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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Victoria Gardens - Not Slimy, But Satisfying
The advantage of Victoria Gardens is that it is mostly outdoors.

The disadvantage of Victoria Gardens is that it is mostly outdoors. (It does rain here at times.)

The place is a bizarre juxtaposition of the modern and the (justified and) ancient. Murals of soda fountains and fake 1900-era building fronts are mixed in with Apple stores.

Best news - a Yard House will open Monday. Now if some restaurant features NTN, I'll be very happy there.

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Wow - it's a political season!
Just checked my last 10 search terms. Befitting the political season, 20% of them had to do with the election! Amazing.

Here's the breakdown:

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Friday, October 29, 2004

IMDB Has Everything...Sort Of
I knew that IMDB listed movies. I knew that IMDB listed prime time shows. I didn't know that IMDB listed local news shows. Yes, Christopher Nance's old stomping grounds is listed on IMDB, under the title "Channel 4 News" (1982), broadcast on KNBC in Los Angeles. It doesn't list the personnel behind the camera (except for the composer of the 1998 theme and one other individual), and the data isn't completely accurate (Nance's departure date is not listed), but there's a who's who list of present and former newscasters:

Full Cast and Crew for
"Channel 4 News" (1982/II)

Cast (in alphabetical order)
Angie Austin .... Herself - Correspondent (1991-)
Kim Baldonado .... Herself - Correspondent (1995-)
John F. Beard .... Himself - Anchor (1982-1992)
Bonnie Boswell .... Herself - Correspondent
Furnell Chatman .... Himself - Correspondent
Ted Chen .... Himself - Correspondent (1995-)
Fritz Coleman .... Himself - Weatherman
Sonya Crawford .... Herself - Correspondent (1999-)
David Cruz .... Himself - Co-anchor (1996-)
Carlos Del Valle .... Himself - Sportscaster (1995-)
Diane Diaz .... Herself - Co-anchor (1992-)
Laurel Erickson .... Herself - Correspondent
Chuck Henry .... Himself - Co-anchor (1994)
Bruce Hensel .... Himself - Medical Correspondent (1987-)
Paul Johnson .... Himself - Weatherman/Traffic Reporter (1988-)
Doug Kriegel .... Himself - Correspondent/Commentator
Kelly Lange .... Herself - Anchor (1982-1998)
Kelly Mack .... Herself - Correspondent (1995-)
Jess Marlow .... Himself - Commentator/Correspondent/Anchor (1984-1992)
Manny Medrano .... Himself - Weatherman
Paul Moyer .... Himself - Correspondent (1986-)
Christopher Nance .... Himself - Correspondent
Conan Nolan .... Himself - Correspondent
Mary Parks .... Herself - Correspondent (1996-)
Bob Pettee .... Himself - Co-anchor
Joe Rico .... Himself - Correspondent (1993-)
Fred Roggin .... Himself - Sportscaster
Michele Ruiz .... Herself - Correspondent (1998-)
Tracie Savage .... Herself - Co-anchor (1994-)
Chris Schauble .... Himself - Correspondent (2001-)
John Schubeck .... Himself - Anchor (1982-1986)
Kent Shocknek .... Himself
Gordon Tokumatsu .... Himself
Kathy Vara .... Herself - Co-anchor (1994-2001)
Vikki Vargas .... Herself - Correspondent
Beverly White .... Herself - Correspondent (1992-)
Colleen Williams .... Herself - Anchor (1996-)

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BIP v1.0
Ontario Empoblog Blog Improvement Policy/Process
Version 1.0
oempoweb oempoproc


Suggested Improvements

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I Can Make You A Star!
This sounds unsubstantiated, but I found it when performing a search on Dreier and the NRCC. This is from The Hill, and is dated October 5, 2004:

The new House ethics-panel report that admonishes Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) for offering political support in exchange for a yes vote on the Medicare drug bill provides an unusual amount of detail on the deal-making during the nearly three hour floor vote last November.

DeLay told retiring Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) that he would endorse Smith’s son Brad — who at that time was running to succeed his father — if Smith would vote for the Medicare legislation....

The four-member House ethics investigative subcommittee — led by Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) — compiled 1,400 pages of sworn testimony, which portray frantic and fatigued GOP lawmakers scrambling for votes on a focal piece of President Bush’s domestic agenda.

The report includes some stinging rebukes, most buried within footnotes, of House leaders and aides....

The logrolling began Friday, Nov. 21, when Jason Roe, chief of staff to Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) and a former Smith aide, called Smith several times to discuss his vote. In those conversations, Roe intimated that House leaders and perhaps the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) would be willing to endorse Smith’s son in exchange for his vote. However, the NRCC was cleared of any wrongdoing....

On Nov. 22, Saturday morning, the House started voting at 3 a.m. Smith cast his vote against the bill early in the vote but stuck around, saying he “decided if I was voting against the conference I should stay there and take my licks.”

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Thompson and a slew of lawmakers queried Smith about his vote....

Roe also said Smith called him from Michigan later that day and told him that Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) offered to help Smith’s daughter find a job as an actress in Hollywood. Dreier denied making such an offer, and Smith did not recall the phone conversation....

[OE UPDATE 11/1/2004]

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KTLA on Boneheadism
A little more information on the Dreier/NRCC filing, courtesy KTLA:

Stung by a radio campaign to oust veteran Rep. David Dreier, the National Republican Congressional Committee has filed a federal elections complaint. It contends that an ongoing campaign by a pair of radio talk-show hosts represents an illegal contribution to Dreier's opponent.

Dreier (R-San Dimas) has been taking a beating at the hands of radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI-AM (640) radio in Los Angeles. They have launched an on-air campaign to oust the 24-year veteran for what they claim is a lax record on illegal immigration. Dreier's opponent, Cynthia Matthews, has appeared on "The John and Ken Show" during the campaign.

The radio hosts say they have offered to have Dreier appear on their show to defend his record on illegal immigration, but he has declined. Kobylt called the complaint "absurd" said he and Chiampou did not plan to retreat from their efforts to oust Dreier.

[OE UPDATE 11/1/2004]

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Bound to Happen
From the Washington Times:

Illegal Vietnamese immigrants are arriving in Hong Kong in hopes of being arrested and imprisoned, where they get three meals a day plus a minimum wage.

Nguyen Van Hien, 21, was relieved to receive a 21-month sentence in a Hong Kong court Tuesday, after being arrested for crossing a border checkpoint on the underside of a truck, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday. He was found carrying a knife and two bullets.

Hien is the latest in a series of mostly young Vietnamese men arriving in Hong Kong on the "two bullet tour," for which they pay a fee to a gang in their homeland. The package deal includes transport to mainland China, instructions on how to cross into Hong Kong, plus two bullets and a knife.

The weapons are to ensure that the immigrant will get a long prison sentence. For Hien it means free shelter, food and $50 a month in pay while he is incarcerated. He paid about $200 for the package deal.

This was the fourth such case in less than two months. Three men were given sentences of 27 and 28 months last month.

Thanks to the Gweilo Diaries, Chase Me Ladies, and Samizdata.

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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Speaking of 30 Second Snippets
It's amazing to think that while I was listening to "Motorcycle Mama," "Ride Captain Ride," "Little Willy," and the like, I was completely missing the Beach Boys song "Til I Die." (Yes, I stopped playing Madness.)

I wonder how I would have reacted if I *did* hear the song? I'm trying to put myself back in that 4th grade mindset. Hmmm, let's see. I'm lip syncing to Tony Orlando's "Knock Three Times." I'm all happy because Mike Wilson and I just found a huge stash of Playboy magazines. My dog is being ill-mannered and stealing a banana from a little girl. And then, out of the blue, a fat guy and a bald guy in Hawaiian shirts materialize from nowhere, holding an 8-track tape player, and play this song for me. I'd probably run away screaming.

Someday I'm gonna write a story, based on the introductory pages to Dave Thompson's Some Great Reward, in which, on the day after Daniel Miller first hears the song "I Feel Love," this long-haired, elegantly-dressed, tattooed man from the future called "Dave" approaches Daniel's deejay booth and plays him the song "I Am You."

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Keep Grooving
Well, I'm currently listening to my favorite perpetually-repeating 30 second clip from Madness' "Time for Tea." Here's what Trouser Press (remember them?) has to say about this period in Madness' career:

What followed (Geffen's "Madness") was a period of tumult: Madness left Stiff, keyboardist Mike Barson left Madness and the band set up their own Zarjazz label. Keep Moving, their final LP as a septet, offers a full platter of typically tuneful, thoughtful, lightweight pop songs covering familiar ground, musically and lyrically. "Wings of a Dove" incorporates a gospel choir; "Michael Caine" uses a cute pop-culture gimmick to sell an otherwise weak number. The growing vocal skills of Carl Smyth (aka Chas Smash) and Graham (Suggs) McPherson have made them the band's most recognizable trait; the others' seemingly effortless playing is easy to take for granted.

