Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mini-ice storm

There was another ice storm in Springfield about two weeks ago.

Not nearly as bad as the one last year. You can go here to read about it and see pictures.

But it was enough to cause a mess as you can see from these pictures that my dad sent me.

My dad is hoping the tree guy will come tomorrow and take care of this. He cut some of the limbs off today but left the rest.

My dad had just upgrade to HD from DirecTV like a day or two before the storm hit. Here's what the two receivers on the top of his house looked like. For a solid day he had no picture on either TV set. Slowly as the ice thawed the picture returned. The last channels to come back were the local ones. He does really enjoy HD now.

How the Republicans will attack Obama?

We got a preview of how some Republicans will be attacking Obama if he should end up being the Democratic nominee. Here's the article from the Post.

I guess the idea is to repeat Obama's middle name which happens to be Hussein and somehow make people think he is a Muslim and a terrorists. I suggest watching the video to get an idea of how rabid this Bill Cunningham, the guy who made the remarks and also introduced McCain at this rally, is. He attacks Clinton with as much gusto.

Here's a little of what he said:

Cunningham then mocked foreign policy statements of "Barack Hussein Obama," calling him the "fraud from Chicago" and saying that if Obama were to be elected president he would meet with the leaders of enemy nations. He continued by saying the "world leaders who want to kill us" will be "singing 'Kumbaya' together around the table with Barack Obama."

It's so good to see that the Karl Rove play book is up and running and it's only February.

I will say to McCain's credit he repudiated the remarks Cunningham made about both Clinton and Obama. It is just sad to me that this is the type of crap we are going to be getting for the next nine months. Hopefully this time around the American public will see for what it really is crap.

Cough, Cough and Cough some more

Yes, I'm doing a great deal of coughing these days and I'm not even having a physical.

I'm still getting over the cold/flu/chest cold/sinus thing I have a few weeks ago. I think what is causing me to cough his post nasal drip. It seems to me to be more like post nasal waterfall. Without going into too much detail everything is clear. I've been taking a half does of cold medication. That helps with the post nasal problem but it really drys out my sinuses almost to the point where it hurts to breath in.

I will say that that small amount of discomfort is better then what I was suffering with the cough. I'd come home from work and my throat would hurt. My chest was very tight and I'd usually have a headache.

I'm going to the doctor on Monday and I hope he can give me some ideas on how to knock this thing out once and for all.

On a much brighter note 4 weeks from today I'll be in New York getting ready to take off for London. I can hardly wait!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nyuk, Nyuk

Anyone recognize the above?

How about: A wiseguy, huh?

These two sayings would of course be from the Three Stooges. I bring this up in part because my brother is a huge fan. But also because of a story that ran in today's Post. There is a Three Stooges Museum called Stoogeum. Here's a link to a story from the local paper in the area.

The Stoogeum is:

the only museum in this galaxy devoted entirely to the history, lore, comedy and worship of a slapstick act that has shown remarkable staying power in a pop culture that has pretty well lost the very notion of a comedy team.

The article goes on to say:

With touch-screen videos, an 85-seat theater playing a loop of dozens of Stooges shorts and throwback artifacts such as a 1980s, Pac-Man-era video game based on the Stooges and the 1960s Stooges lunchboxes that I remember kids toting to school in second grade, the museum traces the comedy team from its 1920s vaudeville roots to TV appearances into the '70s.

So here's to the Three Stooges may the live on forever. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!

We're all finished then

I like how people come into my office at work to announce we're all finished with a project. The fact of the matter is the pronoun needs to changes to you're all finished. I still have several hours of work yet to do on it for it to get ready to go out the door.

I especially love when people make this announcement when the project is a week late. Yes, indeed you are done with the project. I still have more to do on it and every minute I spend doing your project is a minute I have to make up on the other work I need to do.

So to lighten the mood a little some Peanuts:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Rules Apply to Everyone but Me

No, I'm not talking about me in particular. I'm talking about people who think that way. You know these types you can tell by the way they act.

Here's a story about one such person. This happened near my office.

I need to do a little set up first. The district has traffic control officers. Their job is to as you might have guessed it is to direct traffic. The idea is to prevent intersections from getting blocked and producing gridlock. You seem them at rush hour. And you know what they actually do prevent gridlock. Just goes to show that if you follow the rules, it really does make a difference.

