29 February 2008

End of the Week Levity

A classic laugh riot from the foul mouthed kids of "South Park," Colorado...

(NOT safe for work!)

Ellen on Larry

Ellen DeGeneres will take time out of her show today to make viewers aware of the horrible murder of a 15-year-old gay junior high school student in Oxnard, California earlier this month. And she nails it.


There's Nothing to See Here

News item: Oil topped $102.00 a barrel this morning.

President Bush, yesterday:
Wait, what did you just say? You're predicting $4-a-gallon gasoline? I hadn't heard that?
In case any of you ever wondered what it would look like like if J.R. Ewing and Office Barbrady conceived a child...just look at the miserable imbecile currently residing in the White House.

The Flag Flap

Rep. Jack Kingston (Republican-GA) shows Republican hypocrisy in spades:

Can we put this idiotic non-issue to rest now, please?

"You Know I'm Right"

From Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times:
On the campaign trail, Democratic front-runner Sen. Barack Obama...drew wild cheers as he told a mostly African-American crowd that parents need to shape up, turn off the TV, help their kids with their homework and stop letting them grow fat eating Popeyes chicken for breakfast.
It's not good enough for you to say to your child, 'Do good in school,' and then when that child comes home, you got the TV set on, you got the radio on, you don't check their homework, there is not a book in the house, you've got the video game playing.

So turn off the TV set, put the video game away. Buy a little desk or put that child by the kitchen table. Watch them do their homework. If they don't know how to do it, give them help. If you don't know how to do it, call the teacher. Make them go to bed at a reasonable time. Keep them off the streets. Give ' em some breakfast. Come on. ... You know I am right.
I am a strong believer in the theory that American parenting has become a joke and that something has to be done about it. But what to do? I am not a parent and never will be, so I haven't thought about a solution all that much. But a president who can inspire from his bully-pulpit is an excellent place to start.

"I'm a Proud Liberal Republican"

The dispirited Senator from Arizona, handing already weary conservatives more fodder:

28 February 2008

Carrico Out

I was shocked to see Robbie Carrico ousted on tonight's "American Idol." He wasn't the best, but he wasn't bad enough to go home so early in the season. I wasn't as shocked to see Jason Yeager go, but I think the "Vote for the Worst" crew are calling in for the hapless, messy Danny Noriega. Me thinks he is this year's Sanjaya.

I am more than happy to see Alexandrea Lushington and Alaina Whitaker go home. They were among the worst of the week.

"Dignity and Respect"

Heading into the final weekend before big primary votes in Ohio and Texas, the Obama campaign has bought major ad buys in four major gay newspapers: Outlook Weekly of Columbus, the Gay People's Chronicle of Cleveland, the Dallas Voice, and OutSmart of Houston.

Here is a generic copy of the ad, courtesy of Andy Towle:

Staring at the Ceiling

Quote of the Day:
Hardly a case goes by without eight [Supreme Court] justices peppering lawyers with questions. Left, right and center, the justices ask and they ask and they ask. Sometimes they debate each other, leaving the lawyer at the podium helpless to jump in. Leaning back in his leather chair, often staring at the ceiling, [Clarence] Thomas never joins in.
-Mark Sherman, of the Associated Press, on the fact that Thomas hasn't asked a question from the bench for at least two years.

I have read somewhere, although I can't find where, that Thomas rarely - if ever - writes opinions; that he does so only when forced (ie: the sole dissent).

Either way, the hapless Thomas must make the Bush family proud.

27 February 2008

"Idol," Week 2: The Girls

Another crappy night for the girls...

Carly Smithson
"Crazy On You"
Randy and his freekin' "pitch" critiques! She nailed this! I think this was a great song choice for her voice. Nice way to start the night. Fantastic job!

Syesha Mercado
"Me and Mr. Jones"
Apparently I'm not hearing what the judges are hearing tonight. I thought this was a fabulous, strong take on a classic R&B tune. The night got better with this performance. Nice arrangement, top-notch vocals.

Brooke White
"You're So Vain"
Yeah...I'm definitely not on the same page as the judges tonight. She was SO off on the chorus of this song. She seemed to be ok in the verses, but man...she fell really flat elsewhere. A bit disappointing...at least the way I heard it sitting here on my sofa.

Ramiele Malubay
"Don't Leave Me This Way"
Not the best performance; rather average, actually. She can definitely sing, but his was only an ok performance.

Kristy Lee Cook
"You're No Good"
Like Ramiele before her, Kristy Lee was only average tonight. She'll be back next week, but she won't be the biggest vote getter of the night.

Amanda Overmyer
"Carry On My Wayward Son"
That hair! There's something almost parody-like about it. I mean, it's like Whitesnake fucked Cruella Deville and Amanda was the spawn. The dancing was a bit much, as well. Honey, the 80s are over...come...join us here in the 21st century. Vocally she was strong in places, missed the mark in others.

Alaina Whitaker
"Hopelessly Devoted To You"
It's the night of mediocity. And the sad thing is, as in seasons past, one of these average-josephines will probably win the competition. That said, this was nothing special. Alaina didn't do herself any favors tonight.

Alexandrea Lushington
"If You Leave Me Now"
What an odd choice of song. I mean, it might have worked if she changed the arrangement a bit, but she used the exact original layout and it didn't work. It sounded like off-key karaoke. My judgement...it was the 2nd worst of the night. She may very well have knocked herself out of the contest with this.

Kady Malloy
"Magic Man"
What was with the oversized bedazzled dress? What a rag! As for the performance...like nails on a chalkboard. Crappy all around. She beat out Alexandrea for worst of the night with this hack job. She may sqeak through tomorrow night (never discount the teen-boy-masturbatory-vote), but if it were up to me she would be sent home.

Asiah Eepherson
"All By Myself"
Yet another odd song choice...and then she dropped the ball with it. Off key, lazy, and the vocal olypmics crap at the end doesn't make up for it. One of three worst of the night.

David Hernandez Tends Bar

And what is sure to make Larry both moist and hard at the same time, the current "American Idol" contestant works at the gay club in Phoenix known as Burn.

Photo proof from the guys at VoteForTheWorst.com, by way of Andy Towle...

Mid-Week Brain Break

David Archuletta's absolutely amazing rendition of "Imagine"...

