Saturday, December 31, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Governor Gary Johnson (L-NM)
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson entered the Republican primaries and soon found himself excluded from all but two presidential debates. Upset that it was not a fair and open process he decided it was time to leave the heard. He announced earlier this week he would seek the libertarian nomination. His campaign has raised nearly half a million dollars (as of September). Still maintain some popularity from his two terms as governor, he will make New Mexico interesting in the general election.
Governor Buddy Roemer (R-LA)
Roemer is another Republican dark horse candidate that sadly has fallen off the media radar. Roemer also has an extensive resume with a stint in both Congress and the Louisiana State House as a Democrat and Republican. His campaign provides readers with a comparison card they drafted showing Roemer on the issues versus the other candidates. If Roemer does not fair well in the primaries there is talk that he may seek the Reform Party nomination.
Dr. Jill Stein M.D. (G-MA)
Dr. Stein is a member of the Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts. In 2005 and 2008 She was elected a meeting representative for the town of Lexington. Her first campaign was in 2002 running for Governor of Massachusetts. Latley she has been trying to channel the Occupy Movement. In Boston she said "The Occupy movement is a cry for change from workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas and young people whose future is being stolen from them by politicians intent on serving Wall Street rather than the people".
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Yogi was a character developed by American comedian Harry Stewart. In 1949, he recorded a single called I just go Nuts at Christmas, it was a hit! Selling over a million records. Yogi Yorgesson is Swedish guy who complains about all the family stuff that complicates Christmas. He also recorded several other Christmas related songs: Yingle Bells, and The Christmas Party and Santa at the P.T.A.
Monday, December 12, 2011
The last episode I watched was Alec Baldwin, which was the first episode of the season. I have not tuned in for a full show since September. I started thinking about what kind of a season lineup of hosts would make me come back watching regularly. If I had Lorne Michaels ear, I'd recommend the following persons for Season 38 next year.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Rest up friends, the holidays are just starting. Which reminds me of this funny little bit from Curb. May we all be as lucky as Larry this holiday season.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
The plots of most episodes revolve around two central ideas: helping keep ALF hidden from the outside world and ALF helping out the Tanners through difficult and strange situations. Most episodes also involved keeping ALF away from the Tanner's pet cat. According to ALF, cats are to Melmacians; what cows are to humans. A popular food item that can be served in a variety of ways. The comedy of the series came from many varied sources, like ALF trying to fit in or Willie (Max Wright) trying to fix some problem ALF has created.
Monday, November 7, 2011
The big question is whether such efforts make a difference with the average voter. In 1998, Oregon became the first state in the nation to shift to conduct every election by mail. Advocates say it has saved Oregon taxpayers money, and increased the state's voter participation because people have more time to study the issues and make a choice. A 2007 analysis of California's voting behavior indicates that may not hold true everywhere. The study, led by professors at Temple University and the University of California, San Diego, found voting by mail boosted participation in local elections. But when it came to presidential and gubernatorial general elections, voter participation was slightly lower in mail precincts. Voters were also more likely to skip the so-called downballot races. “Based on our findings from this natural experiment, we predict that shifting to mail ballot elections will not increase voter participation in regularly scheduled general elections, counter to the conventional wisdom that is often cited in the current policy debate,” the authors wrote. “In fact, it may produce a decline in turnout of up to three percentage points.”
Yes, you heard some academics produced a study where they say VBM (Vote by Mail) either marginally or does not improve turn out. It may even produce a drop? I am not sure I follow their reasoning on why by simply changing the method of voting would cause people not to vote, I mean if Oregon changed the way we voted I'm sure there would be a decline for a period while voters adjusted to the new system.
Pay attention to this line: “Based on our findings from this natural experiment, we predict that shifting to mail ballot elections will not increase voter participation in regularly scheduled general elections, counter to the conventional wisdom that is often cited in the current policy debate,”...Perhaps the conventional wisdom of the current debate is wrong. I don't think it is wise to move to vote by mail because it might increase voter turnout. I think it is wise to move to vote by mail to make it more convenient for the voter to vote and participate in democracy. The only thing that motivates voters to the polls is what who is on the ballot; not the actual ballot. People who don't feel there isn't anything worth voting for are still not going to vote regardless of the method the votes are taken and counted.
