A Little Pick-Me-Up

Friday, October 31, 2008

I was throwing some beers back last night at a local favorite watering hole that carries 10 different Michigan brews and another 6 micros from all over the place. As I was quaffing a pint of Founders Harvest Ale (great offering this year...), I spied the label on the tap: Dark Horse Brewing Company (Marshall, MI) Perkulator. It's a coffee doppelbock.

Today's review is going to be uncharacteristically lacking in hyperbole. You see, I had a whole heaping ton of Perkulator last night.

The bartender handed me a glass of a hazy russet brown/chestnut beer with a thick, foamy off-white head. She wasn't exactly reverent as she handed it to me, but she did a good job of not sloshing any beer out of the glass. I appreciated that.

The armoa was all coffee. Underneath all that coffee was your standard doppelbock: chocolate, bread, malty-sweet malted milkball kinds of aromas). I was skeptical of whether the coffee would go well with the chocolatey-sweetness and malty richness of a doppelbock, but I got the impression of coffee-with-my-coffeecake as I whiffed the lovely brew, so yeah, I guess that kinda works!

The taste is a much more balanced blend of flavors than the aroma let on. The coffee mixed with the doppelbock flavors created a coffee-with-cream impression, which while I don't usually put cream in my coffee, I'll make an exception in this case. The malt profile of the Doppelbock is excellent. It wasn't overly-roasty or chocolatey, but balanced. Great molasses taste as well, which really added to the coffee-and-cream feeling. It finished sweet but had a great coffee bitterness to provide a balance to that sweetness. As appropriate, the hops are virtually non-existent. Anhy bitterness came from the coffee and the roasted malts.

The body was great for a Doppelbock: full-bodied but not cloying. The coffee flavors mixed-in really added an impression of a thicker body but, again, cut that cloying sweetness out of it.

Overall, this was a solid offering from this creative brewery. A coffee Doppelbock satisfies two of my vices at the same time, which rates pretty high in my book. Also, kudos for creative use of the historically-appropriate usage of the "-ator" suffix in doppelbocks.



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Somewhere around 7 or 8 percent of the U.S. voting population have not made a decision on who they will vote for president.

Who are these people and what is their holdup?

Maybe if you have not had a chance to turn on the TV this election cycle, you might be confused by one candidate’s economic plan versus his opponent's. Maybe if you haven’t even walked past a news stand, you might not know one tax plan from the other. But seriously, do these undecided voters have absolutely no opinion on the major issues that differentiate the candidates?

In case one of ATK’s 1.9 million readers is still on the fence, below you will find the simpletons guide to five major differences that can be defined in pretty much black and white terms. Each candidate for sure has more nuanced positions on these issues, but since some people are still pretty confused, I think we need to make it simple.

McCain – supports current tax policies, with an additional across the board cut.
Obama – wants to return to Clinton style tax policies, with an additional “middle class” cut.

McCain – supported the invasion of Iraq, supports a measured withdrawal of troops
Obama – opposed the invasion of Iraq, supports a measured withdrawal of troops, possibly a bit quicker.

McCain – opposed to abortion rights
Obama – in favor of abortion rights

McCain – generally supports reduced government regulation of business
Obama – generally in favor of greater regulation of business

Just in case you need extreme labels to make up your mind:

McCain – Conservative, fascist pig
Obama – Liberal, commie-pinko

I close with a funny quote from David Sedaris, written in the New Yorker on October 27th.

In regards to undecided voters:

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat.

“Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?


Obama takes over the airwaves

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

So tonight during prime time, Senator Barack Obama will buy a half-hour of time on eight different networks. From the moment this was announced, I have thought this was a risky move. The guy is ahead, yet he is buying enough time that everyone in America will be forced to watch him, which will even delay the World Series.

The Obama team has been darn smart so far the last two years, but this major move during the last week of the campaign still has me wondering. What do you think? Will the Obama infomercials close the deal, or cut loose some voters?