What States DO Count, Hillary?

According to the New Republic, the Clinton camp feels Texas shouldn't count...that is unless Hillary wins it:
After weeks of finding reasons to discount every Obama victory, the Clinton campaign seems to be laying the groundwork to argue that Texas - the state that they have been pointing to as more meaningful and representative than other states - doesn't count, either.
The state has a rather prominent pro-Obama trajectory, but he is by no means a shoo-in. But the Clintons really need to stop bellyaching that states she loses shouldn't really count. Talk about sore losers!

"Idol," Week 2: The Guys

We went from the 1960s last week to the 1970s this week. Here is your wrap-up:

Michael Johns
"Go Your Own Way"
This was a bad song choice for him. His vocals were off...out of tune and screechy. And he needs to stop that "rocker dance" thing he does (one hand up in the air, doing a semi bounce on stage). This was a pretty disappointing performance from one of my favorites.

Jason Castro
"I Just Want To Be Your Everything"
Castro really is 2008's version of Spicoli from "Fast Times At Ridgemont High." What a stoner!

Performance wise, this was actually pretty good. He took an Andy Gibb classic and made it his own. A great interpretation of a smash #1 hit.

Luke Menard
"Killer Queen"
The guy can sing, there's no doubt about it. But Luke singing Queen? That's like your high school "New Dawns" group singing AC/DC. When I closed my eyes, this sounded pretty good, but when I actually watched Luke's performance all I could do was cringe.

Robbie Carrico
"Hot Blooded"
This was a very average performance. Average vocal, average song, average arrangement. Randy was right: this song showcased the limitations of Robbie's vocal range.

Danny Noriega
Two words. Wait, no. Three: Bad. Gay. Karaoke.

David Hernandez
"Papa Was A Rolling Stone"
He really is one of the hotter guys on the show. As Larry said in a text message last night, "David, David, David!" And his performance was superb! Old school R&B fits his style really well. Excellent choice of song, superb interpretation, stupendous vocal.

Jason Yeager
"Long Train Runnin'"
I disagree with Randy on this one. I thought this was a very nice song choice for Jason. It was perfect for his vocal range and a decent performance all around. Sometimes I wonder if, being right there on the stage, the judges hear something different that we do at home.

"I Believe To My Soul"
It is always risky to do a Donny Hathaway song, for that man had one hell of a voice. And the Idol who did it best was Elliott Yamin - no contest. Chikezie did an ok job on this tune but he is not Elliot - by any stretch of the imagination.

David Cook
"All Right Now"
I liked the electric guitar thing, and the vocal was very good. David was confident all the way through.

David Archuletta
Ok...the pre-performance clip first...this boy belted out "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" to the season 1 finalists six years ago. A "diva" song if ever there was one. I hate to break the news girls, but this boy is a 'mo. Plain and simple.

That said...ahem...David is truly a natural; the best of the bunch this year (so far). He took an awful risk by choosing to do the quintessential John Lennon classic, but his interpretation was spot on, turning in a stunning vocal and knocking it out of the park. Absolutely the best of the night. Hell...the best of the last two weeks!

Dodd Endorses Obama

Sen. Christopher Dodd (Democrat-CT), a former nominee for his party's presidential nomination, flew to Ohio yesterday to endorse Sen. Barack Obama.

CNN is reporting that another former candidate, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, will make an endorsement tomorrow.

26 February 2008

Twenty...Let's Stop It There, Shall We?

Tonight's twentieth Democratic presidential forum (they're hardly debates) should be quite enough for this portion of the 2008 election cycle. It was a dull, flat draw and it's time to put these damn things to bed and focus on the general election campaign.

The forum started off as a rehash of the health care argument from last week, and then fell extremely idle from there. Sen. Clinton had a few temperamental moments (whining and moaning about getting the first question...what the hell was that about?) and Sen. Obama probably didn't answer the Farrakhan question strongly enough; but overall it was a flat, dull draw. And a week out of the March 4th contests, that probably puts a nail in Clinton's coffin. Even if she wins both Ohio and Texas next week (a pretty tall order), her performance tonight won't help her win the votes she needs in those states; should she win both, her margins will be too small to overcome Obama's delegate lead.

Clinton started off with a with real bitchy tone. While she calmed down a few minutes later, Obama kept a certain cool about him throughout the entire proceeding that makes me more certain than ever that I would rather have him go up against McCain this fall, that I would rather have his finger on the button, and that I cast the right vote in California's primary last month.

And now it's on to next week's nominating elections. But please...no more "debates!"

Food For Thought

As we enter the "fourth quarter" of the nominating contests, I urge those who still have yet to vote to consider the new general election polling from CBS News and the New York Times:
Obama 50%
McCain 38%

Clinton 46%
McCain 46%
With the all important independent voters, Obama beats McCain by 10 points. Clinton? Well...she loses them by a whopping 17. And if you think she can still win a general election with that sort of deficit among non-affiliated voters, then you should report to the detox unit right away...for the Kool-Aid has most definitely kicked in.

Post-Oscar Wrap Up

Damn! Those Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress wins came out of left field, leaving me with a paltry three for six in my predictions from Friday. (Side note: Congratulations to Rita for making mince-meat out of the rest of us in the "basement balloting" on Sunday night. She guessed 10 of 12 select categories correctly, including the Actress and Supporting Actress upsets!)

That's what I get for not seeing anything!

Anyhoo...a big hearty "thank you" to Ms. Beth, our fantabulous hostess this past weekend. Flowing cocktails, nibbly things, the company of dear friends, and meeting new ones...the entire weekend was Grade A!

Some highlights...

Wine Tasting

...in Santa Barbara County's absolutely heavenly Santa Ynez Valley...

Big Thank You to Larry & Trevor

...for taking care of Chloe this past weekend. Her dads thank you oh so much (and she does, as well)!

Charles Nelson Reilly...

...thanks Gil, his dude, and Jimmy G for making that extra effort this past weekend. We appreciate it greatly!

22 February 2008

There Will Be Oscar

This has been my worst movie-going year ever...(E-V-E-R!). So take this year's rather abbreviated Oscar predictions with that in mind...

Best Picture

One of the few movies I went to see this year was "Juno," a superb film that many have called the best film of 2007. It would be a great night if it won here, but it won't. The front-runner seems to "No Country For Old Men," and so I will predict that to win.

