Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Some have suggested that Edwards won't endorse because he will want to play a role in a populist shift in the Democratic party, and that by siding with one candidate over the other he loses that opportunity. If that is the case, however, why wouldn't Edwards stay in the race, participate in tomorrow night's debate, and remain part of the national conversation? Quitting now robs him of whatever spotlight he had left.
The only reason Edwards would drop out is if he thought he could achieve more by endorsing a candidate BEFORE 2/5. His endorsement will mean far less after that. Expect an Edwards endorsement, likely of Obama, in the next few days.
Apparently, despite the fact that medical marijuana is legal in California (as it should be, given that doctors prescribe far more dangerous drugs in the appropriate circumstances), employers can still refuse to hire someone because he or she failed a drug test because of it. This is legal even if the person's medical condition qualifies as a disability, whether the disability impairs the person's ability to do the job or not.
This is the exactly what anti-discrimination laws in hiring practices are supposed to prevent: the refusal to hire someone based on something outside of his control that has no bearing on his or her ability to do his or her job. This kind of discrimination is based on the irrational fear of a particular drug, independent of any affects on someone's ability to perform a job.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
1. John McCain. Everyone seems to be endorsing McCain today. Fresh off of South Carolina, McCain will narrowly prevail over Romney (whose pandering on state wide hurricane insurance will get him nowhere).
2. Mitt Romney. This one will be close.
3. Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani really is a second tier candidate now. The question remains whether he'll drop out before 2/5 and if so whom he'll endorse.
4. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee continues - his constiuency is larger in Florida than Ron Paul's.
5. Ron Paul.
1. Hillary Clinton. Florida has no delegates for Democrats here, so Clinton's win will have little momentum toward 2/5, especially if Obama picks up another high profile endorsement between now and then.
2. Barack Obama.
3. John Edwards.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
His victory speech is definitely worth watching.
The exit polls from the race are even more telling. The key highlight is that white voters split 40% Edwards, 36% Clinton, 24% Obama, meaning that Clinton only bested Obama 60%-40% among white voters for supported either one of them.
Also, Caroline Kennedy endorses Obama as the candidate most like her father out of any in the last 40 years. This is as close to getting an endorsement from JFK himself as Obama will ever get.
Finally, the Philadelphia Inquirer joins other local papers in endorsing Obama.
Now it's time to wait for the polls over the next week to show how this momentum for Obama will affect the 2/5 primaries.
Friday, January 25, 2008
2. John Edwards. White voters in South Carolina will punish the Clintons for the way they've kneecapped Barack Obama, and reward Edwards for his consistent method and his above-the-fray mentality these past few days.
3. Hillary Clinton. Clinton will finish a close third to Edwards.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
1) Call for a series of Lincoln Douglas style debates with the Republican nominee this fall
2) Commit to veto any legislation until Congress passes a credible climate change bill.
3) Give the teachers unions an ultimatum: Either you are with the kids or against them. Reward the best teachers and fire the bad ones.
4) Promise to convene a bipartisan congressional war council on Inauguration Day.
5) Pledge not to run for reelection if Osama Bin Laden is not killed or captured.
Gerstein's right that coming out with a big new post-partisan policy or two would help Obama in the post-South Carolina primaries.
The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center's Len Burman argues that making the Bush tax cuts expire sooner than most Democrats want would actually help the economy, since it would encourage stock sell offs (at a lower capital gains rate) and then direct that capital into consumption.
Never missing an opportunity to display their homophobia, the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas will protest at Ledger's funeral due to his portrayal of a gay cowboy in the movie Brokeback Mountain.
There are few words to describe the outrage this despicable act warrants.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The authors are simply wrong. They conflate two related, but distinct, problems in American higher education. The first is that poor, working class, and middle class families cannot afford to send their children to college. At America's richest universities, generous financial aid policies have gone a long way toward solving this problem. There is still a work to be done, but for families who literally do not make enough to pay their children's tuition bills, there is significant help. At Harvard and Yale in particular, recent changes in aid policy (favoring grants over loans, decreases in expected work study and summer contributions) are nearing the extinction of this problem.
