Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Love Early Voting

Two years ago, the lovely spouse and I had to stand in line for over two hours to vote. This morning, it was a different story. We got to participate in early voting.

We first went to the town hall, and while it had a line, it looked to be fairly short. But the LS also knew of another early voting place located in the clubhouse of a nearby apartment complex. So we decided to go there. Walked in, showed our IDs and went straight to the voting machines. Done! It doesn't get any easier than that to participate in our republic. So, after voting for President, U.S. Senator, Mayor, Town Council, retaining judges, state constitutional amendment proposals, a few referenda, and some local ballot initiatives about taxes and debt for public schools and libraries, I was done. All in about 5 minutes. Of course, I had my cheat sheet to make sure I was ready.

The voting machines used here also print a paper copy that you can review and approve after voting electronically. No dimpled or hanging chads here!

I'm Randy, and I approved this message!

Meant as Humor, But Makes a Good Point

Technology is just getting too hard for many of our older citizens. It used to be you turned on the tv, flipped the dial to the channel you want, and presto, you had TV!

Nowadays you have to mess with multiple remote controls, converter boxes, cable or satellite boxes, home theater receivers, and to top it all off, television stations in the United States will cease to broadcast in good old analog NTSC in February, rendering any TV over a couple of years old useless without a converter box of some kind, be it cable, satellite, or over-the-air.

The following video was meant to be humor, but I fear that it is all too true for many. The closer we get, the more I think this whole conversion to DTV is a scam to make money for the government, the consumer electronics industry, and others who stand to gain from this conversion. For young folks who grew up with iPod earphones stuck in their head and a cell phone in their hands, it is no big deal. But not everyone can handle the intricacies of the change. And with DTV, instead of a little snow but a perfectly watchable picture, we get no picture with a weak signal. We also are subjected to compression artifacts and pixellation.

As to the video, I actually had the two cable boxes on the first two TV sets you see...the one with the knob and the one with rows of push buttons.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It Has To Stop

I have thought for a long time that there are nutcases out there who would cause harm to Senator Obama if they could, for reasons ranging from rabid racism to pure hatred. Yet I have not spoken about it for not wanting to even entertain such ideas. Yet today, the BATF broke up a plot by some neoNazi skinheads from Tennessee to murder 88 black Americans, 14 of them by beheading, then topping off their murder spree by taking the life of Senator Barack Obama. There were also previous plots that have been foiled, such as one to kill the Democratic Presidential nominee during the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

While it is true that these sick and twisted excuses of human beings don't require any encouragement, the rhetoric from the GOP is not helpful. Calling your political opponent a socialist, saying he "Pals around with terrorists", and other vitriolic nonsense only feeds the fires of hate. It is time that such hate mongering to stop in American politics. Now. If something horrific were to happen, I would hold people who spew such garbage for potential political gain partially responsible. When your crowds shout "Kill Him" and "Terrorist" about your opponent, something evil has taken hold in the nation.

And it isn't just extremists. Look at the video below to see the inane comments by the crowd going to a McCain-Palin rally. Unbelievable. It has to stop.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Arizona's Vietnam Veterans Memorial

As with all of my photos from the recent trip to Arizona, these are not up to par, as they were taken with my mobile phone camera. The location again is the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza.

This time, we are seeing the Arizona Vietnam Memorial. Much like the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, this one involves names inscribed into black rock, but rather than a wall, these are monoliths arranged in a semi-circle, surrounding a series of plaques in the center. The plaques are mounted on a stone pedastal, and describe milestones during the America's involvement in the Vietnam War. This monument was placed by The Vietnam Veteran Association of Arizona.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

USS Arizona Artifacts in Phoenix

An anchor from the USS Arizona on display in Phoenix

Earlier this week, I was in Phoenix on business. On the way back to Sky Harbor Airport, I had a few minutes, so I stopped off at the Arizona state capitol complex. Across the street from the capitol building is the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, a park containing a variety of monuments. The series of photos to follow were taken on my Motorola Q9 mobile phone camera; therefore they are not up to the typical quality of the pictures I usually post. Still, they are able to convey their contents effectively, so I will share them here.

