November 29, 2004

For lack of anything better to say

There's alot of things about me you don't know anything about. Things you wouldn't understand. Things you couldn't understand. Things you shouldn't understand...You don't want to get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel.

November 27, 2004

Next time, on Amateure Cell Phone Surgery...

It seems I've done some craptacular cell phone surgery. Once I discovered that the speaker wasn't entirely dead, just so faint as to be useless, I decided to try to crack the sucker open and reseat the speaker. A trip to my locally owned hardware store later, I was the owner of a cell phone repair kit. I popped open the phone, moved some stuff around and it worked. It's hard to say how long this will last, but the 11 dollars I spent for the cell phone kit was much less than the 50 they wanted to charge me at Verizon without even knowing what was wrong (I also wasn't terribly confident in the repair staff, as the woman told me that my problem was that the keypad was locked...that's right, I locked it myself and didn't unlock it before handing it to you...let me unlock it, then you can fix the problem I've already described). My previous plea for an old phone still stands, as I don't know how long my amateur fix job will last. For now, feel free to call, but if I act like I can't hear you, you'll know why.

November 26, 2004

Cell Phone Blues

My phone stopped working yesterday. I can make calls, but I can't hear anything, though people can hear me. My options, I discovered today, are as follows: pay $50 to have the now off warranty phone repaired, buy a new phone, but not at the extremely low prices offered to new subscribers (i.e., lowest price is well over $100), buy a Verizon compatible cell phone from some place like ebay and have it activated with my old number, or get a used Verizon phone from someone I know and have it activated for me. This last one is where my readers come in. If you, or anyone you know, has a Verizon Wireless cell phone that is not in use anymore, I'm interested in hearing about it. I don't need a fancy camera or a color screen. The feature I'm most interested in is the one that lets me talk to the person on the other end. A phone book would be nice, as well. Anyhow, get out there and find me a phone!

November 25, 2004

Memory Test

Go to Tickle and take the memory test linked to here. You might have to create an account, but it's free. Once you've taken the test, come back here and leave a comment with your score. It takes about 10 minutes to do the test. Basically, they show you something, then take it away and ask questions about it. I got a 93. What did you get?

Time for Turkey

Haven't posted in a few days, so I thought I'd wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving while Janet is on the phone with her parents. We went to a friend's house for dinner, so I didn't have to cook anything except rolls. We even got leftovers. I'm working a half day tomorrow, so it's kind of like a long weekend for me. Janet, on the other hand, won't go back to work until Tuesday. Maybe she'll even finish her paper. Oh, and that analysis of the Christianity Today article is still coming, once I get the chance.

November 22, 2004

Clarify, please

Janet brought it my attention that the item below only links to negative reactions to Jemila's article. This is true, I explained, but it was all I could find when doing a Google search for "Jemila Monroe." I don't want to tear down Jemila, but there were no positive reviews resulting from that search. A search on "Why I Apologized the Planned Parenthood" produced more analysis, but most of it expressed similar sentiments. Usually, the positive reactions stopped at calling the article "interesting." Perhaps in the coming weeks, more people will react, thus increasing the article's visibility. It is also my assumption that people are more likely to write about what they disagree with, which is why I seem to find only negative writing, though I'm sure there are many people who view the article in a positive light. My own analysis will be coming soon, perhaps written tonight while Janet is at her last class of the semester.

November 21, 2004

Alumni in the News

Jemila Monroe, a Messiah College graduate, class of 2003, wrote an article for Christianity Today that appears here. Basically, she talks about her own life, which involved getting married and pregnant during her junior year of college, then going on to have a difficult pregnancy and all the fun that comes with it. The point of the article is that she went into a Planned Parenthood office and apoligized for the attitudes of Christians toward them. This explanation isn't very good, so just read the article. It's not long, so I'll wait....Ok, now that you're back, there has been some reaction to it from different blogs. This one is from a blog on the website for Touchstone Magazine, and it has an interesting take on Jemila's motives in her behavior described in the article. Here, you can read writer Dawn Eden's (who's written in the New York Post, among other places) reaction to what she calls the "false, self-serving compassion" of Jemila. Finally, this posting on a website I haven't quite figured out yet decries Jemila's attitude as well, though eventually coming to the possible conclusion that Jemila isn't quite as pro-life as she claims and mentions that Jemila never expresses gladness at having a daughter.

