Sunrise over Lake Champlain from Ticonderoga

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Musings and Meanderings

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Well what do you expect I'm going to say....

I seriously thought about writing a piece yesterday mimicking all the absurd platitudes that the talking heads will be saying the next few days about the debates. Then the Daily Show trumped me last night, so I guess "Great Mind's Think Alike".

My point being that in this era of sound bites, and style over substance, what the candidates fully said tonight will buried by the talking heads. I don't believe that most American's make up their own minds on things. At least not the ones I talk to. Instead they speak in the same talking points they hear on Fox, or CNN, or MSNBC etc etc.

And just because I find them so offensive, I tuned in Fox News cable to see the reaction from the Right. Their well-balanced staff included such "moderates" as Billy Krystal and Fred Barnes. Unsurprisingly these mouthpieces just filled in what the President had kind of "left out" of his talk.

As for my opinion, I don't think this was the home run that either camp was hoping for. This really depends upon what you want in a President. Both came across as very well spoken and had a good grip of the facts (as they saw them). Kerry I believe clarified some issues that the Bush administration has muddied in their mud slinging. Bush I believe showed once again that his "moral compass" was strong and moving along in the exact same direction as it was always. Kerry came across to me as an intelligent and well thought out person who could handle a crisis and give direction to his policies. Bush came across as an everyman who believes strongly in certain things and stands by what he says.

For me personally I would prefer a President who is capable of changing course as the facts change or evolve. For some this is called flip flopping or waffling, and they are welcome to their opinion. I respect the Man that GWB is, but I personally don't want someone who when faced with changing facts, solidly keeps on the path he started. Some call this a "moral compass". I call it stubborn and thick.

I am also hoping that the American people have heard enough of the underestimation of Bush's abilities to debate have been shown to be just more spin by the Republicans. The President debates well, he has a style that many parts of America likes, and a good grasp of the facts as he sees them. I think both men did very well, and I do not believe that this particular debate will change things that much. My hope is that it will bring this election back to a horse race.

I don't think, however, it won't matter in the end. No fact will matter.The facts are not important anymore in this country.The American public, in their inestimatable ability to make up their own minds, will return this President for four more years. And there is nothing that Kerry can do about it at this point.

Not a damn thing.
posted by Mike 10:44 PM

Monday, September 27, 2004

Da Raida's

Well well....

After prognosticators put my Raiders down at the bottom of the barrell...

I think that Sports Frustrated said they would be lucky to be .500 by the end of the season...

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum. I saw two the last three games and the end of the Pittsburgh game. They don't look like a 5 and 11 team this year. They won 3 of 4 in the preseason and are tied for first in the divsion after going 2 - 1. Now this is NOT a season. No where near a season.

But let us put Mike's fearless prognostication skills to the test for the rest of the year. Keep in mind that Gannon is out for eight weeks now. (This is not a bad thing).

Here are my predictions., remembering I may be a fan but I'm not out of my mind.

Sun 9/12 at Pittsburgh L 21-24
Sun 9/19 Buffalo W 13-10
Sun 9/26 Tampa Bay W 30-20

So we are now 2 - 1. Lets look at the rest of the Season

W-----Sun 10/3 at Houston 1:00 pm
L-----Sun 10/10 at Indianapolis 1:00 pm
L-----Sun 10/17 Denver 4:15 pm
W-----Sun 10/24 New Orleans 4:15 pm
W-----Sun 10/31 at San Diego 4:15 pm
L-----Sun 11/7 at Carolina 1:00 pm
W-----Sun 11/21 San Diego 4:05 pm
L-----Sun 11/28 at Denver 8:30 pm
W-----Sun 12/5 Kansas City 4:05 pm
L-----Sun 12/12 at Atlanta 1:00 pm
W-----Sun 12/19 Tennessee 4:15 pm
W-----Sat 12/25 at Kansas City 5:00 pm
W-----Sun 1/2 Jacksonville 4:15 pm

10 - 6 could put them in the Playoffs....

Oh dream on Mikey!! Well they should at least beat 8 - 8.

Fearless ain't I? It's all here in bits and bytes for the record. Think SI will hire me?

posted by Mike 9:31 PM

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Make the move to FireFox.

I will make this short as possible. Years ago the first web browser was created by the Mozilla company. This is a non profit open source organization dedicated to the furtherance of an open web. Along comes Godzilla (Microsoft), rewrites a bit of code here and there and copyrightes it. Lo and behold you have your Internet Explorer. In fact if you look at the "about IE" in Help you will probably find the credit to Mozilla.

