Politics

Back to the Blog!

It’s been quite a while since my last post, but for good reason. After my excruciating 14 hour car ride back down to Washington, D.C. on Sunday, my computer quit on me. I tried time and time again to reboot, only to be confronted by a haunting blue screen. Pretty crummy timing for a computer to bust on the heels of final exam week. On Wednesday I woke up early to trek to the nearest Apple store at Pentagon City and decided to give the power button one last try. Sure enough, my Mac decided to come back to life that morning after three comatose days. Phew.

In other news... classes officially ended on Thursday for me, so crunch time is upon us. We had our Christmas Party at the Holiday Inn last night for the Credit Union, which was a lot of fun as always. My exams start Friday the 12th and run until Wednesday the 15th- not bad this year. I’m expecting a less painful car ride home on the 15th or 16th than Thanksgiving, but then again, that doesn’t say very much.

And in real news...we are starting to get a look at what the Obama administration will look like beginning next year, as a number of key positions have been filled over the past few weeks. I found
this article the other day on Politico and tend to agree with its analysis. Republicans don’t have much to complain about regarding his national security and economic picks. No one can find much fault with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and National Security Adviser Jim Jones, who are widely respected by Democrats and Republicans alike. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton isn’t all that bad either.

Interestingly enough, it seems that peace activists who had high hopes (disillusional ones, in my opinion) for a pacificst Obama are most disappointed. They obviously aren’t happy with Gates, who currently plays a large role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan under President Bush, and Jim Jones, a decorated U.S. Marine. And they’re still bitter that Hillary won’t apologize for her vote authorizing the invasion of Iraq- a position that I give her a lot of credit for, as mentioned in a previous post a few months ago.

Economically, incoming Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers have extensive and respected economic backgrounds. The market showed its strong approval of Timothy Geithner with an impressive rally the day of his announcement a few weeks ago. Hopefully Geithner can clean up much of the mess created by current Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in what my Principles of Investments professor calls the “Paulson Panic of 2008”.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with a few pictures of my Christmas decorations...

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44

The election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States is a historic event by many means. Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that America has demonstratively shown its ability to move past race. Beyond the important racial significance of the election, though, we see other important factors and events. Many different demographics and electorates gained interest in American politics for the first time, most notably blacks and a large number of youths. I read an article in the Boston Globe yesterday written by an inner-city Boston school teacher who described the attitude and emotion that filled the school the day after the election. It is my sincere hope that the emotions of those school children, often so defeatist and hopeless, will expand and evolve into a more determined, positive outlook of their capabilities and the future. Additionally, for the first time in a long time we see a young family in the White House, which will undoubtedly affect the atmosphere and the business that takes place there.

So, yes, this is a historic election and I appreciate and recognize this as an American. The recognition transcends political ideology.

That being said, friends, coworkers, and classmates have continually bombarded me with questions like, “When are you moving to Canada?”, “Did you cry yourself to sleep that night?”, and “Aren’t you frightened for the future of the country?”. Well, the answers are no, no, and no.

Firstly, Canada has ridiculous taxes, so you wouldn’t catch me there. Can you believe sales tax in Montreal is 15%!? Insane! Secondly, I’d probably move to Ireland before Canada. Lastly, the United States is the best country in the world, so you won’t catch me moving any time soon anyways.

And no, I didn’t cry myself to sleep that night. I just put my “somber” playlist on my iPod and drifted off to sleep. Just kidding.

Now, the question regarding my fear of the next four years is more pertinent. But, to the amazement of those around me, I’m am not fearful.

Why? At the most basic level I trust that Obama is an intelligent, level-headed American who isn’t going to take this country on a 180 degree political U-turn. I think anyone has to look at his faith, family, and the way he lives his life and at least give him that much credit.
Secondly, the American Constitution is remarkably designed to prevent such a drastic political change. Any radical measures proposed by Obama will have to be supported by legislators who are already on thin ice with their consituents, who, we must remember, remain center-right politically. Also, thank God the Democrats did not get a supermajority in Congress. The fact that some semblance of a balance of power still exists also allays any wild fears that I might have. Finally, any chanages that a President makes (e.g. tax increases) can be amended in the next administration. Not very much is permanent. So, if things do go horribly wrong (again, I don’t think they will), a lot of the damage can be reversed.

Two things that do cause some degree of honest fear in me, though, involve the Supreme Court and the war in Iraq. These two seem to be the exceptions to my previous statement. The President’s ability to nominate lawyers to the Supreme Court is his greatest power. The nomination of a judge affects the legal and political landscape for decades to come. Now that is indeed a scary thought. I am somewhat comforted, though, by the fact that the justices expected to retire in the next four years are liberal justices. So, barring any unforseen circumstances, the ideological makeup of the court shouldn’t change much.

Regarding Iraq, it would be an incredible shame to precipitously withdraw troops despite the gains that have been made over the past five years there. To carelessly pull the plug on a war that has so greatly affected the lives of our soldiers would be insulting beyond words. The importance of a stable, democratic ally in such a region of the world is immense. A pullout would not only cause the money, time, and blood of countless Americans to become a sacrifice made in vain, it would cause even more chaos in a country that is gaining solid footing in the effort to become a stable democracy.

So, I have hope (not the corny political campaign kind) for the next four years. I hope that the positive energy put into this election can instill a more motivated, positive attitude in America. I hope we Americans can work ourselves out of the current economic mess, start saving for the future, and learn from our mistakes. And finally, I hope and trust that the inherent goodness, values, and decency of Americans will prevail no matter the political circumstance.

With that, I congratulate Barack Obama on his victory in last week’s election and wish him the best of luck.
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McCain/Palin Rally

On Wednesday, September 10th I went to the McCain/Palin rally in Fairfax, Virginia, which is 20-30 minutes outside of DC. It sure made me glad that I’m down in DC at the moment for school and that I’m not missing out on all this election fun by studying abroad at this time. How cool is it that I was only a hundred or so feet away from the potential next President and VP of the United States? Pretty awesome.

I dragged myself out of bed at 6 that morning to head over to Fairfax. Myself and a friend probably got there a little before 8, so we got a pretty good spot in the park before the speech at 11. We waited in line for only half an hour, passed some bitter, angry liberals along the way who were yelling and screaming bloody hell as usual, passed through security, and got situated pretty quickly. Security actually made everyone leave their homemade signs and even American flags outside the gates. So, now you know that when you see these rallys on TV most of the signs are made by the campaign to look homemade, or are either snuck in.
Some local government figures like the mayor and school board spoke around 10, highlighting the hypocrisy that both Obama and Clinton spoke at Virginia public schools during the campaign, but John McCain wasn’t allowed to speak at Fairfax High School, where the event was originally scheduled to be held. Next a former Barack Obama supporter made her case for McCain, followed by a former Hillary supporter who made a similar argument.

Surprise guest former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson showed up to introduce Palin, who was welcomed with all sorts of cheering, yelling, and screaming. She was definitely the star of the show. She’s getting the stump speech down pat and didn’t seem to be relying on the teleprompter all that much. But she managed to fire up the crowd with her personal story and accomplishments in Alaska.
“Sa-rah, Sa-rah”, “drill, baby, drill”, and “USA, USA” interrupted her speech a few times. There were some funny signs outside the gates too, like “PIGS for McCain/Palin- (P)retty (I)ntelligent (G)irls for (S)arah”. She then lavished praise on her runningmate and introduced John S. McCain to the cheering crowd.

McCain carried himself well and fed the excitement of the crowd with his promise to fight earmark spending, work with Palin’s experience to make the US energy independent, and bring about
real change to Washington (now that he has somewhat-successfully adopted Obama’s election motto and reshaped it into his own). He both entered and exited to “Eye of the Tiger” blaring over the speakers above the cheer of the crowd and the blue sea of McCain/Palin signs held by the attendees. The rally was McCain’s largest to date, with attendance estimates ranging from 18,000 to over 23,000. The size of the crowed made the excitement palpable, which made the trip even more of an experience. As the race shifts, I’m looking forward to more exciting moments and opportunities like these!
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Speech Central

Sarah Palin stole the show at the RNC this week. I’ve endured the chiding of a certain friend (ahem...Lisa) of mine over my description of her performance- electrifying. I’ll stand by that statement. Palin managed to excite the delegates in attendance and hopefully did the same for millions of disillusioned conservatives across the nation. Over 38 million viewers tuned in at the late hour of 10:30 to watch this intriguing governor from Alaska- numbers rivaling and potentially surpassing those of Obama’s sermon the week before.

The VP nominee came across as sharp, witty, and home-grown throughout her remarks. She deftly dinged Obama on his elitism and self-indulgence, while stressing her small-town roots and her experience in the most important and under-appreciated field in America: motherhood. She had the crowd roaring with laughter after describing herself as a pitbull with lipstick, after recalling her sale of the former Alaskan governor’s luxury jet on eBay, and after commenting on Barry O’s Romanesque columns on display at his speech. She set the tone and the hype for the future of the campaign. Democrats be warned.

McCain’s speech tonight was the most you could ask for or expect from someone not graced with the finest oratory skills. It was a speech that was on message. It attempted to appeal to those unhappy with the current state of the Republican party and independents who are deemed crucial to his victory later this year. With the grassroots conservatives satisfied the night before, he had a little more leeway to criticize Republican rule and emphasize his maverick image. Country first, country first, country first.

I’ve seen McCain speak publicly two or three times. Each time he seems to start off slowly and awkwardly. Tonight was no different. By the end, though, he was in more of a rhythm and had the crowd rallying at the end with his rambunctious, patriotic lines challenging Americans to move forward and make a difference as we have before throughout history. In the end, he didn’t get the enthusiasm that Palin did, but he succeeded in telling his heroic story and positioning himself as an experienced, loving public servant of this nation.
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Success!

Palin’s speech was great! The energy, the passion, the strength. It was all there.

More to come when I get a chance over the next few days to elaborate... In the mean time read what Politico had to say about it.
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Hillary in the Spotlight

I guess I didn’t really know what to expect from Hillary Clinton’s speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. What I got, however, wasn’t what I could have imagined. Instead of a speech focused on calming her anxious supporters and unifying the Democratic party, I witnessed a speech focused on, well, Hillary. The introductory video segment put together by daugher Chelsea highlighted her family history, career, and presidential bid. It was full of pictures of Hillary- only two or three of which included both she and Barack. Her speech was all about her fight for the presidency- as a woman, as an underdog, as a fighter for middle America. Sure, she intermixed a few lines of support for Barack’s candidacy and dinged “her colleague and friend” John McCain a few times, but it was pretty much the all-about-Hillary show. But, maybe thats what some of her most fervent supporters, nevermind Hillary herself, needed to move beyond the fact that she has indeed lost the race for the Democratic ticket. Now that she’s been given her chance to shine she can move on with the Democratic race for the White House and her own political future.
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Joe Biden

Joe Biden of Delaware was a wise pick for Barack Obama. He’s a fiery campaigner with a respected foreign policy background that is most certainly meant to disparage McCain’s claims that an Obama administration will be weak on national security and foreign policy. Another important piece to Biden is his Irish-Catholic, working-class roots. Catholics are an important voting bloc that is up for grabs in November. I’m also convinced that the blue-collar voters who generally supported Hillary in the primaries will decide the election. Because of their importance, Barack has already started highlighting Biden’s background to voters against McCain’s public misstep last week when he replied that he was unsure of how many houses he owns.

With all these pluses to the Obama campaign there seem to be only a few potential negatives. First, will the McCain camp be able to successfully paint Obama as straying from his outsider, “change”-based campaign with the choice of the ultimate Washington-insider, complete with lengthy lobbyist and corporate ties (his son is a professional lobbyist)? Will Biden’s many public statements praising John McCain and criticisms of Obama’s lack of experience weaken the ticket? Or will voters see a seasoned Biden as enough reassurance that an Obama administration would not be as inexperienced as Barack himself? Finally, will Biden’s more prototypically American family roots be enough to allay middle-class, white voters’ skepticism of someone who:

>Was raised by his grandparents in Hawaii after being abandoned by both parents
>Spent four years in Muslim Indonesia (though there is no proof he himself practiced Islam)
>Was baptized into and attended for many years a radical black-liberation theology church under Jeremiah Wright
>Has the middle name Hussein

This week’s Democratic National Convention in Denver should prove interesting as the Obama-Biden ticket officially takes shape and the Clinton camp faces the reality of her defeat and their subsequent options for 2008.
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Is America Ready?

Is America ready to elect a President who hates his country?

We shall see in November.

Barack Obama is characterized by his continuous criticism and embarassment of Americans and the United States of America. While his devotees are busy blindly worshipping their Savior of Progress and Change, Barack is insulting the practices and values of the people that he is supposedly set to represent as president.

Long criticized for his elitist rhetoric involving average Americans who rightly “cling” to their guns and God, B.H. Obama continued his tirade against your Average Joe yesterday at a campaign rally in Georgia. Apparently he’s
embarrassed that Americans don’t speak French and Spanish. Really?

BHO:
I don’t understand why people are around going on about “we want English only”. I agree that immigrants should learn English. But instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English- they’ll learn English- you need to make sure child learns how to speak Spanish. We should have every child speaking more than one language!

It’s embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe and all we can say is merci beaucoup.

The above quotation shows just how out of touch with America Obama is. Immigrants have been coming to the United States and learning English for centuries. It’s just how its done. English is the language of mobility, the language of the American Dream. Accomodating immigrants, often illegal ones, by forcing our children to learn
their language and adapting our centuries-old culture for the ease of this group of people is both insulting and absurd.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being bilingual. In fact, it’s a great asset to be bilingual. But if you want your kids to learn a language that will benefit them later in their lives, Spanish should not be on the top of your list. How about Chinese? Japanese? Arabic? These are the economic and political languages of the future. We shouldn’t go around mandating Spanish just because the majority of over ten million illegal immigrants just happen to speak that language and seem to be resisting the idea of assimilation that generations upon generations of immigrant Americans have accepted.

But I guess we’ll just let Barack continue on his elitist ways- traveling the world to places like Socialist France and teaching his children exotic languages. Accordingly, I’m sure he’ll continue to ignore the wants and needs of everyday American citizens.

Check out a quick 1:08 minute YouTube video of the speech here.
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McCain Doomed?

A good article from the Wall Street Journal on why the media shouldn’t be so quick to call John McCain’s campaign doomed.
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Guns

Today’s Supreme Court decision confirming an individual’s right to own a gun, as protected by the Second Amendment, is a victory for every law abiding citizen in the United States. It also underscores the importance of electing a Republican to the White House later this year. The President’s greatest power, as it lasts far longer than his political term, is the power to nominate to the Supreme Court. Without a Republican in the Oval Office we would still have partial birth abortion and we wouldn’t be guaranteed the right to protect ourselves with firearms. If Obama wins the White House you better count your freedoms on day 1 and prepare to kiss them goodbye with his guaranteed appointement of liberal activist judges like those of the 9th Circuit Court of San Francisco.
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McCain Speech

So I just finished watching John McCain's live speech on foreign policy from the University of Dallas. My general reaction is that it shows that McCain is a much more complicated, mature candidate than most voters and pundits give him credit for. He's more than the stupid, evasive response- "just four more years of failed Bush policy"- that liberals like Howard Dean love to spew after a being challenged by McCain on a particular issue.

In the speech he focused mainly on nuclear proliferation issues. In doing this, he brings up an important political issue that doesn't claim much of the spot light. It also makes him appear as a first-mover on pertinent foreign policy issues, which goes against Obama and the media's portrayal of McCain as a relic and puts the spotlight on Obama's foreign policy inexperience.

Ironically, the speech turned out to be more of an anti-war speech- another move that is sure to complicate the liberal attacks in the general election. He spoke about the grave dangers of nuclear weapons and bluntly stated that as one of the two greatest nuclear powers in the world we have the greatest responsibility to reduce the number of nukes. He issued a strong call for Russia (the other nuclear powerhouse) to join in talks with the United States to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, halt production of most new nuclear weapons, and create a more transparent monitoring and transportation system to ensure the safety of the world.

Specifically, he says that he will halt the production of a new nuclear weapon that is being built here in the US. Apparently this weapon has the ability to blast through 1,000 feet of rock to reach deeply buried caves and fortresses that I assume are used in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. McCain strongly believes that this weapon serves no feasible purpose and will only heighten the arms race. Also, he brought up the fact that nuclear power is indeed good for the earth and should be encouraged both in the US and abroad, as long as it is handled in a safe, non-military way. He mentioned that some sort of world watchdog group should be formed to continually monitor these nuclear activities in countries that agree and are allowed to use such nuclear power to avoid situations like Iran, which was harshly criticized by the UN today for evading UN nuclear inspectors (no surprise there).

