Muslims remove Danish products

Muslim-owned groceries removed Danish products from their stores, joining a worldwide boycott stemming from publication of the cartoons

I just finished reading the paper and I am a bit confused over the fact that Muslim-owned groceries in North America removed Danish products from their stores, joining a worldwide boycott stemming from publication of the cartoons of their God.

Many of a times I see thousands of Muslims around the world protesting and burning dummies and photos of Leaders of Western Countries.  I personally take those burnings as personal and offending.  I may not agree with everything my elected leader does, he/she is my countries elected party.  Under such same terms should I boycott products from Nations who allow or even encourage public dummies and photos of Democratically elected Leaders from Western Countries to be defaced and/or burned in public?  Should I encourage my local grocer to remove those products from there shelves?

Once again another demonstration of why Politics and Religion must be kept separate.  Religion is important but sometimes can lead to very irrational decisions.

Just my thoughts for today.

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Wes Clark Endorses Transition to Single-Payer

Unlike Matt, I was not present at today's "Real State of the Union 2006" event at the New America Foundation. But thanks to the miracle of satellite radio, I did listen in on a good portion of General Wes Clark's headline speech on C-SPAN Radio.

Overall, I liked what I heard. Though it was billed as a foreign policy event, Clark was clearly putting forward a broad vision for a Democratic platform. But to my ears, he was also laying the groundwork for another White House run in 2008, discussing everything from Beltway corruption and early childhood education to labor and economic policy. And perhaps the most interesting part of his speech came with the section on healthcare.

In health care, we need to take better advantage of modern technology to practice evidence-based medicine, in which treatments and practices are based on statistically proven results - not commercial advertising - and doctors and hospitals are held accountable for their performance, not just by the threat of malpractice but by the day-to-day quality of their results. We need to harness the innovation of our biotech, pharmaceutical, and health insurance industries better to serve the public good, not just the private gain of shareholders. No child in America should grow up without regular medical check-ups and care - or regular exercise and physical fitness - and every adult should be provided access to the kinds of diagnostic testing and preventive treatments which can slow the onset of aging diseases like diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer's. Additional insurance coverage should be directed to catastrophic illness and injuries, the kind that wreck families and shatter productive lives. And inevitably this will mean transitioning over time from a work place centered, private payer system toward greater reliance on some form of single-payer system to ease administrative burdens and reduce costs.

Even using the phrase "single-payer system" is a somewhat gutsy move on his part. As President Bush is set to announce his 'less insurance, not more' plan for HSAs, Clark is boldly willing to move the other way, not just accept compromise. Of course, he's talking about an eventual transition, but at least he acknowledges that it is the ultimate goal. The proposals many Democrats have put forward in the past have been pretty sound (like Kerry's call for government-sponsored catastrophic reinsurance), but too many seem to shy away from explicitly endorsing the one system that makes the most sense. I'm glad to see Clark join the ranks of Democrats who aren't afraid of speaking up.

Attention FEINiacs

I'm suffering a catastrophic failure of the imagination and appeal to Russ-boosters for help.  Have you thought of or seen a servicable (perhaps even catchy) term to describe Feingold fans?  I'm hoping for a term to give "Deaniac" a run for it's money.

So far, I've come up with the following list and am not overjoyed with any of them:

  • FEINatics
  • FEINtastics
  • RUSStics
  • RUSSlers
  • RUSSians
  • The RUSS Trust
  • Russel's Sprouts
  • The Danae

Any suggestions?

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Changing Swing States?

When I was looking through Survey USA's latest 50-state Bush approval poll, Hawaii again caught my eye as giving Bush an abnormally high job approval, considering its status as a "safe" blue state. To be sure, Hawaii has actually never given Bush a positive job approval during Survey USA's nine-month run. However, according to Survey USA, it has pretty consistently given Bush his highest job approval among all Kerry states, even though there were quite a few stats that Kerry won by quite a lot less. In fact, there have even been some Bush states that have given Bush a lower net job approval than Hawaii these past several months, according to Survey USA.

Curious, I went through the last eight Survey USA 50-state polls, and compared Bush's national net job approval with his net job approval in Hawaii, adjusted for the partisan index. Over the past eight months, according to Survey USA, Bush's average net job approval nationwide has been -15.4. Since Hawaii has a pro-Democratic partisan index of 11.2, one would expect that Hawaii would deliver average net job approval ratings for Bush of around -26 or -27. However, Bush's average net approval in Hawaii has actually been only -11.1, a full 15.5 points off the expected approval numbers. If there were a pro-Republican shift of 15.5 points in Hawaii in the next electoral cycle, then Hawaii would move from a "safe Dem" partisan index of DNC +11.2, to a "lean Republican" partisan index of RNC +4.3. Good lord.

Growing even more curious, I went though the same process with 21 other states, all of which had a partisan index of less than 11.2 in favor of one party or the other. The vast majority came within a few points of their "expected" net job approval of Bush, but there were a few that stuck out:

State	Average Approval   Expected Approval	Swing
AR	     -16.0	       -8.1            DNC +7.9
OH	     -23.1	      -15.7            DNC +7.5
MO	     -15.6	      -10.6            DNC +5.0
NM	     -12.0	      -17.1            RNC +5.1
MN	     -15.5	      -21.3            RNC +5.8
HI	     -11.1	      -26.6            RNC +15.5
Which would translate into:
State	Current Partisan Index    Swing      New Partisan Index
AR	    RNC +7.3	          DNC +7.9         DNC +0.6
OH	    DNC +0.3	          DNC +7.5         DNC +7.8
MO	    RNC +4.7	          DNC +5.0         DNC +0.3
NM	    DNC +1.7	          RNC +5.1         RNC +3.4
MN	    DNC +5.9	          RNC +5.8         DNC +0.1
HI	    DNC +11.2	          RNC +15.5        RNC +4.3
In all of these states, if these swings were real, the differential would be enough to change the current status of the state on the electoral map. With a swing of 7.9 against Bush, Arkansas would no longer be "safe Republican," and instead become a "toss-up" state. Missouri would no longer be "lean Republican," and instead become a "toss-up". Minnesota would move from "lean Dem" to "toss-up" and New Mexico would move from "toss-up" to "lean Republican." Perhaps most interestingly, Ohio would no longer be a "toss-up" and would actually become safe Dem. That would be pretty cool.

I have no idea if these long-term shifts that Survey USA is discovering will hold up in future months, or even if they are simply the result of having bad voter models. However, having consistent polling in all fifty states will potentially offer us early insight into electoral swings in 2006 and 2008. I, for one, would be perfectly happy if these swings were indeed real. The day Ohio becomes "safe Dem" is the day when Democrats are once again the natural ruling party in this country.

Republican Establishment Politics

Ed Gillespie, the former Chair of the RNC and a frequently mentioned replacement for Rove should he go down, just signed up with George Allen's PAC.  McCain's strategy so far has been to court the establishment with an aggressive on-bended-knee strategy.  I'm wondering how to understand whether that campaign is succeeding or failing.  It's of course possible Gillespie just wants to run for office.


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