Saturday, May 29, 2010

What's for dinner?

Came home late Thursday when the following dialogue occurred between my much-better-half and me:

   Me: So what's for dinner?
MBH: I was shopping and saw a dish that reminded me of you: Jamaican Jerk Turkey
   Me: Umm... because it's hot and spicy like me?
MBH: (pause)   OK.... you can go with that reason if you want.

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Betcha didn't know!

Conversation with my 7 year old son, while he was watching me shave:

He: Dad, do girls and women grow moustaches? 
Now being from an Italian heritage,  I could have said yes, but chose to be nice.
Me: No, older boys and men grow them.
He:  Right; women buy the fake ones from the store and wear those instead! 

 Thinking back to some dates I had in college, he may be on to something...

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kudos to Campbell Brown

I realize it's been ages since I talk cable TV or radio, but this is worthy of comment:

To be clear: this is my decision, and one that I have been thinking about for some time. As for why, I could have said, that I am stepping down to spend more time with my children (which I truly want to do). Or that I am leaving to pursue other opportunities (which I also truly want to do). But I have never had much tolerance for others spin, so I cant imagine trying to stomach my own. The simple fact is that not enough people want to watch my program, and I owe it to myself and to CNN to get out of the way so that CNN can try something else.

CNN will have to figure out what that is. The 8pm hour in cable news world is currently driven by the indomitable Bill OReilly, Nancy Grace and Keith Olbermann. Shedding my own journalistic skin to try to inhabit the kind of persona that might co-exist in that line up is simply impossible for me. It is not who I am or who I want to be; nor is it who CNN asked me to be at any point. This is the right decision for me and I hope it will be a great opportunity for CNN.
In light of the recent hiatus of WABC-radio's Joe Scarborough, this admission was surprising and refreshing.    Ms. Brown had been a favorite correspondent of mine when she was on NBC.   The move to CNN came with an edge I had not seen on her news reports, and it never seemed right.   CNN tried to out-angry MSNBC, and at least where Ms. Brown was concerned it failed.  (Side note: other than updates on missing blond women - stories probably only interesting to the families involved - why does anyone watch Nancy Grace??)

Campbell Brown can leave with her head held high: it's not a crime to lose a show because of poor ratings; it is one to lie about it.

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Of elections and public service

There are a lot of stories about me that few people know, whether they be those who know my online persona or those who know me in real life. The following account is known by several of my real-life buddies and friends, but not yet revealed to the blog readers.

In November of 2009 I got silly.   I was voting in the general election in my home precinct and noted that more than a few local offices went unfilled.  Having been seized by what could best be described as a Risky Business - What the fuck? moment, I initiated a write-in vote and wrote in my name.    I confess I was more inclined at that instant to be a joker than to that have been anything legit, but I did it.   The office was truly local, for an Election Board member.  I hesitate to state its title here, because with my luck someone would figure out who I am with Google's assistance. 

Two days later I received a letter from the County Board of Elections.  I thought it would be a letter that asked if I was serious or admonishing me for wasting the Board's time if I wasn't. You won! is what you're probably thinking, because everyone I've told this story to made the same conclusion.   But the letter wasn't either of those two choices.

It was a tie; 4 others had their names written in for the same office.   What are the odds of that happening, especially considering no one had bothered to run for the office in the first place?    So the letter advised there would be run-off - no that's too strong a term - there would be a ceremony where all 5 names would be placed in a hat and the winner selected by the Board chairperson, and I was invited to attend the event.

My much-better-half had only one thing to say upon reading the letter:  What did you do???

To make this profoundly long and boring story short: the day before the drawing, when I had decided to withdraw my name from the contest, I received a phone call telling me that I did not need to come to the Courthouse tomorrow; all the other candidates have withdrawn, so you're the winner.

Once again, MBH asked What did you do???

Throughout our nation's history, I wonder how many offices were filled by such a thin election as mine?   On my desk at home sits an officially sealed and signed certificate of my esteemed office.    My MBH has resigned herself to this being another bit of public service I perform, and is fine with it.

I arrived at the polling place yesterday to undertake my first day of official duties;   odds are very high there will be little official duties for me other than on primary and general election days for the next 3-1/2  years, but I will continue to perform my duties as defined.    I am a certified poll worker, not to be confused with the kind of people who are volunteers at your precinct.   Don't assume, however, that I get any sort of politician's salary or benefits package:  I receive the same $120 for my services as all the others get, but I tend to work harder than they do if for no other reason due to my gender and age difference.  

When you have to report to work at 6:00 AM and leave at some in-determined time after the polls close at 8:00 PM, you realize that stipend given to poll workers is probably a little light, given the extremes of waste we're all familiar with in government.

Our precinct had a 20% turnout -  particularly good considering it was a Primary on a rainy day.     Sen. Arlen Specter was sent packing handily, as he was throughout the state.  More than a few people were disappointed that they couldn't vote against him, since they were Republican and he was no longer one.    Pennsylvania, like most states, requires voters to vote in primaries only within their own party.   That Sen. Specter had betrayed them made them want to vote for Rep. Sestack in yesterday's primary, knowing well they would vote for Rep. Pat Toomey, the GOP candidate.    Sen. Specter's loss comes despite initial support from President Obama and the DNC machine.   That support was noticeably lacking in the last few weeks, despite promises from Vice President Biden to campaign for Specter if he needed him;   VP Biden was in PA on Monday to speak at his daughter's graduation commencement, but didn't find any time to speak at any Specter rallies.   Sen. Specter's biggest draw for the GOP before his party-defection was that he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee (think of Supreme Court nominations);  once he left the GOP, what would inspire anyone on the Left to vote for him??    That Sen. Specter was so betrayed by the DNC is only fitting after his betrayal to the GOP.    Here's hoping Mr. Specter has a comfortable retirement.

Side note: Considering the support - initially at least - President Obama had given to Specter, this makes the President 0-4 in candidates he's backed.    

In 12-PA, the district held a special election to replace the late Rep Jack Murtha  (full disclosure: I do not live in that district).  In an district that is 4-1 Democrat, Mark Critz - a former aid to Rep Murtha - beat Tim Burns by a slim margin.   Mr. Critz stated he would have voted against ObamaCare, is pro-Second Amendment and Pro-Life:  that's 3 things that clearly set him apart from the Obama administration and DNC in general.   Could the wheels be coming off the DNC?

A woman in her early 30s caused a scene at my polling place yesterday afternoon.   Her name was not in the rolls, and after the Judge of  Elections intervened, things got interesting.   It seems this gal was registered as Not Affiliated with Any Party, and as such was ineligible to cast a vote at this or any primary.   She began to loudly protest the situation to the Judge.     While not specified anywhere in my assigned duties, I immediately circled around and stood beside the judge;  anyone who raises their voice and starts getting noisy will my Judge had better be prepared to deal with me also.

The Judge explained that since she was in an undefined party, she couldn't vote today, but she could take her complaint up with her Board of Elections or her local state representatives.   Inexplicably, the gal claimed she was not affiliated with any party because "I am against all forms of bipartisanship!"  (Can I assume she prefers anarchy instead?).

The Judge said her peace and withdrew, and the gal turned to me, pointed her finger in my face and shouted You and the rest are all the problem!  I have a right to vote and this whole process is unconstitutional!   I calmly replied:

The United States Constitution leaves the process of determining eligibility to vote to the several states.  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, like many other states, requires Primary voters to be registered members of the respective parties that are holding a Primary.  Your right to vote in any general election is still valid as always, and we'll look for you in November.  
I then paused and drew a breath, speaking firmly this time:
You are free to petition the legislature to change the laws, but you cannot vote here today,  And the next time you get into someone's face and throw around words like unconstitutional you had better be certain to know at least as much about the Constitution as the person you're yelling at, because clearly you don't.
She stomped off, probably realizing she was just beaten in a battle of political wits.  I decided then that I could get used to this office a few times each year.

And besides: think about the possibilities - today I am an elected member of my local Election Board - tomorrow maybe I can run for Community Organizer!!

