March 29, 2008

Political update

Since I last posted in this category, a lot has changed (needless to say). The more I followed the race in '07, the more I liked (and still do) Mitt Romney. The rest of the field didn't impress me much; I've already posted about Giulliani (Rudy Giulliani, the one-time front runner, remember him?), Thompson didn't seem too serious or energetic, Huckabee didn't seem ready for prime time, and there were several reasons why I didn't like McCain (his recent Senate record, and in general, the fact that he is a senator, convinced me not to vote to nominate him). So, when Massachusetts held it's primary, I voted in the majority for Romney.

Some time later, as you all know, Romney dropped out of the race for the good of the country and the party. His speech impressed me so much and the reasons were so compelling that I now am 100% behind McCain.

Someone recently compared Romney and McCain to Clinton and Obama, and in fact, there is no comparison. The Democrats seem to be the party of childish petty squabbling, while the Republicans look like the adults of the family.

On twitter, I've been tracking "Romney", and found a link to an Obama supporter who claimed that Clinton wanted McCain to win so she could run in 4 years. And I have to say, there may be some truth to that. I remember Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic Convention four years ago, how wonderful it was (according to the MSM punditry). I got to thinking that he dialed it up to 11 so Kerry would pale by the comparison. So it seems somewhat plausible to me that if her ambition is greater than her party loyalty, she might do that.

Although I can't help but wonder if she's done the math. She's up for re-election to her senate seat in 4 years, and if she does this, she'll have to choose between her senate seat and the presidency. Or she could wait 8 years and try again.

The only question on the Republican side is who's going to be McCain's VP. When I first got on twitter, McCain (or someone in his campaign) asked people for VP suggestions. I had just heard Michael Steele guest-hosting on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, and he impressed me, so I tweeted my recommendation for him. The problem is, especially if Obama's the democratic nominee, people will think we nominated him only so we could say, "See, we got one, too!" (a thought that frankly sickens me).

But I do have to come back to Romney. On the one hand, he'd make a great president, and his chances of that go way down if McCain's in it for the whole 8 years. But what if McCain decided to resign Jan 22, 2015. Yeah, fat chance, but I can dream. On the other hand, in terms of experience, he'd balance the ticket nicely (McCain's going to be haunted by his "not much experience with the economy" talk, and the conventional wisdom is that that's Romney's strong suit).

Ahh, well. We'll just have to wait and see what happens next.

Michael

Posted by mlv at 01:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2007

Who scares me?

I've seen lots of attacks on various Republican candidates. Many on Mitt Romney, some on Fred Thompson too. Not too much on McCain (I don't really take him seriously enough, so I don't view that as a big deal).

But the odd one out is Rudy Giulliani. There's been almost nothing negative about him. And that baffles me. I can't wrap my brain around why. But I may have an answer.

That's who they want as the nominee.

Okay, as a social conservative, I have some problems with him. His view on abortion certainly bothers me. I respect what he says about the GWOT. He's certainly spot-on there. And his promises about judicial nomination criteria may even make me more comfortable WRT his abortion views (although that's not the be-all/end-all on that issue -- President Bush did more for life with his stem cell research policies than his judicial nominations).

But that's not the biggest reason why I don't want him as the nominee. I remember some months ago there was some talk about his marriage(s)...

I should stop now and point out that being divorced is not a negative point for a candidate. Having a long term happy marriage like Romney is a positive point, but I won't give someone a negative point for having been divorced.

Anyway, I remember Giulliani was quite coy (if that's the right word, other possibilities include "evasive") regarding the details behind how he met his current wife. Is that a problem? Not in and of itself. His personal life is his own business. What scares me is the thought that somewhere at DNC HQ, in a folder labeled "Giulliani - October Surprise", is a picture of him and his current wife taken while he was still married to his previous wife.

So, we fast-forward 15 months, Guilliani's the GOP nominee, and they release that picture proving him to be unfaithful, and that propells senator Clinton (on the other side of that equation) into the white house.

The primary doesn't matter. What matters is the general election. My main goal in who I support is, can they win in 11/08. And I'm just afraid that there are some unanswered questions with him that scare me.

Otherwise, I'm not too worried. The front-runners on the democratic side are all senators. And senators are very un-electable. The aforementioned october surprise is the only scenario I can envision where we can loose (unless McCain by some nightmare becomes the nominee).

Posted by mlv at 12:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2007

Morning in Taxachusetts

Governor Patrick released his new budget.

Need I say more?

Michael

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February 24, 2007

Romney's Consistency

The MSM have been trying to make a point that Mitt Romney is inconsistent on social issues, especially abortion. They point to two facts, that in 1994 he was more pro-abortion than he is now (I don't know to what extent, I've not read the quotes, etc). And when he was running for governor of MA, he promised not to change the abortion laws.

I'd like to address each one in turn.

Romney himself said that his opinion changed between 1994 and now. I can certainly understand that. I don't recall how I voted in '94, but in '92, I voted for ... well, I won't say, but his middle name is Jefferson. So a change of view between 1994 and now is most certainly within the realm of possibility.

And in 2002 (and apparently also in 2004) he said that he wouldn't change the abortion laws in MA. It seems to me that given the state of politics in MA, that could have been nothing more than a simple statement of fact! With the State House so firmly in the Democratic camp, he could, as governor, no more change the abortion laws than sprout wings and fly! That statement, in itself, says nothing about his intentions, or what he would LIKE to do.

Finally, I'll point out an event that happened here in Boston a week or two ago. Romney was in Boston, and across the street from him were some demonstrators. They were dressed up as flip-flops and trying to make the case that he's inconsistent on abortion.

Who were these people? Were they pro-life conservatives warning us to not trust him, "He used to be soft on abortion, and he may be again!"

No, they were from Planned Parenthood.

You can tell a lot about a man by his enemies.

I'm not worried about Mitt.

Michael

Posted by mlv at 08:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 07, 2005

Osama a no-show in latest video

There's a new video out from Hollywood these days. Oops. I think it's from Al Qaida. Sorry, I get them confused. Conspicuous in his absence, however, is Osama Bin Laden himself. The video features Zawahri.

It's the usual enemy propoganda, the kind of stuff you'd expect from Al Qaida and the DNC. One thing I found fascinating, was when he said:

The (Iraqi) government is begging Americans not to leave because they know the day Americans leave is the day they are finished.

Now, I know they're not above reverse psychology. I remember how before weinvaded Iraq, Osama tried to convince us that Saddam Hussen was an infidel and that Al Qaida wouldn't have anything to do with him. Yeah. Right. That statement alone convinced me of the closeness of their relationship.

So I got to wondering, is he trying reverse psychology here? Does he want Americans to stay in Iraq? Is Iraq a boomtown (absolutely no pun intended!) for Al Qaida recruitment? In their more coherent moments, that's an argument made by those in the left. And in fact, they may be right about that. But the terrorists were, despite what they said, buddies with Saddam Hussein, and we promised we would not allow any countries to grant them safe haven.

What's Al Qaida's best interests in Iraq? On the one aforementioned hand, our occupation in Iraq does offer them recruiting abilities. But they would be much better off if (1) we surrendered and quit (which would be a far-better recruiting boost for them in itself) and (2) a terrorist-friendly government (either Saddam or the Taliban) was installed. So are they trying to keep us there? I really don't think so. No reverse psychology here. They're focus here is on recruitment. They want to convince Arabs that if they go blow themselves up in Iraq, they may be the straw that breaks the American back.

The problem for Al Qaida is, they're running out of targets. Sure, there's plenty in Iraq, but I think the Jordan wedding bombing showed how desperate they're getting. They need attacks not only for their overall aim, but as a recruitment tool ("this could be you! Join now, and you too can blow up infidels!"). With America virtually off-limits, and most of the rest of the world the same, all that's left for them to blow up are other Arabs. And once that happens, they start losing their core support.

I think I see now how victory in the war on terrorism will come about. Step 1, remove any safe havens (like Afghanistan and Iraq) for terrorists. Step 2, remove non-Arab targets. Step 3, Al Qaida shoots themselves in the foot. Step 4, they run out of dumb young men willing to blow themselves up. We're seeing that start to come about now. They're running out of targets, and without targets, they can't recruit more terrorists.

And what of Osama? I suspect that either (a) he's already dead (maybe died in the earthquake as some rumored) or (b) we know where he is, but there's better intel to be had by letting him live and watching him than by capturing or killing him. Besides, if Al Qaida is strong when he dies, someone else (we know less about) will take his place. Or maybe that someone else (Zawahri) already has?

I guess we'll find out one of these days.

Michael

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April 01, 2005

Massachusetts set to allow cloning

Yesterday, the Massachusetts senate voted to allow "theraputic cloning" for stem cell research. Today the house voted to allow it. Governor Romney has promised to veto, but they'll probably override it.

As I understand it, theraputic cloning is where you put someone's DNA in a fertilized egg, let it develop enough to create some stem cells, then insert them back into the DNA donor to (possibly) cure whatever problem they had.

