Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Barack Obama is definitely NOT a Muslim

There have been some nasty rumors swirling around throughout the course of the election season purporting that Barack Obama is actually Muslim. As best I can tell, the rumors appear to stem from the fact that Obama's middle name is Hussein. The fact is that this claim (that Obama is Muslim) could not be any further from the truth --- and the proof is below.

To even suggest that Barack Obama is Muslim or has ever practiced the religion of Islam is a heinous insult to the hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world who live peaceful lives and harbor no hatred nor aggression for others based upon such trivial characteristics as race and religion.

While I have never sat through a service at a Mosque, I have known enough Muslims well enough to know that their religion is far more loving and peaceful than that propagated by the likes of the Reverend Jeremiah Alvesta Wright Junior.

In fact, to associate Wright's church with any legitimate religion is a stretch to say the least. I have attended Catholic services for more than two decades, and I have never once heard anything uttered from the priest's mouth that in any way, shape, manner or form resembled the hate-filled rhetoric that has been programmed into the minds and hearts of Wright's flock --- Obamas included.

This is not a church or a religion. It is a cult, plain and simple. May God have mercy on us if this guy becomes the most powerful man in the world, whether by vote or by fraud.

As you watch the video below, keep in mind that Barack and Michelle Obama enjoyed these sermons on a weekly basis for 20 years.

America, don't say you weren't warned about this.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Michelle Obama caught using racial slur during NH campaign stop

Disclaimer: The following post is an attempt at political satire. For those of you in Rio Linda, that means that the story below is not true (make believe), and is intended to be funny.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire - Michelle Obama has again come under scrutiny for allegedly using a racial slur during a routine campaign stop in the key battleground state of New Hampshire on Monday. While having lunch with some campaign aides, Mrs. Obama reportedly referred to a white customer seated at a nearby table as a "cracker", setting off a brief but heated exchange between the two individuals that was diffused when the Secret Service intervened.

Mrs. Obama and some campaign aides had stopped off at a restaurant in coastal New Hampshire to sample some local fare when the alleged incident occurred. The group had recently been seated at a table inside the upscale seafood restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at the time of the event.

According to eye-witnesses, Mrs. Obama had ordered a bowl of New England-style clam chowder and appeared to be enjoying it, when a man seated at a table nearby caught her attention.

Apparently desiring something off of the nearby table, Mrs. Obama pointed her finger in the man's direction and in a sharp tone said, "Please pass me that cracker".

The man, who is white, was visibly angered by the use of slur by the black woman. He immediately stood up, turned toward her and shouted back at the potential first lady: "Hey, you can't use that word --- that's OUR word!"

When Mrs. Obama failed to acknowledge the man's response and refused to apologize for the racist remark - at one point even questioning whether or not he was even speaking to her - the man became irate and the Secret Service was forced to intervene.

According to the man at whom the slur was directed, he and his girlfriend had been sharing an appetizer consisting of steamed mussels and lobster spring rolls while they waited for their entrees to arrive.

"There was only one lobster roll left on the plate", said the man, who asked not to be identified by name. "She saw me going for it, and rather than just ask me nicely if she could have it, she had to go and offend me by calling me a cracker", he continued. "I honestly would have given it to her if she hadn't resorted to name-calling", he added.

Mrs. Obama repeated the slur when she initially told reporters that she was speaking to someone seated at her own table at the time, and that she found the man's response to be irrational and without merit.

“I was talking about the crackers at my own table --- you know, in the basket next to the napkins and sweeteners. This is all just a big misunderstanding”, she said.

However, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign issued a statement late Monday night flatly denying that the incident ever took place, and claiming that Michelle Obama has never even been to New Hampshire. The campaign has since refused to answer any questions about the subject, and has threatened to cut off interviews with any news organization that raises the subject in the future.

Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden suggested that Michelle had actually said "crack her", and was "probably trying to get someone at her table to open a bottle of ale for her, presumably one with a pop-top lid." Biden conceded however upon further questioning that it was not out of character for Mrs. Obama to threaten wait staff, and that the phrase "crack her" may have actually been directed at a waitress.

The owner of the restaurant offered the traumatized couple a $50 gift certificate in an effort to compensate for their negative experience. However, for the man targeted by the abusive hate-filled language, the damage had already been done.

"The really insulting thing about it is this claim by her that she wasn't even talking to me", said the victim.

"Like that makes it okay for her to say. Even if it were true, does she really believe that her words are any less hurtful if she said them to some white person in her own group instead of to some stranger? If I had said the n-word, would it really matter whether or not I was speaking to her directly? This whole experience has been surreal. I'm trying not to let it bother me, but as anyone who has been a victim of racism knows, that is much easier said than done."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sarah Palin's Wardrobe and Michelle Obama's Room Service Bill

There has been much controversy surrounding the ever-important development of the RNC spending roughly $150,000 on Governor Sarah Palin's wardrobe. The RNC has been criticized for spending excessively on the prospective Vice President's attire. The media has also taken some heat for making an issue of this.

It is with that said that I offer the following defense of mainstream reporters and journalists across the United States:

We the people have a right to know these sorts of things, and the news media is simply doing its job by finding out juicy details such as the price of Sarah's wardrobe. After all, this woman could theoretically be only one person away from the very top of the American Government's chain of command.

Since mainstream American news organizations uphold themselves to the highest standards of objectivity and professionalism in reporting the news, allegations of mainstream publications engaging in yellow journalism for the sake of influencing an election are downright laughable.

As proof of this, I am totally confident that within a matter of days our 100% objective mainstream journalists will dutifully report on the total sum of Michelle Obama's room service bills accrued throughout the campaign season.

What we do know is that in one night, Mrs. Obama ordered two plates of lobster hors d'oeuvres, two lobster entrees, a bottle of fine Iranian champagne and Iranian caviar from room service at the Waldorf Astoria --- not the shabbiest of joints. We know that this was just one night on the campaign trail.

In light of this development, it is in the public's interest to know exactly how much money Mrs. Obama spent on dinner that night, as well as how much money she has spent on room service, not just that night but over the course of the entire campaign.

Since the media has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to fair and objective coverage throughout this election season, I have no doubt that it is merely a matter of time before our trusty reporters get back to us with this extremely important bit of information. As with the cost of Governor Palin's wardrobe, the American people have a need to know how much money Michelle Obama has spent on room service at all those five-star hotels. I'm sure the unbiased media will naturally agree and find out the answer so as to satisfy the curiosity of us mind-numb American media consumers.

While we're at it, out of personal curiosity I'd really like to know how much money Barack Obama paid for the domain name "fightthesmears.com". If anyone knows the answer to that one please fill me in in the comments area.

ACORN's Bloodless Coup D'Etat

The following is a response to an article entitled "The Dangers of Elections", which appeared at thebiglifeonline.com.

Freedom ain't free! It took a lot of bloodshed, death and violence to implement the electoral system of the American republic. The result is that for the past couple centuries elections in the United States have been largely free of violent intimidation tactics such as those described above.

For the first time in roughly two centuries, that system has been placed in serious jeopardy by the massive coordinated fraud being orchestrated by ACORN.

What ACORN is doing goes beyond trying to influence an election. ACORN is systematically attempting to undermine the democratic electoral system in the United States with the goal of producing a President and Commander in Chief that was not elected by the people whose votes determine the electoral college figures.

In other words, ACORN is attempting to pull off a bloodless coup d'etat --- not help one side win a legitimate election by means of helping legitimate voters get registered.

It took several bloody wars against native Americans and several more even bloodier wars against practically all of western Europe before our continent could have centuries of peace with (mostly) free, fair and open elections.

