Friday Fives

Friday Fives

1. Are you a spontaneous person, a planner, or somewhere in-between? Have you ever gone on a spur-of-the-moment road trip or vacation? When, and did you have fun?
I am generally a spontaneous person. Having my life planned out in great detail makes me nervous and anxious. That being said, I would probably be more successful in my personal and professional life if I took the time to have a more definite plan.

2. Are you a hockey fan, and what are doing in the abscence of the Avalanche? Do you watch a lot of sports on TV? What is your favorite sports watching food?
I love watching hockey and my life is a little empty without it. I gorged myself on politics for a while to stem the tide, but that’s over. I am trying to replace hockey with football, but I just don’t seem to care as much, especially for any other team besides the local favorites, The Denver Broncos. I tried to watch basketball for a bit, but I just can’t respect the basketball players. They are thugs. Soccer, golf, bowling – boring, boring and boring. For food, is snack foods all the way. Popcorn, chips and salsa and salted peanuts.

3. If someone gave you $25 right now and said that you had to spend it within the hour, what would you buy and why?
Breakfast. It’s early, its Friday and I am hungry.

4. Name three things that you’re looking forward to in the near future and why.
A promotion at work? (Nothing even close to definite in that vein.) Thanksgiving and time with the family at the ranch. The weekend and taking in some live music with friends.

5. Do you know any foreign languages? Which ones? If you could become fluent in any language [writing and speaking it], which one would you pick and why?
Nope. I lived in Germany for three years and although I got so I could understand it pretty much, I never really learned it. If I could learn one language, it would be Spanish. It is so useable, personally and professionally and would open up so many more restaurant opportunities in Denver if I could venture deep into the barrio and order “off the menu.”

An Election Haiku

Views on the election.

A visual haiku on The American Electoral Process.

I Am Angry

A guest email from a good friend:

    I am an angry man this morning. I am angry because George W. Bush will sit in the White House for four more years. I am angry that my tax dollars will continue to support this insane war that Bush has gotten us into. I am
    angry that Kerry couldn’t exploit the laundry list of unbelievably gross errors in judgment that this President seems proud of. But most of all, I am angry because I have lost faith in the American people. How could our nation have committed us to four more years of what has to be considered one of the most inept administrations ever to have wielded power? How could Americans vote for a man, who by all accounts, has deceived the American
    people to the tune of 1,000 dead American soldiers and counting? How could any intelligent, reasonably-informed person have let this happen? With 3 million votes between Dubya and Kerry, it’s painfully obvious to me that the
    answer is simple–most Americans simply don’t think. They bury their heads in the sand. They lack the necessary skills ro make informed judgments, to actually exert the energy to uncover truth from fiction. They let blind
    faith supercede logic and reason. They tune in to CNN or Fox News, hear what the “pundits” have to say, or hear that day’s headline ( Kerry discredited by Swiftboat Veterans for truth!!) and feel that they have been “informed”.
    How truly sad this is. What a sad commentary. With so much riding on this election, I’d hoped that people would look at the Big Picture. They would look at Bush’s record: the spiralling deficit, an unjustified war, Bush’s rejection of “bad science” concerning global warming, his lack of a REAL and meaningful energy policy designed to get us off Big Oil, his blatently transparent cronyism. If people had looked, they would’ve discovered Bush had no moral or rational leg to stand on. But they didn’t……instead, all across middle-america, people bought into his fear-mongering, let their faith blind them to reality, and like a herd of cows, voted for him without ever critically thinking about the consequences. Then there are those who hold an equally distasteful place in my heart and soul; those people who go to the polls and vote for a candidate based on his stance concerning ONE issue. These people are the worst sort of voter– people who ignore the larger issues at hand and vote in an unbelievably egotistical manner. How many gun lovers voted for Bush on the perceived notion that somehow, Kerry was going to take their guns away? How many people voted for Bush because he backs a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage? There were MUCH larger issues at stake in this election. To paraphrase Matt Stone and Trey Parker, ” if you don’t know the issues, stay at home “. ( Oh, and I also abhor gays who vote for a candidate based solely on his/her stance towards gay rights. )

    There are so many reasons to hate George Bush and the GOP:

  • 1. Bush lied. Period. About Saddam. About the WMDs. About the “threat” to America. And yet, the “liberal” media has given him a free pass. When Clinton lied about his blowjob, the media and the GOP turned him into their whipping boy and called into question his ability to lead the country based on his “lack of morals”. Apparently, lying to the nation about going to war is somehow OK. Apparently, losing American soldiers– almost daily– based on a lie is K. Apparently, Bush’s moral center has not been compromised.