MTV offers the following:

At the end of 1983, Mike Barson -- the band's key songwriter -- left the group to settle down with his wife. Although Madness was able to stay near the top of the charts with their first post-Barson release, "Michael Caine," the band's fortunes began to decline over the course of 1984. Upon its release in the spring, Keep Moving hit number six on the British charts; in America, the record reached number 109. In June, the group released its final single for Stiff Records, "One Better Day," which peaked at number 17.

But maybe it's best to read some excerpts from Madness' own website:

[October] 4th [1983] Madness are rehearsing in Halligans Heap Holloway Road writing songs for a new album [which will be Keep Moving] and are excited about the possibility of making their own TV series after an approach from Ben Elton and Richard Curtis who they had met whilst appearing on The Young Ones.Mike then calmly said that he wouldn’t be able to do this as he wanted to leave the band....

[December] 21st [1983] London Lyceum Ballroom Madness Christmas Party for Greenpeace with all proceeds going to Greenpeace.It also features Bonsai Forest Ian Dury and the Music Students and Hippy Neil from the Young Ones.

Set:House Of Fun/Disappear/Close Escape/Bed and Breakfast Man/My Girl/The Sun and The Rain/Blue Skinned Beast/Tomorrow's Just Another Day/Take It Or Leave It/Razorblade Alley/Embarrassment/Grey Day/Tomorrow's Dream/Shut Up/Nightboat To Cairo/Madness/
Baggy Trousers/Our House/Madness Is All In The Mind/It Must Be Love
encore:The Prince/One Step Beyond.

This turns out to be Mike Barson’s last appearance with Madness for 9 years...

Continuing into 1984:

[January] 30th [1984] Madness film the video for Michael Caine.The video is based on the Micheal Caine film The Ipcress File.It was shot on 35mm film so each shot took far longer to light and set up than the 16mm film that they usually used. Mike Barson appears in it at the beginning but had to leave to get a plane home as it was taking so long to film....

[April] 9th [1984] Madness fly to New York via Paris where they film Victoria Gardens on the Isabella Ajanni TV Show with James Mackie as temporary keyboard player....

[June] 5th [1984] Madness film the video for One Better day in Arlington Road outside Arlington House which is mentioned in the song and is a homeless refuge.they also film near Camden Lock.Mike Barson flies over to participate.This single is to be the last one with Stiff records.Originally Dave Robinson wanted to release Victoria Gardens a the first single from Keep Moving but changed his mind at the last minute.He also didn’t want to do a video so the band had to finance it themselves.Stiff have now been swallowed up by Island records and Dave is in a small office so things are not the same as before.

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I Gave You the Best Words of My Life
I never posted about Ashlee Simpson's appearance on SNL. I just read Tony Pierce's comments on Simpson's appearance and SNL in general, and was moved to offer the following comment:

If in some alternative universe NBC approached me and said, "We've fired Lorne Michaels, and we heard you did a couple of years of college radio, so we want you to produce SNL," here's what I'd do:

1. Can the cold opening. Go right to the intro to the show.

2. Said intro to the show would be the old classic "Saturday Night" by the Bay City Rollers, with a big picture of Howard Cosell. Yes, a tribute to the ORIGINAL Saturday Night Live.

3. Move the whole thing to Los Angeles (or perhaps Pomona) so that the show could be broadcast at 8:30 local time, when the performers and the audience were still awake.

4. Can the host's opening monologue unless the host is a comedian or someone who can actually deliver a monologue.

5. Grab a Weekend Update newscaster along the lines of Brad Hall - ah, I'll just get Brad Hall. All the real newscasters are 70 years old, so Hall would look young. Anyway, whoever I get, they wouldn't play yuk-yuk all the time - they'd appear to be a straight, serious newscaster, but they'd be reading really thought-provoking stuff.

6. And, just to throw a curve into the whole thing, choose Hillary Duff as my first host.

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Now that's a big unusual
The usual political discourse during an election is along these lines:

My opponent is a wimp!
My opponent is dumb!

So I was quite surprised to see a 19th century economic discussion at a political website. Apparently citation of 19th century economists is not an FEC campaign violation. Here's what Cynthia Matthews has to say:

Getting Ricardo Wrong
David Dreier and Comparative Advantage

David Dreier keeps referring to the theory of "comparative advantage" as justification for giving our jobs to foreigners. He says that he is helping us. We just do not understand the big picture.

The theory of Comparative Advantage was developed in the early part of the 19th century by British economist David Ricardo....Here is the simple version:

Using his example of two nations (Portugal and England) and two commodities (wine and cloth), Ricardo argued that trade would be beneficial even if Portugal held an absolute cost advantage over England in both commodities. Ricardo's argument was that there are gains from trade if each nation specializes completely in the production of the good in which it has a "comparative" cost advantage in producing, and then trades with the other nation for the other good. The main effect, Ricardo noted, is that overall income levels would rise in both nations.

Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA), H1-B, and support of amnesty (guest worker) for illegal aliens are to David Dreier implementations of Comparative Advantage.

But overall incomes are not rising. They are declining. These job give aways get Ricardo wrong in the following ways:

  • Ricardo assumes labor is always fully employed. David Dreier is a job killer.
  • Comparative advantage is undermined if the factors of production can relocate to wherever they are most productive: in today's case, to a relatively few countries with abundant cheap labor. In this situation, there are no longer shared gains - some countries win and others lose.
  • Ricardo does not have a country give its absolute/comparative to another country at the expense of its citizens.

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24 Years' Experience and One Bonehead Move
I've been planning to blog on this since listening to John and Ken this afternoon, but Calblog beat me to the punch:

National Republican Congressional Committee (lead by David Dreier) files FEC complaint against John & Ken and KFI radio....

Rather than listen to a large part of their constituency on an important issue, the Republican Congressional Committee has become unhinged.

They have used a law to try and clearly muzzle free speech. If the complaint goes forward, then no radio talk show host is safe (Limbaugh, Hannity, Stern, etc.)

Lonewacko has also weighed in at Free Republic:

John & Ken charged with McCain-Feingold violation?

Obviously John & Ken themselves have expressed themselves with some detail on the radio, and with a little bit of info on the website:

Contact The National Republican Congressional Committee
Posted by The John and Ken Show @ 6:46 pm
John & Ken received a federal complaint filed by the Dreier Campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) regarding Political Human Sacrifice! John & Ken are asking all our listeners to contact the NRCC and let them know what you think about the complaint.

Mailing Address

National Republican Congressional Committee
320 First Street, S.E
Washington, D.C. 20003

Phone Numbers

NRCC Main Number, (202) 479-7000
News Media Inquiries, (202) 479-7070
Campaign Assistance, (202) 479-7050
Information on Contributing, (202) 479-7030
Legal Compliance Questions, (202) 479-7069

Some of the Free Republic comments are interesting - there are some die-hard Republicans who are convinced that John & Ken deserve punishment for not supporting a Republican - but this comment in particular took the cake:

And their sheeple audience swallows this idiocy hook, line and sinker and want to throw out a good, powerful, conservative Republican Congressman, to elect an openly Lesbian Democrat, who is against the Iraqi war and against everything conservatives stand for.

Openly lesbian? So this poster (FairOpinion) thinks homosexuality is bad? I have some bad news for FairOpinion....

No word from Cynthia Matthews yet (who was apparently also named in the suit). I did hear a Clear Channel dude stating on the radio that the complaint was without merit.

Well, since this is my blog, I'm going to give myself the last word. The text below was originally posted in Calblog as a comment to another post. (If you follow the link, you'll also see my comments on Queen of Sky.)

In a way, you can't blame Dreier for thinking that Clear Channel was just another conservative organization (like a 527) that he could manipulate at will. Only problem is that Clear Channel isn't quite ready to officially become a subsidiary of the Republican Party, and even if they were, John & Ken would never stand for it and would probably rather be fired than be forced to shut up. So Dreier's attempt to silence John & Ken has ended up with yet another diatribe against Dreier from a high wattage radio station - and this one might get voters in his district to wonder whether he truly represents their interests.

[OE UPDATE 11/1/2004]

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Another way that a blog can get you in trouble

That image (plus one other) resulted in a suspension without pay or benefits for Queen of Sky, a/k/a Ellen Simonetti:

The poor, powerless, downtrodden and distressed Queen of Sky finally met with Mighty Management yesterday. They interrogated her about her blog and then told her that her suspension WITHOUT PAY AND WITHOUT BENEFITS was continued until further notice. MM said Q of S was suspended because of some "inappropriate" (???) pictures on her blog. After about two weeks time MM will tell Q of S her fate (i.e. show her the door).

