And Then There Were Two

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Politics on | No Comments

Well, three really, but is anyone really counting Gravel anymore?

Out of anyone I would have guessed to drop their nomination, Edwards wouldn’t have come first on my list.  Giuliani would have been tops, for sure.  Gravel would have been on the top.  Yet, Edwards called it first.

I think it’s smart.  The man’s not stupid.  He hasn’t gotten close in any of the early primary states, so it makes sense that he’d drop out before Super Tuesday.  That way, his votes can go to someone else, or maybe both people.

I think he ran a pretty fair race.  While he wasn’t the front runner, he certainly had the advantage of not attracting as much negative attention, which allowed him to spread his “fight poverty” message pretty cleanly.  Both Obama and Clinton have pledged to carry on his message, and I hope they will.

And so, for the first time in my lifetime, at least, the nomination is down to a woman and an African American.  No matter what happens now, one of them is clinching the nomination.  Even if they don’t win the White House, this is one for the history books.

Let the games begin…


McCain Wins Florida. Will Rudy Step Down?

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Politics on | No Comments

Update 9:45pm: Well, McCain has done something I didn’t think possible a couple of weeks ago.  He’s clinched South Carolina, and now Florida.  Next up now is Super Tuesday, and I now think it’ll be a race between him and Romney.  I don’t think Huckabee is out of it, but he’s certainly not where he was a while back.  Consider, though, that McCain was in the same place until very recently.

On to Giuliani.  Oh, Giuliani.  You took the Thompson approach, and like with Thompson, it just didn’t work.  I know you thought you could clasp a state and run with it, but it was not to be.  And now, tonight, that speech…that very carefully crafted speech.  No indication of which direction you’ll be going in come tomorrow.

I think, like many out there, that Giuliani is going to drop out, perhaps as soon as tomorrow.  I think if he’s smart, he will throw support behind McCain.  While not all of his supporters will switch to McCain, I think the majority would.

I’ve been saying for some time that the end was likely near for Giuliani, and now it seems that this prediction is coming true.

The breaking news is that McCain wins Florida. Will explain how it’ll affect him in a bit. Giuliani’s on now, listening in…


Kucinich Drops

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Moblog, Politics on | No Comments

Man, I’m losing traction here, just like Rudy Giuliani. The other day I said Dennis Kucinich would probably hold out until at least Super Tuesday. Now I just found out he’s going to drop out of the race.

Believe it or not, I don’t want him to drop right now. Why? Because I have an assignment to do for my class that includes looking up information on Kucunich. Now that he’s going to drop out…what’s the point in researching him? The point of the assignment was to learn about the relevant candidates, and now he’s no longer relevant.

Come on dude…you couldn’t have waited until Tuesday? At least then my group would have given our presentation on you!


Another One Bites the Dust

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Politics on | No Comments

Well, I was wrong about Fred Thompson.  I said he’d stick around for a little longer and then drop out from the race.  Instead, he made me look bad by dropping out before Florida!

Ah, well, can’t win them all.  I can still claim a win on predicting his inevitable departure, though.  I thought it was due to happen any time now.  I think he knew that he’d do no better, if not worse, in Florida.  Then after that he’d have to face Super Tuesday.  If I had to guess a time he would have dropped out, if would have been then.  Seeing as I don’t think he’d have done well that day, that would have been the end.  But, it’s over now, and I think it’d for the best.

Giuliani’s next, I think, if he doesn’t do good in Florida.  As I said in my last entry, he’s another candidate staking his race on one state, which I think is a mistake.  If he does do well, though, I think he should definitely go on to see how Super Tuesday goes.  I don’t think Giuliani needs a win in Florida, but he needs at least second place to be anywhere near viable on February 5th.

Finally, I’ve been mum on two competing candidates, Dennis Kuchinich  and Ron Paul.  Apart from the fact that neither have a chance, both seem pretty stubborn.  I expect they’ll stick it out until at least Super Tuesday, and maybe until the end.

Saturday can’t come quick enough…


Beginning of the End for Thompson? Also: Giuliani

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Seems like Duncan Hunter finally came to his senses.  I’ve been saying for the last couple entries that he’d be dropping out soon, and well, after two states with poor showings, he’s finally done it.

But what about our old friend Fred Thompson?  Is he done?  We all know he was staking his claim to relevancy in this race on South Carolina, and while he did better than Romney there, he only got third place.  This, after lackluster showings in six other states.  He put all his efforts here, and didn’t even get second place.

I smell an end for his campaign.  I’ve said for a long time his mistake was coming in to it late, and then not campaigning at all in the other states.  He may have done well in Iowa if he actually made an effort there.  If he’s vying on the bible belt, well, I don’t think it’d going to help him win.  His next big test is Florida, in which he’s not even in the contest for first place.

I don’t know.  I could be wrong on this, like I was on McCain.  I didn’t think McCain could do well in the south, and yet here he is in South Carolina, the clear winner.  But, for Thompson to not even garner second place, and for him to not seem set to get close to this in Florida, I think he won’t be in it for much longer.  I expect he might hang out for a little while longer, but in the end, he won’t be in the game for the nomination.  That’s still a toss-up between McCain, Romney, and Huckabee.

Notice I don’t have Giuliani in that list.  That’s because I think that he’s not going to win Florida.  He’s another Thompson.  Someone who was highly rated before the statewide contests, but when it comes down to it, he’s not been showing well, and won’t.  Like Thompson, he’s vying on one state to bring him back big time.  I think Giuliani might have had a chance in a place like New Hampshire, second place at least, if only he’d campaigned there more.  I think we’ll see a similar situation for him: he might get third, but I don’t think he’ll get his big comeback.

My overall prediction: the end is inevitable for Giuliani and Thompson.


The Linux Project?

Posted by Mike Merritt in Computers on | No Comments

I more or less have been a Windows user all my life.  I started with version 3.1, and am now on XP (I don’t foresee myself upgrading in the future, due to the problems with it).  So, I’m pretty set in all its ways, and would consider myself a power user of it.   I have also used Macintosh, mostly for video editing; and Linux, though mostly for experimentation’s sake.

I’ve dual-booted Linux on machines I’ve used in the past, but always seem to inevitably get it off for one reason or another.  I don’t use it much after a while, or I mess up my install bad enough that it’s rendered unusable.  I’ve never gotten far enough to use it in my daily life.

But what if I did?  What if I was able to overcome problems I’ve had in the past, and made it so I could finally use it on a daily basis?  Well, that’s what I intend on trying, when I go to install a dual-boot of the latest version of Ubuntu tonight.  If I can just get my wireless card working (my previous big issue), I could probably go on from there.

There are some issues I can see with using Linux exclusively.  I own a license to Corel Paint Shop Pro.  I obviously can’t use this on Linux, without going through Wine or something.  I’ve tried Wine in the past, and am not sure I want to go on its flakiness.  I also use Microsoft Office, but am less concerned about that, because I got it for free from my school.

If I am able to get through some of the issues I’ve had, I would like to make my experiences using it day to day a feature of Dymersion.  Hence the question mark, since the project is not yet a definite thing.  But, I’ll keep you all up to date.


Patriots on the Streets

Posted by Mike Merritt in Society, Television on | 2 Comments

When I tuned in to O’Reilly last night, I caught the tail end of an interview with a guy making the case to O’Reilly that many of our nation’s veterans end up on the street after coming back from war.  O’Reilly seemed to disagree with this idea, telling the guy to call him up if he actually finds anybody “sleeping under a bridge.”  Now, this shocking lack of respect for the troops didn’t phase me then, because I didn’t actually notice the story much.  Since I tuned in toward the end of that segment, it didn’t impact me as much as it would if I’d seen the whole thing.  I was also running on 4 hours of sleep.

Then I watched Keith Olbermann tonight.  He had on a veteran, and a member of a group that tracks, and tries to help, homeless veterans.  I got to see some of the clips of the interview again, and thought it made O’Reilly look read bad, what he said about there not being very many homeless troops.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, there are about 200,000 veterans homeless on any given night in this country, or about 1/3 of all homeless veterans.  Now, I understand that in relation to all the veterans in this country, that may not be a lot.  But, consider that this is about 23,000 more people than the amount of soldiers we have in Iraq right now, and 2/3 of what we had at the invasion.  That’s a lot of homeless veterans!

Notice that I gave a direct link to the VA’s website.  There can now be no arguing over sources, since the facts are coming from the horse’s mouth itself.  I know it says 195,000, but I’m guessing the number has been updated since then.  Regardless, it’s close enough for me to make my point.

Come on, O’Reilly.  Even you can’t deny that source.  I’m hoping what might have happened was that he assumed that the figures were specifically for people “sleeping under bridges”.  That’s be reasonable, if that were the case.  But, I don’t know.  O’Reilly has a pattern of vehemently disagreeing with people when he considers their opinions to be part of the “secular progressive” movement.  I think the representative from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America group thought right when he said he guessed O’Reilly was disputing the number of people under bridges.  I also agreed when he noted that some veterans are worse off, sometimes only having cardboard boxes to sleep under.

I’m surprised that nobody on his mail segment was featured calling him out on that.  Perhaps people did send in mail, but he didn’t choose it.  I hope that he sets the record, because for a man who pounces on people who disrespect the troops, saying what he said sounds pretty disrespectful.  It’s ironic, since today he had a whole segment blasting a New York Times story about veterans coming back from Iraq being more likely to commit murders.

