August 4, 2008

Degraded Political Battle

Posted in News, Politics tagged , , at 10:55 pm by Katharine Lackey

It’s that time of the political race again — when the battle for the White House degrades itself into a series of attacks between the two primary candidates.


There’s the ‘race card’

The Obama is like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears (we’re really going to try to make that connection?)

‘The One’?

For his part, Obama doesn’t seem to be engaging in ridiculous attack ads, unless I just haven’t seen them. He released an ad today about his energy policy, attacking McCains, but its not in the same light as McCain’s ads which don’t seem to really say what McCain will do so much as try to point out Obama’s flaws.


McCain Lacks Internet Capabilities

Posted in News, Politics tagged , , , at 10:45 pm by Katharine Lackey

The presumptive nominee of the Grand Old Party barely knows how to use the Internet, the New York Times reports.

He doesn’t know how to text, blog, or Twitter and relies on young staffers to keep up his Facebook page as well as other internet doings.

While it’s not really essential for a president to know how to use the Interwebs, it would be useful for those occassions when a threat comes to light that deals with the Internet. If some terrorist is using the Internet as a way to get his message across and coordinate attacks, will McCain know enough about the web to be able to make a good decision about what should be done (without relying on the expertise of others?)

Just a few thoughts.

July 29, 2008


Posted in Politics tagged , , , , , , at 2:24 pm by Katharine Lackey

The Republican National Committee is running and financing a Web site that aims to discredit Barack Obama on many of his issues, at and

Here’s the problem — the GOP insignia in the right hand corner of both pages is not readily noticeable. I first visited BarackBook without realizing that it was run by the Republicans. I thought it was odd Obama would be “friends” with Tony Rezko and would have the status, “Barack is hoping to settle on an Iraq policy before November.” It was then I finally noticed the GOP header.

The other problem is that BarackBook looks like Facebook — and I wonder if there are any copyright or infringement issues there? Also, will people quickly see the that the site is run by the GOP or will they believe its a legitimate site about Obama?

With both sites, its easy to see that the RNC is targeting youth voters — those familiar with Facebook and other social networking sites — but won’t older Republicans or even Democrats be confused by the design?

While I’m sure we will see both sides attacking one another over the issues, I would hope the Democrats would not use the same tactics that the RNC has taken.

The only John McCain Web site that I can find that is somewhat similar is John McCain is Really Old. The site is clever and funny (see: Naps for America, and No Child on My Lawn), and, most importantly, is not run by the Democratic National Committee. While the DNC does launch similar attacks on its main Website — it is much clearer who the attacks are coming from — the opponents.

Both sites, however, do focus on a number of mistakes both candidates have made in speeches and interviews, as well as “flip-flops” in policies — which is good so long as they link to reputable sources.

To both candidates: I get tired of the back and forth that surrounds presidential elections. Don’t all these attacks just even themselves out? Couldn’t you find a better way to spend donated money?

July 28, 2008

Mr. Almost President

Posted in Politics tagged , , , at 11:09 pm by Katharine Lackey

While focus has exceedingly been on Barack Obama’s recent foreign trip, the New York Times is quick to point out that both Obama and McCain have their own far-reaching faux pas.

While Obama has stood on a podium with a faux presidential seal and adorned his jet “O-Force One,” McCain gave a speech looking back on his first term in office and recently began giving radio addresses every Saturday.

It is unclear when the two presidential candidates will hold their first state dinners, spend their first weekends at Camp David or welcome this year’s N.B.A. champions, the Boston Celtics, to the Rose Garden.

Oh, wait, neither of these guys has been elected yet.

The article is extremely interesting and I cannot do it justice by paraphrasing it — so go read it!

Also, read the Times Opinion piece by Frank Rich, which also touches on the same subject.

News of the Day: July 28

Posted in News tagged , , , , , , at 10:52 pm by Katharine Lackey

  • Texting while walking, rollerblading, biking, etc, can land you in the emergency room, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. “It’s amazing how instinctive it is for people to [text while doing other things]. Texting is kind of like hearing. It’s almost another sense,” says emergency room doctor. Upside: I have a sixth sense!
  • Violence in Iraq has reached a “normal” level, USA Today reports. Because violence is always normal… right.
  • McCain gained on Obama in a new USA Today/Gallup poll, USA Today reports. That trip Obama took — didn’t help.
  • Robert Novak has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, the AP reports. Last week the columnist received a citation after hitting a bicycist in D.C. The columnist is best known for revealing Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity in a 2003 column.

July 27, 2008

‘As word spread throughout the land about the Child’s wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.’

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , at 2:50 pm by Katharine Lackey

Gerard Baker, an editor at the Times in London, created a hysterical retelling of Obama’s trip to the Middle East.

(To see video — go to Jeff Jarvis’ post.)

Among memorable quotes:

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

And the Child spake and the tribes of Nato immediately loosed the Caveats that had previously bound them.

And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child’s journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.

And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.

Go read the rest!!

July 26, 2008

McCain: 16-month plan “good timetable”

Posted in Politics, War on Terrorism tagged , , , at 12:44 am by Katharine Lackey

Somewhere, right now, Barack Obama is smiling.

In an interview with CNN Friday, John McCain had interesting comments on Obama’s 16-month withdrawal plan.

“I think it’s a pretty good timetable,” Mr. McCain said Friday in an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room,’’ before adding that it should be based “on the conditions on the ground.’’

This is basically exactly what Obama has been saying lately, even as people have accused him of flip-flopping for saying he would listen to top commanders and tweak his plan if necessary.

McCain did go on to elaborate more about the 16-month withdrawal — trying to differentiate himself from his Democratic running partner.

“I think it’s a pretty good timetable, as we should — or horizons for withdrawal. But they have to be based on conditions on the ground. This success is very fragile. It’s incredibly impressive, but very fragile. So we know, those of us who have been involved in it for many years, know that if we reverse this, by setting a date for withdrawal, all of the hard-won victory can be reversed.’’

This is nearly 2 and a half years different than what McCain said in his rejected New York Times letter:

I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

Is this all a reaction to al-Maliki practically endorsing Obama’s plan?

July 23, 2008

Fist Bump USA

Posted in Business, Politics tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:44 pm by Katharine Lackey

The fist bump, or “terrorist fist jab,” as one FOX news reporter refered to it, is making its way into the business circle, replacing the more common handshake, USA Today reports. If we’re unlucky enough, ththe phrase “that’s a firm handshake you got there,” will be downgraded to “that’s a sweet fist bump.”

According to the USA Today article, though, not everyone is happy with the bump.

“I have not encountered a fist bump and would judge anyone who tried it as a total redneck,” says Dr. Grace Keenan, medical director of Nova Medical and Urgent Care Center in Ashburn, Va. “I hope that it never is seen as a replacement for a handshake in the business community.”

The article brings up an interesting point — that the fist bump commonly occurs between two male colleagues and one source says a female employee thought the bump was a male-domination gesture. Another woman points out its an advantage for women who get crushed by manly handshakes.

The fist bump came into the national spotlight after Barack Obama and Michelle Obama bumped in victory when he clinched the Democratic nomination in early June. It was at that time that a FOX news anchor teased a segment on the fist-bump, or “terrorist fist jab.” Since then, The New Yorker published its satirical cover, which also shows Michelle and Barack engaging in a fist bump.

Now, Vanity Fair is jumping on board with its own McCain version of the New Yorker cover released on its blog, although its a lot less sensational. It depicts McCain using a walker while George W. Bush stares down from a picture above the mantle. Oh, and the constitution is burning in the fireplace. Cindy McCain is holding pill bottles, which I actually missed since I didn’t know she had an addiction a long time ago.

While the Vanity Fair’s satire on a satire is sure to get some press coverage, (as it already has) I do not think it will be received as negatively since die-hard Republicans will easily brush it off, and we’ve already gotten used to the number and variety of “John McCain is old” jokes.

Side by Side Comparison

July 17, 2008

Presidental race could end in tie

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , at 8:52 pm by Katharine Lackey

With voting day “just” under five months away, political thinkers are already crunching numbers to predict how the race could end up. One such political junkie at the American Enterprise Institute came up with a “doomsday” vote that would tie McCain and Obama for the presidency, ABC News reports.

“Given how close it’s been in the last couple years, there are some reasonable scenarios that you could get to a tie,” said John Fortier, a political scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of “After the People Vote: A Guide to the Electoral College.” “It’s not the most likely scenario, but the states can add up that way where you have nobody getting to 270.”

In order to win the election, a candidate needs 270 of the 538 electoral votes available. Under the 12th amendment, if no candidate wins 270 votes, the House of Representatives has to decide, with each state getting a vote — another complication we won’t get into.

The possible doomsday scenario goes like this:

If, for example, Obama wins all the states Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., won in 2004, and picks up Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico, McCain and Obama would each win 269 electoral college votes — locking the presidential election in a tie.

The story goes on to list other “what-if” scenarios and really details past decisions Congress has had to make in regards to the presidency.

The end of the story states that there is a one-in-200 chance of the doomsday scenario occurring — better chances than winning the lottery.

July 15, 2008

8-point lead for Obama

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:15 pm by Katharine Lackey

A new Washington-Post / ABC News poll shows Barack Obama is holding an 8-point lead over John McCain, the Washington Post reports.

Voters view Obama as the candidate best prepared to fix the nation’s economy, which continues to be the number one concern for voters in this race — half of the country labels the issue as “extremely important” to their vote. Gasoline and energy prices come in behind the economy and the Iraq war ranks third in importance.

Overall, Obama continues to lead because of his domestic policies, but question his ability to deal with national security and international issues.

The new survey also found that Bush’s approval rating has hit a new low, with just 28 percent saying they approve of the way he’s handling his job. 69 percent disapprove, with 56 percent of those “strongly” disapproving.

Public perceptions of Congress are even lower with only 23 percent of respondents giving a positive rating. Congressional Democrats received a 35 percent approval rating and congressional Republicans received a 25 percent approval rating.

So what does this all mean?

Even with an 8-point lead, the Obama-McCain race is tight.

Obama needs to prove he can handle national security and international issues and needs to pick a more seasoned VP running mate, especially one who is an expert in foreign and national security.

McCain’s age is an issue for 4 of 10 respondents — he needs to pick a younger VP running mate.

Congress’ approval rating is lower than that of the president. This is probably because the Democratic Congress has failed to deliver many of the reforms for which they were elected.

Bush’s approval rating hits an all time low — no real question why.

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