Sunday, November 20, 2011

Down to the Wire

Evan Tracy who is the CEO and founder of the Campaign Media Analysis Group explains exactly what his company does. He talks about how last-minute campaigns are becoming more common. He also explains that the common theme in these last-minute campaign as outlines in an article by the Wall Street Journal is that they go for the jugular.

Attack of the Ads

Bill Adair is the editor of the website; which rates whether or not an elected official has kept their promises or not as well as whether or not what a politician or ad says is true or not by a "truth o' meeter." In this video, Adair is asked how he rated the validity of the ads thats were for the race for the Florida Senate between Marco Rubio and Charlie Frist.

Perry's Woes Continue

Throughout the majority of August and September, Texas Governor Rick Perry was a serious contender in the race for the Republican Party's nomination for the 2012 election. According to a Rasmussen Poll conducted back in August, Perry was the frontrunner with 29 % of the vote. At the end of the third quarter, Perry lead all of his opponents in the total amount of money raised in the quarter with $17,168,589 raised and had $15,078,415 on hand to go with it. But once the quarter ended Perry found himself heading in a downward spiral that seems to not have an end. The spark was ignited as I wrote about in earlier entries, when it was leaked to the public that outside his hunting ranch in rural Texas there was a rock that had the word "Ni****head" spray-painted on it. From that moment on, Perry has seemed to be self-destructing. He has conducted himself poorly in numerous debates by saying things that made others perceive him as inarticulate and ignorant.

Today, Perry no longer has that commanding lead in the polls that he once did at the end of summer. Instead, his campaign is in shambles and his chances of winning the nomination are slim to none. He has been forced to take drastic and rather desperate measures to help salvage his campaign and to maintain the support that he still has. Recently, Perry invited House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to a debate to most likely prove that he has the brains to be the next Republican Party's nominee for president. Pelosi declined his offer, but could not resist to have some fun along the way. According to an article from that was written by Xuan Thai, when Pelosi was asked why declined Perry's offer she said: "It is my understanding that such a letter has come in. Monday I'm going to be in Portland in the morning and I'm going to be visiting some of our labs in the afternoon, that's two, I can't remember what the third thing is I'm going to be doing."This is a reference that was made to mock Perry when he could not remember the third government agency that he said he would shutdown in a recent debate. It seems like Perry has unfortunately for himself been labeled as the clown of the race who nobody seems to take seriously anymore. What makes this so bad for Perry is that the House Minority Leader insulted his intelligence as opposed to mocking his ideologies. This would never happen to Mitt Romney who will most likely win the nomination when all is said and done.

There are growing concerns in his campaign as well. Perry and his campaign manager Rob Johnson spent several days in New Hampshire last week since he has not campaigned this much in this particular state. In fact, on Wednesday a Bloomberg Poll showed that Perry only has 3% of the support from probable voters in New Hampshire. On Monday they attended a meet-and-greet at the Portsmouth's 100 club; in which one attendee described it as being an "Apology Tour." However, two Perry supporters Pam Tucker and Sean Mahoney did not voice any concerns about this so-called "Apology Tour." Despite this there is no question that Perry needs to do more than this if he hopes to win the nomination let alone be the next president of our country.

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Hoop Dreams

Barrack Obama needs all the help and support that he can possibly get on his journey to of winning the election that is around one year away. Much of the hope that carried Obama in his victory over John McCain in 2008 has evaporated into thin air. In other words, many Americans believe that Obama has fallen short on several of the promises he made in his previous campaign. Promises that our President has broken include: increasing the dividends taxes for higher-income taxpayers, expand the child and dependent care credit, repeal the Bush tax cuts, sign the Employee Free Choice Act, and many more. But above all our nation is grieving about our economy that is in shambles. In regards to how Americans think Obama is handling our economy, only 26% of Americans believe that he is handling our economy well according to a Gallup Poll conducted in August. Also, a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports reveals that just 23% of our population strongly agrees with the way that Obama is handling out government and 38% strongly agrees of what he has done since he has been in office. As a result of the economy, the unemployment rate is at 9.1% are the notorious Occupy Wall Street Movement has reached new heights as seen through the protests that took place week. 

Clearly, Obama is in much need of support if he hopes to re-claim his throne in the upcoming election. Not surprisingly, Obama is once again seeking unorthodox methods to build support for his 2012 campaign. Obama is not adhering to the traditional approach to gain support and raise my by sucking up to interest groups to seek potential donors. Instead, he is heading to the courts. No I do not mean a court of law, I mean a basketball court. 

Our presidents love for the game of basketball has been documented over the past four years in a subtle manner. In the wake of the NBA lockout, the only chance that fans might get to say their favorite players on the court this year is in the "First Ever Obama Classic." The "Obama Classic" is set to take place an a to be determined venue in Washington D.C. on December 12; which is three days before the first possible NBA game will be played if the lockout comes to an end. Tickets that will be purchased to see the "Obama Classic" will go directly to his re-election campaign. This event has already attracted some of the NBA's biggest stars to participate in it including Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Blake Griffin, and Dwight Howard. Former Knick Patrick Ewing is also on board to participate and Cheryl Miller and Tina Thompson of the WNBA are set to be in the "Obama Classic" as well. The Obama campaign also claims that several more players will be in the "Obama Classic" too. Ticket prices vary for this event. There is a limited number of $100 tickets that are reserved for "Gen44" (younger supporters) donors. General admission tickets are priced at $200, premium seats go for $5,000 dollars.

Can the "Obama Classic" have a positive effect on his re-election campaign? Aside from the fact that it does bring in money, it does help him maintain his hip and empathetic image that was a piece to the puzzle that lead him to winning the election in 2008. Also, the sports industry has been known to be predominately right-wing. Although I do believe that this can have some positive effect on his bid for re-election, it will be very minimal at best. He is going to have to do a lot more than just the "Obama Classic" if he hopes to serve a second term in office. 

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bush vs. Kerry

The 2004 election between George Bush and John Kerry occurred at a time of great uncertainty. We were in the midst of the War in Iraq and many people no longer had the feelings that they had about it when it was first waged. As a result, the first question that was asked in the debate was: Will our children ever live in a safe and secure world? Kerry answered the question by being able to improve a better job of ensuring a good level of national security than Bush did. He said that he would do whatever possible to capture the terrorists. Bush responded by saying that we must stay the course in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He highlighted what he thought were triumphs in his War on Terror.

Reagan vs. Mondale

This debate occurred in 1984 when Ronald Reagan was seeking re-election. His opponent was Democrat Walter Mondale. The debated over the federal budget, and Mondale claimed that if he were elected president he would better manage it than Reagan has. Reagan responded by highlighting the triumphs of his budget plan as well as how he will improve it if he is to be re-elected.

The Debates of 1992

In 1992 something new happened: a candidate from the Independent Party (Ross Perot) was not just the theird party candidate but at one point had a legitimate shot at the presidency. His opponents were Republican George Bush Sr. who was running for re-election and Democrat Bill Clinton who ultimately won the election. This excerpt from this debate is about taxed. Bill Clinton criticized Bush's use of trick-down economics because it only benefitted the rich, promised relief for the middle-class, and said he would address deficit spending. Bush responded by saying that Clinton's proposal would be "trickle-down government"; which would be bad for our country. Perot talked about his opinion on the issue and what he would do as president.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Cain Saga Continues...

There is not doubt that the sexual allegations regarding potential Republican nominee has been the most controversial, entertaining, and shocking development that has taken place in the Republican primaries so far. Last week I wrote about how he has been accused of engaging in sexual behaviors that are inexcusable over a decade ago while he was working for the National Restaurant Association. A week ago, these accusations lacked substance because not one of his four accusers had come forward. 

However, that all changed this week when two of his four accusers Sharon Bialek and Karen Kraushaar came forward and revealed themselves to the public. If these accusations are in fact true, it is obvious that Herman Cain has a thing for blondes. However, the credibility of both of these accusers must be questioned because they are accusing him of these acts that occurred over a decade ago. 

Bialek held a press conference on Monday claiming that the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza groped her. Cain who has repeatedly denied these accusations, agreed to take a lie detector test. The Washington Post reports that a local Atlanta TV station claimed that an advances voiced recognition software used by a private investigator reveals that Cain's persistent denials of his allegations were proven to be true, while it proved the statements that were made by Bialek to be false. Kraushaar's actions following being revealed publicly as one of the four Cain accusers also have vulnerabilities in terms of her credibility. She has originally planned to join Bialek in a joint press conference on Thursday, but declined to do so because the other two women have not yet come forward. Her attorney Joel Bennett claimed that his client (Kraushaar) has made the decision not to hold a press conference "unless and until the other women come forward and wish to participate" according to Bennett also claims that his client will have no more contact with the media until the other two victims reveal themselves. Also, the chain of events after this supposed act of sexual aggression challenges her credibility. After she left her job where Cain is said to have performed these acts, she filed a similar complaint at her new job as a spokeswomen at the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Huffington Post reports that two of her former supervisors said that she demanded a settlement of thousands of dollars, a promotion on the federal pay scale, reinstated leave time and a one-year fellowship to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Therefore, Kraushaar is either a two-time victim and an apparently is too much to resist for men in politics or quite the manipulator who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. 

Last week I wrote that if these allegations were made public that it would be the end of his campaign. Apparently I was wrong. It seems that no matter what Cain has the ability to remain cool under pressure. On Thursday, his campaign reports that it has raised more than $9 million since October 1st. Shockingly, since the controversy first made the headlines ten days ago, it has raised $2.25 million. That is almost twice the amount of money that he raised between May and September. However, although this is an encouraging sign this has only been out in the open for less than two weeks. This is going to be an ongoing story and more developments will surely follow. 

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

There's a First Time for Everything

Earlier in the semester, I have posted a few blogs about both President Obama's seemingly slim chances of getting re-elected in 2012 as well as the criticism from candidates who are running for the Republican Party's nomination of his policies, actions taken since he has assumed office, and his lack of success in reviving our nations struggling economy. Numbers simply do not lie. According to Rasmussen Reports, on Thursday polls showed that only 22% of the nations voters strongly approve of the way that Obama is fulfilling his role as president. Also, 40% strongly disapprove of the way that he is handling himself as our president; which gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -18. A survey conducted by Quinnipiac University shows that as of now the race between would be coming down to the wire with Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney in three key states that he narrowly won in 2008. In Florida, Romney has the edge over Obama by a 3% margin. In Ohio, Obama has the 3% advantage while in Pennsylvania it is neck and neck with Obama having a slim 1% advantage over Romeny. These three states carry 68 electoral votes combined which will more than likely determine the outcome of the upcoming election.

After hearing these statistics, one would think that Obama needs to rely on his charisma and at often times impeccable social decorum to salvage the adversity that he is currently faced with. In other words, Obama will have to filter what he says if he is to assume the throne for another four years. Up until recenty, Obama has yet to have an "opps" moment unlike his potential opponents Herman Cain and Rick Perry. However, Obama's track record in this regard all changed during his recent meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. During this conversation, Sarkozy exclaimed his resentments towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by in short calling him both unbearable and a liar. Obama replied by saying, "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more than you." Obama's position on Israel has never been the most promising towards his bid for re-election. Mitt Romney capitalized on this opportunity through a statement he made on Wednesday morning. He said that "President Obama's derisive remarks about Israel's prime minister confirm what any observer would have gleaned from his public statements and actions toward our longstanding ally, Israel. At a moment when the Jewish state is isolated and under threat, we cannot have an American president who is disdainful of our special relationship with Israel. We have yet another reason why we need new leadership in the White House." This will most likely result in a loss of votes not just because of the his inferred anti-Israel ideologies but the content as well. Many people will see this as a lack of character on Obama's part.

The Netanyahu comment will most likely haunt Obama throughout his 2012 campaign. Although this was a huge mistake on Obama's part, he has a lot more to worry about. Romney is far from being the only source of criticism for Obama from the right. Obama will have to find a way to defend his jobs bill plan that entails tax increases. Republican advocacy group Crossroads GPS purchased a commercial that will play for the next two weeks in five competitive states for $2.6 million. This commercial contains a clip of Bill Clinton criticizing Obama's plan in which the initiative is to raise taxes. Clearly, the Republicans are taking every advantage they have to attack Obama's weaknesses. It will be interesting to see whether or not our president can overcome these hurdles or not. If he does, I would be shocked because most likely if the election were held today he would lose.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Social Media Part 1

This video addresses the impact that social media devices such as facebook and twitter have on courts of law. It also raises questions about whether or not facebook and twitter are equipped with adequate privacy policies.

New Social Media Part 2

In this video, the main discussion is bout how to effectively monitor social media devices such as facebook. They look to see if technological changes are needed in order to protect privacy for consumers.

New Social Media Part 3

Conservative activist James O'Keefe talks about his organization and the tactics they pursue to uncover stories. He talked about how he went undercover as a banker at the Occupy Wall Street movement here in New York City. He also discussed the evolving role of social media in politics.

No More Student Loans?!

This new generation of college graduates has been hit hard by our struggling on our economy. While I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher a week or two ago I heard one very alarming statistic: 85% of college graduates go home to live with their parents immediately after graduation. He did not say for how long or why most students move home, but this is still very discouraging news to any college student. There are many reasons as to why this unfortunate trend is occurring. One of them is that the price of college tuition has drastically increased over the years. According to Tamar Lewin in her article she wrote in 2009 in the New York Times College Costs Keep Rising, public four-year institutions have raised their tuition by 6.5% over the past few years while private institutions have increased their tuition by 4.4%. Here are two graphs: one of them shows how college tuition has increased over the past few decades and the other compares this increase to the price change in homes:

As you can see in these graphs, college tuition has become incredibly high. Keep in mind that this does not include personal expenses and room and board. Lewin wrote in her article that many people are looking to combat this problem through student loans. This has resulted in college tuition being treated and looked upon as if one was taking out a loan for their home. As a result, most college students are up to their ears in debt by the time they walk up to the podium knowing that they will be a part of that 85%.

Clearly, the solution to this problem that is counterproductive to reviving our economy lies in price containment as opposed to student loans which has proved to just add fuel to the fire. Ron Paul who despite his lack of media coverage pulled off a landslide victory in the Iowa Straw poll with 82% of the vote, has proposed a plan that would eliminate student loans and in return it would lower the costs of a college education. Paul's budget plan would cut $1 trillion in excessive spending in just one year; which includes student loans. He claims that his budget plan would would result in a more robust economy and new jobs. As a result, the price of education and other services would decline due to an increase in free market competition and a reduction in government interface. He believes that the debt induced by student loans is a direct result of our overly centralized government that promotes ineffective solutions that are being passed by our inefficient federal government. Instead, he proposes that our nations solution to this issue lies within our local governments and private-based market solutions.

It would seem that if Paul's plan were to work and be effective, it would benefit our students in the long run because it takes time for the price of tuition to go down. As a result, it is likely to assume that for a few years less students would matriculate to four-year institutions due to lack of funds. This could actually be a blessing in disguise because I remember that during freshmen year when I went to a big state school, so many kids dropped out not just due to financial reasons, but because they were not ready to keep up with the workload. In fact, the freshmen retention rate at m previous institution was only 70%. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that if Paul's plan were passed we could see a new trend which would entail more students pacing themselves by going to a community college before going to a four-year. In the end, something different must be done to help reduce the magnitude of this issue. Nobody should be up to their ears of debt after four or more years of hard work.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

More Controversy

Controversy is always excited in any political race. It provides excitement into a potentially mundane environment, and has the ability to attract more viewers than before for better or worse. In other words, controversy can make others more politically aware not because of the issues that are raised but because they are interested in seeing what events might occur after a particular controversy. So far during this year's Republican primaries, there have been controversies surrounding a few of the candidates. We all remember what was leaked about the racial slur that was spray-painted on a rock outside of Texas Governor Rick Perry's family ranch in rural Texas. Partially as a result, his rating have drastically decreased. Other factors are involved in his demise. 

On the other hand, business tycoon turned politician Herman Cain has been subject to controversy and he is neck and neck with frontrunner Mitt Romney. Previously, all Cain needed to do was just put a filter on what he said. He has said that he believes that we should have an electrical fence complemented with barbed wire along the U.S.-Mexico border to help prevent illegal immigration. Also, his comments regarding abortion did not go over particularly well in the eyes of the public. However, his most recent controversy is not about what he has recently said, it is about what he might have done in the past. The top story around Cain is that he has been rumored to have sexually assaulted a women when he was the head of the National Restaurant Association. This accusation was brought to the table when Oklahoma political consultant Chris Wilson who is ironically a Perry supporter, claimed that he witnessed the acts in person. Here is both him reiterating what actually happened in this circumstance and Cain defending himself of these accusations:

According to Wilson, Cain did a lot more than just compare his supposed victims height to that of his wife's. To make matters worse, Wilson claims that "It was only a matter of time because so many people were aware of what took place, so many people were aware of her situation, the fact that she left-everybody with the campaign that this would eventually come up.” The Huffington Post also reports that a former pollster for the Restaurant Association claims that at least two other women have made similar allegations in the past. Recently while he was meeting with conservative doctors in Northern Virginia, Cain lashed out at reported when they asked him about these allegations. 

The only way in which Cain has been lucky in this stick situation is that the victim has not made her accusations public. If she would, this would certainly result in the termination of his campaign.  But could this mean that end of it already? He is already at a huge disadvantage being a black man in a "white man's party", and although he has excelled in the business world, his lack of experience in office has raised questions like whether or not he is fit to handle our nations foreign policy issues. His 9-9-9 plan is no longer as popular as it once was which has result in him struggling to keep his head above water from his opponents critiquing his plan every chance they get. It is very possible that Cain could be losing his momentum as the minutes go by.