December 17, 2004

This is all:

Every time this period of the year rolls around, my attitudes towards my (religion) and how it's been corrupted by the forces of capitalism and corporatism over the last hundred and fifty years jump into the fore. This year is no different. I feel my Christian faith has been hijacked by religious zealots throughout history, like how we see Islam being hijacked by people of extreme "faith", if one could call it that, taking their beliefs and forcefully, frequently violently, imposing them or displaying them.

What can the average flock member do? I don't know.

But we can't sit idly by and let members of any faith corrupt religion and make it conform to their personal agenda.

Have faith, friends.


December 6, 2004

Livestrong: The fad that needs to die

The sacred word: EGO

There aren't many fads that don't get under my skin, I'll be the first to admit that, seeing as how the popped collar thing ain't my cup of tea, I scorn my cellphone, I won't lay my hands on anything bought from Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Old Navy, and I won't buy anything (although things have been bought for me) from Aéropostale. I'm just not a trendy person and I believe that this is so because I have a very well-defined sense of self, on who I am and what I stand (or even sit) for. The only extraordinarily group-thinkesque thing I do is related to my enjoyment of the Dave Matthews Band, even though I was unwittingly a very big fan (1993/1994) before they even hit the big time.

There is one trend, though, that has pervaded more facets of society than I could ever imagine a popped collar do. From the farms of Iowa to the tree-lined streets of the collegiate Berea, Ohio, the Livestrong bracelet has landed on the wrists of ladies, gentlemen, and children of all ages. I don't like bracelets to begin with... I have a quirk not liking things wrapping my wrist, which is the main reason why I can't stand wristwatches and I use my cellphone mostly as a clock. Anyway, there isn't an area of the country that these Livestrong bracelets haven't touched. When I went home to visit family over Thanksgiving break, I saw my uncle and two younger cousins, all three of whom wore a Livestrong bracelet... all the time. That annoying yellow wristband jumping out at you off of their wrists. Good Lord, it's almost enough to drive an insane man to the nunnery.

I appreciate the purpose of selling these things. The money raised is being used to support cancer research and awareness. Who knows, I may one day affected personally by the money raised through Livestrong sales. I don't have an issue with that whatsoever. My issue with the matter is that these things are being copycatted, perhaps most annoyingly done by the Bush/Cheney campaign for re-election.

The Livestrong bracelets were the first in the bracelet fad to become enormously popular and with product diversification, other groups, not only Bush/Cheney, seized upon the idea of having a specific color bracelet to signify whatever they're representing. Even Democrats have seized onto the idea. First off: we lost. Get over it and don't be pathetic by trying to make a buck by trying to "rally us" together.

It seems now everyone has a wristband but me. Well, I don't feel bad and don't bother trying to get me to wear one of those damned things, because I'll probably burn it.

Been nice ranting.


November 19, 2004

You Do Your Thing

I'll do mine if you do yours
A drink for twos or maybe fours
I'll mind my pints as you your quarts
I'll do mine if you do yours

I'll clean the mirror if you the blade
A sniff to feel the power of unpain
I'll do it true as you don't feign
I'll clean the mirror if you the blade

Earlier this month, a BW student died of alcohol poisoning, with the verdict still out on other possible substances in his stream. Rumors have abounded that he may have also had a significant amount of cocaine in his system. College President Mark Collier sent out a campus wide email expressing condolences to the family and encouraged students to do the same.

Prior to Halloween, a "Red Zone Alert" was issued for campus following an incident where a female student's arm was touched by an unknown male.

Following Halloween, a student from North Hall had his bicycle robbed and damaged, with the words "fuck you fag" scrawled on it or left on a note (a little unsure of this). He was also being left insulting messages on his board and harassed via AOL instant messenger. No campus email. No "Red Zone Alert". Just a hall meeting (for North Hall) with the Area Coordinator emphasizing that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated and the need of students to be vigilant.

I love my college, in theory. I mean, I do. I love BW. But when it comes to things such as this, where a minor incident and an overdose take some sort of precedence over a hatecrime... I begin to question my love of this college. It makes me question the kind of students that we attract here. I wonder often why certain things are kept hushed down, but other things take the banner. Maybe I don't know the entire situation... but it just seems to me that things here are not well.

