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Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Fascism ≠ Socialism, alright?

In Political on October 31, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Fascism (noun): a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism. I.E.: EVERYTHING IS MINE.

Socialism (noun): a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. I.E. EVERYTHING IS OURS.

These are not the same thing, alright?

Alright.

Now, we can move on and start calling our President liberal-with-socialist-leanings instead of a fascist. At least that way we can be, you know, factual.

Music Review: “The Union” – Elton John and Leon Russell

In Music Reviews on October 30, 2010 at 8:29 pm

When I first heard Elton John was coming out with a new album, I was thrilled. Then I listened to a few songs on YouTube (the album had not yet been released). I’ll be honest, I didn’t like what I heard. Leon Russel’s voice grated on me. The sound seemed tired and I wanted Elton. Just Elton and Davey (guitar) and Bernie (lyrics) doing their “thang.”

So, with reluctance I bought the album because, come on, it’s Elton-freaking-John. There’s going to be a gem on there somewhere. There always is. (That and he’s been my favorite musician since high-school).

That being said, I’m glad I bought the album. It’s different, I’ll say that much. But, it’s different in positive way. It’s a little bit folk, a lot gospel, with a tinge of county and just a tad pop thrown in for good measure. Elton hasn’t done much pop since 2001’s “Songs From the West Coast” which was freaking unbelievable.

Elton John during his "Face 2 Face" tour with Billy Joel. Phoenix, AZ / March 2009. Photo by Jeremia Schrock.

The more I listen to The Union, the more I like it. If you’re an Elton enthusiast this album will sound like a mix between “Tumbleweed Connection” (1970) and “Peachtree Road” (2004). There are even moments of “Honky Chateau” (1972) on there, too. All three excellent albums.

Songs that really stand out include the current single “If It Wasn’t for Bad” and “Hey Ahab.” They are fucking solid.

“Monkey Suit”, “Gone to Shiloh” and “I Should Have Sent Roses” are also growing on me. “Monkey Suit” sounds very 1950’s and “Gone to Shiloh is just…sad. Sad in that “we few, we happy few” sort of way.

Be warned, it may take more then one listen for The Union to really stand out. The more you listen to it, the more you start to sing it in the shower. Especially “Hey Ahab”, which, you know, makes sense.

Album Released: October 19, 2010.

Don’t forget: Dittman is a GOP pollster

In Political on October 29, 2010 at 7:37 pm

A poll recently released by the Anchorage-based pollster David Dittman shows Lisa Murkowski with a sizable lead over both Joe Miller and Scott McAdams. This poll is misleading for two reasons:

  1. Dittman was quoted in Politico as saying that he has “asked respondents whether they were voting for any of the candidates on the ballot or a write-in candidate, ‘such as Lisa Murkowski or someone else.'” With her name no longer on the ballot, I ask the question “Is referring to someone not on the actual ballot ethical polling?” This issue goes hand-in-hand with whether or not placing a write-in list at polling stations is ethical. The DoE says “no” (in it’s own legal code), but the Courts say “yes, go ahead.”
  2. Dittman is a GOP pollster.

Now, a brief note on three recent polls:

  • The Dittman Poll is released and has Murkowski supporters all a-flutter and McAdams fans in a fury. The poll is backed by a well-known GOP pollster.

“Oh, ho!” You say?

Well, the Alaska Dispatch (in a blog written by Amanda Coyne) now releases this, which cites the Hays poll and the Hellenthal poll as being backed by either a campaign or an organization sympathetic to the campaign (“It bears repeating that both of those pollsters had a relationship with campaigns”). The Dispatch then goes on to cite David Dittman as “one of the most reliable pollsters in the state.”

However, it also bears mentioning that Dittman is equally invested in the campaign. This article refers to Dittman in the following sentence: “Halcro has reached out to other local Republicans to help fund the poll, which will be done by GOP pollster David Dittman starting this weekend.” (The article is dated August 27, 2010.) The article was also posted on Andrew Halcro’s website.

I will be the first to say that everyone has a political opinion on some level. More so if you are involved in politics…like a pollster. However, we need to be up front with our opinions, especially when thousands of people may potentially read our poll and make several fundamental assumptions about it. For instance: that it is non-biased.

I will go further: I support Scott McAdams. I also have a poll on the main page of this blog. I also intentionally named Lisa Murkowski in the poll. Why did I do so? Because it’s an unofficial poll on a blog and because I doubt anyone who visits this blog can name any other write-in candidate. That is an assumption I am making on my blog. I am not a newspaper (although I do write for one). My blog posts are (what I consider) “hypertext editorials.” That is my bias. Now, what’s yours?

My iPod runs for political office

In Culture, Political on October 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm

How do you feel about gay rights issues?

  • “Pink” by Aerosmith

What are your fiscal policies?

  • “Money” fr. Cabaret

How do you feel about US involvement overseas?

  • “War” by Edwin Starr

What are your thoughts on President Obama’s health care reforms?

  • “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” by Queens of the Stone Age

Should church and state continue to be separated?

  • “Burn Down the Mission” by Elton John

What do you think about the potential of oil exploration in ANWR and the Beaufort Sea?

  • “Bicycle” by Queen

What are your thoughts on the 2nd Amendment?

  • “Gold, Guns, Girls” by Metric

How do you feel about America’s high unemployment rate?

  • “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford

2 DEMS, 1 SENATE

In Political on October 28, 2010 at 10:44 pm

I am going to come right out and say it: I am going to be more opinionated in this post than I usually allow myself to get.

Has anyone caught the latest poll on Alaska’s senatorial race? If not, go here. If those of you would prefer something other then the Huffington Post, then by all means go here.

For those out of the loop: The Hays Research Group published a poll that was first picked up (if I am not mistaken) by Jeanne Devon, aka “AKMuckraker” over at her Mudflats blog.

The essentials of the poll are this: Scott McAdams (D) is at 29%, Joe Miller (R) is at 23% and Some Mysertious Write-in Candidate is at 34%. Oh, and 13% of those polled were undecided. That’s still a lot of undecided voters.

It’s been interesting to watch the Huffington Post’s Pollster page change it’s color code for Alaska. It had bounced back and forth between light red (Lean Rep.) and a sort of malarial yellow (Toss Up). Now it’s at beige (Leaning Ind.). I’ll confess, for someone who likes bright alternating colors it’s kind of cool.

For someone who likes seeing things change right before his eyes, it is even cooler. Which leads me to another point: No one knows what the fuck is going to happen in Alaska on November 2. If a lot of Democrats and Independents vote their conscience, McAdams definitely has a shot. A real, actual “OMG ‘2 Dems 1 Senate'” shot. If some Democrats and most independents get frightened about Joe Miller (and who simultaneously buy into the notion that Murkowski is Alaska’s only hope) and vote “Write-in”, then it’s going to be a toss-up between shades of red.

Believe me when I say (or don’t) that Murkowski and Miller are not that far apart politically. Yes, Miller talked an extremist game before the primary but Miller is simply pure gold: valuable to whoever controls him and as equally malleable. His back-and-forth wavering has been well documented.

Murkowski, IMO, is perhaps more willing to think for herself, and can, but will she? She’s cowtowed to the GOP during her term-and-a-half and is rated as a Hard Core Conservative on ontheissues.org. (Scroll to the bottom of the page).

Oh, and this idea that a candidate needs experience to be in the senate suffers from one gigantic flaw: How can you gain senate experience unless you actually work in the senate? Was Lisa Murkowski experienced in the senate when her father, former Governor Frank Murkowski, appointed her to replace him? No. Did Frank Murkowski himself have senate experience prior to being in the senate? No.

No one is born knowing how to do any job, and to think otherwise is a failure to think at all.

So, you know, go vote…and do your civic duty.

Au Revoir, Mrs. Palin

In Alaskana on October 27, 2010 at 11:59 pm

I mean this literally when I say “When will Sarah Palin cease to matter?”

I answer with a “When we stop paying attention to her.”

Maybe it seems melodramatic to ask such a question but, I’m tired of listening to her. I’m tired of reading about her. I’m tired of giving her undeserved attention. If she’s awarded the Noble Peace Prize, then we can talk. Until then, au revoir I say, no more blogging for you.

What are you worth to yourself?

In Health, Quotes on October 26, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Today is the last day of Theodore Roosevelt Week. Tomorrow is his birthday (October 27th). As such, let us remember the great man with the following quote which, I feel, best exemplifies what it means to not only be an America, but, in fact, a citizen of the world, so to speak. The world that, thus far, only exists in the realm of ideas:

I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit.

Let me alter that line for our more progressive 21st Century: “Where I acknowledge no person as my superior, except for their own worth, or as my inferior, except for their own demerit.”

I leave you to your own thought. To take out of that quote what you will.

But, what do I take out of it? I take out of it these question: What are you worth to yourself? How do you define yourself within the sphere of community?

I would be interested in hearing just how you (as in the reader) literally define yourself. What criteria do you use to judge you and those around you?

Joe Miller’s Resignation Documents RELEASED

In Political on October 26, 2010 at 9:53 pm

This just in: As it says in the title, the documents pertaining to Joe Miller’s resignation have been released. The release came about after Judge Winston Burbank stated that Miller’s records were of public interest and that said interest outweighed any right-to-privacy Miller has/had.

I suppose that is the price you pay when seeking an elected office.

Those documents can be found here. It’s a link to the PDF made available by the Anchorage Daily News. There appears to be some duplication of material and the first email (in chronological order) begins on the last page of the PDF, as an FYI.

I am re-posting the link made available to me by my editor Andrew Sheeler of the UAF Sun Star (the paper I write for).

No word yet on how Democratic candidate Scott McAdams or write-in candidate Lisa Murkowsi are incorporating the information into their campaign but one can easily guess.

To be honest, I have the feeling that this will be the next-to-last, if not the last “October Surprise” of this election year. Not only that, but I have the melancholic notion that very little people will care about this information. On that note, au revoir.

Determining one’s standing

In Health, Political, Quotes on October 25, 2010 at 10:28 pm

This is Day 6. Two more day’s until T.R.’s birthday. His 152nd birthday to be exact.

There are good men and bad men of all nationalities, creeds and colors; and if this world of ours is ever to become what we hope some day it may become, it must be by the general recognition that the man’s heart and soul, the man’s worth and actions, determine his standing.

This quote ties in well to yesterday’s in that both deal with merit. This line, however, also brings to the table the notion of equality and how we should “judge” an individuals worth by their actions, ideas and personality. This is a powerful notion well worth striving for, especially in an election year where we go about the business of deciding who to best represent our interests. We judge those candidates not only on their ideas, but on their personality, intellect and practical actions.

Or at least we should, anyways.

In case any readers were curious all of the quotes I have used come from the Theodore Roosevelt Association. They have a nice little section called “In His Own Words” which has been very helpful during these blog posts.

A Square Deal for all

In Health, Political, Quotes on October 24, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Do I sense something akin to communism (little “c”)?

Let the watchwords of all our people be the old familiar watchwords of honesty, decency, fair-dealing, and commonsense…we must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less…the welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us.

Maybe, maybe not. But, the idea of an individual being appraised based solely on their merits is a fine one indeed.

Also, I changed up the featured image. I thought I’d try something new.