Saturday, December 23, 2006

December sure has gone by quickly

Hello all,

I have to start by apologizing about the lack of updates this month, it has been unusual in the truest form. There have been quite a few curve balls thrown at me this month, but I am happy to report I'm still moving along nicely. I'll flesh out the details on another post but I wanted to fill in some details from last night.

Melanie and I had been invited out by Shana (one of Melanie's fellow Doc students) to go to the Carolina Hurricane's game against the New York Islanders. The idea was to try and score some of the student discount tickets which only go on sale the day of, and must be purchased at the RBC center. The only tickets we were able to secure were up in the 300's. We made the trek upstairs to find our seats when we were approached by one of the Storm Squad (Hurricane Cheerleaders). She wanted to know if we would be interested in playing some trivia for a chance at some better seats. Melanie was immediately nominated by Shana and I. So, just before the National Anthem, we went back downstairs to meet for the event. Mel was taken down to one of the corner booths on the ice to play the "Sub Club" sponsored by Subway for the new seats. Shana and I slipped down with Melanie as she walked to the booth and found a nice pair of seats about 18 seats up to watch the action. The game was that they would put up a question on the Jumbotron and the announcer would read it off until one of the players grabbed the Stormy hat (Hurricane's mascot) from the table. At that time the question would disappear and the announcer would stop reading and wait for the answer. It turns out that the game didn't quite play out like that, they did take the question down and the announcer did stop "reading" it, but he ended up repeating it before he asked the question. Melanie's competitor made for the hat first and guessed correctly. She did kick her self a little bit, since the question was true false, so a guess would have been just fine, if you were wrong the tickets just went to the other player. She had also been combing her mind with facts and figures about last season and players names, when the question turned out to be "True or False, the Hurricanes were leading after the 1st period in their last game?". Even if she didn't win, she got to be on the Jumbotron, get a shot at some better seats, and best of all, had the best seat in the entire house when the Hurricanes scored their first goal. Not much else after that, just enjoyed watching the Canes finish off with a 5-1 victory with out too much sweat.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wii's, Skis, and other elements..

Hi Ho everyone,

Been a busy, crazy, and fun couple of weeks.. I'll do my best to break it down for you. I guess its best to start back on the weekend before Thanksgiving. Prior to that date I had been receiving a few calls from my good friend Owen out in LA. Owen always has a good story or two that primarily cause me to kick myself and wonder why it was that I'm on the opposite coast of where I should be... but I can get into that later. The latest and greatest story had been about his exploits with a Nintendo Wii, which thanks to his job he had been playing with for a week prior to its release to the general public. I had been thinking about picking up a new console, but after the sticker shock of the PS3, I placed myself squarely in the camp of sitting this cycle out, or at least that was what I thought. Owen, who just happens to be a non-gamer, had nothing but astounding praise for the Wii, and of course I caved and decided that a Wii would be quite a bit of fun for Thanksgiving and the annual Mario Cart rally my in-laws and I get into. Hence, after work on Sunday morning, I drove out the the local Target and kept my fingers crossed for that I might have a shot at one of the 24 units the store would have for sale at 8:00 am. I rolled into the parking lot at 6:30 am and walked up to a smattering of bundled chairs and tents.

It was a chilly 30-40 degrees out, so I zipped up my coat and started my wait. Only and hour until the employees would come out and produce the desired vouchers. There were quite a few people there, so the 24 units may have already been spoken for, any hope I had of securing one would be slim in deed. Around 15 minutes after I arrived, another camper showed up, I nodded as they walked up and he surveyed the line for a place to walk up to. From the depths of one particular hooded camper asked "Are you here for a Wii?". When the fellow nodded, a reply of "Oh I'm sorry, you aren't going to get one. They only have 24, and there are 24 of us here.". Slightly stunned, he nodded "Oh, OK then" and turned back to his car. I had not received the same greeting, so I thought that just maybe I was in that 24th slot, but realistically I also made mental note that I would probably be left out on that number.

A short time later, that question was answered for me. The same bundled Co-ED gave me a confused look and asked "Have you been here all night?" I responded that I had arrived around 35 minutes ago, "Oh, sorry, but your are not going to get a Wii, there are already 24 people here."

"That's ok, I will wait it out"

"Oh... Well, if you want we might be able to work something out."

"What's that?"

"Well, we are buying two Wii's, I would be willing to sell you the other for $600"

For those of you whom are not aware, the Wii is priced at $250, which is exactly the amount I am paying for one, not one cent more. After shooting that idea down, the rest of the line turned back to itself and counted down the remaining hour. As was expected, I did turn out to be #25, and thus my shot of obtaining a Wii on launch day was not looking good. I did have one other opportunity, since one kid that had previously planned on not buying a Wii had been talked into taking a ticket anyway. After the 24th voucher had been handed out, and I had started walking away, the kid ran up and tried to sell me his. As stated before, I am not paying more than $250, which included paying additional for someone's ticket. He only ended up getting $50 for it, which was payed for by the person in front of me. I'm glad that the price of the Wii is not going to really make the $300 price tag he paid a very profitable one. But, eventually I will find a way to get one, and if that is before the holidays or after it doesn't really matter. Don't worry though, as the week progressed from there it did get a lot better, more on that later.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Last night Mel and I went out to see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. I was familiar with the character from HBO's "Da Ali G Show". What I was not prepared for was how hard I would laugh.

Straight to the point, this movie will go WAY beyond your comfort zone, but the funny thing is you will probably be laughing too hard to care. That said, I can not stress more that this movie must be seen to believe it. I knew about the gorilla style comedy Sacha Baron Cohen, since I had seen some of the interviews he had done as Ali G, another Borat like character from his show, only done in the vein of a hip-hop culture. With that in mind, I was expecting a few good laughs, but since Borat seemed more in line with Jonny Knoxville's Jackass, I was not expecting too much.

Like a midnight train with two tones of bricks this movie knocked me out of the park. I am still getting a good laugh 24 hours later. This is the first movie I have ever called people on to make sure they go see it. So folks, on your next free night, I really want you to go see Borat. Skip the popcorn, you would just end up loosing most of it. I would normally say to sit down, buckle up, and hold on for a movie like this but in this case, leave the seatbelt off, being a part of the car crash that is about to occur is just one thing you can't afford to miss in this movie.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What a night.

Mood: Headed to bed (@,@)

Webb - Votes are still being counted, 8 precincts left to count, 6 of which the Webb camp fell confidant that they are pro-Webb precincts. By which they look to increase his 7-11k vote lead. The Secretary of State will go out this morning to verify the votes took place, and then provisional votes will be counted, which are also felt to be in good standing with the Webb camp.

GOVERNOR - The Dems have picked up 6 states, to bring it to 28 v. the GOP 20.

Montana is still waiting, I will catch it when I get up.

Lieberman in the drivers seat?

Mood: Tired

With Montana in the balance, Lieberman becomes a very important person. With the Dems looking more and more likely to get 6 seats, Lieberman has the ability to rock that boat, or bring it safely into the harbor. I would go into more details, but for now, keep an eye on him, the GOP wants him to stay independent, and Dems would welcome him back into the fold, which would come at a price. Bringing it down to the wire here, and I can't wait!


Mood - Ecstatic!

Hailing from Bozeman Montana myself, I am stunned that it will play such a large part in this years election. I was a bit worried, but I know that regardless of how things ultimately turn out, they are much much better than I had thought they would be. With this large turn-over of power is going to weigh greatly on what direction we head as a nation. Its been a rough set of years to see the polarization of this nation used against each other. We are standing at a crossroad, and I for one believe that the future has brightened quite a bit. For me this is not about retribution, I do not want to rub this in, but what I do want is for this country to come together. I really think we have a chance know. Looking back, both Regan and Clinton had to adjust in order to work with the new political landscape, now it is Bush's turn. I really hope he takes this message to heart, and sets things aside to come back to where the rest of the country lives, and does not try to dig in his heels.

So now we wait, and as I sit here surrounded by a sleeping wife, a sleeping dog, and well a wired cat, but it just seems fitting. Had a lot of fun, and for those who popped in to join me, I appreciate that. Its a new dawn in American politics, 30 min left, Yellowstone County a must win for Conrad. Unbelievable!!

Hmmm, two self proclaimed winners

First with Webb, now McCaskill have come out before their competitors and claimed the victory. Traditionally, the looser would make the call to the winner to congratulate the them, head out to offer the concession speech. Not sure where this went to, but now it seems that we've gone for winner take all.

But this does leave us in and interesting completion to our night here, as goes Montana, so the country.

Oh yeah, McCaskill is the winner! This just in. This is CRAZY!!

Then there was two.

