Monday, March 16, 2009

Sci-Fi Channel to Change Name

I guess I'm getting cranky in my old age, but this name-changing stuff has got to stop. The Sci-Fi Channel announced today that they're changing their name in July to... Syfy. WTF?!

I guess the idea is to expand their audience. The only problem is, if they continue down this road with the wrestling and the name change, they're going to wind up alienating (no pun intended) their core audience that watches their crappy shows.

The cable universe already has USA, TNT and TBS and others for general audience programming. The whole idea of having all these channels on my cable system is to allow for niche programming.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Except for the wrestling, that can go.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sears Tower Renamed? Heresy!

News from Chicago says that the Sears Tower is going to be renamed for some insurance broker no one has ever heard of.

Memo to Willis Group: It's not going to work. Chicagoans are not going to call the building that defines Chicago's skyline by a new name just because you decide to rent some space in it. You might want to ask Macy's how renaming Marshall Field's is working out for them.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Upside to Daschle Withdrawal?

Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination today for Secretary of Health and Human Services. He had run into some criticism for his tax troubles, but had been widely expected to be confirmed. However, when the New York Times called for him to withdraw, Daschle decided the heat was too much and stepped down.

What's the upside you ask? There's now the perfect job opening for Howard Dean! There's already a Facebook group and an online petition. Look at his credentials: he's an M.D., as governor of Vermont he led healthcare reform, and last but not least, as DNC chair his 50 state strategy was instrumental in getting President Obama elected.

Come on, Mr. President. Do the right thing.

UPDATE: There's now a website too.

Carnahan for Senate 2010

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced today that she's running for Kit Bond's Senate seat in 2010. She has a good chance to be elected as 2010 looks to be another bad year for the GOP. I don't know if there are any other Democrats eying the seat, so I'll say she's my candidate, for now. Watch the announcement:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bye, Bye Blago

Rod Blagojevich was removed from office today by the Illinois Senate by a 59-0 vote. He was also prohibited from holding any other public office in Illinois, also by a 59-0 vote. I got to listen to some of the statements of the Senators. (Thanks to WUIS in Springfield, IL for providing the bandwidth so I could listen on my iPhone this afternoon) I was transfixed while listening to the roll call vote as name after name was called, each one voting 'Yes'.

Blagojevich made a fool of himself in all this. If he had half a brain, he would have resigned immediately after he was arrested. Instead over the past six weeks with the Roland Burris mess and his media blitz over the past few days, he made himself look like an idiot and brought shame on the Governor's office.

The great State of Illinois is well rid of him, but we probably haven't heard the last of him with his Federal trial coming up.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

White Sox Pitch Obama Cap

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the White Sox are seeking approval from the White House for an Obama themed cap with the proceeds going to charity.

I expect it would look something like the image at right. I found it sometime last year, I don't remember where. Thanks to the creator, whoever he is.

I hope this happens because I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, want one. Really.

Stimulus Bill Passes House

Just watched the House vote on final passage of the stimulus bill on C-Span. The final count was 244-188. 12 Democrats voted against it, while no Republicans voted for it.

I understand what the President is trying to do by bringing the GOP along on this, but it seems like he wasted a lot of time on them for little benefit. Maybe he could try to shame them into cooperation by saying "Hey, I tried to work with the GOP but they didn't want to work with me." It probably wouldn't work, though. I think the President is just going to have to realize that Congressional Republicans are just insane and that he should ignore them.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekend Jumble

According to Think Progress: President Obama got an awful lot done in his first 100 hours.

Check out this 1474(!) megapixel picture from Inauguration Day. Zoom in to really appreciate the detail.

Chris Matthews thinks Sarah Palin can't read or write. I'm inclined to agree with him.

I'm late to the party on this one, but I blew through the last four episodes of Dr. Who last night, and they were absolutely incredible. I don't know how the new guy is going to top it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Digg Request

If there's anybody out there I'd appreciate it if you'd take a minute to Digg this story I just submitted. It's about how a Google bomb that once targeted Bush is now affecting Obama.

I haven't made the front page in along time, thanks.

Original Story

White House Tech Is Lame

There's a great story in today's Washington Post about how the new White House staffers have been hamstrung in getting started with their new jobs because of the outdated technology in use at the White House.

Check for yourself, even the blog on the spiffy new hasn't been updated since Inauguration Day.

I understand the need for security and to adhere to the law, but something has got to change here. It's the 21st century and it's difficult enough to run something as large as the federal government without making the task even more difficult by using outmoded technology. If the rules or laws need to be changed then let's get them changed. The new Administration needs all the tools it can get to get the government and the country back on track.

At least the President will get to keep his Blackberry.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Farewell, Howard Dean

Howard Dean gave his farewell speech to the DNC today, marking the end of what is an unarguably successful chairmanship. I think it's a crying shame that the architect of the 50 state strategy that helped lead to President (I'm never going to get tired of that) Obama's election can't get a job in the new administration.

Barack Obama won 9 states that President Bush won in 2004. We picked up 8 Senate seats in 2008 and 6 in 2006. We won in places like Alaska and North Carolina-states where no one thought Democrats could be competitive. But we knew better.

We picked up 24 House seats last year after winning 31 in 2006. We had 22 Democratic governors when you elected me your chairman. Today we have 29.

Our Party now controls at least 60 of the nation's 98 state legislative chambers, which will not only impact redistricting, but will make our Party's bench even stronger.

We brought in more than 1.1 million new donors and raised more than $330 million this cycle.

We created a national voter file for the first time in our Party's history. We improved micro-targeting models and developed 21st century campaign tools that merged traditional organizing with new technology.

We reached out to people of faith and invested in regions of the country that hadn't voted for Democrats in quite some time - places like the Southwest and the Southeast.

We reached out to young voters and new voters, and recommitted ourselves to seeding the grassroots of our party.

We registered millions of new voters, and brought approximately 24 million young Americans to the polls --- with 66% percent of them voting for Barack Obama.

An impressive record by any measure. I've always been a big Dean backer. I think it's fair to say I was my county's biggest Dean supporter in 2004. I was disappointed when his candidacy was derailed by the media, but was very pleased to support him for the DNC chair and thrilled when he won and even more thrilled when the 50 state strategy began paying dividends in 2006.

I guess he must have rubbed someone the wrong way to get treated so shabbily. While the new administration may not appreciate his efforts, this proud member of the netroots always will. Tim Kaine, the new DNC chair would do well to stay the course that Dean has charted.

Farewell, Dr. Dean. I wish you well in your future endeavors and I hope we'll be hearing from you again soon.

Farewell Address by DNC Chairman Howard Dean as Prepared for Delivery

Washington, DC - The following prepared remarks were delivered by Governor Howard Dean at the Democratic National Committee's Winter Meeting in Washington, DC:

My friends, let me begin by thanking you for the opportunity to lead this Committee and this Party for the last four years. After logging more than 727,000 miles visiting Democrats in all 56 states and territories, I say with confidence that I return to you a Party stronger than the one we inherited four years ago.

That could not have happened without you, and all the hard work you have done in your states. It could not have happened without the dedicated, talented and hard working staff at the DNC and your state parties. It could not have happened without the leadership team we assembled at the DNC, including the outstanding slate of Vice Chairs with whom I have had the privilege of serving for the last four years. Please join me in thanking them all.

At our Winter Meeting in 2005, you elected me as your chairman. Together we set out to rebuild our Party from the ground up in every neighborhood and every community in America.

Together, we pledged that we would never run another 18 state campaign. We promised to compete in every state, for every level of office. We promised to stand up for our Party and fight for an agenda that reflects our values. We promised to show up everywhere and ask everyone for their vote.

We promised to modernize our Party, renew our commitment to the grassroots, expand our donor base and draw young voters and new voters into the Party.

And that is exactly what we did.

Barack Obama won 9 states that President Bush won in 2004. We picked up 8 Senate seats in 2008 and 6 in 2006. We won in places like Alaska and North Carolina-states where no one thought Democrats could be competitive. But we knew better.

We picked up 24 House seats last year after winning 31 in 2006. We had 22 Democratic governors when you elected me your chairman. Today we have 29.

Our Party now controls at least 60 of the nation's 98 state legislative chambers, which will not only impact redistricting, but will make our Party's bench even stronger.

We brought in more than 1.1 million new donors and raised more than $330 million this cycle.

We created a national voter file for the first time in our Party's history. We improved micro-targeting models and developed 21st century campaign tools that merged traditional organizing with new technology.

We reached out to people of faith and invested in regions of the country that hadn't voted for Democrats in quite some time - places like the Southwest and the Southeast.

We reached out to young voters and new voters, and recommitted ourselves to seeding the grassroots of our party.

We registered millions of new voters, and brought approximately 24 million young Americans to the polls --- with 66% percent of them voting for Barack Obama.

We responded to widespread electoral irregularities in 2000 and 2004 by creating a professional, year-round voter protection effort to make sure that every voter who wants to can cast their ballot and have their vote heard.

In other words, we rebuilt our Party and took our country back.

What we have accomplished together over the last four years has been nothing short of remarkable. But I want to be clear. None of it would have been possible if we didn't have the best candidate and the best campaign in my lifetime.

At our Winter Meeting in 2007, we were fortunate to hear from the most impressive slate of primary candidates ever fielded by any Party. One of those candidates was the man sworn in yesterday.

In the two years since, America has come to know Barack Obama as a truly transformational leader in American politics. He was as incredible candidate who inspired a new generation of young Americans and new voters to come out, get involved, and change their country.

President Obama led more than a campaign. He inspired a grassroots movement and won a broad and diverse coalition of voters of all backgrounds in every part of the country. He set a new direction and a new tone for our nation and our politics, and people responded. I have no doubt that Barack Obama will be a great President and Joe Biden will be a great Vice President.

Let me also be clear about one more thing: As much as we have accomplished together these last four years, our work is not done.

This has been a truly historic and transformational election --- one that reflects the passing of the torch to a new generation. This new generation wants us to put aside the divisions of the past and come together around the shared task of building a common future. Barack Obama was right in 2004 when he said there are no red states or blue states. There are only American states, and we all share the same values. If we are to keep those voters engaged, and keep them in the fold we need to keep the promises we made.

We cannot afford to lose the millions of new voters and young voters who participated in this campaign for the first time. We have to keep the promises we made, and keep finding ways to engage them.

We won in the West and the South because we showed up and asked people for their vote. But we cannot become complacent. We all know that the political landscape can change very quickly. We need to keep showing up and keep asking people for their vote or we can lose those parts of the country just as quickly as we won them.

We must continue to reach out to people of faith. Barack Obama doubled his support among white evangelicals. But we must continue to look for common ground and areas where we can work together. This is not only important for our Party, it's important to healing our country.

We erased the Republican Party's technological advantage in one cycle. But they will not stand still, so we cannot afford to either. We must continue to invest in the technological infrastructure of our Party and build new tools to keep a new army of grassroots activists engaged.

In Governor Tim Kaine, President Obama has picked the right man to build on our accomplishments.

When I was working with Tim's campaign for governor in 2005, I knew then he would become one of our Party's great leaders. Under his leadership, Virginia was named the best managed state in America. I know he will bring that same leadership to the DNC.

Governor Kaine understands the importance of reaching out to everyone and standing up for our values. He knows that the strength of our party comes from the bottom up and will continue the grassroots approach that has made our party so successful.

Tim is the right choice to lead the Democratic National Committee into this new era of American politics and to support President Obama's agenda.

I have always believed that our values are core American values. We value work over wealth, tax policies that invest in the middle class, fiscal discipline, and equality and justice for all. Those are core American values. What we have lacked is a full time, professional party to help communicate those values and organize around them and a leader to inspire people to the cause. In President Obama, that is exactly what we have.

I am humbled by what we have accomplished here over the last four years. Today, we have a great president and vice president and a Party that is stronger than ever. And we did it by empowering people to take ownership over their democracy. Together, we moved our country forward.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's a New Day!

A day I was once afraid would never come. I don't think I've ever seen so many people in one place before. Truly amazing. Now begins the work to undo all the damage that Bush has done.

President(!) Obama's Inaugural address as prepared for delivery.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Final Countdown Has Begun

Less than 24 hours remaining in the Bush Administration. This is the thing I've been waiting for for fully one fifth of my life. The White Sox World Series Championship was the only thing I've waited longer for.

The end of an error, indeed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Version 2.0

It's been awhile, hasn't it? Not that anyone's been paying attention. I've updated the template here and I think it looks a lot better. I've fixed the links as a lot of them were dead or no longer relevant. I've added some Web 2.0 widgets on the right. If you use any of those services, feel free to look me up!

It's my intention to make at least one post per day. It really shouldn't be that hard to spend five minutes writing something considering I'm probably sitting in front of the computer anyway.

See you tomorrow!

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