Tuesday, November 30, 2004

that's it for today

9.24 miles. So I'm pretty happy with that since I've been off for a couple of days.

9/11 Commission Press Conference

Thomas Kean is talking, saying "Give us a vote" on the security bill.

He's just explaining all the stuff in the bill. It sounds pretty good to me. I just don't see why we should think that Kean doesn't have everyone's best interest in mind here.

Wow, the bill even has stuff about promoting economic development in the Muslim world, I think that's a great idea.

Now Lee Hamilton, the vice-chairman of the commission, is talking. He's addressing the main criticisms of the bill.

He just said, "The window of opportunity for reform will not last long..."

So that's not very comforting for people who say this bill is missing important stuff. In fact, that is their argument. That wasn't the smartest thing in the world for Hamilton to say.

Now we've got some good milling around here. So that's the end of that. I have to say that I'm with the 9/11 commission on this issue. I just don't see any reason to believe they are trying to sell the country down the river.

8.06 miles

9/11 Families for a Secure America

This I'm going to report pretty much straight up...

Peter Gadiel is talking, he's the president of Families for a Secure America.

His main problem is the lack of border security and secure driver's license provisions in the pending security bill. Those are the same complaints that Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc) had, so this guy supports him, and he's upset at Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Collins. He says Lieberman is insisting on "open borders."

(The other guy against the bill is Rep. James Duncan (R-Cali)

This article explains the basics of the situation.

Oh, so this organization was formed specifically to 'weigh in on this issue."

The problem is that even the guy who headed the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean, is trying to get this bill to pass. "Pass this bill. The choice is between this bill and the status quo. The basic structure of the intelligence community hasn't changed since 9/11. The status quo failed us."

This woman, Debra Burlingame, just said that Chairman Kean is wrong, and that "he should read his own report."

This is interesting because I am sure that this woman and Thomas Kean both have the best of intentions.

Bruce DeCell, father-in-law of a 9/11 victim, is saying that Sen. McCain lied to his face, saying that there was a provision for secure driver's licenses in the security bill. DeCell says that he pointed out to McCain that this wasn't true, and then McCain said that he didn't want to talk to him anymore.

So why aren't these provisions in the bill? I wonder what that part of the story is.

I guess part of it is that immigration reform is a politically difficult issue.

They have this line up on posterboard: "For terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons." That is a really powerful line.

A questioner just said that people are saying, "Let's act now on matters of consensus." That is an awesome line. It boils so much down to a simple sentence.

Peter Gadiel just said that people in Congress are being "bought," receiving money from people who profit from open borders.

Oh, so Lieberman says that these provisions are unnecessary and violate civil liberties.

6.02 miles

Panel on the Ukrainian Presidential Election

(this show is already in progress)

This looks really boring. This is going to give that tax reform panel a run for its money.

This guy asking a question is wearing an orange tie. I would have recommended against that. What's done is done, but next time... He just used the phrase "diplomatic capital." And remember when Bush said that the election had given him "political capital?" It's a good concept. Like, imagine if I grew a pony tail before hanging out with my girlfriend's family. That's like "negative social capital." But it could be good, because I would have to work harder to get into good standing with them, like going to law school or something. Ponytails are like the "ankle weights" of social capital. Because then when you chop it off you still have your law degree, so it's like you have bonus capital that you don't really need anymore. Then you can use that capital for whatever you want, like wearing a hockey jersey to the opera or something.

Jennifer Windsor, Exec. Dir. of the Freedom House, is telling it like it is.

There's only five minutes left in this show. Oh how I wish it would never end.

Some guy just asked how much religious values played a role in the Ukrainian election. Which makes me think, when you have everyone all over the world with all their religious values, and the world is becoming more and more interrelated, I think that religions that claim to be the "only true way" are bound to slowly lose ground. The more contact you have with people of different faiths, the more cosmopolitan you become. It's inevitable. It's the same way with foods. When you are little you think pizza is the best food in the world. But then eventually you try General Tso's chicken, and you realize that is pretty good too. Next thing you know you're at a food court eating Mongolian Barbecue and a chili dog and washing it down with rice milk with boba. Of course there are going to be 60 year old people who still swear that pizza is the one and only god, but there are going to be more people that realize that each storefront at the food court is a different path to the same place.

I'm at 4.28 miles.

C-Span deux, Tax Policy, New America Foundation

Ok, this is going to be tough. Watching people talk about tax policy is like my own personal nightmare, so I'm going to have to put a lot of heart into this.

EUGENE STEUERLE, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE URBAN INSTITUTE, ON THE MIZZZIIIKE! YEAH! Ooh, he's getting giddy talking about economists. Spicy. He's done.

Who's up, who's up. Swing, batta, batta,

Who's this guy? MICHAEL GRAETZ, TAX LAW PROF AT YALE! WEARIN A BOW TIE! Apparently studying taxes makes you go bald, because both of these guys have a landing strip on the top of their head that a 747 could land on. He's done.

KAREN KORNBLUH, WORK AND FAMILY DIRECTOR OF THE NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION! Ok, everyone reading this has to do a shot every time Kornbluh says "asset building." Starting....NOW!


BOW TIE GUY, saying boring stuff! What does OECD mean? This guy is talking about getting 150,000,000 people out of the income tax, so props for that. All these people say "my" when they are talking about anything to do with their tax plan. ("The thing with MY 14% is where I'm going to put that money...") I think they should have to name their tax proposals, like "Big Betsy," or "Franky Flowers."

Eugene "Stewie" Steuerle is talking about income tax vs. consumtion tax. I think they should tax people for having E's in their name, this guy would be screwed.

Whoa, look at this guys hair! I have a hard time believing he know's anything about taxes, because he's got hair like Ted Danson on cheers. DALTON CONLEY, SOC PROFESSOR AT NYU, LOOKING GOOD!

Bow Tie Guy just said "regressivity." He's saying that we shouldn't waste our time rehauling the payroll tax. What's the difference between the income tax and the payroll tax.

Ooooh, new speaker... MAYA MacGUINEAS, FISCAL POLICY PROGRAM DIRECTOR AT THE NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION. I don't understand what she's talking about, but it sure sounds like she knows what she's talking about. This lady just exudes confidence. She could tell me my pants were on fire and I would believe her even if my legs didn't feel warm.

Combover guy looks like a combination of Rush Limbaugh and John McCain. Check it out: He's responding to burning pants lady. "The system on the whole is progressive so you miss the point when you emphasize the regressivity."

Yo! I think that's my cousin asking a question! No way!

Bow Tie Guy is the author of "Death by a Thousand Cuts" in case you were wondering. Now he's talking about the AMT, the automatic minumum tax.

Stewie just quoted Herb Stein, his favorite economist. "If something can't continue it won't." I think that's a pretty good line. Also, I would like to have my own favorite economist. I'm going with Adam Smith. Why not go with one of the big guns right?
Adam Smith really is the bomb actually, it's a travesty that people use him to defend unrestrained capitalism even when it screws over the common man. The whole reason he liked laissez fair was that he saw that leaders were using regulation to screw over the common man.

This guy asking a question looks like Al Franken, if Al lost 40 pounds and was homeless.


By the way, I got rid of the rule where I sprint while people are milling around on C-span. It was a good rule, I know, but I just can't afford to sweat like that. I get all itchy.

So that's the end of that show, I'm at 3.24 miles, going 3.1 miles an hour...

11/30 Ode to New Jersey #3

I was away for the holidays, but now I'm back in the saddle. I just finished watching the end of Tom Ridge's resignation speech, that was pretty boring. Although he did say that he was looking forward to going to his son's rugby games, so good for him.

Ode to New Jersey #3

Oh New Jersey,
how unfair that people make fun of your pollution,
while you are manufacturing stuff
to make their lives better.
That would be like if I was building stuff for people in my room,
and people made fun of all the smoke in the air,
and the soot on the walls,
even though I was building them cool stuff.
"Why is it so smoggy in here?"
they would say,
as I handed them a brand new toaster or a bagel slicer.
Plus, there would still be plenty of beautiful places in my room,
just like the flowing rivers and emerald forests
that glimmer just beyond eyeshot
of your glorious highways.
Oh New Jersey,
you are the Jesus of states,
looking down with love on the people who curse you
while you lie on the cross,
dreaming of manufacturing compassion,
while they hammer nails into your tollbooths.

Monday, November 29, 2004

11/29 Washington Journal - Medical Marijuana

Rob Kampia, Exec. Dir. of the Marijuana Policy Project, is talking about the lady (Angel Raich) that needs to smoke pot every two hours in order to get through life. She has an inoperable brain tumor, scoliosis, and other problems. Rob is saying that the question before the Supreme Court is whether Congress has the constitutional authority to ban all uses of marijuana, including medical use, even when that activity does not involve interstate commerce. Specifically, the question is whether a person should have the right to grow their own pot when they have the backing of their doctor and the laws of their state.

Rob's position is this: if the concept of restricting Congressional power to activities involving interstate commerce is to have any meaning at all, it cannot apply to a sitation such as someone growing marijuana for personal medical use.

So David Evans, Executive Director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition, is saying that letting states to allow people to use pot medically would create chaos. "Go through the approval system... if we have each state deciding what is and what is not a medicine we're going to have chaos; we will not have a consistent, science-based approach to medicine approval."

First of all, though, the issue isn't whether giving Congress power over this activity will lead to chaos. The issue is whether it would be Constitutionally valid for Congress to have power over something like this.

So even though Dave-bo isn't saying it, I think his argument must be that allowing people to grow pot for their own medical use would have serious implications for interstate commerce, and that's why Congress should be able to ban it.

So I guess the real question is: how do you define whether an activity involves interstate commerce?

