Stop complaining about CNN/YouTube Debate and remember, at least we showed up...

mediabistro.com: FishbowlDC- Conservative group threatens lawsuit against CNN for it handling of YouTube debate

Why is everyone so upset about the way Republicans were treated in the CNN/YouTube debate? Let us not forget, CNN is essentially the progressive alternative to Fox News, so the fact that the GOP candidates even showed up speaks to the difference in political courage between the two fields of primary candidates. As far as I know, Joe Biden is the only serious Democrat with the marbles to accept Fox's invitation to debate in Detroit in an event co-hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus. Every single GOP candidate showed up in Florida.

Going into the debate I assumed that CNN would try to get the candidates to associate themselves with Bush as often as possible, but the name Bush was mentioned only twice and each candidate was able to articulate at length what they have to offer.  I thought the candidates were humanized and generally came across as presidential.

While the questions from voters are great, having them submitted via video is merely a variation on the forum-styled debates which have been a staple in presidential campaigns since the first Iowa caucus. It was when I saw the first candidate-produced video, I believe it was Representative Tom Trancredo's, that I felt the process had been truly revolutionized.  Below you can view the candidates as they confront the currently touchy subject of waterboarding.


Women, please step off our text messages!

Prince Harry | Chelsy Davy | Text riddle: Whothumbit? | Break up | The Sun |HomePage|News|Royals

The proliferation of technology in everyday life has given rise to many new ethical conundrums that nearly all of us encounter on a daily basis. One that I am certain we have all had some experience with is the erosion of our personal privacy caused by the accumulation of personal information and potential sensitive correspondence with friends via cell phone text messages. Now it appears as if even the Prince of England has fallen victim of cellular snooping as his longtime girlfriend terminated their relationship after finding an apparently salacious text message from a female admirer on Prince Harry's phone.

A few weeks ago, as I was driving to work, the morning talk show hosts were having a light-hearted debate about whether or not it was appropriate for a spouse to spy on their significant other by searching their cell phone text message archive. Listeners were encouraged to call and share their opinions, which largely reflected whether or not each particular caller had either busted their spouse lying or had been busted themselves. However, one trend did emerge as men and women both had opportunities to share their stories; women like to snoop on their man, and it is time for men everywhere to stand up for themselves and take back their right to cellular privacy.

I am close to the young prince in age, and I too have recently come out of a four-year relationship, and though I don't typically take interest in gossip and celebrity lifestyles, I find myself compelled to speak out in defense of the modern man. I have indeed fallen victim to my ex-girlfriend's curiosity, which has on occasion led me to make the unwise decision to retaliate with a counter-snoop, so I cannot claim to be without fault. However, i can say confidently that I have enough respect for individual privacy that had I not been provoked I would have kept my eyes to myself.


A great day for Illini-nation...

The University of Illinois football team pulled off the biggest upset in its history with a 28-21 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes, who were the top ranked team in the nation going into the game. Led by their flashy quarterback Juice Williams, the Illini stunned the Buckeye faithful at the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio and brought the college football world to its knees.

Williams was 12-22 for 140 yards passing, including all four touchdowns. Ohio State only ran three plays in the entire fourth quarter, as the Illini offense brilliantly managed the clock with a well balanced aerial and ground attack.

Congratulations to University of Illinois alumni, students, faculty and everyone who calls the great state of Illinois home.


Edwards campaign tries to silence UNC journalism student...

Charlotte Observer: Edwards Tussles with UNC over video

The John Edwards campaign has apparently been offended by a University of North Carolina journalism student who made the video seen below. UNC professor and retired political reporter Leroy Towns told the Charlotte Observer that he was called by the Edwards camp and asked if he would kill the video, which his student had posted on YouTube and entered in a contest hosted by MTV. In the report, student reporter Carla Babb discusses the quasi-hypocritical decision to setup campaign headquarters in the most affluent neighborhood of Chapel Hill.

Personally, I don't understand the point being made. At one point a UNC newspaper reporter quotes "the poet Jay-Z", which is as ridiculous as anything I have ever heard. However, to think that Edwards' staff felt so threatened by such a silly video is even more ridiculous. I suggest everyone watch and decide for themselves if there is a legitimate reason to silence this young and talented journalist.


US Nobel Laureate claims Africans less intelligent than Westerners due to different genetic evolution...

Nobel Laureate James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA's double helix structure and director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island, has created quite a buzz with his comments during an interview with the Independent Online news outlet of London a few days ago.

Watson has long been the subject of controversy regarding his less-than politically correct views on issues of politics, sexuality and race. In 1997 he told a British newspaper that a woman should have the right to choose an abortion if it were possible to determine that her fetus was genetically predisposed to be a homosexual, though he subsequently withdrew this statement as purely "hypothetical" and not realistic.

He has drawn correlations between race and sex drive, suggesting that black people have higher libidos, and advocated the genetic manufacturing of a smarter human species with the claim that "stupidity" could one day be cured. Dr. Watson sounds as if he wished he were living in the alternative society of the future brilliantly articulated in the film GATTACA, in which each baby is tagged for market and a class structure built around genetic "superiority" emerges and the glass ceiling of today's world is replaced by a pseudo-gestapo team of CSI's armed with hand-held devices.

Watson is in London promoting his forthcoming autobiography, in which he suggests that the notion of "equal powers of reason" across all races is a delusion. The reaction in British intellectual circles has been swift and definitive, with at least one distinguished British institution, the Science Museum, canceling his appearance altogether stating, "...Watson's comments have gone beyond the point of acceptable debate and we are as a result canceling his talk at the museum".

Watson was slated to give five lectures in total during his book tour, including high profile talks at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, as well as the Royal Society of London. None of his other hosts had yet chosen to withdraw their invitation, though spokesmen for Cambridge and Oxford assured reporters that Watson would face tough questioning from the audience on his radical views, though they collectively withheld judgment of the aging geneticist by stating, "The correct way to respond is to allow him to be challenged as strongly as possible. A view that is not based on science or is simply wrong will be exposed as such."

Racial equality is certainly not typically considered a debatable issue, but true to the principle's of England's greatest political thinker, John Stuart Mill, there is always a place for the devil's advocate at the highest echelons of Royal and intellectual society.


Gingrich: "20-percent chance I am in..."

Newt Gingrich said on Hannity and Colmes tonight that he was getting a great deal of encouragement from people he meets across America to enter the race for the Republican nomination and that one week, possibly two weeks from Monday he would announce his intentions once and for all. I have always held the opinion that Newt is the most qualified and capable of all potential candidates, however until now it never seemed as if he was taking the possibility of getting in the race very seriously.

What makes me think that the former-Speaker is leaning toward getting in is the detail he gave when queried by Sean Hannity on how he would announce, saying, "I would probably announce early in the morning on C-SPAN and then come on your program later in the evening". These are the words of a man who has probably dreamed about that morning since high school, and will likely kick himself for the rest of his life if he passes on this, what might be his last real opportunity to make a run for the Oval Office.

It is entirely possible, based on Newt's past statements, that he thinks the GOP is doomed regardless of who they put up against the Clintons. If that is the case, he is unlikely to volunteer to be a sacrificial lamb, and might be the only sly fox left on the right, angling for the front-runner position to challenge the incumbent Hillary in a midterm election in 2012. This is just a thought, but Newt's willingness to at least acknowledge that he is still seriously considering a life in elected office can only leave one to conclude that the old Newt is likely back and as usual he is probably 5-10 steps ahead of everyone, pundits included.

Fred Thompson has been a joke in my opinion. I cannot understand why anyone has been excited by his lackluster campaign and uninspired demeanor on the trail. Perhaps I have misjudged the former-Senator and he may yet prove to be a formidable and exciting candidate. However, I have little faith that he is going to stand up in next week's GOP debate in Detroit, next to Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Duncan Hunter and John McCain, and actually impress anyone who was not predisposed to support him because they are fans of Law and Order. Gingrich had previously indicated that as long as someone, with strong insinuation that Thompson was his preferred choice, entered the race to champion the conservative ideas and innovative solutions he has been promoting himself since leaving the House. I have little doubt that Gingrich is deeply disappointed in Thompson's showing thus far, and he is either going to take a more active role in his friend's campaign, or he is going to toss his hat into the ring and put the fate of the GOP on his shoulders as it takes on its most formidable opponents in 50 years, the Clintons.

Dan Proft on Chicago Tonight: Gambling with our children's future...


Global views of torture...

Some degree permissible by Country vs. Global views on torturing prisoners Against all torture

Torture is a subject that some might like to think is no longer an issue in the 21st century, but that would be a denial of reality, as much of the world still believes that torture is both necessary and justified. As this chart from Swivel.com and based on a survey from the BBC shows, torture is far from a universally reviled practice, even in supposedly "civilized" societies.

Nearly half of Israelis polled believe torture is to "some degree permissible", which is slightly higher than the percentage of Iraqis. Would anyone have guessed that based on the way these two countries are portrayed in the media? Iraq is made to look like a state embroiled in a barbaric civil war, where hundreds of civilians are killed daily and terrorists operate with impunity. Israel is a state that is the innocent victim of invading terrorists who wish the "destruction of the Jewish state"; hardly a picture of a people disposed toward brutal tactics.

It is very disturbing to see that there is only a slight drop-off in support for torture in some circumstances among the countries profiled above. I must admit that I can in fact imagine more than a few situations which would absolutely merit the use of extreme interrogation tactics, but I absolutely reject the arbitrary use of "torture" when questioning non-immediate threats to national/global security. I know this is a highly ambiguous position, but this is a highly ambiguous poll that provides stats that portray a very complex and nuanced issue as if it were a black and white affair.


Virtual Prediction Markets in a Web 2.0 world...

Yahoo has recently launched a high-tech prediction market online, which allots each participant $10,000 to start (play-money) and provides shares many of the most popular technologies. Below you will find my portfolio, which I could have put more thought into, but it largely reflects my personal view of how the emerging technology marketplace will play itself out.

I am a BIG Google and Firefox fan, as I see the future of the internet to be in the blending of the browser with the web service, a la Firefox extensions like the Google Toolbar. I am also a huge fan of open source software, Debian being my preferred Linux distribution. My personal laptop is a MacBook, and I eagerly anticipate the release of Leopard, Steve Jobs' new OS to compete with Microsoft's Vista. Recently I have tried to start buying shares in technologies that I don't have extensive experience with but have a general understanding of its purpose and capabilities. Since starting my account at the beginning of July, I have made a $3,300 profit. The following is my portfolio as of 9/24.
My Portfolio
Stock Market Qty Current Price Average Cost Unrealized Profit/Loss ROI
MAPAPI APICAT 23 $20.82 $20.92 $-2.27 -0.47%
MOZFF BROWSER2 131 $16.88 $15.42 $191.67 9.49%
YDESK DESKSEARCH2 52 $11.23 $11.06 $8.62 1.50%
GTALK IM2 366 $6.78 $6.64 $36.14 1.49%
NETBEANS JAVAIDE2 48 $18.80 $16.64 $103.47 12.96%
MACLPD MACVMIC 246 $4.77 $4.81 $-10.78 -0.91%
PANDORA ONLNMUSIC2 201 $9.41 $9.07 $65.30 3.58%
DELICIOUS SOCBKMARKS2 104 $13.60 $13.36 $23.27 1.67%
JOTSPOT WIKI2 19 $9.77 $10.15 $-7.33 -3.80%
FACEBK YASN 101 $8.29 $7.86 $42.87 5.40%
CLINTON DEMPRIMARY 372 $0.54 $0.54 $-0.03 -0.01%
GIULIANI REPPRIMARY 2409 $0.33 $0.33 $0.00 0.00%
$450.94 3.56%

You will notice that my final two holdings are Clinton and Giuliani, which I bought just this evening. Yahoo added markets for the 2008 presidential candidates on 9/16 and so far neither of my investments have reached the top of their party's market. Fred Thompson is at the top of the Republican field, getting 0.47 a share followed by Ron Paul at 0.45 a share. Obama is bringing in 0.59 a share, compared to Hillary's 0.54 and Edwards 0.32.

The most interesting news focused prediction market I was able to find, News Futures, gives users the option to buy contracts at a price they name. The below chart shows all activity for the last 30 days on the question: Will Nouri al-Malaki be the Iraqi Prime Minister through the remainder of Bush's presidency? The chart below tracks specifically contracts that bet he will not be prime minister much longer, which is exactly how I positioned myself on this matter. I have long held that only an Iraqi leader who speaks English and can target the American public directly will be a successful at earning its full support in the long term.

© NewsFutures

There is a general lack of imagination in the implementation of prediction markets when developing eLearning applications, particularly at the elementary level. Too many students grow up without even a remedial understanding of markets and market fundamentals, and the unique application of prediction market technology in the classroom at an early age may be what makes the difference in preparing students for life in a global-market economy. This is a topic that I plan to come back to after further research.

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Social Security is much greater threat to future generations than global warming ever will be...

The current crop of Congressional leaders has made it clear time and again that they care very little about anything other than keeping their jobs, and as a result the future of the country and the problems that we (future generations of Americans) will inherit are going to be far more difficult to solve. Neither party seems interested in addressing any issue that involves cutting spending, instead choosing to embrace everything that allows them to make promises to spend more money.

The most obvious and potentially disastrous of these spending programs as it currently exists is the social security system, which is poised for insolvency and inevitable collapse. However, the political will to take on the issue does not exist because it is not a politically popular issue, most likely because young voters have failed to stand up for their future and their tax dollars. Politicians in Washington have chosen to gloss over this impending disaster by screaming from the hills about global warming, or another convenient issue that allows them to point fingers at each other at election time.

I was struck recently when I saw a commercial that featured a younger adult standing on railroad tracks as a train barreled down on him. Of course, he stepped clear just in time to avoid the locomotive while simultaneously extolling the virtues of securing the future on behalf of those who are still too young to appreciate the potential problems that would result from inaction, or rather a collective lack of political will and vision to take into account the impact our decisions have on the world once we are but a fleeting memory. However, what caught my attention was not the truth in the underlying message the ad was trying to convey, but rather the fact that the out of control locomotive was meant to represent global warming, which might be a problem that deserves our attention, but it is hardly the most pressing and potentially calamitous issue facing policymakers today.

Certainly it could not reasonably be argued that global warming poses a greater threat to the world of my children than the inevitable collapse of social security, or could it? The Democratic Party has certainly chosen to make global warming a higher priority, refusing to even negotiate changes to the social security system, while simultaneously denouncing anyone who dare question the integrity of the scientists, who insist that humans are to blame for the current rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere, as dangerously irresponsible.

WHO CARES WHERE THE BLAME LIES!? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? Oh, thats right, not a damn thing. Do us all a favor Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, AL GORE; either do something about it, or move on to an issue you are willing to do something about.

How about taking on Social Security? I can understand why Democrats try to suppress the Social Security debate, especially when their party platform is to maintain the current pay-as-you-go system that has created the enormous shortfall in the first place. But unless you are over the age of 50, how can you ignore the reckless disregard shown by Democrats, the party that loves to claim victory among young voters, for the fiscal future of our federal government?

The current popular issue among Democratic presidential hopefuls is universal healthcare, which has become the cornerstone of the Democrat's 2008 campaign platform. I can sympathize with this decision, as it definitely sounds good and if properly articulated it could be a major force behind a Democratic electoral triumph. However, when taking into account the realities of finances and existing social welfare programs, it will be absolutely impossible for the Democrats to win unless they are able to explain how a universal health insurance program will fit into a federal budget that is already taxed beyond sustainable levels.


Hired by Google as a private contractor for Local Business Referrals Program...

A few days ago I happened upon a Google program that offers to pay people to enhance their Google business directory with detailed profiles and pictures of local establishments. It is officially known as the Google Local Referrals Program, and it only takes about five minutes and a Google Account to apply. It is a bit unclear upfront about how much it could potentially offer a dedicated participant, but after viewing the tutorial and weighing the potential earnings against the amount of time involved in collecting the necessary information, the program appears to be everything that it promises.

Though it only guarantees $2 for each referral up front, the program pays out a further $8 upon confirmation of the information you submit. The tutorial Google made for beginning users of this incentive service essentially instructs users to always have their camera and a small notebook with them, because participants should be able to earn up to $10 for every errand they run. This is at least how I am going to approach this new opportunity, since almost everywhere I go each day is likely already listed on Google Maps. Lunch could potentially pay for itself everyday if I am willing to put in the time speaking with the owner and snapping photos while munching on my meal.

I am very excited to get started with the program and I recommend it to everyone out their looking to supplement their income and confident enough to get all of the information the program calls upon you to supply. I will report back regularly on my experiences with the program, and I would like to hear what others have to say about it.


TWWI redesigned to reflect change of focus...

This blog has just recently turned 1, and as I have reflected on my first year of blogging it is my determination that I have lost sight of the initial purpose for this blog, which was to raise awareness and participation in political discourse by younger generations that believe, as I, that we are being marginalized by the current crop of politicians. What I had originally intended was that I would recruit others to participate and post their thoughts, but after repeated attempts I have been unable to convince any of my friends that it is worth their time and effort to put their thoughts about the past, present and future in writing and openly available for comment. My offer to anyone who would like to contribute remains open, but I am not holding out hope for building such a blogging community in the near-term.

What TWWI has in fact become is basically a soapbox for me to vent about my displeasure with factually challenged comments made by Chris Matthews or Nancy Pelosi, which has both made me a better writer and more confident in my opinions, but fails to convey the type of message that is captured in the blog summary at the top of this page.

As you can see I have considerably redesigned the blog, enlarging the default text size and font, changing the background and periphery colors, and added a few new features in recent weeks and days. I chose green for the background because one of the issues I plan to feature in my upcoming posts is green building and energy reform. I have spent considerable time and effort researching "green" technologies in recent weeks, and I am left convinced that to deny the importance of "going green" is both ignorant and dangerous.


Why I booed a wounded Iraq veteran at Lollapalooza...

At the end of Pearl Jam's performance to close out Chicago's annual Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park, Eddie Vedder brought out a wounded Iraq War veteran to play on the crowds sympathy and build support for the anti-war movement, and as soon as he said the words, "...we need to end this illegal occupation in Iraq...", I couldn't help but break the crowd's respectful and attentive hush with the loudest BOOOOO I could muster.

Don't get me wrong, I respect that Marine as much as any other and I was not booing him, because clearly he has had an experience that I could never possibly understand, which is why I didn't start booing as soon as he started talking. My boos were meant for Eddie Vedder, who chose to turn my first Pearl Jam concert into my first peace rally, which is something I really don't appreciate.

Anyway, while booing and flashing W's (to show my respect for 'Dubya' and his policies) with both hands to the many thousands of dazed onlookers who I successfully distracted from the anti-war diatribe going on in front of us, I was suddenly bum rushed from behind by some extremely aggressive pacifists. Thankfully, I wasn't the only one in the crowd annoyed by the band's impromptu demonstration, so the hippies who took me on were quickly swept aside by my less vocal (but more rowdy) allies, while my friends wisely removed me from the situation while I still had my composure.

Interestingly, the pacifist started throwing punches at my new friends, which seemed to be counter-intuitive to the message of peace and reconciliation they had so passionately defended moments before. I learned just this evening that my friends didn't fair very well in the confrontation (which is the one thing I now regret the most). I am not going to judge them for letting their passions get the best of them, after all, I had just booed a paralyzed veteran because he was used as a conduit by a drunk rock star to trounce on my principles and generally exploit the vulnerable nature of his captivated audience. In fact, I think it is great that their are people who care as much as I do.

This is my first post in awhile because I have recently begun working during the day (like a big boy), but it is definitely the most interesting story I have had to tell in awhile, so I hope it was enjoyed. I know I might have overreacted, but I don't really care. Laura Ingram said it best when she entitled her book about politics and pop culture "Shut Up and Sing". Eddie Vedder, this means you!

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Lollapalooza Music Festival- 2007-08-03 2007-08-05

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Relevant pics from Flickr

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Pearl Jam's anti-Bush lyrics cut - BBC News

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Nancy Pelosi's Thoughts

This video is brought to you courtesy of Fort Hard Knox, my new favorite political blog. Though it was launched just recently, it has already amassed a library of links through their daily "Blog Honor Roll" that should keep any intelligent reader engaged for hours. Warning to liberal wackos, Fort Hard Knox might cause you to break out in convulsions.

Nancy Pelosi’s recent speech on the House floor provides us with an opportunity to understand her “real” position on the war, Iraq, Bush, and the troops. This video will help you to understand the “real” motivations of Nancy Pelosi.

read more | digg story


Deficit Falls to $205 Billion, Bush meets goal of halving deficit two years earlier than promised...

Deficit Falls to $205 Billion

Another favorite political talking point of Democrats is the federal deficit, which they scream about as if it has been getting worse by the minute. Never mind the fact that the country does have serious fiscal issues, specifically an unsustainable social security program, that the Democratic Party has been in blatant denial of since George W Bush decided to boldly embrace the issue following his 2004 re-election. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and other party leaders instead find it more constructive to hammer away at an issue that clearly is not the greatest evidence of George Bush's mismanagement of anything, and in fact should end up being one of his parties strongest arguments that his tax cuts and economic growth plan is moving in the right direction.

Part of the reason the Left gets away with such gross distortion of fiscal facts is that people fail to understand that higher taxes does not automatically equal high government revenues. The Right has done an absolutely horrendous job building a buzz around Bush's wildly successful economic policies, and instead rely on subtle defections on the issue of Iraq to make headlines, which leaves the larger party in a precarious position going into the 2008 campaign. If the Republicans are duped into making Iraq and foreign policy the central issue of the campaign, in my opinion they will lose. Any successful Republican candidacy must embrace the economy, particularly the unprecedented success of the stock market, to convince voters that they are better off because of Republican economic priorities. As long as the Democrats are going to make healthcare the major domestic issue, which all of the major candidates seem intent on, any Republican armed with a coherent explanation of why this would be a disaster for the economy and stock market should be able to whether any disadvantage due to the war.


