Thursday, September 14, 2006
At the risk of incurring more comments from the pro and anti Kinky Friedman corners of the blogoverse, I would like to take a minute to look at his strategy.

He has no money. Strayhorn has 10 million dollars, Perry has probably twice that, and Chris Bell probably has...something...

So he can't blanket Texas with TV ads, although he has a few running at the moment, and he can't mail 100 pieces of mail to everyone in the state.

But he can talk.

And he talks a lot.

Kinky is the King of Earned Media. Everytime he opens his mouth, whether to say something intelligent or just plain dumb, there are a dozen reporters there to jot it down. My Google Alert for him pulls down at least 15 articles a day; most of them are from across Texas, and I do mean across Texas, everywhere from El Paso to Lubbock to Laredo to Houston and back again. But he also pops up in California, DC, Oregon, Michigan---France, UK, Malaysia (it's true), the list goes on.

People hearing about him could be much better for him then people actually seeing or hearing him.

For example: This recent article,
This appeared in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, but was on the AP wire so will blanket the state and beyond.

Let's pull out some vintage Kinkyisms:
(This is the first line of the article)

Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman said Wednesday he favored legalizing marijuana to keep nonviolent users out of prison and said he would push to release those already in prison for the offense to free prison space for more violent criminals.

"I think that's long overdue,....We've pretty well lost the war on drugs doing it the way we're doing it. Drugs are more available and cheaper than ever before. What we're doing is not working."

(I think he's right, and if everyone who actually did drugs would just stand up and admit it, then marijuana would be legal about 30 minutes later. But who would say that?)

He said one of the first calls he'd make as governor would be to Robert Muhammad, head of the Nation of Islam in Houston, who he said "the Lord put in my path at the Austin airport earlier this year."

"He's a very visionary man," Friedman said. "You would think we're at opposite poles, but we're not. That's the guy I would tap. I would tap him to help us get those gangsters and thugs and crackheads out of [Houston].

(So Kinky said Houston was full of "crackheads" who had to evacuate Louisiana last year and who were causing Houston's crime rate to go up. People got freaked out and his first response was: I can call them crackheads because I used to be a cokehead, I sympathize. And now he wants to talk to the head of NOI in Houston. How do you respond to that? Have you pissed anyone off? Or have you pissed off so many people that it balances out?)

"I don't mind being called a flip-flopper," he said, a description Perry's campaign has placed on him. "I think we actually could use a flip-flopper as governor because a flip-flopper is a human being open to change, and God knows change is what we need now. We don't need a guy who is driving this train into a ditch because he stayed the course. And I mean the governor."

(Why couldn't John Kerry have said this, just once!)

He also said he would use one of the governor's few powerful roles in appointing state board members to replace as many as he could...."You clean house," he said. "You get the old farts out of there. You put a bunch of young people in and you put a bunch of people who care about Texas. It's pretty simple."

(Hard to argue with.)

On the death penalty, he said he would more carefully look at capital cases approaching execution and suggested he would be more liberal in using the governor's authority to grant a one-time 30-day reprieve to condemned killers.

"I would be careful killing a guy," he said. "I think there are people who need to die, but the question I've asked mostly is: When was the last time we've executed a rich man in Texas?

"We're working with a very imperfect system and I think we've made mistakes. I would not say if it was good enough for the jury, it's good enough for me. I'm not Susan Sarandon. I don't think every murderer is innocent. I would take these case by case."

That's what he does so well; if a "Democrat" said we should take a close look at death penalty cases the Republicans would label them as soft on crime. But Kinky just states it plainly and phrases it in such a natural way that it seems like the only thing to do.

Sometimes he says really stupid things, the "crackhead" line was probably too far, but so much of what he says walks a line that very few candidates even try to walk. He's just being himself, but he's also discussing very serious issues.

I think Democrats should take note...

(oh, and by the way, Kinky is also up for the Thurber Prize for Humor Writing. Past winners include Jon Stewart, David Sedaris and Christopher Buckley. Just thought you should know.)

Monday, September 11, 2006
"I'm the George W. Bush of hip-hop -- nobody likes me, but I'm still gonna run it for the next four years" -- 50 Cent (People).

Friday, September 08, 2006
Crazy Republicans On HORSES!!!!

Although I have to admit, I'd rather see a daffy Senator Harris, then continue with racist Senator Allen. It's a tough call, but one that I'm comfortable with. After all, Kitty Harris is funny, Georgie is just scary.

Go Ahead and Gobble Up a Slice of Craziness

(How awkward must it have been to be served the slice with her crazy eyes staring up at you?)

So HOT Right Now

--Sting Rays

--DUI's (Mel, that kid from the 6th Sense, Paris, a couple pro football players, etc.)

--Court Appointed Presdients (Once Canada does it we'll have the whole continent)

--Pluto's Chances for a Comeback

--Katie Mania (Couric and Harris)

So NOT hot Right Now

--ABC DocuDramas

--Al Gore running for President (weep)

--Spending Time with Your Candidate for Senate (See: Bush, Jeb)

--Karl Rove going to prison (sigh)

That Explains It

Exhibit A.
No one likes Joey Lieberman anymore. The people of CT voted him out of office.

Exhibit B.
No one likes G-Dubb anymore. Everyone thinks he's a creep.

Everyone knows this. Except for the two of them.
Why is that?

Well maybe it's because they were never told they were so unpopular.

Tracy Costin, President of Polling firm DataUSA, has pled guilty to fraud. Evidently the polling company would just make up answers. The callers would not really call everyone they said they were calling, and sometimes wouldn't call anyone at all.

Now polls are a politician's lifeblood, it's the only way for them to truly know what their constituents are thinking. Like them or not, and I can't think of a better way of gauging public support than asking the public what they support, polls are everything. They determine a campaign's message, they determine which commercial to air, they determine which bill to propose and what tie to wear with what speech.

Two of Costin's clients: Joe Lieberman and George W. Bush.

Here's the best part:
"FBI Special Agent Jeff Rovelli said 50 percent of information compiled by DataUSA and transmitted to Bush's campaign was falsified, the Connecticut Post reported Thursday."

Now they must have other pollsters, but when people talk about Liebs and Bush being "out of touch," now we know why.

They're not stupid or mean, they're just gullible.

Have no Fear for JennyG

One of the GOP's biggest targets this year is first term incumbent Governor Jennifer Granholm (D-Michigan). She has been a good Governor (and is clearly the most fashionable Guv in the country, sorry Mitt) but Michigan's economy sucks and she might get blamed for it.

Recent polls have shown her in a dead heat against Amway salesman (yeah, weird that Amway still exists huh?) Dick DeVos. Bad news for an incumbent...

But, a quick look at the MONEY makes me a lot less nervous about this race. DeVos has spent more than 20 MILLION dollars to make this race even, while Jenny still has more than 7 MILLION in the bank waiting to be used.

If DeVos needs to spend money at this clip just to make this a competitive race then I think she's going to be fine. Can he really keep this up? Sure he's a millionaire, but at some point the returns will start to level out. Granholm has barely started to spend money, and once she does I expect her numbers to go back up. I think she holds on to her seat by two or three points.

Raised Spent
Period YTD Period YTD CoH
GRANHOLM $7.8M $19.0M $7.7M $11.6M $7.3M
DeVOS $4.1M $21.6M $4.5M $21.0M $596K

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
She Won!!!!!

Katherine Harris won her Republican primary last night, and is now the official GOP candidate for Senate. She's running against the popular incumbent Bill Nelson, who probably would have been vulnerable to a candidate that didn't say you should only elect Christians, or you'd be "legislating sin." Or a candidate who didn't flirt with 17 year olds trying to interview her. Or a candidate who has burned through 17 campaign managers in six months (seriously, how many high level campaign aides can she really have?)...the list of craziness goes on and on.

