Monday, March 29, 2004

Do you get the funny feeling that you're being watched?
Well, Frist fucked up, because Clarke called his bluff quite nicely. The smear campaign is going very, very badly. It is a beautiful thing to watch Chimp and Co. squirm.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Well, maybe the Clarke thing will have legs. I particularly like this passage in a Salon Interview with him:

Q: Why do you think Cheney -- and the Bush administration in general -- ignored the warnings that were put to them by [former national security advisor] Sandy Berger, by you, by George Tenet, who is apparently somebody they hold in great esteem?

A; They had a preconceived set of national security priorities: Star Wars, Iraq, Russia. And they were not going to change those preconceived notions based on people from the Clinton administration telling them that was the wrong set of priorities. They also looked at the statistics and saw that during eight years of the Clinton administration, al-Qaida killed fewer than 50 Americans. And that's relatively few, compared to the 300 dead during the Reagan administration at the hands of terrorists in Beirut -- and by the way, there was no military retaliation for that from Reagan. It was relatively few compared to the 259 dead on Pan Am 103 in the first Bush administration, and there was no military retaliation for that. So looking at the low number of American fatalities at the hands of al-Qaida, they might have thought that it wasn't a big threat.

They had a preconceived set of national security priorities. I would add, as Gore has already touched on since last year, that they have a preconceived set of ideological priorities across the board, whether it be domestic issues, the economy, national security, the lot. The Democratic party cannot be so neatly pigeonholed because it is a party that looks at the facts and draws conclusions, not the other way around.
I dunno about this Clarke thing. Partisans are not going to change their mind about any of this. The swing voters are where it's at. And I fear that too much emphasis on this is going to create a backlash, one where people are turned off by Kerry by associating him with the "shoulda, coulda woulda" crowd with the fine tuned hindsight vision they now have. The only way this can have an effect is as a contribution to many other stories that paint the correct impression that this administration is full of "lying, crooked" people. In that regard, Clarke has done us a great service, as Paul O'Neill, David Kay, and Rand Beers have already done before him. More will need to come, though. By November, the Clarke thing taken alone will be much ado about nothing at best. Kerry needs to get back on the stump and change the subject back to the economy, and hammer the point home that most of the "tax cuts" went to the rich, who are keeping the proceeds to themselves and are outsourcing the jobs, over, and over, and over, and over again. Kudos to Lou Dobbs for hammering the latter point.

Thought of another work related analogy today. The band I'm in is the last remaining lifeboat in my jump off this sinking ship.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I can't believe I missed this speech by Gore. It's another in his series touching on an administration that digs for dubious facts to support half baked theories, and using fear as a technique to keep people from examining the facts.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Nice letter today from my soon to be former place of employment:

"I acknkowledge that xxxxxxx has overpaid me wages of $xxxx.xx (net) by mistakenly continuing my full pay while I was on unpaid leave from October 15, 2003 through October 31, 2003. I have voluntarily resigned, April 9, 2004, and therefore authorize the Company to recoup the amount of overpaid wages, and I authorize the Company to withhold any such amount from my paychecks, up to and including my final paycheck."

Sorry, kids, I ain't signing that one until you spell out how you plan on withholding...

Fuckers.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Interesting word of moderation and caution from Senator McCain this morning. But sadly he is in the minority. To wit:

"I think it's because both parties are going to their bases rather than going to the middle. I regret it. I think there are serious challenges facing America in the form of Medicare, Social Security, health care, deficit spending. And I think we ought to have open and honest debates on those issues,'' said the Arizona senator. If the attacks and counterattacks continue, he said, voters might ultimately tune out.

"I would certainly hope that we could raise the level of this debate,'' he said. "Otherwise we're going to have very low voter turnouts in November.''

On that final point, I'm sure that's what Rove is hoping for. The GOP fares better the lower the turnout is.


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Maybe the better analogy from the previous post is having jumped off of a sinking ship that is currently frozen into the side of the mountain and I'm taking a nice leisurely ski down the slope enjoying the view. At the bottom of the mountain is the tour van with all of the equipment already packed.

Tom Bragan, who has been kind enough to bookmark this blog on his, wrote a nice piece today about the missile defense system being the modern day Maginot line. I've repeated this to anyone who'd listen ever since I first heard it as a kid from my grandmother in the eighties. Star Wars is another Maginot line, a colossal waste of money.

And yes, Tom, I'm having the same resignation as you about the "0 Comments" thing.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Well, I gave notice at work today. 4/9 is my last day. I have now jumped off the cliff and the view from here is just fine.

