Thursday, May 31, 2007

In political or sports news...

Alan Solomont is supporting Sen. Obama despite a long relationship with the Clintons. On that note, Clinton leads the race in money raised from Jewish donors.
Clinton also leads among Jewish funders who have a range of commitments in addition to Israel, said Steve Rabinowitz, a top Democratic consultant in Washington.

"The overwhelming amount of the establishment money is with Hillary," Rabinowitz said, in part because her husband, former President Clinton, is such a well-known quantity. "Hillary is in a special situation -- her longstanding relationship with the community, her husband's relationship with the community, her husband's fund-raising prowess."

But Obama is making significant inroads, and Rabinowitz says he may pose a significant challenge to Clinton among the Jewish grassroots.

"The phenomenon that is Obama has certainly penetrated the Jewish community," he said. "Among small givers, first-time givers, rank-and-file supporters, there's tremendous interest in Obama."

Major Jewish donors also are backing former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and the "second tier" of candidates, including Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, because of their loyalty to Israel and Jewish issues over the years. Richardson had a solid pro-Israel record during the 1980s and early 1990s when he was a congressman.

Michael Adler, a South Florida developer who is chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Committee, is leading the Jewish backing for Biden; Marc Stanley, the NJDC deputy chairman from Austin, Texas, leads Jewish fund raising for fellow trial lawyer Edwards; Micah Green, the former head of the Bond Market Association, backs Dodd, who is known for his closeness to bankers; and Steve Bittel, a South Florida mortgager in the petroleum business, is in Richardson's camp.

Stanley said Edwards, who has boned up on foreign policy since his 2004 run for vice president on the ticket of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), is appealing to Jewish funders because of his domestic emphasis on alleviating poverty, a key issue for Jewish philanthropists.

"If you listen to what John Edwards says, he's advocating 'tikkun olam,' " the Jewish concept of repairing the world, Stanley said, rattling off a long list of Jewish backers he has successfully solicited.

Support for the longer shots is expected and even welcome, according to those backing the front-runners.

"They are all people who in their congressional careers have been partners with the American Jewish community," said Steve Grossman, the Boston-based marketing magnate who is Clinton's principal Jewish backer. "So it's appropriate that leaders of the American Jewish community support these candidates even if the conventional wisdom says they may not have a great chance."

Rabinowitz raised another motive: Longer shots offer bigger rewards if they defy expectations and win.

"There's a motivation among some to not go with the front-runner because it'll be a bigger payoff," he said.
After Sen. Evan Bayh dropped out of the race, I switched to Edwards and then there was the blogger blow-up so I am currently undecided until former Vice President Al Gore makes his final decision known. If the former veep runs, he'll get my endorsement. has an interesting essay on ten ways Israel is treated differently.

With Billy Gillispie at the helm, you can rest assured that the Kentucky Wildcats will have limited free time this summer.
Though NCAA rules prohibit Gillispie from working out his team during the summer, the Cats will have ample opportunity to play pickup games against one another and work individually on their basketball skills at the Joe Craft Center. And based on the conversations he has had with his players, Gillispie expects they'll take advantage of those opportunities.

"Either they're lying to me or they're really working hard, because every time I call them, they're either sleeping or they're in the gym working on their game," Gillispie said. "So I'm sure that's what they're doing. That's it. I do believe them, until they give me a reason not to. I believe that they're eager, and I think they're excited about coming in and working hard."

Gillispie still has an assistant coach to hire, and he's said he expects to name the third member of his staff sometime this week or next.

He's not the only UK basketball coach with a "help wanted" sign.
Steve Beshear's victory last weeked revived his political career.
"What a difference 20 years makes!" Beshear told jubilant supporters about 10 p.m. at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort, referring to his third-place finish in the 1987 Democratic gubernatorial primary. "Some people are just slow learners. It took me 20 years to learn how to win this race, but we learned how to do it today."

Opinion polls, including The Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll, showed Beshear gaining momentum in the final weeks, particularly after state Treasurer Jonathan Miller withdrew two weeks ago and endorsed him.[...]

Beginning in the 1970s, he won a series of elections, rising through the offices of state representative, attorney general and lieutenant governor. But he was badly defeated in the 1987 Democratic primary and was thrashed in a 1996 race for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.

But when some top Democratic Party prospects — including 6th District U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson — backed away from this year's governor's race, Beshear jumped in, signing up state Sen. Daniel Mongiardo as a running mate.

From the campaign's outset, Beshear was the strongest advocate for a constitutional amendment legalizing expanded gambling.
Bayh has asked NASCAR to switch over to ethanol.
"It" is American-made ethanol, which Bayh referred to as the "fuel of the future."

Bayh and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., sent a letter to NASCAR President Brian France last week asking that NASCAR consider the conversion of the organization's cars to "high-powered U.S. ethanol."
Shimon Peres will be a candidate for the Israeli presidency.

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