Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

Thanksgiving this year, well, has been different.

My son has been sick, and didn't want to make the trip down with us. So we came down ourselves after making sure that he was supplied with soup, crackers, telephone numbers, etc. He knows how to take care of himself, so that wasn't the concern. After all, he is 18...

We get into Indianapolis last night around 7:30, check into the hotel, and went over to the mother-in-laws. Before anyone dings her, she is one of the sweetest persons I have ever known. Everything is fine, until...

My wife wakes up, and wouldn't you know it, is sick. On Thanksgiving day, after 6 hours on the road, a night in a hotel, and my wife is sick, sick, sick. Not the Thanksgiving we were wanting, nor expecting. You know how hard it is running around Thanksgiving morning trying to find medicine, crackers, Gatorade, etc.?

Finally, she feels better to make it over to her mom's, and we have a decent dinner, although she is not feeling like eating much. After dinner, she sleeps the rest of the afternoon. Makes for an interesting Thanksgiving, that's for sure!

We're now back at the hotel, wife is feeling better & ready to sack out. Hopefully, I'll stay well, at least enough until we get back to Michigan tomorrow.

Hope that everyone has experienced a Happy Thanksgiving, and has enough turkey for a week's worth of turkey sandwiches!

Monday, November 20, 2006

November 06 Drive By Blogging

Haven't done one of these for a while. Just nothing really jumping out at me to pound on in depth, so just a little something to write (and think!) about.

First of all, I would like to wish everyone (all 6 1/2 readers of this blog) a Happy Thanksgiving. Hope everyone arrives at their respective feeding station (i.e., relative's house) safely, not make an obvious pig of themselves, and return home stuffed but not mounted. At least that's my plan (sorry, Teresa - looks like I'll be in Indianapolis too...)

Have you noticed the Democrats toning down themselves? Now it looks like they are not going to proceed with impeachment hearings, raising taxes, repealing the Patriot Act, NSA listening policies, and pulling the troops out immediately. Have they come to their senses, or is it just politics as usual, waiting to slip a fast one in without anyone noticing? I hope that the moderation is not an act, and that they will do the right things for the country (and us!).

The item that's still on my political radar is Pelosi trying to get an impeached judge (charged with soliciting a bribe) appointed head of the intelligence committees. That just doesn't make sense, especially since the Dems ran on a platform of "hate Bush because he and his administration are corrupt," and yet want this bozo in one of the most sensitive positions in government. Makes you wonder if someone offers this guy a big enough bribe that he would give up everything. But then again, all they would have to do is look at the New York Slime to find out the latest sensitive information that we don't want the bad guys to know...

Has anyone noticed that the figures for the economy are being reported in a better light than before the election? I have, and it just indicates to me that the media is biased toward one political party. What really bothers me about this is that freedom of the press was supposed to provide an independent but fair reporting of events. Editorials belong on the opinion page, not the whole damn newspaper (or TV/radio news broadcast). While censorship to keep things balanced is never a good thing, I am happy that there are other news sources out there that slant things the other way to keep things balanced out.

John Kerry thinks that he is still a contender for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination dispite his latest episode of foot in mouth disease. John, hang it up - HRC will cut your throat before that happens. Think "Manchurian Candidate" with one of your past associates from Vietnam (you were there, right?), and you should get the general idea.

And did you see that HRC's blast from the past health care plan got axed by the Dems? Surprising to me, but then again, they might want to save it for HRC's run for the Presidency. At least that's my take on it.

I'm going to be doing a little housecleaning over the holidays. First of all, The Stickman Chronicles will be deleted off Blogger. I don't have enough time to write for one blog consistently, much less two. I know that I haven't promoted this blog very well, and for a good reason - just no time to keep it updated. So take a last look before it fades not so gracefully into history. Second, I'll be working on Tom's Common Sense @ Awardspace, trying to get it up to snuff. Please visit there & let me know if you like it or not. Last, there will be one last update to the template on Tom's Common Sense @ Blogger to put a few things into order before the eventual migration to Awardspace (or other spot). This will include (hopefully) some Blogger Beta tags for catagories and an updated index.

UPDATE: Tom's Common Sense @ Awardspace is having problems - just might have to find another host. Anyone out there have any suggestions for a cost effective host? Thanks!

Again, Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dems Next Move

Now that Nancy P. is now the next Speaker of the House, and that the Dems are the majority in the Senate, I'm now concerned that the Dems, especially the more radical ones, will start raising all sorts of finger-pointing and armchair quarterbacking.

The indications are that the Dems will now start an endless barrage of hearings & investigations. That's bad. There are way too many things that need to be taken care of instead of messing around with stupid stuff.

I can see the Dems pushing all the buttons for investigating President Bush for grounds of impeachment. If they start on this "starting the war on Iraq on false pretenses" garbage, I think they should impeach themselves. They saw the same intelligence as Bush, and voted for the war. Many of the complaints that the Dems have with Bush's actions were voted on by them or were established as prior practice by previous presidents. Of course, they are still honked off about Clinton's impeachment hearing for perjury, but that's a different argument.

The bottom line for this is that the Dems have a real chance to show that they are better than the Republicans, but I think they are going to blow it with an insane and useless witch-hunt. They really didn't have anything to run on this past election except the "hate Bush" mantra. Too bad they didn't have any more substance to run on besides that.

The next couple of years will be interesting to say the least. Politicians on both sides of the aisle will be positioning themselves for a run at the Presidency. We'll see if the Dems can run on anything besides the "hate Bush" in a presidential campaign in which a person named Bush won't be on the ballot.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dems Hate Hillary?

Now that the shouting about the midterm elections is just about over, the speculation of who the next Democratic Presidential candidate is now starting to hit the pundit airwaves.

Despite what the Dems say, Hillary Clinton (now labeled HRC because I just hate typing that name) is a divisive force. That’s right, divisive - you either love HRC or you hate her, and there just doesn’t seem to be a middle ground from what I’ve heard. As an example, here’s something that I’ve been saving for some time:

Hatin’ on Hillary: N.H. Dems lambaste Clinton By Brett Arends Boston Herald Business Columnist Monday, August 7, 2006 - Updated: 09:36 AM EST

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Dick Bennett has been polling New Hampshire voters for 30 years. And he’s never seen anything like it.

“Lying b**** . . . shrew . . . Machiavellian . . . evil, power-mad witch . . . the ultimate self-serving politician.”

No prizes for guessing which presidential front-runner drew these remarks in focus groups.

But these weren’t Republicans talking about Hillary Clinton. They weren’t even independents.

These were ordinary, grass-roots Democrats. People who identified themselves as “likely” voters in the pivotal state’s Democratic primary. And, behind closed doors, this is what nearly half of them are saying.

“I was amazed,” says Bennett. “I thought there might be some negatives, but I didn’t know it would be as strong as this. It’s stunning, the similarities between the Republicans and the Democrats, the comments they have about her.”

Bennett runs American Research Group Inc., a highly regarded, independent polling company based in Manchester, N.H. He’s been conducting voter surveys there since 1976. The polls are financed by subscribers and corporate sponsors.

He has so far recruited 410 likely voters in the 2008 Democratic primary, and sat down with them privately in small groups to find out what they really think about the candidates and the issues.

His conclusion? “Forty-five percent of the Democrats are just as negative about her as Republicans are. More Republicans dislike her, but the Democrats dislike her in the same way.”

Hillary’s growing brain trust in the party’s upper reaches already knows she has high “negatives” among ordinary Democrats. They think she can win those voters over with the right strategy and message.

But they should get out of D.C., New York and L.A. more often, and visit grassroots members.

Because we’re not talking about “soft” negatives like, say, “out of touch” or “arrogant.”

We’re talking: “Criminal . . . megalomaniac . . . fraud . . . dangerous . . . devil incarnate . . . satanic . . . power freak.”