Montana has Tester 115,182 @51% with 58% reporting, so its looking good. Missouri has McCaskill rounding the corner and taking the lead: 852,065 @49%, with 84% of precincts reporting. Here is a breakdown of what else the nation voted on:

AZ - English as Official Language - Yes
AZ - Million Dollar Voter reward - No
AZ - Minimum Wage increase - Yes
CA - Fund Alternative Energy - No
MO - Raise Minimum wage - Yes
CO - Ban Gay Marriage - Yes
ID - Ban Same-Sex Marriage - Yes
NV - Raise Minimum wage - Yes
OH - Raise Minimum wage - Yes
SC - Ban Same-Sex Marriage - Yes
TN - Ban Same-Sex Marriage - Yes
VA - Ban Same-Sex Marriage - Yes
WI - Ban Same-Sex Marriage - Yes
CO - Legalize Marijuana - No

2000 revisited

Mood: Excited

We are on the eve of a very interesting event. The balance of power in the Senate may not be known for a few weeks, here is how it would work. Montana and MO need to continue the trend to the DEMS, that would leave the balance hanging on VA, which has headed to bed, with a recount on the way. Just as was the case in FL back in 2000, it moves to a much larger issue. Montana has been leading toward Tester all night, MO is switching places quite a bit. The night is young for sure.

Corker takes TN

Mood: Focused

Tennessee looks to have tipped over to Corker, which would lead for all three Senate races to fall to Dems. Tough to pull off, but its possible. VA as stated before is going to stretch into extra innings, where they will pick up the recount tomorrow. 2265 vote difference to the advantage of Webb - the State will pick up the tab on that recount.

Back in a bit.


Mood: Digging it!

U.S. Senate Virginia
Candidate Votes % of votes
Jim Webb (DEM) 1,143,144 49%
George Allen (REP)* 1,140,879 49%
99% of precincts reporting

U.S. Senate Tennessee
Candidate Votes % of votes
Bob Corker (REP) 870,606 51%
Harold Ford (DEM) 812,506 48%
91% of precincts reporting

Candidate Votes % of votes
Jim Talent (REP)* 669,292 50%
Claire McCaskill (DEM) 612,233 46%
64% of precincts reporting

U.S. Senate Montana
Candidate Votes % of votes
Jon Tester (DEM) 63,698 54%
Conrad Burns (REP)* 51,745 44%
25% of precincts reporting

The train continues with picking up a lot of Gov. positions, that will change the political landscape as well. I have to say I am going to be very very interested in what Bush's next move is. I'll be the first to admit it, I can't stand the guy, but if he can take the hint and move to the middle it would be the first correct step in a very long line of wrong steps.


Mood: Pleased

Had the chance to go over some the state laws, and I was happy to see South Dakota vote down the most restrictive Abortion ban, Montana is looking to increase minimum wage. Lots of stuff to go over, be back in a few.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Mood: Excited

Dems will walk away with the first female Speaker, a fresh slate to work with, and a lot of potential for the next two years. This is also a big spotlight that has switched over to give them a voice. So, now that they have it, what are they going to say. Big stakes that will shake things up for the '08 Presidential election. In the Senate, I'm still wait for Harris to concede. VA race also has a ton of legs left, with Webb closing the gap, its close!!!


Mood: Very happy

House seats continue to turn as Dems get closer to breaking into the 30+ seats, and continue to apply pressure on the Senate. They have taken a different path than the one taken by the GOP when control was first turned over, drawing from the middle instead of turning to the base. Va will not be decided until tomorrow as a recount is sure to be announced. Fun fun.


Mood: Feeling good.

Projection of House control going over to the Dems is out there now. That makes me happy. The Senate, on the other hand is slipping through the Dem's grasp, in what I predict will be a pick up of 4 of the needed 7. But that is OK with me, the message of change is what I am most interested in, and from the looks of it, the rest of America is leaning that way too. My final numbers: Senate - GOP Hold on with 2-3 seats House - DEM pick up 20-26 for change of power.

10:30 pm

Mood: Back to optimistic

Not too happy about Orin Hatch's projected win, heck any one that is reading this blog or any website should feel the same, but that's in Utah, and well.. its Utah. Tenn and Va will be the the nail that closes the door on a Senate change, Montana and MO will be a toss up. If Dems are only able to pry one of the four away, Montana would be nice, but that's a personal issue.

And there is a confirmed issue that has come up with an electronic voting machine, one got into a bar fight.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R.-Pa., concedes to Democrat Bob Casey

Mood: Happy

One of the few races I was watching, granted several are expected wins, but its nice to see.


Mood: optimistic

Va continues to be THE tight race right now. I'm guessing we probably will not have a winner there till tomorrow.

9:15 - off to the right start

Starting numbers: Senate - +13 Rep House: 0

Long night ahead, but I have faith

Get out there and VOTE!

I'll be posting my own views later on, but for now here is the final posting from the Power poster from Lewis and Clark:

As we live through another day of voting in America, I, like many of you, think back on other elections and highs and lows. For lows I personally look back to 2000 where we left Capitol Hill in the middle of the night not knowing the outcome of the presidential contest, after having celebrated with great jubilation earlier in the night as Gore picked up the three states everybody know were the ones to put him on the glidepath to victory, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida. I also look back 12 years ago to the biggest political bloodbath I have witnessed in my nearly two decades in Washington, the night when the Republicans had a net gain of 8 seats in the Senate to take control and a whopping net gain of 52 seats in the House to take control and end 40 years of Democratic rule of that body. Our own victory of Oregon 3 in the Wyden office never in question that election, I spent most of that election night upstairs in the office of Rep. Long from Indiana where I counted most every person on that staff as a friend dating back to my days working for Jontz in the Indiana delegation. They lost badly and lost their jobs. They took it pretty well, even as we had to listen to the cheers coming from Republican offices on the floor every time a new election result was announced. When an election like that happens, not only do all the staffs of the losing Members lose their jobs (they have two months until the change officially happens as mandated under the Constitution on January 3), but if majority control changes, that flips all the committees as well. Traditionally the majority party gets 2/3 of the committee staff hires and the minority gets 1/3 of the hires in their own minority office for each committee. In 1994 because so many members lost and both chambers flipped, thousands upon thousands of jobs turned over.
As I walked through the Longworth House Office Building that night, amidst the
cheers coming from the Republican offices, there were Democratic staff hugging and crying, and there were even a few people in the fetal position against hallway walls crying.

As I think back to happier elections and those highs, I think of 1992 and being in Ron’s House office in the Rayburn House Office Building as the Democratic majorities in Congress grew and Bill Clinton knocked Daddy Bush out of the presidency. At the moment that Clinton secured the electoral votes necessary to win the presidency and the networks announced him as the winner, a woman came out of her office down the hall from ours and let out a huge “Bush is a loser!!!!” to which all the Democratic offices began to cheer. Later that night we joined Democrats from all over the nation’s capital in driving in circles around the White House honking horns so that all the Bush staff could hear us. We ended the night a few blocks away at the Capital Hilton where the Clinton/Gore Washington party was being held and had such numbers that 16th Street had to be closed as the crowd had overflowed from the hotel out on the street in celebration. I also think of the best election night I’ve ever personally been involved with when we came from behind and Ron won election to the Senate in 1996 by 1 percent, the culmination of what Ron and I have both described as the most arduous thing we’ve ever been through in our lives. The celebration went through the night and I only got sleep between 4 and 6am when my phone rang with our press secretary calling me to work on Ron’s airplane victory thank you tour of the state, which was to begin at 10am that morning.
Her first words through the phone were “Can you believe that we won???!!!!!”
The night before she had chastised me for holding out any hope of victory by saying to me, “You don’t get outspent by $2 million and win an election Bruce.” In the following days of taking down the campaign office that had been our home for months, 7 days a week, 18 hours a day, as a boombox blasted music, campaign staff just walking past each other would randomly hug such was the lingering feeling of euphoria of that victory. We had an all night staff victory celebration in Portland two night later.

Politics is a rough business and it’s a business with clear winners and losers. People may often say that everybody in politics is nuts and/or corrupt, and they may say that there are no differences between the parties, but that’s not true and as so many of you know through incredible personal experiences, it does matter who wins. The very lives of our fellow Americans depends on who wins. No matter what your party or your philosophy, it can’t be denied that the decisions made here in Washington determine life and death for our wonderful and incredible troops, it determines the quality of health care and education for millions, it determines how much our paycheck goes to taxes and what that money is used for, and it determines the kinds of roads we drive on or the ease with which we can fly, just to name a few major ways the outcome of any election impacts us. So today, people on both sides who believe they are right about the best courses for America to follow are on edge. Last night on CNN, David Gergen and James Carville both agreed in a bi-partisan way that heading in to tonight Democrats have to be nervous that as the races in some places have gotten tighter, they could see their chances slip away, but that at the same time Republicans have to be downright terrified that it could be a bloodbath that approaches the numbers of 1994.