VBM to me still seems well worth pursuing, even at the federal level. Campaigns of all kinds should love VBM, because it allows organizations to have better get out the vote efforts (GOTV) that target households that have not voted yet. If we used Palm Springs as an example, the article states that of the +/-22,000 voters, nearly +/-13,000 are on the VBM system. Some +/-6,000 have already voted. That's 6,000 voters your campaign doesn't need to worry about contacting to get them to vote, that's 6,000 more doors, phone calls, direct mailings you can send to the people who haven't voted in your area. I rarely get phone calls during the last two weeks of any campaign because I turn in my ballot early and get taken off the call lists. So it is sorta a win-win for voters and campaigns. Voters don't get bothered at the dinner table to calls reminding you to vote and campaigns can better focus their ground game on the people they need to still vote.
For folks who don't stay up to speed, minute by minute with the changing political atmosphere through their twitter accounts, VBM provides a pressure free alternative to the voting booth. Need a day our two to go over your choices, then take it. This is perfect for local elections. I find these decisions the hardest. Sometimes there is very little information provided by any of the campaigns and so you do some research. I vote on my time, in the two week period provided. I don't have to miss work, don't have to choose between my family and going to the polls, don't have to fight the weather (that's the postal workers job...they took an oath!). Voting in comfort.
Those are the two big reasons to me that VBM should be taking off more around the country. Voters will adapt as well as the campaigns that are trying to get them to vote. Why can't government ever do something just to be nice to the public? Why does it have to show that it improves turnout? What do you think of vote by mail?
If you want to learn more about Vote By Mail check out the Vote By Mail Project.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
The Oystermen, a fascinating look at oysters from the Oregon coast. In the mid-1800s they became a highly prized commodity. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Oysters and the people who hoisted them from the waters and into the mouths of an Oyster hungry public.
Check out other videos at Oregon Experience.
What started in the latter part of the 80s was finally starting to catch up with the rest of the manufacturing industry in the United States. A patriotic American would assume that if the company you are working for is making record profits, why on Earth would they lay you off? Don't you think workers ought to be getting a pay raise for making the company so much profit? In a reasonable, rational world yes. In the real world. No. The outsourcing of America continues to this day, and the government that allowed it to happen hasn't done much to help the millions of struggling American families who have been economically abandoned.
Michael Moore does his usual great job of bringing to spotlight to these problems. A note to Oregonians, pay attention to the interview with Nike CEO Phil Knight.
"I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone... but they've always worked for me"-Hunter S. Thompson, Where the Buffalo Roam
Bill Murray, Peter Boyle, Bruno Kirby, and René Auberjonois bring to the screen amazing intersections of life, politics, drugs and Richard Nixon. Murray portrays gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. If all you have seen is Fear and Loathing Las Vegas, then you haven't seen anything yet. For me this movie really speaks to what our modern media really is, they are a money making machine that have an agenda (be it good or bad is up to viewers) contrast it with HST take and you see two radical different perspectives. This movie is well worth a watch, not only is it entertaining, but also insightful.
Ever heard of Gaillardia? It is the tale of British colonial politics gone askew. The colonial governor of a long lost colony writes the F.O. (Foreign Office) for assistance. Patronage run amuck has left the feeble Carlton Browne (Terry Thomas) in charge of the problem. Prime Minister Amphibulos (Peter Sellers), Luciana Paluzzi (Princess Ilyena), Ian Bannen ( The King) and Thorley Walters
(Colonel Bellingham) round out the cast of this early satire of John and Roy Boulting.
While Peter Sellers is great in this, I feel Terry-Thomas steals the show. For those of you unfamiliar with British talent you might recognize Thomas as 'Sir Hiss' from the Walt Disney 1973 adaption of Robin Hood which is my favorite Disney animated film from the 30s-70s era.
Gaddafi is dead, the United States is pulling out of Iraq, the NBA lockout is playing havoc with basketball fans around the world, and in our little neck of the woods there will be a primary election to replace former Congressman David Wu. There are two really cool candidates running in the Democratic primary out of like six.
I quit a job that I felt wasn't going anywhere for me, except for headaches and ulcers. It was more or less a good move to get out of K-12 public education. That ship is sinking fast without a serious public centered reform movement, we will continue to pay more for fewer and fewer services that only benefit 1/3 of the people who use it...but enough depressing thoughts.
