Friday, July 06, 2007

 

Open Thread

Thread on, you crazy diamonds.

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Ryan's Hope

Congratulations to my friend, erstwhile colleague and inveterate campaign finance reform nemesis Ryan Sager as he weds Emily Gitter this coming Sunday evening in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

I'm not sure about Emily, but I'm pretty sure that Ryan is registered at RudyYesMcCainGodNoPleaseGodNo.org (heh heh).

Given that, this little item
should amuse him to no end.

UPDATE: Yep, Ryan is amused to no end. At the risk of turning this post into something semi-serious, perhaps he should give more love to the Paul-heads. I mean, what does it say that the so-called "fringe" GOP candidate has more cash-on-hand than three former governors (Huckabee, Gilmore and T. Thompson), two currently-serving U.S. senators (Brownback and McCain) and his two other House members running for POTUS (Hunter and Tancredo).

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

 

Everything Changes

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer ran last year on the slogan, "Day One: Everything Changes."

Little did the average New Yorker realize how much the new gov would live up to that "promise."

Today's Post reports that Spitzer has apparently had state troopers following his main legislative foe, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno -- seemingly with the intent to use whatever information he gleaned for political mudslinging, such as last week's charge that Bruno used a state helicopter for political activity.

Now, to be clear here: Bruno is no angel. He's under FBI investigation for possible corruption involving his consultation practice.

However, this action by Spitzer -- the former attorney general -- brings up echoes of Richard Nixon using the FBI and the IRS for political retribution against his "enemies list."


Stunning.

The Post's editorial on the topic is here. The Daily News' coverage of Bruno's press conference earlier today where he called for a broad investigation of the governor's actions.

New York State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long takes issue with a Spitzer spokesman's claim that a comment by Long was the impetus for Spitzer siccing the state troopers on Bruno.

Amazing as it may seem, Eliot Spitzer may have irreparably wrecked his governorship barely six months into the job.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

 

Happy Birthday, USA


Hey, baby, it's the 4th of July!

I've never really improved on what I wrote for NRO a few years back on the special memories that this holiday inspires in me, so here it is once again.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

 

A Happy & Safe Fourth

...to all my RAGGED readers and energetic commenters ( it's fireworks everyday around here, folks)!

May you have a great day celebrating America's birthday with your loved ones.

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GOP Cash Overview

Rudy by a nose over Romney -- though they weren't that far in front of McCain's truly disastrous showing (McCain was worse off because of his awful first quarter and his cash-on-hand situation).

As Jonathan Martin points out, Hillary and Barack raised $12 million more in primary money than McCain, Giuliani and Romney did combined.

Ouch.

It's hard out here being in the "party of the rich."

The upside? A lot of people are holding their fire (and their wallets) for Fred Thompson's official jump into the race. That should help the overall picture for the GOP.

How much?

We'll see.

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Jasper Redd

I just randomly caught this guy on Conan O'Brian Monday night. I was quite amused an since it's been a while since we had a video embed here on the site (Where have you gone, Madscribe-0? Jesus loves you more than you will know), here we go.

UPDATE: The Conan clip was evidently yanked from YouTube. Thus, here is a clip of Redd performing on Comedy Central's Premium Blend, with a few of the same jokes:

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Why Commutation...

...instead of a pardon.

Makes sense to me.

Ah, July 8, 2003. Such memories.

By the way, for those truly obsessing over the Libby matter, Andrew Sullivan has gone 24/7 on the issue.

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Straight Talk Express Crash

With barely restrained glee, my pal Ryan Sager analyzes the presidential campaign equivalent of this year's Yankees -- John McCain.

Ryan has long disliked McCain -- primarily because of campaign finance reform (I tended to like McCain, despite CFR).

Still, despite McCain's occasionally acerbic personality and his feuds with social conservatives, this total collapse is still something of a shock (though we did
predict here that the immigration bill would likely be the final straw, and that seems to be the case).

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Summer Distractiions

So, if you happen to be a TV addict, which I freely admit to being (admitting you have a problem is the first step) -- especially now that I have a DVR -- here's a list of some good summer options. I'm a watcher/fan of four of them: "Entourage", "Rescue Me" (a favorite from the beginning), "The Closer" (just got into it at the end of last summer) and "Flight of the Conchords" (a new HBO show).

A few other favorites:

Kyle XY (Mondays, 8 p.m., ABC Family) -- "Smallville" meets "The O.C." with this strange-teenager-with-odd-powers moves into middle-class home.

Burn Notice (Thursdays, 10 p.m., USA Network) -- former CIA operative gets canned and while figuring out why, he doubles as private detective.

Eureka (Tuesdays, 9 p.m., Sci-Fi Network, starts July 10)- a strange town populated by most of America's super-geniuses.