  • 2. Bush’s disdain for anyone who questions him. Cabinet-level appointees have described Bush as “woefully ignorant” of even the most basic of issues. BUSH-APPOINTED administration officials have resigned, siting Bush as impossible to work with as a reason for doing so. He does not engage in discussion and bases most of his decisions on ” a gut feeling “, not logic or reason. Look where that has gotten us………

  • 3. By diverting resources and money to an un-just war in Iraq, Afghanistan is back at Square One. The warlords are in charge, the Taliban is rearing it’s head once again and human rights are in peril, once again. It’s like we were never there……………..

  • 4. Human rights here at home are in peril. Right-wing religious groups have hi-jacked the GOP, even to the dismay of some Republicans. In fact, it is telling that some Republicans have predicted a civil war within the GOP if Bush was to be re-elected. ( I personally hope it happens…..I’d love to watch the GOP implode under the weight of it’s own ill-fated decisions. ) Division within your OWN party certainly does not bode well for being known as a “uniter”. George Bush–in a word–is a divider. Never have I seen this nation so polarized.

  • 5. Bush has been quoted as saying he’s “doing the Lord’s work”. Well, that’s fine, but don’t do it from the White House. I have nothing against people believing in a Higher Power, but when that faith so utterly infuses itself into politics, that rails against EVERYTHING this country stands for. For Bush to stand before Congress, and declare that the USA is going to embark on a Crusade against terrorists, belies the weight with which his faith plays a role in his day-to-day decision making. It also belies his ignorance of history; given the pretext in which the Crusades ere set, it shows with shocking clarity how ignorant Bush is of even monumental historic events in world history. And this is the leader of the Free World…………

  • Those close to Bush have been quoted as saying that Bush “believes in what he is doing” to the exclusion of any other alternative. Alternatives are a nuisance to Bush, something to get out his way, something impeding his Grand
    Plan. One man cannot possibly run a modern nation without input from experts.
    Bush has obviously decided to try……………..

    I am embarrassed to be an American. I am embarrassed for our nation. I loathe our standing in the world. America’s promise was quenched today. My only consolation is that we have term limits, and that this simple, un-qualified man will never be able to shape our country’s destiny again.
    As it stands, America will be digging itself out of the “Bush years” for years to come……………..

Mark

It’s Tedious And Ten Days For Ohio

Sitting like many with fingers crossed, we are hoping for a win in Ohio, which would completely change the results of the election. But as we learned four years ago, this isn’t worth holding breath for because 10 days means lots of litigation.

(As I was writing this and posting this, Kerry conceded. So all is naught. Bush is reelected. I am so tired.)

Absentee ballots and early votes sit in the wings:

    In Ohio, 11,473 precincts out of 11,477 have reported. Bush has 2,791,912 votes to Kerry’s 2,653,046 votes – a lead of 138,866 votes for the incumbent that, on the face of it, seems decisive. The catch is absentee ballots and provisional ballots, estimated to be anywhere between 75,000-250,000.

    Though conservative estimates put the number of absentee and provisional ballots under 100,000 – that is, well inside the lead Bush enjoys. Democrats however claim that the figure is closer to 250,000, and that when those ballots are counted, their candidate could well edge the president out of the race.

    Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, in whom the authority of overseeing the electoral process in the state and announcing the result vests, has said that as per state law, absentee ballots will not be counted for the next ten days.

    The rules in the state stipulate that an absentee ballot posted on election day, and bearing that day’s postmark, is valid. Thus, Blackwell argues that time has to be given for those ballots posted today to arrive in the mail; all mailed in ballots have to then be collated, validated, and counted.

    Thus, according to existing rules, Ohio can hang in the balance for the next 11 days.

And:

    Bush is currently leading in Ohio by 136,221

    If there are 250,000 provisional ballots outstanding. The highest number I’ve seen.

    And 90% of those ballots are good, as they were in 2000. That leaves 225,000 votes.

    If 85% of those ballots prove to be for Kerry, about the number that Gore got in 2000. That leaves us with 191,250, giving us a lead of 55,029.

    If there are only 200,000 provisionals, following the same calculation would leave us with a lead of 16,779.

    If the provisional ballots are only 175,000 that leaves us with a deficit of -2,346 that will leaves us in a position to get an automatic statewide recount.

    Or, to put it another way, an automatic recount is triggered by a margin of 0.25% or between 13,000 and 16,000 votes.

Put Down The Xbox And Vote

What I think went wrong.
Late night thoughts while tossing and turning instead of sleeping.
Bush organized his base to frantic levels. His barn meetings with loyalty oaths and strict attendance guidelines worked. Those at his speeches and gatherings during this campaign were given their marching orders and they responded like good little soldiers.
Rove played the gay card and it worked. State ballot initiatives in many key states, including Ohio, asked the voters to ban gay marriage. This issue brought out the fundamental Christian conservatives in droves and eventually tipped the scales.
The so-called youth vote for Kerry never materialized. They registered, but in the end, when it came down to putting down their X-box and walking the three blocks to their precinct to vote, they never followed through. Joe Scarborough said it on MSNBC over and over and he was belittled for it, but he was right. They didn’t come through and they never do.
Kerry lost the women’s vote to Bush over security concerns.
The Swift Boat flack and destroying Kerry’s admirable and honorable military record worked.
The pre-election opinion polls were all over the map but basically, they were wrong and too many Democrats discounted some of wisdom in them, hoping to coax a Democratic majority.

Bummer, It’s Bush

Well, it is over and despite all the legal wranglings and the hand wringing, George W. Bush has won reelection. It is now time to get on with the business of government.
This is the time when I am supposed to acknowledge all those naysayers, doomsday seers, I-told-you-so-ers.
Well, I won’t.
I supported John Kerry for President. I still do. I voted for John Kerry for President. I will again. I am a member of the Democratic Party and don’t see that changing anytime soon.
As I talked up Kerry for months and months, convincing myself as well as others that Kerry was the man for president, several of my friends rolled their eyes. But this is politics, not a popularity contest. This is real life, not machinations in a corporate boardroom where you have to jockey your personal beliefs for a winning position.
In real life, you have got to stand up for what you believe in and fight against what you believe is wrong.
And I still believe George Bush is wrong for this country and will take us down the wrong path.
I still believe that John Kerry had an optimistic, realistic and achievable vision for the country and the ability to see that vision through.
But now it is time to pull back and regroup.
If politics is a game it most closely resembles football. And not football as in soccer, where the offense gets that one chance with the ball to make the goal, but football in American Football, the NFL, where you have the ball and you keep on plugging away, inch by inch, yard by yard until you get the touchdown.
We didn’t get the goal in 2000. We didn’t get a first down in 2002. And in 2004 we made some yardage but eventually had to turn the ball over.
We are on defense now and the goal is to hold back Bush and the GOP-dominated Congress for at least two years when we get a chance once again to make some yardage, get a first down or even score a touchdown.
Bush will have a GOP-dominated Senate going into his second term. The perilous balance that the senate has seen for the last six years has evaporated.
And Bush has the popular vote on his side. He will use that as an absolute mandate to pass his aggressive conservative agenda. Social Security will be dissolved with the establishment of Social Security Savings Accounts. The trust fund, used shore up this nation’s debt and solidify the federal bonds will be dissolved as a result and this nation will be in tremendous fiscal danger.
Bush will have two and probably three supreme court nominations, including Chief Justice. That is a huge responsibility. And a tremendous legacy. The woman’s right to choose will be whittled away. The line between trust and monopolies versus a free market will be whittled away. The PATRIOT ACT and other radical law enforcement goals will be ratified by a Bush court.
And speaking of business and government, we will continue to see a strong consolidation of media and the subsequent squashing of alternate voices and alternate views in print and on the airwaves. A corporate cabal more interested in pleasing their government peers will be apt to self-censor rather than face the wraith of the GOP- controlled legislative and regulative bodies.
But more importantly, as Democrat, we fall back and regroup. We must work to change the mindset of so many that the Democrats are only interested in giving handouts to the poor, that the Democrats are only interested in raising taxes, that the Democrats are not interested small business and rural America. We have to rebuild this party and change the face without the spirit and ideals of the Democratic party if we are going to win and be a national party again. Looking at the big map on the television networks, with each state bearing Red or Blue, I begin to feel so lonely and alone.
There is a lot of work to be done and a lot reflection.
We lost this election and I wish Bush the best. But we aren’t rolling over for him and we aren’t giving him a blank check and a rubber stamp or acquiescing him a mandate. He pledges to make peace, to bring people together – but his history shows he is unwilling in that effort. I hope the election has shown him the diversity of the country and the people and helped to ease the anger and the division between the two major political ideologies.
But I am not optimistic that he will.

Friday Fives

Friday Fives

1. What was your first Halloween costume?
The earliest I remember is going to a church Halloween party dressed as a hobo, with a straw hat and a coffee grounds beard. I also remember some store bought costume and mask thing of a cartoon super hero but I can’t for the life of me remember who the hero was. I was probably three years old.

2. What was your best costume and why?
Barney, the dinosaur as an unfortunate hunting accident. A mask of Barney, some purple long johns with a dino tail affixed and the addition of an arrow in my midside and a gaping head wound.

3. Did you ever play a trick on someone who didn’t give you a treat?
No. But when I was 19 and 20 we used to hit the streets of Craig trick or treating for drinks. It kind of worked. We usually were laughed at and shooed away, but those that got our joke would give us a beer.

4. Do you have any Halloween traditions?
Used to. I used to always get fired up for Halloween and dress up and go to parties, up until about four years ago and then the fire went out and I don’t get to enthused for Halloween. I am becoming a grouchy old man. Save me, somebody.

5. Share your favorite scary story…real or legend!
President George Bush, 43rd President of the United States.

Early Voting Sticker Affixed

I voted early yesterday. Hauled my ass down to the Arapahoe County Justice Center and waited in line for about 45 minutes in order to have the privilige of pulling the lever (or in our new electronic age, point the curusor and click) for the Democrats. Well, all Dems except for the CU board of regents. I voted for the Libertarians, because they deserve to win an election someday and this just may be the race. Painless as it was, I dread the thought of what will happen when the throngs hit the polls on Tuesday. If you get the chance, vote early. It is worth the errand.

Trivial Highways

This is the kind of website that fascinates me, for its shear arcane information and totally uselessness. As far as I can tell, the author is an engineer student and fascinated with traffic and civil engineering. Aren’t we all?

The Highways of Colorado

“This site is meant to be a warehouse of information on the highways and byways and Colorado. The general idea is you can look at all the numbered state-maintained highways in the state, and learn useless, Trivial Pursuit stuff about them like where they end, how long they are, where they’re freeway, etc. The site also includes writeups on major non-state roadways in Colorado, such as Peña Blvd. and the Pikes Peak Toll Road. Other pages include a history of roads in Colorado, and a narrative of what I call the 470 Saga back in the 1970s.”

Election Clock Is Ticking

The election is just 10 very, very short days away. Most of you folks reading this tend to be on my side, that i, to replace Bush. Even more of you very few readers share my mindset of Vote Kerry!
But time is ticking. You all have a few Republican friends. Folks who are so hell bent on the terror and security issue that they can’t see anything else. Terror is one thing, for sure, but so is leadership and frankly Bush has let us down.

Take some time to share these links with friends, family, alumni, coworkers whoever you may think is tilting towards Bush or better yet, hovering around undecided. He is currently trending towards a 48% to 49% approval rating, which is just barely enough for Kerry to win without a replay of the courts and the 2000 elections.

100 Reasons and an opinion

Win Back Respect

Do you belong to Netflix? Do you have a Blockbuster membership? How about inviting a few undecideds over to watch Going Up River or Farenheit 9/11. Get some doubt in those undecide’s heads.

Months ago on this blog, I said my job was convince five voters to vote against Bush. I have done that. And I know that two of those voters are working on convincing a few of their own. Momentum happens by talking about. You can do it. In the days ahead share a resource or two and work to change some minds.

Let’s get President Bush out of Washington and return him to his quiet little ranch in Crawford, Texas.