On a brighter note, I went back to school to finish my philosophy degree. I am getting more in Pell Grants than I was being paid to do my job. So unreal. So after a total of six years of higher education I will have two degrees. 3 years a degree isn't that bad. What awaits me after my philosophy degree is unknown.
Right now you are probably seeing a lot in the news about the Occupy Wall Street Movement. It is very neat to see democracy in action. How this will play out in 2012 is uncertain. I don't feel yet that the majority of Democrats in Congress exactly get it what's going on in the country. The one guy who does seem to get it is Peter DeFazio.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Visit www.novickforportland.org for more information on his campaign. Go like him on facebook too!
I've also put out some buttons to help celebrate Steve's return to electoral politics. Hope he does well on the campaign trail. I've made 4, here are two of them.
Portland Soccer Fans for Novick
Novick for PDX 3
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The video blog entries are very good. They are real; you can tell they aren't rehearsed and when he genuinely makes a mistake he apologizes for those mistakes (something politicians should try and do). Hearing him talk about the right wing capitalistic society of America is also fascinating ;) He's also not a great fan of political correctness. Which scores him points in my book.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The show utilized a form of animation called 'Squigglevision' pioneered by animator Tom Snyder. Don't remember Squigglevision? Well here's a sampling from Dr. Katz talking with Patton Oswalt about Han Solo.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
|Cheryl Senter for The New York Times|
Monday, June 13, 2011
I suspect that many folks have not heard of Dorman Pond. If you are looking for a not too out of the way place to unload your rod and reel skills then you might consider making the 45 minute drive from Portland out towards the coast range to try the waters out. Trout are stocked in Dorman by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. You might also find yourself with a bass or bluegill attached to your line. If you enjoy fishing, birdwatching, canoeing, then you will enjoy Dorman Pond. There is a natural beauty to the pond and surroundings. On many trips out there I have seen people in non-motorized boats out enjoying the pond. With all the good things going for Dorman, there are a few downsides.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
political junkie column archived at the Washington Post.
|1972 McGovern pin|
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Losers: Everyone. Not to be snarky, but yeah we're all pretty much losers. Without change in any serious form all the school boards that re-elected incumbents or found themselves with some 'fresh meat' ready to be flattened by business as usual in the district will continue to putter along. Even after all the heads roll, and all the money is gone the 200 some Oregon school districts will still be doing business as usual. Don't get me wrong; I love government. I love government that works. Our current system of 200 school districts was built in a different time, and like our aging national infrastructure it is starting to show its age. What's the difference between a student in Lake Oswego and a student in Tualatin? What's the difference between a student in Eugene and Portland? There is no difference, so why do we need a school district for each? We have a Metro government why couldn't we have a Metro School Board? Serious consideration should be given to school district consolidation in the coming years, especially if the state plans on exerting more control of the powers of the purse and academic standards.
Winners: People who graduated from an Oregon high school before Measure 5.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
|Homer trying to vote on election day.|
Election Day is May 17, 2011 this year and I hope to have my ballot turned in by then. In this 'off' year election ballots that are turned in sometimes only reach into the hundreds in some communities and those few hundred votes decide who will be overseeing the fire district, the water district, the community schools and maybe even the local parks and swimming pools. These are the public service functions we have interactions on a day to day basis. More attention should be given in these campaigns than they traditionally receive. Who gets elected to the fire district might determine how fire services are or are not delivered to residents in rural areas. The local water board could decide that a more expensive source is needed for drinking water. A local aquatics board could decide that due to budget issues the pool can't be open on your one day off during the week. Lots of issues come before these boards so it is important to know who the people running for these offices are and what they plan to do if elected. Sometimes that's tough, especially if no one files a statement in the voters pamphlet.