GOP finally starting to understand the power of Web 2.0...

I recently received an anonymous comment directing me to a new social bookmarking site that is dedicated to promoting stories and ideas that are favorable to the right-minded reader (pun intended). For the last year or so, the Web 2.0 sphere has been dominated by the communists, and it is high time the more intelligent and responsible aspects of American political discourse take back the internet from the likes of Reddit and Digg, who overtly censor the information submitted to reflect their Democratic biases.

They certainly cannot suppress us any longer, or complain because of a supposed "lack of balance". What is really hilarious to me is the fact that so many liberal bloggers have used these self-censored forums to blast Fox News and Rupert Murdock for their supposed lack of balance. GOPHub.com offers the first Web 2.0 site that is completely dedicated to furthering the cause of conservatives and I am excited to see it grow and mature as more conservatives come to understand how to utilize it to reach new readers and proliferate intelligence. I encourage everyone who cares about keeping the GOP in control in 2008 to submit stories and contribute to the fight of the right to take back the internet!


Bill Clinton sounds like bumbling Bush trying to articulate the "corruption" he perceives in the president's pardon of Scooter Libby...

On an Iowa radio station this morning, Bill Clinton and his wife must have forgotten to have their coffee, because somehow they were lured into a discussion of the merits underlying President Bush's decision to commute the sentence of Scooter Libby, former-Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice earlier this year. Interestingly, Bill and Hillary pounced on the opportunity to criticize the ethics of the White House and its motives for granting clemency to the loyal former-White House employee. It might have been the least eloquent response Bill has given to a question since he tried to redefine the word "is".

The host failed (of course) to challenge the Clinton's on their own suspicious record of pardoning those close to themselves and the Democratic establishment, which included Bill Clinton's half-brother Roger Clinton (cocaine dealer), former-Democratic Congressman Mel Reynolds (pervert, rapist and defrauder), Carlos Vignall (cocaine trafficker) and the most infamous and high-profile pardon, that of billionaire Clinton-ite Marc Rich**, who was at the time living outside the country as a fugitive.

**Marc Rich's wife, Denise Rich had coincidently donated $450,000 to the Clinton Presidential Library just prior to her husband receiving the 11th hour pardon from Clinton, but that isn't a conflict of interest, how dare anyone suggest such a thing. The Washington Post featured an outstanding editorial outlining the corrupt nature of the Clinton library fund raising machine on the day the library opened in November 2004, and I suggest everyone read it before they cast their ballot for Hillary Clinton, but I digress.

In fact, most of the criminals that President Clinton found to be deserving of a presidential pardon were drug dealers, whom are unquestionably less deserving of such consideration than Scooter Libby. However, it seems that the Clinton's disagree with this and in fact believe that Scooter Libby was let off easy for committing the same crimes that Bill Clinton was impeached for, though I don't remember him serving any jail time. Besides becoming a joke in the eyes of history, the only punishment that Clinton suffered because of his impropriety was a $25,000 fine and disbarment from practicing in the State of Arkansas and in front of the US Supreme Court. Apparently presidents are above the consequences of normal citizens, because had Clinton been convicted by a jury instead of the House of Representatives he would have been sentenced just as Libby was, which makes it even more outrageous that he would insist Libby is subject to unfair treatment.

Chris Matthews had one of the jurors from the Libby trial on his show Hardball shortly after Libby was convicted, though prior to his sentencing. The juror shocked both myself and Matthews as she raved about Scooter, whom she said she had become quite fond of through the course of the trial, and whom she characterized as a victim of political posturing. She went so far as to say that she hoped Libby would eventually be pardoned, a statement which nearly knocked Chris Matthews off of his chair.

To quote Tucker Carlson, who said it better than anyone today, "Bill Clinton must have something seriously wrong with him to have the stones to go after the president (on this issue)!"

Chicago 2016: Second new blog in as many weeks launched...

I had long ago intended on starting a blog focused strictly on the potential bid Chicago will be making for the 2016 Olympic Games, with the intention of tracking the process from beginning to end in hopes of creating a unique and comprehensive glimpse into the history of Chicago and the Olympics. However, because of other preoccupations, I was unable to launch last year as I had hoped, and instead http://2016Chicago.blogspot.com was launched last night once I had heard that the 2014 Games were awarded to Russia, which makes the likelihood of a Chicago Olympiad much greater. Please see the new blog for links to detailed plans of Chicago's bid and subscribe to the RSS feed to stay up to speed on how Chicago has changed to best accommodate an Olympic-sized crowd.

Relevant pics from Flickr

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Olympic Officials Weigh In On Chicago 2016 - GamesBids.com

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Yahoo Answers

Should Chicago get the 2016 Olympics?

Which City will get the U.S bid for the 2016 olympics? Chicago or Los Angeles?

What do you think about the 2016 Olympics in Chicago?

Will Chicago host the 2016 Olympics ?

Some of my recent related posts

Video animation of proposed venues for Chicago Olympics... - Russia lands 2014 Games, informally boosting Chicago's chances in ... - Chicago Trophy is city's most recent project aimed at making ... - USA 2016:Chicago, Houston, LA, Philadelphia or SF? - Chicago 2016? Looking good for the Second City... -

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Bush Commutes Scotter Libby's Sentence...

