31 October 2008
29 October 2008
27 October 2008
Letter to the Editor: "Dear "Republic" Editorial Board, "I was very happy to see that the Republic has endorsed Congressman Jeff Flake for re-election in Congressional District 6. As a newly graduated College Republican from Flagstaff, I have worked with Congressman Flake's campaign in the past and in the present, and I know him to be not only an upstanding citizen and a leader for my district, but a traditional conservative as well - something of a rarity in today's political climate. "From his stand against government waste to his Goldwater-esque stance on limited government power, Jeff Flake represents what the Republican Party used to be known for, and what it must embrace again for the future if our country is to continue to prosper. "Thank you, Arizona Republic Editorial Board, for remembering that the best leaders in Congress aren't always the ones who conform to outdated Washington norms, but who instead try to make government work for "we the people." Jeff Flake is just such a tried and true leader, and the people of the sixth district would be sorely remiss if they did not return him to Congress come November 4th. Andrew Meeusen"
Even the worst storms leave pockets of undisturbed calm . . . isolated spots amid the wreckage left untouched by the devastating winds.
That pretty much describes the 2008 election season for Rep. Jeff Flake, R-District 6. Opportunistic Democrats are pouring millions into formerly safe Republican congressional districts, seeking to maximize the anticipated rout of the GOP this year.
But Flake's East Valley district? Well, even this crazy election isn't crazy enough to render the conservative Flake vulnerable in one of the West's most conservative congressional districts.
Conservative with a healthy dollop of libertarian, Jeff Flake is a good fit for District 6. The Republic recommends that district voters do exactly as they seem inclined to do, which is to return Flake to Congress.
Flake is opposed by Democrat Rebecca Schneider, and Libertarian Party candidate Rick Biondi. Schneider is an earnest political neophyte. Biondi, meanwhile, freely admits that there are "very few actions (Flake) has taken that I wouldn't take myself," thus negating any meaningful rationale for ousting the incumbent.
Consistently wary of government intrusion, Flake has never been an easy vote for the Bush administration. He managed to insert six amendments into the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. He will continue to argue persistently for free trade, even with the likes of Cuba. And, as always, we expect Flake will continue to shine a light on inappropriate federal spending.
The Republic recommends District 6 voters retain Republican Jeff Flake for Congress.
25 October 2008
24 October 2008
21 October 2008
19 October 2008
18 October 2008
At Tropicana Field for Game 2 of the ALCS
I won't tell you how much the tickets cost, but suffice it to say that I was glad I'd just been paid the previous day! The game itself was GREAT! And LONG. It was a 9-8 Rays victory over 11 innings and 5 1/2 hours. The game started at 8:07 pm EST and ended at 1:37 am EST! After the flight and the game, I was definitely ready for bed! The next day, we got up fairly early, had our complementary continental breakfast (from a hotel costing $200 a night, continental breakfast is GOOD!) and went to Raymond James Stadium, home of the Buccaneers. We were seated in front of the big (and quite unique) pirate ship on the North end of the stadium, about 8 rows off of field level. Every time the Bucs scored, big loud cannons would fire from the ship, rocking the stadium and just about deafening me and dad!
The game was a good shellacking of the Panthers, with the final score ending up as 27-3 Bucs. I saw my first in-person blocked punt on the first drive of the game, and one of the Buccaneers was called for "unsportsmanlike conduct" after cartwheeling (yes, cartwheeling) off the field after having intercepted a pass!
The only downfall was that the stadium was open-air and REALLY hot (see: humid). Suffice it to say that I got quite nicely sunburned. But it was definitely a fun and unique experience!
Pregame at RJ Stadium with the pirate ship behind me The famous Tampa Bay Buccaneers' cheerleaders!
During halftime at RJS
After the game, we drove down and over the Sunshine Skyway toll bridge south of St. Petersburg, because my dad wanted to see it - it's a cool bridge, actually. It's a suspension bridge where all the weight of the bridge is carried on two superstrong pillers, supported by high-tension cables trailing down to the roadway level. (See photo below) It was actually hit by a boat in 1980 and destroyed, and they rebuilt it this way:We also did the obligatory stop at St. Pete's beaches, driving up the Gulf coast from the Sunshine Skyway to Clearwater, FL. There, where it had been sunny and bright all day, it suddenly turned stormy, and I caught this beautiful photo of one of the Tampa bridges and causeways out on the edge of Tampa Bay:
That night, we ate at Bahama Breeze, a restaurant overlooking the bay, and I got something called a paiella, basically cajun-style rice with Creole spices, Tampa Bay scallops, mussels, shrimp, chicken, and other goodies. It was delicious! The next day, we checked out of the Hyatt fairly early, and spent much of the day at the Florida Aquarium, which I will elaborate on in another post probably tomorrow.
