Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wither the Democrats or will the Democrats Weather It

That’s the big question on the upcoming elections. The elections that are just about four weeks away. How much will the Democrats get their collective asses kicked? It seemed over the summer the Republicans were steam rolling their way to controlling the House an in all likelihood the Senate as well.

I’m not so sure that that is still the case. For one thing there are no more primaries for the press to focus on how well the Tea Party candidate is doing. It was a shock that O’Donnell won in Delaware. At least that’s what all the pundits say.

I’m not so sure. Delaware points to what can happen in an election when a very motivated group of people get out and go to the polls. Couple that with low turnout to begin with and you can have the “upsets” that the Tea Party pulled. As I’ve said for many years, the smaller the turn out in elections the easier it is for a candidate out of the main stream to win. The more people participate the harder it is for that extreme candidate to win. There are only so many people in the core constituency that the candidate can call upon. The more people turn out the higher the core needs to turn out. At some point in time there are not enough of them to win the election. That forces the candidate to broaden their positions in order to win more votes.

So it is one thing for the Tea Party candidate to win in a primary but another to win in a general election. Having said that the Democrats are still in a huge mess. The unemployment rate is still incredibly high. And even though economists say the recession is over, the vast majority of people don’t feel that way. People are still loosing their jobs and their houses and they can’t pay their bills and well you get the idea. The party in power when the economy is in the tank is always the party to get the blame for it. One of the main mistakes of the Obama administration was to say they didn’t think the unemployment rate would go much above 8 percent. A huge mistake especially it seems to be stuck at around 9.5 percent.

But one wonders what people are thinking when they want to give the Republicans another shot. After all we are still cleaning up the economic mess from the last time they were in control. And the Republican pledge to America is laughable at best. Seems the same old ideas that the Republicans always come up with. Let’s make every millionaire into a billionaire and that will solve all our problems. We need to rein in entitlements but there are few to any specifics on how to do that.

Obama has also finally got his act together. Pushing back against the Republicans and the pledge. I'd like him to continue to push on this. To show just exactly what the Republicans want to do. Time will tell if it will influence the outcome in November.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Anniversaries and Why I Missed Them

There’ve been a couple of anniversaries this month that I was going to mention but haven’t gotten around to. In part because of all that’s been going on. The trip to New York was part of the reason. Then coming home to several things I had to deal with.

The first one was with my car. First a little of the set up to this story. I got a notice from the DC Department of transportation about work that was going to be done on the street in front of my house. The work was going to be on or around Sept. 15 which just so happens was the day I was going to New York. On my way to the subway the morning I was going to New York I suddenly remembered that notice. I couldn’t remember exactly what it said but I thought it said that the cars needed to be off the street when this procedure was done. So I decided I needed to go back and move the car. And this is where all the fun began but I was not yet aware of it.

I ran home and moved the car to a side street. I use a club on my car to lock the steering wheel. I moved the car and put the club on and left. Well someone how the club moved (actually I think it broke) and it pushed down on the horn. I had a great time in New York. Got home on that Thursday and had a message on my machine. It was from a neighbor that said my car alarm was going off. I thought I don’t have a car alarm. I went out to the car and the horn was on and it had been on essentially from the time I left to the moment I removed the club. I tried to start the car but the battery was dead.

So now I had to deal with the car. Not exactly what I’d planned to do. I’d thought I get some sleep. I called AAA. I won’t go into all the details but I decided to replace the battery but no one seemed to have the model that I needed. Then they gave me a jump so I could move my car off the street. I was told the battery was going to be ordered and I’d have it some time the following week. I checked up on this on Monday. I was given a phone number to call and that they would place the ordered. Called the number twice and I still waiting to hear back. I finally called AAA last Wednesday. The idea was to jump the car and then I’d take it some place and have the battery replaced. It turned out that the guy sent to do the jump ended up replacing the battery.

The second event had to do with the back porches. Five years ago I’d had these enclosed. I have one off my bedroom. It is a great place to go and read the paper on a Sunday morning. Sam loves it. I have a chair out there which has essentially become his chair. Now it’s great to go out there when the weather outside is nice. Over the summer I hardly used it because it was way too hot. I have an air conditioner in the room and even though it is a small space, it takes a long time to cool down. The reason is it gets hours and hours of direct afternoon sun.

