Saturday, May 31, 2008

All You Need To Know About The Clinton and Obama Campaigns

Some fascinating and really revealing information from NBC's great Chuck Todd. Chuck reports that Barack Obama actually HAD the votes to split the Michigan delegation 50-50 and completely throw out the primary results from Michigan's unsanctioned and flawed primary. His supporters, though, refused to take that hard of a line, even though he would have WON because they wanted a greater consensus in the interest of party unity, thus, the 69-59 split. Instead of compromising, like Obama did, and accepting the will of the Michigan Democratic Party, and instead of bringing the party together, the Clinton campaign called the move a "hijacking" and is now threatening to drag the campaign through August, which would mean no endorsement of Obama by Clinton, no bringing of the party together, and no chance to win in the fall, all over a net of four delegates. It could have been much worse for the Clinton campaign had the Obama supporters not been magnanimous and went even further than they needed to in order to bring the party together.

And Hillary Clinton somehow thinks that after costing the Democrats the election in 2008, the party is going to come back on their hands and knees to her in 2012? She's not just ending any chance Barack Obama has of becoming President, she's ending her own political future. How she doesn't see that is amazing to me.

The Obama campaign compromised even after they won. And the Clinton campaign refused to budge even an inch, even after Obama won, and then extended a further olive branch to the Clintons. It's unbelievable, and it's not good for the Democratic Party.

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Hillary Clinton MUST End Her Supporters Before it is Too Late

The Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee gave the states of Michigan and Florida what they wanted. But the Hillary Clinton campaign has taken a hard line over the allocation of FOUR Michigan delegates. They wanted the Michigan delegation apportioned 73-55, a net gain of 9 after the delegates were halved. The end result was 69-59, a net gain of five for Clinton. So Harold Ickes is going to destroy any chance of Democratic unity, any chance of a Democrat winning in the fall, by fighting to the convention over FOUR DELEGATES which will make no difference on the overall vote totals.

And to use the word "hijack" after what happened on September 11 is no less offensive than had he used the word "lynched" or any similar variation. He continually talked about the election being "hijacked" because Senator Clinton lost four delegates. Senator Clinton, as senator from New York, should know almost better than anybody what the word "hijack" means in 2008 and the images the word "hijack" brings up.

The Michigan and Florida delegates are seated. The state parties are happy. The party, though, is not unified, and we saw a clear example of that today. Not just Harold Ickes offensive language, but also the protesters outside. In the interest of party unity, the Obama campaign specifically told their supporters not to protest. We got no similar class or interest in party above candidate from Senator Clinton. Her supporters almost singlehandedly derailed the vote with their protests, and it shows how divided the Democrats are. If we do not come together as a party, the chance of winning in the fall falls almost to zero.

Hillary Clinton is the only person right now who can unite the party. She will not be the nominee for President from the Democratic Party. That is very clear after today. What's left, is for her to do what's in the best interest of the party, and convince her supporters to rally behind Barack Obama. Today, though, despite Obama working towards a compromise, her campaign has been unwilling to do the same, and with their offensive and dangerous rhetoric, they are so close to ensuring this party will never unify. Hillary Clinton must come out tonight and endorse these comprised measures which were approved by the Rules and Bylaws Committee. She must be the bigger person and put party above her own self interest. And if she doesn't, then we all know where she stands, and that she values her own interests above that of the Democratic Party. And if that's where we end up, that is a very sad result for the Clintons, for Democratic Party, and for the country.

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Watching this Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting...

Two things become obvious:

1) Senator Carl Levin does not like the state of New Hampshire holding their primary first every year.

2) The best thing I think Barack Obama could do right now, is if David Bonior came out and said "We accept the Michigan proposal to split the delegates 69/59 which also acknowledges that the popular vote in that state was flawed." This accomplishes two goals. First, with Clinton taking such a hard line (Zero delegates for Obama from Michigan, no accounting for those who didn't vote, had write-in votes, and voted for Republicans because their candidates were not on the ballot) it makes Obama look very conciliatory, like a leader, and like someone who is willing to compromise, not fight. Two, it doesn't hurt Obama at all (10 delegates, in the grand scheme of thing, is meaningless) and it makes sure Clinton can't use Michigan's totals in her popular vote argument. Obama can come out and say "We were with both Florida and Michigan, endorsed their proposals, and the Clinton campaign refused to budge even an inch."

I don't think that's what they'll do. Plans are for Bonior to argue for a 50/50 split of the delegates, which I understand, because the primary did not reflect the will of the voters, but I think the Obama campaign misses an opportunity to paint Clinton into a real corner, with no real damage to the campaign, if they do not endorse the Michigan proposal.

3) Another thing. Harold Ickes argues against the reliability of exit polls. Yet, Hillary Clinton, in her OWN words, says her electability argument is that she appeals, and Barack Obama does not, to working class WHITE voters. And how does she know this? EXIT POLLS. The contradictory nature of the Clinton argument is mind-boggoling sometimes.

4) Another another. Great retort by Senator Levin to Ickes when he said it would never be a fair reflection to seat delegates from a flawed primary. Amen.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

What Hillary Clinton Wants From The Rules and Bylaws Committee: Chaos

Tomorrow morning, the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet, and will hear arguments about what to do with the rogue, unsanctioned, and illegitimate primaries of Michigan and Florida. And it has become clear that the Clinton campaign wants one thing and one thing only from the meeting: Chaos. What is equally as clear that they do not want: Any sort of resolution or compromise.

While Barack Obama's campaign has continually tried to reach a compromise with the Clinton campaign over the seating of the delegates from Michigan and Florida, at a net loss of delegates to his campaign. He would agree to seating the Florida delegation in full, and in accordance with the January primary results (even though he did not campaign in the state and undoubtedly would have faired better than he did had he been able to campaign there) so long as each delegate gets only half a vote. This would punish Florida for moving up their primary (and potentially prevent other states from doing the same in the future) and would make the delegate split closer to how it may have turned out had a real campaign taken place. In Michigan, Obama's willing to take a loss in delegates too.

But, Clinton is taking the hardest of hard lines. According to her campaign, Obama should get zero delegates from Michigan, not even those who had voted for "uncommitted." This a a ludicrous position, and shows the Clinton campaign is unwilling to make any compromise at all. It shows they don't want a solution, they want an excuse to carry on the campaign through the Democratic convention in late August.

And so they can claim a popular vote win? It's crazy anyway (how many people didn't vote in Michigan because the primary was outlawed? Hundreds of thousands, and I'm one of them. And to not give Obama any of the uncommitted vote in a popular vote tally and then claim to be the popular vote leader is intellectually dishonest). And what does a popular vote win get Hillary Clinton? The nomination? No. But it gives her a hook to have her supporters not support Obama in the fall, which opens up 2012 for another Hillary Clinton run for the White House. It's why the Clinton campaign is organizing a protest tomorrow, while the Obama campaign has urged their supporters to not follow suit, in the interest of party unity. One campaign is interested in bringing the party together. The other wants to continue fighting and continue to charge up their supporters against the other candidate. And Hillary Clinton wonders why people want her to end her campaign.

Hopefully, this won't matter. The Rules and Bylaws Committee will, in all likelihood, recommend that Michigan and Florida be seated tomorrow, but with some punishment. It will be seen as a compromise which favors the Clinton campaign. When she turns it down as "unreasonable" she'll look, well, unreasonable. And if Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who continue to say they want to end this race after the final primary on June 3rd, have any power, they'll get enough Super Delegates to put Obama over the top, no matter Clinton's protests.

It would be nice to see a compromise tomorrow, but with the Clinton campaign digging its heels in, even though Clinton may gain as many as 20 net delegates, this fight will continue on, to the detriment of Barack Obama's chances this fall, and to the detriment of the Democratic Party Hillary Clinton claims to represent.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

The Detroit Red Wings Are Two Games Away From The Stanley Cup

But first, some quick notes on the Pistons game. Haven't seen a player will his team to victory quite like Antonio McDyess did tonight. That man wants to win a championship, and if the rest of the Pistons had half his hunger, they'd be unstoppable. And the team's inconsistency is so frustrating. Had they played the way they did in the first quarter on Saturday, this series would be 3-1 going back to Boston right now. And had they continued to play with that intensity, they would have never had to claw to keep their lead in the fourth quarter. This team, other than McDyess, and the young kids like Jason Maxiell and Rodney Stuckey, is just not hungry enough.

This post, though, focuses on the positive, and that's the Detroit Red Wings second consecutive shutout of the Pittsburgh Penguins, putting them within reach of a fourth Stanley Cup in a eleven years. The Red Wings continued to be on their game, and despite the Penguins doing their best to get under the Wings skin, nothing seemed to phase the men wearing the winged wheel. Johan Franzen looked good after missing almost two weeks with concussion-like symptoms, and Valtteri Filppula scored what was one of the prettiest goals you'll see while being dragged to the ice.

And what can you say about goalie Chris Osgood? Two consecutive shutouts, becoming one of only four goalies in NHL history to start off the Stanley Cup Finals by blanking his opponent. And it's not as if Pittsburgh lacks fire power. But Osgood, and the Wings stifling defense, are making Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin look downright ordinary, after their dominant run through the Eastern Conference. I was really looking forward to watching Crosby and Malkin and seeing if they lived up to the hype (thanks to the great NHL schedulers, we didn't get a chance to see Pittsburgh at all this season) and so far, you can hardly tell when the two are on the ice. No spectacular plays, no highlight reel scoring chances.

The Wings offense, on the other hand, continues to hum right along. And with the return of Franzen, the Wings get only more dangerous heading into Games three and four in Pittsburgh. Now, the Wings, despite their 4-0 and 3-0 wins at Joe Louis, cannot start to take the Pens lightly. Pittsburgh has not lost at home in almost two months time, and there's no question the intensity level will be ratcheted up for Crosby, Malkin, and rest of the Penguins. But what the Red Wings have shown this off-season is that they can withstand the best their opponents have to offer, and if the Wings can steal one in Pittsburgh, this series could be over in five, if not sooner.

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What I'm Watching - HBO's Recount

HBO is really on a roll right now (though, I guess the question is, when are they not?). After the incredibly good John Adams mini-series, HBO took a look at a much more recent period in our political history, the Florida recount which decided the 2000 Presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

I'll always remember that night. The satisfaction when the networks called Florida for Gore. The bewilderment when they took it back. The frustration when it looked like Bush was pulling ahead for good. I remember late into the night, continually refreshing's election site, looking at the county-by-county returns as they came in, in real-time, keeping track of Bush and Gore's votes (and the changes as new votes were reported) on a blank piece of printer paper next to my computer. I stayed up as long as I could that night, waiting for word on who won the election. And the country stayed waiting a lot longer than that. If I end up working in politics one day (or, perhaps a better word is when) I'll probably look back on that night, and the night I found out I passed the Bar Exam (where instead of going out and celebrating, I was watching MSNBC's coverage of the Indiana and North Carolina Democratic Primaries until after 1:00 a.m. waiting for results from Gary, Indiana to come in to see if Barack Obama had swept the night, and swept out Hillary Clinton from the Democratic nomination fight) as nights where it was clearest to me that more than sports and more than almost anything else, politics was what was in my blood.

HBO's Recount, staring the great Kevin Spacey as Al Gore's former Chief of Staff and Florida recount, premiered tonight, and it captured the tension, and the spectacle, and the over-the-top nature of the characters and caricatures which made up the Florida recount. Despite knowing how it was going to end (as my buddy Dave, who was watching the movie pointed out, the movie was like watching 'Titanic,' we all knew the unfortunate fate awaiting the Gore team in the end) the movie was full of tension and great performances. Tom Wilkinson, who was was exceptional as Benjamin Franklin in the John Adams miniseries was equally as brilliant in Recount as George W. Bush's Recount leader, James Baker. And Laura Dern disappeared into her role as Katherine Harris, which may be the biggest compliment you can pay an actor or actress. She completely became Kathrine Harris, and played her perfectly. The rest of the cast was phenomenal as well.

And while the movie may have had a slight Democratic slant (the main character, after all, was Al Gore's former Chief of Staff), it was fair to the story I thought, and presented both sides. Some of the moments were over the top, but so was the real life recount. HBO has done another great job with another terrific cast, and if you have a chance to catch what I'm sure will be the first of many re showings Monday night at 9:00, check it out. Especially with another close election upcoming (and another between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton which won't seem to end) we cannot forget about the lessons of the past, and through HBO's Recount, we never will.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Detroit Pistons Are Just So Frustrating

This had all the makings of a classic night in Detroit sports history. The Detroit Tigers awaken from their season-long hibernation and put up 19 runs against the Minnesota Twins. The Detroit Red Wings open up the Stanley Cup Finals with a 4-0 shellacking of the Pittsburgh Penguins. And the Detroit Pistons, of course they would take care of the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals. They had just stolen Game Two in Boston, and of course, the Celtics had yet to win a road playoff game this season.

