The View From Wisconsin
Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.
Friday, November 26, 2004
I had to make a return to the local CompUSA store - which is another issue entirely - and saw that the store would be open at 6:00 AM promptly today. Since I am, as a third shift worker, a "night owl" by trade, I decided to go to the store right around that time.
I figured (correctly, I might add) that there wouldn't be too many people in the Returns line, and I'd be able to slip in and out rather easily. However, that wasn't the case for getting into the parking lot.
First of all, the sun didn't rise in Wisconsin until about 6:20 this morning - so the parking lot is dark. Secondly, every single spot in the lot is taken.
Let me say that again: every single parking spot in the strip mall lot of CompUSA was TAKEN. I had to drive around a couple of times to finally find someone pulling out. (This is not as bad as I have heard it to be at Best Buy in Racine; the lot there was so full, people were parking two strip malls over.)
Then, there's the mass of humanity that's waiting in line over at the parts department. Yeesh. Fortunately, I wasn't going to try to find the replacement part to what I returned - I knew they didn't have it anyways - so I got the refund and left.
An aside, here: I am now officially convinced that the floor staff of CompUSA is, essentially, clueless. The store is a pretty-much-exclusive Apple and Macintosh dealer, and should therefore be aware of the pitfalls of a computer "for the rest of us" (as they used to say). Well, the part that I returned - a RAM chip that was for my iBook - was a case of "close but no banana." Yes, it was the right type. Yes, it was the right speed. Yes, it should have fit my iBook, and it did. But no, it didn't work.
Why, you ask? Because it doesn't meet the specifications for memory that Apple set in their most recent Firmware Update (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=60839 ). I should have suspected something when I saw that there were two or three "opened" packages of the same memory chips.
You'd think they'd keep the right chips in stock. Of course, that's logical - so of course they don't.
But you can buy DVD-RW's for cheap. Or the latest edition of Halo 2 - in bulk. Even if the line goes across the store and halfway to the back.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
- I am thankful for the fact that I have my AHL Champion Milwaukee Admirals to watch (even if they haven't been home for most of this month).
- I think it's a bunch of turkey that I haven't seen a single NHL hockey game this year, because the players association is stubborn and the league is a pig-headed fool. (As for me, as Katherine Whithorn once said, I am simply firm.)
- I am thankful that I have a nice house, a fast computer and an even faster internet connection.
- The turkeys are in Detroit and Indianapolis. Except, of course, the king of turkeys (Ron Artest), who is out promoting his new rap album.
A little aside: the NBA's little "crisis" over the Pistons-Pacers fight-and-riot at Pontiac isn't part of some larger issue. It's a simple case of a lot of people making a lot of bad decisions at the same time. That, my friends, is the problem with this world - too many people make bad decisions, and when it all happens at the same time, it's ugly. As for the media coverage of this whole thing: someone needs to remind the people in Bristol that if it wasn't for the fans (who they so greatly lauded all last year in the "Season of the Fan" for their 25th anniversary promos), they'd still be sitting in trailers in a mud-hole outside of Hartford.
- I am thankful for the Green Bay Packers, whose injury situations, coaching quesitons and player moves make the media that covers them more like commentators about soap operas than anything else. And we can't get enough of it.
- It's a big turkey that everyone's more concerned over fights in the stands - or brawls on the field - than they are about whether or not the NHL is going to actually cancel their season in the near future.
- I am thankful that Mark Attanasio has made it perfectly clear what he wants to do as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers - "I want to win the World Series." My kind of guy.
- Turkey ala King: You mean to tell me that, in this day and age with Blueberry-wired cell phones, pagers, PDAs and laptops with wireless capabilities, we couldn't get some MRI results faxed to a handful of doctors so we could get a veteran catcher signed? I weep for the AMA.
- I am thankful that the Washington Nationals decided to stick with what's worked in the past and use the "pretzel W" logo for their new team caps. And the navy versions are pretty good, too.
- Turkey time: Anyone else out there who complains about the Desperate Housewives intro to MNF (or the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" - stick a drumstick in it, okay? The only people who're getting all hot and bothered about that are people in "blue" states that don't understand the people in "red" states.
- I am incredibly thankful that I am in a "red" county in a state that just barely went "blue" in November.
- The Turkeys Of The Year are the Liberal-Leftist Media who use the red/blue state metaphor to try to explain what's wrong with this country - without realizing that they are the ones to blame.
- I am thankful that we have a President who is concerned for our safety, our welfare, and our future...
- ...and the rest of the world is a bunch of turkeys for thinking otherwise.
Speaking of which: I see that the Paris 2012 Olympic bid has played the anti-American sentiment as their deal in the Olympic Bid game. Hmmm... maybe we should consider not going to the '12 Olympics if they're in France. Instead, hold our own "International Sports Festival" in New York, and invite the coalition of countries that helped us in Afghanistan and Iraq to come play. Get Colin Powell on it, he's not doing anything right now...
- I am thankful that Dan Rather is "retiring" from CBS. He should have done that years ago.
- The ultimate turkey: Mr. Vang, if you think that anyone's going to buy the "they called me names, so I shot them" story...
I still can't believe the whole hunter "massacre" in Northern Wisconsin over the weekend. It's unfathomable. (There's something I could say here, but my profession prohibits me from commenting about it.) I do, however, have co-workers that know the fellows who were killed or hurt - if the accusations that Vang is making are true, then I'm a poached egg.
"That's enough for now - just remember, Ron Artest, when you sit down to the table tomorrow: you are what you eat..."
Sunday, November 07, 2004
1. Morals matter. The fact that voters approved constitutional amendments in several states to essentially ban gay marriage showed this. As much as the rest of the world (and the liberal left) hates it, America is a God-fearing, moral country. A candidate who does not take the concept of God and Country seriously will be behind the 8-ball from the beginning.
2. You can't overcome taking both sides of an issue. Kerry was sunk the second he made that famous quote about "voting for it right before I voted against it." He had so many flip-flops in his positions on practically every subject, he was perceived as being indecisive. He never could get over that perception. The American people gravitated to the candidate who did stand for something – and he's back in the White House for four more years.
3. There's a difference between doing anything to win, and doing whatver it takes to win. The reports of the AFL-CIO workers who stormed Republican Party Headquarters in Wisconsin and Florida, the numerous cases of signs being vandalized around the nation, and the tire-slashing incident in Milwaukee on election day were all cases of taking "dirty tricks" to the next level. Even Richard Nixon would have been appalled over the actions of these people. Now, the Democrats point out that the Swift Boat Vets weren't exactly being nice, either, with Mr. Kerry's background – and they obviously complained about the various attack ads by the GOP and right-wing 527 groups. However, how many people who weren't around in 1970 now know what exactly John Kerry thought of those medals he proudly displayed at the Democratic National Convention? (By the way, see point 2 on that issue.)
4. If people think that all you want is the job, they're not going to give it to you. Dubya learned this one watching his dad's re-election campaign in 1992. When it came down to it, people believed that all George H.W. Bush wanted was just to "be the president" – not to actually do anything as president. And that led to him being escorted out of office. It started to be apparent that all Kerry wanted was the job of president – and he didn't have a clue as to what he'd do on January 20 if he was elected. That clinched it for many Americans.
5. What worked in one election (or nearly worked) won't necessarily work in a succeeding election. Congregating lawyers in Florida, Ohio and other states to contest results leads to more bitter feelings. Kerry realized that if he contested Ohio's results, he'd get whacked if it turned out that the state did everything legal and constitutionally sound. Yes, the vote difference in Ohio is smaller (theoretically) than the "provisional" and "absentee" votes, but it's likely that the absentee votes will favor Bush, and that the "provisional" votes will be split 50/50 between the candidates. And that wouldn't help him win the state. Also, if he had chosen to sue his way to the Oval Office, the Democratic Party would be forever branded the "Party of the Lawyers, by the Lawyers and for the Lawyers."
6. Getting out the vote campaigns are a double-edged sword. Encouraging people to vote – and, as was the case this year, voting early – can work for and against you as a political party. Last-minute politicking won't affect the vote of those who have already voted via mail or absentee – which negates voter registration drives at the polls, who have been shown to be leaning more towards the challenger.
7. The American people are very much aware of the liberal bias in the national media – and can read between the lines. Most Americans realized right away that CBS made a huge mistake with the Bush National Guard letter. They know that no matter what Bush did that was positive, they would find some way of making it seem a negative. The networks should realize that Fox, which is the network considered to be "fair and balanced" by most, was the one many people turned to for an accurate prediction of what was going on Election night. Of course, their decision to call Ohio for Bush essentially meant he had won the election – something that the three other networks and CNN refused to do.
8. Exit polls aren't worth the paper they're written on. The problem with Exit Pollsters is that they can be manipulated so that they only interview certain people – who are likely to be of one party or another – and not get a true representative sample of the people they're trying to track. And even then, with all the electioneering done in many of the "swing" states, voters probably told the pollsters what they wanted to hear regardless of how they actually voted. (See number 7; if pollsters ask certain questions, the voter can pretty much assume what slant the pollster has – and can really mess up their numbers by misleading them.)
9. The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Law created more problems than it solved. There were so many 527 groups out there that were claiming things about each side – some of it the truth, some of it questionable, and some of it outrageous – that the candidates were helpless to counter their work. When a wealthy foreign national like George Soros can dump a good chunk of his money telling people "George Bush is Evil", and not have any challenge or recourse to his actions, there is something seriously wrong. And no "I approve of this message" disclaimer at the end of a commercial can overcome that.
10. 58.8 million people can't all be wrong. Yes, this was the largest voter turnout for a national election in US history. Yes, President Bush had the most votes of any Presidential candidate in US history – even more than Clinton, Reagan and Nixon. With that many people voting for you, you have a mandate to govern – even if the margin of victory in some states was less than two percent, or only a few tens of thousands of votes. The only place which was so completely skewed away from the President was, ironically enough, the District of Columbia. Of course, DC hasn't voted for a Republican since it was given Electoral Votes in the 1960's. Things seem to be warped towards the liberal left once you are inside the Beltway. Meanwhile, only 33 counties in the six "Great Plains" states (North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas) voted for Kerry – and 19 of those were in the Southern portion of Texas (17 along the Rio Grande River). You could literally draw a straight line from the Canadian border to the Mexican border of counties that voted for Bush.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Saw about two or three people registering to vote at the polls - didn't look like there were any problems. And, of course, even though I brought ID to verify I was who I was, they said "you don't need that - yet."
And who did I vote for?