Now on to my story. The street near my office is one way. It has three lanes for traffic and a lane for parking on each side of the street. Now the actually lanes of traffic are set up this way. The far left lane is a left turn only lane. The next lane to the right you are allowed to turn left or go straight. The far right lane you can go straight. (You can't make a right hand turn because you'd be turning the wrong way on a one-way street.) One finally thing to add is that there is a left turn arrow and you are only allowed to turn left when you have that arrow.

This is the scene I come upon. There is a women in the far left hand lane. She has started her left hand turn and is into the cross walk. The left turn arrow is red. The traffic control officer has signaled for this women to stop. The left turn arrow turns green but there are people still crossing the street. The women making the left turn decides since she has the light she'll make the turn even if she turns in front of pedestrians. The traffic control officer puts up her hand for the women to stop. The women decides she doesn't need to obey the officer and comes close to hitting a pedestrian. And the reason the women in the car did this was she didn't want to miss out on a parking place.

I have to say this is one of the times I'd like to have had a policeman present so this women would have gotten a ticket.

Oh and kicker when the women got out of her car she bitched at the traffic officer.

I guess we should have all realized that the rules don't apply to her.

Monday, February 25, 2008

One more post about Once

One more little note about Once winning best song. This comes from a story at USA Today:

As best-original-song winners Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova were escorted down the usual route to the press room in the adjacent Renaissance Hotel, they were taken on a detour to an isolated spot in the wings of stage left where host Jon Stewart waits when he's not onstage.

Stewart greeted them with unprecedented news: When the show returned from a commercial, Irglova would get a second chance at the mike. As Stewart explained to her, "They were going to let you say something and (the orchestra) cut you off by mistake." He turned to Hansard, "I wanted to let Marketa say her thanks."

As they waited for the telecast to resume, Hansard leaned over and held his Oscar near Irglova's. "Mar, let's make 'em kiss." She laughed and said, "They are two guys." "But it's Hollywood," Hansard joked.

After Irglova gave a heartfelt speech, Stewart's next joke was a verbatim repetition of the kissing exchange he had just heard.

So Stewart gave her another shot at the stage and Irglova gave him a brand-new joke.

Falling Slowly from Once

Ok, I really like this movie. I'm so glad Once got some recognition which it very much deserves. I strongly recommend that you rent his movie. You won't be disappointed. Here's Falling Slowly from the movie Once:

Great Night at the Oscars

I have to say I didn't watch all that much of it. But it was great to see Falling Slowly performed.

But it was even better when they won for best song:

Friday, February 22, 2008


Every once in a while you run across something or something comes your way that really sums up how you feel about an issue. This is a piece my brother sent to me that appeared in the local newspaper in Springfield. Follow the link for the whole piece. The piece was in a section called Voice of the Day. I think this puts Waterboarding in its proper perspective:

The point I'm trying to make is that waterboarding is torture, and extreme torture at that. And all that's really necessary in order to convince the doubting Thomases of that inconvertible truth is to simply subject all of them to this torture by water. Since the U.S. government spent thousands of my very own tax dollars teaching me this technique, I will happily return the favor by personally volunteering to vigorously waterboard each and every draft-dodging, right-wing chickenhawk in Washington, D.C. And after I strap them down, blindfold them, wrap their heads in cloth and pour water up their noses and down their throats until they nearly drown and beg for mercy, then — and only then — will they be allowed to vote on whether or not waterboarding is torture.

Yes, I think that sums it up very nicely indeed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Personal Training Day

If it's Tuesday, besides there being another primary somewhere, it also means another session with my personal trainer. Today we did boxing. I must admit a rather unusual session but one that gave me a very good work out. At the end of of it my arms were very tired, I'd gotten a good aerobic workout and I knew how to box if just a little.

It was fun. Considering how the rest of the day went it was nice to have a bright spot for part of the day.

I think I'm making fairly good progress. I think the trainer is very good. We never do the same set of exercises twice in a row which is very good. It does mean by the end of the day my muscles are sore but that's what I'm paying for. The thing I need to get better at is my aerobic exercise. If I can ever shake this cold/cough I'll be back on the stationary bike and hopefully taking a spinning class very soon.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Slowly on the Mend

Well ever so slowly I'm getting better. The phlegm factor is much less than it once was. Food now tastes like food. Pizza tastes like pizza instead of phlegm with a pizza taste. I could go on but I think you get the drift. I even went and worked out yesterday. That went pretty well. I was going to do some stuff today but I'm just tired today.