***Prediction Time***

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We're one week away from Election Day. Get-out-the-vote efforts are kicking into gear. Poll workers are preparing their 87-year-old bodies for the masses of humanity. Florida is praying that they don't f*** things up again. And Ohio? Well, Ohio still sucks.

I think it's about time for the fine folks of ATK to weigh in. Submit your predictions for the following:

~ Popular vote percentage for Obama/McCain
~ Electoral votes for Obama/McCain (538 total)
~ Net gain in the Senate seats by the Democrats (currently 51 Dems-49 GOP, w/ independents)
~ Net gain in House seats for the Democrats (currently 233 Dems-202 GOP)
~ Three surprises

I recommend RealClearPolitics, Pollster.com, FiveThirtyEight.com, and 270toWin.com (especially for predicting Electoral Vote totals).

Whoever "wins" earns the title of "Chief Political Prognosticator" for the balance of November.

You all seem good at politics. We'll see about the math.


Thug Life

Look who else pals around with felons.


A literal take on Take on Me

Monday, October 27, 2008

This was a great song back in the day and the video was pretty edgy for 1986.   I like this take.  Yeah, they were kind of whiny, but since I have ancestors from Norway, there aren't a whole lot of other Norwegian bands to follow.  They were pretty big for a time and even scored the theme for the James Bond movie, The Living Daylights.  Unfortuantely, they faded pretty fast and were never able to follow up on their early success.


Theodore Renatus

Two of the best biographies I have ever read** are authored by Sir Edmund Morris, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. His second book in his three-volume chronicle of Theodore Roosevelt is called Theodore Rex. Morris is a gifted writer whose genre of choice isn't always very exciting.
Could be though that in this case, Morris' subject was...pretty damn exciting.

At any rate, Morris did a mock-interview in today's New York Times, asking modern questins but answering them with actual Roosevelt quotes. What you get are Morris' conjecture about how Roosevelt may actually have answered these questions, based on what Morris knows about Roosevelt's mindset (which again, after devoting the time it takes to write three biographies about the guy, should be a pretty good idea...).

Go check it out. It's at least funny, if not also insightful.

**Biographies tend to be pretty damn dull (see: David McCullough's "John Adams." Szzzznnnkkkkkzzz....), but these were well-written and almost story-like. It's a tactic that got Morrris in a little trouble with the Reagan estate.


Michigan State 35, Michigan 21

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The last time MSU beat Michigan in Ann Arbor, I was an undergrad.  1990 is a long wait.  


Immortal Beer

Friday, October 24, 2008

If today's beer could make me live forever, I would drink it all the time.

As it is, given the body, booze content and overall power of this beer, it could live forever itself, which is probably why Sam Calagione at DogFish Head brewery in Delaware named this beer Immort.
I poured this thick barleywine into a brandy snifter, and as it poured it left wine-like "legs" down the sides of the glass. The beer was a muted copper color, like an old penny. It didn't produce a very big head, but what it did produce was an eggshell-white foam that dissipated quickly. It did leave small, thing lacing on the glass as I drank it, almost like age rings on a tree stumpo...you could tell how big each quaff was as I drank it down.

Right up front is a heavy caramel sweetness (common to DogFish brews) mixed with an oaky mustiness. These aromas fade into vanilla with an alcohol spice, and a citrusy bitterness. Enticing to be sure.

The taste hovered around Old Ale/Barleywine, which is not hugely different. Big caramel sweetness, maple syrup with a vanilla tinge, oak, and a hint of sourness common to Belgian yeast (which DFH claims the beer has). The beer is supposed to have Juniper berries brewed with it, but I don't really know what those taste like. If that is contributing to the piney/citrusy bitter notes hidden in each sip, then there it is, and it goes well with the overall flavor of the beer.

This is a huge-bodied beer; syrupy and thick, smooth and lightly carbonated. My only problem is that all the oak, vanilla, caramel and maple syrup flavors make for a relatively cloying brew that grew sickly-sweet as it warmed. I would have liked a bit more bitterness to balance and cut the powerful sweetness, but all in all, I enjoyed the beer and found it to be consistent with what is a...consistently great brewery. DFH loves to try weird and challenging stuff, and as a general rule, they're successful.

Lansing Dwellers, you can pick this up at Oades on Clippert and Kalamazoo. Everyone else...check your local beer mecca.


Did you really need another reason?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Beer is being made even better.  Researchers at Rice University are working on a beer that will fight cancer and heart disease.  Maybe I can get my health insurance provider to cover this.


Here's One For You

A Libertarian's view of why, lacking any other choice, is voting for Obama.

Sopor: consider it.

Steves: contradict it.

Bob: Yeah, he hates Obama too but it's one more vote for our guy.


Oliver, You Bastard

Oliver messed up.

Don't be Oliver. Send this video to your friends and make sure you and everyone else gets out and votes.



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Went to Jimmy John's for lunch. Saw this sign. Laughed. Still don't know what it means. Laughed anyway.I think it means "Please sit in pee." Not "and," but "in."

Any German speakers out there who can translate properly? Or BD/SM enthusiasts?


Powell's Real Endorsement

Monday, October 20, 2008

As you have likely heard, former General Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama yesterday. That's fine and good. I am glad he did it, but that wasn't the most important thing he said.

The Republican nutty fringe has been trying to paint Obama as a Muslim since the beginning of the campaign. Powell corrected the rumor mill in stating that Obama is indeed a Christian, but more powerfully, he asks why it should matter if he is.

Powell said:

"I feel particularly strong about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay, was of a mother at Arlington Cemetery and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone, and it gave his awards - Purple Heart, Bronze Star - showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death, he was 20 years old. And then at the very top of the head stone, it didn't have a Christian cross. It didn't have a Star of David. It has a crescent and star of the Islamic faith.

"And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could serve his country and he gave his life."

Source: TPM.


Another conservative for Obama

While not as big as Powell, Michael Smerconish is still fairly well known.  Powell doesn't seem to want to say much, but Smerconish isn't holding back:

"The candidates disagree as to where to prosecute the war against Islamic fundamentalists. Barack Obama is correct in saying the front line in that battle is not Iraq, it's the Afghan-Pakistan border. Osama bin Laden crossed that border from Tora Bora in December 2001, and we stopped pursuit. The Bush administration outsourced the hunt for bin Laden and instead invaded Iraq.

No one in Iraq caused the death of 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Our invasion was based on a false predicate, so we have no business being there, regardless of whether the surge is working. Our focus must be the tribal-ruled FATA region in Pakistan. Only recently has our military engaged al-Qaeda there in operations that mirror those Obama was ridiculed for recommending in August 2007.

Last spring, Obama told me: "It's not that I was opposed to war [in Iraq]. It's that I felt we had a war that we had not finished." Even Sen. Joe Lieberman conceded to me last Friday that "the headquarters of our opposition, our enemies today" is the FATA."

He raises some other good points, but this is the one that, IMO, puts Obama way ahead of McCain and is his most appealing position.  I still have a fair amount of problems with Obama on some of his policies and past acquaintances, but in some areas, he really stands out.  


Do Anything, Say Anything...

My favorite part is at the end when he says "You know, you've really got to work hard to violate Governor Palin's standards on negative campaigning."

For some perspective, here's where Obama is coming from in that statement (from WaPo). A snippet:

GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin last night criticized the automated calls the Republican National Committee and her own campaign have put out linking Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama to former Weather Underground member William Ayers, even though she did not call for a halt to the controversial practice.

"If I called all the shots, and if I could wave a magic wand," Palin told her traveling press corps as she stood on the tarmac here, "I would be sitting at a kitchen table with more and more Americans, talking to them about our plan to get the economy back on track and winning the war and not having to rely on the old conventional ways of campaigning that includes those robocalls and includes spending so much money on the television ads that, I think, is kind of draining out there in terms of Americans' attention span."
Now certainly I know that Palin is being critical of Obama's massive TV ad purchases, the infusion of boatloads of cash into Obama's campaign in September, and this massive half-hour block of airtime Obama purchased for next week. What makes it hysterical is hypocritical shit like this and this too, which hilariously stars Palin herself. recorded after, you know, her comments above.


Looks like Cole beat me to it.


But Aren't We All Winners, Really?

Friday, October 17, 2008

In the case of the results of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) brew competition held last weekend in Colorado, yes we are. We all win.

More than 127 judges labored for three days to evaluate 2,902 beers and pick the best entries and top breweries for this year's Great American Beer Festival. A total of 222 medals were awarded in 75 beer style categories and top breweries and brewers were designated based on the total number of medals won.
Let's get to the "top 5 winners": the breweries.

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year:
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year:
Pyramid Breweries Inc.

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year:
AleSmith Brewing Co.

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year:
Rock Bottom Brewing

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year:
Redwood Brewing Co....from Flint, Michigan! And Flint's economy is still so bad, they don't have a web site.

From there, go see this link for all of the GABF winners in each category of beer.

Other Michigan winners include Bastone Brewery (Royal Oak), Detroit Beer Company (Detroit, MI) and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter, MI).


Beer and Politics

It seems our friends over at the Washington Post like to mix their beer with politics too.


BOB makes great political ads.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I didn’t think Democrats had it in them to make funny, well-made political ads. A 527 group called Bring Ohio Back, (BOB) has some talented people working there. These ads might even cut through the clutter of negative ads over the next few weeks.



The three other videos are now located here, here, and here.


Staggering level of hypocrisy

The title is in reference to what Glenn Reynolds said in regards to the 'yellers' at McCain rallies. I have never tried to defend the nutjobs and bigots yelling those things. I have also been critical of those on the right who seek to lower the debate and dialog to the gutter and engage in lies and half-truths. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of inflammatory speech on the right, from the occasional forum poster, all the way up to TV pundits. Recent calls for McCain to tone down his campaign have been welcome and reasonable. What is lacking is some perspective and scrutiny for those on the left that are engaging in nastiness and nuttery.

There are some bloggers that have tried to paint a picture of McCain rallies as being ugly, hate-filled, brownshirt events with crowds calling for blood. There have been several unfortunate hecklers and idiots, but they are not common. Several bloggers, such as Patterico and Mary Katherine Ham (over at the Weekly Standard), have noted the circumstances surrounding these incidents and the problems with how they have been reported. Althouse notes that some have gone farther than take things out of context and have added words that were never said.

I have been told on more than one occasiona that the hate coming from left is mostly harmless, or in the case of people like Bill Maher (joking about a Cheney assassination) is just snarky and edgy. I looked around and couldn't find much. It tunrs out that I had to go to some sites that I don't really care for and ones that engage in the kind of behavior that I believe contributes little to intelligent debate. Therefore, I apologize in advance, but the fact is they have the information I need.

Michelle Malkin (I promise to not link to her again) has a whole page on lefty attacks on McCain and Palin. Some are absolutely disgusting. Some are certainly violent and hate-filled, such as the Abort Palin, most are just pathetic. Philly.com also notes these gems about Palin:

"Let’s stone her, old school." and "Wait till your daughter wants an abortion, you hypocrite."

These paragons of civility and reasonable discourse chose to wear shirts that say "Sarah Palin is a cunt". Classy. This guy called McCain a murderer.

I certainly don't believe that most on the left are like this. As it can be seen from ATK, the left has many intelligent, rational, respectful, and articulate advocates. I would also say that Obama and McCain have appeared to have done a decent job at confronting aspects of their campaign that are harmful and dangerous. There are some exceptions, but I am talking in a general sense. I would like to see some level of civilty and restraint, but should this only apply to the right?


Don’t lay down the hay where the goats can get it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roger Simon at Politico writes a nice piece, which taught me a little history. It also shows that John Lewis shouldn't be ignored.


Presidential Debate 3.0

Well, the final of three Presidential debates happened tonight. What's your take?

If you were to ask me, I'd say McCain would be doing better today in the polls if he had a long-term message similar to tonight's themes. He'd also have less of a climb had he performed similarly in the previous two debates.

Your take after the jump.


Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue

As Bob pointed out on another friendly blog, palinforpresident.com and palinforamerica.com are already-purchased domain names. This, of course, sets the stage for her run at the seat in 2012.

However, we saw this site was taken as well, and you really should check it out, if you have the stomach for it. Ladies and gentlemen, Palin As President.


RCP puts Obama at 50.1%, Florida leaning his way.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Real Clear Politics is showing Obama with an RCP average over 50% nationally for this first time since the general election began. More importantly, it is also now calling Florida as "leaning Obama", with Obama's Florida average at 50%.

Did I mention that North Dakota might be in play?


McCain Campaign to Hit the "Reset Button"

According to my sources (okay... politico.com), McCain is planning a speech today in which he 're-launches' his campaign. Apparently this is an attempt to get away from the ugliness of the last couple of weeks (both in terms of rhetoric and his poll numbers).

So, the question for this Monday morning is: what should be his new slogan?

I vote for "Americanity Now"


McCain does the right thing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It seems the shouts of "traitor", "terrorist" and "off with his head" have become too much for McCain. As reported in the Washington Times, McCain is now responding to the nut jobs in his audience with pleas for calmness and respect.

I guess there maybe is a little of the old John McCain left in there somewhere. I hope he continues, because no matter who wins, running the country will be a lot harder with this kind of hatred embedded in our political process.


The Right-Wing/Wall Street spin machine attacks the credit crisis.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The banking and housing crisis couldn't be the fault of deregulation - according to the Republicans, it's now the fault of minorities, the poor and the Community Reinvestment Act. (CRA)

John McCain, George Will and the fools of the Wall Street Journal are trying to rescue Reaganism from itself by a concerted effort to refocus the blame away from deregulation.

Slate's Daniel Gross debunks some of these lies in this column.

The CRA doesn't require loans to people who cannot afford them, it requires banks to make loans to people with good credit, who can afford them, but who happen to live in "bad" neighborhoods. In effect, it prohibits certain types of redlining. In fact, the CRA doesn't even apply to the majority of banks who created this mess.

I guess the facts cannot get in the way of a good blame game.


Is McCain putting himself before country?

John Cole, at Balloon Juice has posted a very important discussion on the current state of the John McCain campaign. Please go there. Read the post entitled: "Beyond Ugly", watch the video, and discuss.

Has the McCain campaign become dangerous or are commentators just being alarmist?


Some blogs, including Greenwald and some in the foreign press are picking up on the alarming trend at McCain rallies, but still not enough from the MSM.

A commentator at the Baltimore Sun has posted a column denouncing what is happening. Let's hope it ends up in the regular press.


Obama crests 270 win number according to RCP.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

For the first time this general election season, a ticket has crested the 270 vote minimum to win the electoral college. Today, Real Clear Politics took Virginia out of the toss-up category and awarded it to the Obama camp, having seen their poll averages raise above the margin of error.

See below.


The things I fear

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I've had this nagging thought for a few weeks now. I wanted to get it on e-paper, in the hopes that the loyal readers of this fine blog can allay my fears. The source of my fears are as follows;

Barack Obama is currently leading the race for President of the United States, and by a comfortable margin. Like any campaign in a similar situation, the McCain campaign is going to do what it feels necessary to win the race, which at this point means going negative. That need became greater after last night, when Obama (by most objective measures) won the second presidential debate.

Ordinarily, this would be fine. The leading candidate would get his name dragged through the mud for a while, the election would happen, and everyone would go about their lives. But this year is different. The candidate is black, and we've never done this before.

America has made great progress in the last 50 years. But in pockets of this country there remain bastions of hatred, intolerance, and racism. Most of them are in the South, but that isn't the only place where hatred exists. And as the attacks on Senator Obama become more focused, I fear that some will take away a dangerously misinterpreted message.

For the record, I don't for a second believe that John McCain is race-bating. But some of the comments from his camapign, and especially from Sarah Palin, have taken the tone of "he's not one of us". He pals around with terrorists. He attends a dangerous America-hating church. He sees America less favorably than you do. And it's already started to take hold. People at McCain (and Obama) rallies are shouting things that are initiating Secret Service investigations.

The three outcomes I fear from here are;

1)The attacks work. McCain manages to bring Obama back in the polls, and he defeats Obama on election day. Black society gets PISSED; in their opinon, they've seen their brightest light in a generation doused by tactics of fear. Bigots nationwide feel vindicated and validated, and another generation of politics is defined by divisive politics.

2) The attacks fail, and McCain is 6-8 points down approaching election day. Intimidation of black voters ramps up. Voters are harassed and assaulted by angry good ol' boys. Perhaps a homemade pipe-bomb blows up a polling place in Savannah. Race relations are set back a decade (probably to pre-LA Riot status). And if McCain somehow wins as a result? The nation would riot. Atlanta burns. New Orleans consumes itself again. Detroit loses any progress its made in the last 20 years.

3) Nightmare scenario. The spectre raised by Senator Clinton near the end of the primaries. A lone hate-filled man with a twisted sense of morality destroys the morale of a nation with a single shot. And that nation turns on itself with hatred, fear, and anger. I shudder to think.

In general, I am afraid that the genie that has been kept in a bottle will be released, and segments of America will cry havoc and let slip the dogs of racial war. Someone, please tell me I'm exaggerating.


Open Thread: The Debate

Grumpy old men, elitist liberals, foreign policy, health care, town-hall formats and incredibly dumb and predictable questions from "undecided" voters.

Oh, and "That One."

Have at it (in the comments section). I'm too lazy to put together anything more than an open-thread debate on the debate.

Blah blah blah.



What campaign ads would look like if the voting age was 6

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Captain Contrarian will be back, but for now, enjoy these ads from Cracked.  As the election season degenerates into mudslinging and desperation, I find this site refreshing.


Say it Ain't So, Joe

Monday, October 06, 2008

In a previous post, I came to the defense of Sarah Palin. It wasn't intended as an endorsement of her or that I supported her in some way. I will admit that I like her and agree with her on some policies, but I also don't think I know enough about her to be really supportive and I still believe she should have turned down the nomination and waited. The point I was trying to make was that I didn't think that many of the attacks on her were substantive and did little to help me form an opinion.

There is no need to rehash that discussion. In this entry, I want to focus on Biden and what I see as double standard. Before I dive in, I want to point out that I am in no way suggesting that Palin is above criticism or that the press shouldn't question her policies and positions. I just feel that the same level of scrutiny hasn't applied to Senator Biden and his past gaffes, positions, and policies.

In the past few months we have heard all about Sarah Palin's past, her husband's past, and all sorts of other tidbits. We haven't heard as much about Joe Biden. Some have suggested that it is because he has an extensive record that is already well known. That may be part of it, but I doubt that most of the public knows very much about him. I want to highlight a few incidents that have gotten little coverage and, IMO, would have been more thoroughly covered if it were Sarah Palin.

I have vague memories of plagiarism accusation when Biden was trying to get the nomination in 1987. An ad by Dukakis showed how Biden copied parts of another speech by British Labor Party leader Neal Kinnock. Apparently, he had done this several other times. There was also an incident in law school where he receieved an "F" in his legal methods course for plagiarism. Both of these events happened a while ago and it seems that he has learned his lesson. Personally, I don't see this as all that big of a deal, but some will.

Academic records and achievements are frequently brought up by campaigns. Obama has a great record that shows how well he did in all levels of higher education. McCain has wisely downplayed his graduating near the bottom. Palin hasn't really brought up hers, but the opposition has pointed out her transferring and how she went to mediocre schools. What about Biden? He is often portrayed as being very sharp, but I don't recall hearing much about how he did in school. Granted, it is a long time ago, but so was McCain. He received a BA in Political Science and History from the University of Delaware in 1965, where he graduated 506th out of 688. This article draws some interesting parallels between Biden and Quayle. Biden attended a middling law school where he graduated 76th out of 85.

I don't know how well he did in Constitutional Law, but he appears to not understand the Constitution all that well. There was this exchange during the debate:

IFILL: Vice President Cheney's interpretation of the vice presidency?
BIDEN: Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history. The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.
And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.
The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

Todd Zywicki, over at Volokh, does a good job of explaining the problems with this exchange. It certainly bothers me that he is wrong, but it is even more troublesome considering that he went to law school, teaches a class on Constitutional Law, and has been a member of the Legislature for more than 3 decades. He should know this. Brian Kalt, over at the National Post, looks at some other Constitutional issues that relate to Biden. I tend to agree with Kalt's assessment, but I am willing to concede that reasonable minds may differ. Incidently, Kalt was my Con Law professor for two semesters.

There was also Biden's comment in regards to the depression. I hadn't heard anything about this in the MSM. I liked how Jesse Walker titled his article, And if you owned an experimental TV set in 1929, you would have seen him. And you would have said to yourself, "Who is that guy? What happened to President Hoover?" I don't know if this is all that big of a deal, but it seems like something he should have known, since he has a degree in History. If Palin had made this comment, I am sure it would be used as evidence of how unprepared she is and that she clearly doesn't understand economic issues.

I must also admit that I know very little of Biden's policy stances or what kinds of legislation he has sponsored in the past. This is just my opinion, but in looking around, I am not impressed with much of what he has done. In terms of foreign policy, I can't complain too much. His idea to partition Iraq into 3 provinces seems like a good one to me and one that my foster some kind of lasting stability. He also favors military action in Darfur. I am not so sure about this, but I don't know enough about specifics to really comment.

On the domestic front, I am far less impressed. He is a huge supporter of the War on Drugs. He has sponsored and supported many bills in this area. I am strong believer that the War on Drugs is mostly a failure and that it we do not benefit from locking up users for decades. I think the money and resources could be better used elsewhere. He is also a strong supporter of the federalization of other crimes. His Violence Against Women Act would have created a federal cause of action for women who were victims of crimes. The Supreme Court overturned this law on the grounds that it wasn't interstate commerce. He has also supported every gun control law that has come up for a vote and was one of the priciple supporters of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in 1994. This law gave us the Assault Weapons Ban and also brought the death penalty for crimes related to drug dealing, civil-rights related murders, murder of a Federal officer, and acts classified as terrorism. I have a problem with almost all parts of this law.

This isn't all that big of a deal to me. Ultimately, it is the policies of McCain and Obama that should count the most, not the VP candidates. I just wonder why Biden is getting such little scrutiny, while Palin is getting so much.


My Alma Mater doesn't have much of a ground game...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

...but Barack Obama sure does.

For those of you loyal readers who don't work in politics and have never worked on a campaign, consider yourselves lucky. A political cycle is like the Hobbesian state of nature; solitary, poor, nasty, and brutish. The only difference is that instead of being short, it is long. Ungodly long.

The worst part of any campaign is field work. "Field" is shorthand for knocking door-to-door, making phone calls, registering and identifying voters, and generally persuading them to (a) show up on election day, and (b) vote for your guy/gal. It isn't glamorous, but it is vital.

Remember a couple of months ago when the McCain camp ran their series of "Paris Hilton" ads? The polls narrowed, and people asked "why isn't Obama fighting back? Shouldn't he be running tons of ads to counter this? What the hell is he DOING with his money?"

This is what he was doing with his money:

From all accounts, the Obama campaign has put more money into field operations than any campaign in history. But the more important part is that he organized EVERYWHERE, not just the traditional battlegrounds. Any idiot would have open offices in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. But Indiana, North Carolina and Missouri? The latest rumors report that Obama has 25 offices open in Indiana. McCain has... none. No offices. Until recently, the "Indiana for McCain" staff operated out of Michigan. He's reportedly moving staffers to the Hoosier state, but they only have a month to organize a state-wide voter identification and mobilization effort.

Now that we're 31 days out, it's becoming clear which states are really "in play". Had the Obama folks not organized in North Carolina, they would have to dump probably a million dollars into media buys. But because they organized there, they can just throw a few extra tens of thousands of dollars to bolster the GOTV ("Get Out The vote") efforts. It's a much cheaper alternative, which also doesn't preclude additional media buys.

Long story short, Obama is in a position to exploit states that traditional campaigns couldn't. And McCain had a much tougher time getting momentum in those same states because he's just starting up there.


Political Memorabilia

Friday, October 03, 2008

I was pretty disappointed that I couldn’t make the Obama rally yesterday in my hometown of East Lansing, MI, but today my day got brighter.

Earlier this year a co-worker, who went to Denver, brought me back, an official limited edition, (Number 9 of 100) Democratic National Convention Poster, signed by the artists. Yesterday, another friend took it with him to the Obama rally and returned it with the signature of none other than the man himself, the next President of the United States, Senator Barack Obama.

The shot above isn’t great, but it’s proof.


Other Possible Outcomes

In the last few days, I have posted several articles demonstrating the lead Obama is now enjoying, including some maps that show an overwhelming electoral victory.

The truth is, most of those maps depend on certain states falling into line with polls that are still within the margin of error, which only show a small Obama lead. Some of those states have shown a McCain lead for months, including Florida, where Obama has only recently seen a 2 to 3 point advantage.

It would not take much to change the current dynamics of this race.

Consider one state: New Hampshire. This state has recently been pretty solid ground for Democrats, but has the potential to swing the other way. The rebelliousness of New Hampshire’s electorate is well known, which has been known to unexpectedly kill off more than one leading primary candidate. It also tends to house have a moderate band of Republicans, who were once attracted to the McCain of old.

If Obama only holds onto the states where he is currently showing an above-the-margin-of-error-lead, and McCain wins New Hampshire, the race ends with a 269 to 269 electoral tie.

Worse, - in my eyes - if history repeats itself and McCain has a comeback in Colorado, traditionally a red state, McCain wins 274 to 264, even if Obama hangs on to New Hampshire.

Yesterday McCain pulled his human and financial resources out of Michigan. My bet is, he is going to pound Obama in New Hampshire, Colorado and the remaining swing states in another Hail Mary attempt to pull off a slim victory.

What’s your take?
UPDATE: Mike Allen at Politico discusses the above scenerio and a few others that could lead to a McCain victory.


Woh!! Was that the same Palin?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Now we all know that I am nowhere near as politically savvy as the rest of you guys, but I've got to say that Palin did MUCH better in that debate than I expected! Ignoring my own disagreement with her/her ticket's policies... I'd be hard pressed to chose a "winner". I'm real curious to see what you guys think, as I'm sure you'll all have some more valuable insight than I've got!


McCain Giving Up on Michigan?

Jonathan Martin over at Politico is reporting that McCain is pulling out of Michigan.

This could be the beginning of targeting that draws resources to states still in play and may also mean that McCain is running short on cash.


The Latest Polls

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

As I have posted before, I am glued to Real Clear Politics. (RCP)

The way they average the polls to reduce the impact of erroneous spikes keeps me grounded.

The RCP national average is currently showing Obama with an average 4.8% lead. As an Obama supporter, that's good the hear, but not that interesting. When you get down to the state by state polls, it gets real interesting.

For the first time since August Obama has a lead in Ohio. For the first time since July, really since the general election began, Obama has a shown a sharp upward spike and the lead in the RCP average in Virginia. Obama is even showing a slim lead in North Carolina. Lastly, Obama is showing his first, albeit slim lead in Florida this year.

If the election were held today and the results mimicked the RCP state by state averages, the RCP map starts to look a lot like the maps predicted by Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com weeks, if not months ago. History is usually a better indicator for election results than polls, but if these trends continue, the final map could look something like what you see above.



Potential Drunks

Search This Blog

  © Blogger template On The Road by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP