Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Union Label Weblogs

Nobody Messes With Da Union

I stumpled onto this thanks to GeoHawk. If you're a union member you can sign up and bug your blog. You'll see my union label here soon. (Non-union members are eligible for an I Love Unions sticker instead.)

Kidman: Men Aren't Beating Down the Door

Kidman: Men Aren't Beating Down the Door

"I'm hoping to meet someone and be happy with them. But that's not as easy as it sounds. I'm a 37-year-old woman with two children. Men aren't beating a path to my door," she said in an interview published Wednesday...

Uhhh... knock knock?

I checked my prospects with the Magic 8 Ball: VERY DOUBTFUL

Yahoo! News - Nader, Dean to Debate if Ralph Should Run

Nader, Dean to Debate if Ralph Should Run

Now THIS oughta be interesting:

"I am anxious to debate Ralph Nader in order to speak about why he wants to run for president," Dean said in a statement. "This is the most important election in my lifetime and a third party candidate could make a difference — this November and for years to come."

Of course, if we had actually NOMINATED Dean, this wouldn't even be an issue...

Cheney Booed at Yankee Game

Cheney Booed at Yankee Game

Cheney was booed when he was shown on the right-field videoboard during the seventh-inning stretch.

Coulda been worse. He could have tried to sing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" at Wrigley.


Though their team's fiercest rivals were in town, Yankees fans' loudest boos last night were not for the Red Sox but for Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney watched the game with New York Gov. George Pataki (R) and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and when his image was shown on the scoreboard during the 7th inning's singing of God Bless America, fans stopped singing and booed loudly. Cheney's picture was quickly taken off the screen.

The bad news was the Yankees beat the Red Sox.

If you want a good story, read the section of Tip O'Neill's autobiography where he describes how Nixon shook down George Steinbrenner for 100 boxes of ziti back in `72...

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Welcome To The Occupation...

Welcome To The Occupation

Hang your collar up inside
Hang your dollar on me
Listen to the water still
Listen to the cause where you are
Fed and educated,
primitive and wild
Welcome to the occupation

So the occupation is over. That means the troops will be home any second, right? Mission Accomplished.

I have GOT to get myself some newer musical references. I gave up on keeping up for myself the day Cobain died; now all my current music knowledge is second hand as a parent of a teenager, and I have to be careful not to like anything TOO much so as to spoil it for her.

Right now I've got some vintage `86 Steve Earle rolling.



Rappers SEAN 'P DIDDY' COMBS and RUSSELL SIMMONS are taking on political big wigs including DEMOCRAT hopeful Senator JOHN KERRY - in a protest against New York's strict drug laws.

The hip-hop moguls are summoning every major rap star to protest against the Rockefeller drug laws outside MADISON SQUARE GARDEN in time for the Republican Convention on 30 August 2004 - although they are also questioning the Democrats' political agenda.

Combs says, "I'm holding my vote hostage until I hear what I expect Kerry to say about health care and computers in schools."

DEF JAM founder Simmons adds, "Kerry is certainly taking the black vote for granted. He doesn't have a master plan yet to make a dramatic overhaul.

"Ninety per cent of the black people will vote Democratic unless people get as angry as I'm getting and they start looking at RALPH NADER.

"If you don't speak to the issues of poverty, you're no different than BUSH. The Rockefeller drug laws require harsh prison terms for the possession or sale of relatively small amounts of drugs.

Monday, June 28, 2004

CBC - Canada Votes 2004

CBC - Canada Votes 2004

Live Canadian Election Results

Summertime Blues

Summertime Blues

Well I told my congressman and he said, quote:
"I'd like to help you son but you're too young to vote"

Ah, yes, and at our office we determine that.

I grew up in a teaching family, and for a few years I was a teacher myself. Because of this, the concept of "summer vacation" is deeply embedded in my brain, and working during the summer - particularly in an office - seems just plain unnatural.

To prove the point I'm taking tomorrow afternoon off.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Barry's Temple of Godzilla - Godzilla vs. Megalon

Bargain of the Day

Godzilla vs. Megalon

Oh, this one is bad. Incredibly, undeniably, mind-numbingly bad! O.K., so maybe it's not quite that bad, but it still isn't good!

For you non-Godzillophiles, this is the one with the famous robot Jet Jaguar (pronounced as three syllables JAG-u-ar), who looks like a Power Ranger who can grow - with the aid of bad Bad BAD special effects to Godzilla-size...

Goodwill. $3.38.

The Green Party Snubs Nader And Picks One of Its Own

The Green Party Snubs Nader And Picks One of Its Own

Lots of, uh, color and flavor in this story, almost to the point of condescending.

But here's the key:

"Cobb has developed a strategy he calls "smart growth." In safe states, those that are locked up for Bush or John Kerry, he tells Greens to vote Green. In battleground states, he says, "Vote your conscience," which is understood to mean hold your nose and vote for Kerry."

The Best Case Scenario has emerged.

The Green activists get behind Cobb and shun Nader. By running a safe state strategy, Cobb acknowledges the spoiler effect and makes Nader look foolish if Nader goes into a purple state. Nader loses all his troops and continues The Loneliest Campaign.

But the unknown Cobb draws far fewer votes than a Green-nominated celebrity candidate like Nader would have.

Hard to say what this does in a state (like Iowa) where running a presidential campaign is the only way to party-build.

Kos has more...

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Nader Loses

Nader Loses Green Nomination

Divide and Conquer: Politics1 reports that David Cobb has defeated Ralph Nader on the second ballot at the Green Party convention. More to follow...

VP contenders share DM stage

V.P. contenders share D.M. stage

"Edwards and Vilsack spoke at the state party's annual awards banquet at the Polk County Convention Complex. Both have undergone a background check by John Kerry's campaign, and their joint appearance comes as the Massachusetts Democrat is honing in on in a decision of who to choose as a running mate..."

Just about everyone I know is in Des Moines for that and for the state convention today. My phone's been quiet and my in box is empty.

I gave up on state conventions a while back. It's a sit-and-wait marathon with usually no real stakes since they killed platform debate in the mid 90s other than "I wanna be a national delegate!" "I wanna be a national delegate too!"

One of the things I tell my candidates is: don't do anything that someone else can do for you, and spend as much time as you can doing stuff that no one else can do. (That means talking to voters, some of the money stuff, and being a dad/mom/partner/whatever.) This rule ususally gets ignored, and you go to the mailing party and see all the candidates. But it's a good principle and today I'm following it and doing human being stuff. I only have X amount of time for politics and state convention isn't the best way for me to spend it.

My bet is still on Vilsack. John Kerry isn't the sort of guy who wants to be overshadowed by his VP.


