Monthly Archives: February 2008

Kosovo: To Be or Not to Be; How and Why are the quesitons

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Kosovo has finally declared independence from Serbia. This didn’t seem like much of surprise or controversy to me, but frankly, I am simply not that informed about the pros and cons of an independent Kosovo.

As a matter of fact, it all seemed pretty logical. After the fall of communisim, death of Tito, and civil war in Yugoslavia, a series of new states were born: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYROM (or Macedonia), and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1999, NATO forces attacked Yugoslavian targets, without a U.N. Security Council resolution to do so, to protect the Albanian-Kosovars. In 2003, Montenegro gained its independence, thus ending the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and giving birth to two separate nations: Serbia and Montenegro. So why is accepting Kosovo’s independence so controversial? Continue reading

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Give Us More Credit

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Yesterday I asked the question “how dumb are Americans“. A Washington Post op-ed piece had earlier claimed that Americans had lost their attention spans and were anti-intellectuals. Then today, Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, has written a counter argument. In some senses, I would agree with him. But, my original point was whether we’d let ourselves be dooped by the negative campaign tactics of Hillary. If you check the elections results of Wisconsin and Hawaii (that’s 10 consecutive Obama wins), it would seem that, for the time being, we aren’t as dumb as Hillary would have us believe.

Today the Nation’s article, “Clinton Takes the Low Road“, in explaining how Hillary has little left except to take cheap stabs at Obama, accurately highlights Hillary’s problem:

why can’t Clinton win on her own merits? Why can’t her campaign win caucuses, or highly educated voters, or compete competitively in red states? How have they failed to win a single contest since Super Tuesday?

Ruth Marcus also describes why voters aren’t stupid,

Voters aren’t foolish or naive; if anything, sometimes they are more cynical than is warranted about politics and politicians. Still, they are responding to Obama because of a yearning to believe in something. Telling them they’ve been chumps is not a winning message.

Continue reading

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How Dumb Are Americans?

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Yesterday I read an article in the Washington Post by Susan Jacoby called “The Dumbing of America“. The article argued that video, the Internet, the fact that people don’t read any more, and the culture of anti-rationalism have all (further) reduced the limited attention spans of Americans.

This got me thinking about how the candidates and the press treat us like we’re dumb and how we often fall into the trap. They tell us about themselves and about the other candidates, and we believe them — especially when they repeat the same stuff over and over again. Hillary is the perfect example of how using quick and repeated sounds bites work even though her words are empty of any real foundation in fact. And now that she sees herself as losing, she is getting even worse and even more sketchy.

Personally, I find her cheap attacks on Obama offensive to my intelligence. But the question is, just how dumb does she think Americans are, and just how dumb are we? Continue reading

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Fidel Not Seeking Re-election

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In a bold and historic move, Fidel Castro has decided not to seek re-election. After only 49 years as president of Cuba and after discussions with his family and close friends, Castro resigns and will not seek a new term. Because elections in Cuba are typically highly contested and competitive, now its anyone’s guess as to who will be the island’s next commander-in-chief. My guess, and this is only a guess, is that Raul Castro is in the best position to take over.

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The Tragic Irony of the Clinton Legacy

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As people go, Americans are incredibly uptight. We’re puritans and naive. We don’t want to hear bad words on TV or, God forbid, see a stray nipple. We want our politicians to be moral leaders, good Christians, good family men, and corruption free. Before the presidency became a reality show, Americans (and the press) simply ignored their presidents’ personal lives and pecadillos. Call it willful blindness if you like, but nobody was looking. Then came Nixon and Gary Hart and then . . . Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton seemed to have been born for scandal and scandal mongers — what the Clintons called the “vast right wing conspiracy” and “politics of personal destruction”. Although the Clintons bred the 90s culture war and Clinton-hate was probably a central factor in the development of the Christian right (aka the “Moral Majority”), Bill Clinton did play an incredibly important role in positively changing American innocence and how the country viewed its president on a “human” level. Continue reading

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Obama’s Superior Executive Skills and the Challenges Ahead

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Last Friday I wrote about Hillary’s lack of a track record and how her campaign has been everything but impressive. As discussed yesterday on Meet the Press, this campaign is the biggest thing that any of the candidates — Hillary, Obama or McCain — have ever run. The three are senators and lack real “executive” experience. What’s nice about this election is that we are watching in real time how the three are executing their campaigns and showing their “day one” preparedness. Continue reading

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Clemens: Who F-ing Cares?

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I don’t follow Major League Baseball, and I am not following the recent Roger Clemens “controversy”. But as my bro, ReWrite, very accurately pointed out to me in an email minutes ago:

every newspaper cover says something like ‘who is the liar’ or ‘who is lying’ … someone should have the balls to write ‘who cares’.

Word!

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A Proven Track Record of a Poor, Scrambling Campaign

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In listening to Hillary’s repetitive rhetoric about her “proven track record”, experience, and day-one readiness, I keep wondering what she is talking about. As I have noted before and ad infinitum, Hillary’s experience/readiness argument fails simply because her campaign stragegy has been failing. Regardless of whether she wins in the end, we have seen her scramble to change her message, voice, and staff.

Does a president who is ready on day one lose her numbers one and two managers before day one? Isn’t choosing your team one of the most important things that a president does? If we practice the way we play, won’t we run a presidency the way we have campaigned for it? If the candidate with all of the solutions has trouble grasping her own message after 35 years of experience, then how will she resolve America’s problems on day one?

The fact of the matter is that Hillary is scrambling and is not ready. With the top politicos in the business on her payroll, you’d think she’d do better than ever-redefining Al Gore. Continue reading

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John.he.is and Political Parodies

After the popularity of the “Yes We Can” video by will.i.am, now there’s a new John McCain parody video. Then there is always the Onion: Continue reading

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Obama’s Potomac Sweep and the Race Fallacy

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Obama has swept the “Potomac Primaries” consisting of my hometowns: Virginina, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Not only did Obama win by large margins in all three jurisdictions, he has also proven that there is no “race card” or ethnocentric voting imperative. The only voters who overwhelmingly sided for Clinton were middle aged women, and there is nothing to indicate that their votes for Hillary was a personal or racial rejection of Obama. They simply preferred Hillary. Everyone else voted for Obama or were equally divided between the two. Continue reading

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