Friday, February 29, 2008
This is why the United States has secular marriage: to prevent religious groups from co-opting the state's criteria for civil marriage. What's most incredible about this situation is that it is dividing the ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel and the Orthodox Jews in the United States. If the existing fissures among movements weren't enough, the Israeli Rabbinate is insistent on creating more.
Arnie Eisen, chancellor of the American Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary puts is well when he says that: “All the data shows a growing rift between American Jews and Israeli Jews, and the younger you are as an American Jew, the less that you care about the state of Israel. This is just terrible. And one of the reasons for it — not the only reason, but one of the reasons for it — is this kind of insulting treatment of the majority of American Jews by the Israeli rabbinate.”
Watching Ralph Ndaer in CSPAN this morning makes one remember just how elloquent he is as a consumer advocate, and how much the American public owes Ralph for his work from the 1960s to the 1990s. Especially these days,
However, Ralph's vanity campaigns for president in races that he could not win have undone almost all of the thanks and good will that he is owed. Something happens when an American runs for president. His or her motivations and goals become suspect. They are perceived as being partisan. And, because politics is a winner-take all sport (only one person gets to be president), his or her ideas are inevitably compared to the other candidates ideals, instead of on a more absolute scale of merit.
It is ironic that the model for staying out of politics to advance a non-partisan cause is none other than Al Gore. Think of what would have happened to Gore's environmental campaign had he run for president this year. (Whether the politicizing of his campaign would have been worth the cost is a worthwhile question for Gore; though not for Nader.)
Ralph Nader, this country has needed a seasoned non-partisan consumer advocate these past dozen years. Instead, it got a third party candidate siphoning votes off of the Democratic candidate whose ideas got lost in the presidential shuffle.
Does Ralph Nader bare all of the blame for the last 7 years of George W. Bush? No. Does he bear some? Yes. And does he bear all of the blame for turning himself from a spectacular consumer advocate into a vanity candidate for president? Yes.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
"When Americans pass over the best-credentialed candidates because their heart or their gut leads them elsewhere, they are only reflecting a visceral understanding that the presidency involves tests unlike all others....An ideal President is both ruthless and compassionate, visionary and pragmatic, cunning and honest, patient and bold, combining the eloquence of a psalmist with the timing of a jungle cat. Not exactly the sort of data you can find on a résumé."
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Bloomberg is likely not running because the two presumptive nominees, Barack Obama and John McCain, each have a history of appealing to independents and finding a middle ground, leaving little room for a centrist independent.
However, Bloomberg has left the door wide open to support a candidate who appeals to his pragmatic, non-partisan way of solving problems. While McCain's past actions suggest he could be that candidate, Obama's rhetoric and approach, combined with McCain's tack to the right over the past few years could lead Bloomberg to endorse Obama at some point in the next few months.
The slate.com video's most interesting point is the David Axelrod, now Obama's chief presidential campaign strategist but in 2004 his chief senate campaign strategist, was actually involved in the creation of Matt Santos, and so in some ways based him off of Barack Obama.
That's all fair and good, but what happens if Serbia has no desired to let Kovoso go (as it did Montenegro)? What happens if Kosovo is terrified of another genocidal maniac taking over Serbia? What about the fact that Serbia has had little control over Kosovo for the past 10 years as it is?
Jeremic claims that the international system has failed in the case of Kosovo. But how is a population overwhelming expressing support for self-determination, independence, and peaceful coexistence outside the existing international system? Woodrow Wilson may disagree.
Why Obama gets the "Most Improved Debater" award.
How Obama's campaign owes a lot not just to Bill Clinton's '92 campaign but also to his administration.
The strange rules for how Texas' delegates are assigned next Tuesday and beyond.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Perhaps Chelsea will run for Congress from New York City if a seat opens up.
A side note: it's fascinating that New York Magazine has gone from nude pictures of Lindsay Lohan to a full feature on Chelsea Clinton. Some magazines really do try to please everyone.
Kleeb has even picked up former Giuliani foreign policy advisor and Reagan State Department veteran Charlie Hill's endorsement.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Americas inclined to vote for Nader should think long and hard about what their votes for him in 2000 have cost this country over the past 7 years. Does anyone still believe that there would have been no difference if Al Gore had been president of this country instead of George W. Bush? And does anyone really believe that John McCain would be indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?
Until this country changes the way it assigns electoral votes, don't vote for Nader.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
80 seats for the late Benezir Bhutto's Pakistani People's Party, now led by her widow, Asi Ali Zardari.
66 for the Pakistan Mulsim League-N, led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
38 for the pro-Musharraf party.
out of 240 total seats.
It will be fascinating to watch what happens next, as Zardari, Sharif, and Musharraf attempt to form some kind of government. It will be equally interesting to see if Musharraf manages to hold on to his newly-civilian presidential role in the face of such an electoral rout.