Well, looks like I called that one right. The convention adjourned at 3:40 A.M. And I had a nice day of human being stuff.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world

Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world

Sometimes you try to do the right thing and it blows up in your face.

On the way home I stopped by our library and was walking past the playground. I always walk on the playground foam because it feels good on my feet.

Sitting on the ground I saw a $5 bill all folded and wadded up. It had obviously been dropped by one of the kids that was hanging upside down. Now being a dad myself I know how upset a small child who lost $5 can be so I called out, in front of the kids and the many parents there, to ask if anyone lost some money.

I was screamed at by some woman who obviously assumed I was some kind of pervert.

I may not be perfect, I have made mistakes, some of them in very spectacular and public ways. But I believe - I hope - that I am a good and decent man.

Am I naive to think that people would understand my innocent and good intentions? Am I losing my faith in human nature?

Or am I foolish to try to keep that faith?

I took the five dollars and gave it to the library. I got a receipt and showed it to the angry mother. Because of some internal weakness I needed to prove that even though she thought I was a pervert, I wasn't a thief. Maybe I should have just been secure in the knowledge that I tried to do a good thing and that the misinterpretation was not my fault.

Part of me is sad that this woman has so much anger at me.

Unfortunately, part of me also hopes that it was one of her kids who lost the money and that she has to listen to the child cry about it. I guess that means I'm not perfect and my journey is not complete.

I've learned something here. I'm just not sure what yet.

Ryan quits

Chicago Tribune: Ryan quits Senate bid

GOP lawmakers agree Ryan must go

GOP lawmakers agree Ryan must go

"...the strongest signal to date that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert will use his clout to pressure Ryan to vacate the ticket and free the Illinois GOP leaders to pick a replacement..."

Hm, a mixed blessing here... still, Obama's a great candidate and the Illinois Republican bench is, uh, exceptionally thin.


Political Wire is reporting that the withdrawal announcement will be today. | Politics

Harkin talks with Kerry about V.P. candidates

"Harkin told Iowa reporters during a conference call that he has met repeatedly with Kerry campaign aides, including Jim Johnson, the chief staff member in charge of vetting vice presidential candidates for the ticket. Vilsack is reported to be among a handful of politicians under consideration..."

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Protest Warrior HQ

The Constitutional Right To Be A Jerk

This is a fascinating story of a young man in Iowa with whom I can find only one point of agreement:

Freedom of speech is freedom of speech.

And freedom of speech means freedom of speech for those you disagree with. Even poisonous young Republican types like Bryan Henderson.

So go get `em Bryan. Seriously. I don't particularly like the message ("Arab-occupied Jewish land"?!?), but that's your call.

Dick Cheney used his freedom of speech today. If he'd been on a live broadcast they might have fined him a couple million bucks for telling Pat Leahy "go fuck yourself." Calm down, Dick, if you have another heart attack Bush might actually have to run the country.

Back on The Smallest Farm the pole beans are now taller than the farmer.

Ryan 'reassessing' bid

Ryan 'reassessing' bid

Beleaguered Senate Republican candidate Jack Ryan is considering quitting the race in the uproar touched off by the release of his divorce records, a Republican source told the Chicago Sun- Times on Thursday...

Today's best headline - perhaps the best one yet:
  • Seven Of Nine Women Think Jack Ryan's A Sleazy Hypocrite

  • Wednesday, June 23, 2004

    Daily Kos || Cooking the scorecards

    Daily Kos: Cooking the scorecards

    Kos is talking about our district:

    Anyway, word is that some organizations "cook the books" in order to reward their friends, or to seem less partisan. So, I decided to quickly test this out.

    Iowa Rep. Jim Leach is always lauded as a pro-environment Republican. The League of Conservation Voters agrees, giving Leach a 90 percent rating in 2003. So I went over to Progressive Punch, searched by member, and got the following result:

    Leach voted the progressive position on the environment 30.77% of the time.

    Fact is, those scorecards cherry pick those issues that will provide the best results for the elected officials they like the most...

    I posted my comments there but I'll repeat them:

    Leach is really good at throwing liberals symbolic votes that mean nothing (300-110 final score). He gets more.... interesting when it's 218-216.
    My personal theory is that people are taught these days that political parties are bad things, and it's rude to vote a straight ticket. So liberal-leaning voters are working along and realize they're voting for all Democrats. Leach is the only Republican who's not a Neanderthal, so he gets their token GOP vote. Then he goes back and organizes the house for Hastert and DeLay.

    We came closest in 1996, when we were able to boil the argument down to a soundbite: "A vote for Leach is a vote for Gingrich." He went back in January 1997 and cast a meaningless vote against Newt for speaker. We lost our shorthand and in 98 the same Dem lost to Leach by a wider margin.

    Leach also cleans up on the myth of bipartisanship. I has this argument with a Sierra Club canvasser on my block last week. (I refuse to support Sierra Club as long as they keep endorsing Leach.) These groups need to endorse some Republican, ANY Republican, to maintain their slim claim to bipartisanship, and now that Connie Morella is gone, Leach fits the bill. Then he goes back and organizes the house for Hastert and DeLay.

    All of the above are reasons that bipartisanship is a crock. It might have meant something back when Bob Dole and George McGovern wrote the original food stamp bill, but in this era of Total War Politics it's a worthless relic.

    Dave Franker has been a leader on our school board in making sure that two new schools being build in our district are environmentally friendly and energy efficient. He certainly deserves support from environmentalists, AND he will go to Washington and organize the House for Pelosi, and that's the important part.

    P.S. Don't forget Leach's ties to the Bushes go all the way back to when he worked at the UN under H.W. in about `71...

    More rats desert sinking ship

    Hastert Cancels Appearance At Ryan Fundraiser

    They're sticking the fork in:

    U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has cancelled his appearance at a fund-raising breakfast for senate candidate Jack Ryan scheduled for Thursday morning...

    When asked for Hastert's reaction to this week's news of sex allegations in Ryan's divorce documents, Feehery said the Speaker is "reserving judgment until he has discussions with Mr. Ryan and other party leaders in Illinois."

    Today's best headlines:
  • News Conference Like A Train Wreck
  • Ryan Butt of Jokes Nationwide
  • This one at least notes one,uh, talent: Ryan revelations uncover skill in ducking questions

    You know, I've been through nasty publicity and an icky divorce myself. Should I really be having this much fun with someone else's misery?

    Oh, why the hell not.

    Here's another good point:

    Geez, hasn't anyone in the Republican party ever heard of Google? Internet gossip is hardly evidence of hard truth -- but it would have given the GOP an idea of what might be coming. If I had a dollar for every time I heard "Ryan" and "sex club" in the last few months, I'd be one-1000th as wealthy as Jack Ryan.