But it was really a great trip, and I had so much fun! (Now I'm about to go see if the Rays can finish off the Red Sox in Game 6 of the ALCS!)
16 October 2008
15 October 2008
14 October 2008
09 October 2008
Info: (from www.raymodjames.com/stadium/stadium_facts.htm) "The same company that produces props for Walt Disney World created the mighty pirate ship that is permanently harbored in Buccaneer Cove. The pirate ship comes to life after the Buccaneers score a field goal or touchdown. Its loud cannons fire seven times to signal a touchdown and three to announce a field goal. The pirate ship is an authentic replica of an early 1800s pirate ship, arguably one of the most recognizable stadium features in the world. It is 103 feet long with huge 32x50 foot sails."
Monday: The flight back is at 4pm EST, so we have most of the day to explore the area and see what's around. We land back in Phoenix around 5:30pm MST having gained an additional three hours or so that we had lost when we flew out. The only downfall: the flight is nonstop, so I'm sure I'll get antsy being stuck on a plane for 4 hours. I guess it'll be great opportunity to catch up on some reading. I just got a new book called "Painting the Map Red" by Hugh Hewitt, and I need to finish "Legend," the second Event Group thriller. Tuesday: Back to work! Hopefully I'll have pics and recap of my trip up on the blog here by then, so definitely check it out!
07 October 2008
06 October 2008
03 October 2008
Moderator Ifill: Governor, you said in July that someone would have to explain to you exactly what it is the vice president does every day. You, senator, said you would not be vice president under any circumstances.... What it is you think the vice presidency is worth now? PALIN: In my comment there, it was a lame attempt at a joke and yours was a lame attempt at a joke, too, I guess, because nobody got it.This one-line zinger right at Senator Biden both made me laugh the hardest and got the biggest reaction from the crowd (which was silent for pretty much everything else). By contrast, Biden's best one-liner was certainly with regard to healthcare, "So you're going to have to place -- replace a $12,000 plan with a $5,000 check you just give to the insurance company. I call that the Ultimate Bridge to Nowhere." (2) Governor Palin also had what I consider the strongest line of the night when she said in response to a question about whether either ticket would have trouble keeping their campaign promises, "I don't believe that John McCain has made any promise that he would not be able to keep, either." (3) Neither side really made any mistakes, as I've said before. However, Senator Biden did make a number of good decisions when choosing not to entrap himself in Governor Palin's attacks. If he had done so, the way Biden is in extemporaneous speaking when he gets heated, he could have really come across very badly for Obama. I would speculate that his pre-debate preparation included some tips for ignoring the character attacks by Palin and working on correcting factual mistakes instead to avoid his sometimes-wacky temperment. (4) WTF?! moments are any moment that sticks out in your head as a "did they say that" moment. For example, while speaking, Governor Palin called Senator Biden "O'Biden" which I can only assume was a slip of the tongue as she attempted not to say Obama. Senator Biden stood out for not literally saying literally every third literal sentence, literally like he did in his first joint appearance with Senator Obama. Governor Palin was certainly channelling that day though, as she "also" way more often than she should have been, which stuck out as badly as "like" and "you know" did in junior high school. Finally, something that I noticed that most others wouldn't have thought twice about was that Palin referred to the US commanding General in Afghanistan as "General McClellan" when it's actually General McKiernan. Last, but not least, I look at the format of the debate itself. In the Presidential debate of last Friday, the format was pretty open, with questions being followed by nine minutes of essentially open time for the candidates to respond to one another without being roped in by time limitations on their responses. They played off of some another rather than off of the moderator, which I really enjoyed. In tonight's debate, candidates had five minutes per question split up into one- and two-minute segments, meaning that the candidates' responses had to be by nature more rehearsed and less fluid. Personally, I'd be all for a re-enactment of the Lincoln-Douglass debates, but in the TV soundbite era, I doubt that will ever happen. Summary: In my four main criteria for looking at a debate - candidates' goals, quality of responses, style, and "fun stuff" - I think that on an even platform, Senator Biden easily won. He was smooth, somewhat polished, poignent, concise, and looked Vice-Presidential. Governor Palin looked charming, poised, and supportive of John McCain, but was also much more erratic, uncertain of herself, and looked somewhat uncomfortable in some subjects. While Palin definitely had the best and strongest lines of the night, Biden did himself and Senator Obama a favor by not taking the bait on some of Palin's attacks and slip-ups. If you take into account the theory that the platform tonight was not even, however, meaning that while the bar for Biden was set at a normal height, Governor Palin's was set much lower as she is a newcomer into national politics and has really only been "in the spotlight" for a month or so, Governor Palin did equally as well as Biden in most categories. I hope for the debates on October 7th and 15th between Senator McCain and Senator Obama that some of my readers will come away with a better sense of what I, at least, look for in a debate, and come to your own conclusions about what makes a "winner" versus a "loser" of each!