Our veterans sacrifice a lot to fight for us, and the idea that they can go homeless when they come back from fighting is disgraceful.



Posted by Mike Merritt in Movies on | No Comments

Never having watched many “teen movies” in my adolescent years, I have some catching up to do.  So, I was happy to watch one of the newest tonight, Superbad.

I don’t know what it is about watching a movie like this, but I watched it with my sister and folks.  Any one else ever feel uncomfortable watching a movie with their parents with either 1) Sex in it  2) Sex talked about vulgarly  3) Both?

That was me tonight.  Now, I’m 21, so they can’t stop me watching it, but I still felt a little uncomfortable sitting next to them, haha.  What I’m saying it, give me a group of friends to watch this movie with, and I’d be fine.  I know I would.  But there’s something different about watching a movie where it is the goal of the character to get laid, that makes one (me, at least) feel uncomfortable.  Perhaps it is because sex is such a taboo subject for discussion in our society.

Anyway, I liked the movie.  It had a lot of funny moments in it.  I especially liked the two cops.  They both were comical, and at the same time, the movie’s creators such of gave a social commentary on the police.  How corrupt some of them have become, and that they can sometimes consider themselves about the law.  Not all of them, to be sure, but some.

Well, off to bed.  More movies to watch tomorrow.


Living in Ikea

Posted by Mike Merritt in Websites on | No Comments

I met Mark Malkoff, a New York comedian and Audience Coordinator at The Colbert Report, last August. When I met him, I heard about one of his then-recent videos, where he goes to all 171 Starbucks locations in Manhattan in less than 24 hours. I watched it, and found it highly amusing. I encourage everybody to see it.

Starting this week, Mark has embarked upon a new venture. With his apartment undergoing fumigation, he needed a place to stay for a week. His wife is staying in upstate New York with her parents, but as you can imagine (depending on where they live), that could be a long drive to work each day. All his friends apartments were too small (or so the story goes), and hotels in Manhattan are expensive. So, instead, he chose to try living for a week at his favorite furniture store, Ikea.

The videos on the site are up to day three now, but I think he’s been four days now, so I’m guessing a new video is well on its way. So far, the first three days worth of videos, I’ve found at least, to be very funny. He gets some great ideas for comedy, and this is no exception. Though, judging by some of the reactions from employees in a couple of the videos, I’m sure they won’t be too unhappy to see him go on Saturday, haha.

Anyway, give the videos a watch. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!


New Hampshire

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Politics on | No Comments

Update 1/8/08 11:22pm EST: Well, it’s more or less over.  Clinton has clinched this one, although narrowly.  This just goes to show what I said earlier, that people called it far too early.  Obama was predicted to come out of this with a huge lead, and instead he come out with a narrow loss.  I also thought McCain was called too early, though that prediction ended up being right.

I think we’ve seen now that the two races are not going to have certain winners for a long while now.  Doubtlessly, McCain, Huckabee, and Romney will keep fighting until the bitter end on this.  Same for Obama, Clinton, and Edwards (but particularly the first two) on the Democratic side.  I think it’s pretty clear now who the front runners will be for the rest of the race.  Giuliani will perhaps win his home state of New York, and perhaps another state or so, if he’s lucky.  Still, I think doing this bad in two key states has spelled the beginning of the end for him.  I think Paul will probably stay in for a while longer as well, but I would not be surprised to see Thompson and Hunter pull out soon.  In fact, if Hunter doesn’t pull before South Carolina, I’d be very surprised.  1% and 0% for the first two states, respectively, is not very good at all.  Thompson, though…come on.  He’ll probably do okay in his home state, but I think it’s over for him.  I still maintain that Huckabee’s got the lead in the South.

As for the Dems, Gravel had better start packing, too.  He’s done worse than Dodd in both states now, and Dodd pulled out last week.  It’s over Gravel, move on.  It’s going to be interesting to see how all three candidates from both sides flip back and forth between top and 2nd or 3rd in the next couple big primaries & caucuses.  However, I think it’ll be more interesting on the Republican side, because we really don’t know which of the three will clinch it.  The Dems, I think it’ll be either Obama or Clinton, but for the Republicans, it’s a big question mark at this point.

And with that, I’ll see you for South Carolina.

Update 1/8/08 10pm EST: Still way too close to call. Instead, I’ll just write something up when somebody else calls it. Not even going to try. But, I’ll say one thing. Clinton’s been going strong for a while now.

Looks like McCain clenched it for the Republicans, as expected, but looks like it’s going to be close for the Democrats. I think people were expecting this big Obama blow away, but even if he wins, I think Clinton is going to find herself with a comfortable margin behind him. And she needs it right now.

I won’t call it yet, though. Be back at about 50% of precincts reporting in.


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