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You gonna eat that?It’s true, the wunderkind of the neoconservative right wing is leaving the administration.

According to anonymous White House sources, Rove simply ran out of evil things to do. One high ranking official told the Outer-Loop, “When Karl resorted to kicking over lemonade stands in Mclean, we pretty much knew he was out of evil things to think up.”

Rove’s propensity for evil first came to light during George W. Bush’s 2000 Presidential campaign when Rove orchestrated an elaborate bait and switch operation whereby Bush campaign operatives replaced John McCain’s adorable white child with an illegitimate black one, Rove’s position within the new Administration was sealed.

Relations with the Vice President were rocky after Rove disagreed with Vice President Cheney’s insistent calls to drop a tactical warhead on Paris, followed by Cologne in an effort to cover up the musky smell of nuclear fallout. Despite this initial rift with a fellow administration official, Rove’s advice was used to cull support around the actual President’s policies well into 2006.

In all seriousness, Rove, who has by now outlived his usefulness and can no longer win elections, even amongst the stupidest Americans, was little more than a lightning rod for criticism within the administration…so this isn’t really a surprise. The White House simply waited for a slow news day so as not to satiate the snarling media.

The President is a lame duck, his administration has no positive domestic policy legacy to speak of, and Karl always left his lunch in the fridge, which really pissed everyone off.

Karl Rove, unemployed, whooptie-doo.

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Riding the wave of popularity he’s receiving in Iowa, Mitt Romney sat down for an interview with WHO’s Jan Mickelson, whose parents obviously did not love him or his younger sister, Tyrone.

Anyway, Mickelson’s show is apparently quite influential in Iowa’s conservative circles and his show has been frequented by many of the other candidates running for the nomination, except for Giuliani who’s running for President of 9/11.

The interview, which you can see below in all of it’s youtube-ified glory, starts warmly. Romney catches a few softballs, drops the names of a couple of local restaurants that his personal assistants may or may not have briefed him on before hand, and basically pretends he isn’t a multi-millionaire liberal elitist Latter Day Douchebag. However, as the questions get dicier, Romney does something I never thought he was capable of…he counters with reasonable and well thought out positions on his faith and his personal social policy.

Check out the action below, it’s well worth a look.

The host, Elaine Mickelson, apparently felt slighted by Romney’s previously concealed testicles and leaked the video to the media insinuating that he had just orchestrated the downfall of Mitt Romney.

Instead, Mitt comes off as opinionated but reasonable, and he alludes to the inclusion of Democratic and left-leaning personal friends of his who are not only in the upper echelons of his typically conservative church, but who actively espouse domestic policy positions that differ from his own. In other words, as Dolores Mickelson continues to accuse Romney of forsaking his faith because of his previous (bullshit) positions on abortion rights, Romney says, almost verbatim, that pro-choice does not equal pro-abortion and that the Democrats in his church are no less moral and sincere than he is.

I know what you’re thinking, “But Romney isn’t sincere. He flip flops like a pair of Reefs, but without the beer bottle opener in the sole.”

Well you’re right, but this glimpse of a more reasonable human being is exactly what is missing from the rest of the GOP field. If I had to pick any Republican to run this country, and I say this with as much hesitant bile and tar as American grammar allows, I would feel better having Romney in the White House than any other GOP candidate in the field.

Well, only if Tyrone Mickelson didn’t want the job.

Thanks to The Politico for the tip.

0_21_450_commonsense.jpgzahremar sent me this link to a short essay by Neil Cavuto regarding Apple’s iPhone launch. After reading the swill, one thing is certain, he clearly doesn’t write a single thing, and whichever one of his interns actually wrote this piece has obviously never taken a business class.

Cavuto’s intern’s overarching argument is that while a very respectable number of $500-600 iPhones were activated during the opening weekend, well over 140,000, Apple goofed by not lowering expectations.

Cavuto doesn’t dispute how impressive the number is, indeed:

“Selling 146,000 items at a minimum of 500 bucks a pop ain’t shabby. In fact, it’s stunning. Never in corporate history, have so many electronic devices sold so quickly.”

