Saturday, February 17, 2007

New Pew Poll

I guess I am tipping my hat with these last couple entries. I have tried to stay away from listing this stuff but since i know Roslyn is reading my blog, as evident from a recent dinner, i thought might as well show him stuff he hasnt seen.

I'll try and insert a few light and fluffy posts but unfortunately i have become slightly obsessed with this stuff. I dont blame myself for this obsession i think its someone elses fault i just cant put my finger on exactly who.

Friday, February 16, 2007

You go to war with the president you have

Check out this clip from the always exciting house floor.

I went through a bunch of the democratic speeches on the new house democratic blog "the gavel". This is by far the best and its not even on the site. I guess the republicans were worried about his speech too because some idiot starts whining in the background. I first heard about this guy when he gave a speech before the 2004 election about internet rumors of a military draft.

There are a bunch of other clips from ryan on you tube. There is even a short documentary on google video about his first race for congress in 2002. The guy curses like a sailor and is cocky bastard but he definitely has the magic. There is a clarity, passion and righteousness that helps reinforce the absurdity of anyone who disagrees with him. Out of all the speeches on the house floor every decade there are probably 0 which i find compelling both in terms of content and style. This guy has given 2 great ones in the past 5 years.

There are other people who try to speak clearly and with passion but in general they are either religious fanatics (all congressional republicans) or egotistical maniacs (Mccain, Lieberman). The other difference is that Ryan tells is right and uses facts and these other guys are wrong and make up lies.

He isn't gay and i don't think he will ever sell out to big business due to his labor roots. As long as he doesn't get caught with too many coked-up hookers he definitely could be a top future choice for president. The whole hookers thing might force him to wait until this generation of voters stops obsession over god worshiping leaders. Though its possible that the current religious pandering and the required characteristic of faith-i-ness of candidates is destined to transition to required competence due to the endless ever spreading war.

I dont know maybe I am being optimistic.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Street Fight

I rented this documentary called Street Fight about the race for mayor of newark in 2002. Its about an outsider running for office in an inner city controlled by a political machine. The challenger was a black, ex-football star, harvard lawyer and democratic councilman and he was running against a black democratic 16 year mayoral incumbent and concurrent state legislator. The film was good even though i knew who won before i watched it.

There are a bunch of funny/depressing political moments which have a way of really agitating me. One scene has the challenger being harassed by low income housing security police and eventually the police brass show up. Another scene on election day shows homeless people from philadelphia being bussed up and paid cash to become volunteer supporters. Some of the worst scenes are the ones of the supporters of the challenger - people who simply wear hats or display signs -- undergoing machine pressure: local business people are harassed by city inspectors, police and other civil servants are reassigned or demoted, the documentary maker is constantly being manhandled for filming the mayor at a press event.

The part that set me off on this post concerns the media coverage of the mayors tactics. Instead of being at all serious about covering these crimes, the media basically gloss over any mayoral malfeasance and make it all the challengers fault. Maybe they do this because they believe that the challenger as the mayors' ads state is a gay, white, republican wimp. Whatever their reason is, the storyline is its a tough fight and the mayor, James "the real deal" Sharpe, has street smarts.

It reminded me of a radio call I heard about the Swiftboat ads from 2004. Kerry wouldn't respond because these ads were made by despicable, discredited people and the ads were all lies. But the ads kept playing over and over again and eventually they convinced people -- who these people are i don't want to know -- but they convinced somebody that GW was a better soldier than Kerry. The overall media message was that these ads while despicable were cutting edge and innovative. They were a brilliant and innovative move by rove and his team.

So this guy called into air america and made this analogy about the media coverage.
Two guys agree to a knife fight in front of the press. When they both show up one guy takes out a gun and shoots the other guy. Everyone who watches stands around and says things like the "wow, that guys smart, he used a gun."

Friday, February 09, 2007

Crack Rocks!

I couldnt resist publishing this email exchange copied to my office. The author is an highly respected principal at out firm, internationally known, with a variety of expertise in many different disciplines of structural engineering.

I have replaced all the names of EMPLOYEES with members of the 1986 NY YANKEES.

Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 9:43 AM
To: staff
Subject: YANKEES Rocks in New Haven

Please check this article about our project New


+ As featured in the on-line version of New Haven
Web Address:


article is the result of the efforts of the Marketing group,
specifically, DALE BERRA. Of course, the project team (NIEKRO, RANDOLPH, PAGLIARULO, HENDERSON, RIGHETTI, and JOHN) is the brain trust that made this great YANKEES success possible.

The article is fairly accurate.
If you read it carefully,
you might notice several solid engineering
underpinnings. I intend to elaborate
on those, and other, technical aspects
of this one of a kind project in the
coming weeks. We already received
invitations to write about the project from
more than one national entity!

Meanwhile, please distribute it
around to family, friends and
clients, it should make all of us at YANKEES very



P.E., F.A.E.I.

Its amazing that the context of the article never supplied or even aluded to in the email. There are discussions about "technical aspects", "one of a kind project", and "invitations to write about this project nationally". When you get through the link you find a front page which describes among other things, teachers commendations, zoning resolutions, and recent criminal activity. Here is the response from another of out principals.

Which one:

2nd-grader faces drug charge???


Hmmm. Well, he did title his original email "Rocks" too?

Yes. Thats right. MY firm has widened our expertise ( through its "BRAIN TRUST" ) into distributing crack through 7 year olds in New Haven. Our marketing department is in total support of this effort and is focused on eventually bringing this "diversification". There are some at our company -- i have to say including me --who are against this new strategy. There are a variety of reasons including scalibility and cash flow problems but mostly, we feel 7-year olds are already hardened by the marketting ploys of disney, coke, and mcdonalds and wont embrace another corporate giant. We dont feel they are at a right age to accept our "branding" efforts in this new venture. Some have suggested we need to get them before they are hardened by society, maybe pre-natal.

Here is the correct link