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Thursday, July 06, 2006

warren, ohio

Well, we’re spending the night in Ohio as we trek to Michigan for niece Kristine’s wedding to Matt on Saturday. We’re staying at the Comfort Inn in Warren, Ohio, which is very close to Youngstown (near the Pennsylvania border).

We avoided NYC and New Jersey traffic again this year, heading west by first going up to Danbury to I-84, to I-81 near Scranton and Wilkes-Barrie, then down to I-80 and over. Going out of our way actually saves us a lot of time. It took us just over seven hours to reach Warren—and probably would’ve taken less time except there are some slow spots on 80 where there is construction. All in all, not a bad trip at all so far. The cat made it without upchucking, and Ginger, well, she just likes to go wherever we’re going.

Comfort Inn, Warren, OHI’ve grown tired of motels on the interstates, and have had my eye on the Comfort Inn Hotel in Warren since last year. It’s an old hotel, I guess about a hundred years old, that Comfort Inn took over. Stanley bitched about how ugly everything was as we exited I-80 and drove about eight miles north to get to downtown Warren—strip malls and big boxes that could be Anywhere, USA (including Constitution Ave. in Norwalk). Then we got the hotel, which is right across the street from the town square, where there was a band playing in the bandstand when we arrived (a polka). A beautiful town square, with huge old trees and surrounded by interesting government buildings (Warren is the county seat of whatever county this is) and buildings made of brick and cut limestone. The Midwest. Like you’d find in a Ray Bradbury story.

Our room is a large room facing the square! Huge windows, clean, a comfortable bed. I was thrilled when we walked into the lobby because it features stained glass and real, old oak that hotel owners, past and present, had the sense never to paint, a friendly desk clerk. We unpacked and then parked the car. We took the dog out for a walk and had a park to take her too instead of a strip of grass along the interstate where the traffic scares her into misery. She was so happy walking around the square with us—it is really pretty here. I think we’ll stay here again in August when we go on our usual vacation. Oh, and when we were across from the hotel in the town square, Stanley glanced back at the hotel and saw Twitch sitting in the window, watching us. I really wish I would’ve had my camera—it was such an interesting shot, that stupid cat staring at us from the second floor of the hotel.

We should get to Dearborn tomorrow around 3:30 or 4:00, give or take 30 minutes. Time to check into Casa de Cara (my sister Cara’s house) and then we off to Rochester Hills for the Rehearsal/Welcome to the Out of Towners dinner being hosted by Matt’s parents. It will be nice to finally meet them. Saturday is the wedding and reception, and Sunday I hope we can catch up with family, hang out a bit, then on Monday, we’re going to leave in the morning and probably drive straight through (it’s about 11 hours total, maybe twelve, between Detroit and Norwalk. Much longer if you go through Canada, which might seem to make more sense but nothing, and I mean nothing passes by slower than the flatlands of Ontario ... except maybe driving north through eastern Kansas ... )

The bad part about traveling on Thursday was that we missed the debate between Liebermouth and Ned Lamont. But most, or maybe even all of it, is posted on YouTube ( and I managed to watch all of the videos posted (oh, did I mention this hotel has a super wireless connection?) and I thought Liebermouth came off like an angry, arrogant toad. I was pretty shocked at his use of Reagan’s line—wasn’t Ronnie a Republican? And, of course, he dragged in a dead Kennedy—as if ... Eighteen years is enough, Joe—you haven’t done shite for CT as far as I’ve been able to tell. And what is this horse manure about saving the Sound? Last I heard, lobsters are still scarce on the Sound and now the salt marshes are dying off, he didn’t have enough clout (or maybe he just didn’t care enough) to prevent that pipeline from being laid across the Sound and I sure don’t hear him speaking out again the liquefied natural gas “island” that’s being shoved down our throats. He burbled on about transportation money—but it still takes more than an hour to drive the ten miles between Stamford and Norwalk during rush “hour” (which seems to last 2.5-3 hours now) and Metro North is overcrowded and there’s very little public transit to get you to the train station (and non-existent parking if you drive there). Just hearing Lieberman’s voice makes my skin crawl the same way listening to Bushie’s bs makes it crawl ... eyew. I like Ned Lamont and I believe him when he says he’d going to fight for progressive, Democrat causes.

posted by lee on 07/06/06 at 08:59 PM

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Monday, July 03, 2006

lieberman collecting sigs to run as whatever

According to the AP, as reported in the New York Times, Lieberman says he’ll start petitioning to run as an “Independent Democrat” in November:

‘‘While I believe that I will win the Aug. 8 primary, I know there are no guarantees in elections,’’ Lieberman told reporters on the steps of Connecticut’s statehouse. ‘‘No one really knows how many Democrats will come out to vote on what may be a hot day in August.’‘

Lieberman said he will still be running as a Democrat even if he’s not the party’s nominee and plans to remain part of the Democratic caucus in the Senate if re-elected.

Hedging his bets yet again, just like he did during the prez campaign. What the hell is an “Independent Democrat?” Oh, I forgot, that’s a Republican in a Democrat’s costume.

How, exactly, is he going to run as a Democrat when Ned Lamont is chosen by us noble Democrats who brave the August heat to vote on the 8th? How lame is it to blame hot weather for losing the primary? In advance, no less.

What will he do if Democrats turn out in droves to vote against him?

It’s time to seriously consider term limits for our elected officials. I’m leaning toward two terms max for senators and four-year-term elected positions, and three terms max for representatives and other two-year-term elected positions. Anything more than that and it becomes their career and most politicians consider it an entitlement—which Liebermouth clearly does.

Worth reading is David Sirota’s recent column in the Hartford Courant: Who’s Lieberman Represent? Not You

Apparently, the Lieberman campaign’s cynical strategy is to smear the opponent and then convince the public that holding a contested election is somehow wrong, when in reality that’s exactly what’s supposed to happen in our democracy.

Lieberman wants to make this election about whether he is a likable guy.

But this is not a two-bit popularity contest. This is a critical election about whether Connecticut Democrats believe Lieberman is representing their party and mainstream America in the Senate, or whether he has lost his way and become part of the corrupt establishment in Washington.

A look at Lieberman’s record shows he is most decidedly the latter—a senator who has “gone Washington” and forgotten about the people who elected him. Lieberman may call himself a centrist, but the record shows he has used his platform to push policies that are far out of step with what ordinary Americans want from their government.

How to avoid having our elected officials become part of the establishment in Washington, corrupt or no? Term limits. This would take care of Lieberman-type BS and also take care of a great deal of the corrupting influence of lobbyists—they’d have to cultivate new patsies and that will definitely cut into their bottom lines. And maybe it might happen that our elected officials would actually work for us. What a concept. The pols won’t have to spend the bulk of their terms raising cash to keep their jobs; just think of all the work they could get done during their lame duck term!

UPDATE: Take a look at Lieberman on CNN, over at Crooks & Liars (he’s so damned arrogant—but what, exactly, had he accomplished in the last 18 years?)

posted by lee on 07/03/06 at 10:48 AM

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update: teva programmers finally get a clue

At last, at last, my dad got his gift certificate from Teva. It turned out that there was a glitch in the forms they use for processing—for some reason, the state of the shipping address was showing up as the state for the billing address in the receipt. Which means that, if the state is not your billing state (such as for a gift sent to Michigan from Connecticut), the credit card company will not process the transaction. As it shouldn’t.

With a lot of perseverance on the customer service rep Gina L.‘s part, and her willingness to tell the programmers that they had made a mistake (and telling them again and again until they fixed it—programmers never believe that laypeople know what the hell they’re talking about, do they? Even though I told Gina what to tell them, it still took a while to sink in. The fact that it just didn’t work should have been the tip-off, but programmers, particularly asp jockies, are often among the most arrogrant frecks on the planet.)

What’s really weird is nobody was ever notified of a failed transaction—not the customer (me), not the service reps—nobody. So I bet they lost thousands in sales over the 12 days the problem persisted. All those gift certificates that should have been sent ... on all the carts we manage, every single one notifies us if there is a failed transaction and, here’s a concept, even provides an error report so we know if it’s the customer who screwed up (like a mis-typed number) or if we did (like forgetting a piece of info that needs to be submitted). And we test test test before deploying a new system.

I would say that all’s well that ends well, but I’ll wait and see if my dad can successfully use his gift certificate on before I decide it’s ok. They did send him an apology for screwing up our father’s day present.

posted by lee on 07/03/06 at 10:00 AM

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