October 31, 2008

R.I.P., Studs Terkel

He lived a life, didn't he?

I remember reading Working when I was in the Navy in the early 1970s. I later read The Good War, and I've always meant to read other works of his, but somehow never got around to it.

The NYT obituary says his interviews were something to be heard; I confess I've more often heard Terkel as interviewee than interviewer. Fortunately, some of his interviews are online.

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Movie review

As we were stuffing ourselves with lamb chops, spinach and mashed potatoes last night we watched The Bucket List. We liked it. Jack Nicholson plays the aging curmudgeon type better than anyone I can think of since Walter Matthau, and Morgan Freeman is equally sly.

After it was over we were watching the credits and realized that there were only about five speaking roles in the whole film. That's about as few as I can think of in any movie I've seen in a long time.

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October 30, 2008


If you buy a frenched lamb rack from this outfit at your local supermarket, be aware that the racks are "vacuum packed with 2 racks per bag."

I didn't realize that. I bought two packages for my sister's birthday and now have an extra one in the freezer for another special occasion.


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California's Proposition 8

One thing about the authors of this odious thing: they didn't mince words in titling it.


I don't recall any other amendments to constitutions which have been specifically written to take previously-granted rights away from citizens.

I'm sure there are people who really feel that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, but I wonder how many of them have ever asked themselves how they're harmed by this right of their fellow citizens. As far as I know no divorces between heterosexuals have been granted in Massachusetts, Connecticut or California where the principally-cited reason for the divorce was the right of gay men and women to marry one another.

I also wonder what slippery slope the proponents of this amendment think society would be stepping on if the right remains legal. Marriage between man and Klingon? Woman and Morlock?

California voters, use your head and vote No on 8.

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Post-partisan foolishness

I keep hearing people say that Obama (if he wins) will have to reach across the aisle to work with Republicans. See here for an example.

It works both ways, people. Republicans will have to reach across that putative aisle too. Somehow I don't think that's gonna happen with the Tom Coburns and James Inhofes of the world.

I expect to see Republican obstructionism at its absolute worst if Obama wins. Don't forget that as of December of last year Coburn had 95 holds on various bills in the Senate, ostensibly because he objects to spending money on the projects enumerated in those bills.

That ain't gonna stop even if Obama wins and the Democrats get to 60 in the Senate.

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October 29, 2008

Well, blah

Not to take anything away from the Phillies, but I found that a very unsatisfactory ending to a World Series. 3 1/2 innings of a suspended game and that's it?


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It costs what?

I was pouring a coffee refill for Mom this morning, and somebody was telling Matt Lauer about the new electric cars to be rolled out in the next couple of years, with prototypes out on Rockefeller Plaza in front of the Dean and DeLuca cafe (man, I wonder how much those outside shots are worth to that outfit!).

So the guy is demonstrating to Lauer the nifty little panel on the side of this car which lifts up or slides over and accepts an extension cord which is then plugged into an outlet in your garage or carport overnight.

My question is, why are we never told how much this additional electrical usage might add to our regular household electric bill? Surely it's measurable in kilowatt hours, so is it so large that the electric car manufacturers would rather we not know? Is it buried in the "average cost savings" number used when comparing these cars to regular gasoline-powered ones?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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Full of awesome

A Bollywood parody starring Senator McCain and Governor Palin:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

The Funny or Die folks say it's "a parody of the greatest Bollywood song/video ever--Kalluri Vaanil." I'll take their word for it. It's funny.

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October 28, 2008

Buy a clue

My friends in the Republican party, let me point something out to you. The Federal government runs on revenue received via various forms of taxation. It collects many billions of dollars that way. You could, then, call it wealthy.

The whole Federal government budget is a form of redistribution of wealth.

Your objection to Senator Obama's plans seems to be that people you don't like might be getting some of that redistribution.

That seems selfish of you, but then you've been that way since the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment.

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The importance of backup

When my previous computer died 10 days ago, it had very few WP documents and only a slightly larger number of spreadsheets, and most of those were backed up on a flash drive. Ditto for my website code and my pictures folders (okay, I lost most of the photos taken in 2007 from the hard drive, but I still have many of those on the camera's memory card and/or on Flickr).

