Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Hiatus/Linkfest

I have my son for winter break so I'll be on hiatus till the Iowa primaries. Until then, as my belated Christmas present to you, I present the holiday linkfest. Just leave your blogs title and address in the comments of this post and I'll put a link here (as long as it doesn't promote anything illegal, immoral, or light beer). Feel free to link back.

A Gentle Reminder

If you itemized your deductions last year and owed the IRS money and plan on owing next year this week would be a good time to donate to your favorite charity. After all NGOs are normally much more efficient than the federal government.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

Nativity set plus a four year old equals:

(Click picture to enlarge)
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king behold there came three wise men, a golem called Optimus Prime, and a pirate captain named Jack....

The Gospel According to Mattel 2:1

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Torture and the '08 Elections

I've talked a fair bit about torture here and it's greatly influenced my decision making as to who I'm going to vote for. Over at TMV David Schraub concludes that the entire election is about torture. And he's right in that we do need to have a national debate about torture in order to decide what America is. However I think that the point his title makes needs to be explored in a different manner. To me the questions about torture are an excellent barometer of any candidate's morales.

Here's the way I see it. If you ask the question WWJD in regards to torture the answer is readily apparent. However many candidates seem to be at odds with the beliefs they claim they have and their position on torture. If they can't follow the dictates of their own faith how can we expect them to follow "lesser dictates" like international law or the Constitution (or even tell the truth consistently for that matter)? There has to be some minimum bar for morality in a president and sadly enough this election we're debating the value of hitting rock bottom in that area.

If I'm right about what a candidates stance on this issue says about them then I have four choices this election season; John McCain, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and every Dem candidate that isn't Hillary Clinton. Since I don't think that Ron Paul or Huckabee can win (or even want Huckabee to) the GOP nomination who I'll be voting for will most likely be decided by the winnowing process that is called the primaries and the sad thing is that in the end I may end up with a choice of lesser evils. Again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Glow Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Tired of paying high electric bills but don't want your Redstate reading friends making fun of your solar panels? Thanks to the new Home Nuclear Reactor from Toshiba your fiscal conservatism can now be nuclear powered!

From Wired:

If we lived in a world where everyone was (a) smart and (b) trustworthy, Toshiba's micro-sized nuclear reactor, small enough to fit in the basement or a large shed, would be a slam-dunk solution to the energy/climate crisis.

Twenty foot long by six foot wide, the reactors produce 200kW of energy and run themselves: the entire thing is manufactured with the fuel within, and when it runs out, they can just send a truck to pick it up.

"Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy."

And if you happen to already own a USB missile launcher you'll soon be the envy of all of your hawkish conservative friends. Buy one today! (Warning: May cause nausea, vomiting, hair loss, IAEA inspections, UN sanctions, acts of terrorism, and mutually assured destruction. Read instructions and consider moral implications before use. Waste disposal system not included.)


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

OMG They Killed Kenny!

or Hentish as the case may be.

Looks like Blackwater is back in the news yet again first it was the murder of Iraqi citizens, then it was for its employees allegedly gang raping a coworker and now they've shot the NY Times dog.

From Reuters:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. embassy in Iraq is investigating another deadly shooting incident involving its Blackwater bodyguards -- this time of the New York Times's dog.

Staff at the newspaper's Baghdad bureau said Blackwater bodyguards shot Hentish dead last week before a visit by a U.S. diplomat to the Times compound.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said the dog had attacked one of Blackwater's bomb-sniffer dogs while a security team was sweeping the compound for explosives.

At this rate the next salvo of negative press launched against Blackwater will involve children. I'm betting that it will eventually be alleged that Blackwater employees were either found running a sweatshop using forced child labor or that they were caught selling diminutive prosthetic limbs on the Iraqi black market. That is of course provided they aren't caught offing Oxfam's cat first.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Court Strikes a Blow Against Excessive Secrecy

And it'll be hard for the right wing noise machine to claim the presiding judge is judicial activist this time. Why? Because in order to do that they'd first have to admit that Reagan was wrong.

From the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House visitor logs are public documents, a federal judge ruled Monday, rejecting a legal strategy that the Bush administration had hoped would get around public records laws and let them keep their guests a secret.

The ruling is a blow to the Bush administration, which has fought the release of records showing visits by prominent religious conservatives.

Visitor records are created by the Secret Service, which is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. But the Bush administration has ordered the data turned over to the White House, where they are treated as presidential records outside the scope of the public records law.

But U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled logs from the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's residence remain Secret Service documents and are subject to public records requests.

Lamberth, who served in the Justice Department before President Reagan put him on the federal bench, has roiled Democratic and Republican administrations alike with rulings rejecting government secrecy claims.

Occasionally one runs across a public figure that we really need to clone and Judge Royce C. Lamberth seems to fit that bill. I've only said that about one other person and that was former congressman Pete McCloskey. Since it appears that once a year I become aware of people whose actions for the American people merit that their value to this country warrants that a copy of them be made I hereby create the Meritorious Cloning Award and bestow it upon them both. The winners of said award will receive a certificate of merit, a cotton swab, a small plastic bag, a set of instructions, and a prepaid return envelope.

H/T to Done With Mirrors

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ron Paul Beats Own Fundraising Record

If the momentum keeps going at the current rate he'll crack eighteen million for the quarter by midnight pacific standard time.

From the Boston Globe:

On Nov. 5, supporters of Ron Paul raked in more than $4.2 million in donations in 24 hours, mostly of them collected over the Internet.

Today, they're at it again. Hoping to detonate what they call a "money bomb," the supporters started fundraising at midnight Saturday and have already raised $2 million as of about 10:30 a.m. today, more than at this point on Nov. 5, according to figures they posted online. They hope to collect a total of $10 million by midnight Sunday.

Last time, they tied their fundraising to Guy Fawkes Day, which commemorates a British mercenary who tried unsuccesfully to kill King James I on Nov. 5, 1605. This time, they're seizing on the 234th aniversary of the Boston Tea Party and converging on this snowy city to rally.

The WaPo confirms that this money bomb has met its goal and adds that he is the only candidate to achieve continual upward fundraising momentum.

He's the only candidate, Republican or Democrat, to increase his fundraising haul with every quarter, raising $640,000 in the first quarter, $2.4 million in the second, $5.1 million in the third. And more than two-thirds of the money, his aides say, has come from the Internet. In what was first seen as an overly ambitious goal, aides said they needed to raise $12 million by Dec. 31 to be able to stay competitive in the early primary states. With the money raised, campaign spokesman Jesse Benton said Paul bought television spots in Iowa and New Hampshire and radio ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida. Benton added that the campaign has attracted 107,000 donors this quarter, with the median contribution of about $50.
Amazing what people will do for you when you allow them to use their own methods and ideas to support you rather than continually reigning them in.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Jersey Abolishes Death Penalty

Looks like NJ Dems were able to push it through using a fiscal responsibility argument.

From the WaPo:

NEW YORK, Dec. 13 -- New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday became the first in the nation to abolish the death penalty since the Supreme Court restored it in 1976. Opponents of capital punishment hope the state's action may prompt a rethinking of the moral and practical implications of the practice in other states.

New Jersey's Democratic-controlled General Assembly voted 44 to 36 on Thursday to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole. The action followed a similar vote by the state Senate on Monday. Gov. Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat and a death penalty opponent, has said he will sign the legislation.

The U.S. Supreme Court has effectively declared a moratorium on executions since it decided to take up in this term the question of whether lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. In recent decisions, the high court has narrowed the use of capital punishment, ruling that it is unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded or those who committed crimes as juveniles.

Public opinion across the United States still remains solidly in favor of capital punishment, with 62 percent supporting the death penalty for murderers and 32 percent opposed, according to January polling figures from the Pew Research Center in Washington. And in New Jersey, the most recent poll this week, released by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, showed that New Jersey residents oppose abolishing the death penalty 53 percent to 39 percent.