The second problem, in many ways, is far worse. It is the problem that upper middle class families increasing simply cannot afford to spend $40,000 a year on one child's college education, and certainly cannot spend $80,000 a year for two children. This is a relatively new problem in America. Poor and middle class families have always had difficulty paying for hired education, and the trend since World War II has been overwhelmingly positive (at least, until recent years). On the other hand, up until the past decade or so, upper middle class families have been able to afford to send their children to the best colleges in the country. The departure from this is troubling.
Bright high school seniors should not have to choose between schools based on cost, no matter what their family income. In upper middle class families, financial aid has languished behind rising need, which, yes, does exist for those families. It is about time that America's universities are beginning to take notice. Harvard and Yale's desire to make college truly affordable to everyone is laudable.
Monday, January 21, 2008
The Nation's John Nichols says that "Barack Obama went to a higher ground -- to that mountaintop that [Martin Luther] King occupied until his death on April 4, 1968, and that Bobby Kennedy stood for a brief and remarkable political moment that played out between April and June of that fateful year."
Sunday, January 20, 2008
While most news agencies are reporting that Hillary Clinton won the Nevada Democratic Caucus, Barack Obama is actually likely to win more delegates, which makes this caucus a bit of draw (which of course is what the candidates themselves asked for in a debate last week). That said, if one gives Obama the win over Clinton on a national delegate basis, then one has to give Clinton second place in Iowa over Edwards by the same logic.
Finally, Frank Rich continues to skewer the Republican candidates across the board.
Friday, January 18, 2008
2. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is clearly the evangelicals choice, and he will capture enough of them here for a strong second.
3. Fred Thompson. Thompson's recent good debate performance, combined with the amount of time and energy he's put into South Carolina will give him third place.
4. Mitt Romney. Romney isn't campaign in South Carolina today, and so won't crack the top three.
5. Ron Paul.
6. Rudy Giuliani.
7. Duncan Hunter.
1. Barack Obama. Despite Clinton being up in most polls, Obama will win for three reasons: The major Nevada unions have endorsed him, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that they can caucus at the casinos where they work, and the fact that a caucus is public voting, so the workers will likely feel pressured to go along with their bosses. Elements of caucuses may fly in the face of democracy, but they will also help Obama win.
2. Hillary Clinton. Clinton has far too much support in Nevada to lose to Edwards.
3. John Edwards. The only other major candidate has to finish ahead of the rest of the pack.
4. Dennis Kucinich.
5. Mike Gravel.
1. Mitt Romney. Romney is hot off of his victory in Michigan as a businessman. Nevada's casino-sponsored state loves a bussiness man, plus the large population of Mormons, and comparatively fewer evangelicals will give Romney another win.
2. John McCain. McCain still has a national presence and so will do well in Nevada.
3. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee has failed to deliver so far in states without lots of evangelicals.
4. Fred Thompson. Thompson has begun to catch a bit, though not a lot, of fire from the recent Republican debate.
5. Rudy Giuliani. Nevada leans more authoritarian and less libertarian, putting Giuliani ahead of Paul.
6. Ron Paul.
7. Duncan Hunter.
Power is a major Obama supporter - wouldn't it be great to see her next January in Washington improving our foreign policy?
Thursday, January 17, 2008
1. The US
6. Russian Foreign Policy
7. South Africa
9. Energy Bottlenecks in Latin America
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
NBC's TIM RUSSERT: …There's a federal statute on the books which says that, if a college or university does not provide space for military recruiters or provide a ROTC program for its students, it can lose its federal funding. Will you vigorously enforce that statute?
CLINTON: Yes, I will. You know, I think that the young men and women who voluntarily join our all-volunteer military are among the best of our country….
RUSSERT: Of the top 10 rated schools, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, they do not have ROTC programs on campus. Should they?
CLINTON: Well, there are ways they can work out fulfilling that obligation. But they should certainly not do anything that either undermines or disrespects the young men and women who wish to pursue a military career.
RUSSERT: Senator Obama, same question. Will you vigorously enforce a statute which says colleges must allow military recruiters on campus and provide ROTC programs?
RUSSERT: This statute's been on the books for some time, Senator. Will you vigorously enforce the statute to cut off federal funding to the school that does not provide military recruiters and a ROTC program?
EDWARDS: Yes, I will….
The reason these schools do not have ROTC programs (and fight military recruiters tooth and nail) is that the government's homophobic "Don't ask, don't tell" policy violates these universities anti-discrimination policies, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. If the government had ended "Don't ask, don't tell" after September 11, 2001, most of these schools would have immediately reinstated ROTC.
In a previous debate, all of the Democratic candidates (including Obama, Clinton, and Edwards) raised their hands in support of ending "Don't ask, don't tell." Yet all three failed to mention it as a strategy to returning ROTC to America's elite campuses. Hopefully this does not represent a shift in gay rights support for the Democratic presidential candidates.
Each candidate last night was given the opportunity to take a strong stance in favor of gun control, and each took a pass:
NBC'S TIM RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, when you ran for the Senate in 2000, you said that everyone who wishes to purchase a gun should have a license, and that every handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry. Will you try to implement such a plan?
CLINTON: Well, I am against illegal guns, and illegal guns are the cause of so much death and injury in our country. I also am a political realist and I understand that the political winds are very powerful against doing enough to try to get guns off the street, get them out of the hands of young people....
RUSSERT: But you've backed off a national licensing registration plan?
RUSSERT: Senator Obama, when you were in the state senate, you talked about licensing and registering gun owners. Would you do that as president?
OBAMA: I don't think that we can get that done....
RUSSERT: Senator Edwards, Democrats used to be out front for registration and licensing of guns. It now appears that there's a recognition that it's hard to win a national election with that position. Is that fair?
EDWARDS: I think that's fair....
It does not reflect well on the Democratic party that the strongest gun control advocate is Republican/Indepedent Mike Bloomberg. In the wake of the Viriginia Tech massacre, when the country searched for answers to how a mentally ill individually could purchase a gun, and for leadership to make sure it could never happen again, Democrats were silent.
It is shameful that this country does not have national system to record the sale and transfer of guns. We have (or have de facto state by state) ones for houses, businesses, and cars. Why not for guns? Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear from a registry of gun owners and dealers. It would never be used to take their guns away. It would be used to prevent guns from falling into the hands of those who should not have them.
Freedom of speech entitled citizens to speak their mind without being sent to jail. It doesn't entitle them to speak at any forum of any organization that they choose.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
If Nevada had a presidential primary, this would not be an issue. Jews could simply vote ahead of time by absentee ballot. However, a caucus (as everyone knows from Iowa) is different. Voters actually have to show up, debate, and have their eventual votes physically recorded (written down). Nevada could have designed a modified absentee ballot process, but chose not to.
This creates a large problem, since most observant Jews will not travel long distances to caucus, and even those who did would likely be uncomfortable about having others (even non-Jews) write down their votes for them. Some Democratic caucuses are scheduled near synagogues, but that only solves part of the problem.
The caucuses could be scheduled for the evening (as they were in Iowa), avoiding the entire problem (since Shabbat ends at 5:34 PST). However, both political parties have chosen to schedule their caucuses for the morning.
This is a serious breech of democracy. American citizens are being denied the right to vote because of their religious practices. Major Jewish organizations in Nevada should sue the state party, demanding that they reschedule the caucuses for the evening.
It is appalling that after American citizen can still be denied the right to vote.
This is great, except when the biofuel comes from a crop that is fertilized with ammonia from coal, natural gas, or petroleum coke.
Someday, biofuel can actually be made from only the sun, and so actually be a truly clean energy source.
Monday, January 14, 2008
1. John McCain - Since the Democratic National Committee has stripped the Michigan delegation of all of its delegates to the national committee, independents and even some Democrats will vote in the open Republican primary. Aside from Daily Kos' acolytes who will vote for Romney in the hope of continuing the chaos of the Republican presidential race, most of them will vote for McCain, giving him the win.
2. Mitt Romney - Romney was raised in Michigan, where his father was governor. The combination of Romney's roots and his ad buys will give him a strong second.
3. Mike Huckabee - Huckabee is still evangelical Christians' top choice, as well as any populists remaining in the Republican party. He'll finish significantly behind Romney, but still a solid third.
