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Friday, December 26, 2008

Too BIG to Succeed?

Some people say that GM, Chrysler and Ford are too big to fail.  I say they are too big to succeed.  These giants are bound by the inherent inertia of large organizations and so cling to flawed models in both business and car design.  Break them up!  And don't just break them up by line. Making and independent Jeep company, or Pontiac company, or even Hummer company won't save the American auto industry.  Take a hammer to them and find the natural cleavages upon which they will shatter.
Declare these vestigial beasts bankrupt and extinct and sell off the assets.  

Do away with vertical integration!

Let small design companies make innovative designs to sell to the highest bidder.  Let small, nimble and innovative manufacturers build better parts more efficiently through competition. Vertical integration allows any aspect of the design, manufacturing, distributing and sales process to bind the hands of all the others.  When each component has to compete to work with the best producers in all the other fields, the producers and consumers win.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thank You Fox News!

Well, from where I'm sitting, next to a dessicating decorated spruce surrounded by mounds of wrapping paper, it looks like Christmas has once again won the war against it. Thank You to Fox News and Country music stations everywhere for once again lofting the banner high and championing the cause that is Christmas. It looked rough out there for a while: Democrats ascendant, a Muslim in the White House, but you stood resolute. To quote the Duke of Wellington, "It was a close run thing." Thank You and Merry Christmas.

I also want to bring up another cause. The War on Christmas has been raging for many a year now, and before that was the Cold War on Christmas, which required high mobilization rates. There are now many brave veterans of the War on Christmas, and by some fluke almost none of them have ever served in the "real" wars and don't fall under the auspices of the Veteran's Administration. And while I know many of these brave men and women would scoff at accepting aid from "Big Government," their wounds are often very deep and very real (those secularist militants at the ACLU go straight for the jugular). So as an alternative, please go to and click on their DONATE button to support a brave veteran of the War on Christmas this year.

Merry Christmas to ALL.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I think one of the big flaws with monarchy is concept of primogeniture, the idea that the first born inherits the throne. I propose that monarchy would have worked a whole lot better if they had adopted the concept of segundogeniture-- the second born gets the throne. There are two reasons I think this:

  1. Parents make all the big mistakes on the first born. They kinda know what they're doing by the time they get to number two. He'll make a much more "balanced" king.
  2. Big brothers/sisters already get to pick on their little brothers and sisters enough. They're usually physically stronger and more mentally mature. If they know that little bro or sis is gonna be sporting the crown, maybe they'll give a little deference. If not, then getting bullied a little bit might be good for little bro/sis. But use moderation, you don't want to mold a little Ghengis Khan.
*Disclaimer, I am a #1 son.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brokeback Cabinet

Something is definitely up with the Obama cabinet today.  From today's Washington Express:

Yes, the headline does read, "Obama TAPS Salazar to HEAD Interior."  Sorry, subtlety has never been a trademark of mine.  And in case you were wondering whether Ken Salazar plays the role of Heath Ledger's repressed and introspective Ennis or Jake Gyllenhaal's sexually predatory Jack, Ken Salazar was photographed with Secretary of Agriculture designate Tom Vilsack:
Just couldn't keep his hands off the legendary Vilsack Ballsack...

Congratulations, also, to Tom Vilsack for being the first openly-Furry Cabinet member since Gideon "Cotton-tail" Welles served as Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy.  I hope Salazar understands what he's gotten himself into:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our data is our nation's most precious natural resource (sic)...

I am suggesting that the new motto of DCPS be "Our data is our nation's most precious natural resource."  I'm pretty sure that on an average day I hear the word "data" more than I hear "students" or "children."  Data. Data. Data.  Data walls, data logs, data sheets.  Really, the whole system should do away with children.  The data (which are what's important after all) can be simulated by computer.  Captain Kirk might be appalled by our primitive ways, but I say it's the enlightened thing to do. 

The children and teachers can stay at home.  Students' test scores can be randomly generated.  Different teachers will be modeled as using different methods in different environments.  Some sweet multiple regression analysis will take place and the computers will tell us which student's learned what, and which teachers get merit pay and which get the boot.

PS:  If I hear another DCPS employed PhD or EdD say "The data is..." or "The data says..." I am going to rend my clothes and live as a hermit.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And the Majority Leader's cojones Grew Three Sizes that Day....

So it looks as if the deal between likely Democratic Senate President Malcolm Smith and the "Gang of Three Malcontents" is falling apart in large part due to Malcolm Smith:

A: Refusing to give Pedro Espada a lulu for the do-nothing "Majority Leader" job.*
B: Deciding that allowing a bill granting equal marriage rights to all New Yorkers is a Civil Rights issue and should not be vulnerable to backroom deals.

This is great.  This sends a message that functioning government cannot be held hostage by a handful of self-serving bastards.  It makes it likely that Upstate will have some real power in the Democratic caucus.  And, it makes it clear that pass or fail, Civil Rights legislation will have the opportunity to make it to the Senate floor.

*During the recent unpleasantness, Joe Bruno jointly held the Presidency and Majority Leader's position, essentially making them the same.  In my understanding, the power would reside with the President under the Democrats while the Majority Leader position would only be useful for picking up interns.

Personally, I don't care if the Gang of Three do bolt and join a Republican "majority."  The consequences will be short-term.  In two years, all three will be replace by real Democrats, and the Democrats will then have a real majority to work with.  If Smith caves again, there will likely be only one Democrat in all of Upstate next election cycle, and a whole lot of phony Dems from NYC-metro, keeping a real workable Republican majority for a long long time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

No Offense.

It's said that when British troops under the command of Lord Cornwallis surrendered to American and French forces at Yorktown, they were so confounded that they played a tune called, "The World Turned Upside Down."  The events of this Sunday leave me equally confounded, and liable to sing this ancient ballad of woe.  The Buffalo Bills, playing indoors in Toronto lose to the Miami Dolphins and go two consecutive weeks without a touchdown!  I feel as if I have fallen into an alternate dimension where nothing is right.  There are no airships.

PS:  After reading up on "The World Turned Upside Down" I have learned that it was a riposte aimed against Oliver Cromwell who was at the time engaged in the Original War on Christmas (tm).  