To which Rob says: If growing pot for your own medical use is interstate commerce, then everything is interstate commerce; if you are going to say that then Congress has power over everything that anyone does.

What can Dave-bo say to this? I guess his point is that growing greens for personal use is a very specific situation which comprimises the national drug approval system, and so it would be possible to give Congress power over that activity without irrationaly expanding their power to include all activities in general.

So then the question becomes this: Does the activity in question have to specifically involve interstate commerce? Or is it enough for the activity in question to affect interstate commerce indirectly?

So it boils down to how you define interstate commerce, at least in terms of how the Supreme Court is going to decide things.

Now Dave-bo is complaining that Rob's organization wants to legalize marijuana. Which is basically irrelevant in arguing the merits of the legal case, so minus 2 points for D-bomb because he's changing the whole subject of the debate.

Oooh, this was a great question by a caller from California: "The Declaration of Independence talks about the pursuit of happiness being a god-given, inalienable right. Note, not 'the wise pursuit of happiness', and certainly not 'the government approved pursuit of happiness.' Doesn't a right that must be approved by the government cease to be a right, and therefore isn't drug prohibition, like alcohol prohibition, profoundly unamerican?" Schnap!

Dave-bo's response: "I don't see anything in the Constitution which says we need to have chaos in our medical system." Blah.

One problem with debates like this is that there are several questions being argued over, but comments about each question bleed together, and the different issues are never articulated. So here are the different issues at stake here:

1) Should Congress have the power to ban the medical usage of marijuana?
2) Is banning marijuana unconstitutional in general?
3) Is banning marijuana morally correct, regardless of what the constitution says?

Questions 1 and 2 are not really moral questions, they are matters of legal logic.
Question 3 is a moral issues, regardless of what historical documents and legal decisions may say.

Now Dave-bo is talking about how Rob got arrested for growing marijuana when he was in college at Penn state. That's just a low blow. David Evans just took this civilized debate and flushed it down the toilet. Nice work Dave-bo. Classy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Photo of the Day: Florida Senators

Senator-elect Mel "Pedro" Martinez is a Republican and Sen. Bill "Willie" Nelson is a Democrat, but these ragtag senators are already getting along famously. Niicce.

11/23 Open Phones

Connie Doebele is the name of this host! Whew, I thought I would never find out. C-span is the worst about showing the names of these Washington Journal hosts.

Someone just called in to give web sites about the Ohio recount and 2004 voting issues:



Keith Olberman's Blog

She said Olberman is the only person in the mass media talking about this stuff. So props to him and his ESPN roots.

Another lady just called in to complain about some talk show host calling Condi RIce "Aunt Jamima." Wow, and it was a "liberal" talk show host. I didn't see that coming. Here's the the story.

Connie just mentioned this story at USA today about Americans' access to high speed internet. I think those statistics are really interesting. 1 in 4 white people have broadband internet at home, compared to 1 in 7 black people and 1 in 8 latinos. For all Americans, it's 1 in 5.

Ok, so imagine that once a week, every adult in the US has to look up a number in the phone book. Let's say for people with broadband internet this takes 1 minute, and for people without broadband internet this takes 3 minutes. That's 2 extra minutes a week for 80 % of the adult population in the US. So that's 104 wasted minutes per year (2 x 52) per person. If there are 240 million adults in the US, that's 200 million that don't have the internet, so a total of 21 billion wasted minutes every year (104 x 200 million), or 39,000 years. 39,000 years of people's time! Wasted every year using the yellow pages because they don't have access to the internet!

Of course the other side of the coin is time wasted while surfing the internet. So you can probably disregard that whole point.

11/23 Washington Journal, Dr. Stephen Galson, FDA dude

Vaughn Ververs in the piece. Nevermind, he's done.

Here we go, Dr. Stephen Galson, acting Director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation & Research, is freestyling. Isn't it kind of strange that these FDA people keep on dressing up in military uniforms?

Wow, this guy just said that the FDA guy who testified last week was "totally wrong." Which just seems really defensive to me, like this guy has been told to do damage control.

Yeah Jersey!! This Jersey caller is just tearing up the hizzy, this is amazing. He's defending the doctor that Steve-bo was saying is totally wrong.

It's interesting to watch guests flinch at the exact moment they realize the caller is tearing them a new one.

Someone should call up and ask Dr. Galson whether Vioxx caused his sideburn hair to fall out, and if not, where are his sideburns.

A Virginia caller just asked why drugs with proven negative effects are released while marijuana, which has no negative effects, is still illegal. Steve-bo just said that "all drugs have negative effects." What a cop-out.

This is starting to get painfully boring. It's making me want some Vioxx.

New Hampshah just called in and complained about how Steve-bo used the term "folks" when he was talking about meeting with people from the drug industry. At first he just shrugged off the question ("I'm a friendly kind of guy"), and I was going to complain, but now he's going back to the question. Props to him.

He just said that better drug safety would require more funding for independant testing. "The two biggest funders of drug testing are the drug industry and the government." So that seems like it's one of the major factors in this whole discussion.

Wow, this guy has a public health degree from Harvard. So he's got the credentials, he just doesn't have the go-get-em attitude like he's going to go kick some drug industry ass in order to defend consumers.

Oooh, the host just asked about the military uniform. He said public health officers are a uniformed corps, or something like that. Blah.

Ouch, this California caller just said that Steve-bo has a "smart alecky smirk" that makes it look like he thinks all the callers are wrong. Now I kind of feel bad for him. "Thank you for the pointer about my television work." So he handled that pretty gracefully.

I think the military uniform just adds to people's expections that this guy is going to kick some drug industry ass, and that he shouldn't be calling people "folks" or smiling while people are asking him tough questions. In my opinion, the FDA's primary spin focus should be showing the American people that they aren't in bed with the drug industry; they shouldn't be wasting bullets trying to defend themselves against the criticisms of that Dr. (Graham) criticizing them from within their own ranks. People appreciate that guy's balls, speaking out against his own bosses and the drug industry, calling it like he sees it, so it's just bad public relations for the FDA to criticize that guy.

Ok, this is so boring my eyeballs are stinging. Ok, I think that's done.

2.88 miles

11/23 Sprint and Ode to New Jersey #2

First the sprint, this morning I'm going to go .15 miles at 8 miles an hour...

Niiice, that was more challening then yesterday's starting sprint.

Ode to New Jersey #2

Oh New Jersey, your population is the densest in the Union,
but the census can't measure soul per square mile,
and if they could, you would win.
You would win like Jersey Bagels
in a national bagel tasting contest,
like Bruce Springsteen
in a singing contest,
like Bon Jovi
in a tool bag contest.
I take that back,
because what do we Jerseyan's have,
if not the brotherhood
of being made fun of.
"New Jersey is the armpit of the nation,"
people tell us,
and us Jerseyites must bear that cross together,
like a middle schooler
wearing Z. Cavaricci's in 1993,
like an Italian wearing a gold chain
on his way to Obsessions Nite Club in Randolph.
I take it back Mr. Jovi,
I take it all back.


HAhahahhah, the host on Washington Journal just thought that a caller was saying that you could buy a Molitov cocktail at airport duty free shops. Hahahah, "I love a good Molitov Cocktail but the tax is ridiculous, it's just not worth it anymore."

Monday, November 22, 2004

and...I'm spent

I am itching all over. I just discovered that I am allergic to the fabric softener that I've been using (Stop 'N Shop 'Pure Softness' Mountain Scent). At least I'm pretty sure that is what is causing me to uncontrollably itch my entire body.

And I got all sweaty while sprinting during the milling after Conrad's speech, and the sweat aggrevated the itchiness.

McCain, in his speech in New Hampshah just said the common bond of Americans is "faith in the principles of liberty and equality under the law," which is true, except he forgot to say "except for gays." I have a big problem with people who mention liberty and equality in America and forget to mention "but not for gay people." If you leave that out then gay people are going to get the impression that they too deserve the same rights as straight people. We all know that the rights of two people in a hateful, abusive hetorosexual marriage should be more sacred than those of two people in a respectful, loving homosexual relationship.

Ok, so that's the end of McCains speech and I think that will be it for me today. We'll see.

Sen. Kent Conrad, Diggy from North Dakota

He's a ranking member on the Budget Committee.

He looks like a republican doesn't he? By the way, I'm toying with the idea of calling Democrats "Diggy"s and Republicans "Rizzo"s. How to people feel about this?

The dems just love general Shinseki don't they? That sounds like a Japanese beer. "Let's see, I'll have miso soup, the Las Vegas roll, and a bottle of Shinseki."

Hahah, Conrad just called the tax clause "a little nugget."

Crap, milling...

agggh, that was hard.

1.64 miles total

Sprint and Ode to Jersey 1

First, the sprint...

Wow. Ok, first of all, I just realized that what I call a sprint is for most people called "jogging." My pace was 8:30 minutes per mile. That's jogging right. Regardless, for the purposes of this blog it will be referred to as sprinting. And .1 miles was pretty easy, so maybe next time I will do .15

Ode to Jersey

wait, first of all C-span is having audio difficulties, so there is someone at a podium ranting and you can't hear anything he's saying. It's hysterical. Ok, there is goes, I can hear him now. It's Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota.

Ok, here we go...

Ode to Jersey #1

Oh New Jersey, Massachusetts didn't feed me Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese Sandwiches,
but you did.
California didn't feed me pizza with a perfect crust,
with mozzarella cheese intermingled with tomato sauce like pollution in the night sky,
but you did.
North Carolina didn't provide me with flotillas of strip malls,
franchises strung together like pearls on a necklace,
chain stores lined up, hand in hand, like brothers in a retail square dance,
but you did.
Oh New Jersey,
you provide me all those things and more,
and not because you have to, but because you want to.
Oh New Jersey, you rain down blessings on me,
like the Nets rain down shots that almost go in,
like acid rain that falls on your face but doesn't burn.