Where there is a discernable shift underway -- and what has partly driven the repeal in New Jersey -- is when residents are offered an alternative; the death penalty, or life in prison without parole. Given the choice, New Jersey residents backed life without parole over the death penalty, 52 percent to 39 percent.

In the end, the most compelling case for New Jersey lawmakers was the economic one. Keeping inmates on death row costs the state $72,602 per year for each prisoner, according to the commission. Inmates kept in the general population cost $40,121 per year each to house. The corrections department estimates that repeal could save the state as much as $1.3 million per inmate over his lifetime -- and that figure does not include the millions spent by public defenders on inmates' appeals
In theory I support the death penalty. I'm of the opinion that anyone that commits particularly heinous acts of murder, kills multiple people, kills children, or kills police officers should be put to death. In fact after a few drinks I'd probably add serial rapists and child molesters to the list. Having said that I also think its important to look at the history of the death penalty and consider the facts that its application presents us. We've executed innocent people, those that can afford better lawyers normally manage to avoid it, and its costlier than life in prison. Given the choice of supporting an irrevocable penalty that is unfair, imperfect, and financially imprudent or abolishing the penalty altogether I'm for scrapping it.

I said that so you'd understand exactly what I meant when I said the following:

Way to go New Jersey.

Interview With Ron Paul at RCP

Over at RCP John Stossel has posted his most recent interview which is of Ron Paul. Here are a few highlights:

What should government do?

Ron Paul: Protect our freedoms. Have a strong national defense. Look at and take care of our borders. Have a sound currency. That was the responsibility of the federal government, not to run our lives and run everything in the economy and extend the interstate-commerce clause and the general-welfare clause to do anything they want to do.

So defense, the military, police forces enforce contracts, and that's about it?

That's it. We would have a court system to enforce contracts, and when people do harm to others, when they take property or injure property, or pollute a neighbor's air, I think there's a role for government to protect our environment through private-property rights.

So keep us safe, enforce contracts, run the courts, pollution rules and otherwise butt out? Leave us alone?

Basically that, which would mean if I'm elected, I should immediately take a pay cut. You know, because I wouldn't have so much to do.

I'm really hoping Ron Paul keeps up enough momentum, money, and media buzz to keep going after the early primary states. Hopefully the longer the better he does the more likely the GOP is to see the folly of its base pandering, morality dictating, fiscally irresponsible ways.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Donklephant Donation Drive

Over at Donklephant Justin Gardner has started his first ever donation drive. The purpose? As Justin put it:

  1. A significant redesign that will look better, have more community features and enable us to offer you more content from sources like news feeds, video feeds and more.
  2. Change our hosting plan so the site is more secure and loads faster.
  3. Hire an admin to keep tabs on the site so we experience virtually no downtime.
  4. Expand the site to include subdomains about technology, business, entertainment and more. This way you can get more of the news that’s important to you all in one place.
So please drop by and join me in hitting Justin's tip jar. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Clinton's Plan B

Looks like Clinton is taking Obama seriously enough to have a back up plan after Iowa.

From the WaPo:

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Hillary Rodham Clinton's backup plan if she falters in Iowa can be summed up in two words: New Hampshire.

Clinton's Democratic team is preparing television ads here criticizing Barack Obama's health care plan and working to build what campaigns call a firewall. If the Obama presidential campaign ignites in Iowa, she wants to be ready to cool him off in a state where her organization is strong and her support has proven durable.

This past weekend, the Clinton campaign already had volunteers going door-to-door with fliers criticizing Obama on health care. Possible TV ads to run against him also have been previewed in the state.

Advisers to the New York senator acknowledge there's been uneasiness as Obama has risen in national and several early state polls, including Iowa and New Hampshire. But they insist their master blueprint emphasizing Clinton's experience, toughness and ability to withstand Republican attacks remains sound.
Clinton advisers believe she can survive a loss there to Edwards, who is running well in Iowa but who has smaller organizations in the other early voting states.