Best Actor

Viggo Mortensen did full-frontal nudity, and Tommy Lee Jones, George Clooney, and Johnny Depp are Academy favorites. But conventional wisdom has Daniel Day-Lewis picking up his second trophy on Sunday night for his role in "There Will Be Blood."

Best Actress

Julie Christie will win, hands down. It will be her second Academy Award as well, and I can't wait to see her performance as a woman preparing herself and her family for her long, dark final journey through the recesses of Alzheimer's.

Best Supporting Actor

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was excellent in "Charlie Wilson's War," and since the Academy is set to hand out second Oscars to the probable winners mentioned above, why not hand a second one to Hoffman? Alas, the film was more or less snubbed by most wings of the Academy this year and thus I think Hoffman will come up short.

All predictions I have read thus far have Javier Bardem winning for "No Country For Old Men." In either a really stupid move or a rather brilliant one, I am going go against the grain. I think Hal Holbrook will win Sunday night for his roll in "Into the Wild." My gut tells me that the Academy won't be able to resist awarding Holbrook for his lifetime of work.

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett is nominated twice this year, in the Actress category for "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and here for her portrayal of Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There." She'll probably win, but you can't count out Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" or Ruby Dee in "American Gangster."

This category is notorious for throwing curve balls (although not as much lately). I find the greatest chance of getting this category right is to go with the front-runner. Cate Blanchett will win.

Best Director

This will be Joel and Ethan Coen's second Oscar of the night (I think they'll win the Adapted Screenplay award as well), and third overall (as producers, they'll win the Best Picture statuettes).

My personal wish would be to see an upset by Paul Thomas Anderson for "There Will Be Blood." "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" are classic, superb films and that he wasn't even nominated for directing those two masterpieces puzzles the mind. But I think the momentum for the Coen brothers is too strong for an upset this year.

Brent and I are off to Santa Barbara to watch the ceremony with friends. I may post between now and then, but if not I'll be back on Monday.

The New Paula Abdul Video

The song really is a superb dance track. Paula's vocals are still strong and Randy nails the production. Here is last night's "American Idol" video:

The Texas Two-Step

Reactions from last night's Democratic debate:

Josh Marshall, of Talking Points Memo:
Hillary had a strong closing. Obama has clearly improved as a debater and seemed to embody the frontrunner mantle. All of this points basically to a tie. And in the context of where this campaign is, a tie is a win for Obama because he's winning. And Clinton needs to change the dynamic of the campaign.

Notwithstanding the inflamed partisans on both sides, I think the great majority of Democrats like both these candidates, genuinely like and admire both of them. You could feel that in the responses from the audience tonight. But that pleasant equilibrium is losing the race for her right now.

Chuck Todd
, of NBC News:
Clinton...sounded like a candidate who realized she might not win. It must be an odd position for her but the confidence she exuded for just about the entire debate disappeared there at the end. I wonder if showing some vulnerability might actually help her with some undecided voters.
Marc Ambinder, of the Atlantic:
This was the night where we all learned that Hillary Clinton understands the moment in history we are in, and that she is smart enough and gracious enough to realize that her party is more important than personal vanity, that there are things she just cannot say about Obama because it would hurt him in the fall, and that more likely than not, she will not win the nomination.
I was driving home from work during most of the debate, and was able to catch a small portion of the repeat on CNN before bed. The debate itself was a draw, and that doesn't help Hillary Clinton one iota in her attempt to stop Barack Obama's tidal wave of momentum. Clinton's answer to the last question of the debate, according to a friend and the TV talking heads, showed her human side. I disagree. It seemed like everything does with her...a bland attempt at trying to seem like she's one of us. That's not a knock, folks; but rather just the way it is. Fair or not, she comes across like a political robot. And after 30 years of refining that sort of personality, it ain't gonna change anytime soon.

Xeroxed Experience

In my opinion Clinton came across as a real icy bitch when she took Obama to task over this whole speech thing. The sweet thing is it backfired. The "boos" were quite audible in that audience.

Read the passages below and I am sure you'll agree: We should all put this stupid episode behind us, don't ya think?

Hillary Clinton, last night:
You know, the hits I’ve taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country. You know, whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people.
John Edwards, December 13th:
What’s not at stake are any of us. All of us are going to be just fine no matter what happens in this election. But what’s at stake is whether America is going to be fine.
Jack Stanton, fictional character in Primary Colors, 1996:
Y’know, I’ve taken some hits in this campaign. It hasn’t been easy for me, or my family. It hasn’t been fair, but it hasn’t been anything compared to the hits a lot of you take every day.
Bill Clinton, 1992:
The hits that I took in this election are nothing compared to the hits the people of this state and this country have been taking for a long time.

Thank You, But No

The highlight of last night's "American Idol" results show was the new video from Paula Abdul. I downloaded the single a couple of weeks back and think it's a real top-notch dance tune (and Randy Jackson plays a wicked bass riff).

As for the actual results, the two worst women - Amy Davis and Joanne Borgella - were sent packing. The two guys sent home - Colton Berry and Garrett Haley - were not they worst of the week, but the weren't the best either. I think they deserved another couple of weeks to see how they could improve.

Athletic Supporter

A special shout to Lance! Check out all things sports in his podcasts over at Whatcha Talkin Bout?

21 February 2008

The McCain Story, In Perspective

I'm pressed for time this morning, but Josh Marshall has an excellent take on this morning's New York Times story, alleging a possible affair between Republican presidential nominee John McCain and a lobbyist:
I find it very difficult to believe that the Times would have put their chin so far out on this story if they didn't know a lot more than they felt they could put in the article, at least on the first go.

Equally telling, though, is the McCain camp's response and their clear unwillingness to address or deny any the key charges of the piece. (Read the statement closely. It's all bluster.) When it comes to sex stories even falsely accused politicians have some reluctance to get into nitty gritty denials. But McCain - or rather McCain's communications office since it's in their name not his - doesn't even address it.

That tells you something. So too does the Washington Post's decision to jump in very quickly.

