Saturday, March 15, 2008

Random Thoughts

Latest Newspaper Column (and yes, I know you lucky Hellions who are regular readers of this here blog have seen some of this before):

Just a few random thoughts and musings:

-- I may be one of the only people I know who really love daylight-saving time (and thanks to Chief Piloteer Steve Bouser for making sure we say it right).

I don't see how anyone can object to having more daylight when you get off work in the evenings. Granted, I'm not much of a morning person, so I don't care if it's dark then. I can barely see till after my second cup of coffee anyway.

But having the clock changed means there's more time to take a walk or a bike ride, sit out on the deck with a guitar and a cold drink, or whatever. Sure, there's a brief period of adjustment. But jeez, Louise, man up and get past it, ya bunch of whiners.

-- A few folks have asked me what I think about the recent scandal involving crusading New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who apparently got caught patronizing, shall we say, several ladies of negotiable virtue.

Well, my first thought was: Wow. That was really, really dumb. That was my second thought as well, and my third. Thought No. 4 was: Spitzer was apparently known in the escort service's records as "Client 9." One can only wonder about the identity of clients 1 through 8.

And, finally, I understand that the woman in question charged almost $5,000 for her services. Five. Thousand. Dollars. Holy Mackerel. The mind reels. I mean, I'm sure she's pretty and everything, but for five grand, the wench better stay the night and make me some pancakes in the morning. And I want real maple syrup.

-- If you're one of the so-called "early adopters" that upgraded to Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system when it came out, only to discover that your computer didn't have the horsepower to run it or that it wasn't compatible with your printer, scanner, etc. -- well, you're not alone.

A recent class-action lawsuit filed in Washington State has turned up documents from Vista users complaining that the operating system didn't recognize their other hardware or important programs. One user complained that Vista was so incompatible with other programs he used that his new laptop was nothing more than a "2,100-dollar e-mail machine."

What was remarkable about these complaints is that they came from executives of Microsoft. Yes, that's right. The program's so dysfunctional that the people who designed it can't use it. And they knew this before they released it on an unsuspecting public.

-- Further proof that God has a sense of humor, if any was still needed:

Remember Hillary Clinton's famous "3 a.m." ad? The one where the children are asleep, and the voiceover talks about a crisis somewhere in the world at 3 a.m., and who do you want answering the White House phone?

Well, as it turns out, those children nestled all snug in their beds weren't filmed recently. That's actually previously shot "stock footage" of the kids and their worried mom (who for some reason is fully dressed at 3 a.m. when looking in on them -- is she just getting home?).

In fact, the footage is several years old. The actress who played the little girl shown sleeping peacefully, all unaware of the Big Scary Crisis That Only Hillary Can Deal With is now 17 years old -- and she's working for Obama.

"I'm just enjoying the irony," Casey Knowles of Bonney Lake, Wash., told ABC.

You're not the only one, Casey. I've been laughing myself silly about this for days. If the Obama campaign does not put her in their next bunch of ads (and she's offered to appear), I'm going to have to start questioning their competence as well.

-- Yet another report has come out showing that there is no evidence of a pre-Iraq War connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. As this report shows, Donald Rumsfeld, who said there was "bulletproof" evidence that Saddam and al-Qaida were working together, was lying through his teeth.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress retains its laserlike focus on the real menace to America: Roger Clemens. By the way, this report was commissioned by the Pentagon itself, so remember: If you still claim Saddam and al-Qaida were connected before the war, you hate our troops.

-- Remember how all the news media were trumpeting the comeback of Hillary Clinton after she won the "firewall states" of Texas and Ohio? Well, guess what? Once the delegates were all counted, including those gained from the caucuses, Barack Obama won Texas.

Now, before the primaries, the news media were saying, with one voice, that Hillary had to win both Texas and Ohio "decisively" to stay in the race. So do you think she'll withdraw now? Do you think Obama's victory will be reported in the media as extensively as Hillary's "comeback"?

Do you also believe in the Easter Bunny?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

News Flash: Obama Won Texas

CNN Political Ticker:Caucus win gives Obama more Texas delegates than Clinton

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has won the Texas Democratic caucuses and will get more delegates out of the state than his rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, who won the state's primary, according to CNN estimates.

Under the Texas Democratic Party's complex delegate selection plan, Texas voters participated in both a primary and caucuses on March 4. Two-thirds of the state's 193 delegates were at stake at the primary, while the remaining third were decided by the caucuses.....

After a comprehensive review of these results, CNN estimates that Obama won more support from Texas caucus-goers than Clinton. Based on the state party's tally, Obama's caucus victory translates into 38 national convention delegates, compared to 29 for Clinton.

The conventional wisdom was that Clinton "had to win" both Texas and Ohio "decisively" to avoid having to leave the race. So when's she dropping out? And do you think we'll be seeing the "Obama Got More Delegates" story get front page play? Do you also believe in the Easter Bunny?

Monday, March 10, 2008

You Can Trust Us, We're Proefessionals, Pt. Two

ABC News: 3 A.M. Girl Wants Obama to Answer Call:

Casey Knowles of Bonney Lake, Wash., was recently watching Jon Stewart lampoon Hillary Clinton's well-known "3 a.m." ads on "The Daily Show" when her brother noticed something.

"They were parodying this ad, kind of poking fun at it. They were replaying it. We paused it. My brother was like, 'Is that Casey?' And we just erupted," Knowles said on "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" today. "Sure enough, it's me."

An image of an eight-year-old Knowles appears in the ad, shown sleeping soundly in bed. The Clinton campaign legally purchased the file footage of Knowles from Getty Images.

Clinton's ad aimed to emphasize her experience and say she'd be a strong national security candidate. The ad was a play on a 1980s-era advertisement with a similar theme: if there was a middle-of-the-night national security emergency, who would you want to have answer the phone and deal with it?

Ironically, though, the now-17-year-old Knowles would want Clinton rival Barack Obama to answer any important 3 a.m. calls coming into the White House.

Knowles' image originally was shot for a railroad company advertisement, but the teen said she harbors no resentment toward the Clinton campaign for using her image.

"I'm just enjoying the irony. I'm an Obama supporter," said the high school senior, who will turn 18 next month, well before the election in November.

(Oh, believe me sweetheart, you're not the only one enjoying the irony. I'm laughing my ass off).

Still, Knowles made it clear she disliked Clinton's ad.

"What I don't like about the ad is it's fear-mongering. I think it's a cheap hit to take. I really prefer Obama's message of looking forward to a bright future," Knowles said. "I think that's a much stronger message."

Since her identity was revealed, Knowles said the Obama campaign has reached out to her and she offered a suggestion.

"I mentioned that we should make a counter ad, me and Obama, against Hillary," she said. "They thought that was really funny. They actually might take me up on it."

(If they don't I'll have some serious doubts about their competence.)

Even if the campaign opts not to utilize Knowles' suggestion, she plans to continue stumping for her presidential pick. Already, she played an active role in his campaign.

"I've been campaigning for Obama for a long time. I actually called a lot of people around my area and got them to come out and caucus for him. I was a precinct captain at my caucus in February," Knowles said. "I'm actually a delegate for my precinct and I can go on to county, state and even potentially the national convention in Denver."

Looks like those "tested, ready professionals" are at it again.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Guess What? It's All Your Fault

So, I had a long chat with the folks from Roadrunner about the problem of no e-mails of mine getting out in the last week. They decided that somehow, "the issue is from the recipient's end" and the recipients should contact their own ISPs.

This means that at least twelve different people, in eight different domains, in three different countries, have all developed the same problem at the same time. And not a single one bounced my e-mail back as "undeliverable".

If this seems unlikely to you, you're not alone, but all attempts to speak with a higher level tech were blown off. So, because I can no longer trust RR, I'll be sending from Jdustyrhoades AT aol DOT com for the near future.

You may want to copy stuff to that address. Or not, I can send responses from there.

Is there an ISP out there that DOESN'T suck?

You Can Trust Us, We're Professionals

Latest Newspaper Column

For months, Hillary Clinton's campaign has been hammering on one major theme in its race against Barack Obama: Hillary is "tested." She's "ready to lead on day one."

All in all, they're trying to broadcast an image of steely-eyed competence. But recent events in the campaign have made the Clintonistas look like the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.

For example, there was an interesting moment in a recent conference call between reporters and top officials of the Clinton campaign, including her national security director, Lee Feinstein.

You've probably seen the Clinton ads that show children sleeping peacefully in their beds as the announcer says in an ominous tone: "Your children are asleep at 3 a.m. There's a phone ringing in the White House. Who do you want to answer it?" The ad goes on to tout Clinton as "tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world."

So it's only natural to ask, as Slate's Jon Dickerson did, "What foreign policy moment would you point to in Hillary's career where she's been tested by crisis?"

Considering that this whole experience mantra is the centerpiece of her campaign, you'd think somebody would have been ready for that question. But in the recording of the phone conference, there's this long pause as if someone had just asked the people to conjugate Latin verbs.

Someone finally speaks up, stumbling through a long rambling speech that begins, "Well, I think she's been tested throughout her life" and going on to tell us that Hillary's really, really experienced. There's some mention that she stood up for women's rights in China, which is nice and stuff, but not what you could call a White-House-phone-ringing-at-3-in-the-morning kind of crisis.

Then there's what happened in Texas. This was one of the "firewall states" where Clinton supposedly had to win big. She won, but not big.

The way Texas apportions delegates is as, shall we say, unique as the rest of that state. It's insanely complicated, but what it boils down to is this: Districts that are strongly Democratic like urban areas and the liberal city of Austin get more delegates. There's also a caucus in addition to the primary, but thinking about that just makes my head hurt.

Suffice it to say that Clinton's "win" in Texas could still leave Obama with more delegates. As of this writing, by some counts she had a one-delegate lead in Texas; by others, she was behind, since Obama did better in the caucuses.

But what was really telling about this whole thing is that, according to some reports, this bizarre system took the Clinton campaign by surprise. The Washington Post reported on Feb. 18 that "several top Clinton strategists and fundraisers became alarmed after learning of the state's unusual provisions during a closed-door strategy meeting this month, according to one person who attended."

Considering the importance of winning Texas, this is something like an NFL team being surprised to learn, right before taking the field in a major playoff game, that a first down requires that you advance the ball ten yards. Sure, the Texas system is confusing, but these guys are supposed to be the experts. To quote the movie "This Is Spinal Tap," it's not their job to be as confused as we are.

The real highlight, or maybe lowlight, came in Texas at Hillary's "Texas Sized Town Hall" on March 3. According to The Wall Street Journal, when the members of the press corps who follow the campaign were taken to their press room, they discovered that they'd been placed in the men's room of the nearby community center.

"The tables set up for reporters," The WSJ chortled, "nearly abutted the urinals. That made for a more spirited rush than usual for the best working space, with female reporters quickly staking out chairs on the small room's opposite side."

Now, considering the way the so-called "liberal" media have savaged Clinton throughout this campaign, the staff might have been forgiven for showing the ink-stained wretches exactly what they thought of them.

However, an "abjectly apologetic" Clinton spokesman insisted that misinformation, not payback, was behind the mishap. She insisted she'd been told the area had been described as a "locker room-sized" space. Apparently the concept of actually going down and looking never occurred to anyone.

To be fair, how well-run your campaign is doesn't necessarily reflect how well you'll govern. George W. Bush for example, ran a crackerjack campaign. 'Nuff said. But keep in mind: Senior campaign aides often find themselves in advisory or even Cabinet positions if their boss wins. Let's just hope, if Hillary does actually take this thing, that the staffer who didn't know where the bathrooms are doesn't end up running FEMA.