Sunday, November 27, 2005

Church today
This morning, I went to a Catholic church for the first time since my son was baptized. It was a work-related issue that I won't go into but needless to say, I was glad I was there. The pastor's comments about the beginning of Advent really struck me and I was glad he made them. Paraphrasing, he stated that we shouldn't be obsessed with the consumerism of Christmas and should instead understand the reason for the season. He stated at how shocked he was that people were lining up at 3 a.m. for a store opening at 6 a.m. and how people were trampling over others just to get a deal. He said that people were using shopping to replace spirituality in their lives. He even noted that he was getting caught up with "the stuff," instead of why we should be enjoying this time of the year with friends and family. You've gotta clean out that junk drawer full of stuff and let Jesus into your hearts, again, paraphrasing. At the end of the sermon, I went to talk to him for a bit, and he thanked me for coming. I did pull his ear a bit, mentioning that there was a Buy Nothing Day movement out there talking about similar things and that his sermon would have been more effective BEFORE Thanksgiving, saving the flock from the shopping mayhem that ensued. He agreed that it was a good point and admitted that he was getting caught up in it himself and that was how the sermon came to him.

Friday, November 25, 2005

As Black Friday ends ...
And I'm proud to say that once again, I didn't buy a single thing on this day. Congratulations to all who decided not to participate in this gluttonous and ruinous day after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Recent big headlines:
Jose Padilla has finally been indicted ... not for Oklahoma City, but for allegedly plotting to set off a dirty bomb: ["Dirty Bomb Suspect Jose Padilla Indicted"].
Another report showing no link between Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11 attacks: ["Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel"].
McCain says there could be trouble on the horizon?: ["McCain, Graham Warn GOP May Be in Trouble"].
Fourth, Congress may be reopening the Oklahoma City bombing case: ["'Compelling' evidence of another terroristU.S. senator forecasts investigation by Congress"].
Again, newspapers, in serious trouble: ["A future of empty doorsteps? Dark days for US newspapers"].
More information about previous knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks: ["Weldon pushes 'Able Danger' criminal probe"].
A very interesting profile of Sen. Feingold by Michael Crowley: ["Withdrawal Symptoms"].
Pat Buchanan continues to make sense: ["Paris Burning: How Empires End"].
DailyKos poll update
Today, DailyKos posted the results from the last few Dem straw polls:

dKos reader poll. 11/21. 11,627 respondents.
Nov Sept Aug July June
Clark 26 34 35 34 26
Feingold 19 19 16 10 10
Warner 14 4 3 5 5
Edwards 12 10 7 7 8
H. Clinton 6 8 9 10 10
No Clue 6 6 9 13 17
Richardson 5 3 4 4 4
Other 2 3 4 4 7
Kerry 2 2 1 2 2
Biden 1 3 3 3 3
Bayh 1 1 1 2 2
Vilsack 0 0 0 0 0

My earlier comments may have been a bit off. Notice the slight slip of Clark, the jump for Warner, and the increase for Edwards too. And Feingold remains strong. If this was a primary, it would be a pretty good horserace between Clark, Feingold, and Warner.

Monday, November 21, 2005

New polling
On, earlier this evening:

If the 2008 presidential primary were held today, who would you vote for?

Bayh - 144 votes - 1 %
Biden - 175 votes - 1 %
Clark - 2538 votes - 26 %
Clinton - 573 votes - 6 %
Edwards - 1158 votes - 12 %
Feingold - 1865 votes - 19 %
Kerry - 215 votes - 2 %
Richardson - 483 votes - 5 %
Vilsack - 52 votes - 0 %
Warner - 1446 votes - 15 %
Other - 257 votes - 2 %
No frickin' clue - 608 votes - 6 %

The numbers show some pretty clear things. First, the Kossacks are still totally obsessed by Clark who, IMHO, is unelectable and possibly a war criminal, from what I have read.
Mark Warner's numbers are also interesting - since no one essentially knows a thing about the guy. Sure, he is a Dem elected from a red state. But so was Edwards ... and that didn't quite work out. Although, he still gets good numbers, so the rank-and-file still must like him. I still stand by my earlier writing suggesting that a Dean/Edwards; Edwards/Dean ticket would have won election. Kerry was never going to win in a million years. Feingold is still raking in impressive numbers, which is good to see. With his votes against the PATRIOT Act, the invasion, and other things, he is the only legitimate leader right now in the Democrat Party.
Another fascinating thing: The Kossacks are rejecting almost all the insider candidates. Now that is amazing.


Diageo/Hotline Poll conducted by Financial Dynamics. Nov. 11-15, 2005. Registered voters nationwide.
"Suppose the 2008 Republican presidential primary were held today, for whom would you support if the candidates were [see below]?" If "All": "If you absolutely had to choose, which one person would you support?" Names rotated. N=326 Republican voters, MoE ± 5.4.

Rudy Giuliani - 22
Condoleezza Rice - 22
John McCain - 21
Jeb Bush - 11
Newt Gingrich - 6
Bill Frist - 3
None (vol.) - 3
Unsure - 11

"Now, suppose the general election for president in 2008 were being held today between [see below] -- for whom would you vote?" Names rotated. N=700 registered voters, MoE ± 3.7 (for all voters).

John McCain (R) - 52
Hillary Clinton (D) - 39
Unsure - 9

Jeb Bush (R) - 18
Hillary Clinton (D) - 34
John McCain (I) - 40
Unsure -7

Condoleeza Rice (R) - 20
Hillary Clinton (D) - 35
John McCain (I) - 35
Unsure - 10

Of course, the Electoral College and not the general election, elects the president. So, these numbers are meaningless. But they are intriguing. How about a Feingold/McCain ticket? End the bipartisanship, once and for all.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Noise Chart
December 2005

Reporting stations: WAAF, WBCN, WFNX, WMBR, WMFO, WTCC, WZBC

1. Aberdeen City – The Freezing Atlantic
2. Reverend Glasseye – Our Lady of the Broken Spine
3. The Glass Set – The Glass Set
4. The Swinging Steaks – Sunday Best
5. Taxpayer – Bones & Lungs
6. Chris Brokaw – Incredible Love
7. Hilken Mancini & Chris Colburn – Hilken Mancini & Chris Colburn
8. The Hidden – Smashes to Ashes
9. The Rudds – Get the Femuline Hang On
10. Tiger Saw – Sing!
11. Anushka Pop – Akathena
12. Harris – The Light is Seeping through the Cracks
13. Don Lennon – Rountine
14. Anarchy Club – The Way and Its Power
15. Certainly Sir – Tan
16. The Coffin Lids – 'Round Midnight
17. Feathers – Absolute Noon
18. Galaxie 500 – Peel Sessions
19. The Pixies – Sell Out
20. The Product – Four Demo Songs EP
21. Blanketeer – EP
22. Cocked N Loaded – Ding Dong Doom Baby
23. Das Happening – 4 Songs
24. Four Tet – Everything Ecstatic
25. The Good North – Life Outside Our Walls EP
26. Ho-Ag – Pray for the Worms
27. The Irreverends – The Irreverends EP
28. Karacter – Karacter
29. The Scissormen – Jinx Breakers
30. Soltero – Hell Train

Most Played CD of 2005:
Ad Frank & the Fast Easy Women – … Is the World’s Best Ex-Boyfriend

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Well, I was close
It isn't easy picking winners - whether it is an election, race horses, lottery numbers, or whatever. But, I took a stab at the Boston city elections and didn't do too badly:

FLAHERTY - 49,163 - 17.58% check
ARROYO - 43,492 - 15.56% check
YOON - 41,839 - 14.96% oops, had Connolly
MURPHY - 35,507 - 12.70% check
CONNOLLY - 31,596 - 11.30% oops, had Yoon here
O'MALLEY - 28,292 - 10.12% check
WHITE - 26,965 - 9.64% had Flynn here
FLYNN - 21,739 - 7.78% had White here
Write-in Votes - 1,008 - 0.36%

On the Mayoral race, I was way off: I picked Menino, 58-42. He won 68 to 32. But still, not a bad guess. It is clear from the results that the progressives didn't come out as heavily as they needed to. Sure, they boosted Yoon into the final four. But they left Matt O'Malley - a young, white, male progressive - way behind [those familiar with my political past shouldn't be surprised at this result]. The PDFs of ward breakdowns aren't up, but I am interested in seeing whether or not O'Malley got help from black communities in town.
And in the end, incumbent Stephen Murphy - who was all but given up for dead by the media and politicos - returned easily.
Most disappointing for Patricia White was her returns. She slips to seventh even after spending a fortune on the race, with slick TV ads, trying to pitch herself as a populist woman even if she was born of privilege. Rumor has it that she will never run for public office again. Three strikes and you're out, as they say. But, never say never. Maybe people just don't know her well enough yet or were underimpressed with her ideas. Who knows.

Monday, November 7, 2005

I love newspapers. There is something about having one in your hand - versus reading one online. Over the years, I have worked for a number of pretty good papers and broken a lot of good stories as a reporter and editor. Before that, I worked as a contributor and advertising sales rep.
When I was a boy, I used to peddle the Concord Monitor, the local daily in the town I grew up in. It was one of my first real jobs. Every day after school, I would meet several other kids at the five-way intersection at White Park [where the old trolley station still is] and we would have our papers dropped there.
Back then, the Monitor was an afternoon paper and a bunch of us geeks would meet in the afternoon. At the time, the Saturday edition was the only morning edition and there was no Sunday paper. I always remember it being a huge paper and very heavy to carry around, easily double or triple the size that the paper is now.
Wednesday was the big edition of the week, with all the flyers in it for the weekend shoppers. If you had a big route - about 60 or 70 residents to deliver to - you were dragging that bag around like a Neanderthal dragging his mate by the hair!
It was a fun job but a bit strange too. The Monitor seemed to go through circulation reps. a lot. There was this one guy I used to really like who tried to get us to take pride in our work, by telling us to take time to read the paper and understand what we were delivering to the public. I never really thought of it at the time, but he was right. That guy was later replaced by another guy and then another, always urging speed in delivery and the exact opposite of the guy who told us to take pride in our work.
When we moved from one end of town to the other, I stopped doing the paper route. It was over a mile away and I was getting a little old for peddling papers. My brother would have a smaller route though and then the Monitor would move to mornings.

However, the demise of the newspaper is really startling. Similar to the recording industry, the advance of technology and the "virtue" of free content have led to its demise. We have also taught a whole generation of young people that they don't have to pay for anything, that information is "free," and that there are few and sometimes no consequences to our actions.

Check this out from Drudge earlier this week:

Mon Nov 07 2005 11:02:35 ET
Average weekday circulation of America's 20 biggest newspapers for the six-month period ended Sept. 30, as reported Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. [The percentage changes are from the comparable year-ago period.]

1. USA Today, 2,296,335, down 0.59 percent
2. The Wall Street Journal, 2,083,660, down 1.10 percent
3. The New York Times, 1,126,190, up 0.46 percent
4. Los Angeles Times, 843,432, down 3.79 percent
5. New York Daily News, 688,584, down 3.70 percent
6. The Washington Post, 678,779, down 4.09 percent
7. New York Post, 662,681, down 1.74 percent
8. Chicago Tribune, 586,122, down 2.47 percent
9. Houston Chronicle, 521,419, down 6.01 percent
10. The Boston Globe, 414,225, down 8.25 percent
11. The Arizona Republic, 411,043, down 0.54 percent
12. The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., 400,092, up 0.01 percent
13. San Francisco Chronicle, 391,681, down 16.4 percent
14. Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul, 374,528, down 0.26 percent
15. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 362,426, down 8.73 percent
16. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 357,679, down 3.16 percent
17. Detroit Free Press, 341,248, down 2.18 percent
18. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, 339,055, down 4.46 percent
19. The Oregonian, Portland, 333,515, down 1.24 percent
20. The San Diego Union-Tribune, 314,279, down 6.24 percent

It is interesting to note that the top three are pretty much holding steady. At least two of those papers - the NYT and the WSJ - set the national agenda as far as media coverage goes. The USA Today is the Pravda of the United States, IMHO. But look at the rest: Down, down, down ... The Boston Globe's circ numbers are not surprising. It is a shell of the newspaper that it once was. There has also been a long-standing boycott against El Globo, as Howie Carr calls it, by conservatives, who have long complained about the paper's liberal elitist mentalities. Some drops could probably be explained by the influx of non-English speaking immigrants moving into homes in urban America once owned - or rented - by English speaking folks who have cancelled their subscriptions when they moved away.

All of this is not good though because the newspaper is the bedrock of our society. The flip of this is that there will be new newspapers cropping up, free dailies and weeklies, and also the Internet, which will flourish as a source of news. But the Internet isn't a newspaper. It just isn't the same. And another problem is that no one has really found a way to make money from the Web yet. All in due time though.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Butler's solo effort
Anna from Burned Down Days reports: The official release date for Richard Butler's self-titled solo album will be March 21, 2006 on Koch Records. More information as it becomes available.

What an ass ...
Mac allegedly assaults some of his fans: ["BUNNYMAN'S ASSAULT RAP"]. I just got the new record, "Siberia," and it isn't half bad.

Something new I have to try
"Shock coffee is the original hyper-caffeinated coffee to hit the market and the best success story to date": ["Shock Coffee"]. The site has that silly multi-level marketing feel but if it gets you zooming ...

"Going down, down, down, down ..."
Bush poll numbers reach a new low: ["Bush's job approval falls to 35 percent"]. Can impeachment be far behind?

Hmm ...
Peace Mom for President: ["Cindy Sheehan for President"].
Dems finally get stones?: ["Democrats turn up heat on White House"].
Only Maureen Dowd could write a piece like this: ["What's a Modern Girl to Do?"].

Boston elections
Kevin Rothstein of the Boston Herald is giving away "City of Champions" DVD to anyone who enters with the correct results in the Boston City Council at-large race. So, what the hell, here we go:

1. Flaherty
2. Arroyo
3. Connolly
4. Murphy
5. Yoon
6. O'Malley
7. Flynn
8. White

I don't know if I will be correct here. In fact, I am probably not picking the safe bets.
Everyone in the media is predicting a progressive sweep but I just don't see it. The city is still a big town and is still very conservative. I think - and hope - that Murphy will pull it out in the end. He is a good at-large councilor. While Arroyo is clowing around with hunger strikes because of the Iraqi invasion, Murphy is doing what is supposed to do: Getting potholes filled and cops on the beat. But the last straw may have been that sheriff's race - coming right after the treasurer's race. If he gets enough people working to save him though, he could pull it out.
I am also probably wrong in also picking Patricia White for dead last. A safer bet would be O'Malley. Being the only woman in the race should help when getting votes. But it probably won't be enough to win, especially with all the progressives doing everything in their power to launch Felix into the first position.
For the mayor's, I'm picking Menino, a very safe bet, 58-42 over Maura. However, I'm praying for Hennigan to pull out an upset. She has run a good campaign and it is time for Menino to go.
Both the Globe and the Herald endorsed Menino; The Phoenix endorsed Maura. The Phoenix also endorsed Yoon, Connoly, Arroyo, and White.