Alex's Outlook

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Holy cow 


Google is getting ready to roll out a new email service ("Gmail") that offers users 1 gigabyte of free storage.

Google's service, called "Gmail," will include a built-in search function that will let people search every e-mail they've ever sent or received.

According to company executives, users will be able to type in keywords to sort e-mails or find old missives. And it will come with 1 gigabyte of free storage - more than 100 times what some popular rivals offer and enough to hold 500,000 pages of e-mail.

That sounds pretty revolutionary. Yahoo mail, for example, offers 4 megabytes of free storage. And, obviously, there's no way to search every email you ever sent.

The Bush bounce 


A brand new poll has Bush leading Kerry 51-47 nationally after his first barrage of ads attacking Kerry. If Kerry's lead imploded that easily, Kerry is even weaker than I thought. Some people might say that the drop is illusory because Kerry hasn't advertised yet, but Kerry has still gotten tons of favorable press coverage which amounts to the same thing.

In the swing states that Bush targeted, the drop is much more marked. Kerry now trails Bush by 6 points in Pennsylvania. Nevada went from a dead heat to an 11-point Bush lead; Arizona went from a 2-point Kerry lead to a 9 point Bush lead. New Hampshire is well into Bush territory again, after Kerry's big primary bump. Florida and Ohio are both still leaning slightly Kerry, however...

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Not funny 


I'm with John Kerry on this one.
Speaking at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington last night, President George W. Bush showed a stunningly cavalier attitude toward the failed search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the Administration's rush to war.

"Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere," Bush mimicked, as a slide of the President looking under furniture in the Oval Office appeared on the screen.

That's supposed to be funny?

If George Bush thinks his deceptive rationale for going to war is a laughing matter, then he's even more out of touch than we thought. Unfortunately for the President, this is not a joke.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Spain: Winner of the Vichy award 


The most shocking thing I learned when I returned from my cruise was Spain's craven surrender to the terrorists after the Madrid bombing. I understand that there was an element of resentment at the Aznar government because it (perhaps) dishonestly blamed the Basque movement instead of Islamists, because Islamist terrorism would put the onus on Aznar for joining the Iraq war and thus inviting a terrorist attack. However, that in no way justifies the vote result. Aznar's Popular Party had every reason to expect an easy victory before the bombing, and now they're out of power. They've been replaced by a hard-left, very anti-American Socialist government that has promised to withdraw all troops from Iraq by July 30.

I get the feeling that Madrid was a test run for the American elections in November. I'm becoming more and more fearful of an October surprise if it seems like Bush will win the election; but I think American voters would have the opposite reaction of the Spanish. It would still introduce a huge variable into the election......

Good riddance! 


Kudos to Ariel for incinerating Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin today.

The sooner the Palestinian-Israeli conflict escalates into open war, the better are Israel's chances of survival. The longer Israel survives, the better off we will be. At the current dripdripdrip rate of casualties Israel will be demographically inundated in one generation. There's also the fact that Yassin was an uberterrorist who hated the US. It was a good day on the far side of the world.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Bye-bye 


Tomorrow I'm off for a spring break cruise with a bunch of fellow seniors. It should be a riot.

No posting this week.

National GOP hopes take a beating 


While I was away on our senior retreat (playing Texas Hold'em most of the time), there has been a lot of news on the political front, all of it bad. First off, Democrats have a decent shot at winning Colorado because the state's most popular Democrat, Attorney General Ken Salazar, is running for the seat, and the Dems have cleared the primary field for him. This seat is a genuine tossup, and it would be a definite Lean Democrat if Colorado weren't such a red state. To make matters worse, the state's most popular Republican, Gov. Bill Owens, is not running. He seems to be waiting in the wings as a possible VP replacement for Cheney, or a Presidential nomination in 08. Tom Tancredo could be a good match for Salazar--he is very independent-minded and principled, if ideological. Unfortunately, the national Republican establishment hates Tancredo for his independence, and will probably leave him in the lurch. We'll see.

Secondly, a set of spending curbs pushed by House conservatives (which I expressed hope for earlier) died miserably in the House. Unless the center-right good government coalition digs in its heels and starts voting en masse against the corrupt, pork-addicted leadership on important votes, there will be no respite from continuous Republican spending increases.

Finally, the stock market has taken a heavy beating. The Dow is off about 500 points from its year highs (4.x percent), and the Nasdaq and S&P have suffered similar declines. Not good for the polls. Bush is going to have a hard time convincing the electorate to vote for him if the stock market ends below where it started when he came into office. This week's fluctuation could obviously be reversed next week, but every little bit counts.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Lousy Bush ads 


Bush-Cheney 04 recently launched its first campaign ads, which you can view here.

They are a waste of $4 million. I know that gauzy, zero-substance ads aren't aimed at hardcore Republicans like myself (who will vote Republican in November no matter what), or hardcore Democrats who will vote Democrat in November no matter what. But this is a polarized country, and saying that "I know where I want to take this country" and "I know that I want to reward America's entrepreneurial spirit, faith, family, freedom, blah blah blah" is not going to convince anybody to vote for Bush. There is no defense of Bush's policies, no argument, no nothing. Just "I know where I want to lead this country." Who is going to be convinced by that? November 2004 is going to be a landmark election, a referendum on Bush's policies. This is 2004, not 1992!

The ads seem to reinforce the "Bush is an airhead" urban myth precisely because they have no substance.

We don't need a smiling George W. We need upward-pointing green arrows, showing how the Dow has gained 2500 points since 9-11; the hundreds of thousands of jobs created since the second, post-911 Bush tax cut; the devastation wrought on al-Qaeda and the hostile, brutal Hussein regime; the progress of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan; the negligible inflation level. Ultimately, Bush's record is what this election is going to turn on, and it's a record John Kerry cannot hope to match.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Let the VP prognosticating begin 


Now that Kerry's finally wrapped this campaign up, the speculation as to his VP choice is running rampant. I've heard quite a few names thrown around.

I would be surprised if John Edwards, Evan Bayh, or Bob Graham ended up on the ticket. Dick Gephardt is more probable, but since VPs usually come out of nowhere it probably won't be Gep either. Bill Richardson? Maybe. He would wrap up New Mexico...another "dark-horse" possibility is Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, although Warner just seems like a weaker version of Edwards--a rich white southerner who may have more executive experience than Edwards, but less public speaking skill. And, like North Carolina, there is no chance in hell that Virginia will vote for John Forbes Kerry.

I'd put my money on Richardson, with Gephardt a close second.

The TradeSports political futures market gives Edwards the best shot, with Richardson a somewhat distant second.

Sigh... 


Republican Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell has announced his retirement.

Campbell was first elected on Bill Clinton's coattails in 1992 as the first American Indian to serve in Congress. He switched to the Republican party after the Democrats' disastrous defeat in the 1994 midterm elections. Since then, he has been a loyal Republican senator. Not very distinguished, perhaps, but he has been critical for President Bush these past legislative sessions.

The Republicans now have three open Senate seats (Illinois, Colorado and Oklahoma). I think the Colorado one will be pretty easily held, given the number of high-profile Republicans positioned to run for the seat. Still, these Republican Senate retirements can't be good. It just means more money going away from Bush's reelection and more marginal Senate races, like Louisiana and South Dakota.