One Month of Christmas, Day 8

Happy Sunday, December 2nd, 2018. There are 23 days until Christmas. I’m on the way home from dropping my sister back at Philadelphia and just listened to the Sixers win their 17th game. #TrustTheProcess.

Here’s tonight’s random thoughts…

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Wild-Eyed Critics Need to Lay Off of Susan

My new Congresswoman, Susan Wild (D-PA-7) has already run afoul of my “friends” (to be read- lunatic Berners) on the Socialist-Left. Congresswoman Wild did join the Progressive Caucus in the House (which to be fair, isn’t as selective as it once was), but that’s not enough for them. They’re angry she joined the New Democratic Coalition Caucus, or as they call it “The Wall Street Dems” conference.

I voted for Susan in the Fall, but have some misgivings. This isn’t one of them. She didn’t run as an anti-capitalist screecher in the primary or general election. She’s not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and never claimed to be. Her joining an ideologically diverse Caucus is not a bad thing.

I’ve appeared on these types of freaks’ radar before, most notably their anti-Bernie hit list in 2017. Susan, keep doing you. You won doing so.

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LOLOhio State

To hear Ohio State fans tell it today, it’s not a big deal to lose to Purdue by 29, or deserve to lose to Maryland, or to win a crappy conference. To hear the Buckeyes fans tell it, they should be the #3 team in the land, over an undefeated Notre Dame. They look and sound ridiculous.

The Big Ten sucked this year. Wisconsin was trash. I love Penn State, but they weren’t that good. Michigan State was terrible. Michigan was a wildly overrated, poorly prepared team, when it mattered. Ohio State has no signature win, really. They won an overrated conference. They lost by 29 to Purdue. Not only are they not better than Notre Dame, they’re not better than Georgia and Oklahoma.

The committee got it right- but it doesn’t matter. Alabama is going to kill any #4 team that gets in.

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I Was a 41 Fan

I liked George H.W. Bush. I liked him as a young kid. I like him now. In 1992, I forced my Clinton supporting parents to get me a Bush-Quayle sign in 1992 (9 year old me believed in supporting the President). I wrote his White House after the 1992 Election, and got back a photo of him at the Grand Canyon.

I grew to appreciate his Presidency more as the years past. I find some of the far-lefty attack articles on him this week to be beneath the dignity of a response. President Bush 41 had plenty of faults. On the whole, I don’t think he’s on the negative side of the ledger though.

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You Like the NFL for the Reasons I Don’t

I watch the NFL for the same reason I watch cop shows- you can’t take your eyes off a wreck. The NFC stinks. With a win, the Eagles could pull within a half-game of the Wild Card. With another win next week, they could lead the division. The Eagles and Cowboys might both make the playoffs, with like nine wins.

I’m sorry, this slop is trash. I like excellence, not parody. I like the longer term rebuilds in MLB and the NBA. This over-night change crap in the NFL is garbage.

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DC Trip 1 Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow I hit the road to DC, my first of two December trips to the nation’s Capitol. I’ll be doing a Georgetown game, meeting with a couple of Chiefs-of-Staff on the Hill, having a Happy Hour, and having some Russia’s best (vodka). I’m also going to try to get to President Bush’s lying in state. Should be a good trip.

One Month of Christmas, Day 1

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Good evening, it’s Sunday, November 25th, 2018. Today is exactly one month until Christmas, the first day of my month of random thoughts on lots of subjects.

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No, don’t just “stick to baseball.”

Major League Baseball gave money to Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), the appointed Mississippi Senator and neo-Confederate darling. They gave her $5,000 at a recent event, ahead of Tuesday’s run-off election between her and former Congressman and Clinton Administration Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy. The donation itself is not shocking or abnormal, MLB actually has significant federal policy issues that it is engaged in. The donation came ahead of Hyde-Smith’s positive comments about attending a public hanging, or pictures of her in a Confederate hat. MLB has since asked for their money back, joining several corporate titans.

Several national baseball writers have chosen to cover the story. Some of them have even chosen to editorialize on the subject. This has annoyed some sports fans, either because they “don’t want to read about politics,” or because they actually have no issue with Hyde-Smith. They are taking to Twitter and telling writers to “stick to baseball/sports.”

They couldn’t be more wrong.

You have the right to decide you don’t care about MLB aiding a racist Senate candidate. You even have the right to agree with it. You don’t have the right to sweep it under the rug. Major League Baseball wrote a check to a candidate who said she would gladly go to a “public hanging”- as Senator from Mississippi, of all states. She said voter suppression against Democrats, which in Mississippi is almost synonymous with African-Americans, was fine. And now we have pictures of her wearing the Confederate flag. Yes, baseball fans needed to know about the contribution. Then it’s on us to judge it. Fortunately (for whatever reason), MLB did the right thing. The writers were right to put it out there.

Sadly, I think this will all help her win.

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Cash Rules Everything Around Me

The best four college football teams in the country are Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Georgia. I don’t think it’s close after that. Michigan was wildly and ridiculously overrated, and thankfully we won’t have to hear how they are better than Notre Dame anymore, despite losing to Notre Dame.

Unfortunately, Georgia is likely to lose to Alabama in the SEC title game this week, knocking them out of the playoffs, and opening up the fourth spot. This will likely cause a dispute between Oklahoma and Ohio State over who should get in. ESPN and other media outlets will push Ohio State, because Urban Meyer is a big name and Ohio State sells. They will push to jump Ohio State over Oklahoma for beating Michigan and Northwestern. All in the name of money. All to probably lose to Alabama.

Better hope Georgia wins.

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Dwight Howard

Long-time NBA star center Dwight Howard is embroiled in a strange story that involves him being in a “non-traditional” relationship, potential abuse, and a real societal question about men and their sexual identities. I have a feeling this story will get a lot more press in the coming days.

As the story goes, Dwight Howard was involved in a relationship with a person, of whom it is not clear if they are a transgender woman or a homosexual man (from what I’ve read so far, so I’m going to be very careful linguistically). When Howard’s partner found out he was engaging in sexual relations with other people (possibly prostitution, possibly sex parties, maybe even both), they ended the relationship, and Howard apparently threatened them. Then Howard’s pastor apparently tried to catfish this person and offer them money for their silence. There’s a lot to unpack here.

Obviously, there’s a real problem with Howard threatening this person to try and force their silence, and violence towards transexual and homosexual people is a problem in our society. There’s also a real societal problem that Howard felt the need to fear his private life being public. Perhaps the most disappointing thing here is that there are people trolling and mocking this story on Twitter and other social media outlets, reinforcing why people like Howard are so afraid of these kind of stories, and why they then resort to violence against homosexual and transgender people in our society. All of the bad things in this story really find their genesis in our ability to accept that other people are attracted to whoever they are attracted to, it’s all fine if the other person is an adult, and none of this is our business. Quit mocking other people for being who they are. It’s a bad look, for you.

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Putin is a Dirtbag, Reason 7,143

Russia is trying their best to start a war with the Ukraine. They apparently seized Ukrainian Navy ships off the coast of Crimea. Russian Coast Guard boats rammed the ships and took them over.

Basically, Crimea is still in dispute, but both countries had agreed in a 2003 treaty to insure free access for their ships through the Kerch Strait, a narrow body of water that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. Eastern Ukrainian ports rely on that access to get their goods in and out. Russia says the bridge there is under threat from Ukrainian radicals, so they parked a tanker under the bridge and started running inspections.

To be clear, this is Russian aggression. This is a power play by Putin to mess with Kiev, and flex his muscles. Russia is a neo-Soviet Union, and is seeking to assert control over their former “sphere of influence.” They want to cripple the Ukraine’s economy, and force them into concessions. The whole situation is really rather shameful.

10

Dear mother can you hear me laughing? It’s been six whole months since I have left your home. It makes me wonder why I’m still here. For some strange reason it’s now feeling like my home. And I’m never gonna go.

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Ten days. Tonight’s candidate of the night is Claudette Williams. Claudette is an immigrant from Jamaica, a former Sargeant Major in the Army, Mt. Pocono Councilwoman, and mother. She’s running in PA’s 176th House district, nestled in Northeast PA’s Monroe County. It’s a 51% Democratic district that Barack Obama won, but Hillary Clinton did not.

This is the kind of seat we need to win. Claudette is the kind of candidate that we need to elect. Volunteer here. Donate here.

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So I fell asleep last night with the Red Sox set to go up 3-0. Then Ian Kinsler threw a ball away and it’s the Red Sox who need to win game four.

I don’t really love either team. In fact I hope both lose. But they can’t. So let’s hope that the series stays at least competitive.

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GOTV stories from the past- tonight’s story from campaigns past is NJDSC 2012- the coordinated campaign for Bob Menendez. I had Central Jersey for the Menendez Campaign, covering Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, and Somerset Counties, covering the Congressional districts of Frank Pallone and Rush Holt. We won by a large margin, the largest since Bill Bradley in 1984. That’s not the main story though.

The main part of that story that is memorable was the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I never saw destruction like that. Long Branch looked like a bomb dropped there. Our get out the vote plan was wiped out by the unprecedented damage.

The remarkable part was the recovery. We found hundreds, even thousands of paid canvassers on the campus of Rutgers, union canvassers, and even local activists. We sent buses all over the state, turning out voters just days after a catastrophe. The good old days.

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Tonight’s five GOTV songs:

  1. Green Day- Welcome to Paradise
  2. Stevie Wonder- Signed, Sealed, Delivered
  3. The Game, feat. Lil’ Wayne- My Life
  4. The Rolling Stones- Sympathy for the Devil
  5. Foo Fighters- Everlong

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My Senate projections at this point-

  • Current breakdown- GOP 51 Democrats 49
  • Potential Democratic pick-ups, in order of likelihood- Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi
  • Potential Republican pick-ups, in order of likelihood- North Dakota, Missouri, Florida, Indiana, Montana, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania
  • Prediction- Democrats win Nevada. Republicans win North Dakota and Missouri.
  • NEW SENATE- GOP 52 Democrats 48

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Notre Dame stayed undefeated tonight. I am quite happy. I’m unhappy they beat Navy though. I always like Navy- my grandfather was a Korean War Navy vet.

23

Happy Sunday, October 14th, 2018. There are 23 days until the midterm elections. As the time ticks off towards zero, I am reminded that I felt great yet at this point in 2016, so let’s not worry too much about how I *feel.* As for what I see…

Let’s dive into today’s stuff…

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What if I told you a bloodbath might not be coming in the 2018 midterms? I think Democrats are going to win the House, like most people, but we may not get much beyond that. Would you believe me? How big do you think the “Blue Wave” is?

Right now, the Cook Political report says that 16 Republican seats are either likely Democratic or lean Republican. Democrats need just 23 seats to take the House and elect a Speaker. There are 29 Republican seats considered total toss-ups, and 24 that lean Republican, meaning at least 69 Republican seats are in peril right now. If the political winds tip just a bit towards the Democrats, they could have a great, great night and win 250 seats. That’s not necessarily likely though.

What is more likely is a Democratic victory much like 2006- in the 30 seat neighborhood. That would give Democrats a majority, but only with about 225 seats. That’s not a massive majority in the House (like 225-210), and that’s just one chamber. What will happen beyond the House?

The Real Clear Politics projection for the U.S. Senate is R+2 seats. RCP bases it’s projection on an average of the polls. In other words, they have Democrats losing Senate seats. They have Democrats picking up 7 or 8 Governorships, which is valuable, but it’s telling which ones they don’t have Democrats picking up- blue states like Massachusetts and Maryland, or “popular” ones among the Democratic base like Georgia, or worse yet, ones that really should have been ripe for the picking like Nevada. It’s worth noting that the places Democrats lead for pick-ups, like Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and even Michigan, are states where establishment, mainstream candidates won the primaries.

I expect Democrats to pick up several state legislatures and Governor’s mansions on election night, and to win the House. I’m less confident that Democrats will be celebrating massive majorities, and wins by candidates like Beto O’Rourke. When this is done, we will need to take stock of how much money and energy we wasted to appease our “Resistance.”

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I’ve been telling anyone who will listen for a few weeks that the Astros are going to repeat, whether any of us like that or not. Last night they handled the Red Sox, 7-2 at Fenway. Houston is just a next level team, and expecting anyone to stop their repeat seems futile to me.

