Pet Cobra

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Apologies for the sporadic entries. Started New Job this week and so far, so good. Cool part - I will be getting a Security Clearance. That involves an extensive background check. Hmmm - wonder if the Feds will read my blog.

Well, looks like the honeymoon's over for Bush. The Intelligence Reform Bill is in limbo, and his plans to spend money on new "nucular" weapons were squelched by Congress. The same Congress that's controlled by the GOP. The RINO's, both conservative and moderate, are not playing ball. I'm sorry - did someone say "political capital"?

Of course, the big story this week, a harbinger of the Apocalypse, the End Of The World As We Know It, was the Big Brawl in Motown. Enjoy your NBA while you can, folks, because this time next year it'll be gone, replaced by badminton or golf or some other non-offensive sport. Everyone in the Sports Talking Head Community is saying the same thing: this is the crux, the moment in which the NBA puts its gradual decline into overdrive.

Which, of course, is hogwash. This is the best thing that could've happened to the NBA.

The Artest Show was pure entertainment. Yeah, some punches were thrown, but no one was hurt. Comedy - Artest lying on the scorer's table in protest, Jared from the Subway ads trying to "front" (as the kids say) and getting a beating for it, gallons of beer dumped on the Pacer wounded as they retreated to their locker room, commentator Jim Gray's voice quavering - quavering! - as he fought back tears, trying his best to emulate his apparent idol, the announcer on the scene when the Hindenburg turned into a Roman candle ("Oh! The humanity!"). I'm actually bitter that I only saw the replays, and wasn't watching the game live.

Now, I don't think the Pacer lads should've advanced into the fray, and I think the suspensions handed out are appropriate. But let's be frank - this has generated interest in the NBA, from the curious who've never watched a game to the fans who only tune in during the playoffs. (I watch the Lakers on a regular basis, and the Lakers-Kings games during the regular season are just as charged and exciting as the post-season). So while Stern condemns Ron Artest and his fellow pugilists Stephen Jackson and Jermaie O'Neal, he ought to be putting them at the top of his Christmas list. (Props must go to Ben Wallace, for being the Scariest Man in The NBA. That 'fro, on top of a 7 foot bohemoth, is a truly terrifying combination. Shaq, if you're reading this, you need to think about adopting the look.)

Have a Happy Turkey Day. Talk to you next Monday.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Close your eyes. Envision me doing my Happy Dance. It's a variation on the "Here Comes Randall" move in the movie "Clerks", the deviation being that I have both middle fingers extended towards the general direction of my Old Boss' office.

Yes, I got and accepted a decent offer with New Company. I gave two weeks, but Bitchy Co-Worker informed me that tomorrow will be my last day (pause for more Happy Dance). What sucks is that it's looking like they won't do what most reputable employers do - let me go and pay me out for the two weeks that I said I'd work (pause for Angry Dance - involves me sitting at my desk gritting my teeth and invoking ancient Druidic curses upon them all).

So the lesson learned is: don't work for and with people who don't like you or show you RESPEK. Colin Powell, heed me well. Arlen Specter, I'm talking to you.

Excellent segue - Specter was pretty much locked in to heading up the Senate Judicary Committee today. This is a big victory for moderates on both sides of the aisle, and a potentially interesting development with Bush and the Bible Thumpers who adore him (and who are already taking credit for his victory - a dubious claim); anti-abortion groups were up in arms that a pro-lifer wasn't being tapped for the job. I have mixed feelings about Gonzales (the whole "torture-is-ok" thing is kinda worrisome), but he's another pro-choice Republican, unlike our boy Ashcroft.

Speaking of the real Bob Roberts...
Lest we forget the man and his music. Andrew Glamis/Gordon Nicol, eat your heart out. (Do I have to tell you to Google either "Andrew Glamis" or "Gordon Nicol"?)

Ok, gotta go clean out my desk.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

What the hell happened to me? Where have I been? Relax, devoted readers - I'm alive and well, and Pet Cobra returns to a world beset with uncertainty. (Yes, anytime Condaleeza Rice gets a bump up in responsibility, uncertainty ensues.)

