Friday, January 25, 2008

Shades of This Week?

This is one of the funnier political videos I've seen in a while, and I thought I'd share...

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Posted by FleshPresser at 4:52 PM /

Obama Leads Going Into South Carolina Primary...

Despite all of the negative campaigning and attacks from the Clinton campaign over the last several days (or maybe because of them), Barack Obama is maintaining a 13 point lead over Clinton as tomorrow's South Carolina Democratic primary approaches.

What's even more exciting to me is that John Edwards' support is slowly creeping up, with indications that a second place finish would be possible for him tomorrow. I think that it would serve as a strong message for Clinton to be repaid with a third place finish for way the campaign has conducted themselves in recent days.

I'd love to reprint the entire endorsement from South Carolina's newspaper, The State, but I'll just share a brief portion of it, and you can read the rest of it on their website:
The restoration of the Clintons to the White House would trigger a new wave of all-out political warfare....Hillary Clinton doesn’t pretend that it won’t happen; she simply vows to persevere, in the hope that her side can win....

Sen. Obama’s campaign is an argument for a more unifying style of leadership. In a time of great partisanship, he is careful to talk about winning over independents and even Republicans. He is harsh on the failures of the current administration - and most of that critique well-deserved. But he doesn’t use his considerable rhetorical gifts to demonize Republicans. He’s not neglecting his core values; he defends his progressive vision with vigorous integrity. But for him, American unity - transcending party - is a core value in itself.

Sen. Obama would also have the best chance to repair the damage to America’s global reputation.... Sen. Obama is the only Democrat who plausibly can say that he wants to work with Americans across the political spectrum to address such subjects - and he has the integrity and the skills of persuasion that make him the best-qualified among the remaining Democratic hopefuls to address these challenges.

He would be a groundbreaking nominee. More to the point, he makes a solid case that he is ready to lead the whole country. We see Sen. Barack Obama as the best choice in Saturday’s Democratic primary.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 4:02 PM /

Rezko-nize THIS Face?

During the last Democratic debate in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton accused Barack Obama of aiding Tony Rezko "...when you were practicing law and representing your contributor ... in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago." Although many various sources have indicated that Obama never DIRECTLY represented Rezko, the Clinton camp continues to pound at the issue, feeding it to the media.

Well, as is typically proven, that kharma is a bitch. Today, photos surface of Tony Rezko with the Clintons.

While Clinton denies knowing Rezko, it is plain and obvious that he at least had access to the Clinton White House.

I wonder if we'll see a picture of Obama and Norman Hsu appear? Somehow, I'm thinking not.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:24 AM /

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thompson Drops From The Ledger... and Ledger Just Drops...

So, Fred Thompson dropped out of the race for President today. If he hadn't announced it, I'm not sure that anyone would have noticed.

And Heath Ledger died today, found naked in an apartment with pills around him. One of my students mentioned that they heard he was found in Mary-Kate Olson's apartment.

If I was found naked in an Olson twins' apartment, I think I'd take the same path as Heath.

Posted by FleshPresser at 6:47 PM /

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Proper Remembrance?

Is this REALLY the same Bill Clinton that I admired so much as a President? After hearing him talk about Obama as a "fairy tale", maybe it shouldn't surprise me to see this? Check Bill out around the 50 second mark, where he tries to cover his nod-off as a nod of agreement (please forgive the link to the New York Post... at this hour thus far, it's the only place I could find an embeddable copy of the video):

If you had a late night or something, that's fine... just call and CANCEL YOUR APPEARANCE rather than making one that embarrasses yourself, your spouse who's running for President, and millions of Americans who thought you were better than this.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 8:42 PM /

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Culinary Workers Endorse Obama

As anticipated, both the Culinary Workers Union in Nevada and it's parent, UNITE HERE, have endorsed Barack Obama. Obama also received the endoresement of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Nevada today.

These are HUGE victories for Obama heading into Nevada, and a serious blow to Clinton and, more critically, to Edwards. Edwards has been alligning himself with labor and to fail to receive an endorsement like this is another major disappointment.

The Culinary Workers endorsement, as well as SEIU's, guarantee a groundswell of organizers for the Nevada caucus, which is to be held in ten days. The caucus takes place during the day on the Saturday of the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In addition, this is the first time that Nevada is holding a precinct caucus, and as such, attendance is projected to be around 45,000 - or 10% of the state's registered Democratic population.

A union membership of over 60,000 floods the odds in Obama's favor, then.... and provides organized help on the ground at a critical point.

