This Page

has been moved to new address

Wide White

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Wide White: September 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Baltimore, MD

That's where I am at the moment.

Here are a few places we've been in our 4800 miles since Friday.

Memphis, TN
Jackson, MS
Baton Rouge, LA
New Orleans, LA
Gulfport, MS
Biloxi, MS
Tallahassee, FL
Orlando, FL
Everglades National Park, FL
Florida Keys
Miami, FL
Jacksonville, FL
Okeefenokee Swamp, GA
Stone Mountain, GA
Atlanta, GA
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN/NC
Andrews, NC
Columbia, SC
Charleston, SC
Hartsville, SC
Cape Hatteras, NC
Kitty Hawk, NC
Richmond, VA
Baltimore, MD

The rest of the trip should look something like this:

Washington, DC
Annapolis, MD
Dover, DE
Philadelphia, PA
New York, NY
Hartford, CT
Providence, RI
Boston, MA
Plymouth Rock, MA
Salem, MA
Niagara Falls, NY

Those are subject to change, as all "plans" along the way have been.

I'll try to post some pictures when I get back, especially of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. It's pretty amazing.

Thanks for those of you who have kept coming back to read. (And Pat, please take note of the song change...sorry, but I couldn't take my PC in the Jeep, so this is my only post before I get back next week.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'll return shortly

But if all goes as planned, much will be different in my life.

1. I'll have visited 6 of the last 7 states (MA, CT, RI, SC, GA, & FL) that I haven't been to, along with a number of others along the way.
2. I'll have started a new job.
3. I'll have moved to a new state (don't worry, I'll be 12 miles from WI and will still follow WI politics...I'll just be paying a little more attention to happenings in my birthplace of MN...).

Thanks for enduring the blog drought while I'm on vacation. (Not that you're thirsty for Wide White posts...)

Freese said it

Back in April I posted a comment from a Republican state representative who said,
"There are three parties in this state. There are normal Republicans, normal Democrats, and Charlie Sykes Stormtroopers. He says jump, they ask 'how high?'"
I refused to say who it was, not because I thought there was anything wrong with disclosing the information, but because my job at the time left me with no choice.

I no longer have that concern. Steve Freese, the longtime Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore, made the comment at the Richland County Lincoln Day Dinner in April.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Note to journalist: DUH!!!

Why do journalists find such stupid things to say?
Brace yourselves, Chippewa Valley residents.

You are about to be subject to an onslaught of political TV ads unlike anything you’ve seen since the 2004 election when the Chippewa Valley solidified its reputation as one of Wisconsin’s true swing regions.

[emphasis mine]
Uh, kidding! Considering that there hasn't been a major election since 2004, it would make sense that you haven't seen an onslaught of political TV ads since, let's see...two years ago!

Good grief.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mark Kennedy in trouble?

According to a new Star Tribune poll, Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy is losing to Democrat Amy Klobuchar 32%-56%.

Here's why this poll doesn't entirely convince me.

1. The Star Tribune has a reliably liberal reputation. It would be like trusting a poll from the Capital Times out of Madison. Or maybe like trusting a poll conducted by Al Franken. You just can't trust it.

2. Bush's approval rating in Minnesota is 36%. Those who support him have got to be diehard supporters at this point. You can't convince me that 4% of those supporting Bush don't support Mark Kennedy.

3. Kennedy isn't exactly a diehard conservative. Granted, he's no liberal. I'm not even sure I'd call him a moderate. I don't live in Minnesota yet, so I haven't followed his record too much. But I do know that despite his narrow victory in 2004, he seems fairly popular in his home territory of Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District. To think that he's only got support from 32% of the state is pretty tough for me to believe.

Here's why I'm inclined to think that, while not totally accurate, the poll is probably somewhat reflective of reality.

1. Kennedy is a Republican. In Minnesota. Governor Tim Pawlenty may be leading in his reelection bid, but state and federal government are two separate things. And let's not forget Minnesotans' penchant for being independent. I don't believe Pawlenty's success will affect Mark Kennedy.

2. Based on my estimation from the very little TV I actually watch, Klobuchar has been slaughtering Kennedy in ad buys. She came out with her ads a lot earlier and has run a lot more. Kennedy seems to be running close to even now, but in the grand scheme of things, he's probably pretty far behind.

3. Kennedy holds federal office; Klobuchar doesn't. In a year in which the voters are disgusted with Washington politics, voting for a Washington guy seems redundant to a lot of people. Never mind that the alternative is a longtime attorney. She doesn't have the stain of Washington to worry about.

