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Is Joe Trippi reading this blog?


On November 3,  in a post called "Dems in Denial," I wrote:

One definition of insanity (as Albert Einstein allegedly remarked) is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Yet that seems to be exactly what [the Democrats] are proposing.

In this morning's Wall Street Journal, Joe Trippi writes in an op-ed:

The problem for Democrats is not Mr. Rove; it's that they're doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. That's the definition of insanity.

Could be just a coincidence, of course. The reference is hardly an obscure one. As one of my readers pointed out, "Anyone who's ever been to a behavior modification session (and who in a modern corporation has not had to?) has heard this comment."

Still I doubt Trippi has spent much time in the cubicles of corporate America. And he is perhaps the Democrats' leading believer in the power of the blogosphere. So maybe it's not too farfetched to think he reads non-Democratic blogs too.

Besides echoing my "insanity" line, Trippi makes some very astute observations I haven't seen elsewhere (this blog included):

Mr. Kerry's lead among young voters hid just how bad Election Day really was for Democrats. In 2000, voters between 18 and 29 split their votes evenly: nine million each for Mr. Bush and Al Gore. But in 2004, two million more voters in this age group turned out to vote. And while Mr. Bush won the same nine million, 11 million voted for Mr. Kerry. But when we set aside his two million new younger voters, the true disaster is revealed. In 2000, Mr. Gore and Ralph Nader won a combined total of 54 million votes. This year Mr. Kerry and Mr. Nader got 53 million (ignoring the two million new young voters).

Mr. Kerry was a weaker candidate than Mr. Gore. He lost so much ground among women, Hispanics, and other key groups, that the millions in Internet money, the most Herculean get-out-the-vote effort in party history, and the largest turnout of young voters in over a decade, couldn't save him. Had the young stayed home, the sea of red on the map would have grown to include at least Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Hampshire—perhaps one or two more.

Unfortunately, Trippi then goes on to prescribe the wrong remedy for what he has so accurately diagnosed—saying that the problem with the Democrats is that they're too moderate, that they repeatedly ignore their left-wing base and "run to the middle," that they need to focus on building a county-by-county collection of grassroots organizations … yadda, yadda, yadda.

Well, Joe, if you're still reading this blog, let me suggest that the only way to stop the insanity—as Susan Powter would say—is to move your "base" closer to the thinking of red-state America, not the other way around. You're right to point out what a lousy job the Democratic Leadership Council has done of moving the party to the center, but at least they've been trying. Joe Lieberman showed in the primaries that you can offer a compelling message to voters that isn't a clone of George Bush's (of course, he had to do so as a failed vice-presidential candidate from four years earlier).

But let's face it, a grassroots cadre of Mother Jones subcribers and Michael Moore fans isn't going to convince voters in Muskogee, Oklahoma, or Canton, Ohio, or Panama City, Florida, to pull the Democratic lever on election day. Those folks don't want gay marriage, nationalized health care, bigger unions, gun control, harvesting human embryos for stem cells … and all the rest.

Don't want it, don't care for it, won't have it. Next question.

And red-state voters sure as hell don't want to give peace a chance so long as scary men in turbans are sending us videos saying they're going to kill us. And all the granola-crunching Birkenstockers in the world will never convince them otherwise, no matter how many ad dollars your "energized base" coughs up over the Internet (or funnels out of George Soros' Swiss bank accounts).

"What are our goals for the nation?" you ask and as quickly answer: "You couldn't tell from the election." Well yes, Joe, in point of fact you could.

The voters couldn't have spoken more eloquently: They want bold, decisive leadership abroad and a Federal government that stays out of their lives at home.

That's why, in historic numbers, they voted for W.

I know you won't listen to this advice, because you still deeply believe in everything that Howard Dean stands for—which is to say almost everything that red-state America reviles.

I know you don't believe me, Joe, but you're just one more Dem in denial.

You're part of the insanity too.

Posted by Rodger on November 30, 2004 at 09:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


Harvard finally admits …

… what Yalies have always known.  Here's the story, as told by the ingenious Elis who pulled the prank:

On November 20, 2004 at the 121st Yale-Harvard game, 20 Elis donned custom made "Harvard Pep Squad" t-shirts, applied enemy-red war paint on their faces, and set out to pull a prank on 1800 Harvard alumni. Like clockwork, these brave Elis proceeded to exude more Harvard spirit than any Cantab ever... tossing t-shirts to the lucky and unsuspecting few, and passing out 1800 sheets of red & white construction paper in perfect order to the cheering Harvard crowd. With 4:47 minutes left in the second quarter of the game, each member of the crowd raised their sheet of paper expecting to spell out "Go Harvard" as they were told by the cheering "Harvard Pep Squad." Instead, the truth was revealed to a laughing crowd of Yale alumni and students who saw the Harvard crowd spell out in clear red letters"WE SUCK."

Harvard just needed a little help expressing their true school spirit. A tight-knit crew of Elis led by Mike Kai and David Aulicino made sure it happened.

Harvard may not entirely hate America, but I'm sure right about now they're hating one small corner of it, located in New Haven, Connecticut.

(Harvard did win the 121st edition of The Game, 35-3, capping an undefeated season with an Ivy League championship. But … who the hell really cares?)

Posted by Rodger on November 29, 2004 at 11:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

That's not a knife, this is a knife


Over the course of half a century, I've owned perhaps several dozen pocket knives of all sizes and descriptions, some more elegant and serviceable than others. But there is one that towers above the others, that approaches as close to the platonic ideal of the gentleman's pocket folder as one is likely to achieve in an imperfect world.