"Hmm, they could have given me a warning and a chance to remove the pictures before suspending me," Q of S mused to herself afterward. "And what's this business about being suspended WITHOUT pay for weeks on end?"

The text of the blog did not identify Queen of Sky as a Delta flight attendant, though sharp-eyed readers could look at the uniform and tell. (Provided, of course, that you were looking at the uniform.)

Cathy from Cathy's World (who retained the picture above after Queen of Sky was forced to remove it from her blog) subsequently mentioned the following:

Last week Queen of Sky emailed me: "I have found plenty of pics of MALE Delta employees on the Web in uniform, who actually identify their airline. Therefore, today I filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC. They thought the whole suspension was ridiculous, too. The man that took my complaint and his supervisor did not find anything inappropriate about these pics. So I think I have a good case."

So are there private pictures of uniformed Delta employees on the web? A simple Google image search turned up the following:

The BBC is now covering the story:

A US airline attendant is fighting for her job after she was suspended over postings on her blog, or online diary.

Queen of the Sky, otherwise known as Ellen Simonetti, evolved into an anonymous semi-fictional account of life in the sky.

But after she posted pictures of herself in uniform, Delta Airlines suspended her indefinitely without pay.

Ms Simonetti was told her suspension was a result of "inappropriate" images. Delta Airlines declined to comment....

"I was really shocked, I had no warning," Ms Simonetti told BBC News Online.

"I never thought I would get in trouble because of the blog. I thought if they had a problem, someone would have said something before taking action."

The issue has highlighted concerns amongst the growing blogging community about conflicts of interest, employment law and free speech on personal websites.

Ms Simonetti was suspended on 25 September pending an investigation and has since lodged a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)....

Ms Simonetti started her personal blog in January to help her get over her mother's death.

She had ensured she made no mention of which airline she worked for, and created fictional names for cities and companies.

The airline's name was changed to Anonymous Airline and the city in which she was based was called Quirksville....

"I never meant it as something to harm my company and don't understand how they think it did harm them," Ms Simonetti said.

She has also claimed that pictures of male Delta Airline employees in uniform are freely available on the web....

"They did not tell me which pictures they had a problem with. I am just assuming it was the one of me posing on seats where my skirt rode up," she said.

The images were removed as soon as she learned she had been suspended. As far as Ms Simonetti knows, there is no company anti-blogging policy.

There is guidance which suggests the company uniform cannot be used without approval from management, but use in personal pictures on websites is unclear....

"If they had asked me just take down the blog, I would have done it, but that was not been given to me as an option," she said....

The interesting part here is that Simonetti was immediately suspended and not allowed to take corrective action. Joyce "Troutgirl" Park was also fired without being allowed to take corrective action.

It's astounding to me that someone can be fired without notice for blogging, when just this week at my own company someone -




















...not gonna do it... :)

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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

How to Categorize Former Child Stars
The Tripod-hosted site Former Child Star Central includes a page which groups the former child stars into several categories. See if you can guess which former child stars fit into the following categories:

  • Apparently Quite Famous
  • Got God
  • Middle Earth Expert
  • Murder Defendant
  • Possibly No Longer Entitled to Van Halen CD Discounts
  • Rebounded Nicely from Transvestite-Punching Incident
  • Still Related to Joey Lawrence

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And no...
...I never owned an 8-track tape.

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Some Other Old LPs
Now I'm really dating myself. These are LPs that I didn't even own in cassette form. These are albums that I only had as records (or, as the trendsetters say today, "vinyl").

Elton John, "Don't Shoot Me I'm the Only Piano Player". You've heard "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock," but what about "Teacher I Need You," "Elderberry Wine," "Texan Love Song" (Elton plays redneck), and the beautiful "High Flying Bird"? (The original album only contained the first ten songs.)

Paul Simon, "There Goes Rhymin' Simon". Paul didn't go straight from bookish Garfunkelish student to "Graceland." He went south early in his solo career. Again, this album has a bunch of hits, but be sure to check out the ambivalent "One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor."

Partridge Family, "The Partridge Family Sound Magazine". My next-door neighbor Mary Lazarou (since deceased) liked the Partridge Family. Therefore, her younger next door neighbor also liked the Partridge Family. (A boy can be influenced by an older girl.) This was my first Partridge Family album (I think it was their third, if I remember corectly). It was only years later that I learned that David Cassidy hated his musical existence, Shirley Jones was capable of singing something other than background vocals, and that SUSAN DEY, DANNY BONADUCE, AND THE REST DID NOT APPEAR ON THE RECORDS. (Shock.) Yet, despite all of this, I strongly encourage you to listen to tracks 10 and 11 ("I Woke Up In Love This Morning," "Love Is All That I Ever Needed"). The Partridge Family was capable of kicking major butt. Here are some excerpts from Howard Pattow's review of this album (Pattow plays in a tribute band called Sound Magazine):

I Woke Up In Love This Morning...was the single off the album. Written by popmeisters Irwin Levine and L.Russell Brown (who brought us all those great Tony Orlando hits), this song also features the harpsichord front and center as well as minimal production. The guitar licks are reminiscent of the surf guitar sounds of the early 60's. David does get to shine a bit during the bridge (Do dreams come truuuuah. Well, if they dooooah, I'll have yooooooahh.)

The album ends with Love Is All That I Ever Needed. This song was co-written by Farrell and David Cassidy. The bass line, meticulously played by Max Bennett, is one of the finest pieces of groove ever laid down on tape. Drummer Hal Blaine, who MADE all the Partridge songs MOVE, is outstanding on this cut. His drum fills, sparse but meaty, give the song an edge not found on most Partridge tunes. David's urgent plea to connect with the object of his affection is heartfelt and comes across honestly. It is very obvious that he had a part in the song's creation, because his performance displays a vulnerability that gives the tune a bit more punch than others. It was probably closer to Cassidy's own personal tastes at the time....

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Those Who Lived Through the 70s are Bound to Relive It
I have to admit something. Maybe I sneak listens to my nephew's Linkin Park CDs, and maybe I buy the occasional Everlast, and maybe I make my occasional hip-hop excursion, and maybe I spend a lot of time wallowing in the synthetica of 80s bands, and maybe I pay my homage to Eno and the new wavers...but truth to tell, I am a child of the early 70s. Despite my subsequent excursions, my earliest musical influences were based on early 70s AM radio. WEAM and WPGC ruled for me.

To put this in context, I was of the generation that discovered that the lead singer of Wings had been in another band in the 1960s. As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up. I "discovered" the Beatles *after* I had heard "Band on the Run."

So, what was early 70s music like? Courtesy Best Buy and Windows Media Player, you can hear samples for yourself. The album "Groups That Rocked The 70's" gives a pretty good view of what some of the music sounded like at the time.

I first found this album at the Best Buy website via a site search for the old Sailcat hit "Motorcycle Mama." I loved this song back when I was yay big, especially the end - "if the chain don't break."

A lot of these groups are the groups where you don't know the name of the group, and you may or may not know the name of the song, but (if you're of a certain age) you certainly recognize the hit. "Ride Captain Ride" falls into this category, as does "Hitchin' a Ride." If you ask me five minutes from now who sang either of these songs, I won't be able to tell you. Same with "Little Willy" and "Come and Get Your Love," or (in my case) even "Sooner or Later."

Certain other groups are more recognizable - I can tell you who sang "Come and Get It" (they were somehow connected with that Wings dude), as well as "Indian Reservation."

If you take all the songs on this album, and then throw a few George Harrison songs in, you'll get a good feel for the early 70s AM radio that I loved.

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I'm in Another 30 Second Musically Repetitive State
You remember the last time this happened, don't you?

Well, after I observed that the name of Rancho Cucamonga's new shopping center is the same as the name of an old Madness song, I began looking over the other songs on the 1997 version of the "Keep Moving" CD. (This is another instance in which I used to have the cassette, got rid of it, and never got the CD version.) I then found one of my favorite Madness songs, "Time for Tea." See track 13.

Interestingly enough, when you play this 30 second sample on continuous repeat, the end nearly splices in with the beginning. Nifty.

Lyrically, it's one of the spookiest songs around, as the lyrics attest. Here are the last two verses, along with the chorus:

And welly well well what have I found here
a hiding place made by Frigidaire
I think I’ll try it and give my mates a scare
they’ll all be searching neither here nor there

Willie oh Willie she cried it’s time for tea
Willie oh where in Hell has he gone
it’s time for tea

Long depress of autumn breeze
sucking on the rubber back teeth
plays into the hand of the hardware man
who selfishly ”I don’t care”

After the last verse, saxophones, violins, and other instruments trade a mournful melody over the "nutty sound" beat. Definitely not a happy-go-lucky tune....