Monday, April 18, 2011
|The Right Stuff?|
It seemed Glenn was a little uncomfortable playing up his heroic background in NASA. The Right Stuff with Ed Harris was out in theaters during the lead up to many of the early primaries, but Glenn decided it wouldn't be appropriate to try and capitalize off the success of the film in the campaign. By the time aides and supporters had convinced him that it would be fine to play up The Right Stuff it was too late for his campaign. While early polling had him in contention with frontrunner Walter Mondale, he soon lost the attention of the media and the voters and was out of the race. His best showings at the ballot were on March 13th primaries in Alabama (20%) and Georgia (18%). The legacy of his presidential campaign took some 20 years to put to rest. In 2006, the Federal Elections Commission excused the $2.86 million dollars in debt he had accumulated from his '84 campaign.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
|TLG DVD Cover|
The event was well attended at the Oregon Convention Center. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkely started the evening with a video message from Washington D.C. praising OLCV for their efforts in the past year during the 2010 campaign. Governor John Kitzhaber, the evening keynote speaker, also credited the help of the league with helping him defeat Chris Dudley in the close fall campaign.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Here are her expanded comments on the convention, and the campaign.
|Frm. Governor Barbara Roberts|
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
|Group of Mondale/Ferraro buttons mostly from Oregon.|
Don't let anyone kid you---she was going to be the VP nominee no matter who was the nominee for Pres. And that was up in the air for about 24 hours before the vote. One thing most people don't know about Geraldine is that she was a good soldier, even enforcer. Virgin Islands delegation was behind us, and one of their delegates wanted to vote for Jackson. She was pulled off the floor into a special meeting with Geraldine and others who told her they could remove her as a delegate if she didn't vote as she was elected to vote, for Mondale. Beautiful woman from the VI was in tears when she came back.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Simply escaping is not enough for this animated Star Trek classic; the Klingons must find a way to destroy the Enterprise as they escape the time trap. They do this by planting a pill in a computer. Don't even ask. In the process of this two Klingons are caught in a restricted area and brought to the bridge by Crewman Bell. He's one of the many redshirts on the Enterprise. What's the mystery here you ask? Crewman Bell looks suspiciously similar to American President Barack Obama. Take a look for yourself.
|Crewman Bell or Crewman Obama?|
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Under New Jersey Senate Bill 2756 a voter would receive ballots by mail until they had failed to vote in four consecutive elections. At that time the county clerk is instructed to send notice to the voter to determine if they have changed their address. Voters would have until the 40th day before the next general election to respond. If they fail to respond they will be required to resubmit an application to vote by mail. Currently, they have to reapply every year.
In Oregon, the county clerk keeps sending you a ballot at your current location until you or the current occupant tells them you are no longer living at that location. Any time you register to vote your location is updated. If this becomes law, residents will need to tell the county clerk that they would like mail in ballots for all future general elections. The Oregon Secretary of State's office provides a great time line of the history of vote by mail in Oregon. You can see all the historic 'firsts' Oregon has had the privilege of marking in the vote by mail movement.
What will basically be happening in New Jersey is a waiting game. Instead of just forcing everyone to vote by mail, the bills sponsors want to make the change gradually. Over time as more and more people discover the convenience of voting by mail. Fewer and fewer people will be showing up the polling stations. These polling stations cost the government money and hopefully once New Jersey lawmakers start to see they are wasting money by keeping so many polling stations open they will take the final steps and automatically mail ballots to every registered voter. Right now the process is very tedious having to reapply for vote by mail every year. Hopefully this will fix that.
Senator James Beach (D) and Senator Ray Lesniak (D) were the sponsors of S2756. Senator Linda Greenstein is a co-sponsor.
The bill cleared the New Jersey Senate 24-13. Now it moves onto the New Jersey Assembly.
For more information on the national vote by mail movement visit The Vote By Mail Project
|3rd Rock from the Sun Season 1 DVD cover|
Sure it wasn't heavy in the blinking lights, grand special effects or inane technobabble department that so often accompanies a sci-fi television show, but that's ok; sometimes you just need a goofy premise to make something work. Where 3rd Rock lacked in traditional elements it more than made up for in humor. The alien family at the center of this show were the Solomons (Dick, Harry, Sally and Tommy). Each week viewers would tune to see what mishaps would occur because of their lack of understanding Earth customs and how they constantly try to keep their real identities secret. This proved to be one of the great strengths. The casting was immensely important to the success of the show.
Dick, played by John Lithgow, was the High Commander in charge of the mission. He went to work for the local university as a physics professor. Sally, played by Kristen Johnson was the security officer and took on the role of Dick's attractive sister who mostly stayed at home and kept an eye on Harry played by French Stewart who was sort of the alien in charge of communicating with 'The Big Giant Head' (the boss of them all back on homeworld). Then there was Tommy played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Tommy was the oldest alien stuck in the youngest human body which made for some great jokes throughout the season. With most ensemble casts the supporting players added a great life to the show. Seinfeld's Wayne Knight, SNL alum Jane Curtain, and several others rounded out a great cast. The chemistry between Curtain and Lithgow was fantastic. Following their insane relationship always left you wondering each season if they would make it.
One of my favorite episodes from the first season is number three and is called Dick's First Birthday. Where Dick has his first birthday and realizes he is getting old. A scene towards the beginning has the group sitting on the roof and Tommy complaining about his health class. He tells them he is learning about human anatomy. The crew exclaims "YOU HAVE AN OWNERS MANUAL!".
Most seasons ended with some sort of announcement from the Big Giant Head, played by William Shatner. In several episodes Shatner actually shows up as the Big Giant Head. The conflict around these season cliffhangers usually involved the Big Giant Head being troubled by their lack of progress. One or two seasons of this may have been ok, but to end every season on this premise started to get old quick.
If you like goofy, silly, witty humor you will enjoy 3rd Rock from the Sun. The show had a good following and lasted another five seasons. The first season of 20 episodes garnered the best ratings for the show and every concept was new and fresh. You can find all six seasons on Netflix. All six have also been released on DVD.
Here's an intro sequence from early on in the show. Happy viewing!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Our meeting took place at the Tigard Public Works building. A very convenient location as I live just over the other side of 99W, a quick five minute drive from the house. Congressman Wu and his staff score double points for having the meeting so close to home. When I got there I noticed a lot of camera crews and reporters. It looked like Channels 8 and 6 were there in addition to several print media. A friendly reporter from the Oregonian came up to me and asked me why I was there and how I might be contacted if she had questions for me. I told her I was there to talk to Congressman Wu about education related issues.
They had us waiting in a foyer to the public works building. People slowly started making their way to the building for their meeting. I was third on the list.When I entered the conference room I was greeted by Congressman Wu and his field representative. They both took notes while I was talking. We talked about my work with the debate team I coach and about the great speech and debate programs we have in the area. I then broached the subject of textbooks.
Starting in 2003 when I first entered college there was a lot of news coming out of his office about the high price of textbooks and that if we want to ensure young people can afford to attend college we need to do a better job at controlling costs. I basically wanted an update on those efforts; how successful have we been with keeping costs under control since the passage of the Higher Education Affordability Act of 2008. He said he and his staff would prepare a summary of actions taken since the bill was passed and would follow up with me shortly.
I also used this as an opportunity to complain about the direct mail pieces I get from his office. Don't get me wrong they have some great information in them and sometimes even have constituent surveys attached to them. When those come I try my best to fill them out. Yet it would be nice to get a mailer about stuff happening in congress that affects people in my demographic group, folks who are between 18 and 30. I'm not asking for a special mailer every time, but I think one should be tossed in from time to time in the rotation of constituency outreach.
All in all, I thought these direct face to face meetings were a great idea. It was interesting watching the press at the event hover over everyone and trying to find out what they wanted to talk about. I sorta got the impression that when I told them I was there to talk about education issues they became disinterested. Clearly not the story they wanted to tell. The sad part of all this is that we would have a much better democracy if the media paid this much attention to members of congress all the time, instead of just when something controversial happens.
Wu and crew get a thumbs up from me today. Next time though, shoot for ten minute meetings I think it will improve things for Congressman Wu and constituents who attend.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
|7/8" Roosevelt Coattail lito Pin|
Born in New York, her family soon moved to Portland, Oregon. Her father was the famous Charles Erskine Scott Wood. She attended school in New York and became life long friends of Eleanore Roosevelt. It was this great friendship that would launch her career in Congress. In 1936 she ran as a staunch advocate of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. Winning her seat proved easy; keeping it became a whole different task.
While in congress she became a ardent advocate of the New Deal and of the Bonneville Dam project. Being so close to Roosevelt may have lead to her political downfall as she openly supported his court packing scheme. This lead not only to a primary challenger in 1938, but also state senator and liberal Republican Homer Angell in the general. On election day she would lose by a very slim margin of around 2,500 votes. She was not alone though, 78 other Democrats also lost their seats that day. In 1940 she would try to win it back and again lose by another close count.
