Saturday, July 31, 2004

Democats for Kerry

Democats for Kerry

Dylan the Guest Cat has made his presidential endorsement:

This endorsement should help Kerry win critical support from Feline-Americans.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Something I just don't get

Something I just don't get

I was mulling over the Kerry speech in my head today and it hit me. I just don't get the military thing. At all.

Maybe it's the deep resentment of any type of authority that I got from some unknown place deep inside me. Maybe it's pacifism - although I think I'm more anti-authority that I am truly a pacifist. A real pacifist would be more at inner peace than I am. Or maybe it's just that no one in my immediate family was ever in the military, just a couple cousins who are basically strangers, so I was never acclimated to that culture.

Why is it that "serve your country" means "serve your country in the military"? My parents served our country. They were teachers for about 35 years each. I consider my little courthouse job to be "serving my country".

Our office is next door to the National Guard. It gives me the willies. I just don't understand how someone can accept that type of social order, where you die or kill without questioning "orders" from your "superiors". How does any one get to be "superior" in a society where all men are created equal? (well, except women, blacks, Natives, poor people...) How can you defend democracy with an institution that is fundamentally undemocratic?

I understand that in the draft days it was different. And I understand that our economy gives some people very little real choice. But, without trying to come off as morally superior or anything: everybody over in Iraq now volunteered.

I read a couple years back that attitudes toward military service is one of those party indicators, like church attendance. Looks like I'm definitely a blue state kind of guy. One of the first things I ever liked about Bill Clinton was when they released his "I loathe the military" letter. They say Kerry has to talk about this stuff to build up his defense bona fides and to win over those all important, 6 percent, Fear Factor swing voters. Well, I guess. But it leaves me... well, just empty. Kerry's military stuff balances out for me: he's not a chickenhawk hypocrite like a certain Acting President, and VVAW was a brilliant rhetorical stroke. You can't bash these guys for being against the war, they WENT! But the saga of the swift boat, the band of brothers, the honor and duty - it just doesn't connect, and I don't think it ever will.

I don't get the rituals, I don't get the ceremonies, I don't get the mindset, I don't get it at all. To me it all seems like some kind of primitive throwback to the feudal lords.

Good thing I'm never going to run for office again, huh?

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Cedar Rapids book burning flames out

Cedar Rapids book burning flames out

Well, they went through with it but it sounds like it was kind of a let-down after all the hype. I thought the whole point was for people to see what you were trashing. Catch the bit about the Wal-Mart bags...

Denied fire, C.R. church discards offensive items

By Keith E. Gottschalk Thursday, July 29, 2004

CEDAR RAPIDS -- After all the media attention, the "Cleansing of the Temple" ceremony last night in the parking lot of The Jesus Church in Cedar Rapids turned out to be a solemn and subdued affair.

About 40 church members held lit candles signifying fire, while a handful of people dropped various forms of media or clothing they felt were keeping them from God into a Yardy container.

The Rev. Scott Breedlove, pastor of the church at 726 L Ave. NW, provided Wal-Mart bags so the items tossed would remain private.

"It's between you and God," said Breedlove.

Breedlove's original idea to burn the offending materials was nixed after he discovered city and county fire codes would not allow the open burning of plastics and recyclables.

That plan drew national media attention after it appeared in the July 11 Gazette. Breedlove said he's answered countless media questions about the church's plan, which strengthened his resolve to hold the ceremony in public as St. Paul did in the Bible.

Even though the items were hidden in plastic bags there were telltale shapes of CDs, books and magazines. But anything that weighed on members relationship with God was fair game.

For Renny Danford, 57, of Cedar Rapids, it was peach rings candy that was tossed in the Yardy.

"I've had Parkinson's since I was 38 and when I eat too much sugar I get tired and it keeps me from doing the things I need to do," said Danford.

Danford said she wanted people to know that her fellow congregants were not "radical people," but simply wanted to get closer to the Lord.

Mock the vote: Unscientific but interesting

Mock the vote: Unscientific but interesting

One of the more fun things I do at my job in the election office is our mock election. Every year we go out to the county fair, set up our voting equipment, and let people cast a mock ballot. We run the preliminary results a few times during the fair. It's voter education and it's fun.