Add to this that Obama's campaign is taking in an average of $1 million a DAY in January thus far, including $500,000 since the end of the election last night.

All in all, not bad for the day after an "alleged loss" to Clinton in New Hampshire (I'm still being snarky - technically, when it comes down to delegate counts, they tied.) - Obama heads into both Nevada and South Carolina in a very strong position.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 3:32 PM /

LiveBlogging: New Hampshire Results


I'm reminded of two quotations. The first is attributed to Mark Twain:

"Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated."

The other is a line from Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting (although I'm sure it didn't originate in this film):

"You like apples?
How about DEM apples!"

I had rehearsal this evening, and so I didn't get back until just recently, and honestly wasn't too terribly interested in rushing home, as I was pretty damned sure that I knew what the outcome was going to be.

I'm not sure if it's the Clinton campaign that needs to be congratulated for a seemingly impossible and implausible win in New Hampshire this evening, or if it's the polling industry that needs to be trashed and told never to speak again.

Probably a hearty dose of both.

If Iowa was a remarkable and historic night for Barack Obama, then surely the same must be said of Hillary Clinton's win this evening in New Hampshire. To tell the truth, I'm not even sure that the Clinton campaign KNOWS what they did right tonight - not that they're going to argue with the results, of course.

The Clinton campaign had INTERNAL polling numbers that suggested they were going to lose by eleven points. The Obama campaign had INTERNAL numbers that suggested that they were going to win by fourteen. The Clinton campaign had been discussing whether they were going to announce changes to their campaign staff prior to the loss, or tomorrow - after the loss.

These, my friends, are not pundits speaking, or media-driven polls. These are all FACTS from within the campaigns themselves.

So, what the hell happened? I'm not even going to hazard a guess, nor do I want to listen to any of the pundits on this one in terms of their "expertise" - clearly, they KNEW that Obama was going to win tonight.

I do know this much - Hillary Clinton is a better candidate for having weathered this storm, and gaining this crucial victory. And Barack Obama is going to be a stronger candidate having this "alleged victory" taken away from him.

Earlier today (if you watched the Russert clip I posted earlier today, you already heard this), the Culinary Workers union in Nevada (the state's largest union presence) was set to announce their endorsement of Obama on Wednesday morning, which would all but hand the victory in Nevada to Obama. Tonight, that endorsement looks to be hanging neutral once more, at least until later in the week if not later.

So, while New Hampshire and Nevada seemed to be locked up this afternoon, it now appears that everything is in play once again.

If you're a political junkie/nerd like I am, then you're probably feeling the same way I am right now.... The next couple of days and weeks are going to be pretty damned amazing, given the surprising events of the last week.

And if you want to get a little snarky about it, go talk to your colleagues about it like this - Obama and Clinton realistically tied. Although Clinton took more of the popular vote, they both wind up with nine delegates a piece. So there. :)

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:07 AM /

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's New Hampshire's Turn...

By now, it appears that all of the mystery has been taken out of the results of this election - at least on the Democratic side. The biggest question is not whether or not Obama will win, but by how many points. In addition, it will be interesting to see how many Independents play on the side of the Democrats, rather than the Republicans - this would have a pretty significant effect on McCain's showing today.

We'll bring results later this evening as they come in, and do some analysis and punditry as always. In the meantime, here's some talk from Russert from this morning on the topic - please ignore Joe Scarborough, who I tend to dislike, as well as the "ohhhh nooooo" woman sitting by his side.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 4:23 PM /

Monday, January 07, 2008

PTF's Handmade Political Cartoons: CHANGE

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Posted by FleshPresser at 1:59 PM /

Globes a No-Go...

First there was word that the revolution wouldn't be televised.

Now, it appears that it simply won't take place at all.

Damn. No glamorous shots of Rumer Willis handing out awards as Miss Golden Globe.

Don't let them fool you into thinking it was cancelled because of the Writer's Strike. No... we ALL know the real reason they were cancelled was the exclusion Two and A Half Men.


Posted by FleshPresser at 1:02 PM /

Clips From The New Hampshire Debate

Here, again, are reasons why I believe Clinton is going to continue her downward spiral, while Obama and Edwards are going to continue to rise... unless Clinton changes her strategy QUICKLY. Look at how flabbergasted she becomes at this moment in the debate.... almost as if to say "Didn't you get the memo?!? I'm supposed to be WINNING!"

Need more proof? Watch how the opinions sway as she speaks...

Pretty telling...