In the final analysis of the final polling tracks done in to yesterday, the following is the final verdict on what is to transpire from the consultants’ professional viewpoint:

All Democratic incumbents or Democratic held seats In the Senate will stay Democratic. Senators Santorum and DeWine will lose by wide margins to Casey and Brown in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Senator Chafee will also lose in Rhode Island to Whitehouse but by a closer margin. Though it will be the closest of races, the conventional prediction based on polling numbers is that Senator Allen will lose narrowly to Webb in Virginia and that in the second closest race, Senator Talent will lose to McCaskill in MO. Senator Burns will lose by a fairly close but not a narrow margin to Tester in Montana. All other
Republican incumbents or Republican held seats will be maintained including the TN seat where Corker will beat Ford and out in AZ where Senator Kyl will be re-elected to hold those seats in Republican hands. However, that will be the net gain of six seats that the Democrats need to take 51-49 control of the Senate.

Democrats will have a net gain of about 35 seats to take control of the House. The only two Democrats who might lose are in Georgia where two of that state’s House seats could flip to the Republicans.

This is the prediction of the pollsters but now we have to see what the reality is tonight. So far voter turnout is light, as in most mid-term elections. Normally a light turnout would be of great concern to Democrats because it’s a proven fact in many states that higher turnout helps Democratic candidates because that means that the electorate is made up of more than the voters who most reliably turn out to vote—motivated social conservatives and higher SES Republicans who will vote in election after election. We all know that a lot of times, Democrats need to be led to the polls by the hand with flowers being thrown in front and behind while flute music is playing. However, this particular election has long indicated that it was going to be a depressed Republican electorate not turning out so it is truly tough to read in to what the light turnout so far today means. It might benefit the Democrats. I live in a very affluent and Republican precinct in western Fairfax County where the average home sells for $2-3 million and the average townhouse sells for $500,000. Though Fairfax County as a whole has begun voting suburban Democratic majorities very reliably, my particular precinct is Allen territory. There was nobody at my precinct when I voted this morning. I walked right in and voted. It’s tough to read this.

Additionally, weather can play a huge factor in turnout. Democrats never like to hear of snow or rain because generally speaking, bad weather causes Democrats to stay home while Republicans are more often apt to vote no matter what the weather is. It’s raining in Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, and later Maryland today. If this weather causes Dems to stay home, and it could reduce turnout by as much as 3 percent, then some of these Senate battles could be tipped. The other big factor of course is voter problems. Electronic voting problems are already being reported in Ohio and Indiana.

Tonight if you’re watching election coverage, it will be known early on how things are looking. The PA, RI, and OH Senate race returns will come in early in the evening as will returns from Republican held House seats which are supposed to flip in NH, CT, OH, IN, and PA. If any of those returns has a surprise in them such as the Republican incumbent winning re-election or the margin of Democratic victory not being what was forecast in a place like the OH or PA Senate races, then it could be a big turnaround night for the Republicans where they hold off the Democratic challenge this year. If on the other hand all those early announced races in those three Senate seats and those House races go as the polls have predicted, then it will likely be the kind of Democratic night that has been forecast. Polls in Virginia close early, at 7pm Eastern. That Senate race will probably be too close to call for hours and as you’ve seen in the numbers, control of the Senate could come down to a few votes in Virginia. If Allen wins in Virginia, it’s lights out for a Democratic takeover of the Senate. End of story. The Rs will maintain control. As things head west tonight, MO in the Central Time Zone will be crucial as will Montana in the Mountain Time Zone. If either Burns or Talent wins re-election to the Senate in those two states, it’s lights out for Democratic control of the Senate. Little change is expected on the West Coast in either the Senate or the House so control of Congress should be known from the Mountain Time Zone with the Senate race in Montana and House races that are supposed to flip from R to D in Colorado. Most of those polls close at 10pm Eastern.

A number of you have asked me what a Democratic majority in either house of Congress will really mean so let me just toss this out here. On legislation, the Democrats will not have veto proof majorities in either house even if they have control. Therefore no major Democratic led policy changes can be expected during the final two years of the Bush Presidency. On the other hand, Bush would in no way be able to push through any of his remaining agenda items including making his tax cuts permanent instead of having them set to expire between 2010 and 2012. What would occur would generally be legislative gridlock unless Bush makes a concerted attempt to build a legacy through bi-partisan compromise aimed at getting through various laws with his stamp on them but with major elements of Democratic input. Mostly though, gridlock would be viewed as a Democratic victory in this climate because “stopping Bush” from doing anything more during his final two years in office would be considered a major plus by Dems. The other thing that the Ds would do is to potentially pass bills which highlight Democratic priorities and either force Bush to veto them, thereby gaining ammunition for the 2008 races, or force Bush to accept modified versions of them and claim that only by having Democrats in Congress were such outcomes possible—and use that in the 2008 races. Issues that can be expected on this front will include education and health care. If the Ds have both houses of Congress that task becomes easier because the legislation from both chambers would be pretty close to the same version and could serve as a clear distinction with Bush. If on the other hand the Ds control just the House, then there will have to be compromise with the Senate first before anything could be sent to Bush and that would make the task of a clearly defined separate agenda from Bush hard to highlight because the bills would have been watered down some in conference committee. On the oversight and investigative front, I would not expect Ds to get overzealous with going after Bush lest it make them look punitive and petty ahead of the big year of 2008. However, I would expect them to conduct aggressive oversight on such things as the Bush post-911 domestic surveillance program, the conduct of the occupation of Iraq and the intelligence that led up to the invasion, as well as a number of other things. A huge outcome would be that the Ds in Congress and Bush would sit down to examine the future of the Iraq occupation and figure out a new course of action. Given the polling, if they win a majority, the Ds will view this as the mandate they were elected to take care of more than any other issue—that of changing the situation in Iraq for the US military. If the Rs maintain control of both houses it will be by vary narrow margins, such as 50-50 in the Senate and by a small handful of seats in the House. That would also lead to legislative gridlock as the Ds will have enough numbers to block just about anything Bush and the Rs in Congress want to get done. So bottom line, no matter the outcome tonight, don’t expect a lot of production from the next Congress on legislation but do expect a lot of highlighting of differences to occur with Bush on issues to set everything up for 2008, do expect a major push to stop Bush in his tracks from accomplishing any more of his agenda items no matter which party is in control, and do expect if the Ds have at least one chamber for there to be big efforts at oversight and an effort to change the approach in Iraq as well as change the approach on issues such as civil liberties, all the while blocking any extension of the Bush tax cuts so that revenues can increase to the government at the end of the decade in an effort to get the budget to stop bleeding red ink and to be able to pay for things both domestically and for things that folks like the Army Chief of Staff can’t even get money for now because the government is so broke.

Best regards.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Polling update v - 5 days left!

Get the coffee started Dylan, I'm sure its only going to get more interesting from here on out. Latest and greatest:


Here’s a quick rundown on the latest polling numbers gleaned from various daily tracking polls and stand alone polls.


In VA, Webb maintains a small lead over Sen. Allen of 1-2 points for a D Pickup.

In NJ, Sen. Menendez is now leading by double digits over Kean for a D Hold meaning no D Senate seats are in jeopardy currently.

In MT, Sen. Burns, the ever-dogged campaigner, continues his climb against Tester and has now closed to within 1-2 points, though Tester still leads and the Burns Re-Elect number continues to have pollsters saying this is a D Pickup. However, this race is now clearly in the upper most tier of competitive races to determine control of the Senate given the steady climb by Burns back in to this race.

In PA, Casey still leads Sen. Santorum by 8-12 points for a D Pickup.

In TN, Corker still leads Ford by as much as 10 points for an R Hold of the
Frist seat.

In OH, Brown maintains a lead over Sen. DeWine of 7-8 points for a D Pickup

In RI, Whitehouse has a double digit lead now over Sen. Chaffee for a D Pickup.

In MO, McCaskill has pulled ahead of Sen. Talent by 1-3 points depending on the poll for a D Pickup.

If the election were held today, current polling indicates that the Democrats would have a net gain of 6 seats in the Senate, for a 51-49 majority. In order for this to be achieved on Tuesday, McCaskill and Webb must maintain their very tiny leads over Republican incumbents and Tester must hang on over Sen. Burns in Montana. President Bush is out with Burns in Montana right now as I type this. Given Bush’s weak numbers even in Montana, this is obviously an effort by Burns to make sure that he gets the large Republican base in the state out to vote to offset highly motivated Democrats and Independents, with the Independents and Republican crossover votes having been responsible for the fact that the state’s other Senator and the state’s Governor are both


Here’s a small sampling of some of the interesting things happening in individual House districts.

In Ohio 2, Rep. Schmidt, the woman who called Rep. Murtha, a former Marine, a coward for suggesting a withdraw from Iraq is trailing her Democratic challenger Wulsin. Murtha, sure of his own re-election in PA, has been spending a lot of time campaigning with Wulsin.

In Arizona 5, long time conservative stalwart Rep. J.D. Hayworth who won his last re-election by over 20 points, now trails his Democratic challenger Mitchell.

In Illinois 6, the seat of retiring House Judiciary Committee Chair Henry Hyde which he has held forever in Republican hands, Democrat Tammy Duckworth, an Army National Guard Captain who had her helicopter shot down in Iraq and is a double amputee, is leading the race by double digits. This looks to be a sure D Pickup and will be one of the districts where TV news coverage will be focused on Tuesday night.

In Texas 22, Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s long time R seat, the Democrat Lampson is up by nearly ten points.

In North Carolina 11, former Washington Redskins quarterback Heath Schler leads
incumbent Republican Rep. Taylor.

District by district polling now indicates that the Democrats will have a net gain in the House of 30-40 seats, more than double the 15 needed to take control. Today pollster John Zogby predicted a net gain of 38 seats for the Democrats and said that as many as 40 could flip, approaching the number in 1994 when the Republicans had of a net gain of 52 seats when they took control of the House after 40 years of Democratic rule.

If there’s anything especially interesting to report to all of you tomorrow before the weekend, I’ll shoot out another e-mail. As so many of you are well aware, once we enter the 72 hour window prior to Election Day, that’s traditionally when all the undecideds make up their minds and the polls give the final indication of how things are going to go. I’ll be around so I’ll be sure to do as I’ve done in previous elections and get out those late polling numbers in a final polling update for everybody on Monday and/or Tuesday.

Have a good one.

A Guide to the Worst Places on Earth

Vice magazine sent its correspondents out as a new form of embedded reporters. Traveling to meet with illegal-arms dealers in Pakistan, the failed Nazi commune of Nueva Germania in Paraguay, and attend a gang-sponsored rave in Rio's infamous slum, the City of God. They went to the places you never want to find yourself, and brought a camera crew.

Link to the story on MSNBC
and a direct link to the DVD trailer

This looks to be an eye opening view into the true underbelly of society. I'm heading over now to pick up a copy for myself.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Polling update iv - Down to the wire

I just received the next polling update from my friend Dylan, here is the latest:

Greetings and Good Day to all,

I managed to make a few phone calls and get some e-mail this morning to obtain and scour the latest election polling data. Here’s the rundown with one week to go before Election Day.

In the Senate, it’s absolutely crazy with down to the wire campaigning, TV ads, attacks, and mobilization to achieve voter turnout next Tuesday being crucial.

In the MO race, three separate polls have the race between Sen. Talent and McCaskill tied. That’s a ton of polling data showing the same thing—a battle for just a few votes could make the difference. I remember years ago when deceased Governor Mel Carnihan beat Sen. Ashcroft with his wife Jean taking the seat narrowly. There were all kinds of wild stories coming out of MO including a voting machine from a Republican precinct being found in the middle of a vacant lot in St. Louis. Time for more fun??!! This could be a knock down, drag out fight to the finish in bellwether MO. This race is Too Close to Call.

In NJ, Sen. Menendez maintains his 3-7 point lead over Kean for a D Hold.

In Ohio, home state to the most disgusting university and college football program in America, Brown maintains a nearly 10-point lead over Sen. DeWine for a D Pickup.

In TN, Ford continues to fall behind Corker by about a point a day as attacks on Ford are hitting the mark there. Corker now leads by 7-8 points there for an R Hold of the open Frist seat. It looks like this race is quickly disappearing from the close margin column.

In RI, Whitehorse still leads Sen. Chafee by about 10 points in several polls for a D Pickup.

In PA, Casey still leads Sen. Santorum by double digits for a D Pickup.

In Montana, Sen. Burns once again, like in several races before, takes a licking and just keeps on ticking. He has now closed to within 4-5 points of Tester and this is a continuation of a trend where Tester led by almost 10 but now has a shrinking lead there. If Tester hangs on over the next seven days, this is a D Pickup.

I’ve saved the two wildest numbers for last. The second wildest number comes from Arizona. Arizona was considered to be a close race earlier this year but Sen. Kyl maintained a good lead there all year. New polling coming from several sources now shows Pederson gaining, now within 5-6 points. If Sen. Kyl hangs on over the next week, this is an R Hold.

In the wildest Senate number for today, multiple polls show Webb pulling ahead of Sen. Allen in Virginia. Webb is ahead of Allen currently 2-4 points depending on the poll. This has been reflected now in daily tracking for multiple days, which means something is happening in VA. This is now listed as a D Pickup.

To sum up, Senators Santorum, DeWine, and Chaffee look gone, Sen. Burns is still
trailing though closing the gap, while Sen. Allen is now behind as well, but very narrowly, with the MO race as close as can be. If the election were held today, current polling indicates that the Democrats would have a net gain of 5 seats, to make the Senate 50-50 with VP Cheney breaking the tie for the Rs to maintain control, and the MO race too close to call, thereby tipping the balance of power either way. At the moment, control of the Senate looks to come down to Virginia and Missouri. The Democrats would need to defeat both Republican incumbents.

In the House of Representatives, district by district polling indicates a net gain of between 23 and 30 seats for the Democrats depending on the data in the closest districts. As you know, the Democrats need a net gain of 15 to take control. The “conventional wisdom” in Washington even among Republicans as of today is that the Democrats will indeed take control of the House after 12 years in the minority. However, there is also a sense of caution and disbelief even in Democratic circles.

That is all for today.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A real Halloween scare

The scariest thing you might encounter in the coming weeks might not be found roaming the streets this Tuesday night, nor will you see it lighting up silver screens, the real terror could be as close as voting booth next to you.

Time magazine is running a story about the Diebold voting machine. It does a good job coving the basics, but for a closer look I recommend looking a little deeper.

If you don't mind reading a bit of a technical essay about the potential pitfalls we are facing here, Jon Stokes from Ars Technica wrote an excellent one here:

If you don't have the time, I can give you the short and skinny of it. 1) Moving to votes to a digital system causes them to be much easier to manipulate, both during an election and after. 2) Security concerns increase rather than become more manageable. 3) If there is a audit performed due to a red flag, there is no discernible way to tell between a machine malfunction or deliberate tampering.

As I said before, for a full understanding of what the true risk of the Diebold voting machine is, read through the article from Ars Technica, it will cause you to shiver at the sight of the next electronic voting machine you see.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Polling Update iii

Hot new digital bits...

First, the Washington Post has done another large national poll, this one breaking responses down on some questions between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Here’s the data:

Bush Approval—37 percent

Disapproval—63 percent

As for as issues of importance go, the top ranked issue determining a vote in the election is Iraq, with the economy being second.

If Iraq is the primary issue in determining your vote, which party will you vote for?



How would you rate the state of the American economy?

Excellent or good—55

Fair or poor—45

Do you personally feel that your own economic situation is getting better, staying the same, or getting worse?

Getting better—22

Staying the same—52

Getting worse—26

If the economy is the primary issue in determining your vote, which party will
you vote for?



This question asked of Independents--

On the following issues, which party do you trust more to do a better job handling:










Ethics in government:



North Korea:



These next three questions were asked of all and broken down by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents:

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the situation in Iraq for the coming 12













Do you think the conflict in Iraq has or has not damaged the image of the United States in the rest of the world?



Not Damaged—39



Not Damaged—14



Not Damaged—18



Not Damaged—22

If the election were held today, would you vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in your House district?

Republicans: 88 percent Republican, 10 percent Democratic

Democrats: 95 percent Democratic, 4 percent Republican

Independents: 59 percent Democratic, 31 percent Republican

Overall: 54 percent Democratic, 41 percent Republican

Now on to some more specific numbers for the races at hand:

In the House of Representatives, where the Democrats need a net gain of 15 seats to take control, current district by district polling indicates that if the election were held today, the Democrats will have a net gain of between 25 and 30 seats.

In the closely watched individual Senate races:

In CT, Sen. Lieberman maintains a double digit lead as an Independent caucusing with the Democrats.

In RI, Whitehouse leads Sen. Chaffee by 8 or 9 points depending on the poll for a D Pickup.

In PA, Casey leads Sen. Santorum by double digits for a D Pickup.

In NJ, Sen. Menendez holds a 3 point lead over Kean for a D Hold.

In VA, Sen. Allen maintains a 3-4 point lead over Webb depending on the poll for an R Hold.

In TN, Corker has come on in this see saw battle and now leads Ford by 2-3 points depending on the poll for an R Hold of the Frist seat.

In OH, Sen. DeWine has gained a little momentum back after falling behind in double digits but still trails Brown by 7-9 points for a D Pickup.