Regardless of the reasons I have for doubting the poll's accuracy, I don't doubt that Kennedy is behind. Minnesota will likely be my new home within the next few weeks. I'll be watching this race much more closely then.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Van Hollen wins; new poll

The latest Wide White poll regarding the AG race turned out to be accurate.
Who will get your vote for AG?

Paul Bucher 5 (13%)
JB Van Hollen 22 (58%)
Leaning Bucher 1 (3%)
Leaning Van Hollen 2 (5%)
Entirely Undecided 1 (3%)
Neither 7 (18%)
Van Hollen won with roughly 60% in the Republican primary. For those who weren't paying attention, Dane County Executive Director Kathleen Falk upset incumbent AG Peg Lautenschlager, making it the first upset of an incumbent AG in Wisconsin in 58 years, or something like that. Whatever.

New poll.

Did you vote in the September 12 primary?

Vote at the top of the right column.

Really smart people think we're goners

Okay, so they may not go that far. But if you listen to the media and a number of scientists - people who have spent years and years studying things that I've never studied - you can't help but agree with this AP headline: "Arctic Ice Melting Rapidly, Study Says."

Of course, I can't help but agree with the statement either. Why? Because 600 years ago the Thames River in London froze over in the winter. Now it doesn't. That settles it for me.

But still, at question is this:

Scientists point to the sudden and rapid melting as a sure sign of man-made global warming.

"Sudden" and "rapid" are the operative words here. Apparently, neither one is desired, and if either one happens it's the result of humans and their evil impact on the planet.

If ice age theorists are to be believed, the most recent North American glaciation period came in the Wisconsin glaciation, which ended 10,000 years ago. Of course, I'm very thankful for this period because it created all of the wonderful lakes in northern Wisconsin.

Whatever. I'm not even going to go there. I'm just going to enjoy the great fishing.

But regardless, if as recently as 10,000 years ago northern Wisconsin was covered in ice, at what rate did it have to melt so that you have to go to northern Canada before you find it now? Did the cavemen have conferences in Seoul brainstorming how to keep the ice from melting? You know, that ice that held their precious water and igloo material. (I know, I'm shooting from the hip here and being totally unscientific and really downright wrong in my summarization of events of 10,000 years ago. But then, I wonder if my supposition is really any more wrong than the scientists'??)

If you listen to the scientists, the ice has been melting for thousands of years. The problem with all of the "stop global warming" advocates is they operate in a world that says that the rate of the last 50 to 100 years is obviously the natural rate at which things must occur. They don't suppose that warming can happen more rapidly at some point in time than it did during another point in time. Additionally, they have little to go on but what they know from their limited time here on earth.

I'm a huge global warming skeptic. Don't get me wrong; I avoid using styrofoam cups for a reason. I figure that if there's even a chance it'll damage the environment, I should probably try to avoid it. It's why I call myself a conservationist, not an environmentalist. I don't worship Mother Earth. I don't even call it my mother. I just like it a lot and think that God probably wants us to be good stewards of what He gave us.

But I don't go nuts because a bunch of retirement homes on Miami Beach may go under water in 400 years. I have other things to worry about. Like styrofoam or paper?

Murtha wins

As I suspected, Murtha's name recognition couldn't be beat.

Total results right now, with 35 of 42 precincts (83.33%) reporting.

Murtha - 1238 (63.36%)
Stafsholt - 531 (27.18%)
Weix - 185 (9.47%)

Best of luck to Murtha in his race against Kerry Kittel.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My primary votes went to...

I was one of the miniscule number of Wisconsin residents who actually voted today. There were a few key races that I have discussed briefly, but haven't actually endorsed. There are reasons for this.

I had all but actually endorsed JB Van Hollen in the AG race. He impressed me on a number of levels, despite the "you suck" comment. He won my vote for Attorney General.

However, the more contentious vote for me was for the 29th Assembly seat. I've covered this race here (most recently on August 24th) but haven't publicly expressed support for anyone. Isaac Weix, John Murtha, and Rob Stafsholt are all good guys and I'll support any of them in the general election. However, I'll provide my analysis of the race here.

