Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Neighborhood Candy Bar Extortion Day!

Last night, on the way home from a short grocery trip, I was listening to 93.7 K-Rock, "The Rock of Pittsburgh", via my car's radio. For about twenty years, this station was called B-94, and was a prime example of corporate pop music radio. Everyone I knew hated it -- except for chicks. Chicks dug it. You knew a guy was in love if he started listening to B-94. He had lost his independence, because he was listening to "chick music".

But times change, and while other stations in the Pittsburgh market have taken over the "Top 40" format's audience, B-94 faded away. After a brief period of trying to find a new niche, 93.7 (now CBS owned) settled on a hard rock format. During B-94's heyday, 102.5 WDVE was the rock station in town, but eventually stopped playing most new music and is now the region's top classic rock station. In other words, they still play the same music that they were playing twenty years ago. All things return.

I've been a bit cynical about K-Rock's chances for success in this market. Every time a decent hard rock/heavy metal station comes along, it fizzles out and changes format in a few months. WXDX, Pittsburgh's "Alternative Rock" station, started out metal but couldn't make it that way in the grunge era of the early 1990s, so changed format accordingly. That was a disappointment; I liked a station where I could hear "Rainbow In The Dark" five times a day.

K-Rock seems like it has a better chance to last, due to two things:

  1. The resurgence of heavy metal music after years of grunge and alternative crap; and
  2. Corporate ownership (CBS) with national hosts to draw attention to the station.

The few times I have listened to the station, I was pleased with what I heard, but I wasn't convinced to become a dedicated listener. That changed last night, when I heard this on the ride home:

The K-Rock disc jockey said that he played it "for Halloween". And how appropriate. Everything in that video is so hokey, it looks more like a goofy masquerade party than a serious satanic ritual. It's also one of my favorite videos from the days of my adolescence. I especially like the part where the flying hammer makes the goat man explode. BOOM!

You just can't get that kind of quality entertainment nowadays.

Here's hoping to hear more early 1980s style HR/HM on local radio, and not just for Halloween. Have a safe and happy Halloween. Be nice to your trick-or-treaters, and they will be nice to you. Up the Irons!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pitt Full Of Casey

Pennsylvania Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., visited my alma mater the other day, as reported by the campus paper. The big guns (local version) came out for this one:

The party came complete with speeches from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, State Representative Dan Frankel, Congressman Mike Doyle, Chris and Andre Heinz and Senate hopeful Bob Casey.
The Heinz boys! That's kind of embarrassing. Those kids follow the path of John Kerry. That's a hell of a substitute father figure to mature under.

Before the rally, students lined Fifth Avenue bearing "Bob Casey for U.S. Senate" posters and called for support from passing motorists and pedestrians. Rick Santorum supporters also took a stand along Fifth, holding posters and cheering for their candidate.

What's more obnoxious than a bunch of lawn signs up and down the street? A bunch of hand-held signs waving in your face when you're trying to drive down the street. (NOTE: I am not a great fan of lawn signs.)
In from the rain and armed with buttons, bumper stickers and signs, students and Pittsburghers welcomed Mayor Ravenstahl, who was the first to offer support to Casey's campaign. "We have the opportunity to change the way Washington is working," Ravenstahl said. "We can get rid of the Bush administration --- well, we can't get rid of the Bush administration, but we can lead the change by electing Bob Casey."
Pittsburgh's youthful mayor has a lot of appeal. He boldly and respectfully stepped forward to assume the position in the wake of Bob O'Connor's untimely demise, he has appeared on David Letterman, he bravely defended the honor of the city against the threat of Sienna Miller, and he installed the first-ever computer in the mayor's office.