Friday, December 5, 2008

More New York Politics Garbage

A Profile in Weakness:

Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm Smith was being blackmailed by three "Democratic" senators who threatened to caucus with the Republicans (giving them control of the body) if Smith did not promise to keep a bill legalizing gay marriage off the floor for a year AND reward them with plum committee assignments.  Lacking any backbone or common sense, Smith caved, inviting every craven malcontent to threaten a Lieberman any time they want anything.  As a fifth grade teacher I know that a sure fire way to invite temper tantrums like the one this so-called "Gang
 of Three" was throwing is to cave into the demands of the insolent child.  

In caving, Smith has invited dissension, insulted loyal Democrats AND bumped
 more senior Democrats from upstate from chairing important committees.  During the campaign, Republicans argued that giving Democrats control of the Senate would give disproportionate power to Downstate interests.  Smith has proven them right.
  No committee in the new senate will be chaired by an upstater.  No one from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Rome, Utica, Watertown, Niagara Falls, Jamestown, Utica, Binghamton, Ithaca, Elmira, Corning or points in between will yield a gavel.  This is a sure-fire way for the Democrats to lose their tenuous hold on the senate by condemning these seats to the Republicans in future elections.
Smith should step aside and let someone with balls (or ovaries) take over the caucus.

PS:  If anyone knows of serious Democratic challengers looking to primary the scumbags from the "Gang of Three" let me know so I can give a shout out.  New York Dems have been pretty good in cleaning up their caucus in recent years.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another Cheap Plug....

If anyone needs to find the perfect gift for Chanakuh, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Solstice, Hannakuh, X-Mas, New Year's Day, Ramadan, Festivus, Inauguration Day, Pearl Harbor Day, or any other occassion: JupiterPsyche is the ultimate place to exchange money for quality handmade goods.

Friday, November 28, 2008

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility...

Now that the Democrats control the New York Senate for the first time in about a half century, they should do something bold. What bold move do you ask? Vote to abolish themselves. Streamline the legislative process. Make the legislative process more transparent. A unicameral legislature can do that.

Now that the Democrats control both houses, no one can claim that abolishing the Senate would emasculate one political party over the other. Keeping the Senate only serves to protect the personal fiefdoms of its occupants at the expense of New York and New Yorkers.

One State. One House.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey day hiatus...

Not that I've been the most diligent poster, but I do have to announce that I may be a bit out of the loop as I'm traveling for Thanksgiving.  Happy warm wishes and other such maudlin crap to you, the loyal reader.

Monday, November 24, 2008

And the survey says....

Top Ten Most Common Student Responses to a Request To Stop Talking:

10.) Huh?
9.)  But (insert name) is talking too!
8.)  Why you always picking on me?
7.)  My dad's gonna come up here if you don't leave me alone.
6.)  My mom's gonna come up here if you don't leave me alone.
5.)  My uncle's gonna come up here if you don't leave me alone.
4.)  My cousin's gonna come up here if you don't leave me alone.
3.)  That's not the way you ask for something.  You have to be nicer.  Say please.
2.)  What is you talking about?
1.)   I'm not talking!

Sunday, November 23, 2008



I hereby propose the following as a preliminary cast list:

The list can go on and on. I realize that the idea is brilliant. What do you think of the casting choices? I've left a lot of really important roles uncast and I could use your help

  • Animal?
  • Dr. Teeth?
  • Rizzo?
  • Scooter?
  • The Swedish Chef?
  • All the Sesame Street Muppets?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Unsolicited Advice

So, Barack Obama seems to be ignoring my advice for him regarding his Cabinet, but there is some indication that he is taking my advice to appoint Hillary Clinton to some cabinet position. You're Welcome, Mr. President-Elect. If Senator Clinton were to become Secretary of State (and I wish I had thought of her for that position), it would create a Senate vacancy for New York's Governor, David Paterson to fill.

Paterson needs to make a philosophical choice before he can even get down to short list of potential appointees. Should he appoint a place-holder to keep the seat warm and represent New York's interests for two years-- someone who will then step aside for a completely new Democratic candidate to be elected. Or, should Paterson pick someone who will hit the ground running and will run for election in two years.

A place holder is someone who will be in the awkward position of being both a place holder and a lame duck. In this situation, you either need someone with great gravitas, or someone with a great personality to get stuff done. In terms of gravitas, former Governor Mario Cuomo jumps to the front of the pack. Despite being out of politics himself for a decade, he still oozes gravitas, and appointing him would possibly protect Paterson from a primary challenge by Andrew Cuomo, the former gov's son, who wants to be governor himself.

Thinking waaaay outside the box, one could appoint former President Bill Clinton, or former Republican Senator Alphonse D'Amato (this would be a sure way to lose the Democratic primary for Paterson).

Personally, if I were to go this path, I would appoint an Upstater from academia. Former Cornell President Hunter Rawlings would strike a dashing figure, or former UB President William Griener.

If Paterson were to appoint someone with the view that they would then run for a full term, State AG Andrew Cuomo has proven to be effective at his job, is a proven vote-getter, and has Washington experience as HUD secretary. Appointing Cuomo Senator would also keep him from monting a primary challenge. Former US Attorney and current New York State Commissioner of Criminal Justice Services Denise O'Donnell successfullyhandled a number of important and high-profile cases, and is a Buffalonian.

The problem with New York's Congressional Democrats is that they are either very new, very old, or represent districts that Republicans would stand a good chance of winning in an open election. An exception is Buffalo's Brian Higgins, who has proven to be a bit conservative on national issues for my tastes, but is a hard-working, and ingenuative problem-solver.

Oh, and there are a lot of people from NYC who might be able to do the job as well.....

The Odd Couple?

Seems like there is a war a brewin' up between South Carolina's two Republican Senators. Jim Demint slammed John McCain, saying:

"His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election. And he has been an opponent of drilling in ANWR, at a time when energy is so important. It really didn't fit the label, but he was our package."

All the things DeMint slammed McCain for sound a lot like the platform of South Carolina's other Senator, and huge McCain backer, Lyndsey "I swear it's a boy's name too" Graham. Graham just beat back an attack by a Democrat on a shoe-string budget trying to flank him from the right. South Carolina's governor, Mark Sanford also just blasted any attempt at moderation in the Republican party. I wouldn't be surprised if in six years, Sanford unseats Graham in a Republican primary. Till then I look forward to watching the Republicans engage in the heretofor Democratic tradition of circular firing squads.

PS: I realize that the picture is more of a Mexican standoff than a circular firing squad, but it was too cool to pass up.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oh Saxby.....