Also, given that the speech was held at a liberal college campus, it was only a matter of time before the hippies jumped in to cause some sort of disruption. McCain's speech was halted three separate times while security guards removed these screaming crazies from the premises. He kindly invited them to tomorrow's town-hall styled meeting where he would be more than happy to have a civilized debate with them (which might be impossible, as I doubt these people are very civilized) and reminded the audience how rude such actions are. The second time, he forcefully replied to the protestor that he will never back down in Iraq and that our soldiers will come home with their honor and victory. I'm glad he didn't allow himself to get pushed around by these idiots. I hope someday when they're older (and less interesting in being radical liberal college students) they look back and realize how foolish they make themselves look in such situations. In the mean time though, I'm sure they'll all be high from their experience at the speech (among other things). Man, they sure showed him! There's nothing like yelling and screaming at an American war hero...
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Barack v. McCain

Talk radio is one of the things I miss most while I'm down at school. It gives me new ideas and new perspectives on different issues and candidates. Today on the way home from CVS I was listening to Michelle McPhee on 96.9. She's a woman who has voted the Democratic ticket her entire life and is liberal enough that I disagree with her the majority of the time she's speaking. However, she has endorsed John McCain for president this year. On her show this afternoon she was arguing that Hillary Clinton has every right to remain in the race and that she should indeed stay in the race. McPhee was linking Hillary Clinton to Bobby Kennedy, who joined and remained in the race in 1968 despite criticism from peers, who claimed that he was dividing the party. In response to this, he claimed that he cared more about America than the Democratic party. In the same way that Kennedy stayed in the race because he was dissatisfied with the options on the ticket, Hillary is doing the same. McPhee and her callers brought up some good reasons why she and every other American should be dissatisfied with the eventual Democratic ticket.

There were a good number of liberal callers who phone in saying that they currently supported Hillary Clinton but could in no way support Barack Obama if he became the nominee in November. Most of them also agreed that they would switch their support to John McCain (begrudgingly) in that scenario for a good few reasons.

Firstly, all of them admitted that you just can't win a character contest with John McCain, which is true. They mentioned the fact that he has never mentioned his enlisted son's duty to our country serving in Iraq as an example of his humility. They mentioned that he hasn't been caught lying in his career, unlike the other two Democratic candidates. And, of course, they mentioned his own heroic sacrifice for the United States throughout the course of his life.

Most importantly, though, they rightfully claim that they can't support a presidential candidate with as many controversial ties as Obama has. I guess I don't pay enough attention to this because I've obviously already written off Barack for a million other reasons. But, some good-hearted Democrats who love and care about America just can't vote for someone who has so many questionable and unabashed ties. To begin, Jeremiah Wright represents everything that is wrong with the radical components of black America. He represents unfair hate, anti-Americanism, and racism. He is unapologetic in his beliefs- beliefs that clash with any level-headed, patriotic American. The fact that Barack attended this man's church and angry tirades for two decades and even wrote checks to him says a lot about Obama. Next, Obama's own wife has made controversial remarks about America that cause one to question her own patriotism and adherence to radical beliefs like Wright's. How about her claim that this election has made her proud of her country for the first time in her life? Notice that she hasn't been in the spotlight since then, as words like that make her a liability. And the newest controversial figure added to Obama's repertoire is unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, who are 1960s anti-Vietnam radicals. This lovely couple openly advocated the bombing of American buildings to protest the war and to this day claim that they would do the same in a similar situation. Obama allowed Ayers and his wife to hold a fundraiser and their home for him. Barack has also served on the board of one of Ayer's groups for years.

We were all told growing up that who you hang out with reflects who you are as a person. If these are the people that Barack Obama chooses to associate with, what does that say about Barack's character and sympathies? Apparently this is so blatant and insulting that even some liberals can't support him. I don't blame them. I'll just add that to my list of reasons why America is doomed if he and his entourage are elected in 2008.
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O'Reilly

So I watched with amusement tonight Hillary's appearance with Bill O'Reilly on the O'Reilly Factor on Fox News. I must say that she pulled the whole deal off. She was humorous and at ease the whole time, probably a result of her recent good fortune after Barack's crazy pastor has come back into the spotlight unapologetically proclaiming his insane views (like the idea that the US government created AIDS to exterminate the black population) and implying that Barack really agrees with him, but can't say so publicly because he's a politician. Hillary should be, and is, all smiles after all that.

On the show Bill started off by pushing her on the whole Wright controversy and got her to unwillingly admit that she was offended by the comments and that she would have left the church had her pastor said such preposterous things. Eventually they moved on to health care, where she tried to falsely claim that her plan isn't a mandate or a big bureaucratic mess (it is) and that it doesn't make payers pay for bums who are willingly destroying their own lives by living unhealthily (it does).

Also, I'm glad he pressed her on raising taxes for the wealthy. I was surprised when she openly admitted that she was indeed going to raise them. O'Reilly rebutted, "Raising taxes on rich guys like me and giving that money out to the poor is income redistribution Mrs. Clinton and you know it. And income redistribution is a step towards socialism". We spent the last few weeks in my government class discussing this, so it was nice to hear it applied in the real world. Throughout this whole part of the conversation the two were pretty cheery, poking at who was wealthier and how they pay their taxes.

Then he moved on to the fact that she's such a polarizing figure like himself, as he said. He informed her (like she didn't already know) that the whole race is mostly about character and that she's losing on that end. She didn't seemed fazed though and just spit her canned rebuttal that fighting the good fight for so long creates battle wounds and enemies.

Finally, the piece ended with O'Reilly asking her if she was surprised that his own Fox News has treated her more fairly this election season than the liberal media. She wittily replied, "Oh of course I'm not surprised! You guys are so
Fair and Balanced". It was a smart and answer and the show ended on that note. Tomorrow's show will air the second half of the interview dealing with touchier subjects like Iraq, Iran, national security, etc. Stay tuned...

Here's a page that has the YouTube's of the interview in it.
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Pennsylvania

Before I begin, a word to the wise. Never, ever take logic.

Well I'm back from my brief hiatus after an incredibly busy week. In that time I missed something big: Hillary carried Pennsylvania by 10%. This is a pretty big deal as it shushed all the naysayers who said she was done after last night. She seems to be alive and well, though just as unlikely as ever to win the party's nomination. Financially, she's doing better, too. She raised $3 million overnight last night. So what does all this mean for the good guys? It means that we can look forward to months more of Democrat on Democrat bashing all the way up until the convention in late August. I'm now convinced that the prolonged battle has been good for McCain even given the lack of media attention paid to him. I read an article the other day that reminded me that John McCain has been ignored by the Democratic PACs that say all the things candidates don't want to say publicly about him. Instead of focusing on their eventual opponent, they have been too busy picking sides in the Democratic race and arguing that position, or treading lightly as to not upset either Democratic candidate.

One of the liberals in my government class was trying to make the point that the primary battle hasn't hurt the Democrats, as the GOP would have eventually made the same attacks and accusations as the Dems are now anyways. But, another member of the class wisely brought up the point that any "attack" by a known conservative group these days is automatically ignored or discredited by the media and voters. The fact that Hillary has been making these attacks on Barack herself, or vice versa, gives the accusations a certain legitimacy in the eyes of voters that they may not have had before. I think thats a pretty accurate argument there.

In the meantime I'll continue to root for Hillary to survive as long as possible, and even grab the nomination. I'd love to watch the chaos that follows that event.

Off to government class...
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Oops...did I say that?

On people from small towns in Pennsylvania and the Midwest:

"And its not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

-Barack Obama, Candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States

Additionally, two great Politico articles:

-
"What Clinton Wishes She Could Say"

-"12 Reasons 'Bitter' is Bad for Obama"
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Back for more...

Hah. Well the last article was the first one I stumbled upon in the Boston Globe. However, I've just found two more that are just too good to pass up. More good examples of what happens with a Democratic executive...

What's that voice you hear in your car? No, it's not Howard Stern or talk radio. It's Cadillac Deval finding new ways to dictate how you live your life and raise your children....

New Law Increases Mandatory Booster Seat Age

On a happier note...