Reading all of this stuff I have the distinct feeling that only a few pieces of the puzzle are now on the table. Given unspoken understandings of many years' duration, a lot of reporters and DC types can probably imagine what the full picture looks like. But we're going to need a few more pieces before the rest of us can get a sense of what this is all about.
McCain will hold a press conference this morning, allegedly to have his "I-did-not-have-sexual-relations-with-that-woman" moment.

You know, affairs are personal business between a person and their partner. But at the political level, when a candidate or office holder are having the affair with a lobbyist - and policy is forwarded that is beneficial to that lobbyist's clients - the scrutiny is completely justified.

And for the record...yes, the scrutiny was justified against President Clinton for having an affair with a White House intern. It just wasn't impeachable.

As for the McCain story, we'll have to see how it shakes out over the next few days. If the Times story has any legs whatsoever, it is bound to be a very long campaign for the Republicans, unless they switch horses in mid-stream and go with someone else at the convention. Even then, their already difficult quest to hold the White House for a third consecutive term would be soiled.

McCain's Relationship With Female Lobbyist

In a front page story on John McCain's post-Keating Five ethical conduct, a New York Times cover story tomorrow will focus on the Republican presidential nominee's relationship eight years ago with a much younger female lobbyist named Vicki Iseman.

Political Wire:
A front page New York Times story about Sen. John McCain possibly having a romantic relationship with a female lobbyist will certainly dominate the presidential campaign headlines for the next several days.

That's the titillating headline but the story also alleges McCain did official favors for her. The key point: "Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest."

Marc Ambinder notes "the interest will be intense because the story was so heavily anticipated. And the wink-wink-nod-nod assertion that McCain allegedly acknowledged unspecified 'improprieties' to some aides is bound to be the part of this that kicks for a while."

Though McCain's campaign denied the story today, the Washington Post noted late last year that McCain and the female lobbyist hired lawyers to defend themselves against the charges.
In a statement released this evening, Sen. McCain slams the Times but does not deny the charges:
It is a shame that the New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit and run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career.
Huckabee/Romney, anyone?


With all the focus these last few months on picking the next president, some of the news regarding the current one gets lost in the shuffle.

It's official...he is now the least liked president in American history:
Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. Among [registered voters], 18% approve...and 78% disapprove.
No other president - not Truman, not Johnson, not Carter, not even Nixon - has polled below 22%.

20 February 2008

"Idol," Week 1: The Girls

On last year's "American Idol," the girls outshined the guys by a mile during those first few episodes. This year, it's the mirror opposite. The girls su-hucked tonight...

Kristy Lee Cook
Selma, OR

"Rescue Me"
Mediocrity at its best. This wasn't as bad as the judges thought, but it was simple-minded pop fluff.

Joanne Borgella
I missed where she's from.

"Say A Little Prayer"
Pitchy. No pow, no bam. Not good at all.

Alaina Whitaker
Tulsa, OK

"Love You More Today"
Ok...I couldn't stand this chick the minute Ryan started interviewing her. Birthday? Shoes? She's the epitome of everything that is wrong with American teenagers today. She turned in a sub-par performance. The vocal was pitchy, it was crappy, and she stunk.

Amanda Overmeyer
Mulberry, IN

"Baby, Please Don't Go"
This gal is Elvira, Lily Munster, and Joan Jett all rolled into one. As for her performance...ok...I get it sweetheart...you know how to rock. And you do it well.

Amy Davis
Lowell, IN

"Where the Boys Are"
From the first note her performance made me wonder how the hell she got past the early Hollywood round. I mean really...that was singing? The worst of the night.

Brooke White
Mesa, AZ

"Happy Together"
Not as bad as Amy, but not good by any stretch. Below average.

Alexandrea Lushington
Douglasville, GA

"Spinning Wheel"
She had lots of energy, a strong stage presence, and a great deal of confidence. But...she had real trouble reaching those high notes and that made for a pretty bad performance overall.

Kady Malloy
Houston, TX

"Groovy Kind of Love"
I'm on a totally opposite page than the judges with this one. That is how you sing! She turned in a strong vocal without the whole "vocal olympics" thing. One of the better performances of the night.

Asia'h Epherson
Joplin, MO

"Piece of My Heart"
She nailed it! This was the best performance of the night. It was Janis Joplin meets Tina Turner. A superb rendition of the rock classic.

Ratatouille Mumbasa
I have no idea where she's from.

I have no idea what she sang.
Can you say "lounge singer?" Good vocal, but nothing special.

Syesha Mercado
Sarasota, FL

"Tobacco Road"
Sloppy arrangement but a very good vocal. And her personality absolutely shines!

Carly Smithson
San Diego, CA

What song was this?
For having had a contract before, this was only an above-average performance. She's professional, she can sing, but it wasn't the best of the night. Not by any stretch.

Hillary's Barf-enbarger

Tom Buffenbarger, President of the International Association of Machinists, introducing Hillary Clinton last night:
Give me a break! I've got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius- driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies crowding in to hear him speak! This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine. He's a poet, not a fighter.
Rather than promote Clinton, her policies, and her candidacy, Barf-enbarger saw last night's numbers out of Wisconsin, got on that stage, and acted like a Republican.

Memo to Hillary: Many Democrats are latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing Americans. Don't bite the fuckin' hand that feeds you, or that hand will wind up slapping you right back to New York, and leave you there to stew in the dust of your losing campaign.

On another note, the plagiarism argument is now moot. I would like to direct Clinton and Barf-enbarger's attention to this Republican ad from 2004:

Hmmm...sounds awfully familiar...doesn't it?

It's Noon: Have You Hoodie-Hoo'd?

File under "untraditional holidays"...
On this winter day (February 20), people go out at noon, wave their hands over their heads and chant "Hoodie-Hoo".

It is a day to chase away winter and bring in spring. After all, everyone in the northern hemisphere are sick and tired of winter at this point and a little crazy being cooped up inside all winter and not seeing the sun.

Having It Both Ways

Reader email:
I notice that when you mention Senator Clinton on your blog you often refer to her as "Hillary," while there are no references to "Barack." Don't you think you should address her as "Senator Clinton?" She is a former first lady for Pete's sake, and a candidate for president, and deserves that sort of respect.
I tell ya what...when Hillary starts changing all of her campaign signage and literature, I will be more than happy to call her "Senator Clinton."