But he goes on to say:

“But then it didn’t meet that damn expectation, did it?”

The “expectation” he’s referring to was Apple’s officially-unofficial goal of selling 10 million iPhones in the first year and half a million in the first few days. As reported by Dow Jones’ MarketWatch…which is now presumably a subsidiary of News Corp., the stated goal was 10 million iPhones within the first full year of sales. That means 10 million iPhones by the end of June 2008, NOT December 31st, 2007.

It’s called Google, Intern.

Getting to the meat of the argument, Cavuto’s intern’s statement regarding the 146,000 “activated” iPhones is misleading as that number does not necessarily equal the total number of iPhones sold. There are plenty of people, myself included, who want an iPhone but are tied to a contract they can’t afford to break. So why not buy the phone and wait out your contract? I’ve purchased many a product on opening day only to have it sit on my desk at home until I had the time to play with it.

Secondly, Cavuto’s intern doesn’t mention the fact that Apple’s third quarter ended on June 30th…

The day after the iPhone first went on sale.

Thus, not only do we not have a clue as to how many iPhones were actually sold in the first two days, we won’t even have an idea of the overall profit from Apple’s new iPhone division until the end of Q4.

Cavuto’s intern seems miffed that Apple…which, again, is not exactly the humblest of tech companies…didn’t pull the old “under sell, over report” trick that so many other companies do. Apple’s perceived cockiness doesn’t seem to be hurting financially as their reported quarterly profits of over $800 million dollar easily outlines.

This post wasn’t designed as a fanboy manifesto about Apple’s financial status or market strategy, indeed, I’d be in trouble if it were.

This post is about challenging the notion that business pundits should have any credence as far as influencing the markets go.

Fox News is on the cusp of introducing it’s Business Channel and – as of this writing – Rupert Murdoch has officially gained control of what will surely become his legacy, the Wall Street Journal.

As one of the few liberals who both likes and respects what Murdoch has accomplished in his media empire, and one of the only people who thinks News Corp’s acquisition would BENEFIT the Journal, I would like to see people like Cavuto gone from the new business network and kept far, far away from WSJ.

Cavuto has his place, he is a political pundit with business branding, and that’s fine for Fox News Channel. But if Fox Business Channel is going to be any different, if you can approach reporting on the market with a clear lense, then you can compete with the likes of Bloomberg and CNBC on merit and quality…not on spectacle and audacity.

Also, please hire more talented interns.

Photo from FoxNews.com.

Disclosure: The author is employed by Apple, Inc. All of the financial information cited in this post is publicly available via Apple.com. The views of the author do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Apple, Inc., its shareholders, employees, contractors, or Board of Directors, and the author is not representing Apple in any official or unofficial capacity. Please don’t fire/sue me.

People can get very sentimental about their cars. Our vehicles are political statements, indicators of wealth, and status symbols all rolled up into one expensive ball of metal, plastic, and the severed appendages of auto workers.

In recent weeks, various media outlets have reported on the Prius as a symbol of an impending generation of smug liberal yuppies hoping to rub their insincere eco-friendliness in the faces of the general populace. People like Slate’s Emily Bazelon, whom I love, and the Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson, who has an awesome mustache, have each recently waxed poetic on what owning a Prius actually means.

While these are just two examples, I think they are finely written and make interesting points…but I disagree with a key point both of them are inferring in their pieces.

Read the rest of this entry »

What has two thumbs and loves the ladies?Louisiana is famous for its corrupt politics. Since judges are elected there, a defendant could conceivably donate money to the campaign of his own judge, something that could make justice a little tougher to find in the upper echelons of the state’s aristocracy.

It’s elected officials, however, are an entirely different breed of corrupt…a more entertaining breed. First William Jefferson’s freezer full o’ money and now David Vitter’s hooker-tastic evenings…what will come up next? Will Mary Landreau start exposing herself to children at the Smithsonian? Maybe Bobby Jindal will start selling crack hidden in his Bible out of the LoC? Who knows?

Vitter was elected in 2004, so there’s really nothing politically interesting here. This story will have dissipated by 2010 for sure. Mary Landreau will still lose her reelection campaign next year, Jindal will still win the Governor’s seat, and Jefferson will still be a douchebag.

One thing that might be considered redeeming about this entire situation is the ridiculous mentality voters have that American politicians have to be perfect, likable, gee whiz idiots to get elected. A lot of this is media driven, for sure, only in America do politicians get elected based on whether or not you’d like to have a beer with them.

Instead what happens is shrewd, brilliant, competent candidates like Bill Bradley, or even Hillary Clinton, get castigated by people saying “Well I just don’t like him/her”.

That’s ridiculous, you don’t have to like someone to know that they’ll do a great job, Democrats are lucky they have a slew of competent, capable, fantastic candidates in every tier who would make great Presidents. The Republicans? Well, Romney and McCain are the only two I see as being even remotely competent enough to handle running a country.

So, getting back to my original point, who cares that Vitter screwed a hooker? We should instead be caring that he’s a terrible Senator that has accomplished nothing significant while in office. There are some very smart Republicans in the Senate that seem to be doing all the legworkwhile Vitter manages to find the time to cheat on his wife with an overpaid college student.

Fantastic, next.

mccain1.jpgThe blogosphere, at this point, has it in for McCain.

I don’t really know why, perhaps its his oddly fascist-looking campaign website and cryptic, Franco-inspired logo? Or maybe it’s the stale air of a candidate who has done nothing remotely controversial or, frankly, interesting in his campaign thus far. He’s been spending too much money, too quickly, in all the wrong places and his campaign is suffering for it.

That being said, McCain managed to raise a little more than $11 million this quarter. Despite the mismanagement of his campaign, the number is significant. Let’s all have a nice, warm cup of perspective for a moment.

Can McCain win this nomination? While it’s difficult (read: irresponsible) to say for sure, we all know the answer is a big, resounding, no-effin’-way.

But let’s assume he could win; let’s pretend he’s not running against three well-financed and more popular opponents.

McCain has only $2 million in the bank, so a Romney-style TV ad blitz is out of the question for now, and he has no hope of running a real national campaign anytime soon. His only hope is an Edwards style blitz of the early primary states. Edwards has practically been living in Iowa and New Hampshire since he lost in 2004 and has plenty of money on hand to remain a viable contender for the nomination.

McCain, on the other hand, is relying on his charming townhall meetings. This is admittedly where he shines, but the truth is…how many of these can he realistically expect to host while still staying competitive in the Feb 5th states?

Truth is, we still can’t rule him out, no matter how unlikely it looks. Now for that nice glass of perspective I told you about before. McCain’s biggest threats are Giuliani, Romney, and Thompson (of the Fred variety). Both Romney and Giuliani’s respective campaigns are starting to hiccup…between the two Romney looks as though he’s stronger in the long term. Thompson is currently benefiting from a bit of a honeymoon, but I have a feeling voters will harden up to him once competency returns front and center…and once they figure out he’s as excited about being President as I am about being 60 some day…people will wise up.

It is still conceivable then that McCain could do enough townhalls, slap enough palms, and kiss enough babies the old fashioned way to gain momentum and media acceptance…possibly propelling him to the nomination on the virtual national primary on February 5th of next year.

Good luck Johnny boy, don’t let Charlie get to ya.

I wouldn’t be the avid DC/NoVA based political blogger that I am if I didn’t give an obligatory shout out to The Capitolist, the best nonsense page on the intertubes.

Steady Wonkette readers are probably quite familiar with it by now, but for the uninitiated, the site is essentially a slick, simple message board that can only be posted on by computers within the Capitol. What ensues is an interesting experiment in a sort of blind voyeurism…like listening to a conversation through a doorway.

I’ve added the site to the Outer-Loop’s blogroll (I know, I know, it’s about time…) for all to enjoy. Every so often, staffers drop little tidbits of speculation that are pretty entertaining to catch (such as almost uniform agreement regarding John Warner’s impending retirement).

In any case, enjoy folks.

The President has decided that the punishment handed down to Scooter Libby, a man who was charged with perjury by a Republican appointed U.S. Attorney, found guilty by a jury of his peers, and sentenced by a strict conservative judge appointed by the President himself…was a little harsh.

“I respect the jury’s verdict,” Bush said in a statement. “But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.”

Sure he still has to pay the hefty quarter million dollar fine, especially considering his “trust” has gathered millions this is gonna be a tough year for tax write offs.

I’m gonna deviate from the other left-leaning blogs and not let myself be outraged by this complete and utter lack of respect for the rule of law.  Oh well.

Who wants cake?

Zeh Donkey

A few quick notes and about the debate and my scores for the candidates before I head off to the beds.

  • Mike Gravel has Grape Nuts for brains, I am absolutely sure of it. No serious policy points, just the usual crazy outbursts of random insults lobbed at the other candidates. C-
  • Hillary Clinton could kick my ass, she was easily the most concise person on the stage. My God, what have we created… A
  • Dennis Kucinich loves Michael Moore, hates capitalism, and is totally into black chicks, the crowd ate him up. B
  • Barack Obama wanted to Have A Dream (TM) sooo bad on stage, but the evil Tavis Smiley wouldn’t let him have more than a few seconds. Obama can survive these events with stage presence alone, but he needs a pulpit to really take on Hillary (who’s the master of the heavy sound bite). B+
  • Bill Richardson is trying really, really hard to be Bill Clinton. Good policy points, nowhere near the flair of the other candidates…he can’t get away with being the boring wonk like Hillary can. B
  • John Edwards, soft spoken, a bit solemn. Making your audience cry won’t get you elected, but I was impressed with his willingness to engage the other candidates’ policy positions and offer some mature rebuttals. He did well this time. A
  • Chris Dodd had a good Clintonesque (as in Hillary) presence on-stage that was quite Presidential looking. Too bad he was trying to juggle the policies of Kucinich and Richardson…he was like a very deceptive tofu filet minon. B –
  • Joe Biden, as much as people make fun of him, he does so well in these debates I can’t fathom why he isn’t higher up in the polls. Wait, he’s Joe Biden, that’s why. Regardless, a lot of well articulated ideas. A

The candidates are getting better, and with the slow summer months ahead, we should begin to see the definitive front runners come late August.

Also, Cornel West looks really funny.

Usually, the rigors of my day job prevent me from contributing to the Loop, but today was a special day.

I just got back from the National Press Club where former HUD Secretary’s Jack Kemp and Henry Cisneros plugged their new book about the importance of developing new housing in urban and rural areas along with Habitat for Humanity Chairman John Retsinas and former NAHB head Kent Colton.

The conference was interesting.  First, there was air conditioning in the room and the Press Club graciously offered up free delicious, precious, glorious cold water. It’s moments like these that I want a time machine to punch the Congress in the face for putting DC on the damned Potomac and not, say, in Tampa.  At least then I could wear shorts.

Anyways, the substance of the conference was pretty bland, your typical book plugging and back slapping amongst friends, but what was so interesting about the meeting was the overall sense of community and respect the men had for each other.  Two Republicans (Kemp, who was Dole’s Veep nominee in ’96) and Colton (A heavy hitting Romney supporter) and two Democrats (both Retsinas and Cisneros worked in the Clinton administration) obviously thought very highly of each other…and there was a nice sobering hue of gooey buddy-ness they left behind.

Are we really that different, the left and the right?  Is there room for exploration and moderation, for cooperation and action?

Kemp has been one of the staunchest supporters of DC voting rights, not something the GOP particularly wants to see happen, and Cisneros is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country leaving the public sector to lead Univision to it’s staggering number 5 slot in network ratings.

As a young Latino just getting started in this wide and wacky town, Cisneros has particularly been an inspiration to me…both for his professional success  and his success with the laydeez.

In any case, it was a fun day and getting to meet with some ambitious and influential people always helps remind me of why I love this town so much.