Took Friday off to interview for another job, which will probably pay a little better, and at the very least will get me away from the horrid people I work with now. Expecting an offer today. Good stuff. The down side: it looks like this new job will actually require some amount of effort on my part, thus I'll have to bump my blog entries into the evening. More than that I cannot say - the position is another recruiting job, with more HR-type responsibilities, for another defense contractor. In a perfect world, I'll give my two weeks, and since I'm going to a competitor my boss will pay me out and let me go. In an even more perfect world, the biatches that I work with would all line up and teabag me on my last day. ( if you're unfamiliar with the phrase "teabag")

A belated goodbye to Colin Powell. I was hoping beyond hope that he was going to quit sometime last year, but his sad devotion to duty overrode his conscience. That's a shame, because now he'll most likely be remembered for his 2003 performance at the U.N., where he alerted the world to the dangers we faced from Iraqi garbage trucks. It's a bitter irony that the guy whose parents had the foresight to name him after the Powell Doctrine (which called for the use of overwhelming force and an exit strategy in any military intervention) played a crucial role in the execution of a war based on the Not-So-Much-Powell Doctrine (which calls for a bunch of people who've never actually been in the military to plan and execute wars based on faulty information, and advises them to not worry about how things will turn out, because we're America, and we kick ass, by God!).

Now, there are some who think that Condi Rice is a natural choice to replace Powell. This is based on the fact that she and Bush are "close", and that she has universally agreed with Dubya on all of his major decisions. This is the same type of thinking that was used by the people who hired Mr. Furley to replace the Ropers. My mortal enemy Pat Buchanan agrees with me yet again. The End Times are Near:

Rice is an academic (at best) and a bureaucrat; diplomacy requires, well, diplomacy. She's been Bush's yes-gal, is extremely Condi-cending (that's a knee-slapper!) as evidenced by her testimony to the 9/11 Commision, and (lest we forget) has a very limited background in the Middle East (her academic background and work was focused on Russia, which, if I'm not mistaken, we are not currently at war with). And numerous articles have pointed out that in the weeks leading up to the election, she had repeatedly expressed a desire to leave the Bush team and return to university work. Sounds like a winner! Prediction: this time next year, we'll still be in Iraq, and our troops will be massing on the border of Iran. Well, maybe not "massing", since that would imply a large amount of troops, which we don't have.

Well, another interesting development on the personal front. Did a phone interview with ANOTHER company who'se interested in me (while working on the blog! Multi-tasking at it's finest! Further proof that a chimp could do my job!). So while I'm waiting for one offer, let's try to eke out another. Sweet!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Arafat is dead. Good riddance.

I'm not buying into the Nixonesque revisionism that actually started back in the Clinton days, when Arafat agreed to peace talks (and look how well those turned out!) and won the Nobel Peace Prize as a result. For most of his political life, Arafat was the unquestioned leader of the largest and most visible terrorist group of it's time - the PLO, which was the equivalent (and in many ways model for) al-Qaeda. Among other things, the PLO sanctioned the seizure and subsequent killing of Israeli athletes during the '72 Munich Olympics. The PLO was responsible for the Entebbe hostage crisis in 1976, which was thwarted by Israeli commandos.

Arafat made a big show of renouncing terrorism in 1988 (some 20 years after he assumed leadership of the PLO). Most analysts have pointed the finger at him as being a chief obstacle to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process; after all, he's the boss. He had a lot to atone for, and in the end fell far short of washing the blood off his hands. But don't take my word for it. Here's an old buddy of Yassir's, with his take on Evil Ringo Starr:

Like I said. Good riddance.

Gotta go - work to be done.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

So the rugby-or-not debate was settled last night, by my right knee, which decided to quit about halfway through practice. The tackling drills over the past few weeks were not getting any easier - I literally could not get the leverage to push the guy with the tackle bag - and during last night's attempts (against a winger who weighed about 25 pounds LESS than me), I felt a slight twist, enough pain to serve as a warning that any more would put me back in the split I wore for a few days this past summer.