I came across a real gem today from the most loathsome member of the United States Senate:

"First of all, I hope Senator Stevens is successful in being re-elected. And assuming that he is, I intend to support any motion to remove him," said US Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) to Roll Call."

Sounds a lot to me like Chambliss is voting for the measure before he votes against it, making him a (gasp!) "flip flopper"!

To wipe this detritus out of the Senate forever, please support Jim Martin.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Can someone please tell me why my tax dollars should go to bail out Ford, GM, or Chrysler? Instead of redistribution, there's another way we can give money to these company, it's called SALES. Like many millions of other Americans, I have decided in recent years not to give my money to these companies because, honestly they make gas guzzling death machines that fall apart. Unfortunately Congress seems to think it knows better than I do and wants to give the "Big Three" my dough without the joy of driving 9 mpg.

I'm not completely deaf to the cries that the "American" auto industry employs x-number of Americans, but you know who else employs x-number of Americans? Honda, Toyota, VW, and every other auto manufacturer. The idea of bailing out these dinosaurs is a tired broken paradigm.

There's a joke in here about giving money and getting a Hummer, but I'm too disgusted to find it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Newsweak, welcome to Wobegon

This is a little old now, but "News-weak" has an article warning President-elect Barack Obama that America is a "center-right nation." This strikes me a little like Garrison Kiellor intoning dulcetly that in Lake Wobegon, "all of the children are above average."

What is considered centrist may change over time, but that fact that most Americans remain at the political center never changes. The "center" constantly shifts with public opinion. Subsets of the population may be center-right or center-left. The average Alabamian may be center-right, but the country can't be.

Asshat editor and author Jon Meacham seems to be suffering from a virulent strain of the Lake Wobegon Effect. I hereby award him one hundred Asshat points.

Paging Dr. Dean

Just a few days after the elections, Dr. Howard Dean has announced he will step down as Chair of the DNC. In a way, on Tuesday he kept his promise: he went to Maine, and Iowa, and Indiana, and North Carolina, and Virginia, and Florida, and Ohio, and Colorado and the Democrats took back the White House YEEEEEAAAAARGH! I've been a big booster of Dean's 50 state strategy, and I think that it was a major building block in both Obama's huge victory AND in the huge gains Democrats have made in the House and Senate. Sure, Obama ran a nearly perfect camapaign, and a lond Democratic Primary forced him to go to almost every state and campaign hard for a long long time, and the Republicans did nothing but help by messing up for almost eight straight years and then putting George Bush's long lost twin sister on the Presidential ticket (twins, like diarhea, run in the Bush genes!) Dean's policy of putting Democratic operations in each and every state has demystified the Demcratic party in places where it was nigh invisible.

Think of why Republicans get almost no votes in big cities. It's not because 95% of people in big cities think that national Democratic candidates are better than Republicans are, although they certainly are a majority. It's because Republicans have no presence there. In most cases, mast urban people have never had a Republican candidate for city council, mayor, school board, state legislature or Congress come to their house and shake their hand. The Republican Party is a mysterious entity, whose face is either George Bush, or Sarah Palin, people who are distinctly and vocally anti-urban. Democrats used to be like this in many swaths of rural America and some a lot of Sunbelt sprawl. Dean worked to change that.

Would Obama have won without Dean? I think almost certainly so. Would the Democrats have a majority in both Houses? I think so. But it would be narrower. The biggest gains have yet to be realized. Democrats have made big inroads in state legislatures since Dean became chair. This will bring a bumper crop of seats come redistricting time, and builds a strong bench of future candidates for national office.

Let's hope whoever Obama chooses for the job is as foresighted as Howard "Prometheus" Dean.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Cabinet

So, it's that time of year, or every four years, where people who have no connection whatsoever to the functioning of the government and no personal knowledge of any of the personalities involved give unsolicited advice to the President-elect on who he should appoint to his Cabinet. Please don't call it Monday-morning quarterbacking, because Obama's not even President yet; this is Saturday morning quarterbacking(tm).

These are not meant to be guesses as who Obama will pick, but as my unsolicited, advice.

Chief of Staff: Robert Downey Jr. impersonator Rahm Emmanuel sounds pretty good to me.

Secretary of State: Two choices immediately come to mind. Gov. Bill Richardson, who has served extensively as an ambassador and a special envoy on several occasions has the knowledge and disposition to serve as Sec State. The second is Chuck Hagel. Hagel is a prominent Republican and SecState is a prominent position, which makes this a prominent and real show of non-partisanship (as opposed to Bush's token Democrat who served as Secretary of Transportation!) Hagel is a level-headed realist, who doesn't misinterperet realism as a "bomb the fuckers" ideology like a lot of Republicans pretend it is. Like Obama (and Richardson), he sees the need for both diplomacy and force-- the carrot and the stick.

Secretary of Defence: I like Wesley Clark. He has solid military credentials, having made a career of it, as well as the needed diplomatic experience, having headed NATO and the Kosovo Campaign. I'm always a bit nervous throwing generals into high civilian positions, but Clark has spent a decent amount of time as a civilian to calm that concern. I hear a lot of people throwing Hagel's name out there for Sec Def, and while I feel he would perform admirably, I think that it would only reinforce the media's canard that Republicans are stronger on defence than Democrats, which the past eight years have proven compleely wrong with a deadly vengence.

Attorney General: Slightly more than a year ago I would have had no other name on this list than Eliot Spitzer... ooops.... Now my favorite for the job is frm Mississippi AG Mike Moore, who is most famous for some pretty major anti-tobacco suits. I also like current NY AG Andrew Cuomo, fellow New Yorker and former US Attorney Denise O'Donnell or recent Senatorial candidate Rick Noriega.

Secretary of the Interior: Because this position always has to go to a Westerner, how about frm Senator Tom Daschle? Others include former Congressman Brad Carson. Maybe former Republican Senator Gordon Smith?

Secretary of the Treasury: Inviting accusations of "Clinton Retread" I like Larry Summers. I think he did an excellent job as Secretary of the Treasury during the 90's (remember surpluses?), and I also thought he was an excellent President of Harvard. PS: I also know that Andrw Cuomo was a Clinton appointee but for a different job. Runner-up: New York Comptroller H.Carl McCall. I think Paul Volcker, while a great Fed Chair, and a very valuable potential advisor is too old for this job, despite all the clamor for his appointment.

