Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

I think just about everyone is glad to see 2008 go. Ironic that one of the greatest events of our lifetime, the election of an intelligent, non dogmatic person as President, happened during this miserable year.

They say that the worst of times can bring out the best or the worse in people. I have seen both this year. I have seen strangers get closer because of the common bond of uncertainty, and I have seen people take advantage of the dire situation. As for myself, I have changed a lot in 2008. By seeing the worst and the best of people I have also expanded my own personality and behavior. This year I have seen many surprising successes while enduring some painful failures. No year before has had such dramatic ups and down. I end this year battered and bruised but still alive and still enthusiastic for the future.

In 2009 I hope to blend the best of the "new" Mark - focused, driven and aggressive while bringing back some of the "old" Mark - thoughtful, compassionate and true to myself. If I can accomplish that in any significant way over the next twelve months then 2009 looks to be a much better year. I wish that for myself and for all of you!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Home for the Holidays

The flights yesterday were crowded but on time. After many years, I have finally mastered the art of sleeping on airplane. The secret? Don't get enough sleep for weeks on end prior to boarding a plane. Quite simple really. I have been in South Florida about 12 hours and have already ate a ton and slept a ton. Now to step out in the 75 degree sunshine.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Homeward Bound

I couldn't pick a better time to head back to Florida for a break. The weather here is beyond freezing and exhaustion and fatigue have taken their toll. I need to get out of here for a while. A week in the comforts of family is just what the doctored ordered. I get to Miami about 6pm via Washington D.C. I'm looking forward to good company, good food, good weather and some good sleep.I'm going to the exact right place for that.
View Larger Map

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

I found a list of the The Top Dozen Insights of Conservatives for 2008. Below is my favorite because it clearly illustrates the folly of the (economic) Conservative movement. For a generation they told us to rely on the "miracle" of capitalism and the all knowing good of "the invisible hand". For years we were scolded that capitalism must be allowed to operate freely and without restrictions. For years, evidence to the contrary has been very visible. Sadly, most Americans ignored the truth and were convinced to not believe their lying eyes. Alan Greenspan's' comment after the economic collapse shows that even smart people fell into this stupid, stupid trap.
"I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms".

Happy Friday!

I got a full night's sleep last night for the first time in what seems like a very long while. That alone will make this a Happy Friday. Add to that, I have tomorrow off, got a Christmas event to go to tonight and it's expected to snow like crazy all day long. So I start this day with a smile.

If I have time later at work I may do some more posting. There are a lot of great news stories I could comment on. For example, the New York Senate seat. Caroline Kennedy is getting most of the press and is the subject of a lot of speculation. I'm not crazy about the pick but could live with it. Andrew Cuomo is the other name but I'm only lukewarm on him too. Let's get someone who is not political royalty.

I think New York needs someone representing them in the Senate who pulls himself up by the bootstraps everyday. Someone who lives, works, breathes New York. Someone who knows what it's like to work more and more for less and less. Someone who can relate to the millions of people in this state that have to get up, go to work and make the sacrifices to pay the bills just to have the privilege of getting up and doing it again the next day. Therefore I would like to throw my hat into the ring. I nominate myself for the U.S. Senate. I have a famous last name - which seems to be a requirement - yet I am not part of the political elite.

Yes, I am the perfect choice! Governor Patterson - how can you not see this?!?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Big Snow

No doubt about it this time - it's snowing. Huge flakes too. Biggest I've ever seen. Some of it is sticking too. Will it accumulate? Check back and I'll tell you.
webcam

UPDATE 6 PM: It did not stick and it's now freezing rain. The weather people say expect an inch of "snow" tonight which means it will probably not snow at all.

UPDATE 8PM: It's snowing and it's sticking.

Suprising Shoe Story

I'm sure all of you have seen the video of the Iraqi reporter throwing his shoes at President Bush. I call this story "surprising" for these reasons.
1. When I saw the tape I felt real anger toward the reporter, real sympathy toward Bush and real pride that Bush handled it as smoothly as he did. Give him credit, he ducked away perfectly without looking wimpy and his comments afterwards put the best face possible on the incident. This is surprising because, as you know, I think Bush is the worst president ever and has caused more widespread suffering than anyone in American history. Still, my initial instinct was that he is our President and I don't appreciate people throwing stuff at him. I know it was only shoes, but if they had hit him, they would have broken his nose, knocked him out or worse. I guess I simply don't like violence - even towards George W. Bush.
2. I was surprised at the good aim of the reporter. Seriously, that guy knows how to throw shoes! He had perfect aim.
3. I was surprised at the US Secret Service. Where the hell were they? How in the world was that guy allowed to throw not one but two shoes at the President? They better be more on the ball than that for Obama.
4.I am surprised at the world reaction. I expected a mix of my type of disdain with maybe a little joking around about it. Nope. The middle east, and much of the rest of the world is celebrating this! The level of hatred for George W. Bush is much deeper than I realized. When millions celebrate and revere a person who throws shoes at Bush, it says something about his standing in the world. Also, it reminds us that the Iraqi people, for the most part, resent the war and do not feel grateful for their "liberation".

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mark at Work

I really don't talk about work in any great detail here but I figured that I would share a couple of photos taken last week of me at my at my place of employment.

Here I am at my desk

This is what happens when I act up - which is pretty frequent really

Friday, December 12, 2008

Yayyy! I was wrong

One minute before the stock market closes and thankfully no crash. (Been very cloudy and gloomy today in NYC so I was sort of right - it was a "dark day on Wall Street"). While I'm on a roll, let me add my voice to those speculating on where the stock market will eventually "bottom out" before it rebounds. Obviously, this is just a hunch - I'm not an economist, but I predict the Dow will bottom out in the mid to upper 5000's somewhere between 5,380 and 5,830.
CHART: Dow Jones performance over the past 12 months.

