Friday, January 16, 2004


Those great quadrennial anomalies are upon us and I can't wait for them to go away. If you watch TV or read a newspaper, you'd think the fate of the western world now rests in the electoral mood of the citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire; two states that come October hold a combined 7 electoral cards in the 538 card game.

I'll concede it's only fair that states other than New York, California, Texas and Florida should have influence in a presidential primary. Why should Goliath, Gargantua et al, have all the fun of watching the Democrats race about like hyper active puppy dogs, eager to please and acting as if there is no place they'd rather be than Commonville or Podunk or One-Horse. The citizens take to the task like varmints in old westerns; amusing themselves by firing their six-shooters at the candidates feet and yelling, “Dance, boy, dance!!!!"

More importantly, local merchants and business folks get a six week opportunity to fatten their profit margins on everything from motels to mittens.

"I see you’re wearing one of those fancy press credentials around your neck. Who ya work for?"

"I'm with ABC, the Worldwide Leader in News, of course!! Blandings Throckmorten, 3rd assistant to Peter Jennings' hair stylist"

"Well I'll be. A real live newsperson. Heck you get to take advantage of our Primary Special. I can give you our Newsmaker Suite for $109.00 a night!!"

"That would be excellent, thank you sir"

"My pleasure, young man"

("Psst, Earl. Quick. Go take down the room rate sign that says $29.95")

So if the Hawkeyes and Graniteers get to unload their frustrations and load up on election profiteering, why aren't their electorally impoverished brethren taking advantage of this windfall. Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska and Alaska (combined electoral votes - 15) would be great places to watch the pandering. Since the primaries are all about making the candidates look ridiculous and awkward, can you imagine the entertainment value of the "Great Alaskan Primary Mush? Kerry, Dean Sharpton, Gephardt, Kucinich and Clark in the "Idiot-rod"?

Come on small states, you're missing out on the muckraking and the buck taking. Get in the game.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


When John McEnroe says he was a steroid user, you really have to begin to question the competative benefits the drugs provide. McEnroe? Rail thin, and all the muscular definition of watery yogurt?

And on top of it, he says he was given the drugs without his knowledge? Was Tatum O'Neil spiking his coffee in an effort to get a bigger, stronger Mac?

Though steroids might explains the raging, please tell me how he might have gained any physical advantage over an opponent? Look at old video of Johnny Mac and Silent Bjorn going at it at Wimbledon. They are so skinny they could hardly walk through a London fog. Perhaps they helped make his larynx stronger.


San Francsico Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein is either desperate for readership or just up to his old diving for alligators brand of journalism. He provided Sean Penn a press credential to return to Baghdad and now has granted Penn's "story" column inches, ink and newsprint.

Though I admire Penn's courage, he engages in the predictable and thoroughly boring first person journalism which Neal Pollack does such a great job of skewering in 'The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature'.

It's all about Sean's Excellent Adventure and worth maybe a tenth of the Chronicle's $.25 street price.
Penn's 2nd piece is better, though still tedious in parts. He does a good job of bring to light the privitization of military operations and the US companies benefitting from this trend. His most important passage is the one where Sheikh Ghazi Ajil al- Yawar of the current Iraqi ruling council discusses the prospects for democracy in a land devasted by autocratic rule. Read what the Sheikh has to say along with James Fallow's current Atlantic piece on the Bush administration's failure to prepare for postwar Iraq and you have a first rate recipe for disaster


I'm not sure what Jimmy Carter's endoresment of Howard Dean will mean over the long haul of an election. Probably nothing. But if I'm in Dean's camp and its the eve of the primary season, I'm concerned that Carter's failure's in the Middle East ( Iran, Afghanistan, OPEC) aren't exactly used against my efforts. It may not hurt him in the primaries, but I'd keep good ole Jimmy under lock and key for the big dance.


George II continues to show an apparent cluelessness about economic policy. I qualify that statement because his profligate ways do lend credence to the speculation he is purposefully trying to bankrupt the government in order to shrink its influence.

Mars? We don't need no stinkin' Mars!! The money he is proposing to spend on a manned mission to what looks like Las Vegas without the buildings, would be better spent in reforming health care, providing incentives for entreprenuers to create companies and jobs, and letting teams other than the Yankees and Red Sox acquire a decent lefthanded starter and middle reliever.

Monday, January 12, 2004


It's hardly an original thought, but everytime I see the current roster of Democrats lined up in debate formation, it becomes obvious that a competative alternative to the Bush administration has yet to show its face. No matter who you are rooting for, this is not good. Democracy functions to the country's benefit when there is substantive debate and viable challngers to the incumbent. This ain't it , folks.

Watching the Democrats debate is like watching an audition for a new Warner Brothers cartoon. It's a contest alright; who can be zanier, loopier, angrier? Who gets to be Daffy Duck and who gets to be Taz?. I haven't seen anybody produce a genuine "ACME Democrat Demolisher", but there still is plenty of time until the convention. In typical Wile E Coyote fashion, Dennis Kucinich came close the other night when he brought a pie chart to a radio debate. After a while, guilt by association starts to creep into these debates. Inviting the crazy cousin living in the tree house to participate in the engagement party usually stirs a few doubts about the integrity of the entire gene pool.

It may be entertaining TV and Radio, but the majority of the American electorate isn't going to let any of these characters get near the nuclear code box. George II looks like a model of reason when compared to the duelling Dems and the level of rancour and vitriol that get's tossed around is making the candidates look like spoiled children who could use a spanking.

This is not the way to run an election, it's a very good way to lose one.

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