Weix has Marine veteran experience that none of the others could come close to. That was his biggest strong point. He also developed a pretty good stump speech, though it's hard to tell how important that is in a small, rural district. He's had two big downfalls in my opinion. One is that some see him as being arrogant because of the way he carries himself. He's a Marine vet and proud of it, and doesn't hesitate to throw Marine sarcasm around. However, in the political realm this hasn't been an advantage. The second disadvantage he's had is in yard sign coverage. Outside of the Menomonie area, I haven't seen any signs for him. That's not to say they aren't there, but I certainly haven't seen them. That's not to mention the fact that he was quoted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press as saying that the voters he's been talking to don't seem to care too much about the constitutional marriage amendment. That didn't fly well with a lot of social conservatives.

Murtha has lived in Baldwin for years. He's an establishment, really. He's not only the Eau Galle town board chairman, but he's also been in a local band called "John and Dave with Trigger Happy" for years and years. They're very, very popular in the area. On top of that, he owns Murtha Sanitation. Forget the fact that he's got name recognition from a Pennsylvania congressman (who happens to share the same middle name as well); Murtha easily has the best name recognition of any of the three candidates. He's also a guy who everyone would want to have as their grandpa. His downfall is in policy. I don't believe he's much of a policy guru and he would probably be the first to admit it. It shows when he's made comments about increasing jobs here in Western Wisconsin by "bringing home the bacon." That's not going to win over many fiscal conservatives. He's also not much for public speaking, but again, I don't think that matters much in the 29th. For the record, Murtha was encouraged to run by Rep. Kitty Rhoades (R-Hudson).

Stafsholt brings up the rear. I hadn't even heard the guy's name until a week or two before the filing deadline. It came in a phone call to me asking if I'd be his campaign manager. He tracked down my number somewhere and was on the go. He's been on the go ever since. The guy has plastered the district with yard signs. (And let's be honest, his white on red signs are a whole lot more distinct than Murtha's black on baby blue/green signs.) It's hard to tell whether Stafsholt or Murtha has more signs, and I'm more often in "Murtha country" than Stafsholt's area. Stafsholt didn't take long to hire a campaign manager, and she seems pretty bright. He also knows former State Senate Pro Tempore (I believe that was his position) and two-time US Senate candidate Bob Welch and has his backing. Additionally, he's pumped $20,000 of his own money into the campaign and I'm told he received $10,000 from the Wisconsin Bear Hunters. What are his downfalls? Name recognition would be a downfall, but he's certainly at an advantage over Weix in this category, being that he's plastered the district with signs. I don't know how good he is at public speaking as I haven't heard him, but I'm told he's shaky. I've also heard concerns from some people regarding his stance on certain issues (such as abortion, though he does have full endorsement of Wisconsin Right to Life). However, regarding these concerns, I try to remind people that no one runs for office with full knowledge of every issue. In fact, most people run because of one issue that gets under their skin, and more often than not it's an issue no one else (or very few people) really cares about.

My choice was Stafsholt. I believe he's the most reliable to be fiscally conservative. That's my impression. I'm open to being wrong on that point, but it's my guess based on what I've seen. I think he's probably the smartest regarding policy. He's testified in Madison before and has been involved with issue advocacy. My impression is that he would have fewer hurdles in Madison than would the other two.

As I said, I support any of these guys. I almost hesitate to write this because I don't want either of the other two candidates to think that I don't support them for some reason. I simply felt I owed it to those who read this to say who I support and why.

Best of luck to all three of them. Whoever wins has my full support.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Why blogging has been slow

I guess I owe it to everyone to explain myself.

First, I should say that I really don't think it's the fact that I have a girlfriend. Yes, there's a time commitment there (and one that I very much enjoy). But the fact is that our schedules are separate enough that I can definitely blog. It's not a problem.

The biggest reason it has been slower (one a day rather than five a day) for the last few months is my job. It's been nothing short of hectic and I just haven't had time to blog.

The biggest reason blogging has been rather absent more recently is the fact that I'm now in job search mode. I've been working on full time job and apartment searching for the last few days, so blogging has been on the backburner.

If anyone has any leads in the Twin Cities area in management and/or marketing, let me know. I also enjoy writing and editing, but I doubt that will translate into a decent job, so it's not my focus in the job hunt.

I want to thank everyone who has been so caring and supportive of me through this. It's not a huge deal to me, but the fact that people care enough to ask is just really humbling. This is new territory for me. I've never really had to job hunt for a full time job like this. Unless you count my search for a summer job in which I applied at Yosemite National Park. I didn't really "hunt" though...Yosemite was the only summer job I applied for and I got it without a problem. My previous fulltime job was offered to me through no solicitation of my own.

So this is new territory for me, but it's not something I shy away from. I trust that God will remain faithful and provide for my needs, and having that reassurance makes it much less worrisome than it could otherwise be.

My resume is out to 20 or 30 people at this point. I've had a few responses and one interview lined up for tomorrow. Hoping to have something nailed down by the end of the week....

Friday, September 08, 2006

Huckabee nails it

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is one of the few potential Republican presidential nominees for '08 who I could actually support.

This is why.
"When a Republican Congress spends as much as a Democratic Congress, we can hardly call ourselves the party of responsibility," Huckabee said. "I wonder how many people in Washington passed ninth grade civics."
He just makes sense.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

We need more people like this

I love to see stories like this. It's a nice change of pace from last night's story that noted, "This marks Minneapolis' 44th homicide of 2006...."
Clemson Defensive Back Raises 11-Year Old Brother

CLEMSON, S.C. -- The alarm sounds at 6:15 a.m., and Clemson freshman Ray Ray McElrathbey starts a routine like few others in college football.

Along with classes, film work, defensive back meetings and football practice, McElrathbey sees that his 11-year-old brother, Fahmarr, is dressed and fed, has finished his homework and makes it to middle school on time.

Ray Ray, 19, has temporary custody of his brother because of his mother's continuing drug problems and his father's gambling addiction. The two brothers have shared experiences in foster homes and now share an apartment near the Upstate campus.

They live solely off Ray Ray's scholarship, while Clemson's athletic department tries to get a waiver from the NCAA that might let them accept donations without jeopardizing Ray Ray's football eligibility.

Ray Ray sought custody because he was tired of worrying what might happen to Fahmarr living with their drug-addicted mother in Atlanta.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Freak accident

Of course, alcohol was involved, but still, this is a pretty random accident.
Man killed in collision after hitting father's car

PEMBINE, Wis. (AP) -- A man crossed the centerline and struck his father's car head on, killing himself and seriously injuring his father in northeastern Wisconsin, the sheriff's department said Tuesday.

Now available: the latest Al Qaeda video

If you want to see something that'll make you sad, watch this video. It's 48 minutes long, 44 minutes of which is an American Californian who converted to Islam and moved to the Middle East. He's not an Al Qaeda spokesman who spends his time saying things like:
For your own sake, we invite all Americans and other unbelievers to Islam, wherever they are, and whatever their role and status in Bush and Blair’s world order. And we send a special invitation to all of you fighting Bush's crusader pipedream in Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever else 'W' has sent you to die. You know the war can't be won and that the condition of America’s war machine is going from bad to worse. You know you're considered by Bush and his bunch of warmongers as nothing more than expendible cannon fodder – a means to an end as evidenced by their mass mailing of rubber stamped form letters of condolence after your buddies died for them, and by their callous recall of the meager compensation they paid those of you crippled in the wars.
Very sad.

You can read the transcript (it's not perfect) here.

Monday, September 04, 2006

R.I.P. Crocodile Hunter

Stingray Kills 'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin

CAIRNS, Australia (AP) -- Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.
What irks me the most about this article is the coverage towards the end of the article of the one or two negative press pieces probably ever written about Irwin. Why mention anything negative at all? Can't the media be entirely positive in their reflection on a guy's life for once?

I thought a stingray death seemed pretty odd. It is.
Stingrays have a serrated, toxin-loaded barb, or spine, on the top of their tail. The barb, which can be up to 10 inches long, flexes if a ray is frightened. Stings usually occur to people when they step on or swim too close to a ray and can be excruciatingly painful but are rarely fatal, said University of Queensland marine neuroscientist Shaun Collin.

Collin said he suspected Irwin died because the barb pierced under his ribcage and directly into his heart.

"It was extraordinarily bad luck. It's not easy to get spined by a stingray and to be killed by one is very rare," Collin said.
And of course, there are those left behind.
Stainton said Irwin's American-born wife Terri, from Eugene, Ore., had been informed of his death, and had told their daughter Bindi Sue, 8, and son Bob, who will turn 3 in December.

Friday, September 01, 2006

"snot-nosed political neophyte"

That's the latest insult thrown at me. It was actually in writing too. The last insult in writing had been an email that said simply, "You're a jerk." I'd say they're increasing in their insultishness.

Of course, verbal insults over the last month have included "punky little snot" (what's with the snot?) and "prick." But then, when someone has bonafide mental health issues (as did the person who launched three of these insults), how seriously do you take them?

Or how about newspaper editors?