After these defeats she served in a variety of other public roles from State Senator to Collector of Customs. Eventually she moved to California where she died in 1970. For more details on Nan Wood Honeyman you can visit her profile on Women in Congress.
This pin turns up on occasion on ebay or auction. The price varies substantially depending on how much the seller knows about the pin. Valued between $25-$50 dollars, though if you wait long enough you can find it on ebay for under $15 or even a lot less. It was made by Green Duck, which was a company that has created many political buttons over the years. Creative Pro.com has a wonderful article about them so I won't repeat it here.
A button like this appeals to many different kinds of people. It appeals to Oregon button collectors like myself. Women in congress collectors, Roosevelt collectors, coattail collectors and yes even Green Duck button collectors. A great button for any of those collections. Pins from such obscure candidates take some time to find their way out the old boxes and dressers they are kept in and onto the great marketplaces of commerce.
|Honeyman Re-Election Ad 1938|
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Here is what happened according to Altman,
In the wake of the housing crisis, Alvarez raised property taxes to restock government coffers, orchestrated a deal to put public money toward the Florida Marlins' new stadium, and cut public salaries 5%. At the same time, he was tooling around in a spiffy Beamer purchased with his county car allowance and boosting the pay of top aides.The last thing you ever want to do as a public official is appear to be a hypocrite or actually turn out to be one. A Beamer? Really? Does the county staff have no oversight in how public officials spend public money? Alvarez was elected as a Republican to reform county government. Turns out Alvarez was the one reformed into the very political ilk he ran against in 2004.
In Oregon we are the masters of the recall. The modern day recall method in the United States was born in Oregon, right here, in 1908. In the past 103 years, 18 other states have also adopted recall laws for elected officials. Oregon is also one of 9 states that allows for the recall of our members of Congress, yet so far no one is sure if the federal government would actually allow Oregonians to do that as no state has actually tried to recall a member of Congress.
Ballotpeida keeps a list of recall efforts on their website. For 2011 we can add 16 more recall campaigns from Wisconsin. Those pesky State Senators who decided to move ahead with Governor Walker's plan to strip state employees of their collective bargaining rights are all facing recall efforts. This could be the most organized recall effort in the history of our country. Never before has their been such an organized effort to oust this many state officials in one jurisdiction. The organizers of the recall efforts in Wisconsin need to proceed carefully. If they come off looking mean and out for revenge they will lose for what happened in the capitol they will most certainly lose.
In the coming weeks they must use public opinion (which I do believe is on their side) and the law (which will be figured out soon) as their allies in the effort. Explain why what happened in the State House cannot not be allowed to happen again. Wayne Morse, who is from Wisconsin originally, once said, "The paramount purpose of our constitutional system of government is to promote the general welfare of the people-- not just SOME of the people". Some of the people do benefit from the removal of collective bargaining rights, but all the people will ultimately suffer as government engages in the race to the bottom that has already ruined the private sector for many workers.
Monday, March 14, 2011
The average age of the typical respondent to the survey was 56, with a net wealth of $3.5 million dollars; $3.5 million dollars and one does not consider themselves 'rich'? These folks have investments, assets, and more importantly economic security. Which is more than I can say for myself. Apparently, if I was a millionaire according to this survey, I wouldn't be too worried. The millionaires surveyed expect the economy to start coming around by the end of this year. Come on, this is the same group of people that can afford to buy $1.1 million dollar comic books in our current economy. Things clearly been haven't too bad for them.
Do I feel for these inferior feeling millionaires? Not in the least. Not when too many people are struggling to make it by working pay check to pay check. I do wonder what I would do with $7.5 million dollars if I came into possession of it.
I think first and foremost I would make sure my immediate family was caught up on all those big bills that seem to plague us. With just under half a million dollars I could do so much for my family and have plenty left over. All student loans in my immediate family would be gone, all the credit card bills, car loans, back doctor bills, I'd even do something nice for my landlord and fix up the backyard so when it rains the water doesn't roll down the slope of the yard and create a mud swamp in the corner.
After getting rid of all the debt, I'd turn attention to my parents and get them a house somewhere. Possibly in the woods or at the beach. They'd get a million dollars of my 7.5. If you're going to be a millionaire, why not make other people millionaires too! My sister would get a million too even though she constantly torments me. So let's see I'm down to 5.2 million now...still loads to go. The next thing I'd do is buy a Kennedy Compound type place on the coast. Give everyone in the family a key and a calendar to plan vacations. I'd also have to have a Delorean decked out like the time machine from Back to the Future. Hey come on, like you wouldn't?
The remainder would be invested for purposes of my continual economic security and the economic security of causes I deem important. Issues and groups near and dear to my heart like the Planetary Society, LCV, SOLV, APIC, and don't forget all those ballot initiative and progressive causes and candidates out there. Needless to say $7.5 million dollars is a lot of money, probably too much for me as I can't even think of how to spend the majority of it. Perhaps I'd be better off with just $3 million, it seems I at least know how to use that for some good.
Then again, I could just waste it all on 1 million dollar comic books. What would you do with 7.5 Million dollars? Would you invest in the tricky market? Would you buy things for friends and family to make their lives easier? Would you save for the future? Tell us.
Perhaps you too are looking for things to watch online or some new(old) show to get into for a while. Maybe I can be of assistance. Let's look at the first Go Screen Yourself review of Babylon 5 Season 1. This program is available online at Netflix and also on dvd at a quality retailer of digital media. I tend to favor Science Fiction, Comedies, Television, Documentaries, and Animated shows. That's not to say I won't review something outside those; I just felt it fair to warn you in advance.
|DVD Season 1 Cover with Londo, Sinclair and G'Kar|
My favorite episodes from the first 22 are By Any Means Necessary, where dock workers go on strike. Love a show with good union and labor issues are explored. Another one of note is called Believers, where alien parents bring their sick child to Dr. Franklin. All the child needs is a simple operation to be saved, but the religion of the family prevents him from operating. Really great moral dilemma presented for Dr. Franklin and the audience. Lots of good classic science fiction writing, bringing current issues to light in the context removed from us to make it safe to talk about. Every year there are one or two cases in court involving the safety/health of a child coming in conflict with the family faith.
My favorite character from the series was Peter Jurasik's Londo. Season 1 Londo was especially nice because he hadn't become so lifeless yet. If you want to see a tragic character transformation, watch the entire series and pay attention to Londo's character. In Season 1 though, the character had such life to it and Jurasik kept me tuning in for more. Always happy to have a drink, attend a night club or try his luck at the casino. Don't forget the hair!
If you think the future will be just as imperfect as life is now, only with more blinking lights Babylon 5 Season 1 certainly gives you a future closer to what we live in now. After all Commander Sinclair still has to report to the Senate Sub-Committee that is in charge of funding Babylon 5...does it sound all that far fetched to have members of congress one day phoning the director of operations at a lunar command base?
Happy Viewing, 'Flixing, or downloading (yeah you know who you are) Here's the first Season title sequence. Great score and great use of the then infant CGI, which really helped the show standout in the 90s.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
|1980 2.25" Oregon Reagan Country Pin|
Reagan performed rather well in Oregon and in 1984 he was the last Republican presidential nominee to win the state's electoral votes. In 1980 he won 48% of the vote and in 1984 won 55% of the vote. During the last hours of the 1980 campaign all three major presidential candidates President Jimmy Carter, former Governor Reagan, and Congressman John Anderson made quick stops for airport campaign rallies. Carter held his rally at the airport to 2,000 supporters and Governor Reagan held his rally to about 500 supporters at the Holiday Inn. Both emphasized the importance of Oregon in the election and reached out for votes. According an article from the Eugene Register Guard, Reagan used the faults of Jimmy Carter as his main draw to Oregonians at the rally stating," He gave us government as good as Jimmy Carter and that isn't good enough". Which played off Carter's words four years earlier of "...a government as good as it's people...".
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
|Courtesy of BoardGameGeek|
Mr. President is good for 2-4 players. You guessed it; one person plays the presidential nominee and another person plays the VEEP nominee. One may play as either the Republicans or Democrats. The players vie for four regions of the country and place cards with votes on them into a particular slot. Once everyone has one more cards you count the votes. Simple and easy to learn. A usual game takes about an hour.
|Courtesy of BoardGameGeek|
As one of the 3M Bookshelf games the portability of this game a big benefit and makes for an excellent travel game. Aside from a few minor issues with making campaign stops and missing turns if you pull the wrong card this is a very good game. Being vintage is also a plus as it allows some of us whom are a bit younger to play in the pre-1968 electorate where the South was in the hands of the Democrats, and the Midwest and East was more or less Republican. If you ever get the chance you should sit down for an hour and have a go at running for President of the United States.
There are not many differences between the 1967 and 1971 versions. Regardless of version your basic game play is the same. Next Political Games post we will look at a computer game called, 'The Political Machine'.
|Gameplay Courtesy of BoardGameGeek|
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Tonight he came before the Washington County Democrats and apologized to us for the last several weeks of media attention he has garnered for his actions both personal and professionally. We very rarely hear our public officials apologize or admit being wrong about anything. Often we are told that private matters are just that and they shouldn't have to apologize for actions unrelated to constituents. I think Congressman Wu did the right thing about coming forward and apologizing. It takes a lot of courage to apologize publically in our day and age.
Living in the age where it seems the public has a right to know everything; I feel Mr. Wu has been very straightforward with us without having to go into too much detail about his personal matters that are best left between him and his doctors. The question that I am left with is: Does Congress have an army of trained therapists and mental health specialists that are available to members when they feel the need to seek help? The U.S. Senate has a Chaplin. When matters of faith come up senators have someone on site to talk with. Perhaps there should be a therapist or counselor on site as well?
Many professions would probably benefit to healthier and more productive employees if they had regular access to mental health specialists. Think of the stress teachers, public safety workers, and yes even members of congress are having to cope with on a regular basis. These jobs are intensely public in nature, more so than many other professions. I hate to bring Star Trek up, but there was a reason Gene Roddenberry put a therapist on the Enterprise. Counselor Troi and her top notch team were responsible for looking after the mental well being of the crew of the Enterprise. How telling it is of the importance of a persons mental health that Troi was seated right next to the captain on the bridge instead of off on some lower deck far removed from sight.
We must be willing to stop judging individuals for seeking help. Wanting to be healthy cannot be perceived as being weak. Other members of congress have struggled with issues and have sought help of doctors. Congressman Wu mentioned former Congressman Patrick Kennedy last night. Mr. Kennedy has also struggled with his mental health, and he was a fine Representative for the people of Rhode Island. I was glad to hear that Congressman Wu will be working with Mr. Kennedy in the future on a wide variety of mental health issues that he left unfinished when he retired from Congress.
People will still have questions even after he is done apologizing. I am sure some will bring this up in the next election. Politics are not nearly as forgiving as people are.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
This is the Oregon that those of us in the Willamette Valley, and Portland Metro area spend our spring and summer vacations in, communities that have not been able to rebound over the last two decades. Our party must begin to address the unemployment of rural Oregon. Co-Speaker Roblan made point to remind us that we all share common values even though we come from different places. How we accomplish the task of resurrecting rural Oregon will not be an easy one and there are no quick fixes.
The other item I thought worthy to note was that Oregon Democrats may be getting the largest number of delegates to a Democratic National Convention they have ever had. The draft plan that delegates saw this weekend would give Oregon 74 delegates and five alternates. This is the basic plan. There are potential for even more delegates. The DNC will grant a 20% bonus if Oregon keeps its primary in May. That would be ten more delegates bringing the total to 84.
There is even another opportunity to get Oregon Democrats more delegates. The DNC could allocate another ten delegates if we hold our primary with two other states in our region. 94 delegates to the Democratic National Convention would be pretty cool. This scenario is much harder to visualize than the first scenario. Getting other states to move a presidential primary is not an easy task. The front loading of our presidential primary process has caused some state parties to move up their primaries even earlier. It seems our political parties have learned the lesson and have started to give incentives to state parties like the bonus delegates being offered to Oregon. Besides who would be opposed to wanting to have more people at the party in Charlotte, North Carolina? It isn't by set in stone, but it is the first draft. More news to come in the next few months.
All in all, it was a good meeting. I am looking forward to meeting and learning more about my fellow delegates in the coming months.