Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Palin Reaction.

I know the subject lines lately have been reminiscent of a series of Robert Ludlum novels, but...go ahead and deal with it.
Lots of news and opinion coming today, reacting to McCain's Sarah Palin pick.
The Obama/Biden campaign says, "Take her. We've got ice cream."


First things first, it looks like the Palin announcement is going over like a lead balloon. There's been a lot of polling and tracking done (we're getting new numbers every day from various polling agencies, and will continue to have them right up until November 4th), and the undecideds/PUMAs are definitely not reacting in the way the GOP has hoped.

In fact, FiveThirtyEight published an interesting set of numbers yesterday, which seem to suggest that women view Palin more skeptically than men - I'm not going to copy and paste the whole thing here, but the article essentially says that many women see the move as an obvious pander, and are much smarter than the GOP gives them credit for.
The blogosphere echoes this idea. HuffPost blogger Linda Bergthold calls it "The VP choice that lost the presidency for McCain". Van Jones wrote that "John McCain has gone from maverick to "me too" -- trying to out-Democrat the Democrats and pick up some Hillary voters...But it ain't working.", and quoted a female friend who (accurately) said,

"Palin makes McCain look ancient, out-of-touch and totally yesterday. McCain makes her look like a perky kid. Each one dramatically and perfectly underscores the other's weakness. At least, nobody can criticize Obama's alleged youth and inexperience now. But this is not the best team America could produce, by any stretch."

And Susie Tompkins Buell, the mainstream media's "go-to PUMA," will hopefully pull a few more "Hillary holdouts" onto the Obama side with her essay on why she's finally turned the corner.

So, overall, it looks like this was a very poor decision from the McCain side - in their attempt to be smart, cunning, and neo-Rovian, it actually emphasized the obviousness of their tactics and the American people seem to know what's going on. In fact, Obama went from a virtual dead heat a week ago to a 8 point lead and a 4 point lead in the Gallup and Rasmussen polls (respectively).

We can also take a look at Palin's home state of Alaska. You'd think a governor with a 65% approval rating in a mostly-red state would find herself with good support from her fellow Alaskans, once you figure in the bump gained from middle-grounders who appreciate the small fish's recognition in the big pond, but as the news and polls are showing, this isn't the case, either. As I mentioned yesterday, the Palin pick pretty much nullifies the McCain camp's "but - but - but - experience!" argument against Obama, which is basically all they have going for them, save for the old and tired "traditional family values" line. Alaskans, seemingly a people difficult to fool with a little main-stage exposure, have been echoing this sentiment for the past 48 hours.

From the Anchorage Daily News:

Alaskans are delighted because the eyes of the world will be on Alaska as Sarah Palin campaigns for the vice-presidency...And it's stunning that someone with so little national and international experience might be a heartbeat away from the presidency...Palin joins the ticket with one huge weakness: She's a total beginner on national and international issues.

From the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

Alaskans and Americans must ask, though, whether she should become vice president and, more importantly, be placed first in line to become president...When a candidate for president picks a vice presidential running mate, that partner ought to have more qualifications than “She’s not from Washington.”...Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it...It’s clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance. She’s a woman. She has fought corruption. She has fought the oil companies. She’s married to a union member. These are portrayals for campaign speeches; they are not policy positions...The televised punditry followed up with mostly positive comments, calling Palin’s selection a clever “chess move” by McCain. The chess analogy offers some caution. Gov. Palin, while extending her amazing adventure in politics, must prove she is more than a pawn.

And again from the Anchorage Daily News:

State Senate President Lyda Green said she thought it was a joke when someone called her at 6 a.m. to give her the news..."She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?" said Green, a Republican from Palin's hometown of Wasilla. "Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"...Alaska Democratic Party chairwoman Patti Higgins, attending her party's national convention in Denver, said she was shocked to hear the news this morning..."In this very competitive election for them to go pick somebody who is ... under a cloud of suspicion, who is under investigation for abuse of power. It just sounds like a pretty slow start to me," Higgins said...The state Legislature is investigating whether Palin and her staff broke state law by pressuring the public safety department to fire a state trooper who was in a custody battle with her sister..."We need a vice president who can step in if, God forbid, something happened to John McCain," Higgins said. "I don't think she's someone who is ready for that 3 a.m. phone call."

From the New York Daily News, Palin's own mother-in-law may vote for Obama.

Is this starting to sound repetitive yet? You'd think all of these op-ed writers are plagiarizing each other - "a heartbeat away from the presidency," "stunning," "stunned," "hockey mom," et cetera, et cetera. But I think the repetition emphasizes what a (possibly) insane decision the nation thinks McCain has made with this pick. Time will tell if the numbers will even out at some point, or simply be another nail in the coffin for the campaign.

But Palin did have a great stint as a 24 year old sports newscaster, way back in 1988, for KTUU-TV up in Anchorage:

Wow, that accent. Yipes. But who doesn't like the mushing caption "LOTS OF DOGS"?

Now for a video that's not even close to politically related. Apparently, in St. Maarten, they only have space for a 40 foot runway (citation needed - sorry), so planes have to buzz the beach to get on the ground.

Happy Sunday/Labor Day Weekend!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Palin Pick.

You know you're a huge nerd when:
John McCain announces his VP pick and you get ten people asking you "What's up with this Palin chick?" (By the way, I've been hearing various newspeople stumble over this one for the past 24 hours, so I got it confirmed - it's "PAY-lin," not "PAL-lin.")

I've been reading a lot about this, and well, it's an interesting one. Some people are describing it as crazy, others say it's safe, and I really don't know - I think it's somewhere in the middle.
So, a quick pros and cons rundown (note - if you think you've heard some of these before, you're probably right - this is basically a combination of things I've read and things that are pretty obvious to someone who's following it closely):

Pros (to the McCain side):
- Looks "progressive" in picking a woman...
- ...therefore may pick up some undecided female voters
- and with Joe Biden's penchant for slightly inappropriate comments (for example "You cannot go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent,"), the chances for a slip-up on Biden's end are decent, which would make it incredibly easy for McCain to label the Democrats as the "sexist" party.

Cons (to the McCain side):
- is the choice of a woman too obvious of a pander to disappointed Hillary voters? (see the CNN article which mentions that McCain only met Palin once - six months ago - and spoke on the phone with her once).
- the "Obama is too young and inexperienced" argument is basically taken off the table, as Palin is 44 years old to Obama's 47, and has two years of major political experience (as governor of Alaska) to Obama's four years (as United States Senator)
- with that being said, McCain may be healthy (so he says), but voters may be unwilling to take the risk of someone so inexperienced being so close to the presidency
- is young enough to be McCain's daughter, and her youth may very well amplify McCain's age in joint appearances (see also: Nixon/Kennedy debates)
- is younger and more attractive than Hillary Clinton, a fact PUMAs may resent (and, according to, this could very well be the reason for Obama's brand-new one point lead in Florida).
- slightly breaking news - on July 11, Palin fired Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan - apparently, because Monegan himself said no to firing state trooper Mike Wooten, who just happens to be Palin's sister's ex-husband (who passed out at 31 Flavors last night - thanks Simone). Needless to say, the firings seem to be personally motivated, and the Alaskan Legislature has convened a special commission to investigate the charges - with the findings scheduled to be announced a couple days before Election Day. For those of us looking to escape the shady dealings of George W. Bush, this kind of story doesn't exactly inspire confidence that a McCain/Palin administration would bring the kind of change this country needs.
- And, Governor Palin, you'd better find out in a hurry:

Don't think that one won't be used against her - like they say, saying something on the internet is like peeing in the pool - once it's there, it's really hard to take out.

So, politics is politics, and the game continues. Like I always say, it'd be a great game to watch if the implications weren't so frightening and the need to make an informed choice wasn't so important (note to all of you McCain supporters who may be reading this - notice I said "informed choice" - if you know what you're talking about and have done the research, go ahead and vote McCain - I'm not in the business of implying that every Republican voter is just uninformed.)
But nevertheless, it's an interesting game, and we'll see how these tactics play out against each other in November.
If I can get off of work, I applied to work a shift at my polling station here in Madison. It'll be a nice chance to hang out with some retirees for a while (ha). We're also in the somewhat-planning stages of an election party, with nowhere to have it (all of my friends, myself included, have ridiculously small places). Possible taglines for the flyers include "Celebrate or cry - drinks will be provided, regardless of the outcome" or "Drinks will be provided - unles you're a Republican and don't believe in handouts."
So, I'm going to get ready for work. Taste of Madison is this weekend, and they're expecting a quarter of a million people on Capitol Square - I'm not sure I believe that, but I do know that we're going to rock tonight - plus the Badgers open their season today, so it's going to be a busy night.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The blog returneth.

Hey internet. Did you miss me?
Not much to say here, because I'm back like a kid in an amusement park - checking the blogs I read every day (and sadly, like, sometimes multiple times a day), finally getting my address changed for Netflix, the credit cards, and all of those people, et cetera.
But wow, what a hassle getting all of this done was. (There's SO MUCH cool stuff on here! What's first??) To condense the story, I called AT&T last week for internet and Directv for cable. I would've had all of this done a while ago, but Directv couldn't get on my roof to point the satellite dish (too steep, and a line of trees in the direction it needed to go). Canceled Directv, canceled AT&T, called Charter, found out it was cheaper than what they first quoted me, had an appointment between 8 and 12 on Monday, left my house for work at 12:01, cell phone to my ear and seriously pissed off. Got the appointment rescheduled for today, the guy came with 15 minutes left (like they always do), and totally pulled an attitude with me. He needed to get to the basement, the neighbors weren't home (I have no basement access), had to call the management company, they said they'd have someone over in ten minutes, guy threatens to leave and suggests I should reschedule because he "hears ten minutes all the time and then it turns into three hours", I refused to reschedule AGAIN because no one told me they had to get to the basement. Luckily the neighbors got home before he threw a temper tantrum (seriously, this guy had an attitude), and now I have cable and internet.
So that's that. I have the night off (for once) so I'm probably going to catch some of the DNC speeches then head out with the kids for a little while.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

No new posts until I get internet set up this week. The new apartment is good - but the wireless connection I was hijacking disappeared, so now I'll have to actually - gasp- PAY for it! You'll have to find some other way to entertain yourself for the next few days.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vultures! They're everywhere!!

I'd heard stories about moving day in Madison from people who have been here for a while. I wasn't sure whether or not to believe them until I woke up this morning. For the past two hours, I've been moving things I don't want or need out to the curb for the garbagemen to take tomorrow. I pulled a dresser out there earlier, five minutes later a couple of guys in pickup came and asked me if they could take it - I looked out a minute later (I kid you not) and it was gone. A box of books - gone. Two ugly chairs - gone. I've got a bookshelf and two mattresses out there now, so if anyone wants 'em...although, it just started raining, so they're a little wet.
I guess it's a good idea thing that my parents are coming today to help me pack my stuff into their cars - otherwise, I'd have nothing left.
Anyways, off to finish this stuff.

Oh, wait. Quick note to the media - lay off John Edwards. I don't condone cheating or infidelity in any way, shape, or form, but there's a lot more this country needs to worry about right now. Like, I don't know, like such as the John McCain:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

From the man who brought you "Thank you, Your Holiness - awesome speech," comes the President of the United States of America acting like a drunken frat boy while hanging out with the US women's volleyball team. (I know, I hate linking to CNN - you have to watch a quick ad.)

My favorite part is at about 35 seconds in when he says, "So what are you DOING here?" - like it's so strange to run into Olympic volleyball players at the Olympic volleyball court during the Olympics.
The part where he smacks one of the players on the backside is pretty funny too.
Or the part when you distinctly hear someone say "Sir, come on!" as if he's about to add "You're causing a scene!"
Or at the end when he winks and gives a look like "Oh yeah, they TOTALLY want me."
I think the whole video is funny.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I'm urging you not to click the link I'm about to (hypocritically) provide (because really, these people don't need any more encouragement). I just saw this on the internet, and it angered me so much that I felt compelled to blog at 10:00 on a Friday night.

Stuart Shepard wants people to pray for rain.

Not because our fields have hit drought, not because he likes the sound of a good ol' fashioned thunderstorm, not even because his kids like to splash around in the puddles.

No, Stuart's praying for rain because he wants to wreck Obama's upcoming speech at Invesco Field.

Stuart, hopefully this message will get out to you (or another similar message). You seem like the type of arrogant idiot who Googles his own name on a regular basis, so maybe you'll actually read my post.

I'd like to mention that I never call anyone an idiot based solely on their political beliefs. As far as I'm concerned, if you've done your research, if you don't parrot all of the "Obama is a Muslim!" lies, if you get your news from more than one source, you have all of the information you should need to make an informed, rational decision.

But you, Stu (is it okay if I call you Stu?)'ve sunk as low as it gets.

With a arrogant sneer on your face (which I'd really like to slap off of you, despite the fact that I'm not a violent man), you've sat yourself in front of a video camera, twirling an umbrella like a demented, poorly dressed Gene Kelly (you probably don't catch the reference, because you believe in "families," not "the gays"), and worst of all, you've contributed to the problem. And you'd better believe I'm going to tell you why.

First, I'm not here to debate on whether or not Jesus would be a Republican or a Democrat. The United States of America didn't exist two thousand years ago, and we haven't gotten any sign from heaven telling us one way or another, so let's just consider that a moot point. Your arrogance and message tell me that you believe Jesus would be a Republican, and that's all fine and dandy. Let me back up, maybe I am here to debate that. I don't believe Jesus would be a member of either party. You say, "Look at the Bible! No gays! Eye for an eye! Et cetera!" I say go back and read that Bible. Jesus preached compassion, tolerance, and peace. Most people you ask (well, maybe not anymore, since you and your type have perverted the Bible's meaning and message) would say that the Bible, summed up in a sentence, says "Love thy neighbor." You and your party have gone completely against that mantra - you haven't helped the downtrodden or fed the hungry. Your party has been running a hate-filled dialogue for the past eight years, not to mention the Constitution you've disregarded, the innocents you've so thoughtlessly murdered, the lies you've propogated, the lives you've wrecked simply to earn a buck for your sleazy friends. Next.

Probably worst of all, your arrogance and hate has destroyed the very thing you claim to be fighting for - presumably, for more people to embrace Christianity. You've actually done the exact opposite. You've blocked the path to our expression of Christ's true message, because you've loudly and visibly declared "I'm a Christian! I hate things!", just like the name of Islam has been tarnished thanks to a bunch of insane hijackers who blew up some buildings. Now it's impossible to talk to anyone about religion without saying, "Wait wait wait. I'm not a nutcase. Hear me out." Yup, great job there, Stu.

Wow, I know this has been long - I'm about ready to wrap it up. In summary, your video was arrogant, juvenile, and just plain stupid. Not to discount the power of God in the slightest, but if you plan on your man winning in November, you'd better do a lot more than ask for one speech to be interrupted.

It's over!

This is the last I will speak of this. Brett Favre is a Jet. This makes me ridiculously happy. I love the yummy sweet tears of unfathomable sadness of Packers fans.


Dear Brett - Go be annoying somewhere else.


And that's it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Dear Packers Fans:
You deserved it.
It's a sad little tragedy, in any situation, when people start believing their own hype - and when others start to exacerbate the problem, you've got a whole 'nother mess on your hands.
I've half-joked about this since I was eleven years old - normal life in Wisconsin stops when Brett Favre stubs his toe - but, just like with any joke, there's an element of truth to it. Packers fans have spent so much time obsessing over every move the star quarterback makes, to the point where one player starts to believe he's bigger than the team - and now it's coming back to bite all of you. Ha.
Anyways. As you may or may not have gotten from the subject line, this is the 100th post of this blog. Just wanted to mention that.
"Productivity" beckons, so I'm out.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Rock. On.

Here's the story of my pathetic little version of Monday, August 4, 2008, written as concisely as possible, edited for beginning readers, et cetera, et cetera. Enjoy.
I woke up to a thunderstorm this morning. That was pretty obnoxious, as the getting-back-to-sleep thing got fairly difficult.
Eventually, I did get back to sleep, woke up a couple hours later - and the day really ran like any other Monday. Returned my library books, went to Starbucks (as I'm too lazy to ice coffee in my own house), did the crossword, went to the bank, got to work at about 11:30.
Put the stock on, checked the reservation book (30 - ugh), made coffee (again), did some assorted prep, checked over/signed for/put away the deliveries, sent the grill cook with the busted ankle home (again), set up the line, ran through the specials and menu changes with the waitstaff, got through service (minus the aforementioned grill cook), cleaned the kitchen like a madman, inventory, prep list, phone calls to purveyors for tomorrow's inventory.
Off to the Old Fashioned for a beer or two with Craig and the cocktail-waitress-crew, watched the end of the Cubs/Astros game (called in the eighth thanks to lightning), closed out, debated whether or not Cafe Montmartre was a good idea, decided it wasn't, bid the party adieu and walked home.
$100 Apple rebate check in the mail (hoo-ray) as well as a $25 iTunes gift card from my Juniper credit card rewards. Signed on to the iTunes store in a pathetic attempt to spend the gift card, and only bought four songs (seriously, how sad is it that I can't spend $25 on music and movies? Recommendations please.). Attempting an email to the family, but we'll see how that goes.
And I'm assuming bedtime will be happening in the next hour or so.
I saw "The Machinist" last night, after sixteen or so people told me I really needed to. And it was really good - kind of creepy, but very, very good. Netflix is seriously turning me into a hermit.
Anyways. Go do something productive.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A quick Sunday post...

for a long Sunday video.
Just wanted to share this one with you guys - at 55+ minutes, it's not by any means a quick watch, but it's a fascinating one nonetheless.
For those of you who know me from real life (which should be all of you, as I don't know why anyone would sit through the pointless drivel and relative minutiae of things related on this blog if you don't), you're somewhat aware of my fascination with cultural anthropology and ethnography, especially as it relates to the internet. (See the previous post "Charlie is making me dumber, and other off-topic ramblings" for more of my thoughts on this, albeit less interesting and more spur-of-the-moment than the forthcoming example.) So, to me, this is really cool.
Anyways, watch Michael Wesch's Library of Congress presentation on the anthropological study of YouTube.

My mom's on her way from Milwaukee to pick up some furniture and help me clean out my apartment a bit before I move in less than two weeks. So, I'm looking forward to hanging out with her, as I've been an awful son who hasn't been able to get home for a couple months now (note: those are my words, not hers - what can I say, I don't think I've had consecutive days off in a few months).

But the consolidation is still happening, and the cleaning is going well. (Ugh, he's blogging about cleaning now? Yeah, I know...) The Madison sanitation specialists (or whatever "garbagemen" are calling themselves these days) must hate me. I think I might actually be able to fit into an efficiency.

So that's it from me, for now. You all have a good Sunday.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I'm having internet issues right now - some pages are loading as quickly as usual, some just refuse to do so. It's a little frustrating, but somewhat expected when you're dealing with an unpaid-for wireless connection. Oh well.
I don't have much to report on. I've spent the last hour or so doing a week's worth of crossword puzzles, because I'm a huge nerd and haven't had the time or energy when I wake up.
I've been working a whole lot lately - but what's new? - it's more or less par for the course these days. My daily routine is basically: wake up/coffee/shower/coffee/email/read the paper/work/home/couch/bed. So that's fun.
Regardless, life's treating me pretty well right now. I'm trying to get set up for the move upstairs, and trying to get rid of a whole bunch of my stuff (I have a lot more furniture than I could possibly fit in an efficiency, so if you need any...), so I've also been trying to consolidate, consolidate, consolidate. I finally finished separating everything I need or want from everything I want to get rid of, and then finding the combination of dressers, bookshelves, and nightstands that'll take up the least space but still hold everything I need. And I'm happy to say, I think I've got a winner.
Yes, my life is ridiculously boring. I think I'll start a series of small fires in my apartment just to liven things up a bit.
I kid. I'm not a pyromaniac. But I am off to work.