What I didn't have backed up was my iTunes library. Fortunately, the music I've purchased through the iTunes store was burned to CD immediately after I downloaded it; the other 1,500 songs were copied from CDs I own, so the rebuilding of the library just took a few hours re-doing that process.

Back up your iTunes library, people.

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October 27, 2008

Am I better off now than eight years ago?

A month ago the Center for Economic and Policy Research updated that famous question Ronald Reagan asked in 1980: "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?"

They produced an informative chart that pretty much says "Nope."

The table below updates Reagan's question by comparing the state of the economy in 2000 and 2008. We use 25 indicators of economic well-being and economic performance and find that 23 of the 25 indicators are worse in 2008 than they were in 2000.

Which two? Median family income, up to $61,355 from $61,083, and productivity growth, up to 21.9% from 15.9%.

Hmm. If the benefits of that kind of productivity growth were passed along to the people being productive, you'd think that income number would be up more than a paltry $272 over the eight-year period. Who did get better off as a result, then? Why, CEOs, of course! (4-page pdf, see Table 3.41).

We need change.

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October 26, 2008

Urban legend?

A month ago I replaced two of the four CFL bulbs I'd first put into my bathroom fixture in March of 2007. I knew it was only a matter of time before the other two failed.

I went down to the local hardware emporium to get a couple and was told by the cashier (Loyal Team Member since 2008!) that "somebody in Electric" (the department, I assume) told him that when replacing the bulbs you should wear gloves or in some other way keep your finger oils off the coils. If you don't they wear out sooner than expected.

I nodded my head in agreement and left. I did not say that was the silliest thing I'd ever heard, but I certainly thought it. Snopes has never heard of it; have you?

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My damned clock radio apparently switched itself back to Standard Time this morning (which isn't supposed to happen till November 2), so I beat myself up trying to go back to sleep when I read 5:55 on its face.

I have had trouble with this thing before.

In other news, was that the weirdest ninth inning you've ever seen last night?

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October 25, 2008

You thought it would be otherwise?

If you don't start the World Series until October 22, you shouldn't be surprised if the weather intervenes.

New game time: hopefully 9:00 or 9:30pm EST.

That's ridiculous. It's way too late to start a baseball game. When the average length of a game is around 3 1/2 hours, that means it wouldn't be through till 1:00am or later. And why are weekend World Series games scheduled at night anyway?

When I'm Commissioner. . .

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Vote early, miss the lines

Despite what I said below, if you're pressed for time on Tuesday the 4th you might want to vote early if your state allows it. You could be one of 7.5 million Americans who've already done so.

Early voting is on pace to break records in many states and for the country as a whole, said George Mason University Professor Michael McDonald, who runs the United States Election Project, an information source on the electoral system.

“Usually it starts as a trickle then … it gets greater and greater as we get closer to the election,” McDonald told the Online NewsHour of past early voting. “What’s curious here is a very high level of early voting in this election when we should be seeing a trickle.”

In just a few days, Georgia’s early voting turnout surged past 2004’s early voting tally. North Carolina is expected to overtake its 2004 tally in the next day or two of voting.

Pre-Election Day turnout is also high in such presidential race battlegrounds as Indiana, Nevada, West Virginia and Florida — to name a few.

If you were thinking you could vote on your lunch hour November 4, maybe you should think again.

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October 24, 2008

I vote for Saturday

And so do Rep. Steve Israel and Norm Orenstein. They've written an Op-Ed in today's NYT suggesting we move Election Day to Saturdays. Why is it Tuesday?

Here's why. I'll bet you agree these conditions no longer apply to our society.

The reason we vote on Tuesday makes perfect sense — at least it did in 1845.

To understand the decision Congress made that year, let’s imagine ourselves as members of early agrarian American society. Saturday was for farming, Sunday was the Lord’s day, Monday was required for travel to the county seat where the polling places were, Tuesday you voted, Wednesday you returned home, and Thursday it was back to work.

Unless we all go back to horse and buggy transport, I doubt it takes that much time to get to your local polling station now.

Move Election Day to Saturdays!

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Villager voices

I just heard one of the pundits claim voters want divided government. This claim seems to turn up far more often when it looks like a Democrat is going to be in the White House; I don't recall anyone saying that when Bush ran for re-election in 2004.

Funny how that works.

Hah. See also.