Oh I almost forgot my favorite one (alright we'll do one more). In the promotions for a fundraiser she was having she listed NINE (9) prominent Republican Floridians who were going to join her on stage. But the problem was that these guys didn't know they were supposed to be there, they didn't endorse her, and none of them wanted to be anywhere near her. So they didn't show up. Which led Harris to say that the event was changed at the last second because a tree fell on the airplane hangar it was supposed to originally be in. (It's true, she said that. She was lying.)

This campaign will go down as one of the most poorly run human endeavors (of any kind) in history. She could lose by 90 points, seriously!

But you have to admire someone who told her entire party to go fuck themselves. Jeb, Rove, and rumors are the President all sat her down and told her to drop out. But she stood her ground, and wouldn't let her ego get in the way between the party and a good loss. That's the kind of attitude I'd like to see more of in today's GOP.

Friday, September 01, 2006
Was Al Gore really on the MTV Video Music Awards?

That's cool...I think.

Breaking News!!!
Thurgood Marshall award NOT given to openly racist United States Senator.

George Allen.


Here's a picture of him (far left) with the leaders of one of the largest white supremacist groups in the nation. The "Council of Conservative Citizens" is what they renamed themselves after they realized the "White Citizen's Council" wasn't going to work anymore (that's not a joke). And yes that's Charlton Heston at the end (isn't he dead yet?).

Here's an article from The Nation on this picture and why Georgie's so close to his fellow Grand Dragons.

The same Senator who used to wear a Confederate Flag pin.

The same Senator who used to proudly display a noose in his office.

The same Senator who called an Indian-American man "Macaca" in front of a bunch of old white people. (And yes that word is a racial slur; it's a French slur for Africans (Allen's Mother is Tunisian) and it seems it might be a code word that white supremacists use to describe everyone else....He Knew What He Was Saying.)

This same Senator was being given an award from the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. Donors freaked out. Allen refused the award. Read more here.

Granted he was getting the award for sponsoring a bill that gave millions of dollars to HBCUs; it's a good thing, but chances are Allen didn't really want word of this to spread out to all of his racist backers. So once the award got the smallest inkling of press--he ran as fast as he could.

It's simple. George Allen is an old time white supremacist. "Racist" doesn't even count; that's too prosaic and too common to describe where he's coming from. He was elected Governor and then Senator with the help of people like those guys up there in that picture. He hangs out with people who have a deep seated belief in the inferiority of people of color.

Any time he does something for non-white people--he's faking.

Until then, this is just another reminder why he must be defeated this November. This man WILL run for President, and he will pull every race-baiting trick he needs to in order to win South Carolina and any other Southern states on Super Tuesday.

I can only hope that eventually someone will get him on tape espousing his true beliefs. When that happens, he's done. Can't run for President, and if it happens before November he can't be reelected Senator--sorry George open racism won't work even in Virginia.

It's just a matter of time before he reveals himself (yes, he's actually that scary), let's just hope that he's not in the White House when he does.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The Ocean State
So here's the deal in Rhode Island.

1. They have 2 Senators (yeah I know it seems like too many, but it's in the Constitution...)

2. One of them is Republican Linc Chafee; probably the most moderate Republican Senator he has been endorsed by NARAL and most unions. He votes with the Democrats quite a bit, and some have suspected that he will eventually pull a Jeffords and go Independent.

3. The RNC knows that he is the only Republican this side of Lieberman who can actually hold onto this seat. Rhode Island is not, surprise surprise, a Republican stronghold; Chafee's popularity is the only thing that keeps this from being the easiest Dem pick-up since...since...well let's not get into that.

4. Cranston (evidently it's a city) Mayor Steven Laffey is running against Chafee (no their names don't rhyme) in the Republican primary. Laffey is running as a "true" conservative and it turns out that there are some real Republicans in Rhode Island; or at least enough for Laffey to give Chafee a run for his money in the primary.

5. If Laffey wins the GOP primary he will lose badly to the Democratic nominee. If Chafee wins the GOP primary he could still hold onto his seat (although I wouldn't bet on it).

6. The RNC and the NRSC (National Repub Senatorial Cmte.) are in the awkward position, and one that some of the more conservative GOP donors are very uncomfortable with, of attacking the conservative and putting lots and lots of money behind the much more liberal Chafee.

7. This is a good thing for the Democratic Party.

8. The NRSC has spent over $180,000 defending Chafee. Money that they could have spent in defense of vulnerable incumbents/open seats in Tennessee, or Missouri, or Pennsylvania, or Ohio, or Montana...

9. That's a lot of money.

10. I love Rhode Island.

In Today's Potential Apocalypse News...
So maybe we should take a break from worrying about Hurricanes, Tsunamis, terrorism, Dick Cheney, roadside bombs, global warming etc. and start worrying about black holes.

Turns out that the broodiest objects in the universe aren't the stationery loners we always thought they were. Astronomers are thinking that some black holes are just wandering around the universe waiting for a hapless planet to snare. They're called "renegades" or "rogue black holes" (move over North Korea!) and they might be closer than you think.

Here's the article.

So what would actually happened if a black hole popped into the solar system for a snack? Well we'd all die horrible deaths; the only suspense is how it would happen. The "nomad" could suck us out of our orbit and send the earth out into space to freeze. Or it could knock us into the sun, burning us up. I need to note that both these scenarios were in that Twilight Zone episode, you know the one I'm thinking of.

This could happen, it's unlikely, but hey they said that about the Red Sox.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006
I Just Realized Something

I LOVE Kinky Friedman

And when you look at things, he just might be able to pull out a victory.

Go to his website if you dont' know who he is.
Basically, he's a cigar smoking, whisky drinking, country music singing (his band is called Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys), mystery novel writing, larger than life, Texan. And he's running for Governor.

His two campaign slogans are:
1. Why the Hell Not?
2. How hard can it be?

He is also one of the most honest, straight talking, and natural people who have ever run for any office.

So there are five candidates running for Governor of Texas. Incumbent Republicanazi Rick "Great Hair" Perry, Democrat Chris Bell, Indepent Carole Stayhorn, Independent Kinky Friedman, and the Libertarian who I'm sure has a name and is a nice guy but I can't remember it and don't really want to look it up right now.

There is every reason to believe that the winner will clock in under at 50% (that's why I included the Libertarian; in a race this close a canned ham could make a difference).

Bell has the personality of a skin disease, but could easily pull 15% just from straight party voters that are confused by all the other names on the ballot. Let's give 2% to the Lib.

Strayhorn is known around the state and if she raises enough money she could draw up at least 18%. Some newspaper polls (not very reliable, but hey why not) show Kinky in second place to Perry; so let's roll with that and say that Kinky pulls at least 25%. That gives the election to Perry with a wopping FORTY percent.

These are quick numbers, but I think they're fairly realistic. Lots of people will automatically vote for Bell because he's a Dem; a few will automatically vote for the Lib because he's a Lib.

It's hard to judge support for Kinky and Strayhorn, but they are reaching lots of voters, getting lots of press, and starting to raise lots of money (last time I checked, that's all you need to run a competitive race).

Lots of people in Texas are fed up with both parties. Liberals hate the weakness of the Texas Democratic Party; an increasing number of Republicans are tired of the extremity of the State Party, and the general incompetence of the National Party.

Perry still has to be considered the favorite to win, but the state is ready to vote for someone different, someone weird, someone a hell of a lot like Kinky Friedman.

He's probably the most liberal candidate running for any position anywhere in the country, but he presents it in such a common sensical way that conservatives find themselves agreeing with him. He appeals to everyone, and he is beginning to actually present ideas.

There are lots of questions here obviously: 1. People laugh, but will they vote for him? 2. Will very serious people vote for someone insane? 3. Will he be able to raise any money or outside support from those that matter? 4. Won't people who think they'll vote for him just panic in the booth and vote for a more traditional candidate?

These are all the same questions asked about Ned Lamont, Arnold and Jesse Ventura. Of course they were also the questions asked about Howard Dean, Ross Perot and George McGovern--we know how those turned out.