Friday, March 12, 2004

I guess I should clarify a little bit since I've gotten a flavor of some of the polls. NH looks like Kerry can lock that. IA looks more in jeopardy than I thought, although the polls I've seen there by browsing the web have been a bit of a seesaw. But I'll add Iowa as a list of states to defend. Nevada...it looks like a dead heat. I'm not saying Kerry shouldn't bother with Florida. Of course he should stump there and try, but my gut tells me he has a better shot at focusing on Ohio and Missouri. Why do I get the feeling Gephardt's gonna surface as his running mate?
Okay, I've spent way too much time on this today, but I went to that little electoral map this morning and then decided to tally all of the states in the electoral college for elections dating back to 1856. Probably overkill there, but in my analysis with respect to the elections since about 1976, I'm thinking the states that Kerry should be focusing on are as follows...

From the so-called "swing" states:

Missouri
Nevada
New Hampshire
Ohio

From the "red" or Republican states:

North Carolina
Virginia

And "blue" or Democratic states to defend/watch out for counterattack:

Michigan
Pennsylvania

Here are the other swing states, according to the electoral map on John Edwards' site:

Arizona
Arkansas
Colorado
Florida
Georgia
Kentucky
Louisiana
Montana
Tennessee
West Virginia

I'm not sure why Arizona is considered a swing state. They've voted Republican every time since 1952 with the exception of 1996. I guess maybe they're thinking that demographics are changing?

To me, Louisiana, Georgia, Montana and Arkansas look firmly in the "realignment" Republican category and Kerry shouldn't waste his time there. Florida's worth a shot, but I highly doubt it unless they can pin the Greenspan suggestions w/respect to Social Security on Bush. More likely is the culture war shit will convince enough of the geezers that Kerry's too liberal. But that's just my gut talking. Ohio and Missouri vis a vis jobs is a better strategy for Kerry.

Now, the remaining Republican states:

Alabama
Alaska
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Mississippi
Nebraska
North Dakota
Oklahoma
South Carolina
South Dakota
Texas
Utah
Wyoming

Can you say "forget it?" The only reason I mention NC is if Kerry takes Edwards. As for Virginia, well, they have a Democratic governer, a first in a while apparently. It's a long shot but worth a try.

And the remaining Dem states?

California
Connecticut
Delaware
DC
Hawaii
Illinois
Iowa
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Minnesota
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Oregon
Rhode Island
Vermont
Washington
Wisconsin

All of the above seem safe.

I'm giving notice to my place of employment about the impending two months of tours on Monday. I'm feeling a sense of liberation is coming. Goodbye cubicle, nice knowin' ya. Of course, when I come back from the tour, I have until August to line up something new that will fill the $ void. But something is in the works. How vague can I be? Well, you know it would be a big step to reveal too much and I'm not willing to go there.

This site has been a bit devoid of the politically slanted posts for a bit. Frankly, this election cycle is too long. I'm obviously going to support Kerry, but this whole "push the date back" nonsense in the primaries has gone too far. It's going to be much ado about nothing until summer approaches. Then Bush will pull Bin Laden like a rabbit out of his hat during the Dem convention and we can watch the poll numbers move in his favor. I am waiting to be convinced otherwise.

By the way, this whole "flap" about Kerry calling GOP members corrupt in a one on one with a supporter is a bunch of crap. I mean, of course he's right on this. Just yesterday we saw this. Halliburton now admits to wrongdoing. Is anyone surprised? I really don't understand why more people don't make this connection in the press: California energy crisis=Enron/Dynegy having political cover until Jeffords bolted the GOP. Then suddenly CA had plenty of energy on supply. Halliburton=Iraq war. These motherfuckers are corrupt, absolutely. One of those passalong emails came in from a friend of mine the other day. In case you haven't seen it, here it is. Says it all:

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today

1. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

2. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

3. Government should relax regulation of Big Business and Big Money, but crack down on individuals who use marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.

4. The government has no business telling me I can't have guns, but when you want to exercise freedom of choice, then it's time for a Constitutional amendment.

5. George W (6% unemployment, $87+ billion to Iraq, half-trillion dollar deficit) is doing a great job getting us out of the economic mess that Clinton (3.8% unemployment, peace, huge surplus) got us > into.

6. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

7. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

8. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

9. Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless you someday run for governor of California as a Republican.

10. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

11. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

12. HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of the public at heart.

13. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

14. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

15. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush couldn't find Bin Laden.

16. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying about nonexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

17. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

18. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

19. You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have a right to adopt.

20. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the 1980s is irrelevant.

21. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

22. We have to run background checks on every Muslim traveler to the U.S. because those bastards killed 2,800 Americans on 9/11, but a background check on gun buyers? No way! 15,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S.? C'mon. Guns don't kill people; people kill people.

23. We're leaving no child behind. Entire public school systems, that's another story.

24. Americans shouldn't buy imported goods, but other countries should all buy our stuff.

25. The Right is still bashing a president who's been out of office for three years, who made our economy healthy, and who didn't alienate the rest of the world's leaders. The minute anyone says anything about little Georgie, it's wrong.

26. John Ashcroft can spy on you, tap your phone, check your email, even search your home. An independent investigation into the administration? Not a chance.



Monday, March 08, 2004

Started reading "Our Band Could Be Your Life" by Michael Azerrad over the weekend. I'm doing this as part of research in writing my autobiography, a chronicle of my dumb rock life. I'm not sure there will be many people who would want to read it since I'm not exactly a household name. But I think I can chronicle the struggle of the part time musician, the juggling that takes place in a new light, or at least a humorous one. "Our Band Could Be Your Life" is not so humorous, it's more of a history of punk in the 80s, and it gets a tad self-righteous at times, but I can certainly identify with some of the struggles (and some I cannot).

More importantly, the great Cheesecake caper. I was so proud and excited to find a recipe for "New York" style cheesecake. See, it's my favorite dessert. I don't have much of a sweet tooth but I do love this one dessert quite a bit. So, I started thinking to myself, "how hard is it, really, to make one myself rather than spend $$ on a slice at a restaurant." "I bet I could make a whole cake for less than that!" Last Saturday morning I happened to be flipping and caught the program "Sara's Secrets" on the Food Network. Sure enough, a New York Style Cheesecake recipe.

Here are the ingredients:

24 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temp
1 tbsp vanilla

1 cup crumbled graham crackers
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter, room temp

Holy shit, easy, right? Combine the crumbled graham crackers with the butter and sugar, and place into a spring form pan that has been sprayed with that non-stick shit.

Then, find a mixer, plop in the three bricks of 8 oz cream cheese with the 2 cups sugar. Blend, then adding one egg at a time, followed by the vanilla.

Pour in the mixture into the crust, stick in the oven at 275 for an hour and a half, then turn off the oven and leave the cake in there without opening the oven door for 3 more hours.

Stick in the fridge, letting sit for 9 hours before removing the spring form pan.

Simple, right? I was so excited and I began talking it up to everybody, that I was going to make the best cheesecake they've ever had. Trouble is, we went out on Friday night and I had figured it would not be a big deal if we got back after the three hour "oven time" window. We returned about 7 hours later. The cake looked a bit shriveled. It was a bit of a bummer.

I brought it out of the oven to show my wife, and just as she was saying it was no big deal, that we would get some raspberries and could make a sauce the next morning to put on it to improve the presentation, the fucking spring form pan snapped out of place and the cake went PLOP on the kitchen floor. My wife said I had a look of horror on my face she's never seen before, as if my entire life had been leading up to the baking of this cake and it all lead to this moment. I said 'Nononononono NO!"

To make a long story short, after we picked up the cake from the floor, she suggested I have a taste anyway. I had just mopped the floor earlier in the day, so how dirty could it be? It really tasted good. The next morning, after it had been in the fridge overnight, even better. The presentation just wasn't there. So we went to Trader Joe's to get a cheesecake there for the dinner party we were hosting that night.

Turns out everyone who had heard my story insisted that they see my cake, and they all proceeded to eat it anyway, saying they much preferred it to the store bought cake. I had a taste myself and pronounced: "I've tasted the competition and the competition lost."

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Well today's the day. Voting for the primary and local measures, obscure party committee candidates (making sure LaRouchies don't get in), etc. I'm casting my vote for Edwards in the hope that it helps his chances as Kerry's running mate, press reports about their increasing animosity notwithstanding. At this hour I am still undecided in two areas: City Council At Large for Oakland: Henry Chang or Melanie Shelby. Both look to be good candidates. The argument for Shelby is that she's young and energetic, might bring new blood to the post. But it's hard to argue with Chang's record. The other area I'm on the fence is Measure 57. I'm not sure a bond measure to take care of State Debt is the right way to go. There are some larger, structural issues in how the state is governed that contribute to the problem such as the mandate from Prop 13, etc. If 56 passes, then that increases the likelihood that taxes would be raised to cover the debt. I don't have a problem with that to a point. So I am leaning no there. On the other hand, we live in the real world, and I doubt 56 will pass, which means that if 57 doesn't pass in that scenario, then it's likely the State will slash programs to cover the deficit. So long as 58 passes, mandating a rainy day fund, that shouldn't be a problem.