Now, this isn't scientific. We let everybody "vote" - little kids, non-citizens, you name it. The newspaper always runs a picture of a little kid voting. We do make folks sign in and promise to vote only once - to my mind, if you try to cheat in a mock election at the fair you need to seriously consider getting a life. We knock our socks off to include the third parties.

We've been doing it a few years and it lets you compare July 2004 apples to July 2000 apples (even though in November we count oranges).

Our county fair runs a bit more rural and Republican than the county as a whole. Our county is traditionally the most Democratic in the state; in 2000 we was number one in the state for both Gore AND Nader and dead last for Bush (59-34-6). We even had a precinct where Bush ran THIRD behind Nader!

Here's some key numbers from the fair so far (noon of the last day) compared to the final 2000 stats. (My analysis only looks at the top three; complete results for the fair are here and here for 2000. And these are the real 2000 numbers.)

  • Bush: 42% in 2000, 42% in 2004. Exactly the same. 2000 actual vote: 34%.
  • Gore: 45%. Kerry: 56%. 2000 actual vote: Gore 59%.

    How did that happen?

  • Nader 2000: 8.3%, on the way to 6% of the actual vote.
  • Nader plus Cobb 2004: 1.2%.

    That's right: 1.2%. Even though it's a silly old mock election that doesn't mean squat, more than 3/4 of the Nader and/or Green vote has shifted to the Democrats.

    How many Green apples will vote Kerry in November when all the oranges are on the table?

    UPDATE: Final numbers show no major change. Kerry 56.5, Bush 41.2, Nader + Cobb 1.3.
  • Soprano frustration

    The frustration of a responsible economic decision

    As I've previously mentioned, last March I made the difficult but responsible decision of foregoing the digital cable/HBO package as season five of The Sopranos began. I reasoned that, for the money I would spend getting high-end cable for three months, I could instead BUY the DVD set upon release.

    The hard part is staying in the dark about a very interesting and highly publicized program.

    Last night I was watching MSNBC's coverage of the convention. Chris Matthews was interviewing an actor to remain unnamed who appeared on The Sopranos. As I puttered about my apartment, sorting my CDs and listening, I gave myself a pat on the back for my responsible economic decision. And as Chris Matthews ended the interview, he said:


    Noooooooooooooo! No! No! NOOOOOOOOOOO!

    Wednesday, July 28, 2004

    Reaching the Undecided Voter

    The Fear Factor Vote

    I've been saying it for weeks, but I meant it as a joke/putdown: "There's 46-47% solid for Kerry and 46-47% solid for Bush. That leaves 6-8% undecided and they won't pay attention till the last week becasue they're watching Fear Factor."

    But now I have the research behind me:

    "Undecided voters are particularly drawn to cartoons, talk shows and certain TV programs, including My Wife & Kids, CSI: Miami and the reality shows Fear Factor and Big Brother. They are less likely to be found watching dramas or news."

    Tuesday, July 27, 2004



    "It's disrespectful during a presidential race to say anything. There will be a time for that. But if I decide to run, I will stop the show this season." -

    Ohio Delegate and possible 2006 candidate for governor Jerry Springer



    Dean, whose insurgent campaign ignited a wave of anti-Bush fervor in the party, urged Democrats not to be “afraid to stand up for what we believe,” promising that “we’re not going to let those who disagree with us shout us down under a banner of false patriotism.”

    “Never again will we be ashamed to call ourselves Democrats. Never. Never. Never,” he said. “We’re not just going to change presidents — we’re going to change this country and reclaim the American dream.”

    Missed the actual speech doing Real Life (watching pigs at the county fair, how Iowa can you get?)

    On the bright side, Obama was amazing...

    Monday, July 26, 2004

    A flat tire and too many thoughts

    A flat tire and too many thoughts

    Was making really good time on the drive north Friday when my car started wobbling. Pulled over at the neighborhood historical marker and inspected the shredded remains of my right rear tire: just some steel belt and a few scraps of rubber.

    So I pulled out the cell phone, made the call, and waited. And read the marker, and thought about what had happened there.

    The Indians fought back with desperation, but little effect. The dense forest and underbrush, fallen logs, backwater sloughs and thick marsh grass offered numerous hiding places and slowed the attacking forces, but also caused confusion in which the army killed untold numbers of women and children. The soldiers' advances forced some Indians into the river, while others continued to resist fleeing down the floodplain onto a series of willow bars. Here more Indians were killed while others jumped into the river. "...many of them men, women and children fled to the river and endeavored to escape by swimming in this situation.

