Saturday, June 28, 2008

Who's Being Forced?

Over at the Corner, Mike Potemra first complains that oppenents of gay marriage typically get demonized as right-wing, anti-gay bigots; and then goes on to raise the straw-man that churches have a right to protest being forced to perform gay marriage, complete with bumper stickers if necessary. Money quote:
The gay-marriage movement has a bumper sticker that shows, simply, an “equals” sign. If churches are forced to participate in activities that violate the conscience of their faith, we will need to raise up that same “equals” sign in their defense. Their right to dissent is fundamental to our system.

I can't resist suggesting that maybe the reason so many oppenents get demonized as right-wing, anti-gay bigots is because they insist on making arguments against gay marriage that have nothing to do with what's actually happening across the country.

The civil marriage movement is just that: a civil marriage movement. What gay people are fighting for is equal rights under the law, not the supposed right to walk into a church, grab some hapless reverend and force him to marry two men or two women. Any religious institution has the right to refuse to conduct a religious marriage. If you want an example, just look at the Catholic church. Catholic churches won't perform marriage for a divorcee, and the fact that the divorcee has the right to be civilly married doesn't change that.

Of course plenty of reasonable people can disagree about whether a church should recognize a gay marriage. But when people argue against civil marriage by saying that then churches will be forced to perform marriage on gay couples, they either don't know what they're talking about, or are willfully distorting the truth. Which is why we tend to demonize them as right-wing anti-gay bigots.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

and Heller Reactions

The in the past few weeks the Supreme Court has issued some closely decided rulings that touch on some pretty hot topics.

First, in, the justices voted 5-4 that Gitmo detainees have the right to challenge their status as enemy combatants. Second, in Kennedy v. Louisiana, the justices voted 5-4 that Lousiana could not execute a man for raping a child. Finally, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the justices voted 5-4 to overturn DC's blanket ban on handgun ownership. I definitely agree with two of them, and agree with the outcome of one, but not the reasoning, of another. Here's what I mean:

If you just read the right's reaction to Boumediene without any other information, you'd probably think that SCOTUS had officially sanctioned the 9/11 attacks, or something. Mark Leven says "I fear for my country. I really do." Andy McCarthy says that "the American people have lost to radical Islam." This is nonsense. SCOTUS didn't give detainees the right to challenge their detention, it gave them the right to challenge their status as unlawful enemy combantants. That's an important distinction. The Bush administration has declared that these people it designates as 'enemy combatants' are so dangerous and their intelligence so sensitive that these prisoners cannot EVER see the light of day ever again. No lawyers, no courtroom, no judge, no communication or pictures of family, nothing. Some of them probably are that dangerous. The thing is, all of this is based on the administration's say-so. Just take their word for it, these people are that bad. Except we know of a couple cases where, despite earlier instances to contrary, innocent civilians were swept up in this legal limbo net, and treated like hell for a couple years before the military released them out of the goodness of their own heart. All SCOTUS did was say: look, if you're going to keep these people in shackles and deny them any and all legal recourse, you're going to have to give a bit of proof that they're dangerous, and that proof has to be a bit more than just "we say so". Good verdict.

My Kennedy position is a bit more nuanced. In Kennedy the court knocked down the dealth penalty as a punishment for child rape because it violated the constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. But the reasoning seems flawed to me. First, if you rule that death is appropriate punishment in some crimes but not others, you cannot reasonably argue that capital punishment is unusual. The deciding factor then becomes cruel, which the court has repeatedly ruled is measured proportionately to the crime, which is the entire reason we have prosecutorial discretion. Certainly not all child rape deserves capital punishment, but if you read the case description, you find out pretty quickly that this crime was on a whole different level. It was horrendous. And the prosecutors used their discretion to decide that, in this particular case, capital punishment was an appropriate punishment. I just don't see how that violates the constitution. The reason my position is nuanced, though, is because the end result is one that I agree with.
I'm opposed to the death penalty not for the ideological reason that killing is always wrong, but for the more practical reason that someday we'll execute an innocent person. I think it should exist for really bad crimes (on the order of genocide and heinous war crimes), but for lesser crimes incarceration without parole is plenty. So while the outcome furthers the goal, it does so in a way that I don't agree with. Not so great verdict.

And finally, the

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In Lancaster

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. I ended up missing the light rail train that I was hoping for and had to take the one that left 20 minutes later, but Dad took a wrong turn on the highway and was 20 minutes late, so it all worked out well. We got some subs at Wegmans for a late lunch, and then drove back home.

For a combination birthday/father's day gift I bought Dad some cedar planks that you can grill with to give the meat a smokier flavor, and we decided to use one of the planks to grill some salmon for dinner. I have to say, it turned out awesome. They had a recipe for a rub that included some ingredients I wouldn't have thought to use, but when we combined it with the salmon and the cedar it all fit together. Mom also had some tasty recipes for side dishes, and the result was a perfect dinner with family and friends.

Tomorrow (Monday) is going to be a busy day. The family is getting up early to have breakfast together, Dad has an art appraisal appointment with a trendy bishop, and then of course there's the funeral service for my Uncle Bob, who lost his battle with cancer late last week. I think I echo the sentiments of millions of people when I say simply: cancer sucks. Uncle Bob had 6 brothers and sisters, countless nieces and nephews, was an active duty National Guardsman for over two decades, and was a 4th order Knight of Columbus, so there are going to be a LOT of people there, and it's going to be really tough on the family, I think. After the reception Katie and I are going to drive back to Virginia, probably getting back very late at night, and then it's back to work on Tuesday morning.

So, signing off for the next couple days, see everyone on Tuesday.

Train Thoughts

8:46AM – Well, I’m pretty sure I’m on the train, but according to the arrival/departure schedule up in the station, I couldn’t be on the train because it’s running 15 minutes late and hasn’t arrived yet. So who am I gonna believe, the station, or my lying eyes?

Business class definitely paid off this time – the car is maybe 40% full, and I’ve got the entire row to myself. I admit I was a bit worried when I saw an entire family of bleach blondes in jumpsuits lug what appeared to be an entire roomful of luggage onto the car (seriously, a 4 ft long keyboard should be shipped, not taken on the train as luggage), but they’re staying mostly to the back and being pretty quiet. In fact, the entire car is quiet. Aside from the blondes, I don’t think there’s anyone else traveling together, so no one’s having any conversations. Tres bien! Now, do I sleep, blog, or do work? Hmm…

8:52AM - Well, that was a silly question, of course I’m going to blog. The recent trend of high gas prices has gotten me started on #5 of the Top-10-Things-I’d-Like-To-See-Happen-During-My-Life list (yes, I have a list; yes, I will post it). Transportation in general, and especially in this country, sucks. Our roadways are clogged, outdated, inconvenient, in disrepair, and amazingly inefficient. Our airways are expensive, have lousy service, are a hassle, and increasingly late. And unless you’re traveling between DC and Boston, the railways are all of those things, plus worse.

9:11AM – I spoke too soon. The old guy behind me is hacking up a lung.

9:41AM – The old guy has stopped coughing, but now there’s an odd smell coming from his seat. I hope he didn’t die. Random thought: how did anyone ever manage to take extended train rides without instant text messages or laptops to keep them company?

9:59AM – One of the parents is exercising their 5-year-old daughter by running her up and down the train aisle. In flip flops. Hopefully she will tire soon.

10:46AM – Wow, the girl is still going. She’s panting now, but her pace hasn’t slowed. On some level I’m glad she’s running off all this energy, her parents will have a much easier time when they get to wherever they’re going.

11:13AM – We’re stuck about a quarter of a mile outside of DC Union Station, apparently there’s congestion up ahead and they don’t have a track for us to use. This is annoying. We do, however, have a lovely view of the construction happening at Virginia, 6th, and D.

11:35AM – The conductor just got on the horn to say that the train is fully sold and that we’ll be using every seat. If that’s true, it means that coach is a LOT more crowded than business class, since I doubt there are 30+ business class passengers getting on, and that’s what it would take to fill up this car.

11:38AM – Whee, we’ve got power again! We’re running a bit late out of DC and I’m kind of worried about missing my light rail connection at Baltimore, but one of the good things about Baltimore’s light rail trains is that they run every 20 minutes or so, so worst case scenario is that I spend some time outside tanning my ridiculously white legs.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Ok, I don't know who thought this up or whether they thought it was funny, clever, an effective campaign ad, a good idea in general, etc; but it is none of those things.

The idea McCain was trying to convey, that you don't truly appreciate something until it's taken away from you, really isn't too controversial. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms you can make about McCain; this kind of garbage isn't one of them. So rather than try to play the swift boaters' game and pissing off a whole bunch of people in the process, why don't we just keep it classy, ok guys?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Day of Shopping

Katie came down to Richmond to visit today, and then she, Todd, and myself spent the rest of the day shopping. Todd needed new tires, and so the 3 of us went to Costco to de-virginize my Costco membership. While they were changing the tires, we took advantage of the time and just walked through the store, marveling at how we ever survived without being able to buy a 2 gallon tub of dill pickles, which my sister now proudly owns. In addition to all the other stuff that Katie picked up, I also ended up buying a bag each of frozen salmon fillets and frozen chicken breasts, which I anticipate will last me through most of summer.

Once the tires were done it was (eventually) off to Kohl's, were Katie proceeded to explain to me everything that was wrong with my wardrobe, picked out clothes so that I could fit into her definition of fashion, and did her best to be a general pain in the ass. But she means well. Or so I keep telling myself. Anyway, got some nice clothes that will look good, provided I ever lose enough weight to comfortably fit into them.

Then, back to the apartment for an impromptu fashion show (don't ask), then off to Topeka Steakhouse to finish off the day with some absolutely faaaabulous slow-roasted prime rib. Mmmm tastey. I also found out that, in addition to being a restaurant, they have their own butcher shop and will sell you cuts of meat for you to cook yourself. That's pretty cool, especially since there's a decided lack of good butcher shops in the West End. Ukrops may make a mean 3-cheese buffalo chicken dip, but their meat selection is pretty mediocre.

One unexpected result of the day is that I now have a LOT of food in my fridge. On Saturday afternoon I went grocery shopping, and bought groceries to make into some turkey meat loaf with vegetables, and use the leftovers for a hearty tomato sauce over spaghetti, which would have lasted me most of the week. When I got home from shopping, though, I had a moment of weakness and ordered a pizza from Papa Johns. By the time it was delivered I'd regained my will-power, and only ate a few pieces, deciding that the rest would be good enough for two meals. So I've got all that in my fridge.

Before Katie, Todd and I all started shopping, we went out for brunch first. I was good and saved half of my omelette and potatoes for later (I'm getting good at limiting, yay!). Katie didn't finish most of her quesadillas and boxed them up, but since neither she nor Todd is particularly fond of cilantro I ended up getting that also. Finally, at Topeka I saved half of the prime rib and fries, which will be another meal.

So, in my fridge, I've got: two meals worth of pizza, two meals from Sunday brunch, one meal from Sunday dinner, at least four meals worth of meatloaf, and at least four meals worth of spaghetti. That's 13 meals, which is lunch and dinner for almost a week. But, on Tuesday we have the NHS MBR, which means free lunch on Tuesday. And Thursday is Habitat for Humanity, and they always provide pizza, so free lunch on Thursday. And on Wednesday I already have eat-out plans for dinner that I'm not going to cancel.

I know it's really bad taste to complain about having too much food, but seriously, how am I going to finish all of that before it goes bad? None of it will freeze particularly well, except maybe the tomato sauce. And I'm almost positive other stuff will happen over the week. YEARGH!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stephanie Wins!

Stephanie is Top Chef! Yeeeeeehaaaawww! (XYEGRL is going to be happy)

As I watched, I was starting to think that Lisa might actually win. She pretty clearly brought her A-game, and given the chance to cook what she cooks best, she did very well. If the judges' comments are to be believed, her soup was pretty damn good.

Richard choked. The pork belly was, even through the tv, just utterly uninspiring. Even given his past amazing performance, and his curiously good bacon icecream, tonight he just didn't do well.

But Stephanie won!

Just an aside: in all their commercials, Bravo played the small clip of Richard starting to say something, and then showed everyone reacting in a shocked way. They were pretty clearly insinuating that Richard would say something controversial, like that Lisa shouldn't win, or that the judges shouldn't feel pressured to pick a woman, or something like that. I'm glad he didn't, since that would have totally destroyed my opinion of Richard. But I'm kinda pissed at Bravo, since they made me wait anxiously for nothing.

Top Chef Finale!

Ok, so it's only 6:30PM, and the finale isn't until 10PM, but I feel like commenting anyway. So who's it going to be? Stephanie? Richard? Lisa?

Lisa: I honestly don't even know why she's still on the show. She's not an especially awesome chef, she's not an especially awesome person, and she seems to survive by being just a bit not as bad as each week's loser. There's a lot of conspiracy theories that Lisa's there simply to have a "bad guy" that the viewers can root against, and I've gotta admit, it's working, since I'm rooting against her.

So it's down to Stephanie or Richard. In my opinion, Richard can visualize a "great" dish better than anyone else, and he's got all sorts of tricks up his sleeve that he can whip out at a moment's notice. Stephanie, by contrast, isn't quite as creative, but in terms of pure cooking skill I think she's superior to Richard. Her meals are always solid, but she doesn't push the envelope or go out on a limb. Of course, the flip side to that is that she's safer and less likely to make a mistake.

What is all means is that Richard controls tonight's contest. Stephanie will perform exceptionally. Richard will either be flawless and perform extra-exceptionally, or he'll make a mistake and perform less than exceptionally. If I had to choose, my money's on Richard; the probability that he makes a mistake is small (he is, after all, a top finalist), and as long as he doesn't make a mistake, his dish will be the better.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Lucy Deals with the Sun

First, Lucy decides she likes the sun, and decides to bask:

But then Lucy decides the sun is too hot, and tries to take a nap on the fuzzy blanket.

But apparently the magnificent spectacularness that is the fuzzy blanket isn't quite as magnificently spectacular when it's hot out, so we start to move progressively off the fuzzy blanket, evenutally winding up on the couch.

It is Hot

Not just warm. Oppressively hot and muggy. We had a mild spring, but now summer is returning with a vengence. I turned down the air conditioning so that it would only cool to 80 degrees, but even then the unit is on nonstop.

It's 7:20PM in the evening, and it's 93 degrees outside, with a heat index of 101. Tomorrow the high is 103, and Tuesday it's 101. I don't even want to think about what the humidity is going to make it feel like. Not until Wednesday does it "cool down" to the 90s. Ugh.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Bar Louie Woes

Bar Louie is the quasi-newish bar in the Short Pump shopping center that's home to many a CapitalOne worker in the evenings, and promises a "casually cool neighborhood restuarant specializing in oversized sandwiches and signature cocktails." It looks good on paper. It looks even better up close. But its service is god awful.

I remember the first time I went there with some friends, the place was more or less empty, and it was a good 25 minutes between when I was seated and when I got my first drink (yes, I timed). The waiter was pretty green and made a bunch of mistakes, but at least he tried.

This past visit, though, was pretty much unforgiveable. It started out well enough, with a cute waiter bringing up orders pretty quickly. But then the shifts changed, and we got a new waitress, who apparently viewed serving us as some kind of punishment that she was being forced into by her slave masters. She was cranky, iritable, visited our table about once every 25 minutes, and pretty much spat every word she uttered. Once, she showed up at our table with a beer, demanding to know who it belonged to. We didn't even get a chance to look around the table; when no one's hand immediately shot up, she slammed, I mean really slammed, the beer down on the table and walked off in a huff.

The worst part though, was when we went to tally up the bill. The waiter we had at the beginning (the cute one) was doing the standard thing where you keep everyone's check separate. During one of her 25-minute visits though, our waitress dourly informed us that our drink orders were getting too confusing, and that she'd taken the liberty of combining all the checks into one. The resulting conversation was a classic:

us: Wait, the waiter said he'd keep our checks separate.
her: Well, I combined them.
us: Can you uncombine them?
her: I'm not supposed to.
us: Can you do it anyway?
her: No, they're combined now, it's one check.
us: Ok, can we cash out?
her: They're one check.
us: We know, but can we give you cash for specific orders and you'll take them off?
her: They're one check now, I'm not doing that.
us: Well, some of us only have credit cards, we need to be able to pay separately.
her: Well, you're all gonna have to figure that out.

She then proceeded to walk away leaving us all pretty convinced that she wasn't going to get a good tip. After a few more mind-numbing conversations with her, we managed to figure out that she couldn't take off individual orders, but could put individual amounts on specific cards. Why she didn't offer this up front, none of us really know, but at least we had a solution. Or so we thought. Because when we finally got the bill, we discovered that she had given herself an automatic 18% gratuity, and no-way-no-how was this bitch getting 18% from us. Long story short ... two calculators, 3 trips to the ATM, and 15 minutes later, a dozen CapOne analysts had figured out what everybody owed with a considerably-less-than-18% tip, and left it on the table. And then we walked out, pretty adamant about not going back. Which is a shame, because it's such a great location and has a great atmosphere; but can't seem to hire a decent server.

Top Chef - And then there were 3

Puerto Rico! Lots of fun things to do there, like fry up plantains and butcher your very own pig.

From one point of view, I'm glad that Stephanie won the quick-fire challenge. Her prize for winning, the responsibility of assigning the eliminated sous-chefs to the remaining contenders, was a prize of enourmous power. Stephanie, by assigning partners based on how well everyone will work together, used that power benevolently. I can easily imagine someone, Lisa for example, using that power to maximize the ill-effects for everyone except herself. Fortunately, that didn't happen.

For the elimination challenge, I got really nervous when Dale left the pork out all night. That was a huge setback for Stephanie, and I don't want to her eliminated. She made the right decision by not trusting the pork and doing something different, and ultimately it worked out quite well.

As for Richard, he did a great job, deserved to win, and the look on his face when they presented him with the new Corolla was priceless. I'm sorry to see Antonia go; she's a really nice person and obviously wanted it very badly. But I agree with the judges that the undercooked peas were a fatal mistake, and in the end she just isn't quite as strong as Stephanie and Richard.

That brings us to Lisa. Now, granted, a tv show isn't the ideal way to judge a person's personality, but from what I've seen, Lisa does not seem like an especially good person. She will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat if she thinks it will help her, she blames other people for her mistakes, and just has a plain old nasty attitude. She's shown up at the elimination table a LOT, but somehow always manages to be not quite the worst. And her comment at the end of this week's show ... well, judge for yourself (paraphrased):
Antonia: Hey everybody, I'm out. [hugs all around, leaves]
Richard and Stephanie: Bye... [a little sad to see their friend leave]
Lisa: What, so no one's going to congratulate me!?!?!
Richard and Stephanie (audible): Oh, sorry congratulations
Richard and Stephanie (inaudible): Oh fuck off

Seriously, what was she thinking? She squeaked by with the bronze medal, and she thinks congratulations are in order?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Vampiric Rights

There's a rather peculiar post over at The Corner where Jonah Goldberg muses, twice, about whether vampires have rights.

Jonah argues that the founding fathers wouldn't have recognized vampiric rights, since
rights come from God (or our creator). Vampires are undead and exist solely thanks to satanic or other demonic forces. They shy from God and God's love and therefore do not deserve the protections all of God's creatures are entitled to.
I have a few problems with this:

1) Lots of beings, not just vampires, shy from God and God's love. Does that mean that unrepetant murderers do not deserve to be treated equally and humanely by the law?

2) Also note the implicit assumption that vampires are, by definition, pure evil. I don't dispute that this is by far the majority opinion, but society's been wrong before. What if vampires aren't devilspawn, and are instead some unlucky (or lucky, depending on how you view it) beings that just happened to spring into this world with a thirst for blood? Dare we call them people? After all, they look like us, probably think like us, and probably love and hate like us too. Anything that does that qualifies as a "person" in my book, even if they aren't strictly human, and is thus deserving of respect.

Deserving of respect, however, does not mean carte blanche to go around killing people by draining them of every last drop of blood. One of the foundations of our entire social system is that if your action would explicitly harm another person, you don't do it. So if a vampire was ever caught and found to have survived by killing humans, I would support the necessary action, but with the understanding that we are punishing an individual who harmed others, not performing some holy act of God by destroying evil.

But now we come to an interesting thought experiment: what if vampires were real, and survived for some time on the blood of humans, but figured out how to survive on the blood of livestock. So now we have a group of beings that committed crimes a few hundred years ago out of necessity, but who are currently doing nothing worse than what millions of people across the globe do each day without a second thought. Goodness, can you imagine the teams of lawyers lined up?

And one final question: what about vampire preserves or sanctuaries? There are regions in the globe where dangerous species roam. Normally they don't bother humans, but if you're stupid enough to enter their domain and provoke them and be killed, it's really nobody's fault but your own. Heck, in some states, it's legal to shoot someone for ignoring a no trespassing sign. Hmm...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

End of the Primary Live Blogging

This is an exciting night - the night that the Democratic primary ends and, in all likelihood, Obama becomes the nominee. I've got a foot long sub from Subway, a bottle of cheap wine, and my laptop. Time for FUN!

5:21PM - I've posted before that Clinton needed to drop out because there really wasn't a way for her to win, and if I had the chance, that's what I'd tell her today. Even so, I can respect her decision not to withdraw just yet, and definitely understand some of the arguments. Clinton can't win, but Obama hasn't won yet. Florida and Michigan needed to be addressed before she could leave. She deserves to finish out the process. Etc. There are pushbacks to all of those, of course, but I've never been able to understand some Obama supporters' venom against her for staying. There are a lot of people whose entire position is simply that Clinton's a horrible person, and deserves to be whipped or something for daring to stay on so long. To all these people, I say: get a grip. Obama will win tonight, Clinton will say Obama's won, and will start campaigning her heart out for Obama. When she does, I expect a number of people to make a very public mea culpa.

5:23PM - Superdel Rep Maxine Waters switches from Clinton to Obama. Praises Clinton for her work and her campaign, but says "It's time to close ranks." Obama now 30 delegates away.

5:26PM - The coal industry has a lot of commercials on today about the need for clean coal technology as a part of America's energy plan. Intersting.

5:29PM - CNN exit poll says 61% of Clinton supporters would vote for Obama in the general election, less than 20% say they'd vote for McCain, which pushes back against the idea that Obama can't win over her supporters once the nomination's been decided.

5:30PM - CNN on Clinton running as an independent. "Not a snowball's chance in Hades." Huh?

5:37PM - More superdel endorsements, Obama up to 2097, only 21 away from 2118. I hope, I really do, that when he hits 2118 he does so by winning the pledged delegates from South Dakota or Montana, not with supers.

5:38PM - 2098, now only 20 away.

5:43PM - 2102, only 16 away. Ok, I'm officially confused. Exactly what were these supers waiting for? It couldn't have been the winner of popular vote or states, since we don't know that yet, and won't until the polls actually close in the final two states. They waitied until just-almost-kinda the end? Did they just not know until today when they turned on CNN that Obama's infintesimally close?

5:47PM - Obama is giving his speech in the same city, in the same room that McCain will accept the Republican nomination. The man's got balls.

5:50PM - 2106, 12 to go. Again, wtf?

6:00PM - John Cafferty: "You can go to my blog and [while?] away the night time hours there, you should go, it's a fascinating place." Trust me, you just had to see it for yourself. If you had, you'd be laughing your butt off.

6:01PM - Summer thunderstorm! Whee!

6:02PM - Rep James Clyburn: I switched because the nominee "became clear". This really does puzzle me, exactly what did he know this afternoon that he didn't know yesterday, or last week, or last month for that matter?

6:05PM - Clinton's now imfamous "I would be open to the VP" apparently appears to be sourced to a single statement she made to the NY congressional delegation after rep specifically said she needs to be on the ticket to win over latinos. If that's the whole basis for this story today, that's pretty weak.

6:17PM - Just my personal opinion, but an Obama-Clinton "dream ticket" would be an absolute disaster.

6:34PM - Talking Hed sez: Hillary Clinton would be nothing without her husband.

6:35PM - Cafferty nails it: "So we're going to talk about the man who's getting the nomination rather than the husband of the woman who's not going to get the nomination?" About time.

6:41PM - Wolf Blitzer just made an extremely dramatic point of saying Obama's gotten another super. 11 to go.

6:52PM - 2108. 10 to go.

6:53PM - Did CNN just do a closeup on one of their star analysts drawing a picture of a bicycle on the much touted magic wall?

7:02PM - Ok, someone tell me that I didn't just see CNN footage of (Hillary) Clinton signing the ... well endowed chestal area ... of a female supporter.

7:17PM - I don't know who he is, but he's making a good point: a presidential campaign isn't something you just flip a switch and turn off, there are literally thousands of people for whom this campaign is their day job, it's how they feed their families. Now, announcing your support for Obama is a bit different from closing your campaign, and it's a bit irresponsible for Clinton to not make plans (which, to be fair, we don't know that she hasn't done), but it's still a good point. Edwards took weeks to officially shut down his campaign, and announcing the decision publicly was one of the last things to happen.

7:31PM - 2111. 7 to go. Single digits.

7:44PM - 2112. Palindrome. 6 to go. Og ot 9?

7:55PM - Whatever happens tonight, we'll have a choice between a senator, another senator, or a third senator. So much for the senators-can't-win-the-presidency law of politics.

7:58PM - More thunderstorms! Woot!

8:00PM - Wolf Blitzer needs to stop saying the word "momentarily"

8:04PM - 2113. 5 to go. Seriously Wolf, do all of these need to be "MAJOR ANNOUNCMENTS"?

8:10PM - 2114. 4 to go. At least Blitzer didn't interrupt again.

8:28PM - McCain's senior advisor is on CNN explaining how McCain and Bush are quite different on a lot of issues, and in that regard, he's right. McCain and Bush really have disagreed on a number of issues, from energy policy to campaign finance reform. It's also true that McCain has criticized Bush on Iraq, but his criticism has only extended to Bush's tactics. When it comes to strategy, about diplomacy vis a vis military force, how to achieve real change in the world, they're really quite similar, and that's what Obama and his campaign are going to emphasize during the next few months.

8:38PM - McCain's speech is starting. He's praising Clinton pretty eloquently, the first step towards winning over her supporters? So far, stuff about "good change vs bad change", all campaign gobbley gook that you doesn't have anything you can actually disagree with. Blah blah, more gobbley gook. "Respond quickly and effictively to a natural calamaty", that's actually a pretty good quote. I'm starting to think that McCain's choice of New Orleans was designed to out-Democrat the Democrats, at least when it comes to FEMA.

Huh? He just got done saying we need to expand government's ability to protect and help, now he's going on about how government's awful and the source of some problems.

Ooo... NOW he's jabbing Obama. Young and inexperienced, bought into failed ideas, deliberately repeating the (alleged) falsity that he's McBush, etc. "Just getting to know Obama" ... the text is more or less accurate, but seems slimy, somehow. "Iraq strategy is now succeeding" ... um, that's debatable. Not true, not false, but debatable. This message about "letting our troops do the job" and "listening to the commanders on the ground" will be hard to respond to. Obama can do it, but it's going to be tough.

8:52PM - Right in the middle of McCain's speech, the screen goes blank. Stupid Comcast.

8:53PM - MSNBC has the speech on. I don't know what I missed, but now he's going after Obama on spending reform. "That's not change we can believe in...", I don't know what it is, but whenever he's making some kind of attack on Obama, he comes off as really slimy. Obama voted for the 2006 energy bill, McCain voted against it. That's a fair point, and a black mark on Obama's record.

"That's not change we can believe in" is going to be McCain's standard attack against Obama, it seems.

Who's the guy who keeps shouting "OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH"? He did it during the Katrina reference, and just now again.

Taxes. Healthcare. Free trade. Job loss. Some standard GOP talking points.

McCain's going on the offensive on the special interests and lobbyist issue. "That's not change we can believe in." Pot. Kettle. Black.

Good lord, someone stop him now, the man sounds like a broken record.

9:00PM - Both CNN and MSNBC interrupt McCain's speech to project that Obama will win the nomination. Apparently 3 more supers committed during the speech. All the networks have forgotten McCain, they're focusing on Obama.

9:02PM - Anderson Cooper!

Ok, I'm going to go out for a walk in the rain. Obama08!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

More Lucy Blogging

Quiet Pleez

I are counting paper inventory, and need compleet consentrashun.

Top Chef, week ?

Eventually I'm going to figure out which week we're in, and number the posts correctly.

Overall, a good week. I thought the quick-fire challenge, butchering a rack of tomahawk steaks and then cooking those steaks to medium-rare for the judge, was pretty cool, and it showed off some of the pre-prep work that's just as important as the prep-work and the actual cooking itself. Spike really did butcher his meat beautifully, and he deserved to win that quick-fire.

He also deserved to be sent home for the challenge. When they heard that the scallops were frozen, every other chef gave a surprised look and pretty much said they'd never use frozen scallops, so why the hell didn't Spike just put them back and pick something else? It's not like there wasn't anything else in the pantry that he could use.

I'm glad that Stephanie, Antonia, and Richard got called out for cooking the best dishes and are advancing to the final four. Not only are they good chefs who don't go off into la la land with pine nut sushi and butterscotch scallops, but they're all good people who are genuinely fun to work with and don't piss people off.

Spike just isn't that great a chef, and kind of strikes me as kind of a weasler. Lisa flips between the extremes in terms of results. She never cooks a mediocre meal; her food is always either fantastic or awful. And she has a crappy personality. All in all, I'm glad Spike left, and the kumbaya side of me wants to see Lisa booted next week.

Sticky Cat Blogging

Maybe eventually I'll do this to Lucy, but until then, you'll have to make do with a Japanese cat.