Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I must remember to request an absentee ballot from Elections Canada. Paul Martin dropped the writ yesterday, so the race is on for June 28th.

The Prime Minister unveiled the Liberal Party campaign theme yesterday in Belleville, Ontario. In front of a throng of rabid supporters, who I can only surmise have an insatiable appetite for government rife with graft and incompetence, Martin summed up his platform in two words: America Sucks.

Of course, I’m paraphrasing heavily, but there’s no mistaking his sentiments. In lambasting the newly united Conservative Party, the Prime Minister rehashed the tired, old canards that USA-hatin’ Canucks have chewed over for years. Lower tax rates, privatized health care, and a strong foreign policy are akin to Satan worship, he says. Don’t vote for the Conservative Party because…gaspthey want closer ties with America.

If the best the Liberal Party can do is deflect attention away from the scandals that have plagued their government over the past several months by whipping up lame anti-American sentiments, then they’ll be in for a shock come the end of June. A unified Conservative Party, along with resurgent Bloc Quebecois and NDP camps, spells a minimum loss of 25-30 seats for the Liberals without any effort whatsoever. If Martin ends up running a lacklustre campaign, as is definitely in the cards given his inauspicious start, the loss will climb to 50+ seats. Either way, Canada will have its first minority government since the late 70’s. Fun, fun.

The World Series of Poker is in full swing in this week. Record number of entries this year, tripling last year’s total, thanks to the Travel Channel’s World Poker Tour series, WSoP champ Chris Moneymaker’s miracle run last year, and the dozens of internet poker sites.

I’ve been playing online for nearly a year now. I’m finally getting comfortable with my game. Thus far, I’ve learned that I do fairly well at No-Limit Hold ‘em tournament play, but the fixed limit cash game is not my friend. I still need plenty of work in that arena. I’ve played live at the local Indian casinos, but it’s rough playing the lower limits. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out-drawn by people playing garbage. Why the hell would someone re-raise preflop with an 8-3 offsuit? I’m told that sort of lunacy doesn’t happen much at the higher limits, but I’m not about to plunk down a grand on the 20-40 tables. Aside from my naturally inclined frugality, I wouldn’t do it because I think the wife would castrate me.

Michael Moore snagged the Palme d’Or at Cannes with his hatchet piece on the Bush Administration, Fahrenheit 9/11. The Cannes jury, headed by none other than Quentin Tarantino, was annoyed when it was called upon by the press to defend its unanimous decision. The choice was entirely non-political, they proclaimed huffily. According to Tarantino, Moore told him that he doesn’t produce films to make political statements. Huh?!

Well, at least Moore is consistent. Once a shameless liar, always a shameless liar, I guess.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I’m in a Strangers with Candy sort of mood today. Don’t ask why.

My company’s exodus from the Ghetto could not come a moment too soon. Posted in the lunchroom kitchen today is a “Level 2 Sex Offender Alert” flyer from the Phoenix Police Dept. According the notice one Raymond Edward Williams, a paroled attempted child molester, has taken up residence somewhere nearby. Having roused my curiosity, I checked the Arizona Sex Offender Registry online and found 50 certified perverts within a few miles of my office. Lucky for me, none of them seems to have a taste for white man meat, judging from their rap sheets.

Friday, May 07, 2004

It’s Employment Report time again! Here’s the rundown:

- 288,000 new jobs in April, far greater than the 180K forecasted.
- March report revised upward to 337,000 jobs, up from 308,000.
- Unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.6%.
- Strong hiring reported across most major sectors of the economy.

For all those keeping a running tally, that’s 822,000 new jobs created this year to date. Even if the pace of hiring cools as we head into summer, as it likely will, chances are the economy will add 2 million people to the payrolls before the year is out.

And to think, just 3 short months ago the Dems were claiming this economy was the worst since Herbert Hoover.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Did I mention that my office is moving out of the ghetto? That’s right. Come July 6th, I’ll be commuting to the Concord Place building in the more civilized climes of East Phoenix’s 44th St. & Thomas Road neighborhood. It’s a veritable CandyLand by comparison: a 3rd floor office with plenty of windows, copious lunchtime dining options within walking distance, and a complete lack of hobo harassment and open air drug traffic on the street corners. I’d better stop now. I’m starting to tear up.

John McIntyre handicaps the Democratic VP sweepstakes in today’s commentary installment at RealClearPolitics.com. Amongst the half dozen serious contenders he profiles is Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. McIntyre considers Janet a lightweight long shot for the nod, but opines that she could nonetheless shift the Grand Canyon State’s 10 electoral votes into the Kerry column should she survive the review process.

I’m not so sure. In 2000, Napolitano eked out an 18,000 vote margin of victory in this traditionally Republican state by being in the right place at the right time, more or less. Outgoing lame duck Gov. Jane Hull, a dour, charmless woman who ascended to office after Fife Symington resigned following federal fraud and extortion indictments, was at the center of a huge budget scandal that rocked the Republican leadership throughout the Capitol. Napolitano, the sitting Attorney General, and only Democrat holding a major State elected office at the time, was considered squeaky clean by comparison.

Thus far, nothing Napolitano’s done in office leads me to believe she’ll be able to fully capitalize on her 2000 victory and convert this little corner of Bush Country. Last year’s pipeline crisis, which caused profound gasoline price spikes throughout Metro Phoenix, is still fresh in voters’ minds, as is Janet’s feeble handling of it. Add to that a certain level of voter mistrust over her attempts to close pesky tax “loopholes”, like the lack of a state sales tax on home sales, and you don’t exactly have the profile of a strong candidate that can clinch a so-called swing state.

As much as I’d love to see Janet on the losing Kerry ticket, I just don’t think she’ll garner as much serious consideration as some might think.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Wow, it’s been almost a month since my last entry. Not that I’ve been too busy to write, or that nothing worthy of comment has transpired. I’ve just been too mentally preoccupied to ruminate on the state of things of late. I’m battling a particularly nasty case of career funk. Three years of babysitting the same clients day in and day out has taken its toll. I’m ready for a change, but to what?

As for the news, I see Al Gore is finally getting his cable channel after all. According to him, "This is not going to be a liberal network, a Democratic network or a political network.” Frankly, I find that hard to believe. No, I don’t find that statement laughable solely because increasingly politically radical Al will serve as the new Chairman of the Board of NewsWorld International. It’s because the channel’s programming content is produced by none other than the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, arguably the most liberal major media operation in North America.

Although most Americans are unfamiliar with Canada’s largest broadcaster (which, incidently, is owned entirely by the federal government), they are not unaccustomed to witnessing biased reporting antics, which the network employs with unrelenting vigor. Having grown up watching the CBC, I can attest to the network’s abiding condemnation of conservative ideals and glowing admiration for socialist virtues, all while donning the façade of balanced journalism. I’m sure once Americans get a taste of Gore TV and its Canadian taxpayer subsidized programming, they’ll quickly lump it in with such fine bastions of liberal tripe as Minnesota Public Radio, the Village Voice, and anything on PBS featuring Bill Moyers.