    One man's battle is another man's genocide...

    MSNBC - Democrats try to soften edges

    Gore gets censored

    So the word is out: the liberal wing of the party is being told to avoid any harsh rhetoric. That could already be affecting tonight's headliners: last night, Al Gore's speech was basically torn up, according to two sources, and is now being rewritten, presumably to fit more closely with the party line.

    My disgust at the silencing of anti-war rhetoric is eased by the delightful irony of seeing Al Gore get censored. But since when did Al Gore ever represent the "iberal wing" of the Democratic Party?!?

    Friday, July 23, 2004

    Off the air

    Now how can we announce that we're off the air when we're off the air?

    We're off the air for a couple days. Wisconsin road trip. Folks. Brother and family. Other pundits will have to document pre-convention weekend.

    The temp felines and the permanent felines are doing better so I trust they won't kill each other.

    Andy: Les, the transmitter blew up!
    Les: Of course! That was my lead!
    Johnny: You led off the newscast by telling them that we're off the air?
    Les, troubled: ... No. But I can include that in my update.

    Ahh, WKRP. I'll just think sweet thoughts of Jan Smithers for a moment.

    Thursday, July 22, 2004

    MLB - Sources: Expos' new home likely D.C. area

    MLB Sources: Expos' new home likely DC area 

    Sources familiar with the Expos' relocation process told on Thursday that union leaders Donald Fehr and Gene Orza met Wednesday with Montreal player representative Brian Schneider and assistant rep Brad Wilkerson.

    The player reps were informed by the union that there is now an overwhelming probability that they will wind up in either Washington or Northern Virginia...

    Baseball back in Washington. Walter Johnson is smiling. They should switch `em to the AL though...

    Think President Kerry will throw out the first pitch?

    Trippi: Why Edwards isn't the presidential nominee

    Why Edwards isn't the presidential nominee

    The great Trippi writes about how, but for a few simple twists of fate, the man from NC could be on top of the ticket instead.

    He misses a couple key points from later in the campaign.

  • Oklahoma was essentially a three way tie (29.9-29.5-26.8), but Clark got the bragging rights. A few hundred votes less for Wes, and Edwards wins.  Heck, even a Kerry-Clark-Edwards finish would have been better for Edwards.  Clark only stayed in because of the win, and the anti-Kerry vote in Tennessee the next week split almost evenly (41-26.5-23).  Edwards would certainly have scooped up enough of Clark's vote to win Tennessee and tie Kerry for the week (Kerry won VA 51-27-9), setting up a two man race sooner. 
  • Wisconsin. Dean made his last heartbreaking stand here and pulled 18%, while Edwards lost by five points (39-34). With Dean out a week earlier, Edwards wins, and we might be going to Boston Monday not knowing who was going to win...

  • Kucinich to endorse Kerry

    This just in from the About Freakin' Time Department

    With the Democratic National Convention set to begin next week, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich on Thursday will announce his support for Sen. John Kerry as the party's presidential candidate, representatives for both Democrats said.

    You may not have seen this one blazing in the headlines.

    Back in the Primal Scream Era John Lennon described the Beatles breakup as three guys walking off stage then Paul saying "I quit."

    Yeah.  Kinda like that.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2004

    Editor Put on Leave After Kerry Donation

    Editor Put on Leave After Kerry Donation

    William Pates, the Chronicle's letters editor, went on leave last week after Grade the News, a media watchdog organization based at Stanford University, contacted the paper about Pates' donations to Kerry and other Democrats...

    Journalists are the world's worst navel-gazers. One of reasons I left that profession was because I was tired of David Yepsen bitching at me because I had a bumper sticker on my car. I doubt he had ever bothered to listen to one of my stories - I was only a reporter for a couple years but I was pretty good. One terrible day I faced probably the ultimate test a reporter can face and I did my job.

    American journalists are the worst, setting ridiculous bars of mindless neutrality in the name of the God of Objectivity, and denying anyone in the profession any sort of civic life at all. At least, that is, until one enters the very top of the business, the Punditocracy, at which level you can drift back and forth between a CNN gig and the Administration of the Moment.