On the downside, he is a big city Democrat. How else can you explain the "we can get rid of the Bush administration" slip? He sees George W. Bush the way that a lot of us see Hugo Chavez, or Ahmadinejad: As a threat to be eliminated. Every time a leading Democrat opens his/her/its mouth and makes a statement like that, I am more and more convinced that the Dems aren't just our rivals; they are the enemy.
Frankel took the mic next, asking the audience, "Have you had enough of rising deficits and reduced student loans? Have you had enough of incompetent foreign policy that has divided our country? We've had enough of Rick Santorum." Frankel predicted a "clean sweep" for Democrats in the coming elections because, he said, "this state, this city, this University has had enough."
I will admit that I know absolutely nothing about Dan Frankel, but he doesn't sound like the kind of guy I'll be sitting down and sharing lunch with anytime soon. He uses a rhetorical device that bothers me when politicians of either party employ it: "I am the spokesman for EVERYTHING!" Frankel lives in Pennsylvania, so he speaks for all Pennsylvanians! He lives in the city, so he speaks for all Pittsburghers! Frankel went to Kenyon College, so he speaks for everyone at Pitt! Oops. Well, Oakland (the city neighborhood in which the University is situated) is part of his district, but most people who attend or work at Pitt live in his district.

Perhaps a lot of people at Pitt have had enough of Dan Frankel, whether or not they can vote in his district.
Congressman Doyle followed Frankel and led the crowd in a cheer, spelling out "Pitt Dems" and calling for personal initiative to get out and vote.
No word on whether Congressman Dipshit used a megaphone and pom poms.
"Republicans are going to begin a campaign of 'fear and smear' now," Doyle said of upcoming political ads. "They're going to show you Osama Bin Laden, remember him? He's the guy who attacked us four years ago who Bush never went after."
And welcome to the Democrats' twilight zone! It's never "fear and smear" when Dems attack Republicans, but when the criticism goes the other way -- watch out! It's mean people being mean to nice people who are being nice, even when they are smearing their opponents.
Advising Democrats to ignore what he called "propaganda," Doyle said, "It's all about turnout now. I promise you, if we show up to vote, we win."
Yes! Listen to Mike Dipshit, Democrats; ignore "propaganda", and you will end up voting Republican. (I find it harder and harder to believe that this guy was ever a Republican.)
Repeatedly referring to current Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum as "George Bush's rubber stamp junior senator," Doyle said, "If we gain control over the House and the Senate, George Bush won't have any more rubber stamps and will have to answer to the American people he's been screwing over."
All of the talk about "rubber stamp" and "98%", referring to Santorum's record of voting to support Bush administration policies, is goofy. Santorum and Bush belong to the same political party. It would seem a bit odd if they didn't match nearly 100% percent on the issues. Find a Democrat who only voted with Clinton 98% of the time, and the Dems would tout him/her/it as an independent thinker who follows his/her/its own conscience.
"Eleven days to change America," Doyle said. "Do you want to do it?" The crowd responded with a standing ovation for the congressman.
Yes, we do! Let's vote Bobby Casey out of the public spotlight for good. Another good suggestion from the guy who otherwise doesn't know what he's talking about.
Following Doyle was Chris Heinz, the Republican-turned-Democrat stepson of Sen. John Kerry. "I don't get to talk about Rick Santorum very much," Heinz said. "In fact, this might be my last chance."
I'm very sorry to hear that. I didn't realize that Chris Heinz was terminally ill. Or perhaps he means that he's going to climb into a hole if Rick gets re-elected.
Taking advantage of the opportunity, Heinz said, "He is, in my mind, bar none, the worst senator I've ever seen in my life," a comment that drew strong applause.
Did his dad ever use such strong rhetoric? (I mean his real dad, not the Herman Munster who married his mom.) I know that John Heinz was considered a moderate, even a liberal, Republican, but he was a party man and generally well-liked by the public. Which side is using "fear and smear" again?
Planning to be out of town for the election on Nov. 7, Heinz brought his completed absentee ballot to the rally. Showing the envelope to the crowd, Heinz said, "I voted for firing Donald Rumsfeld, which felt good." Still, said Heinz, "I don't consider myself a partisan man. I am first and foremost an American. This is a democracy and just because a Democrat is going to be elected, doesn't mean we shouldn't be held accountable."
Bzzzt! Wrong! America is NOT a democracy, and never has been. When was the last time you got to vote on an issue and not a human representative? This is a representative republic with democratic elements. Not the same as a democracy. If it was, Chris Heinz would be able to vote for firing the SecDef. But he can't. The system doesn't work that way.