Anyway lets see if you qualify for using FoxFire instead of Internet Explorer: Do you use internet explorer consitently (vs Netscape); are you tired of hacking and spam fears?; if you still run windows 98 or 98se are you tired of IE just crashing?; do you find the Microsoft monopoly just too difficult to swallow?; do you have memory concerns on an old laptop finding that IE 6.0 runs way too slow?

Then you should use Firefox. Click on the logo above and download it. It is FREE. Imagine that in this world of corporate battles. It will import your bookmarks and you will find it is smooth, quick and doesn't crash. I personally like the "new tab" concept where it opens a tab in the window you are in rather than changing the window or opening a new one.

Go for it

posted by Mike 1:24 PM

Friday, September 24, 2004

Blue Oyster Cult!!

First I want to share with you the most amazing picture, which I took accidentally last night. It was supposed to be a closeup of just one of the guitarists. However one of the other guitarists' guitar went sweeping through the frame as I took it, AND the drummer was hitting the gong in the background. Not in a million years could I have planned this shot.

Myself and a few hundred of the faithful saw the boys tonight at their annual visit to Northern Lights in Clifton Park. The concert was a big success, the crowd very appreciative. All age ranges were in attendance as usual. It is possibly the loudest concert I've been at in many years however, not helped by the fact that I saw it from standing in front of the stage. In contrast I stood in the exact same spot for a band called STS9 a week earlier and had no appreciable "tinnyness" that night or the next day. This am my ears are still ringing......

The boys were dressed in their usual fashion, mostly black.

Eric was wearing a black "baseball" jersey open in the front, with the word Klingon across the front and the Klingon symbol on the sleeve. Alan was in a "moon" T-Shirt.

Eric in the Klingon shirt

Buck of course came out in a jacket and that was gone fairly quickly. The new bass player is really good, and his solo was excellent as was Bobby's of course.

New Bass Player

There were three T's available at the table, a dark maroon 2004 tour shirt a dark gray "1978" tour shirt and a non specific black shirt that just said the words Blue Oyster Cult several times down the back. I got the 2004 and 1978 shirts, and I have no idea if the 1978 shirts were really from that tour, reprints of that tour shirt or just something they made up for the hell of it. The 2004 shirt did not have this tour stop, though it did have dates so I'm wondering if the CP gig was not originally planned for Sept. (Our date would have been btw the Glenside PA and Hampton Beach NH dates)

The set list had a couple of nice surprises: Shooting Shark and an encore of Black Blade, but overall it was a greatest hits set and there was nothing from the last two albums, which surprised the hell out of me. As you all know I'm lousy with set lists and song names.

Bobby's Drum solo at one of his last BOC gigs ever..

However there was a very funny incident during one of the songs. Buck was doing one of his solo's and his white "Swiss cheese" guitar just cut out!

"Swiss Cheese" Guitar

Once he figured it out, he pointed to the equipment guy which amp was not working. (I still don't know what caused the problem, the guitar never returned to the stage). However in typical Buck comic fashion he started really screwing around for the people at the front of the stage doing all sorts of silly "air guitar" things with his guitar knowing there was no sound coming out of it. On his knees, behind his back etc.

Then Eric gave him the black Cross guitar to play. I know I've never seen him play that guitar.

Black Cross Guitar

Otherwise the show was fairly standard, although full of energy. Alan played mostly guitars again, and cranked it out in his parts especially the last days of may.

Alan doing "The Last Days of May".

I snuck my digital camera into the show and these and the rest of the pictures are available on the following link:

Blue Oyster Cult Pictures

As always if you wish to save the pics to your HD feel free to do so, however please don't use them on any other website without crediting me as the photographer.
posted by Mike 11:55 PM

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The big 43

So yea its another birthday. Yippee. This is the big 43. September 23 1961 I was born to Kay Marianne and Samir Jamil. This was actually right early, 12:44 am and I was 7 lbs and 15 oz. Born in Beautiful Santa Monica California no less.

So far I have gotten calls from (separately) the aforementioned Kay Marianne and Samir Jamil, brother's Greg and Andrew, Sister Laurie, and spoke to Grammie and Aunt Birdinia. The aforementioned Kay Marianne came to visit two weekends ago (see the blog below for that) for a combination birthday and anniversary dinner. I got emails from a few people as well, internet friends etc.

So what is the state of the person. Lets have a State of the person address. I'm 5 8 and 210, and after smoking on and off for more years than I wish to admit I went cold turkey close to a month ago. I can acutally breath again but I have gained 5 lbs from before I quit. Overall the 5 lbs is less unhealthy than the smoking and I should be able to take the weight off. Going back to the gym is the next step in the health care program.

Mentally I'm sharp (perhaps sharper than I have been in 25 yrs) and happy to be working again after taking the summer off. The job itself seems to be a good opportunity although I am concerned as to how to generate the number of appointments on a weekly basis to be successful. Yea I'm having a tiny bit of "Buyers Remorse" but that is inevitable considering the high of being hired and the attention inherent in the training. I'm sure I will do fine. Once this settles out I move forward on the new life plan and get some more education with the goal of landing in a Public or Private school, or perhaps just headed straight for the College Campus to teach there.

Physically at 43 I have slight tintinitus that seems to be related to my fatigue level and I suspect is caused by bad dental habits of a lifetime. The Dr's were useless in determining what was going on with my hip so I just live with that strange ache on my left side on a periodic basis. At this moment I have a tiny piece of glass embedded in my foot and it hurts like heck, but that too shall pass.

On the positive side I have no major illness' (considering I have one cousin my age who had a stroke, and another, his brother, may have terminal cancer); I still have a full head of hair though it is thinning evenly; My eyesight is as bad as it was 10 yrs ago and I still don't need bifocals. Having a wife that is 6 yrs younger and a son who is only 11 keeps me young. (My old HS friend Ron Green has a daughter who is a Junior in College this year).

I have a very poor attitude however, on the near future of our great country. The amazing level of greed, lies and deceit that our present leaders spread over the unsuspecting populace, who simply believe it because they are told it is so, just appalls me. From people whose intelligence I have always admired, to complete dolts, it seems that America is populated by people who just don't question Authority. Never have and never will.

There is no way that this election will go any other way but with the people in power, and I'm not even sure anymore that I want the guy running against them. I have had my first taste of the true reason people vote for an Anderson, Perot or Nader this year, or abstain from the process all together. All these lying self centered politicians begining to sound the same after a while. Clinton, Gore, Bush, Cheney, Kerry, Edwards..... Not much of a difference in the way they conduct themselves, although though there is a big difference in outlook. One of the slightly disheartening things about the new office is that I seem to be surrounded by arch Conservatives. One of the guys actually listens to Rush Limbaugh.....

So that's the State of the Person address. Doing well, but in need of improvement. On a program to do said improvements, a work in progress as always. Much love goes out today to all my family and friends.

posted by Mike 5:15 PM

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Finally a perceptive judicial ruling

Thanks to Prjt2501 for this story

Judge Strikes Down Anti-Bootleg Law

By ERIN McCLAM, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - A federal judge Friday struck down a 1994 law banning the sale of bootleg recordings of live music, ruling the law unfairly grants "seemingly perpetual protection" to the original performances.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. dismissed a federal indictment of Jean Martignon, who runs a Manhattan mail-order and Internet business that sells bootleg recordings.

Baer found the bootleg law was written by Congress in the spirit of federal copyright law, which protects writing for a fixed period of time — typically for the life of the author and 70 years after the author's death.

But the judge said the bootleg law, which was passed "primarily to cloak artists with copyright protection," could not stand because it places no time limit on the ban.

Baer also noted that copyright law protects "fixed" works — such as books or recorded music releases — while bootlegs, by definition, are of live performances.

A federal grand jury indicted Martignon in October 2003 for selling "unauthorized recordings of live performances by certain musical artists through his business."

The business, Midnight Records, once had a store in Manhattan but now operates solely by mail and Internet. It sells hundreds of recordings, specializing in rock artists, from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin.

An e-mail message to Martignon from The Associated Press was not immediately returned Friday, and a phone number could not immediately be located.

Megan Gaffney, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney, said federal prosecutors were "reviewing the decision and will evaluate what steps ought to be taken going forward."

The Recording Industry Association of America, a trade group that fights piracy and bootlegging, also disagreed with the ruling.

The decision "stands in marked contrast to existing law and prior decisions that have determined that Congress was well within its constitutional authority to adopt legislation that prevented trafficking in copies of unauthorized recordings of live performances," said Jonathan Lamy, a spokesman for the RIAA.

The bootleg law calls for prison terms of up to five years for first offenders and 10 years for second offenders, plus fines. It requires courts to order the destruction of any bootlegs created in violation of the law.

The law did not apply to piracy, which is the unauthorized copying or sale of recorded music, such as albums.

posted by Mike 1:26 PM

Thursday, September 16, 2004


Its a sign that you should go see a concert. Picked up my coffee and a NYTimes at the Mobil Station near the office. They guy said I could get a Albany Times Union instead for free with the coffee. I said I dont READ the Times Union, but I'd take it any way as One it was free and Two I could give it to someone at the office. Lo and Behold in the Preview Section, whilst checking on the BOC show for next Friday, I discovered that one of my fave new bands Sound Tribe Sector Nine was playing TONIGHT at Northern Lights.

So I went. GREAT show. Danced my ass off.

Few observations. No question the youngest Jam band crowd I had seen. This was definitely the High School and College Crowd. Now you must understand that STS9 is not pop music. It is very complicated, Jazz, Funky, Urban instrumental Jam music. I was one of the very few people there who were over 40. Maybe one of 5 that I saw. The first stares in line were "what the hell is that old guy doing here". I spent the first set in the back getting in the groove. Spent the second set right up front dancing. This generated the second set of stares "Hey that old dude can really dance". Well at least keep up.

The stage was amazing. They have a central spot with huge Quarz crystals and flowers. Then there is a guy sitting during the entire performance making a painting. Great light show as well.

I know I'll be sore tomorrow but what the hell you only go around once in life. I did get a STS9 hat and replaced the sticker I had lost in a car wash last year.
posted by Mike 11:59 PM

Monday, September 13, 2004

First Day of Training

Mom left at 7am this morning, giving me the time to the half hour rush to get showered (!) and dressed (!) and out the door to go to work (!). First of all I took Alex to LaSalle of course, and checked in with the powers that be on the Cafeteria situation. Not being a publically funded public school, Chartwells food service is full boat, or a whopping $3.25 per lunch. Annualize that baby. So Alex will be doing the old bag lunch this year, though he will be able to eat in the cafeteria. (This is important to him).

So off to the first day of training. My co trainee is an older gentleman named Bruce, and my boss is Rob. Training started at 9:30 and we did paperwork, and then got through part of the presentation by lunch. From 1 to 3:30 we worked on more of the presentation. Tomorrow we start working the phone scrips.

The whole thing seems very well thought out and well done. I am so far very impressed with this operation, and although we are all independent contractors, there is a large amount of support comming from the local office including lead generation (cold leads mind you). This and other thing indicate that this is no fly by night (well they have been in business for 30 yrs) and is well founded.

Time will tell if it is a good fit. The only way to know is to get through the training and get out there and start selling. It's just a numbers game. Get in front of enough people to make enough sales. The two concerns I have are the front end and the back end. Front end is doing enough things to get the 10 appointments recommended for success. Back end is not knowing what size the orders will be, and what kind of income will be generated.

Las Vegas

The show not the city. Saw the season premier. Looks like another great season. Fantastic ensemble cast headed by James Caan. Don't miss it, NBC's at 9pm. Liza and I just love it.

9/13 - Please keep reading down as I have back filled or BackBlogged as I call it some previous day's activities.

posted by Mike 10:38 PM

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Mom Visit

Well we spend the late morning and early afternoon doing the final Fall Cleaning touches just in time for the Emmy Unit to arrive around 5:30. Ironically the Sunny Unit called right as she walked in the door, so it was a Mom kinda moment. Sunny had found this cool job opportunity, unfortunatly it is in Keene NH, and we are just not able to relocate at this time.

So MW arrived at 5:30 and we had a nice chat, showed her Alex's new paint job and then trundled off for a late Anniversary early birthday (9/10 & 9/23) dinner at Koto Restaurant near the Airport. This is a Hibachi cooking table type Japanese restaurant. Two pictures are below.

The cook created an Onion Tower and the made it into a Volcano. Pretty cool.

MW, Alex and I had Chicken, and Liza had Shirmp and Steak Hibachi's.