Two of the items in the park deal with the USS Arizona, a battleship of the United States Navy that was destroyed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The ship, commissioned in 1916, saw service in World War I, and underwent a modernization during the 1930s. Upon her destruction, 1177 lives were lost. Today, the USS Arizona Memorial is a part of Pearl Harbor.

But back in Phoenix, the signal mast of the ship, along with one of her anchors, are prominently displayed among the myriad memorials and monuments in the park. Below are two views of the mast, followed by a photo after the ship's 1930s updating, where you can clearly see this mast on the ship.

USS Arizona signal mast, with the state capitol in the background

Flags displayed on the signal mast

USS Arizona following her modernization in the 1930s

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quick Hits on a Friday Morning

Well, it's been another busy, busy week, hence the lack of postings. More to come this weekend, but let's take note of a few things.

Wall Street Roller Coaster

Unbelievable insanity continues in the economy, as the DJIA drops over 400 points in the opening minutes this morning. As always, it will be the people who just work hard every day will pay the price in decimated retirement and job losses. This is bad news for the Republican ideals of "I got mine, too bad for you", as people who have jobs and health insurance suddenly find themselves with neither. Maybe the greed will finally give way to real compassion and the realization that we are all interconnected, and that freedom from want is truly an American...and yes, a human, ideal.

Wasting Political Donations

Did you give donations to the Republicans? If so, are you angry that over $150,000 of your funds went into new outfits for Caribou Barbie? Governor Palin claims to be a typical hockey mom. How many hockey moms can drop that kind of cash at Neiman Marcus and Saks? I suspect real hockey moms are starting to abandon even shopping at Kohls and Mervyns, and heading to the Goodwill Store in today's economy. I guess it takes some mighty fancy lipstick to dress up a pit bull!

If you want to play along, you can dress up Governor Palin by CLICKING HERE.

Good News on the Horizon for MS Patients

British scientists at Cambridge University have found that alemtuzumab, a drug used to treat leukemia, can not only stop the effects of Multiple Sclerosis, but actually can reverse the damage caused by this horrible disease. Further testing must take place, but this is potentially great news for people who suffer daily with MS. CLICK HERE for more on this story.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell's Endorsement of Barack Obama

I have been quite upset with a man I have respected for years since he went before the United Nations and made a presentation based on bad information in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. That man is former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell. Today on NBC's Meet the Press, General Powell redeemed himself. In a most eloquent and reasoned manner, he laid out why as a life long Republican, he is endorsing Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama for the Presidency of the United States.

General Powell echoes the main reasons I also support Senator Obama. These include:
  • Senator McCain's poor judgment in selecting Governor Palin as his running mate, when she is obviously unqualified to be President
  • The possibility of at least two more Supreme Court appointments of a conservative bent
  • The low road taken in these closing days of the campaign by Senator McCain's team
  • Not only the misrepresentation of Mr. Obama as a Muslim, but that it even matters what his religion may be, when there explicitly no religious test for public office, as stated in the Constitution of the United States
  • Barack Obama is a new generation, a transitional figure in American history, when the nation can ill-afford four-to-eight more years of basically the same failed policies of the past eight.
General Powell, I salute you for your taking a stand, and in spite of your long standing friendship with Senator McCain, putting your country first.

I have embedded today's Meet the Press below.

Hop To It!

Between battling a major round of insomnia, and the most hectic times at work in quite a while, I have not been posting as regularly to the blog as usual. Politics have reached new lows of slinging, more like slinging crap...especially from the McCain campaign. So let's look at something a bit easier on the brain.

Today, one of the little bunny rabbits that live under our trees was sitting out in the yard, looking all fat and happy. I don't know if this is a pregnant bunny, or just one that is well fed on my poor lawn, but in any case, it is cute. That said, if times get tougher, this could begin to look less like a cute little bunny, and start looking more like dinner and four "good luck" keychains, cotton tail notwithstanding!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Poor Pa Kent! Killed Off Again!

Let's take a quick break from politics and economics. Too much of that can make your head hurt!

As I was growing up, the Superman mythos was an important part of my childhood. When comic books were from 10 cents to 12 cents each, even my modest allowance of 75 cents a week would buy several comics. I loved the characters of the DC line; Superman the most, but also Batman, Aquaman, and Green Lantern.

The Superman story line and continuity was as familiar as if it were my own life. Jor-El, the leading scientist of the planet Krypton, which revolved around a distant red sun, warned the Science Council that the planet would soon explode. No one believed him, so Jor-El and his wife Lara, placed their baby son, Kal-El, into an experimental rocket and sent him to Earth, where he was adopted by the elderly Jonathan and Martha Kent, who lived on a farm just outside Smallville, U.S.A. The Kent's named the space child Clark, and he had a career as Superboy. After his foster parents died, Clark moved to Metropolis to work for The Daily Planet newspaper. All this was immutable comic book reality. Then came John Byrne.

Byrne was hired away from Marvel Comics to do a total reboot of Superman in 1986. While in some ways the reimagining of the character was a welcome relief to bring about a more interesting and limited version, it was a major change, doing away with such characters as Superboy, Supergirl, Krypto, the bottle city of Kandor. In fact, the entire DC Universe was redone via the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" storyline crossing all DC titles. But two characters came out of the relaunch better than before...Ma and Pa Kent were still alive back in Smallville, and Superman was able to go home for visits.

The 1978 film, Superman, starred Glenn Ford as Jonathan Kent, who died of a heart attack. Not even his son's super powers could save him. In the television series, Smallville, Jonathan Kent, as portrayed by John Schneider, has been killed off. So this week, Jonathan is killed off once again in Action Comics #870.

So the moral of the story is, it isn't good to be either Superman's real father, who died on Krypton; nor his Earth father, Jonathan Kent, who is now dead for the fourth time. Much better to be Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

From Nixonian to "Bleeding Heart Liberal"

If you read this blog regularly, you know I lean politically pretty hard to the left. But what you may not know is that this wasn't always so. A combination of my evolving views and life experiences, along with a takeover of the GOP by more radical right elements resulted in a shift in my views. You may ask yourself how does a Reagan Republican become a Democrat? There are probably stories how people have done this. For anyone interested, this is mine.

Early Years

I was politically-aware at an early age. I was seven years old during the 1960 election campaign, and vividly remember that my parents supporting Vice President Richard Nixon for the Presidency. Since Mom & Dad were backing Nixon, in my young mind, that was the obvious and only rational choice, right? When I found out from the kids next door that their family was for Kennedy, it actually caused some playtime ill-will, since they had the same view of their parents’ choice as I had of mine. Yet none of us were smart enough to tell you a single issue in the campaign. Like any other children, our views on politics, religion, morality, and how the world should be, was inherited from the environment of our respective homes.

When my parents went to cast their ballot for Nixon in 1960, my younger sisters and I had to stand with them in what seemed to be an infinitely long line of people waiting to vote. When we finally got to the front of the line, a poll tax had to be paid in order to cast a ballot. Poll taxes were instituted shortly after Reconstruction in 11 southern states as a way to keep blacks and poor whites from voting. The growing civil rights movement had brought the issue to the forefront, and by 1962, Congress sent a proposed constitutional amendment that would abolish the poll tax, to the states for ratification. This became the 24th Amendment upon ratification on January 23, 1964. The impact on national elections was felt in the five states that still had poll taxes, one of them being Texas, the state where we lived at the time.

In 1964, since my parents were for Barry Goldwater, so was I (not that it mattered who an eleven year old child was for). The political leanings I was taught at home were so ingrained, that I never really questioned them growing up. Even during my teen years, and with the dark specter of possibly being drafted to fight in Viet Nam, I unquestioningly assimilated the Republican mindset.

The events of 1968 were compelling, and I was a bit put off by Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the Vietnam War if he were elected. It turns out there was no secret plan, and the war dragged on during his first term. The assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Democratic Presidential candidate, Senator Robert F. Kennedy; along with the protests on college campuses across the country, coupled with the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago showed that the nation was experiencing a time of major unrest and political upheaval. The incumbent President Lyndon Johnson declined to run for a second term, as the war took its political toll on him. The Democratic mantle fell to Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Between Humphrey and Nixon, neither one got me really excited, but alas, I was still too young for any of it to matter.

