Monday, June 28, 2004

A couple of things on my mind this Monday afternoon...

I see from Florida Politics that the Florida AFL-CIO decided to endorse both Betty Castor and Peter Deutsch in the Democratic race for U.S. Senate, leaving Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas the odd man out. Betty's the better candidate of the three, and was able to get the co-endorsement thanks to the Florida Education Association, which has a lot of clout in the state AFL-CIO. Castor is a former state education secretary, not to mention former president of the University of South Florida. She's been handling herself with class, rather quiet compared to Deutsch and Penelas, who dislike each other greatly and don't mind sharing that fact with the public. As for Penelas, many in the labor movement don't think much of him anyway because of how some were treated in Miami during the big summit last year by some of the area's law enforcement. When he appeared at the Polk County Democratic Executive Committee meeting in May while in the area for a debate before the local Tiger Bay Club, some of the local labor activists who are on the DEC were ready and waiting with some very pointed questions. To get the meeting moving, committee chairman L. Mark Kaylor had to eventually ask them to take their questions with Penelas outside, and asked the State Committeeman to meet with them to insure everything remained civil.

Watch Betty move on up...

And the local broadcast media continues to evolve. Of course, I worked in radio for 15 years here and in my native Mississippi, so I keep up with what's happening. It continues to amaze me how the locals are able to survive or attempt to do so located between not one but two major markets, Tampa/St. Petersburg and Orlando/Daytona Beach. With huge corporate titans such as Clear Channel, Cox, and Infinity dominating both markets, smaller companies really have a hard time of it in markets such as Lakeland/Winter Haven.

One station has gone from urban to Spanish and back to R&B/Urban in six months. And a former religious station is now leased by a right wing activist who is formerly the PR voice for the Polk County Sheriff's Office. She uses it to promote Bush/Cheney, The Christian Law Association, Dr. James Kennedy's group in South Florida, and various right wing entities during her two hour diatribe weekday afternoons, not to mention airing Michael Reagan and almost any other far right talker on the air except Rush (who is already taken in this market). We need more moderate and progressive voices on the air, and I'm not necessairly talking about far left, but responsible individuals who can discuss issues without screaming and going into endless mind games like some of these folks on both extremes do.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

There seems to be a lack of class among our political leaders, and that's sad.

On the floor of the United States Senate last week, there was a confrontation between Senator Lehay, a Democrat, and Vice President Dick Chaney during a photo opportunity (Chaney is the president of the Senate as part of his veep duties), during which Chaney dropped the "F" bomb at his adversary in a violation of the honoured rules of decorum of the Senate floor.

There's nothing wrong with having disagreements over issues and policies; that's just part of democractic multiparty government. But you do not allow such disagreements to become personal as apparantly Cheney did this past week.

Unfortunately, there are rogues in both the Republican and Democratic parties who believe in the rule of win at all costs, of "my way or no way". In our form of government, one has to learn that often that attitude does not work and that must of the time you must comprimise to get your issue resolved in incriments over time. After all, half of something is much better than all of nothing. But since the days of Newt Gingrich becoming Speaker of the House during the "Reagan Revolution", the Republican leadership has taken the attitude that comprimise with the other side is not an option. It seems that this cancer has now spread to the other side of the Capitol.

It's time to cut out that cancer, and to do that we need a Democratic House and Senate majority NOW, not to mention John Kerry as the next President of the United States.

While I'm writing this morning, I noticed that Ralph Nader didn't get the Green Party nomination yesterday. Smart move by the Greens, who apparantly say Nader's campaign really is, a vanity run and that a vote for him is really a vote for GWB.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Getting on the pulpit on this Saturday afternoon while waiting on my new power source...

Was interesting to read about Illinois Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan dropping out after parts of his divorce papers were unsealed earlier this week that were, to say the least, quite embarrassing to him. Seems he was married to the actress Jeri Ryan, best known for her roles as the alien crew member Seven of Nine in the sci-fi series "Star Trek: Voyager" (remember the rather tight outfits the producers would have her wear?) and later as a teacher in the FOX series "Boston Public". According to the court papers, he took her to sex clubs in New Orleans, New York and Paris and attempted to pressure her to perform sexual acts in those clubs in from of others. She claims that she resisted such attempts, and that although he promised not to take her to such places again he did so and was angered when she said "No".

I don't blame her. HE'S JUST A FREAK WHO JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT "NO" MEANS! He should have known if he had political aspirations that this stuff would have come out sooner or later. Although it may have been sealed on good grounds origainlly --- to protect their son, now nine years of age --- it's simply not good grounds to maintain the openness of the court system, and the court was proper in unsealing the records. Tough luck, sucker!

Lakeland Electric is not the most customer friendly utility in the area when it comes to an area one would think it would want to be...paying one's bills. Most utilities allow you to pay your current charges online using your credit or debit card without requiring you to switch to an automatic monthly setup. Most customers don't want to go that route because 1) we want to insure the funds are in our account, and 2) we may not be able to pay the full amount and need to make arrangements accordingly. Not Lakeland Electric. The only option they allow online is for automatic monthly payments. Otherwise you've gotta mail it in or head to their offices on U.S. 98 before 5:00 PM or downtown before 6:00 PM. This from a company with a notorious reputation of waste and for the first time in it's history will post a loss. Maybe it's time for a little better customer service.

And on a good note, kudos to the folks at Gateway Customer Service. I posted earlier in the week that my power supply fried on my Gateway computer, forcing me to rely on my backup IBM Aptiva and it's Windows 95 for a few days until Gateway sends me a replacement power supply via UPS. The IBM is three years old and is a bit slower, but at least it allows me to stay online in the meantime. That said, the Gateway CS reps have been very kind, professional, and patient throughout my calls while we went through everything to ascentain the issues and finally determined the problem. If everything runs according to plan, the power supply should arrive Monday or Tuesday and I should be back on the Gateway computer within a day or two of that.

It too bad that the Gateway stores closed. I purchased my 'puter at the store here in Lakeland; it closed last year as most of the Gateway stores were starting to shut down. It's a top notch machine, and the support has been very good as well.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

You know, if it ain't one thing, it's another.

I had just rebooted everything on my computer over the weekend thanks to a virus that got through my screening. Now my power supply on my main tower is down! Had to replace it with my old computer --- Windows 95 and all --- to use temporairly until Gateway sends a replacement power supply.

Life really is crazy!

Monday, June 21, 2004

Well, I'm back after a crazy weekend.

Seems as though my computer was hit with a virus which wiped out everything I had that was not saved on backup discs. I thought I was being good and doing what was supposed to be done to prevent that from happening, since I had been hit once before, but it seemingly wasn't good enough.

Got myself some added protection this time, and added a couple of pop up blocks, as I believe one of those had to do with what occured. Be more vigiliant about checking the system...that's what I've learned, even if it took twice.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

It's hurricane season again here in the Gulf South. Some people are always wondering about not if, but when, the next Catagory 4 or 5 storm will sweep across Florida or line a bead on Tampa Bay.

I remember my first Catagory 5 hurricane, Camille, in 1969. I was only 11 years old at the time, living with my family in south Jones County, Mississippi...about 100 miles inland from it's landfall on the Harrison County coast. It was just as scary inland. And I also remember about six, seven months later my grandmother took me and one of my cousins to the Gulfport-Biloxi area to drive along the beachfront U.S. 90. I'll never forget the HUGE cargo ship that had been swept over the beach, four lanes of traffic, and was at the time sitting in the front yard of one of the Antebellum homes along the highway near Beuvoiur, the last home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

And I'll never forget being on-air at a radio station in Mississippi during a almost blew the roof off our building. While I was reading the latest storm statements/closures, my collegue burst in the studio yelling that the roof had come off in the business office.

Always respect the might of Nature.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Back to the grind again...

After a week's vacation highlighted by being laid up much of the time with a severe case of gout, it was time to get back to work yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't get as much done as planned over the week, but it was really nice not to get up quite as early.

I'm still busy working to update the Polk County Democratic Party Web site. Check it out when you have the chance; it's a lot better than it was, with more information...and it's UPDATED REGULARLY!

Make it a great day...

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Laid up with a severe case of gout this vacation week...

I watched much of the Reagan funeral coverage on TV Friday. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I didn't care much for Reagan's policies and programs while in office, but he had a gift of communication and imagry that you simply had to respect.

What really got me was as the casket was being loaded at Andrews AFB for the flight to his beloved California, the Air Force Band played the Largo from Dvorak's "New World Symphony", which was eventually matched with lyrics from on old Negro spiritual called "Going Home". When I heard that musical piece, I simply lost it all. Then when I read the lyrics earlier today, it hit all over again. The site of someone making his last journey to the home he so loved was simply too much, as it brought some of my own longings for my native Mississippi and times long past return to the surface.

These lyrics are simply remarkable, and best known in performance by the great African-American vocalist Paul Roebson:

Goin' Home

Goin' home, goin' home, I'm a goin' home;
Quiet-like, some still day, I'm jes' goin' home.
It's not far, jes' close by,
Through an open door;
Work all done, care laid by,
Gwine (or: Goin') to fear no more.

Mother's there 'spectin' me,
Father's waitin' too;
Lots o' folk gather'd there,
All the friends I knew,
All the friends I knew.
Home, I'm goin' home!

Nothin lost, all's gain,
No more fret nor pain,
No more stumblin' on the way,
No more longin' for the day,
Gwine (or Going) to roam no more!
Mornin' star lights the way,
Res'less dream all done;
Shadows gone, break o' day,
Real life jes' begun.
Dere's no break, ain't no end,
(or: There's no break, there's no end,)
Jes' a livin' on;
Wide awake, with a smile
Goin' on and on.

Goin' home, goin' home, I'm jes' goin' home,
It's not far, jes' close by
Through an open door.
I'm a goin' home,
I'm jes' goin'
Goin' home, goin' home, goin' home, goin' home, goin' home, goin' home!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Lightning on their hard fought victory in bringing the Stanley Cup home last night. The Lightning and Calgary Flames players simply played their hearts out knowing what was at stake, but in the end the better team came away the winner. Also huge kudos to Mr. Richards, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. It was well deserved, to say the least. I'm sure he would agree, though, that it's too bad he couldn't cut it up and give it to each of his teammates for their efforts.

And you've got to give our fans a HUGE amount of respect for how they conducted themselves after the game. It was pure celebration, not the sporadic violence and lawlessness often seen in cities after their sports team wins a championship. It goes to show you that a community CAN party without setting fires, breaking windows, and turning over vehicles. Just as when our Bucs won the Super Bowl, the Tampa Bay fans showed class...and you couldn't ask for anything better!

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Yesterday was a day of almosts, great sadness, and great happiness.

I found myself rooting for Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes, but my son was right...he wasn't able to hold up through the longer distance and lost in the last few seconds. So the Triple Crown waits for another suitor next year...maybe.

Then the Tampa Bay Lightning had everyone on pins and needles for much of the night until Martin St. Louis scored a goal early in the second OT period to force the Stanley Cup Final Game Seven in Tampa! It's now one game, WINNER TAKE ALL!!! What a night that will be tomorrow!

Then there was the death yesterday of former President Ronald Reagan. While I and many fellow Democrats disagreed with many of his policies and programs, we salute his years of service to our nation and are deeply saddened as the rest of America this morning at his passing. Alzheimer's disease is something I would not wish on anyone, and I simply pray that if I became stricken as Reagan that God would take me early so that my family would not have to deal with the long period of suffering that his beloved wife Nancy must have dealt with. And give her a great deal of credit for always being there, never publicly complaining or lamenting about his condition, simply taking things as they came. She has handled herself with a dignity and class through such a lengthy ordeal.

Finally, I watched Urban Cowboy yesterday on one of the cable channels. It always brings back memories when I see the John Travolta movie, as much of it was filmed in and around Pasadena, Texas, one of the blue-collar suburbs southeast of Houston. I lived there while in high school during the early/mid 1970s, and passed by Gilley's nightclub many times (it burned down under suspicious circumstances several years after the film was made after country singer Mickey Gilley and his manager, who owned "The World's Biggest Honky-Tonk" parted ways under less-than-good terms). I found love in Pasadena then too, and still think about that girl to this day. Well, she's married to a computer games designer and has a family in Austin, Texas...those were the days.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Happy Saturday from Imperial Polk County!

A few random blubs as I start a week's well deserved vacation time...

It's hard to believe that we still have this type of discrimination in 2004, but the state is suing a motel in Perry after complaints that the owner put African-American customers in inferior rooms and told black customers they could not use the pool, and immediately put chemicals into it after black guests used it. The owner is not your cookie cutter white redneck racist...he's originally from India.

I was born and raised in Mississippi during the Civil Rights era. To this date, at the front of the Jones County Courthouse in Ellisville, there are two concrete water fountains that have not been used in in large letters says "WHITE"; the other, in smaller letters, says "COLORED". They remain there for the historical significance, and probably as a reminder that we should learn from the errors of the past.

Getting off the soapbox, I see from Sticks of Fire that Cheap Trick played in Tampa Thursday night. Great band, but unfortunately it hasn't been the same since Rick Nielsen left. Now the bands I REALLY want to see are Chicago and Earth, Wind, & Fire, scheduled to play the new Ford Ampitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa July 27. That should be one heckuva show!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Sorry it's been a couple of days since my last post. Hope your Memorial Day weekend was a pleasant one, and that you took time to remember those who have served and continue to do so wearing the uniform of our military forces here and around the world. While we may not always agree with our political leaders over policy and methods regarding how our military might is used, we should always support those who risk life and limb in the service of our nation.

On a lighter note, how 'bout those Tampa Bay Lightning?!?! They simply don't give up in their quest to give Lord Stanley's Cup a tan here in Central Florida! Knowing it would be a rough task for game four in Calgary after their loss in the previous contest against a tough (and at times borderline dirty hitting) Flames team as well as their rabid fans, the Lightning --- and especially G Nikolai Khabibulin --- stepped up and came away with a 1-0 win. So now it's a best of three series as the teams meet again in Tampa tomorrow night...GO BOLTS!

The main reason for my absence has been that I've been working on updating the Website for the Polk County Democratic Party. After several months of inactivity, a couple of us were able to get the necessary software downloaded and are in the process of reconstructing it. Give it a look, but please don't judge it for how it looks now. There's still A LOT OF WORK left to do, but we've been concentrating on updating information on meeting schedules and important news. We will be adding information on our candidates and much more as we move on. BTW: We're using Macromedia's Dreamweaver and Contribute2 software, and it has worked fine for us so far.