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Friday, November 28, 2008

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility...

Now that the Democrats control the New York Senate for the first time in about a half century, they should do something bold. What bold move do you ask? Vote to abolish themselves. Streamline the legislative process. Make the legislative process more transparent. A unicameral legislature can do that.

Now that the Democrats control both houses, no one can claim that abolishing the Senate would emasculate one political party over the other. Keeping the Senate only serves to protect the personal fiefdoms of its occupants at the expense of New York and New Yorkers.

One State. One House.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey day hiatus...

Not that I've been the most diligent poster, but I do have to announce that I may be a bit out of the loop as I'm traveling for Thanksgiving.  Happy warm wishes and other such maudlin crap to you, the loyal reader.

Monday, November 24, 2008

And the survey says....

Top Ten Most Common Student Responses to a Request To Stop Talking:

10.) Huh?
9.)  But (insert name) is talking too!
8.)  Why you always picking on me?
7.)  My dad's gonna come up here if you don't leave me alone.
6.)  My mom's gonna come up here if you don't leave me alone.
5.)  My uncle's gonna come up here if you don't leave me alone.
4.)  My cousin's gonna come up here if you don't leave me alone.
3.)  That's not the way you ask for something.  You have to be nicer.  Say please.
2.)  What is you talking about?
1.)   I'm not talking!

Sunday, November 23, 2008



I hereby propose the following as a preliminary cast list:

The list can go on and on. I realize that the idea is brilliant. What do you think of the casting choices? I've left a lot of really important roles uncast and I could use your help

  • Animal?
  • Dr. Teeth?
  • Rizzo?
  • Scooter?
  • The Swedish Chef?
  • All the Sesame Street Muppets?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Unsolicited Advice

So, Barack Obama seems to be ignoring my advice for him regarding his Cabinet, but there is some indication that he is taking my advice to appoint Hillary Clinton to some cabinet position. You're Welcome, Mr. President-Elect. If Senator Clinton were to become Secretary of State (and I wish I had thought of her for that position), it would create a Senate vacancy for New York's Governor, David Paterson to fill.

Paterson needs to make a philosophical choice before he can even get down to short list of potential appointees. Should he appoint a place-holder to keep the seat warm and represent New York's interests for two years-- someone who will then step aside for a completely new Democratic candidate to be elected. Or, should Paterson pick someone who will hit the ground running and will run for election in two years.

A place holder is someone who will be in the awkward position of being both a place holder and a lame duck. In this situation, you either need someone with great gravitas, or someone with a great personality to get stuff done. In terms of gravitas, former Governor Mario Cuomo jumps to the front of the pack. Despite being out of politics himself for a decade, he still oozes gravitas, and appointing him would possibly protect Paterson from a primary challenge by Andrew Cuomo, the former gov's son, who wants to be governor himself.

Thinking waaaay outside the box, one could appoint former President Bill Clinton, or former Republican Senator Alphonse D'Amato (this would be a sure way to lose the Democratic primary for Paterson).

Personally, if I were to go this path, I would appoint an Upstater from academia. Former Cornell President Hunter Rawlings would strike a dashing figure, or former UB President William Griener.

If Paterson were to appoint someone with the view that they would then run for a full term, State AG Andrew Cuomo has proven to be effective at his job, is a proven vote-getter, and has Washington experience as HUD secretary. Appointing Cuomo Senator would also keep him from monting a primary challenge. Former US Attorney and current New York State Commissioner of Criminal Justice Services Denise O'Donnell successfullyhandled a number of important and high-profile cases, and is a Buffalonian.

The problem with New York's Congressional Democrats is that they are either very new, very old, or represent districts that Republicans would stand a good chance of winning in an open election. An exception is Buffalo's Brian Higgins, who has proven to be a bit conservative on national issues for my tastes, but is a hard-working, and ingenuative problem-solver.

Oh, and there are a lot of people from NYC who might be able to do the job as well.....

The Odd Couple?

Seems like there is a war a brewin' up between South Carolina's two Republican Senators. Jim Demint slammed John McCain, saying:

"His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election. And he has been an opponent of drilling in ANWR, at a time when energy is so important. It really didn't fit the label, but he was our package."

