Archive for June 17th, 2008

Alcohol madness

June 17, 2008

Some interesting reactions to Helen Clark’s comments about the liquor licensing laws in the wake of last week’s killing of Manurewa liquor store owner Navtej Singh. Clark noted the “grave concerns” of the Police about the role alcohol was playing in violent offending, and the soaring number of liquor outlets “since rules were relaxed in 1989 and new research linked outlet density with binge drinking and alcohol-related harm.”

The Drug Foundation “welcomes (the) PM to alcohol debate.” They say that the voices of a number of communities are ignored when liquor licensing decisions are made:

“Improving liquor licensing laws along with addressing cheap booze and liberal marketing practices will go a long way to turning around New Zealand’s poor drinking culture”, said Ross Bell.

Sounds reasonable. Of course communities should have a voice in how a dangerous drug is pushed on their streets. But wait… (more…)


The ABC of choosing Obama’s running mate

June 17, 2008

The Obama campaign has announced that Hillary Clinton’s sacked campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle has joined it as — wait for it — “chief of staff to the vice presidential candidate.”

Reportedly, Solis Doyle hasn’t talked to Clinton since her sacking, so the consensus is that Clinton’s chances of being Obama’s running mate are near zero. Solis Doyle apparently feels scapegoated for the Clinton campaign failure.

As one former Clinton fundraiser put it, this is the “biggest fuck you I have ever seen in politics.” That said, Solis Doyle is very well qualified for the job.

The electoral arguments for an Obama/Clinton ticket looked pretty compelling, given Obama’s failure to connect with the ‘guns and religion’ folk. But the political negatives seemed daunting. The Clintons have been dominant players in the Democratic Party establishment for a long time. You wouldn’t really want to share the White House with them, now, would you?

The need to placate irate Clinton supporters, angry at being cheated by the ‘misogynists’, and the problems with working class whites, must be near the forefront of the Obama campaign’s thinking. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius might help there, and would reinforce the bipartisan appeal.

On the other hand, there’s the foreign policy thing. In U.S. terms this really refers to the perceived capacity to wage war on strategically important third world countries. Choosing Senator Jim Webb would go a long way to neutralising McCain’s advantage here. He was Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy, after all.

There are plenty of possibilities for VP. It looks like it will be Anyone But Clinton.