In MO, McCaskill is maintaining a slight lead over Sen. Talent of 1-2 points for a D Pickup.

In MT, Sen. Burns has shown some momentum after going down by nearly 10 but still trails Tester by 6-7 points for a D Pickup.

The Democrats need a net gain of 6 seats in the Senate to take control. Current state by state polling indicates that if the election were held today, the Democrats would have a net gain of 5 seats and that the Senate would be tied 50-50 with Vice President Cheney breaking the tie in favor of the Rs as President of the Senate for the Republicans to maintain control of the chamber.
The situation that has changed within recent days to prevent the Ds from getting the clean sweep they need is the Tennessee race where Corker is doing better. As I’ve stated before, the Democrats have no margin for error in any one race.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


LonelyGirl15 meets Ask a Ninja. I personally love Ask a Ninja, but this added a nice twist. Not going to bother explaining LonelyGirl15, except to say that its an actress if you didn't know.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Even if you are not a Nine Inch Nails fan, Hurt is one of the true gems. Jonny Cash's cover just several months prior to passing away is in my opinion one of the best covers of all time. Its a deeply emotional song, and Cash flushes it out in all the proper tones of grey and black. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

25 things to do to grow rich

This story describes 25 things to keep mind about your finance

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Polling Update ii

Here is another post from my friend back in Oregon:

Good afternoon all,
After the last polling update I sent out some of you expressed some skepticism at the numbers and questioned whether or not wishful thinking had influenced the numbers I sent out. I assure you that these are dire times for the Republican Party, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Below are links to three websites that assess the current races in an easy-to-read, interesting format. Two are done by non-partisan organizations and the third is done by a Republican. Those links are: - Done by a Republican

Lastly, before I get to today’s numbers, for those of us who enjoy reading left-wing writings and thoughts, I’d like to suggest visiting The Rant. It’s a blog done by a friend of mine on this list. It’s particularly relevant to those of you in California, but still great stuff for everybody else. It can be found at:

Sorry, no great conservative blog to recommend. If any of you have any good ones to recommend, I’d be happy to mention it in the next polling update. Now on to today's numbers:

I wanted to pass along how things stand this week with the races across the nation now that we are less than three weeks from Election Day. If there is ever a reminder of how the leaders we choose, and the actions of those in Washington, can impact human lives, it comes in situations such as this morning when the Defense Department announced that ten more Soldiers and Marines were killed in action in Iraq within the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 70 for this month that is only half over. Indications are that soon after the election, there’s going to be a major announcement from the White House in conjunction with Former Secretary of State Baker and his special commission that just returned from Iraq where Baker apparently became enraged at what he saw using words like “disaster”. The word around the city is that Daddy Bush and Baker are heavily involved in trying figure things out with W. The
announcement is supposedly going to be to convene a bi-partisan workgroup comprised of Bush Administration officials and Members of Congress from both parties to work out a “new approach”, as the White House is calling it, to the situation in Iraq. It will supposedly not involve immediate withdrawal of US forces from the country but involve some major new initiatives. Your guess is as good as mine as without massive foreign assistance from flakey nations such as France and Russia I don’t see how it’s anything other than a choice between stay or withdraw. This has apparently come about not just because of the power that Daddy Bush and Baker wield and their thinking on the subject of Iraq, but because Bush and his team in the White House have become convinced that his entire presidency could sink from both a policy and political standpoint because of the conflict, just like Johnson’s did over Vietnam. At the very end of this e-mail is an interesting front page story in today’s Washington Post outlining Bush Administration thinking and the rest of the dynamic with the potential of a Democratic Congress looming.

With polling, we’ll start with the House of Representatives. The Democrats need a net gain of 15 to take control and make things happen such as Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Speaker of the House, George Miller (D-CA) as Chair of the Education and Workforce Committee, Henry Waxman (D-CA) as Chair of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, John Conyers (D-MI) as Chair of the Judiciary Committee, John Dingell (D-MI) as Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Charlie Rangel (D-NY) as Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. Current district by district polling indicates if the election were held today, the Democrats would have a net gain of 24 seats in the House, taking 24 out of the 30 races which are currently viewed as competitive and thereby taking control of the House.

In the Tier 2 Senate races that going in to this year were figured to be races to watch but which have not developed in to such races:

Sen. Kyl has a strong double digit lead in Arizona for an R Hold

Sen. Byrd, who turns 89 years old next month, has a huge lead in West Virginia for a D Hold

Sen. Ensign has a double digit lead in Nevada for an R Hold

Sen. Cantwell has almost a ten point lead in Washington for a D Hold

Klobuchar has a 20 point lead in Minnesota over Kennedy for a D Hold of the seat being vacated by Sen. Dayton

Sen. Stabenow has a double digit lead in Michigan for a D Hold

Sen. Nelson has a 20 point lead over Harris in Florida for a D Hold

In the Tier 1 Senate races that will determine control of the chamber when the 110th Congress of the United States convenes on January 3:

Sen. Lieberman, now running as an Independent, has a double digit lead over his Democratic challenger in Connecticut. Earlier this week Sen. Lieberman announced his firm intention to caucus with the Democratic Party after his likely re-election to the Senate as an Independent, joining the only other Independent in the body, Sen. Jeffords, as a member of the Democratic Caucus.

Casey now has a double digit lead in multiple polls over Sen. Santorum in PA for
a D Pickup.

Brown now has a double digit lead over Sen. DeWine in Ohio for a D Pickup.

Ford leads Corker by 1 point in TN for a D Pickup of the seat being vacated by Sen. Frist. This race is hugely tight in that R state.

McCaskill has opened up a lead over Sen. Talent in MO of between 4-6 points depending on the poll for a D Pickup in the state that is considered the national bellwether for how the Democrats will do.

Tester is 6-7 points ahead of Sen. Burns in Montana for a D Pickup.

Whitehouse is 6-7 points ahead of Sen. Chafee in Rhode Island for a D Pickup

Sen. Menendez has opened up a 4-5 point lead over Kean in New Jersey for a D Hold.

Sen. Allen maintains a lead over Webb in Virginia for an R Hold but Allen’s lead is now down to just 2 points in a Washington Post poll that’s getting a lot of attention this week, not just because it shows the race tighter again, but more importantly because it was such a large statewide poll and has shown a huge split that has opened up between the Washington suburbs of Northern Virginia and the rest of the state. I’ve put the piece from the Post below for all of you.

Back to the Senate polling though. The Democrats need a net gain of 6 seats in the Senate to take control and do things like make Harry Reid Majority Leader, Robert Byrd as Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Carl Levin as Chair of the Armed Services Committee, Jim Jeffords (huge environmentalist) as Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Joe Biden as Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Ted Kennedy as Chair of the Health, Education, and Labor Committee, Patrick Leahy as Chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Hillary Clinton as Chair of the Fisheries, Wildlife, and Water Subcommittee at the Environment and Public Works Committee. If the election were held today, polling indicates that the Democrats would have a net gain of 6 seats to take control of the Senate with a 51-49 majority because of their clean sweep of all the close races. As I had stated previously, there is no margin for error and if one race such as the Tennessee race or the Missouri race tips back to the Rs, and Allen wins in VA, it would be a 50-50 Senate with Vice President Cheney breaking the tie in favor of the Republicans maintaining control. With less
than three weeks to go, much is uncertain.

Well, those are the numbers for this week. If the numbers warrant it, I’ll do two polling updates next week and the week after that.

Elections May Leave Bush An Early Lame Duck

By Peter Baker and Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 18, 2006; A01

On desks around the West Wing sit digital clocks counting down the days and hours left in the Bush presidency, reminders to the White House staff to use the time left as effectively as possible. As of 8 a.m. today, those clocks will read 825 days, four hours. But if the elections go the way pollsters and pundits predict, they might as well read 20 days.

At least that would be the end of George W. Bush's presidency as he has known it. If Democrats win one or both houses of Congress on Nov. 7, the result will transform the remainder of Bush's time in office and dramatically shift the balance of power in Washington. Ending a dozen years basically passed in exile, congressional Democrats would have a chance to help steer the nation again -- following a campaign spent mostly assailing Bush's vision rather than detailing their own.

Around Washington, key figures in both parties have been trying to figure out what a Democratic victory would mean. Bush has been meeting privately with Cabinet secretaries in recent weeks to map out an agenda for his final two years in office. The White House says it is not making contingency plans for a Democratic win, but Bush advisers are bracing for what they privately recognize is the increasing likelihood. And Democratic leaders have been conferring about what they would do should voters return them to power.

Emboldened by victory, and bitter from grievance, Democrats could use their ascendance to block Bush's agenda, force him to respond to theirs and begin a new era of aggressive oversight and investigation. A Democratic victory, analysts in both parties said, could mean that some of Bush's tax cuts would not be renewed, attempts to revive his Social Security investment plan would be doomed and efforts to further broaden national security powers in the face of civil liberties concerns would be thwarted.

Most worrisome to the White House is the subpoena power that Democrats would gain with a majority in the House or Senate. For years, Republicans have been mostly deferential in scrutinizing the Bush administration, but Democrats are eager to reexamine an array of issues, such as Vice President Cheney's energy task force, the Jack Abramoff scandal and preparations for the Iraq war.

"It obviously affects things a lot," said Charles Black, a Republican lobbyist with ties to the White House. "History tells you that administrations have a hard time achieving things in their last two years. I think the president wants to be as aggressive as he can with a good menu of ideas.

"If he had to deal with a Democratic majority in one house or both," Black added, it makes it that much harder.

Steve Elmendorf, a former House Democratic leadership aide, said of Bush, "He would lose control of his agenda. He would have to make a decision: Does he want to compromise and work cooperatively with the Democrats, or does he want to keep pushing what he's been pushing and lose all the time?"

The most salient analogy may be the last time Congress changed hands, after the 1994 elections. President Bill Clinton was left trying to assert that "the Constitution gives me relevance" even as new House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and his Republicans seized the initiative. Clinton ultimately recovered through a mixture of confrontation with Republicans, most notably in a government shutdown, and "triangulation" in which he embraced some of their priorities, such as overhauling the welfare system.

The difference is that Clinton's presidency was still young, while Bush is heading into the twilight of his administration -- and is stuck in an unpopular war. But some Republicans think that Bush could play off overreaching Democrats as Clinton did with Gingrich. Or he could pivot to the more bipartisan mode he promised to bring from Texas and seize opportunities for progress in areas such as immigration, where his proposed guest-worker program has been blocked by his own party.

"One of the lessons for President Bush if he loses one or both chambers is the California example," said Sergio Bendixen, a pollster for Democrats. "Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at this time in 2005 was considered to be in deep trouble. But now he is a shoo-in for reelection. How did he turns things around? He has gone from a very partisan Republican to somebody who was working with the other party. I wouldn't be surprised if Bush does the same thing."

John Bridgeland, a former Bush domestic policy adviser consulted by the White House in recent planning, said that regardless of who wins the election, the president would benefit from cooperating across party lines. "Without doing so, it will be more difficult to get things done that will be lasting," he said. "You can do things by executive order, but they may not survive into other administrations."

Bipartisanship, though, has been in short supply since Bush became president. In his first term, he negotiated support from both sides for his No Child Left Behind education law even as Democrats took control of the Senate in June 2001 because of a party switch. But as a practical matter, Bush faced an opposition chamber in Congress for just 98 days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, after which both parties rallied behind him for a time. Republicans won back the Senate in 2002.

Bush has had a difficult enough time winning support from a Republican Congress over the past two years, and some expect the party to turn on him even more if it loses, particularly because of the Iraq war, which has been an albatross for GOP candidates. When the voting is done, pressure may rise from within Bush's own ranks to rethink Iraq policy, as evidenced by comments by Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), who recently said that Bush should take a new course if the situation does not improve in 60 to 90 days.

But presidents have broad leeway to set foreign policy regardless of the legislative branch, and a Democratic Congress may exert more direct influence on domestic matters. Bush has been preparing his post-election agenda in a series of meetings, sitting down one-on-one with nine members of his Cabinet in the past month to review ideas. Bush insists that the sessions not consider a victory by Democrats, participants said. But the discussions have focused on items that could attract bipartisan interest, such as further efforts to rebuild the hurricane-torn Gulf Coast, reauthorization of No Child Left Behind and renewal of farm legislation.

"He's fired up for the last two years of his administration," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said in an interview after meeting with Bush. Rob Portman, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said after his own session: "He's pushing all of us, pushing himself. I don't think there's going to be any letup."

Bush aides recognize that no matter who wins next month, the president has at best a year to push through any last major initiatives before the 2008 presidential race takes over the national political agenda. Portman, a former House member, said he hopes there will be "a timeout on partisanship" after next month's election that can be exploited in 2007. "It's a critical year," he said.

The agenda-planning meetings are the brainchild of White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten, who handed out the countdown clocks to fellow Bush aides earlier this year. Bolten wants to use the process to develop new ideas and find ways to measure the success of old ones, colleagues said.

"There's still plenty of time to get important things done if people on both sides of the aisle are willing to work together to do it," Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan said in an interview. "Two years is a long time. "After the election, Kaplan said, Bush will "look for partners in Congress" to accomplish priorities, such as extending his tax cuts, developing alternative energy supplies and promoting American competitiveness.

The question in the White House is whether Democrats would be willing to be partners. While Democrats see Bush as relentlessly partisan, his aides think Democrats have been deliberately obstructionist even on issues of little dispute. Against that backdrop of mutual suspicion, the two sides may find it difficult to come together.

"The Democrats are so blinded by their hate of Bush, they'll have a hard time even having a bill-signing with him," Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers said. "That might make for some good political contrasts, but not much substance."

Ron Kaufman, who was White House political director for George H.W. Bush, said: "If they try to take down the president, if you will, it would be really stupid. It would play into the long-term interests of the Republican Party."

Leon E. Panetta, who became Clinton's White House chief of staff after the 1994 Republican victory, agreed: "My fear is that the Democrats after 12 years of trench warfare and a pretty rough time -- these people are pretty battle-scarred from that -- basically come out and seek vengeance for everything that's taken place. If they do that, I think they make a pretty big mistake because the public will say, 'These guys are no different than Tom DeLay and his crowd.' "

Others doubt the Democrats would make that mistake. Former House majority leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.), who squared off against Panetta in that era, said Democrats would be in better shape to transition from opposition to governing than his Republicans were in 1994 because enough seasoned veterans are still around, such as Rep. John D. Dingell (Mich.).

"The best Democrats, people like Dingell, on oversight have a tendency to say, 'Let's get into the programs and see how they work and how they could be better,' " he said. "That's healthy oversight. . . . They may stay away from political oversight looking for scandals and stay with programmatic oversight. They do it well and they may want to play against expectations."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Blood and sweat equity.

While we walk down the prepaved road of this American life, I do find it interesting to pick up on some of the things you might not expect. Things such as Home Depot becoming a really cool store. Maybe its not that its a cool store, rather its what I tell myself to trick me into thinking it is. Regardless, its where I spent most of my weekend. Its that time of the year and I got to break out the lawn equipment which started at a bright and early 7:30 am Saturday morning, or in other words about an hour and a half after I got off from my 12 hour shift. I spent the next hour or so raking up the lawn and doing general prep work. Once 9 am rolled around, I headed off to pick up the aerator. For those of you who have not had the misfortune of crossing horns with this beast, consider yourself lucky, smarter than me, or just straight with out a lawn. I had decided to try out going with the local Ace hardware store this time around, usually I end up renting from Home Depot. And let me tell you fitting that albatross into the Subu tends to be quite a battle of wits and brawn. This time, to my surprise, I ended up with a small yellow plugger that was on a mission to test my frazzled nerves. Lucky for it, and my security deposit, I had it back on the truck heading back to the store in around an hour and a half. Around 12:15 I had finally passed out, only to re-emerge around 9:30 that night.

The next day was time for overseeding, which was a walk in the park compared to the previous day, but again I found the sands of the weekend slipping though my fingers. Today was meant to be my relaxation day, but of course that was a farce. So now I sit here, literally scraped, bruised, and aching, all of which I am sure I will repeat in some form on my next day off. But still, life is good and dispite the soreness, I'm pretty happy with the work we got done.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The World's First Time Machine

"A 2003 BBC Documentary chronicling the work of Dr Ronald Mallett, a physicist on the brink of making time travel a reality. Answers many interesting questions such as why we can never go back and see the Dinosaurs, also covers the Grandfather paradox and ways around this such as alternate universes."

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Polling Update

Hey everyone. I've got a good friend back west that keeps a keen eye on all things politics. He has been forwarding on some polling info, and I decided I wanted to share it will you. So here it is, appreciate the work on it Dylan!

WeÂ’ll start with numbers from a huge national Washington Post poll that was
released yesterday. Here are the results:

Bush Approval 39%

Disapprove 60%

Which party do you plan to vote for in Congressional elections?

Democratic 54

Republican 41

35% indicated that their vote for Congress would be based directly on a vote to
punish Bush. This is 12 percent higher than the sameindicatorr in 1994 of
voters wanting to punish Clinton after his first two years in the White House.

Has the conflict in Iraq been worth fighting?

No 63%

Yes 35%

Is the United States safer now or less safe since 9/11?

More safe now 50%

Less safe now 42%

Which party do you trust more to solve problems on the following issues:

Health Care:

Democrats 61

Republicans 28


Democrats 54

Republicans 37

Ethics in government:

Democrats 49

Republicans 30


Democrats 49

Republicans 36


Democrats 47

Republicans 41

Now, letÂ’s take a look at how these national trends are impacting specific races
which hold the key to the balance of power in Congress.

In the Senate,

Sen. Chafee is slipping behind Whitehouse further, now as far back as 6 or 7
depending on the poll. This would be a D Pickup.

Sen. LiebermanÂ’s lead is growing in Connecticut for an Independent who would
still caucus with the Democrats even though he would vote with the Rs on a lot
of issues

CaseyÂ’s lead over Sen. Santorum still holds at a minimum of 9 depending on the
poll. Santorum has never approached Casey since polling in this race started
over a year ago. Another new poll has Casey up by as much as 13. This would
be a D Pickup.

Sen. DeWine has been closing ground on Brown in Ohio but the most recent R
scandal has caused his momentum to stall. Ohio is very touch about scandal
these days given that Rep. Ney and Governor Taft among other Ohio Republicans
have either pled guilty or gone to jail to crimes. BrownÂ’s lead is currently 3
or 4 points depending on the poll. This would be a D Pickup. Polling numbers
out of Ohio, which Bush won narrowly two years ago indicate that economic
factors have overtaken social factors in determining how a large segment of the
population is going to vote. Moral issues have fallen on the scale for many
voters while at the same time for those voters in Ohio who place moral issues
at the top, and who voted R two years ago, are now indicating that they will
simply stay home this year out of disapproval of recent events in the
Republican Party.

Sen. Menendez has now solidified a lead over Kean in New Jersey. This shift has
come during the Foley situation. This was the only D incumbent in trouble in
the Senate previously but he is now ahead 4-7 points depending on the poll for
a D Hold.

Ford has taken a lead of 2-4 points over Corker in TN for the open Frist seat.
This race used to be tied or showed Corker with a slight lead. That has
disappeared since Foley with Ford pulling ahead. This would be a D Pickup.

The McCaskill race against Sen. Talent in MO is tied in multiple polls. MO once
again shaping up to be the bellwether. This race very well might determine
control of the Senate as you will see in a moment.

Tester is staying ahead of Sen. Burns in MT and in fact is increasing his lead
slightly by the day. This would be a D Pickup.

Finally, of the races that have been watched around the country, Sen. Cantwell
is opening up a near 10 point lead again in Washington for a D Hold.

If the election were held today, multiple partisan and independent polls
indicated that Senators Chafee, Santorum, DeWine, and Burns would all be
defeated and that Ford would take the open Frist seat in about the most
unlikely of states, Tennessee, a state which had become solidly Republican in
recent years. With the Ds holding all seats now in the partyÂ’s hands, the
numbers indicate that there would be 50 Democrats or Independents caucusing
with the Democrats, 49 Republicans with one seat tied, the one in MO. If
Talent wins re-election, that would tie the Senate at 50 and Vice President
Cheney would break the tie for the Republicans as President of the Senate. If
McCaskill were to win, that would push the Democrats over the top for 51-49
majority control. This is going to be a wild month!

In the House, tons of races have been tossed in to complete turmoil because of
the Foley situation. A couple of weeks ago it looked like the Democrats might
pick up enough seats to get close to a majority but not quite close enough,
though even two weeks ago the numbers for Republicans were troublesome in that
some close districts were getting tight for them. Now, seats that have been in
Republican hands for years show leads for the Democratic candidates. This is
particularly true in open seats where Republicans are retiring in states like
Arizona, Texas, and Florida. For example, the seat that Harris is giving up
for her Senate bid which she is currently about 20 points behind Sen. Nelson in
has been in R hands for a long time. The Democratic candidate leads there. In
Colorado, the seat being vacated by Republican Lamborn which has ultra
conservative Colorado Springs in it has the Democratic candidate leading by 4
points. The Republicans are actually pulling some media money out of races to
spend elsewhere. Most polls in district by district races now show that if the
election were held today, the Democrats would have more than enough seats to
take control of the House of Representatives. The biggest news on this front
came yesterday when Rep. Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia and the last head of
the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee told the Washington Post that he
now expects that the Democrats could have a net gain of 30 seats in the House,
twice as many as they need to take control.

I will try to get you all some more numbers late next week.

I'd also like to add that NBC Nightly News just happened to file a report in my hometown of Bozeman Montana, talking about the election. Lets boot Burns and pick up Tester!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

PS3 eBay style

The first pre-orders opened up today for the PS3, and stores were limited to total orders. So where did these pre-orders end up? eBay of course, and with an asking price of $2-4k. Supposedly, eBay has already been taking those down, but a couple of thousand for one... you have to be kidding me. I was playing around with the idea of picking a PS3 up for a Blueray player with my HD set. But I think that would be as effective if I had picked up a SACD player when the first showed up. What is SACD? That's my point exactly. One Wii for me please.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Battlestar Galactica

Holy Frack this is a good show. Season 2 was firing on all cylinders, and the series premier of 3 just bumped it up a notch. I'm looking forward to this season.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Heroes on NBC

The surprise show for me so far this new season is Heroes on NBC. Its been quite some time since a show has caught me off guard. In a word this show is... Graphic? Yes, graphic is a good definition here. It plays out very much like a graphic novel, several normal people find they have special abilities, and every episode may answer a few questions, but leave you with several burning new questions. And another thing, I was caught off guard on how graphic this show can be literally, as in ER graphic. Having a character walk into a room and find a body with the top of their skull gone and lacking a brain surprised me for sure! But all in all its an enigma that I will be following on a week to week basis. With Battlestar starting up on Friday, and this show on Mondays, I've got some great shows to look forward to.

Parents want to ban "Fahrenheit 451". Can you smell the irony?

"The book had a bunch of very bad language in it," Diana Verm said. "It shouldn't be in there because it's offending people. If they can't find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn't have a book at all." Alton Verm filed a "Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials" Thursday.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006


Internet Protocol Television, or IPTV, is what I'm betting on is the next big thing. You mean like YouTube? Not, not really, IPTV is more like actual TV show that are delivered over an IP network, like broadband. Think of it like on-demand TV shows, that come out once a week. Anyway, just trying to have this pop up on people's radars. If you want to see an example, check out my new link on the right there. More to come later.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Simple Key Mod Makes Most All Current Locks Obsolete

The most fundamental security device in the world has been hacked in a way so simply and quickly, this could be considered the biggest hack in history.

Not the best news I've stumbled across, but its better to be aware of the potential problem. Also take this with a grain of salt, if someone really wants into your house, they will get in, bump keys just make it significantly easier. For more details, check out

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New record for me

Over the past 12 days, I've been working a lot. No, make that a ton. Total hour count for those 12 days came in at 134 +/-1 hour. Lets here it for end of the quater scrambles.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Worried about the airline losing your luggage? No problem. Just pack a gun.

The airline wouldn't want to be responsible for losing a gun, right? That's one photographer's solution to making sure his expensive camera equipment is watched carefully by the airline when he has to check it as luggage. He packs a starter pistol in his camera bag and declares it as a firearm.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

One more item to add to your list.

Its the weekend, and I am sure you have a lot of fun stuff planned along with the To Do list, but I have just one more thing for you to add to it.

At some point in the next two days I anyone living in the US to head over to this site:

This site allows access to your free, congress mandated, anual credit report. It used to be that you had to pay $7-10 per site to take a peak at your report, but the companies finally yielded and are allowing 1 free report per year. You still need to pay in order to get your FICO score, but that current score is not as important as making sure everything is accurate, and nothing fishy is happening with your credit. I can go into further details if anyone wants but the fact of the matter is, go to this site, get your free report, don't pay for the score, and comb through it. It kind of like taxes, but just like taxes they are a part of finacial responcibility. So set aside the time

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Seven days..

Seven days in a row on a twelve hour shift is no fun. I'm just glad its finished.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How to Destroy the Earth With a Coffee Can

It's not as easy to destroy the Earth as you might think; evil geniuses everywhere have been trying for years. The problem lies with the fact that the Earth is pretty big (at least compared to you and me) and it takes quite a bit of energy to destroy it. There is a way however, to do it with nothing more than a coffee can.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

The Middle isn’t Left, Right, or Wrong..

With elections just around the corner (But you already knew that because you’re registered and know exactly where to go right?) I’ve noticed a lot of hype about what this election could mean to the direction we as a country are headed. Pulling the layers back a little I also noticed another war that has been waged against Americans, the war against the middle.

With the political climate in this country constantly changing to become more and more polarized, it presents a frighteningly grim future. Why should we worry about a small group of extreme ideologist whom live thousands of miles away and hate us for what we do, we say, and how we act (don’t be fooled into thinking its just because what we represent). I ask that with one caveat, why worry about that group, when we have our own home grown extreme ideologists who pose a much greater threat to how the average American lives out their daily lives.

