Friday, August 29, 2008

John McCain Picks Sarah Palin For Republican V.P.

The 2008 Presidential Election is certainly shaping up to be great political theatre between now and election day. The Democratic convention ended last night with the speech from Barack Obama recieving high praise from each side of the political spectrum.

It was a speech that political commentor David Gergen referred to as a "political symphony". The speech was flawlessly delivered in front of 84000 people. In addition, the outdoor venue of Invesco Field added to the overall excitement. In fact, television celebrity Oprah Winfrey was so moved by the speech that she is quoted as saying that she "cried her eyelashes off".

The only criticism from the political pundits was the lack of specifics concerning the political promises inherent in the Obama acceptance speech. Obama will need to fill in the policy details to his fine oratory last evening in the days ahead.

To answer the Democratic Presidential candidate's nomination address, John McCain has made the surprise selection of Sarah Palin as his choice for a running mate in Election 2008. The selection of the female Governor of Alaska for Republican V.P. is a strategy designed to take advantage of the disappointment of many female voters with Obama's selection of Joe Biden instead of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic V.P. nominee.

However, the selection of Palin helps McCain in other ways as well. She is a favorite of the Republican Party's conservative base. She is a reformer and the only candidate from either party that has actually run anything. She also is young and has a compelling life story. With Palin, McCain can run as an independent, on a platform of reform and change. However, with McCain's advanced age, the American public needs to be convinced that she can step in at a very young age and become the future President if necessary.

Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin in Election 2008. If this were a baseball game, I think it would be a tie after ten innings and the eventual outcome would depend on who makes the first error. It will certainly be an interesting contest to watch. The first scheduled Presidential debate is September 26, 2008.

Jack Kelly of Real Clear Politics wrote this excellent article on Sarah Palin on June 04, 2008 :

McCain Should Pick Sarah Palin for VP

Who? When?

Republicans including, I imagine, Sen. McCain himself are asking these questions about his selection of a vice presidential candidate.
Ideally, a presidential candidate wants a running mate who will help him or her win the election, and (maybe) to govern afterwards. But most will settle for a veep who isn't a drag on the ticket, as Dan Quayle was for the first President Bush.

Traditionally, a presidential nominee has chosen a running mate to balance the ticket geographically, or to appease a faction of the party. The most successful example of this was when John F. Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson, though neither liked the other, and LBJ joined the ticket only because he thought Kennedy would lose.

Bill Clinton broke with this tradition when he chose another young (purported) moderate from a neighboring southern state. By picking Al Gore, he hoped to reinforce his campaign theme of generational change.

Which way will Sen. McCain go? The potential running mates most often discussed have downsides nearly as great as their upsides. Gov. Tim Pawlenty helps only in Minnesota, and not enough, according to current polls, to make a difference there. Sen. McCain's friend Sen. Joe Lieberman would bring in some moderate Democrats, but could further antagonize conservatives already suspicious of Sen. McCain. Gov. Romney would have little appeal to working class whites unhappy with Sen. Obama, and evangelicals fret about that Mormon thing.

A Huckabee nomination would irritate economic and foreign policy conservatives as much as it would please evangelicals. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is a rising star. But he's only 36, and he's been governor for less than a year.There is one potential running mate who has virtually no down side.

Those conservatives who've heard of her were delighted to learn that McCain advance man Arthur Culvahouse was in Alaska recently, because they surmised he could only be there to discuss the vice presidential nomination with Gov. Sarah Palin.

At 44, Sarah Louise Heath Palin is both the youngest and the first female governor in Alaska's relatively brief history as a state. She's also the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating that has bounced around 90 percent.

This is due partly to her personal qualities. When she was leading her underdog Wasilla high school basketball team to the state championship in 1982, her teammates called her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her fierce competitiveness.

Two years later, when she won the "Miss Wasilla" beauty pageant, she was also voted "Miss Congeniality" by the other contestants. Sarah Barracuda. Miss Congeniality. Fire and nice. A happily married mother of five who is still drop dead gorgeous. And smart to boot.

But it's mostly because she's been a crackerjack governor, a strong fiscal conservative and a ferocious fighter of corruption, especially in her own party. Ms. Palin touches other conservative bases, some of which Sen. McCain has been accused of rounding. Track, her eldest son, enlisted in the Army last Sept. 11. She's a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association who hunts, fishes and runs marathons. A regular churchgoer, she's staunchly pro-life.

Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal said Sen. McCain should run against a corrupt, do-nothing Congress, a la Harry Truman. If he should choose to do so, Gov. Palin would make an excellent partner "The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who have crossed Sarah," pollster Dave Dittman told the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes.

Sen. Barack Obama's support has plunged recently among white women. Many Hillary Clinton supporters accuse him -- I think unfairly -- of being sexist. Having Sarah Palin on the ticket could help Sen. McCain appeal to these disgruntled Democrats.

Running mates usually aren't named until the convention. But if Sen. McCain should name Gov. Palin earlier, it would give America more time to get to know this extraordinary woman. And because she's at least a dozen feature stories waiting to be written, she could help him dominate the news between now and the conventions.

