October 18, 2007

It's mid-October...

The Wicked Witch of Wichita

Hotline On Call is reporting that the AP reports that Sam Brownback is dropping out of the Republican race for President. Someone apparently decided to remind Brownback that he's not in Kansas anymore.

Flavorite Son

Pundito-extraordinario Stephen Colbert announces that he will be running for President in his home state of South Carolina as a Democrat, a Republican, and as a favorite son. No word as to whether Americone Dream will become Americone Reality.

Still Not Gay

Larry Craig and his sidekick Lumpy – err... Mrs. Larry Craig – want us to know that Larry Craig isn't gay, has never been gay, and will never be gay. Talk about standing by your man, Larry.

Congress Less Popular Than President, But Still More Popular Than Plague

Speaking of standing... around and doing nothing, Zogby/Reuters released a national poll indicating that President Bush's approval rating resumed its decline, dropping to 24%. Congress' approval ratings were less than half those of the President's – a mere 11% of those surveyed approved of the job that Congress was doing. Incidentally, the 11% that did think Congress was doing a good job were Congresspeople.

3-1, Cleveland.

The Tribe continue their magical season with game 5 of the ALCS tonight at Jacobs Field in Cleveland. No word whether Manny Ramirez has pulled his head out of his...


September 30, 2007

Predictions for the Postseason

One-Game Playoff, NL Wildcard - Colorado Rockies v. San Diego Padres

The Rockies have been on fire to close out the season and I expect little to change when they beat the Padres to lock-up the National League Wildcard spot for their first playoff berth since the 1995 Rockies.

ALDS - New York Yankees v. Cleveland Indians

The Indians went 0-6 against the Yankees during the regular season and despite some massive improvement in the pitching staff over the last month, I find it a little hard to believe that they will beat the Yankees in this series. Regardless, I still believe. Indians in 4.

ALDS - Boston Red Sox v. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Disneyworldland, California

The Red Sox slipped in the last month - will that follow them into the postseason? I think it might. Despite some poor performances to close out the month, namely that 16-2 blowout at Texas, I think Angels' bats will shine and ultimately take the series from the Red Sox in 5 games.

NLDS - New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies v. Colorado Rockies

The Phillies are in the playoffs by the grace of a Mets collapse of historic proportions and going 17-12 in the last month. Philadelphia went 3-4 against the Rockies this year. Rockies went 20-8 in the last month and will be going into the postseason on a hot streak. Tough call, I think. Rockies in 5.

NLDS - Chicago Cubs v. Arizona Diamondbacks

I think this is the 1st year the Cubs have been in the postseason since Steve Bartman. The NL Central sucked this year and the Subs - er - Cubs are only in by the grace of being a mediocre team in a crap division. The curse stands. D'backs in 3.

Those are my calls. Leave comments on what you think.


September 25, 2007

Ahmadinejad, Mahmood - (n., proper) - Current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

As I've been perusing the news channels this AM, there's been a clear want for substantial coverage on Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia University yesterday. Take for example the following banner on MSNBC's Scarborough (blech, to that end) Country: Ahmadinejad gets "schooled" at Columbia.

Nothing really substantive other than all the usual talk machines acting as propagandists against Ahmadinejad and for Bush's drumming up support for another war in his Messianic bid to bring about the end times. Whether we like it or not, Ahmadinejad was able to answer the questions posed to him very well, with maybe the exception of there be no homosexuals in Iran and that his government doesn't torture them and moreover calling homosexuality a fad in Western culture... wait a tic, how can he and Bush be enemies?

Anyhow, Ahmadinejad's performance yesterday proved his ability at being diplomatic, I daresay better than a certain 43rd President, and that he is scarily witty, still hates Israel, and talks willingly of cooperating with the United States, placing the US in the none-too-unfamiliar position of looking like the bad guy. While Bush tries to divert the collective attention of the country away from this, certain media sources have noted Ahmadinejad's playing a hand which almost forces the American hand.

What next?


September 20, 2007

The value of a dollar

The US dollar's value internationally has continued its long downward slide, with the dollar hitting a new low versus the Euro and the Canadian dollar reaching parity ($1US=$1CA) with the dollar. Scroll to the bottom of the Kitco site and you will find currency charts indicating the relative value of a dollar.

What does this mean? Imports will gradually become more expensive and American exports should gradually decline in price - if you assume that the dollar falls evenly against all currencies. This helps certain locales, much like my hometown of Rouses Point, as it enables Canadian consumers to come to the US and spend Canadian dollars at no discount against American dollars. I remember a time when there were sign posting specials to Canadian customers - the Canadian dollar would be accepted at a 35% discount instead of the 39% market rate.

Of course, the Chinese government has still not allowed the yuan to float freely against the dollar; the yuan remains roughly equal to 13 cents. But who needs fair trade when you're hamstrung by a giant country with a dictatorial streak and nuclear weapons?

That's what I thought.


September 19, 2007

Reports of my demise were unsubstantiated...

Wow, that was an extended absence from the blogosphere, but I'm back and ready to roll.

Georgia is home to 24 of the fastest growing counties in the United States, mostly counties in the northern half of the state.

From Georgia Public Radio:

Blue Ridge Mountains Growing Fast
September 19, 2007 - 3:15 PM
By Ashley Horn - Rome, GA

Georgia has 24 of the nation’s fastest growing counties, the majority in North Georgia near the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Fannin County in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains has grown the most. This is mainly because of so-called "half-backs," or Northerners who moved south to Florida and are purchasing a second home half way back.

Kristen Gunia is Fannin County Director of Development. Gunia, who is from the North, said that living in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a geographical compromise between North and South.

“We are a fairly moderate climate all year round, in the 60’s and 70’s. We do have some snow but very little and so its kind of an ideal midpoint location where they can get out of the heat but not have to go back to the snows and some of those things either,” Gunia said.

Most owners don’t live in Fannin county full time, so there is plenty of time for the economy to adjust to the growth, said Gunia.

I wonder how the halfbacks are feeling after the heat of this past August...

I've added a link to the UGA Hillel blog.

Not much else for the time being.


August 28, 2007

Interesting stats

In case you haven't noticed, it's been a scorcher of a month down here in Athens. We had several streaks of 100+ degree highs and dryness that would make the Sahara go "you camel-drivers are dry!"

I'm not generally one to get on my global warming horse in a public setting, but when you look at August (and the rest of the year, for that matter), you might begin to wonder...

13 of 26 recorded days (so far) with temperatures at or above 100 degrees.
Record highs set on 9 separate occasions, with a streak of 5 consecutive record-setting highs.
3 days where the average temperature for the day did not go below 90 degrees.
21 of 26 days days where the low temperature did not go below 70 degrees.
The average monthly high temperature to date: 99.6 degrees.
The average daily mean temperature to date: 86.3 degrees.
No measurable rainfall recorded until August 16.
Less than 1 inch total rainfall record in the whole month until August 26.

Stats retrieved from: NOAA

That and winter existed for the total of a day, not that I'd expect it to be around much longer down here, the point remains... this year has been warm, to say the least. Last year was warm in Ohio, especially when the A/C was down in the Learn and Earn office.

Who I am to say, though. W would tell me that I'm no climatologist and that I have no scientific credibility and he'd be right. But I do notice patterns and the pattern is that it's hot, hotter than I remember growing up, oh so not-that-long ago. So maybe that's something to notice.

But I'm no climatologist.


August 11, 2007


Testing... testing.

July 29, 2007

Learn and Earn: A post-mortem on that adventure

Today is the one-year anniversary of my termination from Ohio Learn and Earn. I'm pretty sure that the non-disclosure period has expired. When I was terminated from the Learn and Earn campaign for this post I was required, along with the other 2 office managers, to sign a non-disclosure agreement and as I've said, I believe the non-disclosure period has lapsed.