A pisser, as they say Down Under. But I gotta look at the bright side. One - better to have happened now, without injury, than during a game at full speed, which could have resulted in surgery. Two - more free time. Practices were stretching into the three hour mark - doing that two nights a week is draining - and the season schedule would have had me playing games every weekend from January through the end of March, with about a third of those being road games in Orange County, L.A., even Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. (That is a long time to get banged around - and again, risk of serious injury to that knee would've increased exponentially). Three - failed to mention that some good friends of ours, Chris and Marcy, moved back down to San Diego. Chris and I did some rock climbing back in the day (another factoid: I used to be an avid climber. Would go a few times a week in my heyday.) and last weekend we went to Solid Rock climbing gym, where to my pleasant amazement my harness and shoes still fit, and I did reasonably well. So I think I have the climbing bug again (caught myself reading the latest issue of "Climbing" at the Barnes and Noble the other day, looking at the latest gear), and with Beth home on Mondays and Fridays I'll get more chances to pursue my other favorite pastime, surfing.

So the moral of the story: I like playing rugby, but I realize that I don't LOVE it. And the guys on the Old Aztecs RFC, to a man, all love it - they eat, sleep, and breathe the sport. You have to have that commitment to play - it's just too demanding of a sport not to. The guys on the team would have no qualms about incurring permanent injury if the alternative was to give it up forever. Gotta be honest with myself. So I'll hang up the boots, watch the matches on Fox Sports World, and maybe play some touch games when the summer rolls around.

Bush has selected Alberto Gonzales to replace Ashcroft. Interesting choice; MSNBC quotes Charles Schumer as being very receptive. BUT..."Gonzales publicly defended the administration’s policy — essentially repudiated by the Supreme Court and now being fought out in the lower courts — of detaining certain terrorism suspects for extended periods without access to lawyers or courts....He also wrote a controversial February 2002 memo in which Bush claimed the right to waive anti-torture law and international treaties providing protections to prisoners of war. That position drew fire from human rights groups, which said it helped lead to the type of abuses uncovered in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq. And he once was a partner in a Houston law firm that represented the scandal-ridden energy giant Enron."

An Attorney General that represented Enron. Sounds like a punchline, doesn't it? You know Ashcroft had to be bad if the pro-torture Enron lawyer is seen as an improvement! (All ego aside, I've had a couple of people tell me I should write for "The Daily Show". While I appreciate that - how frigging hard could that job be? Look at the material they have to work with!)

BTW - that funny George Bush's Journal Blog? Haven't been able to get on it for a couple of days. Think Ashcroft whacked the author?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Since I don't expect life to get any easier for lower-middle class folks like myself, I'm engaged in an intense job search. My goal: get the hell out of California, avoid the Bible Belt, try to live within driving distance of ocean or mountains. Any hot leads for recruiter jobs within the aforementioned would be greatly appreciated.

Fallujah might be an option, since it's becoming fairly obvious that the bulk of insurgents who were supposed to sitting there waiting to be killed by the Marines obviously thought better of that and bugged out.

Gee. What a shocker. We've only been hearing about the Fallujah attack for weeks. I said yesterday that all this talk of Fallujah being some kind of turning point was premature. Actually, it could be true. This may very well turn out to be the moment that we could have put a crimp in the insurgents' plans, but blew it by not adhering to one of the chief elements of military success - surprise.

Meanwhile, the stupidest people in America just had their number reduced by one:
I'm not sure why one would go with an imaginary devil worshipping cult over the husband who was having multiple affairs, lied to his favorite mistress about his dead wife, and tried to sneak across the border with survival gear, a ton of cash, and a brand new red 'do and goatee. Then again, I'd be disqualified from jury duty, because I'd probably answer "No" to the "Are you a fucking moron?" question.

I will take leave of you now, as this news prompts me to do a lengthy Happy Dance:

Monday, November 08, 2004

The interesting thing about the current situation in Iraq is that Allawi apparently waited until TODAY to close the country's borders with Jordan and Syria. We've heard for months about foreign fighters entering the country to join up with the insurgents - and yet today was the day that the borders were closed. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. After all, no one could be that stupid - an idiot on a galactic scale - to not secure the borders of a country in the grip of a civil war. Right?

The sad thing is that despite a massive exodus there are still an estimated 50,000 civilians in Fallujah. Civilian deaths in Iraq have reached an unacceptable level, and who knows what the ultimate effect of that will be. Those deluded folks who still like to compare the current Iraq situation with the liberation of Europe in World War II forget that there wasn't TV - imagine what a Third Reich al-Jazeera would've done to rally the Germans to keep fighting.

