Saturday, January 19, 2008

Giuliani: A terribly wise or terribly stupid move?

Things aren't looking well for Mr. Guiliani in this GOP campaign race. Not only has Ron Paul beaten him twice in the exit polls for the last two primaries, but by ignoring these earlier primaries, he may have just put all of his eggs into one basket (that basket being Florida). Although he did manage to pull in 9% from the New Hampshire Primary, that puts only a little flicker of hope for his campaign. If the sunshine state doesn't pull through (and completely turn the tables) for him, it may be all over for his campaign. But of course, what I think doesn't mean jack, so take this with a HUGE grain of salt.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Show Me the Money!

Oh no! Which side to pick!? (Picture attributed to AZRainman : Photoshop Satire. Some rights reserved.)

In a statement earlier today, President Bush proposed that approximately $145 billion be infused into the U.S. economy. To be specific:
[He called] for roughly $145 billion in tax relief for individuals and businesses that he said would “provide a shot in the arm” for the economy, while Congressional Democrats, in a rare show of Washington bipartisanship, pledged to work with him to enact a plan quickly.
An interesting note about his statement: it did not contain the word "recession." And why would it? Wall Street isn't amid a recession, but a slump! According to this entry from
The standard newspaper definition of a recession is a decline in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for two or more consecutive quarters.
So, according to the standard definition, the U.S. isn't in a recession yet. Not surprisingly:
[The standard] definition is unpopular with most economists... [because] by using quarterly data this definition makes it difficult to pinpoint when a recession begins or ends. This means that a recession that lasts ten months or less may go undetected.
Oh well. Whether a recession or a slump or "a risk of a downturn" (as eloquently stated by Bush), the U.S. economy is in trouble. This article, from a Canadian newspaper site (which should have an internationally objective view on the matter), suggests that Bush's proposal is too little too late:
Tax cuts and business incentives will take months to work... When the relief gets there, it may do little to stimulate the economy, as many Americans are now so worried about their financial security that they could merely save their small windfall rather than spend it.
Too little? Maybe. Too late? Well, at least he's doing something. At least he's not chillin' at his Texas ranch this time.

A Cartoon A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Although I haven't been following the political campaign race as intently as I should be, I do know enough to see what is being made fun of here. I think it's wrong to make fun of Hillary because she got emotional during the campaign race. I bet campaigning for anything would certainly make even the biggest men cry, as it is definitely a nerve wracking ordeal (As we saw in "Journeys with George" last semester) . All in all, I think that her crying just makes it seem like she's closer to us than the other candidates (which could be a good or bad thing).

Cartoon by Steve Benson

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Two Cents For These Two Commercials

While looking for something interesting to blog about, I came across these two commercials on The Atlantic. This one is a 60 second clip about Fred Thompson and his background / ideas. I thought it was rather generic for a commercial, but then again I don't really watch too many campaign commercials. The one problem I had with this commercial was that it mentioned something along the lines of "our basic rights come from God". Once I heard the word "God", I immediately began to think how the church and state should be separate. Although this statement clearly wasn't meant to hurt him politically, I can't help to think of other people like me who found it odd to mention something like that. The other commercial on The Atlantic that I viewed was about John McCain. It had brief clips from programs and interviews that briefly talked about how much he had suffered as a Prisoner of War in Vietnam. I liked this commercial more than Fred Thompson's because it seemed to try and connect with the people more. So go ahead, watch the two commercials and tell me what YOU think.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mo' Money Mo' Problems

Wesley Snipes: Tax protester by day, vampire hunter by night.

Yes! Finally! Posts not related to the primaries (as requested by certain people). So, here's the scoop. Actor Wesley Snipes (widely known for starring in the Blade serie
...has been charged with six counts of failing to file tax returns, two of fraudulently claiming tax refunds and one count of conspiracy to defraud the government. He faces up to 16 years in prison... Prosecutors allege Snipes failed to file tax returns for the years 1999 to 2004 and sought refunds totaling more than $11 million for taxes paid in 1996 and 1997.
Snipes claims that his domestic income is not taxable, citing the 861 argument. Not surprisingly, the courts have consistently ruled against the 861 argument. According to this site, which you can read if you want a full explanation on why the argument is supposedly flawed,
[The 861 Argument] is based on the assumption that the income tax is imposed on "sources" or "items" of “income” - rather than being an excise tax on “income” separated from those sources - therefore, say its advocates, it is important to determine where ones taxable “income” comes from.
Basically, due to some vague wording in IRS law, followers of the 861 argument believe that the IRS can only tax sources of income, not the income earners themselves. Sounds sketchy to me.
Incidentally, GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul believes in abolishing the IRS because he--oh wait, this post wasn't supposed to be related to the primaries. My bad.