And: “Political wh***.”

(Note: I don’t usually like reporting such personal remarks, but in this case you can hardly understand the situation without them. I have no strong personal feelings about the senator.)

There are caveats. Any survey can be inaccurate or misleading. And 55 percent of ARG’s sample was either neutral or positive about Sen. Clinton. Thirty-two percent currently say they plan to vote for her in the primary.

But Bennett says he’s never before seen so many N.H. voters show so much hatred toward a member of their own party. He’s never even seen anything close.

He believes top national Democrats are missing this grassroots intensity. Instead, he suspects, they are blinded by poll numbers, which give Hillary a big early lead based on her name recognition.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, agrees.

“There is far more anti-Hillary sentiment in the Democratic Party than the pollsters understand,” he says. In the race for the nomination, “she is ripe for plucking,” he says.

Sen. Clinton’s team could not be reached for comment.

New Hampshire is small, but it’s a bellwether state with clout.

Its primary probably holds the key to the Democratic nomination. And New Hampshire, alone, swung from Bush to Kerry in ’04.

It’s hard to see any Democrat winning the White House without carrying the state in the presidential election. And it’s hard, right now, to see Hillary carrying the state.

New Blog Created

Well, I've created another blog at this location:

The plan is to dual post at both this blog and the one listed above until next year. That will give me time to shake out the bugs, and review any comments anyone has on this blog and the new one.

Visit the new blog & let me know what you think!

Thanks, Tom

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Blogger Beta Woes

Have you ever thought that you were making things better and then find out that all you did was shoot yourself in the foot? Yep, I did that here on this blog...

Blogger Beta is supposed to be better in the long run, but that's to be seen. Yes, it lets you have "labels" for you to search & categorize your posts for easier searching (for you & me), but I've discovered a few "uh-oh"s along the way.

For those of you who use Haloscan & like the feature that Haloscan has of noting which comment goes with which post by title, that feature will not work when you've changed to Blogger Beta (BB). That's because that BB uses a Google account password, and it just can't navigate through to the blog's postings. I'm sure someone will eventually figure out how to wade through it, but it's a pain for the moment.

Another item that bugs me that's related to the above is being able to write posts offline & post them from an editor such as w.Blogger. Again, the Google account blocks that as well. Sure, I can write stuff, log into BB, and post it using the editor, but that's just a pain. And emailing posts is not really an option - the posts could take up to a day to show up. Frustrating, it is...

I'm sure that someone way smarter than me will be able to figure this out, but I'm really starting to look seriously about moving Tom's Common Sense to another system. Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to export the posts to another location because Blogger doesn't have an export function, nor with the Google account stuff in place, the usual export/import functions in systems like Wordpress will not work.

Of course, this was all done to increase security of the system, and improve it. And by the way, the Blogger accounts will eventually be moved to using Google accounts. In the meantime, I'm just a little upset. Oh well...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

OK, who (or what) did you vote for today? Here are my votes...

I voted for sunshine (got rain), lower taxes (we'll see), and truth (probably not from politicians anytime soon).

What or who I didn't vote for were those politicians that support abortion. I guess you know who I voted for now, don't you?

Enough said...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Michigan Politics

On the eve of the midterm election, I thought it would be interesting to comment on two of the races here in Michigan: The offices of Governor & Senator.

For the office of Governor we have the incumbent, Jennifer Granholm (D), and the challenger, Dick DeVos (R). Granholm's tenure as Governor has seen difficult times as the state's economy has suffered with the woes of the auto industry. DeVos is a multi-millionaire businessman who inherited a family fortune. Both have accused each other of losing jobs, and have taken credit for creating them as well. Damaging to Granholm (in my opinion) is repeated statements of giving her administration time to correct the state's economy, stating that she is "thrilled" at the economic plan's progress when it was tanking, and stating that we "will be blown away" in five years, implying that she needs another term to see the turnaround. DeVos has made some business decisions that cost Michigan jobs while running Amway, but seems to have not stepped on too many toes in that regard. The advantage seems to be DeVos, although there has been some serious mud thrown by both candidates.

For a seat in the US Senate we have the incumbent Debbie Stabinow (D) and the challenger, Mike Bouchard (R). Stabinow has been a fixture in the US Senate for a long time. Bouchard has been the Oakland County Sheriff for some time now. Plenty of accusations have been thrown out by both candidates, and plenty of promises. Unfortunately, I really haven't seen a whole lot from Stabinow that I agree with, but then again I'm not exactly thrilled about a politician using the Sheriff's office as a politcal stepping stone.

The polls show almost statistical dead heats for the above races - Granholm leads DeVos by 2%, and Stabinow leads Bouchard by 4%. In my own unscientific and unreliable poll, which consisted of looking at the number of political sign on people's lawns as I drive around Oakland County, I've come up with something slightly different.

In the race for governor, there seems to be more DeVos signs out than Granholm (approximately 60-65% vs 40-35%). In the race for the US Senate, there have been far more Bouchard signs in people's yards vs. just a handfull (10!!!) that I've seen. I only counted 1 yard per sign (in other words, multiple signs in one yard only counted as 1), but that's still a bunch. And no, the size of the sign did not count extra (remember, size doesn't always count!). It will be interesting to see if the sign poll accurately reflects the election results. Of course, milage may vary...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Politicians Are Calling!! The Politicians Are Calling!!

One of the things that I absolutely hate about this election year is the increased number of political phone calls. I don't know about any of you, but I've been getting an average of two phone calls a day for the past two months, and I'm absolutely sick of them. And they have been coming from both political parties.

Almost none of the phone calls have been "nice.", i.e., informative calls. They have mostly been the nasty, negative attack variety. "My opponent voted against you having a job, a car, a dog, and a house with a white picket fence!" Or, "Elect me and I'll stop the corruption in government demonstrated by my opponent!" "My opponent wants to turn your house into the next landfill site (for the public good, of course)!" Is it any wonder that the majority of voters appear to be confused & disgusted with politicians?

The part of these phone calls that just take my breath away is that they almost always state that they have a plan to correct what faults their opponent has with their plan. What's interesting is that they never state what the plan is!! The challengers state that they have a plan to create jobs, reduce unemployment, guarantee healthcare & pensions, and make sure that there's a chicken in every pot, but are always short of how they are going to do that. The incumbents say the same thing. To the challengers - give us details on how you are going to do what you promise. To the incumbents - why haven't you started your plan before now?

What us, the voters, need to realize, is that politicians love to grandstand, puff themselves up, minimize their many faults and maximize their opponents, all for the purpose of getting elected. An earlier post, A Politician's Job, outlines their real priorities.

Now before some of you want to flame me for this statement and defend your favorite elected official, realize that I'm speaking about the majority of politicians, not the few who give a damn & have the personal character, ethics, and guts to stand up for what is right for the public & not put themselves first. Of course, there are very few of them, which makes the following joke almost always true:

How can you tell if a politician is lying? Their lips move...

Perhaps I'm being too hard on our politicians. But then again, they have given all of us on both sides of the aisle plenty of ammunition. Scandals ranging from sexual impropriety to bribes to corruption to dumb statements have been aired by the media (although more for one party than the other). Perhaps we, the voters, should hold our elected officials to higher standards. But then again, who are we kidding? It's as bad or worse as Diogenes looking for a honest man in the world.

The real problem is that politics is a dirty business, and very few upright & honest men are willing to put themselves through the hell that the media & the opposing party dishes out. Thus, let the mudslinging ensue.

In less than a week, we will be exercising our civic duty to go and vote for the candidates of our choice. Whoever wins will be who we are stuck with. All I can ask of anyone reading this post is that you vote your conscience, and not be bound by blind political loyalty. Vote for the person who will get the job done the right way without the BS and hypocrisy.