When the Ohio National Guard opened fire on protesting students at Kent State University in 1970, it horrified me. Four students were killed, and nine others wounded. You cannot ignore something like that. I see it all quite differently now, but at the time, I was either too young or too apathetic to really dig into what happened. Had I known then what I know now, I would never have supported the President for re-election.

Young Adulthood, The Draft, and The Rise & Fall of Nixon

The 1972 elections were the first to be held after ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which granted the vote to citizens who were at least 18 years old. As 19-year-old college student, I was ready and eager to participate in the political process. I was one of the few lonely campaigners on my campus for the re-election of President Nixon. I recall telling my dad that if the upcoming election were decided by my fellow students, Senator McGovern would win overwhelmingly. His reply was something like, “Well, those students won’t be deciding the election.” As it turned out, he was right, as Nixon won re-election in a landslide, only to resign a short time into his second term in the disgrace of the Watergate scandal.

At the time, I was not a fan of Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern , and given the Nixon landslide of 1972, neither were very many others. His early gaffes surrounding the abortive selection of Senator Thomas Eagleton as running mate, and his hasty replacement with Sargent Shriver won him few fans. Then his promise to immediately withdraw from Viet Nam within 90 days of his inauguration as President, and a promise to travel to Hanoi to beg for the release of our prisoners of war, did him in. At least it did for me. Despite my strong desire for an end to the war, I felt (and still do) that it was beneath the President of the United States to effect an immediate surrender, and then to travel to the “enemy” capital to grovel at the feet of Ho Chi Minh.

A rite of passage for young men when they reached age 18 was registering with the draft board. How well I remember the day I went in. The war was largely executed by reluctant recruits drafted into service. As I came of age, the Selective Service System started using a lottery system to determine the order of call up into coercive induction. It was a lottery you definitely didn't want to win. Prior to the lottery, men were called up by local draft boards, starting with the oldest eligible men first. They started with the 25 year olds and worked down from there.

The lottery changed all that, including the scrapping of the policy of starting with the older guys first. The initial lottery was held in December 1969 to cover all men born between 1944 and 1950. Subsequent lotteries were conducted for the next three years, which were for a single year only. As I was born in 1953, I was in the fourth, and final, lottery for the Vietnam-era draft. It was held in February of 1972 at the start of my second freshman semester in college. My birthday came up about one-third of the way down the list, effectively meaning I was not very likely to be drafted, but it was still possible. As it turned out, the year my age group would have been called up was 1973, the year the draft was finally eliminated and the United States transitioned to an all volunteer military. While I am sure I would have submitted to the draft had things worked out differently, today I have a very different view of what was going on at the time, and have a deep respect for both those who fought, and for those who protested against the unjust war in south-east Asia.

At the time, I bought into the Nixon administration's assertion of the “domino theory”. Simply stated, the idea was that if we were to leave Viet Nam, the Communist Chinese Army and their North Vietnamese proxies, would continue to take over nation after nation until we would be battling them in downtown Los Angeles. (We hear the same rhetoric from George W. Bush today, with lines such as “We are fighting them over there, so that we don’t have to fight them here.”) Over time, I came to the realization that the Vietnam War was a tragic mistake and a horrible foreign policy blunder which cost this nation dearly in resources and in lives needlessly cut short.

On the political front, I was happy at the re-election of President Nixon. I think my little 1963 Rambler was the only car on my university campus to sport a bumper sticker proclaiming “Re-Elect The President.” I was likewise sadly disappointed as the misdeeds of Watergate eventually led to the Oval Office itself. As the walls were closing in on the President, my dad wrote him a letter strongly urging him to fight the charges and not to resign. After the revelations of the White House tapes and the passage of Articles of Impeachment, the inevitable happened. I will always remember that while visiting my grandparents in Oklahoma, I watched the President of the United States resign his office, and depart for California the following day.

Skipping an Election

Despite the resignation of Richard Nixon, I still believed that the Republican Party was the party that anyone with any sense would support. Surely Nixon had just been caught up in his own “Imperial Presidency”. So when America's bicentennial year brought the 1976 elections, I was pulling for President Ford to legitimize his claim to the office of President by actually being elected to it. Even so, I was not an enthusiastic Ford supporter, and that blasé attitude, led to my sitting out the actual election. I had a busy day at work on election day, and somehow in my mind believed that there was no way that Georgia Democrat Jimmy Carter, would win anyway. So for the first (and only) time, I didn't go to vote. Much to my dismay, I felt somewhat responsible when later that night, the television networks declared that the Georgia governor had beaten America's first unelected President. I wondered how many others did what I did, resulting in this outcome.

As it turns out, years later I would meet former President Gerald Ford when I had the chance to ask him a few questions while covering a GOP fund raiser in Houston when I was a political reporter at KTRH Radio. The Secret Service agents thoroughly searched me and my tape recorder before letting me in. I didn't tell him that I felt somewhat responsible for his defeat in his bid to be elected.

1980 and the Reagan Revolution

The 1980 election was my chance to redeem my sitting out in 1976. I was not just voting against President Carter. I was energized by Ronald Reagan. As a child, I remembered Reagan as the host of one of my favorite television programs, Death Valley Days, sponsored by 20-Mule Team Borax. Reagan took over the program from the original host, Stanley Andrews as “The Old Ranger”, following Andrews' departure in 1965.

I had also noticed Reagan in the '76 Republican primary season, and was leaning toward supporting him, but in the final analysis, felt the incumbent Ford would have a better chance of winning. In the interim, Reagan hosted a talk radio program which kept him in the forefront of political discussion, and I ended up enthusiastically backing him when he gained the GOP nomination in 1980.

Reagan was a great speaker who clearly laid out his vision of America, and I bought it all. Even the whole “trickle down” Reaganomics” seemed like it just might work. Unfortunately, the trickle down became a stream of bubble up, giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, resulting in a redistribution of wealth that continues to the present. If only I knew then what I know now!

I voted for Reagan in both 1980 and 1984, and seriously wished in 1988 that he could run for a third term in office. I would have voted for him. I was not that impressed with the whiny-sounding Vice President, George Herbert Walker Bush. Still he ended up as the GOP nominee, so I voted for him, hoping he would continue the Reagan policies, even if he were not made of the same Presidential timber as President Reagan. I voted for him again in 1992. It would be the last time to date that I gave my vote to a Republican for President of the United States.

When Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won the 1992 election, I was very worried about the future of the nation. While President Clinton largely won me over during his eight years in office, I never voted for him. By the time he ran for re-election in 1996, I had undergone an epiphany of sorts, but it wasn't the Democratic Party that garnered my support.

The Libertarian Years: 1996 – 2000

After developing an intense interest in studying the Constitution, I became convinced that the government that governs best is the one that governs least. By 1996, I decided to back the Libertarian Party. I was (and still am) drawn toward their ideas of liberty. Where the Constitution is silent, leave matters up to the state. Why should the government outlaw personal behaviors where no one else is harmed. Why are “victimless crimes” deemed to be crimes at all?

I still hold to many, if not most, Libertarian Party ideals. I don't believe the government has any business regulating things legal adults may decide for themselves, like marriage, prostitution, pornography, seat belts, motorcycle helmets, or executing the so-called “War on Drugs”. Let me be clear; I have never been paid for the services of a prostitute. I have never used illicit drugs, even as a teen coming of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This is not a pat on the back for me. These things just never held any interest for me, and I knew they were something I didn't want to have in my life. I also am only speaking of consenting adults of legal age. Children who are not of majority age should always be protected by the state where their parents and guardians are lax or negligent.