New Rules

I decided to make up some new rules to spice things up:

1. I'm going to start every C-spantastic session by sprinting at least .1 miles.

2. Since every house session starts with a prayer, I'm going to start every C-spantastic session with an "Ode to New Jersey"

3. Every time C-span shows people milling around I will sprint until they show something else

I think that's it for now.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Today's Photo: The Bondster

I guess that explains the last minute "Crotch Rot Clause" Bond added to this week's omnibus bill.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Senate Committee - Oil for Food

Sen. Norm "Vince" Coleman (R-Minnesota) is introducing the session. He's the Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Subcommittee.

This is from last monday so it's kind of old news, but I don't really know much about the whole Oil for Food scandal so I feel like I should watch it. I guess the main problem is that this might have been the result of some curruption at the United Nations. Oh, and Cole says that blue chip companies also gave Saddam illegal kickbacks.

Now Carl Levin (D-Michigan) is being boring. He seems like a nice guy though. He's talking about how effective the economic sanctions were. I mean, that's pretty boring, but if you are interested in international diplomacy it must be a pretty crucial topic.

Ok, so this is how I read what he's saying: one problem with the Oil for Food program is that it allowed Saddam to pick which contractors got contracts, and that allowed him to pick ones that would give him kickbacks. Is that right? Someone help me here.

(message on the bottom of the screen, unrelated to Oil for Food: Since Oct 1, most government spending has been done with temporary money. That money runs out tonight, so that's why they are in such a hurry to pass this bill today. Still though, I would rather just have them get some more temporary money and just read the damn bill. Oh, I guess the Republicans are the ones that wrote a lot of the bill, so that's why they aren't that keen on giving people time to read it. Maybe that's it.)

6.84 miles

11/20 House Proceedings

The House starts the day with a prayer from a chaplain? No way. Who knew? I think that's kind of suspect, but he ended with a good line, "..because in America, we not only hope to be blessed, but we hope to be a blessing to the world."

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Florida) is complaining that the house is about to pass a bill that 99% of house members haven't read. Seriously, that's just common sense. And plus, he's wearing a purple tie. What's not to like? Hell, I think house members should have to pass a goddamn exam on a bill before they vote for it. Wouldn't that make sense? Why should someone who can't demonstrate adequate knowledge of a bill be allowed to vote on it? ("This process smells, and the odor wafts from sea to shining sea... I ask, why the rush?" - awesome line by Alcee) Oooh, I like this idea. Imagine Congressmen huddled in a hallway scrum after their grades are posted. Or imagine Orrin Hatch gossiping at the Senate cafeteria after a tough budget bill exam, "I like totally failed that. No, seriously, totally."

Rep. Pete "Jam" Sessions has a jawline to die for. I didn't hear what he said, but he's got a good mug.

Now the minority whip, the Stenmeister, (Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland) is making fun of Jam because Jam said we should be proud of this bill and the process that lead to it, but Steny thinks that it's disgraceful. "I do not share the gentleman's pride in this process."

Now Jam is responding. He basically said, "We gotta do what we gotta do." Then he said he didn't have any more speakers and asked Alcee to do the same, but Alcee said he's got 2 more speakers, and passed the mic to Rep. Sheila "Jackson" Lee (D-Texas).

She says it's bunk that our troops in Iraw don't have the equipment they need. Amen to that. And then she said that even though they passed a bill about Sudan yesterday, there is still rape and murder going on there and that the US could do more. "As we proceed today, I don't know that we will be able to say to the American people that we have done our best."

Alcee just passed the mic to Barney Frank (D-Mass). "In our society there are essential needs that can only be met if we pool our money." That's a great way of putting it. That's the best plain english explanation of taxes I've heard in a while. "The majority has successfully hidden from the American people the full consequences of their philosophy." Another great line. Hahahah..."and there is money for Mars...and maybe, someday, the homeless can live their, because they are certainly not finding funding here."

MC Alcee, back on the mic. He's kicking the shaved head/beard look. He's really cruising now, that was a great speech. Awesome. I wish I had that on tape.

Back to Jam, and maybe it's just me but this sounds like hot air. Blah.

The guy running this House session is kicking the Billy Bob Thornton scraggly beard. I should know his name. It's not Hastert, this guy is pinch hitting for him.

Today's Saturday? When did that happen? I'm at 5.6 miles.

11/20 Washington Journal (part 3)

Ok, Sen. George "Marcus" Allen (R-Virginia) is rocking the microphone while Pedro beatboxes.

Interesting factoid: He says there is a phone tax that was started in 1898 as a luxury tax to fund the Spanish-American War that we still have to pay. You have to admit that's a good fact when you're trying to say how hard it is to get rid of little stupid taxes once you start them. Also, I would like to know more about the Spanish American War.

What does it mean when taxes are regressive? Oh, here we go, a regressive tax is, "A tax that takes a larger percentage from the income of low-income people than the income of high-income people." Examples are a cigarette tax and a gas tax. Wow, that is a great term. I am really exciting to be able to throw that term around. "What? You're crazy! The last thing we need is another regressive tax!" I can't wait to use it.

I think Allen is talking about how he just got a bill passed yesterday that stops all taxes on broadband internet access. I think that's a great idea. Kudos.

Someone from North Carolina just called in and Allen said, "Hey North Carolina! Thanks for electing a strong safety to the Senate!" So I give him props for getting exciting about something like that.

Ok, so that's it for Allen. I think he's a pretty down to earth, likable politician. He's a real asset to the Republican party. He looks cheerful, he's an engaging speaker, and he seems completely unflustered by people who disagree with him. In fact, he even seems to try and make a concerted effort to counter disagreements with charm and good will. Props to him.

11/20 Washington Journal (part 2)

Some guy is talking about the Tom DeLay rule change. I think that is a topic that Democrats could really hold against the Republicans, because I think even a lot of Republican people find it hypocritical and arrogant.

Richard Cohen, chief Congressional Correspont from the National Journal, is the guy's name. Someone just called in and asked why it's always Republicans that run up huge defecits. Cohen is saying that war and tax cuts might have something to do with it. Hmmm, I wonder.

Cohen just mentioned that in the 70's they passed a bill to get rid of the electoral college but it was rejected in the Senate. (Am I using words like "bill" right? I think my knowledge of Congressional vocab is woefully sub-par.)

(Oooh, book tv is on C-span 2. Very tempting, especially since Dicky Cohen isn't really setting my morning on fire. This lady is giving a speech on teaching techniques or something like that. She's not exactly a rock star. I actually think I might prefer the Cohen-meister. Back to C-Span uno.)

I can't be sure, but I think this lady from Illinois just called some Congressman a "pious face." I think that's a pretty good term for people that are crooked but still wear their religion on their sleeve.

This caller from San Francisco is talking about how important it is to call and write letters to Congressman, and not to feel like "there are a bunch of people in Washington that just run our lives, because we can be involved." That's a nice sentiment. God bless San Fran.

Here we go, a caller from Texas is asking about the anti-abortion clause that the New York Times article talked about. Props to Texas! I still don't really get it.

A little tip to C-Span viewers: when Washington Journal is on and Brian Lamb isn't the host, it's fun to imagine that he's the one playing the french horn during the segment breaks. Then during the rest of the show you can picture him sitting just off camera, waiting for the next break, his french horn in his lap.

11/20 Washington Journal (part 1)

They are talking about Nicholas Kristof's editorial in the New York Times today, called "No More Sham Elections."

Kristof's suggestions are.

1) have a nonpartisan group redraw house districts after each census
2) get rid of the electoral college
3) have donations funneled through a blind trust so politicians don't know who's ass to kiss

This guy uses a highlighter, unlike Brian Lamb. I have to admit that I think underlining in pen is a little less "high school."

Maryland, who sounds like he is calling while riding a horse, hahhaha, this guy is great, He called the third suggestions "crazy as all get out." He also says "there is no such thing as nonpartisan, that is so stupid, you don't stick your finger in the air and see which way the wind blows." I'm not sure I see the connection. Plus, even a partisan committee would still be less partisan than someone like Tom DeLay.

Utah just led his call with "Thank you C-Span." I think that's partly because, like me, he doesn't know what the hosts name is, but still, it's a nice sentiment.

This isn't on C-Span, but I think it's an important story from the times. Yesterday in Congress negotiators added an abortion clause to a must-pass spending bill. The clause would make it illegal for government agencies to withold money from health care providers that refuse to: offer abortions, pay for abortions, or provide abortion counseling or referrals. In other words government agencies are currently allowed to withhold funding from health care providers that refuse to provide one of these services. The current law only privides "conscience protection" to doctors who do not want to undergo abortion training.

That whole issue is too complicated for me to sort out though. Individual doctors currently get federal funding? Would this pertain to health care providers that refuse to do all of those things, or just one of them? And what exactly is a health care provider?

I think it's kind of a travesty that C-span is talking about this Kristof article instead of this abortion thing. Whether you agree with the clause or disagree with it, that is a piece of news that indicates the current political climate.

A lady from Kansas just called The New York Times a manual for liberals. hahahah. She said C-Span should try using conservative papers. "Which would you suggest?" the host said. "... well, surely there are some out there." Surely. Why don't you go read one and then call back next month? Ok, that was mean. I take that back. Because really, I don't blame people for not having the time to read newspapers and surf the internet looking for the ones they like. The only reason I have the time to do that is because I'm practically an invalid in terms of getting a job. That's what so sad, that being uninformed is often an indicator of how busy someone is just trying to make ends meet. So it's really not fair of me to make fun of uninformed people, unless I know for a fact they are unemployed and live with their parents.