All the things DeMint slammed McCain for sound a lot like the platform of South Carolina's other Senator, and huge McCain backer, Lyndsey "I swear it's a boy's name too" Graham. Graham just beat back an attack by a Democrat on a shoe-string budget trying to flank him from the right. South Carolina's governor, Mark Sanford also just blasted any attempt at moderation in the Republican party. I wouldn't be surprised if in six years, Sanford unseats Graham in a Republican primary. Till then I look forward to watching the Republicans engage in the heretofor Democratic tradition of circular firing squads.

PS: I realize that the picture is more of a Mexican standoff than a circular firing squad, but it was too cool to pass up.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oh Saxby.....

I came across a real gem today from the most loathsome member of the United States Senate:

"First of all, I hope Senator Stevens is successful in being re-elected. And assuming that he is, I intend to support any motion to remove him," said US Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) to Roll Call."

Sounds a lot to me like Chambliss is voting for the measure before he votes against it, making him a (gasp!) "flip flopper"!

To wipe this detritus out of the Senate forever, please support Jim Martin.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Can someone please tell me why my tax dollars should go to bail out Ford, GM, or Chrysler? Instead of redistribution, there's another way we can give money to these company, it's called SALES. Like many millions of other Americans, I have decided in recent years not to give my money to these companies because, honestly they make gas guzzling death machines that fall apart. Unfortunately Congress seems to think it knows better than I do and wants to give the "Big Three" my dough without the joy of driving 9 mpg.

I'm not completely deaf to the cries that the "American" auto industry employs x-number of Americans, but you know who else employs x-number of Americans? Honda, Toyota, VW, and every other auto manufacturer. The idea of bailing out these dinosaurs is a tired broken paradigm.

There's a joke in here about giving money and getting a Hummer, but I'm too disgusted to find it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Newsweak, welcome to Wobegon

This is a little old now, but "News-weak" has an article warning President-elect Barack Obama that America is a "center-right nation." This strikes me a little like Garrison Kiellor intoning dulcetly that in Lake Wobegon, "all of the children are above average."

What is considered centrist may change over time, but that fact that most Americans remain at the political center never changes. The "center" constantly shifts with public opinion. Subsets of the population may be center-right or center-left. The average Alabamian may be center-right, but the country can't be.

Asshat editor and author Jon Meacham seems to be suffering from a virulent strain of the Lake Wobegon Effect. I hereby award him one hundred Asshat points.

Paging Dr. Dean

Just a few days after the elections, Dr. Howard Dean has announced he will step down as Chair of the DNC. In a way, on Tuesday he kept his promise: he went to Maine, and Iowa, and Indiana, and North Carolina, and Virginia, and Florida, and Ohio, and Colorado and the Democrats took back the White House YEEEEEAAAAARGH! I've been a big booster of Dean's 50 state strategy, and I think that it was a major building block in both Obama's huge victory AND in the huge gains Democrats have made in the House and Senate. Sure, Obama ran a nearly perfect camapaign, and a lond Democratic Primary forced him to go to almost every state and campaign hard for a long long time, and the Republicans did nothing but help by messing up for almost eight straight years and then putting George Bush's long lost twin sister on the Presidential ticket (twins, like diarhea, run in the Bush genes!) Dean's policy of putting Democratic operations in each and every state has demystified the Demcratic party in places where it was nigh invisible.

Think of why Republicans get almost no votes in big cities. It's not because 95% of people in big cities think that national Democratic candidates are better than Republicans are, although they certainly are a majority. It's because Republicans have no presence there. In most cases, mast urban people have never had a Republican candidate for city council, mayor, school board, state legislature or Congress come to their house and shake their hand. The Republican Party is a mysterious entity, whose face is either George Bush, or Sarah Palin, people who are distinctly and vocally anti-urban. Democrats used to be like this in many swaths of rural America and some a lot of Sunbelt sprawl. Dean worked to change that.

Would Obama have won without Dean? I think almost certainly so. Would the Democrats have a majority in both Houses? I think so. But it would be narrower. The biggest gains have yet to be realized. Democrats have made big inroads in state legislatures since Dean became chair. This will bring a bumper crop of seats come redistricting time, and builds a strong bench of future candidates for national office.

Let's hope whoever Obama chooses for the job is as foresighted as Howard "Prometheus" Dean.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Cabinet

So, it's that time of year, or every four years, where people who have no connection whatsoever to the functioning of the government and no personal knowledge of any of the personalities involved give unsolicited advice to the President-elect on who he should appoint to his Cabinet. Please don't call it Monday-morning quarterbacking, because Obama's not even President yet; this is Saturday morning quarterbacking(tm).

These are not meant to be guesses as who Obama will pick, but as my unsolicited, advice.

Chief of Staff: Robert Downey Jr. impersonator Rahm Emmanuel sounds pretty good to me.

Secretary of State: Two choices immediately come to mind. Gov. Bill Richardson, who has served extensively as an ambassador and a special envoy on several occasions has the knowledge and disposition to serve as Sec State. The second is Chuck Hagel. Hagel is a prominent Republican and SecState is a prominent position, which makes this a prominent and real show of non-partisanship (as opposed to Bush's token Democrat who served as Secretary of Transportation!) Hagel is a level-headed realist, who doesn't misinterperet realism as a "bomb the fuckers" ideology like a lot of Republicans pretend it is. Like Obama (and Richardson), he sees the need for both diplomacy and force-- the carrot and the stick.

Secretary of Defence: I like Wesley Clark. He has solid military credentials, having made a career of it, as well as the needed diplomatic experience, having headed NATO and the Kosovo Campaign. I'm always a bit nervous throwing generals into high civilian positions, but Clark has spent a decent amount of time as a civilian to calm that concern. I hear a lot of people throwing Hagel's name out there for Sec Def, and while I feel he would perform admirably, I think that it would only reinforce the media's canard that Republicans are stronger on defence than Democrats, which the past eight years have proven compleely wrong with a deadly vengence.

Attorney General: Slightly more than a year ago I would have had no other name on this list than Eliot Spitzer... ooops.... Now my favorite for the job is frm Mississippi AG Mike Moore, who is most famous for some pretty major anti-tobacco suits. I also like current NY AG Andrew Cuomo, fellow New Yorker and former US Attorney Denise O'Donnell or recent Senatorial candidate Rick Noriega.

Secretary of the Interior: Because this position always has to go to a Westerner, how about frm Senator Tom Daschle? Others include former Congressman Brad Carson. Maybe former Republican Senator Gordon Smith?

Secretary of the Treasury: Inviting accusations of "Clinton Retread" I like Larry Summers. I think he did an excellent job as Secretary of the Treasury during the 90's (remember surpluses?), and I also thought he was an excellent President of Harvard. PS: I also know that Andrw Cuomo was a Clinton appointee but for a different job. Runner-up: New York Comptroller H.Carl McCall. I think Paul Volcker, while a great Fed Chair, and a very valuable potential advisor is too old for this job, despite all the clamor for his appointment.

Secretary of Agriculture: The man in charge of raising our red meat could be some red meat for liberals with former Texas Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower. Traditionally this job is just about directing subsidies, but something really is rotten in the land of Agriculture and Hightower is someone who could really intelligently lead as America deals with never-before-seen issues in Agriculture like genetically modified foods, industrial farming, new synthetics entering the food-stream. Also I suggest Cornell Professor, farmer and former director of the Ne Jersey Office of Sustainability Rob Young.

Secretary of Commerce: Darcy Burner or former Republican Representative Jim Kolbe.

Secretary of Labor: Lest I be attached the lable of D. Wire Newman retreader, I say that he is the only one, but I must nominate former Secretary of Labor Leo McGarry

Secretary of Health and Human Services: A lot of people would say it is impossible, but I really think that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is the single most qualified person for this job. Her knowledge of and passion for healthcare are unequaled. People say that egos would clash, but I say that she has learned to check her ego at the door in order to get a job done; she has been an effective senator, and after losing the Democratic primaries, she became an effective voice for her former rival Barack Obama.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: A lot of great mayors jump to mind: Ed Rendell, Ron Kirk, Corey Booker, and another Chicaoan Richard Daley-- Daley is a man who knows how to Green a city, but if memory serves, he and Obama may have an icy history. Booker stands out as someone with real fire in his belly, and he has the added bonus of being young and good-looking.

