Friday, February 27, 2009

Tiger Woods is back.. but not for long

As a golf fan it is great to have Tiger Woods back on tour. However it didn't last long as he was ousted in the second round by Tim Clark. That is going to raise eyebrows for many golf and sports followers as they may say Tiger isn't ready to return to his old self. Match play is a real "crapshoot" and that may have not been the best time for him to return. Nevertheless his focus is always on the majors and now can turn one eye to Augusta in April.

VI day August 31, 2010??

President Obama said that he wants to withdraw the main force of combat troops from Iraq by August 2010. Hopefully this time the president means "mission accomplished" although this time the president better really mean it (unlike the Mission Accomplished banner in 2003). Although Democrats aren't angry that we aren't ending the war fast enough and they should be pleased that we are getting out in the first place and understand that a military withdrawal can't be swift and takes time. There needs to be a structured strategy to get out of the conflict. As with anything the situation may warrant a change so they need to be ready for that as well. Obama will still have to deal with the effects of postwar Iraq whatever they may be as well.

Leg Rally Wrap Up

Apologies for the lack of posts but it has been a busy week. Before we get to the news of the week, I wanted to give a wrap up of APPA's Leg Rally. Tuesday included a luncheon and a speech by political commentator Mark Shields which was both witty and insightful. It set the bar for a the future. Immediately after that we had our Membership Committee meeting which I had to sit in on. It was all business but still very interesting. The final day was a morning breakfast, followed by a speech by Congressman James Cliburn of South Carolina and a skit, done by APPA staff that highlighted public power issues that they would be lobbying on during their visits to Capitol Hill. The point of the conference is to update members on the issues and in turn give them the opportunity to visit their elected officials on Capitol Hill. Overall this week is certainly a break in the action and one I look forward to every year.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar night

No, I didn't stay up for the Oscars. Events mentioned in the previous post prevented that from happening. Not to mention that there are no regrets as there was no drama or surprises unlike in 2002 (alluding specifically to drama). As expected I was happy that Slumdog Millioniare got best picture. I hadn't seen any of the others but now I hope to.
The night got to the point where I was ready to suggest that the Oscars switch to a press conference format like the Golden Globes last year as it was going on for so long. Then again, I guess for Hollywood's biggest event we should respect the Pacific time zone. Ever other event has East Coast bias in every sense (this includes both news and sports).

Leg Rally Day 1

Today was the opening day of APPA's legislative rally. Our annual session where members vote on legislative resolutions (positions on various issues related to public power) and go lobby on the hill. As it is a major association conference, we also have committee meetings including the Membership Committee (which I have to make an appearance at :) as well as a board meeting. Today I attended an interesting presentation on regional transmission. The issues were very interesting that came up. Some of these included when utilities (both municipal and investor-owned) decide on many alternatives for routes-you can potentially create more enemies. Interestingly enough, my policy analysis class said that creating alternatives diffused a lot of controversies and hostilities with interest groups and the general public. Day one also gave me a chance to talk with other members. More on Day 2 tomorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tiger Woods watch, Part 3

Tiger Woods will be returning to the PGA Tour next week at the WGC Match Play Championship. I am somewhat surprised by this mainly due to the nature of the tournament. With match play it is basically a final round every single day and if you "choke" you don't come back. Most likely, the Sunday collapse isn't on Sunday either, it would be right before that and the week could end the first 18 (or fewer holes) that you tee it up. It won't allow Tiger to get into the groove and get at least 36 holes of golf under his belt. However, this is Tiger Woods, he is the ultimate competitor and he wants to get into that mode as soon as he steps to the tee and there is not better place to do that than this tournament. As far as readiness to play, he is Tiger Woods with 14 major championships-don't ask questions. If he accomplishes nothing else he is the true king of the game. Although it wouldn't best Nickalus, to win 14 in this age is a jaw-dropping accomplishment. The microscope is on him but even more this time around. Lets stay tuned and see what he does.

New York Post cartoon

As many of you heard the New York Post ran a cartoon that connected the economic stimulus bill to the monkey that was shot in Connecticut. I understand if they want to mock the stimulus package, what would you expect from a right-wing Murdoch owned newspaper. However, now that we have a black president to connect a monkey to one of his policies is simply wrong and not an avenue any newspaper should go down. Surprisingly, the just issued an apology, albeit half-hearted. MSNBC just discussed that their editor is in the twilight of his career there and I think now would be a good time to start thinking about retirement as for most editors, decisions like this are career killers. Hopefully editors across the nation can learn from this and use this example as what not to do when trying to make good sound editorial decisions.
I went through a situation like this when I was on the school paper in college and a lot came out of it. It was a difficult experience but many of us said we learned more than anything we ever did in the classroom.

Tiger Woods Watch, Part 2

This one is of a different variety. Congrats on the birth of your son Charlie Axel. I hope Mom and son are doing well. Unfortunately the sleepless nights probably won't affect his golf game at all which is not good news for the tour. One can only wonder if other factors will take the place of that. Of course the Woods family probably won't draw inspiration from the octuplet Mom as his publicist will be even quicker to drop them as an account!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Uncle Ted

I just picked up "Last Lion-The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy" at the bookstore. I have never been a diehard fan of him but he is the dean of Massachusetts politics and the last king of the great Kennedy dynasty-a title no one ever really thought he would have but wound up taking after his two brothers were slain. He is probably one of the last great liberal senators that this nation will ever see as well. Nevertheless this should be a great read as it is written by Boston Globe writers-the foremost authorities on covering Massachusetts politics at the national level. Sometimes they have it easy because often times Massachusetts politics is national politics! I promise a review once I finish reading it.

Work Today

Busy day today at work and the best is yet to come. We are getting ready for the Legislative Conference next week as well as the Engineering and Operations Conference which will be in March instead of April. I will be present at the legislative conference, known to us as "Leg Rally." It should be really exciting with the new Congress and administration here in town. At this conference they discuss the legislative issues and their positions and go to Capitol Hill to lobby. Most importantly, staff makes sure to come on an empty stomach-there is plenty to eat and drink! This year I won't have to worry about going to class or capstone group meetings afterwards.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cry me a river

Today GM and Chrysler asked for $21.6 billion more to help keep the industry and businesses afloat. Okay enough already. GM and Chrysler you don't need more money. Be smart fiscally and use what the Feds have already given you to shore up your industry and clean house. For all I care put the CEOs in a high rise apartment or condo-I find mine very enjoyable! At least they should be getting pay cuts. I still haven't forgiven them for flying in their CEOs on private jets. If there is one thing at least they aren't running really annoying ads. "Saved by Zero" still haunts me from football season.

A-Rod comes out to the press

Today A-Rod came out to the press to discuss the details of his use of performance enhancing drugs. I am giving him a lot of credit for being forthright for admitting his use and even facing up to the fans, the league and the media. Personally I feel all of them should have done this but after the circus involving Messrs. Clemens, Palmiero, Giambi et. al. this is quite refreshing. Unfortunately the trust has been breached and the recent modern game has been tainted by the use of steroids in baseball. It saddens me that some of the moments that brought us to our feet (The Great Home Run Chase, Barry Bonds 73 home runs) weren't legit and probably the greatest one of all (bias here) 2004 World Series will fall under the same category. It is time to move on and implement a zero tolerance strategy. Of course nothing will ever take away from the celebratory moments and here is a reminder (in case you forgot).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Obama troop decision

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that President Obama will be making a big decision soon about increasing the number or U.S. troops in Afghanistan. First of all I am all for this along with a renewed effort to try and get Osama Bin Laden. One can only wonder if this will have any effect on the troops in Iraq, will resources be diverted or will he stick to his promise of having troops out there within a year or so from taking office and back on U.S. soil. All I have to say is that this is an awesome challenge be a commander in chief over not one but two wars and figuring out how to deploy forces in both theaters. Historically speaking it reminds me of World War II where there were two different theaters that need to be fought two different ways. It was one conflict but it could have easily been two. The crises that we are facing are without a doubt two separate conflicts with two separate goals and for that reason the military challenges Obama is facing are extraordinary.

Presidential rankings

On this Presidents Day the latest C-SPAN Presidential rankings came out and it has Abraham Lincoln on top and the latest ex-president George W. Bush is ranked 36th. Ranking presidents is just about as bad in terms of legitimate scoring as the BCS as different presidents dealt with very different situations and may have had more means at their disposal. For example FDR had 12 years and was asked to get us out of the Great Depression and World War II. Later presidents had much larger staffs and more technology and information at their hands which they could use to govern more effectively. However, the rankings do the best they can and different systems usually determine that one of three is ranked as the best president, Lincoln, FDR or Washington and a case can be made for either of them. The article states that over time rankings can change and only history will determine that. Check out the article here:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tiger Woods Watch part 1

Tiger Woods' close friend Mark O'Meara said that Woods is ready to return to action very soon but is unsure at which tournament. My guess is he won't return at the Masters as he will want to get some competitive action in before the first major championship of the season. My guess is that it will be at the CA Championship at Doral as his many have advised him not to come back too early as that could pose many health risks. As far as a storyline, his winning streak ended here last year and he would want to get some redemption by making his comeback and, of course, win in some fashion whether it be annihilating the field or sinking a clutch 40 foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole. After all, what else does he do when he tees it up? Stay tuned for more updates on the Tiger Woods Watch.

New York plane crash

My thoughts and prayers are with those that were killed in the plane crash in the Buffalo area last week. We now learned that it was landing on autopilot and it was against policy to fly a plane on autopilot in icy conditions. I am sure this event will at least force the FAA to adjust policy and procedure when dealing with the use of autopilot on planes of any size. If nothing else it will force more extensive explanation of procedures in pilot training classes.

Pitchers and Catchers

Pitchers and catchers are at spring training. Baseball season is right around the corner. Right now all the drama is in the Evil Empire and Red Sox nation is drama free. We know that will change as the season begins-somehow an off field story always comes up in Red Sox Nation and every night there is an on field story of some sort! Today is also the final round of the Pebble Beach golf tournament-without a doubt the world's best golf setting. I regret not getting there last week but San Diego wasn't bad and it will be a must for my next California visit.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Door to door

Last fall I spent a lot of my free time going door to door for Barack Obama in Northern Virginia. As many of you know that played a huge role in his victory in November organizing a "ground game" making sure that every door was knocked on by a volunteer, especially in swing states like Virginia. I seemed to have picked up a "bug" as I have continued with my door to door efforts for Miles Grant, a member of Arlington Young Democrats running for state delegate in Arlington. He works for the National Wildlife Federation, well-versed in environmental and civic engagement issues, and a Massachusetts native (which earns a mention on this blog).
This campaign effort is much different as door-to-door is mainly the only avenue of getting the word out-no flashy TV ads or debates televised on network stations. The primary isn't until June 9 but we have started our efforts early as there are a lot of houses that need to be visited. Another challenge for a campaign in Arlington is that there are a lot of high rise buildings which volunteer door-to-door knockers can't access. This is an issue as, unlike the presidential election, many of the residents don't follow the local elections that closely as they are mainly young professionals commuting to the city for work. Media coverage and visibility will be critical as a result. Check out the campaign website at

Economic stimulus passed

Congress passed the economic stimulus package today. I am sure it is getting a lot of criticism and the expenditures could be questionable. However, I am confident the Obama administration will make all of the details of the plan as transparent as possible. As I have said it is possible to make adjustments if aspects of the package aren't working. For those that say that this is another package filled with pork that is really nothing new in politics no matter who is in office. It is part of the legislature's job to get stuff for their districts. Most importantly, if it helps grow the economy in their particular region of the country there is no reason why it shouldn't be included. I feel that the expenditures of the package have to be allocated regionally as state and local politicians know their jurisdictions best and what types of programs need aid. While people feel that the infrastructure projects that come out of it might make more unskilled jobs than skilled jobs, we need to realize they need people with college and advanced degrees to manage these projects (at all levels) so all professional backgrounds will be considered in the jobs development and growth programs that come out of this package.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Nothing new and exciting to report today. Looking forward to a long weekend coming up and surprised I haven't been asked to come into the office considering how much time I have had off! Hopefully no one gets any ideas. Metro is going to be a pain this weekend because of station and line closures on the Blue and Yellow Line-how convenient! At least there will be plenty of time to catch up around the house and do some stuff. This weekend is the Daytona 500 not that I really care but they are smart to have it in February when there isn't too much on in terms of sports so a casual sports fan will actually watch it. Hopefully it will be nice enough to get out for a bit as well.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Economic stimulus passed

The economic stimulus passed and the Senate and House worked out the differences in much faster time than I expected. People are wondering what the details are but in times like these you have to implement the plan and see what is working and what isn't. If a piece of the plan isn't working, cut it. and don't waist taxpayer money on it. If it looks like something else is needed, draft new legislation to get it done. A lot of this comes from my section on policy alternatives in Policy Analysis class.

A-Rod on steroids

This is not a real surprise. The guy sitting next to me in the hotel watching the news exclaimed "This is breaking news?" As much as it pains those that are true fans of baseball, I think we are going to have to accept that the accomplishments of this era are not necessarily genuine, realize that there are measure in place and being put in place to crack down on steroids and move on from this and hope that it is not a part of the future game. Unfortunately, we don't know how consistent the enforcement is going to be and players will still find ways to get around it. All we can do at this point is teach to the younger generation of athletes that by doing steroids, you will not perform at the level that shows your true ability and that steroids can have determinantal effects to your health, especially for younger people.

Back from California

I had a great time in California. I visited my friend from college who is working in the film industry and currently starting his own documentary film business in LA. He took my around to all the famous sights such as Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Hills, various sports stadiums and gave me a little background on how things run in the film and television industry. The LA metropolis must be without a doubt the most sprawling metro area in the world. What makes it more amazing is that getting around there is by car only-the subway system is bare minimum. Considering the lifestyle of the West Coast and it is an industry that I have little interest in entering-not really a relocation option.

The rest of my trip took me to San Diego, it was essentially a resort town on steroids. The weather was somewhat unsettled with evening showers and on and off showers all day Monday. The news acts like a major storm is coming. Anyway, I saw a variety of places such as the beauty of Coronado Island, the San Diego Zoo, Old Town San Diego, and the Midway Museum. Overall it was nice to get to the west coast and enjoy warmer weather than DC. Now back to the grind. Pictures are available here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Westward Ho!

I will be off to California for a few days tomorrow so blogging will be light to nonexsistent. It might be better to lean on the side of non-existent! I will be visiting Los Angeles and San Diego. I am looking forward to warmer weather as it is very cold here in DC.

Franchise tag on Cassel

The Patriots put the franchise tag on Matt Cassel today which would mean it would be much more difficult to sign him. This is a surprise that they would put this on Cassel, there must be a lot of doubt whether Tom Brady can come back at the start of next season. It is not normal to do this for a backup quarterback just "to be on the safe side." We still need to hope Tom Brady gets the opportunity to come back. One can only wonder how effective he will be should he come back. Also, can Cassel have an encore act like he did last year.

Stimulus Package

It looks as if the Economic Stimulus Package is on its way to getting passed by the Senate as early as tomorrow and will be signed by President Obama by President's Day weekend. Right now the Senate is going through it line by line. It is important to have different components that will revitalize the economy using a number of different ideas. Obama is right saying if we don't take action now the economy could get worse, however, if it is not the right action with input from different legislators and both sides of the aisle it will not help the cause.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Its Beanpot time

Monday night a classic Boston tradition continued with the Beanpot Hockey Tournament. The tournament is held the first two weeks of February every year at th TD Banknorth Garden and its predecessor, the Boston Garden. It is the four major hockey schools in Boston competing for hockey bragging rights in the Hub. The first Monday in February consists of two semifinal matches and the winners of those play in the final the second Monday in February. Harvard, BU, BC and Northeastern compete for the crown. BU has the most championships and seems to win almost every year. It is always something to look forward especially in the "dead month" of February when it comes to sports. In the past the Beanpot has run 'under the shadow" of the Patriots Super Bowls since it starts the day after. However, it always made for a good "postgame after dinner drink")

Thoughts on Golden Parchutes

Like many people it is simple, if you do a crappy job you deserve to get fired and the only thing you should get is a cardboard box and security escort out of the building. The CEOs of these companies should not be getting "bailed out" with anything and this must not be included in the spending in the stimulus package. The government should in no way give money to leaders that screw up their companies.

Daschle out

Too bad that Tom Daschle had to withdraw himself from being Secretary of Health and Human Services. However, this administration vowed to be as ethical as possible and he set a precedent for making sure that they held to that promise. Who might be the replacement designate, Howard Dean? With him as Secretary everyone in Michigan, Washington, New Hampshire, Idaho, Alaska, California, Hawaii, must get the flu shot. You get the idea.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Buckeye

For the complete lack of hype that this year's Super Bowl got it turned out to be one of the best ever. Arizona had an amazing comeback and really put Pittsburgh on the ropes but Big Ben and company showed that he was no fluke and he was a clutch player when he had to be. In addition to my love for Boston teams, my family likes Ohio State and Penn State (apologies if I mentioned this) and I was thrilled to see Santonio Holmes get a Lombardi Trophy and the MVP honors. I believe he is the first Super Bowl MVP from Ohio State. Although many of the Buckeye fans hate Pittsburgh, I expect OSU to honor him and he will get a huge ovation for climbing the mountain. Beating Michigan is fun but a Super Bowl championship is immortality.

As for the commericals, enough of the Budweiser clydesdales and time to think of a new advertising campaign. The Doritos one was the best. Bruce had a good halftime show as well. I had a great crowd at my place and some good football food. Lets hope that Pats are back next year.