I only mention any of this since Janet, and probably some of my readers, know Jemila to one degree or another. Janet went to her first wedding, and Janet's roommate Lucy was a fairly good friend. I'm not sure what to think of the article. There are things I agree with and things I disagree with. It's getting a little late now, so I'll reserve judgment for now. I will try to post again after getting the chance to read the article (and some of the reactions) a little more closely. I'll just head to bed wondering if Jemila has seen any of the posts I link to above.

Happenings at the church

Our pastor resigned in a congregational meeting today. There were a lot of reasons for it that I won't go into here. Maybe I'll get a soft copy of the letter handed out and I can post it here. We'll see. A lot of people were shocked about this, as it wasn't entirely expected. The session did a good job of not letting word get out. It was different than when the pastor announced his resignation in my parents' church. That was apparently the worst kept secret in Hudson.

It's hard to say what will happen next. There are essentially two options. First, the church could form a search committee and look for a new pastor. This is a time consuming process that is very draining on the people involved, at least if they put in the required effort. It is necessary, though, for a church in search of a pastor that is a good fit. The second option is to dissolve the church. I'm sure no one wants to dissolve the church, at least at first consideration. It's hard to know what is the right thing to do. On one hand, there is a church that has been in the area for two and a half years, has a steady membership, and is in a a part of the city without another PCA church. On the other hand, the membership has been slightly declining, the church meets at the YMCA, the budget could be in better shape, and the pastor just announced he was leaving. It's my hope that the members will be able to spend the next two weeks before the vote on these issues to get any of the emotional "oh you can't go" type of thoughts out of their system so they can make a good decision about where to go next. Personally, I'm not sure what the right answer is yet.

Part of my indecision has to do with the direction the church has taken since it was founded. Part of the reason for starting the church was to have a ministry of the PCA in downtown Raleigh. Now, the church has consistently been in downtown Raleigh, but I'm not sure the ministry has every really been effective. In the beginning, the church tried to do a lot of things, but didn't do them very intelligently. I won't go into specifics, since we hadn't moved here yet when it was going on, but I can talk a little about the church now. Now, there isn't a whole lot going on that is specifically downtown, other than the location where we meet. Almost everyone who goes to the church lives really far away from the church. We're five or so miles away, and we're some of the closest. A lot of the people there live way up in north Raleigh, which isn't anywhere near or anything like downtown. It will be interesting to see how the meeting in two weeks turns out.

November 18, 2004

Who I like

I'm going to list my favorite teams here, so if you're ever wondering who I like, this is the place to look. Hey, it's not the best post idea I've ever had, but if you don't like it, scroll down to the posse post while waiting for me to regain past blogging glory. I'm only good for one post of that quality per week. OK, here it is. Keep in mind, I'm not a fanatic about most of these teams, but if asked which team I would like to win the next championship, these are my answers.

NFL Football: Dallas Cowboys
Major League Baseball: Cleveland Indians
NBA Basketball: Cleveland Cavaliers
NHL Hockey: Hah!
NCAA Football: Ohio State Buckeyes

Oh, and I wrote this post while hearing "It's Raining Men" in the background. I let Janet listen to what she wants as long as she's working on her paper.

November 17, 2004

Why I don't watch CSI

I've seen a few episodes of this show, and apparently Vikki watches it all the time. Oh, and before I get going, everyone reading look how I spelled "apparently" above. That is the correct spelling. Burn it into your mind. Moving on. CSI just doesn't get it done for me. I mean, I want to see twists and turns and the unexpected, but Law & Order just takes CSI out behind the woodshed. There are three L&O shows, so I've no need for any of the three CSI shows. First off, the whole CSI crimefighter concept really isn't that realistic. There's the crime scene unit and the detectives. They aren't the same, no matter what CSI shows. Even in L&O: Criminal Intent, Bobby Goren, the biggest geek in the L&O franchise, isn't in the lab preparing samples and running DNA tests. I saw a CSI: Miami the other day where the two guys checked out the crime scene, did the lab tests, questions suspects, and made an arrest. Same two guys. Just not probable. The CSI folks don't have the concept of union labor figured out.

I haven't even gotten to my biggest gripe yet. My biggest problem with CSI is how gory it is. The main purpose of the show is to shock you, and they do a good job of it by sensationalizing the violence and showing as many dismembered body parts that they can. The show is able to get ratings by grossing people out, and I just don't think that's good television. I'm just a much bigger L&O fan. It helps that Sam Waterson has been playing Jack McCoy for so long that he could probably actually be a lawyer and do a good job of it.

November 16, 2004

As if on cue

There was a rumble at the Vibe Awards yesterday, and it involved a stabbing. Somebody's posse may have had a beef with someone else's. Read the article here to find out more.

November 15, 2004

Do I need an Entourage?

Read this article and then let me know.

I guess the whole idea of a posse is that you're big stuff once you have one, and the guys in it don't really have to work, since you're taking care of them. It starts with a few boys from back home and a bodyguard, and just blossoms from there. I think my favorite part of the article is the part where you find out that Eminem's posse has it's own posse. You're big time when your entourage has an entourage.

I think I could get into having an entourage, but I would have to break the rules and let females in. I see it going down like this.

James - nearly deserving of his own entourage, and he's one brush with the law away from breaking out and getting one
Vikki - I could see her getting picked up on an illegal weapons charge at some point
My Brother Steve - he's the driver/crowd control officer who achieves a cult following among my many fans
Sister Katrina - any time someone needs to be verbally taken down a notch, she's your girl...also makes sure restaurants seat us on time
Giant Tim - He's around to make sure the food/drink/transportation/bling is never sub-par
Hillner - requisite crazy guy around for entertainment value
Liz - Someone has to make sure we get to where we're supposed to be at the right time
Janet - my wife, of course, but also the one person who gets worried about everything...if she wore a lot of diamond jewelry and drove a gold Hummer, that would be even better
Amy - trash talks all the other entourages to the newspaper/magazine/television reporters

These are just the ones off the top of my head. As my popularity soars (perhaps due to a nightclub rumble), the group could definitely grow. Maybe I could start a big time feud with some other posse.

November 14, 2004

Long day in Winston-Salem

My friend Joe was involved with running a wrestling tournament in Winston-Salem yesterday, so Janet and I made the 90 minute trip west to hang out and help a little bit. There was a brief, 1 hour, technique clinic before the competition starring yours truly. I taught some wrestling to about 50 elementary, middle, and high school wrestlers before the tournament began. Joe asked me to do it, since the original clinician was unavailable. I tried to stick to my strenghts and keep their attention. Hopefully, I succeeded on both accounts. I enjoyed myself at least, and I hope at least one person learned something valuable. A couple of coaches/parents videotaped the thing, so maybe my accumulated wrestling knowlege will live on in the next generation of wrestlers.

After that, the tournament began. Janet and I had the chance to talk to Joe a lot, which was nice, since I hadn't seen him in a long while. He always has some stories to tell about stuff that has happened to him or people he knows. They're always entertaining. Later that night, Janet and I helped Joe make 200 copies of a 14 page packet of bracket sheets. Joe manned the copier while Janet and I took turns stapling and separating the big pile into smaller ones. Luckily, everything was in order and just needed to be separated. That took a while, then we had some dinner and finally hit the road for home around 10:30. Joe is still at the tournament today finishing things off, but one day was enough for Janet and me.

Clinician at work:

November 12, 2004

A thin copper wire or two

Tonight saw the great networking fight of the month. I have been trying, without success, to get our computers to play nice with each other. It has not gone well. All I want is to be able to share files and printers without a big headache. Well, I think I figured it out. My computer is talking to Janet's computer and everything is great. We'll see what happens when I turn them off for the night and back on the next day. Maybe they'll have forgotten all about each other through the night. Then I'll have to go through it all over again. I might end up leaving them on all the time to keep this from happening again. I doubt it though, because then I'll be like Brooke and Jake, who seem to have a compulsive need to leave their computers turned on every minute of every day. Heck, Jake left his on when he went out of town a few weeks ago.

Part of the problem, I think, was my firewall. It didn't want to let Janet's computer come play. I had to give it a pat on the head and tell it that Janet's computer was one of the nice ones, and it wouldn't be bringing any viruses or spyware or other such malice. It's looking good so far. If I don't post again on this, let's assume everything is going swimmingly.

November 11, 2004

But I was going into Toshi Station to pick up some power converters

James, you got me to watch the trailer, at least. I'm looking forward to the movie. Heck, I wrote a paper about Star Wars in 10th grade. Hey, we had to pick a movie, and there was plenty of research about that one to use. Something struck me though, as I watched the teaser trailer. There's no way this movie ends happily. Think about it. Anakin becomes Darth Vader, Luke's mom has to bite the big one somewhere in here, Obi-Wan ends up a hermit in the desert, C3-P0 and R2 have to get a memory erase at some point, all the Jedi are killed, Yoda hides in a swamp and the emperor takes over the galaxy. Not a lot of room for happy thoughts in there I think. The only good part is that we know how it eventually ends. George Lucas does have a lot of explaining to do, since there are a craptacular bunch of loose ends to tie up, the disappearing/not disappearing Jedi just one of many. On another note, is Anakin Skywalker just about the least likeable character in movie history or what? He's already got the whole, "we know you're going to be Darth Vader and try to kill all the other Jedi," thing going on, plus he's pretty much a crappy actor as well. The kid who played little Anakin in the first one could act circles around this robot of a character. If John Kerry was an actor, he would be Hayden Christensen. Frankly, Samuel L. Jackson should go all Shaft on him, since he's one bad mother..shut your mouth. Speaking of Shaft, Richard Roundtree made some guest appearances on Alias last season as Brill, but that's another story.

November 10, 2004

Oh Maurice

Maurice Clarett, the starting running back for the 2003 National Champions from The Ohio State University, recently came forward saying he received illegal benefits while enrolled at the school. He only played for one season, and he was dropped off the team the next year for some shady dealings, like claiming not to know where he got money, cars, and clothes. Then he began an ill-fated journey to gain early entrance into the NFL, which ultimately failed. Now he's trying to work out and impress scouts so he'll get drafted in the 2005 draft, for which he is finally eligible.

He says that he came forward to let NFL GMs know what he's gone through. It's hard to know what to believe. He lost his eligibilty for being less than forthcoming, but it's also not hard to believe that boosters and professors did some of the things he said. I imagine it's pretty common practice at big athletics schools to direct athletes to professors and classes sympathetic to the athletic department. Every big school has academic advisors in the athletic department. Here at NC State, they help the wrestlers and everyone else in sports to do their schedule and stuff like that. I'm pretty sure some of them just show up and the advisor tells them what to take. It's a far cry from me poring over the schedule to make sure I can get in. Of course, I think they get preferential registration so they get classes that don't conflict with practice. That idea was being tossed around when I left Messiah. To a certain extent, academic advisors are a good idea, as big time college athletics is a huge commitment. On the other hand, you still have to go to class. NC State has a few guys who are inactive this semester for academic reasons.

It's hard to know what's to blame in the Clarett case. If you were a 19 year old that was offered the things he got, you might take it too, especially if college was just a bridge to the NFL and the untold millions that await. On the other hand, it's hard to know if he's telling the truth. I bet it's a little of both. Surely some booster gave him some money or use of a car (a definitely improper benefit) but I doubt it goes as far as Clarett says it does. To him, each dollar, car, or necklace, real or imagined is a status symbol, just like it's a status symbol to be getting acadmic help from a tutor (in that world). It's all a part of the entitlement a lot of big time college athletes headed for the pros feel. Not everyone can be Craig Krenzel, national champion quarterback by day, molecular genetics major by night.

November 8, 2004

Good Reading

I was just thinking about a book I read a few times a long time ago, and I think it's really good. It's called Out of the Blue, and it's written by Orel Hershiser and Jerry B. Jenkins. It was written after the 1988 baseball season. I really enjoyed it the times that I've read it, and if you can find a copy at your library, I recommend picking it up. Orel is the pitching coach with the Texas Rangers now, but when the book was written he had just finished a season in which he won the Cy Young award, won the NLCS and World Series MVP awards, and broke the longstanding record for consecutive scoreless innings. The book talks about his childhood, his career, his family, and it goes into a lot of detail about that 1988 season. Reading the book and watching his late career years with the Indians leaves no doubt in my mind that he would be an excellent pitching coach. He has a great understanding of the sport, as he was not an overpowering physical specimen, but he managed to have a long and productive career.

Here's a tidbit for you: Orel is kind of a funny name, don't you think? However, he is Orel Hershiser IV, and his son is Orel Hershiser V. Now you just have to read it, don't you?

November 6, 2004

Something Different

I just checked, and my last five posts have been at least tangentially related to this week's Presidential election. Therefore, I'm going to veer away from that and talk about my favorite sport that can be seen on television, though not my favorite sport to watch. It's second, however. Here are some baseball related thoughts I had while trying to figure out a way to have a son that is both 6'3 and left-handed so I can watch him in the big leagues one day. I've got lefties in the family, but the 6'3 part may take some doing.

Gold Gloves were announced this week. Any given year, there are always choices that leave objective analysts scratching their heads. It's a given fact that many Gold Gloves are won with the bat, even though that's not really the spirit of the award. Additionally, once you win one, if you stay healthy the next year, you're likely to keep on winning. This is why Greg Maddux has 14 of these things now, though it's not certain he was the best fielding pitcher for all 14 of those years. He's not a bad choice in any year, however. On the other hand, there were a few travesties this year that have furthered stripped any remaining evaluative value from the award. First, Bret Boone won his fourth this year as a second sacker for the woeful Mariners. The boys (and girl) over at my favorite baseball website Baseball Prospectus have some fancy metrics that actually rated Boone as having a terrible year defensively. There is some slop in defensive statistics dues to the complicated nature of defense that relies on not only the individual but the batter, pitcher, and other fielders around him. However, if a player is rated below average, then they probably were. The statistics are better used for forming groups of equally good players than ranking them, and Boone belongs in the bottom group for sure, but his reputation and previous awards (when he was actually good) propped him up for at least one more year. It also helps to be well known (for monster offensive seasons past in Boone's case). The best statistically at the position was Orlando Hudson, and I doubt anyone reading this can tell me what team he plays for without looking it up.

Boone's selection was a minor blip, the likes of which are seen every year. The real story of the Gold Glove selections surrounds the second best shortstop on the Yankees. Derek Jeter beat the duo of being regarded as sub-par defensively and the lack of prior Gold Gloves to win the award this year. Objective analysts can hardly believe this. Actually, that's not true. They can believe it, but are flabbergasted by it. Jeter has, by all statistical measures, been nothing like a good shortstop in his career. In fact, according to Clay Davenport at BP, he has cost his team 138 more runs over his career than a league-average shortstop. To Jeter's credit, he had a good, for him, season this past year, coming in at roughly league average. The problem is that there is a perception among casual fans (thanks to Tim McCarver) and baseball people (thanks to SportsCenter) that Jeter is a great defender. He does have an above average arm and fairly good running speed. The problems are that he's not particularly adept with the glove, and he gets terrible, terrible jumps on ground balls. The most important characteristic of a middle infielder is the jump he gets on the ball, and Jeter is awful at it. This is why he costs his team so many runs. This is also why ends up diving so much. He just misses his jump. Edgar Renteria makes a lot fewer diving plays because he doesn't have to dive. He just gets to the ball. Of course, getting a good jump on the ball never lands you on SportsCenter. SportsCenter won Jeter this award. He made a play in the 12th inning against Boston in July where he caught a foul ball and then tumbled into the stands, hitting his face on the seat in front of him. This was replayed so much that my mom probably even saw it at some point. He won the award based on this play. Well, that and the fawning of Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan. Managers and coaches vote on the Gold Gloves. What do you think they do? Do they read about Range Factor, Zone Rating, Runs Above Average and such, or do they watch the highlights, check the fielding percentage (a useless statistic if there ever was one) and vote on reputation. They're busy men, so we'll cut them some slack, but they (or someone else) should do a better job.

I'm really not that upset about Jeter winning the award, since much of the value has been lost due to previous voting abnormalities, so it's not like the award is cheapened in any way by his winning it. That was done long ago. The part that bothers me is that people like Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver has some legitimacy in their claims about Jeter's defensive brilliance. If you watch baseball, be on the lookout for it next year. Should the Yankees again make the playoffs, you'll hear about Jeter's Gold Glove an awful lot.

November 4, 2004

As Promised

Here are a few reasons that I think President Bush was reelected to a second term in office.

1. Karl Rove is way smarter than Bob Shrum
Rove figured out what it would take to win. He didn't focus as much on registering new voters as he did on inspiring registered, conservative, nonvoters to get to the polls on Election Day. He determined that there was enough of a Republican base out there to keep the President in office, and everything in the campaign was designed to get those people up and voting. Shrum, on the other hand, let Kerry hang onto the Vietnam War for way too long. Bob Shrum has been a chief political advisor for eight Presidential campaigns now. There are two things all eight have in common. First, they were all Democrats, and second, they all lost. He's 0-8 now. I would think at some point he can't be given any more chances.

2. Primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire missed the mark
After Kerry won in these two states, the whole race just kind of snowballed from there. No one else really had a chance after that. Dean and Edwards tried to claim moral and other victories, but neither one really had a claim. Edwards hung on the longest, but it could be easily argued that his string of second and third place finishes never added up to much. From the end of January until this week, the Democrats were stuck with an incredibly unappealing candidate whose best attribute, in many voters' eyes, is that he's not President Bush. Unfortunately for Senator Kerry, this also applies to 280 million other people in the United States.

3. The Vietnam War
John Kerry made 80% of his campaign about an unpopular war that ended 30 years ago. To me, this was a non-starter, but the press ate it up. Of course, it was a non-starter for most of the public as well. It also turned out that Kerry's war hero status wasn't quite as cemented as John McCain or Bob Dole. No one argues how heroically they served, but the facts in Kerry's case suggest that at least two of those Purple Hearts weren't terribly well earned. Additionally, the Senator wasn't very forthcoming about some of the murky areas in his service. Now, one might argue that the President was sometimes evasive concerning his service, and it didn't hurt him. This is absolutely true, but only because the President did not make his military service the entire basis for a good chunk of his campaign platform.

4. John Edwards
I still can't understand all the fawning going on in political columns this week over John Edwards and how he should run for President in 2008. I think he cost Senator Kerry more votes than he gained. You can say what you want about negative campaigning, but it is unequivocally true that Senator Edwards made his fortune as a personal injury lawyer. He might not have had the cheesy commercials, but it's a difference of degree, not of type. I think this may have turned more than a few people off. As I've stated before, Edwards and other personal injury lawyers are a reason that health care is so expensive. Also, I hear about him connecting with people, but I don't see it. He seemed to me like a generic campaign robot. He had the hair, the youthful look, the catchphrase, the family tragedy, and the supportive family. What he lacked was an air of humanity. I read an article saying that, of the Democrats running for President, he was the least pleasant to be around.

5. Gay Marriage and Conservatives in America
Eleven states had gay marriage issues on the ballot, and all eleven states banned gay marriage. One of these was Ohio. Conservatives, evangelical Christians, and Catholica alike are opposed to gay marriage, and having this on the Ohio ballot may have encouraged people to go vote against it, as well as the Presidential candidate who never gave a strong opinion on it. In the same vein, the conservative base came out and voted for the candidate who is, in my opinion, on the right side of the moral issues. Abortion is not a "women's health" issue, and homosexuality is not an opportunity to poke fun at the Vice President. They are serious issues that John Kerry had all to wrong answers for.

6. Voters didn't know what he stood for
John Kerry was wishy-washy the whole time. He tried to talk about how complex and nuanced he was, but it just came across as opportunistic. He may as well have said, "My position is whatever you want to hear," at least in the minds of many voters. I'm sure he has some strong opinions. Too bad for him that he didn't share any of these with the voters. Having complex opinions and changing your mind aren't political pitfalls if they're executed and explained properly. He never came close to explaining himself. He sure said a lot of words, but that was because he appears to be incapable of a simple sentence, without adding multiple clauses and caveats. He once gave a speech that was prepared in advance to have 3,000 words. He went on to speak 5,000, with the extra being his attempt to qualify everything he said so as to, in his mind, make it more appealing to the voters. He also talked alot about plans. He had a plan for everything, but a plan is just words if no one believes it. He was never able to make enough people believe he could execute any of his complicated and caveat-ridden plans.

I have other reasons, but that's enough for one night. Perhaps I'll post a few more in the next day or so. After that, maybe I'll move on to talking about other stuff.

November 3, 2004

Rules Were Made to be Broken

It was a curious election, one in which seemingly every hard and fast election rule from the past was broken. The President ended up with a greater share of the vote than the polls showed prior to the election. The "Incumbent Rule" says that undecideds break away from the incumbent, and that his final support in the vote will never be higher than his polling number. This was an obviously broken rule this time around as the President convincingly won the popular vote with a majority he never sniffed the last month of polling. Additionally, the Democrats were really excited for the eight hours between the first exit polls and the first round of actual vote counting. The exit polls were totally wrong, which gave the Senator hope that proved premature. To top it all off, the Packers beat the Redskins, but the President remained in office. About the only thing that held true was the fact that it is difficult to unseat a wartime President.

I think there are a few reasons that the old rules were broken. I think the results surprised a number of people (the media included) because of the left leaning media that all but openly rooted for the President's defeat. It's easy to "cocoon" oneself in a protective layer of ideas you agree with and block out evidence to the contrary. The let leaning media patted each other on the back to the point that almost everything I read in the last week gave the election to Senator Kerry. Like one lefty column I read stated, "Maybe I should have spent less time reading the Daily Kos and more time talking to people in Alabama." This is true, I think, as it wasn't Tucker Carlson or Paul Begala or Jon Stewart or Al Franken that decided this thing, it was homeschoolers in Ohio, Catholic immigrants in Florida, and farmers in Iowa. Today the pundits are mourning that the country will now slide further to the right, though to me it's not such a problem. A country that was more conservative socially, legally, and morally seems like a good thing.

Coming next time: My analysis of why President Bush won and Senator Kerry lost.

November 2, 2004

The Obligatory Election Post

I'm not really excited about this post, but I thought that maybe one day I might like to look back at election day and see what I was thinking.

I've watched a good chunk of the proceedings to this point (sometimes with the sounds off...oddly, it's not that much different with it on), and the only conclusion I can make is that I don't have any idea what's going on, and neither do you, unless of course you're reading this after it's all over with. I'm really curious to know how these computer models work that they use to project states with around 10% of the vote counted. It doesn't make sense to me, mainly because I don't know how they do the counting.

One thing I know is that it was an interesting time to live in Ohio, which I no longer do. Ohioans could stand in their yard in the last month, toss a rock in the air, and the odds were pretty good it would hit a Presidential candidate on the way down. A girl my parents go to church with has shaken hands with the President on three separate occasions this fall. I have no idea how a 17 year old positioned herself so well, but now she has a story (or three) to tell.

North Carolina, on the other hand, is pretty solidly red these days. John Edwards came to Raleigh at the end of last week, but I think he was just picking up some new underwear for the last round of campaigning. I wonder, should Kerry lose this thing, if a lot of people won't point to his selection of Edwards as one the the things that did him in. I'm not sure I would disagree, but I'm not so sure I agree either. He's a pretty unappealing candidate (and perhaps a more unappealing person, if the news reports are to be believed) that I think was picked a bit hastily. Janet voted for Kerry, and John Edwards creeps her out. It doesn't help that some responsibility for the high cost of health care can be laid at his litigious feet. However, at no time have I ever heard anyone planning to vote for Kerry actually say anything about John Kerry, good or otherwise. It's all the irresponsible "anybody but Bush" tripe I've been hearing since whenever Howard Dean wanted to be president. It's a big similarity between the two sides. Ask any voter who they're voting for, and their explanation will rarely, if ever include the words "John Kerry." To me, this means the Democrats picked a loser, as in, "that guy is such a loser." However, that might not be the case in the General Election. Perhaps the dissatisfacton with the President will put Kerry in office. Liberal columnist Timothy Noah has called him the least appealing candidate the Democrats have nominated for president in [his] lifetime (scroll down to Timothy Noah to see the rest of his statement), but he's voting for him anyway. I think the election hinges on how many people lean the same way.

Perhaps these guys I've linked before had the right idea all along. It seems a lot of people might fall into their group. All along, I thought the President had the advantage, but I knew it was close enough that I couldn't make a prediction, and I still won't. It will be interesting to see how it turns out, and the fewer lawsuits, the better. I hope the loser accepts defeat graciously.

November 1, 2004

Kendall Coffey

I saw Kendall Coffey on the news tonight. He's an attorney that was doing legal analysis for the upcoming election. He was part of Gore's team of lawyers last time we played the election game. Thanks to Dave Barry's book about politics, I can tell you that Kendall Coffey also used to be the U.S. Attorney General in South Florida. He prosecuted some big time drug runners named Willie and Sal. Some people bribed the jury and Willie and Sal got off, temporarily. After that judgement, kendall was a little upset, and he ended up at a strip bar called Lipstik, where he bought a $900 bottle of champagne and bit a topless dancer on the arm. Yes, the top law enforcement official in south Florida bit a stripper. Needless to say, he resigned, only to go into private practice and be part of the legal fiasco last election. If he can go from biting a stripper to being a legal expert on CNN or whatever, you can't try to tell me this isn't a great country.

Oh, and if I even need to say this, but Kendall Coffey also was involved with Elian Gonzales.