    Meanwhile, the REAL story of media bias, which is the ever-increasing centralization of ownership, goes unreported.

    Well, DUH.

    In other news: the first produce has been picked. Four beans.

    Parrothead Nation

    Parrothead Nation: Jimmy Buffett Debuts at #1

    Somehing to be said for a niche audience:

    There's joy in Margaritaville today: Chief Parrothead Jimmy Buffett is chilling out on top of the album chart for the first time in his three-decade career.

    License to Chill ended rapper Lloyd Banks' two-week run at number one. According to Nielsen SoundScan numbers released Wednesday, License to Chill jetted to the top with 238,000 copies sold last week.

    Pass the Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes...


    Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    What Dean Did

    What might have been

    Next week's convention will belong to John Kerry and John Edwards. But it will be held in the political house largely built by Howard Dean.

    I still can't think about October and November without my heart soaring. And I still can't think about December and January without my heart breaking.

    This ticket is hard for me. Not as hard as 2000, which was impossible. Maybe it's a small step up: Gore and Lieberman were contemptuous of me, and Kerry and Edwards just take me for granted.

    Like Madonna says, second best is never enough. But what does she know, she liked Wes Clark.

    I just tell myself Kerry has a chance, a slim chance, to stop this war, because the rest of the world will talk to him. With Bush, there's NO chance.

    Monday, July 19, 2004

    Schwarzenegger Stands by 'Girlie Men' Line

    The infinite parody loop

    "If they don't have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, 'I don't want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers ... if they don't have the guts, I call them girlie men," Schwarzenegger said to the cheering crowd at a mall food court in Ontario.

    The governor lifted the term from a long-running "Saturday Night Live" skit in which two pompous, Schwarzenegger-worshipping weightlifters repeatedly use it to mock those who don't meet their standards of physical perfection.

    Let's put all this in perspective. Here we have a bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician quoting guys who were parodying him in the first place. The Politics of Celebrity is devouring itself.

    Pitcher of warm spit

    Pitcher of warm spit
    "As far as me and the vice presidency is concerned ... I spent a number of years in a North Vietnamese prison camp in the dark and (was) fed scraps, and I don't know why I would want to do that all over again." - John McCain
    One of the best quotes about the vice presidency since John Garner's pitcher.  Which in the uncensored version was filled with another bodily fluid.

    Temporary guest cats

    Temporary guest cats
    I have temporary guest cats.  They are good cats.  They would like a nice home.
    The permanent feline roommates are not pleased.
    I'm in a complete and total news warp so I am without comment on the affairs of the day.

    Friday, July 16, 2004

    Unfinished Copy of U2's New CD Disappears

    Unfinished Copy of U2's New CD Disappears

    About 20 people who were present during the photo shoot were questioned by police, who said it was still unclear if the CD's disappearance was accidental or theft.

    The finished album is expected to hit music stores next November, with singles planned for release in September.

    Ya know, if I could have played a guitar I never would have been doing politics. Bono's had more political impact than all but a handful of guys in suits. One of the best anti-war speeches I've ever heard was his "fuck the revolution!" rap in Rattle And Hum.

    I never would have made it through the Orwell election without "The Unforgettable Fire." And they're still pretty cool for old guys (i.e. my age)
    I still remember the first time I heard "With Or Without You."  We were on our way to a play, just about to shut off the car, and the DJ said here's the new U2 single.  So we sat and listened and picked up our jaws from the floor when it was done.  Stuff happened that evening that changed my life forever, but that's another story that I'll probably never tell.

    Time to hit KaZaA...

    Wednesday, July 14, 2004

    Alright, now Bears vs Stephen Douglas in a debate, what do you think?

    Alright, now Bears vs Stephen Douglas in a debate, what do you think?

    These guys are bummed:

    Even with the major pressure from the leaders in the Republican Party, Ditka is staying on the sidelines in the Senate race for Illinois.

    Ditka's decision comes as one more blow to despairing Illinois Republicans. Some thought "Da Coach" could have rescued their party from what voter opinion surveys indicate could be another landslide loss this November.

    So if it was Ditka vs. the Democratic National Convention keynote speaker?

    Da Dems!


    Thought it couldn't get any weirder? WRONG!

