July 29, 2005

McCain Revives PAC -- And the Speculation

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has quietly reactivated his political action committee. The potential 2008 presidential candidate filed papers July 15 re-creating his Straight Talk America PAC, a move that looks very much like a prelude to another run for the White House.

"I would assume it's starting up for '08," said PoliticalMoneyLine co-founder Kent Cooper, whose watchdog group alerted reporters to the filing.

Music to my ears. Click here.

Frist Breaks With Bush on Stem-Cell Bill

Some big news on the Hill today is that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has decided to support federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, opposing George W. Bush on an issue (wowza!) and even more remarkably, taking a side opposite of those on the religious right.

We all know that this is a move to make him more likeable when he runs for president in 2008 since the majority of Americans support stem cell research, but this guy has got to be one of the most annoying presidential prospects. His obvious pandering and positioning places him in the ranks of the John Kerrys of the world in his ability to be a "politician." This guy has pandered so much to cultural conservatives being a lead federal interventionist into the whole Terry Shiavo debacle so I don't know if this move will help him in 2008, or hurt him with his conservative base, but most likely the conservatives will have forgotten this incident by then, and the rest of America hopefully wouldn't elect him president anyway so I guess it doesn't matter too much.

Here's to hoping that the Republican Party can produce a quality candidate like the Democratic Party hopefully will (Mark Warner).

The Christian Defense Coalition lambasted Frist's change of position.

"Sen. Frist should not expect support and endorsement from the pro-life community if he votes for embryonic research funding," it said.

"Senator Frist cannot have it both ways. He cannot be pro-life and pro-embryonic stem cell funding," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the group. "Nor can he turn around and expect widespread endorsement from the pro-life community if he should decide to run for president in 2008."

At least the flip flop slot has already been filled for 2008.

Barbara Harrison made a funny!

So I am watching NBC4 news this morning as I always do getting ready for work. If you are a regular watcher, you know that you are subjected to the cheesiest jokes of all time from co-anchor Joe Krebbs and weather/funnyman Tom Kierein. Coanchor Barbara Harrison is on a different page entirely, normally a little bit slow on understanding commentary, reading the telepropter, understanding the teleprompter... But don't get me wrong. It is the morning, and a little sluggishness is understandable. Artificial highs from caffeine producing an attempt at witty banter is understandable as well. I do keep going back to them every day, don't I?

So anyway, today, after another sigh inducing joke from the weatherman, Barbara tells him, "Tom, you sure are funny today!" To which he replies, "Am I really?" To which Barbara then responds, "NO!"

It was incredibly funny given the dynamics of the morning show team.

July 27, 2005

Defeat NAFTA

Here's why you shouldn't support CAFTA by my man Pat Buchanan. It appears in today's Washington Times.

And the seductive song the White House is singing sounds familiar. It is the NAFTA theme song. CAFTA will ease the social pressures that have produced waves of illegal aliens. CAFTA will increase U.S. exports. CAFTA will not cost U.S. jobs. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart

This article makes me want to go out and get a Costco card! (Maybe that is the point). It was in the July 17 New York Times, written by Steven Greenhouse.

But it is the customer, more than the competition, that keeps Mr. Sinegal's attention. "We're very good merchants, and we offer value," he said. "The traditional retailer will say: 'I'm selling this for $10. I wonder whether I can get $10.50 or $11.' We say: 'We're selling it for $9. How do we get it down to $8?' We understand that our members don't come and shop with us because of the fancy window displays or the Santa Claus or the piano player. They come and shop with us because we offer great values."

Learning from Lance

I read this excellent editorial in today's New York Times by Thomas L. Friedman. The whole thing is great, and I would copy and paste the entire thing here if I could. It is much deeper than an article about riding a bike, and talks about principles that we Americans seem to be forgetting. Here is an excerpt:

What I find most impressive about Armstrong, besides his sheer willpower to triumph over cancer, is the strategic focus he brings to his work, from his prerace training regimen to the meticulous way he and his cycling team plot out every leg of the race. It is a sight to behold. I have been thinking about them lately because their abilities to meld strength and strategy - to thoughtfully plan ahead and to sacrifice today for a big gain tomorrow - seem to be such fading virtues in American life.