I ended staying up late last night because I slept for three hours in the afternoon. Unfortunately I did the exact same thing today. I'm hoping to be able to get to bed at an early time tonight so I'm ready for another week at work.

I want to get into work early because I have another training session at 9am. I have to say I'm very please with the way the sessions are going. I'm learning a great deal. I've picked up a couple of things the trainer suggested which will help me stretch my hamstrings which he says are very tight. I did that on Sunday after I worked out. I ended up going to the Sports Authority at Potomac Yards near national airport.

Tonight I'm hoping to do some work on the trip. My friend Larry sent me a great link about London. Well actually it is about travel in general. You pick out the destination you're going to say London and the number of days you are going to there. It then generates a huge lists of possible attractions. You go through the list and pick out the places you'd like to go. It then generates a day by day list of what you should see. I'm going to take a look at that tonight. I think it is a good first step. This week I'm planning on getting the theater tickets I know I want before I go. One more thing out of the way.

Once's Oscar Nod

I mentioned Once, this great film, in an earlier post.

I didn't realize that one of the songs is up for original song at the Oscar. Also the stars of the movie will be singing it on the show. There was a story about them in the Sunday Post.

From the story:

The couple are camped out in Hollywood, having just hit the Grammys (two nominations, zero wins), with another, more significant awards-season date looming: Next Sunday, they'll perform their nominated song, "Falling Slowly," on the Oscars.

Which is strangely hilarious, Hansard says, because "when we finished shooting that scene" -- the one at the music store, where his nameless character ("a Guy") teaches Irglov¿'s nameless character ("a Girl") the song on the piano -- the director, Carney, said: " 'And Oscar for Best Song goes to "Falling Slowly." ' Which we all laughed about. How absurd!"

Says Irglov¿: "He was just trying to express how great it was. But it's pretty funny now."

Guess there's a reason to watch the awards this year. It would be really great if they won.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It's Not Torture, 'Cause We Say So

This is just an incredible story from the Post on how the Bush Administration does not use torture.

Here's a little from the story:

In testimony before a House subcommittee, Steven G. Bradbury, the acting chief of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, spelled out how the administration regulated the CIA's use of rough tactics and offered new details of how simulated drowning was used to compel disclosures by prisoners suspected of being al-Qaeda members.

The method was not, he said, like the "water torture" used during the Spanish Inquisition and by autocratic governments into the 20th century, but was subject to "strict time limits, safeguards, restrictions." He added, "The only thing in common is, I think, the use of water."

Yeah that's the thing to take away from that. Because we are such a great democratic state that doesn't torture because we simulate drowning people with strict time limits that makes it ok.

I have to say the more that comes out about what was done the more reprehensible it becomes. The lengths that members of this administration go to try and "prove" the U.S. does not torture only makes the government look worse and worse. I wonder how we'll react when someone uses a similar technique against American soldiers. I'd like to see an administration official justify it then.

Rules of the Road

I've been out driving some these past fews days. I noticed all sorts of interesting driving.

I don't exactly understand why people run the stop sign right near my house. Especially when the light the next block down is red. Why bother? I can understand why people would run the stop light if the light at the next block is green. The green light is very short and you have to sit at the red light for a very long time.

I don't exactly understand why on a one way street someone moves their car off to the left. Let me clarify that a little on two occasions recently someone was waiting for a parking place. So they move off to the left but all there really move is the front of the car off to the left. The back of the car is sticking out in the lane. And in fact by moving the front of the car off to the left the back of the car is sticking out even more into the other lane. In once case an SUV barely got around.

I don't exactly understand why people slow down coming almost to a stop and then put on their turn signal. Seems to me you could do that before the slowing down part.

I don't exactly understand why people think it is correct to make a right hand turn from the far left hand land and then be surprised when other drivers get upset at this.

One last thing is directed at pedestrians. If you are going to jaywalk get your behind across the street don't talk with the person next to you or blab on your cell phone. Get across the street. Or if you're not getting across the street don't be startled when you are almost hit by a car.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The disaster that is FEMA

Remember the promise by President Bush that we would never forget the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Yeah I thought not neither did he.

This story from the Post about the trailers used to house people. The trailers are unsafe:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fumes from 519 tested trailers and mobile homes in Louisiana and Mississippi were, on average, about five times what people are exposed to in most modern homes. Formaldehyde, a preservative commonly used in construction materials, can lead to breathing problems and is also believed to cause cancer.
FEMA has know about this problem for months. It told its people not to test the trailers. It said for a long time that they were safe. It discounted reports as early as 2006 of : trailer occupants began reporting headaches, nosebleeds and difficulty breathing. The article goes on further to say:

But as recently as last spring, a FEMA spokesman said the agency said no reason to question the safety of its trailers. Just last month, congressional investigators accused FEMA of suppressing and manipulating scientific research to play down the danger _ an accusation the agency denied.