The host is looking very ADD now while this reporter from Cleveland, Mark Naymik from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is talking. I wish I knew the name of this damn host. Why doesn't C-Span show his name again? I'm going to see if C-span has a profile of him on their web site.

Ah-ha! A caller from Houston just said, "Hi, Pedro how you doing today?" Yeah! Two points for Texas! This guy is pretty good. He said he wants to thank C-span for what they are doing, but that when C-Span is highlighting an editorial they should say who the columnist voted for. I mean, that's not necessarily possible, but I think it would be fair to talk for a little bit about the where the writer has historally tended to fall on the political spectrum. Why not, you know?

A guy from Kentucky just called and said he thinks all three of Kristof's ideas are good. Yeah! Way to keep it realy Kentucky!

Friday, November 19, 2004

more of the house - education for individuals with disabilities

John Boehner (R-Ohio) looks like he is about to yield the remainder of his time to a tanning salon. How does a guy from Ohio get so damn tan? And how does a guy with a tan get elected to a public office in Ohio? It just doesn't add up.

Now CBS News's Bob Fuss is providing commentary while the vote happens.

I think it would be great if the newly elected members of Congress had to go through hazing during the lame duck session.

Now Rep. Henry "Bobby" Bonilla is kissing Tom Delay's ass.

Now Tom DeLay is ranting about how evil the Democrats are.

Now John "Dr." Doolittle (R-California) is waving some piece of paper around and talking about what a great man Tom DeLay is and what a witch hunt this whole thing is.

Now John "Gary" Carter (R-Texas) is saying the same crap. They are all pissed at some Democratic Rep. named Bell. I should probably know who that is.

Now Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) is getting a chance to dis Rep. Chris Bell. This is quite a steamy posse session, everyone is gettting a turn. Who's up next...

David Dreier (R-California) is saying that this was an attack on every member of the institution of Congress. This is stupid because they have my attention but they aren't explaining what was so terrible about all of this. I've watched 6 people get up and jam on the microphone and I still don't know what the heck they are talking about.

John Linder (R-Georgia) is blowing more hot air.

In other news, 3 Republicans voted against the Education for Individuals with Disabilities Bill. That's touching, inspiring even. Because when you think about it, it's so condescending to have a special bill just to help people with disabilities get an education. Disabled people should learn to take care of themselves just like every other red-blooded American. If they weren't so lazy they probably wouldn't be disabled in the first place. I'd like to see one of those Republicans write a bill for people with disabilities that was more representative of the American spirit of persistence and individuality... "H.R. 967 Let's See Some Hustle, Retards."

Yahtzee - the house and the senate are both on

My dog just took a gargantuan piss in the middle of the tv room. I stepped in it while I was walking over to grab the remote control from the treadmill. Now I'm only wearing one sock. In other news, Tom Osborne (R - Nebraska) is talking about how schools aren't getting enough funding. He's done. Now Susan Davis (D-California) gets two minutes. She's talking about a bill that would make it illegal for cocker spaniels to piss in the middle of your den. "Mr. Chairman, there is simply no reason why any adult cocker spaniel should be pissing anywhere but outside."

Now Fred Upton (R-Mich) is also enthusiastically supporting this bill (apparently it has significant bipartisan support). "Mr. Chairman, it's a disgrace that in this day and age that innocent people should have to change their socks in the middle of the day because of canine urinary recklessness."

Ok, I'm going to post this and go clean the funk off the floor. Back in 5.

people at the c-span offices reading this?

According to my web traffic reports a person or persons from c-span might actually be reading this. It's killing me wondering what their perspective is. Is this blog a slander to everything they hold sacred? Are they just doing research before they sue me? The suspense is driving me insane!

So, if you are looking at this on a computer somehow related to c-span, I beg of you to let me know what you think. What do you like so far? What do you hate? Do you have your own nicknames for politicians? You can post a comment here or write to me at mhartley@ypiusa.org. I'm begging here! Throw me a bone!

not about c-span but still noteworty

It would seem that my old arch-enemy Chauncy Middlemarch can't let me have the spotlight for even the blink of an eye; that old fox has started a blog of his own, The Tradewinds Have Names.

I haven't seen the Chaunce-ster since he beat me in the finals of the Central American Crossfire Championship. It wasn't a fair match (in classic Chauncy fashion he sprayed the trigger of his marble shooter with a fine mist of graphite powder to gain the upper hand) but by the time the referees realized what had happened he was on a steamboat to Panama, the championship belt stuffed under his poncho, the misty river air blowing through his hair like marbles rolling across laminated cardboard .

(Also, be sure to read the reviews of Crossfire at Amazon, they are the best.)

Amazing Dream

I had a dream last night that Kid 'N Play (both of them) got elected to the house of representatives and then Michael Moore did a documentary on their unique approach to public policy called "House Party 5: Wonkadelic." Ok, I made that up.

I'm watching Brian Lamb on Washington Journal. Have you noticed that his underlining seems kind random? He'll underline words like "have" and "nachos."

Hahaha, a caller just said that there are some reporters that are so eccentric that "you wouldn't want to let them in your house to eat a hot dog." That's as eccentric as you get!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Senate Session on Judicial Nominations (c-span dos)

I'm back! I thought I was done but I was too sleepy to get any errands done. I was just lying in bed looking out the window, so i figured I might as well just get back in the saddle.

Sen. John Cornyn, R from Texas, is busy looking waspy. "We have people who come from across the planet, who pronounce their names in difference ways..." What? Who pronounce their names in different ways?

This guy is whining about the Dems Philly Busting Bush's judicial nominees. But didn't the Republican's filibuster far more of Clinton's nominees?

Now Byron Dorgan, D from North Dakota is responding. Oh I get it. Under Clinton, or part of his reign, the Republicans ran Congress so they didn't need to Philly Bust. They just never brought the nominees up for a vote. 60 nominees didn't even get voted on.

So Byron's saying the Dems have approved 201 and held up 10. So 93% have gotten passed. So how can the Republicans complain about this? Am I missing something?

The judge this is about has written articles that say he believes "women are subservient to men?" No way. Really?

What are cloture motions? I should know that.

"cloture - The only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes."

That's from a great page by the way, the US Senate glossary page.

Carl Levin, D from Mich, is now kickin it. He just brought up 93 % again. So what percentage of Clinton nominees got passed? Why don't they say that? And why is the Levster talking about Tom Daschle now?

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Missouri) is now talking about intelligence problems. Bond, Kit Bond. Niiice. Is he criticing Bush? Oh, no, he's justifying Porter Goss's changes to the CIA. "Why are we surprised?" Come on, this is easy to shoot down. People aren't complaining because Goss is making changes; people are complaining because it looks like his changes are just turning the CIA into Bush's bitch. This whole, "Well, we wanted changes, that's what Goss is doing" is pretty ridiculous.

According to that Goss could make it mandatory for everyone to wear jams shorts , and hire monkeys to replace all of the CIA's office managers. "Well we wanted change didn't we? What did you expect?"

"I hope we all agree that new blood is needed at the CIA." We don't need "new" blood, we need "competant" blood! This is just ridiculous.

Now Byron Dorgan (D North Dakota) is dropping science. He's talking about how Warren Buffet, the second richest man in the world, wrote an editorial where he talked about paying the same tax rate as his receptionist. Oh, this is about the dividend tax cut, which apparently Buffet isn't a fan of.

Oohh, here we go, this is the editorial by Buffett that the Dorgmonger is referring to.

Ha! The Dorg just said that he likes to roller-blade. That is precious. Imagine if Byron Dorgan was wearing roller blades right now, while talking at the Senate. Hahaha. That's great. Anyway, he's telling a story about how the founder of Rollerblade gave his workers a bonus and also paid the tax on the bonus for them.

This is an interesting line from the Buffet editorial: "But I was luckier in that I came wired at birth with a talent for capital allocation..." It's interesting that Buff credits his success to an accident of birth. I don't really see how people can take credit for their own success. What do they have that wasn't given to them? They were born into this world helpless, with a brain crafted by God/evolution, then raised by parents, then taught by teachers. Even if you were an orphan that never went to school there had to be people that helped you. And you can't take credit for the natural intelligence that was given to you at birth. Even work ethic is something that you got from the people around you; if you were born into another country you wouldn't necessarily be exposed to the culture of constant work that you see here in the US. I just don't see how the concept of "the self made man" can make sense.

Ok, I'm stopping now. 11.4 miles.

Senate Committee Vioxx Medication Withdrawal (part 3)

The president and CEO of Merck, Raymond Gilmartin, is being questioned. How great would it be if there was a flawless lie detector, and on the bottom of the screen when someone was talking there was a little graphic that showed you how honest the person speaking was. I have to admit that this guy looks pretty sincere.

I think I might stop at 9 miles so I can run errands during the rest of the day. I need to buy milk.

John Breaux said that this Merck guy might be the last person he will ask a question of, after 32 years of being a Senator. Did he get voted out? Why do people keep saying this?

Ok, that's 9, I'm calling it a day.

Grand Opening of Bubba's 'Brary

Ok, I'm breaking the rules here, going over to CNN to watch the opening of(the new Clinton Library. Bush just finished a speech and now Bono and The Edge are playing. It's raining.

It was fascinating to see Bush saying good things about Clinton and then even sharing an umbrulla with Hillary for a second. Now Bush and Bill are chatting. I've never seen anything like this. Bush seems reluctant to look him in the eye though. But still, it still looks like there's some goodwill there. It's not often that you get all the surviving presidents together. I think Ford is there. Maybe not.

Now Clinton is saying good things about dubya, and now he's thanking Bush senior for initiating education reform.

This is such a touching bipartisan love-fest that I feel kind of bad about comparing Bush to my dog. Maybe in a way we're all like my dog sometimes, crapping in kitchens without a second thought of who has to clean up after us.

Now Clinton's saying that he made sure the building was environmentally friendly in honor of Al Gore. How nice would it be to have a president that's an environmentalist? Aaaahhhh, the possibilities. Al Gore definitely would have done more in terms of stopping the polar ice caps from melting. (McCain called the Bush administration's handling of global warming "disgraceful.")

"I always kept track by a simple measure: Were ordinary people better off when I stopped, than when I started."

Oh, and by the way, a caller on this morning's "Washington Journal" said he thought Clinton was a great president, and listed a bunch of reasons, among them "getting all those niggers off welfare." I couldn't believe it! He just mentioned it in passing like it wouldn't even be contentious. He had an Indian accent so I think maybe he just didn't realize the word was offensive because he hears it in pop culture. Because also, at the end he said we definitely have to give Clinton "his props." I swear I'm not making this up.

This is a good speech. He's saying he thinks W. and Kerry are both good people who care about America. "Am I the only person in the United States who likes both George W. Bush and John Kerry?"

"Our differences matter, but our common humanity matters more." Great line.

Do you hear that? I think Chelsea has kind of an Indian accent! Where did that come from?

Now I'm actually going more that 3 miles per hour (3.1 actually). Normally I'm going like 2.7 or 2.8. I think the caffeine from my second cup of green tea kicked in, giving me a little bit of gas.

Ok, that's the end of that segment.


Senate Committee - Vioxx Medication Withdrawal (part dos)

Back to the "nice, moral geeks" theory. I guess in some ways it just boils down to the way people's brains are wired. Imagine you find a wallet with 1000 dollars in cash in it. The fact is, the more of a conscience you have the more pain you would feel at taking some of that money before returning the wallet. There are people so "morally sensitive," that taking 10 dollars from that wallet would cause them more pain than other people who threw the wallet in the gutter.

Maybe that explains part of the Bush paradox: he's screwing so many people over, but he looks so innocent, so well-intentioned! Maybe he just has a little gimpy conscience that doesn't worry too much about things. I like this theory. Bush isn't evil, he just happens to have a lazy conscience, a diminished capacity for imagining the suffering of other people. He's like molly! (my cocker spaniel) She doesn't know how upset I'm going to be when she takes a dump in the kitchen, she just knows she's in the mood to lighten the load. That's why Molly can be all buddy buddy with me right after making me clean up her turds. Bush is the same way! There's no such thing as an evil cocker spaniel, and I think Bush is kind of in the same boat. (And by this I don't mean to say Bush is an idiot, because that is a totally different irrelevent. You could be dumb and have a sensitive conscience, and a rocket scientist could be completely immoral. I just think he has a weak conscience.)

I like this Baucus guy from Montana. He seems pretty down to earth, asking hard questions without being combative.

Apparently countries in Europe re-check drugs on the market every five years. Another indication they are running a tighter ship over there.

Oooh, Baucus just got testy. "I would like you to address the question I asked."

Hatch looks like he has a dark side. He looks like the type of person that you wouldn't want to work as a personal assistant for.

Senate Committee - Vioxx Medication Withdrawal

Sen. John Breaux, dem from Lousiana, is asking Dr. David Graham questions. Graham is the Assoc. Dir. of the Office of Drug Safety at the FDA.

Breaus is giving this doctor a hard time.

Now Jim Bunning, Rep Sen from Kentucky, is up to bat.

Graham makes a pretty interesting point: He's saying that there is a conflict of interest when the organization that keeps track of drug safety (once drugs are released) within the agency that decides whether they should be released. Because it means that drug safety then has to tell the FDA that the FDA messed up.

Wow, before Graham said that there are 5 other drugs that he feels need to be looked at. Just to emphasize how bad things are. Now someone just asked which 5, and Graham flinched for a second, and now he's actually listing them. Are the companies that own these stocks going to do worse now? Acutane.

Hahah. Graham goes, "There was this program called SMART. Well, SMART wasn't very fact. In my view, SMART was dumb." heheh.

He just mentioned the asthma medicine Serevent. He said it might make you more likely to die from asthma.

Now they are talking about Beckstra.

Wow, the seats where the doctors are sitting look really intense. You are basically surrounded by questioners.

Now the other doctor is talking, Dr. Bruce Psaty. hahahh, he just said "thromboembolic event." Of course.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R from Iowa is asking people questions. He just asked Dr. Gurkirpal Singh a question, who happens to be joined the sesh bia satellite from Stanford. I can't hear what the hell he's saying. Someone is drinking water at the hearing and I can hear the ice clinking in the glass clear as day. But I can't hear two consecutive syllables of Gurki.

Max Baucus, D from Montana is asking questions.

The way Graham talks, I almost get the feeling like he is a victim of his own integrity. Or in other words, the type of person where doing the wrong thing just doesn't even seem like an option for him. He seems like the kind of person that would commit suicide if forced to do something immoral. For example, he could have made tons of money as a consultant for trial legal firms, but he turned it down to keep on working on "post-market drug safety." You know it, it basically comes down to conscience. Some people have an almost overactive conscience, and some people have almost no conscience.

The problem is that people with an overactive conscience don't tend to end up in power, because they aren't willing to cut corners morally in order to get ahead. (Plus, they are usually squeamish about being the center of attention.) That is one fundamental problem in society, the fact that power too often falls into the hands of the people who least deserve it. It makes sense really: power tends to end up in the hands of the people who want it, more so than the people who deserve it.

I'm really interested in this whole "conscience" trend. You have to imagine that one person in your high school class, or that one person at work, that is really timid and perfectly moral. It's like a specific species of person within the human species, Timidus Moralus Perfectus. But can you boil it all down to sensitivity? Because people who tend towards a big conscience are often socially anxious. Think about it. Nice geeks. I know you know them.

Orrin Hatch, R from Utah, sure is something. I think the treadmill is drowning out Dr. Gurk.

These doctors are so docterly.

There is a girl or woman sitting right behind Sen. Breaux who will occasionally just stare directly into the camera. It's kind of mesmerizing. You don't generally see someone just staring into a camera without saying anything on live television.

Now Graham is mentioning his problems with Crestor.

YO! The company that makes Crestor, Astrazeneca, just went down after this guy said this. I knew it, that's crazy. Look at the price at around noon today.

And check out GlaxoSmithKline , which makes Serevent.

Now I'm checking Beckstra. It's made by Pfizer, which is up for the day but still down since noon.

Now Sandra Kweder, Acting Director of the FDA, is soloing. What's the difference between a Director and an Acting Director?

Ok, I'm going to post this before I accidentally delete this. I'm at like 6 miles and my knee is feeling better.

House Session - US House of Representatives - The Debt Limit

Rep. Jim McGovern from Mass is working the microphone. He just got back from the Vibe awards. Just kidding.

Whoa! The House is on C-SPAN uno and the Senate is on C-SPAN dos! Yahzee!

I feel like the House is kind of like the minor leaques of the Congress, so it's kind of tempting to stay on the underdogs. But then again, their on Uno and the Senate's on Dos.

Ok, I'm sticking with the bush league of the congress for now. Rep. Tom Reynolds, R from New York just finished. He said he would yield the balance of his time, so something like that, so casually, he just blurted it out as he was sitting down like he didn't give a deuce.

Oh I see, Jimmy Massachusetts keeps on asking if he can respond in the middle of Tom "Kevin Mc" Reynolds time.

My gut is telling me that the Dems are just being brats over this debt ceiling thing. You know what would be funny though, would be to call Reynolds's office and ask him for help in raising the debt limit with your wife, who refuses to let you go further than $100,000 in debt to First Bank of Secaucus.

Ok, now Charles Stenholm is speaking his mind. He's a Dem from Texas so you have to like the way that sounds.

800 Billion dollars! Wowsa! It's fun to imagine how much that would be in different items, like Jello. How big would 800 billion dollars of Jello be?

Oooh, now Reynolds is quoting from Clinton's request in 96 to raise the debt limit. Touche. And now Louise Slaughter is quoting Bush the elder! Spicy!

(In the interest of full disclosure I am not on the treadmill right now. I'm in the kitchen waiting for a "Lean Cuisine" Chicken Enchilada Suiza to finish heating up in the nuker. What's that you ask? Let's just say, my friend, it involves a Sour Cream Sauce and Mexican-Style Rice.)

Niiice. Now Spratt is showing the tax revenue predictions that Bush used in 2001, and comparing them to the actual results. I like Spratt's posters. A+ for him going the extra mile. He should show all the zeros and just underline the beginning, like the 800 in 800,000,000,000. When you are trying to get people to think something is a lot of money I think you are always better off showing all the zeros.

I like how they divy up the time in little groups of minutes.

Wow. Earl Blumenauer, D from Oregon, has got style. This is guy is pretty entertaining in my opinion. This guy is really funny. I would love to see Chris Kattan play Earl B. in a movie. Millions of people would watch that. That bowtie is huge! He's got old school glasses, a light pink shit. This guy is a piece of work. He really used those 3 minutes well.

They haven't posted a title under this guy. I don't think C-SPAN knows who he is. Is it "same seats" at the House? "Same seats" was the best in elementary school when you had good seats. You would just call "same seats" and you were on easy street. You didn't have to shove people out of the way, you didn't have a care in the world.

I think Tom Reynolds would be good for playing a Police Comissioner in an action movie. Check it out. Here's The Commish himself , and this is Tom.

Oooh, Peter DeFazio is going off! Sweet! He's going nut! I love these Oregon reps! Their great! DeFaz is pissed. This is awesome. It makes you want to just walk out your front door and find a conservative to beat the piss out of. Wow, I didn't realize I had that kind of anger in me. I have to ask whether speeches like that are healthy.

Now, Tommy Reynolds is quoting other democratic reps who supported "raising the roof" in 96. Hahahha, raising the roof. Why say ceiling when you can say roof?

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton from DC is talking. What is a delegate? What the heck is going on here?

Louise "Sergeant" Slaughter is wrapping things up for the Dems.

Tom just said this may be the last time he leads a debate or whatever you call what just happened. That was so sad, did he get voted out? I didn't realize the Commish had such a tender, sensitive side. I think if he had shown that earlier I would have been more swayed by his arguments. "Guys, can we please raise the debt limit? I haven't been having feeling myself lately, I miss the leaves on the trees, and this would really be a little sparkle of sunshine in my bonnet."

The Best Dream in the World, By Dan Bana

I had a dream last night that they did a recount and found out that Kerry actually did win Ohio. Oh it was sublime. It was like the Red Sox coming back from 3 games against the Yankees but better. I can't explain how good it felt. It seemed so real!

So, I would like everyone to stop for a second and pray that this happens. Let go of all your athiest leanings and commune with Jehovah, the God of Moses and Muhammad. It's a hail mary, I know. But it never hurts to try.

Because really, if Rublicans can run elections even twice as good as they have run the Iraq war, then a 5 percent margin of error would be miraculous. Seriously. We should probably count the ballots three times, just to be sure. In fact, I think recounts should be mandatory no matter what. Think about it. Whenever there is something that you really want to count right you do it twice. That's why when supermarkets inventory their stock they have two people each do the same eisle. And if their numbers don't match up then they count it a third time. That is really what makes the most sense.

Now my left elbow is starting to hurt, this is getting bad.

Federal Debt Limit and Budget Deficit (Call-In) Call-In Federal Debt Limit and Budget Deficit Federal Debt Limit and Budget Defecit (Call-In)

Aight, here we go. Sen. Kent Conrad, dem from north dakota is a ranking member on the Budget Committee.

Right now it seems like the Democrats are being really "alarmist" about the American debt. I can't tell if I should really be upset about this. It's like the Dems want to use this to skewer the republicans, they say over and over again, "We owe money to JAPAN and CHINA!" I think it's like this is something that the Dems know will really be scary to down home americans. But I always feel like running up debts is like the national pastime of running any kind of state. Granted, it would probably be better if a state wasn't in debt, but is it the end of the world for a state to run a debt? How dangerous is it?

The true magnitude of raising the debt ceiling is something that you just can't rely on partisan people to give you the straight dope. Even a lot of pundits and intellectual talking heads are partisan on stuff like that. RIght? Who can I really turn to in order to answer a question like that? (If anyone is actually reading this, I would love for people to respond to this in the comments section, about how urgent the matter of the national debt is. )

If I make any typos in this post, please excuse them, I think I'm getting a little delerious from this whole process.

Should I go back and edit my entries or just leave them filled with typos and half thoughts?

Wow, this guy from South Carolina is laying into Conrad. He has a thick ass accent and he really knows his stuff. He's just going off and the host isn't even cutting him off. He just cut him off.

Not Con is disputing the other guys facts. I should really learn those facts if I want to understand this debate. But this was great television. This is the kind of exchange that I think could really change minds.

Ah, you know what I think one aspect of this whole deal? SInce Clinton was so kick ass about cutting the size of government and reducint the debt, those items are now Dem turf. So now Bush is probably doing things that the Democrats used to do, but now the Dems feel like they should be able to get upset about this stuff, since they were so good from 90 to 98. Clinton basically co-opted fiscal conservatism from the republican stack of chips. Is that right? I should think about this some more.

This show is really good, I hope they show this again so I can hear this exchange again. You could see Conrad swallow when he realized the caller was basically tearing him a new one. But that was a great phone call.

Ok, I'm muting conrad again. I was thinking that there should be a web site that takes every news story, organizes it by specific "event", and then shows you what each paper has to say about it. The problem with the Google approach is that

1) it organizes things by priority, which is good for seeing the latest and most prominent, but it basically shuffles the stories on a daily basis, making it difficult to easily track a specific serious of issues without having to look through the rest

2) it heads groups of stories with a unique headline - there would be an advantage to giving the story groupings a generic name, like "DeLay Rule Change" or "Defecit Cealing Raise"

One interesting way to keep a sense of urgency while keeping the spacial regularity of where issues fall on the page would be to have the headlines be a range of colors, depending on how rapidly publications are releasing new articles about this topic. So if 10 articles came out about how great taco bell was in the last 25 minutes, "The Greatness of Taco Bell" would be in red, while the diviness of the buffut at Sizzler ("Sizzler Buffet Divinity"), which has only gotten covered once in the last week, would be blue. BUT. each topic would be in the same place on the page, so if you only cared about the Bell and not the Sizz, you would know where to look to keep abreast, without having to scan the page.

Wouldn't this be a good idea? Does someone want to do this and give me a sinecure when you build an empire? Is there something already like this?

I think I might take a break from C-span and see if I can do this with this morning's papers. Or not. I can't decide.

The show is over anyway. I'm at 1.65 miles. And my knee is already starting to hurt, so that's no good.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Ok, I'm calling it a day

Good sesh today. 16 miles is nothing to scoff at. Plus, coming in 57th in an online poker tournament. If my dandruff would get better things would really be shaping up around here. Also, molly dropped trow and pissed on the rug here, right in front of my eyes. I think she's getting senile or something. The old molly would have at least done that under the dining room table when no one was looking. But c-span was pretty money. Some great milling around, some good panel discussion/posse cuts, Scott McClellan doing armpit farts, the whole nine.

Scott McClellan 11/17

He's the White House Press Secretary.

I can't understand what this Indian reporter guy is saying. Maybe it's the noise of the treadmill.

I feel like I get nothing out of these press secretary conferences. McClellan might as well go up there and do armpit farts for an hour. What's the point of press conferences if you don't say anything new? Isn't that why you have them?

Now my knee is starting to hurt more.

Some old press guy named Les just mentioned Bill Clinton and "porngate." Here he is!

OOoh, that reporter is really cute. I wonder who that is.

Some guy with a bow-tie.

Scott McClellan's tie is glowing. It looks like it's radioactive.

Press guy Jeff with a shaved head. He is pissed that soldiers have to worry about being followed by embedded reporters.

It almost seems like some of these reporters know they aren't going to get anything new out of Scotty, so they just use their questions to make a point while on camera. They've given up on getting a scoop so they settle for the spotlight.

15.1 miles. yeah baby!

Patrick Leahy about Albert Gonzolez / republican press conference

issues Leahy says Gonzo will have to comment on:

- the memos saying torture was ok, especially the line calling the Geneva convention quaint
- whether the Gonzmeister will report to congress, since the Patriot Act says he has to

Leahy is a dem sen from Vermont. He is a ranking member on the Judiciary Committee.

Leahy just said he used to be a prosecuter.

hahahah. Florida just said "If you view the Constitution as a living, breathing document, then overturning Roe v. Wade would just be the Constitution exhaling." Classic! Precious!

One great thing about c-span is that you get to see how politicians respond to rambling, incoherent questions. Do they shrug them off? Do they turn it into a chance to make a good point?

Now the bottoms of my toes are starting to hurt on my right foot. Things are getting a little hairy here. I was hoping to hit 20 miles but I don't know if that's in the cards today. I'm going to take off my socks and massage my little buddies and see how they feel...

Ok, I'm back. My right foot is hurting though. That came out of nowhere.

Leahy is saying that Bush got more judicial nominees confirmed, over 200, than Reagan did during his first term.

Republicans Phillybusted 61 of Clintons nominees, the dems have only Phillied 9 of Bush's.

He's praising Harry Reid now... saying Republicans and Democrats both know "he is a man who always keeps his word."

-------- republican press conference -----

None other than Ricky Santorum is christening the mics.

Now Bill Frist, Majority Leader from Tennesee. Frist is so weird. Look at the way he bobs his head like a pidgeon when he talks.

Sen. Mitch McConnell from Kentucky is the Assisstant Majority Leader.

Sen. Ted Stevens from Alaska is sporting his "holy handkerchief."

Sen. Jon Kyl from Arizona might have the fewest letters in his name in Congress.

Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas isn't wearing pearls, so I give her credit for that.

Sen. Elizabeth Dole from North Carolina has something a little off about her, but I can't put my finger on it. Does she look like Cruella Deville?

This is quite a posse cut. Frist is talking about the Spector deal, but not really saying anything.

Now Sen. Rick Santorum, from Pennsylvania, Chairman of the Republican Conference, is being a brat. This is the first time I've seen a politician be a pain in the ass. Also, he has no sideburns, and that's unforgivable.

Milling. Yes. I love it.

Bush Pardoning the White House Turkey

It pains me to admit that his speech was pretty funny. First of all, the turkey is named Biscuits.

Milling around! YES! Milling is the best. This is a hot extended milling sesh.

I'm at around 13 miles.

2004 Election & the Supreme Court / Democratic Press Conference

This is a panel discussion/posse cut.

Nina Totenberg is freestyling.

Walter "Rick" Dellinger just said that 52 senators represent 17 percent of the population. He was the Solicitor General of the Clinton Admin from 96 to 97.

Stuart Taylor is a senior writer at the National Journal. He's talking about the "nuclear option." (According to the Washinton Monthly, "This involves asking the Senate parliamentarian to simply declare judicial filibusters against the rules...")

Apparently the nuclear option is a really big deal, and it it was "deployed" then the Beltway would go haywire. I fail to see why, but I'll take their word for it.

There is some other lady on the panel but she isn't rapping that much.

Now they're guessing who Bush will nominate for the Supreme Court.

Stu - J. Harvey Wilkenson would be a conciliatory

Tote says Harvey wouldn't be conciliatory.

