Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Keisha Castle-Hughes plays Mary in The Nativity Story!

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Backyard catfight

There's been a lot of local yowling between Sinclair Communications (KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Mediacom, the cable TV utility. The screaming is about carrier rates, evidently. I'm not sure of the details, but megaconglomerate Mediacom is wailing and carrying on that little Sinclair wants too much money to carry the KGAN signal on Mediacom's cables.

Mediacom has the local cable franchise in Cedar Rapids. They're the ones who put those ugly green boxes on the city easements throughout residential neighborhoods not long ago. I'm not sure how they can pose as the little guy in the current squabble.

On the other hand, Sinclair also has extra-municipal interests, and KGAN is only the local outpost in their farflung web of commerce. Mediacom says Sinclair is a dog-in-the-manger who wants more than their fair share of fees, unlike everyone else Mediacom has whipped and cowed into the fold. And Sinclair says Mediacom is hardly the only way to get the KGAN signal. You can buy DirecTV, or put up an aerial (speaking of 50-year-old technology!)

The only sure thing is, Mediacom will stiff everyone an extra buck or two if they're "forced" to pay Sinclair's rate, and Sinclair will be forced to recognize that not everyone cares enough about CBS to notice if the signal disappears on December 1st at midnight.

Watch what happens if the debate gets that far. On November 7th, we elected a Democratic state legislature and re-elected a Democratic governor, along with a Democratic U.S Congress. How do you spell relief? R-E-G-U-L-A-T-I-O-N.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey day...

Thank you, O Lord, for Joseph Lieberman. And gray hair. And horrid age spots. Arthritis. Osteoporosis. Myopia...


Tuesday, November 21, 2006




Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Unelectables

Let's just list them, shall we? Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Whatsisname Vilsack... On the other hand, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani (can you sing The Sidewalks of New York in your Texas twang?), ...

Right about now, I don't think anyone but cable news wonks who are so freaked out by the slow news days following November 7 that they're interviewing themselves want to even think about 2008.

It's so bad, I was overjoyed to hear on the History Channel that "The Rapture," the Evangelical's second favorite pet prophecy about the The End Of The World, was actually a personal vision by a 15 year old hysteric in Scotland over 100 years ago.

Right wing nutjobs might blow up the world yet, but there's some comfort knowing God Allmighty will have had no hand in it.

As He's had no hand in Global Warming, either, for that matter. We did that to ourselves too. Personally, I except to see temperatures of 140° F. in Phoenix, AZ within ten years, and the Sahara Desert expanding north to the Alps, but hey — that's fossil fuels for ya.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Nintendo Wie??

The tubes are humming with some kind of malarkey that Michelle Wie is going to be the Nintendo Wii's spokesgolfer.

Personally, I doubt that part of it, but I'd love to see a Tiger Woods-style golf game starring Michelle Wie on the next fairway. The idea is, she flubs a drive and bites her lip in anger. Or she has to wait while Larry, Moe and Curly get off the 14th green. Or you find Michael Bamberger lurking behind a Golden Lantana bush, then he's beaned by a banana hook and you hear Wie's tiny voice in the distant haze call "Fore!" Then he gets hit by Greg Norman's shot from the other direction. Then John Daly whacks a 400 yard drive which hits Michael Bamberger and, gee, well, you get the idea.

Maybe not.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Friday, November 10, 2006

Can't get this song out of my head...

Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding-a ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding-a ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding-a ding ding-a ding,
Ding ding-a ding-a ding ding-a dong,
Ding linga-dinga-ling ding-a ding-a
Ding linga-dinga-ling ding-a ding-a...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oatmeal cookie

Because sometimes there's just nothing you want to say about Don Rumsfeld. Bye, bub.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dave Loebsack? Wow!

Very reminiscent of Harkin's first win in 1974, except we bumped off Bill Scherle and it probably wasn't as much fun writing dot to Jim Leach's career. Nawwww....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Entmoot Effect

The Entmoot Effect says that individuals who vote produce a collective decision which is better than the best enlightened despot's. This works with jellybeans, too. Put a bunch of jellybeans in a big jar and ask a hundred people to guess how many beans are in the jar. The average guess is better than the best guess, usually, when the beans are poured out and counted.

This bizarre result is real — and it explains why societies which have a deliberative tradition tend to linger on the Earth, whether you call it a Parliament, a Congress, a Senate, a Chamber, a Court, a Committee, or (my favorite) an Allthing.

The rule is simple and democratic. As the Spirit Moves, fools and kings have a communal voice wiser than kings and simpler than fools.

So, if you're a citizen old enough, VOTE in today's elections.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Eve

This is always my favorite day (and evening) of any campaign that feels right — as in, you know you're going to win, or rather, your side, your team, your candidate you've just spent fourteen grueling months working for (for chump change, too, but that's another story ;-) is going to win.

If you're psychic like me, you can feel the mood of the voters. It's palpable, like the oppressively thick heat before a thunderstorm, a coiled, explosive calm. I remember once I knocked off phone calling early on election day, because it was obvious (to me) our guy was going to win (Harkin, i.e., this was 1974, and I was calling on Nick Needles phone somewhere in Warren County, Iowa). When I got back to Ames, John Fitzpatrick, Harkin's campaign manager exploded and threatened to strangle himself if Harkin lost. I was stunned. I think I told him to relax. "Tom's got it won," said I, "Can't you tell?"

On Election Eve, truth to tell, there's precious little for the pros to do. You keep the candidate on the phone, or travelling from rally to rally to rally, but for the most part you just walk around your campaign headquarters in dumbstruck amazement — the place is full of high school kids and college professors sitting on folding chairs at folding tables full of Watts line phones (that dates me, doesn't it ;-) All volunteers, all Democrats (in my case), all citizens who were barely visible a month ago. Where did they come from? This night, the levers of power are in the capable hands of Americans.

Time to sit down in a corner on a box full of slate cards, pop a Coke, space a bit, and smile. Election Day is what it's about, but that's tomorrow. Listen to the buzz.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

On November 8th, the topic is Korea, not Iraq

Neat graphic. It's unrelated to the diatribe at hand, of course. Just a reminder that General Shimonoseki got it right, and Colin Powell was prescient about Iraq. George "Butch" Bush, what a loon. The day after the election, watch now as the focus shifts to ... uh ... Iraq.

Back in the real world, Japan would be insane to stifle internal debate on whether they should assemble their nuclear weapons.

Granted, the word bandied about is "acquire" not "assemble" but only naifs who've never played Star Ocean: The Second Story would have doubts about the current status of Japanese nuclear capability. Japanese kids take it as a matter of course that Japan's leaders would never let a constitution written by Macarthur stand in the way of effective deterrence. On essentials, Japan is one mind top to bottom, so pay attention.

On November 8th, the Sea of Japan will (or certainly should) occupy a huge third of U.S. foreign policy analysis. There are some items to consider.
  • Since the Nixon Shocks, Japan does not entirely trust U.S. willingness to hold the nuclear umbrella over Japan. Decades of aggressive U.S. hectoring about trade imbalances have not helped, either.
  • World War II is not over in the Sea of Japan. Japan is technically still at war with Russia and both Koreas, over the sovereignty of Sakhalin and some tiny but terrifically symbolic maritime rocks few people can locate on a sea chart.
  • These awkward facts have been overshadowed for sixty years by larger issues, such as the Cold War and American military bases on Okinawa. If we Americans blink or lose focus on the security of Japan, Japan will cast aside a cloak of modernity with heartfelt regret and no second thoughts at all.
  • The United States (and India, for that matter) tolerate China's nuclear weapons because for the most part they are intended to enforce quiet on China's Russian north. Japan is quietly aware, but not yet paranoid, of the Chinese nuclear threat.
  • When it comes to North Korea, the alarm bells and klaxons are loud and urgent. Pyongyang can singlehandedly destroy a delicate, nursery quietude that China has wrestled demons for 50 years to create. Kim Jong Il, madman, holds the future of Asia in his unstable hands. I suspect he is not only mad, but dead, and anything North Korea does from now on is motivated, directed, guided, controlled and impelled by China.
  • You could argue, of course, that China's unseen hand has stirred in every world events stew since the U.S. "accidentally" bombed the Chinese consulate in Kosovo, but that would be paranoid. Not delusional, just paranoid. In twenty, ten or two years (or two months), when Kim Jong Il prods China to fix Korea once and for all, who will be on the Chinese "allies of America" list? Japan?
So much for that. On the other hand, Saddam Hussein (who was despised as a socialist by every right-thinking Muslim nation in the Middle East prior to 2003) now has 10 days to appeal his death sentence.

Don't quote me, but I suspect George Bush will looking at the Middle East these next few days. Weeks. Months. "Republican foresight" remains a threat to national security.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Aroint, barnacle! bit! ye bush! ye shrub!

I rediscovered MIT's Complete Works of Shakespeare this morning, whilst attempting to turn up some sense in the old word aroint, which The Bard favors only twicest — once in Lear (Act 3, Scene 4) and once in Macbeth (Act 1, Scene 3).

Apparently, the meaning is just "begone with you!" But interestingly, aroint's only used in eldritch contexts, and refers to witches, flibbertigibbets and other Shakespearean (or at least Elizabethan) fouls, fays, haggards and hoobiyahs.

Heck, now I have to read Lear again...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Deconstructing Republicans

Yeah, I'm psychic. I think Karl Rove will be disappointed on November 7th, and here's why:

  • American mothers have eyes in Iraq
    Call this one the Cindy Sheehan effect. The truth is, Bush can't lie about Iraq any more. We may be winning technically (although I doubt it), but when Bush says we are these days, millions of Americans just remember Abe Lincoln's advice about fooling "All of the people, all the time." The country may not be ready for pacifism, but Moms aren't idiots, and they've seen those tricks before. We've all had enough.

  • Republican incompetence still "reconstructs" the South
    This one's subtle. Hurricane Katrina visited a full-scale dress rehearsal for nuclear disaster on New Orleans, but the Department of Homeland Security not only dropped the ball, they scored own goals against themselves for days. Nothing could make Republican Deconstruction of Government plainer to the Christian Democrats of the South. It's not just that Republican disaster planning is a threat to national security; all Republican guesstimation, including Republican guesses about the course of the war in Iraq and (heaven help us!) perhaps even Korea, is a threat to national security. Republican foresight is an oxymoron.

  • Republicans piss off ALL retired Americans by trying to tear down Social Security
    That Republican drug plan is an offense to reason, and the oldest and wisest Americans have no illusions that George W. Bush intended (and Congressional Republicans still intend) to tear down the New Deal and replace it with corporate ownership of government. Only Chuck Grassley's draconian new bankruptcy law, which whacks SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS hardest, could alienate even moderate Republicans more. Thanks a bunch, Chuckie. Your debt to Karl Rove is paid.
This list could be extended indefinitely, but Americans have enough grief on their empty plates to last through Tuesday. Bush won't fire Cheney or Rumsfeld. My guess is, he'll lash out irrationally at Condaleezza Rice before January, and she'll flip parties.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Laura Bush is in Waterloo today?

Take her home, country roads!