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October 23, 2008

Wow, Mickey D's is expensive

For various reasons I wasn't much in a mood to cook dinner last night, and Mom suggested I go down the hill and get something for us at McDonalds. That sounded like a good idea, so off I went. The last time I'd been there was during the floor installation in November of last year. I suppose the prices were the same then as now, but my goodness have their meals gotten costly.

$9.30 for a Big Mac Meal and a Big N' Tasty sandwich. It's a far cry from the $0.15 burger the franchise used to make itself the most widely-known fast food outlet in the country.

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October 22, 2008

Aloha means goodbye

The Huntress

Goodbye, old friend. You arrived on Christmas Day, 1992, and for the next 15 years you had a wonderful life and gave us great joy. The last six months were more troublesome, but there were as many ups as downs even then.

We'll miss you terribly.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:42 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Early voting

Hawai'i has adopted a plan that would allow me to file absentee and vote before October 28. I have politely declined the invitation.

I like going to my polling place on Election Day. I like waiting in line for an open booth. I like walking out of the school cafeteria with that little stub from my ballot proving that I voted. I like chit-chatting with total strangers with whom I may share only one purpose: to participate in the democratic process.

Thanks anyway, Hawai'i. I'll take my chances on November 4.

This isn't to say anyone who votes absentee is somehow less of a citizen than I am; it's just a statement of personal preference.

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October 21, 2008

More new machine excitement

I still have a Canon BJC-240 color inkjet printer which I use for non-pretty print jobs. Trouble is, it's got a parallel port and cable (the 25-pin type). Technology has moved so far past me that this new machine doesn't even have a parallel port on its back. I had to go down to Circuit City to get a USB-to-Parallel cable ($33) to make it work.

The Compaq only has two USB ports on its front; there are four in the back, but they're not easily reached, so I had to get a 6' long cable and move the printer in order to plug it in back there. I want the front two free for the camera and other devices.

Fortunately, the installation was flawless and quick.

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October 20, 2008


When I registered this machine with HP (which owns Compaq, you'll recall) I clicked the button which said HP could periodically check the system for potential problems.

I was reloading some of my CDs into iTunes last evening and discovered that the left speaker wasn't putting out any sound. I put it onto my "look at that later" list and went on about my business (getting e-mail up and running was a priority).

About 2:00pm today I got an alarm saying there were several HP updates available and clicked to have them installed. One of them was for my sound card's driver. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but when it finished I was in the middle of loading more CDs, and I tested the sound from the speakers. Both of them work now.

Coincidence, or is that little diagnostic test HP runs capable of realizing that the drivers for the card installed in that machine that somebody just bought are out of date?

It was a little eerie, either way.

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Has anyone had occasion to uninstall a program from the control panel in Vista? I've tried to do that a couple of times with different programs, and it's disconcerting. Once I select the program I want to remove and click "uninstall" at the top of the page, it gives me an alarm box which offers me a choice between "continue" or "cancel." That's fine, but the program name (Thunderbird, in this case) isn't in the box; instead, it reads "Microsoft Windows."

Now, I'm pretty sure it won't delete the entire operating system, but still, that's not something a user wants to see. Isn't it supposed to show the actual program name that's to be uninstalled?

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October 19, 2008


Yesterday morning I came into the office, flipped on the surge protector, turned on the eMachine box, and nuthin'. The monitor said it was working but that I should check the signal cable. I started fiddling and determined that the router lights would come on when I turned on the surge strip but immediately go off once I turned on the power to the computer. This implied that there was a problem with the machine. I then remembered that for the past few days I'd been getting alarms at startup telling me I had a floppy disk drive error and should press F1 to continue. Since the eMachine has never had a floppy drive I didn't think much of it. It looks like I should have.

Anyway, after determining that the cables were all good and the connections were working, I decided the motherboard had died. 3 1/2 years old and the thing quit. Crap.

I just spent $379 with tax for a Compaq Presario SR5510F with 2Mb of memory and 500Gb of hard drive. Not what I had in mind for that money, but I can't do any business or much of anything else without a machine. Fortunately I've got most of my data on a Flash Drive and a separate CD with all my photos. The worst hassle so far is reconfiguring my e-mail settings, and naturally I've been unable to find the POP config at the HawaiianTel website. I did download Firefox so things look familiar. I'd been trying to use IE, which I haven't used in years, and I don't want to.