The war being waged by ACORN against our constitutional republic is every bit as much a threat to our nation and our form of government as was that waged by the Queen's England in 1812, or Hitler's Germany in the 1930's and 40's.

Our nation is at risk, and our elected officials across all branches of government and from all political parties and ideologies must come together in unison and act immediately to bring a permanent end to this rogue organization.

Should our leaders fail to defend the sanctity of elections, I cannot help but wonder what our nation's founders would have to say regarding the general citizenry and the extent to which we the people should go for the sake of reclaiming our country --- the country our founders fought so hard to create.

If our American Government fails to act appropriately, are we in fact obligated to take matters into our own hands, and if so, to what extent?

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Big Brother Not Behind Raid on Polygamist Compound

Despite my flawless logic, the early returns on my recent post regarding the raid on the compound of a fundamentalist Mormon group alleged to have been engaging in systematic abuses (including sexual abuse) of their own children seem to indicate that there are still a lot of people out there who believe the raid never should have happened. You can check out some of the reader responses to the article here.

The following is an extended response to the first four reader comments to the Mixx page for the post linked to above:

For the record, I have deep-rooted libertarian leanings, and I am well aware of how the 'global elites' manipulate the public via the media into accepting and welcoming the precedents that form the foundation of a big-brother police state.

I am a freedom-loving individual, a gun-owner and member of the NRA. The very thought of government separating parents from their children by way of force makes me cringe. However disturbing that thought might be, the thought of what was in all likelihood happening to the children at that compound is far worse.

That said, while this situation does at first glance appear to be another attempt at advancing a totalitarian agenda, a deeper look reveals that this is probably not the case. When you've got a fundamentalist religious cult systematically brainwashing and sexually abusing their own children -- or even just reason to believe that it might be going on -- something has to be done.

I think this is more a case of a sheriff who was forced to make a tough decision who probably factored in his ability to sleep at night for the foreseeable future into the decision making process than it is an example of the big-brother conspiracy in action.

You have to look at each circumstance individually. This was not a federally sanctioned raid -- a stark contrast to Janet Reno's massacre of law-abiding citizens at a law-abiding religious compound in Waco, Texas. This was carried out and executed by state police (Texas Rangers). There was no federal involvement, and unlike Waco, laws are actually alleged to have been broken.

Somewhere along the line in this process, somebody (who probably has children of his/her own) had to make a judgment call as to whether or not to act on the unconfirmed report alleged to have been called-in by the 16 year-old sex slave and prisoner at the compound. At some point, this person probably considered the notion of somebody doing things alleged to have been taking place to that person's own child/children. When I look at this from this perspective, it becomes very clear just how easy a decision this would have been had I been responsible for ordering or calling-off the raid.

If the parents and leaders of the religious sect are innocent of the crimes of which they've been accused, the justice system will ultimately come to conclude this, and the accused will be free to return to their compound to like their unusual lifestyle. However, if these people are in fact guilty, the court will see to it that the criminals are locked up in prison -- which is exactly where they belong if convicted of the crimes that they are alleged to have committed.

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Texas officials investigating possible abuses to boys at polygamist compound

Carey Cockerell, the head of the state's Department of Family and Protective Services, told state lawmakers Wednesday his agency was investigating whether young boys were abused based on "discussions with the boys." Cockerell also said 41 FLDS children had evidence of broken bones, some of whom are "very young." Full article

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Authorities were right to bust-up Texas polygamist cult

In the aftermath of the recent raid on a polygamist cult in Texas, I have been shocked and dismayed by some of the comments I've been reading on various social media sites and blogs by people who feel that the children should not have been removed from the compound or separated from their parents.

I came across the following comment today in a story at Mixx about the aftermath of the raid: "they are lying about their age in order to protect their husbands. Poor people. Yes, they are brainwashed, but if they are happy, why can't they be left alone?"

The person went on to say: "they are being accused, and frankly, I don't believe for a second that they were raped. But that's my opinion. For a variety of reasons I don't judge lifestyles I don't understand."

It is a shame that the rest of this post even needs to be stated. However, some people apparently still do not understand why authorities in Texas had to do what they did - get those poor children away from the cult leaders, and try to separate them for as long as is possible under the law.

For those of you in Eldorado, and for those who prefer not to judge other people's lifestyles; I am more than happy to pick up the slack and do it for you - at least as it pertains to this particular cult in Texas.

Girls between 13-17 are children under the law
A 15 or 16 year old girl is not old enough to consent to marriage or sex with a 50 year old man. Additionally, the author of the comments that set me off conceded that these children have been brainwashed. How can one object to something for which there are no known alternatives? If these girls were brought up thinking that this lifestyle was normal and acceptable, that is a serious enough problem, and they cannot be expected to know inherently that everything they'd ever been taught was a load of BS.

What happened to all the boys?
Furthermore, where are all the boys from the "congregation"? Has anyone else noticed that there were far more girls than boys? Were they killed? Were they banished? One thing I'm sure of is that the probability of a "y" chromosome at conception is the same or close to the same as it would be for any other couple trying conceive. These pedophiles were obviously orchestrating the removal of the boys from their cult so that they could have all the teen and pre-teen girls as their own personal sex toys.

Some things are just wrong
That kind of stuff is not cultural and cannot be explained away with moral relativity. Rape, incest and pedophelia are not acceptable if the third-party bystander has an open mind. These are not quirky personality traits. These are the manifestations of evil incarnate. People who would knowingly, willingly and systematically abuse children in this manner are not fit to live in civilized society, and to leave children in the custody of these people would be a crime in and of itself. In any case, that's my two-cents on the matter.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Don't count your Diggs before they hatch

This post began as a comment I was writing in response to an article on Jason Calcanis' blog entitled "Who should Digg sell to: Newscorp, Microsoft, or Google?".

It's one thing for two opposite sides of a negotiation to have reached an agreement in principle over a proposed sale -- one in which the price is off-the-table and only the final details are left to be worked out. It is a completely different situation when there are ongoing negotiations with occasional figures being tossed around, but where the two sides have not reached an agreement on price, in principle or otherwise.

I mention this because I see in Calcanis' article the potential here for a classic reminder of why you should never count your eggs before they're hatched. Admittedly I'm no industry insider, however amid all the hype that came with the recent announcement of Digg's rumored sale, there are a few details that stand out like a sore thumb.

The first and most glaring of these is the fact that the rumored price of $200 million is $100 million less than the figure that was circulating when these rumors popped up just over a year ago.

The second has to do with Digg's traffic and site usage patterns. Digg's traffic has been steadily declining for the last year and a half, as has the amount of time its users are spending on the site (source: Alexa).

Finally, the kicker in all of this is the new competitor that according to Alexa appears to be snatching up the majority of Digg's lost users and traffic while establishing themselves as the innovative leader within the social news realm, and generating ridiculous amounts of press coverage while doing so. For those new to the subject, I am referring to a six-month-old site that goes by the name of Mixx.

In just six months, Mixx has developed a thriving community on a site that is already serving a half-million unique visits each month.

Mixx has made no secret of its plans to attack and attempt to compete with Digg head-on; and the early returns on these efforts show an unprecedented success. Mixx continues to grow while Digg and Reddit are busy trying to find a way to stop the bleeding. Head-to-head gains aside, Mixx has been extremely successful in convincing people that it is for real, in a way marginalizing the other horses in the race.

As far as this pertains to Google or the others rumored to be interested in the social news giant, Mixx is a dangerous competitor that dramatically changes the dynamic of the competitive field, even before its traffic and user-base is large enough to justify the attention. Why is this? Because of Chris McGill.

McGill is not your typical college-student-turned-millionaire president of a popular web 2.0 site. In a field that is ripe with rich amateurs, McGill is unmistakably qualified to be competing at this level.

From Wikipedia: "The former head of strategy at USA TODAY, McGill previously served as the general manager of Yahoo! News where he oversaw the transformation of that site into the world’s largest online news outlet."

Make no mistake about it, Digg's prospective buyers are well-aware of this fact. They know the investment they are looking at will run well in excess of the actual sales price. Unfortunately for Digg, they have been unable demonstrate an ability to retain their existing users while putting a stop to Mixx's steady growth. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons the asking price has been slashed by 1/3, or $100 million.

To its credit, Digg did at least make an effort to retake the fort, but the algorithm changes intended to do just that blew up in its face by angering both the "power users" and the rest of the community without really motivating anyone to spend more time at Digg.

On top of all of these hurdles, Digg still has to contend with all of the many niche social media sites popping up left and right. Every day, sites like BigEasyLinks.com and HealthandWellnessArticles.com pop up in hopes of attracting a mere fraction of the communities found at sites like Digg and Mixx. For every one of these such sites that enters the marketplace, the uniqueness of the Digg concept deteriorates just a little.

From my outsider's perspective, it appears Google is expecting further price concessions. And why shouldn't they? Until Digg can show that the bleeding has stopped, their position within the market is secure, and that it is not just a matter of time until they are replaced by Mixx as top-dog; Google and the others would be wise to simply sit back and wait to see how far Digg's traffic will fall.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Waltz Rumor Part of Google's Negotiating Strategy with Digg

The social media world was recently rocked by the news/rumor that Google may be planning to punish websites and blogs that are frequently linked to by social media sites. For those not yet familiar with the situation, here are a couple of links to write-ups covering this recent development:

It took me awhile, but I think I've nailed down what this whole thing was really about. The key to understanding this is to bear in mind that these two companies (Google and Digg) have been actively involved in negotiations over a proposed sale of Digg to Google for somewhere in the hundreds of millions. Allow me to elaborate:

Extremely odd timing
The timing of this thing is too perfect to have been a sheer coincidence. This story has gotten a LOT of coverage over the past three weeks. That sort of thing doesn't just happen by accident when Digg and Google are involved.

Jeff Waltz never mentioned Digg by name --- but everyone else did
The first thing that stuck me as odd was the fact that nowhere in the alleged statement by the mysterious Jeff Waltz mention Digg by name, but seemingly all of the coverage by bloggers and journalists alike centered around this one particular social media site. Why could that be? I've seen no less than a dozen examples of this personally. The actual statement made by the person claiming to be Waltz was unmistakably vague and offered not a bit of suggestion that Digg or any other site was being specifically targeted.

Did the Jeff Waltz statement really appear on Google's blog?
Of course, the oddities don't end there. There is still much confusion over whether or not the statement signed Jeff Waltz ever actually appeared on the Google blog. According to bloggers' claims, the statement remained on the blog for about an hour before it was removed. If this claim is accurate, the overwhelming likelihood is that the Google had every intention of publishing the statement. Whether or not the decision to remove it was as calculated remains to be seen. How do I know this? I know this because Google is a larger and more powerful entity than most countries, and there is simply no way one of the company's primary publicly accessible communication mechanisms would be hijacked by fun-loving employees looking to spread serious rumors.

To muddy the water even further, Matt Cutts has publicly stated in the time since this story broke that he has no knowledge of any Google employee by the name of Jeff Waltz.

"Practical joke" theory not believable
That blog is Google's public relations mouthpiece. Nothing goes in to or comes out of that blog that is not extremely calculated, and any employee working for Google is going to be smart enough to know that the blog isn't a toy. If the statement in question did appear on the Google blog, it is because someone at Google wanted it to get out and reach whoever its intended audience happens to be.

This begs the question of why Google would start a rumor like this if the threats of algorithmic changes to punish social media participants didn't actually hold water to begin with? To find the answer, one must remember back until roughly a week or two before the Jeff Waltz story hit the headlines. At that time (just over a month ago), the social media sphere was abuzz with rumors that Google may be close to finalizing a deal to buy Digg.

Big-money negotiations between Google and Digg
The important thing to pay attention to here is that these two corporations are and have been in the midst of a negotiations over a potential transaction that would run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Why is this relevant? This is relevant because in this mystery statement and more so in the subsequent media and blog coverage, Google was able to effectively communicate to Digg that it not only had all the power in the relationship, but also that Digg's asking price was still unacceptable; and that Google can and will play hardball if Digg refuses to make further price concessions.

The whole thing was a very thinly veiled threat from Google to Digg, and a reminder that a site's value can fall rapidly if suddenly it were to disappear from search.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Kudos to Nancy Pelosi for standing-up to China's thuggery

I wish more of America's so-called leaders would stand up and join House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in condemning the Chinese communist government and calling for an American boycott of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. China's oligarchy and the bloodthirsty regime it controls makes the late Fidel Castro look like Mr. Rogers by comparison. Castro was what he was when he was alive (see footnote), but he treated his neighbors far better than China has Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and Vietnam.

There is no way of knowing the full extent of the human atrocities to occur at the hands of the Chinese government over the past 25 years. There is no independent press in China, so except for on rare occasions, the rest of the world hears only what the fascist regime in Beijing wants us to hear.

A little more than a year ago, a story broke that barely even registered as a blip on the radar in which the Chinese military was raiding people's homes and killing their dogs for one sociopathic reason or another.

This history of violent abuse and murder inflicted by the tyrannical Chinese government onto its people and their pets earns this military-ruled society the notorious honor of sharing the same historical grouping with the likes of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Castro's Cuba and Stalin's Russia. Yet while America remains firm in its trade embargo against Cuba, and while President Bush is still out defending the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, China is still the #1 supplier of American consumer goods and is a mega-holder of U.S. currency.

When I consider the many horrors of the Chinese government, and add to it the fact that China has been openly practicing and preparing for an attack on U.S. troops and airbases in the region; I feel compelled to extend my deepest and most heartfelt kudos, praise and support to House Speaker Pelosi for having the courage, to not only speak out against China's recent massacre of holy men in Tibet, but to call for President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies in an effort to shame China into reversing its belligerent position on the Tibet massacres that stemmed from recent protests by Tibetans over China's strictly controlled police state.

Another extremely disturbing development is beginning to surface as new information is just beginning to trickle down to the western media strongly suggesting that undercover Chinese secret police were orchestrating and engineering the violence that was reported as "rioting" in hopes of creating enough chaos that the police could go in and kill everyone they feared may be involved with the kind of peaceful protests one might expect from the Dalai Lama and his followers. To the Chinese oligarchy, peaceful protesting is as serious a crime as treason is here in the United States. The main difference is that in China, the whole concept of a trial by jury is too time-consuming and bad for public relations. The attitude seems to be that the government is infallible, and that a shoot-first, ask questions later approach to law enforcement will ultimately result in less controversy and embarrassment than if the monks were allowed to live and potentially keep causing trouble.

If the United States wishes to maintain any credibility as the world's self-proclaimed moral authority, spreader of democracy, and arch-nemesis of tyranny; more of our country's leaders from both sides of the political isle should join Speaker Pelosi and stand strong with her as she takes on both Chinese thuggery and this glaring and all-too-unfortunate double-standard in American foreign policy.

For the record, I am well aware of the fact that officially, Fidel Castro is still alive. I don't believe this to be true. My suspicion is that Castro died back in the Summer of 2006.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Presidential Race is McCain's to Lose

Even before he knows who his opponent will be, the 2008 presidential election looks to be developing into a shoe-in for Senator John McCain and the Republicans.

Granted, there is a lot of time between now and November, and a lot can happen in a very short time when it comes to presidential elections. Heck, three of the four names on the ballot have yet to be determined. How then, can one reasonably project the winner of an election that hasn't even begun? The answer lies in a multitude of factors that will make a Democratic victory in November extremely unlikely, if not impossible.

This may come as a bit of a surprise to those paying attention. For one thing, Senator McCain is the candidate for the party that produced the sitting president, who also happens to be one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Additionally, voting trends in House and Senate races the past two years have overwhelmingly favored the Democrats. On top of all that, McCain is extremely unpopular among conservatives who have long been the GOP's electoral bread-and-butter.

So how does this add up to an easy victory for McCain in November? The answer lies in a multitude of factors:

  1. Match-up dynamics - McCain matches up far better in a one-on-one contest against a Democrat than he ever did in a primary field full of Republicans. His broad appeal may have hurt him among conservatives, but will help him lure in independent and crossover voters.
  2. Conservatives will vote for him anyway - The conservative faction of the Republican Party will turn out in force to vote for McCain, whether they like him or not. In fact, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if conservatives turn out in record numbers to support the candidate they said they'd never vote for. The reason for this is that conservatives don't really vote for their candidate as they vote against liberals and Democrats. Regardless of who the Democrats' candidate turns out to be, the GOP's conservative base will have plenty of reason to show up to the polls to vote against him or her.
  3. The Democratic Primaries - Democrat voter haven't helped out their own cause much by dragging out their party's primary until the bitter end. Supporters of both candidates have been somewhat embittered by what they consider unfair tactics being deployed by the other. McCain and the GOP have at least a two-month head start to began putting together a case against either Clinton or Obama. This time will also aide them in fundraising activities. In addition to all this, until one of them wins, Senators Clinton and Obama will continue to spend precious campaign funds beating up each other, which helps neither of them defeat Senator McCain.
  4. Florida and Michigan - The DNC shot itself in the foot when Howard Dean made the decision to strip the two potential swing-states of their delegates to the national convention. In what has largely been seen as a slight to the voters of these two states, the Democratic nominee will have some catching up to do if he or she were to win either of these two states. No matter who wins the Democrat Primary, there will be loyal Democrat voters who will inevitably feel as though their candidate was given the shaft by the party.
  5. The Obama preacher issue - Like it or not, Senator Obama's association with his radical church and pastor will still be a major issue in November if he wins the Democrat nomination. This effect will be exacerbated by his middle name (Hussein), regardless of whether it's fair or not. The Democratic Party leaders know this, and it will be intriguing to see whether or not and to what extent they pressure the Superdelegates, if in fact Obama finishes with more popular delegates. The Superdelegate system exists for just this scenario --- if the voters choose the wrong candidate (the one less likely to win the main election). If Obama wins the popular delegate count, the question becomes whether or not the party has the fortitude to actually use the system the way it was intended, and in doing so subvert the will of the people.
In taking all of these factors into consideration, the forecast looks increasingly bright for McCain and the GOP. While there is plenty of time for the Dems to get things turned around, at this point them doing so appears unlikely at best.

For the record, the objective of this post and this blog is not to advocate a particular candidate or party. The idea is to inform readers of what I think will happen, from the standpoint of the present competitive dynamics, and how they look to project into the future. I'm not writing about what should happen or what I'd like to happen. Rather, the purpose of this post (and one of the goals of this blog) is to inform readers of what will happen before it does.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Irony with the Democrats' Superdelegate System

Has anyone else noticed the irony in the Democratic Party's Superdelegate system being used to determine its nominee? This is a far more Republican primary system than the one the Republicans use to choose a nominee, if you go by the literal definitions of the terms "democratic" and "republican".

The Superdelegate system is different from the traditional primary system in that some influential party leaders are given votes at the convention in addition to those cast by the delegates from the respective states. The system used by the republicans is based entirely upon the votes of the people of the respective states.