    Even I'd heard the story and I wasn't following this race terribly closely until after the primary.
  • CBS News | Nader Urges Kerry To Pick Edwards | June 23, 2004?12:24:33

    Nader Urges Kerry To Pick Edwards

    In an unusual move, Independent Ralph Nader on Wednesday urged Kerry to choose Sen. John Edwards, saying in a campaign press release that Edwards "has already gone through a primary campaign" and that his "rhythm and oratory" are "well honed."

    Unusual move? Or having it both ways? The other Nader news from yesterday:

    Nader had a meeting of his own on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, conferring with black members of Congress and rejecting their request that he quit the presidential race. Shouts could be heard from inside the meeting in the basement of the Capitol with more than a dozen Congressional Black Caucus members, including Nader's voice, in what proved to be a rancorous session. One female shouted, "You can't win," to which Nader shot back an inaudible response.

    Nader dismissed the shouting as an "exciting exchange" between two sides with the same goal – the defeat of President Bush – but with different strategies for achieving it.

    Maybe the Dems are trying to have it both ways too. Is the Democratic party actually offering anything to Nader? ("Let's see. I drop out and I get...what?")

    But it's not Nader that matters. It's Nader's voters that matter: 3 million actual voters and 6 million more potential voters who got scared off at the last minute, either by the closeness of the race or the fear tactics of the Gore campaign.

    What the Democrats failed to understand in 2000, and are struggling with in 2004, is that the Nader appeal is mainly rhetorical. Progressives are tired of being taken for granted, tired of being told to shut up about issues that are "too controversial," tired of being expected to go along. Tired of being overlooked in the elusive quest for the ever-vanishing centrist voter. Six million voters are not hearing what they want to hear from the Democratic Party, and three million more are not even hearing what they need to hear. Apparantly people in the middle are entitled to a choice while people on the left are not.

    We want to hear John Kerry talk to us, to ask for our votes based on progressive principles and not merely expect our votes because he's NotBush. (Hey! Tina Turner could do the campaign song, "NotBush City Limits"!)

    I'm Kerry-committed myself. The sign is in my window (taped up with an old Dean sticker). It's not too late to win folks over. But John Kerry needs to be the one singing the song.

    MSNBC - Pickin' and politickin'

    Musicians lend their voices to campaigns

    The different bands that have volunteered their electric guitars, drum sets, and vocal chords to support the Bush and Kerry campaigns provide perhaps the most entertaining glimpse into America’s Red-Blue divide. On Kerry’s side, for example, musicians like Jon Bon Jovi and Moby have played at fund-raisers. Fat Mike, meanwhile, founded the liberal 527 group Punkvoter — which includes his band, Blink 182, Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Bad Religion, and others — that hopes to register 500,000 voters in an effort to defeat Bush. And on Thursday, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, and Willie Nelson will perform at a Democratic fund-raising concert in Los Angeles.

    Nice to see that Willie has gotten on board, he was a Kucinich guy.

    Backing Bush are Christian acts like Third Day and Michael W. Smith, while country artists like Travis Tritt, Larry Gatlin, and Billy Ray Cyrus have performed at campaign events.

    Hm. Billy Ray's dad was a longtime Democratic state senator in Kentucky.

    Here's my favorite part:

    Punkvoter, for instance, is using its Web site, which gets 15 million hits per month, to disseminate political news to punk fans. Although not all punk fans are liberals (in fact, there’s a group called Conservative Punk)...

    Conservative Punk? I remember when we called them Neo-Nazi skinheads. Jello Biafra had the first, last and best word on that...

    Tuesday, June 22, 2004

    Best Jack Ryan Headlines

    Best Jack Ryan Headlines

  • Seven of Nine Vaporizes Republican Senate Candidate
  • WORST PRESS CONFERENCE EVER: "Ryan was forced into the ridiculous position of refusing to say whether obviously embarrassing revelations were, indeed, embarrassing."
  • Just Call Him Senator Obama (this from a conservative site)
  • Illinois Senate Race: Well, Someone Is Sure Getting Whipped Now (well, that one's Wonkette...)
  • Jack Ryan, avant-garde husband
  • Uh, hello?

    Blogger is being silly and giving me a blank page. In an actual blogging emergency you would have been instructed to tune to your local emergency blog. This is only a test.


    This concludes this test of the Emergency Blogcast System.

    Clinton memoir sparks Harry Potter-like frenzy - JUNE 22, 2004

    Clinton memoir sparks Harry Potter-like frenzy (Updated)

    Would that make Ken Starr Lord Voldemort (you said his name!), or just Uncle Vernon? Hillary may or may not be Hermione, but here's a few more:

  • Newt Gingrich - Draco Malfoy, with DeLay and Armey as those two goons who always hang out with him
  • Al Gore - Neville Longbottom
  • James Carville - Mad-Eye Moody
  • Madeline Albright - Professor McGonnagal
  • Robert Reich - Dobby the house elf (narrowly edging out George Stephanopolous)
  • House Impeachment Committee - Dementors

    Snape, who is technically on the good side but reeks of evil, is either Sam Nunn or Joe Lieberman.

    And there was no Dumbledore. That was the whole problem.

    Feel free to comment and stretch the analogy to the breaking point...

    Clinton would have mopped the floor with Bush in 2000.
  • Monday, June 21, 2004

    Jack "No Relation" Ryan has a bad news cycle

    Wonder what Illinois election law has to say about the Ole Torricelli Switcheroo:

    In recent days, Ryan has tried to shore up support from Republican leaders, but one GOP member of the Illinois congressional delegation, Rep. Ray LaHood, called Monday for Ryan to withdraw as a candidate.

    "There's no way the people of Illinois are going to countenance this behavior from a Senate candidate from the Republican Party," LaHood said.

    "Cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling" is not an image one normally associates with Republican Senate nominees. British cabinet ministers, maybe...

    Ryan, who said he had no plans to withdraw, had repeatedly assured GOP leaders the files contained nothing embarrassing enough to torpedo his bid for the Senate against Democrat Barack Obama...

    Obama officially declined comment, in keeping with the old dictum "never interfere with your opponent while he's self-destructing." He was heard muttering "I think I'll put the desk over there, and the chairs on that side..."

    More in the Sun-Times including more rats deserting the ship... This is accident-icky, you feel cheap for looking but you can't take your eyes off it

    It's not easy being Green

    It's not easy being Green

    Especially lame headline today, sorry. The Green Party convention is this weekend in Milwaukee and the ever-diligent Ron Gunzburger at Politics1 has the latest:

    GP activist David Cobb , a Green Party member, is actively seeking the nomination and leads with 229.5 delegates. Nader is not seeking the nomination, notes he is an Independent (and not a GP member), and says he only wants to party's "endorsement" and state ballot spots... Nader and several Nader surrogate candidates hold 214.5 delegates. The remaining GP delegates are divided as follows: Others-28, Uncommitted-173.5, and "None of the Above"-88.5 delegates.