Stay tuned for more on Kinky...

Read the Comments to discover 1. Why I'm Wrong About Kinky and 2. Why Kinky Isn't A Liberal.

My Thoughts on Little Joey's Big Problems

I’ve been asked a couple of times what I think about the whole Ned Lamont thing up in Connecticut (yes, people do ask me about politics, well, two people) and am going to take up some bandwidth opining about it.

Who Actually Got Him Elected:

The thing that strikes me the most is that this has provided the rightwingosphere the opportunity they’ve been looking for to finally go for the blogosphere’s throat. Yes, every lefty blog this side of South Dakota Watch (it’s real) was a loud voice for Lamont. Yes, every blog out there raised money for Lamont; Daily Kos alone funneled $300 million dollars to the campaign. And YES, every lefty blog was ECSTATIC that Lamont won.

BUT-----the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority of the readers of those blogs DID NOT vote in the Connecticut Democratic primary. That’s not how voting works.

The blogs didn’t install a leftwing wacko in some sort of coup; the people of Connecticut voted out a man who started thinking he was entitled to his seat, and who stopped representing the beliefs of his constituents. That’s how Democracy works.

Lots of bloggies wishing hard doesn’t get a candidate elected; for proof of this see: Paul Hackett, Ciro Rodriguez and (hello!) John Kerry!

I would wager a bet that a large majority of the voters had never read a “blogpost.”

That’s why Lieberman should just suck it up and drop out. If he loses he instantly becomes the whiniest politician ever. If he drops out (and soon) he can still become an elder statesman; hell, he can maybe run for Governor some day, or plead for a cabinet position from whoever wins in ’08 (unless it’s Ned Lamont).

The Possible Outcomes

The danger is in Lieberman winning. The GOP candidate is going to pull in about 73 votes; I don’t even know his name, and he’s not going to be a problem. This is going to be between Ned and Joe. But Joe can’t win without Republicans and Conservative Independents. He needs to bring them in to win.

But this is how he’s screwed, and why I don’t think he can win.

He has committed to caucusing with the Democrats in the next Congress if he wins. He has committed to voting for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Now he can still go back on that promise before the election and say he’ll vote once he sees all the candidates—but that’s how people really begin to see his insecurities and his inconsistencies.

Democrats are done with him. And Republicans won’t see much of a reason to vote for him if he’s just going to be a conservative Democrat. And if he goes to far to the right he’ll have to align himself with the Republicans, because once he starts attacking the party (or continues to, I should say), there’s not going to be anyway he will be on any important committees—and he’ll never chair a committee if the Dems take the Senate. (Maybe they’ll find a seat for him on the Washington DC Affairs Committee, or the Bipartisan Committee for Buying Office Supplies.)

And if he switches (or flip flops) and says he’ll caucus with the Republicans then there’s a chance he will be in the minority party while all of his old friends are having a good time being in the Majority (i.e. kicking sand in the GOP’s face, cutting to the front of the cafeteria line, getting the best tables at The Palm, etc.).

Joe's Paradox

But it’s the other option that is why he will probably stay in the election. If the Republicans hold onto a one or two seat lead in the Senate then he suddenly becomes the most important Senator (maybe ever). That’s too much ego stroking goodness for just about anyone to say no to.

But all that is dependent on him going to the other side—not just voting occasionally like a Republican or saying Republicanish things, but actually making it clear that he is a Republican in all but name. Once he does that, he looks crazy, ego-maniacal, arrogant, flip-flopy and that will make him easier to beat.

Joe’s in a tough position right now (I almost feel bad for him) the only way he could win, is going to cause him to lose—whether it’s on election day or once the next Senate comes into session.

He’s got until the middle of October to drop out and salvage his reputation. No one else is going to be hurt but him.

Presenting A New Feature:

The HotOrNot-O-Meter

So HOT right now:

Jon Benet (creepy)

So NOThot right now:

Snakes on a Plane

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