Monday, June 30, 2008

Legitimate Left-Wing Concerns About Obama

Arianna Huffington wrote a decent column today that voiced concerns many liberals have been feeling the last few weeks. Namely, is Obama making too sharp of a turn to the middle to appease swing voters at the risk of losing his brand? His statements on the Supreme Court's gun-control ruling, FISA wiretapping, and NAFTA have sounded less like a voice of hope and more like a typical politician. Don't get me wrong, he shouldn't sound like a weak-kneed latte-sipping liberal from Seattle either, but there's a balance, and perhaps he's racing a little too much to the middle. The risk is he loses the belief from voters that he does what he thinks is right, rather than what's politically expedient. Any successful politician has to do some of the latter, but his appeal is doing more of the former. I recognize the Dude will respond to this with a campaign slogan, but the last few weeks have been a reminder that at the least, you wish the campaign season could go on vacation for a month to give us all a break.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Veepstakes Profile No. 6: Ted Strickland

Pros: One of the pre-eminent Christian conservatives in the country, the Ohio governor would strengthen Obama's credo with a Christian demographic that has been difficult to reach for democratic candidates. Strickland could bring perhaps the most important state in this election (as it was in 2004) into the Obama camp - as he did for Hillary Clinton in the primary.

Cons: As Strickland's primary focus as governor has been on education and criminal justice issues, he may not complement Obama in the usual connotation of the word. Significantly, Strickland does not tout the foreign policy credentials that may prove critical when running against John McCain. In addition, Strickland is not as ideologically liberal as Obama. Moreover, Strickland has said that he may not be inclined to accept the position if offered.

Ideological Similarity: 5

Added Electability: 8

Risk: 8

Intangibles: 5

Total: 26

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Veepstakes Profile No. 5: Ed Rendell

Pros: One of the most effective mayors in this country's recent history, Rendell will bring some stellar executive experience to the ticket's composite resume. His successes in balancing Philadelphia's budget and managing Pennsylvania's will somewhat allay fears generated by the typical GOP smears of Obama being a tax-and-spend liberal. Moreover, picking Rendell will virtually guarantee an Obama win in Pennsylvania - a must have state for Obama's electoral prospects. A former Clinton backer, Rendell may further heal wounds still left from the primary. His popularity with suburban whites may help Obama with that courted demographic.
Cons: Rendell does not bring much-needed foreign policy experience to the ticket. He was also one of the to-the-end Clinton supporters who was on MTP a week before Clinton's concession to tout Clinton's bona fides to a national audience. Rendell, moreover, may not be willing to take a second-fiddle position; and could become a bit of a loose cannon on the campaign trail.
Ideological Similarity: 8
Added Electability: 7
Risk: 5
Intangibles: 3
Total: 23

Friday, June 20, 2008

Judge Agrees: Airborne About as Bad as it Gets

Back in the days when the Undude still cared about the rest of the dudes and this blog, he would have posted something about the Kentucky Courts' decision yesterday that any team would be a suitable replacement for Duke on Louisville's football schedule. The highlight? this nugget from the judge's decision...

“At oral argument, Duke (with a candor perhaps more attributable to good
legal strategy than to institutional modesty) persuasively asserted that this is
a threshold that could not be any lower. Duke’s argument on this point cannot be
reasonably disputed by Louisville.”

Was turning down public financing the right move for Obama?

The answer, to me, has nothing to do with politics. Polls show that the public cares little about the issue, is fine with the idea of raising money from small donors, and isn't likely to hold it against Obama ... and certainly not once the attention dies down.
But I think the larger question as to whether it was the right move for Obama boils down to this -- come early October, will his staff be sufficiently focused on get-out-the-vote efforts, or spending too much time raising more money for last-minute ads? And will the grass roots be busy raising $25/person or arranging voter caravans and neighborhood walks in the last few weeks? For all his successes in turning out voters for caucuses, there's no question that Obama struggled turning out voters in the big states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, etc.) in the primaries. That could be a function of the fact Hillary often closed strong the weekend before each Tuesday, but you hope the quest for $300 million doesn't distract from the traditional micro-targeting that almost always proves decisive, and certainly did in 2004. Ideally, Obama raises enough in the next two months so post-convention it's not as much of a distraction, but let's hope the money advantage he'll almost certainly have pays off. Remember, the last month of primary season, Obama outspent Hillary up to 3-to-1 in most states, and it didn't necessarily work.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cuban, Quit Being a Huge Douche-Bag

Mark Cuban made the unfortunate mistake of running his pie-hole to the Dallas Morning News: Here's what Cuban said.
It's not that I don't like the idea of them representing their countries. If the Olympics were truly a nationalistic endeavor built on sport and part of the public domain, I would be willing to take risk and support their playing. What I don't like is that we lie to ourselves and pretend that the Olympians represent our country. They don't. They have taken relatively low paying jobs working for the Olympics, who in turn sell the broadcast and marketing rights for billions of dollars in profits, all the while creating enormous risk for those of us who pay them for their day jobs that
support their families. It's amazing how players who are free agents won't
participate, but those with guaranteed contracts will. I hate the fact that we
lie to ourselves and pretend this is about representing country. It's not. It's about money.

Really Mark? It's all about the money? Tell that to the athletes participating in swimming, or rowing, or kayaking, or gymnastics, or weightlifting, or the field events, or the scores of other Olympic sports that yield essentially no shot at stardom or endorsement? Maybe you ask them why they train so hard, for so long. Is it all about the paltry bonus money they get from the USOC? Is it about the 5 minute spot they get on Good Morning America the day after? Why do so many athletes cry when they see their country's flag raised to the rafters? Are those the tears of joy at the prospect of financial freedom?

So Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki rely on your paychecks to them to support their families? Maybe Latrell Sprewell is right - he does need a multi-million dollar contract to put food on the table. I'm sure that both Dirk and Kidd can not take another cent from you and support their families just fine. But what you should be more concerned about are those vendors, concessionaires and stadium workers at Americas Airlines Arena who are worried about how to pay the gas bill driving to work for their wages, and how to put food on the table for their families - before you grow concerned about the "enormous risk" of Dirk and Kidd playing basketball in the offseason. (What, you'd rather the two of them sit on the couch and watch Oprah all summer?)

You should be ashamed of yourself Mark - sometimes it helps to run your words through that filter called your brain before letting it out. Or maybe that is the problem.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Another Dude Title

Perhaps it's because the most active of bloggers, the Dude and I, haven't come close to sniffing a title since the Astros and Mavs several years ago, but meanwhile other dudes continue to walk off with world championships, the lastest tonight as the Celtics capped off a remarkable turnaround with title #17. On top of the Sox' World Series, Wings' Cup, and Patriots almost-Super Bowl, its been quite a year for several of us. And by "us", I mean not me! But it was good to see Kobe go down.

And I guess there's only one victory the Dude and I want this year ... and it won't come until November.
[Dude's Edits] Unlike past Boston titles, this was one team from whom you could legitimately root. Whether it was the youthful exuberance of a Rajon Rondo, or the all-encompassing force that is Kevin Garnett, I was pleased that the Boston Three Party had such a joyful ending. It is a rarity that a Boston team is actually likeable - but this was perhaps the only one.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Speech Obama Couldn't Give a Year Ago

For most of 2007, Barack Obama was a candidate most African-Americans thought wasn't black enough, and was behind Hillary in most demographic polls. Now, with black support in the low 90s, and his status secure, he can go back home to Chicago and give great speeches like this. If ever there was a president who actually could cause social change in the inner city, this is the one.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Big American

Like Manny before him, and The Dude before that, David Ortiz became an American citizen this past week. And while I'm not sure if Big Papi could play for Team USA's mini golf team, I think he'd find a spot in Dude Softball... assuming of course we play with a DH.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Another Throwback Jersey for Franchise...

given his affinity for embracing the throwback, how could Franchise not buy this one?

Rest in Peace Tim

Journalism loses one of its finest...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lunching with David Axelrod

I attended a fundraiser with David Axelrod today. Originally scheduled for the backyard of someone's house, the event was moved to a theater hall when the attendees of the $250 event outstripped the capacity of someone's house to host.

In a 75 minute discussion and Q&A session, Axelrod paid tribute to Hillary's campaign and rhetorically rolled out the red carpet for Clinton supporters (the luncheon had been preceded by a $750 "private strategy session" with former Clinton doners) before moving into the substantive Q&A portion. Some highlights:

- mum on Veep pick - though he hinted that Obama would select somone with similar capabilities to transcend traditional partisan politics and effectuate change. In a predictable nod to Clinton, Axelrod mentioned that he had already talked extensively about one potential candidate earlier (Clinton).

- the creation of a website ( devoted bring truth to light to help address the viral emails of untruths about Barack that are spreading like wildfire.

- In a nod to the racially motivated smears, Axelrad hinted that the campaign will soon roll out campaign material and biographical advertisements highlighting Barack's late-mother and her side of the family.

- the campaign is sending staffers to all 50 states, and implementing an unprecedented voter registration drive nation wide. Although certain states are obviously more battleground states where they will have concentrated ad-buys, the campaign will closely monitor registration efforts and poll movements in other states, including Texas.

- Axelrod appeared to choke up a bit when asked about the smears of Barack's alleged anti-semitism in the Jewish community. Axelrod said that, as a son of Jewish parents who escaped Jewish persecution in eastern Europe, he would not be devoting his life to get Barack elected if he wasn't convinced of Barack's positions toward Israel.

*the Veepstakes profiles will return tomorrow.

Um, Dude?

Perhaps you can explain to all of us what exactly this blog is? While I understand participating in another blog, help us understand a blog devoted to a fantasy league made up of fantasy players that bear no relation to anything real.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Veepstakes Profile No. 4: Jim Webb

Pros: The junior Senator from Virginia would serve as Obama's perfect foil for McCain's military resume. Not only does Webb tout a decorated military career and was a former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, but also has a son who had served in Iraq and will most likely return. Moreover, his anti-war and populist message very much resonates with Barack's message and he carried votes in Virginia, a key state, in 2006. With his roots, Webb would bring some presumed appeal to rural voters who are not predisposed to hop aboard the HopeMobile. As a relative new Senator, Webb would also complement Obama's change message.
Cons: Webb had written some sexist things in the past (many of them in an article titled "Women Can't Fight") and is not seen as a natural campaigner. He would not do much to bring the Hillary supporters back into the fold; and he had also, at one time, called affirmative action "state-sponsored racism"
Ideological Similarity: 6
Added Electability: 9
Risk: 7
Intangibles: 7
Total: 29

A 10 pt Trivia Question at Flying Saucer Tonight

Q: Which goalie notched his 1st career win at Joe Louis Arena with a win in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs, after going 0-9-2 in his first 11 starts.

Thanks to DudeSpin's influence, I got the answer right for my team.

Team Asia's newest threats?

Apparently, Ricky Price and the Franchise share one thing in common -- a love of basketball ... in the Philippines!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Yikes! Time isn't always a gift.

Veepstakes Profile No. 3: Kathleen Sebelius

Pros: Selecting a governor from Kansas would do much for Barack's appeal in the midwestern states, not to mention appealing to certain female voters still troubled by Hillary Clinton's loss in the primary. Sebelius has shown the ability to work across the aisle with a republican legislature, and will help woo even more "Obamicans" to the camp. Finally, Sebelius has shown a particular fondness for working on education issues - an issue at the center of Obama's campaign.

Cons: Most of the nation, myself included, got their introduction to Sebelius when she gave the Dems' rebuttal to the 2008 State of the Union address; and if Obama is to charisma what Tiger Woods is to golf; then Sebelius's comparison would be somewhere between me and Charles Barkley. Though rumor has it that she's a warm and engaging personality on the campaign trial - she seems to have a lot of work to do before she is ready for prime-time.

Ideological Similarity: 6

Added Electability: 9

Risk: 7

Intangibles: 5

Total: 27


The Triangle's favorite hipster, liberal fishwrap "The Independent" blindsided Cut's Crew this week with the deplorable "comic" above. It seems that VC Rogers has backed off, and in doing so, has made a very powerful enemy. DudeSpin readers, I encourage you to boycot all the hipster clubs that advertise in "The Independent" until Mr. Rogers leaves this neighborhood.

In other Duke Football news, Duke's aggressive season ticket marketing campaign has hit a new level... some of Durham's city busses (a good place to get maimed) now have giant pictures of Coach Cutcliffe on the side as he reminds you, Duke Football: A Whole New Ballgame. I hope one of those busses runs over VC Rogers.

