Monday, November 29, 2010

Wait, which party is he the head of?

So today I read two things:
1) Obama calls for a pay freeze for public sector employees.
2) Democrats are likely to budge on letting the Bush tax cuts expire on the wealthiest.

And not a lot of Democrats showed up to vote in 2010.  Go figure.

This is classic Obama, compromising before he negotiates.  Infuriating.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Who is this man?

In the realm of sports, think of someone famous, someone everyone who follows sports has heard of, who you have no idea what he looks like.  He's not an athlete, not a coach, not an owner, not an agent.  Make your guess, and scroll down...

Keep scrolling...

He's Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedic surgeon in Alabama, who tells you that your star pitcher, RB, etc. has ruined his .

Monday, November 22, 2010

I love airlines

While booking some tickets, saw this:
Note: An infant who turns 2 before or during travel requires a child's fare.
What if you're on a red-eye and junior turns two after departure but before landing?  What if you cross the international date line?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

History happened here

Winter is a time that many brewers decide to put out a seasonal mix of beers.  Saranac, for example, used to have the 12 Beers of Christmas, which included several beers that they only made that time of year.  My roommate in grad school and I would make a night out of, well, drinking the whole thing.  This year they have a Vanilla Stout that I'm interested to try.

Anyways, Sam Adams does the same thing, but they don't have 12 different beers, but basically two six packs.  That's fine.  But for years, they insisted on including a Cranberry Lambic, and not just one of them, but two.  No one would touch the Cranberry Lambic.  You could visit someone in March and still, sitting in their fridge, would be two Cranberry Lambics.  Maybe you'd get lucky and some unsuspecting person (read: a female) would drink it, but no one makes that mistake twice.  Eventually you just throw it out, or find some night where you're a) too drunk to care and b) there's no more rubbing alcohol in the house.

A few months ago, Jim Koch, the founder of Sam Adams, was a guest on the Planet Mikey show on WEEI, a sports talk radio station in Boston.  My friend called up and asked him, on air, why he insisted on including the Cranberry Lambic in the Winter Classics collection (thus turning a 12 pack into a 10 pack).  Koch answered tersely, "because I like it."  Well, friends, let it be known that the Cranberry Lambic has been removed from the Winter Classics collection!  And not only that, but it has replaced by the White Ale!!!  I love the White Ale, as for many years is was the Spring seasonal beer (replaced this past year by the forgettable Noble Pils).

So, P.Y., the world owes you, for finally ridding us of the Cranberry Lambic.  I think I'm going to go out and buy a 12 pack right now...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Line of the day

Votemaster wraps up his 2010 coverage with a summary of what we're looking at in 2012.  In speaking about what Republicans could do to keep Palin out of the race, he writes:
Offering her the job of ambassador to Russia (so she can work from home) just won't cut it.
The Votemaster is a good writer, so worth a few minutes of your time to read the whole thing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Glimmer of hope

From today's NYT:
Representative John Mica of Florida, the senior Republican in line to take the reins of the House Transportation Committee in January, is unhappy with the way the Obama administration awarded $10 billion in federal stimulus funds for high-speed rail projects.
“I am a strong advocate of high-speed rail, but it has to be where it makes sense,” Mr. Mica told The Associated Press in a post-election interview. “The administration squandered the money, giving it to dozens and dozens of projects that were marginal at best to spend on slow-speed trains to nowhere.”
Mr. Mica said he would like to redirect the rail money to the Northeast corridor, which he described as possibly the only place in the country with enough population density to financially support high-speed train service. 
High-speed rail makes a ton of sense in the Northeast, to hook up Boston, Philly, New York, and DC.  It doesn't make sense pretty much anywhere else, except maybe California.  So this is very good news if it can actually be acted on.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What you need is a good bleeding!

A few thoughts from last night's results:
1) Very surprised that the House and Senate were so different.  Looks like the Dems will only end up losing 6 Senate seats, but they got creamed in the House, and historically speaking, the large disparity is an outlier, as generally House and Senate track fairly well together.  Not sure how to interpret that, indeed, if there is anything to interpret.

2) If there is actually a debate between those who thing divided government is good or bad, put me down as an agnostic in general (and certainly historically you can find evidence for divided governments actually getting things done) but I don't think the GOP deviates much at all from their playbook for the past two years, which basically had one play in it, and it was "don't let Obama do anything." 

3) From the turnout numbers, it is clear that the reason Dems lost is that young people made up a much smaller proportion of voters than did old people, relative to 2008.  This shouldn't be a surprise, as midterms usually have that property.  But still, I take it to mean that you should take everything you read about the election's "meaning" with a big grain of salt.  That said, I think Obama has to shoulder some of the blame for low turnout among young voters (am I still a young voter?  hmm...)  I think issues that the young in particular care a lot about -- environment/energy & gay rights, to name two -- were basically low priority for Obama, and it wouldn't surprise if that led to some disillusionment on the part of young voters.  Put another way, while health care may have been a big deal to the Kennedy generation of Democrats, I don't think it is as big deal to Democrats born in the 80s. 

4) I said it at the time, and I'll say it again, Obama/Reid/Pelosi made a big mistake by not going hard at the Republicans to make them take tough votes on bank regulation in the summer and fall of 2009.  Or, really, making them take tough votes ever. 

5) So what, if anything, do last night's results mean for 2012?  Well, if you wanted to write a positive story for the Democrats, I think what you'd have to focus on, given the horrible economy, is that they were very competitive, and even won, a lot of state-wide races in which they ran incumbent politicians in key electoral battlegrounds.  Sestak in PA, Sink in FL, Strickland in OH -- they didn't win, but they were all very close.  Likewise, they held on to the seats they should have held on to, generally: Senate seats in CA, WA, and, impressively, CO and NV.  Now, that's not to say there aren't tremendous red flags, too.  But you saw a lot of Democrats at the state-level do pretty darn well, all things considered.  Put another way, Obama can afford to lose states like Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, which he won in 2008, so long as he can hold the more traditional swing states of PA, OH, and FL. 

6) I'm not sure this is a lesson anyone will learn per se, but I was happy to see that the two candidates who were egregious in their insistence that they didn't have to talk to the media or answer questions or undergo any vetting at all, really, both lost: Sharron Angle & Joe Miller. 

7) I'm a little bummed that the huge margin of victory in the House obscures the fact that the Tea Party likely cost the GOP the Senate -- certainly O'Donnell in DE, likely Angle in NV, and Buck, if he counts as a Tea Partier, in CO.  Circular firing squads are always fun to watch.

8) Assuming that Murkowski wins in Alaska, does she pull a Lieberman and occasionally find ways to piss off her former party?  Remember, the GOP stripped her of her committee chair when she decided to run as a write-in candidate (which the Dems did NOT do with Lieberman, he got to keep his seniority status).  This is likely wishful thinking on my part, but might she start joining in a bit more with Snowe, Collins, and, newly, Ayotte from NH in a female-kinda-centrist-faction of Republicans?  Worth keeping an eye on, at least.

9) Marco Rubio is being talked about as the Next Big Thing in the GOP.  I started to write him off, but then realized that he could be an ideal VP pick.  Would certainly help in Florida, and probably New Mexico too. 

10) So now the race for 2012 begins.  Seems like, every time around, some politician tries to skip the process of spending long, cold nights kissing the asses of voters in Iowa and/or New Hampshire.  And every time, pundits wonder if this will be the candidate who can pull that off, if this candidate is just so popular or national or whatever that it won't matter.  And that candidate never wins.  Personally, I do not want Sarah Palin to run for president, because if she runs for president, there's a non-zero chance, however low, that she actually becomes president.  But man, I would love to see her talk to some cranky old farts in New Hampshire who wouldn't put up with her vapid responses.