Hillary’s Wonkery: And Then There’s “That Laugh”

Frank Rich has written an interesting Op-Ed piece in today’s edition of The New York Times. In his article, he suggests that Hillary Clinton’s appearance of always being in complete control has “cracks” in it, which may lead to her downfall. One of those “cracks,” Rich points out, is that Hillary Laugh:

“The Beltway’s narrative has it not only that the Democrats are shoo-ins, but also that the likely standard-bearer, Hillary Clinton, is running what Zagat shorthand might describe as a “flawless campaign” that is “tightly disciplined” and “doesn’t make mistakes.” This scenario was made official last weekend, when Senator Clinton appeared on all five major Sunday morning talk shows — a publicity coup, as it unfortunately happens, that is known as a “full Ginsburg” because it was first achieved by William Ginsburg, Monica Lewinsky’s lawyer, in 1998.

Mrs. Clinton was in complete control. Forsaking TV studios for a perfectly lighted set at her home in Chappaqua, she came off like a sitting head of state. The punditocracy raved. We are repeatedly told that with Barack Obama still trailing by double digits in most polls, the only way Mrs. Clinton could lose her tight hold on the nomination and, presumably, the White House would be if she were bruised in Iowa (where both John Edwards and Senator Obama remain competitive) or derailed by unforeseeable events like a scandal or a domestic terror attack.

If you buy into the Washington logic that a flawless campaign is one that doesn’t make gaffes, never goes off-message and never makes news, then this analysis makes sense. The Clinton machine runs as smoothly and efficiently as a Rolls. And like a fine car, it is just as likely to lull its driver into complacent coasting and its passengers to sleep. What I saw on television last Sunday was the incipient second coming of the can’t-miss 2000 campaign of Al Gore.

That Mr. Gore, some may recall, was not the firebrand who emerged from defeat, speaking up early against the Iraq war and leading the international charge on global warming. It was instead the cautious Gore whose public persona changed from debate to debate and whose answers were often long-winded and equivocal (even about the Kansas Board of Education’s decision to ban the teaching of evolution). Incredibly, he minimized both his environmental passions and his own administration’s achievements throughout the campaign.

He, too, had initially been deemed a winner, the potential recipient of a landslide rather than a narrow popular-vote majority. The signs were nearly as good for Democrats then as they are now. The impeachment crusade had backfired on the Republicans in the 1998 midterms; the economy was booming; Mr. Gore’s opponent was seen as a lightweight who couldn’t match him in articulateness or his mastery of policy, let alone his eight years of Clinton White House experience.

Mrs. Clinton wouldn’t repeat Mr. Gore’s foolhardy mistake of running away from her popular husband and his record, even if she could. But almost every answer she gave last Sunday was a rambling and often tedious Gore-like filibuster. Like the former vice president, she often came across as a pontificator and an automaton — in contrast to the personable and humorous person she is known to be off-camera. And she seemed especially evasive when dealing with questions requiring human reflection instead of wonkery.

Reiterating that Mrs. Clinton had more firsthand White House experience than any other candidate, George Stephanopoulous asked her to name “something that you don’t know that only a president can know.” That’s hardly a tough or trick question, but rather than concede she isn’t all-knowing or depart from her script, the senator deflected it with another mini-speech.

Then there was that laugh. The Clinton campaign’s method for heeding the perennial complaints that its candidate comes across as too calculating and controlled is to periodically toss in a smidgen of what it deems personality. But these touches of intimacy seem even more calculating: the “Let’s chat” campaign rollout, the ostensibly freewheeling but tightly controlled Web “conversations,” the supposed vox populi referendum to choose a campaign song (which yielded a plain-vanilla Celine Dion clunker).

Now Mrs. Clinton is erupting in a laugh with all the spontaneity of an alarm clock buzzer. Mocking this tic last week, “The Daily Show” imagined a robotic voice inside the candidate’s head saying, “Humorous remark detected — prepare for laughter display.” However sincere, this humanizing touch seems as clumsily stage-managed as the Gores’ dramatic convention kiss.”