Quote of the Day

"Whining is not a leadership style. I don't like whiners. I've never associated with whiners." - Governor Robert Ehrlich

July 26, 2005

Look to Virginia, Not China

Here is an editorial from yesterday's New York Times citing the working economic policies instituted by Governor Mark Warner.

Here is an excerpt:

Instead of trying to turn back time, politicians in Washington should be following the very good example being set by Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia. Seeking to stem the job hemorrhage in rural southern Virginia as the region's textile plants were shuttered, Mr. Warner started creating one-stop worker-assistance storefronts in depressed rural towns in 2002. Beyond helping laid-off workers navigate the maze of federal trade adjustment assistance and unemployment checks, Mr. Warner backed a program to help workers without a high school diploma get a G.E.D. in 90 days or less. He put up incentive money to attract Nascar engine builders to the region. Indeed, the area's love for Nascar has been harnessed: state-sponsored ads tout the G.E.D. program at Nascar races.

July 25, 2005

Take your cart back to the store!

I was at Home Depot and then at Shoppers this weekend when I noticed something particularly annoying - shopping carts in parking spaces. Yes, I realize that this is a fairly common occurrence, but it something that people need to stop doing!

Do you remember when you could not move shopping carts from the front of the store because they had barriers preventing you from taking the carts away? Now, to make the life of the consumer easier, these barriers have been removed. Many stores even have shelters in their parking lots so that you can put the cart in it, instead of having to walk the entire fifteen miles back to the store. Despite this convenience, people think that it is appropriate to simply leave their cart in the parking lot to make their zippy getaway after loading their trunks. However, this is more evidence to what a selfish place our society has become.

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see people push their carts down the street, to the bus stop, or even all the way back home...and to see these carts left there. While I am sympathetic of people who have a large load of groceries to take home, they must explore other options to get their food home. Maybe purchasing their own cart to take things home in. Or making smaller purchases. Or having a friend take you to the store if you have to buy many things.

Here is the bottom line. I am not saying this to be mean spirited, or uncaring about folks who just need to get their groceries home. But if people think the shopping cart is theirs when it isn't, other people's lives are affected. People can't park their cars in spaces that someone left a cart in. A grocery store's expenses rise when they are constantly having to replace carts "borrowed" for a customer's journey home.

The shopping cart does not belong to you. You borrow one from the store to place your items in, usually all nicely arranged for you when you walk into a store. After walking through the aisles, filling it with bread, milk, eggs, and cake mix, you go to a counter where your purchase is bagged and you pay for it. After purchase, you can either push your cart to the front of the store, walk to your car, drive back around and load your car avoiding the need to push your cart back after loading it. Or you can push your cart all the way to your car, load it, and then place the cart in a shelter or bring it back to where you borrowed it from in the first place. It is really quite simple actually.

I look out for you, you look out for me. So take a moment to step back from yourself and realize that there are others out there who you can directly affect by a simple action. While shopping carts are a very minor thing in the grand scheme of things, it is important to remember that if you can't handle small things, how ever can you handle big things? Think about it.

Quote of the Day

"Responsibility is the thing people dread most of all. Yet it is the one thing in the world that develops us, gives us manhood or womanhood fibre." - Frank H. Crane

Being a Man

Today's Washington Post features an article by William Raspberry entitled, "Why Black Families are Failing." It generally describes the degradation of the family unit that is often caused by men who don't know how to be men.

Here is an excerpt:

The absence of fathers means, as well, that girls lack both a pattern against which to measure the boys who pursue them and an example of sacrificial love between a man and a woman. As the ministers were at pains to say last week, it isn't the incompetence of mothers that is at issue but the absence of half of the adult support needed for families to be most effective.

Interestingly, they blamed the black church for abetting the decline of the black family -- by moderating virtually out of existence its once stern sanctions against extramarital sex and childbirth and by accepting the present trends as more or less inevitable.

