A new Suffolk poll
in Massachusetts finds that a majority of Bay State residents -- 55
percent -- indeed think that state's law should be changed to allow
Deval Patrick to appoint an interim replacement for the late Ted
Far more shocking, though, is the following:
Q8. Is your opinion of Curt Schilling generally favorable or generally unfavorable? N= 500 100% Never heard .................................... 1 58 12% Favorable ...................................... 2 143 29% Unfavorable .................................... 3 195 39% Heard of/Undecided ............................. 4 104 21%
That's right. A plurality of Massachusetts registered voters have an unfavorable opinion of Curt Schilling, the former Boston Red Sox pitcher and World Series hero who has been a somewhat outspoken -- although moderate -- Republican, and who at one point was contemplating a run for Kennedy's seat.
is one state, evidently, where blue blood runs thicker than red. If
Schilling wants to become a senator, he'd have a far better chance in
New Hampsire, where he now makes his residence.
Red Sox owner John Henry, incidentally, is one of the relatively few owners of a major sports franchise who is an outspoken Democrat (remember, the demographic here is rich older white dude).
According to MLB.com, President Obama was only the fourth president to throw out the ball in the game
- (joining John F. Kennedy (1962), Richard Nixon ('70) and Gerald Ford
('76 and '78). Here he throws it out:
And here's the FoxSport account of his trash talking in the locker room before the game:
After arriving in St. Louis, [Willie] Mays and Obama walked off the plane arm-in-arm, and headed to the ballpark. Obama
first visited the NL's clubhouse. Known for trash talking on the
basketball court, he saved a little bit for the locker room.
greeting Pujols, the most fearsome hitter in the majors, Obama went
over to Milwaukee star Prince Fielder, who won Monday night's Home Run
Pointing at Fielder, the president said, "Hey Albert, what happened, this guy, man — in your home park? What's going on, man?"
left that side with a souvenir, too. Phillies outfielder Shane
Victorino, like Obama from Hawaii, gave the president some macadamia
Next stop was the AL clubhouse, where he gibed Yankees
shortstop Derek Jeter for being so old and signed an autograph for
Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. A White Sox fan, Obama was glad to
see pitcher Mark Buehrle, the only representative from the president's
Buehrle said he didn't really believe it when Obama said he would wear a White Sox jacket to the mound. "I
looked up and I was like, 'Holy Cow, he's actually doing it.' Everybody
around me was giving me a hard time saying, 'What the heck, he's
wearing White Sox stuff.' That's how we roll in Chicago, we got the
president behind us," Buehrle said.
Added the president:
"Everybody knows I'm a White Sox fan and my wife thinks I look cute in
this jacket. Between those two things, why not?"
Another bit of Beltway Conventional Wisdom bites the dust ... from pollster Charlie Cook:
It was hard to hear both second-guessing and criticism of President Obama's decision to go on ESPN to discuss his picks for the NCAA men's basketball tournament and to appear on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."
Add a rather unusual taping for Sunday night's "60 Minutes" and it was one of the most unusual weeks of presidential television appearances to date. It was at least the most unusual for any elected official since then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pre-impeachment media tour.
One Bush pollster privately warned that the White House was risking overexposure. Others wondered whether it was the right time for a president to push nontraditional media exposure at a time of great financial crisis and with two wars occurring.
But the Gallup Organization's three-night tracking polls (with 1,500 interviews over three nights and 3-point error margin) suggest the White House need not be worried. Obama's job-approval rating in the Gallup poll had been at 62 percent, with 27 percent disapproval, through Thursday night, before his Leno appearance aired. But Gallup's Thursday-Saturday and Friday-Sunday samples showed Obama's approval at 65 percent, with 26 disapproving.
This is hardly significant movement, and I'm not necessarily arguing that his approval ratings increased because of those appearances. Nevertheless, his approval certainly didn't take a significant hit because he went on either. At this point, there was no other reason for his numbers to improve, what with the public being mostly preoccupied with wanting to tar and feather American International Group bonus recipients. At the very least it suggests that the administration didn't take an immediate hit over the bonuses.
For those who have been in or watched politics closely for many years, it's hard to adjust to this new media age, but conventional ways of communicating with voters might not be adequate, with fewer reading newspapers and news magazines, watching television news or listening to conventional radio news programming.
This means you have to reach into the corners of the electorate to find those who aren't reading or watching traditional news. These voters can be tapped with Oprah, ESPN, or Leno or David Letterman.
Apart from those who because of partisanship or ideology are predisposed to be critical to begin with, an avid sports fan and ESPN-watcher who has just finished his or her own NCAA brackets isn't likely to be offended seeing a president offer his basketball picks. Similarly, a Leno viewer isn't likely to find offense in his appearances there ...
This is a new communication age. Traditional judgments might leave opportunities unmet. When the Obama campaign last summer decided to hold the Thursday night Democratic National Convention session and their candidate's acceptance speech at the Denver Broncos' football stadium, a lot of us older folks wondered whether it was too risky, or whether inclement weather, traffic or a lousy sound system might mar the most important night of the convention. Of course, it went off like clockwork and probably made Ronald Reagan's media maven Michael Deaver smile down from the heavens in approval.
One important caveat is that whether one likes and agrees politically with Obama or not, he is a skilled communicator on the same scale as Reagan, so a "kids, don't try this at home" warning is probably necessary. These aren't chances for the typical elected official or candidate, only for those particularly gifted.
This is a new day, with new approaches. Some will work, and some won't. But it looks like Obama's trifecta of unconventional television appearances worked out positively.
A Blue View reader forwarded me this ripe-for-forwarding ESPN story:
I have the absolute worst fantasy league football partner. Just try
to get the guy to return a call. Or a text. You need a damn court order.
Barack Obama. And, yeah, I guess he's busy, but why was I the one who
had to fly to Dayton, get frisked and have bomb dogs drool on my bags
just so I could meet him getting off his tricked-out, chartered 757? He
can't meet a guy halfway?
I asked each candidate to be my
running mate for one week in a fantasy league, just to see what kind of
president he'd make—how he'd handle decisions under pressure and
balance a budget. (On ESPN.com's Gridiron Challenge, you get a mystical
$50M to spend on a team.) Only Obama bit. We settled on the Week 6
you talk about bossy. I thought he'd let the professional sportswriter
do most of the picking while the wonk occasionally looked up from some
Pakistan brief and nodded. Yeah, not exactly. When I got on his
campaign bus, all three flat screens were tuned to ESPN. Obama was
sitting in a black leather swivel chair, reading the paper. "Hey, man,
I'll be with you in a second," he said. "I'm poring over the latest
economic news." It was the USA Today NFL stats page.
is taller, grayer and quicker to laugh than I expected. Moves sort of
like an athlete—cool and smooth. "Now, you're the expert," he began.
"And I'll gladly be the junior partner in this, but I really think we
should take Drew Brees. He could have a big week. Oakland's secondary
is a wreck."
Ohhhh, so that's how it's going to be. "Well, I like
Carson Palmer," I said. "He's due for a big week, plus he plays in Ohio
and I figure that's a state you need, so …"
He looked at me
like I'd stuck my elbow in his soup. "Man, this is more important than
politics!" he insisted. "This is football!"
This is a man who could potentially audit me forever. We paid $7.3M for Brees.
wanted Clinton Portis. I wanted Adrian Peterson. We took Portis
($6.6M). He wanted Brandon Marshall. I wanted Bernard Berrian. We took
Doesn't work well with others. Check.
to admit, though, he knows his stuff. Turns out, he played a little. He
was a tight end in ninth grade until a coach told him to "trample" an
opponent's back. He gave up football for hoops. In 2004, when Mike
Ditka considered running against him for Senate, Obama—remembering how
Ditka let William Perry score a Super Bowl TD instead of Walter
Payton—said that "anybody who would give the ball to Refrigerator Perry
instead of Sweetness doesn't have very good judgment." Ditka didn't
run. "Too bad," Obama says. "We were hoping he would."
First, something from the world of sports, as reported by The Onion:
Dodgers left-fielder Manny Ramirez, sent to Los Angeles in a three-team
trade two weeks ago, said Monday that he "really likes" the Red Sox's
new blue-and-white uniforms. "I like it more than the red," Ramirez
told reporters following the Dodgers' 8-6 win over the Phillies Monday.
"I'm also happy that they shortened the Green Monster, and painted it
blue, because that wall was too tall before. And I'm really enjoying
the easy schedule we've been playing lately." Although Ramirez admitted
he didn't appreciate having "that vampire from the Yankees" [Joe Torre]
hanging out in the dugout all the time, he did say that he "completely
approves of David Ortiz's new mustache" while gesturing towards Dodgers
second baseman Jeff Kent.
Then, news from the world of medicine: The Daily Show's take on the release of both candidates medical records earlier in the Spring. At about the 3 minute mark, they discuss John McCain's:
And here they get all hot and bothered by Obama's:
Almost one third of the world's
population - a little over 2 billion people - watched the amazing, and a little chilling, opening ceremony from Beijing. Here's the kind of training the performers were subjected to, according to the Bangkok Post:
Thousands of young Chinese women
applicants for the 200 jobs to lead each country's athletes into the
National Stadium for last week's opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic
Games had to be at least 1.66 metres tall, have a pretty face - and
strip naked for the job recruiters.
The Beijing News,
in a story detailing the latest opening-ceremony outrage, said
stripping naked for measurements was a requirement merely to apply for
the position ...
Zhang ... was
later selected to be one of the 400 cheerleaders on the stadium who
were the longest performers during the three-and-a-half-hour long
extravaganza on August 8.
Dressed in short white dresses,
boots and caps, the women had to constantly dance and cheer, to create
a good atmosphere and rouse the audience of 91,000 people at the
The 400 women also performed the
smiling programme - in which they danced and opened umbrellas each with
a smiling face on them.
For that three-minute performance,
the women had to undergo half a year of training, rising every day at 5
am to get to the practice site by 6 am and returning to their school
dormitory as late as 8 or 9 pm, Zhang said. Sometimes when the training
starts at noon, the women would practice till 1 am or 2 am.