Another reason for selecting Sarah Palin early would be to force Barack Obama to make a mistake. He'd have to rule out choosing someone like Virginia Sen. Jim Webb as his running mate, for fear of exacerbating charges of sexism. And if he chose a woman other than Hillary, the impression Democrats are wimpy would be intensified.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Republican National Convention Preview

The Republican National Convention will be held in Saint Paul, Minnesota at Saint Paul's Xcel Energy Center from September 1, 2008 through September 4, 2008.

John McCain has announced that he will select his Vice Presidential running mate at 11am on Friday August 29.

Here is the scheduled Program for the Republican Convention.

Monday September, 1 2008 - Theme: Service.
Speakers will include:
U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.)
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Calif.)
Vice President Richard B. Cheney
First Lady Laura Bush
President George W. Bush

Tuesday September 2, 2008 - Theme: Reform
Speakers will include:
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.)
Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Pa.)
Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska)
Gov. Jon Huntsman (Utah)
Rosario Marin, California Secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency and former Treasurer of the United States
Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.)
Gov. Linda Lingle (Hawaii)
Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (Md.)

Wednesday September 3, 2008 - Theme - Prosperity
Speakers will Include:
U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.)
Meg Whitman, National Co-Chair for McCain 2008 and former President and CEO of eBay
Carly Fiorina, Victory ‘08 Chairman for the Republican National Committee and former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.)
Mrs. Cindy McCain
Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.)
Republican Party’s Vice Presidential Nominee

Thursday September 4, 2008 - Theme - Peace
Speakers will include:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.)
Gov. Charlie Crist (Fla.)
U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.)
U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.)
John McCain

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillary Clinton Starts Her 2012 Presidential Campaign

When you lose a close election like Hillary Clinton, you have several things that you must do if you want to make a political comeback.

First, you must command a nationwide audience at a major political convention speech. Then, you must appear to be a good loser because nobody in America likes a poor loser. Next, you must appear to rise above the circumstances of your close defeat.

In addition, you must be faithful to your party. You must endorse the party nominee and be positive and reflective. It would be great if you could add an appropriate touch of humor. The attack on the other political party nominee is an absolute must.

For Hillary Clinton, an adoring daughter and the picture of a devoted, proud and dedicated husband were the icing on the cake. Her speech by all accounts last night achieved all of her goals. She leaves the political stage in 2008 but is well positioned for her Presidential campaign of 2012. However, to have a real shot for the White House in 2012 she still needs Barack Obama to lose this November to John McClain.

For More on Hillary Clinton see: The Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign Of 2012 on

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

For Bloomberg Wind Power Is Political Hot Air

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently gave a speech at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas. The Mayor spoke of harnessing wind power with turbines on bridges and skyscrapers across the city of New York. After being mocked in various local newspapers, the Mayor ran from his speech faster than John Edwards retreat from reporters from the National Enquirer.
Here is the Mayor's new position on harnessing wind in NYC : "There are aesthetic considerations," Bloomberg said. "No. 2, I have absolutely no idea whether that makes any sense from a scientific, from a practical point of view."
There are certainly issues from a scientific point of view. Turbulence and the vibrations the buildings would have to endure are a consideration. In addition, the relatively small amount of wind the turbines would be able to harness in the city would limit the projects feasibility. Also, skyscrapers typically are not built to withstand the load of wind turbines.
Scientific sense and practical considerations generally occur before a political speech, idea or proposal, not after. Therefore, the NYC mayors speech is certainly just political hot air.
The truth is that most people don't want to see ugly turbines harnessing wind energy in plain view. In addition, studies of wind turbines indicate there are potential health issues to consider as well.
Recently, Dr. Nina Pierpont of Malone, N.Y., has coined the phrase "wind turbine syndrome" for what she says happens to some people living near wind energy farms. She has made the phrase part of the title of a book she's written called Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on the Natural Experiment. It is scheduled for publication next month by K-Selected Press of Santa Fe, N.M.
In fact, research indicates that low frequency noise and vibrations for people living close to wind turbines can cause sleep disorders, difficulty with equilibrium, headaches, childhood "night terrors" as well as other health problems.
Wind Power sounds like a great idea until you have to look at the ugly turbines up close and consider the negative side effects on human health from their vibration. Key Points for the NYC Mayor to consider before his next major speech on the environment or human health becomes just uninformed political hot air.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beijing 2008 - The Final Medal Tally

The final gold medal tally of the 2008 Olympic Games was 51 to 36 in favor of China over the United States. The United States led in the overall medal count by 110 to 100 over the host city, China. Russia won 72 medals and Great Britian, host of the 2012 Olympic Games won 47.
The United States failed to medal in 16 of 38 disciplines or sub-disciplines, and in several sports was unable to achieve even a single top-eight finish. Weightlifting, track, and diving will need to be the focus for United States improvement in London 2012.
Beijing 2008 Olympic Game Highlights:
The Stars
Michael Phelps - United States - A human fish in the Water Cube in Beijing 2008. Eight Gold Medals
Usain Bolt - Jamaica - Fastest human alive even though she was competing in a Bird's Nest.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh - 108 match winning streak in volleyball is still in tact after Beijing gold. Great photo with President Bush as well.
Olga Kharlan - The Zorro of Sabre won gold for Ukraine.
Yukiko Ueno - Japan - Threw 21 innings in a single day and the last 28 innings overall to win gold for Japan in softball.
Maarten van der Weijden - Netherlands - overcame long odds battling leukemia in 2001 to win Olympic gold in 2008.
Other Notable Medal Winners:
United States’ Jason Lezak - Two swimming Golds and a Bronze
Australia’s Stephanie Rice - Three swimming Golds
China’s Yang Wei - Gymnastics - All Around Gold
United States’ Nastia Liukin - Gymnastics - All Around Gold
China’s Guo Jingjing - Two Diving Golds
British cyclist Chris Hoy, won three gold medals in Beijing, and British sailor Ben Ainslie, has now won gold in three straight Olympic Games.
Future Story To Watch:
He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan and Yang Yilin - China - gymnastic team won gold but these three gymnasts were probably all under the age requirement of 16.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Barack Obama Picks Joe Biden For V.P.