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Monday, May 17, 2010

Odds and Ends

  • I have so neglected this blog, I can't account for the 20 or so hits that keep coming daily (on average). Guess my old content is still relevant in search engines.
  • Was at a kid's baseball game yesterday: to the 30-something mom who was desperately trying to educate me about a topic that was very important to only yourself (apparently): if you're going to wear white jeans, you shouldn't wear bright pink panties. If you do, you really ought to make certain the fly on your jeans is up.
    • On a similar note, what is the protocol in such a situations? Do I tell a complete stranger her fly is down? I mean guy-to-guy is something I consider appropriate, but guy-to-gal is something I have never given any thought.
    • Similarly, there were plenty of other moms present; how could I be the only one to notice the color contrast? Isn't there some gal's code that covers telling another when her fly is open?
  • On Saturday morning, roughly 06:45, I was at a coffee stand buying (heh) coffee. While adding some cream to my cup the following transpired with a completely different gal:
    She: Is there any milk or cream for the coffee?
    Me: There's half-and-half, 2%, whole and soy milk.
    She: Oh, I can't drink any soy milk!
    Me: Well it's best you don't then.
    She: It goes right through me!
    Me: Uh-huh.
    She: I mean my entire day gets ruined if I were to drink any.
    Me: Pardon me, but have I done anything specific to inspire these revelations??

    She laughed, and was not in any way put off by my question. She had continued to explain her situation when I wished her good luck and left her at the counter.
  • US Attorney General Eric Holder at first publicly announced he was considering filing suit against Arizona's new Immigration Law Enforcement law, or the grounds it was a racist law. President Obama had similar words of admonishment, which have been echoed by many who state even the president thinks its a racist law. AG Holder later admitted he never read the law. As I have read the 12 page law, and can attest is does nothing more than enforce the federal immigration laws, one can assume President Obama has yet to read the law, even as he's criticized it. So as a someone who is hardly even considered to be an armchair jurist, can I assume I am a better lawyer than either President Obama or AG Holder?
  • Locally, I attended JAMBO 100 at Kutztown University over the weekend. The bi-annual event was ramped even more in honor of BSAs 100th year. Do to my commitments with the baseball league, I had to split my time at JAMBO, but a great time was had by all (including some 7000 Cub Scouts, Boys Scouts and Venturers). Here's to BSA and it's next 100 years!!
  • Pennsylvania Primary Day tomorrow: If I had to make picks, I'd say it's all but certain Sen Arlen Specter -- the long-time-Republican-turned-Democrat-last-year is about to go down in flames. That's as much due to his party switch as is the anti-incumbency tone across the country. There are many other primary races in the Commonwealth, most of which will be the vanguard of the predicted Democrat rout in November. Let me get it out there right now: as I have said during the Bush Administration mid-term elections: the results of the mid-terms often go in favor of the minority party/party out-of-power, so that is a given. However when considering the distaste America has for the high unemployment rates, runaway spending, and assaults on our freedoms, I predict quite a blowout this November. Count on it.

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Friday, May 07, 2010

Recent decision on Boy Scout case: was it a better to let the decision stand?

This week the Boy Scouts of America had an appeal turned away by the Supreme Court, and in the end it could have been a good thing for BSA overall.

A federal judge in 2003 ruled the Boy Scouts are a religious organization on the grounds they recognize a Supreme Being, or the Creator. As Robert Knight in the Washington Times puts it, by that reasoning, the Declaration of Independence is a religious document, not to mention the Constitution, which is dated "in the Year of Our Lord, one thousand, seven hundred and eighty-seven."

The next few years will prove pivotal for BSA: a number of cases may well affect how the organization will proceed in it's next 100 years.  SCOTUS's decision not to hear the Scouts' most recent case may be a good thing, as Justice Kennedy could have cast a very severe blow in the eyes of the media should he had ruled against them.   And as the media so rarely shows anything positive about BSA, and instead magnifies every blemish, it may well be better to let this battle lay, no matter how distasteful it is on First Amendment grounds.

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook