Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
The Maryland woman, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, died too.
So what, you say--it's tragic, but it happens all the time.
It shouldn't. The Maryland driver, age 27, had already managed to amass several drunken-driving and speeding arrests, had been cited for driving on a suspended license, and faced an upcoming trial for "first degree escape."
This is purely anecdotal, but our observation over the years has been that Maryland has some of the worst drivers on the East Coast. You see wildly reckless driving so frequently in Maryland that you wonder if they have any traffic enforcement at all. And, more often than not, when we see someone doing something really stupid in Northern Virginia--like driving 30 mph faster than anyone else or weaving in out like crazy--it's in a car with Maryland tags.
Bad driving exists everywhere--it's certainly not unique to Maryland. But Maryland seems to have developed a culture of really bad driving, combined with poor enforcement efforts, that have contributed to the kind of deadly scenario that occurred on Route 15. That the Maryland woman killed herself while driving like a maniac would be bad enough in and of itself, but for her to take two innocent lives in the process indicts a larger systemic failure.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The Baptist minister's response, so far, has largely been to turn the other cheek and deflect Romney's attacks with humor and grace. While Romney's attacks are having some impact on Big Mike's campaign, they haven't really helped Romney--indeed, they may be opening the door to McCain in Iowa.
Meanwhile, while Romney was trying to drag Huckabee into the mudpit in Iowa, McCain began gaining on the Mittster in New Hampshire, so, once again, Romney went negative.
But McCain is no Baptist minister. Instead, as the Washington Post's Chris Cilizza documents here, McCain has chosen to punch back, and he hits hard. Our favorite: "Welcome to Mitt Romney's bizarro world, in which everyone is guilty of his sins. He didn't support Ronald Reagan. He didn't support President Bush's tax cuts. He raised taxes in Massachusetts by $700 million. He knows John McCain is gaining on him so he does what any small varmint gun totin', civil rights marching, NRA endorsed fantasy candidate would do: he questions someone else's credibility. New Hampshire is on to you, Mitt. Give it a rest. It's Christmas."
Frankly, it's about time someone nailed Romney.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
It was the warmest ever for land temperatures across the globe.
It will also be one of the ten warmest years in the U.S., which is in keeping with trends over the past 10-15 years. The ongoing exceptional drought in the Southeastern U.S. was also worthy of mention. It looks like the La Nina that has been contributing to that drought is beginning to weaken, so we hope that cities like Atlanta and Raleigh will be able to recover in 2008.
Below is NOAA's graphic representation of tempeature anomalies in 2007--as you can see, if was particularly warm in the northern hemispere, especially in northern Europe and Asia.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Now, in Iowa, we see two very different strategies in play. Which will work?
On the one hand, we have the big, heavily financed, professionally run Romney campaign. If you somehow thought Romney was going to bring the least bit of anything new to American politics, think again--he's W Bush incarnate. It's the classic corporate campaign. (Hillary, too.)
And what is the Mittster doing? He's gone completely negative, with harsh campaign ads attacking Huckabee on immigration, crime and taxes. It's standard fare from the hardened professionals who run campaigns these days. Panicked by Huckabee's rise in past Romney in the polls, they go to the typical measure of the desperate: tear the other guy down. (Romney's hardly unique in this regard--we're just saying he sure isn't different.)
[Down in South Carolina, the usual litany of campaign dirty tricks is in full swing on the GOP side, and you can bet that no campaign is doing it more than Romney's, which early on signed up the state's hardest core political trench fighters to do it's bidding.]
Will Romney's negative campaigning work? Perhaps--it will move a few folks off Huckabee, but not toward Romney. Iowans typically don't like negativity, but you can bet they really don't like it during the Holiday season.
Now, what about Huckabee, he of the scrappy, underfinanced, ad hoc campaign? Huckabee came up with the idea of doing a Christmas commercial. Sitting in a living room in front of a fire, wearing a red sweater, the Huckster starts off with "Are you about worn out of all the television commercials you’re seeing? Mostly about politics. I don’t blame you.”
He then goes on to discuss "what really matters" this time of year, which, to him--and a huge chunk of GOP caucus goers in Iowa--is "the celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and our friends."
Here's the ad, if you're interested (or go to YouTube here):
Despite it's obviousness as a Holiday season political ad, it's quite brilliant. Why didn't anybody else think of it? Because, of course, hardened political consultants are all grinches at heart, all Scrooges whose only interest in true religion is as a demographic target. It's just not in their playbook.
Personally, we don't really like his ad at all--what about those who aren't Christians? But we're going to bet that it will be a huge hit among the voters that matter in Iowa for a Republican candidate, and that it will make Romney look like a total schmuck for running his bitter, negative advertising.
In about two weeks, we'll know which strategy worked.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
So, to get the bill passed, the tax provisions were stripped out, denuding the bill. Among the provisions ditched--extension of a very modest tax credit for homeowners who install solar power.