My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard

Taking a brief break from all this election stuff, I was referred to an interesting article that has something to do with everyone's favorite drink--milk! To sum it up, the FDA said that the meat and milk from certain cloned animals are healthy to eat and drink. That is,
Food products from juvenile and adult cattle, goats and pigs are "virtually indistinguishable" from their noncloned counterparts and their consumption poses no additional risk, says the FDA.
I'm sure that many of us eat the meats that come from these animals, and that many of us "used to" drink milk on a daily basis. How do you guys feel about eating and drinking from cloned animals? Is there really a problem here? Also, what do you guys think about the ethics of cloning in general? Is it right or wrong? YOU BE THE JUDGE.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Not Much Debate in Democratic Debate

Well, that debate wasn't very exciting. Evidently, the heated race controversy among the Democrats has been buried. Smart move by the Democrats--implying that race is insignificant in the big picture of things (props to Ryan Landis for pointing this out in my last post).
It was nice to see that the Democrats could be much more well-mannered and civil than the Republicans, but the "let's play nice" attitude made for a debate without much debate.
In the words of the Chicago Tribune:
For much of the evening, it felt at times like the candidates might hold hands around the large wooden table where they sat, with compliments, teasing and first-name familiarity.
How cute. Anyway, to my surprise, Obama, Clinton, and Edwards had reached a general consensus on Iraq by the end of the debate. The differences between their campaigns are getting a little blurry for me.

Romney Wins Michigan

39% - Romney
30% - McCain
16% - Huckabee
6% - Paul
4% - Thompson
3% - Giuliani
100% of precincts reporting.

Romney has just won Michigan, making it three Republican candidates (Huckabee, McCain, and Romney) that have won at least one state's primary election so far. Looks like there's still no clear favorite on the Republican side. It's worth noting that Giuliani's vital signs are looking extremely low right now, although he has announced that he is focusing his resources on Florida and states holding elections on "Super Tuesday."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Clinton's Mixed Reception at MLK Event

Earlier today, Hillary Clinton attended a Martin Luther King, Jr. rally in New York to deliver a speech to an audience of mostly African-Americans and Hispanics. The audience's reaction to her speech spawned many news headlines, ranging from Clinton booed at MLK rally in New York to Clinton Gets Respectful Applause At MLK Observance. Despite the wide gamut of the headlines, it seems to me that her speech was not a smashing success and that her reception could have been better.
The response by the audience was most likely due to Clinton's recent struggle with racial controversy. For example, last week during a televised interview, Clinton committed a (debatable) faux pas that angered the African-American community:

Contextual note: the "false hope" she is referring to is Barack Obama, not MLK, Jr.

Andrew Sullivan explains Clinton's alienation from African-American voters, stating that:
it was another low-point in Clinton's attempt to rescue her candidacy. Belittling the work of King and elevating the work of Johnson is not the best way to appeal to crucial African-American voters.
Although I initially shared the Sullivan's viewpoint, I now agree with Earl Ofari Hutchinson, in that:
If Hillary could be faulted for anything it's that she didn't go far enough. If Johnson hadn't forcefully intervened and jawboned, prodded, arm twisted, and embarrassed the slew of wavering and hostile Congressmen to the bill into supporting the bill, or at least tempering their opposition to it, King's dream would have remained just that, an empty dream.
However, given Hillary's "lukewarm" reception in her own state, it appears that many African-Americans (and perhaps other minorities) do not share my disposition. With elections in Southern states approaching quickly (South Carolina on January 26th and Florida on January 29th), Clinton will most likely reacquaint herself with minority voters in the Las Vegas debate tomorrow.

(Photo by Evan Vucci/AP)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Republicans weak in General Election Poll

A poll released yesterday by CNN/Opinion Research Corp. shows that Republican will have a "tough general election." To simlify the results:

Clinton and Obama have more than 50% of the votes if they're matched up head-to-head with either Romney, Giuliani, or Huckabee. If they're matched up with McCain, they're basically even.

Results:---- Will vote(if nominated) -------Will consider--------Will not vote for
Clinton --------------37%-------------------------19%
Obama --------------30%
Romney-------------13% --------------------------------------------------62%
Giuliani --------------------------------------------------------------------55%

Huckabee--------- 38%----------------30%
-Mccain is the only candidate close to Obama in the Favorable/Unfavorable numbers. Obama's number weren't given in this poll. McCain is also only Republican with more than 50% approval.

Notes: Telephone survey of about 1000 Americans, 850 of whom were registered voters, the results have a margin of error of plus/minus about 3%.

This poll doesn't provide a lot of new information, except that even though Romney's leading the GOP in number of delegates, he'll need a pretty big comeback to not only win the nomination, but the general election as well. McCain appears to have a significant advantage over Huckabee. This poll once again shows the Democrats advantage in the general election. I'd be interested to see the results of this same poll after South Carolina.