To say this is hard to believe is an understatement The Secretary of Homeland security goes on to blames the people who are in the trailers saying: but it has been difficult to get them to do so because the housing shortage means they might have to move far away, and because they are being allowed to live in the trailers rent-free.

Gee I don't know maybe it is the responsibility of the government to make sure these people are helped out. They were promised by the President that they would not be forgotten and everything possible would be done for them. But then again this promise came from the Bush Administration and we've seen how good their promises are.

As I've said before January 2009 can't come soon enough.

Potomac Primaries, results

McCain and Obama won big on Tuesday. There is no question about that.

McCain is lucky that the way the Republicans set things up is winner take all. McCain still has problems with conservatives. At least that's what we are told over and over and over again by the media. Although in the end he did get 50% of the vote in Virginia. So far McCain has 843 of the 1,191 delegates needed to win the nomination. He will be the nominee and all those conservative talk show hosts will have to get used to that. As you can tell I'm not particularly upset by the fact that Rush and Anne and Laura are all having melt downs over McCain. The longer it can go one the better. The more McCain will look like the far right candidate he really is.

As for the Democrats, Clinton has to be thankful that the system for the Democrats is proportional representation. Obama is ahead of Clinton by roughly 55 delegates that is according to the the Washington Post. The question has to be can Clinton make up the difference. Texas and Ohio are states that should be strong for her. They have her demographics. Although Obama turned that on its head with his wins on Tuesday. The question that now needs to asked is can Clinton win by a large enough margin to close the delegate gap. Only time will tell on that one.

Odds and Ends

And now for something completely different. Here's a story about how the lyrics in one of the songs in Spamalot have been changed. Here's the relevant paragraph from the story:

"Because we don't laugh at sad people. Mike Nichols (the show's director) requested it and he's right. We changed the lyrics in London, on tour, on Broadway and in Las Vegas. We think that it's now too sad. Britney Spears is being tortured to death and we don't want to be on that side."

I don't think the new lyrics will work as well but I guess the only way to find out is to see the show again.


I finally joined Netflix and I really like it. I think I'll be watching many films that I wanted to see in the theater but never got around to. One I particularly like is a film called Once. This is the review I posted:

What an incredible film. I guess this is what Hollywood would call a small film. But there is nothing small about it at all. It tells the story of two strangers whose lives cross for a very brief time. And how meeting changes their lives. The ending is bitter-sweet but somehow you know that each person has come out the better for knowing the other. The songs are an integral part of the story and in many ways serves as a back ground story on each of the major characters. The songs are also fantastic. This is one very enjoyable movie!

Some of the stuff I will be getting will be well for lack of a better phrase junk but you can justify it by saying your paying $9 a month to rent films as opposed to about that much just to see one film.

The bruise on my butt from the fall I took yesterday is developing nicely. It is just so many nice colors. Thankfully it doesn't hurt all that much. I have to count myself lucky. I only fell on my ass one of friends fell and broke his wrist. I don't have all the details yet because he called me late last night and I'd been asleep but it doesn't sound like it was fun.

Sam is certainly enjoying the fact that I'm home. As I said I opened the front blinds and he was able to sit in the sun for most of the morning. Now he wants to g outside but that's not going to happen. Yesterday afternoon I was upstairs napping and Sam let out a great yowl. I figured he wanted to go outside. I was in no shape or mood to comply. However, when I came downstairs, I found that his food dish was empty. He was just asking for it to be filled up.

I haven't done much more planning on the trip mostly because I haven't felt well. This weekend I plan on spending an evening going through my guides and writing down all the places I'd like to go. Then see where they all are and start grouping them together in some sort of an itinerary. More on how this develops.

Sam enjoys the sun

At least someone gets to enjoy something about me being home sick. I pulled up the blinds in the living room and Sam has taken full advantage of it.

I'm a bad patient, Part II

So as I've said I have this cold from hell which is slowly receding into my chest. I'd hoped to stay home from work yesterday and just rest. I got a call around 7:30 from a co-worker who'd said she could not get out of her subdivision. There had been a small ice storm the night before. No one had gotten to her block to clear it. She would again but didn't know when or if she would be able to get out.

One of her publications was going to print yesterday. I also had something I really needed to get done so I decided to go in to work. I figured I do my project and get hers done and then head home. I stepped out on to my front porch and walked down the stairs and promptly landed on my ass. I did not take this particularly well. A very loud four letter word came out of my mouth. I finally hobbled down the stairs. I had two other near misses on the way to the subway.

Needless to say by the time I got to work I was not in a good mood. I also felt like crap. I don't work very well when I feel like crap. I get rather whiny. I announced that I was doing these two projects and then going home. I figured/hoped I'd be out before noon.

I was lucky and did get out before noon. I went home. I was very careful on the steps but all the ice had since melted. I went inside took some aspirin and headed out to the grocery store. I got a shopping cart and leaned on it the whole time I was shopping that's how wiped out I was. I did get the shopping done although it seemed like it took forever. I got home and collapsed.

Today I'm staying home. I hope to be better enough by tomorrow to go back to work. Although it might not be for the whole day.

I'm a bad patient

I have a bad cold. Well not so much a cold any more. It's now in my chest. I'm coughing up all sorts of lovely stuff.

As I said I am a bad patient. This is especially true when it comes to having colds. I hate to be stuffed up. I feel like I'm drowning. I also hate when I cough up stuff from my chest. I know this comes from all the fun I had just about 25 years ago. I would nearly double over from coughing and cough up some nice green stuff sometimes with blood.

I was treated several times for what was thought to be a standard chest cold/bronchitis. Then I got sent to a specialist. I then had a long series of test done on me. Four or five. It was one about every 10 days or so. At the end of the test someone would so "oh this is what's wrong with you." I would then go back to my doctor and he'd say yes "but that doesn't explain all of your symptoms."

One of my favorite tests was the gallium scan. This is where you are injected with a radioactive isotope (gallium). You then get to drink half a cup of milk of magnesia to clean you out. Oh my that was fun. I had to have the test a second time. I asked the guy if I could just not eat for a couple of days. He didn't really like that idea so much until I said have you every tired to drink half a cup of milk of magnesia. He said no. I got to not eat for 48 hours. It was well worth it.

Finally, it was decided that a lobe of lung had to be removed. I was actually relieved. I thought this will finally end all my problems and I would no longer be poked and prodded (I find out I have really great veins in my arm for taking blood). But I continued to have problems and had to be on all sorts of pills for months on end. My condition was written up in a medical journal. Believe me I would have gladly forgone the honor.

At the end of the everything, my doctor said to me since we don't know what caused this it is possible it may come back. Thankfully for 25 years it has not. But every time I get a could and it goes to my chest I start to think . . .

And that's why I'm a bad patient.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Potomac Primaries II

I had a hard time deciding who to vote. Such a great choice Huckabee or McCain. These two guys just so reflect my values in life. You know let's invade any country we don't like, let's make the rich as rich as possible. Oh wait those are things I'm not for.

I did have a hard time deciding who to vote for. In the end I picked Clinton. It's not that I dislike Obama in any way but I have some questions on what "change" he is talking about. I also think in the general election Clinton will be a more formidable opponent to McCain then Obama would be.

I know in all likelihood Obama will win all three primaries tonight. I know for sure he will win in the District but I wanted to vote for who I thought was best and that's what I did.

I will add what an incredible choice. On the Republican side you have old white guys (and in McCain's case a really old white guy). On the Democrats a choice between a woman and an African-American. IF that's not progress I don't know what is. So tonight no matter what happens this one very happy Democrat.

The Potomac Primaries I

I voted today as part of the Potomac Primaries.

Every time I vote I am reminded of my first clear memory of voting. I wasn't the one who was voting my mom was. It was 1968. I went with my mom to the local saving and loan which was our polling place.

I remember very clearly an older man (I was nine at the time so this guy seemed really really old and in retrospect he probably was really really old). One of the poll workers was helping him vote. He said in a very loud voice I want to vote for George C. Wallace for president. He said it several times.

My mom made some sort of comment on that I'm not exactly sure what but something to the effect of it takes all kinds. My mom of course was a tried and true Democrat. She was voting for Humphrey.

So every time I step into a polling place I think of that day 40 years ago and my first real memory of voting.

Monday, February 11, 2008

In for the long haul

Word comes today the Secretary of Defense Gates in favor of a suspension of the draw down of troops in Iraq.

The notion put forth by the administration that there would be a greater reduction of troops beyond those involved in the surge is now over. This should not come as any surprise. This had been standard operating procedure of the Bush Administration since the beginning of the was. Always the promise of a reduction in troops but somehow it just never happen.

Gates told reporters traveling with him in Baghdad that he was leaning toward recommending "a brief period of consolidation and evaluation" before further reducing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, according to a Defense Department release.

Estimates of how long such a pause would last have varied from 30 to 90 days. The amount of time needed to withdraw a brigade -- as many as 75 days -- would effectively mean that troop levels would remain steady from late summer until the end of President Bush's term in January 2009.
It means there will be 130,000 or so troops in Iraq at the end of Bush's term. The exact same number that were there over a year ago. One can only hope that the next president will bring the rest of them home as quickly as possible.

Tom Lantos passes

A great American passes. The following link takes you to the Post story on Tom Lantos. A couple of quotes from the story:

During the Nazi occupation of his homeland [Hungary], he twice escaped from a forced labor camp in Szob, north of the capital. The second time, he found safety in a Budapest apartment rented by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.

Donning a military cadet uniform, Lantos used his Aryan appearance -- light hair and blue eyes -- to deliver food and other supplies to Jews in other safe houses Wallenberg had rented.

In November 2007, Lantos sharply rebuked executives of Yahoo Inc., the Internet company, for complying with Beijing authorities in identifying a Chinese journalist and Yahoo account holder. The journalist, whose pro-democracy efforts were considered subversive, received a 10-year prison term.

“While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies,” Lantos told the Yahoo officials.

I worked at a video store on Capital Hill in the early 90s. Lantos and his wife would often come in to rent movies. He was a very charming and friendly person.

Tom Lantos is an American success story. He lead an incredible life. In a time of division between Republicans and Democrats he worked to bridge that divide. He had an incredible set of principles that he never compromised on. He will be sorely missed.

Cute Picture

Here's a cute picture that Jennifer sent me.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Another Podcast

Here's another political podcast that I participated in (say that three times fast). Here's the show notes that my friend Arthur posted:

I've posted a new episode of my podcast: AmeriNZ 70 - Political clarity

Archerr and Jason again join me for a political chat as we try and bring a little clarity to recent events. Mitt Romney has suspended his campaign: What does that means for the McCain and the Republicans? Super Tuesday produced no clear winner for Democrats, but does that mean that we’re heading for a brokered convention? Pundits and spin: There was plenty of that on the Super Tuesday coverage. Who might be the vice presidential candidates for the two parties? All that and plenty of opinion, too.

I think it turned out very well but then again I always think that. Enjoy.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Good Riddance

I have to say I've never thought much of Mitt Romney. He launched his campaign by bashing the people of the state of Massachusetts. He ended his campaign with this statement:

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win," he said. "And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

I thought my opinion of him couldn't get much lower but after reading this it did. Good riddance.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Romney Leaves the race

As I said in the previous post the surprise was on Romney. Two days after Super Tuesday he is out of the race. This story is from USA Today and this from the Post.

I have to say I'm glad to see him go. I really did not like him at all.

Super Tuesday Reflections

Super Tuesday Reflections

A great column from Howard Kurtz on this subject.

Here are some thoughts on the results of Super Tuesday and the coverage.

First the coverage. I’ll preference my remarks by saying I watched coverage on ABC, CNN and MSNBC. I thought in general coverage was horrible and incredibly biased.

For the Democrats Clinton had only weaknesses and no strengths. Obama had only strengths and no weaknesses.

Clinton’s wins were only in the bluest of blue states which the Democrats will win the fall. But what is left out here is how Clinton won in those states. She won with older voters and blue collar votes. At one point in time those blue collar voters were called Reagan Democrats. Obama needs to improve his numbers with these group or the Republicans will take these states in the fall like say Michigan and Ohio. Also Clinton won in those bluest of blue states Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Now for Obama he won in red states. Here’s how some of those states voted:

North Dakota less than 20,000 people voted
Idaho just about 20,000 people voted
Kansas just about 40,000 people voted.

The question has to be asked does anyone think if Obama ends up being the nominee he has a snow balls chance in hell in any of these states. What this showed was how strong his organization in winning these states. It did not show that he has a chance of winning them in the fall.

Another thing was that Clinton is doing very poorly with African-Americans. That cannot be disputed. There was talk among the punditry about how Clinton has to do better with this group. Also if she is the nominee how will she reach out to the black community and bring them back into the Democratic fold. These are all valid questions.