Governor Patrick's Popularity Reaches a New Low


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"Victory" for Patrick

Deval Patrick scored a big "victory" today by passing a $392 million tax increase on businesses and consumers. I don't know how anyone who can view this as a victory. The only people who are hurt from tax increases like this are consumers. In these uncertain economic times, the last thing consumers need is to be spending more money on goods and services. Under the new plan, which passed the House today and moves onto the Senate shortly, Massachusetts will raise the taxes on cigarettes to the second highest tax rate in the nation behind New Jersey. It is estimated that a pack will now be 20% more expensive at an average of $6.41. Now, I think smoking is dumb. I've saw my grandmother die of the effects of smoking. It's not pretty. However, I don't believe that taxing these people will do anything to change their habits (they're addicted, remember?). It's just another way to take advantage of a group that not too many people feel bad for. And guess who gets squeezed most by this tax? A lot of poor people, who smoke at a much higher rate than their middle and upper class counterparts. So much for the Democrats being there for the poor.

These politicians will also claim that these taxes only affect "big, bad" corporations who should be seen as evil, profit-mongering entities that exist only to abuse employees, customers, and foreign workers all over the world. What they don't realize is that the companies and banks will deal with the new taxes like they do every time. There are two options: They'll either move out of the state (or not ever enter it), resulting in thousands of lost jobs. Or, they'll just pass the increased expenses onto consumers, who will bear the brunt of the tax increases. Again, so much for looking out for these constituents Democrats claim to support so much.

Congrats on being a typical tax and spend Democrat, Deval. You're just what Taxachusetts needed.
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Speech

Senator Brownback of Kansas is one of my favorite politicians because of the fact that he really isn't a politician- in ordinary terms, anyways. He's a man who leads an incredible life of faith and uses his conscience to sort through his decisions in the political arena. He's also humble. After seeing him speak tonight on the interaction of faith and politics in Copley Formal Lounge, he stayed after for over half an hour to personally meet and answer the questions of everyone who hung around. Luckily, I was last in line and got talk to him for five minutes and then get my picture taken. It's pretty sweet to think that I was able to talk to someone who plays such an important role in our government.

What struck me most about his speech tonight was one simple, yet profound statement that I've been thinking about all night. He stated:

"We need to start thinking of people as people and not of people as problems"

It doesn't sound like much, but when I think it over and take the statement apart, I find a heck of a lot more than those few words. I do see that politicians and citizens, myself included, treat people mainly as problems. Whether this be the problematic prison inmate, the problematic protester, the problematic tax payer, etc. We take away the humanity of these people in thinking of them as problems.

I think a pertinent example of this is the example of panhandlers. So often I pass these people either with eyes downcast or ears shut- uncomfortable by them and the situation. However, my faith calls me to see that person not as a problem of sorts, but simply as a person- a person with worth and dignity.

Senator Brownback is someone to whom I look up to as a challenge to live out my faith in every day life. I certainly fail to do so, and hope that with the continued reminder and challenge set forth by people like him I can motivate myself to rise to the occasion and see the humanness behind the face, regardless of the circumstance.
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Cadillac Deval

So this is a pretty interesting story about the rise and failures of Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. For those of you who aren't familiar with Deval, he rode into the governor's office in a similar fashion as Barack Obama (whom he presently campaigns for) seems to be cruising towards the Democratic nomination. He, like Obama, is a bright, eloquent, African-American Harvard Law School graduate who mastered the art of promising much and saying little. Like Obama, he picked up an oh-s0-clever slogan: "Together We Can". Wouldn't that just make you want to run out and vote for him? Well, given that we're talking about Massachusetts here, it worked. Deval, lacking in any sort of executive or political experience defeated Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healy (R) by a large margin.

Since that time, Deval...well...hasn't done very much. First, he spent $10,000 of taxpayer money on new drapes for his office. Then he upgraded Mitt Romney's old Ford Crown Vic to a new Cadillac (hence, Cadillac Deville/Deval). Next up, he proposed that individual cities and towns be allowed to selectively raise (not lower) taxes in order to increase revenues. Thankfully, this effort failed. After 16 years of Republican governorship in Massachusetts, it looks like Taxachusetts may be making a comeback. He takes credit for Mitt Romney's innovative health insurance plan and complains about a soaring budget deficit, while Romney balanced the budget after facing a multi-billion dollar deficit and left with a $700 million surplus (while cutting taxes). Most recently, Deval lost a battle to allow three resort-style casinos on Indian land in Massachusetts. He grossly inflated job and revenue estimates that would be gained from the project, rightfully causing citizens and legislators to doubt his credibility. While ignoring the serious traffic and gambling addiction concerns of the casinos, he also failed to note how many times Indian reservations have pulled a fast one on states and gipped them of the originally planned revenues. As usual, Deval's efforts failed.

The humor in this whole situation has been watching the battle between Speaker Sal DiMasi (D), who has continually used his longstanding experience and position to derail the governors proposals. They're now even publicly criticizing each other. You know you're in trouble when you're being stopped left and right by a nearly 100% Democratic legislature.

The one positive thing I have to say about Cadillac Deval regards his public availability. Each week he hosts a radio show with two local talk radio DJs where he accepts calls from anyone and attempts to answer their questions and concerns. From what I've heard, the calls certainly aren't framed and he takes flak from a caller from time to time. Hosting some sort of radio show is something that I've always said I plan to do if I ever find my way into politics. Officials elected to represent the people should at the very least be in contact with their people.

Overall, though, it's apparent that leading a state is turning out to be a bit more difficult that "Together We Can"....
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Obama's Latest

So its difficult for me to blog in a timely fashion when I'm on break because my routine is all out of whack. But, a lot has been going on lately. As I'm sure everyone knows, the fiery racism of Barack Obama's pastor Rev. Wright was made public and has been flashed all over TV and the Internet. He claims that Americans deserved to die in 9-11 because of all the bloodshed that we have caused in our history. He claims that the US government invented HIV to wipe out the black population. He advocates black separatism. Clearly, this guy is in a whole different league of racists than the whites he hates so much. Instead of spitting hatred, he should work on solving the real problems in his own black community- like the fact that nearly seventy (yes, thats right...seven-zero, seventy) percent of black children are born out of wedlock, like the fact that there are almost more black men in jail than in college, like the fact that black popular culture revers the gangster life of guns, violence, and abusing women. He could put his sharp tongue to work focusing on these real life ills that are hampering black America.

Now what about his effect on the Obama campaign? Well, Barack really blew this one. He's trying his hardest to win the votes of a very skeptical, important voter group- white, middle-aged, blue-collar Americans. Thus far, he's been struggling to do so. After this controversy, its unlikely that he'll see this group, which is understandably sick of hearing about affirmative action and other favoritism issues, running towards him in support. It's unfortunate for Barack that he's suffering politically from the actions of someone else, but in reality, he deserves to. This "man of unity" has sit idly by over the decades listening to this racist rant and rave against whites (well, thats the case now that he finally admits that he has heard him say such words) without raising a word against him. He hasn't written anything about it, talked about it with anyone we know, or challenged Wright in any sense. So, it seems to me that Barack is either sympathetic to Wright's views, or too meek to rise up in opposition- both qualities that American's don't want in the White House.

Also, I don't know much about the following, other than what my mom told me when I woke up this morning. But, apparently Barack described his white grandmother as a "typical white woman" yesterday when referring to her discomfort with blacks. Way to go Barack. Dig that grave a little deeper why don't you?

And finally, in a last ditch effort for some positive publicity, Bill Richardson (who I actually think is a relatively admirable Democrat. I've seen him speak twice and he seems to be a pretty good guy) endorsed Barack today. Bill is a rather moderate Democrat and a Hispanic. I'm sure Obama is hoping that support from a moderate Democrat will swing some of the votes of more moderate Democratic voters who are scared of Barack's uber-liberal views and policies. Also, he's certainly hoping for help with the elusive Spanish vote which has heavily favored Hillary.

And finally, McCain has been rising in the polls this week after all this Democratic controversy. Zogby had him up double digits in a matchup of either Democratic candidate, which was a complete reversal from the weeks before.

So, now I can't decide who I wan't to win the Democratic nomination more: Divisive Hillary or vulnerable Barack?
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Tolls

Looks like Mr. Argento and all the Western Massachusetts people might be getting their revenge on us South Shore people. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is reviewing plans to more-equally distribute tolls in the state, meaning that the South Shore might be in for a rude awakening. Lets hope everything stays the way it is...
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Trans fat

Well, looks like the nationwide trend on banning trans fats has made it to Boston. I can't hardly wait to see what they ban next (perhaps reading the Constitution? Or maybe personal responsibility?)!
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Catch up

Well, I'm back at Georgetown for a few days between breaks. Spring is setting in down here too, which is nice. Flowers are starting to pop up and it was 61 today, while it was flurrying back home when I called. I flew in to DC late Sunday night and I'm headed back to Boston Tuesday night for Easter break. It has been/will be a long, busy nine days (thus, the lack of posts).

So a lot has happened since I last wrote. Obama, to no ones surprise, overwhelmingly won a very racially divided Mississippi.
Some people are wondering if Hillary did even worse than reported, as some statistics show that a decent number of Republicans acted on Rush Limbaugh's call to vote for Hillary to mess up the race. Too bad it couldn't have been more of a help!

I'm now convinced that the absolute best gift the Democrats can give Republicans this year is a Hillary nomination. It will split the party, disenchant voters, and generally cause chaos. Keep your fingers crossed. I will admit that the thought of an Obama/Clinton ticket scares the hell out of me, as that would be almost impossible to beat.

And finally, how about that governor from New York? What a sleaze. His poor wife and kids. I watched the news and read articles this week with a laugh, as usual picking up the liberal media bias. Can you imagine (well, you can, seeing that it has happened recently) the outcry if this had been a Republican governor? The headlines would have screamed "REPUBLICAN governor guilty in sex sting!" Instead, the headlines were a much more discreet "Governor of New York accused in prostitution sting". No mention of party, of course (for a good example of this, check out the Globe's
photo slideshow of disgraced politicians. Notice that somehow all the Republicans have their party mentioned, when the Democrats don't of course). Anyways, enough of these holier-than-thou politicians (from both sides of the table). How do we end up with such bums running our country? Out of the 300+ million, we end up with them?

Happy Wednesday. Until next time...
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Big Night

March 4th, 2008 had the potential to be a decisive day in 2008 presidential election history. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you view it), the date batted .500.

At last, we have a definite Republican presidential nominee: John McCain. Mike Huckabee conceded defeat to McCain tonight in Texas and pledged to fully support him hereafter. McCain will be meeting with Bush and party leaders in the upcoming days to get the national campaign process rolling.

On the Democratic side, March 4th left the race just as jumbled as it has always been. As of this post, Hillary has won Rhode Island and Ohio soundly and seems to be on her way to taking Texas. Obama, as expected, swept Vermont. These do-or-die races give Hillary the infusion of life she needs to continue her campaign. Obama has downplayed her wins tonight, instead focusing on the fact that months ago he trailed her in these states by double digits. He is poised to win Wyoming and Mississippi in the upcoming days. Hillary has all-but-conceded these states, and has her sights set on Pennsylvania, which awards 158 delegates.

Analysts debate the positive and negative aspects of the continuing Democratic primary. Some claim that the prolonged battle benefits McCain, as he is given the opportunity to lay the groundwork for a national campaign. Others claim that the battle will hurt McCain, as the media will potentially ignore him over the coming weeks. I personally believe that McCain will benefit from a strategic standpoint, as the Obama and Clinton continue to show eachother's weaknesses through their contentious debates and accusations (such as this weeks NAFTA spat and claims that Obama is given a free pass by the media).

Regardless, the upcoming weeks should provide entertainment for all...
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Flu Shots

I realize that the following is only the recommendation of an advisory panel, but these panels hold a lot of power in minds of overzealous legislators who want to make every recommendation a legal mandate for U.S. citizens.

A panel from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has furthered its push for universal immunization for the flu. It now recommends that all children up to the age of eighteen receive the yearly flu shot, as this group is claimed to be most susceptible to the flu. Though the panel admits that this age group exhibits the least severe symptoms of the flu, it still recommends universal protection.

I wonder at what point the American people will finally get fed up with panel such as this dictating the lives of our children. American kids are becoming laboratories for questionable vaccines such as this and the HPV vaccine, the effectiveness and side effects of which are widely unknown. How many shots must a child receive these days to go to school? We still haven't had time to adequately study the potential risks of such over-immunized children.

The flu is the flu. You get a fever, headache, and throw up a bit. Big deal. You'll get over it eventually. How many reports have there been this year stating that this year's dose of vaccines was the least effective in history because so many new strains formed (this is what happens when you over-medicate anyways. Think Penicillin)? The study even admits that only 25-50 children nationwide die of the flu every year. Obviously one death is too many, but how far should we go shooting up every kid with a questionable substance to prevent the deaths 25 children when countless children die each year from other causes like abuse and even more serious and specific diseases?

Uncle Sam should stop butting his nose into every family's business and stop using today's youngest generation as lab rats.

CDC Recommendations
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YouTube Video

Hah! This is hilarious! Check out Chris Matthew's Hardball question to an Obama campaign manager when asked to name one, just one, accomplishment as a US Senator. Of course the Hillary campaign manager eats it up. Great video.

YouTube Video
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NY Times

It is absolutely ridiculous that there is such uproar and debate over the simple prospect of asking arrested criminals whether or not they are legal U.S. citizens. This new, long overdue practice by the AZ police won't affect those simply pulled over or the victims of crimes. It continues to amaze me how all the pro-amnesty folks out there will continue to stick up for people who have not only broken the law by breaking into the United States, but continue to abuse the country by participating in criminal activities.

NY Times Article
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Ron Paul

I saw Ron Paul tonight in Gaston Hall. He's just as kooky as he appears on TV- rest assured. He certainly has some interesting ideas, but I found it surprising that he didn't speak from a speech. Now, some people like Mike Huckabee can pull this off. Paul couldn't. At times he appeared to just ramble and lose his train of thought.

Unfortunately (in my opinion) he seemed to focus his speech on what he thought the audience wanted to hear most. And I guess he did a pretty good job at that. His speech was mostly focused on ending the war in Iraq and discontinuing American imperialism. He also said that he thinks people should be able to smoke and drink whatever they want. You can bet that was popular.

I wish he had focused more on the entitlement and social programs that are bankrupting the US government. Though he did, in the question and answer session, touch on some of these, he could have done it more often. Two of his most impressive talking points, which he also discussed in Q&A are illegal immigration and abortion. He correctly believes that it is the government's job to protect its sovereignty through its national borders. He also has the guts to unapologetically say that hospitals shouldn't be forced to treat illegal immigrants when they show up for care. He correctly states that such circumstances often eventually bankrupt hospitals, eliminating emergency care for Americans and causing more harm than good. On abortion, he gave a touching story about how he became pro-life and again, refused to apologize it even though it was probably an opinion that wasn't too popular with the crowd.

Given his eccentricities, it was an interesting event. But, I just can't take him seriously when he talks about going back to the gold standard, which goes against everything I've ever learned in economics, business, and government classes my whole life, and when he claims that the only reason radical Muslims hate us is because we are involved in their territories. I just don't buy that. There's far more involved that some crazy extremists simply being bitter over the past.

Well, bearing any surprises, that's all for this stretch of seeing impressive/important speakers.

Good night.
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Condi

I saw Condeleezza Rice speak this morning at school. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any pictures because the Secret Service sniped the camera I was trying to sneak in. But, it's pretty clear that she's a genius. She was incredibly knowledgeable on a very wide range of foreign affairs topics (as you would expect the Secretary of State to be, I guess), and extremely well spoken. I was especially impressed with how she answered the submitted student questions off-cue after the speech. She had a good, straight-talk answer to "what can we do to fix the image of the U.S. in the eyes of countries that don't agree with what we're doing in the world?"

A lot of the speech was over my head, since it was sponsored by the School of Foreign Service and thus involved a lot of international development and global policy stuff, but it was worthwhile nonetheless.

On to Ron Paul tomorrow...
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Thoughts

Sorry about two posts in a day, but something just came to mind.

Statistically, Obama gets the majority of his support from the black community and wealthy, well-educated whites. In Massachusetts, those were the only two demographics that he carried versus Clinton. So if (when) Obama clinches the Democratic nomination, I wonder if the average American will feel alienated. This would surely benefit McCain, as the middle-America vote is really the one that matters most, not the rich or one specific racial group. I'm betting that a good number (not majority, but at least ten percent of Hill's vote) would switch for a more moderate McCain as opposed to an inexperienced one term senator from Illinois.

Thoughts?
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Long time no see

So I realize that I haven't blogged forever. Sorry, I've been very busy since last time. But, a whole heck a lot has happened since last time. Super Duper Tuesday was a big victory for McCain, a setback for Romney, and a boost for Huckabee. McCain and his supporters stole a victory from Romney in West Virginia (All of the McCain voters switched their votes in the second round of voting to support Huckabee, solely for the purpose of beating Romney. Huckabee won by 1%).

The next shocker was Mitt's departure from the race, at a speech I attended at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in D.C. during CPAC. The majority of the attendees there are very conservative, so his departure was met with a lot of sadness. McCain even got booed during his CPAC speech, which I didn't get to see because I couldn't get anyone to cover my shift at the bank for me.

Next, Obama and Huckabee swept the races yesterday. Obama carried Louisiana, Washington, Kansas, and Nebraska. Huckabee won in Louisiana, dominated in Kansas, and lost to McCain in Washington 26% to 24% (Paul got 21% and I guess in reality, they both lost, as "Other" got 30% of the vote [I wonder if this was Romney?])

So what's the future look like? Obama will continue to win the majority of the remainder of the contests as people who were originally skeptical of his ability to win are now pretty sure that he can. I have a buff chick calzone on Obama getting the Democratic nomination, so you know who I'm cheering for (well, cheering to win, and then ultimately lose). For the Republicans, John McCain has a lot of work to do. He has to convince the conservative wing of the party to vote for him, while being careful not to pander too much to them, as he could lose the trust of his moderate and independent backers. People keep saying, "Of course the very conservative folks will vote for him. He's better than the alternative". This is true, however, the base of the party is what generally gives the campaign the energy to move into November. If the base of the party isn't excited and getting out the vote through grassroots campaigning, as Barack Obama has so successfully done with the youth this year, there could be trouble. Some experts estimate that a situation like this could cost McCain 2-3% of the vote, which is huge when you consider how close the past elections have been and how much of a disadvantage the Republicans are dealing with right now.

On a personal note, I have transferred my support to John McCain because I feel that he gives the party the best chance to win in November and is indeed a hell of a lot better than the alternatives. I disagree strongly with McCains views on immigration reform and his carbon-credits plan, but I do believe that he will do his best to slash spending, support the military, and work to secure the border before dealing with anything else. He also has a 100% pro-life voting record and has a history of supporting constructionist judges, which is perhaps the most important duty of a president. All this being said, I'm very sad to see Mitt Romney go. This is the first election that I can vote in, so therefore I've been pretty involved (obsessed?) with the whole deal. Of course I was also involved in 2000 and 2004, but its different when you're older and can actually have more of an effect on the election. Mitt Romney truly energized me. Every time I see him speak, the first word that comes to mind is: President. He has the brains and the heart to be a great president. He has shown this through his successful business career, wonderful family, and personal character. It's a shame that his opponents were able to take advantage of his switch of opinions on abortion and label him as a flip-flopper- a name that he couldn't seem to get away from. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of him in the future.

In the mean time, get the word out in support of McCain! I already have his bumper sticker on my dorm room door and his campaign sign in my window.
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Post Florida Tuesday Results

Well, I wasn't that far off. Though I now realize 8% for Fred Thomspon was a bit ridiculous. I overestimated the power of the 1,000,000+ absentee ballots that may have been sent before he left the race.

Actual results:

McCain 36%
Romney 31%
Giuliani: 15%
Huckabee: 13%
Paul: 3%
Other: 2%
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Florida Predictions

Predictions:

McCain 29%
Romney 26%
Giuliani 18%
Huckabee 15%
Paul 4%
Thompson 8%
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FL Debate

All I have to say about tonight's debate is "See ya later Giuliani" and "Congrats Mitt on one of your best performances thus far"...
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Reflections on the March for Life

So this year was my second March for Life. It was just as powerful as the first one, just a few degrees warmer thankfully. It's hard to describe the feeling one gets when hearing such a large group of people remain silent and then utter "amen" during the final prayer before the walk. It's hard to explain the feel of so many people solemnly singing God Bless America. Overall, it's pretty hard to explain the walk unless you've been there. And, trust me, a lot of people have been there. The news reports all claim "tens of thousands", while Wikipedia says 100,000-300,000 people were in attendance. 20,000 students fully-packed the Verizon Center hours before the walk for one last mass. All these people, a majority of whom were students, give me hope for the future of the American genocide that claimed 1.2 million lives last year.
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OCC

The 2008 Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life was a success. The conference ended today with a variety of speakers and activities. We were happy to have over 500 students attend this yaer- a big accomplishment given the chaos surrounding the planning and the fact that the March for Life is on a Tuesday this year. I'm glad it's over as well! One less thing to worry about and one less meeting to attend each week.

Meet at the front gates tomorrow at 11:40 AM to head over to the national mall to protest 35 years of Roe v. Wade at the March for Life.
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Legal Sea Foods

I'm currently sitting in Reagan National Airport waiting for my delayed flight. It's gonna be a while, so I might as well kill some time here.

I just left an hour-plus long dinner conversation at Legal Sea Foods in the airport with four random people. I took the hostess up on her offer to sit at the high-table to avoid waiting a half hour for a private table. I sat down right in the middle of a pretty intense political discussion with clearly smart, powerful people all wearing suits and playing with their BlackBerrys. I was a little nervous to jump in the conversation, sitting there in jeans and a Red Sox hat with my two year old Razr, but couldn't resist (of course).

From what I gathered from the conversation, all four of them were fiscally conservative, socially liberal independents. We talked a lot about taxes and spending, abortion, and political candidates in general. It was interesting hearing the opinions of people who didn't always agree with me (socially or fiscally) and see their thought process in choosing a candidate.

One "former Republican" was a Giuliani fan. But she said she'd probably jump ship to Hillary if he didn't get the nomination (there goes a Republican vote- Rudy's not winning).

Another lady was clearly a Republican fiscally, as she decried the ridiculous spending and debt of the Bush administration and hated the thought of higher taxes. She claimed she was personally pro-life, but didn't want to legislate it. From what I could gather, though, she was voting Democrat (though she said she could live with Romney).

Another guy was a former military man who had worked his way out of poverty. He was adamently against the idea that the poor can't pull themselves up by their bootstraps and hated the fact that his tax money was being spent to aid some people relying solely on the government. He was an ardent supporter of Mike Huckabee's FairTax. He took issue with the fact that men have been deciding abortion laws throughout time. He didn't direclty state his opinion on the matter, but he was clearly pro-abortion. I couldn't decide who he was voting for.

The final guy was an American from somewhere in Europe who graduated from Georgetown but hadn't been in the U.S. for a while so he was a little bit out of the loop. But, he was an extremely educated economist who talked a lot about general tax policies. He hated the idea of the FairTax because it isn't progressive enough for him. And he claimed that the poor are incapable of saving, a point that the other man took offense to. (Though, statistically, America does have a savings rate of -6%).

It was a good conversation. All these people had good reasons for their views. It was nice to see such politically-informed and politically-interested regular people. But its sad to see people jumping ship from the Republican party because of some of the damage this administration has done to the Republican name.
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Pre-game chit chat

Well, before going out last night, the issue of abortion came up somehow. And no, it wasn't me who started it. Great talk for a Friday night, right?

Here are four of the main arguments a few people put up in favor of abortion, followed by my answers of why they're wrong.

1) Just put yourself in her shoes. Your life would be ruined. 9 months of hell on your body. You'd have to quit school. You, as a guy, can leave, but the mother can't.

2) Think of the cost? How could you afford it?

3) What about rape victims?

4) To convince me that abortion is legal, you'd first have to convince people like me that a first-trimester fetus is a person.

1a) No one every said life is fair. It's not. And an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy wouldn't entirely ruin one's life. It would definitely be a painful, stressful, and costly nine months. But that nine months shouldn't determine whether or not the life of a human being is taken. In the case where a mother couldn't afford the child or simply didn't want it, the child should be put up for adoption. There are thousands of couples waiting for newborn children to adopt. I know one such couple continually advertises in the Georgetown Hoya newspaper and at mass on Sundays. I'm sure any adopted child, no matter his or her circumstances, would later in life agree that they're happy to be alive rather than having never been given the chance to live.

Before even discussing the problems with the pregnancy, it should be understood that when two people have sex, they should be implicitly agreeing that they are willing to take care of the potential consequences of that action, whether it be disease, distress, or pregnancy. The careless sex that goes on today with the help and support of the mass media has had disastrous effects on relationships, families, and children (those born and never given the chance). No matter how many steps a couple takes to prevent a pregnancy, these preventions can and often do fail. That's where the importance of personal responsibility, which has been so horribly lost in today's culture, lies. If you don't want to deal with the consequences, don't deal with the action.

Next, there have been countless teenage mothers (and fathers) who have been able to either continue their education or postpone it with completion at a later time. With the help of family, friends, and the countless crisis, support, and help programs that exist today thanks to the Catholic Church and other charities, it is possible. Bet you didn't know this: Georgetown has a whole program set up to aid pregnant students. There is a whole townhouse set aside for student-parents, free baby sitting for these parents, free baby supplies, and a whole laundry list of support services set up. Other schools have similar programs. But of course that's not publicized by either liberal, ashamed-to-be-Catholic Georgetown or H*oyas for Choice, because that would mean taking responsibility for ones own actions, acting in the interests of family and children, etc.

Finally, I, as a guy, take some offense to the notion that all guys simply pack up and leave their children, or even worse that I somehow have some less of a right to have an opinion (well, a pro-life one at least) on unwanted pregnancies. "You'll never have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, how can you tell me that I have to keep my child?" is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Yes, you're right. I'll never be pregnancy. But that's not my decision. You can take your beef up with God on that one. But I certainly have the right to stand up for the voice-less, unprotected child growing inside a mother. If we're playing the gender-game, that child is just as likely to be male and therefore someone I can apparently rightly and appropriately stand up for as it is to be female. Or how about we put this ludicrous argument in the face of civil rights (as the crowd that generally claims that I have no place voicing my opinion on abortion is very concerned about the state of civil rights in America)? Are you telling me that whites have no business standing up for blacks simply because they have different skin colors? Whites shouldn't play a role in civil rights? Thats just how ridiculous that argument is. Just because someone isn't of the same "type" (whether it be gender, race, or anything else) doesn't mean that that person can't play a role or have an opinion on an event or decision regarding that group's rights or very existence.

2a) Since when did we determine the value of one's life by his or her economic viability. You're damn right having a kid is expensive. That's why you should act responsibly and avoid it. But, if you do end up with an unwanted pregnancy, it's crazy to think that someone's life should be determined by the fact that it will cost a lot of money. What about old people? As Professor Brown so often reminded us in microeconomics, old people cost a hell of a lot of money. Between never-ended surgeries, doctor's visits, Social Security, etc. billions of dollars are spent. Would it be easier to just kill all the old people? Of course not. We somehow think that we can apply this reasoning to unborn children just because they don't exactly look at us (depending on when you look) and because they can't speak for themselves like most of the elderly can (after all, older Americans are the most consistent, powerful voices at the voting booths on election day. If unborn children had that same right I bet they'd be pretty quick to cast a vote for a Human Life Amendment). If a child doesn't fit one's expenses, it should be put up for adoption, where a financially stable family can and will take care of him/her.

3a) Rape victims currently represent less than one percent of all abortions (the million+) performed in the U.S. each year. So, to begin with, we're not talking huge numbers (relatively). But more importantly, a life is a life, no matter the circumstances of its conception. As I said earlier, an unplanned pregnancy stinks. There's no other way to put it. In fact, it especially stinks in the case of a rape victim. But why should the unborn child of a rape victim be punished for the crimes of another person? That's not fair. Again, I guarantee you if you ask any children born to rape victims, who acted so courageously and strongly, whether or not they agree with the decision of his or her mother regarding the pregnancy, I bet you can guess the answer you'll get.

4a) This is the hardest one to answer, especially for someone who's not a biologist or medical-type person by any means. But first, I'll have to start out with the conscience. Personally, my conscience convinces me foremost that a first-trimester fetus is a human being covered by all our natural and constitutional rights and laws. But next, there is a wealth of scientific evidence that points to that fact as well. Personally, I was never just a sperm or just an egg. I was myself, genetically and scientifically, at the moment of conception. That's when my traits and features were determined to make the unique me. Think about it this way. If you continually ask yourself, "what was I yesterday, a year ago, two years ago..." and so on, you will ultimately get back to the point that you were the union of sperm and egg at conception. You can't get any earlier than that and you can't definitively get any later than that. From the minute a child is conceived, he or she contains the genetic make up and so many other traits that you and I share today. They are simply existing in an earlier, much smaller form. They exist in a form without a voice- a fact very inconvenient for that unborn child and potential abortion victim.

Next, if you don't want to define humanity at conception, then when do you define it? Do you say that we're only human at birth? Can anyone honestly call a fully developed unborn child still in the womb not a human? You're deceiving yourself if so. Is a second trimester fetus a child? Third? Only at viability? It's impossible to pull apart the characteristics at these points that could distinguish whether or not a certain fetus was "human enough" to be protected by law. The only sound, unmoving point where life can be defined is at conception.

Finally, the answer "I don't know if its human, you don't know if its human, so we can't draft a law" is a perfectly fine argument. However, it falls apart. I saw a renowned ethicist speak on the ethics of abortion last year and he had a really good answer for this argument, which I will try my best to put forth here. But, I definitely can't do it as well as he did. US law covers the "I don't knows" of life. We read newspaper headlines and watch the news every day regarding these situations. Someone who commits murder but "didn't know" gets charged with a lighter version of murder, or manslaughter of some sort. US law states over and over that "I didn't know" or "I didn't mean to" doesn't hold water here. Take the example of a hunter. If a hunter is hunting in the woods and sees some sort of movement off in the distance, he's tempted to shoot even though it's not a clear shot. It could be that deer he's been dreaming of. So, he shoots. What happens if it was actually a human? Well, he would be charged with involuntary manslaughter for acting so recklessly and treating human life so carelessly. The law states that he should not have pulled that trigger if he wasn't 100% positive that it wasn't a human. The same goes for abortion. If you want to argue that you aren't certain whether or not it is a child, the law states that the "I don't know" answer isn't good enough.
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Debate Part Two

Tonight's debate was much easier to watch. There were less barbs thrown around and more substantive issues discussed. Romney won tonight's debate. He was much less on the defense and was able to force McCain and Huckabee to deal with issues they couldn't deny. Huckabee couldn't deny the fact that taxes were raised over $500 million while he was governor. Instead, he shuffled around the question and didn't answer it. The same goes for McCain. He walked around the fact that he twice voted against the Bush tax cuts and instead focused on the fact that he has worked to cut spending. Well, Romney certainly worked to cut spending while he was governor in his accomplishment of ending the budget deficit and creating a rainy day fund, on top of fighting for tax cuts. These moments looked good for Romney.

I also think he took advantage of the opportunity to explain that his recent ads in Iowa and New Hampshire weren't exactly the attack ads that they have been made out to be. Instead, as I stated last time, they were simply opportunities to point out differences on records and positions from his main competitors.

Apart from Romney, I thought Thompson did okay. He had some funny bits like always and did manage to show his knowledge of the social security issue, which, sadly for him, is an issue that has sort of sunk in meaning to most voters given the state of national security issues and the questionable future of the economy. It was also interesting to see him go up against Huckabee during the debate, as they will likely have a tough battle for some of the Southern states, most importantly South Carolina.

Giuliani did worst tonight, though he didn't do terribly. Instead, he did poorly because of his lack of participation in the event. He was awkwardly in the corner and didn't really say much. The debate moderator focused most of the questions on Huckabee, Romney, and McCain as they are leading the polls in New Hampshire. But, that focus didn't stop Thompson from putting his two cents into the debate. Giuliani should have done the same.

Next stop: New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday, January 8th!
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Debate

AHHH! Thats what I felt like screaming after tonight's Republican debate. It was incredibly frustrating to watch Huckabee, McCain, Giuliani, and Thompson personally attack Romney all night, effectively blocking his chance to talk about his ideas, opinions, and successes as a family man, businessman, and governor. Understandably, Romney seemed to get heated and fed up with all the wisecracks, which didn't exactly cause him to look very presidential. Overall, I'd have to say that those four 'won' this debate by all ganging up on someone that they would clearly rather not compete with. The easiest way to look most impressive, electable, and presidential tonight was to simply sit back and smile while those around you circled around the boxing ring. Unfortunately, that wasn't an option for Mitt, who was forced to constantly be on the defense. The moderator of the debate even caught a few of the candidates a number of times, dragging Mike Huckabee into the debate saying something like "Now Mike I know you're happy to be sitting back there smiling while everyone else dukes it out here, but lets actually hear what you think..."