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Yesterday's Men Time for Tea in the Middle of Our Street
The city of Rancho Cucamonga, California is announcing fun and frivolity in connection with the new Victoria Gardens shopping center. Tomorrow:

Oct. 28, 2004

Macy's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
J.C. Penney Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

6pm – 10pm
Victoria Gardens Grand Opening Celebration
Fantastical? Entertaining? Illuminating? Fun? You bet! A street fair & light show for the entire family. Including live musical entertainment from:

Abbit the Average, a magician and comedian on stilts
The Bird Guy, spectacular, hilarious performing birds
Candyman, a creative candy sculptor
Divine, a 20-foot, walking "vine"
The Dixie All Stars, specializing in classic Dixieland rhythms
Duchicela, a woodwind and drum ensemble in the style of India
The Minikin Puppets, a marionette show
Ronny & the Classics, a five-person musical group specializing in favorites from the 50's through the 90's
Sixth Gear, a pop rock a cappella group
Stilt Walker Duo, filled with surprises
Mariachis Zacatecas, a musical excitement
Terrell and Takako, jugglers on unicycles
Wild West Express, a comedic musical duo

KOLA-FM/Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Meet – N – Greet
Bring your kids and your camera! Come meet Phil Wilson, pitcher, of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

Hot Shopping with a Cool Grand!
Win one of three $1,000 shopping sprees! See Guest Services for entry forms and complete rules and regulations. Deadline for entry is noon on Sunday, October 31, 2004.

P.S. Check track 8 here.

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A Plug
In two previous posts ([1] [2]), I have employed the Bible-quoting services of bible.gospelcom.net, an online Biblical resource.

The Bible Gateway is a tool for reading and researching scripture online-- all in the language or translation of your choice! It provides advanced searching capabilities, allowing readers to find and compare particular passages in scripture, based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

The Bible Gateway was first started in 1993 by Nick Hengeveld while attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. The Bible Gateway started out being hosted in the Calvin web environment.

In 1995 Nick became the first webmaster at Gospelcom.net. He brought the Bible Gateway with him, and since that time has been one of the favorite resources provided by Gospel Communications International (the parent company of Gospelcom.net). The Gospelcom.net team has been maintaining and developing the Bible Gateway to continue adding new translations, languages, and functionality.

Gospelcom.net is extremely grateful to many publishers and Christian organizations that have contributed their many Bible resources and translations for use in the Bible Gateway, including Gospelcom.net alliance ministries such as International Bible Society and The Lockman Foundation.

Anyway, if you need to find a scripture reference quickly, this place excels.

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If It Will Get Us To Pay Attention...
In a discussion of the parable of the Good Samaritan, it was noted that many of us "walk on the other side" rather than confront news of hurting. Witness the fact that the current situation in Sudan is not being covered regularly.

But when Angelina Jolie goes to Darfur, coverage suddenly happens.

Good for her.

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie on Wednesday described the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region as "unbelievably horrible" after a three-day visit to region.

Jolie, a good will ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, has visited refugees in many conflict-torn countries but said Darfur struck her as the worst she had seen because the rights abuses and violence continued and nowhere was safe.

"I'd say this is the worst situation I've seen and what's happening to the people here...is unbelievably horrible. The fact is it is just one of the worst things that has happened on the planet to a people," she said.

The United Nations says conflict in Darfur, which has uprooted some 1.6 million people from their homes, has created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The world body has threatened Sudan with sanctions if it fails to stop the violence which the United States has called genocide.

Jolie, who has starred in films such as Tomb Raider and Girl Interrupted, has visited and donated money to Sudanese refugees in Egypt and Chad, and met refugees in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Cambodia, and Kosovo among others....

She said she had spoken to many women who had been raped, while children told her they only wanted security to live their lives in peace.

Jolie appealed to the international community to fully fund the many aid organizations working in Darfur.

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This Wouldn't Have Been Written in 1936
Traditional media wants to be read, and words things in a particular way.

Scientists have discovered man-like creatures that apparently lived in Indonesia 18,000 years ago. The creatures were three-feet tall.

So how are they referenced in the news story? Simple - as hobbit-sized humans. Argh. (Emphasis mine.)

Scientists in Australia have found a new species of hobbit-sized humans who lived about 18,000 years ago on an Indonesian island in a discovery that adds another piece to the complex puzzle of human evolution.

The partial skeleton of Homo floresiensis, found in a cave on the island of Flores, is of an adult female that was 3 feet tall, had a chimpanzee-sized brain and was substantially different from modern humans.

It shared the isolated island to the east of Java with miniature elephants and Komodo dragons. The creature walked upright, probably evolved into its dwarf size because of environmental conditions and coexisted with modern humans in the region for thousands of years....

Local legends tell of hobbit-like creatures existing on islands long ago but there has been no evidence of them....

The new species, dubbed "Flores man," is thought to be a descendent of Homo erectus, which had a large brain, was full-sized and spread out from Africa to Asia about 2 million years ago.

The new species became isolated on Flores and evolved into its dwarf form to conform with conditions, such as food shortages. Flores, which was probably never connected to the mainland, was home to a variety of exotic creatures including a dwarf form of the primitive elephant Stegodon....

Brown and his colleagues have found the remains of seven other dwarf individuals at the same site since the first find.

"The other individuals all show similar characteristics, and over a time range that now extends from as long ago as 95,000 years to as recently as 13,000 years ago -- a population of hobbits that seemed to disappear at about the same time as the pygmy elephants that they hunted," said Bert Roberts, one of the authors of the Nature study.

Next we'll find out that they had hairy feet, ate mushrooms, and lived in holes in the ground. Ring a bell?

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David Dreier's Endorsements
Why won't anyone endorse anyone?

I've previously examined the (lack of) endorsements received by Cynthia Matthews and Ed Laning. To recap, Ed Laning was endorsed by one sitting Member of Congress; Matthews was endorsed by none.

I fully expected that powerful David Dreier would have lined up tons of endorsements from House members, Senators, our Governor, and probably the President. Well, here's the list of Members of Congress who have endorsed David Dreier:

Um, OK. Well, how about the endorsements from state governors born in Austria?

OK. How about state assembly members, state senators, and county supervisors:

California State Senator Jim Brulte
California State Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy
California State Senator Bob Margett
California State Assemblyman Bob Pacheco

San Bernardino County Supervisor
Paul Biane
San Bernardino County Supervisor
Patti Aguiar
San Bernardino County Supervisor
Bill Postmus
Los Angeles County Supervisor
Michael Antonovich

All of the other endorsements are from city officials.

Perhaps I'm naive, but you'd think that a high ranking Republican could secure 200 endorsements from House members. Guess each House member is too worried about his/her own turf.

[OE UPDATE 11/1/2004]

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Alameda Times-Star on Propositions 62 and 60
From the Alameda Times-Star, who opposes both Proposition 62 and Proposition 60:

Our "no recommendation" on Prop. 62 stems partly from the fact that, like many Californians, we can't agree on how, or if, our election system should be modified....

Proposition 62, a creation of business and education groups, is a constitutional amendment that would open up primaries for all offices except president and party posts, while narrowing our choices in the general election. It would let primary voters, regardless of how they're registered, vote for any candidate on the ballot. All aspirants to an office would be listed.

Only the top two vote-getters would go on the general election ballot, however, no matter what their affiliation. It would essentially be a runoff. In safe, one-party districts, a pair of Republicans or Democrats may even end up as the only choices in November for a legislative seat or even U.S. senator.

Proponents say opening the primary curbs the power of party bosses and political insiders. Foes say it limits competition -- and choice -- in the general election, which attracts more voters and is the one in which we actually elect someone to office. That, in the view of dissenters, could reinforce the dominance of major political parties and moneyed interests.

It hurts smaller, minority parties such as the Greens and Libertarians, they argue, by stunting their growth and keeping them out of general elections. Diversity and openness would be undermined, they assert.

Proposition 60 is an anti-62 measure that provides an option the authors thought might out-poll Proposition 62, or so confuse things that the current system remains. We recommend a "no" vote on 60....

Opponents say 60 doesn't go far enough because it only addresses general elections, not primaries. We could still end up hopping among so-called open, closed or blanket primaries, depending on the political whim of the moment....

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Rhymes With "Theses"
I said that I'd write about this, but it's really an excuse to use the really bad title above. From the BBC:

Archaeologists in Germany say they may have found a lavatory where Martin Luther launched the Reformation of the Christian church in the 16th Century.
The stone room is in a newly-unearthed annex to Luther's house in Wittenberg.

Luther is quoted as saying he was "in cloaca", or in the sewer, when he was inspired to argue that salvation is granted because of faith, not deeds.

The scholar suffered from constipation and spent many hours in contemplation on the toilet seat....

The toilet is in a niche set inside a room measuring nine by nine metres, which was discovered during the excavation of a garden in the grounds of Luther's house.