Lastly, Duke's first two games are set to kickoff at 7. I have long believed that Duke would benefit from more night games. Students tend to come out in greater numbers (they're no longer hung over from Friday and you can watch the game before that night's binge) and the atmosphere tends to be more exciting when fans aren't dying from the heat and additional sun reflected from empty bleachers. So if we can only keep Thad out of the liquor cabinet, this could be an exciting year

Franchise, Stop Giving Everyone The "Terrorist Fist Bump"

At least, according the FakeNews, that's what it's called.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Better Know a Movie: Darfur Now

It's been awhile since I posted a documentary review - mostly because of Undude's antagonism toward review of documentaries. But, this film compelled me to re-post a review. This is a very powerful documentary about 6 individuals (including a rebel fighter, a celebrity, an activist, an aid worker, an ICC prosecutor, and refugee camp organizer) living and, for some, seeking to correct one of the biggest human tragedies of our time.
The stories revolve around 2 central plot-lines: the ICC's prosecution of individuals responsible for the genocide; and the efforts to get California to divest from Sudan. The film features cameos from Hillary Clinton, John McCain, the Governator, and George Clooney, but the power doesn't come from celebrity power, it comes from the struggles of ordinary men and women touched by tragedy. It's not something one can take their eyes away from this film.
One downside of watching this documentary, it will probably lead you to ask the question: what the heck am I doing with my life? And for me, I didn't like the answer.

Veepstakes Profile No. 2: Bill Richardson

Pros: Undoubtedly, the biggest reason to select Richardson is his presumed appeal with Latinos and western voters, two critical voting blocs in this election. He is largely seen as the candidate with the charisma to match and complement Obama's on the campaign trial. His prior experiences as Energy Secretary, UN Ambassador and Governor of New Mexico fills noticeable gaps on Obama's resume.

Cons: Though his credibility gap isn't as big as Clinton's, he did at one time claim that he was drafted by two different baseball teams when he wasn't drafted by any. Moreover, as he does not appear to be Obama's intellectual equal, he is more likely to commit gaffes on the campaign trial (telling a LGBT forum that homosexuality is a matter of choice; and not paying attention when a question was asked of him during a particular debate). Finally, according to James Carville, he is most likely to betray you at inopportune times. Whatever, James.

Ideological Similarity: 6

Added Electability: 8

Risk: 7

Intangibles: 7

Total: 28

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Veepstakes Profile No. 1: Hillary Clinton

Over the next week or so, DudeSpin will endeavor to bring you brief capsules on the individuals whose names are being bandied about as the vice-presidential running-mate for Barack Obama. The candidates will all be subjectively scored in four criteria: ideological similarity, added electability, risk (higher score indicates lower risk), and intangibles.

Pros: She brings her 18 million voters (yes, we've all heard about those $18 million) and a fundraising potential second only to that of Barack Obama. Her similarities on policy positions with Obama was well-documented throughout the campaign, and the "unity" ticket has rhetorical appeal; however, it is uncertain to what extent one is needed to bring the Clinton supporters back to the democratic party-fold. But, the power of the Clinton political infrastructure, even though it was defeated in the primary, cannot be underestimated.
Cons: Clinton's selection would be antithetical to Obama's change mantra in his campaign; moreover, she brings the unique baggage of Bill Clinton, whose presence would threaten a rehashing of the 90s political angst against the democrats. She has a credibility gap with the electorate, and her high negative ratings could energize the republican base around a candidate that they're not otherwise that jazzed about.
Ideological Similarity: 7
Added Electability: 7
Risk: 2
Intangibles: 7
Total: 23


It appears the path to the Triple Crown is now virtually unimpeded, as Dude Committee favorite Casino Drive is out of the race. He had it all going for him: Asian-born with a love of gambling, and a chance to shove Rick Dutrow's words back in his big mouth. Alas, the dream is dead.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Witnessing History

In the very arena in which the Rupublicans will hold their convention in the fall, Barack Obama declared his win with grace and magnamity to his defeated rival, with a defiant challenge to his new opponent, with a call of inspiration and promise to America to build a better tomorrow, and with class, dignity and a style all of his own. It wasn't just a phenomenal speech tonight in St. Paul - it was a bold and brilliant introduction to a new chapter in American politics. This is the leader that American has been waiting for.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Two Outs in the Ninth, and Here Comes Jeff Russell!!

According to the Huffington Post, Clinton expected to endorse Obama tomorrow night.

Update 1: Geno Petraulli calls for a fastball on the outside corner against Rickey Henderson - strike 1 as Russell paints the corner. (Bill Clinton admits this could be the final day.)

Update 2: Henderson lays off a breaking pitch in the dirt (Clinton spokesperson says "It's pretty clear she's not conceding").

Update 3: Henderson raps one past a diving Steve Buechelle but foul, 1-2 to the hitter (Hillary to confer with Bill in Westchester tomorrow).

Update 4: A slider in on Henderson's hands, hit softly to short; Scott Fletcher charges, gloves it ... (Clyburn endorses Obama!).

Update 5: pivots, the throw is on target... (17 senators-superdelegates to endorse Obama)

Update 6: and Nowitzki drops the throw! I can't believe what I just saw! Nowitzki, who came in for suspended roid-user Ratfael Palmeroid at the start of the inning, drops the throw! (Politoco's Roger Simon reports that Clinton hasn't quite finished running just yet)

Update 7: Two quick strikes to Carney Lansford (Sen. Claire McCaskill says enough superdelegates will commit tomorrow so that Obama will clinch)

Update 8: Uh oh, Bud Selig just stepped in and said he's thinking of calling it a tie ... (Clinton giving new signs she wants to be VP)

Update 9: And here comes Tony LaRussa, storming out of the A's dugout and berating the umps (Bill Clinton slams Vanity Fair article author and Obama)

Update 10: with all parties back in their places, Rangers skipper Bobby Valentine calls Pete Incaviglia in from left, and he's putting in a defensive replacement, rookie Mike Modano! (Obama protects double-digit lead in Montana)

Update 11: Let's head back to the HSE desk for a sports update...In a dramatic night at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings come within 34.3 seconds of skating off with Lord Stanley, only to watch an easy putback deny them the win, Fleury deny them constantly in overtime, and finally, Petr Sykora deny them in the third OT ... We're headed back to Pittsburgh for Game 6. Sorry Franchise!

Update 12: Russell throws over to 1st 20 times to keep Henderson close and wastes two pitches wide trying to get Lansford to chase - no dice, the count levels at 2-2 (Ickes says Clinton has not contemplated dropping out).

Update 13: Pitchout, Henderson takes off from first, Petralli fires it to a young Julio Franco, who applies the tag well before Henderson's hands hit the second base bag. (AP reports that Clinton will acknowledge tonight that Obama has the necessary delegates).

Update 14: But the ump holds out his hands, palms down - "Safe!!" (McAuliffe says "not so fast!")

Update 15: Let's set the situation for those of you joining us late: Jeff Russell is on the mound, his battery mate is Geno Petralli; the infield has Steve Buechelle at third, Scott Fletcher at short, Julio Franco at second and Dirk Nowitzki at first. Cecil Espy is in center, he's flanked in left by Mike Modano and in right by Ruben Sierra. Rickey Henderson is on second, Carney Lansford is at the plate with a 3-2 count; Jose Canseco is on deck and Mark McGwire is in the hold. (Obama has 2,081.5 delegates, needing 35.5 more to clinch; Clinton has 1,916.5 delegates, and needs 200.5 to clinch)

Update 16: Lansford skies one to left, it is high, it is far, Modano sprinting back to the track, at the wall, leaping... he makes the grab!! he makes the grab!! The Rangers have won the American League Championship Series!!! (AP Reports that Obama has clinched the nomination).

Best Wishes for a Speedy Recovery

DudeSpin would like to send its best wishes to Senator Ted Kennedy on his (currently ongoing) brain surgery at the Duke University Medical Center. The surgeon, Dr. Allan Friedman, was the same doctor who successfully treated former Journeyer Joanne Boyle during following her brain hemorrhage, and is a co-director of CAPE, a program with its genesis in a working relationship between Dr. Henry Friedman (no relation) and former Journeyer and now-Dr. George Schweitzer. You're in good hands Senator Kennedy.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Fired Up! Ready to Go!

Notwithstanding a meaningless Clinton victory in Puerto Rico aside, we stand two days away from (hopefully) clinch day for the Obama campaign. I knew that it is nearly over when Obama dusted off the "Fired, Up; Ready to Go / Greenwood, S.C." story for the 1st time in ages.
Remember dudes, One voice can change the world... Magic Number: 64