Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Become a member of the 201+ crowd!

Tooling around on Google Analytics last night and saw that over 55% of my visitors are extremely loyal, having visited the site 201+ times! Ok, so 55% of not very many is still not very many, but man, over 200 visits? What the heck are you people doing, anyway??

I appreciate it. But remember, the best gift you can give is a post now and then!! And if you're not a member of the 201+ crowd, join in the fun!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

All Politics is Local - Unfortunately, Sometimes

Barack Obama's remark to Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press yesterday, in response to a question about Caroline Kennedy's expression of interest in HRC's vacant Senate seat, takes on new meaning today, huh? Something like he likes Caroline, but he doesn't need to weigh in on New York politics because he's got enough on his plate with Illinois politics. Rod Blagojevich indeed has hit a new low in Illinois state politics, and that is saying something.

I remember encountering the comment some years ago, in law school I think, in the context of federal vs. state power, and the notion that a part of the beauty of the federal system is that we've got 50 states to experiment with different levels of regulation, different regulatory approaches and the like, and that, where we can, we should leave matters to the states to regulate because they are "closer to the people." That is, viewing the state legislatures as so-called "laboratories of democracy" as the Reagan "New Federalism" was still relatively fresh--moving power from the federal governments to state/local governments. And an effective counter to that argument (or at least it seemed so to me at the time) was that if you wanted to see how powerful lobbyists could get, unleash them on the state regulators. They could be rolled with ease, and that, even though there were 50 state governments, if you really wanted to see an industry (e.g., take the tobacco industry) control their own governmental regulatory regime, turn it over from the feds to the states.

I think events in Illinois today prove that that surely would be a probable result.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gregory Ascendeth, Part Deux

Well, it's now official. David Gregory will take over the helm of Meet the Press. I think he is a pretty good choice (although I've also grown fond of Chuck Todd ("Chucky T" to us MSNBCer's)). But Gregory is tough, and won't let people roll him. I think he'll have to learn to balance the toughness with the respect factor that Russert had mastered. That's the way to do it. (I read somewhere in the summer that one of the hardest things to do was to knock these tried and true politicians off their talking points. I tend to believe that is true.) For example, Tim was pretty tough on old Tricky Dick Cheney, but fair enough that Cheney still did his show. It reaped benefits as Cheney was haunted by his "greeted as liberators" quip on MTP in the Iraq war build-up.

But, most importantly, it is a significant prediction break-through for me personally. See my June 23 post predicting Mr. Gregory's pending appointment (click on the "Predictions" label and you'll get there). Now I am going to advocate a review of the tape of the Hagler/Leonard fight to get that overturned. I don't know what to do, though, about my "Ghost" fiasco. Thoughts, dear readers?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Earl the Pearl

On Sunday we will say goodbye to our good friend, Earl Gibson. Earl was a fixture at Hammerstone's for many years. I used to joke that I had never been in a Soulard bar when Earl wasn't there - and was only a slight exaggeration. Click on the image at left and I believe you can read his obit as it appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Earl was a very frail African American man in his late '80s, but he entered like royalty. Everyone knew Earl. And to know Earl was to love him. He would eat some kind of a crazy meal (like hot dogs and cherry coke), say hello to everyone (and I mean everyone), get up and sing "It's a Wonderful World" and bring down the house. He had a virtual set he would do with Eric Brooks (a/k/a, the Human Jukebox) after the Voodoo set.

Earl had been a member of the Inkspots as a young man, and he must have been something then. I can only imagine.

Earl passed away in October, and Hammerstone's is having a fund-raiser to buy him a headstone tomorrow (Sunday)--Pearl Harbor Day. For Earl the Pearl.

To paraphrase Al Pacino--"Say goodbye to my little friend." We miss you, Earl.