The race for the White House is about to get really nasty. Barrack Obama's campaign of change has selected the ultimate Washington insider to be his running mate in Election 2008. With the selection of Joe Biden, Obama has chosen to forget about his campaign of change and embrace the politics of political attack. The truth is that Biden will be Obama's Republican attack dog for the next few months. The tone of this campaign is going to get very sour, very quickly.

The choice of Biden opens up several lines of Republican attack. Biden criticized Obama's lack of foreign policy experience in the Demcratic primary when he was a candidate and Biden voted to fund the Iraq war while Obama did not.

The other troubling thing about the selection of Biden was how it was done. Obama promised to announce the selection in advance by a text message. That entire process was compromised when the selection was leaked and a hurried text message was then made to his mailing list at 2am on Saturday morning. The execution was not well done and shows a lack of campaign experience.

The Associated Press has the following analysis of the Joe Biden selection for V.P.:

By RON FOURNIER, Associated Press Writer Sat Aug 23, 2:12 AM ET

The candidate of change went with the status quo.

In picking Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate, Barack Obama sought to shore up his weakness — inexperience in office and on foreign policy — rather than underscore his strength as a new-generation candidate defying political conventions.

He picked a 35-year veteran of the Senate — the ultimate insider — rather than a candidate from outside Washington, such as Govs. Tim Kaine of Virginia or Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; or from outside his party, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; or from outside the mostly white male club of vice presidential candidates. Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't even make his short list.

The picks say something profound about Obama: For all his self-confidence, the 47-year-old Illinois senator worried that he couldn't beat Republican John McCain without help from a seasoned politician willing to attack. The Biden pick is the next logistical step in an Obama campaign that has become more negative — a strategic decision that may be necessary but threatens to run counter to his image.

Democratic strategists, fretting over polls that showed McCain erasing Obama's lead this summer, welcomed the move. They, too, worried that Obama needed a more conventional — read: tougher — approach to McCain.

"You've got to hand it to the candidate and the campaign. They have a great sense of timing and tone and appropriateness. Six months ago, people said he wasn't tough enough on Hillary Clinton — he was being too passive — but he got it right at the right time," said Democratic strategist Jim Jordan. "He'll get it right again."

Indeed, Obama has begun to aggressively counter McCain's criticism with negative television ads and sharp retorts from the campaign trail.A senior Obama adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said his boss has expressed impatience with what he calls a "reverence" inside his campaign for his message of change and new politics. In other words, Obama is willing — even eager — to risk what got him this far if it gets him to the White House.

Biden brings a lot to the table. An expert on national security, the Delaware senator voted in 2002 to authorize military intervention in Iraq but has since become a vocal critic of the conflict. He won praise for a plan for peace in Iraq that would divide the country along ethnic lines.

Chief sponsor of a sweeping anti-crime bill that passed in 1994, Biden could help inoculate Obama from GOP criticism that he's soft on crime — a charge his campaign fears will drive a wedge between white voters and the first black candidate with a serious shot at the White House.

So the question is whether Biden's depth counters Obama's inexperience — or highlights it?
After all, Biden is anything but a change agent, having been in office longer than half of all Americans have been alive. Longer than McCain. And he talks too much.

On the same day he announced his second bid for the presidency, Biden found himself explaining why he had described Obama as "clean."And there's the 2007 ABC interview in which Biden said he would stand by an earlier statement that Obama was not ready to serve as president.

It seems Obama is worried that some voters are starting to agree.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Election 2008 Presidential Debate Preview

Here is the schedule of Presidential debates in Election 2008. The Commission on Presidential Debates will sponser the events. Since the race by all measures is very close, these debates may well decide the outcome.

The first debate is scheduled for Sept. 26 at the University of Mississippi. The debate will focus on foreign policy and national security, and John McCain and Barack Obama will answer questions from moderator Jim Lehrer while standing at podiums.

On Oct. 7, the two Presidential candidates will meet again for a town-hall style debate at Belmont University. Moderator Tom Brokaw will call on audience members and pose questions submitted through the Internet.

The third presidential debate, on domestic and economic policy, is slated for Oct. 15 at Hofstra University. Both McCain and Obama will sit at a table with moderator Schieffer.

Vice Presidential contenders are to meet Oct. 2 at Washinton University in St. Louis.

Election 2008 Democratic Convention Preview

Here is the daily schedule for the Democratic Convention to be held from August 25, 2008 through August 28, 2008. The Convention forum is the Pepsi Center while Barack Obama's acceptance speech will be given at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado.