I must say that I think tonight will hurt Mitt's chances in New Hampshire on Tuesday, and therefore in the larger general nomination process, as he based his whole campaign on success in both Iowa (where he came in a rather-distant second place) and New Hampshire (where polls before tonight's debate showed him trailing McCain by 6 points I believe). I'm disappointed that his fall could be attributed to personal attacks instead of serious policy debates and differences between the candidates. I don't know how many of you have seen Mitt's "attack" ads against Mike Huckabee and John McCain, but I certainly wouldn't characterize them as personal attacks such as the ones that went on tonight at St. A's. Mitt's ads don't attack their character at all. Instead, they focus on clear policy differences- differences that should make a difference to any Republican primary voter. Huckabee did support in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, Mitt didn't. How is that a personal attack? John McCain did support what some would call amnesty for all 12 million illegal immigrants in the US. Mitt didn't. Attack? I don't think so. What I do call a personal attack, though, is McCains quip, "Mitt, we don't agree on much, but I do agree with you that you ARE the candidate of change". That's just a low blow. No policy there.

The only thing that tonight's slug-fest proved was that the other candidates can be immature and have colluded to get a serious threat to their campaigns whom they are united against out of the race. I'm hoping for something different tomorrow night with Fox New's debate at 8 PM. And I do indeed with Ron Paul was in that debate. He brings some interesting points to the table, especially about the economy.

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I watched all of the Republican debate, but only caught the last half hour of the Democratic debate. As one might guess, I agreed with almost none of what they were saying, although I admire Bill Richardson (who I've seen speak twice at school) and his plans for improving the US economy through investment in education instead of just rolling back tax cuts and increasing spending. But one of the most infuriating moments of the debate for me came from my pal Hillary Clinton at the end. On the subject of the effectiveness and favorite/changeable moments of the debate, she stated how important it was for the American people to see how starkly different the debate contents were between the Republicans and Democrats. She went on to say how horrible it was that the evil Republicans don't talk enough about global warming (increased, I'm sure, by the four Chevy Suburbans that all four candidates surely took to the debate in snowy New Hampshire), don't talk about arts and education, don't talk about health care, and don't talk about the supposed recession. Well Hill, what about all the vitally important stuff that you and your fellow Democrats don't talk about- issues that I assure you the American people care deeply about? What about terrorism and the desire of radical Muslims for both America and Israel to be demolished? What about border protection and enforcement? What about the 12 million illegal immigrants in the US now, posing a risk to national security and costing American taxpayers (those ones that you claim to be so worried about) hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars (I read recently that California hospitals footed a bill of over $100 million in unpaid medical fees run up by illegal aliens there last year. Guess who's paying for that? Vincente Fox certainly isn't)? What about tax cuts and cuts in spending (you sure won't see any of that under a Democratic White House)? I think Hillary should worry about her own party and their attention (or lack thereof) to certain issues before complaining about the Republican issues. After all, we Americans certainly won't have to worry about global warming if Osama bin Laden has his way.

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Side note- Does John Edwards disgust anyone as much as he does me? I think he's a huge slime ball. Who does he think he is to attack all the "evil rich" people in the US, the corporations that provide jobs for millions of Americans, and the environment hogs much like himself? I can't think of a more hypocritical person! John Edwards, who lives in a house that is 28,200 square feet and probably emits more CO2 and uses more energy that the whole Midwest! John Edwards, the man of the poor, who gets $400 hair cuts! John Edwards, who has been rumored to have been cheating on his dying wife! John Edwards, who cares about the rising costs of medical insurance for the poor. The same John Edwards who made his MILLIONS suing the pants off American companies and doctors, thus raising the costs of medical insurance and doctor's insurance! John Edwards, Yuck!
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Primaries

Just got back from New Hampshire, where you can actually tell it's primary season! It was fun to see all the different candidate's signs in people's and business's yards (well, at least it was fun for me). Guess who had more signs than anyone? Ron Paul. Not so surprising in such a libertarian state, I guess. I've heard some talk radio hosts claim that he'll take a surprise third place in NH. But, his run will probably end there. Also, we saw a few Paul supporters just randomly putting signs up on state highways to get the name out, so I guess signs don't always equal supporters.

It looks like Mitt has NH all set, which is good news. He's also coming back in Iowa, where Huckabee was leading by over 10% a few weeks ago. Now Huck's only up a few percentage points. Mitt taking 2nd in Iowa wouldn't be all that bad. After all, I read somewhere that most candidates who win both Iowa and New Hampshire have always lost in the general election. That's the case with Kerry and Gore (well, they were losers before they lost the general election anyways). Certainly wouldn't want Mitt following that path.

I will say that Giuliani's campaign has sort of been a mystery lately. He's completely ignoring Iowa and New Hampshire, where's he's sure to lose, and probably lose big. Instead, he's focusing on the bigger delegate-rich states like NY, FL, MI, etc., hoping he can score a ton of delegate votes on "super-duper Tuesday", February 5th. That's kind of scary if it works. Some people are saying that the 23 states that vote on that day will vote based on the earlier Iowa and NH votes, so Giuliani is toast. But others say that these states will ignore the earlier contests and vote on their own beliefs, which tend to be more liberal and would benefit Giuliani. I think it would be a shame to see him lose big in all the early elections and then grab all the votes from California, Florida, etc. Hopefully that won't happen.

Massachusetts votes on Tuesday, February 5th. Go get your absentee ballots or go register. You have to register by January 16th to vote in the primary. Get on that!
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Words

So the Washington Post did a pretty good "Learn about the candidates" section over the past few weeks. It's a pretty interesting section of their website for the time being. Above all the personal stories, poll numbers, etc., I found the section that listed common words used to describe the candidate most intriguing. The Post called just over 1,000 randomly selected Americans and asked them to describe a given candidate in one word. They then compiled the most frequently used words, scattered them around the page, and proportionally enlarged the words depending on how often they were used. Assuming that the polling was done in a statistically-okay manner, these word pages should really show people's first thoughts of the candidates, who are always working so hard to shape their images.

Here a few examples:

John McCain

Hillary Clinton

Mitt Romney

Barack Obama
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Just kidding

Alright, so I lied. I will blog on something a little more substantial that I just found online. Check out the article below about the now twice-vetoed SCHIP bill. Bush says that he vetoed the bill because instead of working to put needy children on health insurance, it moves children who have private insurance to public insurance. Also, it allows adults to be a part of the "childrens" health bill. So, it's pretty much just a stepping stone to European government-over-your-shoulder healthcare. Now, Bush has said he's willing to increase the spending on SCHIP more than the original $5 billion if a few, simple, conditions are met. This is one of them: "A major point of contention with the White House was Bush's demand that nearly all poor children eligible for the program be found and enrolled before any in slightly higher-income families could be covered. He originally proposed adding $5 billion to the program over five years but later said he was willing to go higher as long as his conditions were met."

What's so unreasonable about this? If the Democrats were really worried about insuring needy children rather than scoring points for their so far utterly unimpressive Congressional term, they would stop fighting over points that aren't meant to serve the neediest in this country. Typical.

"Lata" SCHIP
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Romney's Speech

I don't know if anyone else saw Mitt Romney's Mormonism speech today, but I was pretty impressed. The message was an important one. It's important that a candidate not be ashamed of his religion and not be ashamed to say that that religion guides him/her in principles and values. Being guided by your religion doesn't violate separation of church and state. Liberals' and the ACLU's obsession with eliminating all religion in the public square is more of a violation of church and state than anything else. Nevertheless, he looked very presidential today and I look forward to him speaking like that in 2008.
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Islam

Ahh yes...Islam, the religion of peace. I love continually reading these stories about mass numbers of Muslims marching to kill a British teacher for allowing her STUDENT to name a teddy bear Muhammed. Oh yea, the articles about Muslim women being arrested for being raped are great images of Islam, too.

Where's the public outcry from all of those 'moderate' Muslims in the world? What about the U.S. feminist groups who see everything wrong with Catholicism and the U.S.? I'm still waiting to hear about their protests in support of these poor women.

God bless America

Thousands of Muslims March in Support of Killing British Teacher
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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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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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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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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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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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