Friday, September 19, 2008

Distancing from Bush

The hacking of Sarah Palin's e-mail is a "shocking invasion of privacy" says a John McCain staffer. Is there really shock at someone looking at personal correspondence between the Guv and her friends, or it is relief that the revelation redirected attention away from Palin's Troopergate investigation?

Or maybe it's another example of the McCain camp distancing itself from the Bush administration, which uses the Patriot Act and other legislation to tap phones and other potential civil liberty violations.

Is it wrong to hack into someone's e-mail? Sure it is. Should the government be allowed to invade a person's privacy? If there's just cause, yes. I'm a little worried not about what the government finds out about potential terrorists, but what it does with other information it finds. And what's to prevent - other than blind trust that our government wouldn't do anything illegal - that such information wouldn't be used for political purposes?

If someone is threatening to blow up buildings or kill the president, then action needs to be taken before something bad happens. If a political opponent is viewing porn or sending suggestive e-mails to their spouse, is that any concern of ours? Or the government's?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This story had legs

There's always a little something for everyone in the Guinness Book of World Records. And the little something this year is China's He Pingping, who is the world's shortest person.

The lucky little fellow at right is sitting atop the lap of Svetlana Pankratova, who has the longest legs of any woman in the world.

As a kid, I used to love perusing the annual list of things odd and unusual. (I used to like a lot of those "list" books and I have a son who is the same way.

Didn't really have anything else to add, other than I'm a leg man, so I had to include the photo.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Swing of things

Blog time has been trimmed lately due to my participation in a local play, but with a strong weekend (sellouts on Friday and Saturday - small theater seating a little over 100) we're making a strong showing at the halfway point in the run.

The timing of the show was great in that it didn't interrupt my guilty pleasure of the summer: "Swingtown." That's because CBS has canceled/put the show on hiatus/whatever and leaving us wondering what's going on.

I think they rewrote that "final" episode to serve as a wrap-up in case it doesn't continue. It seemed a little hastily put together.

A better cliffhanger version might have been:

- Janet inviting Henry to stay for a drink. Cut to...

- Bruce showing up at that downtown bar and making eye contact with Melinda. Cut to...

- Roger laying on the hotel bed. Cut to...

- Susan sitting in the car with a "What should I do?" look on her face. Cut to...

- Trina standing across the street from an abortion clinic with a "What should I do?" look on her face. Cut to...

- Tom seeing a dad and son get on an airplane and having a "flashback" to a bad childhood experience.

Instead (assuming the show returns) we'll have a season of:

- Bruce and Susan agonizing over divorce and kids, but getting back together;

- Roger trying to balance his attraction to Susan and trying to make do with Janet; - Trina's bulging belly, until she tragically loses the baby;

- and - how's this for a twist - Doug coming back from Guatemala to discovery Laurie is pregnant and someone else is the father.

Of course, the producers could go "Dallas" on us and pretend it was all a dream.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Poll dancing

The Obama camp must be reeling. Polls are showing the Illinois senator trailing.

A reference to the latest polls showing McCain ahead of Obama by 10 points (says USA Today)? No, that first sentence is a throwback to polling data between April 28 and May 4, which showed Hillary Clinton ahead of Barack Obama (depending on which poll you followed).

Three polls had Clinton's lead nationally between 3 and 7 percent. It should also be noted five polls that overlapped the same period showed Obama with leads of 1 to 12 percent. Also,

Now if you're looking at Sept. 8 polls, (and Real Clear Politics keeps track of current and past polling data) McCain leads by 1 percent (Rasmussen) or 10 percent (USA Today/Gallup). One only needs to go back to Friday, Sept. 5, to see Obama with a 6 percent lead (Hotline/FD).

With all these numbers jumping back and forth, what to they mean? Nothing - and everything.

If the McCain/Palin bump is because voters are supportive of a woman on the VP slot or sympathetic to "negative" Palin stories, that's likely a temporary cycle. What can Obama do about that? Send Biden to Switzerland for sex-change operation? Dump old Joe for Hillary?

If polls favor one candidate over another on the issues, then a candidate might address those perceptions to win over those potential voters. That's a potential risky proposal, depending on the issue. If surveys showed people heavily in favor of the war in Iraq, it would be unrealistic for Obama to suddenly change course and say he now supports the war. But if it's an economic issue and the landscape has changed (i.e. - the government control of the mortgage crisis) that action can change what a candidate had previously said on the issue.