Dr Treu said there can be little doubt the toilet was used by Luther, the radical theologian who argued for a more "earthy Christianity", which regarded the entire human body - and not just the soul - as God's creation.

The Reformation, which resulted in Europe's Protestant churches, is usually reckoned to have begun when Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg's Castle Church on 31 October 1517....

Future visitors to Wittenberg's Martin Luther museum will be able to view the new find, though structural concerns mean they will not be free to test its qualities as a toilet.

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I've continued the thread that I started elsewhere. In response to a post on the Isn't She Lovely blog about someone modifying a Bush picture to look like Satan, I wrote the following:

Actually, the incident raises a larger question - can one side or the other side claim to represent the exclusively Christian view?

Those who draw devil horns on Bush pictures can assert that he is not representing Christ's admonitions to turn the other cheek, feed the hungry, take care of the poor, etc.

Those who draw devil horns on Kerry pictures can assert that he promotes numerous violations of the Ten Commandments, including sexual sins, murder, ad nauseum.

I am so thankful that my God is not bound by our silly insignificant political controversies....

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Buy Peace?
Everyone suspend your cynicism for a moment.

buypeace.com postulates that we can take the money that we're spending on Iraq and use it to persuade the Jews and Palestinians to make nice.

The idea was originally sketched on a napkin:

It was subsequently fleshed out:

This writing, (c) 2002 www.buypeace.com, may be copied and distributed in any media provided this notice is kept intact.

Some people think that peace between Israel and Palestine is impossible. One way to solve an impossible problem is to first remove a major constraint to its solution. If the now-simplified problem can be solved, the constraint can be re-added subsequently. For instance, if we remove the financial constraint which always puts peacemaking at a lower priority than military action we could ask: How might the Mideast conflict be solved given funding on the scale of the pending war with Iraq?

The wars on Afghanistan and now Iraq are seen as an investment, with a "Return on Investment" (ROI) of establishing new, quisling governments willing to discount the price of oil and natural gas. Could a business case be made that the ROI of a massive investment in peace will be much greater than the ROI of a war? The cost of the pending war is very high, estimated recently at $200B by a presidential advisor in the WSJ, not including the human capital. Rather than spending these vast sums on munitions and destruction, could large scale spending on peace not only avoid the devastation, but actually create wealth through economic growth tied to consumer and investor confidence? Significant peace dividends could come in the form of a reduced dependence on foreign aid as well as enhanced human capital.

If such a business case can be made, then a team composed of business development experts, mediators, construction companies, consultants, architects, scientists, etc. could develop a plan which resulted in a Palestinian state, autonomous but demilitarized, on the model of Costa Rica. Israel could focus on becoming the leading high-tech democracy of the emerging Middle East common market, and abandon the soul-searing enterprise of being an occupying power.

A group of people with some seed capital could elaborate on the architecture of such a plan to the point where the involved parties sign "Letters of intent" detailing their commitments to "buy in" under agreed-upon conditions. With these tools in hand, the work of planning the details of all the operations could begin. As the teams quantify the risks and rewards of peacemaking and nation building, the substantial capital can be raised from governments and private sources worldwide.

Starting with a budget of $100B US as a ballpark, here is a rough estimate of the main components of this project, each of which addresses one of the major hurdles for peace.

1) No Right of Return. $30B

Descendants of the 750,000 Palestinians who were forced out in 1948, and those dispossessed in later annexation and bulldozing, would share $30b, which amounts to $10,000 to 3 million persons. Disbursement of the funds would probably require the creation of a better banking system with anti-corruption safeguards.

2) Sell the settlements $20B

The 200,000 settler families would then be able to sell their properties to this new middle class of Palestinians. The market demand for settlement housing units, together with the expected decrease in violence, would dramatically increase the value of those homes. Each settler family who sells would also receive a $100,000 inducement, a relocation bond towards qualified moving expenses or to deposit as equity in mortgage applications for expensive Israeli real estate.

3) The Big Dig ($15B)

To connect the West Bank and Gaza, a very large scale construction project would be undertaken, similar to the "Big Dig" of Boston. The development of a 6 lane underground highway tunnel, vented and well-lit, would result in two continuous nations, a topological first in world history. This "Big Dig" would create union scale construction and maintenance jobs for many unemployed Palestinians and Israelis, both men and women, who would be required to sign a nonviolence pledge. The threat of immediate termination upon evidence of co-worker harassment would guarantee a cooperative workforce. US companies such as Bechtel or Halliburton could bid to manage this major project.

4) Water Projects ($20B)

Currently, water is at the core of the dispute, and resolving it would reduce security and economic pressure. An aqueduct project which allocated the water flowing from the north, public works projects throughout Palestine to manage the aquifers, and advanced software to create a market in water rights would help. Peace, as well as an annual contribution to the treasuries of Lebanon and Syria would help keep water flowing. Finally, nuclear powered desalinization plants (American made and guarded) could supply more freshwater to both nations.

5) The Jerusalem Real Estate Investment Trust ($15B)

The capital of the Holy Lands would be demilitarized, to be administered in perpetuity by an international non-profit Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) with an inter-denominational board. With its $15B in seed capital, the trust would begin to buy up all available properties in Jerusalem, and then rent them, perhaps to current owners. Both Israel and Palestine could establish their capitals there, as well as embassies of foreign powers. The idea is that this REIT would, over time, become wealthier and wealthier through rental and fees, and after 50-100 years, end up owning almost all Jerusalem property. Stock in the REIT would be publically traded, providing world-wide shared public ownership of Jerusalem.

Where will the money come from?

The US already spends $3B a year in Foreign Aid to Israel, and there are rumors that it will increase to $10B. The European Union also provides aid, as do Arab countries. So while $100 billion seems like a big investment, over time, that is what is being spent anyway! But spending it on peace can generate major dividends.

Radicals are calling for an end to aid to Israel, as well as for divestment from Israeli corporations. And although neither Israeli nor Palestinian covert intelligence operations were implicated in the 9/11/2001 attack on the US, the stress which emanates from the Occupation/Intifada clearly fans the flames of hate which drives such acts. The anger caused by the last 50 years of conflict and terror is real, but can rapidly pale in time with economic development and coexistence.

OK, turn your cynicism back on for a moment. A big tunnel connecting two disparate lands? An REIT controlling Jerusalem? Even if the proposal could address the economic issues, this isn't an economic fight; it's a moral one. In essence, it's telling a committed "Judea and Samaria" Jew and an equally committed "Palestine" Palestinian, "We're going to bribe you to renounce your deeply held beliefs."

Frankly, it would be easier to get the Pope to go on a honeymoon with Ashlee Simpson then it would be to get everyone in the Middle East to make nice and make money.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Fight on the Periphery
The Constitution Party (known as the American Independent Party in California) is fighting the Christian Coalition. From the Welch Report:

Christian Coalition Voter Guide Makes Mockery of Its Own Mission & Vision....

The Web page of the Christian Coalition of America says that it is our country's "leading grassroots organization defending our Godly heritage." This page says the CCA "is dedicated to equipping and educating God's people" and it points out that "effective citizen activism begins with knowledge."

But by refusing to list my Presidential candidacy in its voters guide, by refusing to let millions of Christians know where I stand on the issues, the CCA has failed to fully educate God's people. It has denied millions of Christians important knowledge which might have influenced their votes for President. And the CCA has done all of this despite the fact that I have, in my campaign, repeatedly defended our Godly heritage and exalted the cause of Christ....

When my Communications Director John Lofton asked CCA President Roberta Combs why I am not in their voter guide since I am a strong Christian and conservative Presidential candidate, she said because in the past her organization had included only the Republican and Democrat Presidential candidates....

In a conversation with Mr. McKissick, John Lofton asked him: "Why does your organization, in its voter guide, list only the Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates and their positions on the issues you consider important?" He replied: "We only include the two major parties and have done this since the early 1990s."

But, why? Why only the Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates?

Mr. McKissick: "That's just been the practice for all Federal races around the country."

But, why not include Constitution Party Presidential candidate Michael Anthony Peroutka who is a strong Christian candidate and who has run an explicitly Christian campaign?

Mr. McKissick: "We only include the major party candidates and have never deviated from that." He adds that the CCA voter guide "must cover a wide range of public policy issues. Our focus can't be too narrow." He says that those Presidential candidates in the voter guide must have "a reasonable chance" of winning.

But, why not, in your voter guide, offer Christians a wide range of Presidential candidates from which to choose? Mr. Peroutka is on enough state ballots to win enough electoral votes to be President. Mr. McKissick says they just don't include "minority party" candidates because if they did they would have to include them all.

When asked what would be wrong with listing the "minority party" Presidential candidates, Mr. McKissick says he does not want to argue about this. He reiterates his defense of rating only the Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates.

But, why continue to do this if there is a third party candidate --- like Michael Anthony Peroutka --- who is a stronger Christian candidate than the Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates? Mr. McKissick: "Well, that's a very subjective thing to say about someone." He says the CCA doesn't want to be put in the position of defining who is or is not a stronger Christian because of what might be done to the CCA by the Federal Election Commission or the Internal Revenue Service.

But, if the CCA listed me in its voter guide, and my positions on the issues, it would not be saying anything about who is or is not the strongest Christian Presidential candidate. The CCA would simply be "educating God's people" and they would then decide who to vote for on the basis of this knowledge.

When pressed, Mr. McKissick said the CCA had "an agreement" to put Presidential candidates in its voter guide only if they polled more than 15 percent of the vote. Where did the 15 percent figure come from? He says "it was decided years ago." By whom? By "someone in the Coalition," he says. But, why 15 percent and not 14 percent or 16 percent? He says: "You've got to set a line somewhere."...

The five regular readers of this blog (counting myself twice) will recall that the 15 percent number is the same number used by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

I wanted to see who the Christian Coalition recommended for local races, but they don't have a California voter guide.

While looking at the Federal guide, I noticed that there was a question "Federal Firearms Registration & Licensing of Gun Owners." Bush apparently opposes this, while Kerry supposedly offered no response. (Nor did the duck.)

This illustrates the danger of trying to force religion into the common left-right political spectrum. I mentioned yesterday that United Methodists are all over the political spectrum. A faithful Catholic can be picketing an abortion clinic one day and blocking a nuclear missile shipment the next day. Looking at things from the political realm, a conservative orthdox (small o) Christian may be forced into political alliances with decidedly unorthdox groups, such as Mormons (not quite the "sola scriptura" people that Luther envisioned). ((Note to self: blog about the toilet.)) ((OE UPDATE: I did.))

You can even take a step back and say that Christianity does not favor one type of government over another. The wide participatory republican form of government used in the United States and certain other countries today was unknown in the time of Acts.

Enough thoughts for the moment; I have to log on to a system now (covering my internal ears).

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Self-Inflicted Torture
One of the systems that I access electronically requires that I change my password periodically. During the last password change, I based the new password on a particular song. Obviously I can't tell you the song or else you may be able to access the system. However, suffice it to say that the song is not a new song, and in fact sounds older than it actually is, with a music hall feel.

Problem: every time I access this system, I think of the song.

Problem: I access this system a lot.

Problem: that song is therefore going through my head for many of my waking hours.

Of course, I could change the password again, but it's troublesome to change passwords for this system. So I'll live with it until I'm forced to change...several months from now.


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Don't Like the Candidates? DIY
eHow has a page entitled How to Run for Public Office. Excerpts:

3. Commission a public opinion poll. The purpose of the poll is to find out how many voters know and are willing to vote for you, and what issues the voting public is most concerned about. The results of the poll will help you plan your strategy for the campaign.

5. Decide the issues on which you'll base your campaign. These should be decided in accordance with the aforementioned poll and on the basis of your strengths and commitment.

6. Raise money. While your campaign manager and other staff can help with this, you will need to spend a lot of time contacting people to request their monetary support.

7. Start a Web site. Include biographical information, your stand on the issues and information about how to make contributions to your campaign.

8. File the required papers to get yourself on the ballot. Procedures for doing this vary by city, county and state. A filing fee may also be required.

11. Use the press, posters, brochures, rallies and personal gatherings to get the word out about your qualifications, your stand on the issues and your integrity. All of these activities should be coordinated by your campaign manager and done with the help of volunteers.

Concentrate on getting the vote out in the last days before the election.

Keep in mind that when you run for office, personal matters can become fodder for pundits, opponents and the public at large.

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Monday, October 25, 2004

Opinions on Van Earl Wright vs. Andrew Siciliano, Krystal Fernandez, et al
On October 22 Burky asked, "Is anyone out there that thinks Van Earl is an improvement." Here are some of the replies he received at radio-info.com.

Here's a reason: he's boring, he doesn't know much about sports like Andrew does (or Tony did), and this GOOOOD MMMMMORRNING EVERRRBUDDDY nonsense is hellaciously annoying.

I can't believe that FSR put this guy on the radio because he is talented, there must be some underlying political reason for it. He does not blend at all with Andrew or Krystal, and now Chris Morales is hardly heard from anymore. The show's chemistry is all but gone, which is evident by the lack of enthusiasm from Andrew and Krystal. This show's days are numbered unless FSR does the right thing (no pun intended) and finds a REAL replacement for Bruno.

We went from the very entertaining Tony Bruno to this garbage; its almost like going from a warm tropical island to the south pole. I tried to give the show a chance, but I can't anymore. I now listen to KGO in the morning- its not sports, but at least its not boring or annoying.

My biggest problem with VEW is bigger than any of the chemistry problems, shitty voice, sandbagging of Andrew/Krystal whomever reasons that others have left, (even though they are all valid) simply put. Van Earl Wright DOES NOT CONTROL THE SHOW.

Tony controlled the chaos. The exchanges between himself, KF and AS were disjointed, but in a humourous and relevant way. You could see where Tony was going with something when he would get off on a tangent, or at the very least he would bring the show back on track in a meaningful in relevant way. Van Earl Wright just lets the train roll right off the tracks until the show is nothing more than a burning wreckage with people fighting to escape the pyre.

There are so many things I hate about this guy, I don't know where to begin. First of all, must he always refer to football as "pig?" How freaking annoying. And must he always refer to Chris Morales as "Mo?" I even heard Andrew admonish VEW about a week ago when he stated, "That's not his name." But VEW doesn't care, and he still referes to him as "Mo." Even more disconcerting is the way that Morales and his sound drops have become such an afterthought. It's seems to be either a case of Morales not caring any more, or a direct edict from VEW or Andrew Asswood (VP/GM of Premier and FSR) instructing Morales to keep quiet. Whatever the case, that sucks, and the show sucks because of it.

I also abhor the "What's Up, What's Happenin', What's Goin' On?!" segment of update crap. It is way too forced and contrived. It also strikes me as an easy means to kill time without having to take a call. And speaking of calls, it's a safe bet that most callers simply want to tell VEW how much he sucks, and thus you rarely hear a caller make it to the airwaves....

Van Earl is so WRONG for any show other than a 3 ring circus... FSR has ruined the best sports commute listen in favor of an idiot on vocal steroids. In the space of 3 minutes last week, about all I can stand these days, he started an argument about nothing for the sake of arguing (or hearing his own voice), got chided by Andrew when he said he liked to argue but not for the sake of argument, and then Van Earl Wrong asked Andrew if he liked to argue as a child - Andrew replied "No, I didn't" - a clear attempt at sarcasm that had to be explained twice to VEW, who probably still doesn't get it. He is as dense as the cow who will never understand how to program a VCR no matter how many times its explained.

I heard that exchange too; talk about uncomfortable radio. Just another example of how VEW is not clicking with Andrew at all. I know there are varying opinions of Andrew, but at least he knows his stuff and is entertaining to listen to (most of the time). And lets face it, does anyone disagree that the 'extravaganza' was better when it was temporarily Andrew and Mark Gubicza?

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We'll Watch This Closely
From that bastion of whateverism, the Daily Bulletin:

As Victoria Gardens draws residents from around the Inland Empire to its grand opening Thursday, the open-air mall will begin to draw customers away from other local retailers.

Montclair Plaza, Ontario Mills and retailers in strip malls will all feel the effects of the new mall, according to retail analysts familiar with the city.

"A new mall will always have an initial surge of customers due to the curiosity factor," said Richard Giss, a partner at Deloitte & Touche. "The question is where people will go to shop after that initial surge, and only time will tell."

Most analysts agree that Montclair Plaza, the indoor mall that opened in 1968, stands to lose the most business to Victoria Gardens....

Ontario Mills has less to worry about when it comes to losing customers, according to analysts.

"It should fare better because it's a much different mall that's built around much lower-end merchandise," said Brian McDonald, an analyst affiliated with the International Council of Shopping Centers.

In fact, Ontario Mills could benefit from Victoria Gardens because the two malls are close enough that customers from outside the area might make the drive to shop at both malls, particularly during the holidays....

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Conservative Opposition to Proposition 62
From the San Francisco Chronicle Letters to the Editor:

San Francisco No on Prop. 62

Editor -- As a centrist conservative, I take exception to your endorsement of the open primary, Proposition 62. Passage of Prop. 62 could disenfranchise me and other conservatives from choosing an appropriate candidate who reflects our viewpoints.

We conservatives are swamped by liberal politicians who do not represent our beliefs. This proposition could remove a person from the general election who shares our values. If I had only to choose between the likes of Nancy Pelosi or Pete Stark -- or even worse some neo-Marxist Green Party candidate -- because the Republican candidate did not get enough votes in the primary, I would leave the ballot blank.

I urge people to vote no on this constitutionally questionable proposition.


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They're Right
From Disinfopedia:

Journalists Unhappy With Election Coverage

The Committee of Concerned Journalists, a consortium of reporters, editors, producers, publishers, owners and academics, has surveyed its own membership about the quality of election campaign coverage this year, and the results aren't pretty. Nearly three quarters of respondents gave the press a C, D or F grade, and only 3% gave an A. By large majorities they felt the news media has become sidetracked by trivial issues, has been too reactive and has focused too much on campaign strategy rather than substance. They gave particularly low grades to television and much higher grades to newspapers and online coverage. The online news sites in fact got more A grades than any other medium - a notable improvement in the internet's reputation relative to other information sources.

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United Methodist - At Least Politically, An Oxymoron
This is from a sermon preached by Dr. John Frederick Fiedler at the First United Methodist Church in Dallas on September 15, 2002. The title was "Can We Agree to Disagree?", and the text was Romans 14:1-12:

Let me tell you a little secret. Politicians don't work very hard to cultivate the United Methodist vote. Do you want to know why? Because they know that Methodists can't line up a vote. Methodists will go in great numbers to the polling place and they'll cancel out each other's votes. It's true!! We're that diverse. We've got good Democrat United Methodists. Good Republican United Methodists. Good Independent United Methodists. You have Hilary Clinton…United Methodist. You have George W. Bush…United Methodist. It's true; we are a diverse people. So you don't go around asking, "What is the United Methodist viewpoint on invading Iraq?" You just can't line up a vote. We are a very diverse people. That's who we are. We celebrate that diversity. We see strength in the gifts and the diversity of our gifts and our opinions. But let's be honest…it also creates challenges at times.

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San Bernardino Sun on Laning and Matthews' Chances
The San Bernardino Sun (owned by William Dean Singleton's Media News Group) has weighed in on the chances of Cynthia Matthews and Ed Laning defeating Joe Baca and David Dreier, respectively. From the article:

Races rarely won by rookies
Districts, donors favor incumbents

It's become almost impossible to unseat an incumbent state or federal lawmaker....

[T]he parties and big donors are loath to give money to challengers, because the registration numbers are stacked. The incumbents, on the other hand, rake in the cash....

Republicans Marge Mendoza-Ware of Bloomington and Ed Laning of Oak Hills spoke recently at a rally against Rep. Joe Baca, D-Rialto, in Ontario. The event was put on by the John and Ken Show on KFI-AM (640), where the conservative talk-radio hosts, the two Republican challengers and more than 1,000 loyal listeners railed against Baca, saying he is too lenient on illegal immigration.

Laning is running against Baca and Mendoza-Ware is running against Baca's son, Joe Baca Jr. of Rialto, in the 62nd Assembly District.

Laning believes the illegal immigration issue buoys his chances to take the Inland Empire congressional seat Baca has held for about five years.

"A lot of times politics isn't logical,' said Laning. "I think we are looking at a situation where the issue is going to drive the election rather than the numbers.'

But Baca, who argues he is just trying to eliminate racial profiling, said he isn't worried about Laning or the radio hosts.

And he has little reason to worry.

According to last week's registration numbers, Baca's district was about 50percent Democrat and 32percent Republican. His district, the 43rd, includes Colton, Muscoy, Bloomington, San Bernardino, Rialto, Fontana and Ontario.

Baca also had $113,648 on hand as of Sept. 30, according to the Federal Election Commission. Laning had $15,410.

Similar disparities are causing lopsided races all around the county....

Rep. David Dreier, R-Glendora, has been scrutinized repeatedly by the John and Ken Show for his stances on illegal immigration. The radio men held an event attacking Drier as they did for Baca.

But Dreier's district, which covers western San Bernardino County and eastern Los Angeles County, is 52 percent registered Republican, compared with 26 percent registered Democrat. And Dreier had $2,641,394 in his campaign fund as of Sept. 30.

His opponent, Democrat Cynthia Matthews of La Verne, had $8,818....

Most of the challengers are well aware of the odds against them. But they say they can still win....

[OE UPDATE 11/1/2004]

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How Women Can Find Unattached Men
Read the blogs of potential candidates:

I was surprised to find that a number of the students, perhaps ten or so, came up to me and said, "Hey Accordion Guy! I read your blog!" One girl clung to my sleeve and tried to drag me to a party until her friend came up to her and said "Don't hit on the Accordion Guy! I read he's engaged!"

Who needs social software when you have a blog and an accordion?

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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Win at No Cost
In a piece entitled "Fan Stupidity," the Most Valuable Network blog discusses fans who don't want to get what they asked for:

The KC Royals have a reputation for having ticket prices that rank amongst the lowest in all of MLB, if not major league pro sports in general. This condition is brought about by the facts that KC is a “small” market town, has direct quality competition for the economy-minded pro baseball fan from the Northern League’s KC T-Bones and also the fact that KC is not exactly a prosperous town. Ditto for the surrounding countryside.

The simple fact of the matter is that the only way that the KC Royals could “buy” their way to consistent winning, is by first substantially increasing ticket prices which would ignite a storm of protest from those who profess to wanting to win at all costs. My 2 favorite sports teams, the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Blackhawks have both over the years been roundly criticized for being “cheap” on the payroll. However, when both teams increase the ticket prices to enable higher payroll spending, there are screams of protest from the very same fans and media critics who were crying about the alleged cheapness in the first place. I have often heard fans & radio talk show hosts bitterly complain about how high the ticket prices are while simultaneously accusing the teams of being cheap.

This lack of reality leads to fannish fantasies about the Billionaire on a White Horse who rides into town throwing money around in a magnificent committment to winning and brings the championship to the fans. The Billionaire is always a committed sports fan who would never ever think of raising ticket prices since he always values winning above all else....Those rich folks who do buy teams and spend lavishly on them at first (Ted Turner for example) learn quickly that spending on payroll is a chancy gambit at best and that player development is the better, not to mention cost-efficient, path to glory. Additionally, they learn that fans will not turn out in droves in response to higher payrolls and that the same fans who were previously complaining about “cheapness” will continue to do the same....If anything, upping payroll often brings more problems than before.

Another thing that the rich folks who buy teams learn is that the fans/media will attack them at every turn no matter what they do. Witness the hysterical attacks upon the owners/GM’s of the Chicago Bulls and the LA Lakers for supposedly killing NBA dynasties. In a typical sports team’s ups and downs, when the team does well, the players and managers/coaches get all the credit while the GM’s and owners are hardly mentioned. However, when the team takes an inevitable downturn, the owners and GM’s are singled out for abuse. Sometimes, the owners are trashed even when the team are successful as in the case of the repeat AL Central champion Minnesota Twins (Carl Pohlad) or the 1990 World Champion Cincinnati Reds (Marge Schott).

One reason for a lot of the recent bitterness by fans against their teams is that of an opportunist named Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks who likes to posture as an owner who is supremely concerned about winning above all else. Cuban also likes to make generic statements about how other team owners care about the bottom line more about winning as if he, Cuban, is superior to them. Many fans and sports writers have seized upon Cuban’s statements and have made him seem like the ideal team owner and also as a means of further denigrating the folks who currently own teams. However, as a few sports writers such as the Chicago Tribune’s NBA columnist Sam Smith has pointed out, Cuban’s talk is mostly hot air that is not supported by the facts....

A dissenting view:

Someone with money and a knack for hiring the right people does not make a good owner. These people are called high-end investors. A good owner requires devotion to his franchise and a willingness to do anything to make his franchise successful. This quality is found in Mark Cuban. Although he might be perceived as overzealous, his excitedness about his team is infectious and should be considered a praiseworthy quality.
Angel Cielo
Culver City, Calif.

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We're Movin' on Down...

From Yahoo!/Reuters:

Four-time Grammy Award winner Lenny Kravitz is being sued for more than $300,000 (164,000 pounds) by an insurance company that claims the rocker let his toilet overflow into a neighbour's apartment, causing "catastrophic water damage."

The suit, filed in a New York City court and made public on Friday, claims a commode in Kravitz's lavish Manhattan condominium "became blocked, clogged and congested with various materials" on August 1 and that the musician's "negligence and carelessness" were solely to blame.

The Amica Mutual Insurance Company is suing Kravitz to recover $333,850 it says it paid out to the recording artist's neighbour, a former insurance executive, for damage to his home....

The Smoking Gun has a copy of the lawsuit.

For the European traveler, there is a shower/toilet on the floor which includes the Lenny Kravitz room (102) at the Swiss Rockhotel. You will share the toilet with the occupants of the U2 and Eurythmics rooms; the Supertramp guests will have their own toilet.