    Best case scenario for the Dems is a Cobb nomination. Here's a story:

    9 AM November 8, 2000. The morning after the election night from hell. The beginning of The Endless Recount. Returns are still sifting themselves out. It looks like Gore narrowly has Iowa but we haven't the slightest idea who's going to be president.

    Two fresh-faced young kids walk in. One asks:

    "When can I register as a Green?"

    Ya see, Nader won just barely barely barely over the 2 percent Iowa requires for party status.

    The answer was some varation on "later" but that's not the point. The point is: what the Greens want is the G on their voter cards. Don't care who's president, I just want the G.

    I voted for Nader myself in 2000, given the choice of Bush or Gore. So I'm not bashing here. But here's the scenario: The Greens nominate the loyal party foot soldier no one has heard of, the same mistake the Libertarians make every four years. All the troops, all the volunteers, what little structure there is - it all goes to the nobody. Nader, meanwhile, marches on, alienating the Democrats AND the Greens, without the G-on-the-voter-card people he had last time, in the world's loneliest campaign. Divide and counquer, the fate of third parties in America.

    Meanwhile, back in the big leagues, John Kerry is better than Gore and will have to do. But I still want to know when the troops will be home. Hint: January 21, 2005 would be nice.


    Nader named a running mate today and looks like he's more openly campagning for the nomination, er, "endorsement."

    Chris Bowers at MyDD notes Cobb's unsung yet loyal party activist record vs. Nader's fame and opportunism:

    Nader must be desperate for ballot access if he is making a move like this. If Cobb wins, I would not be surprised if Nader drops out. On the other hand, if Nader-Camejo is "endorsed," the Greens might cease to be even a marginal factor in US politics.

    A Cobb nomination by a splintered Green Party combined with a Nader drop-out would be an even better scenario for John Kerry... (troops. home. when?)

    Losing Dem backs Republican in a testy sheriff's race - Daily Iowan - Metro

    Getting nastier...

    "We'd heard that they'd made a deal that if Keith supports him, [Snyder] would name [Slaughter] chief deputy," Pulkrabek said.

    Pulkrabek, who said Snyder and Slaughter have refused to speak to him since the primary, said the problems are a result of the current leadership, something he believes he can change.

    Slaughter and Snyder both strongly denied the charge, though Snyder did add that he would choose "those that would do the best job" for his administration.

    Snyder and Slaughter both expressed disgust that Pulkrabek's campaign is designed to appeal to the fringe of Johnson County citizens.

    Aah, the Republicans and Republican Auxiliary are bringing out the Code Words. "Fringe?" Hm. Pretty strong words to be throwing at someone who just got more votes that you did...

    Sunday, June 20, 2004

    The best radio station in the world

    The best radio station in the world

  • 80 gig hard drive
  • 1000 or so mp3s
  • queue up a couple hours worth
  • throw in a few movie soundbites
  • random - and this is really important - random order

    Where else will you hear Joy Division followed by Labelle followed by the Replacements?
  • Weekend Update

    A father's day lesson

    Did this yesterday. Though about wearing my cover-the-baldness Packer hat but decided that would look silly. My hair is thinning, I can deal with it, and PACKERS was not exactly on the health-care message.

    However, I failed to learn a lesson from my father. He, too, could care less if people saw the top of his bald head. In fact, it was sort of a trademark for him.

    But Dad is a wise man in the ways of the outdoors and always has a hat handy. As I sit here with my sunburned head, I understand too late my father's wisdom.

    Today was lots of biking (wearing a hat), a little bargain hunting, not enough cleaning, too much blogging, and a nice observation of Father's Day. It was cool enough to make soup, too, on the eve of the summer solstice.

    Smallest Farm in Iowa Update: Tallest beans at 5 1/2 feet. Two of the three tomatos over the top of the cage, but no baby mmmmaters yet. Eggplant not yet eaten by bugs, peppers growing and flowering but not yet making baby peppers. Catnip flowering, bee balm about ready to flower. Random seeds settling in and thinned.

    Still waiting to hear from that old friend...

    Nicole Kidman

    Happy Birthday Nicole

    ...but you still haven't called.

    Saturday, June 19, 2004 | news

    Sore Loser's Blues

    Buh-Bye Keith Slaughter. You should find the Republicans more to your liking. Not that the Democrats will notice you left, anyway.

    Seems to me that by participating in a political party's primary, you're making a tacit agreement to duke it out in June and unite in November. For someone who is so concerned about "division," bolting the party and continuing a fight that has already been LOST seems, well, uh... divisive?

    "The fence mending has already begun," Pulkrabek said of divisions that arose during the primary campaign. "There are a lot of people who were Slaughter supporters who aren't going to be there for him ... who have come to me and said they will support me."

    The issues, at least, are clear:

    Snyder said "Yes some people need help, but we have enough social service agencies to give this help. We do not need to turn the jail into a social service agency."

    Pulkrabek, meanwhile, said jails are "becoming a dumping ground for people who suffer from mental illness," and those who have not committed a serious crime should be diverted to appropriate services.

    Look at the jail election returns from 2000 and try to guess how that argument will play out.

    Friday, June 18, 2004

    Kansas City Star | 05/22/2003 | Volkswagen and other car enthusiasts find plenty of ways to play decades-old game

    Volkswagen and other car enthusiasts find plenty of ways to play decades-old game

    I'm too depressed by the actual news to comment so here's to one of my daughter's favorite pastimes. Last time we got together I won 6 slugbugs to 5 but she claims I cheated by counting a toy slugbug. I did, but she didn't call me on it till way too late. Of course, we both try to call invisible slugbugs and chameleon slugbugs and see-through slugbugs, so the notion of victory is a little muddled.

    Some good music should cheer me up. I'm also hoping to hear from an old friend.

    Yahoo! News - Ryan Pushes Ahead With Senate Campaign

    IL Senate: Here comes the dirt

    Republican Jack Ryan pushed ahead with his Senate campaign Friday despite a judge's decision to unseal potentially embarrassing divorce papers, and party leaders said it was too early to speak of replacing him on the ballot.

    The ruling Thursday from the Los Angeles judge delivered a potentially powerful blow to Ryan in his race against Democrat Barack Obama.

    Ryan had said Monday that the child-custody records stemming from his 1995 divorce from "Boston Public" actress Jeri Ryan
    (link to hot picture no longer works) could embarrass him...

