Monday, June 30, 2008

Hate it when I'm Right

A week ago I wrote:

The Cubs swept the series in exciting fashion which has me on cloud 9 today, but I know this rivalry. It would not surprise me to see the Sox come back strong at US Cellular Field, their home ballpark, next weekend.

In this series it just seems to be the way it goes.

I hate it when I am right.

Now in 66 Interleague games between the Cubs and the White Sox the record is Cubs 33, Sox 33.

Was on cloud 9 last week, physically ill over the outcome this week.

What can I say, that is Cubs-Sox ladies and gentlemen.

Grover Norquist

The man above is named Grover Norquist. He yields enormous power within the Republican Party and is one of the foremost tax hawks in the country. Every serious Republican Presidential Candidate is asked to and usually does sign their name to a pledge from Norquist or his group promising that they won't raise taxes.

John McCain investigated Norquist for his involvement in the Jack Abramoff Scandal. Norquist and Abramoff, along with Ralph Reed and Karl Rove are long time friends in the party some dating back to their college days. This was one of those 'Maverick McCain' deals that had Dem's love him and Republicans not like him so much.

Candidate McCain signed the Norquist pledge and has been using his support in this race.

Many in the news have not covered the following story, but thanks to 17people favorite Keith Olbermann we found an outlet that carried the story. In a meeting with the LA Times Washington Bureau Norquist made the following ridiculous statement about Barack Obama:

"John Kerry with a tan."

We couldn't be naive enough to think that their would not be racist code would not be thrown out during this campaign, but Norquist's despicable statement wasn't code, it was pure ignorance. I have heard some defense that he was just referring to his politics, but this kind of comment has no place in politics and was done in terrible taste.

Hopefully McCain and Republicans will do to Norquist what they should have done to this corrupt piece of garbage years ago and kick his ass to the curb.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sports Radio-Mike North

So when we are kids say from Kindergarten to 6th grade, driving around with our parents there is a habit that we all inherently pick up. That is listening to the radio. The stations we listen to will differ based on the parents.

I have some friends who listen to NPR and say they always have. I have some other friends who know the words to all the oldies because that is what their mom or dad would play in the car on trips to Grandma's house.

For me it was talk radio. My mom grew up listening to WGN Radio 720AM "The Superstation" and so in my formative years I did to. So as I have grown up, I have rarely been one who listens to music, but instead listens to talk. 16 and a half years ago a station with the call letters WSCR hit the airwaves in Chicago and ever since has been my station. The Score as it is known was the first dedicated sports station in Chicago and has gone through three dial spots 820AM, 1160AM, and now 670AM.

When The Score first started it was only on during the daylight hours so depending on the time of year, that is how much sports talk you would get. I think 5:30 is when "The Heavy Fuel Crew" Dan McNeill and Terry Boers would sign off with their trademark "See Ya, We're Taillights."

A new medium of sports coverage was born, and soon the Score had competition from ESPN 1000 and all around the country stations popped up with Sports Talk. For the record, WFAN in New York City was on before the Score.

Today one of the only voices that had been on the Score for all those 16+ years left the station after a long contract dispute. Mike North is his name and he is that guy that represents the glorified "American Dream" we all like to talk about.

North dropped out of high school, joined the army, bounced around jobs in the city including a hot dog vendor at Wrigley and Comiskey. He opened up several hot dog stands in Chicago and was quite successful at it. A couple customers of his were radio execs and he did some work on some local stations in Chicago and in 1992 was the co-host of "The Monsters of the Midday" with former Bear Dan Jiggets.

16+ years later North has become a force in Chicago Sports and one of the most recognizable voices anywhere. A true Chicagoan with a flare for the dramatic and outrageous North carved out a loyal following and audience and 5 years ago was rewarded with a $1.5million/year contract.

Not bad for a high school dropout with a background in hot dog stands.

North actually was a finalist for the Imus show gig on WFAN after his comments. North had controversies of his own with some of his blunt comments over the years. He doesn't have much of a filter and in this world of political correctness it got him in trouble.

Almost every ethnic group around has had a problem with North and recently Bob Costas featured him in his Sports and Media documentary 'Costas Now'.

I write about North because I feel like I grew up with him to a certain degree. I have heard this guy talk more than I have many people in my family. He's a tough minded little guy from Chicago and while my accent isn't as thick I have always told him we are similar, except he refers to himself as pasty and I am very tan. lol.

North will go on to another station and be successful, but he and many other personalities on the Score (Mully and Hanley, and the whole Boers and Bernstein crew) and a couple on ESPN Radio 1000 (Danny Mac, Harry, J-Hood) are part of my everyday routine especially now that I drive to and from work everyday and can stream them straight from my computer during the day.

Sports Radio has some goofball personalities, but overall I think it has been great for the fans. It is a place to call and vent, to get information, and is a community in and of itself. A place where callers can play manager or coach or talk to an athlete directly.

Before WFAN and WSCR there were sports personalities out there but they were jock sniffers. Guys who threw softball questions to guests and walked the fine line. Sports Radio introduced the Shock Jock to sports and now athletes are afraid to go on many of these shows or refuse to.

There are bigger issues out there than Mike North leaving the Score, but 'Pappy' as he is called is my headline of the day, and while I know he will be alright, I will miss him on the Score and will listen to him where ever he goes.

Some great Mike North Sound can be found on his website at:

And here is one of his most famous moments ever when White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen called in unannounced and swearing up a storm.

Monday, June 23, 2008


This past weekend the City of Chicago was divided among color lines. On one side was Cubbie Blue, Red, and White,,, on the other was White Sox Black, White, and Silver. While the history of the Cubs-Sox rivalry on the field is only 11 years old it has fast become not just one of baseball's, but one of sport's greatest rivalries.

Its hard to explain the passion in this city for baseball and the love that the fans of the two teams have for their squads. Chicago is a professional sports town, yet the passion and rivalry that exists between the Cubs and Sox is more like a great college rivalry and the games have always lived up to the hype.

I have been to about 8 of these games and the ballparks are buzzing with excitement like no other game or event I have ever been to. Even a Springsteen concert has less adrenaline than the atmosphere of a Cubs-Sox game.

Fans of both teams have no love lost for the other team. I have heard many Cub fans say, "A perfect day is a Cubs win and a White Sox loss" and have heard many Sox fans say the same thing in reverse.

Unlike the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry these two fandoms are always in the same city. We eat at the same restaurants, drink at the same bars, or go to the same party's. Families are divided on loyalties as my own is. There is no place to escape the other fandom with the possible exception of the other teams ballpark when you are not playing each other.

I, for one, never want to go to US Cellular Field unless the Cubs are playing there. I have family who are smart, lifelong, loyal Sox fans, would never set foot at baseball's mecca Wrigley Field. Yet, we are still family and as long as I am not on a rant against White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen we have no problem being in the same room.

This weekend I was walking around my neighborhood and it felt like a college town with two colleges. I can't tell you the number of jersey's, t-shirts, and hats of both teams that kids, teens, yuppies, and seniors were wearing.

It is a special rivalry, unique to Chicago. The Mets and Yankees are from the same city but the Mets have only been around sicne the 1960's. When the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants left New York in the late 1950's that neighborhood, city rivalry left the New York Area. The Cubs and Sox have both been sharing the Second City for over 100 years.

Heading into this weekends games the two teams had played 60 times. The record,, Cubs 30, White Sox 30. Even more amazing was the fact the two teams had scored the exact number of runs in those 60 games.

While the Midwest is often second fiddle in coverage from the likes of ESPN and others, this year the rivalry is center stage in baseball. The Cubs, celebrating their embarrassing 100 year World Series drought, have the best record in baseball and are in 1st place in the NL Central. The White Sox are beating preseason expectations and are in 1st place in the AL Central.

The Cubs swept the series in exciting fashion which has me on cloud 9 today, but I know this rivalry. It would not surprise me to see the Sox come back strong at US Cellular Field, their home ballpark, next weekend.

In this series it just seems to be the way it goes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Moving On, Stories of the Week

After a week of all Tim Russert and the sadness that 17people feels for the loss of the legend, there is still an election and a whole heap of issues that exist that need some perspective only found here at the 17people blog.

Here are some issues worth discussing.


The flooding across the Mississippi seems to be getting far less coverage than it deserves. I mean 20+ levees have been breached and the effects while not as ratings worthy as what happened in the 9th ward may have even greater effects.

The corn fields and farms of the Midwest feed a lot of our country and the world. 1000's of acres of farm land has been lost and we are already experiencing rising food prices.

Not trying to be an alarmist, but think that the repercussions of this nations 40+ year failure to invest in infrastructure (ie, roads, bridges, levees, etc) needs to become a major issue in this campaign and NOW.


This story took hold the past couple days and the editorial boards of liberal newspapers all across the country as well as TV pundits have all jumped on this decision as a factor for the upcoming election.

Here are some things to consider. 1st, this is what is considered a 'process' story. The kind of story that is about the mechanics of a campaign and not about a serious issue.

I am a proponent of public financing of campaigns and have been for many years. One of the things that I have most admired John McCain for over the years has been his commitment to limit the impact of fundraising in politics.

If only he pushed that issue at all while he ran this campaign then I may feel he was the 'Maverick' I used to like so much. But instead he was in front of a microphone yesterday acting as though Obama had broken a solemn pledge which means he will be an untrustworthy President. It's a smart move, but the truth is, there is not a law that requires Obama to accept public financing.

He is not breaking a law, and is still playing within the rules. In so doing he is also giving up $84million that he would not have had to raise.

John McCain knows what special interests attacks can do to a campaign as he was accused of fathering 'black children' by right wing slime groups in 2000 against then Governor George W. Bush. He saw John Kerry destroyed by the asswipe "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth", yet McCain has not publicly stated that he would denounce all third party attacks against Obama.

If the McCain people were smart they would have backed Obama into a corner, condemned 527 (read special interest group) ads and said they would sign a pledge with Obama that they would both denounce these ads before he opted out.

Had they done this Obama would have been forced to stay within the public financing and if he backed out would have looked very bad. Now, attempts to slime Obama will be responded to with a barrage of 'setting the story straight' ads.

When this happens, and it will, people will understand his decision.

I have been railing that it is time to focus on real issues this entire campaign and while the liberal elites will say how 'disappointed' they are in Obama for this decision this issue doesn't crack my top 20 right now and don't think families that are trying to manage their personal budgets really care that much either. Others have said he will 'fix the broken system' when he is President.

There are bigger issues I would hope an Obama Presidency would focus their attention on.

One last point, while many who have been sweating Obama (ie New York Times, Washington Post, Chris Matthews) were ripping him yesterday he actually has more justification than most who have had to make this decision.

Obama has sworn of lobbyist money, an act I don't agree with as not all lobbyists are sinister, and did so not only to himself, but the DNC as well. In addition Obama raises money the way we all wish our candidates would. Not just with $2,000 checks collected by CEO's and those seeking influence, but by individuals who give what they can.

I remember in 2000 when I was pulling for John McCain that he said, "if a million people contributed $57 each to my campaign I'd have $57 million and would be able to run a full campaign."

McCain has never been able to excite that kind or number of people to give to him. Obama on the other hand has. His average donation is less than a $100 I believe and the reason he thinks he can raise upwards of $500 million is not because of the CEO's on Wall Street or the Studio Heads in Hollywood, but rather the people whom have helped him raise over $250 million so far.

Even George W. Bush accepted public funds and no one raised money like he did. Obama is running as a 'different kind of candidate'. In this case he is different, testing unchartered waters as no candidate has ever done before with this decision.


To be perfectly honest I have not followed this story as closely for various reasons, but something just doesn't feel right about it.

First, in situations like this I never blame candidates because they have very little to do with the details of a 20,000 person event. As someone who has prepared dais and backdrops for events, who you put on a stage is very strategic. You want community leaders and you also want to show diversity at big public events.

There have been times I kept people off the dais because the person was getting killed in the news or in one case in particular, because two Unions who didn't like each other wouldn't let the AFL-CIO President on the stage.

This is an easy story to rail against Obama who has often been wrongfully accused of being Muslim. Having worked that region on a Congressional campaign I learned a great deal about the Muslim community and thus have a perspective and experience I never had before.

The reality is this, in Michigan, this is an issue because the Arab community may be the margin of victory one way or the other in a state that will be very close. I still think Obama will win this vote and the fact he personally called and apologized to these women should help settle the issue in the Muslim community.

As far as national stories go this is bad for him because it brings the bullshit issue of him being Muslim front and center and in this country we have issues with 'Islamophobia'. Yet, for the most ardent Arab haters, hearing a story he banned some people may actually help him in the long run.

Again, for the 3rd time in today's blog, this is not the kind of issue that we should be covering or care about. This is just a smokescreen to raise 'character doubts' because the issues are so daunting in this country right now, neither party really wants to tell the Public the truth about what it needs to do, to get us back on track.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tim Russert, The Single Lesson That Can't Be Overlooked

Yes this blog has become very Tim Russert oriented this week. I did this out of respect for a man that I greatly admired, watched religiously, and always wanted to meet. Everything that I have heard and learned of him in the past week has only enhanced my admiration for him and have to admit that I have truly been saddened and emotional about his death.

Yet this article is not going to be about Russert's journalistic integrity or brilliance. There have been more than enough words about that since news hit of his death last Friday. Instead there is a lesson that has been discussed but not focused on enough since Friday.

That would be part of the cause for his death, too much work.

Last evening I got a phone call from one of my old campaign friends who said the campaign manager we both worked for was in town and having a Bday get together at the World Famous Billy Goat Tavern (for non SNL fans, Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger).

I went and met up with them and had an absolutely great time reminiscing about the glory days and the incredible campaign victory we won nearly 6 years ago.

The stories, while some very funny all had a theme to them and that was exhaustion, stress, and immense pressure you can't understand until you live it. The campaign we worked on, was the number one primary in the country and as my old boss said last evening, 'if we lost, all of our political careers would have been over.'

I have written before about the hours and sacrifices that people who work on campaigns put in in an article I was proud of titled "Why I No Longer Work On Campaigns".

The death of Tim Russert brought many of these feelings rushing back to the surface. 7 day work weeks that often started before dawn and ended well after midnight. You eat like shit when you eat, you rarely exercise, and you are at the beckon call of anyone that has interest in the campaign from DC to the place you are working.

It is all consuming and you usually have 3 people doing the work of 50 because every dollar you spend on a staffer is dwarfed by the $100 you have to spend on advertising, mail, or phone calls.

Some people think I exaggerate the all consuming nature of this business, but I think I actually short sell the work that goes into campaigns by it's staffers. If a labor leader gets up at 3am and reads a bad quote about NAFTA from your candidate, that is when your phone is going to ring and you are about to get your ass handed to you.

When I saw my old boss last evening he did a double take when he saw me. During that campaign I think I gained 20lbs in 6 months. Today I am 10 lbs lighter than when I started that race and am able to do that because after 7 years of politics and advertising have finally found a job with some balance.

I'm able to exercise regularly, not eat Steak 'n' Shake at 12:30am and not dream about what I did or may have fucked up at my job. Even when you did sleep on a campaign, it was by no means a restful sleep and ask anyone involved in a major race and they will tell you that they often needed 2-6 weeks to be able to really sleep through the night like a human being again.

Last evening each of the three of us said that we got chills or sick feelings in our stomachs just retelling the stories.

So that brings me to Tim Russert and the way that we as Americans have begun to work like never before and taken care of ourselves worse than ever before.

Tim Russert was a tireless, fanatical worker. He would be the last guy to sign off from MSNBC after midnight and then be on the Today Show the next day with Matt and Meredith. He would then be prepping for Meet the Press for NBC and the Tim Russert Show on CNBC all the while guest appearing on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and any other show that needed him. Not to mention he was the Washington Bureau Chief for NBC, a job that has responsibilities that I am sure are a full time gig. Additionally he travelled all over the country on the campaign trail or moderating debates.

Russert was a dedicated worker and was very well compensated for his efforts, but my experiences show that this kind of work ethic and schedule is becoming the norm as opposed to the exception to how we have to work to reach success.

Russert was NBC's 'sure thing' for ratings and entertainment and they took advantage of that and instead of having him dial it back. While there were stories of him saying 'more, more' when it came to Clinton Obama, that is when a company needs to protect its employees. I would bet the house that this year he worked and travelled more than ever.

When I worked in advertising I saw a very similar attitude toward employees not at the level of Tim Russert. New Account Executives making $25-$40K would be expected to work 70-80 hour weeks and told, 'work hard and it will pay off'.

Problem is most of them hated it so much and burned out so fast, that they would often leave the agency world. Those that were left over occasionally shot up the ladder if they kissed enough ass. Many, mostly were just given more work at the same pay and were stuck in your same position.

While I worked with many ultra qualified executives, the amount of lackey sycophants at the highest levels approached the levels in politics. In both businesses and I am sure this is not only confined there were loaded with backstabbers and people willing to make work the number one priority in their lives. The result you lose potentially qualified people and reward and promote many people based on hours worked rather than qualifications or people who strive for balance in their lives. These are people that are called 'difficult' or 'rebellious'. My experience is mavericks, rebels, and difficult can often be the most creative and best leaders.