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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:38 AM /

The Eve Of New Hampshire....

True... it's still too early to crown a victor for the Democratic party primary race. But on this day before the New Hampshire primary, the writing is starting to appear on the wall, and I'm liking what it says:

American Research Group (based in Manchester, NH) shows Obama over Clinton by a margin of 11 percent... 39% - 28%. As was the case in Iowa, Obama is carrying the youth vote (here widely defined as 18-64), by a margin of 21%. Those 65 and over prefer Clinton by almost the same margin. What's more interesting, however, is the breakdown according to gender. Not surprisingly, Obama and Edwards both lead Clinton among male voters. Women, however, also favor Obama over Clinton - 35%-34% - while 21% lean toward Edwards. Perhaps the most important indicator of success in the general election, however, is the independent voting block. Here, Obama enjoys a 47%-25% margin over Edwards.

Rasmussen Reports shows Obama over Clinton with a ten-point lead... 38%-28%. Edwards continues to hang on, with 18%. Rasmussen points out the same signifier - Clinton and Obama are largely even among Democrats, but Obama has a 2-1 lead over Clinton among Independents.

A Gallup poll shows Obama leading New Hampshire, with a 41%-28% margin over Clinton. Edwards maintains 19% of the vote. Gallup's report points out that the biggest jump in the numbers came when Democrats were asked who "has the best chance of beating the Republican in November." In mid-December, Clinton led on this question by 21 points. Today, Obama leads in this category by 11 points. Obama went up 19 points after the Iowa win, while Clinton lost 13 points.

A couple of other random thoughts here... it's become apparent that the race is largely a two-person race, between Obama and Clinton. The next two in line, however, seemed to have alligned themselves. Edwards has clearly taken a place behind Obama's shoulder, coming down on the side of change. Richardson, meanwhile, is doing everything possible to climb inside Clinton's side pocket. It is not clear that Edwards or Richardson have a clear shot at a veep slot, but it's worth taking note.

In my opinion, here's a telling sign of where the election is heading. To combat the "message of change," Clinton has been attacking Obama by encouraging people not to be swept up by "false hopes." Yesterday, during the debate in New Hampshire, she stopped a conversation between Obama and Edwards to encourage that they get a "reality check."

Obama, on Good Morning America today, addressed Clinton very simply, stating "I mean, you can picture JFK saying, 'we can't go to the moon, it's a false hope. Let's get a reality check.' It's not, sort of, I think, what our tradition has been."

True... it's still too early to crown a victor for the Democratic party primary race. But here are a few interesting facts. In 2004, John Kerry won the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, and went on to win the Democratic nomination. In 2000, Al Gore won the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary and went on to win the Democratic nomination. We'll see what happens in 2008 if Barack Obama wins both Iowa and New Hampshire.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:16 AM /

Thursday, January 03, 2008

LiveBlogging Iowa - Projected Winner

MSNBC has just projected Barack Obama as the winner of the Iowa Democratic Caucus.

This is truly an amazing and historic night. An African-American man, named Barack Hussein Obama, has beat the "presumptive nominee," Hillary Clinton - who many believed didn't have to be elected, as much as she simply needed to be coronated by the Democratic party as their nominee.

Instead, John Edwards is currently also ahead of Clinton, and the spin about her potential third place finish in Iowa has already begun. Keep in mind that Clinton (and Obama, for that matter) MASSIVELY outspent Edwards in Iowa, and yet Edwards looks to finish in second place.

Don't lose sight, as well, that this is taking place in IOWA - not exactly a hotbed of minority representation. This, in my mind, makes the Obama victory even more spectacular.

No, this isn't the end of the game. There's a LOT to happen between now and the finish line.

But as I said earlier, it gives me hope that America has people in it who are willing to risk making a change toward the dream of taking our country back, and restoring it to its glory.

Speaking of hope, it should be noted that Mike Huckabee - from Hope, Arkansas, won the Republican primary. What a study in contrast between Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:27 PM /

LiveBlogging Iowa - Precinct 53 Caucus Results

These are preliminary, but it appears that Obama beat Clinton by a HUGE margin, in terms of count. Obama had over 180 votes, and Edwards had somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 votes. Clinton came out in third place, with around 70 votes.

As such, Obama had three delegates assigned. Edwards had two delegates. Clinton had one.

A GOOD day for Obama in District 53 - and I couldn't be happier! Let's hope these results hold up throughout the state!