With that said, it's time for news from the office, and I mean beyond how our toilets were usually brimming with feces and urine, how soap was never available, how I paid a worker $300 out of my pocket because the company wouldn't, and how many unscrupulous people we employed.

Working for Ohio Learn and Earn was one of the most stressful periods of my still young life. From the time I began office work until the point of my termination, I put in 100-hour work weeks, frequently not arriving home until 1-2 AM after having arrived there at 8AM, seven days a week. I find myself torn between hating it and not hating it: I surfed the internet freely for hours on end, fell asleep in the office on a couple occasions, read a lot, but at the cost of nearly losing my girlfriend and my best friend. We hired any schmuck off the street, registering them to vote, making sure they had a driver's license and a social security number. I filled out their I9s and W4s, made them sign on the dotted line, and passed the information along to campaign HQ in Columbus. Interviews were cursory: Could you walk up to people and make sure that they were registered to vote and make them sign a petition? Are you an American citizen? A resident of the state of Ohio? If you can answer yes to all three of these questions, you can work for Ohio Learn and Earn.

My employment began in May of 2006, around the time I should have graduated from BW, at the Cleveland office, located on St. Clair Ave. just outside of downtown. I help my boss, MVS, open up the office. My position was of a team leader, getting paid $15/hr to oversee people petitioning and petitioning myself. Every day for roughly 3 weeks I would drive from Munroe Falls to Cleveland to carry around my clipboard, ask for signatures, and coordinate our groups. Given how I wasn't terribly proficient at gathering signatures, my time with the Learn and Earn campaign nearly came to an early end and maybe that would have been for the best.

But I took a transfer to the Akron office, at that time located on Exchange Street. The first day in Akron took me to Youngstown - and I now gather that's where it should have ended. We sent people from the Akron office all over the Southeastern tier of the state, from Youngstown to Cadiz, in addition to local places like Fairlawn and Highland Square. My new boss, AC, seemed to take to me much more than MVS. A position in admin opened soon after I arrived - and the place was a wreck. The office holder prior to me had records everywhere and people weren't getting paid.

People, working for a campaign that was supposed to espouse "progressive" values, managed to not get paid. I went down to Columbus for one weekend to sift through all of the files from the office and compare them against records at headquarters. Slowly people managed to get paid, but some sores still laid open. After three weeks of one petitioner - who had quit - not being paid, after every angry phone call received and pleading phone call made to correct the error, after every "the check is in the mail" response I got on this woman's behalf, I took $300 of my own money and paid her for the hours she had worked in the pay cycle. An employee, who I will only ID as Steve, had similar issues. Entire days were missing out of his payroll when there was documented proof of his working. On my last day Steve told me not to worry about them and that he was hiring a lawyer. On multiple occasions, AC was forced to call the police and have them resolve issues with angry employees. These people were angry.

Rightfully so.

I was angry for them.

Following a comment I had left on Plunderbund, officials at Ohio Learn and Earn followed a link to this blog and found the previously mentioned post. I didn't try too hard to justify them keeping me, by that time I was too exhausted to have any fight. I accepted being terminated and on the last day, signed the non-disclosure agreement. I packed up all of my personal office supplies into the back of the car and I left Ohio Learn and Earn not wanting to deal with politics for a long time, at the very least.

I got a call immediately after the election from a coworker, JD. He had continued working in the Akron office after petitioning had been completed and did actual campaign work for Ohio Learn and Earn as an internship w/ U of A. He appeared on a Cleveland-area news channel to inform the burden of Learn and Earn: campaigners had not been paid after the election, the office was closed up, and a sign... that the check was in the mail.

Such was Learn and Earn.

The check's in the mail.


July 11, 2007

Go see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Holly and I went to a midnight showing in town. Needless to say I'm a little tired right now, but that's nothing a little (lot) of coffee can't fix. The movie was really good. There are some minor omissions and minor changes, but the production of the movie was good. Of course, the acting was great - and Alan Rickman is still a BAMF.

In other news: gas is about tip $3.00 again for the first time in about a month to 45 days. My wallet and I are not looking forward to the implications.

Don't really have much else to write about.



July 7, 2007

Saturday morning relaxination

This Saturday morning constitutes a total and complete day off that I haven't had in quite a long time. What is a bored blogger to do?

* Visit his hometown's website and recall the days he used to dream about redesigning Dodge Memorial Library.

* Catch up on the news with Google Reader and muse upon John McCain's cash pinch.

* Think about that pile of paperwork awaiting him at work.

* Read the Epic of Gilgamesh and parse its flood story - you know, the one that's just like the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible's, just a thousand years older.

* Cook up some spaghetti squash for dinner and eggs benedict for brunch.

* Listen to music.

Yup. That's what a young blogger is to do for now.


July 6, 2007

Keith Olbermann is peeved. I am too. So should you.

The always well-spoken Keith Olbermann has words of justice for the President.

And as the sun goes whipping by...

(H/T to Donklephant for this gem)

An excerpt from the Times:

Dr. Miller's data reveal some yawning gaps in basic knowledge. American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.


He had firsthand experience with local school issues in the 1980's, when he was a young father living in DeKalb, Ill., and teaching at Northern Illinois University. The local school board was considering closing his children's school, and he attended some board meetings to get an idea of members' reasoning. It turned out they were spending far more time on issues like the cost of football tickets than they were on the budget and other classroom matters. "It was shocking," he said.

The article.

Good on ya, America! Who needs to know what radiation is when Britney Spears can save you! And DNA? Pfft. All we know is some dude got his DNA into Paris with night vision technology. The Earth revolves around the sun? Hogwash! You know, when Zeus created the Sun with Hercules holding up the Earth... in 168 hours (that's 7 days for all you non-mathy people out there.) But don't forget, there are 300 feet in 100 yards, and that's where you can find the end zone! Don't bother thinking about how hard the wind is blowing when you need to punt the ball on 4th and 25, either. How much for tickets? $15? Too much!

Okay... that snarky kvetching out of the way, here are my questions:
1. What was the sample size?
2. What were the demographics of the universe?
3. What was the average education level of the sample? (I suppose that ties in with 2.)
4. Um... what? How does this compare to 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 years ago?

and finally...

5. Who is at fault for the dumbery of the Ameripublic?

Yay! Let's go to Mars and watch the Sun revolve around it, too!


July 5, 2007

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and justice of that estate

Blowing the cover of an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency can't even get you the time you were sentenced, some reduced knock-down rate since you were caught doing the Vice President's dirty work, as long as you are one of the President's Men. I've been wanting to write about this for a couple of days, but I've been feeling too disappointed in the whole damn system to bring myself to it.

Here's Libby: a man who $2,000 to the RNC and $1,000 to George W. Bush in 2000 and found himself inside a dark circle, one lined with Dick Cheney and cardboard cut-outs of Dick Cheney. (This reminds me: I had a dream last night about driving through some largish - er... large-ish? - French city with Holly and buying cheese... strange dream it was.) Was the fall man for one of the cardboard cutouts. (The word on the street has it that at least two other cutouts were in separate undisclosed underground lairs, asking for sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads. Oh, and the actual VP shot another donor in the face and had a 5426409840298567th heart attack.) BUT THAT'S NEITHER HERE NOR THERE! Libby got off! He got off on a sentence where it could be claimed that he had already gotten off! Talk about the taint in Washington! It went right to Libby's jail cell.

So the President commutes his sentence, so what? Isn't that the President's Royal er... Executive Privilege? Didn't Hickory Bill Clinton pardon Marc Rich right before leaving office in 2001? Didn't he manipulate the price of oil during the oil crunch of 1973/1974? Yep. And Clinton got him off... with the help of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. I won't touch Clinton's pardon's, though... those are just dirrrrty business.

What I've never understood is how the President, as the Executive, gets to play the role of the Judiciary in issuing pardons. Looking at Clinton's list, one must be absolutely befuddled to reason why these pardons occurred, beyond the "friend" aspect of them. But politics is no place for reason! And for that reason, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and the people of that estate continue to walk free.


June 28, 2007

The Amazing Disappearing City

Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the lamest show on Earth! That's right, it's Cleveland, the one and only AMAZING DISAPPEARING CITY!

Cleveland.com has the story on declining population.

440,000 people. 40th largest city in the nation. A far cry from the 1920s when the population flirted with 1,000,000 and it was the nation's 5th largest city.

Oh woe is you, C-land. Woe is you.

But what to do to renew the urban landscape? Potential lies there - Cleveland is home to educational hotspots like CWRU and nearby are BW and JCU. Cleveland has a self-fulfilling prophecy aspect to it going on right now. No one wants to stay in Cleveland because it sucks and it sucks more because no one cares to stay and improve it. (Of course, that's just a gross over-simplification of the situation, but the general point is the same.)

So what can be done to keep people in town and, maybe more importantly, bring people to Cleveland? The article offers a stopgap: merge with Cuyahoga County. Laughable when you consider what the suburbs are. I assure you that most Strongsvillians, Lakewoodites, Bay Villagers, and Parmanians (well, some Parmanians) are none too keen about joining Cleveland.

The Forest City needs revitalized. Not amalgamized.


Look different?

I finally upgraded to the 3-column layout after wanting to do so since having the blogginryan.com domain. I think it looks good.

H/T to Thur's Blogger Templates.

After trying not to pay attention to the Paris Hilton saga, apathy overcame me and I watched a little bit of "news" on it. That's when the involuntary twitching began. Larry King interviews Paris Hilton?




June 27, 2007

Money talks

And as such, it is protected by the First Amendment. Election Law has the lowdown on the SCOTUS ruling and possible implications.

The decision is FEC vs. Wisconsin Right To Life, Inc.

It disturbs me that we are once again moving away from a regime that regulated the fairness of financial activity on the elections process towards a free-for-all in which they who have all, win all, under the guise of the protection of free speech.

Where do we go from here? Thoughts?


June 25, 2007

On the blogs I read and the ones I might stop reading

I used to think that blogging was a way to create ideas and engender debate about serious issues. That was a primary reason why I began blogging about politics versus kvetching about my life and the (crap) music I listen to. Similarly I found many (non-)political blogs in NE Ohio (ie: Pho's Akron Pages, Psychobilly Democrat, and Brewed Fresh Daily) that seemingly wanted to fulfill the same ends and they are terrific. They successfully bring up the tone of debate, even when it's an obnoxious din. In the run-up to the election last fall, I read BSB fairly religiously and posted with some regularity. I found Russell and (later) Jerid to be respectable in how and what they wrote, most of which never failed to be interesting.

But lately I can't say I've been feeling the same towards certain aspects of the blogosphere. Maybe I didn't notice it before, maybe I did and willfully ignored it, or maybe I just didn't care, but it seems like there is much more sniping and boo-hoo name calling than productive and informative debate. Pho, Redhorse, and BFD, among others, have kept it clean, keeping on hard news items (or pimping Eric Mansfield's blog - which is amazingly good and shows a fine journalist doing fine journalism).

But BSB has regressed into a devolutionary - perhaps counter-revolutionary - pattern, trading personal jabs with people affiliated with the Ohio Republican Party, calling names and playing "gotcha!" when it's least needed. Jerid's New Hampshire Project is great and the news he provides keeps me tuned into BSB while someone mentions The Ohio Republicans Would Never Lie To Us. Especially online. There's nothing particularly informative there, just a post filled with vitriol. Plunderbund has similarly fallen off of the map in its coverage of things political and substantive in Ohio.

So while not to make a big deal about it (although I am), I think it's high time to remove them from the Ohio Blogroll. I don't see the point in having things up that convey Ohio as a vast hellhole of a political wasteland.

But maybe that's just me.


June 19, 2007

Hey, did you know there was an election today?

Continuing the ever recurrent theme of my periodic benign neglect for this blog, it seems it's high time for me to, at the very least, say something about the special election scheduled today to replace the deceased Rep. Charlie Norwood (GA-10).

Summary of the campaign:

Since Norwood's death in February, there has been one clear front-runner and a couple clear buffoons (including the front-runner.) The front-runner is Republican State Senator Jim Whitehead, formerly an Atlanta-area tire magnate. His buffoonery? Not showing up to the debates sponsored by the Athens Press Club* or the Atlanta Press Club. Whitehead is one of six Republicans running. Three Democrats are running, but the one considered to be the contender is former Yahoo! executive James Marlow. Marlow is a new-comer to elected politics, though he did have experience serving as an intern for former Congressman Doug Barnard. His issues page reads like a DNC primer on how to be an under-funded candidate.

Really, these candidates are none too thrilling. I'm still not registered to vote down here and even if I were, I'd be sitting this one out.

There are some new links up on the GA side of things. If you'd like a little taste of Athens, visit 'em.


*Though he was represented by a neat little bobblehead in Athens.

May 25, 2007


Holly dug this up while searching for dinner for this evening. It's a local blog based in Bogart.

Recipes for a Postmodern Planet.

There are a lot of different appealing vegetarian dishes up, all of which are making my mouth water (and shrimp, too!) I think this will be more than a single-visit blog.

Mmm. Food.


May 24, 2007

Quote of the Day

Coming from the Des Moines Register (IA), David Yepsen sizes up the second tier of candidates.

On the bottom tier are Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who are not waging serious campaigns.

Do you see that, Dennis? Not waging serious campaigns. Now take your ball and go home.

Also within that article:

The top of this party's second tier is clearly held by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. He puts together a nice combination of executive experience as governor and federal service as a member of Congress, energy secretary and U.N. ambassador. As someone of Latino ancestry, he's in a position to attract those voters, though that will be of limited help to him in lily-white Iowa.

He seems to enjoy campaigning and is something of the happy warrior in the race. Right now, he's the second-tier candidate who seems most likely to break from the pack in Iowa. Some say he's positioning himself for vice president, and that could happen, too. (See above mention of Daddy Bush.)

A nice assessment of Bill Richardson, although I'm sure he's not saying that he's trying to come in as veep.


ps: The lunacy tag applies only to Dennis. And Gravel.

May 21, 2007

Lolcats have nothing on this

For those of you familiar with the intarwebz meme LOLcat, it will likely come as no surprise to you that the LOLz have been extended beyond the cute and fuzzy world of cats.

For those of you who don't know what lolcats are, check out the Wikipedia I linked to. (And maybe for once, internet geeks trying to write encyclopedically about something may get it right no matter how wrong they may try to make it.)

Slate brought to our attention the existence of lolbees, loldogs, lolcomedians (not really), and perhaps most pertinent to the topic of what I generally blog about lolpresident.

The Bush ones are generally lame, but the Roosevelt/BUKKIT ones make me laugh my ass off.

For good, old-fashioned lolcat LOLLING, check out I Can Has Cheezburger?.



Richardson officially announces candidacy

Governor Bill Richardson has officially announced his candidacy for President.

CNN has it.

I've made no secret of it, I'm totally for Bill Richardson. He's got a resume that's incomparable to any other candidate for 2008. He's a leader and he's common-sense. What could be better?


May 16, 2007

Wine Comes From A Bottle

I've got a new blog up and going that focuses on another passion of mine.

Wine Comes From A Bottle

It's going to mostly focus on good bottled wine buys that you can get at a grocery store or liquor store and will have some additional features to boot.

Drink up, blogosphere.


May 8, 2007

O Google! Quid facis?