    Half of Illinois probably thinks this guy is the crooked ex-governor (who nevertheless did a really good thing on the way out). This ought to clear up the confusion.

    (And that was a really lame excuse to gratuitously link to a Jeri Ryan picture. But it's not irrelevant because her celebrity will make the story bigger.)

    Last month I was riding through an exceptionally ritzy part of Evanston with my brother, and every other house had an OBAMA sign. Time to start picking out the office furniture... | State Govt.

    Special Session Hell!

    The Legislature may need a special session to restore the Values Fund money, Republicans say. They wouldn't stop there...

    "This calls for a legislative solution. This is not something that can be done administratively without having the Legislature involved," House Majority Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah said Thursday after a telephone conference call with Vilsack and other legislative leaders.

    Vilsack told reporters that a special session may not be necessary to reinstate the business development fund...

    MAJOR ripple effect on this. Imagine what kind of veto bait they're going to throw at Tha Guv, right at VP Decision Time...

    Thursday, June 17, 2004

    McCain, Bush Begin to Mend Ties (

    McCain, Bush Begin to Mend Ties

    "McCain will join President (sic) Bush on Air Force One on Friday and introduce him at a campaign event in Reno, Nev., campaign officials said yesterday..."

    Well, that oughta end the Kerry/McCain ticket talk. This is what W needed to have happen - but he needed it to happen about two months ago.


    Well, they did it but without the Traditional Victory Tableau (joined hands raised in the air). They did one of those one-armed hugs and then McCain scurried out of view as if to say "I like you but Not That Way." The story immediately got stomped on by the latest beheading, second of what will likely be many.

    A friend in DC, however, wonders if the Buzz That Was Never Gonna Happen Anyway will hurt if people (i.e. the independents who are watching Fear Factor anyway and don't get that It Was Never Gonna Happen) are disappointed that it didn't.

    Hmm. VP doesn't matter anyway and here's proof:

    How-To Tuesday: Make your own Pirate Radio Station with an iPod - Engadget -

    Pump Up The Volume

    Make your own Pirate Radio Station with an iPod

    When I was younger and foolisher this could have got me into some serious trouble...

    Now we’re not suggesting you go around and broadcast over CNN or anything, but we think broadcasting “Aliens have landed today, the President and UN will be making an announcement immediately” could be quite fun.

    Almost makes me want to go get one...

    Wednesday, June 16, 2004

    Yahoo! News - Ramones Guitarist Losing Fight with Cancer -Report

    Johnny Ramone Losing Fight with Cancer - Report

    Johnny Ramone, 55, was diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago, and it has now spread throughout his body. "Johnny's been a champ in confronting this, but at this point I think the chances are slim," Marky Ramone said in the report...

    Johnny Ramone Is Not Dying, His Doctor Says

    Characteristically, the 55-year-old guitarist, a stubbornly private man, refused to issue a corrective press statement. His wife, Linda, however, was appalled by the funereal headlines, and authorized Dr. Agus to explain Johnny's condition.

    "He's not dying," Linda said on Wednesday afternoon (June 16). "He was okay for years, and he's fine now. He's in the hospital, but he's not in ICU. And I think he may be leaving by tomorrow."

    Hm. Mysterious but here's hoping today's reports are right. In the meantime get well wishes Ramone-style:

    Yeah, I wanna be well
    I wanna be well
    I wanna be
    I want I want I want
    I want I want I want
    Yeah, I wanna be well

    I want my
    LSD, golly gee,
    DDT, wowee!
    Daddy's broke
    Holy smoke
    My future's bleak
    Ain't it neat?

    Political Wire: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

    How I Spent My Summer Vacation

    "The hottest summer destination for progressives this year might be Swing State U.S.A. For blue state activists, a presidential election that will be decided by voters in the 17 battleground states poses a dilemma. How soon to drop everything and head to the nearest swing state?"

    Hey, any of my friends in deep blue or big red states are welcome in Iowa. But leave your orange hats at home. As a Deaniac I have bad memories of Perfect Storm 2004. Depending on what part of Iowa you are in people have special vision that allows them to see that your granddaddy was Not From Round These Parts, and in the dark days that led up to The Darkest Night (3rd place and YEAAAAH!), the out of state origins of many Stormers literally became an issue. My excitement that these kids would drop their lives and stream into my state was slapped down by the Gephardt camp's "they're gonna cheat" accusations.

    A story, perhaps apochryphal. When I first heard it, the joke was on Dukakis.

    New out of state staffer: What's that stuff in the field?
    Iowan: That's corn.
    Staffer: That corn looks different than the other corn.
    Iowan: That's beans.

    Voters Are Harder to Reach As Media Outlets Multiply (

    Voters Are Harder to Reach As Media Outlets Multiply

    A lot of gems in this article but here's the Giant Unspoken Reality:

    Given that people who do not answer their phone or cannot be reached may hold very different opinions than those who do, pollsters worry that they are reaching increasingly less representative samples of the public, potentially skewing a poll's results...

    Well, I guess it IS spoken in this article, but this is a huge huge fact that has not gotten nearly the attention it deserves.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2004 : Duran Duran Regrouping for a New Album

    The Reunion of the Snake

    Working together again has been seamless, LeBon said. "It's very similar to how it worked 20 years ago. Everybody's a little bit more open to how they feel about stuff."

    The British pop quintet was among the biggest rock acts in the world in the early '80s, with hits including "Girls On Film," "Rio," "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "The Reflex."

    I can see the marquee now: PUPPET SHOW AND DURAN DURAN

    The Ultimate 70s Find

    Junk crawling today I found the ultimate 70s kitsch item, the find that completes the Ugly 70s Look. Mere words cannot describe, I must illustrate:

    Monday, June 14, 2004

    Garbage Updates

    Garbage Update 1. Apparantly the city has removed the garbage and actually mowed the lawn (I thought it was so thick it would have to be burned off). So Officer Obie must be off looking for Wells Fargo to make them pay their 50 dollars and sit on the Group W Bench.

    Garbage Update 2. Looks like the album is closing in on done.

    A Low-Key Iowa Governor Receives the V.P. Treatment

    Another contender for the vice presidential nomination now says privately that Vilsack might be the favorite because of his small-town charm and his amiable relationship with the presumptive presidential nominee. Unlike Gephardt and Edwards, he would offer the ticket outside-the-Beltway balance. One of Vilsack's aides confided that he thought that the selection had narrowed to his boss and Edwards...

    This would REALLY make life complicated for Chet Culver and Sally Pederson...

    Sunday, June 13, 2004

    Completely Lazy Sunday

    I guess not completely since laundry was involved, but this was my first completely non-scheduled day in quite some time. Since it was about as exciting as watching the crops grow, I suppose it's time for the update from Iowa's Smallest Farm.

    The tomatoes are just about to the tops of their cages. Peppers and eggplants continue to progress. 14 beans are up since the replanting, with the tallest incing up toward 4 feet. And the assorted scattered seeds are doing way too well and some difficult thinning decisions - is a marigold or basil best in this spot? - are near.

    In addition to the Gazette's expose on the Brookside Trash Dump yesterday, I had a little peripheral involvement in this story (I went) and this one (a nice look at some nice behind-the-scenesers). Is "scensers" even a word?

    Saturday, June 12, 2004

    Cedar Rapids:

    Bank fined for failing to clean up I.C. front yard

    The Gazette
    Saturday, June 12, 2004, 11:21:33 AM

    IOWA CITY -- Wells Fargo Bank was fined Friday for failing to clear out a pile of garbage, which includes appliances and hazardous chemicals, from the front yard of an Iowa City house the bank foreclosed on several months ago.

    Iowa City had given Wells Fargo Bank until Friday to clear out the garbage, which encompasses much of the front yard.

    The city said the garbage will be cleaned up by Monday.

    Hm. Wonder what house THAT would be? I was hoping to get into a story about garbage, but I was thinking something more like "Shirley Manson seen with dashing mystery man"

    Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Howard Dean Reflects on Presidential Bid

    Dean Reflects on Presidential Bid

    "We knew that whoever won Iowa was going to win the whole thing and we just peaked too early, and there was not much we could do about it..."

    We tried. We tried...

    The Associated Press

    Interleague Play: the will of Satan

    The Boston Red Sox won 2-1 Friday night in the Los Angeles Dodgers' first game at Fenway Park... The only previous regular-season meetings between the Red Sox and Dodgers were in June 2002, when the Dodgers swept a three-game series in Los Angeles.

    Interleague baseball is one of the signs that the apocalypse is nigh. That and night games at Wrigley.

    The teams also faced each other in the 1916 World Series when the Dodgers were in Brooklyn. The Red Sox won the series in five games, but the three games in Boston were played at Braves Field because the NL team's stadium had a larger seating capacity than Fenway.

    Baseball as God intended, with the Red Sox win counting as one of the miracles. Of corse, the had a pretty good young pitcher, guy by the name of Babe Ruth. Which reminds me, I forgot to include a rant against the designated hitter rule... pitcher's can't hit? Babe Ruth. And he did it without steroids too.

    I gues there have been a few improvements in baseball. Jackie Robinson would be the big one. Decent gloves, teams west of St. Louis (though there ARE too many)... it would be nice to bring back the scheduled double header, though. | news

    Only a journalist would come up with this angle

    Democrats decided to continue with the previously scheduled fund-raiser despite its coinciding with the national day of mourning...

    So the guy has his pre-determined story then crams the actual facts into the pre-determined story no matter what. As far as I know the reporter was the only person who ever raised the question, which of course implies we SHOULD have called it off.

    I myself couldn't think of a better way to mark the end of Reagan Necrophilia Week than getting a bunch of Democrats together and collecting a pile of money to beat Republicans.

    The guy missed the true highlight of the evening: a classic Spinal Tap at the Air Force Base wireless mike malfunction.

    Friday, June 11, 2004

    Stand Up Comedians vs. Politicians

    One of my least favorite things about politics is the hypocrisy factor. That's not unusual, a lot of people hate that. I think I've finally got an effective take on this.

    I think when people say politicians are liars, they don't mean, flat out, factual, I am not a crook sort of lies. What the mean is emotional dishonesty. Stuff like having to kiss up to someone you can't stand. I believe the term they use in Congress is "minimal high regard."

    I thought about this when I saw the picture of John Kerry at Reagan's bier.

    The problem is, people want it both ways. They say they want honesty and genuineness, but they choose Bush over McCain, Kerry over Dean. When a genuine, honest, emotional moment erupts - like the booing of Republicans at Paul Wellstone's funeral - it's a scandal. So you can't win. Do the expected thing and you're a hypocrite, but speak the truth and you're a boor.

    It's supposed to be rude to speak ill of the dead, but it would be dishonest for me to say anything nice about Reagan.

    Honesty isn't always pretty and it isn't always PC. I think the most honest political statements made in America today are by standup comics. Howard Dean was the Chris Rock of the Democratic Party.

    But realpolitik ain't art. Art is honest but it's idealized. The notion of John Cusack hoisting the boombox in Say Anything, or Dustin Hoffman pounding on the church door in The Graduate, may seem romantic. In real life it gets you a restraining order.

    The numbers are different, too. Kurt Cobain sells 10 million albums and it's a cultural milestone. Ross Perot gets 19 million votes, it's just a passing fad.

    Sometimes I think I have the heart of an artist trapped in the life of a politician. Maybe I can reconcile it all someday.

    Thursday, June 10, 2004

    Conservative Pulse -> The Reagan Dollar Petition

    Four Quarters Please

    ...write a letter to your Congressional representatives in support of this proposal. Tell them you want to see Ronald Reagan honored on a new "Golden Dollar" coin...

    make it stop... make it stop... make the Reagan necrophilia stop... - Iowa governor a possible Kerry running mate

    This is getting really serious

    Aides to presidential candidate John Kerry have asked for hundreds of newspaper columns written by Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, one of the Democrats whose backgrounds are being checked as Kerry ponders a running mate.

    Vilsack wrote the weekly Mayor's Moments column for the Mount Pleasant News from 1987 to 1992...

    "The city has a very important and very expensive decision to make in the very near future about garbage," begins a column from 1990.

    MSNBC - Music legend Ray Charles dies at 73

    Ray Charles dies at 73

    “I was born with music inside me. That’s the only explanation I know of. Music was one of my parts ... Like my blood. It was a force already with me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me, like food or water.”

    Now THIS is something to cry about. : Country Music Radio Full of Pro-War Songs

    Country Music Radio Full of Pro-War Songs

    In retrospect I doubt I could have made a career of it as a country DJ:

    While Toby Keith, Darryl Worley and Charlie Daniels have scored hits with patriotic, war-themed songs, others such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Nanci Griffith released anti-war, or at least questioning, songs that went nowhere.

    There may be hope:

    Alt-country icons Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Rosanne Cash and Lucinda Williams lent their names to a petition by the protest group Musicians United to Win Without War. Respected songwriters Rodney Crowell and The Mavericks' Raul Malo have been frank about their opposition to the president. A new group called the Music Row Democrats formed this year to give a political voice to country songwriters, musicians, producers and record executives...

    But then, when was the last time YOU heard Steve Earle on the RADIO? 1990, maybe?

    Wednesday, June 09, 2004

    Pulkrabek crushes Slaughter

    Pulkrabek attributed his victory to desire and hard work.

    "I believe we put together a strong campaign," he said. "We started early, and the momentum carried us through."


    I like that headline, "crushes". Lonny is more gracious than I am so he probably wouldn't. Rod's just happy enough with "squeaks."

    I'm really really tired and really really happy. The combination has made serious analysis impossible.

    I will note that some states have "sore loser" laws: if you run in a primary and lose, you can't run as an independent or on another line in the general. Iowa does not.

    I'd understand if, say, the vote had been close AND, say, there'd been a hot Republican governor primary or something. Then you could argue "I was the real People's choice and only the nasty evil Party thing kept me from winning." Then you might have an argument.

    (Aside: Some time when I'm less sleep deprived I'll post a brilliant discussion of the value of political parties as important institutions of a democracy. But not now.)

    But there was NOTHING on the GOP side, and the Republicans openly participated/interfered in the Democratic Party's nomination process. And the end result was:


    I do what I do because I want to try to make the world a better place, even if it's something little like a sheriff and a county supervisor in Iowa. But sometimes, in the moment of victory, you just wanna do a touchdown dance and say "crushes." | news

    Sullivan wins

    Sullivan said that from the beginning of his campaign, he tried to make the case that in a Democratic primary voters should elect someone who reflects Democratic values.

    "Thankfully the folks got the message," Sullivan said.

    Thar's a-gonna be a new sheriff in these here parts

    Cheers erupted every time the periodic vote tally showed a consistent Pulkrabek lead.

    Late in the evening, a supporter pinned a medal badge on Pulkrabek bearing the word "sheriff."

    But wait, there's more:

    Sullivan attributed his victory to hard work in getting out the vote. "From the beginning, we knew we had to get out the real hard-core Democrats, and that's what we managed to do," he said.

    Tuesday, June 08, 2004

    Reagan vs Bush 2

    You know, I will give Reagan credit for one thing:

    You could look back after the election was over and say, "I can't stand the guy but damn it, he got more votes than the other guy."

    At least he didn't win the Super Bowl on a bad call on the last play like some current pretenders to the throne... - Venus puts on a rare show - Jun 8, 2004

    Venus puts on a rare show

    And I was even up before dawn for election day, but:

    CLOUDS. I missed it.

    Dropped the roommate off at the polls to work and the Old House was on the way back. They were supposed to go in yesterday and I was curious.

    They just piled everything on the front lawn, even the good appliances. The box labeled "wedding dress" was a nice touch. One of the neighbors happened to be up and out, and I said "I guess this is how they do it, huh."

    At least he had a Lonny Pulkrabek sign in the yard.

    Lonny. Rod. Rick. Vote.

    Monday, June 07, 2004

    The Future

    Dean Is Back, and Not on the Fringe, Either

    The feisty former Vermont governor, determined not to be a fringe player, is boning up on the political right for guidance on how to better organize the left -- not just for November's elections but beyond. He is studying the tactics used by Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Ralph Reed, who helped make the Christian Coalition a political power. A decade after Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Reed, now a private consultant and adviser to President George W. Bush's campaign, helped usher in an era of Republican power, Mr. Dean hopes to begin to shift the balance back toward his progressive agenda.

    "Those people were very organized, they were very methodical about what they did," he says. If history is amused by the ironies, Mr. Dean believes it soon will have to sit up and take notice.

    Conservatives dismiss the whole Dean phenomenon as an overhyped, second coming of the 1970s liberal George McGovernites that moved Democrats to the left for years after. But there are two distinctions -- ones that echo themes of the Republican "revolution" a decade ago. First, the record government spending and huge budget deficits under President Bush give Mr. Dean an opening to stress fiscal responsibility. Second, increasing unhappiness about Iraq lets him cast the elections as a moral struggle about what it means to be an American.

    "We've lost our standing as the moral leader of the world," Mr. Dean says. "I want [the U.S.] to be the moral leader of the world in how we provide for our people....I want to elect a president as good and strong as the American people."

    "We've lost our standing as the moral leader of the world," Mr. Dean says. "I want [the U.S.] to be the moral leader of the world in how we provide for our people....I want to elect a president as good and strong as the American people."

    ... when "Dr. Dog" and "My Morning Jacket" perform this Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, Music for America organizers will be on hand to sign up young voters and expand their cadre of activists in that battleground state. While that isn't quite what the Christian Coalition might think of as choir practice, there is a genuine sense of community that surrounds the bands, including young people who are involved in their own world -- but distrust traditional politics.

    The past

    I was gently admonished earlier for dancing on Reagan's grave. Bitter? Moi? Maybe But let's look back at the reality.

    David Corn, 2 March 1998:
    66 things to remember when flying into Reagan National Airport

    The firing of the air traffic controllers, winnable nuclear war,
    recallable nuclear missiles, trees that cause pollution, Elliott
    Abrams lying to Congress, ketchup as a vegetable, colluding with
    Guatemalan thugs, pardons for F.B.I. lawbreakers, voodoo economics,
    budget deficits, toasts to Ferdinand Marcos, public housing cutbacks,
    redbaiting the nuclear freeze movement, James Watt.

    Getting cozy with Argentine fascist generals, tax credits for
    segregated schools, disinformation campaigns, "homeless by choice,"
    Manuel Noriega, falling wages, the HUD scandal, air raids on
    Libya, "constructive engagement" with apartheid South Africa, United
    States Information Agency blacklists of liberal speakers, attacks on
    OSHA and workplace safety, the invasion of Grenada, assassination
    manuals, Nancy's astrologer.

    Drug tests, lie detector tests, Fawn Hall, female appointees (8
    percent), mining harbors, the S&L scandal, 239 dead U.S. troops in
    Beirut, Al Haig "in control," silence on AIDS, food-stamp reductions,
    Debategate, White House shredding, Jonas Savimbi, tax cuts for the
    rich, "mistakes were made."

    Michael Deaver's conviction for influence peddling, Lyn Nofziger's
    conviction for influence peddling, Caspar Weinberger's five-count
    indictment, Ed Meese ("You don't have many suspects who are innocent
    of a crime"), Donald Regan (women don't "understand throw-weights"),
    education cuts, massacres in El Salvador.

    "We begin bombing in five minutes," $640 Pentagon toilet seats,
    African-American judicial appointees (1.9 percent), Reader's Digest,
    C.I.A.-sponsored car-bombing in Lebanon (more than eighty civilians
    killed), 200 officials accused of wrongdoing, William Casey,
    Iran/contra. "Facts are stupid things," three-by-five cards, the MX
    missile, Bitburg, S.D.I., Robert Bork, naps, Teflon.

    Yahoo! News - Lightning Beat Flames to Win Stanley Cup

    Lightning Beat Flames to Win Stanley Cup

    Maybe TAMPA BAY can take the Cup to the BEACH and mix a giant PINA COLADA in it.

    This is just cause for Canada to attack us with Arctic storm fronts all winter.
    Agricultural and miscellaneous update

    The replanted Romano beans are sprouting and the first batch of beans are closing in on two feet tall. All the little scattered seeds are sprouting. Lots of cilantro, too much dill, and flowers to be named later. I don't know beans about flowers.

    To my great surprise I managed to get the sleep schedule back on track after Saturday's near-all nighter.

    And after all my begging for feedback I finally heard from one of my readers - and it wasn't who I expected...

    Sunday, June 06, 2004

    Old Mother Reagan went to heaven and at the pearly gates she was stopped

    It's crunch time for me, 52 hours till the polls close, and it's just now that I have time to reflect on Reagan's death other than the lyrics I tossed up yesterday.

    This shouldn't be a big deal, he's been gone in Alzheimer's hell for a decade. Some might say he couldn't hurt anyone anymore. But his policies and his political heirs continue to hurt people and I'm not gonna pretend to be sad.

    I was up till 4 AM last night, working on my stuff for my little local candidate. And I wouldn't have been doing that with my life if it weren't for Reagan. He was the most influential person in my political lifetime. At the critical moment when I started setting my course, he scared me and made me want to fight back.

    He was the first president I ever voted against. The 1984 campaign was a masterpiece: they made it absolutely unpatriotic to be a Democrat. We tried to keep a Mondale sign in our yard back at "720," our semi-infamous college house, and it kept getting trashed.

    We all trod up to the Eau Claire County Courthouse to pull those old fashoned lever machines for Mondale, all of us except the Polish guy. He was a Solidarity refugee disguised as a grad student. He was pretty keen on Reagan.

    So the guys and my girlfriend all gathered around the TV set to watch the landslide go down. They called it for Reagan at some unbelievably early hour like 5:30 in the afternoon. Somebody went and got a large amount of beer (this was several months before I sobered up). We were watching North Carolina. We all knew Mondale was a goner, but we wanted to see Jesse Helms go down.

    There weren't a lot of bright spots. Some guy named Harkin beat that nitwit Roger Jepsen down in Iowa. We probably said something about going down to Iowa City to party with Berke Breathed, that was an ongoing far fetched idea, little did I know...

    About 11:30 they called it for Helms. We threw the beer cans at the TV and went to bed.

    Here's a few more songs for the playlist

  • "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg" by the Ramones
  • "Five Minutes" by Bonzo Goes To Washington. Samples and plays with the "we begin bombing in five minutes" soundbite
  • "We've Got A Bigger Problem Now" by the Dead Kennedys
  • New theory on Reagan's death

    He died of a broken heart from all the Republicans crossing over to vote in the Johnson County Democratic primary

    Thursday, June 03, 2004

    Fifteen Years

    There are moments of pure evil in the world. Tiananmen Square was worse than 9/11. At least the hijackers considered us enemies. China butchered its own people. And we reward them with the Olympics.

    Fifteen years. Still no answers. Still no reponsibility. Still no changes.

    1989 was an amazing year. Freedom broke out everywhere. And the good guys finally won.

    Except in Beijing.

    Early June 1989 was a critical moment in my life. I made a big decision, took a big chance, reached out... and failed. (There's someone special who may or may not ever read this who knows what I mean.) It was a week that knocked me off my tracks and took me ages to think through. I'm still figuring things out.

    Part of me thinks that the evil of that moment was so strong that it circled the world and impacted the experience I was living through, like some sort of unholy jinx. (They say that churches and halls can't get anyone to book September 11th weddings. Kinda like that.)

    Maybe that's why this one, out of all the horrible things that have happened in the world in my lifetime, seems like the worst. The emotional intensity of that week burned this one into me deep.

    Or maybe it's that the Chinese got away with it. Internal matter, too much business to do, see you at the Games in 2008. No boycotts, no war crimes trials.

    Never forget the students of 1989. Freedom can't be stopped forever.

    Wednesday, June 02, 2004

    MyDD :: New Mexico CD battlegrounds

    Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out, Zell Miller

    Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the New York Times reports, "says he believes in the radical theory, currently enjoying currency in some political circles, that the Democratic key to the presidency lies in making a crisp, clean break from the South, which for more than 70 years served as a bedrock constituency of the post-Reconstruction Democratic Party. 'I don't think it's realistic for us to have a Southern strategy,'" he said. 'We should concentrate on either a Western strategy-a Western/Hispanic strategy-which is basically Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Florida, or we should try to pick off one or two states in the Midwest. Those have to be the two options to win the presidency." Richardson's comments echo those of Kerry last year, who said, "Al Gore proved you can get elected President of the United States without winning one Southern state."

    South Dakota Politics and Elections | Herseth hangs on; heads to House

    Herseth hangs on; heads to House

    "Herseth will likely leave today for Washington to immediately take the oath of office and move into Janklow's former office... In joining Democratic senators Tim Johnson and Tom Daschle, Herseth gives the state an all-Democrat congressional delegation for the first time since 1937..."

    A squeaker that kept me up too late but a BIG win in a Red State.

    I rarely get the chance anymore but I used to love watching election returns, trying to keep track state by state and race by race. It was fun to get a little fix of that last night.

    Next week of course I'm In The Bubble but since all our contests are local it doesn't matter. In The Bubble is in the know. In November, of course, immersion in The Bubble will be total. I'll be spouting precinct stats for my town but will have no idea what's going on Outside. In 2000 it was well after midnight before I had any idea than anything weird was happening. "Huh? Florida? Wha?"

    Tuesday, June 01, 2004 | news

    Republican hypocrisy watch, local edition

    Lining the sidewalk of John Balmer's east Iowa City home are political yard signs for local Democrats.

    The former Iowa City mayor is not alone in his endorsements for supervisor and sheriff, nor his intention to vote in the June 8 primary - even though he is Republican. That is, he was a Republican, until Saturday.

    Over the weekend, Balmer, his wife and two children went to the Johnson County Auditor's Office to change their party affiliation to Democrat. After the primary, they'll change it back. Balmer said he has done so several times dating back to 1976...

    Narrow loss will do, says Diedrich in S.D.=The

    Narrow loss will do, says SD Republican

    "Republican congressional hopeful Larry Diedrich is effectively conceding defeat in today’s South Dakota special House election before the polling booths even open.

    The former state senator dramatically ratcheted down expectations during an interview with The Hill at his campaign headquarters, saying he would be happy to lose to Democrat Stephanie Herseth by only five percentage points."