Thursday, March 6, 2008


And Think Progress has a great set of photos to go with the video.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Re: Bad news

A few commenters took issue with my post earlier today about the "bad news" of last night's election. Some colorful baseball metaphors and a reference to an election way before my time caused me to look further. The argument is that this is hardly the first election to be drawn out and the country has always seemed to keep going.

Then I found an article in Slate by David Greenberg, in which he wrote:

To suggest that March 5 marks a late date in the calendar ignores the duration of primary seasons past. Indeed, were Hillary Clinton to have pulled out of the race this week, Obama would have actually clinched a contested race for the party's nomination earlier than almost any other Democrat since the current primary system took shape—the sole exception being John Kerry four years ago. Fighting all the way through the primaries, in other words, is perfectly normal.

But I'm still skeptical. The commenters and Greenberg used history to show that a party is not doomed when faced with a drawn-out election. And while that was true for McGovern and Carter, neither of them faced an election like this. It is true that elections have dragged on through months of uncertainty before, but it is also true that there has never been a primary that lasted 15 months before it was decided. And 15 months is looking like the shortest amount of time it will take for the party to figure out who it wants.

Explaining last night

Bad news

Last night was bad news for the Democratic Party. This isn't because Obama lost, or because Clinton won. It has more to do with McCain winning. The Republicans are done. Those that don't like McCain are coming along, and starting to cope with him as their candidate. Their table is set.

The Democrats, though, are in turmoil. They are divided right down the middle. And the bickering is going to continue for seven weeks, leading up to Pennsylvania, and probably beyond. The party is going to stay divided all the way to the convention, giving the Democrats four months to get past the nominating process and rally behind the nominee.

The Republicans, though, have begun their healing. They are getting behind their man. The Republicans will be unified, and the Democrats will be split.

The news this morning isn't bad because Clinton won or Obama lost. The news is bad because, for the first time, it is clear to me how the Republicans win in November, but I don't see how the Democrats do it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rain Man

First of all, sorry for the long absence. My other life has been taking up most of my time. Now down to business.

Jake Tapper reported that John McCain recently declared that "'there’s strong evidence' that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that was once in many childhood vaccines, is responsible for the increased diagnoses of autism in the U.S."

This is an argument I know something about and it's totally bogus. As Tapper reported, there is a loud (although I'm not sure they're large) group of people out there who aim to convince legislators that thimerosal is responsible for autism. The argument has worked to convince people like Don Imus, who preaches about the cause with his wife on his radio show.

But as Tapper also reported, the medical community, running on facts and research and not emotion, says there's nothing to this connection between thimerosal and autism. From Tapper:

The Centers for Disease Control says "There is no convincing scientific evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site."

The American Academy of Pediatrics says"No scientific data link thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines with any pediatric neurologic disorder, including autism."

The Food and Drug Administration conducted a review in 1999 -- the year thimerosal was ordered to be removed from most vaccines -- and said that it "found no evidence of harm from the use of thimerosal as a vaccine preservative, other than local hypersensitivity reactions."

The Institute of Medicine’s Immunization Safety Review Committee concluded "that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism."

And a study of California Department of Developmental Services data published last month indicated that there was "an increase in autism in California despite the removal of thimerosal from most vaccines."