Monday, November 29, 2010

No Points For Variation

After weeks of no blogs, this, another picture post, doesn't really spice things up, but the view last night from our apartment was something else and I had to attempt the capture with my point and shoot even though I knew the camera wasn't going to replicate what I saw. I am hoping to remedy that in the near future with an upgrade, but I thought some of these were cool enough to share. The shelf of dark clouds and the mountains made such a beautiful band of light across the horizon that I couldn't pass it up.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Banana Belt

As Denver’s first snow swirls outside my window, Milwaukee is experiencing a heat wave, the only time since late July that it has been warmer there than in Denver. I wintered in Milwaukee for the last three years and during that time I forgot how much easier the winters in Colorado are than in the upper Midwest. Of America’s 50 largest cities, Minneapolis is the only one that has a colder average annual temperature than Milwaukee.

Although average annual snowfall is higher in Denver, the first winter I spent in Milwaukee it snowed over 112 inches, an all-time record (pictured above, just one of many blizzards that winter). The winter of 2006-2007, the last winter I spent in Colorado, was record-setting in terms of snow. There was enough of it to cover not only the shadowed corners of your yard but the entire street and neighboring field for over a month. To have snow on the ground for over a month; that was a big deal to some Front Range residents and it was the first time I could remember having snow on the ground for that long. But in Milwaukee, if the snow only stays for a month you are in good cheer. It’s not unusual for there to be snow on the ground for three months straight. It’s not that they get more than Denver—I already covered that—it’s that the cold takes your breath away and they get slightly less daylight than Colorado in the winter.

When it comes to average annual temperatures, there is no competition. Among the places I’ve lived, only Laramie, Wyoming can compete with Milwaukee’s frostbite-inducing cold. Denver has its days, but I can’t honestly say the winters in Colorado are tough.

It’s amazing what a few years in a much colder environment can do to the way you respond to weather elsewhere. After just a few months of college in Laramie, I felt like I was going to the tropics when I drove south for an hour. Fort Collins was consistently 10-15 degrees warmer than Laramie. It was good I had that training, because without it I couldn’t have weathered the winters in Milwaukee with as much good cheer as I did.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Don't Forget

Conan O'Brien returns to television tonight on TBS. Locally, he's on at 9pm. I'm looking forward to it. Follow TeamCoco here.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The 2010 Midterms

After this November 2nd, it is easy for me to be frustrated with and disappointed in thousands and thousands of Americans who, in 2008, launched the Senator from Illinois into the White House and then, only two years later, gave Republicans the majority in the House because Obama hasn’t yet dug the country out of a hole the Republicans led us into.

But I am still sanguine at times. Maybe I am crazy for being that way, but in previously shared governments meaningful legislation has passed and so I hope that the Republican majority in the House and the Democratic majority in the Senate can find common ground instead of going back and forth in a debate without results.

The Republicans are now the ones who find themselves with a mandate to govern as they see fit. This is a unique situation where they have to shift from just saying no to everything that came down from the White House to actually presenting solutions beyond making the Bush tax cuts permanent, repealing health care reform, or privatizing Social Security. Republicans came to power in these midterms because they kept promising the American people that they would represent their interests and that they would focus on jobs and reducing the deficit. I would love to see a Republican party with that focus. However, when I read the following in the paper this week I can’t help but shake my head at the Republicans:

But fresh from their victories, Republicans may have little incentive to defer to his [Obama] leadership. In the days leading up to the election, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, a top House Republican, repeatedly said there would be “no compromise” with Mr. Obama.

Is it too much to ask for Republicans to actually govern instead of again pushing on us their overtly divisive dialogue and diatribes, which accomplish nothing for the American people? If this remains the single more important thing they can do, then they have ensured their defeat in 2012 and such a defeat will be well deserved if they continue to just say, “No.” And while I am hopeful that the Republicans will do something good for America, I also know, and am comforted by the fact, that when 2012 is here, and if the Republicans have held to McConnell’s plan, than they will be in the minority again.

There are some positive signs from Tuesday’s election. There were several high profile candidates (O’Donnell in Delaware, Tancredo in Colorado, Raese in W. Virginia, Angle in Nevada, and Miller in Alaska) who all received glowing endorsements from Sarah Palin and they all lost. This is a huge bright spot. Even in her home state, Palin’s endorsement couldn’t even fend off defeat by Lisa Murkowski, a write-in candidate. This will not prevent Palin from running in 2012. She is obsessed with herself and there are enough delusional Americans out there who will push her to do it. However, in Alaska, where she was popular enough before she was McCain’s running mate, she has fallen flat on her face, leaving the governorship and the people she claimed to care about. Above the rest of the Republican candidates for 2012, she alone is the most narcissistic and it is the glorification of herself she wants to serve, not the “real America” like she always says. I suspect by 2012 America will be sick enough of her whiny voice which never delivers solutions or facts, just embellished tales from the crypt far-right.

And I don’t know how Harry Reid did it, but he defeated Sharron Angle, which is also another bright spot. Sharron Angle is a crazy ass. Read this, from a radio interview in Portland where she suggest an armed revolution: "I hope that's not where we're going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out." I would have been much more concerned for this country had she won. I’m not a fan of Reid either, but I am sorry, Nevada had to pick the lesser of two evils on Tuesday and thank God they did.

Colorado decided to give the Democrats a little more time in office. I am relieved they did, even if it was just by .9%. Had Buck won, the Dems would still control the Senate, but Colorado remains a battleground state. Obama won quite handedly here in 2008. That Colorado is giving him another chance is a good sign for 2012. Perhaps, by then, states won’t have to give Obama another chance, they will see some change by then and they will vote to continue it.

For me, the big takeaway is to be thankful that this campaign season is done and to hold the crazy belief that politicians will actually do their job for a year before they start campaigning again. That’s a lot to hope for. And then there are the Republicans. Will they actually do something over the next two years except rail against Obama and prep for 2012? Only time will tell, but Americans will get a very good representation of how the Right is going to govern and “re-invent” themselves and that is, in a way, comforting to me because if it’s anything like 2000-2008, I think the same Americans who contributed to this Republican comeback will be reminded of why they voted for Obama in 2008 and do it again in 2012.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

2010 Midterms Pre-Blog

America, you did let fear give you a Boehner. Luckily it didn't last longer than four hours and we didn't have to seek immediate help from a doctor (a psychiatrist, that is) because the Dems retained their hold of the Senate.

More on yesterday to come.

Monday, November 01, 2010

November 2, 2010

For the short blog below I am borrowing from a hilarious sign from the Rally to Restore Sanity. The sign refers to John Boehner, Republican House Minority Leader who could likely become Speaker of the House with a Republican wave tomorrow. So, here's my message...

Tomorrow...Don't Let Fear Give You A Boehner.

Actual Bumper Sticker

I am in the process of transcribing voice recordings I have fallen behind on. One of them I listened to today was from May 15. On that day I saw a bumper sticker and wanted to remember what it said. It was on a truck seen in Milwaukee. It read:
Those that buy cars or trucks from foreign-owned companies are butchering America's economic health in an expensive way whether they admit it or not. Don't kill the eagle!
Well, I don't admit that I am butchering America's economic health by owning a Nissan and a Toyota, but I will admit to having better cars than the American-car-owning version of me that doesn't exist. However, it was news to me that I was killing an eagle.