CNN/YouTube Debate

Last night's GOP debate was certainly exciting. I was expecting a brawl onstage. I've been watching/reading/listening to a lot of the debate follow up and have been surprised by a lot of the comments.

First, as the commentators all seem to think as well, Huckabee did really well last night. He stood out as a friendly, knowledgeable, and calm candidate. He offered answers with depth and humor. Everyone keeps talking about how great his death penalty answer was, and I have to agree. It was very personal, thoughtful, and sincere. For all those folks out there like myself sick of insincere, lying Republicans, this was a relief. But, he's sure starting to stand out more these days. He was openly criticized for the first time last night (in the Thompson ad), which shows other candidates are starting to fear him. If he can't make it to the end, I agree that he would make an attractive VP choice, though he has publicly stated that he would have a very hard time accepting a VP offer from a pro-choice Republican like Rudy Giuliani. Overall, I like Huckabee. I wouldn't be disappointed to see him as the party's nominee, though it is indeed still a long shot. We can't get caught up in the recent hype.

Next, I thought Mitt Romney did absolutely terrible last night. I couldn't believe how soft the commentators and critics were on him afterwards. First, the spat with Giuliani in the beginning was unprofessional (on both their parts) and didn't accomplish anything, as they both have questionable records regarding "sanctuary cities". That argument threw him off for the rest of the night. From that point onward, he looked awkward up on stage and couldn't show off the polished, articulate image that he usually radiates. He did a fine job answering Thompson's video attack, but looked like an idiot on the Don't as Don't Tell policy. "The times have changed. I'll leave it up to the generals" is a really weak, lame answer, especially given the quote Anderson Cooper stated beforehand, where Romney adamantly stated that he looked forward to the day when gays could openly serve in the military. I'm sure this just played into his opponent's ideas and claims that he can't take a position and stand by it on his own. So, on the whole, he wasn't as impressive as he usually is at these debates. I have higher hopes for next time.

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Irony

I had to give a chuckle after reading this one... How could someone be so dumb? If anything, winning $1 mil when you've been banned from gambling because of holding up two banks should serve as pretty strong evidence that you have a gambling problem and have really crappy luck. Now I just wonder what the consequences of the winning ticket will be. Will he go to jail $1 mil richer? Or will he not even get the $1 mil?

Scratch your way to prison
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Letter to the editor

Check out my letter to the editor that was published in today's Patriot Ledger:

Letter to the Editor
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Hilarity

So after a hectic day of traveling, I'm finally back at Georgetown in my second (or third?) home- a.k.a. Lauinger 2nd Floor. And my computer is finally working again, so I can get some work done. Just like last year, my room is Christmas-ville. Even when the room lights are off you need sunglasses because of all the lights. Now I'm just counting down the days til Christmas....

Anyways... if anyone has a few free minutes, they should really check out the link below. I swear it is one of, if not the, funniest pieces of writing/blogs I have read in a very, very long time. I'm sure each one of us can relate to this person or can put someone that we know as the characters in the story. I couldn't help laughing out loud during the whole thing. Enjoy.

Hilarious article

p.s. this lady's blog in general is pretty funny and worth checking out. I found this post to be the funniest, though.
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Weather

So here's something I've been asking myself all week while I've been home...Why does 28 degrees in Boston feel a heck of a lot warmer than 28 degrees in Washington, DC? It was floating around 28 all day yesterday and today and I had no problem walking outside to get the mail, walk down the street, etc. with only a liner or no coat at all. But, at school, anything below 40 feels bone-chillingly cold. Walking between classes, even with a full jacket, feels like walking through Antarctica. Who knows. Maybe its the crazy wind that's always in DC. Maybe I'm crazy.
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Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Things I'm thankful for:

Life
Family
Friends
B.C. High
Georgetown
Being home
etc. etc.

Hope you all have a good day
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Spanish and the Salvation Army

Just another example of how out of step Nancy Pelosi and her cohorts are with the American people...