Until then...it's "Hillary," "Sen. Clinton," "the former First Lady," or "Monica Lewinsky's Ex-Boyfriend's Wife."

Mmm k ?

Post-Wisconsin Analysis

...from Kos, himself, Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga, because his points are well worth the time:
This was me a lifetime ago, at least in blog time. In actual time it was just two weeks ago, the Monday before Super Tuesday:
For Obama, his task for Tuesday is simply to survive. He needs to finish within 200 delegates of Clinton to keep it close, because the rest of the month is tailor made for Obama.
Obama did better than that, he won Super Tuesday. After Super Tuesday I wrote:
Well, Clinton came nowhere near what she needed to do to build a strong delegate lead (and super delegates can change their mind, they're not locked in). Obama needed to survive, and he did more than that -- he outright won the night. Now his job is to finish off Clinton. If he can rack up a full month of 20%+ victories the rest of this month, he does just that.
People accused me of not playing the expectations game, and they were right. I wasn't. The thought of closing out the month with 20 point victories seemed pretty silly, but that's what I thought it would take to close the deal. So let's see how February ended up looking [for Obama], post-Super Tuesday:

[The listed numbers being his margin of victory over Clinton]
Louisiana: +21
Nebraska: +36
Washington: +37
Maine: +19
Virgin Islands: +82
DC: +51
Maryland: +23
Virginia: +29
Wisconsin: +17
Hawaii: +52

Look at those numbers. We've got white states, we've got "black" states. We've got southern states. We've got western states. We've got northern states. We've got cheeseheads. We've got caucuses. We've got primaries. We've got rich states. We've got working class states. We've got Blue states. We have Red States. (We've got the start of a Doctor Seuss rhyme here...)

You know what we don't have? A single close contest. Not a one. The rejection of Hillary Clinton has been absolute. Okay, Obama didn't sweep with 20+ victories, but really, he did what he had to do. Hillary only has *one* two victories above 17 points (Arkansas and Oklahoma). I'm surprised he even won Maine. Clinton's campaign is now effectively dead.

Love Child?

American Idol's Garrett Haley...

Love child of Nick Gilder and Peter Frampton?

I report. You decide.

Mid-Week Brain Break

Quite the little tyke doin' a stupendous version of the Beatles' "Hey Jude"...

Make That Ten In a Row

And it wasn't even close:
Obama 76%
Clinton 24%
How does the once-presumed front runner spin ten losses in a row (most by landslide proportions)? Truth is she really can't. David Kurtz, from Talking Points Memo:
First, despite polls showing a relatively close race, Obama looks likely to have a final winning margin in the double digits. In other words, not close at all. It's one thing to endure a month of losing, as the Hillary camp has steeled itself for, it's quite another to hold on through a series of landslide defeats, which is what they're facing now.

The other thing that doesn't bode well for her is that the electorate isn't remaining static. It's moving, and the exit polls suggest it's moving toward Obama. Last week, Obama made gains among white voters and women in Virginia and Maryland. Today, the exit polls show him eroding her core constituencies further: he almost won among women and won among middle-aged voters, among lower-income voters, and among union households.

If you're a Hillary supporter, there's not much in the Wisconsin results to raise your spirits.
As things stand right now, the mountain to the Democratic nomination is almost insurmountable for Sen. Clinton. I won't count her out (we all know what fighters the Clintons are), but Sen. Obama has cakewalked to ten tremendous victories in a row, with many of those wins coming in places where Clinton thought she would do well. Wisconsin was supposed to be a pro-Clinton state. How then do you explain away a 17-point loss there? The answer is you don't, other than to say you had your ass handed to you.

Food for thought from a diarist over at DailyKos:
If Obama had lost ten straight contests, the Clinton campaign and/or its surrogates would be calling for him to "step down" for the "good of the party." They would want the Democratic Party to "coalesce" around its "obvious frontrunner."
Hillary should step down at this point. The debate and the nominating process have been extremely exciting, but the Republicans have their nominee and they have begun campaigning for the general election in November. As experience has taught us, the longer the Democrats wait to join that debate, the longer their odds of winning the White House.

If Sen. Clinton really believes what she has been saying during this campaign - that it's time to clean up the Bush mess, that she'll support whoever the Democratic nominee is - then she should face the facts: In order to win the delegates she needs to win this nomination, she would need to win between 62% and 70% of the popular vote in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. And from the vantage point of mid-February, with all of Obama's landslide wins fresh in our minds, that seems like an order too tall for even the Clintons.

Speaking of Talking Points Memo...

Congrats to Josh Marshall and the folks over at TPM. They just picked up the prestigious George Polk Award for breaking the U.S. Attorneys debacle that brought down Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General.

Job well done, guys!

The Plagiarism Charge

It was overkill. Jack Shafer explains here.

My two cents: Obama and Deval Patrick share the same campaign manager (David Axelrod). The expression of ideas is bound to overlap.

And I'm sorry...I bet if someone had the time to look, they would find plenty of instances where Hillary has co-opted some of Bill's comments.

Oh wait...someone did!

Give me a break, Hillary! This move reeks of desperation and, where it counted most, the voters soundly rejected it.

19 February 2008

"Idol," Week 1: The Guys

It's time once again for the weekly "Idol" recaps. We have 24 contestants at the moment, so each individual critique will be a bit short at the start.

Tonight, it was the guys performing songs from the 60s. Here we go...

David Hernandez
Glendale, Arizona

"In the Midnight Hour"
The gospel intro was a stupendous way to start the show. He turned in a strong vocal, but needs to loosen up a bit on stage; he should work on that whole "play to the camera" thing.

Inglewood, California

I am not sure what song he sang, but isn't it too cute that his parents named him after that little monkey from the old Saturday morning TV show, "Land of the Lost!?"

He turned in a flat, dull vocal early on, and got only marginally better as the song continued. The entire performance reminded me of a bad lounge singer playing in the two-bit bar at the Ramada Inn in...you know...Lincoln, Nebraska.

David Cook
Blue Springs, Missouri

"Happy Together"
I really liked the rock tinge he gave the chorus on this song. It was an above average performance all around. Nothing spectacular.

Jason Yeagar
Grand Prairie, Texas

"Moon River"
I love this song, and I think Jason had some strong moments during his performance of it. But, it seemed like he mumbled from time to time; and vocally he had an uneven moment or two.