If I were scripting this rally, I would have had one of Casey's hippie supporters lighting up a smoke during the Heinz speech, and letting the wind blow a few hot ashes in the direction of Heinz's absentee ballot, thereby setting the paper ablaze. What a moment it would have been! I missed my calling. I should have been a filmmaker.
Casey took the stage last and was greeted by applause from the crowd and handshakes from the preceding speakers. He thanked the Heinz brothers for their support, and Casey said of their late father, "John Heinz grew up with wealth but understood he had an obligation to serve if given the chance, and I'm thinking about him today and thinking about this region, and I think the future looks bright."

But was he wearing shades? Or drinking Heinz ketchup straight out of the bottle, for that matter? (NOTE: I have always used Heinz ketchup at home, and probably always will. Ketchup is not political.)
Two student Santorum supporters shouted to Casey, "Where's your commitment to HIV/AIDS? Are you going to do better than Santorum?" "I'm going to do a lot of things better than Santorum," Casey said. "I put 10 specific plans forth in this campaign. The score right now is 10 to one. His only plan right now is privatize social security, and that is a bad plan."

Remember how Bill Clinton cured AIDS when he was elected back in 1992? Neither do I. Casey gets credit for quickly changing the subject, but then he disingenuously reduces his opponent's agenda down to one plan. Admittedly, privatizing social security isn't the most popular policy on the public's agenda, but it's not the only thing that Rick Santorum is about. How much has Casey had to say about terrorism and international affairs?
Casey's top concerns were improving childcare and reducing global warming. "If we invest in children in their younger lives, they're not only going to be brighter, happier people, but they're going to contribute more to society," Casey said.
I'm a father of several children, and it bugs me when some politician talks about "investing in children's lives". There is a perverse "get 'em while they're young" air about it. My children are my business, Mr. Casey, not yours. You and your ilk want to turn our babies into perfect copies of yourselves. They are unique individuals, and have been since the moment of conception. Do not mention them again. Shut your mouth and talk about something else.
He said that solving global warming was one of the government's responsibilities. "We have to have mandatory reductions of carbon emissions, because unless we confront this crisis, we might as well not have Congress or other governmental leaders," he said.
"Global warming" is climate change. It's been happening in cycles for millions of years. It's very arrogant to assume, as Casey does, that humans could affect climate change in such a short span of time, either for better or for worse. Whatever credibility he had to begin with is pretty much shot at this point.
"The urgency for change across Pennsylvania and across the country is a tidal wave," Casey said. "This is the year America says no to more of the same, no to divide and conquer and yes to a new direction."
This last bit is a meaningless generalization that sounds good if spoken by the right orator. Try to imagine Casey speaking these words, in his quiet nasally voice. It's horrible. Absolutely horrible.

And like Bob Casey, Jr., absolutely meaningless.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Greatest Political Ad EVER

In an age when wrestlers have become politicians...

...it was inevitable that politicians would start turning into wrestlers.

Interestingly enough, a young lawyer named Rick Santorum used to work for Vince McMahon. I wonder if he got some help from his old boss to set up this commercial?

Many years ago, Japanese wrestling legend Antonio Inoki made a rare appearance on an American TV show. Announcer Tony Schiavone told commentator Bobby Heenan that Inoki was an elected member of Japan's upper house of parliament, the equivalent of the U.S. Senate. Heenan said something like, "So this is like watching Ted Kennedy getting in the ring and wrestling?"

How about Rick Santorum vs. Ted Kennedy...IN A 15 FOOT HIGH STEEL CAGE? I'd like to see that!

It Just Gets Worse

Ever notice how the news just goes from bad to worse some days?

