Thursday, February 28

Texas Democrats: please close your eyes

If you're voting as a Democrat in the 2008 Texas Primary Election, there are three questions at the end of the other party's ballot that you'll never see:


Federal, state, and local officials should be required to enforce U.S. immigration laws in order to secure our borders. (Yes/No)

Photo ID

The Texas Legislature should make it a priority to protect the integrity of our election process by enacting legislation that requires voters to provide valid photo identification in order to cast a ballot in any and all elections conducted in the State of Texas. (Yes/No)

Controlling Government Growth

Every governmental body in Texas should be required to limit any annual increase in its budget and spending to the combined increase of population and inflation unless it first gets voter approval to exceed the allowed annual growth or in the case of an official state of emergency. (Yes/No)

When I asked the Texas Secretary of State, I was told (quote):
"These issues are referenda that was ordered by the state Republican party and will appear only on the republican ballot."
Since I've already voted (on the anniversary of the 22nd Amendment), I can confirm this to be true.

Wednesday, February 27

A man, a plan, a canal - Panama!

There are still a LOT of people on the Texas Republic Party's ballot for POTUS, even though John Sidney McCain III has already clinched the nomination (unless that little Panama Canal Zone birthplace issue turns out to be a problem - ha!). I guess he didn't pay attention to that checkbox on his application that said:
(x) I am a natural born Citizen.
Didn't anyone from the RNC bother comparing his Wikipedia page to Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution? This is just part of a disturbing trend I've seen with McCain in the primary: first, deny. Later, admit you "may have" done whatever you denied. Next, hem and haw.

Anyhoo, on the Texas Republic Party's ballot, there are 11 remaining on the menu:

Hugh Cort
John McCain
Duncan Hunter
Fred Thompson
Rudy Giuliani
Hoa Tran
Mitt Romney
Alan Keyes
Mike Huckabee
Ron Paul

Only two (Huckabee and McCain) have a prayer of winning. After this Panama Canal Zone revelation - not to mention last week's alleged romantic interest with a lobbyist, you may be able to "stick a fork" in McCain's chances. We'll know on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, February 26

attention TiVo programmers ...

I programmed TiVo to record the Academy Awards on Sunday night ... even told it to grab an extra 15 minutes at the end. As it turned out, that wasn't enough .. it ran at least 16 minutes long (at least it captured the Best Picture award). Since I'd seen several of those nominated in the category (No Country for Old Men; There Will Be Blood; Juno) I can't say I was too disappointed .. although I did like Blood a wee bit better.
Note to future awards show hosts: unless TiVo finds a way to automagically adjust for delays (starting and ending) please find a way to end on time. More and more of us depend on TiVo and you're going to alienate more of us as the trend away from live TV viewing continues.
During (American) football season, I've learned to program [60 Minutes] to record one hour additional, due to the overtime of so many games. Sometimes, even an hour delay isn't sufficient.

A few days ago, my (tube) television started power cycling all by itself. At first, I assumed it was some practical joker standing outside with a remote on the same frequency. Then I realised that this television was bought in January 1999! I've been holding off on a (plasma HDTV) replacement until it finally kicks the bucket. Last night, it performed normally so I will (temporarily) blame an overheated component, and restrict its duty cycle for awhile. If it weren't such a pain to remove the back and blow out the accumulated dust, I'd do that too. As such, this 27-inch CRT (a Sony KV27V65) is simply too heavy for one person to move without risking serious injury, so .. I wait.

Worth noting: there's no sign of a KV27V65 on Sony's website (I was hoping for a PDF of the user's manual). So much for customer service.

Monday, February 25

political humor du juor

Pity these neocon clowns still have me on their list. I think I'd rather drink pig vomit than vote for their candidate, but .. here's what they said to my answering machine:
Hello, this is Governor Rick Perry calling for my friend John McCain with a special message for all Texas Republicans. Early voting has started and you have until Friday to cast your vote early. I hope you'll join me in voting for John McCain.

Like me, I know that you want a president who is a solid Ronald Reagan conservative, one who will cut taxes and eliminate wasteful spending, a president who supports our values, a visionary with the military and national security experience needed to lead our country in the war on terror. John McCain is that man.

He'll never waver in his commitment to conservative principles. His character, honor and integrity are unmatched. I hope you'll join me - Governor Rick Perry, both of our senators (Cornyn and Hutchison), and conservative leaders across Texas in uniting our party behind John McCain.

Paid for by John McCain 2008, 703-650-5646
It's quite funny that they persist in repeating the lies: that McCain is a conservative, that he'll cut taxes, that his values are anywhere near my own, and that he's honorable. Now that I've heard that humor, I don't have to watch cartoons this week.

I'm considering voting early this year, on Wednesday the 27th .. since that's the anniversary of the enactment of the 22nd Amendment of the US Constitution. It seems only fitting, else we'd surely be looking at a third term for Karl Christian Rove's Regime.

Related: Christine Allison: Why this Republican is voting for Obama

Amusing spot of the day: Fake Steve Jobs: Cornered Clintstones attack: This Obama guy is black! Who knew?

Sunday, February 24

2008 Election Footnote (at best)

So Ralph Nader (who turns 74 years old this Wednesday) is gonna run again -- for the 5th time -- as a third party candidate? Someone should clue him in, that he has less of a chance than even Mike Gravel. At this point, Nader's doing it only to stroke his ego. Pity - I used to respect him (in the 1960s).

I suspect his financial backers are (almost exclusively) members of the Republic party, who see his spoiler role as the only way to elect (warmonger) John McCain in November (unless Clinton somehow gets the nomination, in which case they'll have an easy way to mobilize their base).

Someone please queue "Mr. T" to utter his trademark line.

Friday, February 22

Dallas' darkest day?

In what may go down in history as the darkest day in Dallas history, Southern Methodist University (most famous for a huge football scandal in 1987) announced that construction of the George W. Bush Presidential Liberry will begin on their campus next year, to be completed by 2014.

The site is generally located west of the intersection of US-75 (Central Expressway) and Yale Boulevard.

SMU might as well close its doors now; no self-respecting student could ever attend there again, after this disastrous maldecision.

Wednesday, February 20

Obama in Dallas

At least once in my lifetime, I decided I should attend a political rally. Today was the day: Democratic candidate Barack Obama visited Dallas and spoke to a capacity crowd at Reunion Arena in Dallas.
Reunion Arena is where the Dallas Stars and Mavericks used to play, before the American Airlines Center opened. Now, it's relegated to a few weeks a year (concerts).
I took the DART train to Union Station (about a half mile walk from Reunion Arena), arriving at 10:30am -- then later heard that people started arriving at 4:30am, to be at the front of the line. By the time I arrived,the End of The Line was on the fourth floor of the adjoining parking structure. It reminded me of a bad (read: typical) day at Disneyland, where the line to any ride is often 1-2 hours long. And then, when we got to a certain point, the 6-across line turned into a single-file mad dash for the door, several blocks away (by then, there was no security to be seen).
Update (Friday):
Secret Service defends security at Obama rally in Dallas
"Capacity" is listed as somewhere between 16,626-19,000 depending on configuration, so I'm not sure how many people were there .. but I do know the Fire Marshall was turning some people away (there were people on the return train telling of their experience). In front of the stage was a tightly-packed standing section, with the TV cameras elevated behind them. Then there were 22 tables setup for the press (presumably) in front of a large "no man's land" on the arena floor.

Most of us were seated in the arena seats, above the floor. Here's the (zoom lens) view from my seat, so high up that I could touch the ceiling of the arena. At least the JumboTron was working.

Since the NBA was routinely able to seat 17,000 people in Reunion Arena in under an hour (for many years) it's obvious to me this "line around the building and waaaaay into the parking lot" was done to look good to the cameras (TV news helicopters hovering overhead, and still photographers carefully placed to make the crowd look more energized than actual).

Monday, February 18

focus shift

Noteworthy: if the recent poll taken in St. Petersburg is any indication, the true center of American Stupidity has shifted from Kansas to Florida. Ref: Faith trumps science

Saturday, February 16


Well, I got rid of 1.5 boots (BritSpeak for "trunk") worth of e-waste today. The City of Dallas was sponsoring a Quarterly Recycling Event at a nearby park, so .. I took advantage and got rid of all sorts of circuit boards and cables and .. stuff .. that I will never use again.

Turns out the City had contracted with BCD Electro ("Electronics Recycling – Surplus Electronics – Computer Recycling") to handle all the electronics waste, and -- despite the rain -- they were doing a reasonable amount of "business" when I was there.

I still have 2 CRT monitors that have been sitting in my garage; I'm reluctant to part with them because -- even though they probably have zero value -- they cost hundreds of dollars and still work (they just take up lots of space and use lots of amps).

Now, I simply have to avoid the same mistake - buying stuff that'll ever be obsolete. Where do I start?

Saturday, February 9

random observations

Texas' primary election is March 4 .. about 30 days away.

observation #1: I personally believe that US Americans .. in the coming four weeks .. Mike Huckabee will pass John McCain to win the Texas Republic [sic] primary (he's behind 33-43 at the moment, but that will change). I also predict that Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic primary (she's ahead 48-38 now), mainly due to the large number of both bigots and poorly-educated religious zealots that somehow got voter registration cards. I know the polls are currently showing McCain and Clinton to win, but with the right's current disgust with McCain, I predict Huckleberry will eke out the victory.

observation #2: I used to like Ben Stein .. when he had the "Win Ben Stein's Money" game show on Comedy Central, or his incredibly boring delivery in the ClearEyes commercials. I didn't even mind (so much) that he was one of Nixon's speechwriters. But, over the past few years I've come to see him for what he really is: a delusional right-wing sociopath. Latest example: Is Ben Stein the new face of Creationism? by Roger Moore, in the Orlando Sentinel.

observation #3: Being the Philip Seymour Hoffman fan that I am, I had to see The Savages (2007) .. which is a thoroughly depressing film about the effect of Alzheimer's on a family. Recommended, but don't screen it when you're feeling blue .. it may send you over the edge.

Monday, February 4

got sign?

Tomorrow is Super (Duper) Tuesday, but you'd never know it in Texas. Our primary is March 4th, and I don't recall seeing any political yard signs (except for Ron Paul -- who inspires the crazies), which are the staple of campaigns here. I suspect most campaigns are waiting to see whether they're still viable after tomorrow.

Texas Governor PrettyHair (Rick Perry) endorsed Rudy Giuliani, who promptly dropped out of the race. Ever the opportunist (ala Hillary Clinton), PrettyHair then endorsed John McCain - probably because he's the Lead GOPher at the moment, and Perry's desperate to back a winner, to salvage his own political future.

A few days ago, I had the car radio on and heard a politician whose voice I didn't immediately recognize .. turns out it was Barack Obama, who's as articulate as any human I've known. Odds are that I'll endorse him by the time the Texas (open) primary rolls around, unless I feel the need to seriously mess with anything happening over on the Repugnican side (assuming Mitt Romney hasn't thrown in the towel by then).

Politics aside .. Judy-Bob wandered by yesterday afternoon and wanted to feed with Joe-Bob at Genghis Grill (what's more traditional than Mongolian BBQ during the Super Bowl?) .. but we arrived to find them closed (horrors!!). Plan B became Pei Wei, which was open to only a handful of customers - the staff easily outnumbered the customers. I sampled the Pad Thai which was quite acceptable, thank you very much.

Meanwhile, Miles (and his mom) are here for one more week - they're due to mosey back to Phoenix on Saturday, I think. Since Judy-Bob and Janice-Bob played "Thelma and Louise" last week, taking US-287 to I-40 (en route Albuquerque), Paula's thinking about taking that route home, for a change of pace from the I-20 to I-10 boredom.