What do we get now? A pretty crummy bill, unless some of the stripped out provisions can be restored in conference (the House bill has the taxes). Yes, we finally get a modest increase in fuel economy standards. We get a slight improvement in appliance efficiency--which would probably occur anyway, with higher fuel and electricity prices. And a huge boost in biofuels--a waste of subsidies on farmers that will only increase food prices without appreciably reducing global warming.
Meanwhile, U.S. representatives at the Bali conference on global warming are holding up any progress on new limits, thereby providing cover for China, India, Brazil and other developing countries to object to limits as well.
How many more days until we get a new President and a new Congress?
Gay, Lying, Convicted Idaho Senator Craig Puts Hold On ATF Nominee For Too Strictly Enforcing The Law
Thursday, December 13, 2007
(Margin of error: =/-4%
What's happened since the last ARG national poll, just a month ago in November, is that Thompson has melted down (from 18% to 6%) and Giuliani and Romney have lost support, while Huckabee and McCain have gained.
If other national polls show a similar trend, then our GOP deadlock scenario looks awfully plausible.
(If you have any problems with the video, click here to go directly to it on YouTube.)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Campaign Round-up: Thompson Goes "All-in" In Iowa; Mitt Launches Attack Ad At Huck; Obama Bounces In SC
"This was ordinary conduct that lawyers do"
Posted by Michael Krauss
The Texas Lawyer (via Law. com) reports that solo practitioner Mary Roberts has been convicted of theft. It seems the married Roberts had successive affairs with four men, then assisted her husband Ted in obtaining $155,000 from the men in exchange for the husband's not suing them for the emotional distress caused by their "tortious interference" with his life. Ted has already been sentenced to five years'
imprisonment for his participation in the extortion ring.
Roberts' lawyer, apparently incredulous at the verdict, exclaimed that "this was ordinary conduct that lawyers do"...
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Here's the results, from the Virginia Board of Elections website:
All precincts have now reported, so that's it. Thanks for running Phil--and keep at it.
(We also understand that Democratic hopes to pick up a GOP seat in Ohio today didn't pan out either.)
Monday, December 10, 2007
Given the time and effort they're spending on the series, surely their graphics people could've come up with something a bit more cheerful!
Forgit, an Iraq war veteran and award-winning teacher, is running as a pragmatic Democrat in the Warner/Kaine/Webb tradition. While national Dems haven't given him much of a chance--spurning the opportunity to put some real money into his campaign--we've seen that strange things can happen in special elections.
Good luck Phil!
Friday, December 07, 2007
This may be an outlier, but nothing on its face suggests that.
If anything, the results even more strongly favor Huckabee, because his supporters are both more locked in and more likely to attend the caucus.
Maybe there's something weird in the Iowa water.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Can he put an end to years of political bitterness, to the red-blue divide, to petty partisanship?
Don't bet on it. We like Barack Obama. He is fresh. He is thoughtful. He may be different.
But if Obama becomes the Democratic nominee for President, he won't be able to erase the bitter divide in our country. He might, however, convince hopeful independents that he has a chance.
Here's the problem: no matter who the Democrats nominate--even if they resurrect Ronald Reagan himself and run him as their candidate--they won't be able to quiet the vast right wing commentary machine, upon which tens of millions of dollars in media revenue now rest.
Do you really think Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Ann C . . . . . r (we try not to mention her name here), Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the American Enterprise Institute, Weakly Standard, National Revue and their coterie of hangers-on are going to go meekly into the night just because Barack Obama is the Democratic standard bearer instead of Hillary Clinton? Give us a break!
Do you really think those emails circulating around about Obama being a Muslim sleeper agent will go away?
Do you really think Obama's race won't be an underground issue?
This election will be a close one, once again. The Democratic nominee will handily carry the Northeast, the West Coast and parts of the Midwest; the Republican nominee will have no trouble with the Deep South and the Mountain West. It will boil down to the same handful of battleground states as in the last two elections, and it will be tight.
That's not to say that Obama wouldn't be an attractive candidate. For now, at least, he has lower negatives than Hillary. He probably always will--a certain percentage of Americans will refuse to tell pollsters they view him negatively simply to avoid a perception of their being racists.
But Hillary has a decent point: she does have experience, including fighting against these same bastards for a long time. And knowing how to fight them may yet be a crucial quality in this general election campaign, one that, unfortunately, will last longer than any other in recent history (because both parties are picking their nominees so early).
We'll see. We certainly wouldn't be against combining their strengths into one ticket.
Today we learn that Scruggs' co-defendant, lawyer David Balducci, has entered a guilty plea in the case and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors by testifying against Scruggs. See "Lawyer Will Cooperate In Bribe Probe" in today's Washington Post.
For more in-depth, and snarky, coverage of the Scruggs saga, check out Overlawyered and Y'all Politics, both of which nicely picked up on the Curmudgeon's post on the case.