Foo. What a way to spend a Sunday.

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October 17, 2008

More specialization

Since when have general dentistry practitioners farmed out tooth extraction and root canals to specialists like oral surgeons and endodontists? And why?

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:39 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


I admit to being astonished and dismayed at the Red Sox 8-run outburst in the last three innings of last night's game. If my team's out of contention I root for the underdogs, and Tampa Bay is a compelling story.

After some research it's been concluded by sportswriters that it was the second-largest comeback in postseason history, behind Game Four of the 1929 World Series, Cubs v. Athletics. The difference, besides the number of runs, was that the Athletics, down 8-0, did it in one inning.

ATHLETICS 7TH: Simmons homered; Foxx singled to right; Miller
singled to center [Foxx to second]; Dykes singled to left [Foxx
scored, Miller to second]; Boley singled to right [Miller
scored, Dykes to third]; BURNS BATTED FOR ROMMEL; Burns popped
to shortstop; Bishop singled to center [Dykes scored, Boley to
third]; NEHF REPLACED ROOT (PITCHING); Haas hit an inside the
park homer to center [Boley scored, Bishop scored]; Cochrane
walked; BLAKE REPLACED NEHF (PITCHING); Simmons singled to left
[Cochrane to second]; Foxx singled [Cochrane scored, Simmons to
second]; MALONE REPLACED BLAKE (PITCHING); Miller was hit by a
pitch [Simmons to third, Foxx to second]; Dykes doubled to left
[Simmons scored, Foxx scored, Miller to third]; Boley struck
out; Burns struck out; 10 R, 10 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Cubs 8,
Athletics 10.

Pity there was no videotape back then, huh?

Update: Cubs fans might say that this game, played on October 12, was actually the precipitating event of the Great Depression, not Black Thursday two weeks later.

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October 16, 2008


I don't want to put anyone off, but the needle that that LPN used for the flu shot I just got looked to be about 4" long.

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October 15, 2008

Well, rats

Congratulations, Phillies.

If the guys hitting behind Ramirez could have gotten a few hits (I think the cleanup position was about 2 for 16 3 for 27 in the series), if Billingsley could have pitched the way he did all year, if the Dodgers could have hit with men on base. . .

Oh well. "If wishes were horses then beggars would ride."

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This is community organizing

This is a fascinating article about the Obama campaign's Get-Out-the-Vote efforts. That effort begins with volunteer-to-volunteer relationships and moves up, rather than the more-standard top-down style.

. . .an enormous amount of power is unlocked by this incredibly simple act of distributing different roles to people who actually feel comfortable taking them on.

I don't know about you, but when I'm pushed into doing something I don't think I'm good at I don't do it very well. It seems that the Obama campaign has figured out how to avoid that.

If you're an activist in your community, Zack Exley's post is well worth the time spent reading it.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 14, 2008

Undecided, really?

I'm losing patience with voters who claim they're still undecided because they don't have enough information about the Presidential candidates. My question is, how hard have you tried to gather the info you need? It's not like the data isn't there. Each candidate has a website. Granted, Obama's is far more comprehensive than McCain's, but shouldn't that tell you something all by itself? Each candidate has been profiled ad nauseam on PBS, CNN, and the other cable networks. Each has been interviewed by magazines, newspapers and radio and television stations over and over again.

C'mon, people, get serious. What more do you need?

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October 13, 2008

Nobel Economics Prize 2008

Yeah, yeah, Krugman's economic work was the ostensible reason he got the prize, but I say it's just as important that it went to a blogger.

Congratulations, Professor.

Addendum: Here's an essay Krugman wrote explaining his research methods. I particularly like his rules:

  • Listen to the Gentiles
  • Question the question
  • Dare to be silly
  • Simplify, simplify

By Gentiles he means people outside the field you're studying.

Update the 2nd: Krugman's value as economist and public commentator as seen by a member of the IMF.

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October 12, 2008

Sunday recuperation

C'mon Dodgers, you need to win this afternoon.

More tissues are in order.

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October 11, 2008

More lies

There's a new claim started by the Republicans that the entire subprime mortgage crisis was started by Democrats and their friends at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Trouble is, it's not true.

