Monday, June 23, 2008

Seal of the Candidate of the United States (Democratic Party)

Just spent some time over on Barack Obama's website. It's actually a pretty nice website, though apparently they're gagging for money: every new page seems to have a "Donate Now" element to it.

After you've typed in address, you get sent to the donate page (perhaps a little presumptive for someone who's never visited before). Watch his new ad, you get a page that's dominated by donation form with only a relatively tiny window with the actual ad in it.

They're hoping for 75,000 extra doners by July 4th.

You know, the website really does look nice. All the graphics and pictures, chosen no doubt by a hoard of consultants (probably why they still need bucketloads of donations...). Lots of blue, lots of white, a little red (can't have too much Republican colour on there).

While I think it's a little pompous to design your very own seal, Obama's is, like his website, rather pretty:

Friday, June 20, 2008

What kind of sentence is this...?

Just read a Washington Post editorial about Obama's "moderate" credentials, and I was struck by Obama's strange response to Michael Gerson's question, "Have you ever worked across the aisle in such a way that entailed a political risk for yourself?"
Here's the bizarre sentence he responded with:
  • "Well, look, when I was doing ethics reform legislation, for example, that wasn't popular with Democrats or Republicans. So any time that you actually try to get something done in Washington, it entails some political risks. But I think the basic principle which you pointed out is that I have consistently said, when it comes to solving problems, like nuclear proliferation or reducing the influence of lobbyists in Washington, that I don't approach this from a partisan or ideological perspective."

Gerson goes on to write about how this isn't a very good response in terms of content ("weak tea" are his exact words), but what strikes me most is the garbled nature of his reply. I have no idea what he's really saying. I think he's saying that he's reached across the aisle repeatedly, and that each time it was a political risk. If that's accurate, why didn't he just say that? (Ok, Gerson makes the argument that it's because it's just not true, an argument I think is pretty accurate.)

Another worthy sentence in the article - this time for its quality, rather than Bush-type garbling - is how Gerson says McCain isn't a moderate, but "a conservative with a habit of massive, eye-stretching heresy".

Anyway, this wasn't meant to turn into another Obama vs. McCain comparison. I just thought Obama's weird answering style was worth mentioning. That said, I think Gerson's questions about Obama's liberalism do warrant answering, too:

  • "[H]is lack of a strong, centrist ideological identity raises a concern about his governing approach. Obama has no moderate policy agenda that might tame or modify the extremes of his own party in power. Will every Cabinet department simply be handed over to the most extreme Democratic interest groups? Will Obama provide any centrist check on liberal congressional overreach?"

These are questions I asked in my participation in a recent panel about foreign policy after 2008 (and previously on this blog). A Democratic House and Senate will no doubt be able to pass a lot of legislation that I approve of (e.g. I'm hoping they'll get their butts into gear to move towards an end to the whole abortion question - "Pro-Choice" should be the law, people can still choose not to have an abortion, as is the case in reality). I worry about his trade protectionism and the spectre of massive spending increases that the US can't sustain, but ultimately a Democratic law-making system is far less scary than the nutty wing of the Republicans getting ("keeping"?) their hands on the levers of power.

Another thing: what's interesting about the GOP primaries is that of the three front-runners at the beginning, none of them were the new, favoured brand of "conservative": McCain, Romney and Guiliani were all moderates before they started running for president. (Romney could be accused of being a liberal, and Guiliani just slightly eccentric.)

So close, but no cigar...

Found a couple of posts about the mythical, ephemeral new Guns N Roses album, Chinese Democracy, but sadly they were both wrong. There's no new information, the album still remains a myth, and will likely only be released posthumously...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Does McCain have a point...?

I'm referring to the growing grumbling about Obama's media coverage being far better than McCain's. Lots of people will just throw this out as one campaign complaining about another's successes, but I think he might have a point. No one can deny that Obama has been getting a lot of media coverage, certainly enough that it occasionally makes it feel like Obama's the only candidate for president.
Let's take a look at magazine covers, which is basically the only thing I have access to, for the past two years (January 2007-present, from both "conservative" and "liberal" ones):
  • Obama - 2.5
  • McCain - 1.5 (they share latest issue)
  • Obama - 2 (two where he shares with Clinton)
  • McCain - 1
  • Obama - 5
  • McCain - 2 (both 2007)
  • Obama - 5.5 (one shared with Clinton)
  • McCain - 3
  • Obama - 1.5 (one shared with Clinton again)
  • McCain - 1

Newsweek (US Edition)

  • Obama - 6
  • McCain - 2

Time (US Edition)

  • Obama - 6
  • McCain - 4
So what does this tell us? Not a whole lot, really. Who really knows what the truth is? It certainly can feel like Obama's getting all the press, but it's not always great press. Maybe they should only do covers/issues with both on them/in them?
I can't believe I took the time to find this all out...

It's all apolitical

Someone asked me why I haven't blogged anything about the election recently (imagine my surprise that someone actually read my blog!). Well, the simple answer is that it's all just going round-and-round and too many people are saying all the same things, which is incredibly boring. I also don't find "veep-stakes" at all interesting.
If you do, then you can head over to The New Republic, who are seriously getting into the whole vice-presidential sweeps mess.
What I can say, though, is that it's completely unsurprising that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is now an adviser for the Obama campaign. Who'd have thought it? Well, turns out everyone.

Asus Annoys...

First off, this is more about their release schedule than their products. I ordered one of the new Eee PC 900 laptops, which took an age to arrive, but is absolutely fantastic! It's tiny, lightweight and does exactly what I was hoping it would!

But, why are they now releasing (one and a half months later) the 901 model, with MUCH better processor, longer battery life and lower price?!

This is not treating customers well, or fairly. Not impressed at all.

Monday, June 02, 2008

McCain Interview

Just a quick message:

Good interview with Senator John McCain with Jeffrey Goldberg from The Atlantic.