Robbie Carrico
Melbourne, Florida

"One Is the Loneliest Number"
This rocker turned in the second strongest vocal of the night. He is a very confident singer, quite professional, and I think he'll go far in the competition.

David Archuleta
Murray, Utah

"Shop Around"
Brilliant! A very strong vocal that was the best performance of the night. David is a natural performer on that stage.

And how can that smile of his not make you melt?

Danny Noriega
I have no idea where he's from.

"Jailhouse Rock"
First off, this is a 50s song, not a 60s song. Secondly, OHHH M' GOD...Is his mother a drag queen or what? Third, Danny needs to find some pants that fit his fat girl ass. And finally, what a f*cked up, messy, all-over-the-place performance. Pure crap. This is the guy who should go home on Thursday.

Luke Menard
Crawfordsville, Indiana

"Everybody's Talkin' At Me"
Average. Nothing special. Played it really safe. He may not make it past Thursday.

Colton Berry
Staunton, Virginia

"Suspicious Minds"
This drama student took one of the bigger Elvis classics and turned in a very good performance. The dancing was a bit karaoke-esque, but that didn't take away from his pretty good singing.

Garrett Haley
Elida, Ohio

"Breaking Up Is Hard to Do"
Question for those in the know: Is this Nick Gilder and Peter Frampton's love child!?! And Dude...get rid of the peach fuzz. Not attractive!

Well done vocal, not the best, but well done. And like a couple of the others, Garrett needs to get a bit more comfortable on the stage.

Jason Castro
Rockwall, Texas

The only singer to play an instrument, Jason's vocal performance was original - pitchy in a spot or two - but pretty good overall.

PS: His post-performance interview with Seacrest was a bit odd. Did this kid smoke a doobie before hitting the stage or what?

Michael Johns
Buckhead, Georgia

"Light My Fire"
This comes in as a tie (with David) for the best performance of the night. Michael took what could have been a really risky song choice and belted it out of the park. This guy is a natural rocker and will go far in the business, no matter how far he makes it on this show.

Nine In A Row

And it looks like it will be yet another blow out ! Obama won all demographic groups in Wisconsin except women and seniors, and even those he lost only marginally. The mountain Hillary has to climb just got enormously steeper, and the silver lining at the top is fading fast.

Hillary's Attempted Side-Run to the Nomination

In yet another move reminiscent of TV's Nellie Olson, a high-ranking official in the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton has told Roger Simon of Politico that they will go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

It reeks of desperation and mark. my. words..., If Obama is leading in the delegate and popular vote counts come convention time, and she wins the nomination by man-handling Obama's delegates, she may very well lose my vote.

And no...I'm not kidding.

Imagine for a minute, my fellow Democrats who are backing Sen. Clinton, if it was Obama trailing Clinton and the Obama team was trying to steal delegates to do a side run to the nomination. You would be so royally pissed off your heads would be ready to explode.

I understand that in past conventions delegates formerly pledged to another candidate have switched their vote on the convention floor. But here's the thing: In the last several cycles, the nominee of the party was apparent before the primary voting was over (meaning they had more than enough delegates to secure the nomination) and thus the convention turned into a coronation. There were very few delegates on the convention floor pledged to other candidates, and it was those delegates who switched their votes to the eventual nominee.

Hillary Clinton's miserably run campaign is beginning to lose their air of inevitability and now they're in full panic mode. It's unbecoming of a former First Lady, it's bad form for a sitting United States Senator, and this sort of threat is exactly what we would expect from the Karl Rove-Fascist wing of the Republican Party.

Update: In response to reader email...yes, if Obama is behind in the popular and delegate counts then Hillary should be the nominee. And yes, if Obama tries anything similar to what the Clinton campaign is threatening, I would have rethink my vote for him as well.

But, that a key figure in the Clinton campaign is making this threat publicly says so much about the sleazy campaign she is running; and, I hate to say it, but it also says a lot about the Nixonian ways she might run a Hillary Clinton White House.

At a time when the Democrats are sitting pretty for an extended run at the top, do we really want to go down THAT route?

The Alohas and the Badgers

It's Primary Day in Hawaii and Wisconsin. If you are still on the fence, let me try and sway you here.

Cuba's Castro Resigns

Good riddance!

18 February 2008

Presidents Day Eye Candy

It's the third day of a three-day weekend. No more blogging until tomorrow. In the mean time, enjoy the hotties that make up the Oxford University Swim Club...

The Gayest Phonebook Page

Must be the page Brent and I are listed on! ;-)
Then again, we're all "fab," aren't we?

(Photo: Michael Musto)

McCain As Bush

Quote of the Day 2:
No new taxes.
-Sen. John McCain (Bush-Bitch-AZ), in a taped interview this past weekend, thereby snaring himself in the same trap President George Herbert Walker Bush talked himself into in 1989.

Bush the First Endorses McCain

Former President George Herbert Walker Bush today endorsed Senator John McCain of Arizona for the Republican presidential nomination. Although I didn't support the elder Bush in either of his elections (unlike some...(wink, wink...careful Lar, don't spit your soda all over your work keyboard), I used to think of him as one of the more respectable members of the Republican Party; an elder statesman who would go down in history as a decent but lackluster president.

But over the last seven years he has done nothing (NOTHING) to reign in his son. The Bush Boy has turned this country on its ear; and although several members of the father's administration called the current president on his shit, the father, as far as we can tell, hasn't.

And therein lays the entire problem. A cursory look at W's college and early adult years shows some parenting skills on the part of George I and Barbara that are seriously lacking; and that unwillingness to have any sort of come to Jesus talk with the boy have resulted in a serious mess for America and the globe.

Perhaps I am being unfair, but the fact that this imbecile was able to squeeze his way into the White House on the back of his father's failed one term is unfair on whole different level.

As such, the endorsement of McCain, who has become the Bush family bitch, isn't worth the paper the former president's notes were written on.

Debating Science

After eight years of essentially denying the existence of science by the Bush administration, the fact that representatives from the two Democratic camps participated in a science debate is a breath of fresh air.

I would be more impressed had Sens. Clinton and Obama been on that debate stage in person, but still...a good sign going forward.