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Posted by FleshPresser at 8:58 PM /

LiveBlogging Iowa Caucus

Chances are that it'll be over before you read this, but if you get the chance, take a look at C-Span, either on TV, or you can link to live coverage here. They have cameras inside a caucus site in Iowa, and you are able to watch the process as it happens.

Maybe I'm just admitting my wonk-iness, but it's retail democracy in action. In the caucus I'm watching, Iowa Precinct 53 at the Theodore Roosevelt High School, the threshold for viability is 57 people. Richardson's group had 47. Others, like Biden's group, Dodd's group, etc. were deemed not viable, as was Richardson's. However, Richardson's people went to the other groups to try and talk them into joining forces to create viability.

You might believe it to be about as exciting as watching paint dry. You might even deem it similar to watching sausage being made.

But it's grassroots, and it's invigorating to me to see people THIS active in their own piece of the political process.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 8:46 PM /

Caucus? WTF?

"Umm.... thank God I never had to take Caucus in high school. I barely got through Algerbra. (insert cheesy rim shot here) "

So, if you live in Iowa, you more than likely have a good idea by now that today is the day of "The Caucus" (insert dramatic, ominous music here) - if you don't, then you've probably been living under a rock until such time as all of the politicos have left your fair, if bland, state. You've also more than likely missed out on a TON of free dinners and political swag, all of which can be sold for a fair profit on E-Bay.

For the REST of us, however, the caucus has always remained a bit of a mystery. And while I've ALWAYS believed that our ENTIRE primary system MUST be redesigned, there is something very engaging about the caucus itself - a "stand-up-and-be-counted" purity that strikes to my very grassroots core.

Whether Iowa should be viewed as representative of the United States is another issue entirely, of course.

The caucus itself really isn't as confusing as it seems, and the format is one that is very intriguing to me, relative to current polls, and how worthless they actually are in predicting an outcome in Iowa.

Here's a quick lesson in "caucus" for those of you in the dark:

If you prefer something a bit more slanted toward a specific candidate, you can't go wrong by watching the explanations by the Obama Campaign, the Clinton campaign, or the Edwards campaign.

Provided that the weather cooperates and people actually care enough to go to their respective caucus sites, there is something fascinating about people actually gathering together, discussing the issues that directly affect them and their community, and then taking a stand for the candidate of their choice. I can't think of a more transparent form of voting - at least on a local level. While precinct captains may try to lure undecideds to their corner of the room with free and discreet handjobs, I'm sure it's nothing on the level of a Diebold-ian nightmare.

The other intriguing factor in the Iowa Caucus, relative to the 2008 Election, is the notion of the "second vote."

For those who caucus for a candidate who doesn't get to around 15%, there is an opportunity to join another caucus group, in essence giving their support to their "next favorite" candidate.

So, let's think about this for a moment. Currently, you can find polls in Iowa that show Clinton, Obama, and/or Edwards all in the lead, or at least sharing a portion of it.

But surely there are those still supporting a candidate like Dennis Kucinich, as an example. Iowa would actually be a GREAT state to live in for this fact - one could actually support the candidate that they TRULY support, while still not losing their opportunity to be heard. Kucinich, following the example, certainly will not meet the threshold necessary to garner delegates. His supporters, then, are allowed to switch their allegiance and support their next candidate of choice. As a voter in a caucus system, one could actually vote once on principle, and then vote again, if necessary, based on pragmatic realism of who actually stands the best chance of winning.

I've got to believe that, given this system, Barack Obama is going to come out as the hands down winner in Iowa at the end of the day. Clinton can probably take the hit in Iowa, but if the Iowa race registers significantly on the New Hampshire radar, it could signal one of the greatest upsets in recent political history, and one that PTF has been advocating for over a year.

And that, my friends, would be the sweetest form of democracy we've seen around these parts for quite some time.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 1:12 AM /

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Has The Strike Been Going On THIS Long?

What the hell happened to David Letterman's face? Is this an indication of how long the WGA has been striking? I'm watching Letterman this evening on the basis of the fact that Worldwide Pants was able to come to an agreement with the WGA, meaning that they're able to go back on the air with their writers in tact.... unlike some other notable late night shows.

What's also interesting was that Hillary Clinton was scheduled to be a guest, but then reduced her appearance to a single taped introduction. Meanwhile, over on Satan's Lot, Mike Huckabee crossed the picket line to appear with Leno.

It'll be interesting to see what the fallout, if any, will be.

UPDATE: Is it just me, or is Robin Williams beginning to look more and more like Charles Nelson Reilly?

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:38 PM /