Oh oh, the other lady is talking. She says John Roberts is her guess. Now Tote is saying John Roberts wouldn't be that conciliatory either. She's feisty. She just contradicted Stu again. She has no qualms about telling people they are wrong.

Ricky says Bush will move Scalia to chief justive and add someone else to a lower rank.

What is the fourth circuit?

The "other lady" is Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at slate.com

Tote just said that if the republicans get three court nominations that Roe might be in jeapardy. Wow, I didn't think that was really a possibility no matter what.

Now Bert Brandenburg is introducing the next panel, which is going to be about state judges.

The panel is Deborah Goldberg, Samantha Sanchez, and Jan Baren.

Crap. I just reset the treadmill accidentally. I was at something like 4.7 miles.

Ok, I'm taking a break from c-span to play poker online, there is a free tournement at pokerroom.com every day at 9 am.

This poker tournament is taking forever. It's been two hours and it's still going on. It started with 2000 people and now it's down to 79, so that's pretty sweet. I'll let you know what happens.

Wow. That was exhausting. I finished 55th out of 2000 people. If I had made it into the top 50 I would have made some money. Oh well. I don't know if I'll do that again. It's nice that it's free, but that's 2 and a half hours of my life we're talking about.


Oooh, Nancy Pelosi is preaching on c-span uno, now we're talking.

Oh, and by the way, there is a Rep. named Ron Blunt. So I think that people should call blunts "Representative Ronalds." How sweet would that be.

Now Rep. Steny Hoyer from Maryland is at the podium. He's the Minority Whip. What is that? I should really know that. Google time. "The Minority Whip is a member of the minority party in the U.S. House of Representatives who assists the Minority Leader in coordinating the party caucus in its responses to legislation and other matters." There you go.

I'm at 11.7 miles now and still feeling pretty good, except my right knee hurts a little. Oh yeah! And I walked my dog, Molly, for like a mile this morning! But I won't count that because I wasn't watching c-span.

I think there should be a political manuever called "caucus blocking."

Rep. Robert Menendez from Jeeerrssseeey is spouting. He's the Dem Caucus Chairman. Hahahha, someone's cell phone just went off at the press conference and it sounded like Super Mario just got an extra life. It really changed the tone of the meeting for a second. He just mentioned how soldiers don't have enough flak jackets. I think "flak jacket" would be a great phrase for a rap song. "You're rhymes are wack like Bob Saget so you betta wear a flak jacket." I think that's pretty good.

Rep. James Clyburn from South Carolina is speaking the truth, he's Vice Chairman of the Dem caucus. He has a great voice. He sounds a bit like Martin Luther King. Great annunciation, an awesome low, booming voice. I could listen to him talk all day. I think his voice is a real asset to the Democratic party. A speech by him would have so much more weight than a speech by someone with a thin, unengaging voice.

R. John Spratt from South Carolina is the Assistant Minority Leader. He has a pretty good voice too. Why aren't these people out there on a national stage, talking in the affect and cadence that people in Red states love? Southern Democrats should be the mouthpiece of the Democratic party. Because people in blue states will mostly pay attention to what their saying, regardless of how they say it. And the people in red states will pay more attention to what they are saying because they will like the way it sounds. Someone like Nancy Pelosi is just a sitting duck for pundits on the right. Look at her. She's wearing pearls the size of a baby's head. She's wearing a blazer that she borrowed from MC Hammer. She just said "promulgate." This is disgraceful. When will Democrats learn? Don't use fancy words, don't wear pearls, and don't go wind surfing. Ever. Just don't. Instead of promulgate say declare; instead of wind surfing go bowling; instead of pearls wear, well, anything, a noodle-necklace your daughter made in kindergarden, anything but pearls.

Now someone's asking about the DeLay rule change. Sten-bomb called it "ironic."

11/17 Washington Journal part 2

Chuck Todd, editor in chief of the Hotline, droppin sci.

--- Bradley Belt, executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (the PBGC)---

he's talking in reference to this situation."

hold, on, i'm dropping some science myself,

ok, we're back in business.

I don't know what to say about this. Basically, this guy directs the federal agency that takes over for failed corporate pension plans, and this organization has been billions of dollars in the red for the last couple years. So Congress has to do something about this.

I think in order to make this more entertaining I'm gonna go put some gold bond on my rick santorum, hold on.

Ok, niiiice. Spicy. Ohio just called in and said, my husband worked for a company for 30 years and retired on a Friday and dropped dead that Sunday." Ouch. Something to think about.

Oh I see. So pension plans pay a yearly premium to the PBGC to have their plan insured. And Congress decides how many duckets the PBGC gets to charge for these premiums.

The PBGC was started as part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Choice.

The host just asked which people in Congress are pushing hard for fixing this problem. That's interesting, getting to know what politicians care about, what their pet projects are.

Vermont just brought up the "new Gasby rules."

This is so boring it hurts my soul.

3.79 miles

11/17 Washington Journal

I'm trying to decide whether to expand my comments to channels other than c-span. On the one hand, that would seem to betray the moniker "c-spantastic", but on the other hand, I feel like it would broaden my audience. Today I will stick with c-span I guess.

Right now is call-in time for people to discuss the efforts of Republicans to protect Tom DeLay.

This article from "The Hill" gives the details.

Even the republicans calling in are saying that they don't think DeLay should be protected. Niiice.

Someone from California just called DeLay a piss-ant politician.

Oh my god. Some kid just called up and said that Bush hasn't done anything right and that he doesn't want to go to war, and the next caller, from North Carolina, called the kid a "coward" for not wanting to defend his country.

The next caller, from Oklahoma, thinks DeLay should be able to stay in power even if he goes to jail, because he's a "good ol' right wing Christian."

The woman hosting this doesn't even know why DeLay might be indicted. I don't, but I'm not a host on c-span. Where is Brian Lamb?

This is the Washington Post article about the matter.

A man who claims to be a "huge Tom DeLay fan" just said he thinks DeLay should step down if that's what the rules say.

--- update from Vaugh Ververs -----

First of all, awesome name. So this guy edits "The Hotline" a daily politics update at the National Journal. But you have to subscribe to see the hotline online. That's no fun.

That's it for the double V, I didn't really hear what he was talking about.

--- other news ----

Putin says Russia is developing a new kind of nuclear missile. Awesome!

--- clip of Jean-David Levitte ---

He's the French Ambassador to the US. His accent couldn't be Frencher.

--- Philip Webster, London Times Political Ed. is on the line ---

He's talking about how Chirac said that the British/Blair haven't gotten anything out of siding with the US over Iraq. He just talked abouit how people in Europe are weary of Rice because they know she probably won't ever disagree with Bush, unlike Powell.

--- stuff about CIA shake down ---

The host lady is reading this article from the Washington times.

Texas says that it's good to so some housecleaning and get rid of the "backstabbing Clinton holdovers." hahahh. He also said they should change the rules for DeLay, because they can "indict a ham sandwich." hahah.

Now Illinois is asking whether Condi really did accidentally refer to Bush as her husband a while ago. That's worth looking into. Wow, it looks like she did .

Awesome. Florida just called in to defend the kid who was afraid of war, saying, "I hope we all tremble at the thought of war." God bless that man.

(By the way, I'm going to start referring to caller by the state or city they come from)

Awesome, Jersey just pointed out that the CIA doesn't work for the President, the CIA works for the people of the US.

Some guy just called in and they cut him off, saying wait 30 days between calls. I can't wait to get to know the different eccentric people that call in.

Ok, Tampa is kind of incoherent, so that will do it for the 7 oclock hour. I'm at 2.34 miles.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Values, Religion & the 2004 Election

aaarrrgggh. I just lost 30 minutes of commentary on this show. Basically, Anna Greenberg has been good. Everyone else is so so. I like the moderator actually, but the other panel people are mediocre. Barone is kind of testy.

David Winston - Republican pollster.

Adam Nagourney - chief political correspondent for the times, semi-neandertal

Rachel Zoll - religion writer for the AP

Anna Greenberg - democratic pollster, rachel dratch lookalike

Michael Greenfield - senior CNN douche

Michael "Joey" Barone - senior writer for US News & World Report / angry bastard

Jimmy Carter was more anti-abortion than Gerald Ford, according to Barone.

When Johnson signed the civil rights act he said, "We just gave the South to Republicans for a generation." - that's what Greenfield said, I remember hearing that before.

Anna is kicking ass again. She talks fast, she knows her facts, and she makes sense.

Oh yeah, Rachel Zoll said that Bush has been good about taking care of Sudan because that issue is important to the religious right. So that's interesting. I just assumed that Bush hadn't done a good job with Sudan. But it also explains why there was thay guy from "American Clergy Magazine" at the Sudan conference.

Barone says that the Dallas Morning News has a section about sermons. He also said that the historian Robert Vogel believes that the US is in the middle of a fourth "religious awakening." I've never heard of him.

I'm at 9.26 miles. Niiice.

Zoll is talking about how people who are "spiritual" on the left are definitely not as organized as people on the right who are religious.

By the way, Marvin Kalb is the moderator. He's good. he used to be a correspondent for CBS and NBC.

Jeff Greenfield said that 9/11 showed that "there is evil around. Real, no-complexity evil." I don't believe that at all. What the hell is "no complexity evil?" It's a magical force. Freaking magic. The simple fact is that evil is complex, at least if you see it as a part of the natural world, and not some inexplainable force.

Nag has posture problems.

Zoll said these "blocks of voters" are not as monolithic as people think, and are much more diverse. I think that is the constant cry of people who study religioun, that it is a myth to call someone Christian or Muslim, or Protestant or Evangelical. The range of opinions and behaviors within these groups is incredibly broad. Of course there are patterns, but when you toss around these terms you start to assume that all these people believe the same things, and it's just not true.

It's amazing that 23 percent of homosexuals voted for Bush, down from 25.

Ooh, there is a questioner from Fairleigh Dickenson. I wonder where this is taking place. Maybe New York? No, in DC. I wonder what that guy is doing there.

People take so long to get to their question. Spit it out.

Religious leaders cannot endorse a candidate from the pulpit or they risk their tax exempt status. That's interesting.

Yes, milling around, I love it.

Okay, so that's it. 10.56 miles for the day. Juicy.

Tony Blair at the Annual Lord Mayor's Banquet

T.B. is looking really giddy. So this is where he makes his main foreign policy speech of the year. Damn, he's so suave and charming. Why can't we have a leader like him?

"There is only one superpower in the world, and we are a strong ally of it."

"The world is more interdependant than ever."

60 million people live in Britain.

He's talking a lot about America.

"I'm not saying America does not make mistakes; does not in its insularity of thinking sometimes seem obstinate to the concerns of the rest of the world."

insularity of thinking is a good phrase

"We are not fighting with America in Iraq because we are their allies. We are their allies because we believe that their fight against terrorism is our fight too; because if they fail, we fail; because their way of life and ours is lit by the same light of freedom, the same love of democracy, the same fellowship of reason."

That is some great rhetoric there. "Fellowship of reason" is another great phrase.

Tony Blair is so clear headed. The things he says actually make sense, and he doesn't appeal to over-simplified ideas about good and evil.

"we are not subverting our country either into an American poodle or a European municipality, we are advancing the British national interest in a changed world in the early 21st century." - i.e. I am not George Bush's bitch.

That speech was good. I liked it. You can look at the transcript here.

6.98 miles

Report on Recent Summit of European Leaders

Joschka Fischer is waxing poetic. He's the German Foreign Minister. He just gave props to the Dutch, and passed the mic.

So the euro leaders met in Brussels on Nov. 4-5, and this is some meeting in Berlin where the Germans are rehashing what happened.

Wolfgang Schauble is dropping science. He's the Opposition Foreign Policy Spokesman Christian Democratic Union/Social Union. Everyone is smiling but I don't see why what he's saying is funny. Now he's really losing it. People are clapping. This guy is a compelling speaker. You don't even have to hear his voice. He jerks his head when he emphasizes things, he points his fingers, he takes off his glasses and puts them on. He's tearing the government a new one for asking to go deeper into dept; he says they are in debt enough.

Hold on, I have to go gold bond my jimmies,

Ok. Now Wolfgang is talking about Arafat. I wonder if everyone named Wolfgang is this spunky. Now, Iran. "We should not quarrel if there is no cause for it." That's a good sentiment. I guess he pretty much agrees with Joschka here. Now he's talking about the european relationship with the US - the "transatlantic relationship." Wolf keeps on yelling at Joschka for the stuff that J-bomb left out of his policy speech. He is saying that Hungary and Poland are basically pulling their soldiers from Iraq.

I think he is emphasizing that Germany should be more cooperative with the United States. That's pretty interesting. I usually assume that the US has acted so arrogantly that other countries are totally justified in going against us. But Wolf here seems to be making the point that Germany should at least act interested in cooperating, in the interest of having a multilateral future, even if they don't agree with the decisions of the US. He's saying Germany should let bygones be bygones with the US's stupidity in the past. What can be done now to make things better? I think that's a good outlook. Regardless of whether you agree with how things have happened, the question should always be, "What is the best way to handle things right now?" It doesn't make sense to dwell on whatever injustices led to the current situation. You should always do what is best, without being resentful or vengeful. That is the pinnacle of intelligence, to put efficiency over ego, to emphasize the future over the past, to do what is right and not what is reasonable.

That's the end of that show. 5.87 miles

more on 529's

ok nice, back in the saddle. Richard Davis, from the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, is on the mic. He's the Deputy Executive Director. How does that work, when you add words like that to Director. "Deputy" takes you down a notch I think, but I'm not sure about "executive."

Next up, Dan McNeela, senior analyst at Morningstar. Monotone-tastic. These people are like the all-madden team of boring people. Whoa. He just used the term "knuckle-sandwich." I take back everything I said, Dan has my full support. Wow, his shoulders are huge. This guy has the head of an analyst but the body of a line-backer. Or at least the blazer of a linebacker.

Ok, forget this, I'm switching over to c-span 1. Now I'm at .24 miles, so 4.73 for the day.

529 College Savings Plans

Sen. Peter Fitzgerald: boring in a calming, hypnotic way.

This is about "529" College Savings Plans. Here's how they work.

what are basis points?

Basically you can get a 529 savings plan from a state (each state has their own plan) or from a broker. You pick someone to be a beneficiary, and as long as you use the money to pay for their school fees then you don't have to pay taxes on your gains.

Oooh, so the problem is that the government sets up this opportunity for people to avoid taxes if they're using the money for college, but other people are cashing in, taking a cut of the money savings.

This is spectacularly boring. I think if this guy had a simple diagram drawn on the front of his shiny forehead that conveyed the main point of his speech, people would be more likely to actually soak up the message. There is just no passion in the way he is speaking. Aren't people getting screwed here? Get a little excited. Tell us why we should care about this. I'm giving Peter Fitz low scores in enthusiasm and sincerity.

Frank Lautenberg is on the mic. Democrat from Jersey in the house. He just said that in some cases investors are paying such high fees that those fees cancel the benefits of the 529 savings plan. So basically brokerages know they can charge higher rates.

"I want to make sure that everyone who wants to go to college and will do the work, can go to college." That's something that people can get behind. "We've got to do whatever we can to seed, grow, and harvest an educated society." Nice.

Fitz just said "basis points" again.

This is so boring it's magic. Fitz talks out of one side of his mouth. And he only moves that eyebrow too.


First up, Steven Miller. He's moving his mouth, but it's like nothing's coming out. I wonder what a 1099-Q is.

next up... MARY SCHAPIRO! kudos on the spelling Mary, I didn't know you could do that. She's the vice chairman of the National Association of Securities Dealers. Hahahah. Schap just said something really boring and then Fitz shot her a look like she said she wasn't wearing underwear. Apparently there is a thing called a "Coverdale Education Savings Account." This is where you go on tour with David Coverdale and Jimmy Page and collect donations for your children's college account, shunning the more popular "Plant Education Savings Account."

Next up, Ernesto Lanza. He's seems pretty giddy to be there, you have to love that. He's talking about how brokers aren't allowed to steer customers towards things that will increase their commisssion. But how can you enforce that? Isn't that just an honor system? - Ernesto works for the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

QUESTIONS!! Yeah. First one's for Schap. Fitz wants to know why she started investigating 529's. Guess. Just guess. No. Nope. It was the large amount of money that people were investing in 529's. Bet you didn't see that coming. By the way, you can pronounce her group as "nasdie." That's what Fitz says so I think that must be fair game.

I just finished 100 minutes on the mill, aka 4.49 miles. I had just about enough of this show. I'm going to go meditate.

the sudan divestment campaign

Rev. Walter Fauntroy is on the mic, talking about stopping the genocide in Sudan. He's asking people to pull their money from investments that contribute to the genocidal killing. Amen to that.

I think, when you really think about it, that's it's kind of petty for people to worry about gay people marrying each other when there are things like genocide and slavery still going on in the world. Can't we all agree to take care of mass murder before we go out of our way to make sure that a woman can't marry a woman?

"Every one of us has the power to make a difference." - fauntroy

Khartoum is the name of the regime doing the killing over there.

Now he's talking about how we did the same thing with apartheid in south africa, divesting our money.

That's an interesting concept, the idea that divesting our money and energy from morally wrong activities is as important as investing in morally righteous activities.

New Jersey will be one of the first states to bring up legislation to divest from companies that support the Khartoum regime - yeah baby! Awesome. Jersey rocks.

"It's about the money. Cash rules in all matters." Fauntroy

Fauntroy was a congressional rep for DC for 20 years, from 71 to 91.

Joseph Madison is talking now, he's the president of the Sudan Campaign.

Now Rep. Donald Payne from Jersey is talking now.

Wow, the place where they are speaking is empty. That is so sad. One of the New Kids on the Block could probably hold a solo concert across the street and get more people to come. How sad that things like genocide in other countries just don't grab the american public like the dumbest pieces of pop culture do.

Now Payne is talking about which senators have helped: Frist, Lugar, Leahy, Hoeffel, - at least it's gotten some bipartisan support.

I've gone 1.42 miles.

The guy who just asked a question was from American Clergy Magazine, which it looks like is put out by the American Clergy Leadership Conference.

Wow, I just went on a huge web surfing tangent, because that clergy organization is somehow related to Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his "unification church." So then I googled him, and ended up at this page on one of his web sites, which gives instructions for how a man and a woman are first supposed to do the deed when they get married, or something to that effect. To make a long story short, it involves wiping their love organs with the "holy handkerchief" afterwards and... well, here is a direct quote: "After the act of love, both spouses should wipe their sexual areas with the Holy Handkerchief. Hang the handkerchief to dry naturally and keep them eternally. They must be kept individually labeled and should never be laundered or mixed up." Can't you imagine having some friends over for dinner and they're like "What are those framed napkins? And why are they labeled with your and your wife's names?" "Oh those old things? Those are the holy handkerchiefs from our first act of love. Give 'em a whiff after dinner."

... but back to Sudan and Rev. Fauntroy...

"Cash rules in all matters, and the cash is in the hands of millions of Americans." I love that kind of straight dope talk. The fact of the matter is that pompous politicians usually won't say things that bluntly. They'll say things like, "capital can play a huge role in how situations like this play out."

So that's the end of that program. Big lessons? Cash rules in all matters, and if you ever meet someone from Rev. Moon's unification church and you have a runny nose and they offer you their kerchief, you should probably decline the offer.

2.53 miles...