Secretary of Agriculture: The man in charge of raising our red meat could be some red meat for liberals with former Texas Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower. Traditionally this job is just about directing subsidies, but something really is rotten in the land of Agriculture and Hightower is someone who could really intelligently lead as America deals with never-before-seen issues in Agriculture like genetically modified foods, industrial farming, new synthetics entering the food-stream. Also I suggest Cornell Professor, farmer and former director of the Ne Jersey Office of Sustainability Rob Young.

Secretary of Commerce: Darcy Burner or former Republican Representative Jim Kolbe.

Secretary of Labor: Lest I be attached the lable of D. Wire Newman retreader, I say that he is the only one, but I must nominate former Secretary of Labor Leo McGarry

Secretary of Health and Human Services: A lot of people would say it is impossible, but I really think that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is the single most qualified person for this job. Her knowledge of and passion for healthcare are unequaled. People say that egos would clash, but I say that she has learned to check her ego at the door in order to get a job done; she has been an effective senator, and after losing the Democratic primaries, she became an effective voice for her former rival Barack Obama.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: A lot of great mayors jump to mind: Ed Rendell, Ron Kirk, Corey Booker, and another Chicaoan Richard Daley-- Daley is a man who knows how to Green a city, but if memory serves, he and Obama may have an icy history. Booker stands out as someone with real fire in his belly, and he has the added bonus of being young and good-looking.

Secretary of Transportation: Labor Unions might balk, but Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher thinks outside the box.

Department of Education: JOEL KLEIN of NYC Public Schools.

Department of Veterans Affairs: Another Illinoisian Tammy Duckworth would be a valuable choice. Senator Bob Corker has executive experience as Mayor of Chattanooga and happens to be a Republican Senator with a tolerable personality who would be replaced by a Democratic governor.

Department of Homeland Security: Former Senator Max Cleland lost his seat in large part because of twisted attacks on his votes to improve the then-proposed DHS. It is fitting that he should be put in charge of the Department he worked hard to see made right instead of quick like the Republicans wanted.

Secretary of Energy: Should he lose his race for the Senate (knock on wood), Archorage Mayor Mark Begich is a loud voice for alternative energy, despite his support of drilling in ANWR.

In making this list, I had in mind the traditional trick of picking Senators of the opposing party who would be replaced by a governor of your own party, or a Representative from a seat you believe your party would pick up in a general election. I was struck by how few Republican senators come from states with Democratic governors. This task was also complicated by the younger generation of senators elected in the late 90's and the 00's who have, simply stated, viciously toxic personalities; many of these people served in the Newt Gingrich-led House of Representatives.

For the love of God, don't appoint liar Colin Powell to anything; his lies have cost America enough already, and his last-minute endorsement of Barack Obama does not buy him absolution for his past sins.

Also, there are a lot of potential presidents in this mix. In fact, a lot of these men and women have already campaigned for the top spot. I think Obama has the dexterity to pull a Team of Rivals and surround himself with potential presidents while still working together as a cohesive unit. You should remember that all of these people are near the top of the line of succession and could find themselves as presidents someday. We should demand excellence and not settle for mediocrity because it is politically safe.

Baby Boom Cont. or Happiness is a Warm Pup

As I'm sure you have all seen, I was right about the baby/puppy boom. The Obamas have shamelessly stolen my idea that puppies are the ultimate symbol of Hope(tm). I will also be claiming that Obama stole my ideas about withdrawing troops from Iraq, fixing the economy and cutting my taxes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breaking News

There are rumors on the internets that John McCain is planning on suspending his campaign.  Is this just the kind of bold mavericky thinking that will win him the election?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Puppy Boom?

Anyone else notice more people with puppies than you've ever seen before?  And on a related note, has anyone else noticed more pregnant women than you've ever seen before?  I hypothesize that it has to do with the economy.  A lot of people are, quite literally, depressed and are turning to puppies to bring them joy.  Another set of people realize that if you're going to take yourself out of the workforce for 6 months to three years or so for child-bearing/rearing, this is exactly the time to do it.

For those of you who are allergic to  dogs, or live in apartments whose leases don't allow children, here is a clip of a kitten falling asleep while sitting up, that will take the edge of your 401k quarterly.

DC At-Large Endorsement

I'm going to go out on a limb with a very very strange split ticket this year and endorse Republican Pat Mara and Green David Schwartzman for the DC City Council At-Large seat.

Normally, I am a dyed-in-the-wool true-blue Democrat, and I think the Republican Welfare that the Congress has imposed on DC is really fascist, but I am massively underwhelmed by both of the Browns (the endorsed Democrat and the Independent Democrat). I think it is valuable to America to have more pro-choice and pro-gay-rights Republicans. I also think that both major parties should have a significant presence everywhere in America. If every seat is competed for everywhere, we will have more and better democracy. Also, and I know it's blackmail, but I believe that DC is far more likely to get a REAL vote in Congress if we occasionally elect Republicans to public office.

Schwartzman, seems like a cool dude.

And, because it is obligatory to add: "no matter how you plan to vote, be sure to exercise your precious right and vote."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You heard it here first!

With 0% of precincts reporting, I am calling the 2008 Presidential election in favor of Barack Obama. You heard it here first, so eat that CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, and MSNBC! is your place for the hastiest political news.

Mr. Obama scored somewhere between 49% and 60% of the popular vote and Mr. McCain garnered somewhere between 49% and 12% of the popular vote. Republicans are claiming a moral victory in that the collective age of McCain voters somewhat exceeds that of Obama voters.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes

So, students in DCPS took the first DCBAS statewide assessment today, and from my quick perusal, I was pretty pleased with the work a lot of them did. At the end of the assessment, their are two questions called Brief Constructed Responses (BCRs) in which students read a passage and write out an answer to a question about it-- as opposed to multiple choice. The first passage was about how the enineers who designed the SEGWAY modeled many of the features on the human body. The question asked students to describe how a segway and the human body are similar.

My favorite response was this:

The segway is like a person becasue both can balance (yes, excellent start!) A Segway will listen to anything you say to it (ok, not so much, let's see how he sticks the landing...). And also maybe just maybe if they made fake skin and hair a segway would maybe be a person (oh no!!!).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

28 minutes later...

Traditionally, humans become infected by zombies through zombie saliva or blood. I propose a variation on this theme: infection by flatulence. In my upcoming movie, "28 Minutes Later," humans will become infected by inhaling zombie farts. The title will refer to the amount of time it takes a zombie to digest a human brain enough to pass as gas. Gas masks, air filters and other modern technologies will be useless at stopping the plague. Can humanity be saved?

