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April 7, 2008

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Posted by Peter Chen, columnist

Mark Penn Kind of Fired!: Mark Penn, long hated by everyone (much like Nickelback), finally got his comeuppance when he was ousted as Clinton’s main campaign strategist, for doing back-handed consulting deals with Colombia for a trade deal Hillary is against. Uh, but he’s still doing polling. And some other unmentioned stuff. So, is he fired? Maybe?

I feel like we need a refresher: Seriously, have we already had to sit through Obama’s bowling, Clinton’s Tuzla lie and McCain’s, uh, age? I guess he hasn’t quite gotten the press time necessary to slam him, but I think he’s been inoculated by being a “strong Republican,” because everyone knows Democrats are wimps. Greenwald’s extended and far-better-written take here.

Oh, look, a real issue: Will America come to its senses and leave Iraq? (Support the Responsible Plan for withdrawal here.) Or will a never-ending circus of “well, let’s stay just a little longer” dig us into Iraq forever? Uh, looks more like the latter. Best quote from John McCain:

I do not believe that anyone should make promises as a candidate for president that they cannot keep if elected. To promise a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq [...] is the height of irresponsibility.”

OK, did you get that? The Democrats, by promising to leave Iraq, are the height of irresponsibility, because they will not actually follow through on their promises of withdrawal. John McCain, though, promises that he will keep the troops in, no matter what! Those shifty Democrats, promising things that they can’t deliver as long as John McCain and the Foreign Policy Experts stand in their way! When I read things like this, I die of stupidity inside.

Is this the logical endpoint of the ironic t-shirt?: I mean, once you’ve put this on a shirt, haven’t you taken the whole public confessional thing to its conclusion? Plus, if you weren’t actually raped, wouldn’t this be the most inappropriate shirt to wear ever?

Letting kids ride the subway: I don’t care that you let your kid ride the subway alone, lady. I’m pretty sure bringing the little brat onto the Today show did him more damage than letting him hang out on the 4 train. This story has caused all sorts of hubbub, but I don’t get it. I wouldn’t do it, but it’s her kid; it’s not neglect.

Greatest name in history?: A combination of two superheroes in one!

Another age limit on NBA draft?: I’ll blog more about this later, but it appears that the NBA and NCAA are hammering out a sneaky little agreement on the NBA draft. Could college ball be a bigger joke, please?

A frightening info-graphic: Which brings up an interesting point. I mean, how scary are those numbers, really? It appears that a lot of these foreclosures are not actually subprime mortgages. In fact, they make up a small fraction of overall foreclosures. Why is this crisis being referred to as the “sub-prime” crisis, if it doesn’t necessarily appear that sub-prime loans are the huge culprit behind mortgage failure?

The Olympic torch’s shadowy past: While calls not to politicize the Olympics continue, alongside protesters heckling the Olympic flame in Europe, I’m reminded that the romantic Olympic flame was cooked up by Nazis and that the Olympics have always been political. If it’s not political, why do they put the nationality next to the athletes? Shouldn’t they be racing for themselves, RickyBobby-style? If it’s not political, why do we tally our medals by country and why do countries pour tons of money into their athletes for maximum medals? If it’s not political, why does China really want to show off? They have always been political; they always will be. To treat them as some pure representation of sport is to be blind to the real reasons for having a modern Olympics in the first place.



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