Nancy Pelosi tries to force Salvation Army to hire people who can't speak English
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Jetties

Alright, so I've got something a little different for everyone today: a recommendation. For all of you who are sick of eating Wisey's or Subway every day, try Jetties. It's over on Foxhall road, which is sort of a hike, but totally worth it. Just go left on Reservoir Rd. until you hit a set of lights, and take a left onto Foxhall. Its probably a 15-20 minute walk from campus, but again, totally worth it for a change of scenery and menu.
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O'Malley and the Democrats

Pretty strong words for the Democrats in Massachusetts and beyond from Cardinal O'Malley yesterday. Check out the article. While clearly neither party is Catholic enough for the Cardinal, its clear that abortion is a pressing enough issue that should sway Catholic voters. The numbers alone, 1,000,000+ per year, should raise eyebrows.

Boston Globe Article
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Experiences

Well, this week has been absolute hell, which explains the lack of posting over the last few days. I was in the library until 4:15 am last night.

Well, here are two experiences I've had over the past few days. Take them for what they're worth.

1) After handing a quarter sheet to a lady during the diaper drive on Sunday, she demanded to know whether the Northwest Center was a Catholic institution. When she learned that it wasn't, she proceeded to ramble and rant that "Good, I don't support anything Catholic. I don't support the Catholic Church....I'm very anti-Catholic". Well, needless to say, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when someone like this didn't donate to us. This was the first time I've ever seen such blatant anti-Catholicism. I was curious to know what her problem was with Catholics (including myself and the two other Georgetown kids there), but didn't want to ask and risk an argument that would get us kicked out of the store. Must be tough living with a hatred of 1/4th of the country.

2) Last night in the library, at about 2 AM, there was a group of kids sitting in the chairs in the quiet section, obnoxiously talking loudly and joking around. Myself and the friend behind me, as well as everyone else in the library I'm sure, was actually trying to get work done and make it home for the night. But nope, not these kids. Apparently the library is the cool place to simply hang out and disrupt other people. So, like I would do to anyone in this situation, I stuck my head out of my cube and quickly gave a Dan English-intimidating stare down (a.k.a not that intimidating). Well, one of the kids told the other three to hush, and then loudly exclaimed that "a stupid white boy stuck his head out of the cube" and "doesn't he know that this is the (insert attitude) second floor of the library where you can talk?". Well. You got me there. Except for the nearby sign that says "This is a quiet study area. No talking." Can you imagine what would have happened if I had audibly said "I wish those stupid black kids would stop being obnoxious in the library"? But its fine that I'm just a stupid white boy.

I ended up leaving the area because I really did have a ton of work to do, but I was angry at myself later for not sticking up for myself there and exposing that horrible double standard that exists today. Instead, I just let it continue. But, work was more important that night.
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Only in America

After our monthly diaper drive today I was reflecting on how great of a country the U.S.A. is. I know- patriotism, blah blah blah, but i'm serious. American people are what make America great.

Once a month GURTL goes to a bunch of local Safeway supermarkets to collect diapers and other baby supplies for the Northwest Pregnancy Center, which is a great center for needy pregnant moms in DC. Today, there were nine of us, so three people went to three different Safeways. Guess how many diapers and other supplies shoppers donated in three short hours?

Almost 8,000 diapers, hundreds of wipes, and some bottles of formula.

This stuff isn't cheap. Every single month I'm amazed at the kindness and generosity we see from these people. It certainly makes me think twice every time I walk by someone handing out fliers asking for donations. These people and their generous hearts make America great and keep it running strong. Let's hope it stays that way.
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Huckabee

I was reading an article the other day about Mike Huckabee's climbing poll numbers and it made me think of a few things. Firstly, the article said that Romney has increased his leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, which is good news. But secondly, it made me realize that Huckabee would prove an attractive vice presidential candidate. Sadly, he has no shot at the presidency because he has no money, but he's very personable and has made a great impression on voters so far at debates and speeches. He's funny, often stopping a speech to go into a segment jokes, and he would calm the fears of many of the skeptical evangelists. He's also more moderate than the other candidates. His extremely strong voice on social issues sometimes overshadows the fact that he often favors raising taxes to aid the poor and support education. I don't necessarily agree with all of that, but it might attract some moderates that would otherwise be turned away.

Romney-Huckabee '08 anyone?
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Movie Suggestion

So last night I watched American History X for the first time and would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it. It's a movie about the struggle of an ex-Nazi to save his younger brother from following the same disastrous path. It's full of intense scenes and moments and makes a powerful point. Rent it this weekend if you have time.