Hawaii - Obama has won the more delegates than Clinton in every single caucus state so far (including Nevada). Add to that fact that Obama spent much of his childhood in Hawaii, and that his sister has been campaigning like mad there, and Obama pulls out a big win here.
Monday, February 18, 2008
This is not to diminish the true horrors and suffering going on in Gaza right now, but only to emphasize Cohen's point that sooner or later, Israel will do something drastic in response, and may G-d help all of us with the consequences of that action.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Announce the End of Something.")
Interesting piece on the somewhat random events that have led to Obama holding his senate seat (and Clinton not holding it). See also this previous post.
Finally, an excellent op-ed on why Obama's "Present" votes in the Illinois Senate were actually significnt. It seems that for a law to pass, it has to have a majority of all senators, not just of those voting "Aye" and "Nay." As a result, Obama's "Present" were actually partly "Nay" votes, giving them far more teeth than he's been given credit for in the past.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
"For Clinton to overtake Obama for the pledged delegate lead -- which we think is the single most important statistic for the superdelegates to decide their vote -- she'll have to win 55% of the remaining delegates. Assuming next week goes Obama's way in Wisconsin and Hawaii, that percentage rises to 57%. Toss in likely Obama victories in Vermont, Wyoming, Mississippi, Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota, then Clinton's percentage need tops 60% of the remaining delegates available. And this is simply for her to regain the pledged delegate lead."
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Lantos embodied what is most incredible about the United States. When he announced his retirement from Congress last month due to the cancer that ultimately took his life, Lantos said:
'It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a member of Congress....I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country.''
May his memory be a blessing.
This is a fair punishment for Lieberman for crossing party lines this early in the presidential process, before the Democrats have even chosen a nominee, since he is saying that he supports McCain over ANY Democrat running.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
2. Lousiana - Obama.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
"So, do the math. If they both have about 900 pledged delegates so far, they need to win more than 1,100 of the remaining 1,400 delegates to win the nomination through actual voting.
"Ain't gonna happen, barring a stunning scandal or some new crazy revelation. So, they'll keep fighting this thing out, each accumulating their chunk of delegates, one of them holding a slight edge and bothing finishing the voting process with 1,600 or so delegates. And then the super delegates decide this thing. That's the math."
Spicer writes that:
"Dr. Carel Le Roux, a metabolic specialist from London's Imperial College who guided this experiment, says you can only fool the body into letting go of weight if you lose it at a crippled snail's pace -- no more than half a pound a week. That requires cutting, depending on your metabolic rate, only 1,500 calories off your weekly nutritional needs. I was cutting about 8,000 calories a week, and my primal animal instinct was to binge. When the doctor discovered my disordered behavior, he said matter-of-factly that it was normal pathology in someone who has been starved, and he pulled me off the diet immediately."
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
It's time for the US to do something about this. The best option would be to follow the example of Australia: make voting mandatory. All Americans have to vote in every primary and general election, or pay a fine (e.g. $50 or $100). Americans wouldn't have to vote for a particular candidate - going to the polls and checking "abstain" would suffice.
There would certainly be issues around voters who could not make it to the polls. In primaries and general elections, this would be solved by either making election day on a federal or state holiday, or more easily by continuing to expand the use of absentee ballots. Caucuses would be more difficult, as the voters have to be a particular place at a particular time to vote, but that only raises the greater problems with caucuses that will be subject of a future post.
Apathy should not be an option for American voters. There has to be a tangible opportunity cost for refusing to take part in American democracy.
McCain adviser Charlie Black said, "To date, we have 775 delegates, Romney has 284, Huckabee has 205. It takes 1,191 to clinch the nomination. There are 963 left to be chosen, so Romney or Huckabee would have to have all of them -- all of them -- to get to 1,191. Now you can't do that because a majority of those 963 are chosen in proportional primaries, which means you'd have to get 100% if the vote to get them all."
Monday, February 4, 2008
Obama will win California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Missouri. Clinton will Delaware, New Jersey, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Huckabee will win Arkansas. Romney will win Colorado. McCain will win all other populous states.
Full predictions below:
|New Jersey primary||Clinton|
|New Mexico primary||Clinton|
|New York primary||Clinton|
|North Dakota caucus||Obama|
|New Jersey primary||McCain|
|New York primary||McCain|
|North Dakota caucus||Romney|
|West Virginia convention||Romney|
Fareed Zakaria comes close to endorsing Obama as well.
Another great piece describing the disconnect between those under 40 who overwhelming support Obama, and those over 40 who overwhelmingly support Clinton.
Also, Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, now that Senator Chris Dodd is out of the race, endorses Barack Obama. This is especially notable because DeLauro was the first executive director of EMILY's list, which aims to elect female Democrats who support abortion rights. It seems that DeLauro has decided to value the content of a candidate's message over his or her symbolic value.
Finally, check out this video of Obama's speeches overlayed with celebrities.