One editorial claimed that Gov. Romney who apparently supports stem cell research using fetuses left over from in vitro fertilization is being hypocritical. I don't think so. I think that simply, if you (begrudgingly?) accept in vitro fertilization, then using fetuses from there is a better use for them than just throwing them away.

But I can't say that, given what it entails, I'm all that thrilled with in vitro fertilization. You create tens or hundreds of babies in the hopes that one of them might implant in a womb, then incinerate the rest? Yeek...

But what this points out is the real danger of this bill; not in what it's allowing now (which I don't like in itself), but the mentality of "Since we're already doing xxx, why can't we just go one step further and do yyy." We already have a factory assembly line creating fetuses for couples who want to be pregnant, now let's just slip someone's DNA in there to maybe cure diabetes or whatever else ails them. Then some years from now someone's going to say, "We already do cloning for theraputic (stem cell) purposes, why not carry one of these to term so they can donate a kidney." What's next? Designer babies? ("A doctor was slapped with a malpractice suit after a baby he promised would have blonde hair and blue eyes turned out to have brown hair and eyes.")

And just for the record, I myself am diabetic. It's possible I'll benefit some day from stem cell research. But, I promise you, not if it involves cloning. I will never want someone else's life (even if it is "just a fetus") sacrificed for my own.

Michael

Posted by mlv at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

Thoughts on Terri Schiavo

I'm waiting for word from BlogsForTerri or Captain's Quarters (currently, the two most current blogs on this. BlogsForTerri seems to be better at Florida activities (including tips not very useful for me ("Come over to the courthouse now" -- wish I could)), and Captain's Quarters seems the best source for DC news (but I'm still watching both, even though Congress and the President have done what they can).

Right now (I gather), the two sides have probably made their arguments in federal court; according to CNN, each side will have 30 minutes, and it's been almost 3 hours since the start of the hearing. So I presume that the judge is mulling over things, and all we can do is pray and wait.

I was trying to answer the question, "Why is Michael Schiavo doing this?" There are some possible answers, and I'm going to think out loud about some of them (my information is based on the pro-Terri websites I've found. The pro-Michael websites are hard to find):

"Terri wants to die": This is the answer he's been giving for at least the past 6 years (I'm looking at the timeline if you want to follow along). He's wanted her to die since 1993 (when he posted "Do not Resuscitate" orders). I find this claim very hard to believe. It raises a lot of questions. First and foremost is, why did he wait 7 years before mentioning it? There's also the "slip" last Friday night on Larry King Live where he admits that he doesn't know what she wanted. If she really wanted to die, and told him (and his siblings), wouldn't he have mentioned it earlier?


Money: I can't find the reference to what he gets (that he doesn't already have) if she dies, but I recall reading somewhere that if she dies, he gets a nice chunk o' change. This sounds like a very compelling motive, and one that has been bantered about a lot. I'm not saying it's not, but there are a couple arguments against it (and a rebuttal, too). 1, he offered, back in 1998 to donate the inheritance to charity. 2, someone offered him a cool million to give her parents guardianship. The rebuttals are 1, talk is cheap. Maybe that was just lip service, and 2, maybe he stands to inherit a lot more than a million, and he's just waiting for a higher bidder.

In short, I don't know. It might be part of the reason, or even all. I don't think it's none of the reason. There are a lot of unknowns in this scenario. How much of the settlement money is left? Does he have life insurance.


Strangulation: This is something that's been mentioned here and there. Did Michael strangle Terri, and did that cause all the problems she's been having? This one has some compelling arguments in favor of it. Looking again at the timeline, we see that at first he seemed to try to help her (well, inconclusive; I read her discharge record in May, 1990, and there's one line that says, "intensive rehabilitation care was not approved", but it doesn't say if the "family" (Michael) or the insurance company didn't approve it), but later stops all that.

One scenario that has some plausibility behind it is this: Michael attempts to strangle her. In order to avoid suspicion, he makes a show of trying to take care of her. But when the rehab shows that she may recover her speech and be able to accuse him, he halts the treatment and tries to have her killed.

The discharge record would give us the best clues, one would think. It states that she had a rigid neck when she was first admitted. But it doesn't say why she had a lack of oxygen. It does say that she was going to some extreme measures to keep her weight down. It doesn't say how much she weighed, but she was drinking "10-15 glasses of iced tea" [a day?]. She did have a potassium deficiency that was easily treated. I don't know if that can cause a lack of oxygen. Interesting to note is that her family's website has not refuted the possibility that a potassium deficiency could cause lack of oxygen. But they also point out that meds given by the paramedics could themselves cause low potassium.

There's another question that needs answering here: if he did strangle her, what would he be charged with (attempted murder, presumably), and what are the statute of limitations in FL on that? The family's talking points say that they have expired. That may tend to eliminate that as a motive.


When I started writing this, my thought was to make the strangulation theory my conclusion. But now I'm beginning to wonder. So I'll add another scenario:

Family pressures (in the person of his common-law wife, Jodi): It wasn't until the year he was engaged to Jodi that the timeline first mentions court actions to starve her. Between '92 and '97, he seemed content to just wait for her to die (don't treat her, don't resuscitate, etc). But in '97, I see the court actions to that end. I wonder if Jodi was jealous of Terri (or just wanted to get legally married) and encouraged Michael to take a more active role in Terri's demise.

It's possible we'll never know what really happened. It seems it's almost as hard to know what's going on in Michael's head as in Terri's head.

My hope is that somehow Terri's parents will get guardianship, and can get her the therapy she needs. This would do several different things. 1, she may recover enough to be able to speek (and maybe tell what really happened the morning of February 25, 1990), and 2, new tests, and a release of all records may provide some more clues. I don't know how that would come about; whether the federal judge can either (a) make a ruling to that end, or (b) get judge Greer replaced.

But for now, all we can do is wait and pray.

Update while writing this: the judge has declined to rule. So we wear our fingernails and/or prayer ropes down some more...

Michael

Posted by mlv at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2005

Senate voting on Sunday for Terri Schiavo

I'm watching right now; the Senate will be voting Sunday afternoon on a modified version of Terri's bill. I'm sure blogsforterri will have more detail than I do.

Posted by mlv at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2005

Cell Phone "Bill of Rights"

<rant>
The other night on the Sullivan Show on WBZ 1030 radio, they were talking to Cambridge State Senator Jarrett Barrios and Lynn State Representative Steven Walsh who were talking about a bill they're proposing called the "Cell phone users' bill of rights". Essentially it's an attempt to regulate cell phone companies the same way that other utilities are regulated.

I haven't looked through the whole bill. So it's possible there are some parts of it that I might like. But in general, I think they totally missed the mark.

The reason is simple. Cell phone companies can not be compared to utilities. Why? There's competition. If you don't like the service you get at one company, then go to another. The recent FCC ruling that you can keep your phone number when you change companies means they can't even hold that over you.

One thing that they mentioned is going in the bill really struck me; the requirement for no contracts longer than one year. I guess they don't realize that if they did that, the price for cell phones would go up. Cell phones are usually purchased with a service plan; shorten the service plan, and they'll have to raise the price of the phones. Think of the service plan (contract) as paying for the cell phone on the installment plan. If you only have 12 months to pay for it, then you have to make a much bigger down payment.

What bugs me about this is that for the most part, the free market competition among cell phone companies is working. When consumers have complaints (like wasted minutes in their calling plans), the companies usually find ways to work around it. And people can choose what suits them best. My dad, for example, only really uses his cell phone a lot when he's on vacation, so Cingular's "rollover" plan is wonderful for him. He can save up heapum minutes during the months he's at home, then use them all when he's on vacation. Sprint's plan (where your calling plan is adjusted monthly based on usage) doesn't help him as much.

</rant>

Michael

Posted by mlv at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

Great Time to be Alive

(Background, I'm in Boston, fyi)

Is it just me? I have the same feeling of giddy optimism that I had back in the baseball playoffs last year ("No problem. The Sox'll win in 4. Oh. They lost. Oh, Okay, they'll win in 5. Okay, well then 6. Well, Okay, 7. Told you so."). I have this feeling that we're seeing something wonderful happening.

It seems like democracy is spreading like a wildfire through the middle east. The sight of those inked fingers on 01/30/05 has, I think inspired people there to say, "I want to be able to vote, too." Look at what's happening in Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia (did I hear right about local elections there? What happens when there's a national election? Will the nation change names?).

Someone at work made a comment that people in that region are incapable of democracy. Did he see his comments as racist? Probably not. But I do. I'm glad the people of Iraq and Afghanistan have proved him wrong (and I'm expecting more in the region to continue to prove him wrong).

I do think that George W. Bush is going to go down as one of the best president of the 21st century (well, he already is, but granted, the competition is still pretty thin).

It's a great time to be alive.

Michael

Posted by mlv at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)