Sunday August 25

A Democratic National Convention Interfaith Gathering will be held at "2:00 pm MT, at the Wells Fargo Theater, inside the Colorado Convention Center." It will be the first time the DNCC has hosted such an event and will be "the first official event for the 2008 Convention.

Monday August 26

The theme for the day is "One Nation". The prime time speaker is Michelle Obama. Other speakers will include, Nancy Pelosi, Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson Jr. , Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Claire Mccaskill and various Democratic Mayors. A tribute to Ted Kennedy is also planned.

Tuesday August 26

The theme for the day is "Renewing America's Promise". Headline Prime Time speaker will be Hillary Clinton. Former Virginina Governor, Mark Warner will give the Keynote Address. Other speakers include Senators, Patrick Leahy and Bob Casey and numerous Democratic Governors.

Wednesday August 27

The theme for the day is "Securing America's Future" . The evening will feature the Vice Presidential candidates speech. Other speakers will include Bill Clinton, Bill Richardson, John Kerry, and other Democratic Senators. There will also be a roll call on this day and Hillary Clinton's name will be placed in nomination. There is also a tribute to War Veterans on the schedule.

Thursday August 28
The theme for the day is "Change You Can Believe In". Barack Obama will accept the nomination in a speech at Mile High Stadium. He will be joined by former Vice President Al Gore.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Sad Record Of The 110th Congress

Democrats took control of Congress in 2006 with the promise to put Congress back to work. They took over from a corrupt, lazy, Republican Congress and promised America that they would put an "end to the two day work week".

Of course, those promises were never realized. In fact, The Democrats planned on a light schedule when the 110th Congress began its second year last January. House majority leader, Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, told fellow Democrats at the time that the House would not be in session in 2008 on Fridays, (except in June for work on appropriations bills). Mr. Hoyer said, “I do intend to have more time for members to work in their districts and to be close to their families.”

Well, the 110th Congress has achieved at least one record. A record low public opinion rating. Here is the quote from Rasmussen after their poll of Congressional approval in July 2008: "The percentage of voters who give Congress good or excellent ratings has fallen to single digits for the first time. This month, just 9% say Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Most voters (52%) say Congress is doing a poor job, which ties the record high in that dubious category."

In a recent article (Posted Below), The Wall Street Journal has an excellent summary of the performance of the 110th Congress in 2008. The article lends credibility to the humorous quote about Congress by Mark Twain: "Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can."

As U.S. Economic Problems Loom,
House, Senate Sweat the Small Stuff


The 110th Congress, whose term officially ends in January, hasn't passed any spending bills or attacked high gasoline prices. But it has used its powers to celebrate watermelons and to decree the origins of the word "baseball."

Barring a burst of legislative activity after Labor Day, this group of 535 men and women will have accomplished a rare feat. In two decades of record keeping, no sitting Congress has passed fewer public laws at this point in the session -- 294 so far -- than this one. That's not to say they've been idle. On the flip side, no Congress in the same 20 years has been so prolific when it comes to proposing resolutions -- more than 1,900, according to a tally by the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense.

With the mostly symbolic measures, Congress has saluted such milestones as the Idaho Potato Commission's 70th anniversary and recognized soil as an "essential natural resource." As legislation on gasoline prices, tax fixes and predatory lending languish, Congress has designated May 5-9 as National Substitute Teacher Recognition Week, and set July 28 as the Day of the American Cowboy.

The resolutions, which generally don't carry the force of law, can originate in either the House or Senate. However, some types of resolutions establish the federal budget, authorize the president to go to war, or condemn actions such as the genocide in Darfur. Even among the 294 laws passed thus far, many were symbolic in nature. Many of the post offices named by this Congress honor servicemen and -women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the 435-member House, fully one-quarter of the workweek is typically devoted to debating and passing symbolic measures.

Watermelon Month

Democratic Rep. Charlie Wilson of Ohio, a fourth-generation undertaker, sponsored a National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day. Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, whose home state of Georgia has 24,000 acres planted in watermelon, pushed a resolution establishing July as National Watermelon Month.

"As Mark Twain once said, 'When one has tasted watermelon he knows what the angels eat.' I encourage my colleagues to join me in acknowledging the wisdom of Mark Twain by supporting this resolution," Sen. Chambliss said on the Senate floor. The only problem: July is about 14 days late for a Watermelon Month. The crops come in in mid June.

Democrats say the 294 public laws represent a solid record of achievement. Since the party took control of Congress in 2007, they've led passage of the largest expansion in college aid in 60 years, increased the minimum wage for the first time in a decade, and extended unemployment benefits. They passed the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Congress has passed a $168 billion economic-stimulus package, a housing-rescue package providing as much as $300 billion to refinance mortgages for people in danger of losing their homes, and the most sweeping product-safety legislation in a generation.

"We also recognize that we have more to do, and we will do so, both in the remaining weeks of this year's Congress and next year when we will have expanded Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate, working with President Barack Obama," says Brendan Daly, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California.

Congress, which won't return to session until September, has yet to pass any 2009 appropriations bills, even though funding the federal budget is its official function. Before leaving town for summer break in August, lawmakers failed to establish August as Heat Stroke Awareness Month, blowing the deadline to make it official.

When Democrats won control of Congress in 2006, Republicans were eager to tar them as "do nothing," an echo of Democrat Harry Truman's successful 1948 presidential campaign during which he railed against the "Do Nothing Congress" led by Republicans.

"The Democrats in charge of this Congress have been heavy on fluff and light on substance," says Republican leader Rep. John Boehner of Ohio. "Resolutions are fine but why aren't we also passing legislation to lower gas prices? What about health-care reform and runaway entitlement spending?"

In fact, the second-fewest number of public laws passed over the 20-year review was during the 104th Congress -- when Republicans were newly in control, with a Democratic president. Resolutions, however, are usually popular on both sides of the aisle.

Perpetual Motion

Critics still complain that Congress uses resolutions to pad its legislative record.
"Resolutions are a perpetual motion machine," says Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. "Not only do you create Heat Stroke Awareness Month, every year after that you recognize the importance of Heat Stroke Awareness Month. You never move on to substantive legislation."

Occasionally, resolutions stir debate that veers close to substance. In late June, House members gathered on the floor to debate a resolution establishing Pittsfield, Mass., once and for all, as home to the earliest known reference to the word "baseball."

Democratic Rep. John Olver of Massachusetts, the bill's author, rose to stake Pittsfield's claim, based on the recent discovery of a 1791 Pittsfield law banning "Wicket, Cricket, Baseball, Football, Cat, Fives or any other game or games with balls" near the town's new meetinghouse.

"Even back in 1791, youths were already breaking windows playing America's favorite national pastime," Rep. Olver said. "With that, the first mention of baseball was penned into history."

Rep. Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina whose resolution recognizing America's Christmas-tree industry remains mired in committee, said that "the origins of baseball [have] been the subject of debate and controversy." Yet she agreed that the "Broken Window Bylaw" gave Pittsfield the honor.

Illustration from AMERICAN EXAMINER, 1910
(from the Dave Thomson collection)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The 2008 Olympic Games Can't Fill The Stadium

In truth, it seemed like only yesterday that confident predictions of full houses at every Olympic event were being advanced by organizers of these Olympic Games.

However, the predictions have not proven to be accurate with a noticable lack of spectators attending most competitive venues.
In fact,many events in Beijing 2008 have been held in front of empty seats. This has lead Olympic organizers to admit that they are using "volunteers" to fill some of those empty seats at different Olympic venues.

After computer animated fireworks and lip syncing little girls in the Opening Ceremony in Beijing 2008, the world should not really be to surprised by China's use of fake fans at many of the Olympic Games venues.

These fake fans are easily recognizable and have been attending in large numbers. These yellow-shirted "cheerleaders" are recruited to create an atmosphere and to prevent the embarrassing spectacle of empty seats from appearing on television.

Meanwhile, the world has been told that all 6.8m tickets for the Games have been sold. So, what is going on here? The vast majority of tickets have been sold to Chinese nationals but despite the assurances of the organizers, Olympic enthusiasm has not been sufficient motivation for them to take up their seats.

Also,consider that global sponsors, who are each paying tens of millions of dollars to be associated with these games are reportedly complaining that few visitors have been let through to see their pavilions.

It is a spectator no show of Olympic proportions. Tight security, difficult access to the Olympic location and ticket scaping by Chinese officials that were given free tickets are contributing factors. In addition,humid,rainy weather and an apparent lack of interest in the preliminary events are also being blamed.

The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China can't fill the stadium, even with the help of all those fake cheering fans.

(Photograph of empty seats at the women's beach volleyball tournament by: Georgios Kefalos/EPA)

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Race For The Bounty Of The North Pole

At the end of last summer, the ice at the North Pole was found to have melted at a record level. The Northwest Passage, the long-sought shipping route through the Arctic, even opened up briefly for the first time in history.

Indeed, last summer, like the summer of 2005, broke all records for loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and the Greenland ice sheet. In September 2007, the Arctic Ocean had 23 percent less sea ice than the previous record low and Greenland's ice sheet melted 19 billion tons more than its previous record. Scientists worldwide are still trying to figure out why the Arctic is warming and ice is melting faster than computer models predict.

In 2008, satellite data from recent weeks has shown the rate of ice melt over the North Pole to be even faster than last year. Scientists now believe the chances of a totally ice-free North Pole in the summer of 2008 are greater than 50:50 because the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole has been blown away and replaced by huge swathes of thinner ice formed during a single Arctic year.

The result of the melting ice over the North Pole raises the prospect of being able to extract valuable oil and mineral deposits which have until now been impossible to extract because of the thick sea ice above.

So, various countries are now engaged in a worldwide race to claim the North Pole as their own. Russia, China, Norway, Canada, and the United States are all on an international collision course to stake their claim to the new bounty of an ice free North Pole.

Consider that the US Coast Guard is already planning its first operating base in the area. Also, the Reuters news agency reported last week that "A U.S. Coast Guard cutter called "Healy" has embarked on a three week Arctic voyage to determine the extent of the continental shelf north of Alaska and map the ocean floor, data that could be used for oil and natural gas exploration.

The ultimate goal of the United States mission will be to create a three-dimensional map of the Arctic Ocean floor in a relatively unexplored area known as the Chukchi borderland. The Healy will launch again on September 6, when it will be joined by Canadian scientists aboard an icebreaker, who will help collect data to determine the thickness of sediment in the region. That is one factor a country can use to define its extended continental shelf."