These three were our table companions, the middle one had a brazillian accent, and they said there in town on business. Liza guessed a Retail meeting, I was more leaning to sales. Either way it was a nice background. (ducking)

All in all (sexist comments aside) we had a great time at Koto and would recommend it to anyone with a fat wallet. We got back and determined that MW had to go to RenssaelarVILLE not Rensaellar, so we got her to be early and did so oursleves, being that I have my first day of work/training tomorrow. Wild....
posted by Mike 10:53 PM

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Three years today

I was working for the CableShoppe when the jets hit the Twin Towers. I saw the second one hit Live so to speak. Just horrid. Same with the falling towers, saw the second one go down live, the first happened when I was back at my desk.

Its been a long three years. Last year I asked if we were any safer. This year I'm not going to do this, because the answer is really not negotiable to anyone in America. Half of the US thinks we are, the other half thinks we are not. The one half will not agree with the other no matter what is said. This country is sick and divided, and neither political party are helping. We are along way from recovery and are not even on the right path to get there.

So instead we should remember the thousands killed in the Twin Tower tragedy.

And remember the thousands of Irish killed in sectarian terrorist activities in Northern Ireland.

And remember the thousands of Spaniards and French killed in Basque sepratist terrorist activities.

And remember the thousands of Israelis and Palestinians killed in that massive fiasco called a country.

And remember the thousands of other nameless faceless citizens of this planet whose candles have been snuffed out in the name of some cause de jour, all because they were in the wrong place and the wrong time, and because some mad person had the means, arms or abilities to kill them.

And mostly remember that we are not the first nor will be the last country to have our citizens killed in some mad person's violent campaign to have his or her religion or social cause recognized by the rest of the world. 9/11/2001 welcomed the US to the rest of the world, and woke us up from our little American Dream that we are safe and isolated.

In the end, you can go stomping on all the terrorist cells you want, but more will just pop up. Without addressing the root of the reason for these activities, there will never be an end to the violence. So we can be reactive, but we should be proactive as well.
posted by Mike 11:16 PM

Friday, September 10, 2004

16 years ago today

I married my lover, best friend, the woman who would be come the mother to my son, and my life long compainion.

In 16 years we have had some pretty big highs and very serious lows, but we have always strived to work out the lows and celebrate the highs, and to learn from each.

So here we were in 1986.

Maid of honor Jenny, Liza, Mike, Best Man Greg.
posted by Mike 11:34 PM

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Issues we are not hearing about........

.......because we have spent so much time talking about television advertisements:
We deserve better than this.
posted by Mike 2:02 PM

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Labor Day Weekend Fun.

In the ongoing quest to make Alex's life as wonderful as possible, I have finally stopped putting off painting his room. Due to L's great connections, we got a bunch (ok well a room's worth) of paint at cost. We went with such splendorific color names as Unicorn Pearl for the basic wall color, and Lady in Red, Blue Grass Meldoy and Sapphire Ring for the trim. Basically off-white, Red, Green and Blue. Basically.

So yesterday I washed down the walls with Spic and Span diluted. Then this am I spackled with dry wall compound. Then came the painting. Using a roller and two brushes, this Latex paint went on very nicely. Actually it didn't take anywhere near as long as I thought it might, about 140 min (the time of a String Cheese Incident concert I had just gotten). I painted the walls, ceiling, and tried not to paint the floor... ;-)

Tomorrow I put on the second coat, as it's latex, so it is pretty much dry now, but I decided to wait 24 hrs btw coats. Then I will do the first layer of trim, except the window, which will take a lot more work. Then Tuesday the second trim layer. At some point I need to take out the window and strip it before painting it so it doesn't stick. Also it will need to competely dry before putting it back in.

In the mean time Alex is a Guest of the household. He is sleeping in the living room downstairs on the fold out sofa sleeper. This has an air mattress. He thinks it's like camping out, so its great fun. He gets two nights at least down there.

Phone calls and emails

Had some nice communcation today with friends and loved ones. First were two congratulatory e-mails from Sunny and Laurie regarding my work situation and the smoking. Always nice to get an ata-boy. Then I had an hour long talk with MW which quite excellent, on a wide range of subjects. Last and certainly not least I picked up the phone to talk to prjt2501 today and we had a really nice conversation as well. Ah modren (sic) technolgy.

posted by Mike 10:20 PM

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Nominally Employed

Unless something else comes up in a big way, I will begin training for an outside sales job with a company called Transworld Systems, an OSI corporate division, on Monday the 13th. Transworld was created in the the 1970's to better service bad debt collection in the banking business. They are a mulitmillion dollar company spread out over the entire US, with offices in every major region.