July 22, 2005

Mark Warner for America

The 2008 presidential race has already begun. With federal exploratory committees established, Road to the White House 2008 on C-SPAN, and talk of a Hillary/Condi matchup, the next presidential election is well under way more than three years before nominees will have been selected by either party.

The election is unusual because we will not have a president running for reelection, nor will we have a vice president who wants the top job. The resulting open election has produced many names on either side, for the Republicans people like Bill Frist, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Rick Santorum, and on the Democrats side, Hillary, Hillary, and Hillary (as well as Joe Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards, and Evan Bayh.)

Democrats, for their part, need a candidate who can win elections. Their presidential track record isn't the greatest having won only three of their last ten attempts. This should cause party leaders to take a step back and look at what works, and what doesn't.

The proven winning strategy for the party involves the selection of candidates with southern roots, whose appeal transcends geography, and can be described as an authentic individual.

Governor Mark Warner of Virgina would be a quality candidate for the party in 2008 for many reasons. Governorships are not only the most common stepping stone to the White House, but rightly so. Governors need to work with a legislative branch, need to handle all issues of the state, and serve as the bottom line in the government. While a senator or a representative can vote on many important issues, they are merely 1 in a body of 100 or 435 making their power as an individual is not extremely significant. A governor has the responsibility of delivering a product at the end of a term, and results can actually be measured. Mark Warner has been one of the most sucessful governors in the United States in many years.

Warner, a Democrat able to win in a very traditional Republican state, won due to his ability to reach out to urban as well as rural voters. He worked with a Republican led legislature to solve a statewide budget crisis. He tranformed the state's educational system. His work caused the Pew Charitable Trust and Governing magazine to name Virginia the best managed state in the nation.

Democrats really need to consider all their options when selecting their 2008 nominee. A senator from the northeast or a governor from the south? History has revealed some trends on that. Additionally, a look at the electoral map will tell you that Warner on top of the 2008 ticket can put many new states into play that the party has generally written off.

If Mark Warner sounds intriguing to you, and you would like to learn more about him, he has been written about in several places. Newsweek's Howard Fineman wrote about him here, and there is an excellent interview on Salon.com about this Southern Star.

If you like what you see and would like to join the Draft Mark Warner movement, I encourage you to do so. There are active groups throughout the entire nation who are energized to move Governor Warner from Virginia across the Potomac River to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2009.

July 21, 2005

Quote of the Day

"The boy who is going to make a great man must not make up his mind merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses and defeats." - Theodore Roosevelt

Third Time's The Charm

I was just thinking the other day that I had some unusually interesting things happen to me recently and that I should write them somewhere so I could forever remember them. Since I generally do not write stuff down (whether it be driving directions, shopping lists, or glimpses of my soul), I tried to think of what to do. Should I randomly write Word documents, or go more basic and actually handwrite things somewhere? Since both of these options did not sound too appealing to me, I remembered, "Oh yeah, I did sign up for a blog didn't I?" But then I also remembered that I usually go through the following process:

1. Decide to start a blog.
2. Post consistently for 4 days.
3. Shift to monthly posts of 2 sentences or less.
4. Think that blogs are the most pointless thing ever.
5. Stop posting altogether.
6. Delete all posts.
7. Repeat.

So then, I was driving in to work today, and I heard on the news that China has unpegged their yuan to the US dollar, and to me this was huge news. (Learn more: China Severs Its Currency's Link to Dollar) But it was sort of a one line, page 17 type news item during the report. And I did not hear any word of this while I was getting ready for work, and had the tv news on. So then I felt the need to let people know about this.

Accordingly, I decided this blog thing might solve both of my problems. I can officially document my ramblings, rants, raves, cool stuff, random stuff, and whatever I feel like droning on and on about AND I can have soapbox to sound off on what I think you really need to stop everything in your life and start caring about.

So here I go, once again at Step 1 of my blog process. Odd are that the complete process will once again be followed through. However, I am hoping this time it might be different since now I actually wish I hadn't deleted my old posts so I can laugh at myself for what I was rambling about last year (and you can laugh about what I am rambling about today).