It is an International race to claim the bounty under the melting ice cap of the North Pole. It is destined to become contentious and the controversy has only just begun.

For more on The Race for the Bounty of the North Pole, Read: Russia Claims The North Pole on

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Security Ring Of Steel in New York City

The plan known as Operation Sentinel is a Civil Libertarian nightmare. The complaints have already begun. Consider this quote from Christopher Dunn of the New York City Civil Liberties Union, "I don't think it's hyperbole to call this Big Brotherish. The New York City Police Department is creating a huge computer database of the movement of everyone in a vehicle in Manhattan."

Indeed, the NYPD intend to monitor and track everything entering Lower Manhattan. In fact, they are calling it a surveillence "ring of steel". There will be 3000 operational cameras that will monitor the area throughout each day. Meanwhile, 600 police officers will be assigned to patrol the zone. When a car enters lower Manhattan, its license plate will be captured and stored in a police database for at least a month. Every movement will be monitored.

As part of the plan the NYPD is creating a huge buffer zone, working with police in a 50-mile radius of the city. Officials in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Long Island are being given radiation detectors to stop terrorists as far away from New York City as possible.

"New York City is something special," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday. "It's not just a very big city in this world. It is, in many senses, the iconic city. It represents Western Democracy. "

All true, Mayor Bloomberg, but do we really need to make an Orwellian security fortress out of the city that represents Western Democracy? This level of security sounds too much like a terrorist victory to me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beijing 2008: An Opening Olympic Ceremony That Was Unreal

The opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing, China was acclaimed worldwide. In fact, nearly 14% of the world's population (3 billion people) watched an Olympic Ceremony from China that was in the words of international critics breathtaking, flawless, and delvered with perfect execution.

The world saw a flawless little Chinese girl that had the voice of an angel. Also, there was that incredible fireworks display that proceeded through the night sky from Tiananmen Square to the Bird's Nest stadium. Indeed the performances in the Opening Ceremonies were unreal.

Now, we have found out how unreal it really was. Consider that the 9 year old little Chinese girl in the red dress we saw by the name of Lin Miaoke singing "Hymn to the Motherland", lip-synched the entire song. The song was actually vocalized by another little girl by the name of Yang Peiyi but she did not appear because she did not present the proper image for China. Her problem was a lack of a "flawless" appearence due in part to her buck teeth. A member of the Chinese Politburo made the final decision to feature the "flawless" little singer that lip-synced the song instead of the real one.

How about that wonderful fireworks display? It was also unreal. Chinese officials have now admitted that the pictures of those giant firework footprints which marched across Beijing towards the stadium on Friday night were prerecorded, digitally enhanced and inserted into footage beamed for the entire world to see. So, the entire world was really just watching Chinese computer animation of a fireworks display.

The dubious slogan of environmentally friendly games which are being held in the word's most polluted air. Propaganda about basic human rights from a country that holds one of the the world's most dismal human rights records. A "Flawless" little Chinese girl in a red dress that appears to sing but lip-sync's instead . A breathtaking fireworks display that is really just deceptive computer animation. Welcome to the 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing, China. It should be amazing. It will also be unreal.

Monday, August 11, 2008

China And Russia Use The Media As Olympic Sport

It is often said by media professionals that if you want to announce something damaging or have a particularly negative thing to hide or disclose, the best time to do it in the perpetual media news cycle is late on a Friday afternoon. Of course, its even better if late Friday afternoon comes just before a huge international news and sporting event like the Olympic Games.

The idea is for the bad news and publicity to become diluted and eventually forgotten over the weekend or in the constant media news stream to come. This is exactly what Russia hoped for last Friday afternoon. With the world's attention focused on the 2008 Olympic games, Russia invaded Georgia and as a result nearly 2000 people are feared dead, today.

Of course, the invasion itself was several years in the making and the formula for conflict was already in play. An independent Georgia was seeking inclusion into NATO, had supported the U.S. military in Iraq and had recently launched an invasion of its own into South Ossetia. The truth is that Georgia had become a painful thorn in the side of the Kremlin. Therefore, the timing was perfect for Russia to make an agressive military move against Georgia under the international news cover of the 2008 Olympic Games.

So, last friday evening as the world watched the opening ceremonies of China's international propaganda game, Russian tanks were on the move against the country George Bush once called "The Beacon of Liberty".

Indeed, while thinking of the President, liberty and basic human rights, exactly what was George W. Bush, doing attending that opening Olympic ceremony in Beijing, anyway? He would spend much of the evening like the rest of the international community watching China's showmanship and empty propaganda about the importance of human rights. In addition, he could also be seen smiling with Vladamir Putin as Russia's military invasion of Georgia was well underway.

The truth is that if you include the names of countries like Tibet, Myanmar, Darfur, Zimbabawe, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Georgia to this administration's eight year resume, it all adds up to an American foreign policy that is in complete and total disarray. Bush would have been much better off staying home as a protest to China's cyncial use of basic human rights in these 2008 Olympic games.

In retrospect, it was a weekend that highlighted China and Russia's intent to exploit the news media. Indeed, China presented their best artificial image to the international community while Russia would use international Olympic news coverage in an attempt to cover an ongoing military conquest.

As China and Russia used the international media as an Olympic sport, their opening weekend extravaganza was there for everyone in the world to see, in color, on split screen T.V.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

John Edwards Joins The Club Of Self Destruction

John Edwards admitted yesterday what he previously had always denied. He admitted an affair in 2006 with an novice female film maker employed with his campaign. The National Enquirer can fill you in on all the specific details.

However, all you really have to know is that the allegations include a script right out of the plot line of the movie Mamma Mia because Edwards joined the brotherhood of traveling pants.

Edwards tells us that his affair occurred while his wife was in remission from cancer in 2006 and that he did not really love his mistress. He denies fostering a love child but has not yet taken a paternity test. Are we really suppose to believe this or to care?

The reality of all of this is that John Edwards political career is over and the incredible hypocrisy of his 2008 election campaign is now in full view for everyone to see.

Edwards ran his campaign as a caring husband and family man. The multi-millionaire with the $100 haircuts also campaigned as the champion of the poor.
The truth is that Edwards is now just another dubious politician that has joined the club of self destruction.

However, there may yet be fallout from all of this in the Democratic convention. There are minefields for Barack Obama to navigate. He has to decide if Edwards has a place at the convention. Also, Edwards delegates are not bound to vote for him on the first ballot. Will they swing to Hillary Clinton?

For the mainstream media, questions of its objectivity abound. Is the National Enquirer now the national standard of investigative excellence? Was this Edwards sordid affair story intentionally suppressed because he was a Democrat?

The public already believes that the media is favoring Barack Obama in this 2008 Election campaign. The handling of Edwards story will do nothing to change that opinion.
For more on political self destruction read: Eliot Spitzer Joins The Club Of Self-Destruction
For more on John Edwards read: John Edwards Campaign Of Contradictions on

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Loss Of Three Media Pro's: Novak, Russert, and Snow

The national media has lost three familiar faces in the last few months. All were established political media pro's. Here is a brief overview of the distinguished career of each man.

Tony Snow: White House Press Secretary and Speech Writer under the last two Republican Presidents. Newspaper columnist, and frequent contributor to Fox news channel, Snow had his own nationally syndicated talk radio program. He could also often be seen on National Public Radio providing news commentary. In July 2008, Snow passed away after an extended bout with cancer.

Tim Russert: The NBC news Senior Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief had his own weekend program. Russert covered many Presidential elections and was known for his penetrating questions to candidates of both political parties. He was an author and the host of the popular television program, Meet The Press. Time Magazine incuded Tim Russert in its 100 most influential people in the world in 2008. Russert died of a sudden heart attack in June 2008.

Robert Novak: Novak announced his sudden retirement in August 2008 after a dire prognosis concerning a recently discovered brain tumor. He was responsible for writing the longest running syndicated column in America today. Novak's column has appeared in the national media for more than forty five consecutive years. In addition to being a columnist, Novak was a jounalist and a well known television personality. Once a Democrat, Novak was known for reporting from a Republican perspective in recent years.

America has lost three distinquished political media professionals this summer. Their insightful political commentary will be missed in this election year and well beyond.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Paris Hilton And Media Objectivity In Election 2008

John McCain releases campaign ads that depict Barack Obama as a celebrity like Paris Hilton after Obama's international tour before an adoring national media. Then, Paris Hilton releases a video spoof (I hope its a spoof) to announce she has entered the presidential race. Meanwhile the National Enquirer continues to run stories about John Edwards and his alleged sordid affair complete with pictures of his love child.
These Edwards stories have not yet been covered by the mainstream media even though Edwards was a major candidate in the Democratic Primaries and was on the short list for Vice President.
However, with Election Day still three months away, 48 percent of the American public said they're hearing too much about Democratic candidate, Barack Obama according to a poll released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. Just 26 percent said the same about his Republican rival, John McCain.
So far this election campaign is certainly issue light and tabloid personality heavy. The coverage and objectivity of the national media is in question and if they could ever see the sight of Paris Hilton connected to a Presidential election, our founding fathers would be in a profound state of shock.
For More see:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bush, Congress and The 2009 Federal Budget Deficit

The Federal budget deficit for 2009 is now projected at a record 482 billion dollars. That will eclipse the old record of 413 billion set at the end of George Bush's first term in 2004.
The next President will certainly have a sobering first few days in office when he realizes that there is no money left to spend to cover all the promises that he made to get into the Oval Office to begin with.

In fact, he has to find at least 482 billion dollars just to make ends meet. Of course, the next President can just add to the ten trillion dollars of cumlative national debt that the country already has a tab for.

In truth, the record budget deficit of 482 billion for 2009 is actually going to be to low. It assumes higher economic growth than is forecast and doesn't account for the total cost of the country's ongoing military obligations in Iran and Afghanistan. Sooner or later the Congress of the United States has got to stop spending money that it doesn't have and the President needs to veto legislation that is fiscally irresponsible.

A stewardship of foreign Wars with dubious management and irresponsible fiscal spending has dramatically lowered the public's opinion of the performance in office of President Bush. Huge annual deficit spending is also contributing to the damage to the Republican brand in this election year.

During the last decade, pork barrel domestic spending to insure re-election has become an addiction for the career professional politician in both major political parties. The stealth cover of Congressional earmarks have been the used to hide their domestic spending trail.