The Marsh Math

Quote of the Day:
Apparently, if you only count votes up to Super Tuesday, discount every state that had a caucus, only go by the exit polling, and eliminate any voters who weren’t registered Democrats, then Hillary Clinton*actually has the popular vote lead. In other news, based on exit polling and early voting from 2004 President Kerry will be running for reelection.
-Tom, over at Balloon Juice, commenting on a some really fuzzy math coming from the Clinton camp via Taylor Marsh.

Insert parallel to Republican number fixing here.

Happy Presidents Day

17 February 2008

Jane Fonda Drops the "C Bomb"

Well, ok then! Maybe now we can all stop talking about Janet Jackson's boob!


A whole bunch of us attended the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition at Fort Mason Center's Festival Pavilion yesterday. The annual event features every significant type and style of wine, from each of the major wine-producing regions in the United States, with a large representation from California...

(Pictures courtesy of Brent and Larry.)

Mark Penn Is An Idiot

It's Hillary Clinton's key campaign strategist who makes my skin crawl, not the candidate herself. Hillary would be a much more appealing candidate if it wasn't for this guy. When he says something like this, he isn't helping matters:
Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election. If it were, every nominee would win because every nominee wins Democratic primaries.
To which Jeff Fecke responds:
This is, in fact, true. However, losing Democratic primaries is strongly correlated with not being able to win elections.
And who is it again who has won more of the nominating contests so far this year?

'nuff said!

15 February 2008

End of the Week Levity

The cute-as-a-button David Archuleta, auditioning for "American Idol"...

The Debating Democrats

Obama will see's Hillary debate charge...

...and he will hand it right back to her...

Eye Candy

A hottie to help end this week's International Bear Rendezvous here in San Francisco...

Lewis Takes Back Clinton Endorsement

In what can only be called a major body blow to the Hillary Clinton campaign, Rep. John Lewis (Democrat-GA), a major player in the civil rights movement, has taken back his endorsement of Sen. Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination and said he will back Sen. Barack Obama when he casts his ballot as a super-delegate at the party's convention this summer in Denver.

And the House of Inevitability continues to crumble...

Sharp Increase In Gun Violence

If any series of events ever made the case for the argument that the Constitution's second amendment is misinterpreted and as such should be amended in re-worded form or overturned all together, they are these...

Six students were killed when a former student opened fire on a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. The shooter then fatally shot himself.

Five women were murdered by a gunman at a suburban Chicago Lane Bryant store on February 2, 2008. A suspect has just been arrested in the case.

Another gunman killed five people at the Kirkwood City Town Hall on February 7, 2008, including a member of the city council. The town's mayor was critically wounded.

And in a most heartbreaking case, police in Oxnard, California will charge a 14-year-old boy with first degree murder, with a hate-crime enhancement, after he shot a fellow student in the head during class at E.O. Green Junior High School in the Los Angeles suburb.

Oxnard police have not specified a motive but said there appeared to be a personal dispute between the two. Several classmates have said the victim, Lawrence King, would act a bit feminine and had told classmates he might be gay.

King is currently on a respirator while family members decide whether to harvest his organs. But once off the ventilator, the suspect will be officially charged as an adult.

For the record, the Second Amendment of the Constitution states, in its entirety:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Neither the gunman in DeKalb, nor the shooter in Tinley Park, nor the 15-year-old kid in Oxnard were maintaining a regulated militia. With the exception of on-duty police officers and members of the military actively engaged in conflict, the Constitution is pretty clear cut: Guns should be illegal.

The reality of it is in nations where guns are banned, the violence and murder rates are extremely low. But Americans would rather have their semi-automatics because they feel it is their God-given right to shoot innocent students, women, and junior high school kids.

Give me a fuckin' break!

14 February 2008

Defeating the Republicans

As we plow our way through the Democratic presidential nominating contests it is sometimes easy to forget who the real enemy is. Yes, I have my problems with Hillary Clinton. But know this: If she is the party's nominee, she will have my vote. No questions asked.

Because the man the Republicans have chosen as their nominee to replace the incompetent fool currently in the White House is nothing short of Bush's lap bitch:

McCain Votes Against Anti-Torture Bill

This from a man who was a prisoner of war? Obama is right: McCain is not the man America (or the world) needs going into the new decade.

Hillary's Strategy: Insult 40 States

From Kos:
Mark Penn:
Could we possibly have a nominee who hasn't won any of the significant states -- outside of Illinois? That raises some serious questions about Sen. Obama.
Funny how the states that "matter" are the ones that Hillary Clinton happen to win. Who knew? Poor New Mexico is in limbo, still unsure about whether it matters or not since all the votes still haven't been counted.

Really, has there ever been a more idiotic line of spin in the history of politics, the suggestion that because Obama didn't win a Democratic primary in California or New York, that those two solid Democratic states are suddenly out of reach for him in November? With that logic, it's obvious Clinton has no chance in Illinois, since she got crushed there!

But worse than that, how is Clinton expected to win some of those important states that "don't matter", like Colorado, Missouri, Washington, Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland, Maine, Delaware, Iowa, and Connecticut?

Well, not insulting them as meaningless, for one.
I really want to keep quiet. I really want to be excited about her candidacy. But GAWD...her campaign really gives me a headache.

The Dem Popular Vote

A total of all the votes cast thus far in the Democratic primaries:



These totals don't include Florida, whose primary isn't being included on the delegate count due to their bucking party rules and scheduling an early primary. But even if you add those totals into the mix, Obama still leads Clinton by over 400,000 votes.

I am not counting Michigan at all because all of the candidates except Clinton took their names off the ballot for the same rules infarction. But, for the record, Obama leads even then!

13 February 2008

Little Miss Chloe

With her favorite toy...

Mid-Week Brain Break

This has been all over the television during the last two weeks, but I just had to post it. The choreography is so spot on, it's both amazing and disturbing at the same time...

Positive On Hillary; But Don't Nominate Her

Ok...Ok, ok, ok...I had a flood of emails waiting for me when I got up this morning raking me over the coals for my rather strong anti-Hillary stance last night. So first, my thoughts on the possibility of a Clinton presidency...

She would be fine. She is extremely capable and would do a much better job than the current guy. As my mom has said, it will take a woman to clean up his mess. As Bill Maher has said, the hatred and venom spewed at Sen. Clinton is baseless; she did nothing wrong during Bill's presidency. All true. I loved her as First Lady and think she has been a superb Senator from New York.

However, my criticisms come from two basic areas. First, I believe - sincerely - that if the Democrats nominate her, then the party is broken. While I think she would be a half way decent president, the main point of the nominating process is to pick someone who can win against the Republicans in the fall. With her ice-princess personality and her nails-on-chalkboard speech delivery, the Democrats would once again take us down the path of John Kerry and Michael Dukakis should they nominate Sen. Clinton. We would prove to the country that we can't seem to break ourselves out of this losing loop.

Fair? No. Reality? You bet. And the Party should start dealing a lot more with the reality of the political climate than in the Clintons' political paybacks. For some dumb reason Americans will not vote for someone whose personality makes them want to change the channel or leave the room.

Second, the primary campaign she has run thus far has been appalling. Negative, vial, and, yes, even racist. (Even as recently as yesterday the Senator was saying that Louisiana's recent contest didn't really count because the primary electorate was overwhelmingly African-American. What the fuck, Hil?)

In a superb NY Times column this past Sunday, Frank Rich makes my point on the absolutely horrible Karl Rove-like campaign the Clinton camp has been running. Key point:
Clinton [is] so ruthless that [she risks] shredding three decades of mutual affection with black America to win a primary.
For some, health care trumps all other issues. For others it's the economy. Still others, the war in Iraq. All important, yes. But when you go so far as to divide your party during the primary campaign, then you're heading into the general election with no chance of winning. And at that point the nomination is about as worthless as the nominations of John Kerry or Michael Dukakis.

Trouble For Hil

Reader email:
Don't underestimate Hillary. She has come back before and she will again.
I don't doubt that. But the base of her comebacks has always been working-class voters, hispanics, and women. In Virginia yesterday, Barack Obama beat her in all three demographics; and closed his margin in with them in the other two contests (Maryland and DC).

If her base is crumbling, then she will have a hard time launching any sort of comeback a month from now.

I'm not saying she can't do it, but the degree of difficulty climbs significantly with each Obama blowout.

12 February 2008

The Delegate Count

Post-Potomac, preliminarily, from NBC News:
Pledged (elected) delgates:
Obama 1,078
Clinton 969

Pledged and super-delegates:
Obama 1,128
Clinton 1,009

Behold the Wonder...

...at about the 1:20 mark you'll understand what I mean when I say Hillary reminds me of Nellie:

Obama's Potomac Primary Night Speech

Clinton's Speech

Like nails down a chalkboard, I tell ya...

McCain's Potomac Primary Night Speech

The Old School Bush-Bitch vs. the Young Voice of Hope?

Two words:

No. Contest.

Whiny Brat

From CNN:
For the second election night in a row, Hillary Clinton failed to acknowledge or congratulate Barack Obama.
I would say this if I were supporting her, so lay off with the "stop bashing Hillary" remarks...

I know this primary season has been going on for over a month now, but that shouldn't stop you from congratulating your opponent on their victories (and accepting their concessions when you win). It's basic common courtesy (even if you feel that the states you lost don't really matter).

As each day passes, Sen. Clinton reminds me more and more of a whiny little brat from television of yester-year:

Nellie Olson from "Little House on the Prairie."

Obama, Obama, Obama

He essentially handed Hillary Clinton her ass tonight. He has now won eight contests in a row. (And I'm sorry Sen. Clinton...each election counts whether you like the results or not.) It's not over by any stretch, but if she is to have a prayer of being nominated she is going to have to do extremely well in Ohio and Texas next month. She has leads in both states according to current polling, but then again she was leading in Virginia polling right before the holidays. Results like tonight's (landslides across the board), plus possible wins in Hawaii and Wisconsin next week, could well swing momentum so far toward Obama going into the big state contests in March that he can't be stopped.

Live results for Virginia here, Maryland here, and D.C. here.

Obama Wins Big In Virginia

It's six in a row for the Senator from Illinois! And it's a massive blowout across the board. He won women, latinos, blacks, whites, and just about every other demographic group.

Matt Yglesias:
...a huge win for Obama. Fifty-six percent of voters were women, and fifty-eight percent of them went for Obama. College graduates went for Obama. Non-graduates went for Obama. New voters went for Obama. People who'd voted previously voted for Obama. Basically, everyone voted for Obama.

Obama even won Latinos, 55-45.

"There's no solace anywhere in these numbers" says [Keith] Olberman.
Up to the minute results for Virginia here. Maryland and DC as they become available.

On the GOP side, Republican voters are once again having trouble stomaching the thought of John McCain as their annointed one. As of 5:05pm he was leading Mike Huckabee by less than 200 votes out of over 100,000 counted thus far.

Obama's New Ohio Ad

Obama's Coalition

New poll from USA Today/Gallup:
Obama 50%
McCain 46%

Clinton 48%
McCain 49%
That Obama number is significant. No Democrat has won 50% or more of the popular vote since 1976. (Remember...while Bill Clinton won the national vote comfortably, his two elections included 19% and 8% of the vote respectively for Ross Perot, thus keeping everyone's vote percentages down.)

There have been stories from states where it is allowed, on each of the election nights this primary season, of independents and disenchanted Republicans showing up at their polling place and casting ballots in the Democratic contests for Sen. Obama. His appeal is so broad that I see him having the much better chance of winning a comfortable victory in November and bringing with him enough Republicans and independents that he would turn a few red states blue.

11 February 2008

Tom Lantos, 1928 - 2008

Rep. Tom Lantos (Democrat-CA), the only holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. Congress, died today following a battle with esophageal cancer. His district was just south of San Francisco, and he represented the area for over 30 years. He was a true class act.

Obama Beats Bill (and Jimmy, too!)

The Senator from Illinois beat former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter last night at the Grammy Awards. Obama won the spoken-word Grammy for the audio recording of his book, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream."

A Weekend Visit

Brent's sister Janet and her two boys, Sean and Aidan, drove in from suburban Sacramento for a couple of days of fun in the city. The weather was picture perfect: sunny, between 68 and 70; and Saturday was full of firsts for everyone...our first walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, lunch at the infamous Bill's Place, and our first foray into the San Francisco Zoo. We look forward to their next visit. In the mean time, some pictures...