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Evaluation Time

Every year I ask for feedback on the blog. It’s your time now to leave insulting, offensive and libelous remarks about me and my online presence. And suggestions for improvement would be nice too.

One topic I do want discussed is the possibility of resurrecting a podcast, this time political in nature.


The SuperBowl

I parody myself and the ridiculous pre-game media coverage of the SuperBowl in my latest column

The Giuliani Mistake

Rudy Giuliani was the presidential frontrunner for the GOP from December of 2004 until December of 2007. He consistently polled 20 points above any of his competitors and Giuliani supporters were persistently working over conservatives to gather support for the New England Republican with the liberal track record.

Now Giuliani is bowing out of the race after only receiving enough support for two delegates, which puts him on par with Duncan Hunter (who received one or two delegates, I forget exactly) and well behind Ron Paul (6 delegates). Giuliani erred by refusing to contest the early states and it cost him the nomination.

The strategy can be rationalized. Campaigns are about managing scarce resources, namely money; Giuliani knew he polled better in the larger states and if he could survive until Super Tuesday he would have a good chance of winning the nomination. Unfortunately this also meant he kept himself out of the spotlight early in the race and allowed other candidates to present themselves to a divided and leaderless GOP base.

Every state, every early primary matters. If Giuliani was going to represent all Republicans as our presidential candidate he was going to need to win over the hearts of Republicans in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan and Iowa. If Giuliani was the right choice he needed to prove it to conservatives, evangelicals and everyone else. He simply ignored them and they in turn were courted by the other candidates to great effect.

Giuliani didn’t need to waste resources like money on the early states. There are cost efficient campaign methods that keep your name in the paper and allow you to at least place. He could have run cheap campaigns based on grassroots efforts and earned media. I have been contacted by the Romney campaign, the McCain campaign and the Ron Paul campaign and been asked to help out. The only contact I had with the Giuliani campaign were the occasional emails from a local Giuliani supporter talking about the latest polls on Giuliani. This to me shows the weakness of his campaign and his failure to utilize all the methods for getting your message out to voters.

Rudy could have saved his money for the big states while still campaigning aggressively in the early primary states. You don’t always need TV ads to win an election. An old fashioned campaign can work (or heck, even an active eCampaign would do). Giuliani needed to keep bringing his message to the voters; win or lose he needed to keep himself in the minds of the voters and the media.

By not actively contesting the early primaries he allowed the electorate to ignore him. I was sad to see him go but it was his own miscalculation which cost him.

Wednesday Hero

SSgt. Justin R. WhitingSSgt. Justing R. Whiting
27 years old from Hancock, New York
3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
January 19, 2008

Staff Sgt. Justin R. Whiting, a Special Forces medical sergeant sustained fatal wounds when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive devise 16 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq.

He is survived by his mother, Estelline, of Colorado Springs, Colo., father, Randall, of Hancock, N.Y., sister, Amanda, of DuPont, Wash., and brother Nathan of Dover, Tenn.

For more information on SSgt. Justin Whiting, you can download this PDF file.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Wednesday Heroes are written by Indian Chris as part of a non-partisan effort to recognize the bravery of our men in uniform.

Others Participating in the Wednesday Hero effort:

You Can’t Escape

Scene: Around 9pm at an IHOP in one of the “Super Tuesday” states, Young Enthusiastic Blogger (YEB) is on his fourth cup of coffee with half a stack of pancakes and a pile of papers in front of him. Marginally Attractive Waitress (MAW) is bringing him more coffee.

MAW: Here’s your coffee hon, what are you working on this week?

YEB continues his work without talking; MAW picks up a sheet of paper from one of the piles on the table.

MAW: “Minor League OPS Leaders by Age,” sounds riveting.

YEB: Look MAW, I’ve spent the last three weeks combing through an endless stream of tiny numbers, just keep the coffee coming.

MAW: Aren’t you snippy; did you get embarrassed by the Baseball Think Factory again?

YEB: Why do you hurt me so?

MAW: Because you’re a bad tipper. Just out of curiosity, do you even watch other sports?

YEB: Well, the Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t exactly catching my fancy, but sure, I watch football all the time, golf when it’s on, NASCAR when I’m bored and, well, I pretty much watch whatever is on television when the Twins aren’t.

MAW: Good, you’re not a total case then…so, you have any Super Bowl plans?

YEB: I’m not sure I’m allowed to use the phrase “Super Bowl,” isn’t it trademarked or something?

MAW: Okay, do you have any plans for the “Big Game?”

YEB: Not really, Tom Brady is going to roll right through the Giants. I figured I could take a weekend off and drive somewhere. I’ll catch the commercials on YouTube when I get back.

MAW: It’s the middle of winter; it’s below freezing, where the hell would you go? There’s nothing to drive to. And please, Brady isn’t going roll over the Giants; they just beat Brett Favre in Lambeau Field. You can’t write off that sort of momentum.

YEB: Uh, yes I can write off “momentum” as it doesn’t exist. Brady is going to pick the Giants apart. See, modern football is about moving the ball with a robust passing game. If you look at the numbers…

MAW: Stop, if you’re going to start talking about probability or correlations I’ll slap you.

An Obnoxious Football Fan (OFF) in the neighboring booth overhears the conversation and decides to jump in.

OFF: Dude, did you say you weren’t planning on watching the Super…er…Big Game?

YEB: Yes.

OFF: Dude, you can’t, like, not watch the game man, it’s America’s religion. Go Giants! Whooooo!

YEB slams his head into the table, as he recovers lucidity he is joined by his friend, Liberal Blogger Dude (LBD)

YEB: Good to see you LBD, what’re you doing here?

LBD: Didn’t you hear? This IHOP is going to be visited by Democrat Presidential Frontrunner (DPF) sometime tonight.

MAW: Yeah, the secret service have been snooping around for the last few hours.

YEB: Why would DPF make a campaign stop here at 9 o’clock at night?

MAW: His local campaign office always meets here for dinner, he’s going to join them for a bit.

YEB smashes his head into the table once again.

MAW: You break it you buy it.

LBD: What’s the big deal? I thought you were into politics?

YEB: Not when I’m trying to finish baseball related research, in fact, I’m not interested in politics at all except in the absence of baseball.

LBD: People like you are why this country is in the state it’s in.

OFF: Go Giants, Whoooo!

Groups of people start filling up tables. Some are regulars but most look like journalists. Eventually the IHOP is full except for a reserved table in the back. Unknown Local Journalist (ULJ) takes a seat beside LBD at YEB’s table.

ULJ: I told the hostess I was with LBD; I hope you guys don’t mind.

YEB: No I don’t mind, at this point I won’t be getting anything done.

LBD: YEB, want you to meet a good friend of mine, he works for the Local Paper of Record.

ULJ: Hey, I know you YEB; you got pwn3d by the Baseball Think Factory. I read about it on a popular and insightful, and thus not your, Twins blog.

YEB: I don’t need this, if I wanted to be insulted I could ask MAW out on a date again.

ULJ, reading one of YEB’s scraps of paper: “AA Walk to Strikeout Ratio Leaders, adjusted,” sounds thrilling. Why are all the names blacked out?

YEB: It’s so I won’t show any bias and it helps me maintain test-retest reliability as I rank prospects.

ULJ: You need to get out more.

Several large SUVs and a small armada of police vehicles stop in front of the IHOP and several dozen people pour through the doors. Every journalist, including ULJ, jumped up and rushed the door. Police and Secret Service agents pushed a path for DPF. The air was filled with questions and the sounds of camera clicking pictures. After a few minutes the commotion died down as DPF and his campaign staff were seated at the reserve table.

Their dinner must have been previously prepared since it was served moments after everyone was seated. After fifteen minutes the meal was over and DPF started going around the restaurant shaking hands. Eventually he worked his way to YEB’s booth.

DPF: Good evening everyone, how’s everybody doing?

LBD: Very good sir.

DPF, looking at the papers on the table: Sports statistics? Are we big sports fans?

OFF: Yes Sir! Go Giants! Whoooo!

LBD: We’re mostly sports fans, except grumpy over there, he’s not going to watch the Big Game on Sunday.

DPF: My friend, that is un-American. We must come together as brothers in this society, Blacks and Latinos, Republicans and Democrats, and find common ground. It is time for change, for football. It will be a great day in America when we can provide healthcare and jobs to all Americans and shake off the present administration and move forward for change. The Big Game is something more important than one of us, it is about all of us.

YEB: I bet you’re rooting for the Giants?

DPF: Fate is in their corner, they have momentum. Tom Brady has suffered the slings and arrows of a long season and may find himself on the sideline. Come now son, we are our brother’s keepers, watch the Big Game. I bid you all good night but I expect the rest of you shall help the young man see the light.

DPF is shuffled away by the Secret Service and soon enough the IHOP is back to normal.

MAW: Isn’t that guy a doll? I’d so vote for him.

YEB: All looks, charm and glittering generalities.

ULJ: So YEB, you’re some sort of writer, you going to “blog” this or something?

YEB: I had an idea in mind.

LBD: You’re not going to one of those stupid dialogue columns are you? Do you really think people find you funny?

YEB: Uh…

LBD: Come on, it’s impossible to even keep all the characters straight. Where did you get the idea to do that anyway?

YEB: Well, it was originally a parody of a column written by a guy from his (pointing to ULJ) paper.

LBD: Well, stop. Just stop. Matter of fact, why don’t you just take a weekend off and drive somewhere.

OFF: Like to the Big Game! Go Giants! Whoooo!

YEB, to MAW after popping an aspirin: Where’s my coffee?


To Leo and his family

Random Link o’ the Day:


Don Drysdale

“A definite prospect”

From the Library of Congress

Bush’s State of the Union 2008

Where was this guy 7 years ago?

Pat Neshek Fan Club