Edwards' campaign, meanwhile, hopes for a repeat of the Howard Dean-Dick Gephardt scuffle in Iowa that resulted in John Kerry's nomination four years ago. The former North Carolina senator is hanging back and hoping Clinton and Obama destroy each other.

Placing second in Iowa to the well-funded, well-organized Obama, the Clinton people acknowledge, could be a much more severe blow.
Clinton has toned down her sharp criticism of Obama, just days after raising questions about his character and accusing him of peddling "false hope." Her advisers say she had needed to set the record straight after absorbing months of criticism from her rivals, but they have since concluded her barrage didn't work.

Even so, Clinton's tongue-lashing of Obama laid the groundwork for a story line her advisers believe will serve her well over time: that little is known about the young Illinois senator, and that his record bears considerably more scrutiny and vetting.

For her part, Clinton has a very different challenge: winning over voters who believe they know her too well.

With her long record in public life, her advisers are searching for ways to cast her as an agent of change in a political environment where voters _ especially Democrats _ say they are eager for a new direction. The campaign has sought to reframe the issue, painting Obama as someone who talks about change while Clinton actually makes it happen.

Looks like Clinton has realized that her recent salvo in the press against Obama failed to have the desired effect so she has opted to ramp up the ground war in New Hampshire against him. The question is will it work? With New Hampshire traditionally being a highly unpredictable primary state the results of her efforts may yield very little. Both Clinton and Obama need to win both Iowa and New Hampshire in order to guarantee a win against Edwards on his home turf. If each of the three top Dem candidates come out of the early primaries with one win apiece we'll be looking at a protracted battle for the nomination the likes of which we haven't seen in a long while.

It is however worth noting that Clinton's plan B shows one thing. That she learns from her mistakes and that is more than I can say for our current leader.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Truth About Hunting

Over at The American Thinker they have a highly interesting interview with Frank Miniter a senior editor of Outdoor Life magazine and also the executive editor of American Hunter magazine who recently wrote The Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting. In the interview he addresses some of the most common myths about hunting:

Miniter: Many nonhunters think hunters are simply bloodthirsty. I dare any nonhunter who feels that way to go to a hunting club, lodge, or hunting show and meet hunters, or simply to read a hunting magazine. If they do they'll find that hunters care deeply about our natural resources. I'm a bird-watcher, hiker, kayaker, wildlife photographer, and yes, hunter.
Another underlying myth about hunting is that if you don't hunt, eat meat, or wear leather products you are somehow beyond reproach. This myth falls apart when you realize that every farmer-and this goes double for small organic farms-has to control wildlife populations lethally in order to have crops left to harvest. If farmers don't use hunting to control deer, elk, geese, and other wildlife populations then those species propagate to the point and eat their crops. When you step back and look at the big picture you realize wildlife and humans are living in the same ecosystems. We're all competing for the same resources. We have to balance our needs with those of the wildlife around us. This is why farmers need hunters and why even vegetarians owe hunters.

Another myth I hear every time I debate someone who has a negative view of hunting is that hunters only want to kill "trophy" animals. The truth is that hunters today kill more does (female deer) than they do bucks. In fact, many states have "earn-a-buck" programs that force hunters to kill a doe before they can shoot a doe. From a big picture perspective, hunters kill 8-10 million whitetail deer every year in the U.S. There are an estimated 32 million whitetail deer in the U.S. right now (there were only 20 million when Columbus discovered this continent-there are more today because of farms and other habitat changes we've made). As a result, wildlife biologists who work for state wildlife departments see hunters as their best tools for our nation's burgeoning deer populations. Right now there are already 25,000 people injured and 200 people killed every year in deer-auto collisions. What would happen on our roadways and farms if hunters weren't killing those 8-10 million deer per year?

Glazov: Tell us some of the benefits that hunting provides us.