FoxNews.com: Political leaders express outrage, support for 'Scooter' Libby's commuted sentence...

President Bush has taken the bold move of commuting the prison sentence of former-Cheney Chief of Staff Lewis Scooter Libby, and I applaud him for this. The entire affair had become so absurd and overblown by the likes of Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman, who would sell their souls' to make George Bush look corrupt, that a man's distinguished career has been ruined in the course of an investigation that sought to uncover information about something in which he had no direct involvement.

Matthews actually had the audacity to assert that Bush gave Libby a free pass by "pardoning him", and made it sound like the independent investigator was supposed to be judging the way in which the administration sold the war to the public. I absolutely love to hate Chris Matthews; it is a bliss that is hard to convey, though it is nearly impossible to pacify. Every time he mentions the Libby issue I end up screaming at the TV.

Guess what Chris, Wilson's own report said Saddam was seeking uranium in Niger. But above all, it is ridiculous to say that 30 months in prison is just as bad as being impeached by Congress, as Clinton was for the exact same crime. In the end, Clinton had to pay a fine and he was disbarred for his offense, but nobody argued seriously that he should go to prison, and he was not removed from his job. The journalistic integrity of MSNBC is seriously in question whenever this issue comes up because of the obviousness of their Bushitus. At least they always have the most intellectually inept guests, probably since nobody of any integrity will fall in line with their talking points.

Zealous partisans who burst out in twitching fits every time they hear the name George W. Bush will no doubt accuse the president of ignoring the court and doing a special favor for his friend, and maybe it is a favor for a loyal friend and colleague, it matters very little. Bush is well within his right as Chief Executive, every president has done it, and by leaving the $250,000 fine and two year probation in place, Bush has shown that he believes some punishment was appropriate. As far as I am concerned, Libby should be allowed to go about his life, this matter should be closed.


Anyone who thinks Bush should be impeached must also believe that Abe Lincoln should have been impeached...

I hear people ignorantly insist everyday that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are criminals and should be removed from office as such, though every reasoning I have ever encountered for taking such extreme action implies that these people also believe that Lincoln deserved to be impeached and removed from office following his decision to suspend habeus corpus during the Civil War. Thus, every time I hear someone ignorantly spewing hate-filled accusations against the president, labeling him a criminal and insisting that he has shown total disregard for the constitution and our rights as citizens, I retort with exactly this point. On a rare occasion people agree that they believe Lincoln should have been removed from office and I commend these people for consistency, though I still believe they are crazy and misunderstand the constitution.

I would like to challenge those who believe that Bush is guilty of gross violation of the constitution and believe he should be impeached, but do not agree that Lincoln should have been subject to the same consequences following his radical decisions during the civil war, to please submit their logic so I can better understand. I am of the opinion that most people have become so deeply inflicted with Bushitus, which I define as hyper-reactionary convulsions and uncontrollable foaming of the mouth following the mention of the name "Bush", that they have lost touch with reality. I am here to help those of you who suffer from this chronic ailment cope with your disease and find peace in the world of common sense. Please submit your argument so I can assess your symptoms and diagnose a remedy.

Lieberman needs to switch parties if he hopes to be heard...

Senator Joesph Lieberman has been one of the few lawmakers in Washington that speaks the truth always, rather than taking whatever his staff tells him is the most popular position. One might think that it is only too obvious that the truth would take precedent over all, but sadly our culture has allowed the politics of opportunism to prevail and there is little evidence that anyone cares. It is almost as if we are living in collective denial, choosing to see things as we hope they were instead of how they actually are. Fortunately, there are still a few who hold themselves above such petty partisan posturing, but sadly these principled individuals are dismissed by most of the media as less relevant or somehow crazy and off-base.

Senator Lieberman has called for the US to seriously consider air strikes against Iran because of the refusal on the part of the Iranian government to cooperate with the international community and cease all uranium enrichment. As a result, he has been dismissed by the mainstream media as a psycho, hell-bent on waging war all across the Middle East. Rather than having a serious discussion about how important/essential it might be to strike the Iranian regime, it is taboo to even raise such an issue and thus no serious consideration is even possible.

We all accepted Bill Clinton at his word that it was absolutely necessary to strike against Saddam's WMD facilities the day impeachment proceedings began against him in the House of Representatives. In fact, anyone who dismissed the president's decision as a diversionary tactic was accused by the Democrats and mainstream media as failing to take national security seriously. Yet any discussion of striking Iran, a country that is developing nuclear weapons openly and without shame, is considered crazy.

Now Senator Lieberman has gone off the deep end by suggesting that we should institute a similar closed-circuit television (CCTV) system as the one used in London to track the perpetrators of the recent terror attacks in our own large cities here in America. "Oh my goodness, how dare he suggest something so Orwellian!", is the typical response we should expect from the mainstream media and Democratic presidential candidates. Only the Republicans, at least at the national level, are willing to discuss such measures seriously and Lieberman would do himself and the country a huge favor by switching parties officially.


There is no evidence, other than meaningless polls and impotent protests, that Bush has turned the world against the US...

Global poll shows wide distrust of United States - Print Version - International Herald Tribune

It was not surprising to see this headline on the Drudge Report last night, it seems as if a new study showing America's supposed tumble in popularity polls around the world, most of which have attributed by the media and Democratic politicians to the radical policies of the Bush Administration and its failure to "work with our allies". Hogwash I say; purely rhetorical slander. Typical Democratic political tactics in the Bush-era, and it is disturbing that so many members of the media accept this as fact despite the substantial evidence to the contrary.