But frankly, the Fallujah thing just doesn't interest me. Because despite the media's attempt to portray it is as some sort of Last Battle (I had this vision, while half asleep at my desk here at work, of a group of Marines pinned down by insurgent gunfire - suddenly, they're saved by the Ewoks!), it won't be. Because despite the body count reports (might be a good time to take another look at The Pentagon Papers, folks), plenty of insurgents will give our boys the slip and regroup in another lovely urban Iraqi setting. Google Samarra and Ramadi for a sneak preview.

So I finally caught my first post-Shaq/Phil Laker game, last night against the lowly Atlanta Hawks. Surreal - lots of guys I didn't know (Tierre Brown?). But there were some pleasant surprises - and none of them were named Kobe. Caron Butler - 22 points. The aforementioned Tierre - 13 points, 5 assists. And the biggest? Chris Mihm - Shaq's...replacement probably isn't the right word - 19 points, 10 boards, 4 blocked shots. Another guy with a double-double was Lamar Odom, 11 points, 11 boards. Granted, they played Atlanta, the Clippers of the East, but it was a promising victory, with lots of guys contributing. The key to this team's success on the court and with the fans is going to be a lot more victories with numbers like that. Should be an interesting season, and I'm actually excited to watch the new guys. (Need some kind of televised sports in my life, since Fox Sports World did not pick up the broadcasts of the remaining Springbok games - tests against Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England, the chance to win the Grand Slam against the Home Unions. Bitter. BITTER!)

Sigh. I already miss the campaign. This story was on the front page of

Friday, November 05, 2004

Thank God it's Friday. Really.

I'm not feeling well. Definitely have a pre-cold. Lucas is in full cold mode; this is his first encounter with illness, and no sir, he doesn't like it. Woke up stuffy, snotty and crying this morning at 4 ish. Snapped me right out of my Nyquil-induced stupor.

Much soul-searching this week. Yesterday I was trying to talk myself into quitting rugby (gasp!). After the last practice (last Tuesday) and the dings I incurred (neck, back, knee), I spent the better part of this week asking if risking further, potentially serious injury was worth it. Give credit to Beth for talking me out of being a, well, pussy. So it's back on; in fact, had a brief chat with a guy on my team who's interviewing for a job with us. He noted my absence at practice, reminded me that we have a game coming up, and that cemented it. I may be the oldest rook on the team, but that's ok. I'm not ready to quit. (If this were a movie, there'd be a segue here to a Dramatic Training Session Montage - me running up a snowy mountain pulling a tractor, punching slabs of frozen meat, wax on, wax off, etc.)

Some of that soul searching was of a political nature. I'm still pissed at losing, but after giving myself that couple of days to get over it, I'm even more pissed at the people that cost us the election. Those are the people, and I count myself among them, who forgot that there are a shitload of folks who DON'T live in California and New York, and they don't necessarily see things the way I do. And they resent the fact that I, and I'd venture to guess a fairly large version of my fellow Democrats, think they are foolish and ignorant for seeing the world, in part or in full, the way that George Bush does.

Want to know the secret? The reason we lost the election? That last sentence in the preceding paragraph is all the answer we need.

There's a series of articles on Slate today that I encourage everyone to take a look at; actually, I'd say they're required reading. The articles are entitled "Why Americans Hate Democrats", and they're written by several different authors. I don't agree with some of the takes (Jane Smiley goes a bit off the deep end), but as a whole - wow.

I posted this response in the Fray, and actually had some good exchanges with both "red" and "blue" voters.

"It's high time for Dems to take a look in the mirror when we start ranting about the close-mindedness of the other side. I've made my share of comments about GOP "rednecks and shitkickers", and guess what - my team lost the election. It's no coincidence that the Democratic bases are on the east and west coast, but lest we forget, there's a whole lot of country between the two. And in that space are a whole lot of people who for the most part want what we want - security, decent jobs, health care - and who ultimately have a lot more in common with us than maybe we care to admit. Like it or not, there's merit in the classic stereotype of elitist liberals (sorry, John Kerry - I'm a REAL surfer, and we hate poseurs more than Republicans). Until Democrats realize that, and realize that by vilifying people who share a different value set than ours, we're no better than the so-called "ideologues" and "religious nuts" that our party disdains. And we'll continue to lose elections."