It just seems, also, that ignorance has enveloped the campus. Take for example this stunning example of an op-ed that appeared in this week's "Exponent", our student newspaper:

No Blood for Cocoa

by Pete Smith
Staff Writer

Ah the wonderful irony of life: "They intervened in a disproportionate way." "They destroyed our property, they killed and wounded. We don't understand this violence." "They are attacking an humiliating us."

This was quoted by Ivorian minister Sebastien Dano in regards to France.

France? The peaceful, we don't fight or help the United States but we sure love to bomb innocent protestors over Cocoa, country of France. (sic) They have decided to unilaterally invade the Ivory Coast, without UN approval or any sort of coalition which sure seems like a challenge to France because their recent war records are similar to the championships won in Cleveland. Where are the ever useless UN and Kofi Annan to point their oil stained fingers to France? How come Hollywood isn't boycotting France for their harsh treatment of the Ivory Coast? Where is Jesse Jackson to come and join in the photo-op slash peace talk?

I don't laugh at the misery or the death of someone. France attacking countries and not a peep from the Main Stream Media, any news, something that gets more than ten viewers. I enjoy hot cocoa and am know (sic) concerned that Frances (sic) unilateral attack on an innocent country will hurt my chances of enjoying my cup of hot cocoa on such a blistery winter (sic) that I am sure will come as soon as possible. I feel that France is trying to corner the market in cocoa and they have already cornered the cheese and wine market. They will not stop for their ruler Chirac is so hell bent in his fix for chocolate. So if everyone could please attach a sign on their door that says, "No Blood for Cocoa", I feel that I have done my yearly protest over something that is important.

Now for a line by line refutation.

They have decided to unilaterally invade the Ivory Coast, without UN approval or any sort of coalition which sure seems like a challenge to France because their recent war records are similar to the championships won in Cleveland.

They have taken action in Côte D'Ivoire as a result of UN Blue Helmets being killed, among them nine French nationals. The United Nations peacekeeping force is still in Côte D'Ivoire and President Gbagbo is now requesting the return of French businessmen. They... want French business?

France attacking countries and not a peep from the Main Stream Media, any news, something that gets more than ten viewers.

I just cited the BBC. I think they get more than ten.

Ivory Coast/France Rebuff War Talk

How does CNN work for you?

Pete also seems to ignore the pre-existing relations between France and Côte D'Ivoire. Côte D'Ivoire was at one time, up until 1960 (I believe), a French colony. France has had a long history of trade with the colony/ex-colony and trading with France is also STILL in the Ivory Coast's best interest, as France is their largest market.

I have no idea what else to say. It's just ignorance in one of its many shades on my campus... spouting a personal hatred and trying to perpetuate it as fact without any supporting evidence.

Oh, BW, what will become of you?


November 15, 2004

Negation of this

As I write, I am contemplating the future of the Democratic Party and the entire "left" movement in this country. As it seems right now, the "left" are dead in the water and the right are reaping the rewards of this listless sort. The "left" are in a state of disarray, unsure of what to do after their candidate, John Kerry, received the second-highest vote total in history... second to his challenger, George W. Bush. This should have been an easily winnable election for the Democrats, but, due to the very eclectic and quarrelsome nature of the left and a substantial disorganization on the Kerry campaign, they did not win. They did not even break even for the whole of the party. The Democrats once again lost seats in the House and Senate, giving Republicans substantial control that they haven't seen since the days of Hoover (White House, Senate, House of Reps, and Supreme Court).

Right now, Democrats need to be focusing on 2006. I know I am.

The man long seen by many in this country as the centrist in the Bush administration, Colin Powell, has stepped down as Secretary of State, and the rumor mill has it that National Security Adviser Condeleeza Rice has been tapped by the President to fill General Powell's shoes. Expect a fight in the confirmation process. If confirmed, one can expect a more Russified take on foreign plicy, given Rice's experience/education. This may actually be a good thing, but we'll see how this plays out.

Let's keep track of who has left the administration thus far (for various reasons, of course):
Attorney General John Ashcroft
Secretary of Commerce Don Evans
Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham
Secretary of Education Rod Paige
Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman
Secretary of State Colin Powell

Rumors (sorry, no link this time) have also been circulating regarding the future of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. At once good to the mind, one has to remind oneself that... (oh crap)... Paul Wolfowitz may come in to replace this old hawk. We will have to wait and see on this one, too.

That's all for tonight, Janes and Joes.