If you Twitter me I'll Twitter you back

I have changed my twitter name to Mark the Blogger. If you have the Internet and/or unlimited text messages there is no way you should not go to twitter.com now - set up your free account and sign up for my mini blog posts or "twitters". Do it. Now. Hurry.

Quote of the Day

"Can we continue to listen to Rush Limbaugh? Is this really the kind of party that we want to be when these kinds of spokespersons seem to appeal to our lesser instincts rather than our better instincts?"

- Colin Powell, 12/11/08, lamenting the current state of the Republican party

Hope I'm Wrong

The stock market opens in 1 minute and I have a sinking feeling that the market will crash hard today. Was listening to Bloomberg (financial) radio while taking a shower and I have never heard them sound so frantic. I hope I'm wrong, but this could be a real bad day on Wall Street. Again.

Happy Friday!

Christmas is just a couple weeks away now and I fly down to Miami in just 11 days. I can't wait. New York is looking very Christmassy with lights everywhere. No snow on the ground though. I've got a Christmas party tomorrow and it's probably good that I have to work the next day. Somehow, with all the financial turmoil and widespread uneasiness, the real spirit of Christmas shines through. Getting together with loved ones and spending time together is the greatest gift of all. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Song of the Day

In my quest to discover new music I have been reading up on things in some music magazines which fortunately are available free of charge where I work. I remember back in the day I could not get enough of that stuff. Especially when I lived in London, I would always know everything about the music scene. Anyway, I read about a band called "Mumford and Sons" in one of the mags and found this charming video of these young lads from Ireland. I hope you enjoy it. (Not sure if I have the title of the song right)

Mumford and Sons
"Banjalin Song" (?)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

"That's the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush Administration was a national disaster."
-Bill Schnider, political analyst, commenting on Barack Obama's approval/disapproval rating numbers of 79/18

Song of the Day: "Peace Love & Understanding"

This is my new favorite Christmas song. It’s not really a Christmas song at all, but it was featured on the incredibly funny “A Corbert Christmas” (look for reruns or the DVD - it’s a must see). This is a remake of the Elvis Costello classic “Peace, Love and Understanding”. This version, straight from the TV special, features Corbert, Costello, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, John Legend, and Feist. It’s a beautiful rendition of a powerful song and perfect for this troubled Holiday season. (This “video” is really just “audio”- those pesky copywrite laws you know)

Various Artists
From “A Corbert Christmas”
“Peace, Love & Understanding”

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Falling not Sticking

Well last night's snow didn't last long or stick anywhere. I woke up and looked out the window expecting an inch or two on the ground but the weathermen were wrong yet again. It has started to snow a little bit now so that's cool. It's looks real nice but I'm not sure if it going to last or stick this time. Nonetheless, snow has fallen, winter is here and I like it!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quickies

Fonzies' back. You may recall that when I first moved to New York just over 3 years ago, I was constantly misidentified as "Fonzie" from Happy Days. You'll recall that people would point, stare and quite frequently ask me if I was "the Fonz". That stopped about a year and a half ago as mysteriously as it first appeared. Well it's back. On the ride into work today I saw the whispering and pointing but, as again I'm sure you know, I think that I am always being stared at and whispered about. Anyway, sure enough as I was leaving the train I overheard the husband say to the wife" See it is Fonzie!". Ayyyyye.

Still waiting for the first snow. The weather is mostly cool and often cold. I love it. But still no snow.

Tomorrow I have my first real day off in 2 1/2 weeks. Yes, I even had to work Thanksgiving. Yayyyyy for tomorrow.

There is a cool series of illustration about coffee (made mostly by coffee) here. Drawn by a coffee lover, it is the history of his experiences with the beverage. In this one below, he reminisces about his disappointment and disgust when give a COFFEE Ice cream cone as a child.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Now this is a tough job!

More Music

After years of not really listening to music I am getting back into it. But I am starting out with very limited knowledge of the modern music scene. So, if anyone out there has any suggestion of new bands or recent albums please let me know. I like stuff that is imaginative and unique. I like a good beat and interesting if not smart lyrics. I'm more into a soothing sound these days but some good rock or pop will work too. I like alternative but not so much experimental. That means I like new music but it does have to be music and not just a collection of random noises. Any suggestions?

Tuesday Roundup

I really don't have much of anything to blog about but I hate to go too long without posting something. Basically, I have been working more than ever, even as the economy melts away. Seems that more work for less pay is the legacy of this past generation of economic policies. It's been heading there for some time, but at least where I am at, more is expected of us while less is given. The Republican economic dream come to fruition.

Sports wise, my FSU Seminole stunk up the joint this weekend against the Gators. With half our players suspended or in jail and the other half limited in their talent, it's another year of decline under the stewardship of Bobby Bowden.

The Dolphins on the other hand are starting ... starting, to get their act together. They still could make a push for a wild card slot this year, but the most encouraging sign is that they are winning. They are ugly wins, but this year is different because they are actually notching the victories. I'll take ugly wins over ugly losses anytime.

I think the Obama cabinet picks are very strong. I am a strong believer in pragmatism and it seems my support is being vindicated because Obama is too. It's so funny - all these years I was called a radical liberal and all these years I was saying I was pragmatic and manic only in my desire to rid the nation of self proclaimed (and misnamed) "Conservatives". Most people had no idea what I was talking about. They bought into the "us vs. them", "liberal vs conservative" game and chose a side. As I have said many times, I am not a political "movement" kind of guy. Movements don't work - it's forcing an organized belief system on the inevitability disorganized human condition. I say: find out what works and do it. Be pragmatic and don't try to change the world to fit your beliefs. Thank God Obama understands that.