IMDB
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Pat Robertson

Is anyone else as astounded as I am that Pat Robertson officially endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president today? I think McCain's response to the endorsement was most appropriate: "I'm speechless". Seeing that many evangelicals seem willing to do anything (even support a third party candidate) to defeat Rudy, its crazy that one of the most powerful preachers has backed him. I'm just hoping that the majority of evangelicals continue their efforts to stop the two New York liberals...
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Schilling

Hooray! Schilling's back in Boston to finish up his career. Dan Shaughnessy sums up how great this deal is for both the Sox and Schilling himself in the following article.

Dan Shaughnessy Article
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SCHIP

"Just 15 percent of those respondents in the Harvard poll said children in families earning $80,000 annually should be eligible for the program, while one-third said those earning $60,000 should be eligible"

The above quote shows how dangerous an uninformed public can be. The debate regarding the SCHIP children's health insurance program has raised incredible awareness and incredible ignorance. When President Bush vetoed the bill sent to him by Congress recently, the media and Democrats (wisely) cried foul. They claimed that Bush was anti-child, anti-health, and anti-everything else. One crazy congressman even said that Bush would rather watch American children get killed in Iraq than give the "impoverished" children of America health insurance. What a great ploy. Sadly, it seems to have worked. The American public generally sees Republicans now as anti-child healthcare, which is totally untrue. The Republicans do care about poor children and their healthcare- they just differ on their definitions of poor and the role of government in healthcare.

The current bill would provide healthcare coverage for children of families earning $80,000.00 per year. Yes, thats right. $80,000.00- a number greatly above the average American salary. All of a sudden, its not just the poor children of America receiving handouts from Uncle Sam, its those making more the double the average American salary. If the Democrats have their way, pretty soon it will be everyone receiving healthcare from Uncle Sam. SCHIP is a disincentive for upper-middle class families to provide their own healthcare. Understandably, these families would rather pass that cost onto the government and spend that money on something else. The government does not exist, in my opinion, to blindly support people in this situation.

So, the Republicans are anti-child and anti-health, right? Well, maybe if the 85% of people in the above Harvard poll who believe that the government shouldn't provide this insurance for families making $80,000 per year became more informed and realized that that's just what SCHIP does (or if the Republicans did a better job exposing this- though they're at an uphill battle with the media these days), we'd all be better off. Those children who would benefit from the Republicans plan to increase the program by $5 billion would get their needed insurance, and Uncle Sam would stop spending your hard earned tax dollars blindly.

Boston Globe Article

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Romania and the EU

Last year I did a short research project in International Business on the potential effects of Romania and Bulgaria's entrance into the European Union before the two countries entered January 1, 2007. These two countries are drastically different than the majority of EU countries. They are poor, underdeveloped, and years behind the other countries in healthcare and well-being. Understandably, many existing EU countries were hesitant to welcome these two countries. Ireland and the UK were especially hesitant. Their presidents feared an uncontrollable influx of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants, who would put a strain on social services, employment, and crime. Alternatively, others argued that the market would reach an equilibrium after a bit and the demand for unskilled labor would come to a halt, ending the influx.

Unfortunately, it seems that populations and migrants don't work on a perfect supply/demand graph. Instead of Ireland and the UK, Italy has been hard hit by Romanian immigrants since Romania's entrance. There have been numerous public murders, rapes, and assaults of Italian citizens committed by Romanians. This has lead to increased calls for a moratorium on free immigration (which is a part of the EU constitution) in Italy and increased xenophobia by Italian citizens. Since January, Romanians have jumped to 1% of Italy's almost 60 million population. 75% of the arrests in the Rome in the past year involved Romanians. Is open immigration the Achilles heel of the EU?

It's probably too early to make a decision on this. But thus far, I would certainly argue that it is. There are too many other factors that affect immigration (such as social services) which make it differ from a simple supply and demand situation. Unrestrained immigration, as we have seen in the US, can negatively impact communities, budgets, and cultural values and traditions. While we would also be foolish to ignore the reality of harsh inequalities between countries, it isn't fair to put that burden solely on the shoulders of a single country, such as Italy. The world must work through globalization and aid to develop these underdeveloped countries and bring them into the 21st century.

