Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Night Music Club v.43

Back in 1987 or so Joyce & I were in Florida to visit my dad and Joyce's sister Jill. We all went out in Fort Lauderdale to get our booze on in the wild bars that dotted the strip along the beach..

Hey, we were young, it's what we did!

Actually, even old, it's what we do.

Old habits die hard.

Jeez, stop being so judgmental!

Anyway, we were bar hopping along the main drag when we saw a marquis that said Warren Zevon was playing. Holy fucking shit! Well, that was my reaction. Joyce knew of him for a few songs that she heard, and Jill and her boyfriend had no idea who this guy was.

Well fuck it! I had the keys to the Suburu, so they either were going in with me, or waiting on the sidewalk. FIVE DOLLARS was the cover charge, which blew my mind. We entered the packed bar and sidled up to the side of the stage, where we got to see Warren playing the piano and acoustic guitar in a solo show.

It was a fucking GREAT set, and I say "set" because Joyce's annoying sister didn't understand she was seeing fucking ART being presented, and she wanted to go dancing or something. So we watched a set and then had to leave, but it was still amazing and it makes me happy that I got to see a legend play some great songs! If I had my 2016 cell phone with me I would have probably hung around to take a selfie with him, but it was 30 years ago and the technology didn't exist and besides, nobody took selfies with a regular camera back then.

Anyway, here's Warren Zevon doing "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner" live on The Late Show with David Letterman, not long before he died.

Warren, that is, not David. David's fine AFAIK.

But not Warren. Warren's definitely dead.

Yup. Dead.

OK, now that we got that straightened out, here's the song.

And please don't forget this valuable advice from Warren:

"Enjoy every sandwich!"

South of the Border

Remember these billboards?

Anyone who has driven the 1,100 miles from frigid New England to sunny Florida on I-95 in the last 50 years has probably seen these ubiquitous and decidedly culturally-insensitive signs as they drew closer to the North Carolina/South Carolina border, where the famous tourist trap is located.

"South of the Border" was (and probably still is, though I haven't taken that trip in over 25 years) a famous landmark on the tedious drive through that scrubby and sparsely populated region. When we used to take family vacations in my dad's awesome black Lincoln Continental (with the reverse-opening "suicide doors" that you can see in "The Matrix") dragging our huge Dutchcraft trailer for a couple sunny weeks in Florida, we'd notice these signs starting hundreds of miles north.

As we got closer, the billboards increased in density. Most of them having some play on words, often with the stereotypical character "Pedro" giving advice or making observations. We didn't know from political correctness at the time, the phrase not having even been invented yet. We simply anticipated the next billboard and read them out loud as soon as we got near enough. By the time we were within 10 miles or so, there was nothing on God's green Earth that could have stopped us kids from having lunch and buying fireworks at what was (and probably still is) among the worst theme parks/tourist traps anywhere on the planet!

Times have changed, of course. Most of those terribly offensive and blatantly racist billboards have been changed or eliminated to reflect modern tastes. Much like the black lawn jockey statues, they are a thing that now mostly rests uneasily in the past, and are best left unmentioned.

Except when you're writing a blog and trying to come up with a hook on a story that every other bit of electronic media has already written about ad nauseum.

And so, we go south of the border to South Carolina for the second primary of the season!

(yeesh, that was an awfully long way to go to get to the story!)

Hillary Clinton was widely favored to win this one, and she didn't disappoint. She rolled to a win with a massive margin, 73.5% to 26%. The delegate split is Hillary 39 and Bernie 14.

The current delegate totals are kind of difficult to nail down, because we Democrats have the ridiculous system of roughly 20% of the delegates being "super" delegates, who don't have any obligation to support either candidate, so the split can change based on how the SDs feel right up until they cast their vote at the convention.
This not only demonstrates a lack of egalitarianism in the party because we somehow "gift" our most entitled members with this privilege, but it also makes it tough to figure out where the current count stands.