For instance, this morning's paper has an article about the Pork Authority's financial woes. This could be bad news for me because I use the bus to commute to work and back every day. But it's also par for the course; there's nothing Earth-shattering about it. Life goes on.

Then there is the story about the Old Order Amish couple who are having immigration problems with DHS. The Amish are not Islamic terrorists. Their case should have been given special consideration, and not allowed to get to the point where the man had to file a lawsuit. But this doesn't affect me personally, so I move along.

The next thing I read is an article about a "glitch" in Allegheny County's 911 system the other day that might have contributed to the death of a little baby. The system was down for hours, and the family was unable to contact a dispatcher for medical assistance. I have a two-week old baby at home, and I think about things like this all the time. Sure, this happened to someone else's kid, but it could have happened to mine. What if something bad happens, and we can't do anything about it? The news is starting to affect me.

So I turn away from the news, and visit one of my favorite sarcastically satirical blogs to read this:

WARNING: This post is not funny.
And it wasn't. Learned Foot, whom I had the pleasure of meeting when I visited Minnesota back in August 2005, and whom I consider a friend (distance notwithstanding), has entered a time of family crisis. His wife has been diagnosed with cancer.

This really hits home for me. One of my parents died of cancer when I was in my early twenties. It was a rough time, and not one that I would care to relive or wish on my worst enemy. Today, I am a husband and father of five children. My wife and I are in our late thirties, and pretty content with life in general. We never consider the possibility that something bad might happen to us. But it could.

And it has happened, to Learned Foot's family. And family is the silver lining in this cloud of bad news. Mrs. Foot has people around her who love and support her. She has people all over Minnesota, and at least as far away as Pittsburgh, whom she has never met, who are concerned and supportive in her battle against cancer.

With all of those thoughts and prayers behind her, I believe she can fight this thing.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Sexiest Political Endorsements Living In America

It's not often that I keep up with all of the latest culture and fashion magazines, but once in a while a cover will catch my eye. One such is the current issue of Esquire, which proclaims Scarlett Johansson to be "The Sexiest Woman Alive". A few years ago I might have agreed wholeheartedly with such a proclamation; nowadays, I am naturally skeptical of any such statement. Did Esquire examine every single woman currently alive? And what about this Scarlett chick? Is she really sexier than any other woman under the magazine's consideration, or is she just some cutie with big lips who does a passable job of putting on her makeup? Anyone who subscribes to Esquire should demand at least one makeup-free photo of each "sexy" woman photographed for inclusion. The consumer can decide whether or not she's really sexy after he sees what she really looks like.

In any event, that's not what I want to comment on.

The real main feature inside the mag is a lengthy feat of civic responsibility called "Esquire Endorses America". Esquire weighs in on every gubernatorial, senatorial, and congressional race in the country this year, making endorsements in nearly every case, and encouraging write-ins in a handful of unopposed races. It's rather impressive, considering that a periodical not normally know for the depth of its political coverage (such as it is) covers so much ground in one fell swoop.

Not surprisingly, Esquire leans decidedly left of center. If the magazine writers/editors get their way, America will be a Democrat stronghold for the next two years. (Which leads me to ask...who is going to cast their vote based on an Esquire endorsement? Is it that important to anyone? Or do you look at it as a bit of fun, as I do?) There are some special sections such as "The Cynthia McKinney Awards For The Worst Members of Congress" (mostly Republicans) and "The Nine Pillars of Congress" (mixed R's and D's, but mostly leftist). The overwhelming theme seems to be "Esquire endorses Democrats who act like Democrats, and Republicans who act like Democrats".

So what does this men's pop culture and fashion publication have to say about candidates for office in my area? Let's start with the Governor's race.

Lynn Swann (R) Ed Rendell (D)
Ed Rendell, the first "America's Mayor," has had a harder time fixing
Pennsylvania's woes than he did Philadelphia's--though a lot of the blame falls
to the Republican-controlled state-house. And despite efforts to thwart him,
he's tackled increased education funding and property-tax relief since taking
office in 2003.

