PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Weblog

April 30, 2008

Best Banana in a Small Bunch?

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 7:37 pm
Tags: , ,

In NPR’s Political Junkie blog today, Ken Rudin describes Bill Clinton as “Probably the most popular Democratic president since JFK”.

Uh, that means he’s the most popular of 3. And considering that one was the one who prolonged Vietnam and the other had a far more successful post-Presidency (at least until recently) than Presidency, that’s sort of faint praise, isn’t it?

The 330 Project: 15/75

Ice Cream News

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 7:36 pm
Tags: ,

We here at PavCo Multimedia Synergistics are pleased to announce the acquisition of the Polar Bare ice cream shops, in which all of the counter girls scoop your cones wearing bikinis. In the interest of gender equality, we tried having the male employees dress in speedos, but the chilling effect somehow wasn’t the same.

Anyway…

To celebrate our acquisition, all of our locations will be waiving the St. Louis County Special Ice Cream Excise (SPICE) tax. This quarter-cent sales tax would end up saving the average family of consumers approximately $3 over the course of the summer, but our advertising won’t mention that. We’ll only tell you that we’re offering you relief on the high cost of ice cream during the hot summer months, when consumption is up. We also won’t mention that we don’t have the power to actually not charge you the tax. And since the tax doesn’t actually go into our profits, but into the St. Louis County Deserts and Confections Fund, we’re also not going to mention that that fund will be short a good percentage of its annual budget, which covers not only ice cream, but pies and cakes as well. And if anyone brings it up, we’ll just remind you that we’re doing it for you.

Our second-nearest competitors, the Fully Clothed Ice Cream Company, is going to also waive the SPICE tax (which they also don’t have the power to do), but they’re going to make up the funds to the Confections Fund by taxing the ice cream companies (which they also don’t have the power to do, and which the people who do have the power to do have shown an unwillingness in the past to do). After all, it’s more important that you have that $3 in your pocket than that we have cake and ice cream, isn’t it? At least Fully Clothed and Polar Bare agree that it’s all about you.

Our nearest competitor, Dressed for the Weather Frozen Custard, isn’t about you, though. They’re hung up on the fact that FCICC and PB can’t actually arbitrarily deliver what we’ve promised, and that our actions will provide only token relief to your pocketbooks, while a high probability exists that, in the long run, our actions will drive up the price of ice cream. Dressed actually tried this on a smaller scale a number of years ago, and saw that it doesn’t work too well. But, while our advertising (and that of Fully Clothed) has consistently made the point that Dressed is lacking in meaningful experience, we’re just going to totally discount his actual in this case. Because this is all about YOU.

And by you, we mean getting you to vote for us for Most Popular Ice Cream Parlor. But of course, we won’t say that. We’ll just shorten it and say it’s about you.

Because it’s certainly not about a $28 savings on gasoline over the course of the summer.

The 330 Project: 14/74

Comic Book Spoiler

Filed under: Comics — CPav @ 7:34 pm
Tags: , ,

The New York Daily News has a spoiler for today’s DC Universe 0 comic book. It’s probably the biggest event to hit DC Comics in decades, so don’t read it if you don’t want to know.

The 300 Project: 13/73

April 25, 2008

One More Thought on the Popular Vote

Another quick thought on the whole “disenfranchising voters” turnabout by the Clinton campaign (which I wrote about last night):

If Senator Clinton is unsuccessful in her efforts to have all the Michigan votes that she gained seated, with none of the Undecideds going to Senator Obama, and unable to overtake him in the pledged delegate count (and it appears that this will be the case) and, more importantly, the popular vote, then the argument she will be making to the super delegates will run precisely counter to the argument she’s making now, regarding Michigan: She will argue that the popular vote should not be the determining factor, and she should be named the party’s candidate for the good of the party.

I hope I’m wrong, but it appears that Senator Clinton’s devotion to the voice of the people extends only so far as the majority of the people are calling her name.

(For the record, my prediction is that the DNC will seat half of the Florida delegates, proportional to the primary vote, and split Michigan 50/50 for Clinton and Obama.)

The 300 Project: 12/72

April 24, 2008

Pennsylvania Voters Speak (pt 2)

So I started to do an extended post about a fictional Diet Coke survey, in which Coke Zero kicked Diet Coke’s butt in taste tests, so Diet Coke insists on including the results from a location in which only Diet Coke was available to sample, but both times I tried to write it up, I got bored about halfway through. And if I’m bored with my humor, I can only imagine what it would have been like for you.

And no, I don’t have any actual Pennsylvania voters speaking this time, but one of the gossip blogs I frequent does a “Random Photos Part One” post every day, and it drives me nuts that there’s never a “pt 2”. So here you have mine.

After the dust settled in PA, Obama’s camp commented on the fact that Clinton was always favored there, and she really hadn’t made any real inroads into his lead in delegates and popular vote, and Clinton said that this was just more proof that Obama couldn’t close the deal and win big states. Who knew?

So now it’s on to Indiana and North Carolina which, if it breaks the way it’s expected, will end Clinton’s claims that Obama can’t win large states.

My friend Mike Wallack has posted his account of seeing Hillary Clinton speak in his beloved Indianapolis on his blog.

With the math becoming more and more bleak for Clinton to overtake Obama in the delegate count, she’s expressing the opinion that pledged delegates aren’t actually pledged, and are free to change their minds. Sort of like Bill Murray in Ghostbusters — “It’s not really a rule, more like a guideline.”

But changing the rules midstream is becoming a Clinton campaign tactic. When the Democratic National Committee told Michigan and Florida that if they insisted on having their primaries before February 5, they wouldn’t count, Senator Clinton did not argue that doing this would disenfranchise the voters. All of the Democratic candidates pledged not to campaign in either state, and Obama went so far as to have his name removed from the Michigan ballot. At the time, Clinton was the presumptive Democratic nominee, so agreeing with the Party that the votes shouldn’t count was pretty much a no-brainer.

Then something happened. The presumption went away. The destined Democratic nominee was suddenly not looking so destined. So those votes, which would have been seen as icing on the cake back in August, are now meat and potatoes. So suddenly, Senator Clinton is a fervent believer that every vote needs to be counted (the phrase “every sperm is sacred” from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life comes to mind for some totally no sequitur reason). Of course, those Michigan voters that showed up intending to vote for Senator Obama? His name wasn’t on the ballot, so those “Undecided” votes don’t count. Evidently, it’s crucial to count every vote, just not every vote.

The 300 Project: 11/71

April 22, 2008

Pennsylvania Voters Speak (pt 1)

I have, for quite some time now, been mulling over Barack Obama’s “bitter and clinging” comments, which have been beaten to death by the media and both Hillary Clinton and John McCain.  In preparing, I asked two friends, married couple and Pennsylvania residents Charlotte McDivitt and Eric Kaun, for  their opinions, and whether or not they experienced or witnessed any of the outrage that Clinton and McCain were expressing on behalf of the voters.  While both were quick to disavow their credentials to speak to the issue, I disagree, and present to you the essence of their responses.

Charlotte answered first:

I have heard the comments and really don’t feel offended.  His assessment of small towns in America feeling “bitter” and turning to guns, religion and xenophobia is a fairly accurate call.  Many of the people I know who have guns are republicans.  Many of the more “faithful” people I know vote republican.  Many of the most rebel-rousing people I know who hate or fear illegals are republicans.  Not a surprise, much of Pennsylvania is republican.  Did he lose votes, maybe, but I would argue he never had theirs to begin with.  Pennsylvania, specifically has one of the oldest populations in the country.  The average age here seems to be 3 days dead.

In the 70s and 80s, we were blue collar and lost those jobs.  Our younger generations left in droves for better jobs in bigger cities.  Those of us who are still Pittsburghers can point out specific changes made in the city, county, state over the last 25 to 30 years.  The people still here are “bitter”.  We are bitter that mines and mills closed by the dozens because in a global market, we were unable to compete.  We were overpaid for our jobs and yet we wouldn’t support ourselves, opting for new and shinty and cheaper imported goods.  We all had to have the latest and greatest while paying least price.  We “wal-marted” ourselves into this situation.  We had quality steel, but the prices were huge because our wages were huge.  Japan came in with an abundant and eager workforce which could undercut the price of steel and we didn’t care that it had poor quality control.

With loss of jobs and young people, Pittsburgh then turned to sweetening deals for white collar businesses to establish here.  It worked, although that was a long haul because we had a loss of young and educated people here, so many of the early white collar jobs went to people like Eric, out-of-towners who had the education and needed a job.  These imported people created some more bitterness among the mature population, and caused a “backlash” of sorts as we found many of these imported young people leaving because they can’t find late night nightclubs or places young people want to frequent.

The 90s was a transitional period when white collar began making headway in this blue collar city.  Pennsylvania is a largely mature to old population that votes republican whether it is a good idea or not because they don’t care for change.  We’ve seen a lot of change over the last 30 years and most of it went sour.  Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are the two large cities with more liberal people living in them, but that leaves a lot of empty space for republicans to continue to spread and hate and fear, we call that section, “Pennsyltuckey” around here.

Of the people Eric and I know, better educated people tend to live in the city and are liberals.  There are exceptions to that.  I would say that most of those people are smart enough to listen to the man’s speech, not just a sound byte and vote accordingly.

We have poor options, as always, for President.  A war hero who was despised by his party until he did his “mea culpa” enough to be tolerated.  A woman despised by most women because she is a foreigner to most women – allows or encourages her husband to cheat.  A man of color who seems to be reasonable, in a fairly intolerant America.  Who will win?  I suspect Hillary will take the nomination and McCain will win the Presidency.

My wish is that voters would pay attention to local elections as much, or more than national, but that is a grasp.

Eric followed:

There’s no way I can answer better than that… and I sure can’t represent the views of most Pennsylvanians. To quote Ellory Schempp (whose court case as a teenager got mandatory Bible reading thrown out of classrooms – born near Philadelphia, worked at Univ-Pitt for a while): “Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between.” That may, of course, be true of most states – Wisconsin doesn’t even have a major city, and is certainly 90% hick, though its history is more progressive in general.

Accusations of “elitism” and “arrogance” frequently amuse me, especially given the governing record of the “regular guy” you’d “want to have a beer with.”  Who the ***k cares whether you can have a beer with the president? That’s a valid criterion? I heard Republican co-workers actually say that. (side note: The Onion has a terrific article about this: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/42590)

I’ve also lost track of some of the campaign, because I’m moderately bored. I found no substantial difference between the two candidates in debate transcripts (to help offset Obama’s rhetorical advantage) – I don’t believe there’s a real ‘substance gap’ there. And there’s no way on earth I’ll vote another Republican into office (even McCain, the least offensive of the bunch, though a bit of a flake with some bright spots), given the current composition of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. So either Hilary or Obama will get my vote, at least until the mean age of the court dips below 102 or whatever it is.

Anyway: his comments could certainly have been taken out of context, but don’t say anything incorrect on their own. Of course people get bitter. Overall American military and economic prowess naturally create some degree of entitlement, and when that’s yanked away, it’s time to turn back to “what made America great”: God and guns. Or at least to get the dirty immigrants out. Knee-jerk stuff, part and parcel of human nature, though thankfully in this country we don’t actually start slaughtering each other like in some other countries. Thankfully, the religion part has been largely secularized out of our national psyche – secularism being the true foundation of our success – so it’s usually lip service to whatever portion of the Bible one happens to remember and like, rather than faithful adherence to the entire book.

I think, though, that what makes people bitter is the gulf between rich and poor – or corporations and workers – in a democratic society. The gap between promise and reality is large and getting larger, though again we don’t suffer the parade of horrific dictators and deep-seated ethnic bloodshed of some nations…

And there you have it.  I want to let their words stand.  I’ll offer some thoughts on the results of the primary tonight.

<font size=-4>The 300 Project:  10/70</font>

Democratic Cage Match

Senators John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton appeared on last night’s World Wrestling Entertainment television show. I don’t know how it went, given my previous post on not watching tv, and my hopefully previously demonstrated taste, but I received a report that all three gave speeches (probably just taped greetings), and that Obama’s was most impressive, and McCain’s the least. Of course, I’m guessing that now new policy initiatives were announced.

Today is the Pennsylvania primary, something that both Obama and Clinton have been working toward for the last month or so. It’s been nasty, it’s been negative, and it more than likely won’t prove anything.

Unless the voters of Pennsylvania do something totally unexpected and hand Obama the state, the talking points have already been established:

  • The Obama camp will say that the loss wasn’t unexpected, that Clinton was always expected to win the state, and that Obama still leads in the popular vote and the delegate count. If Obama comes within 5 points or so, it will be a moral victory, though no one will say that outright.
  • The Clinton camp will use their victory in Pennsylvania to further their claims that Obama can’t win in large states. I’m not sure how this argument makes sense, since he’s not campaigning in those large states against John McCain, he’s campaigning against Hillary Clinton, another Democrat, and McCain is currently unopposed (more or less), so there’s no real imperative for Republicans to show up to vote. And Pennsylvania isn’t a state either of the Democrats will be expected to win in November.

The only way this ends well is if the voters of Pennsylvania put an end to it now and choose Obama, but even that won’t guarantee Clinton’s exit from the race. I just get the feeling that she’s in this until someone locks her in her hotel room and won’t let her out to campaign.

And am I the only one who thinks that the devil-may-care quality that used to make Bill Clinton somewhat endearing has devolved into a smugness that’s just really irritating?

The 300 Project: 9/69

April 21, 2008

Turn it Off! TURN IT OFF!!!!

Filed under: General,TV — CPav @ 7:52 pm
Tags: , ,

When Spawnette of PavCo came home a few weeks ago with news of her latest school project, participating in Turn it Off Week, it was met with mixed reactions here at PavCo world headquarters. I was on board (I try to be as supportive as possible, especially if I don’t have to get off the couch), but Mrs. PavCo pointed out that, given her ongoing health issues, she couldn’t guarantee that she would be in a position to participate. That, and she just loves her some Judge Judy. The remainder of the Board of Directors, Spawn 1 and Spawn 2, issued eloquent dissertations on the hollowness of flashy but meaningless gestures and the increasing futility of “turning off” in the modern technological world. Alright. What they actually did is snort and say “Yeah, right.” But a CEO can dream.

So it’s me and Spawnette. No television or video games (console or computer-based) from midnight this morning through midnight on Sunday. We can (obviously) use the computer to blog, or read headlines. She has a limited number of school-related web sites that she can play certain games on, but other than that, no games or video.

I figured it would be a snap. Then I looked at the calendar and, more important, the tv schedule. The return of Robin Sparkles on How I Met Your Mother. The return of Lost on Thursday. The Pennsylvania primary fight tomorrow night. Despair flashed through me. However would I persevere?

Then I looked at the bright, upturned face of my youngest child, and knew that I could soldier on. If she could do it, I could do it. After all, we’re all in this together, all the generations. And we’ll get through it together. She will be my rock, my strength, my touchstone.

Actually, she’ll be the death of me; all she’s done so far is complain (when she wasn’t brooding on the swingset or helping the neighbors retrieve a wayward dog), and it hasn’t even been one full day yet. But you know what I said about the dreams of a CEO…

The 300 Project: 8/68

April 19, 2008

To Don’t List

Filed under: General,Politics — CPav @ 9:47 am
Tags: , , , ,

“A former pentagon official said this week that before the start of the war in Iraq, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave the Bush administration a “list of horribles”, things he believed could go wrong. Which the Bush administration mistook for a “to do” list.”

–Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update

(The list actually exists, and its history and the administration’s response is detailed in an excerpt here, from War and Decision by Douglas Feith. In a footnote, it is noted that a similar list could have been drafted with the “horribles” which might result from Saddam Hussein staying in power.)

The 300 Project: 7/67

Revisiting Today in the Past

I’ve been stewing over some political stuff, which I’ll post either this weekend or Monday, but this morning web siteBoingBoing has links to two very clever blog posts, which posit what modern works/events might have sounded like in the past:

The 300 Project: 6/66

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