    Another name surfacing is that of rocker, outspoken conservative and gun-rights activist Ted Nugent.

    "He grew up in Arlington Heights. He went to St. Viator High School," Cook County Republican Chair Gary Skoien told WMAQ. "He has more connection to Illinois than Hillary Clinton had to New York, and he's been a very articulate spokesperson on constitutional issues. He would be a very interesting candidate."

    Nugent couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday night.

    Technical difficulties

    Technical difficulties

    Lost my connection in the middle of a template update. Got most of it back but for now it looks awful.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2004

    Turtle Lovin'

    No headline could possibly capture the idiocy of this statement

    "It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right. . . . Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife."

    Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), advocating a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in a speech Thursday to the Heritage Foundation.

    Monday, July 12, 2004

    Ditka eyes Senate seat?

    All da more reason to hate Da Bears

    Don't have a coronary just yet:

    Republican Party officials have not formally approached Ditka about joining the race, but they are desperate to find a viable candidate to put on the ticket. There are still some hurdles left: Ditka's wife has said she will divorce him if he throws his hat in the ring, and he is not apparently even registered to vote in Illinois...

    I thought it was not possible for me to hate the Bears any more than I already did. I was wrong. My feelings about the Ditka campaign can best be summed up in this photo that lacks only the Obama sign:

    Counterterrorism officials look to postpone elections

    Counterterrorism officials look to postpone elections

    "They say that South America is coming into style" - Elvis Costello, 1977

    I thought they were going to wait until 2008 for marital law:

    Newsweek said DeForest Soaries, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, wants Ridge to ask Congress to pass legislation giving the government power to cancel or reschedule a federal election...

    When I have more time I'll see what I can find about the 1944 election held in the middle of World War 2, and especially the 1864 Civil War election...

    Reagan's Son to Speak at Dem Convention

    Reagan's Son to Speak at Dem Convention

    Now THAT'S a new kind of Reagan Democrat:

    Kerry spokesman David Wade said Monday that Reagan will have a "prime time" speaking slot during the July 26-29 convention. "Ron Reagan's courageous pleas for stem cell research add a powerful voice to the millions of Americans hoping for cures for their children, for their parents and for their grandparents."

    Stem cells is about as pro-choice lite as it gets. I haven't seen numbers but I'd guess support is about the 80% mark. This helps paint the Inquisition wing of the GOP into a corner, and the symbolism is priceless...

    Sunday, July 11, 2004

    Lame Deeth update

    Lame Deeth weekend update

    Now for the latest news from Iowa's smallest farm.

    Several of the beans are well above the 9 1/2 foot fence top. Need to get the ladder out and figure out what to do. Tiny embyronic beans are beginning to form and it looks like the purple pods are outgrowing the Kentucky Wonders.

    Roma tomatoes are beginning to appear and I think I see a hint of a pepper. Had to put extra stakes around the Roma tomato plant.

    We've had several massive waves of rain pass through. I have not had to water once.

    You know, I used to have to read actual farm reports on the radio. Never did figure out hog futures.

    Happy birthday to my roommates. They're 7 today, which makes them kinda middle-aged like me.

    Book Burning in Cedar Rapids?

    Fire codes prevent C.R. church's proposed book-burning

    What the - b-b-b-BOOK BURNING?!?! Looks like Kristallnacht time in Cedar Rapids.

    Sure, freedom of speech means you can burn your books, or your flag, or your effigy. I suppose it's even OK to burn your cross, as long as you don't do it on someone else's lawn. Is burning your cross offensive? Of course. And this is one baby-step short of it.

    While I fully support everyone's First Amendment right to express idiotic ideas, it's also important to engage the ideas. There's an inherent contradiction in using your freedom of speech to denigrate and suppress someone else's freedom of speech. That's one of the dangers of beliving that your side has an exclusive franchise on The Truth. Here's another contradiction: if your faith is so strong, and your belief so certain, why do you feel the need to destroy someone else's art? Do you have that much doubt?

    This is an awful moment for tolerance and expression, but it is a classic moment for local bureaucracy (speaking as a local, uh, bureaucrat): No discussion of the big picture, but lots of discussion of ordinances.

    (Gotta post the whole story: CR Gazette is pay-to-play.)

