Welcome to the Ministry of Information.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

ready on day one

Sinbad was there, too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ready on day 5,865

John McCain assumed office as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on January 3, 1983. Exactly four years later, he assumed office as a U.S. Senator. If, somehow, he wins the 2008 presidential election, he would be inaugurated on January 20, 2009. I wonder if by then he will have found the time to learn about economics.

Five years after his first presidential campaign, McCain told this to the Wall Street Journal, as quoted in their November 26, 2005 issue:
I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.

Brilliant. A presidential candidate who does not understand economics and says so to the world.

Today McCain gave his first major speech on the current housing crisis, and it is stunningly void of anything but platitudes. From the transcript at McCain's website, this is as specific as McCain gets about banking reform:
'When we commit taxpayer dollars as assistance, it should be accompanied by reforms that ensure that we never face this problem again. Central to those reforms should be transparency and accountability.'
Transparency and accountability? Is that the best he can do? I'd say his education is off to a slow start.

Later today I saw Jack Kemp, a McCain supporter and Bob Dole's running mate in 1996, on MSNBC talking about McCain's speech today. Talking to host Andrea Mitchell, he said of McCain:
'John is a quick study.'

I recognize that most U.S. presidents in my lifetime have not been particularly bright, but, given the economic exigencies of the moment, perhaps we should be unusually vigilant against electing someone who, not only cannot tell Sunni from Shia, but also may not know the difference between fiscal policy and monetary policy.

Reader, I don't know about you, but I think twenty-five years in office is enough time to learn about economic policy. The kindest thing to do for McCain might be to send him back to Arizona so that he can get the education he so sorely needs. In another twenty-five years, he might be ready to run for president.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCan't tell the difference

One of the bugbears of this blog is American politicians' inability to distinguish between Sunni and Shia. In the past I have criticized Democrat Silvestre Reyes of the House Intelligence Committee and Republican George W. Bush of the White House Unintelligence Committee for either not knowing the difference or conflating the two. I have also written a two-part series (here and here) on the peculiar nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a Shia theocracy.

Yesterday, Daily Kos reported that Senator John McCain can't tell the difference either. While in Jordan with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joseph Lieberman (CfL-CT) at his side, McCain said this:
'We continue to be concerned about Iranian taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back [into Iraq].'

You can watch it yourself at 2:10 of this video, after the advertisement. As anyone who knows the first thing about Islam understands, Sunni al-Qaeda and Shia Iran are utterly incompatible, not least because al-Qaeda sees all Shias as apostates who deserve to be killed.

I expect a conservative Republican to stand for policies that I disagree with, but this revelation of McCain's global ignorance is depressing. This from a man running on a platform of national security and war-mongering. There is really nothing more to say about it other than this: the Republicans are running a foreign-policy idiot in a time of war.

Will American journalists warn the voters of the threat to international security that such ignorance in a potential president poses, or is that a silly question?


more perfect

I don't recall where it appears, but Ben Jonson said something that has always stayed with me: 'Language reveals the man. Speak that I may see thee.' With that in mind, I invite you to watch Barack Obama's speech in Philadelphia yesterday in its thirty-nine-minute entirety.

Journalists and those who play them on TV may try to tell you that it is a speech about his former pastor. It is not. It is something else entirely: an honest speech about the contradictions of our Union. Fittingly, it is called 'A More Perfect Union'. The speech tells truths rarely heard in public discourse. And it tells us that Barack Obama is a man of uncommon intelligence and candor.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

McCain's new running mate?

It looks like my February 11 blog entry was way off in predicting Senator Joseph Lieberman (CfL-CT) as John McCain's running mate.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

divine mystery

Here's something I have noticed that I have not heard anyone talk about: eight of the ten most Catholic states by percentage have chosen Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. The following list shows each state's Catholic percentage of state population, followed by the primary winner and outcome.

1. Rhode Island, 63%, Clinton by 58 to 40.
2. Massachusetts, 47%, Clinton by 56 to 41.
3. New Mexico, 41%, Clinton 51 by to 49.
4. New Jersey, 39%, Clinton by 54 to 44.
4. Vermont, 39%, Obama by 60 to 38.
6. New York, 38%, Clinton by 57 to 40.
7. New Hampshire, 35%, Clinton by 39 to 36 (to 17 for Edwards).
8. California, 34%, Clinton by 52 to 42.
8. Connecticut, 34%, Obama by 51 to 47.
10. Arizona, 31%, Clinton by 51 to 42.

So far, I have seen only one other blogger notice Catholic trending against Obama, and yesterday The Votemaster at electoral-vote.com noticed the disparity in Texas.

Clinton has only won four other states delegate-wise (plus Nevada and Texas where she 'won' but lost in delegates). Two questions then for readers:
-Why are states with large Catholic populations not voting for Obama? and
-Why hasn't anyone noticed this yet?