However, as badly as Clinton is doing among African-Americans, Obama is doing just as badly among Hispanics yet that is hardly mentioned. Clinton got over 60% of the Hispanic vote in California. Hispanics make up 14.8 percent of the population of the country; African-Americans are 13.4 percent of the population. Both are important groups that the Democrats need to win in order to succeed in November. Yet as I said Clinton is the one with the problem not Obama.

Also when announcing Clinton wins there also seemed to say “well that was a state she really needed to win because she would have been embarrassed if she lost.” Yet the take on the race in California was Obama was really gaining ground. There was the possibility that Clinton could loose there. In the end she won by 10% points. Now why wasn’t that embarrassing to the Obama campaign.

The final point on the Democrats I’d like to make is the results in Massachusetts. After all the press on the Kennedy endorsement, which I believe was the first or second story on the network newscast, which took up the front page of the Washington Post, which was viewed as the passing of the torch a crowning of a new generation, Clinton beats Obama by 15%. And the coverage on Tuesday barely a mention.

Now on the Republican side. The mantra was McCain is not closing the deal. He’s not winning over conservatives. This is based on the fact that the knuckle walkers who are on talk radio don’t like McCain so the media extrapolates that all conservatives don’t like him. And who did the talk show nuts support Mitt Romney. And the promised big surprise was on Romney not about Romney. Huckabee was the big surprise. He did very well in the south. In those deep south states who was in second that would be McCain not Romney. I have to say I really like Huckabee’s take on conservatives not supporting McCain he says people need to switch to decafe.

Also the assumption that if Huckabee was not in the race most of his supporters would vote for Romney. CNN exit poll data showed that the majority of Huckabee voters second choice was McCain. That was mentioned just once and never again because it didn’t fit in with the story line for the night.

Here’s a great piece on the hurdles faced on both sides.

As to the actual results. Well Clinton and Obama are essential tied. The contest will go on. It means the Potomac Primary next week will be important. It means my vote will actually matter for a change. The problems is I’m not sure who I’ll vote for.

For the Republicans McCain is practically unstoppable. This means the conservatives in the party are having fits. Hope they continue to have them for a long time.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday Part III

A quick little note on how annoying the coverage can be. CNN project McCain as winning in Oklahoma. It was a "modified" winner take all state. This "modified" winner take all was said several times by Wolf Blitzer but he never bothered to explain what that meant. It seems to me that people would like to know exactly what that means.

Over on CNBC their talking heads (mostly conservatives by the way) were saying how McCain wasn't closing the deal with conservatives. Yet McCain wins in Oklahoma. He's in a tight race with Huckabee in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. If he wasn't closing the deal with conservatives how is is fighting to win in those three states.

Here's a funny story form the Post on how the right wing talk radio hosts are so upset at the prospect of having McCain as the Republican nominee. Here's a quote from the article by the biggest blow hard of them all Rush Limbaugh:

Limbaugh, declaring that a McCain nomination would "destroy the Republican Party," said: "I can see possibly not voting for the Republican nominee."

Oh if we could only be so lucky.

Super Tuesday Part II

Well things are pretty well split between Clinton and Obama. It is sort of interesting that Clinton was just projected to win in Massachusetts. The Obama camp must be a little disappointed with that. Here's a big surprise Clinton will win New York.

On the Republican side McCain is doing very well. He's won Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey and Arizona. He's also ahead in some places that I'm rather surprised at. He leads in Tennessee and Alabama. So far the only state Romney's won is Massachusetts. He might do well in California where he was closing on McCain but I don't think that's going to make up for the wins McCain has just about everywhere else. And where McCain isn't winning Huckabee is. Maybe Romney will be gone by tomorrow. That would be a really great thing to have happen.

I think the networks are doing a poor job of keeping people up to date on where the candidates are on the delegate count. This is especially true on the Democratic side where there is this proportional representation rule.

Tuesday Treat

Super Tuesday Starts

Well, it has started. On the Republican side Huckabee was won West Virginia because the McCain and Paul delegates supported him at the convention thus denying Romney a win. It seems it's neck and neck between Huckabee, McCain and Romney in Georgia. As long as Huckabee can continue to graw potential support away from Romney I'll be pleased. To Romney is a total fake who say anything and take any position get the nomination. There is not an original bone in his body. Now I'm not a huge fan of McCain either but he's miles ahead of Romney.