Miniter: Hunters pay the bulk of conservation funding. Hunters pay the Pittman-Robertson taxes of 10% on ammunition, firearms, clothing, and other goods. This tax raises about $150 million annually. This money is sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and then funnelled back to the states where it has to be used for conservation projects. Hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers, and so on don't pay these taxes. Hunter license fees and other expenditures also fuel conservation, habitat restoration, and even endangered species protection efforts.

Glazov: What effect does hunting have on the environment?

Miniter: Deer, when left unchecked, are a threat to themselves and to every other animal in our fields and forests. When a deer herd grows beyond what its habitat can support deer begin to over browse the habitat. When they do this they eat everything they can reach; as a result, other species begin to disappear. Many species of songbirds, for example, can't live in an over-browsed forest, because they need nesting cover. Other animals, such as rabbits, grouse, woodcock, groundhogs, and turtles, all need vegetation on the ground to survive. This is why the New Jersey Audubon Society recently opened up their lands to hunting. And this is why Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, where hunting is forbade, is desperate for a way to control its surging population of elk.

Another good example of how hunting helps the environment is happening in Louisiana where the state's Marsh-to-Market Program has been credited with saving millions of acres of wetlands. Here's a synopsis: Landowners are allowed to kill alligators that are over a certain size every year. These gators are taken to state-processing sheds where their meat and skins are sold. The funds raised then go to the landowners and to fund alligator-conservation projects. This program gives landowners an economic incentive not to drain and develop swamplands. There is also an added side benefit: By killing the largest alligators they are also saving human lives. Louisiana has an estimated 1.5 million alligators; Florida has an estimated 1 million alligators; Florida has had over 400 people attacked and 21 killed by alligators since the 1950s; in Louisiana no one has been killed or even attacked in recorded history. This is because Louisiana's program aggressively uses hunting to control its alligator population-hunters in Louisiana kill nearly 10 times as many alligators as hunters are allowed to in Florida.
Miniter touches on a few of the pros of hunting but I think he missed a few of the more important ones. For example back when the GOP ran the show it was only a coalition of hunters and anglers that were able to stop the gutting of the EPA, prevent a massive public lands sell off at bargain basement prices, and stop the the weakening of EPA standards in regards to the clean water act. Simply put when the GOP runs the whole show sportsmen are the last line of environmental defense. Additionally hunting continues to provide much needed dietary and economic relief to rural poor. Simply put every dollar not spent on food enables them to better afford things like clothes, health care, and pay their utilities on time.

During the Great Depression at age 12 my Grandfather used to take two shotgun shells, shoot two rabbits, trade one for two more shells, and feed the family with the other. Of course if he missed one he just traded the one for two more shells.My father began hunting in the Appalachian mountains to supplement his family's diet around the same age and continues hunting 50 years later. He feeds the homeless with his excess through a program called Hunters for the Hungry. I myself began hunting around the same age to supplement my families stores although since I was raised on an organic homestead it was more about self sufficiency than survival.

The long and short of it is that hunting has always been an integral part to humanities success. And if those opposed to hunting would bother to set aside their anti-gun and/or pro-animal bias and check their Darwin's Manual they'd find that not only are we fulfilling our role, given the fact that we have minimized our competition, we are also ensuring the survival of many of the species we in America are preying upon.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Clinton Losing Lead in SC Polls

She's down to within the margin of error against Obama.

From Rasmussen Reports:

New York Senator Hillary Clinton’s lead over Illinois Senator Barack Obama in South Carolina’s Presidential Primary has disappeared. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the race shows Clinton with 36% of the vote while Obama is the top choice for 34% of the state’s Likely Primary Voters.

... Obama’s showing has improved significantly among black voters. He now attracts 51% of the African-American vote in South Carolina while Clinton picks up just 27%. A month ago, the candidates were even in this important constituency (Obama 46%, Clinton 45%). There is virtually no movement among white voters in the state--Clinton now earns 43% of the white vote, Edwards 22%, and Obama 17%.