I came across Google's PageCreator via Wikipedia and was intrigued, so I tried it out.

Of course, I actually reviewed it there, too.

Check it out.


April 20, 2007

Richardson calls on Gonzales' resignation

Oddly enough, from The Guardian:

Richardson Hits Gonzales

Friday April 20, 2007 3:31 PM


Associated Press Writer

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson became the latest Democratic presidential candidate Friday to call for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign, saying he's become a burden to the Justice Department.

``After reviewing the attorney general's behavior, I must reluctantly conclude that new leadership is needed,'' Richardson said in an interview with The Associated Press. ``It's time for him to go.''

The call is significant because Gonzales, a fellow Hispanic, has enjoyed Richardson's support to this point. But Richardson said the questions that have been raised about the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys, and the role that Gonzales played in those firings, have effectively ended his ability to run the agency.

``He's lost his ability to lead,'' Richardson said, adding that he watched Gonzales' testimony before a Senate committee and found his explanations of his activities unconvincing. Gonzales needed a clear and cogent explanation of his actions, and that didn't happen, Richardson said.

``What bothered me was his couching his explanations,'' said Richardson. ``It's important that he be fully open.''

Stepping down now is important, Richardson said, because the Justice Department can't fulfill its mission with a wounded leader. He said the decision came only after spending time ``reviewing the attorney general's behavior'' through the crisis.

Gonzales has finally lost one of his last supporters from the other side of the aisle and even the most conservative Republicans in the Senate are calling for his resignation. Now is it only a matter of time or will President Bush and his AG continue playing this shell game?

April 12, 2007

Conversations at work

At work I try to stray away from conversations regarding politics, mostly because I'm in Georgia and people down here tend to not be of political stripes and I don't want to get canned for causing too much unnecessary thinking. But today I was approached by a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian who asked me about my leaving the Christian fold. This conversation evolved into a discussion on politics and made me wonder why seemingly smart people can reject simple logic.

As it happened, said worker mentioned something about celebrities needing to keep their mouths shut on political issues, something I can agree with sometimes, and progressed to why "we shouldn't negotiate with Ahmadinejad". He said Ahmadinejad shouldn't be negotiated with because he is a "madman" and is a bad guy in general.

If Ahmadinejad is a madman, a madman whose most recent sin was holding British seamen hostage for breaching Iran's territorial integrity, one must wonder what the equivalent Iranian views George W. Bush, whose government deposed a leader of a sovereign nation, albeit a leader who maintained the delicate balance of rival groups through brute worse. Whose government holds people who are not even soldiers of any particular nation or militia for years without charge, engages in practices upon those detainees that are worse than what the British sailors have claimed.

By the way, "moderate" President Khatami's government also held British sailors upon British incursion in Iranian waters. Strike two crazies up for the Iranians.

Or strike Ahmadinejad up to being politically pragmatic and snappy, knowing how to play the west like a fiddle.

Oh, and did I happen to mention that we happen to have a lot of troops in two other countries right now? Oh yeah! Afghanistan and Iraq.

138,000 troops in Iraq.

27,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Should we embark upon another grand excursion? Should we now depose an elected leader of a country? Paging President Allende! Paging President Allende!

I asked him why another military adventure would be such a terrific idea.

Liberty, he says. Liberty for the people!


And justice.

For all.

Whatever and ever Amen!

O! How people have such great ideals! I can't recall the number of times I've been assailed for being too idealistic by cats like my coworker. But, lest we forget, it's okay to be hyperidealistic when you're hypernationalistic.

:throws arms in air:


April 11, 2007


Techpresident has a cool feature hidden betwixt and between its layers of candidate technological embracing news called votojournalism. What is votojournalism? It's an interesting portemanteau, linguistically speaking, but it's also a feed of photographs of candidates uploaded by their campaigns to Flickr. The program's timer can be adjusted to decrease/increase the speed of the slideshow and has links to the candidates' Flickr pages.


Go. See.


Rudy Giuliani: Out of Touch?

From Political Wire:

When former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was asked to give the price of a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread while campaigning in Alabama, he answered, "a gallon of milk is probably about a $1.50, a loaf of bread about a $1.25, $1.30," reports the AP.

However, "a check of the Web site for D'Agostino supermarket on Manhattan's Upper East Side showed a gallon of milk priced at $4.19 and a loaf of white bread at $2.99 to $3.39. In Montgomery, Ala., a gallon of milk goes for about $3.39 and bread is about $2."

While I like Rudy for his frankness and general :gasp: honesty, it's little things like this that make me wonder how in touch he (or any other candidate, for that matter) is with the general public. And yet he and Hillarious hold staggering leads in their respective primaries.

:scratches head: What makes the American public go for dopes like these?

I wonder... does this alternate universe have gasoline priced less than $1.29/gallon? You know, the world as it was in 2000.

Just wondering.


April 5, 2007

Gave blood, gave life.

I gave blood yesterday for the first time. Nearly 23 years old and it was my first time. I can't say that I wasn't nervous, because that would be a total and complete falsehood. There are few times where I have been more nervous.

But I overcame my nerves, sucked it up, and had that needle draw out a pint of sangre.

Once all was said and done, I felt relieved, albeit a little light-headed.

Give blood. Give life. I will again in 56 days.

In other news, Obama and Clinton announced fundraising totals and they are neck and neck based upon fundraising (w/o transfers from their Senate accounts) and Obama has a boatload that's dedicated to the primary. Bill Richardson was able to raise $6 million and has $5 million cash on hand.

I'm personally impressed with Obama's performance and pleased with Richardson's, given the dearth of coverage he has received and the fact he's still the full-time chief executive of a state. Hillary may be having more issues than recognized and reported by the media and these numbers - relative to Obama's - seem to convey that.

Hey hey, what do you say?
Hey hey, what do you gotta be that way?
Hey hey,
Hey hey.


March 22, 2007

Tom DeLay: fraud once, fraud again, fraud forever

From Taegan Goddard's Political Wire:

Appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews to promote his new book, No Retreat, No Surrender, it's clear former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) didn't write it and perhaps never even read it before it was published.

Matthews asked DeLay about passages in his book where described former Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX) as "drunk with ambition." Amazingly, DeLay denied writing that, even after Matthews showed him the underlined passage in his own book.

Article with links here.

I think DeLay has taken it upon himself to invent a new form of ghostwriting: DeLayWriting. Or paying someone to do it for you. Or plagiarizing.

In any case...


Happy hour-less Athens?

Athens-Clarke County is considering banning happy hour specials at bars and other locations. Concerned voice in my head goes "WTFFTWWTFBBQ!"

I ask you: what kind of college town would Athens be without (insert bar name here)'s Happy Hour specials? Fried pickles just aren't the same without cheap beer. Moreover, who wants to drop more than ten dollars a night doing that?

Certainly not I.

I direct you to Blake Aued's post at Online Athens:

Much has been made of news that Athens-Clarke County is considering banning Happy hours and other drink specials.

Readers have raised some questions about how the story was reported and the county’s system of government. Allow me to explain.

Athens has a “weak mayor” system in which unelected employees are fairly autonomous from elected officials. The commission sets policy, and the staff carries it out, but many policies come from the ground up.

The commission doesn’t operate like Congress. Commissioners don’t make laws. Sometimes they ask the manager, attorney or a department head to look into an issue and come up with ideas, then use that as a starting point, send it back for polishing and eventually vote on it. More often, unelected officials, in this case Police Chief Jack Lumpkin, Finance Director John Culpepper and Attorney Bill Berryman, identify a problem and come up with a solution on their own, then seek approval from the commission.

So it was not unusual that “staff,” as commissioners refer to the 1,500-strong county bureaucracy, would propose such changes.

