Sunday, March 30, 2008

And You Want to Run My Economy?

So I read an article on today saying that Hillary Clinton is not paying her campaign bills promptly. Apparently some of this is standard practice -- consultants defer getting paid in the heat of the campaign. I assume there's some sort of system where candidates raise money even after they've dropped out to make good on these bills -- or maybe the consultants are willing to take the risk of not getting paid in that case.

But it appears that Hillary's campaign has broken new ground in not paying their bills.
"She owed Iowa’s Sioux City Art Center Board of Trustees $3,500 for catering and venue costs, New Hampshire’s Winnacunnet Cooperative School District $4,400 in event costs..."
Really? Stiffing an art center and a school district? I guess since she doesn't need their votes right now, they can wait.

I know one reason Obama doesn't have the money problems Hillary has is that he has raised a lot more money than she has. And I don't want to see the election necessarily go to the candidate with the most money. But in an election where all the remaining candidates are senators, probably the best test of executive experience is a look at the management of their respective campaigns. Forget 3 AM phone calls --- I'm more worried about a candidate who won't answer the phone when her creditors call.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Never Go Against the Family

Apparently, Bill Richardson's endorsement last Friday of Barack Obama violated a sacred trust in American politics. No, not that you should endorse the candidate you feel is best for the country -- rather, you should endorse the candidate whose husband gave you two high-level appointments. Does this make Richardson a new Benedict Arnold?

No, try Judas, according to James Carville. (Wait, Which candidate is Jesus?) Even Richardson said that his ties to the Clintons almost led him to endorse Hillary.

What kind of a country are we living in where loyalty to a family is supposed to trump everything else? One governed by dynastic politics. No matter how qualified Hillary may be, the idea of handing the country over to the same 2 families for 24 years should give anybody pause. The Richardson endorsement is an excellent example of what's wrong with turning the two-party system into the two-family system. What once was a meritocracy can descend into an aristocracy.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Christina's out of town this weekend -- she's up in Connecticut visiting a friend of hers. She sent the following picture from the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel.

I posted the picture to her travel blog. I should probably set it up so that posts to that blog go to her mailing list, too.

So I'm alone for the weekend. Well, alone with the cat and the incontinent dog. Fortunately, Christina talked me into buying a "male diaper garment" for him, so he's a little easier to deal with until we can get him fully diagnosed.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

High As a Kite


Today we went to Lake Artemesia to try to fly kites. The wind wasn't really strong enough, and the pictures I took don't look so great. Instead, please enjoy this picture from last month of Christina flying a kite with the San Diego skyline in the background.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Presidential Trivia

This political season, I've heard speculation a few times that John McCain might serve only one term if elected, because of his age. That got me to wondering. Who was the last president to say, "Nah, four years is enough. I'm outta here."?

The answer...Rutherford B. Hayes. Every other one-termer since 1880 has said, "Nah, I think I need another four." I found that surprising, but something to keep in mind. Now, we've never had a first-termer as old as McCain, so maybe he'd be different. But 132 years is a lot of precedent.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The 10% Vote

I was watching another clip of a Republican talking about "Barack Hussein Obama" and wondering why they thought the technique of using his middle name would work. After all, it doesn't take much effort to find out, 1) he's named after his father and 2) he's a Christian.

But I was reminded of something I read several years ago. Someone asked one of the movie studios why they put quotes from reviewers you've never heard of before on movie ads. (For example, Sunday's Post had an add for "Jumper" noting that Total Film said "It's 'BOURNE' Meets 'The MATRIX.'" Total Film is "the United Kingdom's second best-selling film magazine," according to Wikipedia.) The answer (I'm paraphrasing from memory) is that their research has shown that 10% of moviegoers will pick a movie based on a quote about that film -- even if the source of that quote has no credibility. This is why Sony got caught making up quotes a few years ago.

So I realized -- the "Hussein" jibes are for that same 10% of the population. Because of the most gullible segment of our population, we will have to endure silly attempts to make Americans believe that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim or Saddam Hussein's cousin or whatever. Clearly, if you're a reader of this site, you're too discerning to fall for that. But maybe Obama needs to fight back. Perhaps with posters that say "We must elect President Obama -- Time Magazine*"

*(The reader comments part of their web site, that is.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Geocaching Update: Archived

Since my last update, I've found two geocaches, one in Virginia and one in California. That gives me cause to update my state-by-state map:

On a sad note, for the first time, one of the physical geocaches I've found has been "archived." Lake Lure, which I found last August in Santa Barbara, is no longer an active cache. It was a fairly neat was on a utility pole in a park. You had to pull on some fishing wire wrapped around a pulley to bring a little capsule down from about 12 feet up. The capsule contained the log, which you signed, but nothing else. In October, someone notified the owners that "a portion of the cache is broken," so they disabled it and promised, "We will get out to fix this one soon." Last month, a reviewer noticed that it was still disabled and posted a note telling the owners to either fix it or archive it. Having heard nothing, the reviewer archived it today. It's no longer available for finding, and people are free to put a new cache in that area as a replacement. (Active caches have a 0.1 mile radius that prohibits other caches.)

Of the 42 caches I've found, 40 are still active. The other archived cache that I've found was the event cache, which, understandably, is no longer available for finding.

Let's take a look at where my geocoins are these days. As you'll recall, geocoins are specially minted coins that have tracking numbers. People are supposed to move them around and log their movements.

  • Free State Mover #1. Since September, this has traveled a grand total of 40.9 miles from the West of England into Wales. It was last spotted on January 27. On February 22, someone posted a note on the cache it's in: "Did not find. Clearly, lots of work has been going on at the site - I wonder?" So this one may be MIA.
  • Free State Mover #2. Since September, this has traveled 6173.5 miles. Of that, however, 5858.4 miles were when someone took it to Kazakhstan, and then immediately brought it back to the Czech Republic, where it continued to bounce around. A Czech cacher has been holding onto it since the 23rd. It's gotten quite a tour of the Czech Republic, but doesn't seem on its way back here.
  • Free State Mover #3. I put this together with the idea of leaving it in Puerto Rico or Singapore, but didn't find a suitable cache. I'll probably try to drop it off in England next month.
  • Free State Generic #1. Someone picked this up on Jan. 29 and said, "Retreived [sic] to place in another MD cache". He appears to be in Florida at the moment.
  • Free State Generic #2. Someone picked this up on Feb. 16 and said, "WE [sic] will move it along shortly." They don't appear to have gone geocaching since Feb. 17.

I've had a geocoin I've been waiting to place since Jan. 24, so I can't complain about any of those, but I wish they had more exciting stories to tell.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Around Town

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in traveling to various places around the country and around the globe and forget about nice locations just around the corner. I'm not planning to go anywhere in March...March 2005 was the last month I spent entirely at home, so this is somewhat of a change of pace for me.

Thus it's a good time as any to enjoy what Maryland has to offer. Today Christina and I walked around University Park; we explored various parts of the town park, as well as the town creek.