April 27, 2007
Democratic Hopefuls Round First Turn, Founder on Dry Track
These are going to be some fun primaries. I didn't get to watch the Democratic Party's best and brightest (if you count hair) go at it last night, even after good advice.
I did catch alice's roundup, and it was slightly exasperating. This isn't going well, unless you're one who can park your hopes and dreams on that yearling, Barack Obama.
Two and a half minutes can be a long, long time.
April 25, 2007
"A surging Fred..."
New Hampshire is a must win for Thompson. If he wins New Hampshire and follows it up with a win in South Carolina, the momentum and his media presence will carry him through.
From the comments at KNS: "Family and Friends in the Palmeto State tell me the excitement over Fred is growing fast."
Make sure to also read Mark Rogers' synopsis in the comments at Volunteer Voters.
Me, I'm still trying to figure out the Democrats, who seem to be several different parties right now; and whatever happened to Unity08? Are they still around?
This is Home, This is Main Street
City struggles to find its true identity
What makes a city attractive? Notwithstanding the scads of papers and books that exist on the subject, I think we have a case study right here.
Whether you attribute them to a supreme designer or a happy accident, the natural features here would seem advantageous. The weather can be very muggy and full of bugs, but that’s true of a lot of places. There was a manufacturing base that has left only its toxic residue, but we’re slowly catching up to the times and going high-tech. In spite of all these things giving it a leg up, however, Chattanooga’s story continues to be underlined by an internal struggle over its identity.
The last mayoral election seemed to pour salt into our old wound, and those flyers about “the power structure” played a key part. I don’t want to come off as unfairly critical of the current administration, but I would encourage you to reflect on what the winning team has delivered so far. The cry went up, and we voted against the perceived “elite.” But what have the rest of us gained from that decision? Better, safer, more prosperous neighborhoods? Get back to me when you find them.
The local media reported not too long ago that well-known (or infamous, depending on your outlook) developer Ken Hayes is relocating from one of the mountains to Main Street, Chattanooga, USA. Hays is just one notable of quite a few who are moving into and revitalizing this long-dormant area. I’m glad to see it. Locally owned small businesses are springing up to support the new residences. In the face of objections from well-meaning but, in my view, nearsighted naysayers, the streets are being beautified. The vision that transformed the waterfront can and should be applied elsewhere, even if individuals find a way to profit from its application.
A healthy Main Street, starting with the section from Finley Stadium to Central Avenue, but with a long-term goal of reaching Dodds Avenue, would be a big part of making our city welcoming to outsiders; but even more importantly, it would perhaps make us prouder to identify with this place and call it home.
Looser liquor laws licked by lobbyist
Two related bills that would have opened liquor stores on Sundays and allowed wine to be sold in grocery stores were defeated in committee. Score two more for the “Golden Goose,” as the state’s most famous liquor lobbyist is known. I guess if you’re out there catering a wedding or something on a Sunday, and you run low on wine, you’ll have to just round up some water and see if you can call in a favor; else you’re not going to serve any additional glasses. And we can forget about good grocers like Trader Joe’s opening any stores here, as Nashville blogger Sean Braisted has pointed out.
We can always try again next year.
April 24, 2007
No internet connection
Our high-dollar, high-speed internet connection has been down since sometime yesterday. Every time I call 1-888-COMCAST, I get a ways into the menu, and then they hang up on me!
And to think, I halfway defended them (not really) in their battle against AT&T.
Like I said then, we do need more competition, but not WORSE service and coverage. Competitors should be able to approach local governments and offer better services to consumers.
I'll be back when I can..
April 22, 2007
Drink Your Vegetables
Sunday, late morning — it's the perfect time for a Bloody Mary. Just what constitutes this popular beverage is worthy of some debate, but here's my take on it:
- Start with a potato vodka. Yes, they can be a little sweeter, and thus good for White Russians and such, but in a Bloody Mary this manifests itself as mildness. You don't want a harsh liquor this early in the day. I use Monopolowa, mainly because its price is so comparatively low for a very decent product.
- I've never done this, but I am just speculating that fresh-grated horseradish is the ticket. If you don't have that, then a packaged version such as Heluva Good works pretty well. (Someone once shockingly questioned me about adding horseradish to this drink, but they were thinking of horseradish-flavored mayonnaise, like the packets at Arby's, or something found in the condiment aisle. Don't mistake this for actual horseradish, okay? These are two very different things.)
- Try Spicy V8 instead of plain tomato juice. The additional vegetable juices really fill out the flavor, and the spices mean less hot sauce is needed, thereby reducing the vinegar content.
- I'll leave the brand of Worcestershire sauce up to you, but Lea & Perrins is the typically accepted choice.
- I buy the store brand of what's essentially original Tabasco.
- A little bit of celery salt cuts the bitterness of horseradish, but don't use too much!
- Fresh-ground black pepper. Enough said.
- This last one is so critical that if you don't have it, you'd be better off just foregoing the entire beverage. You must squeeze a healthy-sized wedge of fresh lime into the drink. It adds so much sparkle and mouth-watering goodness, it's foolhardy to omit.
- Almost forgot. Garnish with a leafy celery stalk.
What about proportions? Well, I can't give you all the information, now, can I? Go, experiment for yourself, and let me know the outcome. Also, this recipe is free of any flavors from the sea, such as clam juice. On occasion I like to have an ocean-tinged version. And if you're short on time and/or ingredients, Southeastern Salvage here in Chattanooga sometimes carries a bottled mix that is pretty good. You'd want to add the fresh black pepper and lime juice, even still.
Drink responsibly: use quality ingredients, care in mixing, and the proper containers; and don't overdo it.
April 20, 2007
I was havin' a High Time, livin' the good life
From Chattanoogan.com: "Officer David Cowan said Watkins was hiding in a corner at Lakeside Academy eating honey buns and ice cream and smoking a cigar."
Fred Bumper Sticker
A small, square sticker on the window of a car parked at a local private high school tonight caught my eye. It read,
There's a rally next weekend. Will you be there? I'm not trying to endorse Fred Thompson for President, but I sure am curious about this whole thing.
There is also a website called www.GrassrootsVoter.com that is gathering support for Thompson.
April 18, 2007
There is such a thing as "having too much on the plate." I'm currently learning about the fact that some things get pushed off when it comes down to choices. Regrettably, this website is the cranberry sauce staining the pretty tablecloth as I take care of the meat and potatoes.
If you'll be patient with me, I'll be patient with this situation and get back to some halfway regular blogging before you know it.
My heart goes out to the families of those killed in Blacksburg the other day, and to the families of those killed in and around Baghdad every day. Will everyone please just stop killing? I know it's too much to ask, but I'm serious nonetheless.
April 11, 2007
Guard Your Local Cable Franchise Like It’s Your Remote
I want competition as much as the next guy, but not at this cost
I noticed the ads for “cable” first. Cable is great, they preened. I scratched my head, and flipped to a different cable channel. It’s not a new concept. So why the big advertising buy? Why now? Some time before I started seeing opposing spots, for “the new AT&T,” I read about legislation that would introduce the beautiful Tennessee countryside — all of it — to hi-speed internet. Hmm. Expand broadband access. Uncle Cable and Ms. Bell duel in the public square. Slowly, and with generous assistance from folks like R. Neal at KnoxViews.com, these ideas began to connect.
In the intervening two or so months, a piece of legislation that would make cable franchises statewide has seen a modest increase in media coverage, and surely no abatement in the ad war over its perceived impacts. Hopefully I’m not bringing up something new. However, I still sense that the urge to act on this issue is rather sparsely distributed among us — and, like Mr. Neal, that the importance of broadband access rivals that of most major 20th-century technological expansions.
This all could have started somewhere around the second half of the previous decade; however, the market hadn’t matured as rapidly as had some of the technology. That has now changed. There are considerably fewer people who can’t turn on a computer today than there were in 1995. Now that mergers and acquisitions have streamlined the revenue, and Granny wants a MySpace page, there is real money ahead, and the cable and telephone industries are locked in a fierce struggle over the profits.
With whose side should the average consumer align? Which of these monoliths has your interests in mind? I think there is a clear answer to the first question, but it has nothing to do with the probable answer to the second. We get there by asking “who else wants the same thing?” AT&T seems to be by itself. Cable, on the other hand, has wide support among local governments across the state, op-ed authors, and citizen journalists. I’ve lost count of the number of resolutions passed by counties and municipalities against a statewide franchise, because it strips their ability to ensure distribution and infrastructure as seen fit locally. Many have snickered about the revenue angle; but all you have to do is tell me that PEG broadcasts (er, that’s Public, Education and Government, like cable channel 3 here) are threatened, not to mention that service quality standards would be loosened (gasp), to get me on the hunt for this beast.
I hope you’ve contacted your Representative and Senator about this as well. The other thing to keep in mind is that committees determine the destiny of a bill pretty early on. The Senate version of the anti-local control bill (SB1933) is on the calendar this week in the Commerce, Labor & Agriculture Committee. Since the scheduled hearing precedes our publication date, I won’t list the specific Senators that committee comprises here. I do encourage readers to find out the current status of SB1933 and its House companion, HB1421; and, unless the proposals have been successfully dispatched, directly engage the General Assembly with your input to whatever forum will hear them next.
[Cross-posted from the Pulse.]
April 09, 2007
City, State, Nation - Things Are Moving and Shaking
The Littlefield administration lost a key member Friday with the resignation of Communications Director Michelle Michaud. She cited the typical "more time with family" reason given when public officials step down, but in this case it is a plausible one. Ms. Michaud made it clear that she would back a seemingly inevitable run for re-election by the Mayor.
My luck is running out. I'm about to live in a state with toll roads. Please say it's not true. In the same daily brief linked above, Groves reminds us that the John Ford trial started.
The 10,000 Monkeys typed some thoughts on the Attorney General mess.
I just saw a commercial that had Phil Bredesen standing next to Jerry Cooper's car and talking about DUI. Or, well, it was an SUV, anyway.
The Fredheads are multiplying.
April 03, 2007
Weighing Your Vote
Consider the following: "A presidential vote cast in Wyoming [...] has nearly four times the value of a vote in California." (TX: KV)
The debate over the Electoral College's relevance is back, and it comes earlier than ever this time around (hey, we have a theme going). I can see why the College was established, and I recognize the worthiness of only allowing change by constitutional amendment; but I have sometimes wondered if the world is not so different now as to make us examine our institutions under the unkind light of practicality. It's just something to think about.
I also like the way some states split their electoral votes in national popular elections, though I think an end to gerrymandering would make that method more useful, if congressional districts are the breakdown.
Your vote counts as one, no matter what, so always use it; but there are circumstances wherein one might want to feel like the vote weighs a little closer to standard.
April 01, 2007
See You at the Movies
Effective as soon as possible, I will be relocating to Vancouver, B.C. I have taken a job with a film production company there, and even though it is far away from loved ones, the offer was generous enough to ensure the opportunity for modest amounts of travel back and forth.
Specifically, I will be working in the sound design division, which oversees all of the audio aspects of the process. I'm very excited by this opportunity, as it is a fortuitous chance to put my musical talents & training, my business experience, and my love of gadgets all together with my need to fund the household.
Emigration is not being considered at this time, in case you're wondering. The Canadian government has a whole group of nice people whose job it is to convince me otherwise, though, so we'll see what happens.
I look forward to keeping up with my adopted hometown of Chattanooga, and the great state of Tennessee, from the temperate, if damp, climate of British Columbia.
Oh, wait. That's what you say to me.