4. Ron Paul - There are enough Libertarians in Michigan to give Ron Paul a close fourth (over Giuliani), and enough of Giuliani's one-time supporters who favored his security credentials have shifted to McCain, allowed Paul to edge Giuliani.
5. Rudy Giuliani - Giuliani has focused everything on Florida, and so will finish 5th in this race.
6. Fred Thompson - Despite his third place finish in Iowa, Thompson's campaign has no traction what so ever in Michigan.
7. Duncan Hunter - Is he even still in this race?
8. Alan Keyes - See Hunter above.
1. Hillary Clinton - Clinton has enough supporters who were turn out to vote for her to give her the nearly meaningless 0-delegate win.
2. Uncommitted - This is surrogate for Barack Obama and John Edwards, who do not appear on the ballot.
3. Dennis Kucinich - There are still enough Kucinich supporters in Michigan for him to get a few votes. Especially since his actually campaigning in the state.
4. Mike Gravel - Gravel is still on the ballot, and so may receive a vote or two.
If this country gets President Romney, we'll know in part whom to blame.
The question is - what happens to familes that have household income of $210,000? Do they get the old formula, which would have given them $0 in finanicial aid?
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
His email exchange with Major Garrett is especially absurd.
The Democrats, on the other hand, confounded almost every poll and gave the win to Hilary Clinton, by a substantial (3%) though not overwhelming margin.
With both early states splitting their votes, it's going to be a long race.
Good coverage from:
Newsweek's Howard Fineman
Slate's John Dickerson (on Clinton, on McCain)
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
1. Barack Obama. Obama is surging across the country thanks to his resounding victory in Iowa. The continued support of independents (who overwhelmingly supported him in Iowa) will put him clearly over the top.
2. Hillary Clinton. Clinton still has significant strength in New Hampshire, and the Edwards populist method does not have nearly as much traction here as it did in Iowa.
3. John Edwards. Edwards has enough loyal supports to finish ahead of Bill Richardson.
4. Bill Richardon. Richardson is far more qualified to be president than Gravel or Kucinich, and so will certainly finish ahead of them.
5. Dennis Kucinich. He can't lose to Gravel.
6. Mike Gravel. No one left to lose to.
1. John McCain. McCain won New Hampshire in 2000, and independents left over who aren't voting for Obama will put him over the top (thanks in part to an endorsement from Joe Lieberman, everyone's 2nd favorite independent, after Mike Bloomberg).
2. Mitt Romney. Unlike in Iowa, there aren't nearly enough evangelicals in New Hampshire to cause Romney to lose to Huckabee again. Romney's New England patrician background will help him finish a strong second.
3. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee has established himself enough as a real contender in this race to finish a solid third.
4. Ron Paul. Fourth place will be very close, but there are enough libertarians in New Hampshire to give it to Paul (and few enough authoritarians to keep it from Giuliani).
5. Rudy Giuliani. Nevertheless, Giuliani has too large a national following to finish below 5th.
6. Fred Thompson. Thompson isn't going to lose to Hunter or Keyes.
7. Duncan Hunter. He's not going to beat anyone else, but won't lose to Keyes (see Kucinich above.)
8. Alan Keyes. Keyes isn't beating any major candidate. (See Gravel above.)
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Friday, January 4, 2008
1. Why the absence of George Allen (remember him?) in the Republican presidential campaign caused Romney, Giuliani, McCain, and Thompson to shift to the right on social issues, opening the door for a genuine evangelical (Mike Huckabee) to win in Iowa.
2. How the Obama campaign marks the emergence of a new generation of political activists, in the way that 1960, 1980, and 1992 did.
3. How both Huckabee (and Obama) represent drastic new shifts for their parties, with Huckabee especially represented the "new evangelical" who is pro-environment, populist, anti-war, and not a cultural warrior.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Nachson is best known from the Midrash that appears in Tractate Sotah, 37a, saying that when the Israelites were at the Red Sea: "This tribe said: “I will not descend first into the sea,” and that tribe said: “I will not descend first into the sea.” Nahshon ben Aminadav (of the tribe of Judah) sprang forward and descended into the sea."