The DNC could face an extremely troublesome scenario if voting by Superdelegates offsets the will of the American people in determining the Democratic candidate for President. This scenario is further complicated by the fact that Florida and Michigan were stripped of their delegates by the party for violating the party's rules. Sean Lengell of the Washington Times wrote about this very predicament in a piece entitled "DNC Faces 'Train Wreck' Over Delegates".

The key-quote from the article came from Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, who said: "If [party leaders] go to the Democratic convention and they stiff-arm the Florida delegation, how in the world do you think Floridians are going to support the Democratic nominee on [Election Day, Nov. 4]?"

This raises a very interesting question. Could being stripped of a voice at the party's convention harm the Democrats' chances of winning these two states in the general election? Will Democrat voters in Florida and Michigan feel disenfranchised from the primaries to the extent they vote Republican in November? That is a question that likely will not be answered until November.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Devil's Take: Naivety and Spam Taste the Same

By: The Insider

With all the talk of spam circulating around the Mixx community of late, I can't help but offer a somewhat contrarian take on the matter. Make no mistake, I'm not any more fond of spam than anyone else involved in the social media scene.

That said, I think that the spam on Mixx is mild relative to comparable sites. That is not to suggest it be taken lightly, but let's not make a mountain out of molehill either. Ten minutes of time spent at any of the other sites that fall within Mixx's genre and this point is made loud-and-clear.

There has been a debate ongoing at Mixx over what actually constitutes spam, and some have even suggested that users who submit quality content (but only from their own sites) should be grouped with the no-prescription Viagra salesmen. I beg to differ with this notion.

I don't necessarily feel that there is anything wrong with people only submitting their own content - so long as it is good content (not spam). The idea that a valuable contributor to the community must adhere to a certain standard of usage behavior (in terms of submitted content ratios) is an extremely slippery slope. While it may not be a recipe for becoming a "Top Mixxer", I suspect that a lot of these users will become more active and well-rounded community members if given time. Granted, this is all contingent on the content they submit being reasonable, even if it all comes from a single source.

Additionally, while I acknowledge that this is the overwhelming exception; I was once banned from a site (I assume) because I emailed links to the post on said site to my friends who were not member of the site. These friends of mine subsequently joined the site, primarily to vote for my submissions. I am sure that the activity report from my account on that site had all the indications of a spammer who was setting up multiple accounts, even though this was not the case at all. Had the site not banned me, a few of those people that signed up as a favor to me would have become all-around contributors.

Instead, the site banned me, a decision that cost it no less than 5 potentially valuable contributors while earning it at least one dedicated enemy. I wasn't trying to game the system, just level the playing field a little bit.

My point with all of this is that I'd hate to see Mixx make some of those same mistakes, becoming overzealous to the point of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I don't know how to effectively and efficiently distinguish between real spammers and naive users who are new to the social media scene and in need of a little bit of guidance. However, Mixx stands to gain a big leg-up on the competition if it can identify a means of separating one group from the other while educating the latter about the community norms.

I think a lot of these users that are so easily written off can be converted into valuable community members if given a little bit of time and pointed in the right direction. As a matter of fact, I know this to be the case because I used to be one of them.

There is a substantial learning curve that new users must endure in order to learn the ropes and figure out what is acceptable and what isn't. The problem a lot of sites make is discarding these users before they reach that point. While most do figure it out eventually, if cut loose too quickly they will do so at another site where they have a clean slate.

Mixx has struck a chord of passion in a lot of its users, including pretty much everyone who has taken part in the recent spam discussions. Not unlike most Mixxers, I want to do what's best for Mixx, and I have some legitimate concerns that an overzealous crackdown may be pending that could cost the site some potentially valuable community members. I think it would be in all of our best interests to consider this argument before attempting to separate the naughty from the nice.

For the record, in writing this post I am merely playing devil's advocate - however, I do believe this perspective holds a degree of truth that is worthy of consideration. What say you?

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