Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Edwards Endorses Obama; Dobbs Endorses Nonsense

I'm glad I caught Edwards' speech endorsing Barack Obama - I turned it on just as he was winding down his awkward Hillary Clinton comments, which, with me being someone who can't stand Clinton, was perfect timing. I thought Edwards' speech was actually very inspiring and hope filled, reminiscent of the message Obama focused on in the beginning of the primary season. All in all, a great speech, a great endorsement for Obama, and another nail in the Clinton coffin.

Unfortunately, CNN cut Obama's speech short to get analysis from Lou Dobbs. Dobbs, after getting some basic thoughts on the speeches from two panel members, declared that the Democratic primary failed - the Democrats were hoping to avoid a "brokered" nomination, and that's exactly what it got. Dobbs repeatedly questioned the panel members as to why this should be accepted, and ranted that it was damaging to the party.

Dobbs, it seems, believes that the importance of the superdelegates this election cycle makes the nomination worthless, and that this recent surge ins upport for Obama is effectively making the voter's choices worthless. He was undeterred by the other pundit's explanations that there was simply no way possible for either candidate to win the needed number of votes without counting superdelegates, or that, if the superdelegates needed to choose someone, they were doing the most democratic thing by backing the person with the most public support from voters.

Dobbs continued to insist that the nomination was brokered, and unfair. He had trouble understanding why Florida and Michigan couldn't be seated, and also with the way the superdelegates are counted. What he's failing to realize is that, flawed as the system might be (and is now recognized to be by most), the rules are the rules, and to call this nomination brokered is utter nonsense. The people have voted, the superdelegates have concurred, and Barack Obama looks to be the next Democratic nominee for President.

The pundits, those "experts" we are told to listen to, really need to read the rulebook more carefully - I'm sure someone could explain it to them if they really need.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

August Here we Come

I just thought I would drop some notes in, even though the final results aren't quite in yet.

1) The polls seemed to be just about right in Indiana, where Clinton currently has about a four point lead, but not so much in North Carolina, where polls recently had Obama in the single digits for a lead but he looks to have won by about 14-15 points. These polls have turned into quite the roll of the dice, no?

2) It looks to me like Obama will increase his delegate lead tonight, but I'm already hearing from the pundits that the ClintonS (yes, with an "s") won't listen to anyone because Hillary thinks she's entitled to this year's nomination. Of course, that was on Fox (CNN was on a commercial break), but I'll drink that Kool-Aid. This isn't ending soon.

3) I guess it's a good thing, voter participation and all, but 400,000 people voted in both Indiana and North Carolina for the Republican primary? I must admit I thought that was interesting.

4) One comment not just about tonight - I'm in the camp that thinks this gas tax holiday is a bunch of baloney; the economics just don't make sense, and we're making the problem worse. Still, I can see the strategy of McCain and Clinton, and maybe they have their beliefs and opinions, which is great - but let's turn the rhetoric down. Hillary, I know you're trying to come from behind and win, but am I really supposed to buy your line that the reason Obama opposes the gas tax holiday is because he doesn't care about regular people? That he doesn't want to cut working Americans a break? Please. There's a line of legitimacy that she seems to be losing track of.

I'll check back in the next few days to see what new developments come up. Until then!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wondering Where Sportsmanship Has Gone

I came across this item earlier today, and, as a baseball fan, was utterly shocked. In a high school game yesterday in Japan, the game was ended early when the score reached 66-0 in the second inning. Besides the fact that this is unheard of, there are a few things I would like to touch on.

1) What happened to sportsmanship? Personally, I've never believed professional teams should hold back from scoring; a bunch of grown men making millions of dollars to play a game should be able to stomach a beating once in a while without crying. But a high school game is permitted to get to this level? Also, the team had to ask for the game to be stopped, so who knows how long the umpire would have let it go on. I can't believe this was allowed to continue after 26 runs in the first inning.

2) Now, excuse my ignorance, because I know very little of other cultures. However, I've also thought that in terms of baseball, Japanese players and participants often competed with much more grace and respect than their American counterparts. Why wasn't this respect shown to the losing team? I could see this maybe happening in some rabid baseball town in the United States, but in Japan, where I have always been told sportsmanship is taken to the highest level? Quite interesting.

3) What about the line that the game was ended to protect the pitcher's arm - after 250 pitches! The coach was apparently worried he might get to 500 and hurt himself. I've also been a big believer that counting pitches in the major leagues has gotten to a ridiculous point, with it being one of the main considerations while managing a game. Still, 250 throws for a high schooler is plain irresponsible. The poor kid could have really damaged his arm, and it wasn't fair to keep him throwing that long while being humiliated. 500's a problem, but 250 is OK? My arm would have fallen off.

I'd love to get your opinions on this - perhaps somewhat trivial, but I just thought there were a lot of interesting points to spark some discussion. Looking forward to your comments.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Which do we prefer? Elitists or regular folks? Based on the media, we're very confused.

America - the land of freedom and opportunity, where any man or woman can rise from poor and difficult upbringings to achieve great things. We all love this idea that our nation was founded on, the idea that we are all equal, and that our government should be run by those who accurately represent us, not those who would treat us as subjects.

All this being said, it's odd that we can't make up our mind regarding the Presidency - do we want someone like us, or someone better?

This election cycle has been extremely interesting, as the term "elitist" is being thrown around with the same hatred we usually reserve for those who commit atrocities or crimes against humanity. It also appears that being labeled with this description can come with statements that could possibly be interpreted as suggesting elitism (such as using the word "bitter"), and not with outright statements that some people are better than others. Of course, when you do consider our history and feelings about our nation, it would be easy to understand why we do not want someone who thinks they might be royalty, or inherently better than the people he or she is supposed to be representing, in the highest position in the land.

So, how come when our candidates do act like regular people, we punish them for it?

Hillary goes into a bar and drinks a beer and does a shot (granted, it was of the most elitist alcohol out there - found that one funny Jon Stewart, thanks), and instead of praising her for showing she has a real side, we condemn the behavior. Obviously we don't want a drunk in office, but who doesn't have a drink every once in a while? Most regular people can relax with a shot, so why can't the candidates, who we don't want to be elitist?

Barack Obama gets irritated with some bozo who is in his face demanding that the Senator takes a picture with him, and we take him to task for getting frustrated. How would you, or any other "regular" person out there, react? Of course we need someone in office who can handle difficult situations with grace, but there should be a limit to what they need to put up with. Any regular person would have punched this guy in about half the time Obama dealt with him. Instead, Obama is criticized for getting slightly upset.

Our president, and other elected officials for that matter, should be expected to act with a certain manner in public. They have a responsibility to do so, as they are representing our nation and must act in our best interests. However, we need to make a choice. Do we admit that these politicians, with their expensive and prestigious educations, vast experience running campaigns, and ability to create legislation and work with other politicians to support their constituents, might indeed have more skill, intelligence, or other better qualities than we do? In that case, we can indeed hold them to a higher standard of behavior, in return for admitting they might be the elite. Or, do we understand that these people have their bad days like we do, that they might stumble in speeches, get facts wrong occasionally, and perhaps make incorrect decisions even with good intentions? In this case, we can't expect them to act in ways we wouldn't be able to ourselves.

I'm well aware that the best case scenario is a middle ground between the two discussed options. I'm also aware that in this era of cable news networks, blogs, and constant coverage and video recordings, that each candidate's actions and words will be over analyzed. However, we need to think back to our nation's founding, and understand that none of our politicians have been given Divine Right to rule, and that they are not royalty. Just as we would never allow ourselves to be treated as subjects, neither should our candidates be expected to be infallible rulers who are better than we are.

Our options are, in truth, not limited to "elite" or "regular", so why should we try to force candidates into certain labels? We should spend our time trying to understand candidate's positions, not labeling them with inaccurate descriptions. Until we understand what we have to work with, our government will never improve. As we saw in tonight's debate, getting sidetracked with non-issues is a problem we need to end.

PS - If you liked the topic of the above post, there's a post on Communicative Action about a similar thought. Check it out when you get a moment.

Speak to you soon!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Quick Hits from an Insomniac

Hey all,

I spent the entire day cooped up doing a book review and some other research, and now its 2AM and I'm nowhere near tired, so I thought I would pop in and throw out some quick discussion points that are running through my head at a hundred miles per hour. Give me some responses to let me know what you think - let's get the discussion going!

I. Political Notes

a. I don't get the Barack Obama "bitterness" furor. What did he say that was wrong? Wouldn't you be bitter after three decades of hardships and broken promises? I wish some Pennsylvanians would stand up and say "Hey! He got it right! I AM bitter! Now FIX it!" I'm bitter about a lot of things regarding politics and I'm only 22. I can't wait for the day when we can actually admit how we feel.

b. Hillary can't keep her own husband quiet and she's going to run our country?

c. One would think being associated with Bush would crush anyone's political future, but a new poll suggests having Condoleeza Rice on the ticket could help McCain beat any type of Obama/Clinton ticket in true blue New York. Go figure THAT one out.

II. The Sports Report

a. The coverage Tiger Woods gets is incredible. I wonder if anyone would pay any attention to golf at all if it wasn't for ESPN and SI's obessive discussions over each shot, and debating whether he's falling apart or the greatest golfer ever, based on his last round's score.

b. Andruw Jones will figure it out.

c. I'm not that sure about the Tigers.

d. I can't say I pay much attention to hockey all that much, but it's my experience that the NHL playoffs might be one of the most exciting sports events of the year. Those guys leave it all out there every game, and each one is edge-of-your-seat stuff. If you haven't given it a shot, now's a good time.

Talk to you all soon enough!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Why Stop Now?

I've mentioned before, in the interest of full disclosure, that I am not in any was a fan of Hillary Clinton. Not only do I think Obama is a better candidate for a number of reasons, I just can't ignore her actions after the Clinton's left the White House so she could magically appear in New York to run for Senate and start a nearly decade-long campaign for the White House.

That being said, why should she drop out like so many want?

On a personal level, I'd love it. But regardless of how many people say it's impossible for a number of reasons for her to catch Obama before the convention, it's still an extraordinarily close race. For the first time in years, some of these late primaries actually matter and people in these areas get to have a say (it's really time to get a different primary schedule going, don't you think? Everyone should have a vote every election cycle), and we want everything to shut down beforehand? Why? Don't we trust the people in these states? Everyone seems more worried about Florida and Michigan - I say they had their chance, and they blew it. Let's let Pennsylvania do it's thing!

I also think, especially with the long gap between primaries we're currently in (SCHEDULE CHANGE!!), the theory that an extended primary will hurt the Democratic Party is becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. If we all did what Bill Clinton is suggesting - "chill out" and debate the issues - there would be no harm. Instead, everyone keeps harping on how bad things are, and people are going to start believing it when they keep hearing it said by party leaders! The message should be: "Hey! Look at us! TWO great candidates! We must be the best party suited to lead this nation!", not "This is damaging, everyone's image is going to be hurt and we'll lose in November."

Yes, McCain will be appealing to Independents and Democrats, but he would be regardless of what happens over the next few weeks. The Democrats need to stop complaining that every state might get a primary this year and get back to the issues. The Party is looking pretty strong right now, and it's because politics are a huge issue in this race - a race that needs two people. Once the primaries are all over, then re-evaluate the delegate count and try to resolve this before the convention. But why right now?

So as much as it pains me to say: Go for it Hillary. Many people have held on with much shakier footing.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

MLB '08 - After the Mitchell Report

Most of my posting lately has been concerned with politics, which I think is understandable considering the importance of primary season and the off seasons of baseball and football, my two favorite sports. I'd thus like to take this opportunity, on the night the MLB season kicks off (last week's games in Japan excepted) to discuss some interesting points to keep an eye out for over the next six months.

This blog is a focus on the competitive issues regarding sports and politics, so I'm not going to get too much into individual stats or games, but rather a larger view of the sport as a whole. If you're interested in more specific information, especially regarding fantasy baseball, check out Bfadds Blog for some great baseball info. Just open him in a new window so you won't lose me ;).

A few things to look out for this year:

1) The fallout of the Mitchell Report - Andy Pettitte seems to have survived his steroid-report inclusion, while buddy Roger Clemens might still be facing prosecution for it. While Clemens' return is a major question mark every year, I think it's fairly safe to say he's pitched his last game, especially when you consider he didn't exactly set the league on fire last year. Now we'll see if the games can take the focus off the steroid issue for a while, or if this year's home run leaders will simply be the subject of more suspicion.

2) Where will Barry Bonds wind up? - His agents have suggested there might be collusion involved in Bonds' failure to get a contract, but I think that's a bit of a stretch. I know chicks dig the long ball, but there can't be much of a market for over-aged, surly, uncooperative hitters who are slowing in the field and are subject to prosecution in the near future. Yeah, Barry, it's a big plot to keep you off the field - it has nothing to do with owners not wanting to pay millions just to get a headache. As per rumors from a few months ago, I think seeing him play for the Rays would be hilarious for a number of reasons.

3) AL Dominance - Will we see any NL teams start to catch up to the AL in terms of playing quality? I'd say, without knowing too much about each team specifically, the Mets, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks have a chance to make some noise this year, and I'm also hearing good things about the Braves (possible) and Cubs (I'll believe it when I see it). I still think the ever-competing Yankees and Red Sox (will this rivalry ever cool again?) and teams like Cleveland and Detroit make the AL much more dangerous.

4) The last year in play for the New York Stadiums. I think most Met fans have a soft spot for Shea, but are happy to let it go. Yankee Stadium will be sorely missed - it's one of the few great, old ballparks. I can't wait to see how much tickets go for for the last game in these places. I only wish the NFL's Jets could have found a way to get something done near the Mets new stadium and come back home to New York ::sigh::

Play Ball!!