October 24, 2004

I Vow

I never usually do this stuff, but with under 10 days to Election Day, I think it's decorous.

On November 2, I vow:

... to vote for the candidates I believe to be most responsible for our nation.
... to make an informed decision while casting my vote.
... to take five registered voters to the polls who wouldn't have normally voted.
... to ensure that all people are allowed to vote.
... to convince people that casting any vote is far better than casting no vote.
... to preserve the basic tenets of democracy upon which our nation is founded.
... to make full use of my right to vote.
... to exercise the promises made heretofore.

We have a democracy. Let's make good use of it.

October 19, 2004

Guns And Gasoline...

Holy crap, I need some coffee. And quick.

Okay. It's been a week since I last posted and the last debate was six days ago and I was fairly well schwilled during the final debate, so I'm not going to post any commentary.

It has been just over a week since the final show of the initially much-hyped but ultimately little-noticed "Vote For Change" tour sponsored by PAC, and I thought that pulling a little piece of lyrics from a new Dave Matthews Band song entitled "Joyride" would be a suitable way to title today's entry.

Among social science circles, there is much debate as to whether or not your average Joe American really regards much of what these musicians have had to say, either simply on the message of the importance of voting or that of voting against Bush. As someone who considers himself to be at least a partially informed voter, I have reservations on anyone who will simply take lead from someone famous just because they have celebrity. It is incumbent upon the voter to make an effort to be informed about what is going on.

A recent poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University found that of the voters they surveyed, 25% believed that President Bush was in favor of rolling back the tax cuts on those making $200k or more. Another 25% didn't know who was in favor, whether it was Bush or Kerry. And THAT is one of the hot-button issues that voters are in the dark about. So, I don't know... I have very mixed feelings on letting uninformed people vote. Like I said, I feel it is the voter's obligation to inform themselves on the issues... and it's not like that that is an entirely difficult thing to do. Pick up a newspaper. Log on to CNN or Yahoo, or hell, even FoxNews. Watch the news and not the same episode of Seinfeld that you've already seen fifteen times. It's easy, America, to become an informed voter. And it's your informed vote that controls the fate of the nation. Sure, this stuff that comes with politics sure isn't peachy, but it impacts YOU and I, each and every one of us.

That's it for now.

October 12, 2004

Monkey Wrench

I want to be a spin doctor. I really do. I'd love to take other people's words completely out of context and lie about what they meant. Let's take that dumbass who was on the Today show on behalf of the Bush campaign. John Kerry had been quoted in a New York Times Magazine interview this weekend saying that terrorism should not be the overriding concern of every American and that it should not keep every American afraid, but rather just some nuisance (or something to that effect.) I think he's right. People should not all be acting like some sort of collective Chicken Little, looking for the sky to fall with Osama's next breath.

And then... there's the Ragin' Cajun himself... James Carville. Yeah, he was also on Today. For once, I wasn't entirely irritated by him. However, he too relied on some ill-witted comment that Bush made about the war on terror being unwinnable. Well... I don't know. He professes himself to be a powerful leader, but when we have a leader who conveys that to his people, well... how powerful should we really think he is?

I just saw a Swift Boat Vets for Truth ad for the first time as I listened to the news as I typed. Ugh. God forbid someone admit that we did wrong. God forbid that... gasp... John Kerry tell the Congress the... gasp... TRUTH... about atrocities that did occur in Vietnam. Has everyone just conveniently forgotten My Lai? Hell, Abu Ghraib? We know our soldiers can do some very base things.

Makes me sick.


October 9, 2004

"Internets" And Things Of Debate

George W. Bush's disrespect of the English language knows no bounds... and President Bush's apparent anger at John Kerry assumed the better of the President in the 1st half of the debate, with visible discontent with the accusations being made by the Dem contender. Cutting off moderator Charles Gibson midquestion was undoubtedly a stupid move by the President. A sign of strength? Ehh... arrogance = strength? No.

From a P/R perspective, I think that the Pres was a mess for the 1st half, but shone through the 2nd half. His assertiveness, although covered with false statements - especially those regarding the Kyoto protocol and generally environmental issues, came to be much more effective than the previous debate. Will people even bother to read between the lines, though? No.

Looking at JFK from a P/R perspective, he was assertive, but he is always beating back the accusations that he is a flip-flopper. As a liberal who takes complicated stands on complicated issues, I can assure you that it's not so black and white.