Now, that's asking a lot - everytime I see my brother-in-law, a Rush Limbaugh-loving Nebraskan, I sneak a glance at his feet to see if his knuckles scrape the ground when he walks. But the Republicans were able to successful define the Dems as a fringe party, out of touch with the mainstream. The challenge is to prove them wrong, and win their hearts and minds in the process. (Don't ask me how. I'm an amateur hack. But "Anyone But Bush" didn't work this time - and in 2008, we have the chilling possibility of facing either McCain, Giuliani, or, God help us, AHnuld. You want to put Hillary up against that? Didn't think so.) I have faith that the GOP's policies will ultimately be their undoing, and that unfortunately a lot of people that voted for them will suffer in the process. The Democrats have got to give those people an alternative that provides better answers than "We're Not Republicans!". They have to stand for something, and that something has to resonate with people that believe in what Bush is selling.

But if that doesn't work, we could all move here:

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I think I'm actually depressed. Anger and fear have given way to the next stage in my acceptance of the Bush victory. Plus I think I caught whatever cold Lucas has; I've had that scratchy sensation in the back of my throat that comes on just before I get sick. Great.

I need to take a day off to process. On the one hand, there are rumblings that Ashcroft, Rice, Rumsfeld, and the disgraced Colin Powell will be gone come January - seems likely, and with the exception of Powell would be a great step forward for Bush, a tacit admission that he was getting bunk information from the jackals and enablers he hired. On the other, today's comment from Bush - "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it" - makes me nauseous and nervous. Cooler heads - McCain and Arlen Specter chief among them - are urging Bush to rein in his impulses. And the name that keeps surfacing as the Dems' great hope in 2008 is Hillary Clinton.

I gotta lie down.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Addendum to my earlier post: Today was Fray Day for me; I wanted to jump right in and mix it up with celebrating Bushies. So I went to Slate and began looking at the posts in The Fray. Interesting comments from the Bush people, and nearly every single one was centered around two recurring themes: "Dems stop whinning (sic)" and "Liberals should move to Canada".

So I decided to fire back with this response. "Tell us what we can expect the Bush administration to do regarding:1. the war in Iraq 2. the rising deficits 3. slow job growth and a slow economy 4. rising health care costs 5. Al Qaeada and the fact that bin Laden is still alive. Give us, in detail, what Bush's plans for this country are. We're waiting." I put that reply on at least six pro-Bush posts.

Guess how many responses I got.

Well, I didn't throw myself in front of a moving bus this morning.

Here's the country we woke up to. Bush is President for the next four years, and the GOP controls the House and the Senate. Last night in a televised interview, Bill Frist stated his intention to make all abortions illegal (you'll read and hear his quote in the days ahead, trust me) and this morning on the Today Show hinted that he felt the GOP won a "decisive" victory in last night's Congressional and presidential elections.

To those of you who believe that we're going to see an attempt to unite the country and move forward in a moderate, bi-partisan way, I urge you to put down your bongs and realize this: this president has NEVER made that effort, even as the results in 2000 showed that more people VOTED AGAINST HIM than for him. The tallies for this election show that 48% of the country - half the population - VOTED AGAINST HIM. And yet we are already seeing the beginnings of the far right's attempt to finally impose their will on the majority of citizens who are firmly in the center of the political spectrum.

Make no mistake. We are not going to get any international support in Iraq; I predict that we'll still be in there when 2008 rolls around, and we'll have sent at least 5,000 Americans to their deaths. If Rehnquist retires or dies, we're going to get a conservative Justice who will do his or her damndest to overturn Roe v. Wade. The rights of gays and lesbians are going to be whittled away - the next logical stop for this will be the workplace, where protection under the law will not be guaranteed. There will be another major al Qaeda attack on U.S. soil. And we will be involved in a shooting war in Iran or, God help us, Korea.

And whose fault will that be?

Last night I pointed out the stat that showed something on the order of 8% fewer people in the 30 to 44 demographic voted. And the numbers for the youth block stayed the same - sure, registrations were up, but someone forgot to tell the fuckwits in Gen Y that they need to put down the Xbox for a second and actually GO VOTE. (To you 18-22 year olds out there, I have some advice: bring lots of sunscreen for your trip to the Middle East.)

To Republicans: when your son comes home from Iraq without an arm or a leg, or in a box, or when your daughter dies from a botched back-alley abortion, think about the vote you cast.

My beef, though, isn't with them. It's with my own party. Losing to Bush once was regrettable. Twice is inexcusable. William Saletan posted a dead-on piece on Slate this morning about why Bush won. He kept it simple. I'm a big a fan of nuance as anyone, but this fact remains: Americans, by and large, are stupid. A good chunk of us still believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. That the Democrats gave the country more credit for brains than they should have was nice. And it's why Kerry lost. The next guy (yes, guy - sorry, Hillary, but we need the redneck vote) needs to be a Bill Clinton with an impeccable military record and the ability to keep his dick in his pants. Clinton was simple in talk, complex in walk.

Here's the thing. The race for the White House in 2008 began this morning, as soon as Kerry made his concession. The Democrats have two options: let the GOP walk all over them for 4 years, or fight tooth and nail every step of the way. The silver lining is this: we've got the ball. Bush and the Republicans will have no one else to blame for what happens over the next four years.

(UGH. I really can't work here long term, I've decided. These sad, deluded idiots that work around me are literally doing happy dances.)

So here's some final advice - give yourselves today to grieve. Tomorrow, rally your sense of humor, optimism and outrage (the three things that drive me to do this blog) and get to work. Call up your local party office and see what you can do to get involved. The game's not over. It just started.

(Just thought of something - I have four years' worth of stuff to write about now!)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

8:15 PST. More local coverage. Lucas is hanging out on the couch with us. He's laughing hysterically at Beth, who keeps saying "Mom-ME" to him. This is apparently only funny coming from her; my attempts to get the same reaction are drawing blank stares. On TV, there are some guys in the crowd at Election Central holding up campaign signs that read "Maverick/Goose '04" . Goose is dead - you gotta let him go. Prop 71, the stem cell research initiative, will pass. Good guys, 1, Flat Earth Society, 0.

8:30 PST. Back to the national race. Kerry has Pennsylvania. Again with the number crunching from Russert. Yay! Karen Hughes is on. She's telling us how Bush is a uniter. Unfortunately, no one throws a brick at her. I just chugged a mug of hot cocoa.

8:47 PST. Alan Simpson is calling in from Dick Cheney's house, telling us how warm and wonderful Cheney is. Oops, just voided my bowels.

8:55 PST. Ohio has lost 250,000 jobs over the past four years - and they'll probably go with Bush. Those poor, deluded suckers. They get what they deserve.

So, I'm beginning to think, do we all. Looks like Bush is going to win. If so, I'll take heart in the fact that he'll screw this country so bad a Republican won't sit in the White House until 2016.

Ok - eyes are killing me. I'm signing off. More tomorrow.

5:58 PST. And we're back! Thanks to the new laptop given to Beth by her employers, I'm coming to you from the Home Office.

Skipped rugby. Pang of guilt. Oh, well. We have history going on, and I'd be remiss in my duty if I were to spend the evening running around playing ball.

At 6:00, Kerry has 112 EV's, Bush has 156. The states are falling in line as expected. Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania are in play, too close to call. Nailbiter.

6:05 PST. Bush campaign manager Crash Bandicoot - wait, no, Mark Racicot - is saying something about how Bush is a uniter, and has been working hard to bring the country together. Note to self: regardless of what happens, I'm going to become active in the Democratic Party. Anything I can do to make sure that someone like Bush NEVER again occupies the White House.

6:35 PST. Just finished dinner - tomato bisque, bread, and salad. Moved to the couch. Now armed with Sam Adams beer and peanut M & M's. Fuck - Bush has the lead in Florida. Feeling nauseous. Tim Russert is saying it's a dead even race. I don't see it. From my seat it looks like Kerry is slipping.

6:50 PST. Too goddamn many commercials. Going to local coverage; the California polls close in an hour. Don't think I'm not pissed that I live in the most powerful and influential state in the country, with the 5th largest economy in the WORLD, and our votes won't mean shit in the Presidential election. Here's a Fun Fact! The guy who won the Senate seat in South Carolina is an ultraconservative Republican who wants to pass a law prohibiting single mothers from taking teaching jobs. That's the face of the GOP, folks.

7:04 PST. Now we have Ken Mehlman, Bush campaign manager. He needs to be hit in the head with a shovel. Sorry - getting a bit testy. I'm sure he's a good guy. Even though he looks like a NAMBLA member.

7:12 PST. Russert has a new electronic tablet to replace his cheap little dry erase board. He just reminded us of what I'd overlooked in my current state of anxiety - the West Coast is Kerry's.

7:30 PST. Over1.6 million absentee ballots are out in Florida. Think we'll find out who won that state tonight? We're now with the Daily Show's live coverage. Somehow it makes more sense than NBC's. Lots of jokes about "the upcoming civil war".

7:43 PST. Outrage. Pure and simple. NBC showed stats that indicate that about 8% FEWER PEOPLE FROM 30 TO 44 VOTED IN THIS ELECTION THAN IN THE LAST. Unfuckingbelievable.

8:00 PST. Now an 8 point difference in electoral votes; California and Washington are in. Oregon is on the way. Here's a thought: West Coast secession!

Alright - let's post this lot. Back with more in a few.

3:52 PST. I'm going to keep one continuous post up, and mark the time accordingly. MSN will be showing returns of eastern states whose polls are closing at 7:00. Unfortunately, Florida is open until 8:00, so I won't be able to do a "live" reaction. Very, very tempted to skip rugby to watch the coverage, BTW.

Wild speculation continues on exit poll numbers - which, again, I won't comment on for fear of jinxing my boy's chances. I will say this - I haven't heard the Bushies I work say squat today. There is fear in their eyes - their king may be deposed.

4:05 PST. As predicted, the hillbilly and shitkicker vote is trending to Bush, who picked up Indiana, Kentucky, and Georgia (note: this should give the Bush administration more cannon fodder for Iraq, as Kentucky and Georgia boast the highest concentration of Civil War - er, the War Between The States - reenactors. Costs of arming them will be minimal, as they can bring their own muskets.). Phish fans, who've taken to following Kerry around the country since the band broke up, have given Kerry Vermont.

4:17 PST. Florida's polls close at 7:00. Frantically searching for updates, but the Internet is sllllllloooooowwwww. Damn you, Al Gore! Your invention is useless!

4:20 PST. Dude. 4:20. If only.

4:22 PST. Apparently there was some sort of naval confrontation between North and South Korea today. Not to worry. No nuclear weapons were used.

4:35 PST. As expected, Bush gets West Virginia. Dick Cheney is squealin' like a pig. Weeeeeee! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (Speaking of "Deliverance", one thing I never understood about that infamous scene - if you're a lonely hillbilly lookin' for love, and along comes fat balding Ned Beatty and young strapping Jon Voight, why choose the former? I understand that Jon Voight, in the words of one of the amorous rednecks, had "a real purty mouth", but still.)

4:48 PST. Getting dark out, and almost time to leave. Still torn over rugby. Hate to miss two practices in a row, but I live for this election crap.

And, sadly, I'll have to cut this post off until tomorrow. Our home computer is still ass-up, so I can't blog from the Home Office. Well, we'll know soon enough. Hopefully.

1:30 PST. We're at the midpoint. And as much as I hate 'em, I took a look at the exit polls posted on Slate.

And they are very, very encouraging. But no jinxing.

Speaking of encouraging, I'd like to take this opportunity to reach across the aisle, and invite everyone to join me in thanking a person whose absence during this campaign has been a blessing to us all. Whether you're a Democrat or Republican, this man has cast a shadow over far too many elections, and his silence this year is something we can all be eternally grateful for. His "involvement" in politics began shortly after his career as a solo artist began spiraling down the tubes. He gave up his perm for a Bono-inspired greasy ponytail, and admonished rich folks everywhere for being, well, rich, all the while showing his connection to the working man by charging $150 for the cheap seats to his old band's annual reunion concerts. Yes, Don Henley, you saw that Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac, and while the rest of us shook our heads at that painfully trite metaphor, you continued to write lame attempts at "political" songs like "The End of The Innocence", and...uh....well, I'm sure there were a couple of others. So thanks, Don Henley, for sitting this one out.

Back with more in a few.

I'm proudly wearing my "I Voted" sticker. Got to the polls at 8 this morning; Beth had left a few minutes before me and she was in line, about 7 people ahead of me. I've never had to wait in line to vote before, and while I normally hate waiting, today it was a good thing.

Democracy works. Even when party hacks on both sides try their best to scare people away from the polls (yeah, I'm talking to all you so-called Democrats who are giving shit to people with Bush stickers on their cars or Bush signs in their yards, doing things like slashing tires and throwing bottles, as was reported in Wisconsin. You want to act like Brownshirt Ohio Republicans, go join their party. Don't forget to shine your jackboots.), news reports indicate that voters are turning out in record numbers.

One more word on the whole GOP challenger thing: I was half hoping that some Republican was going to come up to me this morning and demand to see my ID. That would have been one of the worst days of that person's life. Although there haven't been any reports of confrontations in Ohio, I have a feeling that it's going to get ugly. Then again, there's only supposed to be 1 challenger per party at each polling location, which seems to me to be rather ineffective, especially as these people are volunteers who probably will think twice before they get up in someone's grille. Who knows. Like everything else, it's mystery that'll play out as the day progresses.

I'll be back a couple of times today, as events warrant. No predictions. Don't want to jinx anything.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Well, we're either seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, or the entrance into a really bright version of Hell, but the election is tomorrow. The Election Tracker at Slate is literally being updated on an hourly basis. Every bit of poll info is being analyzed. It's giving me a bit of a headache.

Here in San Diego, we've got ourselves a doozy of a mayoral race, with three shining stars to choose from:

Dick Murphy, our current mayor. Under his watch, the Padres' new ballpark was built. Also, the city's credit rating went down the toilet, there's been a scandal involving securities fraud and the pension fund, and the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office are conducting corruption investigations into city bureaucrats and city council members. And frankly, in this day and age, no self-respecting male should EVER go by the moniker of "Dick".

Ron Roberts, County Supervisor. The Dick Gephardt of San Diego, Ron has run for Mayor three times, and is hoping to strike gold on Run Number 4. Apparently he's done some good things, at least according to the bio on his website. Unfortunately, he's got a record of voting for nice increases in pay and benefits for himself. And he voted for a And he's a 3 time loser. (This, I think, has to do with his name. There's a general feeling of revulsion towards people whose first names are a variation of their last. Mitch Mitchell, Jimmy James, Bob Roberts, etc. RON Roberts doesn't exactly qualify as such, but it's close enough. He has a Used Car Salesman name, which will damn him.)

Donna Frye, City Council. Donna is the wife of surfing legend Skip Frye. Skip is an old school longboarder from the Robert August/Miki Dora/Phil Edwards days; still very active in and out of the water, he shapes overpriced boards while constantly being an asshole to younger surfers who paddle out in Pacific Beach. Donna is an old school hippie chick whose tenacity in opposing a proposal by SeaWorld (the park wanted carte blanche to build, among other things, a roller coaster, a cruise ship port, and a brothel) led her to a seat on the City Council. Her biggest problem: she's a write-in candidate. This will undoubtedly confuse people, especially her hippie-surfer base. Her biggest strength: she's not a corrupt jackass, like her two opponents.

So, in a fit of Idealism, I'm voting for Mrs. Frye.

Here in California, we also have Propositions to vote on. For those of you unfamiliar with how a Proposition works, I'll explain: powerful special interest groups hire guys to convince people at grocery stores and malls to sign petitions for ballot measures; once enough signatures are collected, the groups that stand to make a lot of money of the proposition and the groups that stand to lose a lot of money because of the proposition run TV ads that are filled with half-truths and outright lies about said proposition. Democracy in action!

I play it safe. I vote no on all of 'em. (With one exception this time: Prop 71, which creates government funding in California for stem-cell research. The Governator broke from the GOP on this, and for very pragmatic reasons: the biotech industry is big in California, and investing in it will prove to be an economic, as well as moral and scientific, windfall. Yeah, I said moral. Reactionary, religion-based opposition to the advancement of knowledge is about as immoral as it gets.)

One last thing: as of 3:02 PST, U.S. forces have not launched an attack on Fallujah. Back tomorrow with Election Day coverage.