Now before you freak and think I'm going to be calling debtors and screaming at them I want you to go to this power point presentation it will open a fresh window in your browser. You can click on the presentation itself to page through it.

Transworld utilzes a flat rate per account program to keep the collection costs as low as possible for business'. My job is to sell this service. Pure and simple. I prospect. I set appointments. I sell. It's what I've been doing since I graduated from College.

This is one of the types of position I have been looking for over the last 6 mo. This an independent sales job, where I can work from office or home, nominally set my hours, and not be responsible for others. Since that magically perfect management job didn't appear, and because Unemployment runs out mid September, I am taking the plunge before hand.

Once training is under my belt and the work is going, this position will allow me time and financial freedom to pursue my true goal, that of teaching. It will be a long and arduous road to teacher, as there is a massive saturation of Social Studies teachers in this area. It may take learning a new area of expertise, or just working harder to find that Social Studies job. And this will take a few years.

I was raised with the notion that one's compensation package is highly personal. So I will simply say that if successful with this company, the compensation is very fair to the salesperson, and after the first two years will be quite substantial due to a generous renewal program. Of course it will take hard work to get there, but who doesn't work hard?

The fact is that (barring the last 6 mo) I have been working very hard indeed for a very long time to line the pockets of other people. Be it a Ben Merchant of the Satellite Co, a Ned Zibro of the CableShoppe, or a Rory Russell of the Security company. It's time to work hard and create compensation suitable for my sales talents, and see it line the pockets of my family.

Being employed and working again will do wonders for my sence of purpose, the mindset of myself and the family, and help me stay focused for the next stage in my life.

You may send "ata-boys" or "waddathinkyerdoings" by clicking here and I will get the message.

Two weeks today

It has now been two weeks since I put out my last cigarette half way through the butt, took 3/4 of a pack out of the box and crushed them in my hands, and said fuck it I'm just not doing this anymore.

The Cravings are mostly gone thank god. Though periodically they do come back at weird times. Since the night I quit, I have not had one of my periodic, I cannot fall asleep evenings. This would be when I would lay in bed and twitch for no apparent reason. There seemed no cause and effect to this, I thought it was caffene, or my hip, or the herbs I take, but nothing seemed to be scientifically consistent. Lo and behold it must have been the nicotene.

I didn't expect the tintinitus to go away, but I didn't expect it to get louder either, so go figure. It is worst when I am tired, so maybe it is fatigue related.

So anyway, 14 days, cold turkey. No Patch. No gum. No hypnosis. Just the Pachyderm CT method, being strong as a Bull Elephant and going cold turkey.

posted by Mike 10:32 PM

Friday, September 03, 2004

the RNC Day 4,

or.... Dear Mr. President:

I watched your speech last night with some hope and anticipation. After three straight days of watching your party denigrate and disrespect the Democratic Party and their nominees for President, I wondered what you would say. From Mr. Cheney to Mr. Miller your minions spread their twisted facts and outright lies about your opponent and what he stands for.

But you know what? I think in the end you think you are a pretty good guy. A man of the people. Though markedly anti-intellectual this is not a horrid thing. You come from a patrician, but very nice family, and I actually liked your Dad, though like you he was not the greatest President.

You may recall I sent you an "open" letter after the Supreme Court gave you the election in 2000 regarding your cutting of all funding for any sort of family planning in the third world. This was right after you had run as a "compassionate conservative", and a moderate.

Then I wrote you another "open" letter when it appeared that your entire foreign policy revolved around two things: Ronny Regan’s discredited "Star Wars" idea, and anything-that-Bill-Clinton-did-we-want-no-part-of. I urged you to examine what was happening in the Middle East and Korea and do something about it.

So I was aware that just maybe, your policies were not going to be the sort of moderate path your speeches of the 2000 election portrayed.

Then came that horrible day in September. I still remember watching the buildings fall down with shock. What American didn’t? You rolled into action, gone was the stuttering man who mispronounced words, in his place a man of action, on the spot and in their face. I also remember you staying in that classroom to finish reading to the kids as planes streaked towards the White House and the Pentagon. I remember almost crying when I heard how some men had taken over the plane bound for the White House and crashed it to save our symbol of the Presidency.

The nation came together, and you were our leader. The world cried with us, and was behind us all the way. You announced that we would invade Afghanistan to hunt down the people that had done this, and the world said "we will help". But then something happened. You didn't find the main bad guy, bin Laden, right away. But that was ok, cause we knew it was going to take time.

All of a sudden, things got real weird. Suddenly, Iraq was the hotbed of Al Queda, not Afghanistan. Or Iraq was supporting Al Queda. Or Hussein was making bombs to drop on America. Or basically anything you could come up with.

Because none of that mattered did it? From before 9/11 your people, especially Wolfowitz and Perle, had decided you were going to do finish your Dad's work and eliminate Hussein. Your administration was planning this from before you were in office. Were you aware of this? Sometimes I wonder, I really do. The horrid tragedy of 9/11 provided an excellent focus for this.

So off your administration went, gathering the intelligence you needed to sell the American people and Congress on this new war, the one to take the attention off the old war, which wasn't working exactly according to plan.

Thing is youre people didn't like the intel you were getting originally did they?

Enough articles have been written, and I'm sure the second intelligence report which comes out after the election (coincidence?) will show, that your people kept asking the CIA to go back to the trough until they gave you something you liked. And when that didn't work completely you went through Mr. Chalabi, who of course had no vested interest in the facts...

But we were convinced, we went to war, we took out Saddam Hussein, and you were a great hero. Very Macho by the way.

Then things began to unravel didn't they? Turns out that there was no WMD program. Turns out that there was no connection between Al Queda and Iraq. These are not my accusations Mr. President, these are the findings of committees whom you first opposed, and then stacked with conservatives. Still they found that the entire basis of your argument to the American people was false. Though they didn't blame you of course.

In the mean time, you inherited the biggest economic hangover in many decades, from the go go years of the 90's. The tech boom had bust before you became President, and it was laid in your lap. Not your fault.

So what did you do with the biggest federal surplus in modern history? Did you put it away for a rainy day?

No you spent it. And you spent it. And you spent it. Your spin-doctors like to call the Democrats the Tax and Spend party. At least they create funding for new iniatives, even if it is out of the pockets of the American People.

You however have a whole new idea. The deficit doesn’t matter. Tax-cut and spend is the new way of the nation! So you created the biggest handout out to the rich in modern history, and then began to create more bureaucracy and spending programs. And lo and behold the economy was mired in one of the longest recessions in the last 35 yrs.

So here we are, 3.5 yrs into your Administration, involved in a war, that however justifiable, you lied about to get us into. Mired in a recession that, though you like to say otherwise, economic data suggests is going to last quite a bit longer. And you want us to return you to office for another four years?????

Ah but we fought the terrorists you say. Did we Mr. President? Where is Mr. Bin Laden Mr. President? You say 75% of the leaders of Al Queda are captured or dead, but you don’t talk about how they have been replaced already by new blood.

I do think it's just wonderful that Mr. Hussein is rotting in a jail somewhere. I think a large majority of Americans do. If you read my blog you would know that I called for his removal by violent means long before you went to war. But I called it for reasons that were justifiable, not created out of forged intel.

So with this, we come to your speech last night. Would you apologize for anything? Would you have a plan for the next four years? And you know what I got?

Aside from your chest thumping about what you did around 9/11 I got a speech that you could have done in 2000.

First let me get something off my chest. You were expected to go to ground zero and support the emergency workers. You were expected to hunt down and find the perpetrators of this horrid deed. You were expected to give moral support to the families of the lost. You are our President. It’s your job Mr. President! So don't expect a pat on the back for doing your job Sir.

Don't have your minions spend four days thumping their chests as to how great you were because you did your job. Don't expect the American people to make you some sort of hero because you did the job you were elected to do.

In your speech one of the first things you said was that you would be "restraining federal spending, reducing regulation and making the tax relief permanent." All well and good. But then we got a laundry list of promises nearly identical to the ones you made us four years ago under the umbrella of the oxymoron "compassionate conservatism". Very few of these points have you accomplished in four years. And this with a Senate and a House under the control of your party. Good God man! How much more help do you need exactly to accomplish your goals?

Fact is that they are just empty promises. Talking points for you to convince people that you have a plan, and that you are a moderate. What is more disturbing is you then turned, after promising in effect to make the deficit even larger (this after promising to cut it in half in five years on the campaign trail leading up to the convention) and accused your opponent of the very things you are promising the American people. Promising Again. Four years later having promised them in 2000. Having not accomplished much of your "conservative compassion" agenda.

"No, wait a minute, wait a minute - to be fair, there are some things my opponent is for. He's proposed more than $2 trillion in federal spending so far, and that's a lot, even for a senator from Massachusetts. And to pay for that spending, he is running on a platform of increasing taxes, and that's the kind of promise a politician usually keeps. His taxes - his policies of tax and spend, of expanding government rather than expanding opportunity, are the politics of the past. We are on the path to the future, and we're not turning back."

So what are the politics of the future Mr. President?? Tax cut and spend? Your proposals outstrip the Democratic' nominees spending. Your figure of $2 trillion is of course made up out of thin air. All you have to do is actually read the democratic platform to know that he is in no way running on a platform of tax increases.

Unless you call rolling back the tax cuts to the rich and powerful and applying that to the middle class a tax increase. Well I guess you and your backers would call it a tax increase. But for the other 98% of America it will be a tax cut.

Mr. President I could probably go on for another five pages on a point by point with what you said last night, but that would be tedious.

I want to conclude with a few thoughts.

Your Party's pandering to New York and 9/11 emotions to get you re-elected borders on the revolting. To take such a tragic event and politicize it so completely is an insult to the memory of the people who died. And if you hadn't noticed, your actual monetary promises to New York State and City go woefully un fulfilled. So you come to my State, act like the returning hero, and then leave, the State none the better for security against the very thing you are claiming credit for.

ALL AMERICANS are patriots Mr. President. Because you simply did your job as our leader and President in your moral support of the people, and your military retaliation on Al Queda does not give you the moral high ground to claim your party has the corner on the ability to fight terrorism. In fact you gave up the moral high ground by doing something so heinous to the American Tradition that it alone calls for your removal. That of course is by lying to the American People about Iraq.

Your party tried to impeach the last President for lying about having consensual sex with another adult in the White House out of Wedlock. Can you imagine if the same standard was applied to your lies about Iraq, which have cost thousands of young American lives?

So I will be honest with you, though you were not wholly honest with us, I will be voting for Mr. Kerry come November. But I'm not just voting for Mr. Kerry, but against you and yours.

posted by Mike 3:00 PM

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The RNC Day Three

As I thought it would be, today was a difficult pill to listen to. Admittedly I only caught the last hour of the convention. Unfortunately the first speaker was Zel Miller. Look I don't mind that this guy has an opinion on John Kerry. This is America, we all have our opinions. But he is no Democrat. He is a turncoat. "He is offended by how cynical, narrow minded and partisan the Democrats in Washington are. Everything he believed about his party was "destroyed" when he came to Washington." (This all direct quotes from his good friend Newt Gingrich).

So his response is to go to the other party's convention and slag off his own party in a cynical, narrow minded and partisan way. Way to go keep up the Moral High Ground Zel. Dear Senator Miller, we don't want you. Go be a Republican. Thanks. You are welcome to your opinions, but they do not reflect the Democratic Party.

I did not get a chance to pick out the lies from Dick Cheny's speech. Most of the non parisan analysts including Brooks and Shields said both speakers (bent or twisted) the truth (depending upon who was giving their opinion). I would have to analyze it from the text, and I'm not sure I have the inclination or the time. It sounded pleasant enough from the snippets that I heard, and he is such a hatchet man in how he sounds so sincere.

These people so believe in the lies and twists of the facts. However I must agree with the talking heads. Where is the plan for the future. The Dems, like their ideas or not, have it in droves. Every speech is full of their ideas for the next four years. Where are the Republican ideas?

However the reality is that Kerry has some problems he needs to address. He needs to clarify the reasons for the votes that he is being called to the wood shed for. He has good reasons for his votes. Say them! Be honest with the American People.

It goes with the same line of reasoning I've been arguing regarding the term Liberal. Embrace it! "YES I'M A LIBERAL AND I'M PROUD OF IT! And here are the all the great things that the Progressive Liberal Tradition has accomplished over the last 75 years...."

Be a man Kerry. Be proud of who you are, what you say now, what you said and did 10, 15 and 20 yrs ago. You didn't call all service men war criminals in Vietnam, the news clips clearly show you saying that there were atrocities being committed. This is a known fact of history now.

If you voted against a particular bill, or appropriation, tell us why. Was it because some fat cat Republican had put a pork barrel spending clause on the bill? Probably! So tell us these things. Don't do a Mike Dukakus and go down in a swirl of Republican lies and innuendo.
posted by Mike 11:12 PM

The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind