Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama's people are making some tactical errors

Milt Rosenberg, host of the WGN radio program Extension 720, had Stanley Kurtz on the radio last night (podcast/mp3 here). Most people would never have noticed. Dr. Rosenberg is an intellectual and talks about various erudite subjects that a lot of listeners would find incredibly dull and dry. However, when the Obama campaign sent out an email to supporters telling them to call WGN radio to tell them not to air the show, suddenly a lot of people were listening. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the radio station was flooded with emails and phone calls.

What did this do? It gave Dr. Rosenberg's show, and WGN, a HUGE number of listeners. Zack Christensen, the show's producer, mentioned that show has gotten the greatest response ever from a campaign or candidate. After listening to WGN for the better part of today, I'd have to agree--people were still calling in throughout the day to the radio shows, even when the topics were completely unrelated. I happen to think that's great for WGN and Dr. Rosenberg, I like them both.

What I don't like is how this makes the Obama campaign look. I think they are making tactical errors on this issue. What are these mistakes?

1. They declined to come on the show to explain their position. If you want to counter what you think is a smear campaign, then talking to Dr. Rosenberg reasonably would have been the single best way to handle this. The campaign missed a prime opportunity to handle this appropriately.
2. This is an over-reaction, and it makes them look like they have something to hide. Let's face it, Obama's relationship with Ayers is going to come under fire. Obama has dealt with that by saying he didn't agree with Ayers' unrepentant bombing. Fair enough, but now it just looks like the Obama campaign is very worried about what's in those documents that Kurtz has been researching.
3. It's going to make people wonder if Obama thinks the First Amendment applies to everyone except him, since it looks like the campaign wants to suppress free speech.
4. It just gave Kurtz, who the campaign people think is smearing Obama, a lot more press than he really deserved.

All this has done is give tremendous bad press to Obama's campaign. If they had just come on the show to give a rebuttal (perhaps a few nights later), it would have been a far more reasonable move, and it would never have given Kurtz the national press attention he's now enjoying. Obama's people should have left that little flame alone. Instead, they've managed to turn it into a raging forest fire.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

All of us missed our cat Higgins after he died, including our other cat, Chelsea. She walked around the house for a week meowing piteously for him. I decided this was a great excus-err, reason, to check out the local animal shelter, ostensibly to find a new companion for Chelsea, to reduce her loneliness. Mind you, I did not inform Point Man about this, but he had not disagreed about getting another cat, so I took that as tacit approval.

The staff at the Humane Society were wonderful. If you ever get a pet, I highly recommend going to your local shelter. The kids came with me so the staff knew the age levels and personalities of the kids that our new pet would be interacting with, and we told them that we also had a 20 year old cat at home. They knew right away which cats and kittens would do well with us and which wouldn't, which narrowed the field quickly. There were 3 cats and a kitten that we decided would make good members of the family, and we petted and played with all 4 of them. Finally we had to make the difficult decision between Tommy and Joey, who were both wonderful cats. Joey seemed to like the kids more than Tommy did though, and when I asked the gal who was working with us which cat she thought would work best, she pointed without hesitation at Joey. So, after paperwork and purchase of some cat items, Joey came home with us.

He's done amazingly well, He got home, and Chelsea decided that she was not as lonely as she thought she was. Her reaction was to hiss loudly and run out of the room. He just sat there, completely unbothered by the whole thing. She's still hissing at him from time to time, but her curiosity gets the better of her, now, and so she'll try to sneak up on him to sniff him. That works til he sees her and turns around, and then she hisses at him and runs off again. She's making progress, however.

Joey adapted to life in our home immediately, and he's a big cuddlebug. When we sit down, he'll jump in our laps, put his paws on our shoulders, and nuzzle our faces, purring loudly. He's a large cat, so this works well for adults. This particular maneuver is what convinced Point Man that yes, he actually did like 'the Melon-head' after all. I thought our cat was rather brilliant for doing that. Joey's discovered that he's too big for our daughter, however. When he put his paws on her shoulder and stood up, he was actually taller than her. He doesn't have the same personality and savoir faire as Higgins did--I don't think any cat could. However, I think he's perhaps even more loving, and we've needed that.

There's Joey at the top of the page, lounging in our windowsill.