Imagine being an SD and going into a closely contested convention. There is incredible pressure from both candidates to cast your vote for them. Bribes will likely be offered, although in polite conversation they might be referred to as "incentives" or "rewards for being a good party member".

Things like a prestigious job in the administration. Want to be an adviser to the President? Just give us your vote and we'll make it happen.

In a super close race, you'd probably get to be ambassador to a friendly English-speaking nation. Like New Zealand. Or, if it's REALLY close, hell, you'd likely get to fill Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court!

Of course, this is all idle, and probably libelous speculation; and besides, Hunter S. Thompson has more adroitly covered this scenario in "Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72", which is absolutely required reading for anyone who wants to gain insight on what really happens behind the scenes, both from the campaigns and the drug-influenced writer.
Anyway, screw the super delegates. They'll do whatever they want, or probably whatever they're told. I wouldn't presume to know the mind of a super delegate. They breathe rarefied air and probably sleep between 2000 thread-count sheets spun from virgin Afghani cotton. They're different from from us, so how would I possibly know what drives them?

Getting back to the facts, Hillary won big. This will be a huge boost going into Super Tuesday this week,which has contests in several key southern states. Hillary trends big in the South. She now has a lead in the delegate count, both with regular (you know, PEOPLE) delegates, and with Super Delegates (who were obviously born on Krypton and have unimaginable super powers when exposed to the magnificent rays of our yellow Sun).

Tuesday will be exciting for me. I'm hoping to be able to blog or Tweet or Facebook it as it happens. But I'll probably have to keep it minimal because I'll be packing for our trip to New Orleans the next day. We're taking the train because we've never done an overnight trip on a train, and we're going first-class with a bedroom and all meals included. It'll be like a 32-hour cruise ship! Two days in a French Quarter apartment via AirBnb, and then back home on JetBlue.
It will be a whirlwind trip, which in my experience, usually turns out to be the BEST sort of trip!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Keeping Up With The Counts

Here's a couple super-useful links for politics junkies like me! Real Clear Politics has running totals of the delegate counts, along with details about each primary contest.

Click on Republican Delegate Counts to see how quickly Trump is wrapping up the nom.

Click on Democratic Delegate Count to see the numbers that includes those absolutely stupid and anti-democracy super-delagate numbers.

I won't mince words; I think it's a ridiculous system and it damages the idea of a democratic process and ultimately hurts the efforts to bring new voters into the party. What millennial, voting for maybe the very first time, would care about a primary if roughly 20% of the total vote (usually more than enough to overcome any popular vote margin) is reserved for party insiders and power brokers? It's just dumb, and you all know it.

Even the Hillary supporters, who stands to benefit from this system.


Just after midnight, it looks like Donald Trump has won his third straight contest, after his only loss, which was a close one in Iowa.

The Nevada Republican caucuses gave Trump a victory, and is well on its way to showing that the present-day GOP is a party of extremists and lunatics.

To think, the very BEST that the Republicans have to offer is someone like Donald Trump! I'd laugh, but then again, this is the party that nominated a Hollywood actor to become it's leader and sainted past president. Who knows what they're capable of?

Anyway, going into Super Tuesday next week Trump has a huge amount of popular support, although the GOP still seems somewhat reticent to fully back him. Jeb Bush pulled out of the running this week and didn't will his resources to Trump. The party may be mounting an ABT strategy (Anybody But Trump).

The Republican delegate count going into Nevada stands at Trump 67, Cruz 11, and Rubio 10. Nevada will award 30 delegates proportionally to the votes received tonight. 1,237 delegates are needed to win the nomination.

Next up: Super Tuesday, March 1st. Featuring the following contests:

Alaska Republican caucuses
Colorado caucuses
Minnesota caucuses
North Dakota Republican caucuses
Wyoming Republican caucuses

I think we can safely say Cruz will definitely win Texas, and Sanders Vermont. Beyond that, this primary season is looking really wild! The results of next weeks contests will go a long way to shaking out the Republican field, and showing if Sanders has the popularity to stay in the race. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Clinton & Trump winners today

The Nevada Democratic caucus was held today, and the latest count (8:05PM) shows Hillary Clinton defeating Bernie Sanders 52.5% to 47.4%. Clinton was the favorite in Nevada, but the margin is probably much closer than she was hoping for. Especially after being trounced in the New Hampshire primary.

It seems the trend is for party caucuses to support Hillary, while the primaries (which technically include ALL registered Democrats) are trending for Bernie. Of course, the big test for Sanders will be next week's South Carolina primary, where Clinton holds a lead of roughly 24% in an aggregate of recent polls. If he doesn't make significant inroads into that lead, he may find himself falling behind a surging Hillary Clinton.

If however, Sanders DOES manage to cut into Clinton's lead and make a respectable showing, we will likely have a spirited race going into the Super Tuesday trove of primaries on March 1st.

In South Carolina, Donald Trump cruised easily to a primary victory, with a solid 12% lead at press time (more like 10% at 11:30PM, but still a good butt-kicking). CNN is headlining the fact that there's an exciting race for 2nd place, but I've never understood that kind of thinking. 2nd place is 1st place LOSER! Being 2nd or 3rd or last doesn't mean much, because you LOST! It's just dumb to think about it.

I still don't quite understand the Trump phenomenon, except that there is such a HUGE dearth of good candidates on the GOP side that someone like Trump naturally rose to the lead. This probably would have been a GREAT year for Ross Perot, if he only had a time machine/deep freeze spaceship that he went into in 1992 and emerged in 2016, sort of like Dr. Evil in "Austin Powers". And he never had a tenth of the disgustingness that just oozes out of the Republican frontrunner.

I'm 100% sure that Trump will eventually implode because of the sheer gravity of his stupidity. He will morph into a black hole and collapse like a neutron star into himself and end up as a singularity (I've been reading too much science fiction lately!)

So maybe, it WILL matter who finishes 2nd or 3rd on the GOP side.

Hey, we all know the Republicans NEVER have a problem settling for 2nd or 3rd best!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


What is it about Republicans and shooting birds in Texas for relaxation?

First, Dick Cheney drunkenly blasts his elderly friend square in the face with a shotgun, then Antonin Scalia goes to bed at a hunting resort saying he's feeling crappy, misses breakfast the next morning, and all of his good friends don't bother to even check on him before going out to exterminate the local avian population. He was found by a resort employee later, probably some poor Mexican maid who came in to clean the room.

She's probably been quietly deported by now.

Or I could be making up most of this. There's no proof that Cheney was drunk, or that Scalia had friends. I'm just speculating.

Regarding that image, it's just too easy to find a photo of Scalia that makes him look angry, insane, or ridiculous. But the guy's dead and he can't cause any more damage, so I figured I'd give him a break and put up his regular publicity image. There's no need beat a dead horse. Or even a live one, for that matter. Who beats horses anyway? Sadistic fuckers! I'd never beat a horse, living OR dead! Hey, nobody can say that Connecticut Bob is heartless, right?

So the timing of his passing is interesting. If President Obama successfully appoints a Supreme Court justice to replace Scalia, we will likely end up with a much more moderate Court. The potential of this appointment will certainly have massive repercussions for probably the next 10 years.

Naturally the Republicans were immediately vocal in their opposition to an Obama justice. Scalia's body was still twitching when Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the Senate will not approve of any new judge before the end of Obama's presidency.

Obviously, making this situation into a partisan brawl instead of an opportunity to show true leadership will ultimately backfire for the Republicans. People are sick and tired of hard line rhetoric; they want action and leadership. No Supreme Court nominee has ever taken more than 125 days to receive approval. We're currently over 300 days until January 20th, 2017.

The Democrats will likely win no matter what. If they succeed in appointing a justice, the Court will be markedly less conservative. If the Republicans stall the nomination until Election Day, they will once again prove in a very public fashion their inability to lead, and that will obviously factor in at the polls.

So, now I'm just waiting to see who President Obama nominates, and then the process begins!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

New Hampshire

Eight years ago I was in Manchester New Hampshire on the night of the 2008 Democratic primary. I stopped in at Kucinich HQ to see Dennis and Elizabeth for the election returns at a Manchester pub. I also had a wicked cold that night and the Guinness only slightly helped.

Dennis had a very low finish, and he ended up dropping out even before the Connecticut primary. Along with Chris Dodd who dropped soon after.

Hillary made a spirited charge in the final days of the campaign, overcoming a 10-point deficit in the polls to surprise Obama and win by about 3 points.

Today was a different matter. Bernie Sanders rode to an easy victory, with something along the lines of an 18% margin (at press time there was only 24% of the vote counted).

I wonder what changed for Hillary over the last eight years. She isn't a significantly different candidate than she was then. But I guess more people in the region likes Bernie's message, and voted for their neighbor from the Green Mountain State.

Donald Trump also got a huge boost with his win in New Hampshire. I don't know what this says about Granite State Republicans.

Now there's an 11-day wait until the Nevada Democratic caucuses, where Hillary has a significant lead; and then the South Carolina Democratic primary on February 27th. Where Hillary also leads.

But a lot can happen between now and then. Sanders is in a solid position to make inroads on Clinton's lead, and all we need to do to remember that is to look at how Hillary overcame a big lead by Obama to win.

This could happen again in several weeks.

Dixville Notch results are in!

Reporting minutes after midnight, is proud to be the FIRST blog in the universe to give the results of the first town in New Hampshire's primary!

Trump 2
Kasich 3

Sanders 4
Clinton 0

Clearly, Bernie Sanders will be our next president if every other voter in the United States meets with some sort of horrific accident and can't vote!

Four are registered Republican, 4 are Independent and 1 is a Democrat. So, the important non-affiliated vote went 4 for Sanders and 1 for a Republican. This doesn't matter, like, at all. Never did, never will. Dixville Notch is just a bit of Americana that we can all smile about and then get on to the serious business of making snarky comments about the election!

Stay tuned to for more results as they come in!

Monday, February 08, 2016


This woman was only interested in her breakfast, not the crowd or media surrounding Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina as she campaigned hard at Blake's in Manchester Monday morning in the final hours leading up to the presidential primary. PAT GROSSMITH/UNION LEADER

Fiorina's dynamic presence obviously didn't impress this lady, who was probably wondering what all the hubbub was about!

We're only a few hours until the voters in Dixville Notch (2010 population was 12) gather at a minute after midnight to cast their votes. The polls (one poll, actually) close as soon as 100% of the registered voters cast their votes, usually in the first minute or two. And then the results are announced to the media.

The winter storm (can we just call it "snow", like we did when the media didn't whip itself into a frenzy of orgiastic delight every time a few snowflakes fall out of the sky?) will probably have little effect on turnout, since they're pretty much used to crap weather up there. The bigger deterrent may be the unbeatable lead the two candidates are enjoying. Possibly the turnout won't be as high as previous years, which could result in wildly unforeseen results.

Ah, who's kiddin' who? It's gonna be Trump and Sanders by easy double-digit margins, and then the candidates get to battle it out in South Carolina and Nevada. Coming soon.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Sunday Night Music Club v.42

Yes, I know it's a busy time for politics!

That's exactly why I put up a fun song, because we all need a break now and again.

Last night was a doozy, with the GOP debate (I'll have some observations probably on Twitter and/or Facebook later today, before I watch the 1% Bowl; excuse me, the Super Bowl...) And Bernie Sanders was on SNL, but I fell asleep immediately after the monologue, so I'll have to watch it this morning.

Smash Mouth's retro pop hit "Walkin' On The Sun" is a favorite. Especially their wonderfully nostalgic music video.

But when I see the song's title, I often think of Christopher Walken being incinerated while traipsing on the sun. Maybe the song needs more cowbell!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Apropos of nothing

So, my other blog is basically moribund, me not having posted there in over a year. And that's where I post stuff about entertainment, so this is where I'll now put stuff that I find interesting even if it's not politically relevant. We have three days before the New Hampshire primary and besides, we all know who's gonna win both contests.

Anyways, I was watching the second episode of "Mozart In The Jungle", the very good Amazon original comedy about the lives of symphony orchestra musicians in New York, when I noticed a particular transition shot they used that looked very familiar.

About two months ago Joyce & I spent a weekend in Manhattan, and while we were there we took the awesome Roosevelt Island Tramway, which runs from roughly 60th St. at 2nd Ave. to the island at about 18 mph. We went over at night, and I shot video (naturally) of the 3-minute trip.

As I watched the episode, I noticed a familiar skyline on one particular shot. The camera was "dollying" from the lower right to the upper left, which looked like a helicopter shot. Just as the Tramway does when it climbs out of it's Manhattan station.

Immediately I thought "wow, that looks like the view from the Tramway!". I played the video file I had of our night crossing, and sure enough, there was the exact view as on the show, except for the time of day.

If you look at both pictures, you can see that obviously this was shot from the Tramway. And I think it's a wonderful and affordable way to get a spectacular helicopter or drone-looking scene at a fraction of the cost (a regular Metro fare, which I think is currently $2.75; although you get a free transfer if you got there via the subway like we did!)

On the night we did it there were tons of tourists just taking the trip for the view. We actually explored the island a bit (if you call getting a drink at a local pub and taking a couple pictures of the bridge "exploring"...and yes, that qualifies in MY book!), when we went to the station for the return trip we saw a tram car come in, and 90% of the people exited the car and immediately got in line for their return trip! Maybe a half-dozen people actually got off and left the station.

Which, I guess, is a function of the reality that the island has now has a Metro station that services the F Train. It's probably easier and quicker to take than exiting the subway in Manhattan a block or two away and then climbing a couple flights of stair to get in line for the Tram.

Here's the (nicely edited) video of our recent tram ride at night:

March Primary Schedule

March Schedule

March is a huge month for primaries and caucuses. So here's the latest dates; some are still tentative, but as I make corrections I'll add a notation so you'll know it's the latest info. Per usual, my primary (heh-heh) source of these data is Frontloading HQ. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1:


Alaska Republican caucuses


Colorado Democratic caucuses
Colorado Republican caucuses



Minnesota caucuses

North Dakota Republican caucuses






Wyoming Republican caucuses

Saturday, March 5:

Kansas Democratic caucuses
Kansas Republican caucuses

Kentucky Republican caucuses


Maine Republican caucuses

Nebraska Democratic caucuses

Sunday, March 6:

Maine Democratic caucuses

Puerto Rico (Republicans)

Tuesday, March 8:

Hawaii Republican caucuses

Idaho (Republicans only)



Saturday, March 12:

Guam Republican convention

Washington, DC Republican convention

Tuesday, March 15:




North Carolina

Northern Mariana Islands Republican caucuses


Saturday, March 19:

Virgin Islands Republican convention

Tuesday, March 22:

American Samoa convention


Idaho Democratic caucuses

Utah Democratic caucuses

Utah Republican caucuses (online voting begins March 15)

Saturday, March 26:

Alaska Democratic caucuses

Hawaii Democratic caucuses

Washington Democratic caucuses

Thursday, February 04, 2016

New Hampshire polling puts Trump, Sanders far ahead

Looking at the polls in New Hampshire via RealClearPolitics, it appears Donald Trump can boycott as many GOP debates as he wants and still win by a comfortable margin.

RCP has an aggregate result of Trump getting 32.8% and leading the rest of the field by 21%. Rubio, Cruz and Kasich are vying for 2nd place with figures ranging from 11.0 to 11.8%.

If those numbers are true, Trump really CAN shoot someone on 5th Avenue and still take the primary!

In the Democratic race, regional favorite son Bernie Sanders has an aggregate lead over Hillary Clinton of 54.6% to 38.8%, which translates to a 15.8% difference.

Again, if those numbers are true, well, Bernie can't exactly SHOOT anyone on 5th Avenue, but he can probably shove someone lightly out of the way when trying to board the 6 Train while the doors are closing at the 59th Street station!

Better he probably should avoid doing anything like that, just to be safe.

UPDATE: What a difference a day makes! Sanders' lead over Clinton has jumped an additional 5 points since yesterday's aggregates. On the GOP side, Trump slumped (yes, it's fun to rhyme words) about 5% as Rubio and Cruz made gains. Interesting to watch the polls and try to anticipate where they'll be on Tuesday; and of course how much they differ from the predicted margins. Once thing that may play into the election is the weather. If there is a low turnout because of snow or rain, it may skew the numbers significantly, especially if the trailing candidate has an organized GOTV team. This may be fun!

In any case, it looks like the outcome of this contest isn't very much in doubt, and the race to the convention will heat up with the later contests this month, starting on the 20th and continuing as below:

Saturday, February 20:
Nevada Democratic caucuses
South Carolina Republican primary

Tuesday, February 23:
Nevada Republican caucuses

Saturday, February 27:
South Carolina Democratic primary

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

February contests remaining

Tuesday, February 9:
New Hampshire

Saturday, February 20:
Nevada Democratic caucuses
South Carolina Republican primary

Tuesday, February 23:
Nevada Republican caucuses

Saturday, February 27:
South Carolina Democratic primary

via Frontloading HQ

A virtual tie

12 hours after the caucus doors closed and we still don't have a clear decisive winner for the Democrats in Iowa.

The current count, as of roughly 8AM Tuesday, is Hillary Clinton 49.9% to Bernie Sanders 49.6%. The difference is the closest race in Iowa history.

So while it's a virtual tie, Hillary will win the state and get the handful of delegates that comes with it.

More noteworthy is the fact that winning the first official contest is a huge boost for Hillary, and it will make it easier for her to raise money.

But also consider that Bernie Sanders has pretty much come out of nowhere and nearly upset a massively funded candidate. The table is set for an exciting primary next Tuesday in New Hampshire, where the polls are already clearly in Sanders' favor.

To a sports fan like myself, a tie is almost more frustrating than an outright loss. In politics however, you have to look beyond the final score and examine all the ramifications of a razor-thin margin.

Yes, Hillary won.

But nobody at this point thinks Bernie is going away.

After New Hampshire, we have South Carolina and Nevada. but the calendar is a little weird, and also the Washington (state) Republican caucuses. More updates soon.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Iowa elected a foreigner today

Ya hear that, Republican birthers?

Your front-runner and winner of the Iowa caucus is a dirty foreigner.

I don't actually know if he's dirty specifically, but judging how reasonable all you dummies were about President Obama, I really don't feel like I'm varying at all from your treatment of him.

So you are all in favor of a guy who has a Cuban father and was born in Calgary, which isn't located in the USA, and categorically is in a real foreign nation.

Ted Cruz is a Canadian, and also possibly a naturalized US citizen, although I haven't seen his passport. Can we see your supposed US passport senator?

But as you Birthers have endlessly pointed out, the possibility that Barack Obama might have been born in Kenya (which has been repeatedly and firmly debunked, but that didn't stop you knuckleheads) would have disqualified him from being president.

Welp, where are all you douchebags now that you've given a free-range Canadian a win in Iowa? In direct opposition to that glorious document you guys only quote the 2nd amendment from.

Check out the specific wording of Article Two of the Constitution:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States

I don't think there is any more obvious interpretation of this article except to agree that should one be born on foreign soil, they are ineligible for the office of the President. Sorry, but that's the rules.

Nice try Ted. Now get your dirty ass back over the border to Calgary.