Therefore, a President who wants real change in Washington D.C. in 2009 will have to reign in, "out of control" federal spending first. The longer the delay, the more we all will have to eventually pay. (For more on Congress and spending see: The Surreal World Of The United States Congress on

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Energy Bill: Democrats Vacation, Republicans In The Dark

The approval of the United States Congress from the American public is so low (around 10%), that it may be difficult for it to go any lower. Of course with House speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi calling for a summer vacation without a vote on the energy bill
and Republicans holding meetings in a dark House chamber in protest, a further decline in Congressional popularity could yet still be achieved. Republicans may even shut down the U.S. government in September to force a vote on offshore drilling. This dubious action would then delay senior citizens from receiving their monthly social security checks in the fall.

Yes, a Congressional approval rate of well below 10% could still happen. Of course, the sad reality is that this prediciment of today is exactly the problem. Democrats on vacation and Republicans in the dark is exactly the way American politics have looked on the issue of a national energy plan for several decades. Democrats don't want to look for new energy anywhere. They don't want to drill, don't want to go nuclear, don't want coal. They want a world of wind and solar power and hybrid cars. Its a world that someday may exist but doesn't today. Therefore, the Democrats live in the world of tomorrow while everyone is living through the energy pain of today. When the reality of the energy problems of today becomes too great, the Democrats blame big oil, oil speculators or Saudi Arabia. Then they proceed to go on vacation, which makes their lobby, the big business of environmentalism happy.

In contrast, the Republicans are just totally in the dark. They are energy clueless. They would like to drill everywhere. Backed by the money of big oil, they have never put forward an agenda to make America energy independent or promote real energy efficiency. Its a sad record for a party that has been in power for eight of the last ten years.

So, McCain wants to drill for more oil when he did not want to drill before. Obama did not want to drill but he may in a limited fashion now. Mccain wants more nuclear power plants while Obama only wants to release the petroleum reserve. Both are careful not to anger their Party's powerful special interests.

So, its Republican big oil against Democrat environmentalism, paid for at the pump by the average American. There is still no coherent national energy policy and despite the recent news headlines nothing much has really changed today.

The Democrats have gone on vacation and the Republicans are looking for energy answers in the dark, as public approval of their performance continues to go lower. Its the same old story just on a different day.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

China's 2008 Olympic Games

The 2008 Olympic Games begin with the opening ceremony in Beijing, China this Friday August 8, 2008. However, China's real Olympic games began several years ago with its promises to the world to improve its dismal record on human rights, and to grant free and unrestrained access to the international press covering the games. China also pledged to clean up Beijing's air quality for these 2008 Olympic Games.

These promises were made by China in order to win the honor of having Beijing host the 2008 summer Olympics Games. Unfortunately, all these promises were nothing more than a cynical game. For weeks, international headlines have told the same sad stories concerning Beijing 2008: Internet censorship, a crackdown on internal dissent, restricted freedom for international reporters, no human rights improvement in Tibet and Myanmar. Also, Beijing's air quality is still the worst in the world. Olympians in the outside events will be physically challenged in the world's worst air.

The broken promises by China speak louder than empty words and slogans as we approach these so called environmentally friendly 2008 Olympic Games. Its clear that for China, the issues of basic human rights and the environment are just tools to be used in its Olympic propaganda games.

In retrospect, it is very difficult to understand how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could be so easily manipulated into awarding Beijing the venue of the 2008 Olympic Games in the first place.

So, later this week, when the world hears "Let these 2008 Olympic Games begin", everyone should realize that China has already been playing its own Olympic Games on the issues of human rights, and the environment with the International community and the I.O.C. now for each of these past seven years.
For more on the 2008 Olympic Games, Read: Beijing 2008 Was A Bad Bet By The I.O.C. on

Friday, August 1, 2008

Illegal Immigration Report Shows Why Laws Should Be Enforced

The latest report just released on illegal immigration from the Center of Immigration Studies shows a dramatic drop in New York and other States. The report called Homeward Bound indicates that illegal immigration plunged nationwide by eleven percent in the last year.
Of course about a year ago, after the immigration reform law co-sponsored by John McCain and backed by the White House was abandoned due to overwheming public pressure, the federal government actually began enforcing the illegal immigration laws already on the books.
The fact that immigration laws were not enforced for many years can be seen just by looking at the enforcement results of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. This law provided for penalties against companies that hire undocumented workers. In 1999, under the Clinton Administration, the U.S. government collected a meager $3.69 million from 890 companies in fines. By 2004, under George Bush, the amount collected in fines from companies hiring undocumented workers was zero.
In addition, the border with Mexico has never been properly secured, with only 9500 border agents trying to police an eight thousand mile border until 2005. As a result, it is estimated that in the year 2004 alone, three million illegal immigrants entered the United States.
So, a lack of border security and a lack of illegal immigration law enforcement has resulted in the fact that eleven million illegal immigrants still remain in the United States even after the 11% drop of the last year (according to the Center of Immigration Studies Report).
George Bush's low approval rating (now below 30%) began its steep descent in the spring of 2006 when illegal immigrants were marching in the streets demanding their rights. Its hard to understand in an age of terrorism, how the American public can feel secure with more than eleven million people running around the country that are not here legally.
If people want to change the current immigration laws, there is a way to do that since we have representative government. In the meantime, the country's existing laws should be properly enforced. The data from the recent Center of Immigration Studies Report shows why.