As much as I would like to throw most of the blame at the Right, which falls right into the trap I’m talking about. My views and political beliefs are heavily progressive, there is a lot wrong in the world, and there is a lot I feel we as a country could do to fix it. This statement is not conservative or liberal; in fact it’s both. I don’t think you could find anyone on either side of the spectrum that would disagree with it, but as always the devil is in the details. How one believes to approach these problems, and what their perceived level of importance is where you have disagreements. As with any point of conflict, there are a couple of paths that can be traveled in order to resolve it. The one I feel that is taken most often these days is the “I’m right, and you’re wrong” approach. Under this perspective, the individual has drawn the hard line and will never admit defeat. This farce is played out like a sport, the argument is revisited multiple times not to move it forward, but to see who can beat whom. The score is kept by counting the number of individuals converted from one side to the other. And if any form of victory is achieved, both sides will usually claim it, and explain how and why. Where do these clashes ring out, where are the bleachers set up in order to sway the largest amount of spectators? Smack down in the middle of the true mainstream.

Is it ok to be a moderate anymore? If you reject the preaching of the right and the left as too extreme either way, does that you condemn you purgatory in the eyes of both? Too much time is spent besieging these individuals, because both sides know victory can only be obtained by carving out the largest slice of the middle. Last time I checked, we were supposed to be a Democracy, but more and more, we look like a Republic. Issues are turned their head and if you happen to be on the right side of the majority, your views are rewarded, the rest of the 49.9% are left in the cold. This winner take all vantage point does so much more harm than any foreign power could ever do. It pits American vs. American, and is the breeding ground for statements such as “I believe they are more interested in Terrorist’s lives than American ones.” How are the people we are promoting Democracy perceive it when we American’s can’t even get the system to work right?

I’m not giving up on the system yet, just because we have traveled down the road of bitter partisan politics doesn’t lead to a single ominous fate. Instead of building political parties by drawing the middle farther right or left, lets try brining the two parties closer to the center. Face it, hard line politics of cutting out the majority of public beliefs to benefit the minority only serves to callus people further to the extremes. If I am a vegetarian, and I don’t eat meat by principal, trying to turn change society to fit my perspective is a dangerous, often abused practice

Lets say I was a vegetarian, and I was trying to make a difference. Let us also say it is my belief as a vegetarian, that we can lead happier healthier lives, if red meat was banned in the US. Once I reach this conclusion, I arrive at several different paths to promote this agenda. I may choose to act locally and protest outside of grocery stores, and hand out pamphlets with vegetarian recipes and information. Another method would to be an informational program that schedules presentations at area schools and community centers. There are many other spin-offs, but for the most part there are two main camps here, protest and education. All derivates of the options I have to promote this ideal are combinations in different degrees of these two methods. What is the most effective means that I could take? Well, there are still plenty of combinations, but in order to reach the widest market, you take a moderate stance. Advocating for decreased red meat consumption in an individual’s diet, and replacing that meal with a vegetarian may not get you exactly where you want, but it will have the biggest impact. Again we are left with a definition of what is victory in this arena, and if we play for all the marbles, it can get ugly.

The same right that gives you the voice to cry out against injustice, is afforded to those very same people you are crying out against. One can not exists without the other, and that is the grain of salt you must ingest before massing the troops. Paramount in these cases is the fact that principals do not ever solely justify the means.

When we paint each other with bold and inflammatory colors and tones, we only serve to further distance ourselves from fixing the problem. Calling someone a “great American” because they agree with you and are against the other side is just the opposite. To illustrate my final point, I choose the hotly debated topic of abortion. Would you rather live in a world that has little to no abortions because they are outlawed, or because they just aren’t needed as much anymore? The ends do not justify the means, and we are not as different as we all may think we are. Next time you have the chance, talk to someone who has an apposing view to your own. This time, don’t try and debate the topic, try to find some common ground first.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

One mind pondering many...

The latest video I posted has touched on a subject I have been mentally analyzing for the past couple of years. Granted, the subject has been drawn into a clearer focus once I crossed the Madison Dixie line to in order help support my wife realize her dreams, but it has been there never the less. I guess you could boil it down to man, spirituality, and this journey we all travel together, life.

Its been an interesting trip for me, in my just shy of 30 years performing my own take of a walkabout, it still excites me when I think about what I might come across next. Along that path, I've seen first hand the core of humanity at its best. I will also always remember the time I was exposed to what the worst can lead too; when I wondered into the wrong neighborhood while exploring the south of France. But overall, it has been an incredible rewarding experience that I wouldn't trade for any amount of money. Picking back up to my original topic, there is one element in the world that troubles me the most, nescience. There are many forms where this element takes root, and many others where the environment may encourage its growth and spread.

The first, and most obvious, is where the individual or group of individuals live in an environment where education and knowledge just may not be available, or even suppressed. These conditions lead to a large part of what ails the world. One of such conditions that we as Americans feel constantly is out subjective war on terror. I could spend a lot of time on this issue, but that is for another day. The the form of discounting ideas, and sometimes slandering them I wanted to touch on today is the cognitive choice by the individual. The case I want to frame here is the topic of religion and science.

As a fair disclosure, I do have a degree in Biology, and do subscribe to the theory of evolution. But, I am not trying to pursued anybody in this posting, I just wanted to put out some observations on the topic of Evolution and Intelligent design, and the implications that may arise.

Taking it from the top, there are many things that are misunderstood from both sides of the argument here. The first element I wanted to look at was the criticism of the theory of evolution. Often I hear complaints that the lack of proof shows evolution is just that, a theory. There is plenty to work with here, but I wanted to remind people about the structure of scientific thought. When approaching science as a whole, there is more that we don't know than we do know. That is just the nature of the beast, as stated by Socrates "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.' This is the fundamental filter that I feel we must all be most careful with. If an individual approaches a new idea with the self confidence that they know what is going on, the overall impression of that idea will have first passed though the prism of pre-conception. I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but what I can say is that one is more likely to miss a few key details.

This is why I strongly object to the idea of teaching Intelligent Design along with Evolution in science classes. There are a few levels that I need to break this topic up to cover it correctly. The first element I wanted to look at was the fundamental difference between the two. Evolution is not a model that is meant to draw the final conclusion for you. Anyone who uses evolution as example in refuting the existence of God is a big of a fool in my mind as someone who thinks evolution means we are descendents of chimpanzees. Evolution is the mechanisms and pathways life as we know it develops and adapts on this world. That's just it, doesn't layout the story of where we began and where we will end up. The path of evolution can only travel as far as the latest generation. It is not a crystal ball where our future and fate will be revealed, but it is a study of how life as we know it got where we are today.

Intelligent design on the other hand, does provide a path by which it can extend beyond the latest generation available. By moving the mechanisms and pathways to a level which by all means are immeasurable, the theory is moved from a scientific study to a philosophical debate. This returns to my statement that one can not interject bias in order to provide an answer to that which they can not explain. Saying that the ocular eye is too advanced to have just happened, and must have been guided by some higher power is lazy, and teaches others to do so as well.

Well how does this play out? By placing Intelligent Design in science classrooms across the country, we provide an easy out for those students that grapple with the concepts presented by Evolution. I would rather have our students stand the line then take two steps back. The main reason I want them exposed to Evolution is that if there is a conflict found within that goes against what they personally believe, I want them to confront it head on. I have no problem with an individual that is exposed to the truth of what the theory of evolution presents, and is able to weigh them based on actual merit, and decides to go with a prior belief, I would be thrilled. Why? Because critical thinking was put in place under that situation, and the decision should be made for the individual, not for the individual appeasing others. Critical thinking, and the ability to distance ourselves ever so slightly from our own bias allows for understanding and growth. With the world is a state such that it is, I can not help but feel we need this more than ever. Because, last I checked, people were not willing to kill each other over their beliefs in evolution, or a divine method, well that is unless you were talking about which God was directing it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ken Miller on Inteligent Design

If you have two hours to kill, please watch this. It's very enlightening, even for someone like me who supports evolution.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Full Text of Letter from Bill Clinton Lawyer to ABC Obtained

The full text of the letter - which was first written about in today's New York Post. Bill Clinton's attorney, Bruce Lindsey, has written to ABC chief Bob Iger protesting the network's decision to air the 9/11 docudrama, "The Path to 9/11." The letter demands that the network pull the miniseries unless it corrects all its errors.

Even if you don't feel like sending ABC a message via Thinkprogress's site, please just avoid watching the show this weekend.

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Even if I was feeling a little off yesterday, the vid gave me an idea. I'd like to try and expose a few people to some of the bands I have been digging lately. First off, the Mountain Goats with ther newest vid, woke up new. If you like their sound, try Dance Music, or This year. Enjoy!