They did so at a work session last week, which is the first step toward making a change, and usually the first time commissioners hear about anything coming to them from staff. Work sessions are held once a month, and are usually consist of informal presentations and discussion.

If the issue is complicated, it may be assigned to one of two standing committees or an ad hoc committee appointed by the mayor that will make a recommendation to the full commission.

This one is complicated – a wholesale revision of dozens of provisions in the county code.

One thing I always think about before I write a story is, “How does this affect people?” and “Why would anyone care about this?” The only people who would care about minor changes to alcohol licensing fees are the 300 people who hold such a license. Only those seeking employment as doormen, and to a lesser extent 18-to-20-year-olds, would be affected by background checks for doormen.

On the other hand, everyone who might ever walk into a bar after work would wonder why his PBR isn’t a dollar anymore. That’s why that part of the proposal got more attention than the others.

Once it’s mostly sorted out, the proposal goes to an agenda-setting meeting, where commissioners decide whether it’s controversial enough to discuss, or whether it should be put on the consent agenda, a list of items with unanimous support. Finally, one month to several years after it’s first mentioned, the item will be voted on.

In other words, we have a long way to go with these alcohol reforms, and I suspect the happy hour ban might not be in it when it’s finally passed. Reporters often hear about things at the same time or even before commissioners, so we often get out ahead of the story. That’s good – we try to let you know what’s going on as soon as we can. But it can also lead to situations like this where things get blown out of proportion.

Original story available here: Officials may kill off happy hour specials (This is the printable version of the article, I don't know if you are required to have a login for it as you are for the normal article.)

March 21, 2007


Well then. I leave my computer and whoops - I don't return to blogging for two weeks! Time for an "oops, my bad" statement, a rolling of the ayes, and recounting of Sparkle City. And then some thoughts on Gonzales, the new "1984", and some Georgia political news.

Oops, my bad

I've been busy working and generally not being around the computer, so blogging and *gasp* reading other blogs (*shame*) had fallen by the wayside until this morning. On the jobfront, I still haven't been able to get out of Applebee's, though my attempts have been limited. I have deadlines coming up for applying to UGA's MPA program and praying to God that I meet those. If I don't meet then, I'll have successfully thrown myself under the bus academically yet again.

A rolling of the ayes

Baldwin-Wallace College's Model UN team sent a small delegation - and when I say small, I mean 2 current members of the program, a student from Lakeland College, and me the Baldwin-Wallace alum - to participate in Southeast Model Arab League hosted by Converse College. The team did quite well, with one of us garnering an award for the other members of the team to behold. I say quite well when only one of us performed admirably enough to get an award for a good reason: we had been informed of our country assignment not three days prior to the start of the conference. All things considered - diplomacy, alcohol, and tobacco - it was a great conference.

Sparkle City

If you don't know where Converse College is, you will now. Converse College is a small, private, liberal arts college in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It is where Holly went for her undergraduate degree. Spartanburg has the wonderful feel of a quaint, small, Southern college town, not unlike Athens. Unlike Athens (and Athens-Clarke County) however, Spartanburg County is among the most conservative in South Carolina. It still has an Old South feel to it with out losing a sense of modernity and is fairly decentralized. And, to the point, it feels very much like a family town.

And other thoughts

1: The video that was posted on YouTube that "bashed" Hillary vis a vis the classic Apple "1984" ad (video link) has been declared "not mine" by the Obama camp.

Wunderbar. For what it's worth, the video is amazing in its conception and execution. It has shown up on MSNBC and F-xN-ws, which is making me wonder about Rothenberg's verdict on the matter.

2: Alberto Gonzales' days look numbered, yet internally I wonder if we will have a John Ashcroft redux. Remember, Bush was all about Rumsfeld until the days before he was pressured to give out.

3: There's going to be a special election in my Congressional District following the death of my congressman. I don't know jack about anyone.

Oh well.

That's all for now.


March 7, 2007

Scooter Libby... scooting his way to jail?

Scooter Libby should be going to jail until he dies.

Not necessarily because he should go for a very long time, but that the maximum sentence of twenty-five years should be imposed and, seeing as how Libby isn't exactly a spring chicken, he should expire during that period of natural causes. I don't wish death upon him, but it would serve well to see a member of the Bush Brigade and Cheney's Chumps lose their dignity and life in confinement.

I was at work yesterday when F-xN-ws emblazoned its banners indicating that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby had been convicted of only four of the five counts with which he had been charged. I wasn't surprised with the outcome, but only hoped that he had gotten the clean sweep, taken down on all five charges brought against him. I could also faintly hear the running dogs of F-xN-ws try to defend their man Libby against the things that *gasp* CNN or *doublegasp* Keith Olbermann may say.

"Libby didn't receive a fair trial."

"Fitzgerald was a hack for the Democrats."

And so on and so forth. This is what it is now: exacting political revenge through extra-legal means requires a fall guy (Libby) when it seems you can't get the guy who did it (Cheney) and said fall guy (Libby) can expect to pay a high price for it (maybe 25 years!) when a decent prosecutor (Fitzgerald) who actually knows what he's doing (DUH!) gets the job done (yay).


March 1, 2007

Angry Young Man

You know, given the spirit of my blog, maybe this would have been a better choice of lyrical quotation:

There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
He's always at home with his back to the wall.
And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,
And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

Give a moment or two to the angry young man,
With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand.
He's been stabbed in the back, he's been misunderstood,
It's a comfort to know his intentions are good.
And he sits in a room with a lock on the door,
With his maps and his medals laid out on the floor-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

I believe I've passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage
I found that just surviving was a noble fight.
I once believed in causes too,
I had my pointless point of view,
And life went on no matter who was wrong or right.

And there's always a place for the angry young man,
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand.
And he's never been able to learn from mistakes,
So he can't understand why his heart always breaks.
But his honor is pure and his courage as well,
And he's fair and he's true and he's boring as hell-
And he'll go to the grave as an angry old man.

There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
He's always at home with his back to the wall.
And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,
And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.


Seeing Billy Joel tonight... so... yeah...

You have to learn to pace yourself
You're just like everybody else
You've only had to run so far, so good
But you will come to a place
Where the only thing you feel
Are loaded guns in your face
And you'll have to deal with pressure

You used to call me paranoid
But even you can not avoid pressure
You turned the tap dance into your crusade
Now here you are with your faith
And your Peter Pan advice
You have no scars on your face
And you cannot handle pressure

All grown up and no place to go
Psych 1, Psych 2, what do you know?
All your life is Channel 13
Sesame Street, what does it mean?

I'll tell you what it means
Don't ask for help
You're all alone
You'll have to answer
To your own
I'm sure you'll have some cosmic rationale
But here you are in the ninth
Two men out and three men on
Nowhere to look but inside
Where we all respond to pressure

All your life is Time Magazine
I read it too
What does it mean?

I'm sure you'll have some cosmic rationale
But here you are with your faith
And your Peter Pan advice
You have no scars on your face
And you cannot handle pressure
Pressure pressure
One, two, three, four

February 24, 2007

Bill Richardson's petition for diplomacy with Iran

Diplomacy, Not Attacks

Spread it around, round and round the blogosphere. We can't let Hot Shots, Part Deux, happen. Ahmadinejad isn't going to make this easy for our diplomats, either, so we need to be ready to grind this one out over the long haul AND we cannot let this turn into the typical blackmail that we've come to expect from the DPRK. I have faith in an America that has seen enough of the blood running through the streets of Baghdad. I hope they have enough faith in themselves to do the same and support a successful and peaceful resolution to the issue of Iranian nuclear missiles and related technologies.

That said, there is a wide open market for nuclear arms and tech amongst rogue actors and to say that we don't have people in play over in Iran seeking to disrupt stability may be a little naïve... This is a matter worth watching very closely to see if Iran tries to go tit-for-tat.

Speaking of hot shots, Tom Vilsack has dropped out of the 2008 presidential race, apparently making Iowa's caucuses a bit less of a sure bet for Vilsack. Heh.

Scratch the If I Ran Things Around Here installment. :( I need to conduct a little more research before I decide to shoot off the higher education funding post. Eh.


February 21, 2007

Life with Albert

On Monday, Holly and I welcomed Albert into our family.

We adopted Albert from the Athens Animal Rescue. He's a Cocker Spaniel/Golden Retriever mix, weighing in at 32 pounds (per today's visit to the vet's office) and is around two years old. He's in amazingly good health for being a dog that was on the verge of being put down after being found on the side of the road but two weeks ago. Albert is also one of the best-behaved animals I've ever come across. He's very good natured, rarely barks, does not growl, loves to play, always gets excited when we come home, and just is very good-natured.

I've been busy with work (Applebee's) since I got here and until very recently had been feeling under the weather. Tomorrow I have an interview with a bank and I am very excited at the prospect of having a 9-5er. I know I don't have many readers beyond my friends in the NEO blogopolis, but I still apologize for the lack of update recently. I'd fallen behind on the news, so you could color me surprised when I found out from Pho that DJK was the first to get a New Hampshire office open. Apparently he thinks he can win.

Let me check that latest poll. (HT to Redhorse) Quinnipiac has him losing to two non-declared individuals, Al Gore and Wes Clark. Maybe a little too quick on the draw, Dennis?

If I Ran Things Around Here #3 is going to be the next post if it kills me to do it, and given the nature of the subject that I want to tackle, it just may. But until then...


February 7, 2007

Georgia debating raising the minimum wage

As I left a state whose voters had just decided to raise the minimum wage, I came to a state whose legislature was considering such a proposal. Georgia legislators will be considering a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $7.25/hr and $3.60/hr for tipped employees.

From 26 January's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Minimum wage workers in Georgia could see their first pay raise in a decade, under a bill introduced today.

Senate Bill 13 would increase minimum wage in the state from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. The 41-percent jump would occur in two steps, putting $7.25 an hour in workers' paychecks by Jan. 1.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Robert Brown, D-Macon, was assigned to the Insurance and Labor Committee. It's likely to face opposition in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Backers say SB 13 goes further than a federal bill on minimum wage being considered by Congress. Farm workers and home health care aides, for instance, would be covered in the Georgia bill. Tip workers could see their base pay rise from $2.13 an hour to $3.60 an hour.

The bill also includes an inflationary trigger.

The (R)s control the Legislature, so it's going to be tough moving on this one.

A new "If I ran things around here" is forthcoming and keep your eyes peeled to the blogroll, I'll be linking to the websites OR blogs of all declared Democratic candidates for the 2008 elections. If I'm feeling so inclined, I may also add the Republicans.


February 1, 2007

If I ran things around here: #2

Frequently we hear scuttlebutting on the raising of the minimum wage and its adversarial impact on smaller businesses. This criticism of raising the minimum wage seems to be just and valid, as smaller businesses frequently run on smaller profit margins and costs of labor play a tremendous role in determining the cost of the product and services provided by that company. The more expensive that the product or service becomes, the less likely it is consumers will purchase the product if there is a cheaper alternative available, logic seems to dictate. Again, that seems to be a fair argument. This issue becomes a sticky big company vs. small business matter when it is put into a real-world context. Why?

Through economies of scale, as long as sources are maximizing their outputs as efficiently as possible, larger firms will be able to compete better as they are able to defray costs more effectively. Of course, this holds true when ideals are only tested in theory and not in practice. In practice, the result can be similar, but doesn't necessarily hold true. Which brings me back to the main point: costs increase by statute for everyone. Is there a way to defray costs out so that competitive wages for all are possible?

I would propose so, although this idea has its own shortcomings. I would rather see the institution of a maximum income law. For all points and purposes, no person who does not have a serious medical condition which must be treated with the greatest medical care should need to have more than X dollars. What that X sum is, I don't know right now, but for all intents and purposes, it's a substantial sum.

There have been upsets and stirrings in the American public regarding the gross overcompensation of individuals, frequently members sitting on executive boards, CEOs, and other persons of high executive office in large corporations, who receive grotesquely large compensation packages whilst bankrupting a company. (See Enron run. Run Enron, run!) Frequently this money is more than any average American could ever imagine personally having, amounts being in the tens of millions of dollars. Now let us consider the following proposition: Is it just for executives who mismanage a company and get fired to receive amounts of money that most people could ever dream of? It seems to run counter to the idea that the best job done gets the most compensation.

So don't pay it. Or get taxed out of it. There are myriad better ways to expend that money than through hypergratuitous compensation. Because really, what is running a company into the ground worth? If I can come up with an equation and figure out what that maximum income would be, I'll post it. I'm thinking that it's likely around 1.5 million yearly. Possibly less.

But yes: If I ran things around here, no person could make more than $X (where X equals the result of an as-yet undefined equation which I think will yield an X of 1.5 million).

Dick Morris on the future

From Exminer.com:

Morris: Hillary will be ‘worst president we’ve ever seen’

Dick Morris is no fan of Sen. Hillary Clinton, having spent much of the past decade writing and speaking out against her. And he took his always-quotable opinions to the offices of Americans for Tax Reform Wednesday at a breakfast sponsored by The American Spectator.

Dick’s greatest hits:

» Although Barack Obama is an “exciting phenomenon,” he is the equivalent of “political stem cells: You can make him into any tissue you want.”

» “It is in the national interest that, if there is a Democratic president, that it not be Hillary.”

» “The Republican field is like the New York Yankees: They’ve got a pitching rotation of really great names who are 45 years old and who probably won Cy Young Awards when they were younger. But they’ll have a sore arm by the World Series and will end up on the [disabled list]. Republicans need to look to the minor leagues.”

» He laid out the political future: “Hillary will be the next president, and she’ll be the worst president we’ve ever seen.” No matter what happens, the situation in Iraq will “assure that the GOP gets massacred in 2008 congressional elections.” In 2010, the Republicans will take back the Congress — “Hillary will give Republicans the same gift she gave them in 1994” — and they’ll win the presidency in 2012, but thanks to demographic shifts favoring Republicans (namely the rising Hispanic and African-American populations), “that will be the last Republican president we’ll ever see.”

With any luck, Morris will be wrong on one (or two counts.)
A) Hillary will not be President come 2009.
B) IF she is, she will not exceed the SUCK that will have been eight years of George W. Bush.


January 31, 2007

If I ran things around here: #1

I've done a variety of working over the past several years, and, yeah, though I'm still young and pretty naive, I have a couple ideas that I think could make America a better place.

During the summer of 2005, I worked at a gas station (which shall remain nameless) in Brunswick, Ohio. People of all stripes came in, from Gary Kucinich (Dennis' brother who ran in the Dem primary for the 13th Ohio Congressional district) to stoner high school kids wanting to buy blunt wraps for their "tobacco" (or at least that's what they said it was for.) I was informed that McDonald's was always hiring when I didn't immediately authorize a pump (which sent me off to the bathroom in tears - that dude was a jerk and a half) and was twice accused of stealing money from the registers (something that I've always considered myself and have been above doing). One of the things that people on welfare/food stamps can do in the state of Ohio - and likely elsewhere - is purchase cigarettes and junk food. So here it comes: if I ran things around here #1.

If I ran things around here, no one would be allowed to use food stamps to purchase cigarettes, sodas, or junk food. Cigarette smoking and junk food eating (or gorging) create a further drag on an already taxed health-care system and if you're going to waste taxpayer money, you'd best waste it on a Bridge to Nowhere.
By no means am I saying people shouldn't eat 2 bags of Doritos, drink 3 2-liters of Pepsi, or smoke 1 1/2 packs of Camels a day, but what I am saying is that they should be spending their own money on it. What do I think should food stamps and welfare money be spent on? The basic stuff. No, not Basics. Basic food stuffs, like bread, eggs, milk, fruits, vegetables, meats, potatoes. You know, stuff that only clogs you arteries when used in combination.

How would this be accomplished? Well, we can figure out how to tax certain items and not others, we should be able to divvy up what can and cannot be purchased with food stamps. It's not that hard, it's just a matter of getting politicians to do what's right for country as a whole and not small-minded interests for a change.

Well, that actually is pretty hard.

But that's just the first thing on a whole laundry list of matters which I think ail our modern American society.

Next time: If I Ran Things Around Here, #2


Rumors abound!

Was it Hillary's camp who started the Obama madrassah rumors?

Wow. While it is not entirely surprising to me that Clinton's campaign would come out hot and quick on the attack, what is surprising, should this be true, is the nature of the attack. The current climate towards anything ending in "-slim" or "-slam" that isn't Slim Fast or body slam wouldn't and couldn't be described as warm and fuzzy. And Hillary's folk know this, but you'd think they'd be above it this early in the game. IF THIS IS TRUE, I think they view Obama as a tremendous threat and must work quickly to discredit him or otherwise deface his repute.

Buckle up, folks. We've got a long 21+ months ahead of us. (21, right? Er... something.)


Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

Molly Ivins, Texan and writer, has passed away today at age 62.

(Click image for NYTimes article.)

May her soul rest in peace.


January 26, 2007

Snopes debunks claim about Obama

H/T to Donklephant.

Here is the Snopes article.

What can we do when people who are below spinmeisters attack someone like Obama? Fight back with truth. Maybe that's why John Kerry lost. That or he was a heinous candidate.

No more worries about John Kerry, anymore, though.

Speaking of straw polls...

Here's a random find from the Maricopa County, Arizona GOP.

From Sonoran Alliance:

On Saturday, January 13th at the Maricopa County Republican meeting, a straw poll was conducted on the 2008 Presidential candidates and the reasons why the Republican faithful thought we lost the election last November. Here are those results:

458 Ballots cast

First Choice for Presidential Candidate:
1 Hunter 96
2 Romney 82
3 Gingrich 53
4 McCain 50
5 Rice 27
6 Tancredo 24
7 Giuliani 22
8 Brownback 14
9 Huckabee 10
10 Hagel 2
11 Barbour 1
12 Pataki 0
Unacceptable Presidential Candidates:
1 McCain 282
2 Hagel 272
3 Pataki 260
4 Giuliani 213
5 Barbour 113
6 Brownback 108
6 Huckabee 108
7 Rice 91
8 Tancredo 85
9 Gingrich 81
10 Hunter 71
11 Romney 65
Acceptable Presidential Candidates:
1 Rice 269
2 Gingrich 265
3 Romney 239
4 Tancredo 219
5 Barbour 182
6 Brownback 178
7 Huckabee 167
7 Hunter 167
8 Giuliani 157
9 McCain 89
10 Pataki 70
11 Hagel 28
Republicans lost last November because:
Primary Reason Iraq 136
Secondary Reason Spending 115
Tertiary Reason Too Lenient on Immigration 94


It's interesting to note the strong opposition to McCain in this poll. While this, again, is early and it is hardly indicative of Republicans on a national level, it is interesting to note McCain's unpopularity amongst this segment of Arizona Republicans. George Pataki's finishing with 0 first-place votes and a high amount of unacceptability votes also makes known the dislike of the idea of a liberal northeast Republican running for President amongst this segment of the voting public. The same may also be said for Rudy Giuliani, though he did finish with 22 first-place votes.

I find it also interesting to note that Mitt Romney was the least unfavorable amongst this group. Given the "hype" that the media has given him because of his religion, I would have expected his performance in this poll to be much worse. I really think that his religion will become less of an issue and that other Republicans and Democrats can't count on stirring up some pathetic attack on his faith.

Another interesting note: Condi Rice finishes first amongst acceptable candidates, has a low unacceptability factor, and finishes in the middle of the pack overall. If this is a local or a national trend, I don't know, but it's something worth looking at.

(About the Sonoran Alliance, from their about page: We are an Alliance of Political Writers and Activists Dedicated to Promoting Conservative Thought and Principles in the Sonoran Southwest.)


January 25, 2007

The PBD straw poll: Obama wins

Redhorse, over at Psychobilly Democrat, posted the results of a straw poll taken amongst "local" (including bloggers). I use the parentheses with local, as I must disclose that I was a participant in the straw poll and am no longer very local to Northeast Ohio. That being said, there were some interesting results in an admittedly small sample.

I've said it, though not on the blog, and the polling results reflect it: Bill Richardson has the potential to be the Democratic darkhorse in 2008. He's got credentials shooting out the wazoo and he's got appeal, at least to me. Richardson finished fourth in total polling (59 points), finishing just behind Al Gore (60 points).

John Edwards has maintained his recognition amongst the politically knowledgeable, at least in the small NE Ohio smaple, and his populist message may resonate with voters. Edwards came in second (72 points).

Finishing well ahead of anyone is a name that people hear alot, but know very little about. Barack Obama came in first place (91 points). I think, personally, that Obama fever will peter out by the time next year rolls around, but I could be wrong. I mean, I didn't think Dennis Kucinich would be stupid, selfish, or arrogant enough to "run" for President again. Incorrect was I. More remains to be seen from Obama, though.

In a surprising fifth place finish was Hillary Clinton (35 points). Clinton came in second amongst female participants in the straw poll, running behind Obama.

Redhorse also breaks down the blogger distribution, which has Obama and Edwards running slightly closer than in the generic poll, and also has Richardson beating out Al Gore. A sign of things to come?

Probably not, when the baseline has only been established. In the era of instantinfo and YouTubeology, progress (or regress) tends to be swift and unforgiving. We must wait to see who can make the most progress... or least regress.


January 24, 2007

John Kerry finally makes a politically saavy move

Massachusetts Senator and 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry announced today that he would not be seeking the same office he sought in 2004, but rather is focusing on getting re-elected to a fifth term in the Senate and organizing opposition to the war in Iraq.

The NYT article here.

I must applaud Senator Ghoul... err... Kerry, from Taxa... er... Massachusetts for finally understanding that his foot may be too much for his mouth and that his days seeking an office that demands less goofy-lookingness are, once and for all, over. The last thing the Democrats need is an individual whose last public foray was a terribly botched "joke" that further cast him as some sort of aloof Northeast "liberal".

What does this mean? It appears to me the Democratic 2008 nomination race is becoming everyone vs. Hillary campaign. A John Kerry absence from it removes all sorts of levels of distraction.

For once, Senator Kerry, a decision that is right. And for that, I applaud you.


Thoughts on the SOTU

Pretty much as I expected and was covered in the ABP that I posted previously.

Seeing McCain asleep on FNC made my night, though. Drudge had a story of McCain's "two-eye rest" up with a screenshot. I'll have to dig through cache to find it.

Redhorse did a very good recap of it, though. Go. Read it.

Democratic response:

Not many other thoughts for the time being, though.


January 23, 2007

SOTU propaganda from the POTUS' office

Read it before he botches it.

State of the Union: Upset

President Bush will be delivering the State of the Union address tonight.

I don't expect anything surprising, just more justification of the war in Iraq and calls for bipartisanship now that he's dealing with two (D) chambers. No grand plans. Just more of the same nothingness.

Hip hip hooray for non-leaders.

Democratic response? I don't know what it might entail, apart from "I'M against it."

Pardon the mood.


January 22, 2007

Richardson: In

New Mexico governor Bill Richardson has officially announced his candidacy for the 2008 presidential race.

Richardson for President

I was watching Good Morning America (which is feeling more and more like Good Morning Baghdad) and they did not mention Richardson's candidacy, but rather spent their opening segment blathering about something which the whole country has been aware of for more than the greater part of a decade: Hillary Clinton running for President. It bothers me that there's this air of celebrity in politics, because that's what Hillary Clinton is. Hillary Clinton is the Paris Hilton of the political world, less the sex tapes (eww.) Barack Obama is the same: all hype and no one knows shit about what he stands for, just what he (and 95% of all Democrats) stands (or sits) against.

The modern mainstream media stands in diametric opposition of what good media should do: report news and not speculate. Our modern media, in particular the television media, is all in the business of "gotcha" journalism. Just ask Howard Dean about the "scream" and ask anyone who was in the room.


The media make the rules and if you break their rules, they will break you.


January 20, 2007

Hillary 2008, Richardson soon to follow

Adding to the mass chaos which is quickly becoming the race for the Presidency in 2008, Hillary Clinton finally announced her candidacy for President.

Baggage? Yes. But she is a centrist, no matter how the other side would like to paint her.

Also looking to announce this weekend is New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a former member of the Clinton administration.

BTW: since I'm now in Georgia, you'll be finding a new listing of local blogs that I will be adding in my sidebar.


January 11, 2007

By the way...

Don't forget it.

Steve LaTourette (OH-14) does the right thing

My current Congressman, Steve LaTourette (R-14), was one of 8 Republican legislators in the House of Representatives to send President Bush a letter to ask for an end to the lunacy that has become our government's policy on Iraq. From the San Jose Mercury News

In the House, eight Republicans sent Bush a letter warning him that adding troops would make matters in Iraq worse. They said there was no evidence that more American forces could stop the sectarian violence, and that an increase would deepen Iraqi dependence on the United States, reduce the number of American troops poised to respond to other crises around the world and give al-Qaida more recruiting power.

The eight were Reps. Walter B. Jones and Howard Coble of North Carolina, Ron Paul of Texas, Wayne Gilchrest and Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, John Duncan of Tennessee, Phil English of Pennsylvania and Steven LaTourette of Ohio.

From The Plain Dealer's Openers

Congressman Steve LaTourette, a Republican from Lake County, is among the Republican lawmakers against President Bush's proposal to send more troops to Iraq.

In a letter to be sent to Bush but still being circulated for congressional signatures this morning, in advance of Bush's prime-time address tonight, LaTourette and several other Republicans said:

"Dear Mr. President,

"We fully support your consideration of alternatives to the
current U.S. policy in Iraq and eagerly await your announcement of a new
U.S. strategy. We respectively urge you not to include an escalation or
"surge" of U.S. military forces as part of that new strategy."

But LaTourette is the only Ohioan to sign the letter. Other Ohio Republicans are not as certain. Ralph Regula says that he wants to give new U.S. military leaders in Iraq a chance to decide what's best. Those new leaders are Admiral William Fallon, leading the Central Command, and Lt. General David Petraeus, who will lead the forces in Iraq.

While there should be no rush to send more forces, Regula says, that does not mean he's against a surge. "I'm not against a surge. I'm not necessarily for sending 20,000 (troops) next week. I think the president's going to say that this is one of the options available to the two new commanders...once they get the lay of the land."

Look for other Republicans to pose a raft of questions: Where would the troops go? When? Would there be benchmarks to measure the performance of the mission? What will be demanded of Iraq's leadership?

Meantime, LaTourette leaves less room for ambivalence. The letter says:

"As members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have indicated in published reports, even a short-term escalation of the number of U.S. troops in Iraq could create larger problems in the long-term. It would increase Iraqi dependence on our forces, deplete our strategic reserve and force extended tours of duty for soldiers and Marines who are scheduled to return to their families. Hostile militias could respond by simply melting back into society until the surge is ended. The Pentagon has warned that an escalation of our troop levels in Iraq could lead to an increase in al-Qaeda attacks, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeals for foreign fighters to attack U.S. soldiers."

And it concludes, "Mr. President, we applaud your re-assessment of U.S. strategy in Iraq. However, we urge you to reject any recommendation for either a short or long term increase in the number of U.S. troops. We are persuaded by all available evidence that an escalation of U.S. troop levels is not the way forward in Iraq."

UPDATE: The letter has now been sent to the White House, but only eight congressmen, all Republicans, signed it. Along with Walter Jones of North Carolina, who spearheaded it, the signers were John Duncan of Tennessee, Wayne Gilchrist and Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, Phil English of Pennsylvania, Ron Paul of Texas, Howard Coble of North Carolina and LaTourette.

In a statement, LaTourette said, "Like many Americans, I desperately want America to succeed in Iraq and I would welcome a fresh approach. This isn't a fresh approach. This is more of the same."

As much as I am not a fan of Rep. LaTourette, I have to say that what he did was the right thing. He deserves that.

If only it wouldn't fall on deaf ears...


A little information on the move...

As most of you know, I will be moving to Athens, Georgia, on Monday, where it looks like I may be getting my MPA with a focus in Public Policy and (hopefully) minors in Spanish and Arabic.

In the meantime, I've been trying to get to know the area, what it's about, etc.

Athens, Georgia
Georgia Law and Government
Governor Sonny Perdue (R)
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R)
Senator Johnny Isakson (R)
(Warning to the weak of constitution: both of our Senators look like the living dead.)
Congressman Charlie Norwood (R-10)

Hmm... that's an awful lot of (R). Sad. Much work to do.


January 10, 2007

The burdens of freedom

That phrase seems like it should be an oxymoron, but given what context it was in, it seems fitting to be the title of this post. President Bush offered a prime-time offer to a prime-time nation tonight.

20,000 more troops in Iraq to be "embedded with Iraqi forces." 5 brigades are to go to Baghdad alone.

20,000 more troops to get us deeper into a morass. 20,000 more troops to endure a burden of freedom that the American public didn't ask for, but was sold on through false pretenses and outright lies.

He offered good ideas for the Iraqi end of the bargain: the Iraqi government is to appoint a military commander and two deputies. These commanders are to oversee 18 military police units, most of which are to be dedicated to the area around the capital. These units are to be run from local police stations and I think that this is a good idea... it seems like a grassroots effort of sorts. Gain the trust of your fellow countrymen by staying local. However, depending upon sectarian loyalties, it may actually exacerbate the problem.

Bush threw out a statistic that makes sense, but I didn't really realize until he said it: 80% of sectarian violence occurs within thirty miles of Baghdad.

"Millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence."

You said it, Mr. President.

"A democratic Iraq will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them."

This is the logical fallacy that irritates me the most. A democratic Iraq will fight terrorism. What is democracy? Democracy is government by the will of the people. What if a democracy wills to allow terrorists? No, what Bush means is that a government friendly to American policy will "fight terrorists." And so long as that government is friendly towards US policy, Bush (and probably succeeding administrations) will label it as a democracy.

Such are the burdens of freedom.


House votes to raise the minimum wage

People on the lowest rung of the income ladder, not unlike myself, can expect to be getting raise: $7.25/hour.

House Votes To Raise Minimum Wage - from the NY Times.

The Senate needs to concur and its likely that the Senate version of the bill will include tax breaks for small business. I am fully in support of the Senate's effort at including the tax breaks for small business, given that small businesses are those hit hardest by wage increases. Now the question is whether or not the final conference bill will have $7.25/hour and the tax breaks. Of course there's that larger question: Will Bush sign the damned thing?

IF Bush vetoes it, can enough votes be accrued to override the veto?


January 5, 2007

One Hundred Hours

Democratic leaders of the legislature have an opportunity to make good on several campaign pledges.

O, furies, lay your arms at rest.

January 4, 2007