Italy questions EU immigration
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Go Navy! Beat Army!

So it was good to see Navy beat ND today down in Annapolis. Here's the shout out you were looking for Mearn.

Navy beats Irish for first time in 44 years.
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Red Sox

So now that the Red Sox season is over it looks like the team is settling back into family life. I was pretty happy to read the article below about Jason Varitek. There have been stories showing the humility of Lowell and Pedroia also lately, after they brought food out to some of the fans camping overnight for World Series tickets. Its good to see that the players don't think they're above everyone else. It seems like that is the general way of the team. Ortiz seems to love interacting with the fans and I know some people who have run into Wakefield in Hingham and say he's really easy-going. I'm sure that's a huge part of the team cohesion and success. Let's hope they keep it up.

Jason Varitek Article
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Man, myth, legend...

I fully believe that there is no political issue (other than abortion) that is so highly and grossly misunderstood by the common public than embryonic stem cell research. The media-likes of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve have managed to tug on our heart-strings with their promises of the fountain of youth and the cure of all debilitating diseases. Newscasters, writers, and reporters love to portray those against embryonic stem cell research as inhumane and cruel. After all, who wouldn't sacrifice a few little cells (that's all they are, right?) to save humanity!? The American public has fallen right into their hands. Ask any voter today what an embryonic stem cell consists of. Ask any voter today what cures have come about from these cells. Ask any voter about alternative cures for diseases (other types of stem cells). Because of the media's work, these questions will either be answered incorrectly or not at all.

Now, I'm not a scientist. In fact, I hate that stuff (those of you who know me know that I grimace every time I even see blood). So, I cant personally give you the questionable ethics involved in embryonic stem cell research. Nor can I tell you what these cells and others actually do. But, what I am going to do, is plead that you educate yourself on the issue (you can start by reading the article below from today's Patriot Ledger). Go to a lecture (such as Dr. Fitzgerald's during last week's Life Week). Browse a website. Ask a professor. Ask who's benefitting financially from all your tax dollars. Become informed.

http://ledger.southofboston.com/articles/2007/11/01/opinion/opin02.txt
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Toughness

Here's an interesting article from politico.com. I think much of what it says rings true. The presidency, post 9/11, is indeed all about toughness. Bush won 2004 by showing his toughness. Those who wanted to vote for someone else were swayed by the fear of a president who wouldn't stand up to the enemies, a president who threw his dog tags onto the White House lawn in protest.

2008 is shaping up similarly. Rudy Giuliani has replaced W as the tough-guy. He wants us to believe that his position and actions post-9/11 make him most fit for the office. While I believe that his position as mayor of NYC may give him the most passion for fighting the Muslim extremists who are so bent on killing us, I don't totally buy that he's most trained for the job. Let's face the facts- none of the candidates has the experience of commanding the military in post-9/11 America. The candidates can have as many military friends and terrorism experts as they wish, but they're all on a level playing field when it comes to experience.

Now, I don't generally stick up for Hillary. In fact, I might have never before stuck up for Hillary. But, I do indeed think she has (appropriately) picked up on the whole 'toughness theory' compared to all the other wimpy Democratic candidates. Apologizing for a then-logical vote for the Iraq War is ridiculous and clearly a people-pleaser move by her rivals. She has stated that Iran is indeed evil, and that its leader is a psychopath (well, she's sort of said that). Diplomatic pressure must be placed on the country, as she has said and voted for, to stop them from getting their hands on nukes. This is a 'tough' position, and indeed a correct one. How foolish it is for all these candidates to pre-emptively state that they're going to leave Iran alone no matter what the circumstances. I'm sure the Dems would invite Ahmadinejad over for Thanksgiving dinner in '08 with all their diplomacy in action and promises to let him do what he pleases. That's just the kind of leader I want. Right.

Well, toughness still reigns pre-'08. And I don't think that's such a bad thing.

(This post is dedicated to Clem, who so graciously stuck up for W in a paper this week for the first time. I'm doing the same for good 'ol Hill. There's a first for everything!)
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