From issues varying from the PATRIOT Act to economic recovery, I could only wish that things were cut and dry.

I agree with Senator Kerry that the PATRIOT Act needs to be looked over and there are things that need to be changed within it to protect our liberties, such as the fourth and fifth amendments, to protect us from the government. Bush also seems to believe that we can just fight terrorism by pumping money into the system and let things work themselves out. I can't believe a President would even allow such a laissez-faire appearance show itself... but there Bush goes again. As Senator Kerry said, we need to utilize every resource at our fingertips with what money we have already spent and spend as necessary after that. Bush used that bad "freedom and democracy rids terrorism" argument. 1995 and 1996 were too long ago to remember, I guess (Tim McVeigh and Olympic Park Bombing, respectively.)

President Bush claimed that importing drugs from Canada is not (would not be) safe. Sure, not safe for Pfizer and co, who are making a lot more than the American public by charging as much as they would like to for prescriptions, it seems. Bush made a ridiculous comment is regards to government sponsored health care... specifically, "Government sponsored health care leads to rationing." Dubious claim, at best.

John Kerry needs to stop citing his damn website when giving speeches or at debates. Not everyone has the internet, John.

Bush has yet to veto a spending bill from the Republican controlled Congress. Keep that in mind when you go to vote and think of fiscal responsibility.

Okay... done with the updating.


October 7, 2004

Off The Wall

Tonight, I will post something non-political. Well, actually... by the nature of what I am posting, it is inherently political, but the content will make an attempt to be non-partisan.

The chair of our polisci department, Dr. Charles Burke, had installed on to the computers in the cybercafé what is probably one of the most addictive games ever created... and, yes... more addictive than The Sims or Roller Coaster Tycoon. Who could have thought that that was possible? Well, find yourself a copy of The Political Machine. The Political Machine, a great release from Ubisoft, lets you manage a Presidential campaign against another candidate for forty-one weeks. Of course, it's not true-to-life time... but it's amazing. You can control advertisements on the radio, print, and television. You can hire lackeys to do dirty work and appear on the television circuit to boost your ratings.

But the ultimate goal, of course, is to win the electoral college vote. I've already won several times the electoral college vote, but was creamed in the popular vote (we're not talking losing it like Bush, either... but a wholesale ass-kicking.)

That's that... the game is like crack. You do it once... well... ya just can't stop. Except you can't have crack babies by playing the game. Which, I guess, is a good thing, really. (Apologies to any crack kids who may, perchance, ever read this.)

Now... something serious. Tomorrow night is the second of the debates, being done in a town hall format. I would expect President Bush to do better than he did last Thursday... which... yeah. He's just not quick on his feet, and he needs to work on that. Senator Kerry should do fairly well in this, though. His public speaking skills are so well-honed that he should "beat" President Bush, but hopefully, speaking from the President's point of view, not as handily as last Thursday night.

I wish that they'd allow any serious or relevant question to get asked, and not just filter through them and allow only certain questions be asked. That's stripping from the point of having any sort of debate at all. Let us just have these (x) questions be asked and keep that there, in spite of literally the millions of other things that could be asked. It's a damn shame.

With that being said... I'm definitely doing a drinking game and then posting tomorrow night. That should be interesting. Should be reasonably coherent, as well.

No more for tonight.


October 6, 2004

Smells Like Chicken

With 27 days between now and November 2, we can officially say that we are into the homestretch of this political season... of course some people have been saying this since July. The major conventions are now but (not so) fond memories and so are the primaries and caucuses of January and Super Tuesday.

Where did time go? Who are the Swift Boat Vets for Truth? Why did George W Bush look like he got sideswiped by Ted Kennedy's car at the first Presidential debate? And how do people still have faith in this man and his (in)ability to think on his feet? Does John Kerry really flip-flop or does his position lose meaning in his verbosity?

These will be the questions that will be confronted, among millions of others, by voters in the 27 days leading up to election day.

CNN is currently reporting that Iraq had no WMD but... that Saddam had the intent to make arms if sanctions were lifted. Iraq also worked to subvert the efforts of the oil for food programme that the UN had initiated, according to the report. Conservatives had that right, regarding Saddam subverting the programme. Concession made. There.

However... the report issued by the CIA will also expose nations and companies illicitly engaging in business with Iraq. The list should be interesting, especially given the nature of some of the charges made by Senator Edwards last night regarding Halliburton... and I'm not talking about no-bid contracts, either.

