • John Edwards gets booed as we go to the break. Seems apropos.

I'm done. If anything in the second half of the debate grabs me, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mike Huckabee: Let's get it on

Mitt Romney decided to attack the one guy on the stump who is sharp enough and funny enough to give it right back, and Mike Huckabee did not disappoint:
Romney criticized Huckabee...for tuition breaks for children of illegal immigrants while governor of Arkansas. "Giving a better deal to the children of illegal aliens than we give to US citizens from surrounding states is simply not fair and not right..."

...Huckabee was more pointed in his response to Romney: "I guess Mitt Romney would rather keep people out of college so they can keep working on his lawn, since he had illegals there."
Zing! That's awesome.


It's been a crazy few weeks, with a business trip to Chicago, followed by a vacation to Louisville (and an afternoon at the RCA Dome to see the Patriots beat the Colts!), and then another business trip, this time to New York.

In other words, I've been neglecting the blog. I've made note of a handful of things that I wanted to write about, but I've been too busy to get to them, and the topics end up becoming stale by the time I get to them.

I know, cry me a river.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of our trip to Louisville...

This might just be the cutest picture I've ever seen.

nov 103
At the park.

nov 127
Feeding parakeets at the zoo.

nov 156 crop
Enjoying the evening.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 10

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Cleveland (+10) over Pittsburgh (W, 28-31)
Green Bay (-6) over Minnesota (W, 34-0)
Washington (-3) over Philadelphia (L, 25-33)
Tennessee (-4) over Jacksonville (L, 13-28)
Carolina (-3.5) over Atlanta (L, 13-20)
Kansas City (-3) over Denver (L, 11-27)
Buffalo (-3) over Miami (T, 13-10)
St. Louis (+10.5) over New Orleans (W, 37-29)
Baltimore (-3.5) over Cincinnati (L, 7-21)
Chicago (-3.5) over Oakland (W, 17-6)
N.Y. Giants (+1.5) over Dallas (L, 20-31)
Detroit (+1.5) over Arizona (L, 21-31)
Indianapolis (-3.5) over San Diego (L, 21-23)
Seattle (-9.5) over San Francisco (W, 24-0)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK  10- 4- 0   .714
SEASON 59-63- 8 .485
THIS WEEK 5- 8- 1 .393
SEASON 64-71- 9 .476
Straight Up
THIS WEEK  11- 3      .786
SEASON 89-41 .685
THIS WEEK 5- 9 .357
SEASON 94-50 .653

Sunday, November 4, 2007

NFL Picks -- Week 9

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Washington (-3.5) over N.Y. Jets (L, 23-20)
Green Bay (+2.5) over Kansas City (W, 33-22)
Tampa Bay (-3.5) over Arizona (W, 17-10)
Tennessee (-5.5) over Carolina (W, 20-7)
Atlanta (-3.5) over San Francisco (W, 20-16)
New Orleans (-3.5) over Jacksonville (W, 41-24)
Detroit (-3) over Denver (W, 44-7)
Buffalo (+1) over Cincinnati (W, 33-21)
Minnesota (+7) over San Diego (W, 35-17)
Cleveland (-1) over Seattle (W, 33-30)
Indianapolis (+5.5) over New England (W, 20-24)
Oakland (-3)
over Houston (L, 17-24)
Philadelphia (+3.5) over Dallas (L, 17-38)
Baltimore (+9) over Pittsburgh (L, 7-38)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   5- 8- 0   .385
SEASON 49-59- 8 .457
THIS WEEK 10- 4- 0 .714
SEASON 59-63- 8 .485
Straight Up
LAST WEEK   8- 5      .615
SEASON 78-38 .672
THIS WEEK 11- 3 .786
SEASON 89-41 .685


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