In the South Carolina survey, African-Americans constitute 49% of Likely Democratic Primary voters.

The poll also notes that Huckabee is in the lead on the GOP side. Not at all surprising given the state in question. Given that Obama has pulled nearly even with Clinton in all three of the early primary states one might wonder about the secret to his success. I think the electability question is being laid to rest. He's fared well enough in the debates, raised enough funds, and garnered a good enough base that those that originally passively supported other candidates due to fears about Obama's electability (particularly Hillary) have migrated back to his banner.

I think the electability question has given Obama the ability to gain more momentum than other candidates as the race progresses. My working theory is that if he wins Iowa and New Hampshire he'll beat Clinton is SC. However if he loses one it'll be a really close race. After SC the question mark for me is who will Edwards support after he drops out? If Obamania hits a stumbling block that may be the sixty four thousand dollar question and the election decider.

Clinton Campaigner Swiftboated Obama

Looks like a Clinton county chairperson was circulating some of those emails the WaPo mentioned last week.

From TPM Election Central:

A day after the Hillary campaign hit the Obama camp for bullying voters in nasty phone calls, the Hillary crew has just acknowledged that an Iowa county chair volunteering for the campaign passed along the now-notorious email that smears Obama as a Muslim by repeating the false claim that he attended a madrassa as a child.

The Hillary campaign confirms that they are asking the county chair to step down from the campaign.

What Hillary and her campaigners don't realize is that as long as Obama is publicly perceived as taking the high road they are going to have to play chess with him instead of fighting the usual mud slinging war. I think he's realized that he can't beat Hillary toe to toe in a slugfest and is trying to force her to play a more subtle game. If she doesn't adapt her tactics her current strategy will work against her. She'll be perceived as ruthless and mean and given the bias against her that'll dissuade voters that only tacitly support her. Its time for her to fight smart rather than hard otherwise she risks losing more support to Obama and second tier candidates.

San Fransisco Straw Poll Cancelled

Due to too many Ron Paul supporters showing up. Apparently the headline speaker there was stumping for Fred Thompson.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

NIE: No Nukes in Iran

A declassified version of the 2006 national intelligence estimate of Iran was released today and according to it Iran has no nuclear weapon program and could not achieve that capability (on its own) before 2010.

From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 — A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen, contradicting judgment two years ago that Tehran was working relentlessly toward building a nuclear bomb.
The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is likely keeping its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.”
The new report comes out just over five years after a deeply flawed N.I.E. concluded that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons programs and was determined to restart its nuclear program — an estimate that led to congressional authorization for a military invasion of Iraq, although most of the report’s conclusions turned out to be wrong.
That certainly undermines any argument for military action against Iran in the short term. However it leaves the door open enough for this to be a cause for concern. I say that because if I were an Iranian nationalist hardliner given the fact that America invaded two of my neighbors for supporting terrorism I'd want the capability of deterring the US from invading my country for the same reason. After all if they punished my neighbors for actions they also accuse me of it would be logical to assume I'm next on the list.

Unfortunately I don't think W is going to deal with this on his watch. Like Iraq and Afghanistan he is going to pass that buck onto the President. Fotunately we have a little breathing room in which to allow sanctions and diplomacy to have an effect before we have to seriously start considering any meaningful military action against Iran. Given the fact that 2010 will roll around on the next POTUS' term you should take a really hard look at your preferred candidate's position on dealing with Iran. This weight will fall on their shoulders after all and you need to make sure that their strategy is one you can live with.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Inevitability Denied

According to the latest poll from the DesMoines Register Hillary Clinton is now lagging behind Barack Obama. Amongst GOP contenders Huckabee is the front runner enjoying a 5% lead over Romney. Here are the numbers of the top three contenders for each party:

Obama 28%
Clinton 25%
Edwards 23%

Huckabee 29%
Romney 24%
Giuliani 13%

Considering the results of the recent NH polls it looks like Clinton is going to have to fight for every single vote. Obviously the wonks didn't learn anything from declaring Dean inevitable during the last presidential election. Bad news for wonks. Good news for the American people. Apparently we'll actually have the luxury of choice in the primaries.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Clinton's Support Eroding in NH

Oddly enough it seems to be going to second tier candidates...