No perspective right now. That'd require thought... and... ugh... work. More later... maybe.


October 5, 2004

Thoughts on things of debate...

Well, I can say with certainty that Dick Cheney performed head and shoulders above President Bush tonight and that the President needs to review Thursday's tapes and tonight's tapes to make sure he doesn't make himself look like a fool again.

John Edwards held his ground, and did so well, against the VP tonight. I commend him for that, although I'll admit I felt letdown a bit after thinking that he'd just have the complete smackdown on the VP. I forgot how well the veep performs under these situations.

Nothing too new was debated on foreign policy and anything domestic was basically new ground, as the debate on Thursday was a foreign policy primer. Some interesting moments did occur when VP Cheney thanked Senator Edwards for effectively commending him and his family on their attitude to their openly homosexual daughter. I'll admit I have one soft spot for Cheney and that was when he came out and said that he thinks the entire gay marriage question is a states' rights issue. Not that I think it should be abolished, but that the federal government shouldn't be touching it (or any other government for that matter.) Aside from that, I don't much care for the VP.

I may post more tomorrow morning if I have more coherent thoughts.


September 23, 2004

It's About Time

The news outlets have finally picked up an AP story reporting that Cleveland leads the nation in poverty of major cities. The report has been out for... what say... 2 weeks and it tooks that long to get it up? If noticed in the Cleveland area, this will do one of two things, if not both. Democrats in local office, particularly Jane Campbell's office, will be swept. Swing voters in the Cleveland area will swing towards John Kerry. But, that is, as I said, if people notice. Nationally, the Dems will play the story up, locally, Dems will have to be very careful as to how they play the story, if at all. Repubs locally will work their damnedest to paint Jane Campbell as an evil job-losing bitch who is financially imprudent.

At least, that's what I think. has updated poll numbers, with the race growing even tighter. Bush at 273 EV (3 over the required number) and Kerry at 255. Florida is 1% favoring Kerry... well within the MOE. AZ, NM, and NV are Bush-lite. Kerry needs to capitalize on taking back NM and taking NV and AZ from W. It is possible, even if John McCain is Senator from AZ. Kerry also needs to hit hard in AR, where Bush is currently up by 3 and won by ~5% in 2000. Dems need to retake IA, which they took barely in 2000. Bush holds a soft lead there.

In the heartland, Dems need to avoid social issues, and rather hit hard on economic issues and... (gulp)... Iraq. Allawi's speech to Congress... must prove that it is awesomely cool to be the puppet of a sitting American president. I wish someone had their hand up my ass like that.

Nothing more for now.


September 21, 2004

Polls and Other Things Numeric

It has been a wild couple of weeks in the Presidential polling game, with Democratic contender John Kerry losing several states,President Bush obtaining a sizable lead, and then the race coming back to a statistical dead heat. has Bush at 256 electoral votes, Kerry at 239, and effectively 13 states play (Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) and the trends within the states are divergent because of different polls being used. If John Kerry can hold this trend up, he may have a shot... but it looks to me that he may not win Ohio.

Rasmussen Reports is indicating a similar picture, but with Bush in the electoral college lead at 213 to 189, and 136 votes up in the air. Notably different is how Rasmussen does the calculating. Whereas Electoral Vote will award a state's votes for 1-4% leads, Rasmussen will not, thus creating a higher swing number.

Notably important: ARKANSAS. Bill Clinton's home state went solidly for W in 2000, the race is a dead heat according to Zogby.

MARYLAND: This usually solid blue state is home to another dead heat. MD went for Gore in a big way in 2000, but Survey USA has Bush and Kerry in a statistical lock.

PENNSYLVANIA: What had been trending towards Bush has now shifted back to Kerry.

OHIO: Remains a weakly Bush state. Bush needs it to win, but Kerry does not.

FLORIDA: We may be counting and recounting for years in Florida. The race is still far too close to name a leader in all polls.

I wouldn't put too much stock into polls, though... the bigpoll is the one which matters most. November 2: don't forget to vote.


July 29, 2004

More little things...