Well the weather’s finally changed or at least I thought so and last Monday I decided I’d clean the room up and start using it again. As I was moving the vacuum cleaner into the room I noticed a crack where the wall of the room meets the wall of the house. And you could see light coming through it. I panicked a little (all right more than a little). Thankfully, I still had the number of the contractor who did the work. I called him. He said he’d be out that Wednesday morning.

I had all sorts of disaster scenarios in my mind. Turns out not to be that bad. The structure had only settled. The contractor said it would probably cost between $400-$500. He apologized for that. I said that was a bargain. We then talked about how the hatch to the roof was in this room. It had actually been covered over when the room had been enclosed. In fact I was asked about it at the time if I wanted to keep the hatch of have it covered up. I had thought that this can’t be the only way to get to the roof. As it turned out it was the only way to the roof. So we decided to reclaim the hatch. There were also some work to be done on the downstairs porch. There also going to replace part of the door frame on the door on the first floor porch. Also do some repair of the two brick columns that hold up the porches. They’ll be doing the work this weekend.

And all of this leads up to the anniversaries I missed. The first would be the 4th anniversary of my blog. The other is the 8th anniversary of me moving into my house.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Treat

In honor of the soon to be over baseball season in Washington. Maybe someday the Nationals will play a game in October but it sure won't be this year.

2Political Episode 39

2PP039 - 27 September 2010

2Political Podcast Episode 39 is now available. You can listen to it on the widget on the right side of my blog, or you can go the podcast site, You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode.

Today’s is a special episode, a crossover with The Tim Corrimal Show. After Special Days, we’re joined by Tim Corrimal. We start out continuing the conversation we started on Tim’s show (link below). We talk about how we get past the current sharply divided political discourse, in particular how to advance more liberal and progressive ideas. From there it’s a wide-ranging discussion, and we had a lot of fun. After that, Jason and Arthur are back with comments.

One production note: Arthur had some sound issues: His left channel dropped out a few times. It’s part of a larger problem that Arthur’s working to fix.

Please leave a comment (anyone's welcome—agree or disagree!), or you can ring the 2Political Comment line on 206-350-3982.

Link for this episode:
Red Flannel Festival – Cedar Springs, Michigan, USA
Episode 140 – A Cross Over Show with (this is the first part of the discussion)
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Kalb Report - 50th Anniversary of the Great Debates

This was one of the best Kalb Reports I've been to. Very insightful on the first presidential debate 50 years. Sander Vanocur said they had no idea how important or what a precedent it would set. In fact Vanocur said that the hall was empty about 10 minutes after the debate was over. That's a far cry from what happens today.

Also on hand was Bob Schieffer who is one of my favorite correspondents. He's very open and straight forward on his opinions. And you get the very strong impression that he still gets a great deal of delight from his job. All the panelists were asked what their favorite moment was in all of the debates. Schieffer said it was when he was asked to moderate one of them.

Just a truly wondering and informative evening.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Progressive Automotive X PRIZE

I needed to stretch my legs after I got off the bus from the trip back to New York. I saw this on the bus ride in and since it was close to where the bus dropped me off I decided to take a look. It was very interesting.

Here's some more information on the ceremony:

A team lead by Charlottesville developer Oliver Kuttner has won an international competition sponsored by Progressive Auto Insurance and the U.S. Department of Energy to build a car that can go 100 miles on a gallon of gasoline.

At a ceremony outside the Historical Society of Washington, and addressed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), Kuttner's team, Edison2, was awarded the largest chunk of the $10 million purse offered by the X Prize Foundation, which created the competition. Edison2 won with its race car-inspired Very Light Car, which achieved 102.5 miles per gallon using lightweight materials, aerodynamic design and a combustion engine. It beat out vehicles that relied on batteries, which are heavier -- and thus create more drag -- more expensive, and dependent on electricity generated by greenhouse gas-emitting power plants.

I didn't know Nancy Pelosi was going to be there or might have stayed to see her and the awards ceremony. But then again I'd been up for almost a day so I probably would have gone home anyway.

Here's more on the award:

Two other car makers will split $2.5 million each: Mooresville, N.C.-based Li-Ion Motors Corp., which made the Wave2, a two-seat electric car that gets 187 miles on a charge, and X-Tracer Team of Winterthur, Switzerland, whose motorcycle-like electric mini-car, the E-Tracer 7009, gets 205 miles on a charge. Both of those companies are taking orders for their cars. X-Tracer Team says the electric E-Tracer will be available to U.S. consumers next year.

The X Prize, which is funded by Progressive Insurance, gave 111 teams 30 months to develop their vehicles and then put them through driving, safety and efficiency tests.

And this one of the reason I love living in Washington because you never know what you'll run into.

Electric RaceAbout

I like this one a great deal too. It seems there were sort of two types of designs. Ones that looked like a car you would see on the road right now. The other designs looking very much like a concept car.

Amp Electric Vehicles - amp'd Sky

This one is just so cool. One very sharp car.

Aptera Motors - Aptera 2e

This one has amazing gas mileage. But I can't see this as being all that practical. There's not all that much luggage space. Then again it's getting something like 179 miles per gallon equivalent.

Zap Alias Car

I could actually see people driving this one around.

Friday, September 17, 2010

2Political Episode 38

2PP038 - 15 September 2010

2Political Podcast Episode 38 is now available. You can listen to it on the widget on the right side of my blog, or you can go the podcast site, You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode.

After Special Days, we start out talking about the crazy nutcase from Florida. This leads to a wider discussion of when to call out the nutjobs, and when to ignore them. Jason talks a bit about the DC primary, then Arthur even talks about the elections for the new Auckland. We have voicemail messages today!

Please leave a comment (anyone's welcome—agree or disagree!), or you can ring the 2Political Comment line on 206-350-3982.

Links for this episode:
The Internet: Enabling Pastor Terry Jones and crazies everywhere
Jason’s Blog
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Final Look at Times Square

A final look at Times Square. Another incredible dash up to New York for a couple of shows and a couple of great meals. The only glitch in the trip was that the 1:15 am bus didn't leave until 3:30. But that can't away from how great the trip was!

The Stars of A Little Night Music

We had to wait a little while but we were in luck just about everyone came out. I got everyone's autograph except Bradley Dean.

Bradley Dean who plays Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm.

Ramona Mallory who plays Anne Egerman.

Alexander Hanson who plays Fredrik Egerman

Hunter Ryan Herdlicka who plays Henrik Egerman. Follow this link for a look at Hunter's behind the scene pictures of a day at A Little Night Music.

Bernadette Peters who plays Desiree Armfeldt

Walking Around Times Square

After Poptart World, we walked around Times Square some more. We happened to be waling by the theater where Mamma Mia was playing. The doors to the theater were open and we listened to the end of Dancing Queen and then Waterloo which are the two final songs in the show.

Then we decided to go back to the theater where A Little Night Music was playing to see if we could get autographs and some pictures.

Almost Made It to Poptart World

After the play we walked around a little. We found Poptart World but unfortunately it was closed.

Me, Myself & I

This was a great play. Here's a sense of what it is about:

The plot, if you can describe this absurdist family saga in terms of a beginning, middle and end, begins with OTTO, the one who's basically the evil twin, addressing the audience and announcing his need to separate himself from otto. This is distressing news for otto, who feels his identity threatened by his brother's wanting no part of him (though that does not prevent OTTO from occasionally taking advantage of the fact that even otto's girlfriend can't tell them apart).

Very well done. Very funny. And Elizabeth Ashley and Brian Murray play their parts to the hilt. It was a great.

Bryant Park

In our search for the theater with Me, Myself a & I, we got a little turned around. But it ended up working out very nicely. We ended up near Bryant Park. It was very pretty.

Once we figured out where we needed to go we headed back that way. As we did we spotted fireworks being shot from Macy's. We never did find out why but they were spectacular.