All Politics Are Local

C: We have a lull in the Weirdness that is the Presidential campaign, crazy Preachers, blah blah, race, blah blah sexism, blah blah, War, blah blah, stupor-delegates blah blah...

So here's why the sport of Drunken Politics starts at one's front door. Perhaps I'm lucky or blessed, one of many a community meeting around the area concerning a transit project between Portland, OR and our neighbors across the Columbia River in Vancouver, WA was scheduled for the tavern within spitting distance of Drunken Politics North.

Warm up time. A Knob Creek and a cola back at the cross steet pub. A strange bearded man suggested I have a Greyhound. We have a discussion about breakfast drinks. I stick with the Knob because vodka is breakfast libation. Some Goth kids are playing pool, "Ooo, You Make Me Live" is on the jukebox. Time to cross the street for the event.

Time for a Makers and a cola back. The bartender knows my drink even though this place has only been open for two months. That's class. Politics are interesting here in Stumptown, a quasi-debate in a public room, a tavern, brings in the people. The room was jam-packed with my neighborhood classic yuppie concerned types. I buy two beers for two folks sitting next to me. I guess this was to be an informative community sharing of proposals and ideas for river crossing. Easing congestion, people moving and a metro feel between the Couve and Portand. So the ideas are expounded about a new bridge, expanding/widening existing spans, light rail extention, bike lanes, safety, and a mix and match happy happy everyone mashup. One problem. Washington and the Vancouver don't want tolls, taxes, light rail or bike lanes. They want a fat highway bridge for free. Oregon has different ideas about transportation. What would Tonya Harding do? As opposed to filling out the little blue 'ask your question' cards, I simply blurted out remarks and querys. The Mr. No Taxes Ever Vancouver Dude probably strangled me in his head many many times. Good thing the 'moderator' was smirkingly sympathetic and I know the bar owner and the staff, I may have been tossed for being a heckler. Did get a round of applause once...

I am now convinced it's a bad idea to encourage people to commute to and from Vancouver. Fuck the bridge.

Bonus: A free t-shirt from somebody handing out swag for some Budweiser-sponsored Hollywood flick that premiers next week.

Big Weirdness, it's in your neighborhood too. Who says transportation projects are boring?


A Moment For Reflection

C: It's the Fifth Anniversary of the Iraq War. Here at Drunken Politics we have a strong tendency toward the irreverent and the sublime ridiculous nature of Politics. This is not one of those times. The War in Iraq has warped Geo-politics, damaged international relations on an immense scale and cost billions and billions of dollars with a global economic impact that will echo for generations. Deep divisions among Americans, our allies, enemies, governments and their respective dissenting citizens, political relationships, even between individuals and families, are going to be a massive challenge to heal. And the untold cost to average Iraqis and their children, nearly 4,000 U.S. servicemen dead with nearly 30,000 wounded and the effect on their families and friends and all Americans, is a tragic situation that should never be downplayed. Raise a glass in deep thought and pray we all figure out how to straighten out this Mess.


Basketball Jones

J: It's one of my favorite times of the year- NCAA conference tournament week. I'm always amused by how the big boys- the so-called "majors"- play true to form. The PAC-10 and SEC play a little streetball, the Big XII and Big 10 play like, well, a bunch of Midwestern farmboys shooting ball, the ACC looks like a clinic, and the Big East has all the style, subtlety, and grace of a mugging.

The thing is, once they start dancing for real, every game starts to look like a Big East game, so it may be a positive for them.

And then there's Cinderella. Small schools playing in gyms with pull-out bleachers and cinder-block walls just beyond the baseline. We get our annual fill of estatic students and proud alums, who are so overjoyed that, for a week, their school matters. The brutal reality that they're going to be down to Kansas by 30 in the first half, and CBS will cut away to a more competitive game, hasn't sunk in yet. For all the glory the tourney gives Cinderella, more often 
than not she goes home in a tattered dress.

And that brings us to everyone's favorite thing- their bracket. Who to pick? Who's the dark horse? Why does my job outlaw gambling, when even the boss has his sheet in the pool for $10? No worries, we're here to help. First off, a team peaking late in the season is generally a good pick to make the round of 16. Southern Cal and Kentucky have both been hot lately. Second, a strong but quiet mid-major will go deeper than you think, and Butler looks like this year's "no-name" that can make a run. But for the Final Four, you go with #1 and #2 seeds. UCLA? They look real good. Kansas? History says "no". Memphis? Maybe. I'm not sold on them yet. Tennessee? Let me see how they do in the SEC Tourney before I give my recommendation.

And so on. There's probably more to say, but I've got to get to the couch- the games start soon.

C: I believe I enjoy Conference Championship tournaments more than the Bracket Show. Strangely, it's similiar to the Primary season free-for-all. Everyone knows everyone, elbows and blood flow freely and sometimes it's better to stuff in a guy's face that you've already played for a few years.

That said, the Big East and the ACC in any given year, on any given night, could smoke half the NBA.

I've more to say but the wall of televisions here at Drunken Politics North demands closer scrutiny.


That Time Again...

J: Well, here we are. My least favorite time of election years- the Doldrums. It's like the period right after the All-Star break in baseball- you know who's good, you've got a pretty good hunch about who's coming out of each league... but it's a long stretch until the post-season, and your favorite team is about to play the Tampa Bay Rays. You'll watch, you'll be somewhat interested, but it's pretty much a foregone conclusion how that series is going to turn out.

There's a primary in Mississippi today. Senator McCain will win the Republican primary, although a few hardcore folks will still vote for Huckabee. Senator Obama will win on the Democratic side with well over 60% of the vote. Senator Clinton will give a speech targeted to Pennsylvania voters and will probably not mention Mississippi.

Mike Gravel will not make a televised speech, and we will all lose that potential entertainment.

And then, we wait... until April 22, when we get to the stretch run. I'll be interested to see what Michigan and Florida do in the interim, but it's a long wait. I'm thankful I'm not a Pennsylvania resident, because there's basically enough time until then for Clinton and Obama to try and meet each and every resident of the state and personally ask for their vote. For the first time in my life, I feel sorry for Philly

C: Geezus J. fear not, The Big Weirdness never sleeps. New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer is on the rotisserie for *ahem* enjoying the company of women who may be of questionable moral fiber. Spitzer's rapid rise to national stardom by smacking down Wall Street shenanigans made him some powerful enemies. And you just know he was setting himself up for a monster run at the White House in the future. Now the question is, are sexual dalliances cause for dismissal from public life if there are no actual abuses of power? Bill Clinton? Nope, just dumbass. Newt Gingrich dumping his cancer-ridden wife while she's in the hospital for a fresh girlfriend? Nope, that's just crass. Mark Foley's obsession with Congressional pages? Sure. Rudy Giuliani hiding police escorts' payments for his girlfriend? Sure. Senator Larry "wide stance" Craig tapping his foot in code in an airport bathroom? Nope, that's just kinky. Senator John McCain allegedly boinking a lobbyist with a favorable legislative slant for her connections? Well, we'll see.

And the Obama/Clinton Mess To Success will just get messier with the Pennsylvania Invasion. Mathematics be damned. The Keystone State is Hilary's Alamo. The Last Stand. And we all know how the Alamo turned out. Get out the mop and bucket, it's going to get bloody. "Oooh yeah", to quote Randy Macho Man Savage, we've got the idiocy of seating or kickball do-overs in Florida and Michigan. And the Stupor Delegate fiasco waiting to happen. I'm not sure we shouldn't head to Puerto Rico to gauge the sentiment of the electorate in the 51st State. That's Jai-alai goodness.

Lest we forget, McCantankerous has to keep his mug in the news. Expect Vice President selection speculation to heat up if there's a Big Weirdness lull.

Doldrums? Let's not forget the Western Conference race in the NBA and March Madness. Drunken Politics will be there no matter the contest.

C: And who says Big Weirdness does not rule the day. Geraldine Ferraro is going to be choked out at the next Emily's List meeting for today's comments.


Friday Weirdness

C: Ron Paul has almost quit. The underground internet movement that pumped millions of dollars into his Revolution are shaking their collective melon in disbelief. His delegates are drinking heavily and smoking freedom vegetation not knowing which way to turn. Drunken Politics has the remedy for the Pain and Shock. John Carpenter's They Live, starring the greatest actor of our generation -Roddy Piper. This awesome, ultimate political conspiratorial thriller will help us all get through these troubled times. Dr. Ron Paul, long may you rock.

J: And let's talk about the title to that blimp.

Oh, and OBEY.

C: We need that blimp pink slip. "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum." No need to sweet talk these cats.


Fuzzy Math

C: What a mess. On Kinda Sorta Super Tuesday Obama wins Vermont. Clinton wins Ohio and Rhode Island. Contrary to popular belief and shoddy press reporting Tejas is a wash, not a win for Clinton, because of the convoluted Primary/Caucus WTF methodology to designate delegates. What does this mean? It means Democrats are doing their damnest to screw up the easiest Presidential walkoff homerun in ages. Hilary cannot win based on standard delegate count. Barack can sort of win based on the same criteria. Imagine Florida and Michigan get to play kickball again and Clinton squeaks by on pledged delegates, but super delegates have swung to Obama. Obamaniacs freak out and don't want to vote in the national election because Hope dies with Obama. Or the other way around. Or a brokered convention? Or it comes down to Puerto Rico's game changing swing status? Can you imagine Clinton and Obama duking it out in the be all, end all San Juan debate? Geezus H. Kringle on a Cracker. Oh wait, Dems argue about foreign policy credentials and advertising.

McCain is the Republican nominee, much to the shock of establishment Republicans and the Christian Wing. Bush, the President with the lowest approval rating since Calvin Coolidge or Beelzebub, endorses him. The stock market is getting crushed, oil hits $105 a barrel, the dollar is embarrassing in its global worth, gold near a $1,000 an ounce, the housing/mortgage mess and the Chinese are poisoning our children AND they have the Olympics. (Thank you Nixon and Kissinger.) They may be a couple of Wars going on somewhere. But McCain is maybe giggling with hope that the Democrats may be commiting ritual suicide in a circular firing squad. James Carville is pulling his hair screaming, "It's the economy, stupid!". Oh wait, nevermind.

And Huckabee might get his own talkshow.

Big Weirdness rules the Day.

J: First off, I need to get this off my chest: there is nothing hard to understand about how Texas' Democratic primary works. It's a vote, then a caucus. Two thirds of the delegates are apportioned by the vote, the other third are divided up via caucus results. And you can't caucus unless you voted in the primary. That is not a difficult process to understand. Really, it's not. I just explained it in three sentences.

Second, I am really getting more irate than usual with the state of journalism in this Nation. Delegates at the National Conventions are what makes candidates. It's not votes, it's not States won, it's not anything other than delegates. Senator Clinton's "huge, Earth-shattering, momentum-disrupting" victory on Tuesday gained her, by my math, four delegates. Senator Obama was leading by about 144 before, and about 140 today. Watching the confetti fall reminded me of a wide reciever doing his convoluted touchdown dance... when his team is down 48-13 in the 4th quarter. Any losses to Senator Obama's lead will easily be made up in Wyoming on Saturday and Mississippi on Tuesday.

Now, let's look at the GOP. Senator McCain got his magic number, and immediately went to the White House on Wednesday. Wise move- he had to have his moment with President Bush to satisfy the 23%ers, he did, and I think that's the last time you'll see those two men together until the election. Get it out of the way early, and get it behind you.

Governor Huckabee has put himself in an interesting place. He's probably not going to be the Vice-Presidential nominee, but his concession prize is stepping into the role formerly held be Ralph Reed, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell- he's America's Christian Political leader- even if he doesn't know it yet. I don't think this is a bad thing necessarily. After all, Huckabee brings something to the table that none of his predecessors had- a sense of humor. That will be an interesting twist to watch in the weeks and months to come.

Big Weirdness indeed.