It is the William Henry knife.

I don't know much about the company, except that it was founded in 1997 by two guys with the middle names of William and Henry. And obviously these are guys with a passion for excellence.

I've owned my William Henry for about a year now, and it's nearly always in my pocket (except when I fly). Its featherweight carbon fiber body makes it almost unnoticeable in my pocket, and its stainless steel blade holds its edge seemingly forever. It locks into position with effortless precision and refolds just as quickly.

If you're stumped for a gift (in the $200+ price range) for a worthy gentleman on your holiday shopping list, this is your ace in the hole. He will thank you for years to come.

Trust me on this.

Posted by Rodger on November 29, 2004 at 10:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The passion of Johnny Carino's


"There are two Italies," Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote from Naples in 1818. "The one is the most sublime and lovely contemplation that can be conceived by the imagination of man; the other is the most degraded, disgusting, and odious. What do you think? Young women of rank actually eat—you will never guess what—garlick! Our poor friend Lord Byron is quite corrupted by living among these people, and in fact, is going on in a way not worthy of him."

I'd always thought of Johnny Carino's as being part of Shelly's "unworthy" Italy, right along with Gianni Versace and Sylvester Stallone. One of their restaurants went up near us about a year ago, and I can't say I paid it much notice. But this commercial by the Austin, Texas, agency McGarrah Jessee puts the chain in an entirely different light. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for old mustachioed Italian men who don't speak a word of English. Anyway, we'll probably wind up checking out Johnny Carino's later on this week.

Maybe we'll discover what the old guy's so passionate about.

(Click on the picture above to view the commercial.)

Posted by Rodger on November 29, 2004 at 09:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Burkha Barbie


Razanne, the Muslim doll, seems to have provoked much comment in the blogosphere and elsewhere.

Assuming there's nothing wrong with Barbie—a fairly large assumption, I'll grant you—I can't see anything terribly disturbing about Razanne. Indeed, she seems to embody the values of an essentially conservative, peace-loving Muslim middle class, about whom we hear far too little in the MSM.

I especially like Teacher Razanne—a concept quite foreign, until recently, in certain quarters of the Islamic world.

Posted by Rodger on November 29, 2004 at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can Howard Dean save the Democrats?


That's the question Eleanor Clift poses in the current issue of Newsweek.

Hmmm … let me think about that, Eleanor. No.

Howard Dean "essentially a centrist"? I think maybe Ms. Clift has been doing too much online holiday shopping at Target, if you know what I mean.

Posted by Rodger on November 29, 2004 at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Another cheesy online promotion


Nutritionally, of course, it can't hold a french fry to Hardee's Monster Thickburger. But for sheer originality, it would be hard to top Golden Palace's make-your-own Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Think of it as a miracle on a plate.

Posted by Rodger on November 29, 2004 at 09:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Annan, Annan, Annan …


The Oil-for-Fraud miasma grows more foul by the week. In today's New York Sun, Claudia Rosett—the one-woman Woodward and Bernstein of this global scandal—reports that Kofi Annan's son, Kojo, pocketed far more than was originally thought:

The secretary-general's son … was previously reported to have worked for a Swiss-based company called Cotecna Inspection Services SA, which from 1998-2003 held a lucrative contract with the U.N. to monitor goods arriving in Saddam Hussein's Iraq under the oil-for-food program. But investigators are now looking into new information suggesting that the younger Annan received far more money over a much longer period, even after his compensation from Cotecna had reportedly ended….

The younger Annan stopped working for Cotecna in late 1998, but it now turns out that he continued to receive money from Cotecna not only through 1999, as recently reported, but right up until February of this year. The timing coincides with the entire duration of Cotecna's work for the U.N. oil-for-food program. It now appears the payments to the younger Annan ended three months after the U.N., in November, 2003, closed out its role in oil-for-food and handed over the remains of the program to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

This latest bombshell involving the secretary-general's son was confirmed Wednesday by Kofi Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, in response to this reporter's query, based on information obtained elsewhere. In an email, Mr. Eckhard wrote: "I was able to reach Kojo's lawyer this morning. He confirms that Kojo Annan received payments from Cotecna as recently as February 2004. The lawyer said that these payments were part of a standard non-competition agreement, under which the decision as to whether to continue the payments or not was up to Cotecna."

Mr. Eckhard added that, according to Kojo Annan's lawyer, the information has "been reported" to the U.N.-authorized inquiry into oil-for-food, led by a former Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker.

Labeled as compensation for Kojo Annan's agreeing not to compete with Cotecna's business in West Africa, the post-employment payments were in the amount of $2,500 per month, according to another source with access to the documents. If the payments were continuous over the slightly more than five-year period involved, that would have totaled more than $150,000.

Against this backdrop, it's astonishing that the Secretary General continues to withhold documents from the Congressional committee led by Representative Henry Hyde looking into the Oil-for-Food debacle. If Mr. Annan père doesn't step down soon, father and son may one day be led away in handcuffs.

Posted by Rodger on November 29, 2004 at 09:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What's in Santa's pipe this Christmas?


If you're looking for the perfect gift for that special stoner on your list, Target has just the thing. And attractively priced too.

No wonder online shopping has been surging this holiday season.

(The link was working at the time of this post. I don't expect a "deal" like this to last for long, though.)

Posted by Rodger on November 29, 2004 at 08:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Caption the photo contest


Winner will receive a lifetime membership in the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Employees of the Federal Government and Halliburton Corporation  are not eligible to participate. Void where prohibited.

Posted by Rodger on November 29, 2004 at 08:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)