I don't normally read the sports page, but Porter called my attention to last Friday's Orlando Sentinel, and an outrageous statement by David Stern, Commissioner of the National Basketball Association. The Orlando Magic, our own NBA franchise, is currently trying to shake down the city for still more financial incentives not to pack up and go where the bribes might be greater.

What Stern said was this: "If a city builds a symphony hall, there is a cultural benefit to the city, despite the fact that the hall is not likely to make money. The same can be said for having an NBA franchise." (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, April 26, 2005 at 2:39 pm | Edit
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When Terri Schiavo dies, there's going to be cheering, and I don't understand why. I know there will be cries of exultation because of the commentary I've heard, and the rude jesting, even from as mainstream a production as National Public Radio's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. Perhaps people make light of tragedy in self-defense; I know my family was able to find humor even as our father lay dying. There was, however, an enormous difference: our humor was suffused with an undeniable love for the man and a determination to do all we could for him. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 at 8:21 am | Edit
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The Orlando Sentinel recently published a letter by a local community college professor expressing his disgust over a new Florida law that requires an American flag to be displayed in the classroom in which he teaches. I took issue with some of his points, and wrote a letter to the Sentinel in response. When the editor called to let me know that they would be publishing my letter, she very kindly said, "We haven't heard from you in a while." It's nice to be missed! You can read Professor Scolaro's letter and my response on the Sentinel website. I'm also putting mine below, in case the Sentinel link breaks, which it's bound to do eventually. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, January 27, 2005 at 9:49 pm | Edit
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It appears that Boston could not have two big winners this year. If they could have chosen, I wonder how many would have traded the Red Sox World Series win for a Kerry victory?
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, November 3, 2004 at 1:59 pm | Edit
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John Kerry has conceded, and President Bush is expected to declare his victory. That speech will be the first critical act of his second term. It needs to be humble, conciliatory, positive, respectful, encouraging, and unifying. These are not attitudes that Bush's speeches project very well. Whether the fault is in him or in his speechwriters, the ultimate responsibility lies with the one who speaks the words, and he needs to change his attitude and/or find himself some better speechwriters. Kudos to Kerry for having the grace not to subject the country to weeks of agonizing legal battles. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, November 3, 2004 at 11:55 am | Edit
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Thus far I have tried to remain fairly nonpartisan in my political commentary, but the time has come to take a stand. I have been a Democrat all my voting life, although I’ve been gradually coming to realize that the party I thought represented compassion and liberty acts in reality as if it cared no more—and in many ways less—about such things than the Republicans.

George W. Bush has sufficiently disappointed and embarrassed me that the Democrats probably could have saved my vote by putting forth a moderate candidate who would present himself as a positive alternative. Instead, they chose John Kerry.

Without detailing the intellectual and visceral internal debate behind my voting choices, I include some brief comments on the issues both candidates seem to think paramount, based on their advertising rhetoric:

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Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, November 1, 2004 at 8:07 pm | Edit
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As I have written previously, I believe that Florida's voting procedures in 2000 were as fair and accurate as any in the country, and better than some.

I have no such assurance this year. Four years ago, any irregularities were minor and mostly attributable to innocent mistakes. Now everyone knows that Florida matters, and the stakes are so high that I no longer trust either side to resist the temptation to pretend that the ends can justify the means. The negative ads, on both sides and at all levels, have convinced me of one thing: that neither side can be expected to take the high moral ground on anything important.

Between "early voting" and the misuse of the absentee ballot system, chances of fraud, collusion, and coercion are high, and the chance of knowing the results in a timely matter is low. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, November 1, 2004 at 4:04 pm | Edit
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Get your news first, from Crickler! Their nifty little puzzles often alert me to interesting news stories, which I follow up with my favorite overall news source, Google News. Today's intriguing tidbit has been a little hard to pin down, as the full story at Salon.com requires a subscription. Supposedly you can get a "one day pass" to read it if you watch an advertisment, but I sat through the thing twice and still was asked to register, so I gave up and will wait till a free news source covers the story. However, since I was asked my opinion, I'll quote the beginning (free) part of the story:

George W. Bush tried to laugh off the bulge. "I don't know what that is," he said on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, referring to the infamous protrusion beneath his jacket during the presidential debates. "I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."

Dr. Robert M. Nelson, however, was not laughing. He knew the president was not telling the truth. And Nelson is neither conspiracy theorist nor midnight blogger. He's a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis. Currently he's engrossed in analyzing digital photos of Saturn's moon Titan, determining its shape, whether it contains craters or canyons.

One theory is that the President was receiving some sort of assistance during the debate, which would make Bush the immoral, irresponsible idiot of his opponents' visions. I have a few thoughts of my own, and have gathered more from other folks:
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Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, October 29, 2004 at 3:09 pm | Edit
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Did you know that? Do you care? Probably not, unless you live in Boston.

A senator from Boston, with a name like Kerry? Of course he's Irish! At least that's what everyone thought, and—Boston politics being what they are—Kerry did not dispel the illusion. It was only when the Boston Globe hired a genealogist to look into Kerry's ancestry that it was revealed that he is not Irish at all, and that the Kerry name is only as old as his grandfather, who changed it from Kohn. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 at 4:42 pm | Edit
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That's not how I customarily describe our houseguests, but this one is a friend from Rochester, NY whose purpose in visiting is primarily to work for the success of the man I would like to see defeated in the upcoming presidential election. Are we "giving aid and comfort to the enemy"?

 

Well, an opponent does not need to be an enemy, and I have to admire our friend's willingness to work for what he believes in, giving up his vacation time to boot. I haven't actively campaigned for someone since I worked for the Humphrey-Muskie ticket, and that was before I could vote. That's a little embarrassing, since we have a friend who ran for the U.S. Senate, but it's the truth. We vote, we talk, we provide financial support—but Don's actually down there at headquarters, working. You have to respect that.

And the dinner-table discussions are definitely stimulating!

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Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, October 9, 2004 at 1:29 pm | Edit
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As Floridians, we've had to endure too many jokes about Florida's elections. I challenge any state to stand up to the scrutiny Florida received after the last presidential election. Many states simply couldn't have done a recount, because they have no permanent record of individual votes. I've voted in Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, and Florida's system holds up well in comparison. Even after the 2000 election, we found that it would have been easy to cheat in Massachusetts, if we had wanted to. I'm not going to complain about their system, because it was nice to feel trusted. But it was certainly a surprise not to have to provide any form of ID when we voted.

I also like Florida's paper ballots. (We had paper ballots in Massachusetts, too.) We've used both the punch-card ("hanging chad" style) and the fill-in-the-circle (standardized test style) ballots, and despite what you've heard on the news, they are not hard to understand! I'm old fashioned enough to think that someone too clueless to understand the simple ballots, or too lazy to take the time to make sure he has filled his out correctly, or unwilling to ask for help if needed, probably shouldn't be voting anyway.
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Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 7, 2004 at 8:24 am | Edit
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