SocraticGadfly: 11/14/04 - 11/21/04

November 20, 2004

What's dope got to do, got to do with it?

Apparently a lot, if you need to lose weight.

A new diet drug that blocks cannabinoids appears to have a two-year track record of success, according to Science News.

So, post-marijuana munchies are natural.

The corollary, obviously, is that if you’re trying to lose weight, put down the blunt or the doobie and slowly walk away.

First Democratic campaign watch 2008

First, the Democrats need to look at historical standards and recognize they need to run a governor, not a senator.

That leads to the question, of course of, “Which governor?”

Assuming an “Arnold amendment” doesn’t quickly clear 38 states, that rules out Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm.

My guessing, for demographic reasons, lists two governors at the top of the list: Virginia’s Mark Warner and Kansas’ Kathleen Sebelius. Both have demographic strong points.

Warner’s is the obvious — he’s a Southern governor. Plus, Virginia is a red state that can go blue. A home-state candidate would help that, and might give the party a shot at Tennessee and North Carolina as well.

Sebelius comes from a battleground area, as a Midwestern governor. She shows that Democrats can win statewide in a strongly Republican-leading area. And, obviously, she would give the party its first female presidential candidate.

Third on the list would be New Mexico’s Bill Richardson. Coming from yet another battleground state, and arguably a battleground ethnic group, he brings some definite pluses to the table.

However, his stewardship of the Department of Energy under Clinton — i.e., Wen Ho Lee and related fallout — could cause problems. The basic question here is, is a decade enough time for forgetfulness?

Also, if Bush winds up taking New Mexico this year, especially by any significant margin, once all ballots are counted, that might be held against him.

Excellent Kerry post-mortem

Any Democrat, or progressive who still has a reflex to vote Democrat first, should read this John Kerry post-mortem by the Boston Globe.

We all know that Kerry’s given signs and hints of wanting to run again in 2008.

Well, if you want the same train wreck twice, by all means, hang your hats on him now. As the Globe column details, Kerry is already offering up a version of early post-election excuses, leavened with pseudo-populism, that arguably makes the post-2000 Al Gore look like a piker.

Of course, the Globe sees through these, without even having to list the WTF issue of all of Kerry’s leftover campaign cash.

If you’re an independent thinker, on the other hand, this should lead you to drop John Kerry and slowly walk away.

November 16, 2004

The real Clinton legacy —

It’s called cheap crap from China

In the shadow of the opening of the Clinton Library Nov. 18, PBS took a sharp look at the baseline reason retail behemoth Wal-Mart has consistently been able to, and continued to, gin down prices from its suppliers.

It’s called “free” trade with China.

The roots of this job-slashing legacy lie in the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement that New Democrat President Clinton signed. That, of course, was followed by the World Trade Organization, extending many NAFTA principles worldwide.

Unfortunately, New Democrat Clinton didn’t see fit to include adequate labor rights safeguards in these free trade agreements. So, China can let companies there pay workers pennies and fire those who protest either wages or working conditions, knowing that strikes are out of the question.

Conscienscious American businessmen such as Tom Hopson , CEO of Five Rivers Electronics Innovations, know this too well.

That includes seeing Wal-Mart fight Five Rivers’ anti-dumping complaint with the International Trade Commission being fought by Wal-Mart. That includes Beijing “suggesting” to other television manufacturers that they not join Five Rivers’ suit.

Considering the rate at which the Chinese economy grows, this arguably could be considered a form of hostage-taking or economic terrorism.

That’s the Clinton legacy.

November 15, 2004

Out Ken Mehlman!

Supposedly the Washington Blade ran a rather bizarre article recently about a bunch of gay Republicans... and Ken Mehlman.

If they have the goods on him, now that he is the Republican National Chairman, it is more than high time to out him and his hypocrisy.

November 14, 2004

Now, it’s city slickers against the rest of the country

The Sarasota Herald Tribune appears to be putting a new spin on the old conservative idea of class warfare.

The thesis of Jim McNeil is that it’s not blue states vs. red, but big cities and New England enclaves against everybody else. Even without the soon-to-be apparent culture war slant of the editorial, I think they are a bit overstating things.

For example, even in urbanizing post-WWII America, there's not always been a rural-urban gap at the national level. The largely rural South was yellow dog Democratic, but the Midwest was then as today stereotypically rock-ribbed Republican or leaning that way.

Besides urban New York “married” the rural South 215 years ago to found Jefferson's Republican party.

In any case, what’s the semi-hysterical deal? In some of the states you mentioned, midsized cities may have voted the same direction as big cities, i.e. Youngstown and Cleveland.

More importantly, though, elsewhere, suburbia, and even more so, borderline exurbia, voted against central city areas in many of these urban conglomerates.

I have an example right here in conservative ground zero Dallas.

In Dallas County, voters elected the first Democratic sheriff in more than a generation. Democrats also picked up three state judgeships in Dallas County.

Meanwhile, Sessions beat Frost in a district partially outside Dallas County, with personal involvement by the president, etc. Smokey Joe Barton won easily in his suburban/exurban district. (It takes in a fair amount of rural territory, but the majority of voters would be demographically classified as either suburban or exurban, whether they recognize the exurban term or want to accept it if they do.)

Finally, the fact that the editorial's last graf ends by plugging Bush's “mandate” should have made people look at the whole thing skeptically.

The second-last graf ends:

”Clearly, this is not a blue-state vs. red-state issue; it is a large-cities vs. the rest- of-the-country issue.”

Can't you just see how McNeil’s setting up the culture warfare issue here? I mean, to me, it's slipping out like Ghostbusters ectoplasm.

The Morning News tries to go environmental, falls flat

The Dallas Morning News wrote an editorial Nov. 14 encouraging people to write the U.S. Forest Service to protest the Bush Administration’s plan to overturn the roadless rule.

However, the Snooze quickly shot its neo-enviro self in the foot by talking about the Tsongas, not the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, as though a former Massachusetts senator had been promoted to Agriculture Secretary or something.

In an e-mail to members of their op-ed staff, I noted this, and also asked:

"Why, if this issue is suddenly so important to the News, and it thought it was so important to its readers, did you wait until the next to last day of comment on the roadless rule to write an editorial, when environmental groups have been contacting their members for weeks?"

Why, indeed?