I have been playing around with a long post but I don't think it's ever going to get finished. So, let me sum it up from the 12 paragraphs my rough draft is currently in, to a few choppy sentences (Editing - so hard to do). You'll get the drift.

- Went to a bar after a particularly bad day on Wall Street.
- Had to sit next to some wealthy Republican. Neither one of us looked pleased.
- I broke the uncomfortable silence and forced a start to a conversation.
- He said (of the current economy) "We are all in this together"
- I thought he was full of bull -- how could HE relate to ME? Gimme a break!
- We actually talked for hours learning about our different lives and economic situation.
- I came to understood what he meant by "We are all in this together"
- While we all may be in different places, we are all together in our UNCERTAINTY
- Rich & poor Americans are in the same boat, not knowing if we will keep our job or pay our bills
- No matter where we are now - we are indeed all in this mess together.
- In a way, this is a good thing, in that it reminds us of our similarities and mutual vulnerabilities.

That's all for today, Have a good one!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Auto Industry Bail Out Plan

Among the many financial problems we are having is the imminent failure of the U.S. auto industry. Some argue that we should not do anything and let the auto makers fail. After all, the argument goes, they were responsible for getting themselves into this mess. Why should the taxpayers just hand over billions to them?

I agree with those sentiments. However, I am persuaded that to let the U.S. Auto Industry fail would have repercussions so far ranging and hurtful to the overall economy that we cannot let it occur. But, rather than just hand the money over, I have an idea.

Instead of just handing over billions of taxpaying dollars to the auto industry and hoping for the best why not attach some strings. How about all tax payers get "shares" in the amount for the loan. For instance, if the bailout equals $2,500 per taxpayer, each of us would get a certificate for our portion of the loan. This is not stock in the company, rather it is a voucher for our "share" of the loan.

We would all have to understand that these certificates may never have any value. But, if the auto industry does rebound, the original $2,500 value of the shares would appear and possibly grow. There would have to be a time limit before anyone could even hope to redeem them - 10, 20 years? But after that those shares could be used to get our money back at that time. The industry would have to stow away a portion of their profits (with the proportion growing over time) to be earmarked specifically for paying back the taxpayer. After the 10 or 20 year time period - we could cash in these vouchers for at least the face value.

Also as a bonus, since we all have a financial stake in this, Americans would be more likely to buy American over the next couple of decades, knowing that have a literal share in the success of the companies. If things go very well, Americans will put free market pressure on our auto industry to create better cars, we will all be motivated to purchase them, American jobs will stay here and we all profit from it. Sound like a great plan to me!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

1972 Dolphins & Their Fans Celebrate!

The Miami Dolphins remain the only NFL team to ever go all the way - undefeated, untied and World Champs!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm Gonna Get You Sucker!

Real or Hoax?

The first in a possible series asking the question "Real or Hoax". I was led to believe that it was real the first time I saw it and I believed it. Bruce Lee was amazing and could conceivably play ping pong with nun chucks. Others however were skeptical.
What do you think: Real or Hoax?


Friday, November 21, 2008

Picture of the Day

First Snow? No.

New York City has officially had it's first flurries over the past couple days. I saw a few on Tuesday and a couple today. But, I am not counting it as the official "First Snow" I have developed a personal definition of that. I was thinking what it should be. Is it when it sticks to the ground? No, that's too difficult. Is it when it is first sighted? Not to me, that could be dust or anything flying around. So my own personal definition is "snow that falls, hits me and I see or feel it melt". So far that hasn't happened but believe me, I will keep you posted.

Happy Friday

No music today and no profound thoughts from Mark the Blogger. It's Friday on the calendar and I even have off tomorrow. Sure, the stock market is free falling, New York City is reeling from the economy and things are sure to get worse before they get better. But I woke up today, am feeling healthy, got food in the cupboard and a couple Guinness' in the 'fridge. These days, that is more than enough to make a Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Song of the Day: I Walk The Line

I've got to go back to Johnny Cash again with this classic. Here's a clip from a 1959 performance. If you never listened to the lyrics carefully, you'll be surprised to learn it's actually a very nice love song.

Johnny Cash
I Walk The Line

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Song of the day: Electric Feel

This band is called MGMT. I don't know much about them but this song certainly caught my ear. The video is from a live show at Cardiff University. It's a very nice rendition of this unique sounding song. If you want to see the "studio" video look here - it's also very different and interesting.

MGMT
Electric Feel

Monday, November 17, 2008

Song of the Day: Gamma Ray

I've been a huge Beck fan ever since the first time I heard the song "loser" on the radio back in the day. He hasn't lost his quirkiness or his desire to put new sounding music out there year after year. This latest song is a prime example of that creativity.


Beck
Gamma Ray

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Song of the Day: "Paper Planes"

I have been hearing this song at work for the past couple months and I think it's brilliant. They sample a great song from The Clash which immediately caught my ear. Plus, it's very catchy, very sarcastic and has a touch of anarchy mixed in. Oh yeah, Rebel Music. It's got a fun - almost childlike rhythm to it - so much so I can imagine kids jumping rope to it on the street. Finally it deeply reflects two of my favorite cities showing New York City in the video and using London slang and attitude throughout the lyrics. This song by the muti-ethnic group M.I.A. is certainly a good way to kick start a Happy Friday.

M.I.A.
Paper Planes

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Song of the Day: Personal Jesus

Johnny Cash - Personal Jesus

This song is like a good lasagna - it gets better every time you reheat it. First recorded be Depeche Mode in the mid 1980’s, “Personal Jesus” has been covered a number of times and somehow manages to improve with each incarnation. By far, the very best version is this one by Johnny Cash, recorded shortly before his death. It’s haunting, gripping and a perfect fit for one of the powerful voices of our lifetime.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Song of the Day: "Human"

Now that I am listening to music more I will share some songs I like. Here's one that is currently getting a lot of air play on K-Rock in New York City and well beyond.

The Killers - Human

The Future of Social Conservatism?

"I'm starting to think that now is the time to showcase the GOP’s libertarian streak more than ever, even if that does mean sacrificing the fight for some social causes."- Big Daddy Jeff

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Thank you to all the Veterans out there. It's a huge sacrifice to be in the military and those who choose to serve their country deserve all our respect. Without them, we would not enjoy the variety of choices we have - both in the free market and our government. Few people like war, but no one should doubt the need for a military and the great freedom we in the United States enjoy because of our dedicated and talented troops.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Big Fat Post-Election blog

I have been meaning to write this post election blog for a while now, but, as usual it's hard to distill days worth of thoughts into a few paragraphs. But more than that, I am looking forward to taking a break from politics, so this is like a last hurrah for the 2008 election. It's so hard to say goodbye. So far, the break has been nice, I have even been watching less news and even started listening to MUSIC stations on the radio and switching from CNN and C-SPAN on the TV!! That's big for me.

Voting in Harlem was quite an experience. It took over two hours but, of course it was well worth it. At one point the slow moving line actually stopped. As people came out of the school where we were cued up to go into, people announced that the machine for one of the precincts was broken and that we had to fill out manual ballots. Well, you would have thought they were closing down the voting completely. People were outraged and quickly conspiracy theories swirled around about how "they" didn't want "our" votes to count. Their was also speculation that there was no way "they" would let Obama win. These flair ups came and went with each new rumor but overall everyone was very excited to be voting and there was a real feel of community in line. Finally, it was my turn and I pulled the lever (literally) for Barack Obama.

I must admit that I called in sick for the rest of the day at work. I was feeling a bit crummy, but mostly I wanted to be in front of the TV when the results came in. I felt pretty good that Obama would win, but I've also been burned so many times before that I had my doubts. I wanted to see it first hand for myself. As the returns came in I was very nervous. There was about an hour there where I thought we might lose. It seemed that McCain was doing better in Virgina than expected and I was fearful that it might be a bad signs of things to come. But almost instantly, things began to turn around. Obama won Virginia and then state after state after state. By 9m, it looked like there was no way Obama could lose.

Finally at 11pm they suddenly announced Obama the winner. The electoral votes from the western states had put him over the top! Then, quite unexpectedly and in an instant, the streets were filled. There were thousands of people on the sidewalks where 10 minutes earlier there was not. Cars were honking their horns and everyone was chanting "O-Bam-A". It was surreal. I looked at the TV and saw that this was happening all over the City and across the world. Celebration! I headed out the door to join the fun.

I high fived people on the walk to the subway and joined the fun in Times Square. It was BETTER than New Years'. Everyone was so joyful (rather than just drunk like on New Years). People of all colors, genders and nationalities revelled together. It was so amazing!!! (Curiously, the only people not happy was the NYPD. Now this is strange, I heard many cops grumble - and not under their voice - that "it won't last" "have your fun now" "we'll see what happens in four years". It was very strange. The NYPD, from my experience anyway, has always been professional and courteous - especially in Times Square. But they were NOT happy that Obama won at all! Take that for what it's worth. I saw them in a way that I have not seen before. Very, very odd.) Yet, on the way home, at around 3:30am, thousands of people were still in the street, still high fiving and hugging. In the days since, there is an unmistakable lighter feel in the air. People here are very, very, happy and relieved.

One thing that has given me unexpected happiness is the behavior of most people on the Right. I expected them to dispute the results, come up with some cock-and-bull excuses and to find a way to de-legitimize the Obama victory. I have somewhat tuned out the news so I could have missed it but so far - they have been mostly mature about it all. I have to give props to those who voted for McCain but still accepted the results. I am pleasantly surprised and it gives me even more hope for the future.

The only point of trouble I want to mention has to do with the "run on guns" we are seeing across the country. I will say this only once, I hope, because this is the fight I have been waging for 15 years and I am sick of it - others can carry on the battle - so here it is. These people say they are buying guns now because they fear that Obama will stop the sale of them. I believe that is why they are buying guns. (Now - this fear is not based on fact but rather that old familiar hate mongering being fanned by the usual sources.) The fear is being stoked by the NRA, talk radio and the right wing media. Today, they are making people fearful that their guns are going to be taken away.

Here is my sad but critical prediction. The NRA & right wing media plan to bring these folks to a slow boil over the next couple years and lead them to an attempted armed revolt against the government and the American people. If Obama has a successful Presidency and looks likely for reelection in 2012 - we will likely see domestic terrorism from the so-called Right on a level not experienced since the Civil War. These gun owners will be lead by the nose to believe that they have a RIGHT & RESPONSIBILITY to over throw the Obama government. Mark my words - we will see violence from militias and lone wolves if Obama has any measure of success. The right wing media will try to lead them there with a daily dose of hate mongering. I hate to rain on my own parade, and again, I hope I can let others fight this battle in the years to come, but take it from someone who has been paying close attention to the "Right" for many years - I assure you that this is what they are planning to do.

Now for my personal reaction to the election. Of course I am thrilled to death. I feel like everything I have been working for 15 years had been vindicated. I feel like America has come out of a long mental slumber. I feel like sanity has returned to the American people. I feel like the politics of lies, division and hatred was soundly defeated. All great things! (I have also noticed that leading up to the election, race was a bit of a factor but since the Obama victory, it is more of a topic of discussion. To me it was about his intelligence and competence, but clearly having an African American elected President is a HUGE deal too.)

However, while I am very happy - it is more a feeling of relief, rather than celebratory jubilation. It is also bittersweet. I have suddenly come to realize how long it took for us to purge ourselves from a political philosophy so damaging to the nation and her people. So much of my life has been spent fighting people and politics that never should have gained a stronghold on the American people in the first place. So much could have been done, both on a personal and national level over the past 8 years (and more) rather than fight the dark force of the "conservative movement". I am so happy that it is over, but so sorry at all the time I have wasted in my own life and time that this nation has wasted as they slept through the dismantling of everything that once made us the pride of the world. This victory is sweet - no doubt - but it also serves to remind me of all that has been lost while we waited for this to happen.

Cartoon Commentary

Quote of The Day

The festive scenes of liberation that Dick Cheney had once imagined for Iraq were finally taking place — in cities all over America - Frank Rich

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Video Slideshow

The New York Times’s Bill Cunningham reports on the energy on election night and what women were wearing the next day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change Has Come To America

YES WE DID!

REVOLUTION BY DEMOCRACY

What a great night. I went out after the Obama speech and the streets were pack everywhere with excited people. There was cheering and crying and hugging from Times Square to Harlem. At least here in New York, people are very, very happy. I will post some commentary over the next few days. Right now I just want to savor this sweet victory.

The Map

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

OBAMA!

As soon as the results were announced at 11PM, people began spilling out to the streets. What an amazing sight!

Election Day

Heading to my polling place where I understand the lines are 4 to 6 hours long. It will be worth the wait (although this should be addressed and corrected by the next election). At long last, election day has come. Will America wake up from it's slumber? I sure hope so.

RESULTS: What To Look For

If Obama wins North Carolina, expect him to romp to a huge victory as that would suggest that a number of closely contested red states go Democratic.

An Obama victory in Florida or Virginia would also be fatal to McCain. Victory in both augurs a landslide. If he loses both, it would suggest that the electoral map is reverting to form and we might be in for a long night.

John McCain can’t win unless he takes Pennsylvania, which should be a key early indicator. Because if Obama loses Pennsylvania, it’s hard to see him winning in places like North Carolina or Virginia anyway.

Monday, November 3, 2008

One More Day To Go!

Will the election ever get here? Just one more long, long day to wait.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Funny

Funny, but serious as well. This is a real prank by some radio guys who managed to get through to Sarah Palin. A McCain heartbeat away.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Odds & Ends

I found this funny picture which I titled "Political Evolution".

Sarah Palin sure has a scary view of the first amendment.

'Joe the Plumber" foresaw by The Onion 12 years ago!

I've recently found this to be a tasty cut of meat - northeast style.

Why do they spread hateful rumors? Because voters believe them.

Great new stuff on the blog Reaching Across The Aisle. Check it out.

I went out to Yankee Stadium last week for a final tour: a few pics.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Even at McDonalds, you're interviewed three times before you're given a job." source

My Big Fat Pre-Election Blog

I have been thinking so much about the lead up to the election, the election itself and what is going to happen after, that it's been impossible to put all these thoughts into the written word. One huge advantage radio has over blogging is that on radio, I would have hours to say everything that is on my mind. Over the course of hours and days, I could completely flesh out my ideas, thoughts and opinions. If all I did was blog it would be the same. However, to do that I would have to write constantly and edit endlessly. I certainly don't have the time for that, so here is some stuff thrown out there for what it's worth.

THE RACE IS TIGHTENING The McCain / Palin ticket is making up ground in this election and I am very worried. Believe it or not, the negative campaigning, name calling and "Joe the Plumber" nonsense is pushing the button of the very people who are hurt most by Republican policies. There is also real hate being generated out there by the GOP and that's also working. It is beyond sad to see millions still buying into a philosophy that could not have failed more clearly. I have to give it to the Republicans, one thing (perhaps the only thing) they do well is frighten and fool people. If McCain and Palin win - they certainly won't have much of a nation to govern. One half, their half, are intellectually useless ditto heads and the other half will just walk away from the process after seeing hard work, pragmatism and honesty rejected again by the voters.

RESULTS ON WEDNESDAY? Voting day and night will probably be chaotic. Look at the lines now an imagine what it will be like Tuesday. In Red states there will be efforts to prevent people from voting and that will cause problems and delays as well. I doubt we will have a result until Wednesday because I think people will be waiting in lines until after midnight all across the nation and it will take a long time to count the record number of votes. If the race is close, it will take even longer for a winner to be projected. I would not be surprised if a winner was not declared until Wednesday afternoon or evening.

WHAT'S THE FUTURE OF SARAH PALIN? There has been much discussion as to the future of Sarah Palin. Many feel she will be rejected by the GOP and thrown under the bus or will float away due to her lack of gravitas. I strongly disagree. I believe that Sarah Palin will be the symbolic leader of the GOP (if they lose next week) and she will take the party in an even uglier direction. I know it's hard to believe in this day and age, but she has no problem with blatant race bating and fear mongering. She IS another George Wallace and she is not going anywhere. I also suspect that many hard right wingers will move to Alaska, in the event of an Obama victory, and that state will become a hotbed (pun intended) of White Supremacy and other far right activities and strategies. She will begin running for President on her own almost immediately, and will have something close to torch bearing followers standing behind her the whole way.