If you've picked up upon the tone of the websites... (by "the websites", I'm referring to Bush/Cheney 2004 and Kerry/Edwards 2004...) you can find a distinctly negative, very much agitated tone on W's reelection site. We're not talking like... soft stuff. Things like "John Kerry's "Extreme Makeover" and other eye-catching, but really otherwise fairly nasty stuff. That picture of Kerry in the cleansuit... Jeebus. That's no Dukakis tank trick, and I don't think that Bush's dogs believe that Americans are that dumb to believe that John Kerry was trying to act like he was in outer space, trying to tap at the entire "going to Mars" thing. If they do, well, I think many Americans would take exception. Maybe not... but I believe they would. For those of you who are unaware of what I'm talking about, members of the Bush team, but not the Bush team officially, have been circulating this photo of Kerry in one of these blue "clean suits" that scientists have to wear at Kennedy Space Center in order to prevent static charges and contamination. These Bushies have been sending the photo with captions such as, "Earth to John Kerry" and other pretty witless comments. They also seem pretty intent on trying to pick apart John Kerry... maybe not pick... it's more like hacking. They provide no legitimate reason why anyone should vote for W based on his policy. They're just working their damnedest to smear Kerry.

The John Kerry site, on the other hand, seems more tame, currently with a picture of John Edwards with the caption, "Hope Is On The Way." Seems pretty positive, doesn't it? In fact, there's nothing that jumps out or is really too visually grabbing or, as some would say, offensive. I'm not going to be discussing content of the sites right now. That's a whole other day that requires more time than I have at my disposal right now...


if you do want some content checking, go to FactCheck and you can find a whole of non-partisan verification or negation. It's a good site... I give it 4.5 of 5.0 on content and presentation.

One more thing... according to Drudge, CNN outfoxed FoxNews in convention coverage, garnering 2,169 thousand (2,169,000) viewers last night (7/28/04) compared to Fox's 1,770 thousand. Overall, CNN has averaged, the past three nights (7/26-28),  2,178 thousand viewers, with FNC having averaged 1,917 thousand per night. Both FNC and CNN, though, trounced MSNBC, despite having one of the most hyped speakers in recent memory, Ron Reagan, sitting in through much of the after-convention night coverage.

That's all for tonight, boys and girls.

Pizza Hell and more tales from the dark side.

It's 12:38 am, an early, early Thursday, 29th July, and I'm sitting in front of a computer monitor shortly after leaving work. Why? Because I care.

Anyway, I'm searching for something to comment on... John Kerry formally wrapped up the nomination... the Republican attack dogs are hot on his heels... and I haven't a damned clue what exactly to write about. Politics. Sheesh.

Drudge is reporting that John Kerry's Vietnam footage that was shown at convention was a setup from the get-go and that Kerry " was thinking Camelot when he shot that film". A serious charge... but, c'mon. Of course if I'd been John Kerry in the rivers and swamps of Vietnam I would have been plotting my 35+ year trek to the White House. I mean, who wouldn't?

I smell disgruntled former comrades who Kerry didn't like in Vietnam. Who's with me on that?

Anyway, that story is here:

I've noticed something... CNN doesn't really report. It presents. Like FoxNews and all those other gooberball cable networks. I mean, it just glosses the top of the stories that it "reports." Reporters? Hah! Journalists? Don't make me laugh. Insiders with connections to protect? Oh yeah. Most definitely.

Apologies for having nothing considerable to discuss tonight. Open for responses, if anyone wants to post comments... since I have such a huge fanbase.


July 27, 2004

Out Here... In No Man's Land

The political stage is halfway set for the Presidential election in November, with the Democratic National Convention currently ongoing. John Kerry tapped John Edwards to be his running mate in the November election (as speculated here) just following the 4th of July holiday and the Democrats are set to confirm the Kerry/Edwards ticket. Now that leaves President George W. Bush to be officially nominated by the Republican party in late August. There has been some speculation in political circles that Bush may drop Vice President Dick Cheney in favor of a more appealing candidate, and names such as George Pataki and Rudy Giuliani have circulated. Whether this actually happens or not, only time will tell.

The Bush re-election campaign is working hard to paint John Kerry as two things. One of those is a hardcore liberal or, as the Bush campaign's website says, "... the Senate's most out of the mainstream member." The other is that John Kerry is opposed to benefitting our nation's soldiers. I'm actually on the phone right now with the Bushies (been on hold for the last, let's say, 15 or so minutes) trying to see how exactly John Kerry voted against soldiers being able to have body armor. Still waiting. Well, as I wait, I'll continue with my initial note about the Bushies trying to portray Kerry as the Senate's most left-wing nut job.

There was an interesting op-ed (actually with the heading "Op-Chart") entitled "Where Do They Stand?" published in Monday's (7/26) New York Times. Compiled by Sarah Binder, Thomas Mann, Alan Murphy, and Paul Sahre, the piece made note of several things. John Kerry is not Ted Kennedy. That's right, he's actually right of Ted. For shame, Bush. For shame. What unfortunately skews Kerry's record is his lack of voting on social and foreign policy issues. Dare I say for shame Kerry? Bush's campaign has also sought to paint John Edwards as another liberal out of touch with American values. Wrong again or so this op-ed says. John Edwards, according to the authors, right of the the party's center. So, Kerry is left and Edwards is right of D-center. Let us then compare this to the Bush ticket. President Bush's stated positions on issues put him right of the right's center. Okay... What about Dick Cheney? With little to go on over the last four years, the authors used Cheney's terms in the House as litmus. If Democrats could be called acids (pH less than 7) and Republicans could be called bases (pH greater than 7), Dick Cheney, based on his final two years in the House, would be more basic than 90% of his fellow partisans... putting him with NaOH (sodium hydroxide... or as we know it... lye.) So much for the Democratic ticket for being out of touch.

Alright, I hung up on the Bushies. Didn't take me off hold. Tried calling them back... no answer. I think I'll try to get hold of the Kerryites. No such luck. Well, whatever. I've got more than an itching feeling that the vote wasn't only about body armor, though. When I get the goods on the vote, I'll edit this.

So, in conclusion... it appears the Bush team is actually more out of touch with mainstream America than John Kerry and John Edwards are. The Bush team is peddling a lie? No shit.

June 13, 2004

Kerry/Edwards 2004?

With the Presidential election stalking upon us within the next several months and John Kerry having not publicly decided/announced who his running mate in November will be, the Associated Press had a poll conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs, which found that a possible Kerry/Edwards ticket in November held a slight advantage, but still within the sampling error of 3.5%, polling at 47% versus 44% for Bush/Cheney.

John Edwards, the current senior Senator from North Carolina, was a relative unknown in the primary race, with the Dean Machine dominating headlines, until he placed a very strong second in the Iowa caucuses. Repeated strong performances helped to keep Edwards in the running until Super Tuesday, where several dominating efforts by Kerry's campaign led to a Kerry sweep and forced Edwards to bow out.

Edwards will not be seeking re-election to the Senate this year, creating a must-win situation for the Democrats in the state so that they may keep a slight balance of power in the Senate. Democrats currently hold 48 seats in the Senate, Republicans 51, and one Independent (Sen. James Jeffords, VT).

The popular notion of Senator John McCain (R) of Arizona running with Kerry, though very nearly impossible with Senator McCain's repeated assertions of loyalty to the Republican party and that he would not seek the Vice Presidency, sweeps away Bush/Cheney, 53% to 39%, perhaps reflecting a desire in the majority of America to see a return to bipartisanship.

June 12, 2004

Ronald Reagan: One Week Later

After all is said and done with the emotional knee-jerk reaction that the nation has had this past week upon the death of the 40th President, we're going to have to take a step back and review the true worth of Ronald Reagan's presidency... and it's not going to be pretty, either.

Elected in 1980, Ronald Wilson Reagan came into office when the United States was undergoing an identity crisis. Americans had been held in Iran for over a year after the fall of the Shah's government and installation of the Ayatollah Khomeini as Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the country had been suffering through an economic recession, and the peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia, apparently hadn't done enough to set our land back on its noble course in history. Now, the question is, did Ronald Reagan do that?

Ronald Reagan is credited with expediting the fall of communism, by playing hardball with the Soviet Union. We must recall, however, that in 1985 a reform-minded man by the name of Mikhail Gorbachev came into power. This is the same Gorbachev who instituted perestroika and glasnost. The same Gorbachev who began to lift the restrictions on freedom that had been in place from Stalin's years. Mikhail Gorbachev also wanted the Soviet Union to survive and, like Reagan, had the keen understanding that animosity between the two giants would benefit no one. Sure, Reagan should be credited with helping to bring the two countries together, but this is no situation where Gorbachev was an unwilling participant.