Where is the proof that Bush foreign policy has isolated US? The rhetoric coming out of the Democratic presidential candidates on the consequences of the Iraq War is in lock-step, but so much of what they are saying is simply without factual support. One of the central criticisms of White House foreign policy is that it has led to a drastic surge in anti-Americanism abroad, and thus further isolated the United States at a time when cooperation was needed in the face of international terrorism. But how then do the Democrats explain the continual electoral support for candidates in Europe and Asia that either explicitly support our current foreign policy, or maintain a solidly pro-American platform in a campaign against an anti-American (or rather anti-Bush) candidate?

If the Democrats were accurate in their assertion, it would be reasonable to assume that after six years of Bush there would be significant evidence of shifts in the international political order, with voters in other Western democracies and traditional US allies embracing candidates that campaigned on the same anti-Bush strategy that is the foundation of current Democratic talking points. However, in almost every major test of the electoral relevance of supposedly burgeoning anti-Americanism, it has proven impotent and irrelevant. The pro-American candidate has prevailed in nearly every contest in which they were pitted against an opponent that was explicitly suspicious of the United States and the current White House.

This is particularly undeniable in the elections held in those countries that comprise our "traditional allies", as John Kerry and John Edwards liked to call their anti-war sympathizers in Western Europe, which were bitterly divided in the international debate prior to invading Iraq. I will never forget the cover of The Economist the week after Spain's President Jose Marie Asnar lost his reelection bid in 2004 following his controversial handling of the terrorist attacks during the week before the election, which played off of the "most wanted" playing cards used to identify fugitives of Saddam's regime and insinuated that Blair, Howard and Bush were the next to fall. This was the first major electoral test of the "coalition of the willing" and the strength of the anti-war, anti-Bush movement sparked by his controversial decision to invade Iraq, and it was a blow to the initial legitimacy of the conflict. Much to my delight, it has now become apparent that the premonitions of the British news magazine were misguided and in fact it would be the other side of the debate that would suffer defeats at the polls in every subsequent referendum.

I must admit that there has in fact been a bit of a sea change in the Spanish-speaking world, with Latin and South America emerging as a hotbed of radicalism in the early 21st century, but we have always had trouble containing radicalism in Latin politics and this is clearly not the area of the world that Democrats are referring to when they cite the growth of anti-American sentiments.

In Europe, Asia, Oceania and our neighbors in North America, the pro-US candidate has emerged victorious as pragmatism and different priorities have rendered over-hyped anti-Americanism silent at the polls. But that won't change the tune coming from the Democratic presidential candidates, who will jump on every opportunity to emphasize that Bush has undermined our interests abroad and failed to work with our allies. They point to large demonstrations and opinion polls, but what do these matter if they fail to translate into electoral success? My question for these windbag politicians and their minions on the internet (yes I am talking to you Reddit users) is simple: Where is the proof that Bush has damaged the US abroad?


Update: Colin Falls signs pro deal with Italy's Upea Capo...

South Bend Tribune: Falls heads for Europe

I was anxiously awaiting the NBA draft on Thursday because I was certain that my boy Colin Falls was going to sneak into the mix and find himself picked at the end of the second round because he can make it rain from the cheap seats and has a degree from Notre Dame, which immediately catapults him to the top of the maturity depth chart and the bottom of the potential risk-factor list.

Apparently Colin has been plagued by a torn plantar fascia in his left foot for months, choosing to play through the pain during his senior season in which he put up very impressive numbers. Despite his pain, Colin averaged 15.3 PPG and 2.8 boards, while shooting just shy of 40% from 3-point distance and 83% from the charity stripe. He also set the bar for all-time 3-pointers in ND history (331), as well as Big-East history (189). However, uncertainty about how much he would be able to contribute in the short-term likely dropped him out of consideration by NBA General Managers, so Colin has chosen to sign a professional contract with Italian Serie A franchise Upea Capo. Another former-ND hoopster, Torin Francis, played for Upea Capo last year, but will not be returning.

Good luck Colin, hope to see you back in the states and on ESPN soon!


Who deserves the credit for foreign policy victory on Korean Peninsula?

Houston Chronicle: UN nuclear monitor to visit N. Korea

Everyone in Washington and on the major cable news networks has embraced the idea that President Bush has a failed foreign policy, and to back up this audacious claim it provides the "lost" war in Iraq as their evidence.

The problem with politicians making the bold and extreme decision to classify a particular president's policy failed, whether in the foreign or domestic realms, is that it guides their rhetoric on when addressing each by-product of said policy and marginalizes the scope of any debate over the nuances of that policy.

The recent breakthroughs in the drawn-out standoff between North Korean and essentially every other government in the world, but primarily the US, have brought the promise that the nuclear reactor which has recently been utilized in the development of several nuclear weapons from the rogue regime of Kim Jong-Il. The multilateral diplomatic approach utilized by the State Department under Colin Powell and Condi Rice is essentially the exact approach advocated by the president's detractors on Capitol Hill, so it would not surprise me if claims come from current presidential candidates, particularly on the Democratic side, that they in fact are responsible for this resounding foreign policy victory rather than the president.

I agree with everyone who asserts that Christopher Hill is the individual within the Bush Administration that deserves the lion-share of the credit, and I believe that the Chinese were the single indispensable element of the entire diplomatic effort. I also believe that the South Korean cooperation, serious cooperation on the part of Putin in Russia, as well as Japanese diplomatic leverage helped push the envelope and keep talks moving forward. But if Bush is to be tossed to the dust-bin of history based simply on his effort in Iraq then we are unlikely to learn anything from his presidency and American politics may be forever doomed to death by sensational sound-bite.

I am curious if someone would like to explain to me why the recent developments are not a significant mark of success on Bush's record. Any answer will suffice, conspiracy theory or critically contrived op-ed.


NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg bails on GOP...

Mayor Bloomberg Quits the G.O.P. - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown gasoline on the flames under the talking heads on the blogosphere and cable news, who have been predicting the media mogul and multi-Billionaire is eying a third-party run for the White House in 2008, when his office released a statement around 6pm (EST) tonight which stated:

I have filed papers with the New York City Board of Elections to change my status as a voter and register as unaffiliated with any political party. Although my plans for the future haven’t changed, I believe this brings my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead our city.

A nonpartisan approach has worked wonders in New York: we’ve balanced budgets, grown our economy, improved public health, reformed the school system and made the nation’s safest city even safer.

We have achieved real progress by overcoming the partisanship that too often puts narrow interests above the common good. As a political independent, I will continue to work with those in all political parties to find common ground, to put partisanship aside and to achieve real solutions to the challenges we face.

Any successful elected executive knows that real results are more important than partisan battles and that good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular political ideology. Working together, there’s no limit to what we can do.

Bloomberg is one of the wealthiest men in the world and could easily afford to drop $1Billion on a media blitz to raise his name recognition and pick apart the vitriol likely to be the centerpiece of the two major parties general election campaigns. It seems entirely reasonable to think that he could leverage his many media outlets and deep pockets to establish himself as the consensus reform candidate with an impressive resume. Rasmussen Reports, an independent polling agency, recently released a startling figure, which showed that 27% of respondents would vote for Bloomberg as an independent. This support base surges to over 1/3 when presented with the possibility that Bloomberg would recruit business leaders and other independent-minded politicians to run on behalf of his new party for Congress.

Though it is everything but exciting to consider an all New York ballot in 2008, analysis of a Bloomberg candidacy has been largely ignored and dismissed as fanciful, but Rasmussen aptly points out the fallacy in this dismissal. I will cover the details and implications of an election left undecided by the Electoral College in my next post...

Chris Matthews throws watermellon-sized softballs to Democratic candidates...

Chris Matthews might as well have let the candidates choose the questions he was going to ask him today during MSNBC's "Super Tuesday" joke, and he spent more time facilitating the anti-Bush talking points and exchanging banter with the embarrassingly disrespectful crowd than he spent pressing the candidates about the issues. It was almost as pathetic as his interview with Nancy Pelosi, which left him looking like a star-struck teenager as he literally answered each question in the process of asking it while simultaneously drooling all over himself.

The most infuriating question so far was his lame attempt at pressing John Edwards about what he WOULD HAVE DONE IF HE WAS PRESIDENT DURING HURRICANE KATRINA! What an absolute joke. Nobody could stop what happened in New Orleans, NOBODY, and what good does it do the city to belabor the issue of how the initial response was managed? Is it not more important that we realistically address what we are going to do with New Orleans from today forward? It is irresponsible to dodge the matter of whether or not we are actually going to rebuild below sea level, which should be at the top of the Democrats list of things to avoid considering they have all embraced Al Gore's forecast of a several meter rise in global sea levels. Where is the justice in rebuilding people's homes in a place that might be completely indefensible against the forces of nature ten or fifteen years down the road? Clearly this is too complicated for Chris Matthews to wrap his mind around.

Well, as usual Matthews delivers on his daily unspoken promise to wet himself in the presence of the modern day "Bobby Kennedy", as he ridiculously referred to Barack Obama, who apparently captures all of the "magic" that Chris is still clinging onto from his free love and world peace college years. There are two different Chris Matthews; the bulldog that doesn't let Republicans finish a sentence that casts Bush in a positive light, and there is the fourteen year-old school girl who stares dumbstruck at his 'heroes' and lets them get away with intentional distortion of history and marginalization of the future.

That is just my take though.


My new eLearning blog launched...

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about the eLearning industry and researching various eLearning solutions. I have decided to share my thoughts on a new blog which can be found at 21stcenturyelearning.blogspot.com.

My first post is about utilizing locally hosted project management software packages to track users and evaluate progress. Specifically I address the new Google Apps for Educators suite, which is a cost-effective solution for eLearning IT managers who are looking to implement Google services in an easily customizable and micromanaged environment.


Judge for yourself, Norman Finkelstein via YouTube...

Norman Finkelstein giving a talk at Suffolk University in MassachusettsImage via Wikipedia

A friend of mine criticized the fact that I had included silly martial arts montage videos in my first post on the Finkelgate controversy, so I have decided to post more of Norman Finkelstein in his own words so my readers can judge for themselves how professional and tenure-worthy/unworthy they believe him to be.

The first nine clips of this YouTube playlist feature a debate between Professor Finkelstein and CNN's Wolf Blitzer. It took place several years ago so you will probably find it rather humorous.

The last few clips are a debate between Finkelstein and former-Israeli Foreign and Security Minister Shlomo Ben Ami on Democracy Now.

The last two are longer and include both parts of a lengthy speech given very recently by Finkelstein on whether or not criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.

Be forewarned, this is a long collection of videos, but I wanted to present a comprehensive collection of highlights for you to see and pass judgement for yourself. I hope these videos are better received than those I included in my last post, and I hope everyone enjoys watching.

I encourage everyone to share their reactions in the comments below.

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