The other thing that seems futile to me is expecting the National League/JV League champ to compete either. If Oakland or Cleveland, two teams sent home early in the AL, were in the NL, they would have won. The fact is that Houston, Boston, and even the Yankees, would crush the NL Champion. All three won 100 games this season, and sport elite offenses that no NL team can keep up with. The real World Series is Houston and Boston.

That’s even more true when you have Craig Counsell pulling guys throwing a shutout through 5.2 innings and Clayton Kershaw being October Kershaw. I get that the game is changing, but going straight to the bullpen in the third when Gio Gonzalez is pitching just fine will never sit right with me. Perhaps baseball is over-relying on the algorithms.

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How’s ‘Ye doin’? No, really, how is Kanye doing? The man who wrote lyrics like, “Little is known of Sierra-Leone, and how it connects to the diamonds we own,” and accused George W. Bush of not caring about black people is now spending time at the White House, hanging out with Donald Trump. It’s as though the man isn’t ok…

Kanye is one of my favorite rappers ever, present tense. The man is an artistic genius. Songs he made, songs he produced, are parts of my soul at this point, because they weren’t just very good, but they carried personal meaning in their moments in time. That’s why watching this man disintegrate into a steaming pile of trash isn’t as funny to me as it is to many others. Three years ago, Kanye and Kim were taking selfies with Hillary and Kanye was being attacked as a “reverse racist” by conservatives. Now he’s a MAGAt? Huh?!?

Part of this is clearly just about selling records, I guess. Part of it could be Kanye being changed by the fame. It’s also entirely possible, and not at all funny, that maybe this man is mentally ill, a drug addict, or both. I don’t know how to explain it though.

It’s important that we don’t treat Kanye’s outrageous behavior as legitimate though. This isn’t the same as his old buddy Taylor Swift telling people to vote, and to vote for a specific candidate. This was the screeching of a changed man, a not well man, who is completely ostracizing himself from his own fan base, while talking about how time is a construct. He’s not well.

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I’m going to throw today’s candidate to watch in here, instead of last today. Today I want you to help my home candidate for the Pennsylvania State House, Amy Cozze, who is running for the 137th district in the PA House.

Amy is a mother, cancer survivor, small business owner, and activist. She believes Harrisburg doesn’t work right now, like most Pennsylvanians. Funding our schools, fixing our infrastructure, creating good paying jobs, and insuring access to affordable health care are some of her priorities. Her opponent, Rep. Joe Emrick has actively cut education funding, pushed against access to affordable health care, and opposed giving workers a living wage. We need a change.

Donate to Amy here. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Volunteer if you can, here.

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College football is a lot like the NBA, in that you get caught up in the storyline as a fan, even though you know Alabama/Golden State is going to win in the end. Teams fall in and out of contention throughout the season, which makes it fun to watch.

I grew up a Notre Dame fan, adopted Penn State too when I started knowing players and going up there to party, and also now like Temple, since my sister went there. My, what different paths these teams are taking.

My Fighting Irish remained unbeaten and in the top five after surviving Pitt yesterday. The biggest problem Notre Dame has is that they don’t play all ranked teams in prime time. Their worst performances this year have come against teams like Vanderbilt and Pitt- unranked power five teams that are just talented enough to be threatening, but not enough to be impressive. Even so, the Irish are still in position to get to the playoff and *maybe* break the curse of Touchdown Jesus.

Penn State’s season is finished. Losing a two score lead to Ohio State with eight minutes left at home was bad, but letting Michigan State come back and win at the end yesterday is a death blow. There will be no Big Ten title, no playoffs, nothing. They have to get it together now and win some games to get to a New Year’s Day Bowl.

Temple- yes, Temple. They were 0-2 to start, and lost to one-double-a (yes, I call it that) Villanova to open the year. Now they’re 4-3, and back in the AAC picture. Their remaining schedule is brutal- games against ranked teams like UCF and Cincinnati, to name some- but they look alright. They basically need a tough win somewhere to probably be bowl eligible.

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I’m going to close by complaining about one of my new, favorite apps from this campaign, Slack. I probably over lean on Slack to communicate with my team, but I’m not apologizing. I love Slack, except for one thing- you can’t send memes. In 2018, it should be illegal to have an app with no memes.

Someone fix this- pronto.