That Hillary Laugh

Jon Stewart: And Then There’s That Laugh

Interested readers can find the entire New York Times Op-Ed piece by Frank Rich here.
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Paris Hilton’s Many Talents: Film Star, Recording Artist, Entrepreneur and Ex-Con

But I Don’t Want to Talk About It…. 

Letterman Grills Hilton: Jail Interrogation Makes Paris Squirmy

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My Article for Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tiny Wofford College Wins Again: Wofford Crushes Furman University, 45-20

Wofford Crushes Furman University, 45-20

Wofford College Crushes Furman University, 45-20

Wofford College, which toppled FCS (Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA) top-ranked Appalachian State University last week, continued its winning ways Saturday night, beating Southern Conference rival Furman University at Paladin Stadium in Greenville (SC) by a score of 45-20. The Terriers were led with three touchdowns by Kevious Johnson and two touchdowns by Josh Collier. On defense, Brian Ford and Kevin Adleman each had interceptions. With the win, Wofford improves to 4-1 on the season and are 2-0 in conference play, while Furman drops to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the Southern Conference.

Kevious Johnson

Wofford-Furman Highlights 

We had a great team effort tonight and that is what it took to win the game,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “Furman is an excellent football team and they do a great job. We have come up with a few things that we think helped us. Mixing in the pass on offense with the run on the option stuff helped us. I can’t say enough about the kids. The coaches did an excellent job getting ready. It is still a long season and we have a ways to go and must get better each week.”

Next weekend, the Terriers will travel to The Citadel in Charleston, S. C. The game will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and will be televised on SportSouth. Last year, Wofford defeated The Citadel by a score of 28-21.

Wofford College Upsets FCS Top-Ranked Appalachian State University

Wofford College, the smallest school in Division I football, entered its showdown with Division I-AA’s (FCS) top-ranked Appalachian State searching for an identity and left with a victory that could open the way to a landmark season.

The Terriers ran for 316 yards and had four touchdowns in the second half to beat the two-time defending I-AA champion Mountaineers 42-31. The loss ended ASU’s 17-game winning streak and was its first Southern Conference defeat since 2003.

We did not play well the week before (in a loss at I-A North Carolina State University), and not many people gave us a chance Saturday,” Wofford coach Mike Ayers said Sunday. “I think that created a bunch of players with a chip on the shoulder who wanted to prove they could play with the team that beat Michigan this season.”

Kevious Johnson ran for 98 yards for the Terriers (3-1), who had not beaten ASU (3-1) since 2003. “They come at you like a hurricane, and the next thing you know you’re behind by three or four scores,” Ayers said. “We had to weather those storms. We had to make it a four-quarter fight, not a one-round knockout, and we did.”

Note: On September 1st, Appalachian State defeated The University of Michigan, which at that time was ranked No. 5 among Division I schools. The score of that upset win was: Appalachian State 34, The University of Michigan 32.

Wofford College vs. The University of South Carolina (2006)

Now here’s an inspirational sporting event: It was just about a year ago that Wofford College, smallest Division I school in the nation) played against The University of South Carolina and almost upset the Carolina Gamecocks. Wofford’s final drive in the game took the Terriers down to the South Carolina 10-yard line, but a fumble on the fourth down ended any hopes of an upset as the Gamecocks managed to hold on for a 27-20 victory at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC. The Terriers brought the score within one touchdown with 4:43 on the clock as Josh Collier hit Andy Strickland for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Wofford then stopped USC on its next possession before mounting its final drive covering 51 yards with just one timeout remaining. “I can’t describe how proud I am of the guys,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “Our coaching staff worked their tails off. We came down here with the mindset that we could win.”

Wofford College vs. The University of South Carolina (1:38 into the video)

Final Score: The University of South Carolina 27, Wofford 20 (USC wins with 5 sec. remaining in the game)

Wofford College Through the Years

Wofford College is one of only a handful of colleges and universities in the United States that were founded prior to the Civil War, which still operates and remains on its original campus. The Wofford College campus has been named a National Historic District. It has five of the six original college buildings, all of which are in use today for various purposes. The beauty of its campus has resulted in its designation as an officially registered South Carolina arboretum.

Wofford is presently becoming known in the wider academic world as a true “Phoenix rising from the ashes.” It was devastated by the loss of almost its entire endowment as a result of the Civil War. However, despite its meager financial resources, Wofford proudly struggled through the next twelve decades to provide an academically challenging education to its small student body. One illustration of the sterling academic quality maintained by the college is the fact that forty-two Wofford alumni have gone on to serve as college and university presidents.

For example, through the years Wofford graduates and faculty have included the Founders or Presidents/Chancellors of Duke University, Vanderbilt University, The Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Southern Methodist University, Hendrix College, Randolph-Macon College and Mary Washington College. A former President of the college went on to become the President of Southern Methodist University, Drew University and, finally, Chancellor of The University of North Carolina (as well as head of the entire University of North Carolina educational system).

Today, gaining increasing national recognition as an academic “jewel” in the South, its endowment has been increasing rapidly and a significant new endowment drive has recently been inaugurated. There has been an unprecedented acceleration of the restoration and construction of student residences, academic, recreation and sports facilities. It is also presently distinguished by being the smallest college in the nation (1,500 students) with sports teams competing (quite successfully) in both men’s and women’s NCAA Division I athletics.

Academically, Wofford has been focusing upon a significant expansion of its faculty, with new faculty members currently being drawn to teach at the college from some of the most prestigious universities in the country. For many years, Wofford served students who came, for the most part, from South Carolina and its immediate surrounding areas. Presently, it’s become quite competitive in attracting exceptionally talented students from across the nation, as well as from abroad. In the 2007 U. S. News & World Report rankings of National Liberal Arts Colleges, Wofford’s national ranking is now in the company of such selective, prestigious colleges as: Pitzer College (CA), Lawrence University (WI), Reed College (OR), Wheaton College (MA), Agnes Scott College (GA) and Earlham College (IN). In the more recently released college rankings by The Washington Monthly, Wofford is ranked 29th out of 202 National Liberal Arts Colleges.

Wofford College: Old Main

Wofford Through the Years

Wofford College: Making the Connections

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My Articles for Friday, September 28, 2007

“Photos of the Day: Red for Burma.” Photographs supporting the Burma Monk demonstrations, and which document the Burma Junta violent attacks upon the demonstrators. High-resolution photographs, video and a video photo-gallery are presented here for you.

[tags: Photos of the Day, Red for Burma, photographs, Burma Monk demonstrations, gallery, videeo]

“Photo of the Day: Chickies.” Chicks, babes, hot babes, hot chicks? Well, you’ll just have to take a look and find out. This is a beautiful photograph, presented here for you in stunning high-resolution.

[tags: Photo of the Day, Photograph of the Day, Chickies, chicks, photograph, photography, New York City]

See the Rest of My Articles at Blue Dot

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Photos of the Day: Red for Burma

Images of Religious Life in Burma

Video Photo-Gallery: Burma Monk Demonstrations

Burma Junta Kills Japanese Reporter

(Caution: Disturbing Video Footage)

The Burma Junta: Ethnic Cleansing in East Burma

For interested readers, Andrew Sullivan has made a number of posts about recent events in Burma in The Atlantic Magazine.

And The Associated Press has filed recent reports about developments regarding the demonstrations.

The Guardian (U.K.) is also reporting on the Burma demonstrations.

One exiled blogger in particular, Ko Htike, said to be a student in London, has attracted intense interest and received many photographs and eye-witness accounts that he posts on his site, www.ko-htike.blogspot.com.

Recent reporting from the BBC.

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Photo of the Day: Chickies

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