What do the Pistons do? They decide to do what they have done all season, and that's show up for one quarter. Unfortunately for the Pistons, they were already down 24 points when they decided, "Hey, we should probably show up tonight." If the Pistons were a young team, learning how to win, learning how to play in big games, then inconsistent performances would be acceptable, even expected. But, this is a team that has been to six straight Eastern Conference Finals. Their play is simply inexcusable. Playing hard when you feel like it, playing hard only when you feel like you need to, that's not what a championship team does. And it's why the Detroit Pistons are destined to lose to the Boston Celtics and fall short of the NBA Finals yet again.

One thing we have learned this series so far is that Rodney Stuckey is going to be a star. So much so, that if I were Joe Dumars, I would think seriously, really seriously, about blowing this team up. The Pistons, in their current form, with their current core, have gotten content with winning 50-plus regular season games, sleep-walking through the playoffs, and getting close, but not close enough. Putting the same pieces together again next year and hoping they don't put their game on cruise control is not how to win another NBA Championship.

Putting the same team back together for another run is what's easy. It's the safe course. Joe Dumars, though, should take a risk. He should take a step back in 2009 because it could mean a huge step forward in 2010. Trade Chauncey Billups. Drop Rasheed Wallace. Move Jason Maxiell and Rodney Stuckey into the starting lineup. Oh, and fire Flip Saunders and get a new coach, with some new ideas, and most importantly, some new motivational techniques, in the building.

This current iteration of the Pistons have given us some great memories, and an NBA Title. But it's over. We aren't going to win another NBA Championship with this current team, and keeping them together, while it may make town feel good with their 50-win seasons and constant trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, will not win another ring in its current form. And it's time we stop pretending that they will, realize that we have some very impressive young players, and give them the change to succeed or fail, and hopefully, change the face of the Pistons franchise once again, brining a hunger and determination which the Pistons just simply does not have right now.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

My Problem With Hillary Clinton's Explanation About Her RFK Assassination Comments: She's Lying

By now, most have probably heard about Hillary Clinton's offensive comments earlier today referencing Robert Kennedy's assassination while trying to defend why she has not dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination. Now, I don't think she meant to say "I'm staying in because Barack Obama may get killed" and I do think she really meant that "Look, primary campaigns have gone on until June before" but the comment was incredibly ill-advised. There are plenty of other primary fights she could have referenced, and talking the way she did about the assassination of one of our country's great leaders, even if not ill-willed, was still offensive. But what was even more offensive was her defense of the comments.

The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy and I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive.

The problem? She's lying. Again. She didn't make the Bobby Kennedy reference because Ted Kennedy was on her mind. How do I know this? Because she's made the assassination comparison before, multiple times, before Ted Kennedy took ill. This is a theme with Hillary Clinton, a repeated one, and not an analogy which happened to be in her head because of Ted Kennedy's illness.

In fact, to use Ted Kennedy's illness as political cover for her remarks is even more offensive than the remarks themselves. As I said, I really believe that her original comments today were inarticulately delivered, and it is a fact that political nomination fights have gone late into the summer before (most times, though, to the detriment of the party fighting, but that's another argument). But her excuse of "Oh, the Kennedy's were on my mind" that wasn't a slip of the tongue or a off-the-cuff remark. It was a prepared justification for her original comments, and it was specifically chosen to give her a justifiable excuse for her comments. And had she not made the comments before, maybe she could get the benefit of the doubt, but knowing that she hasn't, the excuse is worse than the original comments.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Barack Obama Brings Out Over 75,000 People in Oregon

In some ways, there is a real risk in overstating the "Barack Obama mania" that has spread throughout the United States during the fight for the Democratic nomination. While many members of "Obama-Nation" have instantly taken to the Senator and his message, Obama is still unknown to much of the country. He has, after all, only been on the national stage for less than four years, making his debut at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. And as the results from West Virginia showed, where he doesn't spend a lot of time introducing himself to voters, they still are very unfamiliar with him, and aren't willing to take a leap of faith based on the rave reviews the rest of the country has given Obama. And while it might seem contradictory that some can both believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim (at least 10% of the country according to recent polling) and at the same time think that he shares the views of radical former Pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, many voters do not see the inconsistency (one, , Ben Smith at Politico first noticed).

Then there are days like today, when Barack Obama brings out over 75,000 people in Oregon. No, I didn't add a zero accidentally, he really did have, at least, seventy-five thousand people attend a speech in Oregon. That's beyond incredible for a person who nobody knew outside of Chicago just four years ago, and who hasn't even officially won his party's nomination for the Presidency yet, much less been sworn in and taken over the Oval Office.

The reason why Obama is so exciting as a candidate, and why he can win where other Democrats couldn't, is because he expands the electoral map by creating so much excitement that 75,000 people take their Sunday to come see him speak. As Obama has constantly said, getting elected means nothing if you don't have a mandate to get things done. In order to solve the problems we fight about year after year, you need more than to win an election, you need to build a broad coalition of citizens who will demand nothing less than universal health care, an end to the war in Iraq, and energy policy which saves the planet and ends our dependence on foreign oil, and saves Social Security for my generation (and more importantly my kids and grandkids generation).

Early in the campaign, when Obama was trying to build up his name recognition in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Dakota, he drew tens of thousands of people to rallies. But that was because Oprah Winfrey was introducing him. Just five months later, though, whether its in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia or in Portland, Oregon, Obama is drawing 75,000 people to hear him speak. It's a level of political engagement and interest we have not seen in perhaps a generation. And it's one that should excite all Americans, because even if you don't agree with what Obama stands for, there's no doubt, anything or anybody who engages the citizenry to care about, and participate in the political process, now that's something, or in this case, somebody with a special gift.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Detroit Tigers Are Just Not Fun To Watch

It probably does not come as a shock that I consider myself a Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers fan first and foremost (I do write a Detroit Tigers blog for after all). Don't get me wrong, I love all the Detroit and Michigan sports teams, and choosing between them isn't easy, but if I had to choose, I'd put football and baseball just a bit ahead of hockey and basketball. Just a bit. So I have watched at least 100 Detroit Tigers game a year the past, oh I don't know, the past seven or eight years. It certainly was not a new phenomenon when the Tigers got good three seasons ago. God knows I watched a lot of bad baseball, but throughout high school and undergrad, if I was home, I was watching the Tigers every night during the summer.

This season though, I haven't watched nearly as many games as I have in the past. And it's not because I'm working and am not home and it's not even that I'm watching the Wings and Pistons playoff runs instead (although I am, and certainly I have seen a considerable up-tic in my MSNBC-watching as compared to past years, but with my Slingbox, I could be watching the Tigers at the same time if I really wanted). It's just the Detroit Tigers are not fun to watch, in a way that even the embarrassing and laughable 2004 team did not turn me off as a fan. When the Tigers were the doormat of Major League Baseball, in a strange way, it was okay, because, they weren't even trying. But this season, with expectations high, and excitement palpable because of the trades for Edgar Renteria and Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, for the Tigers to be the worst team in baseball through just over 40 games (or second worse team in baseball to be completely fair) is beyond appalling.

Take tonight's great effort (sarcasm intended) against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Fresh off yet another sweep by the Kansas City Royals, the Tigers started interleague play, and most nights, Dan Haren versus Jeremy Bonderman, I'm in. Instead though, I fell asleep on my couch and made no real effort to make sure I was awake for the 9:40 first pitch. When I did awake from my slumber, I turned on the game. And what did I see almost immediately upon waking up? Carlos Guillen committing yet another costly error at third base, this time throwing what should have been the third out of the seventh inning into the dirt, and allowing what would be the winning run to score. I quickly learned the Detroit Tigers had given up three runs in the seventh, blowing a 3-1 lead (and Jeremy Bonderman's best performance of the year) and they never recovered. Guillen's making a habit of committing game changing errors at third base, a position he was moved to only because he couldn't learn how to play first base, and the Tigers $157 million man, Miguel Cabrera, couldn't play third anymore.

Honestly, the way this season has gone, blowing tonight's game was not a surprise. Every game, you almost just wait for the team to blow it somehow. The team is just not fun to watch. And that's so disappointing given how excited I was and frankly everyone was heading into this season. I don't know what the Tigers can do to turn their season around, but another lineup shakeup is in order. Brandon Inge, almost by default, is going to have be named the everyday third baseman at some point in the near future, and Carlos Guillen is going to have to become the everyday DH. And if Gary Sheffield isn't healthy enough to play the outfield, maybe he needs to sit out. But the Tigers must do something to improve their porous defense. How many games can Jim Leyland let his defense blow while having a potential Gold Glove third baseman sit on his bench? I don't care that Inge can't hit. Neither can most of the other Tigers right now. So at least Inge will provide you a dependable glove at third base.