There's only one true "poll" that matters. That will occur on Nov. 4, and the answer made in ballot boxes across the country will be binding.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

What the 40s think

What are those in the forties (and some in the 30s) about the upcoming presidential race?

A Florida Chamber of Commerce poll taken in August shows McCain with a 42 to 41 percent edge over Obama in the 40- to 49-age group in the state (42 to 39 percent overall). A national poll in August by the Pew Research Center shows Obama leading McCain 47 to 43 percent in the 30- to 49-age group. The most recent Gallop Poll (conducted Aug. 25 to 31) shows Obama leading 30 to 49 year olds by 3 percentage points (48 to 45).

Of course, we have this crazy democracy that says an Electoral College - not the popular vote - wins the election. In that regard, Real Clear Politics is tracking the Electoral College map. As of Sept. 5, it shows Obama with 238 electoral votes in states solidly backing him or leaning in that direction, while McCain has 185 electoral vote by the same tally. RCP lists 115 electoral votes as toss ups. But those include two biggies - Florida (27) and Ohio (20) - and McCain is currently leading the polls right now.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Rally cry or bedtime story

Republicans (and for a while, Hillary Clinton) say Obama is nothing but a speech.

But if you heard his address at the Democratic National Convention, it's easy to see how Obama uses his words to stir up crowds into a frenzy.

McCain's speech to Republicans came across (on TV anyway) like a bedtime story. "Once there was a man who went to war ..."

Granted, we need to look beyond rhetoric and negatives ads and find out what the candidates really stand for. And I'll give credit to both Obama and McCain for spelling out some of that vision in their respective speeches.

The debates should be interesting. The key will be to really listen to what their saying, not how their saying it. Obama, tested by debate queen Hillary Clinton in 20-some debates and town hall meetings, should blow McCain out of the water in terms of appearance. But Obama needs to be careful: People are listening closely and paying attention in greater detail this time. Both candidates need to provide details while NOT sounding like a rote presentation on policy (kind of like Hillary).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin brings energy to the campaign

Maybe John McCain knew what he was doing after all.

Sarah Palin's speech to Republican delegates obviously delighted the partisan audience. And although she said John McCain's POW tenure is why we should elect him president - as a prisoner of war, he knows how to get the country through the torture of his presidency - Palin hit upon what may end up being the key issue in the election: Gas prices.

Here's what I'm talking about:

"When a hurricane strikes in the Gulf of Mexico, this country should not be so dependent on imported oil that we are forced to draw from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And families cannot throw away more and more of their paychecks on gas and heating oil. With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers. To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies ... or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia ... or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries ... we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas. And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: we've got lots of both."

Palin may be person best suited to address the oil issue. She knows what Alaskan oil and gas production can do for this country.

With oil prices stabilizing, the issue is pushed further back in our minds. (Actually, with both sides launching attack ads, you wonder if either said cares about issues.) But if the price of oil starts rising and Americans are clamoring for relief at the pumps, the gal who looks good in pumps or heels has a ready answer to heal our pocketbooks.

Now if someone can just give us a good reason to election McCain, the Republicans might just win the whole darn thing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day news

The news that broke on Labor Day had nothing to do with working and everything to do with the impending labor of Bristol Palin, the 17-year-old pregnant daughter of GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin (seen at right with infant brother, Trig).

As if the Republicans already had enough to worry about with Hurricane Gustav stealing some of their conventions' thunder.

I feel sorry for the girl, who now becomes the center of a "controversy." Maybe before reporters start making the trek to the Great White North, they should read up on stress and pregnancy. And I won't even include a link to the wild stories that Gov. Palin's infant son is actually the offspring of one of her daughters.

What's interesting in this case is the responses from both sides on the pregnancy.

Obama has essentially said, "Leave the kids alone." I even heard a Republican operative on the Today Show credit Obama for taking such action.

Response from The Republicans and family values groups range, "At least she's keeping the baby" to "this shows Gov. Palin relates to the average American."

Still, you wonder if the baby booty were on the other foot, would those same "family values" group be as supportive if, say, a Joe Biden's unmarried kid was having a baby. Cynical? Yes. Would it happen that way? Likely.

Can't wait for the jokes on how Sarah Palin went from a MILF to a GILF.

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