Esquire endorses: Rendell

If this clown was ever "America's Mayor", then it's time for a new American Revolution. There's no mention that the Republican state house leadership was dominated by moderate "play along to get along" types. (Until this year's primaries, that is.) So, of course, those Republicans can be blamed. And no mention of Lynn Swann, outside of his name. As far as Esquire is concerned, this race is a referendum on the incumbent's performance -- as well it should be. I won't forget how Eddie has played fast and loose with the state budget. That's why my endorsement goes to Lynn Swann.

Rick Santorum (R)
Bob Casey (D)
See "The Cynthia McKinney Awards For The Worst Members of Congress".
Esquire endorses: Casey
Ah, okay. Let's go see why Esquire awards Rick this very special status.

For the love of God, people, it's long past time that Rick Santorum did his
man-on-dog, dog-on-man ruminations on his own time. WWJD? This one's a
That's it??? That's all this rag has to say about this race? Rick said "man-on-dog" once, and that makes him such a terrible Senator? It's nice to know that Esquire has such deep-thought, well-considered commentary on its pages or we just would not know who to vote for.

Seriously, Rick Santorum has been one of the most consistent politicians in Washington the last few years. Sure, he's made a few compromises here and there, but his beliefs and values are well-rooted. And if "by his enemies you shall know him" is anything to go on, then the incumbent definitely deserves a third term. One again, I thumb my nose at Esquire and heartily endorse Rick Santorum for Senate.

In one Congressional endorsement (Jason Altmire over Melissa Hart), Esquire lets loose with some shocking sexual ruminations of its own:

Want to see Rick Santorum in a dress?
No thanks. But if you want to mess around with Photoshop on your own time, it's no one's business but yours.

As for my own district:

District 18
Tim Murphy (R)
Chad Kluko (D)
Who is Tim Murphy? He's a guy who puts out lots of press releases about what he supports. Little of which is noteworthy.
Esquire endorses: Kluko

Does one not get the impression that the magazine didn't put a lot of thought into some of these Congressional races? Let me tell you something about Tim Murphy: He puts out a lot of press releases because he wants to keep his constituents informed about what is going on in Washington, and because he knows what issues are important to people in his district. He is, by vocation, a psychologist, and provides the Congress with a much-needed insider's view of what's wrong with health care in America, and what can be done to fix it. None of this may matter to the Esquire writers who sit in their posh offices, likely in an upper floor of a building somewhere in New York, passing judgment on things and people about which they know nothing -- and, unlike most bloggers, get paid for doing so. But I have been represented by Dr. Murphy at both the state and federal level for ten years now, and I know enough about him to say that I endorse Tim Murphy for re-election to the U.S. Congress.

HILLARY SEZ: Don't forget about me! I'm a "Pillar of Congress"! Watch out, I'm gonna be President someday!

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Pennsylvania Blog Resource

This morning I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had been linked by a site called BlogNetNews.com/Pennsylvania. BlogNetNews is a new aggregator that "jumps a generation ahead of other aggregators" that is designed more for human comprehension than for search bots.

In addition to Pennsylvania, the site also has aggregators for Virginia, Ohio, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, and California.

This is going to save me a whole lot of precious time trying to keep up with PA blogging.

Intruder Alert

Something odd has been taking place at my home lately.

Just short of two weeks ago, some short bald guy moves into my house. I never met him before, and he's a pretty demanding sort of fellow -- when he's not sleeping the day away. Now, in the interest of human charity, I suppose I don't mind putting this guy up as long as he wants to hang around. He has no visible means of financial support and I understand that it's hard for a guy like him to get a job.

But you know what? He has gone past the point of merely accepting charity. He has taken to sleeping with my wife almost every night, and she seems to enjoy it. I frequently find them in a warm embrace while in bed. In all parts of the house, I find them hugging and cuddling together.
She has openly suggested that I do the same thing with him.

Yesterday morning, I decided that I had had enough. Rather than be outright confrontational, I take our little houseguest aside to have a chat over breakfast. Better to be civil than to do something that I might regret later. I made sure that I gave him a good breakfast, something that he would appreciate, and do you know what he did?

He puked on me.

I remained calm. From what I gather, he has had limited experience in the world. He is uneducated, and has spent most of his life indoors. I suppose we'll have to take some responsibility for getting him up to speed on most things.

I can only forgive, I suppose. We'll keep putting him up for as long as we have to, but I just wish he'd cool it with the getting up in the middle of the night and demanding another drink. Lives on a liquid diet, this guy does.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Things I Missed

These days it seems like I'm too busy with work and home to fire off more than a post or two every week, so let's run through a few items I would have preferred to comment on at greater length had I the time to do so:

  • My State Rep candidate, Bill Ogden, is getting some coverage at last. I'm still not sure if he has a chance to win in this heavily Democrat-laden district, but at least the media is taking his campaign seriously.
  • Ever hear of "reds under the bed"? Earlier this week there were Commies in my neighborhood! If these AFL-CIO clowns had come to my house, I would have given them three seconds to get the hell off my property, or face my wrath. My wife, on the other hand, would likely have listened to everything they had to say and signed anything that they thrust in her direction. (She's done that sort of thing before.) What is the purpose of this canvassing? They want people to vote for Casey instead of Santorum. They found a lot of people who want to vote against Santorum, and a few who want to vote for Santorum, but almost no one who wants to vote for Casey. This is starting to sound like a replay of Kerry vs. Bush. Kerry wasn't the preferred Democratic candidate so much as he was the anti-Bush, and that more than anything made him a weak candidate. Let's see if it works in Pennsylvania this year.
  • Lots of Halloween costumes are popular this year, but none more so than pirate apparel. My seven year old has a Captain Jack Sparrow costume all ready to wear. Whatever happened to putting a sheet over your head and going as a ghost?

More later. Maybe.

A Name Game

Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Psychosis-Gazette wonders why Senator Rick Santorum won't meet with the paper's editorial board to vie for an endorsement. Tony needs to read his own column. This morning's effort is typical of the paper's Santorum reporting. Speaking to the editorial board to try to get them to like him would be a vast waste of Rick's time. Why bother? With coverage like the PG's, he better off going to the other side of the Commonwealth to speak to newspaper people. Which is just what he did:

So, instead of talking to us, Mr. Santorum chose to spend quality time with an editorial board firmly ensconced in the leafy suburbs of Philadelphia.
Gee, do you think Tony is a little miffed at being stood up by someone he hates? I detect a note of jealousy in his words.

Tony then informs us that Rick Santorum is demented because he based an analogy of the Iraq War on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings saga. Tony would have preferred that the Senator had drawn his inspiration from the likes of "Shakespeare, Milton and Melville". Tolkien, it seems, is lowbrow compared to those other dead white males. Perhaps Tony will feel the same way about Melville if someone makes a movie based on Billy Budd.

Anyway, comparing LOTR to Iraq has been done.

Actually, Fellowship 911 says more about Michael Moore than it does about the war. It's still funny!

Tony concludes thusly:
Look at Santorum's name. Now, recall the name of the character who used to be a good wizard in Middle-Earth before he became a villain: Saruman, the White. Get it? Saruman, Santorum -- Santorum, Saruman. It's almost a perfect anagram.
Name games are fun! Let me try:

Look at Tony Norman's name. Now, recall the word that was once used by psychologists to describe someone with an I.Q. between 51 and 70: Moron. Get it? Moron, Norman -- Norman, Moron. It's almost a perfect anagram.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Special Guest

Captain Ed turned Captain's Quarters over to a very special guest blogger yesterday. It's a politician who knows how to write a blog post, and who knows how to connect with people using blogs.

You gotta love the three separate links to his campaign's contribution page. "Send money now! Or do it three paragraphs from now! At least do it by the end of this post!"

I can't afford to give money to anyone but my mortgagee, but I can certainly give him my vote. This is going to be a tight one.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Left-Wing Psychosis

We're closing in on Election Day 2006, and the local papers are starting to endorse candidates for office. I would be truly disappointed if anyone ever told me that they voted for a particular candidate based on some newsrag's endorsement. Such individuals are clearly incapable of independent thought. Newspapers are good for keeping us informed of current events. But letting them tell you what to think? You're virtually denying your own humanity.

Our Fair City's left-leaning rag, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, continually demonstrates a descent into madness. If President Bush makes a speech on television, expect the PG to run a slew of articles, columns and editorials denouncing every last syllable. When the nobler half of Pennsylvania's U.S. Senatorial contingent ran a commercial quoting a PG editorial calling him "a champion" on a particular issue, the paper spends a week running a series of op-ed pieces that could be neatly anthologized in a single bound volume entitled Rick Santorum, How Do We Hate Thee? Let Us Exposit The Ways.

Is this truly madness? Psychosis is defined on Wikipedia as "a generic psychiatric term for a mental state in which thought and perception are severely impaired". That pretty much sums up nearly every PG editorial (plus Reg, Dan, Tony etc. columns) that I've read in recent years. For this reason, I have decided to stop calling the PG by the silly name "Moist-Towelette" and adopt a more appropriate designation.

This morning the Pittsburgh Psychosis-Gazette throws its support behind Democrat Matt Smith, who's running against the youthful Mark Harris in Pennsylvania's 42nd Legislative District. The bulk of the editorial consists of the usual "meet the candidates" blather before getting down to the red meat:

Both candidates are personable, familiar with the issues and well-spoken. The difference is that one of them, Mark Harris, has a very right-wing view of the world that has not been moderated by real-life experience. Cutting taxes and government spending are fine ideas unless taken to harmful extremes -- and the ideologically pure Mr. Harris would be just the one to do that.
A "right-wing view of the world" is not compatible with "real-life experience". This is evidence that the PG braintrust is not only of a different mindset than people like me, but perhaps of a different species. I started out conservative, was willing to "moderate" some of my views for a while, but since marrying and becoming a father and homeowner, I have firmly identified with the right side of politics. Financial and familial responsibilities will do that to you. Maybe Mark Harris needs a bit more life experience before he can establish where he stands on the political spectrum. But I would bet (if I were a betting man) that he ends up right back where he started.

After all, "cutting taxes and government spending are fine ideas", period. There's no "unless" about it -- unless you are a fan of tyranny. Mark Harris is not. (If you are interested, his official site is here, and he sometimes blogs here.)

HILLARY SEZ: Go ahead and vote for some right-wing wacko if you want! Smart people like me who go along with whatever the newspaper says are going to vote for the other guy!

Sure, Hill, whatever you say. (And where have you been all year?)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cheaper Gas All Around

First gasoline prices began dropping like mad; now home heating fuel is going to be more affordable. This is good new indeed.

Last Winter, my heating bill doubled (I was paying the budget amount) and I ended up way ahead by Spring. As a result, I've hardly been paying anything all year.

Despite what some twits might tell you, this price decrease has nothing to do with the fact that this is October in an election year:

An unusually warm winter and a mild hurricane season have prevailed in the first nine months of 2006, allowing natural gas inventories to rise to record levels that push wholesale prices downward.

Look for the same newspaper in which this article was printed to publish an editorial blaming President Bush for manipulating the price of fuels. Or have they already done that several dozen times in the last thirteen months?

Monday, October 02, 2006


According to Site Meter, Ohligarchy -- man, I've gotten tired of that name. I do wish I had thought of something more creative to call this blog -- anyway, Ohligarchy welcomed its 10,000th visitor just after 2:30 on Saturday afternoon. Based on the demographic information provided by Site Meter, I would guess that the landmark visitor was that Mobil Smith guy.

Did I say Milestone? I think I meant Millstone.

Just kidding! Please keep coming back! I'll try to come up with witty and insightful commentary (or silly and insane ramblings) more often!