Possible taglines include: "Scent of an Un-Dead Woman," "You Smelt it, the Reanimated Corpse Dealt it," and, of course, "Silent but Deadly."

PS: I have to add, "Night of the Living Blech"

Saturday, October 25, 2008

From the Minneaoplis Star Tribune

Mary Johanson of Mount Rose, Minnesota reports being brutally attacked last night in Saint Paul.  After being accosted and robbed of her hot-dish and bars, the young woman reports having the letters "AF" carved into her cheeks.  She reports her attacker as being of average height and build and "very Jewy."  The attacker was reportedly wearing an "Al Franken for Senate" t-shirt, and shouted, "This'll show you that he's good enough, smart enough, and dog-gone-it people like him!"  Police have yet to apprehend any suspects and are investigating the situation.  

Friday, October 24, 2008

More DCPS....

     The radiators in DC Public Schools are intense.  Like an inferno in the classroom, and my classroom has no thermostat, so the second that heating season in upon us, the sweat begins to pour.  As an environmentalist (and a concerned tax-payer) I am appalled at the energy (and money) being, quite literally, burned by DCPS in this way.  Yesterday, it was so hot that I was, reluctantly, convinced by the pleas of my students to open the windows.  At first, just a crack, and eventually, all of the windows were wide open.  Still, it was HOT.  The kids were  begging me to turn on the AC.  I steadfastly refused.  Still, the heat built.  Another teacher came into my room and remarked how hot it was, and suggested turning on the AC.  With a broken heart, I agreed, and watched as the heater and air conditioner battled in a room with wide open windows.

     We are LEED certified at the lead level.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This just in...

It has been recently discovered that known thespian Kevin Bacon is connected to Anti-American terrorist Bill Ayers through six intermediaries or "degrees of seperation."  While authorities cannot release information about the complex web of  suspected "thespo-terrorists", there is speculation that it includes Jane Fonda by virtue of her relationship to Bridget Fonda who provided voice work alongside Bacon in the animated feature Balto.

Building a Bridge to the 19th Century...

So I am a public school teacher for the District of Columbia Public Schools. The District has a lot of excellent teachers both veteran and new, but it also has A LOT of dead weight. The Chancellor has made it very clear that she envisions new teachers as the future of DCPS, and has gone to great lengths to recruit new teachers as well as to entice veteran teachers to leave. Part of the problem with the new teachers is that we are shoved into the classroom with really minimal training and preparation and expected to sink or swim. The attrition rate is extremely high. There are a lot of reasons for this.

One of them is paper.

DCPS has the most archaic bureaucracy I have ever witnessed. Every day brings a new flood of paper. Paper from the District offices. Paper from the principal. Paper from the school office. Even though all of the school's attendence records are stored digitally, each teacher is legally bound to keep each student's attendence recorded on a paper card. Report cards are filled out by hand and CARBON PAPER copies are kept. I think there is probably one carbon paper factory left on Earth and its only customers are DCPS and John McCain's Senate office. Every day, almost, my principal gives me paper forms to fill out and is concerned when I lose them. Here's an idea, E-MAIL!!!!!

I was forced to attend a staff deveopment training on the new DIGITAL Professional Development process. Teachers can now sign up for professional development sessions on the INTERNETS (hooray!)! We digitally check in and out at these sessions (yeah!)! And then to prove to our principals and the teacher certification office we have to print out a certificate of attendence physically take it to the professional development offices to have an official seal put onto it, and then pysically take it to the central office, which is in a different part of town. WHAT!?!? Yes, the new digital PD system can force you to trek completely across the city multiple times on your own personal time and gas (or METRO fare).

WORD TO DCPS: People under thirty don't use paper; we lose paper. DCPS's record keeping is archaic, wasteful and idiotic, and is just one of a myriad of reasons young teachers are fleeing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hockey season is upon us....

The heroic Buffalo Sabres currently have four W's and one shootout loss recorded this season. Not bad, but not 10-0.

The heroic Buffalo Bills play the villainous Chargers.

I really think that the media should do an in-depth investigation into which teams are pro-America and which are anti-America.... I think you'll find a lot of teams named after states are of dubious allegiance.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cheap Crass Plug

If you are interested in some excellent artwork or jewelry, Mrs. Sasiadizzle offers a variety of excellent choices: Here and Here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


New York State (and all the rest) really needs to follow the example of Nebraska and get rid of the State Senate. A bicameral legislature makes sense on a national level (the houses represent different political constructs-- people vs. states), the houses have different jobs (treaties, approving appointees, originating spending legislation, impeachment and conviction, etc.) and having two houses slows the pace of change.

A state needs to be much more nimble in its legislating capacity. Each state is directly competing with each of the others for jobs, residents, tourists, and tax revenues. While nations compete as well, the competition is muted by legal and de facto barriers such as borders and language.

The powers of the national government are a lot scarier than that of the state, so the deliberative nature of a bicameral legislature is called for. A state can't declare war, approve treaties or move to amend the Constitution (without the backing of the other states), so deliberation is not imperative.

A bicameral legislature stalls meritorious legislation and obfuscates the guilty parties. Senators can point the finger at the Assembly; Assembly members can point fingers a the Senate. Both houses can pass different versions of popular and meritorious bills, and then let them die in conference committee. Members can chalk up politically popular votes with no fear that legislation hostile to their powerful special interest backers will not pass.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Where's George can eat it!

Major windfall for me today. Shortly after getting my change from a local sushi joint, I noticed that one of the quarters didn't sound quite right as I jauntily jingled it. I took it out of my pocket and realized that it was a silver quarter. Further internet investigation revealed that it contains almost $2.00 worth of silver. A $1.75 windfall! I say savor the little victories.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Finish Him!

I've blogged twice now on the astounding possibilities for the Democrats in the Senate, and I have to link to a great post from dailykos. Where Kos exhorts the Dems to leave it all out on the campaign trail and destroy the Republican party worse than it has destroyed the economy and America's standing in the world. Not only are the Republicans looking to be locked out of power, but to have tiny minorities in both houses and to lose several of their leading ideological voices, like Tom McClintock and John Shadegg (and I need to add Mitch McConnell).

For me, though, the sweetest victory of election night is going to be when Jim Martin sends Saxby Chambliss packing.