In both 1996 and 2000, I voted for the late Libertarian, Harry Browne. I went to a Browne rally at a hotel in Englewood, Colorado. I gave to his campaign. Yes, I knew Harry wouldn't win. But that wasn't the point. Third party candidates have virtually no chance of winning the White House. However, I don't consider those votes “wasted”. Third parties succeed not so much by winning elections. They make their mark by garnering enough votes to push their ideals into the mainstream where they may be adopted by one of the two major parties.

The Shift Continues – On to the Democratic Party

As mentioned, in 2000 I voted for neither Texas governor George W. Bush, nor for Vice President Gore. But given the ignorance and corruption that I perceived in the second President Bush and his team, I knew that the only way to make a difference in 2004 was to vote for the only party with a chance of unseating him. Starting with his father’s political machine steering the system to award “W” the White House, to his misguided invasion and occupation of Iraq, to the no-bid contracts for his cronies, to the torture and detainment of prisoners, to the falsely-named USA PATRIOT Act which legitimized the government spying on American citizens, this was easily the worst administration in my lifetime; and quickly moving toward the absolute bottom of the heap. Watching the Republican National Convention in 2004, I was particularly sick to my stomach over how the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001 were used for political purposes. I was incensed at how some widows of those attacks were trotted out as stage props for the GOP’s political propaganda machine.

Top it all off with the vitriol and absolute lies continually churned out by the GOP, and they lost me for good. I cannot support the type of political tactics that the late Lee Atwater renounced on his death bed, the tactics employed by the likes of Karl Rove, the tactics that have destroyed rational political discourse in this country.

Are the Democrats perfect? Absolutely they are not. But I find that the GOP is the party of pure greed. The attitude of “I got mine, so screw you” doesn’t cut it with me. America has to work for all. We have to be a compassionate society. George W. Bush claimed he was a “compassionate conservative”. He is not. Is it compassion to deny children healthcare while spending hundreds of billions on an invasion and occupation? Is it compassion to watch our elderly making choices between food and medicine, while giving our taxes to your buddies via “no-bid” contracts?

Call it socialism if you like, but as I often say, some things are better done collectively than individually. I don’t have my own fire department. I don’t have my own air force. Yes, we will always have the poor, but do we have to continue to ignore their plight? Compassion dictates that we use the resources of this nation to the betterment of all, not just those whose life circumstances have put them in positions of great wealth and power. This is one other contributing factor to my parting with the Libertarian Party. They embrace too much to the idea that you are on your own.

Until we get rid of the “Me first, screw you, I don’t want my money to be helping you” attitude that has taken over the Republican party, we will continue our decline toward becoming a second-rate nation. I hope that historians don’t look back on these times as the beginning of the end of America’s greatness. We are better than that.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Real VP Debate

For those of you who may have missed it, here is the Vice Presidential debate, unfiltered SNL style!

A Maxim For Facing Adversity

I saw where the mayor of Parker, Colorado was talking about the current economic situation, and he repeated the oft-stated maxim that "What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger." The veracity of that idea is in doubt, as it could be that what doesn't kill you, only makes you so miserable that you wished that it did. Or perhaps it is only half the story. For example, one could finish the statement thusly:

"What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger. But that which does kill you, well . . . kills you."

Cheerfully yours,

Saturday, October 04, 2008

See Ya O. J.

The Moody Blues sang, "Isn't life strange, a turn of the page, can read like before, can we ask for more." Well, the turn of the page didn't quite read like before for former football star, former actor, former murder suspect, former golf course hunter for the "real killers" , and now convicted armed robber O. J. Simpson. Thirteen years to the day from his acquittal for the brutal slashing murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, O.J. has been found guilty of armed robbery in Las Vegas.

Jurors deliberated 13 hours before finding Simpson guilty of all 12 counts against him. Based on his age of 61, he could conceivably spend the rest of his life in prison. While I believed the evidence proved his guilt in the murders, the jurors found him not guilty. That decision set him free to grab a golf cart and begin his hunt for the "real killers". Of course, besides enjoying a round of 18 holes while on the hunt., O.J. has been in trouble for one thing after another over the intervening years.

Last year, Simpson had the cajones to publish "If I Did It", a book telling how he would have done the killings "if" he had done them. The outrage caused a movie based on the book to not be released, and the Goldman's eventually got the rights to the tome.

So, maybe O.J. thought he was invincible, that he could beat any rap against him. But this time there were no slow band of police cars chasing a creeping white Bronco at slow speed. Only the sight of O.J. being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs to await sentencing for the counts of which he has been found guilty. I am sure the Brown and Goldman families will sleep well tonight. Oh, there might be a tee time available at his favorite golf course in Miami. O.J. won't be taking it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Veepstakes Debate

I had many thoughts while watching Governor Palin debate with Senator Biden last night. I was planning on writing an analysis of the event myself, but the editorial in The New York Times said it so well, that I will provide a link here to their review.

I will say that while Ms. Palin avoided any major flubs (short of calling the senator from Delaware "Senator O'Biden"), she didn't show any substantive understanding of either foreign or domestic issues. It was also apparent by her refusing to answer the questions, and just sticking to her rehearsed answers, that she still cannot think on her feet. This is demonstrated in her interviews, and that her handlers obviously coached her to stick to the GOP talking points and false accusations. I can almost hear them now..."Sarah, whatever you do, don't try to answer the questions. Here is what you say, and do NOT vary from it."

If the Republicans win the presidential elections in November, we had all better wish, hope, or pray to whatever deities we believe may or may not exist, that the new President stays healthy enough to complete his term in office. If Palin were to ascent to the Presidency of the United States, would it be a disaster? To use the governor's own words, "You betcha!"

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Maverick McCain

Okay, enough is enough! I between Senator McCain and his running mate proclaiming him to be a "Maverick", it's getting a bit tired. Maybe they have been watching too many TV westerns. When I think of Maverick, I think of this guy.

"Maverick" McCain's plan for raising taxes on the middle class

Or maybe we should be voting for this other guy, Lucas McCain, who always set the bad guys straight on "The Rifleman".

Vote McCain! LUCAS McCain!

Flags Over Larimer

Early last month, I had to work at my employer's booth at the CEDIA Expo in downtown Denver. Some of the days, I took Denver RTD's Light Rail system to the Colorado Convention Center, but on the Sunday of the show, RTD's schedule didn't work out. So, I drove downtown, and while there, I saw a display of state flags hung over Larimer Street left over from the Democratic National Convention. I pointed my cell phone camera and snapped this photo while driving, so it isn't a masterpiece picture.

However, I wonder how many other people notice the trivial things that I see. Maybe a lot, maybe only a few. But take a look at the picture. Do you notice anything? I noticed it before I took the picture, which is one reason I did so. After you look, keep reading and I will share what I see.

The thing I saw is the order of the flags. I didn't see all the way up the street, but notice the closest row. I quickly noticed it had US territorial flags for American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It also has the flags of the states of Hawaii and Alaska, our 50th and 49th states. Then look at the next row, and you see starting on your left, the flags of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington, the 48th through 42nd states admitted to the union, respectively. So obviously, these flags were hung in order of admission, followed by the non-state U.S. flags, and we are looking from the "wrong direction". I have no doubt that if we went to the other end of the block, Delaware's flag would have been the first one on the first row (I learned about that when I was a schoolchild in that state, where we celebrated "Delaware Day" every December 7, the date the Diamond State became the first one to ratify the Constitution of the United States).

Trivial? Yes. But I wonder if most people seeing this sight just thought it was a random collection of state flags. I think that my mind works in unusual ways. Maybe that's good, maybe not.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

C&O Canal Bike Ride on

About a month ago, I posted some pictures from in and around Cumberland, Maryland as the lovely spouse and I passed through going to and coming back from her parents' home in West Virginia. I lived in Cumberland from 1972-1976, and it remains one of my favorite towns in America. Today on, the town is featured as part of a travel story about biking the towpath of the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. I thought I would start off October by sharing a link to the story, so CLICK HERE to read it. There are also 3 photos featured, the second of which is an AP Photo of the "Blue Bridge" that I posted my photo of, that connects Cumberland to Ridgeley, WV.

It's a nice story, and makes me want to make the bike journey. Enjoy!