The Thoughts and Musings of Tom Allain

If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it

Stephen Colbert
(b.1964)

my quotation file is here
Tom
at Safeco Field

Email Tom

What is Tom Reading?

Tom's Homilies 2013

Tom's Homilies 2014

Tom's Homilies 2015

Tom's Homilies 2016

Tom's Homilies 2017

Luke







Give to DonorsChoose

Archive for February, 2008

You Gotta See This

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I came across this the other day and have been itching to put it on my blog. At last the Bush administration has figured out what to do about the weak dollar.

It’s Not Easy Being Green (OK, You Had to Know This Was Coming)

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Last August I wrote that I had heard from the John Bootie campaign thanking me for having a link to his website. I always think it’s a feather in my cap to see that anyone is actually reading this blog, even if it’s someone I disagree with (like John). A few days ago I heard from Matt Cleveland of the Green Party. He asked me to update the web page for Jesse Johnson which I gladly did. He also asked me to add a link to his page. He is providing web access to anyone who is running for office under the Green banner.

I had mixed emotions when I first looked at his site; he’s pretty angry with the Democratic Party for some actions that have prevented some Green candidates from having the access they need. I’m one of those Democrats who still harbors some resentment toward Ralph Nader in the 2000 election. But in fairness I’ve included links on my page for candidates I don’t like, and so I’m including this. If you’re someone who resonates with the Green platform and you’re interested in making a difference, contact Matt. He’s being pretty generous with bandwidth and I commend him.

From Super Tuesday to the Potomac Primaries, and Why Is the Delegate Count So Confusing?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

It’s now a week since Super Tuesday and it appears that the nomination picture is slowly coming into focus. On the Republican side Mitt Romney dropped out of the race; that made some sense as he and Mike Huckabee appeared to be splitting the social conservative vote. Interestingly enough his exit speech talked primarily about Iraq and the War on Terror which was never a major part of his campaign.

This has essentially paved the way for John McCain who is now the presumptive nominee of his party. You would think this would be good news for the GOP but it isn’t. Long simmering hatred of John McCain has boiled over, especially with Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. I have to confess I don’t know much about what they are saying as I don’t have the stomach to listen or read very much.

I’m still trying to keep track of the delegates. It’s become dramatically more difficult and complicated than I thought. I’m writing this before we have the results of the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. primaries, and as I write (for example), NPR gives Barack Obama 994 pledged delegates and 160 super delegates (for a total of 1,154). CNN gives him 1,181; MSNBC gives him 958. Finally Fox News gives him 1,154. Perhaps the best irony is that Fox News and NPR are the only organizations who agree.

I’m using NPR numbers simply because NPR is the news organization where I get most of my news. Right now I’m attempting to keep track of delegates using an Excel spreadsheet. It’s a good way of keeping track but this type of spreadsheet doesn’t translate well into html or xml. In future days I’m hoping to translate these numbers into a table that I can post.

Speaking of the delegate count, I’ve been doing some reading about why this is so confusing. Earlier I talked about how some places are using projections. I’m also learning a great deal about super delegates and uncommitted delegates. The best explanation I’ve heard is from the NPR show Fresh Air on January 31st. Terry Gross interviewed David Rohde from Duke University. Here is a synopsis of some of his points:

  • Several of the candidates who have since dropped out of the campaign had delegates. At the conventions those delegates can still vote for their candidate but don’t have to. They are essentially now free agents and can change their votes at will
  • The states of Florida and Michigan moved their primaries to January against the wishes of their parties. The Democrats say they will refuse to seat any delegates from those states and the Republicans will only seat half of them. That is what they are saying now but there is nothing to stop them from changing their minds and seating those delegates. That could prove to be a nightmare as several candidates didn’t campaign in those states
  • Of the delegates at the convention, the Democratic Party has designated 796 (20% of the total) as “super delegates.” They are senior members of the Democratic National Committee, current, and former office holders. Bill Clinton, by the way, is a super delegate. We can assume he will vote for Hillary and several of these politician have endorsed a candidate but nobody is bound to anyone until the convention.
  • In the Republican Party there are also super delegates, but each state can also allocate delegates who are uncommitted, regardless of who wins the primary or caucus.

Had enough? OK, this puts me at odds with many of my friends, but I love all this chaos and complication. It makes for a more interesting race. Hang on, we’ve got months of this stuff.

Groundhog’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Tsunami Tuesday, and Mardi Gras: This is Too Much Happiness

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

I’m writing this a few hours before Super Bowl XLII. It’s hard to keep up with everything.

Our friend Ann is a big fan of Groundhog’s Day and sent us three haiku’s. I’ve enclosed one:

Rays of sunlight call
Awake, O furry sleeper
Has winter now passed?

Here in San Diego, Super Bowl Sunday has brought with it a bit of a dilemma: It was the New England Patriots who knocked the Chargers out of the playoffs. On the other hand, there is no love loss with the New York Giants because their quarterback is Eli Manning. For the uninitiated, Eli was drafted by the Chargers in 2004 even though his father Archie Manning had previously announced Eli would not play for the Chargers, even if he had to sit out the entire season. The Chargers traded him to the Giants but nobody here has forgotten the snub. As for me, well again this year I just hope it’s a good game.

In the political world we are just a few days from Tsumuni Tuesday (also called Super Tuesday) where 22 states, including California, go to the polls. Most commentators think the nominations may be set by Wednesday only because there are so many delegates are up for grabs. I imagine I’ll be staying up late on Tuesday, because it’s not only Tsunami Tuesday but it’s also…

Mardi Gras: Fortunately most of the festivities happen as the polls are closing but it’s my favorite argument that Catholics are the most fun. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday” and it’s the day before Ash Wednesday. It’s a day for eating, drinking, and exposing one’s self too much because there’s no point in doing penance unless you have something good to confess.

Finally, if you scroll down the left column below all the independent candidates you will find something called a Truth-O-Meter. It’s sponsored by Politifact.com. I heard about them on NPR. They monitor political ads and check to see how truthful they are. Interestingly they allow bloggers like me to place their “widget” on our site without any advertising. This is worth keeping up with.