From Fox News:

A FOX News poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic voters finds that Clinton has the support of 30 percent followed by Obama at 23 percent. Edwards comes in third with 17 percent, Richardson receives the support of 12 percent. All other candidates receive 3 percent or less.

Although Clinton has a slim advantage in the trial heat, slightly more Democratic primary voters say they would be very or somewhat satisfied if Obama (74 percent satisfied) were the party’s presidential nominee than if Clinton won (69 percent satisfied).

"We seem to be seeing a softening in the Clinton vote everywhere," said Opinion Dynamics CEO John Gorman. "The inevitability of a month ago has been replaced by serious sound thoughts. What’s interesting is that this seems to be not a surge to second place Obama, but reexamination of candidates even farther down the list. Edwards is closer to Obama than Obama to Clinton and Richardson closer to Edwards than Edward to Obama. An Edwards second or a Richardson third might shake things up as much as a Hillary defeat."
Interestingly enough a recent Rasmussen Reports's poll shows the same trend:

In New Hampshire, home to the first-in-the-nation Presidential Primary, Hillary Clinton’s lead over Barack Obama is now measured in single digits.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone poll of the state’s Likely Primary Voters shows Clinton with 33% of the vote while Obama attracts 26%. John Edwards is the top choice for 15% while Bill Richardson earns 9% of the vote. Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich are each preferred by 4%.
So on the off chance that the margin of error goes in Obama's favor that puts him within 1% of Clinton. Given the topsy turvy history of New Hampshire's primaries I'd be sweating if I were Clinton. Because if Obama pulls 1st in either Iowa or New Hampshire he'll dispel fears about his electability in South Carolina making SC a very tight race for Clinton given Edwards home field advantage. So much for Clinton's inevitability. Looks like she'll have to fight to the finish.

h/t to Memeorandum

U.S. Food Banks Going Broke

Apparently tighter inventory controls by retailers, the mortage crisis, stagnant wages, lack of grain surpluses and higher gas prices have combined to create a perfect storm.

From the NY Times:

MANCHESTER, N.H., Nov. 26 — Food banks around the country are reporting critical shortages that have forced them to ration supplies, distribute staples usually reserved for disaster relief and in some instances close.

“It’s one of the most demanding years I’ve seen in my 30 years” in the field, said Catherine D’Amato, president and chief executive of the Greater Boston Food Bank, comparing the situation to the recession of the late 1970s.

Experts attributed the shortages to an unusual combination of factors, including rising demand, a sharp drop in federal supplies of excess farm products, and tighter inventory controls that are leaving supermarkets and other retailers with less food to donate.
“Donations are down, and people who need help is up,” said Liz Carter, executive director of the food bank. “So what are we going to do. We just made the decision that instead of giving people six or seven days worth of food, we’re going to give them three or four days of food, which is a drop in the bucket.”

Ginny Hildebrand, executive director of the Association of Arizona Food Banks, said many pantries were facing similar situations.

At a recent conference for food bank employees, Ms. Hildebrand said, “Everybody was saying the same thing. They’re all hit by an increase in demand, all hit by the impact of the higher costs of food, and all hit by federal reductions. We just don’t have the quantity of products available that we used to.”

Ross Fraser, a spokesman for America’s Second Harvest, which distributes more than two billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually, said the shortages at food banks were the worst the organization had seen in 26 years.

“Suddenly it’s on everyone’s radar,” Mr. Fraser said. “Food banks are calling us and saying, ‘My God, we have to get food.’”

So this holiday season please take some time to clean out your pantry, pick up a few extra nonperishables, and drop them off at your local food bank or collection center. Thanks.