Nachson is a model "doer" in Jewish thought. He both has the faith in G-d that the Red Sea will part (and save him from drowning) and knows that he must take the personal initiative and walk himself, instead of waiting for G-d to carry him across.
Nachson is not just any Israelite. His is mentioned numerous times at the leader of the tribe of Judah, the largest tribe that eventually dominated the southern kingdom and lent its name to Judasim itself. Furthermore, Nachson's sister, Elisheva, is married to Aaron, the kohen gadol (high priest), and brother to Moses. Stepping back further, Nachson is a direct ancestor of Boaz, who through his marriage to Ruth becomes an ancestor to King David himself.
This Nachson then becomes a paradigm of how a vastly important leader over the newly free Israelite people (on the level of Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Elazar, and Pinchas) leads by example. Nachson exhibits the perfect mixture of faith in G-d and risk taking initiative.
This race, however, has only just begun. Senator Hillary Clinton and John Edwards both has significant showings, as did Mitt Romney, with Fred Thompson, Senator John McCain, and Rep. Ron Paul each finishing near or above 10% of the vote. Expect McCain to do very well in New Hampshire on Tuesday, and Thompson to try to surge toward South Carolina.
New Hampshire predictions will follow on Monday night.
In the meantime, this has been a proud day for America democracy.
Richardson has significant support in Iowa, and so his 2nd place votes may really put Obama over the top.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
1. Barack Obama. The combination of same day registration (allowing the campaign to bring new voters to register and caucus at the same time), and the Kucinich campaign throwing its 2nd place votes behind Obama will put Obama over the top.
2. John Edwards. The Edwards '08 incarnation has staked out ground on the economic left of Obama and Clinton, that resonates in Iowa, and that combined with 2nd place votes from Biden and Dodd supporters should put him comfortably at second.
3. Hillary Clinton. There really is no way that Clinton can finish below 3rd place, and given the more compelling reasons for Obama and Edwards puts Clinton in 3rd place by default.
4. Bill Richardson. Richardson brings more to the table than Dodd or Biden (despite their even longer national service records), which should give him the edge over either of them.
5. Joe Biden. The continued turmoil in Pakistan (which Biden has been talking about for months) should give him the edge over Dodd.
6. Chris Dodd. He can't loses to Kucinich, so Dodd is here by default. It is either the strength of the Democratic field, or the critical overlooking of a dedicated and capable public servant that has put Dodd down here.
7. Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich can't beat Dodd, and can't lose to Gravel, which puts him here.
8. Mike Gravel. Gravel isn't beating any major candidate.
1. Mike Huckabee. The combination of Mike Huckabee's genuine evangelical credentials, and his authenticity will give him the win tomorrow night.
2. Mitt Romney. Romney's organization is so good that there's no way he'll finish below 2nd.
3. John McCain. McCain continues to surge as Republican voters realize he may really be the best person to lead this country in 2009. If had put more emphasis on Iowa, he may have even finished hirer.
4. Fred Thompson. Thompson has spent a significant amount of time in Iowa, and despite his overall lackluster campaign, he will likely still edge Giuliani, who isn't even spending this week in Iowa.
5. Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani has too large a national following and fit the security president niche too well to finish below 5th.
6. Ron Paul. While Paul has raised an enormous amount of money recently, he still lags in national and Iowa polls. Paul will do better here in libertarian-friendly New Hampshire, but will likely not break the top 5 in Iowa.
7. Duncan Hunter. He's not going to beat anyone else, but won't lose to Keyes (see Kucinich above.)
8. Alan Keyes. Keyes isn't beating any major candidate. (See Gravel above.)
That said, Leno is in a far more interesting situation. He is returning to the air without his trusty team of writers. Furthermore, since Leno himself is technically a member of the striking union, he can't even write for himself without scabbing. This will certainly make for an exciting show, as Leno effectively will have to improvise his monologue. In addition, while he may not be as funny as Robin Williams, Leno's guest, former AK Governor Mike Huckabee should make for a fascinating show, especially on the eve of the Iowa caucus that Huckabee may win.
UPDATE: It appears that Hillary Clinton may be a surprise guest on Letterman's show tonight.