I couldn't find a picture of any of those rooms, but here's a picture of the Pink Floyd room (room 205, a junior suite with shower, toilet on the same floor):

When Lenny thinks of his late mother, he thinks of toilets (emphasis mine):

Then in 1974 Lenny's mother landed the role of a lifetime, playing Helen Willis on The Jeffersons. The whole family relocated to Los Angeles. Almost immediately the show, which lasted 11 seasons, was a hit, and Roxie was a star. Even so, she refused to get a maid or a fancy car. "She cooked the food; she cleaned the damn toilets," says Lenny. "And I was like, `Ma, you're on the number-one TV show in America.' And she looks at me like, `This is my house, right? It's my toilet, right? Get down here; you need to be cleaning, too.' They had me doing chores; I'd be up ironing like, I don't understand this s--."

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Oh yeah...
The special ingredient in last night's Iron Chef was Mochi rice:

Episode IC1E12

October 22, 2004 11:00 PM ET/PT
October 23, 2004 3:00 AM ET/PT

How will Challenger Toshiyuki Nakagawa try to use this traditional Japanese ingredient against Iron Chef Chen. It's a ricey race to the finish line in the Mochi battle in the making.

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Instant Runoff Voting
One alternative to the closed-choice two-candidate limit general elections envisioned by California Proposition 62 is instant runoff voting, supported by the Libertarians and others.

From the Center for Voting and Democracy:

Instant runoff voting is a winner-take-all, constitutionally protected, voting system that ensures a winning candidate will receive an absolute majority of votes rather than a simple plurality. IRV eliminates the need for runoff elections by allowing voters to rank their candidates in order of preference. IRV is not a form of full representation or proportional representation....

Additional information from their FAQ:

What is instant runoff voting? Instant runoff voting is a method of electing a single winner. It provides an alternative to plurality and runoff elections. In a plurality election, the highest vote getter wins even if s/he receives less than 50% of the vote. In a runoff election, two candidates advance to a runoff if no candidate receives more than 50% in the first round.

How does it work? Voters rank candidates in order of choice: 1, 2, 3 and so on. It takes a majority to win. If anyone receives a majority of the first choice votes, that candidate is elected. If not, the last place candidate is defeated, just as in a runoff election, and all ballots are counted again, but this time each ballot cast for the defeated candidate counts for the next choice candidate listed on the ballot. The process of eliminating the last place candidate and recounting the ballots continues until one candidate receives a majority of the vote. With modern voting equipment, all of the counting and recounting takes place rapidly and automatically.

IRV acts like a series of runoff elections in which one candidate is eliminated each election. Each time a candidate is eliminated, all voters get to choose among the remaining candidates. This continues until one candidate receives a majority of the vote....

Does IRV eliminate "spoilers" and vote-splitting? Yes....In partisan races, IRV prevents the possibility of a third party candidate "spoiling" the race by taking enough votes from one major candidate to elect the other.

Does IRV save money? Yes. Traditional two-round, "delayed" runoffs are common around the country. IRV halves the cost of those elections because it determines a majority winner in a single election. Before adopting IRV, for example, San Francisco spent as much as $2 million on each election in its delayed runoff....In such situations IRV also reduces the reliance of candidates on special interest donors because they only have to campaign and raise money for one election rather than two.

Does IRV affect voter turnout? Yes. Turnout generally increases. IRV gives every voter incentive to participate because your vote still counts even if your first choice candidate is defeated. Also, since IRV only requires one election, the decisive election takes place when turnout is highest, typically November.

Does IRV affect campaign debate? Yes. Because IRV may require second and third choice votes to win, candidates have incentive to focus on the issues, to attract voters to their positions and to form coalitions. Negative campaigning and personal attacks are much less effective in an IRV election.

Where is IRV used? Many places. Ireland uses IRV to elects its president, Australia to elect its House of Representatives, London to elect its mayor, San Francisco to elect its major city offices such as mayor, Utah Republicans to nominate congressional nominees at its state convention, many major universities for their student government elections and the American Political Science Association to elect its president. Literally hundreds of jurisdictions, organizations and corporations use IRV to elect leaders.

Note: back on January 21, I examined proportional representation here and here. The two proposals have been contrasted by Douglas J. Amy:

Clearly the newest and “hottest” electoral reform idea in the United States right now is instant runoff voting or IRV. Many electoral reformers have jumped on the IRV bandwagon and there are now several efforts to promote the adoption of this alternative voting system on the city and state level. But while this voting system does has some advantages, it also has some serious limitations and drawbacks. And whereas IRV is appropriate for single-office elections like mayor and governor, it is clearly not the best system for legislative elections. The best system for those elections is proportional representation (PR), and an overenthusiastic effort to promote IRV may only make it more difficult to adopt PR....

[I]nstant runoff voting is a very poor substitute for proportional representation. It offers very few political benefits compared to using PR for legislative elections. Although it has a few advantages over plurality voting, IRV is still a winner-take-all system and so is prone to all the other serious drawbacks of these systems. And as one veteran electoral scholar, professor Wilma Rule, has observed, there are several important things that IRV does not do – but PR does. “[IRV] is a majority system which leaves out the political minority especially women and ethnic minorities, and third and other small parties.” Thus IRV does nothing to help solve our voting rights problems, or aid in the election of more women. Nor does it ensure fair and accurate representation for all parties, including minor parties, as PR would. IRV slightly reduces but does not eliminate most of the enormous numbers of wasted votes in plurality elections. It also does not produce multiparty legislatures that truly reflect the variety of political views in the electorate. Finally, unlike PR, IRV eliminates none of the problems associated with redistricting, such as uncompetitive districts and partisan gerrymandering. In short, in legislative elections, IRV is not much better than plurality elections; and as a winner-take-all system, it remains grossly inferior to PR. Adopting proportional representation elections would bring a number of badly needed changes to American elections and American politics – adopting IRV would not.

ghgcorp.com contrasts the two proposals:

I want to clarify the difference between Instant Runoff Voting...(aka the Australian ballot, aka the Alternative Vote, aka Hare's Method) and Proportional Representation....They are being advocated by a lot of the same people (ie. John Anderson's Center for Voting and Democracy (CVD), and several minor political parties), and some of the ballots look similar, but the arguments pro and con are different.

PR implies diversity in the legislature, with the representatives representing factions that don't necessarily have to cooperate to get their candidates elected. I have seen economists (Buchanan and Tullock, 1962) write about this in terms of "explicit bargaining," and the idea is that legislative deals are made between the various representatives after the election.

IRV produces results more like the Westminster system, aka Single Member Plurality (SMP), aka First Past The Post (FPTP). SMP is the most familiar system in the US, the one used to elect Congress....Here you get "implicit bargaining," where the trade-offs are made in the candidates' platforms, and the voters presumably pick the candidates who make more attractive compromises. If you envision people's views as laid out along a left-right spectrum, the candidates closest to the median voter are supposed to get elected (centrists). The deals are supposed to be made before the election, with the resulting legislature being more or less a rubber stamp for the median voter.

I have two main arguments for IRV. The first is that IRV does a better job than SMP of electing centrist candidates....In Britain, they have large non-centrist Labour and Conservative parties each supported by about 40% of the voters, and a centrist Liberal Alliance supported by about 20%....The British Parliament, elected by SMP...tends to bounce back and forth between the extremes rather than staying in the center....The worst thing about SMP from my perspective is that it severely undermines any attempt to have more than two viable parties, and so politics under SMP tends to be very oligarchic.

Maurice Duverger said that the tendency for SMP to produce two-party elections is so strong that it comes as close as anything does in the field of sociology to being a natural law. The "mechanical" effect of underrepresenting minor parties in Parliament is reinforced by the "psychological" effect that people don't like giving their support to a party that consistently gets screwed. Another quasi-natural law is that political parties are oligarchal. It is normal for there to be a lot of conflict between party leaders and political candidates, but one thing that makes the US weird is the use of primary elections, which tends to severely undermine party discipline. In Britain, the party leaders usually win these fights. In the US, the candidates usually do....

Former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich supported both ideas:

Our election system is in need of serious reform to expand and enrich democracy. I support measures such as:

  • Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)
  • Comprehensive campaign finance reform and Clean Money public financing of the public's elections
  • Ample free television time for candidates, coupled with the break-up of the media monopolies that restrict political debate
  • Election Day as a holiday
  • Election Day voter registration
  • Enhanced voting rights enforcement
  • An end to the racially-biased disenfranchisement of felons who have served their time
  • Full Congressional representation for residents of the District of Columbia
  • Cross-party endorsement or "fusion"
  • An inclusive debate process that does not exclude credible third-party candidates
  • Expansion of elections, using full (proportional) representation, which assures more accurate and broader representation than winner-take-all elections

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