GET OUT THE KLEENEX. I think this Tuesday and Wednesday will see more Americans crying than any day in history, maybe even including 9-11. Why? Think about it. No matter what, I think most Obama supporters will be crying. If he wins, it will be such a relief, such a change, a real end to our long, long nightmare, it will be impossible not to get emotional about it. If he loses, well there will certainly be a lot of tears too. I don't know about how McCain voters will react. Some might cry if he loses or win, but I expect either anger or obnoxious boasting. Tears not so much.

MQAblog 2009? I have also been thinking about the future of my blog. I have worked hard for more that 15 years on radio and on line to alert people to the dangers of the right wing. I have seen from the start that this is not simply a difference of political philosophy, but a real difference of intent. I believe that the movers and shakers in the Conservative movement don't care about America. They are simply using our democratic freedoms to paralyze people into fear and hatred so they can make billions of dollars and run international policy to their liking. They just say what they have to, to assure loyalty from their misinformed followers. I have long believed that most of their followers are naive to what going on. I have no doubt that I have been proven correct. So if Obama wins, much of my work will be done. That's not to say that the Right Wing will disappear. On the contrary. They will be smaller but much more nasty, hateful and even violent. It will be very, very ugly and will need constant monitoring. But now, with the Internet and blogs, there are many who now see this and can fight this fight. I'm not sure I have the energy to do it any more. If Obama looses then I will really give it up. It will be clear that the American people are not interested in logic and reason and my efforts to enlighten and educate are pointless. Democracy will have failed this country and I, for one, will no longer see discussion and debate as a productive use of my time.

PREDICTIONS I don't have any new predictions for Tuesday. I did predict way back when that Obama would win the Presidency so I stand by that. However, I have seen victory snatched away too many times and with the tightening polls I just fear the worst. I just plead with everybody to go out and vote - no matter how long the lines. While you are standing there, think about what 4 years of McCain and Palin would mean. Think about how Republicans would never fear being held responsible for anything if they are elected to the White House again despite the complete mess they have made. Think about situation we are on and ask yourself if rewarding hatred and lies is the best way to start the nation's healing and recovery.

LAST DAYS OF OLD AMERICA Next week this country and the world will change. One week from now, things will be completely different. Have no doubt about that. We could finally break away from this dark cloud and begin to move in the right direction, or we as a nation, could just fall off the cliff into hopelessness, fear and despair. If the hatred of the McCain/Palin campaign is rewarded, it will increase exponentially throughout the bloodstream of America. Hope would have been defeated and therefore extinguished for a generation. Democracy will have lost it's luster and faith in the American dream will disappear - likely forever. The world will never look at us with respect again and for good reason. However, if Obama wins then it will allow Americans to believe again. Believe that competence is preferred over rhetoric, facts over fear, hope over hatred and unity over divisiveness. Next week things will be completely different. Old America will either start it's resurgence or complete it's decline. Whichever, it will be different, sudden and noticeable. It will be change.

Happy Halloween

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quote of the Day II

"...When I entered the voting booth today, I didn't base my vote on policy, or ideology, or affiliation. I didn't vote in the hopes of a bigger government, or a more liberal social policy, or for the advancement of a political party. I didn't vote "for" a Democrat or "for" a Republican or "against" the greater of two evils. I didn't vote to change our policy in Iraq, or to get troops into or out of Afghanistan, or to give homosexuals the right to marry or to ban prayer in schools. I didn't vote for experience and I didn't vote for change. I voted for the one thing that has been categorically absent for as long as I can remember noticing: Reason. Anybody can latch on to policies and advance them blindly on faith alone, both sides of the aisle have demonstrated that for decades, but for the first time in my life I feel like I have a leader who would listen to an argument and actually change his position if he were wrong. Naive? Maybe. But what an inspiringly audacious Hope it is." source

Quote of the Day

I'm putting the finishing touches on a pre-election blog entry. It's pretty long and is the first step by me into moving past this election. It should be posted tomorrow. Imagine my real shock, surprise and satisfaction to see this editorial which says almost exactly what I have been saying for 15+ years and almost exactly what I wrote down for my own pre-election blog! While I came up with my own stuff prior to stumbling over this, this writer says it all with greater eloquence than I will. So, even though I will repeat some of these ideas in my own big post, you should know that we are not alone.
For years now I, and countless others, have been attempting to warn our fellow countrymen that the people running the Republican Party right now are not who they want you to think they are. This ain’t your granddad’s GOP, and it hasn’t been for some time. The Neo-Republican charlatans in control have only one thing on their mind — amassing wealth and political/global power (in order to amass even more wealth). Everything else is just theater, and secondary to those goals.

So how have they managed to keep so many — including rank and file Republicans — believing they have the best interest of the country at heart, even as they proceed, step by step, to demolish the middle class, with their “smash and dash” economic policies? Lies, deception, smears, meaningless distractions (lapel pins. pigs with lipstick), phony catch phrases (McCain’s campaign slogan “Country First”), war, terrorism, fear … basically anything they can come up with to keep you from focusing on what truly matters to the future of this country, or your own personal well being.

The Obama Commercial

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Plumber Doesn't Know His Shit

A surreal moment on FOX News this week as Shep Smith confronts the now famous GOP icon "Joe the Plumber". I can't believe Smith held JTP responsible for his own words, showed him to be uninformed and finished off with a comment I'd expect from Keith Olbermann not FOX News. This interview perfectly captures a type of Republican voter, who does not know what the hell is going on, but it cock sure he knows what's right. They vote against their own interests time and time again and are angry at things that don't exist. That's why it's so bizarre to see this on FOX. They have been a prime part of this strategy of getting regular Joe's to just kill themselves at the voting booth every time. Maybe Shepard Smith has just had enough of it all.

Race Still Too Close To Call


Don't Celebrate Yet!

Comedy Break Dance

WASSSUP 2008

Remember those Budweiser ads in 2000 where all those guys said "wassssup". Of course you do. Well they're back with an update for 2008. Brilliant!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Closing Argument

"In one week, we can choose hope over fear, unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo. In one week, we can come together as one nation, and one people, and once more choose our better history."



One Week To Go

The election is one week from today. I have the Wednesday following the election off, to stay up all night to watch the coverage. I think it will take all night because the lines will be endless next Tuesday! If early voting has lines every day are 4 or 5 hours long now, what about places like New York that do not have early voting!?! EVERYONE will be going to the polls next Tuesday. Since your employer has to let you vote, I will happily wait in line all day if I have to. I hope the long lines don't deter people. (The Republicans would like that, wouldn't they) I think from now on every one should have early voting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Last Trip To The Old Stadium

I decided to go on an official tour of Yankee Stadium. It was really great! We first got to go to the press box and see the best view in the park. Then we went to Monument Park where I finally got to see all the monuments to Yankee greats.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Friday

The Vet who did not Vet: A Cautionary Tale

"Amy The Stylist"

Was paid more than $22 thousand by the McCain Palin ticket in just the past two weeks!. Her job? Sarah Palin's stylist. If the working class buys into the GOP's fraudulent sympathy again this year, it will just be plain embarrassing.
An acclaimed celebrity makeup artist for Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin collected more money from John McCain's campaign than his foreign policy adviser. Amy Strozzi, who works on the reality show "So You Think You Can Dance" and has been Palin's traveling stylist, was paid $22,800, according to campaign finance reports for the first two weeks in October. In contrast, McCain's foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, was paid $12,500, the report showed.

Quote of the Day

For years, many of the elite conservatives were happy to harvest the votes of devout Christians and gun owners by waging a phony class war against “liberal elitists” and “leftist intellectuals.” Suddenly, the conservative writers are discovering that the very anti-intellectualism their side courted and encouraged has begun to consume their movement.The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity -- and Sarah Palin. Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans, learned manifestoes by direct-mail hit pieces. E.J. Dionne

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Opie Speaks!

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

McCain Campaign in Disarray?

Chuck Todd is in the top tier of my TV political analysts so what he has to say here is attention grabbing. Of course, I noticed very early the awkwardness between McCain and Palin. I sensed that he didn't think she was grateful enough and she immediately began acting as an independent candidate out mostly for herself. Plus, she misled him and everyone else about her real record. Two "mavericks" - not a good team. Who woudda thunk it?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Democrats' Gloom Deepens"

The headline comes from this story in Politico which explains that no matter what the apparent advantages Democrats have right now, we are still fearful that we will lose on November 4th. That's for sure! The quote below is from none other than Tucker Carlson:

Wondering if you're really a Democrat? Here's a quick way to find out: Given everything the Democratic party has going for it this year—the overwhelming financial advantage, the legions of new voters, George W. Bush—do you believe the Obama campaign could still somehow, in the final moments, find a way to blow it and lose this election?

If you answered yes, you're a Democrat.


I can relate. I am not thinking that Obama will "blow it", as Tucker says, but I do worry that on election day, millions of Americans will wake up, and decide not to vote for that (black) (Muslim) (Arab) guy after all. It is still a big mystery to me how George W. Bush won either of his elections when it was pretty clear that the guy lacked the resources to handle the job. I am not yet convinced that people have moved beyond voting out of fear. Also, with the well organized voter suppression efforts by conservatives in 2000 and 2004, I have learned that many who plan to vote for Democrats will not be allowed to. I have no doubt that they have some other scheme up their sleeves for this election day. So, from all these lessons of election history, I will wait until it's REALLY over to feel anything close to "Misson Accomplished".

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Family Matters

Barack Obama has to fly to Hawaii later this week to check in with his very ill grandmother (pictured above with his grandfather - who he resembles more than I ever knew). Obama will return to the campaign trail Saturday. His grandmother, Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham, raised Obama during much of his life and is his last remaining parent figure.

Church is State, State is Church

The woman in this video is hopelessly ... um ... noninclusive. She insists that people just like her, and ONLY people just like her, are appropriate for elective office. Sadly, the attitude of this woman is multiplied by the thousands across the country and reinforced through hateful and misleading e-mails and through the typical Republican media apparatus designed to build even more distrust and intolerance. They know to have any chance in this or future elections, they need men and women like this. The GOP can't win elections on the facts, economic plans or any record of success. That's why they will continue to spread misinformation to encourage real and deep hatred to divide Americans and corrupt our political process for years to come - no matter who wins the election next month.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Powell Endorsement

Worth watching all 7 1/2 minutes of it.

The Loyal Solider says "Enough!" of G.O.P.

Colin Powell's endorsement today of Barack Obama is huge for a number of reason. First of all, Colin Powell is one of the most respected figures in this country. Second, he is a die-hard Republican who has shown absolute loyalty to his party throughout his life. Finally, the specific reasons he gave for the endorsement are a powerful argument for Obama and against the G.O.P.

Stressing that Obama was a lifelong Christian, Powell denounced Republican tactics that he said were insulting not only to to Obama but also to Muslims. “The really right answer is what if he is?” Powell said, praising the contributions of millions of Muslim citizens to American society. “I look at these kind of approaches to the campaign, and they trouble me,” Powell said. “Over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party has become narrower and narrower.”
The fact that General Powell came out against the Republican party and the McCain campaign so strongly tells me that this loyal solider understand the peril of four more years of the same old same old. Powell would have never come out for Obama and against the political party that gave him his career, if he didn't sense the real danger of a McCain / Palin administration. I share his fear.


“I don’t believe [Palin] is ready to be president of the United States,” Powell said flatly.

Powell's arguments why Barack Obama would be a good President are persuasive. He likes Obama's intelligence, temperament, curiosity and the people he has chosen to consult with on the issues. Colin Powell has been around and worked for a number of Presidents so when he says that Barack Obama has what it takes - we should take notice.

"Obama displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge," Powell said."He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president," he said. ... "I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Sen. Barack Obama,"

I hope that this endorsement resonates with voters. It should. Colin Powell is a sober, thoughtful and intelligent man. Any voters sitting on the fence, leaning toward McCain or thinking of skipping the election should take note. If General Powell see the urgent necessity of a President Obama then we should all take that very seriously.

Cartoon Commentary


Friday, October 17, 2008

LICKED! Obama runs the table (and "Joe the Plumber" proves it!)

Wednesday night was the final Presidential debate and it seems that it was another Obama victory. While McCain was more forceful and energetic in this encounter, he also came across as angry almost throughout the contest.

The biggest story of the debate, I guess, is "Joe the Plumber". He was used as an example by McCain throughout the debate. (read: "Don't pay attention to the policies favoring the rich that me and Palin support - look at Joe!! He's convinced he would be hurt under an Obama Presidency!!!!") I'm glad McCain did this.

McCain was trying to show Americans a poor, hard working businessman who would be punished by the mean old Obama economic plans. Apparently, he vetted the honesty of "Joe's" claims as little as he did his VP choice. Like much, if not all, of Conservative narratives, The story of "Joe the Plumber" it's an untrue myth. (These people rely so much on myths, symbolism and stuff that's simply made up, it it's astounding).

Turns out (no surprise) Joe is NOT a registered plumber, he does not make $250,000 and he is a registered Republican, not an undecided voter. Also he is NOT going to buy his boss' business (as he dishonestly said to Obama during their discussion) and even if he did he would not suffer additional taxes because his bosses business is not worth a quarter million dollars. Finally, Joe (that's NOT even his real first name for goodness sake) hates taxes so much, he won't even pay his "low" taxes now under a Republican administration.

So while the fictionalized story of "Joe the Plumber" seems to be the next shiny distraction the Republicans are using to try to persuade (trick?) their voters (again?), turns outs it is almost completely untrue. I know, a real shocker.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Palin As President

You have got to check THIS creative and fun website out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Leader of the Pack

Andy Martin
Read all aboout the man that "Insane Right" follow.

Final Debate Tonight: 9 PM

This is the final showdown. I expect John McCain to trot out the Right wing smears tonight. I also expect Obama to brush them off like the misinformation that they are. Here are a few topics to look for.

William Ayres: Obama has worked with him a few times but so have Republicans! Look for Obama to bring up the fact that Ayres' educational programs have been funded by conservatives for years. In fact, they have had a much closer working relationship Ayres over the years than Obama does.

ACORN: This is the most recent smear being put out by the Hannity's, Limbaugh's and Palin's of the world. It is nonsense. They pay people to get people to register to vote. Some of them put in fake names. But they are quickly sorted out and of course, Mickey Mouse cannot vote. I am sure I will write about this ACORN smear more, but for now I will say that it symbolizes the re-booting of the Conservative movement. They are going back to the 1970's where conservatives started by "Blaming the Victim". Expect, for the remainder of this campaign and for years to come, to hear that all our problems are because of ... wait for it ... poor people. Yep, the economy would be fine now if it wasn't for them. This is what Reagan hitched his horse to to jump start this era of conservatism. Reagan expertly morphed blaming the poor into the fictionalized "Cadillac Queen"(read: poor black people) and began the tidal wave of vile political discourse we have seen for the past generation. ACORN is also a buzz word for "poor, black inner city people". By using this group, conservatives can hate blacks and be PC about it! Finally, a big reason the hate mongers are building up ACORN is because they want to de-legitimized a potential Obama victory. Barack could win by 500,000 votes and some on the right (Talk radio, FOX) will say the election was stolen by ACORN. Count on it! That's what they are setting up right now. Remember that the conservative movement is built on hatred and the denial of reality. It can only survive if they have someone or something to despise and if they repudiate facts as a liberal conspiracy against them. First, they targeted their hatred on the poor, then the communists, then the Clintons, then terrorists. It's come back full circle to the poor now. Because the number of people buying into the conservative doctrine is shrinking, they need to be even more hateful than ever. In order to do this they will have to deny that they lost the election and portray themselves as victims. ACORN seems to be the straw man of this era. (As a bonus, there is a video of John McCain praising ACORN at a rally a few years ago.)

John Lewis: This black congressman was part of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's. He remembers how inflammatory words back then lead directly to violence. He recognized, like many of us have, the same type of language coming from Palin and her followers. He pointed it out. The right wing doesn't like that. Lewis compared the LANGUAGE of Palin and her mobs to that of George Wallace. It was an apt comparison. John McCain is trying to claim that he (McCain) was being directly compared to Wallace. He was not. But look for him to bring this up and complain that Obama has not repudiated the comments. The fact is, Obama did disagree with the comments almost as soon as they came out.