Yeah, I realize I am flying my geek flag in a major way. But that should hardly come as a surprise to long-time readers!

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Monday, July 02, 2007

 

Libby Walks

Bush commutes sentence.

Legally, not a pardon, but essentially the same result.

So, DUI/driving with a suspended license gets you more time behind bars than being convicted of perjury by a jury of your peers.

The text of the president's commutation statement can be found here.

UPDATE: Patrick Fitzgerald's statement on the commutation.

UPDATE II: Andrew Sullivan's link to Orin Kerr makes some interesting observations on the "partisan" nature of this case.

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Fred's Awkward Launch

Actually "launch" isn't completely accurate, since he hasn't officially put his hat into the ring, but considering that he is increasingly included in testing polls, Fred Thompson needs to start rounding into game form.

His appearance late last week in New Hampshire didn't exactly elicit rave reviews. That could have been passed up as a simple bad day -- if he hadn't committed an embarrassing faux pas in South Carolina the day before:
Noting that the United States had apprehended 1,000 people from Cuba in 2005,
Thompson said, "I don't imagine they're coming here to bring greetings from Castro. We're living in the era of the suitcase bomb." Fidel Castro is Cuba's leader.

Technically, Thompson might have a point -- Castro could send members of his military or intelligence force and smuggle them into the Miami Cuban community. But, of course, most of those departing Cuba are fleeing from Castro -- not for Castro.

Oh, last week, I had a conversation with a Democratic insider who noted that Sen. Clinton had Thompson's remarks up on her campaign web-site and distributed before the Democratic National Committee did.

Sen. Thompson, time to get your act together.

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Taps For Pinstripes

This has been pretty painfully obvious for some time now, but I might as well say it publically, so that I can allow the other stages of grief, i.e. acceptance, set in.

After a twelve-year streak of making the playoffs that included winning the division in ten of those years, making the World Series six times and winning it all four times, the New York Yankees are toast in 2007.

Oh well, at least Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez made the All-Star Game. Shockingly, no one from the pitching staff -- including Mariano Rivera -- did.

Maybe my colleague Joel Sherman has the right idea.

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Two-Person Race

Despite the rich deep field, the Democratic presidential race is two people: Hillary Rodham Clinton, a year ago, was expected. Freshmen senator Barack Obama -- despite his amazing 2004 convention speech -- couldn't have been. Yet, here he is, blowing away the field in the second fundraising quarter.

Just like in the first quarter, the two interesting keys here are: 1) Number of donors -- he's up to 250,000 (as reported last week) and, 2) Nearly all of his $32.5 million is primary money. Hillary hasn't revealed how much of her quarter fundraising is primary cash. My guess is that means close to one-third is only for the general election.

On Meet The Press Sunday, NBC's Chuck Todd observed:

And, you know, we’re going to get through this primary general, all this stuff. Maybe it’s only 22 million in primary money. It’s possible he, he might outraise her somewhere $10 million in primary money. What’s fascinating is in this first half of the year, clearly, you talk to the Clinton folks, you talk to sort of unbiased observers, say—will say, “Mrs. Clinton won the first half politically of this election season.” But financially Obama’s won it. He has caught up to her. He has made up the $10 million transfer that she had from her Senate account. It is—it is stunning.
MR. RUSSERT: And 250,000 donors.
MR. TODD: Two hundred and fifty thousand donors, which means, you know, which means that, you know, he can continue to sort of apparently be a little lackluster. I mean, I’m always struck at these debates how cautious he is. He’s afraid to, he’s afraid to go for a knockout. He’s afraid—he’s, he’s trying not to, he’s trying not to lose. He’s not trying to win yet.
That raises an interesting point. So many focus on how "cautious" and "scripted" Hillary is. But she's the one doing what is necessary to make major gains. And strangely, it's the debates -- i.e., where actual substance (even if it is reduced to soundbites) is on display -- that have caused Hillary to increase her polling lead over Obama (a point that Tavis Smiley conceded on MTP). So, again, the race is two people: While it is still Hillary's to lose, Obama's fundraising prowess means that he's got a larger margin of error than any other presidential sweepstakes rookie should expect -- assuming, of course, he isn't so foolish as to repeat Howard Dean's mistakes and burn through his cash before the votes are cast. (Actually, despite her own fundraising ability, Sen. Clinton had better watch her spending. She has a much larger operation -- costing a lot more -- than Obama's does.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan dives further into Obama's amazing numbers (154,000 new donors)! It's funny, usually, the greater (and, by that, I don't mean "bigger") organization raises the most money, but that's not what's going on in this Democratic race. Hillary has both a bigger and, I would argue, a more efficient organization. But Obama's campaign has something else -- Barack Obama. And he may have an "it" factor that's never been seen before.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

 

Open Thread

So what's on your mind?

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