Secretary of Transportation: Labor Unions might balk, but Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher thinks outside the box.

Department of Education: JOEL KLEIN of NYC Public Schools.

Department of Veterans Affairs: Another Illinoisian Tammy Duckworth would be a valuable choice. Senator Bob Corker has executive experience as Mayor of Chattanooga and happens to be a Republican Senator with a tolerable personality who would be replaced by a Democratic governor.

Department of Homeland Security: Former Senator Max Cleland lost his seat in large part because of twisted attacks on his votes to improve the then-proposed DHS. It is fitting that he should be put in charge of the Department he worked hard to see made right instead of quick like the Republicans wanted.

Secretary of Energy: Should he lose his race for the Senate (knock on wood), Archorage Mayor Mark Begich is a loud voice for alternative energy, despite his support of drilling in ANWR.

In making this list, I had in mind the traditional trick of picking Senators of the opposing party who would be replaced by a governor of your own party, or a Representative from a seat you believe your party would pick up in a general election. I was struck by how few Republican senators come from states with Democratic governors. This task was also complicated by the younger generation of senators elected in the late 90's and the 00's who have, simply stated, viciously toxic personalities; many of these people served in the Newt Gingrich-led House of Representatives.

For the love of God, don't appoint liar Colin Powell to anything; his lies have cost America enough already, and his last-minute endorsement of Barack Obama does not buy him absolution for his past sins.

Also, there are a lot of potential presidents in this mix. In fact, a lot of these men and women have already campaigned for the top spot. I think Obama has the dexterity to pull a Team of Rivals and surround himself with potential presidents while still working together as a cohesive unit. You should remember that all of these people are near the top of the line of succession and could find themselves as presidents someday. We should demand excellence and not settle for mediocrity because it is politically safe.

Baby Boom Cont. or Happiness is a Warm Pup

As I'm sure you have all seen, I was right about the baby/puppy boom. The Obamas have shamelessly stolen my idea that puppies are the ultimate symbol of Hope(tm). I will also be claiming that Obama stole my ideas about withdrawing troops from Iraq, fixing the economy and cutting my taxes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breaking News

There are rumors on the internets that John McCain is planning on suspending his campaign.  Is this just the kind of bold mavericky thinking that will win him the election?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Puppy Boom?

Anyone else notice more people with puppies than you've ever seen before?  And on a related note, has anyone else noticed more pregnant women than you've ever seen before?  I hypothesize that it has to do with the economy.  A lot of people are, quite literally, depressed and are turning to puppies to bring them joy.  Another set of people realize that if you're going to take yourself out of the workforce for 6 months to three years or so for child-bearing/rearing, this is exactly the time to do it.

For those of you who are allergic to  dogs, or live in apartments whose leases don't allow children, here is a clip of a kitten falling asleep while sitting up, that will take the edge of your 401k quarterly.

DC At-Large Endorsement

I'm going to go out on a limb with a very very strange split ticket this year and endorse Republican Pat Mara and Green David Schwartzman for the DC City Council At-Large seat.

Normally, I am a dyed-in-the-wool true-blue Democrat, and I think the Republican Welfare that the Congress has imposed on DC is really fascist, but I am massively underwhelmed by both of the Browns (the endorsed Democrat and the Independent Democrat). I think it is valuable to America to have more pro-choice and pro-gay-rights Republicans. I also think that both major parties should have a significant presence everywhere in America. If every seat is competed for everywhere, we will have more and better democracy. Also, and I know it's blackmail, but I believe that DC is far more likely to get a REAL vote in Congress if we occasionally elect Republicans to public office.

Schwartzman, seems like a cool dude.

And, because it is obligatory to add: "no matter how you plan to vote, be sure to exercise your precious right and vote."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You heard it here first!

With 0% of precincts reporting, I am calling the 2008 Presidential election in favor of Barack Obama. You heard it here first, so eat that CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, and MSNBC! is your place for the hastiest political news.

Mr. Obama scored somewhere between 49% and 60% of the popular vote and Mr. McCain garnered somewhere between 49% and 12% of the popular vote. Republicans are claiming a moral victory in that the collective age of McCain voters somewhat exceeds that of Obama voters.