Obama won Georgia with easy which is really not that much of a surprise. It will be interesting to see how he does in Massachusetts with all the endorsements. I'm also interested to see how the proportional representation works out. At the end of the night Clinton and Obama could have just about the same number of delegates which means the campaign moves forward to the Potomac primary next week right here.

Throbbing Thighs

What a difference a day makes. My legs felt fine on Sunday after my spinning class. Monday morning was another matter altogether. I had problems walking down the stairs in the morning. My thighs just hurt. As the title says there are throbbing thighs. Needless to say on Monday evening I did not ride my stationary bike.

Today I went for another session with my personal trainer and guess what body part we worked on: legs. I'm surprised I can still walk. My trainer says I really need to work on stretching my hamstrings that they are very tight. He gave me some exercises to do which I started tonight.

Tomorrow I'm going to another spinning class. I hope I'm able to walk to work after it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Monday smile

A different take on the economy

Interesting article in the Sunday Post Outlook section titled: The Boom Was a Bust For Ordinary People

I think it raises some very interesting points on how the boom in the economy these last few years has not reached a great many people. From the story:

we’ve had brisk growth for the past few years, as the president has tirelessly reminded us, only without those promised increases in personal income, at least not for the poor and the middle class. According to a study just released by the Economic Policy Institute, real wages actually fell last year. Growth, some of the economists are conceding in perplexity, has been “decoupled” from widely shared prosperity.

Growth is not the only economic indicator that has let us down. In the past five years, America’s briskly rising productivity has been the envy of much of the world. But again, there’s been no corresponding increase in most people’s wages. It’s not supposed to be this way, of course. Economists have long believed that some sort of occult process would intervene and adjust wages upward as people worked harder and more efficiently.

The current economic problem, downturn, recession or whatever you like to call it started in the subprime market. If the Federal Reserve or the government had been a little more concerned or aware of the practices of some of these loans, action might have been taken to prevent this problem. It seems action was only taken when the large bank and investment firms were suddenly brought into the picture that the powers that be took notice.

The interest freeze on the subprime market is a help. But what happens after five years if people are still unable to pay their mortgages? Will be right back where we started or will the government do something to really and truly help this people get out of this mess?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Things Political

Clinton and Obama decided to play nice with each other in their last debate before Super Tuesday which was in stark contrast to the Republican debate the day before. It also seems that the Democrats drew a huge audience. Almost twice as many viewers as the Republican debate.

At some point, I think, the Republicans have to be concerned about how energized the Democratic base is over their candidates and how the Republican base is less than pleased with the possible outcome which seems to be a McCain nomination.

One of the big stories on the front page of the Washington Post today is on a new national poll that shows Clinton and Obama even. On the Republican side McCain is in the lead. I have to say I think these polls are absolutely meaningless. It seems to me they reflect more on who's been in the news more than anything else. After all Rudy Giuliani was the front runner for a huge part of last year and he's now out of the race. As far as I'm concerned that proves just how useless these things are. Just as the sample match ups that are done. McCain vs. Obama, McCain vs. Clinton. They really don't show anything until the match up really is McCain vs. Obama or McCain vs. Clinton.

Working out

I used my free personal training session to do a fitness assessment. And I need some work that is for sure. But I'm not as bad as I thought I would be. I really need to increase my aerobic activity. I need to be on my stationary bike or in spinning class four or more time a week. I'm working on that. I took my first spinning class today. I think I did pretty good. I wasn't up for all the jumps and the time out of the saddle but all in all I did pretty well. I got to the end of the class and did not feel dead. Yesterday, I bought a heart monitor so I can tell when I'm in my target heart rate to improve my aerobic workouts.

I had my first real personal training session on Thursday. I'm still a little sore from it. I like my trainer. He's very thorough when he's demonstrating the exercise and he also answered all my questions. We did upper body on Thursday. We used a cable machine and well I'm not exactly sure what you call it but I'll try and describe it. It is a strap that is attached to the ceiling. It comes down several feet and then divides in two so there are two straps. One for each hand. You then do various exercises and your weight is used to strengthen your muscles. Also the angle on which you do the exercise increases the resistance. The greater the angle the more weight you're "lifting."

The schedule is to work with the trainer on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'd work out on my own on Saturdays. Also in the mix would be a couple of spinning classes. I'm thinking Wednesdays and Sundays. Then at home would be at least two more days of riding the stationary bike.