I won't be completely happy  until the Republican Party is a rump of its former self, completely bankrupt with terrible credit.  I want to see tiny little ideological factions fighting each other with the same venom they have used against the rest of the country these last 15 years.  I want RNC meetings to look like a flock of buzzards pecking at one another trying to get at a rancid carcass.

PS: Yes, I do know that there is some sort of a Presidential thing going on too.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills still lead the AFC East, but the bye could not have come at a more welcome time in my book. Whole lot of injured talent that needs the time, and the rest of the team needs to regroup after their shellacking by the stupidly named Cardinals.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

John Kerry

Has anyone else noticed that John Kerry has completely fallen off the face of the Earth?  Looks like the Obama camp wants no chance of a "botched joke" this October.... 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Neil Young

So, a major and obvious omission to my current poll is Neil Young. Neil Young is so fucking awesome. I declare him to be the greatest Canadian of all time. The Canadians, though, disagree and have voted Jack Bauer's grandfather as the greatest Canadian. Whatever...

Why do I love Neil Young so much? I really can't describe. I wish I had the critics knack for describing things in ridiculously silly terms that ultimately sound poetic. "His vocal temerity is ironically the bravest element of his music-- not unlike to Northern winds amongst the quacking Aspen of the Canadian Rockies. It is hauntingly beautiful, ethereal, yet ultimately worldly."

Anyone who can illuminate me, and describe my affection for this harmonica virtuoso, I am forever in your debt, and to you I say: "hey hey, my my, rock-and-roll will never die"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Senate, 2009-- titilating possibilities

Just a reminder to all, the Senate in 2009 may very well include Al Franken (Cause he's good enough. He's smart enough, and dog-gone-it, people like him!), an heretofore unknown engineer from South Carolina, a green energy advocate from ALASKA,

AND the Senate may very well lack: Mitch McConnell, Liddy "Watergate" Dole, "Big Bad" John Cornyn, and the absolutely reprehensible Saxby Chambliss who compared Max Cleland to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Publish Post

Also, after much consideration, I have come out unequivocally in favor of Bob Conley in the South Carolina race. He may be off on immigration, but he is right on Iraq-- unlike Lindsey "endless war" Graham.

Now maybe someday democracy can come to America and the District of Columbia can get its due-- a Congressional vote and two senators.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Major League Baseball

Want Baseball to be more interesting late in the season? Take a page from the European soccer leagues, and drop the bottom five major league teams to the minors and move five top performing minor league clubs up to the majors. Crappy major league teams will have to stop phoning it in a the end of the season to keep from being relegated, and the prize for winning a minor league pennant will be all the sweeter.

Add to this the fact that different mid-sized cities will be getting major league teams every year, and you'll see a real renaissance of interest in baseball in places like Buffalo, Rochester, Durham, Richmond, Norfolk, Omaha and Sacramento. Not only will teams have the chance to play in the majors if they work hard enough, but team owners will have to keep stadiums ready for the majors. Better facilities can only help attract fans (well, maybe not, judging from the Washington Nationals season this year, but it should hold as a general rule....)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Drill. Baby, Drill

"Drill baby drill!" is the addled cry of a gambling addict, his stack of chips rapidly dwindling, begging fortune for a seven.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I can't get behind that...

Add to the list of things I can't get behind:

Pro sports teams named after anything but a city*. Where the hell do these teams even play?

Arizona Cardinals? Florida Marlins? Carolina Panthers? New England Patriots? Florida Panthers? Carolina Hurricanes? Tennessee Titans? Texas Rangers?*

I can't tell you where a single one of these teams play, and you know why? Because they are bullshit. Any team that doesn't have a city it can name its self after is chicken-shit. And you'll notice that most of these teams are in soulless sunbelt hell-hole states-- except the Pats whose soullessness is a whole lot less metaphorical.***

* A dispensation is rendered unto "Minnesota" teams. We get it; you're from Minneapolis-St. Paul. It's cool.

**Special ire is directed at the Houston Texans for the stupidest name in all of sports.

***Go Bills

The Buffalo Bills

Need I say 4-0, baby?
First time since the glory days of the early 1990's.
Arizona, watch out; we're coming for you!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Sound of Blunder (apologies to Ray Bradbury)

A Sound of Blunder



The setting is a Pentagon briefing room.  The lights are dim as a scientist in a lab coat is finishing a presentation.  Assorted Generals and men and women in suits sit around a long table watching.


(Caption:  The Near Future

                   The Pentagon)


Scientist:  And so, in conclusion, with the immaculate vision that is hindsight, we can use this new time travel technology to prevent many of the worlds worst disasters from ever occurring.


Lights rise, and various discussions break out simultaneously.  A man in a suit sitting at the end of the table bangs a gavel on the table.


President:  Order!  Order! Silence!


The room gradually silences and the Congressman begins


President:  Ladies and gentlemen, if what Dr. Richenbacher has told us is true then we are at a truly historic moment.  The moment when we can truly rewrite our own history, through the technology of time travel.  It is with the gravity of such a moment upon us that I propose the boldest possible use of this technology.  I propose that we use it to prevent the greatest crime in the history of humanity from ever happening!


General: (eyes narrowing, fists clenched) The 2012 Backstreet Boys Reunion Tour “Backstreets Back.”


Congressman: (rocking out, falsetto) Alright!


President: (as if this had been a reasonable statement) No, (eyes narrowing, fists clenching) I propose that kill Adolf Hitler before becoming Chnacellor of Germany.


General 2: Brilliant!


(The room again erupts into the commotion of several conversations.  President bangs his gavel)


President:  Order!  Order!


Senator:  But we namby-pamby libtart Democrats in the Congress could never approve of preemtive killing.  What about habeus corpus?

(The room again erupts into the commotion of several conversations.  President bangs his gavel)


President:  (Sullenly) If the Democrats won’t let me defend America and our American freedoms, then I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do.  Dr. Richenbacher, mothball the time machine.  Maybe someday….


Congressman 2:  There must be some way we can tax and spend Hitler away.


Senator:  Eureka, by Jove that’s it!  If there’s one thing the Democrats love more than obstructionism, it’s spending the people’s hard-earned tax dollars on artwork from highly offensive artists!


Whole room: Huh!?!


Scientist:  Aaaaaaah, I believe I see what the Senator is on to.  You see, before entering politics, Hitler was a struggling artist in Vienna.  If only he had found success in artwork, he may never have founded the Nazi Party.


Senator: (excited) We could send an agent back in time, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to purchase Hitler’s paintings and prevent World War II!


Senator 2:  (with strong Southern accent)  Why public funding for the arts!  No, no, there must be some other way… I just can’t….  (looking downward, sullenly, muttering)


(The President, walks over to Senator 2, and puts a hand comfortingly on his shoulder)


President:  There is no other way.  This is an important mission, one that can only be entrusted to America’s very best.  There is only one man for the job, and I believe that we all know who that man is..


Whole room in Unison:  Will Smith!


(The doors to the back of the room burst open and fog begins to fill the room.  From the fog emerges Will Smith in flight uniform.  He struts to the front of the room and salutes the President, and puts a cigar in his own mouth)


Will Smith:  Will Smith ready to rock and roll, America!


President:  Good, then, Mr. Smith do you understand your mission?


Will Smith:  Let’s kick some Austrian ass.


(President looks at him puzzledly)

General:  (into president’s ear) I think he mean’s yes, sir.


Scientist:  Then right this way, Mr. Smith


 (Scientist shows him to the time machine.  Smith enters it.  Scientist hands him two bundles of old money.  Scientist fiddles with some controls, fog comes from machine.  Lights in room blink.  Scene cuts to Smith dropping onto a Vienna street in the 1920’s.  Smith walks into a second floor studio full of paintings, with the prices having visibly been repeatedly lowered.


Will Smith:  Yo, Adolf!


(Scene cuts back to a CNN type television screen in the future.)


TV Announcer:  And with the results from the West Coast coming in, CNN is projecting that the Republicans have retaken control of both houses of Congress.


(Scene changes to original “war room.”)


Senator 2:  (shooting pistols in the air) Well, yeehaw!  Furst thing we gonna do is cut that there fundin’ for that National Endowment for the Arts!  (fires pistols again, and a bit of plaster falls from the ceiling)


Congressman:  All except for the money we appropriated for Will Smith to buy Hitler’s art with, right?


Senator 2:  (leaning in close to Congressman and sneering)  Now listen here, boy, and listen good.  We aint spendin’ one single goddam dime on public art.  Not so long as I chair this here committee.  What we need to do is send someone back in time to prevent Will Smith from spendin’ that money, and preemptively killin’ Hitler while he is at it.


Senator:  But what about habeus corpus, inchoate offences, specific intent?


Senator 2:  Boy, you ain’t listenin’ we got a new Sheriff in town.  Now what we need is someone with the brains and the balls to pull this off.  We need America’s best.


Congressman:  But we already sent Will Smith back in time.


Senator 2:  Then we need America’s second best.


All in Unison:  Jeff Goldblum!


(The back door to the room bursts open, and Jeff Goldblum comes in in a leather jacket, and heavy sunglasses.)


Senator 2:  You know your mission, boy, now go get ‘em.

(Scene cuts to Vienna 1920’s.  Jeff Goldblum walks to into the same second floor shop that Will Smith is already in.  Voices can be heard in the back.  Jeff Goldblum slowly approaches them listening intently.)


Will Smith:  Damn that is a nice watercolor you got there.  I like the elements of chiaroscuro shading in the background.


Hitler:  I can let you have it for twenty-five Deutchmarks. 


Will Smith:  Awwwww, hell no!


Hitler: Ok, ok, twenty.  (Smith stares stone-facedly)  Ok, twenty and I throw in the sketch of my German-shepard Lebenstraum for nothing.


(Smith pulls out some money, and Hitler takes the painting in question from the wall to give to Smith.  Goldblum steps out from the shadows behind the two men.)


Jeff Goldblum:  I, uh, I can’t let you.  You see, I can’t let you do that Will.


Will Smith: (turning to see Goldblum)  Awwwww, hell no!


Jeff Golblum:  Here’s how it is.  The government has sent me back in time to prevent you from buying these, uh, these paintings, and while I’m here, I’ve got to kill Hitler.  So you can, you can just step aside and let me do my job.  (Goldblum pulls out a gun)


Will Smith:  Now, I can’t let you do that.


(Will Smith lunges at Jeff Goldblum, and wrestles the gun away.  The two men fight visciously and in the process, they accidentally knock Hitler out of a window.  They stop fighting and look down onto the street to see his body)


Jeff Glodblum: Well, it looks like we killed him anyway. 


Will Smith:  Looks like it.


Jeff Goldblum:  Well, it’s back to the future then?


Will Smith:  Yeah


(The two men walk toward the time machine during which time one of them steps on a butterfly, killing it.  They go into the time machine and set to  return whence they came.  They step out of the machine to see that humanity has instead evolved into human-lizard hybrids.)


Jeff Goldblum:  Well, it looks like… life… has found a way…


Will Smith:  Awwwww, Hell no!






Bob Conley

Maybe one of the strangest facets of the upcoming election is that a Ron Paul supporting Democrat, endorsed by the Constitution Party's candidate for President is running to the right of Republican Lyndsey Graham and is currently polling just outside of the MOE on several major polls.

If this guy, Bob Conley, gets elected, maybe he can form a caucus of two with Joe Lieberman...

To be quite honest, I don't know whether to root for the guy to knock off a Republican, or to root for Graham in fear of the headaches this guy will cause President Obama and Harry Reid if he gets elected. I guess his opposition to the debacle in Iraq is a major selling point. In either case, this is an entertaining undercard that shouldn't be completely overlooked for the main event.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

If McCain can't campaign....

Then why doesn't he have Sarah Palin debate on Friday?  As Vice President she would certainly be able to take over any of McCain's duties at a moment's notice, right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Airport

So, I spent this last weekend in Buffalo attending my brother's wedding. It was great and I'll post more on that later. What got me thinking the most this weekend was airport security. God, what a fucking waste of time and energy. If you ask me, all this business of removing shoes, and surrendering tiny ass pieces of metal is bullshit.

The only reason that hijackers were able to gain control of four planes on September 11th is that they were the only ones who knew that the rules had changed. The passengers and crew of those planes were all operating under the old rules of a hijacking: hijackers take control, hijackers make demands, law enforcement delays hijackers until tactical ops can get into place, hijackers make a mistake, tactical ops kill hijackers. All the passengers and crew have to do in this situation is sit tight. Even on September 11th, the folks on United '93 had realized that the rules had changed and while they were not able to save themselves, they certainly prevented their airplane from being used as a weapon.

Never again will Americans allow men wielding box-cutters to hold them at bay. We're not a nation of wimps. We're the land of the free and the home of the brave-- no matter what Congress and the Bush admistration say or do. The success of the September 11 attacks ensured that they could ever be carried out again, because it put all Americans on notice. Now can I please have my cork-screw back?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Weddin Bells

Loyal reader, I'll be in Buffalo this weekend serving as best man in my brother's wedding. It should be good times, and a welcome break from the insanity that is my job. As my parents only have dial-up, it is highly unlikely that I will be blogging until I get back on Monday.

Monday, September 15, 2008


So, friends, I have been excessed.  If you're not familiar with the process of being excised, it is a deeply beloved tradition of DC Public Schools.  The school system waits until a teacher is settled into a classroom, having spent immeasurable hours setting up a classroom and building raport with students and staff-- not to mention hundreds of dollars on supplies, then suddenly your principal takes you aside to tell you that your services are no longer needed and you should be ready to teach a new class of students at a new school next week.  Ha ha ha.

So, they've told me where I'll  be teaching next week, but not what.  Thanks, DCPS, you're a pal!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

PAC 'em in-- alma matters

So, here's an idea that I've been tossing around, and I've gotten mixed response from the people I've laid it out to:

Let's say that you're a big booster of an elite university that has a terrible track record of electing alumni to Congress, state-wide office and the Presidency.  This paucity of elected alumni makes sense, because, while elite, your university lacks some of the popular cachet (and good-ole-boy-ness) of Yale, Princeton, and Harvard. It also isn't a large public university.  If you're a candidate running for office in Missouri and you've got Mizzou on your resume, you're bound to have thousands of fellow alumni in your district.  That's some good-will and networking that is almost invaluable.  Alumni from this university, while numerous, are dispersed thinly across the breadth and width of the world.  

And not only is alma matter valuable in getting voters to pull levers, led by awe or fraternity, it's useful in getting people to run in the first place.  Fans of the West Wing will recognize numerous scenes in which one of the cast was deployed to convince someone to run  or not run, because they went to the same law school, or dormed together as undergrads.  Social scientists also identify this as one of the major reasons women and minorities don't run for elective office-- there isn't already someone on the inside  with a similar attribute inviting you in.  Women don't get asked to run, minorities don't get asked to run, and alumni of this elite university don't get asked to run.

So, how to jump-start this?  My proposal is to create a PAC whose goal is to "prime the pump" for alumni looking to run for state-wide or federal office.  There would have to be some guidelines for determining sanity and viability, but I would propose it be a non-partisan committee who looked primarily at alma matter.  Alumni knowing that they had one sizable campaign contributor lined up, would be far more likely to explore the possibility of running, and then to run.  Once a significant number of alumni were elected, the door would be open.

Would alumni contribute to the PAC enough to make it viable?
Would it make more sense to have separate Democratic and Republican PACs?  
Hey, aren't you a Campaign Finance Reform geek who hates PACs?

These are all questions to be answered in the comments section, but with this I humbly submit my proposal to you , my readers.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Buffalo Bills

This is the year. Go Bills!

PS: Flutie Flakes are back!

Sleight of Hand

So, I just read the article "...And Nothing but the Truth" by Farhad Manjoo. In it, Manjoo discusses the state of the modern news media as they relate to truth. He discusses studies in which people (unsurprisingly) tend toward media outlets which are friendly to their pre-existing views. No big surprise there. He then discusses how our news sources also affect our opinions on matters. NPR listeners for example were outraged by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's scurrilous attacks on John Kerry's war record; while, Fox News watchers thought of them as revelations from on high.

So far, I'm not surprised by Manjoo's findings, but I was dissapointed that Manjoo didn't take the article where I would have taken it, and that is to draw the cross-hairs on the "Mainstream Media," "Drive-by Media", "Corporate Media", "Traditional Media" or whatever your preferred term is for CBS, NBC and ABC (from left to right) along with what's left of the major daily newspapers. The problem with these outlets is the idea of impartiality. I love impariality in the news media, and I believe that along with a healthy selection of openly biased media, there should be a selection of ostensibly impartial media as well. My problem is that the traditional news media have taken impartiality to mean that there are two eaqual sides to any argument. That is bullshit.

John Kerry was a rich kid, who after graduating from Yale VOLUNTEERED for military service in Vietnam, where he killed people and took pieces of metal into his body on multiple occasions. There are piles of documents to corroborate this, and dozens of witnesses. The swiftboaters found a couple of people who were in roughly the same area of Vietnam at roughly the same time, to spread rumors that he might not have been wounded as badly as some of his records state. Really? No legitimate news organization should have let this stand for a second. It is not impartiality to give a nut job equal time. It is not impartiality to let a nut job go unchallenged when attacking a wounded veteran's war record. It is impartiality to call "bullshit."

So what's a Tim Russert or Charlie Gibson to do? As they see it, it's their job as an impartial observer to change the debate. The debate is no longer a cut and dry one. It's no longer, "is John Kerry a legitimate war hero?", because the answer is "hell yes." The narrative now becomes, "is John Kerry responding to the Swift Boaters effectively?" This is a question to which there is legitimate debate. In a place with a functioningly impartial news media, his decision to stand aloof of the mud would have been a wise one, but instead of a legitimately impartial news media, John Kerry, and America had Tim Russert and Charlie Gibson, and Barbara Walters, and The New York Times changing the question from heroism to effective message control.

I bring up the Swift Boaters only because A. It was discussed in the article, and B. it's something that really still gets me piqued. But the issue of impartiality still stands today. Is Sarah Palin the best person in the Republican party to be Vice President of the United States? The answer is a cut-and-dry equivocal "no." So, the news media change the question: "Is Sarah Palin qualified to be Vice-President?" There can be debate on that subject. Sara Palin is a natural-born US citizen; she is older than 35. She has a pulse. She fits the legal requirements to serve as Vice President. She's also been the mayor of a small town. She's been governor of a small state for two years. That makes her more qualified than a lot of people, I guess. She is probably in the 80th percentile of people qualified to be Vice President. So Democrats look like asses for saying she's not qualified, when she clearly has a list (albeit ridiculously weak) of qualifications. Is she qualified? I guess so. Is she the most qualified? Hell no!

Don't even get me started on how sexist it is for me to call her unqualified either....