In honor of May Day, Sen. Joe Lieberman would like to remind you that it’s a “good question” whether Barack Obama is spending today contemplating the plight of the proletariat and listening to songs like this:
In other news, Pajamas Media asked me to elaborate on my Obama/Wright post in an article for their site, so I did. It’s not my best work, and both liberals and conservatives will find plenty to dislike in it. But I hope it’s at least food for thought.
Don’t miss the riff on Clinton “talking like she’s Annie Oakley,” from around 4:10 to around 5:00. LOL!
P.S. Just the other day, I heard a tune on WDVX that might be a good campaign theme song for Hillary. It’s Track 7 on the Biscuit Burners’ new album, and can be found on iTunes here. Here’s the chorus:
Meanwhile, we now have the Bitter Voters for Obama. Heh. (Hat tip: Marty West.)
I have been in meetings with the Clintons and their advisors where very clinical things were said in a very-detached tone about unwillingness of working class voters to trust government — and Bill Clinton — and about their unfortunate (from a Clinton perspective) proclivity to vote on life-style rather than economic issues. To see Hillary going absolutely over the top to smash Obama for making clearly more humanly sympathetic observations in this vein, is just amazing. Even more so to see her pretending to be a gun-toting non-elite. Give us a break! …
The distribution of “we’re not bitter” stickers to her campaign rallies is the height of over-the-top crudity, and the reports are that very few audience members seem to have much enthusiasm for this nonsense. Not surprisingly, people cannot see the reasons for so much fuss. … [W]here is her authenticity and her dignity and her sense of any proportion?
Authenticity? Dignity? Hillary? Surely you jest.
I drove a few miles to Carl Cowan Park this evening, where I figured I’d have a clear-ish horizon and a dark-ish sky to watch the Shuttle & ISS flyover. And, sure enough, I saw both spaceships — preceded a few minutes earlier by the ATV Jules Verne — race across the sky. The view of the Shuttle & ISS wasn’t as spectacular as when I saw them from Nashville (they were much brighter and more directly overhead in that particular instance), but it was still neat. And I got a video!
Pay no attention to my blithering at the end of the video about how the Shuttle “stayed light longer than I thought it would.” I was just a bit confused in real-time. On the video, it’s perfectly obvious that the Shuttle faded into shadow when and where you’d expect it to, based on the ISS’s behavior moments before.
The more interesting question — which I don’t mention in the video — is why the Shuttle flared up so bright, brighter even than the ISS, in the final moments before it disappeared into the Earth’s shadow. I’m sure there’s a good answer to that question, but I don’t know what it is.
P.S. The apparent jerky motion of the ATV, Shuttle and ISS is a result of my camcorder’s “Super Night Shot” feature. In actuality, orbiting satellites move rather smoothly. :)
P.P.S. The title of this post is technically wrong. The Shuttle and ISS were not directly over Knoxville when I saw them, but rather, over the Memphis area.
Is anybody else a little bit excited? :) If not, this video might help…
One last time: the deadline to enter my men’s NCAA Pool (presented by the UCLA Bruins… sigh) is 12:20 PM EDT today. In case you’re wondering, we’re at 215 entries and counting. It doesn’t look like we’ll beat last year’s record of 263 entries, but I expect we’ll easily surpass the second-highest total, 218 in 2006. There’s always a steady stream of entries in the last few hours before the tournament tips off.
Here’s hoping for a whole bunch of buzzer-beaters, upsets, and assorted shining moments… and of course, wins by USC, Notre Dame and Gonzaga. :) GOOOO MY BRACKET, BEEEEAT OTHER BRACKETS!!
UPDATE, 10:45 AM: We’re now officially at 223 entries. Incidentally, one of those entries is from college-basketball royalty: Jenna Auriemma, daughter of UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma (and fiancee of my high-school classmate and two-time pool champion Todd Stigliano), is in the pool! Heh.
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UPDATE: Above, you can listen to a live audioblogged clip of President Bush being introduced.
In case you’re wondering, CNN reported that Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne is the odd man out of the State of the Union tonight, preserving the line of succession in case the unthinkable happens.
I wonder if Kempthorne was as momentarily alarmed as I was when the TV signal, on CNN at least, appeared to cut out for a split-second. It came right back on, but my heart skipped a beat there. If somebody blew up the Congress, that’s how it might look on TV, no? Everything’s normal, and then — [no signal].
Anyway… President Bush just said if we don’t pass new trade agreements, it will “embolden the purveyors of false populism in our hemisphere.” You mean like Mike Huckabee and John Edwards? :)
UPDATE 2: Heh. Great minds think alike. Or something.
UPDATE 3: Did I just hear some guy loudly yelling something at the tail end of the round of applause for the success of the surge?
UPDATE 4: Hopefully next year at this time, we’ll have a president who can say “nuclear.”
UPDATE 5: “Our message to the Iranian people is clear: When Iran gets her freedom, boy, you’ll get your motor car!”
UPDATE 6: “America opposes genocide in Sudan”?!? Well that’s a relief! Here I thought we supported it! Seriously, what kind of weak-ass language is that… ridiculous!
UPDATE 7: A-ha… it sounded dumb because he flubbed the line, plus there was an inappropriate applause break. He was supposed to say, “America is opposing genocide in Sudan and supporting freedom in countries from Cuba and Zimbabwe to Belarus and Burma.”
UPDATE 8: BOB DOLE!!!
UPDATE 9: Mark it down: he said “he State of Union will remain strong” … at 10:02 PM. It was the second-to-the-last sentence of the speech.
UPDATE 10: Who are these dorky congresspeople kissing Bush’s ass on his way out? “You make me proud to be an American”? Gag me. Methinks the audio feed is a bad idea for the maintenance of these people’s dignity…
UPDATE 11: I agree with Fox’s Fred Barnes — the best line of the speech was: “Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm, and I am pleased to report that the I.R.S. accepts both checks and money orders.” Heh. I laughed out loud.
UPDATE 12: Bush just almost shared a Lieberman-like kiss with Barney Frank! Teehee.
UPDATE 13: Charles Krauthammer is the creepiest-looking person on earth.
UPDATE 14: OMG! Nancy Pelosi was “mouthing”!
Looks more like she was chewing gum or something.
UPDATE 15: Good opening to Sebelius’s speech. All about bipartisanship, etc. Very Obama-esque!
UPDATE 16: Here’s the text:
I’m a Democrat, but tonight, it really doesn’t matter whether you think of yourself as a Democrat…or a Republican…or an Independent. Or…none-of-the-above.
Instead, the fact you’re tuning in this evening tells me each of you is, above all…
…an American, first.
You are mothers, and fathers. Grandparents, and grandchildren. Working people, and business-owners. Americans, all.
And the American people - folks like you, and me - are not nearly as divided as our rancorous politics might suggest.
In fact, right now, tonight, as political pundits discuss the President’s speech - chances are, they’ll obsess over the reactions of Members of Congress.
“How many times was the President interrupted by applause? Did Republicans stand? Did Democrats sit?”
And the rest of us will roll our eyes and think, “What in the world does any of that have to do with me?”
And, so, I want to take a slight detour from tradition on this State of the Union night.
In this time, normally reserved for the partisan response, I hope to offer you something more:
An American Response.
A national call to action on behalf of the struggling families in the heartland, and across this great country. A wakeup call to Washington, on behalf of a new American majority, that time is running out on our opportunities to meet our challenges and solve our problems.
UPDATE 17: A possible reason to vote against McCain: we’d be replacing a guy who pronounces “nuclear” “nukular” with a guy pronounces “Washington” “Warshington.”
Happy Martin Luther King Day — or as Hillary Clinton likes to call it, Lyndon Baines Johnson Day! ;)
Just kidding. In all seriousness, today we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday, and in his honor, I always like to take 16 minutes out of my day each year to listen once again to his greatest speech, the “I Have A Dream” speech. This year, for the first time, I’ll be listening to it from the South, indeed from within the same state as one of the places he mentioned in it. Anyway, here’s the video clip:
And here’s the audio clip:
It never fails to give me goose bumps.
In the tiny New Hampshire hamlet of Dixville Notch, whose voters are mostly registered Republicans or independents, a majority of voters decided to cast their ballots in the Democratic primary, and Barack Obama won in a landslide — receiving 7 votes to John Edwards’s 2 and Bill Richardson’s 1. Hillary Clinton was shut out!
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, it was McCain 4, Romney 2, Giuliani 1. Duncan Hunter, the only candidate to campaign in the Notch, got no love from the locals, receiving zero votes.
No word yet from Hart’s Location, the other New Hampshire town to do midnight voting.
P.S. As I did in 2004, when Wesley Clark was the big Dixville Notch winner (like Duncan Hunter, he was personally on hand for the big event; unlike Hunter, he actually got votes), I would like to dedicate the song “A Town in Old New Hampshire,” as sung by the a capella group “4 Under Par,” to Dixville Notch. Audio clip below; lyrics after the jump.
P.P.S. Interesting comparison: the last time both parties had contested primaries, in 2000, just six Dixville Notch residents voted in the Democratic primary (Bradley 4, Gore 2), while 23 voted in the Republican primary (Bush 12, McCain 10, Forbes 1). So while it’s obviously unwise to try and extrapolate too much from this tiny town (especially in light of its spotty prediction record; you’ll recall that Bradley and Bush both lost New Hampshire in 2000, and Clark lost in 2004), it does seem that Obama’s crossover appeal to Republicans and independents was on display this morning in the Notch.
UPDATE: Obama and McCain are also the winners in Hart’s Location! On the Dem side, the tally was Obama 9, Clinton 3, Edwards 1. On the GOP side, it was McCain 6, Huckabee 5 (!), Paul 4 (!!), Romney 1.
So, in sum, with 0.6% of the precincts reporting (New Hampshire has 301 precincts; 2 of them are in, albeit the two most sparsely populated), here are the current results:
Obama 16, Edwards 3, Clinton 3, Richardson 1.
McCain 10, Huckabee 5, Paul 4, Romney 3, Giuliani 1.
It’s a landslide in the making for the comeback kids! :)
The polls in most New Hampshire towns open at 6:00 AM and close at either 7:00 or 8:00 PM.
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I’ve just finished watching a live Internet feed of the Colorado Rockies’ “press conference” about today’s World Series ticket fiasco, and I have an announcement to make: ladies and gentlemen, the Rockies organization is — officially — completely and utterly inept.
Technical glitches can happen to anyone. But their response has been absolutely abysmal. This is a group of people with no ability to handle a crisis. None. My analogy to FEMA earlier wasn’t that far off. It’s a total nightmare from a P.R. standpoint. From head-smackingly stupid excuses (they had “no idea that so many people” would want tickets) to an utter failure to keep the public informed in any meaningful way (thus exacerbating a situation that has already caused a huge amount of fan anger), they’ve mismanaged this problem so badly that you’d really think they work for the Bush Administration or something.
But it just got even worse, as the Rockies committed the cardinal sin: pissing off the media. They summoned the entire local press corps to a 5:00 PM MDT press conference (at the top of the local news broadcasts) … then kept the reporters waiting for an hour and 15 minutes with no explanation or information whatsoever (on the live Internet feed, you could hear all the reporters talking via cell phone to their bosses, saying they had no idea what was going on) … and then, when Rockies vice president for communications Jay Alves finally emerged at 6:15 PM, he spoke for less than 90 seconds, provided absolutely no meaningful information, took about a question-and-a-half, snapped at a reporter for no apparent reason, and walked away. Unbelievable.
Here’s an audio clip. Listen to the explosion of barely controlled outrage around the 1:05 mark, when the reporters realize he’s leaving them in the lurch after making them wait for a time period about 50 times longer than the length of the press conference.
Alves’s performance guarantees, if it wasn’t inevitable already, that the Rockies will get absolutely horrible press in every newspaper and on every TV station in Denver tonight and tomorrow. And he’s the P.R. guy.
It was a terrible day for the Rockies already, but that sorry excuse for a press conference just made it far worse, because now it’s personal for the press corps just like it’s personal for the fans. By keeping the reporters waiting that long, without explanation, for a totally pointless non-event, and then refusing to even make a half-assed attempt at answering their questions, he’s made every single one of them feel disrespected and annoyed, and I guarantee you their pique will come across in the stories they write and the reports they file. (I used to be a journalist. Trust me on this.)
It figures that the one time I actually win a bet against Mike Tran, I can’t really enjoy it because Notre Dame’s triumph over UCLA coincided with USC’s debacle against Stanford. Nevertheless, I did win the bet, which means Mike had to change his Facebook status for the day…
…and I get to re-post these lovely images from last year:
Heh heh. UCLA sucks.
I’ve blogged a lot about Tommy Makem since his death two weeks ago, including a lengthy post explaining what he meant to me. But they say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and in this case, an audio clip is worth about a million of ‘em. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… Brendan Loy, at 3 years old, singing about moonshine:
The song is “The Hills of Connemara,” and I know it’s probably bad form to call myself “cute,” but good lord, is there anything more adorable than hearing a 3-year-old sing, “Run like the devil from the excise man”? :) I had no idea what any of it meant, of course; I just thought it was a fun song. But there you go: if you thought maybe I was exaggerating when I told those stories about singing rowdy Irish songs in my early childhood, now you know I wasn’t. (And if you ever wondered why I took such a liking to “Rocky Top,” maybe that question too is answered: apparently I just like songs about concealing illegal alcohol from the authorities!)
The audio clip comes from an old cassette tape, recently dug up by my mom, of my parents and I performing Irish music in our living room for my Grandma and Grandpa Loomer and my Papa Loy — all now deceased — and my Uncle Robert, sometime in 1985. You can hear a lot of Grandpa in that clip; he’s the one who played an “A” for my mom before the song, who commented “the show’s getting better, Robert,” and who cheered loudly at the end. In this later clip from the same concert, of “Place in the Choir,” you can hear Grandpa again at the end, and also Papa Loy saying “This is good, I want to hear the rest of it” when I abruptly interrupted the song to comment on our previous performance. (Hey, what do you want, I was three!) Entirely aside from the nostalgia of the music, and of hearing myself as a little kid, it’s also really cool to hear my grandfathers’ voices again. :) Anyway…
Judging by my parents’ comments, it seems that that was the first time I ever sang along with them on “Place in the Choir.” Which is pretty funny, because it soon became one of my all-time favorites, and has always remained so — to the point where, when my mom busted out the guitar last week in the Adirondacks so we could sing a few songs in Makem’s honor, it was one of the first songs I suggested. We had some trouble remembering the verses, but here it is: the same song, by the same singers, 22 years later…
P.S. It’s possible I was 4 years old, not 3. The tape is labeled “1985,” so I’m assuming I was 3, since I didn’t turn 4 until October 30 of that year. But it could have been late 1985, in which case I would have been 4. It’s also possible the label is wrong. But in any event, I was really young.
Barry Bonds just hit his record-breaking 756th career home run off Mike Bacsik. It was caught by a fan in a New York Mets jersey. Details to come.
UPDATE: Here it is with the crappy ESPN2 call:
The Fox Sports call is much better:
And here’s the radio call.
P.S. Here’s a longer, but lower quality, version of the Fox Sports clip. It’s a saved copy of the streaming video that I watched live via Internet as it happened, so it’s a bit herky-jerky as the clip buffered and stuff. But it shows much more of the reaction after the home run.
And here’s an audio clip of my reaction — I was using WireTap Pro to record both the Mac’s audio track and the sounds in the room (via the computer’s microphone), so you can hear the Fox call and hear me say, “Whoa! Whoa! … He did it!”
UPDATE 2: Here are some photos: