They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.
  -James Earl Jones "Field of Dreams"
and don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road
  -Bob Dylan "Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Construction Update

Trees are planted, wall is rebuilt and painted, patio cover is rebuilt and we got tile put on the barbecue counter.

Willo Solidarity

Somewhere in the early primary season, before Arizona voted on Super Tuesday, we got an Obama yard sign. It was the only one on our street for several months, was ravaged by the weather in August and eventually replaced with a new Obama/Biden sign in September. Now there are four on our street (three pictured here, ours is the white one). There are no McCain signs on our street and very few in Willo.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Must See TV

So the debates are over. I am hoping that years from now people will talk about the debates being a critical part of the election of President Obama, that the comparison of the cool, even tempered Obama with the testy, twitchy McCain will be considered similar to the juxtaposition of John Kennedy with Richard Nixon. There is a long list of debate narratives that includes George H. W. Bush looking at his watch, Al Gore yakking about a "lockbox" and Ronald Reagan's "there you go again" that many people believe are critical parts of elections. The opinion that Nixon's 5:00 shadow next to Kennedy's youthful vibrancy cost the GOP the 1960 election is widely held.

Television is clearly an integral part of the current political scene. Many believe that Lincoln's homeliness and FDR's wheelchair would prevent either of them from succeeding in the TV age. But the debates and the endless advertising are only part of the deal. Regular programming on TV, far beyond the news shows, has also been a part of the process. In 1968, Richard Nixon did a cameo on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. Laugh-In was a variety show that spent a great deal of time with endless cuts to clips of people telling jokes, doing mini-skits, reciting catch phrases, etc. "Sock it to me" was one of those catch phrases. The cut to Nixon saying "sock it to ME?" was hilarious and helped soften the humorless bastard's image. Bill Clinton went on the Arsenio Hall Show, donned shades and played sax.

Today they all want part of the action. Fred Thompson declared his candidacy on Leno. Hillary Clinton was on Letterman multiple times. They all seem to make it to Oprah, Ellen, etc. Additionally, Saturday Night Live has experienced an unprecedented revival, not only having guest spots but doing some spot-on impressions (Tina Fey's Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler's Hillary Clinton).

One of the biggest impacts, though, has been a cancellation. John McCain's non-appearance on Letterman has been the topic of Dave's monologue pretty much daily since it happened. It has gone beyond the running joke phase into clear criticism of McCain. McCain is scheduled to appear tonight. I am hoping that it will result in some probing questions. "Just what were you thinking when you suspended your campaign?" and so forth. Don't miss it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I voted over the weekend, haven't mailed it yet, but it is sealed up. I stopped and looked at every contest but ended up voting for every Democrat on the ballot and left the contests where there was no Democrat blank. I voted for Jonathan Weisbuch for District 5 Maricopa County Special Health Care District (the post is non-partisan, I googled the names and liked what I read about him.) I voted for Lela Alston for Phoenix Union High School District governing board at large -- I met her when I ran for office, she was a State Senator then. I skipped over the Phoenix Elementary District race, didn't know enough about them. I also skipped the judge retention part, which I usually do unless I know something specific. Here is what I did on the propositions. The reader is free to print this out and take it to the polls as a guide. I get more votes that way. I will admit that I am often swayed by who is for and who is against a proposition.

Proposition 100 - bans any new sale or transfer tax on real property transactions.

I had a hard time with this one. On one hand the last thing that needs to happen today would be to do something that would further depress the housing market. On the other hand, this is an amendment to the state constitution that would last forever, it may be appropriate in the future to slow down growth or otherwise finance needed infrastructure items, education, etc. The pro arguments came from a list of people which included not only the usual suspects, Farm Bureau, Contractors, Cattlemen, Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Tax Revolt, etc., but also a few people I respected such as our state Senator Ken Cheuvront, Rose Mofford and Eddie Basha. The only con arguement from a source that I had heard of came from the Arizona Education Association. Ultimately I voted NO, worried about future handicaps to raising funds.

Proposition 101 - "freedom of choice" in healthcare.

This sounds like something that would ultimately be used as a roadblock for universal healthcare. The supporters included a bunch of people in the healthcare field, the Arizona Restaurant Association and State Treasurer Dean Martin. The opponents included more healthcare folk plus the Green Party, WESTMARC (a west valley coalition), National Organization for Women, and the Republican Party. I voted NO, it was Dean Martin that convinced me.

Proposition 102 - defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

This is hateful and unnecessary. NO

Proposition 105 - "let the people decide act"

This is ridiculous. It requires that a majority of REGISTERED voters vote yes on any initiative that would raise taxes or cause an increase in spending. Looking at the turnout in previous elections, that means that you would need at least 75% of the vote. In the 1998 general election the turnout was 45.8% which would mean that nothing could pass. With this nonsense in place no initiative that would raise taxes or spending could possibly ever pass. NO

Proposition 200 = Payday loan reform

This came from the payday loan industry. These people are blood suckers. It is not reform, it is license. NO

Proposition 201 - Homeowners Bill of Rights

Supported by unions and consumer groups, opposed by the usual suspects including the Home Builders. YES

Proposition 202 - Stop Illegal Hiring

This is opposed by Russell Pearce, the state legislator who succeeded with all of the anti-immigrant stuff 2 years ago. YES

Proposition 300 - Raise legislators' salaries from $24K to $30K

It should be $100K. This is a full time job if done right. You get what you pay for. YES

School District Consolidation

If you live in an elementary district that is proposed to merge with a high school district, you get the opportunity to vote yes or no. In our case, Phoenix Elementary, along with something like 16 other districts, would join Phoenix Union High School District. There is all sort of boo-hooing about loss of local control and having to raise teacher salaries in below average districts but that has to dwarf the benefit of getting rid of all the unnecessary administrative costs. YES