Friday, January 30, 2004

And now I will post something I received in my email. I'm not sure what the source is, but I'm sure if anyone is here on this site reading me now, he/she has probably already read this somewhere. Nevertheless, here is "George Bush's Resume." One error: Souter did not vote in favor of Bush in Bush v. Gore, and Souter was a Bush I nominee. Other than that, it's brilliant:

RESUME George W. Bush The White House, USA

LAW ENFORCEMENT: I was arrested in Kennebunkport,
Maine in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.

MILITARY: I joined the Texas Air National Guard and
went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

COLLEGE: I graduated from Yale University. I earned
alot of "gentleman's C's," which means F's that are turned
into C's for sons of prominent Americans.

PAST WORK EXPERIENCE: I ran for U.S. Congress and lost
I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas in 1975.
I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The
company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.

With the help of my father and our right-wing friends in the oil
industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected
Governor of Texas.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS GOVERNOR: I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union.

During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.

I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions
in borrowed money.

I set the record for the most executions by any Governor in American history.

With the help of my brother, the Governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme court, I became President
after losing by over 500,000 votes.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT: I invaded and occupied
two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.

I am the first president in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.

I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.

I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any
12-month period.

I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the
U.S. stock market.

I set the the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one year period. After taking-off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S.history.

I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.

In my State Of The Union Address, I lied about our reasons for
attacking Iraq, then blamed the lies on our British friends.

I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S.
president.

In my first year in office over 2-million Americans lost their jobs and
that trend continues every month.

I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any
president in U.S. history.

I set the record for least amount of press conferences than any
president since the advent of television.

I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused
to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.

I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.

I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in
duty benefits for active duty troops and their families --in war time.

I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to
simultaneously protest me in public venues 15 million people),
shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of
mankind.

I've broken more international treaties than any president in U.S.
history.

I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any
administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza
Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I am the first president in U.S. history to order an unprovoked,
pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of >> U.S.
citizens, and the world community.

I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government ..

I am the first president in U.S. history to have the United Nations
remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.

I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law. I refused to allow inspectors access to U.S. prisoners of war detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

I am the first president in history to refuse United Nations election
inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election).

I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.

My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history. My political party used the Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.

I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against
investigation or prosecution.

More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate ripoffs in history.

I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the
most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in
world history.

I am first president in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%)
view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.

I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to
justice.

RECORDS AND REFERENCES: All records of my tenure as
Governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed, and unavailable for public view.

All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my
bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for
public view.

All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President,
attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and
unavailable for public review.

Please consider my experience when voting in 2004.
Send this to every voter you know.
By all means, for those you who haven't seen this version of Dean's Iowa speech, see for yourselves. If this can catch on and become a meme, maybe there is hope for Dean after all. Maybe not in the south, but in Michigan and certainly the state where I come from, Wisconsin.

One more thought: in the debate last night, Kucinich had the best response to Brokaw's question: if you don't win this next round, will you drop out of the race. He said he sincerely believed it's going to be undecided all the way to the convention and that he may have a role to play with the delegates he has. Now, he may not help Dean, but Dennis has a point.

I hope Dean, Kucinich and Sharpton stay in the primary to the end, because their contributions to the debates has been good for the party in my estimation.
I have a confession to make. I am having second thoughts about turning my back on Dean. Well, I suppose that's not exactly right since Dean's still the only campaign I've contributed money to and since I live in California I haven't had the opportunity to make a choice at the ballot box yet. But I've certainly made my thinking known both here and on various other political blogs. I have also said that I am vacillating, and that I am, and I quote, a "fuckin' sheep."

I have to say my heart's still with the Dean campaign. Howard's not perfect, and I have serious doubts that he can beat Bush. But I'm realizing that by voting for him in California in the primary, no real harm is done. In fact, I am coming to the realization that keeping him in the campaign sends a good message, that there is another way. Another way of raising money. Another way of distributing information about your campaign. A way of rejuvenating democracy and participation by including people who lead busy lives by giving them a chance to point and click on their lunch breaks if they so choose.

Two things yesterday contributed to my rethinking. Actually, I should rephrase that. My brain is telling me one thing, and my heart is telling me something else entirely. My BRAIN tells me that this writer (thanks to this blogger) just about has it right. 25% sends a message. As for my heart? Did anyone hear the interview with Joe Trippi on MSNBC after the debates last night? It's not often in politics that you hear a campaign manager get choked up like Trippi did. That was real, human emotion in a "business" that is often quite the opposite. You would think that by citing this I would be angry with Dean. I'm thinking the movement is the most important thing and maybe always has been.

So I'm going to do a lot of hard thinking and try to deconstruct the argument I've been putting forth in the last week or so, that the most important thing is to find a candidate who can outlast the "gotcha" element of the press. I am a pragmatic liberal, but my heart is also telling me, pragmatically, that a vote for Dean in the CA primary is not a wasted vote.

By the way, this is an interesting assessment by Diane Sawyer. As a musician I am immediately drawn to analogy about this. Have you ever heard the term "Board mixes suck?" When you make a live recording, you don't just record off the sound board, because that doesn't take into account what people are actually hearing in the room. The vocals are usually way too loud and, out of context over the loud music, the voice sounds strained. I can't believe I didn't make this connection when I watched that Iowa speech on the news. And it just goes to show how much power this kind of medium has over people. Placed in the hands of those who have a vendetta against a particular individual, it can be a powerful tool indeed.

The question for me is: am I a sheep or a turd in the punch bowl? I'll have to mull this over.

Thursday, January 29, 2004


Conservatives Grumbling about Bush and other oddities...

Is it me or do the vocal grumblings about Bush I've read from conservatives (Among those, note here, and here) provide a grain of hope for the general election? Think '92, when along came H. Ross Perot to splinter the GOP. Now I'm not saying that we'll see a repeat of '92, but in an election this close, if we can get enough libertarians to splinter off from the GOP to equal the amount of voters that went to Nader from the Democrats in 2000, it certainly couldn't hurt things.

On a completely unrelated note, how about this one? A Swedish chef gets fired because his cooking was too good and caused too many long lines in the cafeteria of an engineering firm.

Finally, an observation regarding the likeability of candidates: What was it that initially drew people into but then caused them to recoil from Jerry Brown, John McCain, H. Ross Perot and Patrick Buchanon?

Jerry Brown: Permanent scowl on his face. No sense of humor. I don't think I've ever seen him smile. Right message (campaign finance reform, build a campaign by small donations), wrong messenger. That was a meme before the word meme was in print.

John McCain: "I hate the gooks." Plus he acts and sounds a lot like the Bruno Kirby character in "Good Morning Vietnam."

H. Ross Perot: "I'm all ears" among others. Also known by a good friend of mine who dubbed it at the time, "Captain Soundbite." After withdrawal from the race and then re-entry, people began to realize the guy was cantankerous at best, clinically insane at worst.

Buchanon: This phenomenon is what happens when you read about it in the papers and then hear the guy open his mouth. Scared a lot of people.

What am I getting at with all of this? Like it or not, Dean, with his speech immortalized in its out of context splendor and still pictures of the event that make him look like he's about to bite the head off of a bat, has been placed, for better or worse, into the unlikeable category.

It's a shame. Somebody please tell me that I'm making a grave mistake by turning my back on his campaign in a pragmatic plea for "anybody but Bush."

I've been putting myself out there a little more in the various debates surrounding the democratic nomination lately. I have to say I'm enjoying it. I'm not sure what, if anything, I'm adding to the mix but it is good therapy if nothing else.

I don't think I can understate my hatred for Bush and everything his administration stands for. This is a man who changed his story on Iraq as he went along. Remember when it was for WMD, then for rooting out terrorists, then for humanitarian reasons, then for ??? There were others, weren't there? The question marks also represent whatever spin he puts on it come general election time. I think the Dems could seize on this the way the GOP used to do with Clinton. Remember how Clinton would always be accused of the flip-flop? Behold the Bush administration, lords and masters of the flip-flop. And how about Clinton the liar? I look forward to that debate.

Edwards, Clark, Dean, Kerry, in that order. That is where I am at present. It sucks to live in California for this, because I am sure the choices will be half of the above by the time March 2 rolls around.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

My vacillation continues. All signs are now pointing to Kerry but something in the back of my head tells me that this is going to be a longer process than in elections past. If Kerry can produce a win in some southern states, then I am willing to concede that's the direction this thing is going. But I remain skeptical. Then again, that same something in the back of my head also tells me that Kerry has a better shot than Dean in the south if it were only a choice between the two of them. Dean's a fast talking, stereotypical East coaster. Kerry certainly has the look of the stereotypical east coaster, but is admittedly a bit more likeable and has a mellow, deliberate demeanor, which has a better chance of resonating in places like the midwest and the south where the culture isn't so fast paced and/or tense. I hope that doesn't come off as a stereotype of the south or the midwest. I grew up in the latter and have only been a west coaster for 11 out of 33 years, so I hope I know what I'm talking about there. And Chicago stands out as one exception to my above generalization.

But back to the NH primaries: One thing we do know for certain is, as Clark put it, there is a "final four." Kerry, Dean, Clark, Edwards. What we all knew about Lieberman has now come to pass. Time to put the bulldog out to pasture.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I should add this about Edwards: two people whose opinions I trust in other, non political matters are both most impressed with Edwards. One is a fairly independent minded uncle of my wife's who owns his own successful ISP and has a libertarian wing, GOP streak, supported McCain in the past and says he likes Edwards the best. Same for my wife, and she's said that fairly early on when watching the debates. Neither are particularly obsessed politically and I view that as an asset, because it gives me a sense about who's electable to potential "swing" voters. Both people are good judges of character and are not ideological in any way. Well, at least as much as I could be accused of being at times. So long as Edwards can withstand higher scrutiny should he rise to the top, he's got a fair shot I think. I'm still uneasy about Kerry. Something gives me a bad feeling about him, but I can't quite put a finger on it. I keep hearing "Dukakis" in the back of my head.
The NH Primaries are tonight and everything I've read today underscores the same point: No one really knows who is gonna win. Like I said, I am out of the business of predicting. I'll support anyone who wins as I am pretty solid in the ABB category. But I am now leaning more towards Edwards. If the California primary were today, he is likely who I would vote for. I wonder if I am beginning to outwit myself by trying to predict who is the most electable vs. Bush? For this reason I have turned my back on Dean and am about to do the same for Clark simply because I feel like the media has it out for both candidates. Clark for the whole Michael Moore nonsense. I really felt his response to the stupid questions he's been asked about the whole thing have been fine. I don't know what the fuss is about. Moore's writing is rather juvenile, I'll leave it at that.

I guess these are extreme times. We're in a perpetual state of war, and I'm not just talking about Iraq. It's one thing to have a robust debate, but I don't think this country as we've known it and loved it can survive for long split 50/50. Those who would march and use fighting words for peace in the world should start looking within first. The only way we're gonna beat Bush is to be quietly confident that we're right and they're not. We need to raise taxes on the wealthy. Period. And Edwards has been selling that point pretty well. I am not swayed from the other candidates (Dean, Clark) as a direct result of the media overscrutiny, but the fact that I know that others will be. I have felt Edwards was a bit green, but he's also been unflappable thus far.

Monday, January 26, 2004

I've lived in Northern California (Bay Area) now for eleven years and two weeks. In that time my voting registration has always been "no party." That changed last week. I changed it to "Democratic." Silly as it may sound, this was a decision I did not take lightly. It may just be the last remaining element of who I used to be: an idealist with a contrarian streak. I've been firmly planted in the real world for those eleven years, out of the comfortable cocoon of the know-it-all armchair quarterback finishing his undergrad degree. I guess I do have some idealism left. I still play in a rock band, and juggle day jobs that I am underqualified for in between tours. That soon will end as well and within two years it is likely I will be a father. With all of this I have become more pragmatic. I'm getting that sense from a lot of people whose political leanings I share. Where we once flatly declared that the two party system was a sham and other such things, I now fully admit that the third party I had always hoped for was nothing but a ghost. None of the parties in existence today are without their faults. So the question becomes: which one is closest to my beliefs and has any chance of winning and actually delivering people whose governance I can feel comfortable with? With Clinton I felt that way and had the luxury of looking beyond the "great compromiser" for something a little more left-leaning. Now I am to the point where even Lieberman would be a better choice than Bush. Is this the language of someone defeated by his own reality, or is it the language of someone who is older and wiser? If I had this conversation with my 22 year old self, fresh out of my '77 Plymouth Fury into my first apartment in San Francisco, I have a feeling we would reach an impasse on this subject.

Friday, January 23, 2004



DOMA

Well, that was quick reading. As I suspected, the gist:

"No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship."

"If you're gay and got married in Hawaii, fuck you. Sincerely, Ohio."

Definition of 'marriage' and 'spouse'

"In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."

Above self explanatory. And I guess this could be interpreted under the umbrella of the tenth amendment...

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

...would it not be for the inconvenience of the first:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Specifically, the marriage/union of a man/woman could be considered a codification of religious practice (though marriage as a practice precedes our current known religions, but that's a whole other point). And if one uses the following definition of religion as a basis...

"a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith"

...then I argue that DOMA could be a violation of those who hold a marriage between a man and a man to be part of their established system of beliefs held with ardor or faith. Thus, to confine marriage to a man and a woman is a violation of the 1st amendment, because that law violates their rights respecting an establishment of their religion.

Turn it on it's head, you see? Am I crazy? Probably not. I'm sure it's been thought of by many others more astute than I am. And I can hear Scalia sniping now: but that was not the "original intent" of the framers. Neither was term limits, so you can shove THAT up your ass!


Interesting insight by a fellow blogger today (on daily kos) regarding the phenomenon known as Kucinich. The mathematical formula is as follows: Jerry Brown+Ross Perot=Kucinich. Throw in Gollum for extra credit.

I must really be a fuckin' sheep because now I'm realizing that I'm undecided on who to go with. I know my preferences: Clark, Dean, Edwards, Kerry in that order. I also think that having Kucinich and Sharpton present at the debates is a good thing, because it gives the national audience a flavor of some alternative viewpoints. Kucinich is not the best messenger in that regard, but when was the last time you saw someone on national tv (since the telecom act of '96 and subsequent fallout) say that he wants to roll back the wto, roll back nafta, eliminate private health insurance and replace it with public insurance, create a "department of peace" and give free college tuition "for all?" The point in all of this: there are people out there who believe these things, and their viewpoint should at least be heard as part of the debate. Same with Sharpton. I liked his rebut in reference to the "Defense of Marriage act," especially in light of Edwards' comment that it should be left up to the states. No it shouldn't. Because that is what opponents of civil rights argued.

While I'm on that subject: "Defense of Marriage Act." As if the institution of marriage is in jeopardy. Ever read "The Starter Marriage?" I haven't, but I know a friend who has and three more friends who got married when they shouldn't have and are now divorced. I've been married since 2001, but my wife and I have been dating for almost 8 years and living together for almost 7. Those who support DOMA would like to see us return to the 18th Century, where people never have sex until they get married and then are forced to live with each other for the rest of their lives no matter how incompatible they are with one another. As my wife words it, "honey, you take that car for a test drive!"

Admittedly, I know next to nothing about the wording in the actual act, but I am reacting to the wording of the title. I'll read up on it. But it makes me sick. If two men want to join together in a committed relationship, what is the harm to society? There is no harm in the promotion of committed love. These people who refuse to believe anything other than a literal reading of the current version of the Bible fail to realize that the Bible's been a work in progress, written (and revised, and translated numerous times) by men and not whispered by the breath of God.

Now as far as the debate goes vis a vis terrorism, the dems should frame it simply like this:

"We need to pursue and capture terrorists, but the way the Bush administration is going about the task will only make the terrorist problem WORSE in the long run."

They ARE making it worse. And we're stooping down to the terrorists' level by suspending the right to a fair trial, among other things. This attitude may help us win battles along the way, but we will ultimately lose the "war" of ideas, alienate our friends who could one day use our hypocrisy to justify the belief that a free and open society was a pipe dream, a failed experiment that only lasted for 225 years (note that I left out the last three). Fighting THAT is worth fighting for. Nothing less.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Good article on Iowa. I am now reminded that I voted for Jerry Brown in 1992 during the primaries as a student in Madison, WI. I'm a bit older now and realize that I need to listen to that voice in my head that says "right message, wrong messenger." In this case the "message" is the phenomenon of internet fund raising and using the internet as a tool to generate interest in a candidate.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

All right, so I'm a fuckin' sheep. But Dean's "Iowa yell" did nothing to help his campaign. He may bounce back in New Hampshire now, but he's gonna get buried in the south. Ever since Clark entered the race a while back, I've been slowly realizing in my subconscious what Iowa (dispite its history of not producing winners) has confirmed: Dean's not gonna make it south of the Mason-Dixon line. I guess the only way non Republicans are gonna have a chance is if a southerner has broad appeal NORTH of the Mason-Dixon. Therefore, I'm going to switch my support from Dean to Clark. I like Edwards, too, but I just don't think he's ready for the big leagues yet. Kerry? Forget it. As for the others? They never had a chance.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Time to eat crow. I'm out of the prediction business, because it's obvious that I don't know what I'm talking about. Dean got trounced in Iowa yesterday. It was a classic case of negative campaigning turning off the voters. Gephardt had been hammering Dean for weeks, and then, for whatever reason, some people in the news media decided to show the images of Dean when he testily brushed off or lectured a reporter, and that made him look pretty bad. Kerry and Edwards, who had been long written off by political pundits in the news media and bloggers alike, proved that actual human contact is still what truly matters in a political campaign. Those who predict that the internet can deliver a candidate should take note of what happened last night. Dean, to his credit, all along has said that the internet is merely a tool to help the campaign, but the story for months, told by everyone else, is that the internet IS the thing. I think now it's time for a reality check. Even though those images of Dean last night, where he lectured and pointed his index finger at reporters, and another where he angrily pushed away a boom mike someone had planted right in front of his face...were deliberately selected over all others, it does reveal something my wife pointed out last night: Dean has tact issues and that's going to hurt him. I guess the media wins. My allegiances for the election are now in "wait and see" mode. And I'm realizing that Bush is probably going to be reelected. It's a sad realization, but one that I have to accept.

Two days earlier, the two teams I had hoped would go to the Super Bowl both lost. And yesterday my car got towed. The week hasn't gotten off to a good start, but for some reason I'm not in a bad mood. Not sure why!

Monday, January 12, 2004

A new job for my wife begins on the 26th! Whew and "woo-hoo" are the operative words. Now if only the Packers could have won that game. You know, I can't really fault Sherman for not going for it on 4th and 1 when having done so earlier in the game and failed. And Favre's bad throw? Well, that's a tough one to swallow but you can't turn back time, right Cher? Better luck next year. I think we're poised to improve now. At the beginning of this season, the general consensus among Packer fans was that the team was in slow decline. I think bringing in Grady Jackson and the emergence of Javon Walker and Robert Ferguson helped turn that around. Nick Luchey was a good acquisition at FB and the O-line stayed healthy this year. Having backup RBs Najeh Davenport and Tony Fisher averaging 5.0 yards per carry is testimony to that, I think. We have a lot to be proud of this year, I just wish we could have taken it all the way so the emotional day when we got into the playoffs by trouncing Denver and then watching Minnesota choke it big time against Arizona would be remembered forever. Well, I have to say I probably will remember it for a very long time, regardless of the end result. Philly is obviously the better team, they have more weapons. Still, we almost beat 'em and for that we should be proud. I like our chances next year, provided everybody can stay healthy.

The first new year's resolution begins today. No drinking for a while. This past weekend was quite the bender. On Saturday, my wife and I went to my former boss's house in Alameda and proceeded into a long, 10 hour alcohol soaked and barbecue stuffed day. We watched the playoff games and played darts, and I learned a few grilling pointers along the way. Plus, it was nice to see him on an upward swing having recently found a new job. I've been in a somewhat awkward position here at work, witnessing the layoff of both people involved in hiring me in the first place.

And I still sit here, with time on my hands to write in this journal. it doesn't seem fair, but today I am happy. I am happier than I have been in a long time because my wife got the job she truly wanted. To me it justifies the year that she worked in a very part time basis for this organization, because when she lost her subsequent full time job working with the parole department just after Thanksgiving, the person she worked with for her now current organization pulled some strings and helped her get her foot in the door for an interview. It has now paid off!

As for me? Tour still approaches, though I don't know exactly when. And we have the landlord situation to contend with. Our house was bought last month and the new owners have hinted that they want to do an owner move in, but it doesn't appear that they can do that legally. We found out that they did an exchange of property, and that they are not likely residents of the property they exchanged ours with. So legally they can't force out the tenants with an owner move in unless they take a tax penalty. Just this past week my wife had the new owner come in to replace a simple washer for the faucet in the kitchen. He replaced the whole faucet. Then he said that he was only doing this out of the goodness of his heart but that we were responsible for paying for those types of repairs? Oh really? Why does it say that the tenant is only responsible for repairs if it has to do with tenants' negligence in the contract we just signed, then? My wife said to him that this is really the only benefit of renting, that when something needs to be repaired out of normal wear and tear, the tenant is not responsible. "Well, I don't live there" he said. Then came the shocker: "There are plenty of other places to rent if you don't like it." The gentleman declared war with that statement.

There was a letter they sent last week that declares that our rent is to be raised by $50 starting in February. We have since found out that this is not the proper procedure so we are filing for mediation/arbitration. These people need to know that they can't bully people and they need to learn the law. They complained to the tenant upstairs, who is in her sixties, that they were planning on "taking over the whole place." They complained about how the rents were not enough to pay for the mortgage. Well, maybe they shouldn't have bought the place then, knowing there were existing tenants. They must have figured that they could bully the tenants into giving notice. Well, they are fucking with the wrong people. This might work in some neighborhoods with some people, but not with us. We don't need them as a landlord referral, because the previous owner had a management company that was perfectly happy with us, and then they were unceremoniously dumped when the lady who owned the house passed away and her nephews took over the place. So the new owners are about to find out that fucking with us was the wrong call. I look forward to that fight because they need to know that it's not okay to fuck with tenants. Oh, and the realtor that sold the place was also shady. I look forward to justice being served.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004



The Raiders

For the record, I believe Callahan's side of the story about the Raiders situation this past year. I do think that maybe he deserved to be let go insofar as he couldn't control the team. But I think the real reason for the problems on the team had to do with the geezers talking out of turn. A classic case of the inmates running the asylum, which for the Raiders is traditionally a good analogy. Here is what Callahan had to say about Tim Brown's sour grapes:

"First off, the notion that I would sabotage a season is absolutely delusional,'' Callahan said during a lengthy radio interview with James Brown on Sporting News Radio. "It is insulting and unfounded, in my opinion. Do you think that I would coach for 26 years to become a head coach in the National Football League, go to a Super Bowl, so I can throw a season? I don't think so.

"I don't think that I would put in 18 hours a day and spend the entire four weeks of my vacation planning for a season, so I can throw it all away. So, those remarks that Tim accused me of are totally absurd and that is an indictment that is unwarranted, unfounded and totally off base."

Brown's anger and attitude, Callahan said, stem from the fact that he was told prior to the Oct. 20 Monday night game against Kansas City that he would be replaced in the starting lineup by fourth-year receiver Jerry Porter.

"Porter, in my opinion, is the next receiver to supplant Tim as the starting flanker in Oakland,'' Callahan said. "Tim was the go-to guy for the Raiders and I diminished his role on offense. He voiced his displeasure in the locker room. From there on, he did nothing but complain about that role.

"With due respect to his illustrious career, it is nothing personal, but that was one of the points of contention during the year."

Callahan stressed that he made personnel decisions regarding Brown and others solely and "never conferred with Al (Davis) about any of the moves I made here.''

The former Raiders coach, whose contract was not renewed last week after taking the team to a Super Bowl in 2002 and following with a 4-12 finish in 2003, went on to characterize Brown as a bitter, disruptive player who failed to address locker room divisions in his role as team captain.


Sounds about right.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Kinks' frontman Ray Davies is in the news today. Apparently he got shot in the leg in New Orleans after chasing after a mugger who snatched his girlfriend's purse. I'm not sure if that move is heroic or stupid, but if I were in his shoes I would have done the same thing.

Bradley endorses Dean. I can't wait to see the first debate between George W. and Dean. I think this will be the key to who wins, and I am confident that Dean will turn the corner at that point.

I can't say that I care about the latest Diana thing or the Britney Spears publicity stunt. That is not news. India and Pakistan holding peace talks? North Korea opening up a bit more to ending nuclear testing? Mad cow in the US? Now we're talking.

Monday, January 05, 2004



Holmgren vs. Sherman

How 'bout those Packers? People who know me well know that when I say that, it means I want to change the subject. It has become quite a parody actually, but I do it to be funny. But this time I mean it literally. Yesterday's game was about as thrilling as it gets. It was really a chess match back and forth. I'm impressed with the job Mike Sherman has done during his tenure at Green Bay. In fact, in observing the curt handshake that Mike Holmgren gave Sherman at the end of the game, I sensed a little jealousy. Holmgren, as any Packer fans reading know, left Green Bay in 1999 to become Head Coach, General Manager AND Executive VP of the Seattle Seahawks. The general consensus was that he couldn't handle all three jobs effectively, and so he was stripped of his GM title last year. As a result, the common wisdom goes, he was able to concentrate on coaching more and less on the responsibilities of GM.

Mike Sherman was Holmgren's Tight Ends' coach in 1998, Holmgren's last year with Green Bay. In 1999, Sherman left with Holmgren to become offensive coordinator at Seattle. Meanwhile, Ron Wolf, the Packer GM during Holmgren's tenure, settled on Ray Rhodes as head coach but fired him at the end of the '99 season when we went 8-8 after seven consecutive winning seasons under Holmgren.

After a long search, Wolf brought in Sherman as the head coach, and then in 2001, Wolf retired and Sherman took over the GM job at that point while retaining his head coaching job. Wouldn't Holmgren have chomped at the bit for that one? But I think both Wolf and Team President Bob Harlan knew something about Sherman and Holmgren that we don't and what has happened to both of them since 2001 bear this out. Since Sherman became the Packers' head coach, we have had winning seasons each year, and our record actually improved during the years Sherman became the GM. Not so for Holmgren in Seattle. In the first year he took over there, they went to playoffs, but had not been there since until this season, the first year where he was simply the head coach again.

So what went right for Sherman that went wrong for Holmgren? For one, Sherman retained Ron Wolf as a paid consultant to the team. Also, Sherman brought in Mark Hatley as his VP of football operations, but my thinking is that Sherman gives Hatley a lot more responsibility than Holmgren did for his VPs. I think the key to Sherman's success so far is his ability to delegate. I also think Andrew Brandt has done a spectacular job in negotiating with current players and their agents and I think his work is key to Sherman's ability at keeping our best players in the fold. One of the first things I remembered about Sherman's first year as GM was how he managed to keep keep key players from leaving the team.

Sherman has made his mistakes, most notably bringing in Joe Johnson, a defensive end that has played maybe less than ten games since signing with us and giving him a huge contract. Another bust was Terry Glenn. But for one, Johnson and Glenn are the exception and not the rule. For every Joe Johnson and Terry Glenn, there is a Grady Jackson (aquired midseason this year). Grady's acquisition turned our run defense around this year.

Who were the players that Sherman were able to keep? William Henderson, for one. He was on the '96 team. So was Gilbert Brown. And let's not forget kicker Ryan Longwell, who surpassed Don Hutson's record for most points scored for Green Bay this year.

Now, one can argue that the highest impact players of the Packers to this day are players Wolf, and not Sherman, drafted. Of course we know about Brett Favre. But Ahman Green is also one of them. Then again, Javon Walker is a rising star and he was one of Sherman's draftees. Sherman also did what Wolf should have done years ago, which was to get rid of Ty Williams. His replacement at corner? Al Harris, the man responsible for the big play that won us the game yesterday. The point? I think Sherman has done almost as well, if not better in some cases, as Wolf did.

More evidence that Holmgren was not good at delegating can be supported by the Ahman Green trade. Who did Holmgren get in return? Fred Vinson, a corner who I believe is out of the league now and a draft pick in one of the lower rounds. Holmgren gave up Green to Wolf because Green was in Holmgren's doghouse due to fumbleitis. Here is a clear case where Holmgren's emotions as a coach maybe could have used a filter for a GM, because where Holmgren gave up Green, had Wolf been there, he would have told Holmgren to be patient with him. But since Holmgren had all the power, off Green went to Green Bay and Wolf got the best of him. Maybe that explained the sour grapes he had during yesterday's "conference" and argument (where he got booed by Packer fans) over whether or not Green fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter.

I'm rambling now. My larger point is this: If Sherman can get us a Super Bowl win, he will be remembered more fondly than Holmgren in the long run because of his proven ability to do it as a coach and GM. However, until that happens, Holmgren will be #2 in the memory of most current Packer fans, behind Lombardi in terms of reverence. I do think it's a possibility this year, though the Philly game will be tough. If not, I do think we will get better next year and continue to do well for years to come, because Sherman knows how to manage the cap and the Packers have good talent evaluators to keep developing new young players. I'll bet that's why Favre changed his mind about retiring. To me, Sherman has the leadership qualities to take the Packers to the Super Bowl, and I have a lot of respect for the man.
Off we go to the new year. The usual lineup of more exercise, less beer and wine, and the hope that we won't spend too much money is in order, to be broken in a few months I suppose. I am proud of the fact that I've walked every day that I could, weather permitting, since January 7th of last year. Has it had an impact? I think so, up until this year's holidays, when the alcohol intake increased. Still, if I hadn't walked approximately two miles a day since last year, I imagine I'd be about 220 by now instead of 205.