Then there are the wonderful words of 'efficiency' and 'downsizing'. Company stock prices shoot up when they cut 200, 2000, or 20,000 employees and they justify the firing's by saying they will work more 'efficiently'.

There is no more bullshit explanation to lay off people than saying 'we are more efficient now'. The reality is that they just shift the work of the people they fired onto the people that they didn't fire. If the people who didn't get fired protest,,,, they are usually the next ones that get canned. Hence their lives become even more miserable, the quality of their work suffers, and the personally become less healthy.

We have become a nation of workaholics. There are articles I have read where people hardly use their paid vacation anymore because they are trying to climb the corporate ladder faster. The three day weekend is the new 'vacation' and the result is more people who never throttle down their minds and lives to rest.

I am not advocating that we all take siestas in the middle of the day, but there has to be a balance in our lives. I don't think NBC is at fault for Russert for his death. Yet I think they could have led him to be healthier.

If he is so valuable he has to be on the air 7 days a week, wouldn't his health and state of mind be a top priority for your success and profits?

I have mentioned many times on this blog that there are so many issues in our country that we need to address that we can't just focus on the same old issues we always lose focus on..

Getting healthier and more balanced as a nation is something we have to do and while we will miss Tim Russert for his colossal standing in the news, we need to take a lesson from his death that we need to take care of ourselves and our health. We need to educate people and encourage companies to stress true health care for their employees. Teach them that running on a treadmill every day isn't the only way to get healthier, especially if lunch three days a week includes french fries.

If we don't then all the drugs that we take will do just as Bill Maher often say, 'Keep us alive longer, but much more miserably.'

I don't know about you, but I want to enjoy and live life. I want to contribute to my work, and it will always be a high priority, but I want my health to be on that list in more than name only.

This article is not a Jerry Maguire mission statement, but this has become a personal issue to me in the past few months and the news of Mr Russerts passing has just made this a major issue for me. One I see few political solutions to, but one we need to address and do it now.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tim Russert, Part 2

Each of the past two days I have started to write an article to talk about something on the passing of Tim Russert. Yet, the efforts were not Russert worthy. For each of us there are news stories and events that we are drawn to, that we can't stop watching. For me, I have been captivated by the stories around a man I always admired so much, Tim Russert.

I honestly don't know how Tom Brokaw, Andrea Mitchell, and especially Keith Olberman were able to host hours of live coverage on Friday evening so soon after learning the news of Russert. It seemed as if Olberman hosted for 10 hours, and spent most of that time fighting through tears and obvious emotions.

Being lucky to have a great group of friends I was particularly moved to emotions with the insights and stories of Mike Barnicle and Al Hunt, who by all accounts were Russerts best friends. The bonds that these guys discussed were the kinds of friendships we all hope to have and cherish so much when we do. The kinds of friendships where you get 7 text messages in the span of two hours asking if I was ok when the news of Russert's passing hit the airwaves.

I am not one who likes to dwell on the past or on death, but the passing of Tim Russert has saddened me through the weekend. After spending a wonderful fathers day with my own dad yesterday, my heart really breaks for Tim's son Luke whom he always raved about on the air.

As has been pointed out to me by many in the past couple days, Tim Russert and I would have been two peas in a pod. We both loved politics, were ardent sports fans who loved baseball, and shared a nearly unmatched affinity for Bruce Springsteen.

I have to imagine that when Tim looked down from wherever he is on Saturday night, hearing 'The Boss' on stage in his native land of Ireland dedicate Thunder Road to him brought him a big smile.

I'd like to do this tonight for a long time friend of the E Street Band who passed away suddenly.

"Tim Russert was an important unreplacable voice in American journalism. I watched him hold our politicians feet to the fire on many Sunday mornings. He was always a strong voice for honesty and accountability in American government .. but beyond that he was a lovely presence, a good father, husband, and good guy.

He was a regular at many E Street Band shows and I'm going to miss looking down and seeing that big smiling face in the crowd."We send this out all the way back to the states tonight for his son Luke, his wife Maureen, his dad Big Russ , and all the Russert family.

"Tim , God Bless You, We will miss you..."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert

In the third ever post on this blog I wrote an article called Thank You Meet the Press. This is the show I always viewed as the gospel for politics. The main reason for this, has been its moderator, Tim Russert.

Today news broke that Russert, 58, has passed away of a heart attack.

17people would like to pass along condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Russert.

As I wrote here when E Street Band member Dan Federici passed away:

Think when any of us become a fan of a TV show, sports team, band,whatever, you feel a bond and connection with the people involved. Most of the time you never get a chance to meet or know them as people but you care about them.

Russert was to political coverage the way Springsteen is to Music for me, my favorite and simply the best at what he does. My immediate reaction to this news is just shock and sadness.

He was the toughest interview in a business where the media has gotten soft. He almost never let on his partisan leanings which made him an honest broker for both sides. He drilled members of both parties as well as leaders of foreign countries, and journalists with questions that truly made them think and work.
While others have said it, the only true "No Spin Zone", only existed on Meet the Press and it was because of Tim Russert.

Russert has always been tough, but unlike many in the 'loudmouth talking head generation' has done so with class, grace, and dignity. He was able to bring a PBS quality to the mainstream and despite all this, dominated in ratings, influence, and importance.

In the same week the country lost its greatest TV sports reporter in Jim McKay, it today tragically lost it's best TV Political reporter in Tim Russert.

For those who think our candidates and elected officials need to be vetted, pushed, and held to a higher standard Tim Russert was our voice. I am just one of many who will miss his enormous contribution to our country.

The Manchurian Maverick?

So the Internet has been flooded with rumors for the better part of 6 months with all sorts of lunacy about Barack Obama being a sort of Manchurian Candidate that is intent on destroying the USA from the Presidency. This claim has often been discarded by 17people as silliness, xenophobia, and fraud by those who are sick in the head.

When thinking about Republican nominee John McCain I have come up with my own 'theory' that could shake the Republican base at their core.

Here it is:

Until he became the Republican nominee for President, John McCain was every Democrat's favorite Republican. I can't tell you how many Democrats in the past 10 years, including me, have said, 'if there is one Republican I could vote for, it would be John McCain.'

McCain led the fight for 'Campaign Finance Reform' with the McCain-Feingold bill. Yes that would be the same Russ Feingold who was the only Senator with the courage to vote against the Patriot Act. McCain along with moderate Senators like John Breaux, Susan Collins, and Lincoln Chafee also raised questions and voted against measures of Bush tax cuts. McCain also joined and brought together the "Gang of 14" a few years back which ended Republican efforts to invoke the 'Nuclear Option' when it came to Bush judicial nominations that were being filibustered by Democrats.

In the past year, he co-sponsored immigration reform with Ted Kennedy that was railed against by Republicans so heavily that McCain had to back off of his support for the bill. And who can forget the rampant rumors in 2004 that John Kerry wanted John McCain on his ticket for VP. Not the kind of offer for which any individual in another party ever get considered.

In a calculating manner though, in the past couple years, McCain has cooled his jets on his 'Maverick' ways. He recruited the best of the Bush campaign team and fundraisers when he decided to run for President. He quieted his rhetoric and ran a very safe 'party-line' campaign.

While his comeback is often credited with his getting back to his 'Maverick' ways, there are others, like me, who feel the ineptitude of the Republican field led to him becoming the only logical choice.

Could McCain be running as a conservative only to run the country as a Maverick? Isn't this why Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh have been railing against so hard?

His trademark issues and biggest domestic ideals trend left of center. Other than his hawkish stance on the war, McCain is 'greener' on the environment, less a believer in Tax Cuts as the only economic answer, and less influenced by Religious ideaology than the vast majority of Republican candidates.

There is also this to consider, McCain is very stubborn and hates to be bullied or handled. Those that expect an open door from Republican Presidents may find McCain less welcoming than others. He will tend to do what he believes is right, that what the Right Wing thinks is right.

Also at 72 it is conceivable, should he win, he would just want to be President for one term. This scenario has not come up since Ross Perot in 1992. This is an interesting thought becasue elected officials who don't worry about reelection are much freer to Govern as they want or feel they should because they don't fear voter repercussions. This is why Ted Kennedy could be the liberal lion, because he is never in danger of that hurting him in Massachusetts or why Strom Thurmond could be a staunch Conservative, because he knew there were at least 50.1% of voters who would back him in South Carolina.

I see a situation that if McCain finally achieves his life's great ambition and wins the White House, he would then governs the way he wants for four years. Since Democrats will most likely expand majorities in the House and Senate he would only be able to get issues voted on and discussed that his party hates.
  • He could further strengthen campaign finance
  • Appoint more moderate judges
  • Push for comprehensive immigration reform
  • Push cap and trade for Carbon emissions
  • Drastically scale back Bush Tax Cuts on the wealthiest Americans
  • Elminate pork barrel spending (though both parties would hate this)
I will not vote for John McCain and think his election would continue failed Iraq policies. Yet I feel like he has been 'acting like a Republican' in order to win the nomination and establish his support amongst his base.

You can only 'act' for so long until your true ideals and beliefs come out.

If McCain wins, which I do not think will happen, it would not be surprising to see him govern as he has been a Senator. This would mean that Moderates would love him, Democrats would respect him, and many Republicans would hate him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Articles Worth Reading

Have mentioned this site before, but often get asked where I get most of my politics information. has totally changed the way I find articles I read for political information. The site isn't right or left, it is just a spot to find a collection of articles relevant to the campaign and world of politics, every day.
I worry about promoting them too much, because I worry about my own readers just skipping me and going instead to them. The Washington Post, New York Times, Time, Roll Call, The Weekly Standard, The Christian Science Monitor, and many other publications, right and left, and down the middle have articles daily on this site.
It is also a great place to find recent polling data from across the country and to find relevant video. If your getting interested in politics,, this is a great place to pick and choose what you want to read.
A new feature on 17people will be occasionally giving a brief description and links to articles I think are particularly interesting and pertinent. Today there was so much great insight that I tried to keep the list pretty small.
If you only choose to read one article of the above I strongly encourage you to read the Friedman piece. The Obama campaign or the DNC may not want this article to circulate too much for fear of it being misconstrued as an endorsement from the Middle East. If you want any more of an incentive, Friedman opens the article by saying "this column will probably get Barack Obama in trouble."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Karma/Murphy's Law Kicks 17People in the Gut

So at the 17people email address ( btw) I have started to get some emails from what I can only imagine are creepy blog critics, because they are people I don't know. Some recommendations/requests have been to add some more 'personal story' articles like the one at CVS or at Shell to make points as opposed to preaching and teaching as I often have a bad habit of doing.

Those who know me well know that I am outgoing but a rather private person and since I am not in public life do not feel the need to share my story. However the events of the last 48 hours have put me in a mood to vent because karma and/or Murphy's Law (if anything can go wrong, it will) have both added frustration to my life.

As I noted here on Sunday I was stuck in an airport for around 7-8 hours. In that post I wrote the following:

What did we do before Ipods? Seriously good music (for me of course a lot
of Springsteen) makes long periods of time go by quicker,
Thank God for my wireless internet card. I don't know what I would have done the past 5-6 hours without the ability to surf the web, follow my fantasy baseball teams, and email work and friends.

Well that must have been the straw that broke the camels back as in the last 48 hours my Ipod is dead and my laptop (along with wireless card) were stolen from my car.

So here is the story. When I finally got back to Chicago I went straight to my parents house and spent the night there as opposed to going home. My folks live much closer to my office and after a weekend where I consumed around a fifth of Crown Royal figured that it would be a better move for me to get to work on time.

Monday at work went off without a hitch. I was a little tired throughout the day, but was back in the flow at the office after a great weekend.

Right after work I went straight to the gym and had an awesome workout, yet was starting to wear out a bit. After the gym I made a couple stops and for the first time in four days was back at my apartment. I opened the door and realized that as usual I had a ton of crap to bring in the house.

Two bags, a suit bag, a back pack, my work bag, along with a basket of laundry all were on the list take into my place. Yet when I got home and parked my car there was a moat of water protecting the curb. So I could only really take one bag at a time into the apartment because I had to leap the moat to get over the curb.

I made three trips and then realized that my apartment was an absolute mess. While I was gone my landlord had a dishwasher installed. Don't get me wrong I am excited about this but the result was I lost 4 drawers and the contents of them were in brown paper bags all spread through my kitchen. Not to mention the floor and everything was covered in a film of sawdust from the construction.

At this point I decided to leave the rest of the stuff in my car and try and start cleaning the mess I inherited from the work done at my place.

One of those things I decided to do was a load of laundry which included the gym clothes I wore earlier in the day. Unbeknownst to me,,, my iPod was clipped to the shorts I just tossed into the wash from my gym bag. A point I didn't realize until I pulled my beloved Nano out of the dryer.

For the record, that iPod is toast.

Then this morning I wake up and head to my GMC and suddenly remembered that one of the bags I left in the car contained my work computer. I looked in the back seat where I left it and it wasn't there.

After thirty minutes of tearing threw the car and every corner of my apartment I realized some loser walked down the street saw a bag in the back seat of my car and decided to take it. My golf clubs were in there, a couple pairs of shoes were still there, and a nice pair of sunglasses were still in there. But my computer that was purchased for me by my employer was and is gone.

I have never written this on this blog but have told people through the years how shitty it feels when you have something stolen. I was reminded of that today.

I take all responsibility for it having happened as it was stupid to leave it in the car, something I have not done since I started this job 8 months ago. Yet I can't get out of my head the fact that if not for the moat and the mess in my apartment I would have surely brought the bag back inside.

In that post I wrote earlier where I mocked the lady who said 'these things happen in three's' karma came back to bite me in the ass. As a 5+ hour delay at an airport, destroying my iPod, and having my computer stolen have to qualify as 'these things happen in threes'.

Karma is a bitch. But we learn and move on. Lol.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Economy Blues

The above clip is long but its worth watching.

This weekend was a devastating weekend for various economic factors. Oil went up nearly $11 on Friday, the same day unemployment numbers came out and took the biggest one month jump in 22 years, and the Dow dropped over 200points.

17people is working on some articles based on what will decide this election, the economy, but think this video shows a couple things.

1st, how bad a shape that we are in.

2nd, the utter bullshit that the Bush administration is spewing across the country.

If you don't want to watch the whole video go to the 7:50 mark of the video and see expert opinion from Ali Velshi to President Bush and Secretary Chao's spin on the economy.

I have watched Velshi, CNBC, and financial commentators more and more this year as my paycheck goes shorter and shorter in this economy. I was taken at his frustration and anger, but appreciated it as I think many people right now feel the same way who are really hurting.

General Election Candidate Base Flaws

As is written in my profile my background in politics is in the field operations of campaigns. Get Out The Vote (GOTV) is often the least funded and focused upon aspect of campaigns, but generally decide elections and can make up for being outspent on TV. The field operations of John McCain and Barack Obama will come down to which 'field' or GOTV operation 1) identifies and 2) turns out their voters.

Identifying voters is the step most people don't understand or know about. Campaigns work with voter files from states and break these lists down with the information on them. Since you are talking about 100-140 million possible voters you can't realistically have a list of voters that will put you over the top. For example a candidate the appeal to older voters will mail, call, and knock on doors of all 60+ year old voters knowing that they will turn out votes against them but will win the 'margin'.

What most campaigns rely on is to turn out their "base". This was very evident in the primary with Obama and Clinton. Women and latino voters were Hillary's base and African American and affluent voters were the base for Barack. The makeup and number of these voters in each state determined the 'favorite' in each state.

When candidates emerge from primaries they have the challenge of putting together a coalition of the part of the base that wasn't with them in the primary. In the upcoming general election each candidate's bases expand but for the 1st time in a long time the two candidates have significant cracks in their base votes they need to win.


While Unions and African Americans are most associated with the Democratic Party the largest important group for Obama and any Democratic nominee is women. Women make up over half of the General Election voting base and the Democrats have seen their advantage slip recently amongst this group.

John Kerry only won women 51%-48% against President Bush four years ago. Obama is going to have to improve that number to win in November but is coming off a tough contest where many women were backing and invested in electing Hillary Clinton. Read an article yesterday discussing the essential need for Obama to court the Clinton women voters.

Latinos (non-Cuban) is another demographic that Democrats have historically done well with that President Bush effectively targeted. While the media has been writing all about the women vote, if you remember Super Tuesday and California the talk was that Latinos were wary of Obama and preferred Clinton in pretty large numbers.

I feel that once the positions are outlined between McCain and Obama that Barack will do very well with women and will be helped because he took the high road more often than not with Hillary. He made some misstatements like "We like you well enough" in New Hampshire, but overall did not attack her in a misogynistic way as she has been so often hammered by the Republicans which may have permanentlt fractured a damaging level of support.

There is also talk of some possible women running mates, like Clinton or Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius who would instantly fire up many of the same women who so badly wanted Hillary to become the first woman candidate.

As far as the Latino vote, this will be a hotly contested for Demographic. McCain has some weaknesses with Latino leaders who were happy with him when he co-sponsored immigration reform with Ted Kennedy, but felt betrayed when he weaseled his way out of support for it when the Republicans went crazy against it in the primary.

Clinton again, would be a help for Obama on the ticket for Latino voters who have long had good relations and admiration with the Clinton family. This is also where Bill Richardson's name keeps coming up as an intriguing running mate. Richardson a Latino Governor from New Mexico could rev up Latino voters for Obama.

There is also a lot of concern about Obama's appeal to win votes in white working class homes that went heavily for Hillary in the primary. He is more out of the elitist wing of the party but has a story that could connect with these voters.

John McCain has long been the favorite Republican of Democrats. The problem with that is he has often antagonized his own party to promote himself. This has many base voters in the Republican party less enthused about his candidacy.

McCain's biggest problem heading towards November is the Republicans most loyal and important voting group, Evangelicals and Christian Conservatives.

There are two articles that have appeared over the past two days which point out the ineffectiveness to this point of the McCain campaign to effectively court these voters. One from the New York Times which said Evangelicals are taking a 'wait and see' attitude and that as he tries to court moderate voters he risks losing more support from the 'evangelical and conservative base.'

McCain has already had to walk a super tight rope with Christian backers of his campaign and conservative icon Bob Novak outlines these issues very well in his article today in the Chicago Sun Times.

With all the focus on Obama and Clinton there has been little focus on the growing chasm between Dr. James Dobson and McCain which Novak depicts as a bitter one.

17people didn't cover when John McCain disavowed the support of Reverend John Hagee. Hagee had a 10 year old video surface and damage his reputation where he had harsh words against Catholics. McCain's handling of the situation has not set well with some Christian voters and Hagee has issues with the way McCain handled the situation.

Hagee's telephone lines became clogged with calls from worshippers asking whether they should vote for McCain. Hagee replies he really does not know, but asserts to friends that McCain "threw me under the bus."

How McCain settles these issues will determine what the Electoral map really looks like. He will have big backers in this group, but the problem with the Evangelical movement is they expect loyalty.
He has not satisfied conservatives who oppose his positions on global warming, campaign finance reform, immigration, domestic oil drilling and how to ban same-sex marriages. (Novak, Sun Times, 6/9/08)

In the end I am sure McCain will wamp Obama in this Demographic, but the enthusiasm these voters have for him will be important especially in Midwest battleground states. This group was mobilized in 2004 and in my opinion won Ohio for George Bush.

For a truly thoughtful article on Democrat efforts to go after 'moral voters' check out 17people's view on this issue way back on February 4th.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weather Delay

Had a great time at a wedding in Louisville, Ky this past weekend for two of this blogs most loyal readers and contributors. So before going into a 17people rant want to say congratulations to one of the coolest couples I know, Patrick and Sarah. Very happy for you guys and wish you nothing but the best.

Now for those of you who know me best I have historically had bad luck flying or travelling in general. So today I got to the airport at 1200 edt for a 1:47 flight and now my latest departure time is 6:36. So figured what better thing to waste time than to talk about some observations of my time at SDF airport in Louisville.

The reason for the delay? Its perfect weather here in Louisville yet I hear that Chicago is looking a bit like a scene from The Day After Tomorrow. The video above was shot yesterday as some suburbs of Chicago were hit with tornado's. The weather has stayed awful and my day has been spent dealing with air travel.

So here are some random thoughts:

  • Air travel is becoming more tedious than ever. I was greeted with people pitching a bitch about having a fee to check their second bag.
  • What did we do before Ipods? Seriously good music (for me of course a lot of Springsteen) makes long periods of time go by quicker,
  • Thanks God for my wireless internet card. I don't know what I would have done the past 5-6 hours without the ability to surf the web, follow my fantasy baseball teams, and email work and friends. (Though for my friends who received lengthy emails and numerous texts I hope they were at least entertaining)
  • Wrote an email to a dear friend who found me via LinkedIn I hadn't been in touch with for over 5 years. I was very skeptical of these sites when I signed into them but have to say they are a pretty amazing way to find people you haven't been in touch with.
  • While its common knowledge airport food is bad, it doesn't really hit you until your stuck with it for 7 hours. Also as someone who preaches eating healthy,,, airports make that particularly difficult.
  • There has to be a better way for the airlines to tell people what is going on in a delay. Obviously things change with time, especially weather, but its even worse when you ready for a flight at 1:47; 3:15; 4:28; 5:45; and now apparently 6:36.

Am finishing this from seat 3A (see I told you the wireless card rules!) and just heard from my dad that the skies of Chicago look beautiful now. So with all luck I will be home in an hour safe and sound.

Graceful Hillary

This blog like many other places has been very hard on Hillary Clinton for the tenor of her comments since Super Tuesday.

Yesterday she took an important step in a different direction with her remarks to her supporters in DC.

Hillary Clinton delivered a phenomenal speech. It was powerful is talking about the incredible accomplishments of her campaign and clearly laid out the importance of Democratic victory in November. It spoke if the historic nature of what she and Barack Obama have done for minorities and women in this country.

There was not really a road map or historical marker which to base this speech. A concession/endorsement speech is generally tricky to pull off and few have lost an election or nomination as close as she had. Couple that with her reputation as a fighter who never gives up, and this was an even more difficult speech to pull off.

All that being said she hit a home run yesterday.

The Clinton's have taken quite a beating the past 5 months and much of it was self inflicted by their own actions. The party decided to go in an alternative direction but if the Clinton's are truly on board with Barack Obama as I think they will be that will be a big positive force for the Democratic ticket.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Meeting

Well Obama and Clinton met secretly last night at a secret location.
The story behind it though is pretty cool. The Obama campaign called the press corps that follow him onto the campaign as they were going to go somewhere. They shut down blackberry and phone service and at the time Obama was meeting with Clinton away from the press allowing the two to have a normal and hopefully productive discussion.
I will say that the Democrats pulling off a bait and switch move like this is something I generally don't think they are smart enough to pull off so gotta give them credit for their ingenuity.
Gotta wonder if Bill Clinton was involved in the meeting at all, but think it better than having the two of them pose for a photoshoot. Unlike any presidential race in my lifetime the two major candidates actually have major things to discuss and carry support and votes that could truly impact the convention.
While I wish Clinton dropped out earlier, this has been a fascinating campaign the likes that hasn't been seen in this country in many years. The campaigns have nothing to guide them and hopefully these two people are able to do what we expect them to do as President. Act like adults, communicate well, and get things done.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Letter to Hillary Clinton

Last evening after Obama became the presumptive nominee Hillary took the stage with yet another opportunity to take the high road and show some class and did what the Republicans have said about her for years, been classless.

She decided to make her case against Obama at a time when she should be praising Obama and rallying her supporters behind him took the stage after her annoying Campaign Chairman Terry McAuliffe announced her as "The next President of the United States!!!!"

It was another opportunity to Hillary took the low road and then said "Go to and tell me what you think."

Today I did just that, yet I was kinda confused when I got there. I looked and looked for a "Contact Us" or "Tell Hillary what you think!" section based on what she said last night. The actual image I pasted above.

Instead 'telling Hillary what you think' requires you to put your name, email, and zip code in a box with a Headline that reads:

"Be One of 18 Million. Stand With Hillary"

And has a sub headline that says
"I'm with you Hillary, and I am proud of everything we are fighting for."
The 'comments' section,,, is optional, your personal information is not. This is odd because I thought she wanted people's feedback, why would the 'Comments' be optional? Also think it should be noted that after you submit your comment you are directed to a page,,,, for an online contribution. Shameless.
(Fortunately I have the email to give to stuff like this so my personal email doesn't get HRClinton email)
There are people that won't email her now because they feel as though putting there name on there means they support her.
I decided to write her the following:

Senator Clinton,

You have run an admirable race that has had many highs and lows. I can't imagine how hard it is to feel like you are so close to the White House and then be able to give it up.

Last night you asked for feedback. Here is mine.

Please suspend your campaign and throw all your energy and support behind getting Barack Obama elected President. We need you to help him and other Dems across the country be successful in 2008 so that we can make the major changes necessary to begin to heal the country from the disastrous George W Bush Administration.

Your endorsement needs to be enthusiastic, unequivocal, and genuine. It cannot be the awkward, phony endorsement that Mitt Romney gave John MCain earlier this year. You need to signal to your supporters and donors that you believe 100% in Obama even if you don't.

I really wish you would have conceded last evening and done so with a level of grace and dignity.

I have to say I was offended when I came to offer you my thoughts and had to do so in a box that says 'Stand With Hillary.'

If you endorse Obama in the next couple days I will fully stand with you. If you decide to fight on until the convention, or hold the Vice Presidency over Obama's head to get your endorsement then I will NOT stand with you or respect ever again.

You ran an admirable campaign, but you lost, and leaders sometimes have to admit that they lost and not be sore sports about it.

Please show your best side and do the right thing. It's time for Democrats to unite and ensure that we win the White House back.

Phleger Suspension is Church Hypocrisy

Yesterday the news broke that Cardinal George suspended Fr Phleager.

Upon reflecting on this news, my hypocrisy alarm went off.

This is the same Cardinal George that did not suspend or remove Priests when allegations of sexual abuse took place until months elapsed and the attempted Church cover-up was exposed.

I don't see any reason that Phleager should be suspended anyway. He was an idiot and I ripped him on this blog, but his transgression did no phyiscal or mental harm to anyone.

Monday, June 2, 2008


In case you didn't watch the DNC Rules and Bylaw Committee (RBC) there was a decision made on how to apportion delegates in Florida and Michigan here is what happened.

First, a bit of history. In order to avoid a free for all where every state tries to move the dates of their elections up the DNC and RNC set rules on their calendars as to when a state can schedule their primaries.

Historically and in my opinion unfairly so, Iowa and New Hampshire have gone first, thus those two states garner a disproportionate number of favors and political pork barrel spending by candidates with eyes on the White House.

After initially stripping Florida and Michigan of all their delegates the RBC restored both states delegates at 50% just as the Republicans punished these states in their nomination.

I agree with the way the DNC dealt with the situation and credit the Co-chairs of the committee, Alexis Herman and Jim Roosevelt (FDR's grandson) for conducting a fair and reasonable process. I only wish that the same committee and DNC Chairman Howard Dean had given 50% representation from the beginning avoiding this ridiculous fight and cutting Michigan and Florida out of the process.

What sorrowed me from this meeting is something I have noticed in debates in both primaries. Public debates, hearings, and meetings like this have become circuses where various campaigns stack rooms with supporters who try to bully and intimidate decision makers or candidates.

I am for transparency as opposed to backroom deals. We need to have the ability as a public to see how our government or parties make decisions that effect us. But when the people in these rooms are there strictly for mischief and intimidation where booing, threatening and screaming is their weapon, then we close more doors for us to view and understand why decisions are made.

I would rather see many of these meetings and Presidential debate be televised or web cast and not open to the public, especially if they can't be controlled.

This is a shame because I think most people want to go and observe these meetings and do so in a professional manner. Yet when people scream and act like assholes, they do a disservice to what 'free speech' really stands for while they cover their actions under the First Amendment.

The Hillary supporters actions were a disgrace. While I think they have legitimate issues with this decision they lost credibility with me when instead of making impassioned reasoned arguments, they make asses of themselves.

Below is a clip from an earlier Meet the Press where the issue is discussed and the history is laid out by the best in the business, Tim Russert.