    By Keith E. Gottschalk
    The Gazette
    Sunday, July 11, 2004, 10:04:11 AM

    CEDAR RAPIDS -- Throughout American church history, preachers have built bonfires for the burning of books and other materials they believed offended God.
    The Rev. Scott Breedlove, pastor of The Jesus Church, 225 Fifth Ave. SW, wanted to rekindle that tradition in a July 28 ceremony where books, CDs, videos and clothing he and his 100-member congregation deem offensive would be put to the fire.

    City and county fire codes don't allow the burning of plastics and recyclables, however, so a symbolic ceremony with candles in the non-denominational church's parking lot may have to suffice.

    "We don't want a situation where people are burning rubbish as a recreational fire," Fire Department District Chief Brad Brenneman said when asked about the church's plan.

    Another option -- to burn the items in rural Linn County -- won't fly either. The county air quality division, which approves all burn permits in the county and Cedar Rapids, prohibits the transporting of material from the city to the county to burn.

    "I can pretty much guarantee you that we would be denying a burn permit for those activities," said Tony Daugherty, senior air pollution specialist for Linn County. "This is definitely a first for us for something like this organization is proposing."

    The church has not formally applied for a burn permit. If it does and a permit is denied, the church could appeal to the county Health Department.

    Breedlove said a city fire inspector suggested shredding the offending material, but Breedlove said that wouldn't seem biblical.

    "I joked with the guy that St. Paul never had to worry about fire codes," Breedlove said.

    Breedlove said he got the idea during a Bible study of St. Paul's ministry in Ephesus in the Book of Acts: "A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly."

    "I said, 'For once let's do something,' " Breedlove said. "Let's go to our homes and look through and see maybe if there are movies we bought that we shouldn't have as a Christian. Maybe there are books, CDs, music or clothes that are not modest, (and) Christians shouldn't be wearing them."

    Breedlove said the disposal is voluntary.

    "If I get rid of a certain movie, I'm not saying everyone in my congregation should get rid of that movie," Breedlove said.

    Breedlove said he understands that some outside his congregation might recoil at the thought of burning books and movies. He added, though, that if people believe these items keep them from living a godly life, they have a right to dispose of them if they want.

    "I would say that our society has come to a point where there are a lot of things we say we don't do anymore that maybe we should be doing," Breedlove said.

    Breedlove's alternate plan calls for a "Cleansing of the Temple" service at 7 p.m. July 28, where people would throw materials into garbage cans and then light candles to symbolically "burn" the material.

    Saturday, July 10, 2004

    Fla. Scraps Flawed Felon Voting List

    Fla. Scraps Flawed Felon Voting List

    I was hopeful that the publicity had shamed Jeb into doing the right thing. But after all these years in politics I should have been more cynical.

    The decision to scrap the list was made after it was reported that the list contained few people identified as Hispanic; of the nearly 48,000 people on the list created by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, only 61 were classified as Hispanics.

    That was because when voters register in Florida, they can identify themselves as Hispanic. But the potential felons database has no Hispanic category, which excludes many people from the list if they put that as their race.

    ¡Ay caramba! This bizarre mix of barely disguised racism and inept database management could be the whole ball game this year. Here's the key statistic:

    "The list had about 28,000 Democrats and around 9,500 Republicans, with most of the rest unaffiliated..."

    Let's do some math.

    28,000 to 9,500. That's roughly 75% Democratic (74.666to infinity, but close enough). Let's assume, as studies repeatedly show, that the no-partys break 50-50, just like Florida as a whole did in 2000.

    Let's also assume 50% turnout among registered voters (as opposed to voting age population). I think that's lowball, but Florida is usually a lower turnout state.

    That gives us an approximate result from the Flawed Felon List of

    Kerry 16,625
    Bush 7,375

    and a Kerry margin of 9,250.

    Which is waaaaaaaaay more than 537.

    OK. So maybe you think Bad People shouldn't vote. Consider another stat:

    State officials have said there are people on the list who are not felons, and elections workers have flagged more than 300 people listed who might have received clemency. Another problem was that about 2,700 people who had received clemency were still on the list. That was because they had registered to vote before they received clemency. The state initially required them to register again, but later backed off.

    So at LEAST 3000 mistakes out of 48,000. That's 6.25% as a bare minimum. And 6.25% of 9,250 is 578.

    Which is STILL more than 537.

    The whole ball game.

    Word to the wise: If you HAVEN'T been bugged to death by mail and/or phone calls by October, double-check your voter registration.

    Explaining the Compulsion

    Explaining the Compulsion

    I was asking and was asked the "why does Johnny blog?" question recently. Well, these stats explain it:

    "A study by the Perseus research firm has found that 52 percent of all bloggers are teenagers. Add kids in their 20s and the number jumps to 92 percent..."

    That's it! I'm... I'm... I'm juvenile!

    Now which of the following categories do I fit into?

    "The rest, I suspect are hobbyists, shut-ins, compulsives, prisoners and (not that there is much difference from the aforementioned) several hundred mainstream bloggers, as well as a herd of self-proclaimed political pundits..."

    Friday, July 09, 2004

    I took this test...

    I took this test...

    because the title grabbed me and because it showed up high on PopDex. I usually don't like to glom onto the what-other-bloggers-are-blogging bandwagon but 1) I'm trying to force myself to write even though I can't think and 2) the results were interesting:

    Wackiness: 52/100
    Rationality: 44/100
    Constructiveness: 56/100
    Leadership: 64/100

    You are an SECL--Sober Emotional Constructive Leader. This makes you a politician. You cut deals, you change minds, you make things happen. You would prefer to be liked than respected, but generally people react to you with both. You are very sensitive to criticism, since your entire business is making people happy.

    At times your commitment to the happiness of other people can cut into the happiness of you and your loved ones. This is very demanding on those close to you, who may feel neglected. Slowly, you will learn to set your own agenda--including time to yourself.

    You are gregarious, friendly, charming and charismatic. You like animals, sports, and beautiful cars. You wear understated gold jewelry and have secret bad habits, like chewing your fingers and fidgeting.

    You are very difficult to dislike.

    I have some quibbles - I like to think I'm a little more wacky, I'm sure there are those who dislike me - and I haven't worn any gold jewelry at all since the day I took off my wedding ring for good. I do love animals and am literally sober, but my car is anything but beautiful.

    Of course, "politician" is how I see myself so maybe I just lied on the test. At least I didn't get rated a Menace To Society...

    Why the writer's block?

    Got some stuff on my head that's not safe and that I promised myself I'd deal with without writing about it. Problem is, it's directly related to the blog, it's been a distraction, and thus it's gotten in the way of the usual Deeth Crap ("Uh, the pole beans grew some more...")

    Two Americas Redux

    Two Americas Redux

    I still can't write or analyze so for now I'll just plagarize.

    Expect Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to adopt the “Two Americas” campaign theme of his running mate, Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), from now until Election Day. Edwards used the theme to great effect during the Democratic presidential primary, no doubt a major consideration in tapping him for the veep slot. Perhaps the most gaping hole in Kerry’s campaign was the lack of a compelling theme or big-picture vision. By acquiring the Edwards campaign, Kerry essential bought the rights to Edwards’s message. “I think by reading the Kerry [campaign] materials this morning, it’s clear that Edwards is reinforcing the direction that Kerry wanted to go [in] and that they will be the new champions of the middle class,” said one well-connected Democratic insider on the day Kerry announced Edwards as his ticket’s number two.

    Hm. Guess I'm not the only one borrowing ideas. (In music they call it "the folk process.")

    I liked "you have the power" better but I guess only 19% of Iowans agreed.

    Thursday, July 08, 2004

    My Way News

    That didn't take long

    A steady stream of intelligence, including nuggets from militant-linked Web sites, indicates al-Qaida wants to attack the United States to disrupt the upcoming elections, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Thursday.

    I always thought that phrase "Homeland Security" sounded kinda Third-Reichy...

    Election Officials Consider Security Options at Polls

    Election Officials Consider Security Options at Polls

    Scary scary scary on lots of levels:

    "Election administrators also express worry that posting police officers near or in polling sites might discourage some people, especially immigrants and members of minority groups, from voting..."

    Gee, not that THAT would ever happen! Certainly not in, oh, FLORIDA...

    I don't mean to sound paranoid. But I'm worried that if Bush and Co. win this time (or steal it again), there might not BE a 2008 election. Or if they look like they're losing this time, some "emergency" might pop up.

    Tuesday, July 06, 2004

    sometimes you can't write

    Sometimes you can't write

    and you just have to lose yourself in the music.

    No rant, no analysis, no pole bean update today.


    Well, guess I was wrong

    Kerry-Edwards. First reaction: adequate. Maybe we'll get to hear the Two Americas speech some more.

    Monday, July 05, 2004

    Farmer John's Update

    Farmer John's Update

  • It's about the size of a BB, but at long last the first baby tomato has been sighted.
  • The pole beans are beginning to blossom and the first of the plants has reached the top of the fence, nine feet up.
  • One of the eggplants - the large, traditional variety - has its first blossom.
  • Peppers are flowering but no peppers yet sighted.

    None of the ingredients are homegrown but I'm assembling a lasagna tonight...
  • MyDD :: "It's Gephardt"


    If this comes to pass, I ain't happy:

    "Afterall, Kerry and Gephardt's team actively worked together behind the scenes to torpedo Howard Dean's candidacy. It's not a stretch to believe that Gephardt, if he couldn't win, brought Dean down in the suicidal manner that he did precisely so that Kerry would win the nomination, and not Dean..."

    Taken for granted, once again. Shut up, get in line, be a good little donkey.

    UPDATE: Or is it Edwards?

    That would be a bit more palatable. I'm still pulling for my governor, though...

    UPDATE UPDATE: It's supposed to be tomorrow morning in Pittsburgh, hometown of Teresa Heinz Kerry and - hm? - birthplace of the governor of Iowa? Stay tuned for the news and maybe for a Deeth rant...

    Sunday, July 04, 2004

    Saturday, July 03, 2004

    US lawmakers request UN observers for presidential election

    US lawmakers request UN observers for presidential election

    Maybe Jimmy Carter is available.

    I can't find the story so maybe it was an urban legend. But this reminds me of the coal mining town in West Virginia, back in the Cold War, who couldn't get federal money for their bridge so they applied to the Soviet Union for foreign aid.

    Friday, July 02, 2004

    Marlon Brando dies

    Marlon Brando dies | Election 2004

    Nader ordered off Arizona ballot

    The surprising move in court Friday morning should make Arizona even more of a battleground state this fall where both parties will campaign aggressively for swing voters...

    I have profoundly mixed feelings. The agressive Democratic challenges to Nader's ballot access makes us look like bullies and does not help us win over Nader-ish voters. We might not gain any votes it all if they just stay home... We need to presuade people, not browbeat them.

    Florida's Inelegible Voter List Has Many Mistakes

    Florida's Inelegible Voter List Has Many Mistakes

    "The Miami Herald says it has found 2,119 names that were wrongfully placed on Florida’s list of ineligible voters..."

    See The List!

    Thursday, July 01, 2004

    Judge rules for media on Florida voter list

    Judge rules for media on Florida voter list - Jul 1, 2004

    A state court judge in Florida ordered Thursday that the board of elections immediately release a list of nearly 50,000 suspected felons to CNN and other news organizations that last month sued the state for access to copies of the list.

    Florida is one of a handful of states that bar people convicted of felonies in that state from voting.

    This - not hanging chads, not butterfly ballots, not a politicized Supreme Court, and not Ralph Nader - THIS is why George W. Bush is Acting President.

    I have no list of felons, but I do have felines.

    Now & Zen

    Now & Zen

    "While the blending of power/pop extremes was nothing the Velvet Underground, or even the Beatles, hadn't done years earlier, the Hüskers pulled it off in a way that transcended gimmickry, and did so on such terrain –- the American hardcore punk scene –- where nobody saw it coming or even believed it possible."

    Something I learned today
    Black and white is always grey
    Looking through the window pane
    I'm not inside your brain
    Something I learned today
    Yield to the right-of-way
    Stopping at a 4-way sign
    Someone else's rules, not mine

    Something I learned today
    Never look straight in the sun's rays
    Letting all the sunshine in
    Can't remember where I've been

    So much for me updating my musical references. Then again, this still works after 20 years... Onion had a good bit a couple years ago about a guy looking at the "you must be born before 1984 to buy cigarettes" sign and remembering Zen Arcade: "He then ran his hand through his thinning hair."

    (You gotta do the Salon watch-the-ad-thing to read it all. Worth it.)