I wrote over a month ago that the Detroit Tigers slow start wasn't cute anymore. Now, it's simply unacceptable. And while we as Detroit Sports fans can tolerate it for a bit longer because of the great runs the Red Wings and Pistons are on which are taking up most of our attention at the moment, soon the spotlight will be solely on Comerica Park and the Detroit Tigers. And if the Tigers cannot figure out what's wrong with their team, it might just be too bright for some in the Tigers lineup or coaching staff to survive.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Real Political Victor Tonight: Travis Childers

Yes, Hillary Clinton won a blowout victory in West Virginia tonight Yawn. Next week, in Oregon, Barack Obama will wrap up a majority of pledged delegates, and having recently taken the lead in Super Delegates, the race is in all but name, over. While Hillary will now try to get Michigan and Florida seated (despite herself saying in October that Michigan was "not going to count for anything") and while Hillary Clinton now saying that one needs 2209 delegates to win (despite herself saying the number was 2,025, the delegates without Florida and Michigan, as recently as last month) Michigan and Florida will not be seated fully, that we know for a fact. Even if they were, she'd still be down almost 100 total delegates (assuming, of course, the "uncommitted" delegates are apportioned to Obama) so then the popular vote matters. Except, if Florida and Michigan are seated at half-strength, delegate wise, how can Hillary claim a full popular vote from those states, especially when she gives Obama zero votes from Michigan because he wasn't on the ballot? So, rant over, it's over, and in early June, Hillary needs to bow out gracefully, and allow the Democrats to rally around our nominee.

The real winner tonight though, was not Hillary Clinton, but the Democratic Party and Travis Childers. Who is Travis Childers you ask? He's the newest member of Congress, the third Democrat to be elected in a Special Election this year, and the third in an overwhelmingly Republican district in an overwhelmingly Republican state, Mississippi. President Bush won Childers' district with over 60% of the vote, the seat was in Republican hands since 1994, and the Republicans did everything they could to hold on to that seat, a seat they had no business losing. They had Dick Cheney come out to the District, they spent millions of dollars, and they ran television advertisements tying Childers to Barack Obama and Rev. Wright. And yet, they still lost. If the Republicans cannot win in the First Congressional District of Mississippi, where on earth can Republicans win this fall? They can't win their own seats, much less swing districts, or poaching Democratic seats. MSNBC described the win as seismic, and the fact that Barack Obama was not a drag on Childers in the reddest of red-state America shows what a force he will be on the top of the Democratic ticket. And it shows how strong a position the Democrats will be in this fall, assuming of course, Hillary Clinton doesn't sink the party by fighting all the way to the convention in Denver.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

The Detroit Red Wings Are Playing Some Incredible Hockey Right Now

After a brief blog hiatus, Quo Vadimus is back with regular posts starting tonight, and I'm still in practical disbelief about how great the Detroit Red Wings are playing hockey right now. I have watched the Red Wings for a long time, and in my lifetime, I have seen three Stanley Cups, so many President's Cups (for the best regular season record) I have lost count, and teams with Hall of Fame players from top to bottom. And, yet, I don't think I have ever seen the Wings play as well as they have this playoff run.

Colorado, the once vaunted foe of the Wings, were nothing more than an afterthought. And, yes, part of that was due to injuries which decimated the Avs, but the Wings have kept the pressure on against Dallas, winning the first three games of the Western Conference Finals quite convincingly, and winning the last two games, including tonight's game three, without star-in-the-making Johan Franzen. No worries, Pavel Datsyuk simply scored a hat trick (the first of his career, which is a pretty amazing stat itself) as he and linemate Henrik Zetterberg continue to dominate games.

We're really spoiled here in Detroit. I don't think we really appreciate how great Datsyuk and Zetterberg really are. Some of their goals this post-season, the incredible skating and passing and shooting, have been nothing short of breathtaking. They just make it look so easy.

And goalie Chris Osgood cannot get enough credit for his play. The first 10 minutes of tonight's Game Three was Dallas' chance at surviving and making a real comeback against Detroit. The crowd was into it, Dallas' players were pumped up, and they put the pressure on the Wings and on Osgood. But Ozzie was more than up to the task, and the Wings jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Dallas tied it up (and tied it 2-2) but Ozzie and the Wings defense shut the Stars down after that, and with a 3-0 series lead, the Wings may have back-to-back sweeps ushering them into the Stanley Cup Finals.

And that is just what a starving Hockeytown needed to fall in love all over again with a team which despite its star power and regular season successes, had lost its luster among Detroit sports fans in recent years. Maybe it was the explosion of the Tigers, the tough economy, the strike, or the retirement of Steve Yzerman. For whatever reason, the Wings, despite their star power, were in a rut. Well, the team is now one game away from the Stanley Cup Finals.

About time.

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