Ronald Reagan was a great cheerleader, with bright-eyed and bushy-tailed optimism that our country needs right now, but this man's policies led to what Dwight Eisenhower had warned against: the military-industrial complex. Under Reagan's administration, military spending ballooned and federal budget deficits became the norm. This fiscal irresponsibility set the path for the neo-conservatives, many of whom currently serve in the present President's administration, such as Donald Rumsfeld, Vice-President Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz.

Was Ronald Reagan a good president? Sure. Was he great? No. Eisenhower was a great president and a war hero on top of that. Reagan doesn't deserve a spot on any currency, and, if anything, Eisenhower is the one whose visage should be resurrected on our nation's currency. And this talk of replacing Alexander Hamilton with Ronald Reagan? Malarky. Hamilton was one of our great patriots in this nation's early years. To replace a great man such as Hamilton with Reagan would be the same kind of treason that Reagan's dogs accuse liberals of having.

June 11, 2004

Dave Matthews Bland?

Once upon a time in a place not so far from here, 6 men made their way to a small stage at a hole in the wall bar. That place was Charlottesville, Virginia, and the time was just over a decade ago. Leroi Moore, Peter Griesar, Carter Beauford, Stefan Lessard, Boyd Tinsley, and some guy by the name of David Matthews played to the local crowd an eclectic mix of folk/jam rock with little hint of any ballad-driven pop in the future. They were able to take their songs and extend them, little by little and mount together a furious performance of unparalleled musical standards.

Travel down ten years down the road of time and you will find this Dave Matthews Band (minus Griesar) filling up amphitheaters, arenas, and stadiums, with college age boys and girls (the guys trying to get down the girls pants, using the music as a clever medium) and playing some of the more well-known pop songs of the last decade.

"Crash Into Me" is easily one of the most learned songs by frat boys who decide that an acoustic guitar is the best way to break down the door leading into some easy girl's box of love. So, with the guitar in hand, they go through the stretch of playing the chords and whispering the lyrics of stalking a girl from afar, hoping to one day have her, as in some sort of a boy's dream.

"The Space Between", the song which catapulted the band into the stratosphere in 2001, received tremendous radio airplay, and with this excessive airplay came a tidal wave of prepubescent little girls, giggling over what might Dave play next. Ooh ooh ooh. What's he going to play???!!! OMG, liek, he said he'd haev my babies, liek, OMG! Dave, the space between the wicked lie of "Everyday" and what should have been the band's best album, but only came out as the 2000 "Summer So Far" hijack, was the massive decline in your ability to write lyrics that require some degree of thought and the startling turn to writing pop song ballads, like "The Space Between".

So I'm going to see the Dave Matthews Band play at Blossom Music Center on June 29, for the third, and maybe final, time. My faith in the band that got my attention with "Ants Marching" a decade ago is now being weathered by "The Space Between". Yes, Dave Matthews, you "Did It". Guilty as charged.

June 10, 2004


So I write for BW's alternative campus paper, dead link and host their website on my network drive as well. is where you should email if you're interested in submitting an article or have some feedback on the website for us. We always encourage constructive criticism and long-winded rants.

Our Editor In Chief, Selina, wants to bring Maelstrom to a higher level of parody and bring it out to the world, so we're counting on the many, the cocky, the zany, to help propel Maelstrom through the stratosphere towards Proxima Centauri!

But in all seriousness...

If you think you have an article worthy of the Maelstrom, you should send it her way... and make the world a better place.

Typical day...

It's one of those Clevelandesque summer days, yet again. A cool breeze, rain, and temps in the low to mid 70s. The rain's been coming on and off, but with any luck we'll be getting hammered with more storms, like yesterday.

I donated $50 to the Kerry campaign yesterday... even though I don't really think he's the best person that the Dems have to offer, he is, then, the obvious lesser of two evils.

I've been spending a lot of time posting at Omeletteville lately (well, actually down within the last week because of work...) and it's always fun to watch a soap opera evolve over the internet. Fun in that sad kinda way, but fun, nonetheless... and I fully encourage participation. Most of the "political" discussion that goes on there is inane babbling from both sides of the aisle... there are maybe four or five posters on there with whom my time is best spent debating.

Speaking of work (for those of you who don't know), I'm finally going to be getting the pay raise that comes with being a shift manager... whoo-hoo... to a whole freaking $7.50/hr. (Sigh.) I better get cracking on the guitar if I want more, I suppose. Not much else for now.

So... suck an egg.