Commentators say that's what triggered the stock market meltdown and the freeze on credit. They've specifically targeted the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the federal government seized on Sept. 6, contending that lending to poor and minority Americans caused Fannie's and Freddie's financial problems.

Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis.


The "turmoil in financial markets clearly was triggered by a dramatic weakening of underwriting standards for U.S. subprime mortgages, beginning in late 2004 and extending into 2007," the President's Working Group on Financial Markets reported Friday.

Conservative critics claim that the Clinton administration pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make home ownership more available to riskier borrowers with little concern for their ability to pay the mortgages.

"I don't remember a clarion call that said Fannie and Freddie are a disaster. Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster," said Neil Cavuto of Fox News.

Fannie, the Federal National Mortgage Association, and Freddie, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., don't lend money, to minorities or anyone else, however. They purchase loans from the private lenders who actually underwrite the loans.

I realize that researching the mission statements of Fannie and Freddie is difficult, requiring as it does a perusal of the "About" page on each entity's website; since our Republican fellow citizens obviously haven't done so, I can only assume they don't want to. They'd rather lie in hopes of scoring political points.

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If you planned on buying a box of tissues in Honolulu this weekend, forget it. I've already acquired them all (and used about 1/3 so far).


And I'm scheduled to get a flu shot on Wednesday.

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October 10, 2008


In case you're wondering whether there's any truth to these charges of voter fraud (which it isn't; if it's anything it's registration fraud), read Josh Marshall:

ACORN registers lots of lower income and/or minority voters. They operate all across the country and do a lot of things beside voter registration. What's key to understand is their method. By and large they do not rely on volunteers to register voters. They hire people -- often people with low incomes or even the unemployed. This has the dual effect of not only registering people but also providing some work and income for people who are out of work. But because a lot of these people are doing it for the money, inevitably, a few of them cut corners or even cheat. So someone will end up filling out cards for nonexistent names and some of those slip through ACORN's own efforts to catch errors. (It's important to note that in many of the recent ACORN cases that have gotten the most attention it's ACORN itself that has turned the people in who did the fake registrations.) These reports start buzzing through the right-wing media every two years and every time the anecdotal reports of 'thousands' of fraudulent registrations turns out, on closer inspection, to be either totally bogus themselves or wildly exaggerated. So thousands of phony registrations ends up being, like, twelve.


Again, there have been numerous investigations of this. Often by people with at least a mild political interest in finding wrongdoing. But they never find it. It always ends up being right-wing hype and lies. Remember, most of those now-famous fired US Attorneys from 2007 were Republican appointees who were canned after they got tasked with investigating allegations of widespread vote fraud, did everything they could to find it, but came up with nothing. That was the wrong answer so Karl Rove and his crew at the Justice Department fired them.

Vote registration fraud is a limited and relatively minor problem in the US today. But it is principally an administrative and efficiency issue. It is has little or nothing to do with people casting illegitimate votes to affect an actual election. That's the key. What you're hearing right now from Fox News, the New York Post, John Fund and the rest of the right-wing bamboozlement chorus is a [sic] just another effort to exploit, confuse and lie in an effort to put more severe restrictions on legitimate voting and lay the groundwork to steal elections. (My emphasis above)

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Remember June 1968?

I do.

Even though Senator McCain was a POW at the time, I imagine he remembers Senator Kennedy's assassination. So why is he agreeing with loons in his audience that Senator Obama is a terrorist?

This is dangerous territory, and McCain ought to be telling his supporters to take it down a notch. Instead, he and Governor Palin seem to be exhorting them to higher and higher levels of rage.

Senator McCain, you've already lost your honor and integrity, but inciting your fans to violence is criminal behavior. Stop it.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Blogrolling, revisited

In comments below new visitor Russ advised that Blogrolling's site was hacked. Within an hour or so the site was back up. All bow to Russ's power!

I've spent an hour updating my Bloglines feeds so I'm not in that position again. Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice. . .

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October 09, 2008


Yes, I have a Bloglines account. No, I don't use it much. I'm still in the habit of using the links in the sidebar.

I haven't had them all day, thanks to an apparent Blogrolling outage.

Is it just me, or are others having trouble with it too?

Man, what a hassle.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Leisure time

If you've got a few minutes, browse this amazing library.

Me, I'm gonna go watch the Dodgers attempt to beat the Phillies.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 08, 2008

My sediments exactly


My rooting interest is less about Obama himself than about how big a hurt he can put to the Republican Party. I don't want the Republican Party simply defeated in November, I want to see it smashed beyond all recognition, in such wriggling, writhing, anguished disarray that it can barely reconstitute itself, so desperate for answers that it looks to Newt Gingrich for visionary guidance, his wisdom and insight providing the perfect cup of hemlock to finish off the conservative movement for good so that it can rot in the salted earth of memory unmissed and unmourned in toxic obscurity.

He's got a way with words, hasn't he? He evokes Carthage; I'll go with Norse mythology. Let the movement sink beneath the waves of a mighty sea, dragged below by a Kraken, and let it suffer a similar fate.

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October 07, 2008

Debate #2

I'm predisposed to dislike Senator McCain, as any reader of this blog should know by now, but nonetheless I thought he did poorly this evening, and the pundits thought he badly needed to win.

Eric Kleefeld at TPM compiled a list of snap poll results.

In CNN's poll of debate-watchers, Obama won by a 54%-30% margin. In the CBS poll of uncommitted debate-watchers, Obama won 39%-27%.

. . .Obama is seen as better on Iraq by 51%-47%, McCain has a 51%-46% edge on terrorism -- a subject where he's usually done much better than this -- and Obama wins 59%-37% on the economy. On the current financial crisis, Obama wins 57%-36%.


Obama is seen as the stronger leader 54%-43%, and is more likable 65%-28%.

Expect further smears, lies and innuendos from the McCain camp; it's all they've got left.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:07 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Nope, not me, Senator McCain

I am no friend of yours, Senator. Stop addressing me as though I were.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:55 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

This seems a little soon

I replaced four incandescent bulbs in the main bath with CFLs in March of 2007. Yesterday one of them stopped working.

Update: And tonight another one quit!

I thought these things were supposed to last five years.

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October 06, 2008

Fish win!

Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays, who, by defeating the White Sox today, climbed another hill in their astonishing rise from last place last season to the top of the AL East this year. That's notable enough, but that's the same division which houses the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays. Formidable franchises all, and it's a real credit to the Tampa team that they managed to beat them all.

They await the winner of the Red Sox - Angels series; Game Four is being played right now. If the Sox win they play the Rays; if the Angels win they play the Sox again for a winner-take-all Game Five on Wednesday.

Update: The Red Sox win in the bottom of the ninth.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cri de coeur

Bruce Springsteen, from the stage at a Vote for Change rally in Philadelphia on Saturday:

I've spent 35 years writing about America, its people, and the meaning of the American Promise. The Promise that was handed down to us, right here in this city from our founding fathers, with one instruction: Do your best to make these things real: opportunity, equality, social and economic justice, a fair shake for all of our citizens, the American idea, as a positive influence, around the world for a more just and peaceful existence. These are the things that give our lives hope, shape, and meaning. They are the ties that bind us together and give us faith in our contract with one another.

I've spent most of my creative life measuring the distance between that American promise and American reality. For many Americans, who are today losing their jobs, their homes, seeing their retirement funds disappear, who have no healthcare, or who have been abandoned in our inner cities, the distance between that promise and that reality has never been greater or more painful.


I've continued to find, wherever I go, America remains a repository of people's hopes, possibilities, and desires, and that despite the terrible erosion to our standing around the world, accomplished by our recent administration, we remain, for many, a house of dreams. One thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never be able to tear that house down.

They will, however, be leaving office, dropping the national tragedies of Katrina, Iraq, and our financial crisis in our laps. Our sacred house of dreams has been abused, looted, and left in a terrible state of disrepair. It needs care; it needs saving, it needs defending against those who would sell it down the river for power or a quick buck. It needs strong arms, hearts, and minds. It needs someone with Senator Obama's understanding, temperateness, deliberativeness, maturity, compassion, toughness, and faith, to help us rebuild our house once again. But most importantly, it needs us. You and me. To build that house with the generosity that is at the heart of the American spirit. A house that is truer and big enough to contain the hopes and dreams of all of our fellow citizens. That is where our future lies. We will rise or fall as a people by our ability to accomplish this task. Now I don't know about you, but I want that dream back, I want my America back, I want my country back.

Amen, brother.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 05, 2008

A rematch

So now we know who the Dodgers will be playing in the NLCS: the Phillies.

I've seen this before. In 1977 and again in 1978 the two teams met in the championship series, with the Dodgers winning both times (and, it grieves me to remember, going on to lose to the hated Reggie Jackson-led Yankees). They also met in 1983, and that time the Phillies won.

My friend N has particularly bitter memories of one of those games in 1977. Personally I thought the events recounted there were miraculous.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 04, 2008


Dodgers Sweep!

They won a playoff series for the first time since 1988 (the year of Gibson's home run and Hershiser's scoreless innings streak).

Joy is everywhere!

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


I've worked around accounting offices for years, so numbers don't ordinarily intimidate me. The home page at FiveThirtyEight.com, however, is another story. It's an electoral polling and projections site started by Nate Silver, a baseball sabermetrician gone bad.

Anyway, if you can get past the initial shock, there's an awful lot of useful and informative data contained within the site, combined with a conversational writing style. If you're a political junkie, you've probably heard the site cited on NPR and in the papers. It's worth a look.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dear Commish

Why? Why do you let football-loving television networks push you into delaying your premium product's start time until 10:00pm EDT, when the viewership will probably approximate the number of bulls left on Wall Street after the past week?

The Dodgers - Cubs Game Three is scheduled for this evening at that ridiculous hour, and so is Game Four (if necessary) tomorrow. Now, last I looked the Cubs had a national fan base, many of whom live on the East Coast. Why would you inconvenience so many of them? Sure, the Dodgers have scheduled Saturday night games at 7:30pm PDT for years, but face it: those regular-season games haven't exactly had national import. This one does.

When are you going to realize, Commissioner, that your product is good enough that you can tell the cable networks that you want day games on the weekend? If you want to expand your reach, putting on your games on weekend nights (even the Phillies - Brewers game doesn't start till 6:30PM EDT tonight) is idiotic. Stand up to the networks, dammit.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 03, 2008

Wanted: Asset Appraisers

Okay, the bailout/rescue plan has been signed by Bush. Now what?

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. said agency workers were already working on details to put the rescue plan into effect, so that no time will be lost now that the president had signed the legislation.

The problem seems to be that banks won't lend to anyone including each other because of uncertainty about the ability of the borrower to pay the loans back. The underlying quality of the borrower's assets (particularly mortgage debt) which can be used as collateral would seem to be in question. If you happen to be a trained credit appraiser you could find a good civil service job real quick, I'd imagine.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2008

Veep debate

Transcript. Read along while watching the video.

I was flipping between the Dodgers - Cubs game (Dodgers Win! Dodgers Win!) and the debate, but it sounded to me like she was sticking to talking points that she'd memorized, rather than talking about issues that she'd given a lot of thought to. Biden seemed to be talking about things he's studied and voted on for years.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Unconscious sexism

Dear punditocracy,

All this handwringing about how Senator Biden has to avoid appearing mean to Governor Palin or it will hurt his cause is sexist, in case you don't realize it.

She's "in the arena," to quote Senator McCain's favorite pol, Teddy Roosevelt. She leapt at the chance to get into this game, and she should be taken as an ambitious politician who happens to be female, not as a shrinking violet who was laboring in obscurity raising her kids in Alaska. She knew what she was getting into when she accepted Senator McCain's offer. Maybe she didn't expect this much attention, but that's her own damned fault. She should have.

If Senator Biden is pretty direct in his remarks during this debate, spare us the gasping "How could he be so harsh?" commentary, please.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Not a good comparison

Tim Dickinson writes in Rolling Stone:

In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

That's how page one of ten ends. Read the whole thing.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

4th Division Series begins

Preview, White Sox - Rays.

I know very little about the Rays beyond the obvious "worst to first" story line, so today will be the first time I've seen them play a full game. That should be fun.

How 'bout them Dodgers? A grand slam home run into the center field bleachers on a 1-2 count, a Manny Ramirez home run, a ninth-inning relief appearance by Greg Maddux against his former team. . .fun stuff!

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 01, 2008

Baseball playoffs begin

Baseball Prospectus offers previews:

Phillies - Brewers

Dodgers - Cubs

Presumably the site's authors will also offer previews of the White Sox - Rays and the Red Sox - Angels later today or tomorrow.

Update: And here's the Red Sox - Angels preview.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack