Saturday, March 08, 2008
Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker
A pleasant foot of snow dropped here in the past day. You know, I don't mind snow when it comes in bunches, it's just the gray, sloppy stuff that I hate.
Sadly, I was ill-prepared for the snow today. Needing two of life's essential items, chocolate and beer, I walked about three miles to the store with my eager frisbee dog. I wish I had brought a camera, it was truly beautiful out.
So while I have a ton to blog about, it shall have to wait for a few. My fantasy baseball league (entering our 15th season!) has our keeper cuts due tonight and I've just been too busy to study yet. So tonight will be full of baseball and beer.
And hey, I actually played in my first BBT poker tourney, on Thursday, thanks to the 9pm start time. And actually final tabled the damn thing, in a game I have zero experience in, PLO hi. And even that tourney went far too long for this old man. I almost fell asleep at the end, finally pushing with some ridiculous hand. So, I don't know, it doesn't seem worth it to even try with the late start times and larger fields. I sure wish we had at least ONE weekend tournament for us folks who are busy and old. We want to have fun, too, damnit.
So stay tuned. Weirdly enough, I discovered my first ever website I built back in 1995. All my old bookmarks, photos, rants etc, from back then. Wow, just wow. There's just so much I had forgotten. And hell, I actually was featured in a shitload of sites back then - Wired, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Mens Health and Fitness, to name a few. It's just funny to look back and ponder it all.
And so, I discovered the photo of me and Bill Clinton from 1979. And yes, I will be posting the first ever photo of me on this humble poker blog.
But for now, let me leave you with this commentary from NY Magazine:
Heilemann: Can Obama Handle the Awakened Media Beast?
So what to make of Monstergate? On the surface, the campaign controversy du jour could hardly be a more straightforward story. A few days ago, Samantha Power, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author and Harvard scholar who served until a few hours ago as one of Barack Obama's top foreign-policy advisers, was quoted by the Edinburgh-based daily The Scotsman heaping scorn on Hillary Clinton: "She's a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything … You just look at her and think, 'Ergh.'" This morning, as word of the incendiary indiscretion spread (the story led the Today show) and the fever mounted, a number of congressional Clinton backers demanded that Power resign from the campaign. "It's really a test for Obama," said Representative Nita Lowey of New York, and she was right. For months now, Obama has vowed to fire anyone on his staff who "is involved in trying to tear people down personally,” as he put in December. So Power's exit late this morning was, in a sense, inevitable.
But Monstergate, I think, reflects something deeper: the fact that many of the people around Obama have grown accustomed to, shall we say, a forgiving national press corps. Retroactive declarations of off-the-recordness happen all the time. Whether the journalist confronted with one chooses to let it slide or be a hard-ass is a matter of discretion. How much do you like the source? How much do you need the source? It's fair to say that many people in Obama's circle believe that Clinton is in fact a monster. Many have said something similar to reporters. And this was not the first time one of them slipped up on attribution. But until now, the press, as part of a broader pattern of kid-gloves treatment of Obama, has largely chosen to let those mistakes pass. And that has bred a certain sloppiness — one that, in the case of Power, has now come back to bite them.
This sloppiness is not confined to dealing with the press. Much has been written about the case of Obama's economic guru, Austan Goolsbee, and the Canadians, but it's worth revisiting in the context of Monstergate. In telling the Canucks to pay no attention to his boss' saber-rattling on NAFTA, Goolsbee was being candid and stating the plain truth: Nobody who knows Obama believes for a second that he is anything but a staunch free trader; they know that he has no intention of trashing the trade treaty. But Goolsbee was also being sloppy. And so was the campaign in its ludicrously transparent, transparently ludicrous efforts to mislead the press about what occurred. (The Canadians contacted Goolsbee not in his capacity as Obama's guy on economics but merely as a University of Chicago academic? As Bill Clinton might put it, Give me a break!) The whole imbroglio fairly reeked of an operation that had become accustomed — too accustomed for its own good — to a sleepy, besotted press corps.
By now, of course, it's clear to anyone with two eyes in his head that the kid-gloves days are over for Obama. Suddenly, the press is treating him more like it has handled Clinton since, er, day one. As a front-runner, in other words. The shift in tone and temper is coming as something of a shock to Obamaland, and not least to the candidate himself. In a post a few days ago, I remarked on the somewhat contentious news conference that Obama held last Monday in San Antonio, the one that ended with reporters annoyed at its brevity and Obama saying, plaintively, "C'mon, guys, I just answered, like, eight questions." Last night at dinner with two of the savviest political analysts I know, one of them maintained that this was an utterance infinitely revealing about Obama — the equivalent of "It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is" for WJC or "No controlling legal authority" for Al Gore. I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, but I do believe that it speaks volumes about BHO's mind-set and expectations regarding the national media. (Let’s not forget that Obama himself at first denied that the Goolsbee meeting with the Canadians ever took place.) It also gives off the distinct whiff of arrogance and entitlement that’s lately been emanating from him. Eight questions! OMG! That's, like, three more than I usually answer — and five more than I should have to answer!"
Let's be clear. Few campaigns I've ever covered have been run with as much skill and discipline as Obama's has. His chief strategist, David Axelrod, handles the press with aplomb and savvy. Robert Gibbs, his communications czar, is one tough cookie. But the rest of Obama's adjutants — and the candidate himself — had better get with the program. The Media Beast, after months of blissful slumber, is now awake and as grouchy as an undercaffeinated grizzly bear. And the Clinton campaign has no intention of letting it return to sleep. Unless and until all of Team Obama understand what that means, there are going to be a lot more days like this. Days that end with blood and severed limbs all over the floor. —John Heilemann
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