Just Getting Started

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Am I prophetic, or what? Only a couple days after I get done saying how the fight between the Dems is allowing John McCain to start the general election with a lead, he makes his first move.

A lot of people are saying the ad appears to be targeted toward Obama, and that McCain assumes he’ll be the eventual nominee. It’s definitely possible, given Obama’s current lead. Yet, the ad is vague enough so that even if he doesn’t win, it is generalized enough so that it can also be used in a campaign with Clinton.


Less Sniffles and Future Plans

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I’d continue maintaining that my lack of posting here was due to my sickness, and although it’s partially true, I could at least get a few words in, I think.

In any case, the first part of my entry title is true.  They always say that sickness or medical injuries get worse before they get better, and so that seems to be the case here. Yesterday, I could barely speak, mostly likely due to my throat being blocked up from phlegm (I love that word).  I’ve been able to clear some of it out, via both the physiological way (love those throat muscles) and the medicinal way (I love Robitussin CF so much).  The result is that I can speak closer to my normal pitch again, rather than sounding like some kind of tenor.

I’m still hacking like a lifetime smoker, but that’s usually the case with this allergy/sinus/cold/whatever I get at this time of year, so I know what to expect.  I’m hopeful that on this day next weekend, I’ll be able to report that all is back to normal with my health (as normal as it can be for someone with asthma and Crohn’s).  Perhaps I can make that report before then.  We shall see.

It’s important that I get better, for as I noted in my last entry, I will be attending the back-to-back (and actually slightly overlapping) National Association of Broadcasters and Broadcast Education Association conventions in Las Vegas, NV in mid-April.  For those who don’t know, the NAB convention, one of the biggest in the world, is the place for everybody who is anybody in broadcasting to come and show all their latest and greatest stuff.  I’m talking mobile control rooms perfectly built into RVs, news helicopters (they actually have some there), video cameras, audio equipment, and so much more.  There’s also video servers, routers, amplifiers; you name it, somebody is showing it off there.  There are also training sessions for Avid, Apple, Adobe, and other major video products.

BEA is maybe a bit more boring for someone my age, and who holds more of an interest in the technical side of things, but it is interesting none-the-less.  There are more training sessions, discussion panels, demonstrations of papers by both students and professors, radio and video festivals (alas none of my school’s entries won anything), and most importantly to me, a career fair.  So, it is a lot more academic in nature, but we’re students, right?  So, nothing wrong with that.

Finally, there are some side events that take place at the same time.  The one that I definitely plan to attend is the Final Cut Pro Users Group meeting.  Affiliate groups from all around the country come out to hear from the big boys in video production (Adobe, Apple, etc) on what is new and great in their products.  More fun, though, are raffle prizes!  When I last went to the meeting (April, 2005), I won a Steady Tracker.  It’s a kind of handheld version of a SteadyCam device, that allows one to make moving shots with ease and without shakiness.  There were two available, a lighter version and a heavier version, and guess who got the latter one.  Ooh, the envy eminating through the audience was so thick, it could have been cut with a knife.  Then, the next year, one of the attending members won a very nice video camera.  I’m talking a camera worth about $5000.  So, that’ll be fun.

But, alas!  I digress from the true purpose of this part of my entry.  It is important that I get better, so I can feel good when I go, so I can bring all of you updates!  That’s right.  Foregoing any terrible circumstances to its operation, I will be bringing along my laptop.  I hope to bring everyone some daily updates as to what I’ve seen, along with plenty of pictures!  However, I cannot commit to that entirely, since I’m not sure of our entire itinerary, which really is probably not going to be made until we get there.  Sure, there will be a few things planned out, but outside planned meetings, it’ll all probably be up-in-the-air.  So, I’ll do my best to bring you what I can, but do I promise something everyday?  Well, given my past track record, I cannot do that.  But, expect several entries at least!

Well, I have to get ready for a shoot I’m doing in an hour, so I’m off.  I wanted to do a pre-review of WordPress 2.5, given what I’ve seen so far from their site, but it must wait!  Until next time…


Sneezes, Sniffles, and Snots

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Wonderfully poetic, isn’t it?

Anyway, I’ve been sick during about the past 2 weeks or so.  It started as a sore throat, but that’s more or less gone away and been replaced with congestion, sneezing, coughing, and stuffed up and runny nose (yes, both).  Add on post-nasal drip, and yea, it’s bad.

I’d consider sleeping through tomorrow if I didn’t have work at 1pm, and a class at 12pm I really can’t miss since I’ll be missing four meetings next month due to my NAB/BEA convention trip.  So, in the meanwhile, I trudge through the day, trying my best not to pass it around.  As if; I got this from something that’s going around, and it’ll likely keep itself going until everyone’s got it.

That’s it for me; going to hang on for a bit, and get some pancakes over at the Student Center.


End Game

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I was amused by the primary season for a while. More than that, I was interested in the exchange of ideas between the candidates. It was good, I thought, that no one candidate would get the nomination too easily.

My amusement and interest has gone away. It is time for the Democrats to choose a candidate and get it done and over with. The primary campaigns have gone on for too long, and it’s just gotten nasty. For those who follow the campaign in terms of the blogosphere, supporters of the two candidates have gotten downright bitter with each other.

Depending on where their loyalties lies, each side accuses the other’s candidate of destroying the Democratic party. One argument has Obama’s campaign untenable because of the Wright affair, and the other side’s argument has Clinton cooked over-easy for discrepancies between statements about her experience and her recently released records from her time as First Lady.

It’s gotten to the point where the two sides are practically attacking each other, rather than explaining why their candidate is the best. Meanwhile, John McCain and supporters are living it up in the weeks before Pennsylvania, visiting Iraq, and using what time he has to plan their strategy against the future Democratic nominee. This is good for McCain, since he’ll be pretty ready to present his case, and be better prepared to dodge and attacks coming his way. The Democratic nominee, on the other hand, will have to make up for lost time.

Therefore, I think Pennsylvania will need to be a decisive race. Obama or Clinton needs to get a huge win there. I’m talking like 65% or better, so that there can be some sort of idea of the direction for the nomination (assuming the Supers line up behind the candidate with the most pledged delegates). Garnering a win of this magnitude would make Obama look pretty sparkling, and I think put the final nail in the coffin of Clinton’s campaign. Clinton just could not go on any more, I think, if she doesn’t do really well here. If she does, I won’t be the end for her, but she’ll also have to do really well in the home stretch.

It’s all up to Pennsylvania, so get out there, voters. In the meantime, I’ll continue to wince at every new development in the unsustainable battle between the two candidates.



Posted by Mike Merritt in Rambling on | No Comments

I’d make an entry, but exhaustion precludes me from doing so.

Bed time.


Raining McCain

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | No Comments

They’re definitely not the next American Idols, but the video is kind of catchy none-the-less:

So, Obama’s got his girl, and McCain now has three rooting for him.  Now, where’s Clinton’s guy(s)?  Come on, it has to happen eventually.


The Year with No President

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | No Comments

Well, apparently nobody is getting elected President this year.

If you believe the comments made in the blogosphere over the past couple months, Barack Obama is screwed for associating with Rev. Jeremiah Wright for 20 years, Hillary Clinton is done for adding Geraldine Ferraro to her campaign, and John McCain is roasted turkey for accepting the endorsements of prominent preachers like John Hagee and Pat Robertson.

Under these circumstances, and if you accept what the bloggers say after these scandals, that the involved candidate’s run is over, you come to only one conclusion: none of them will be elected President this year.

Yet, all of us here in the real world know that the truth is quite the opposite. Lets face it people; all three candidates have been associated with somebody known for making racially charged statements during their campaigns. All three have distanced themselves from said people, and probably later than should have been done. And all three have yet to say racially charged statements on their own (surrogates need not count).

Now, can we get back to an election and maybe discuss the issues? Please?


Damage Control

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

When the big stories hit, I prefer to sit back a little.  This allows me to view the whole range of messages, and gather my thoughts.  Then I can go back and have a completed, thorough, piece to present.

The situation I speak of right now is, of course, Wrightgate (if it hasn’t already been coined). What did Obama know, and how long did he know it?  Does he really not agree with Wright, or is he just pretending?  Is he right to not have left the church, or is staying okay?  Why add Wright to his campaign?  Is it actually an issue?  The last two questions are my own, and I’ll get to them toward the end.   I won’t go into the nooks and crannies of the whole thing, since they have been covered elsewhere.

Look, it’s no secret, I think, that Obama’s gotten a pretty clean ride so far in the media.  I won’t go as far to say, “Oh, that liberal media,” but I don’t think people can deny this.  Sure, he’s gotten a few things thrown his way.  There was the pamphlet thing, and NAFTAgate, but otherwise, he hasn’t gotten much flack.  Compare him to the other two candidate, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain, and he was looking pretty good before this, in terms of negative media coverage, anyway.

Well, it’s full court press now, isn’t it?  I’m going to take a skeptical approach, though?  Besides the clips we’ve seen, was Reverend Wright saying all this crap about how white people are responsible for all the ills of black people every Sunday?  I doubt it.  Saying this is like saying that every Christian right church is espousing the evils of abortion or homosexuality every Sunday.  I no more believe that than I do about what’s being said at Trinity.  And before anyone says, “Mike, you don’t go to church, so how can you know?”  Well, I doubt people who go to Trinity all the time can really know, either.  I’m just taking my best educated guess, going on what I know about churches.  And my best guess is that mostly, they’re all talking about accepting Jesus Christ in to your heart, or some related topic.

So, is it going to be a problem for Obama?  A lot of conservatives or Clinton supporters seem to think so, but consider this.  After the whole Ferraro incident, a lot of people thought it was the end for Clinton, as many times they have said before.  Also remember Shoutingate after Pamphletgate, where Clinton lost traction…and then ended up winning Ohio and basically tieing in Texas.  My point is, these things come and go in phases.

Understand how the media works.  A big story comes along.  It floats around for a while, and is debated by everybody.  Then a new comes along, pushing the old one out of the way.  Keep in mind that a couple weeks ago, McCain was getting pounded over the maybe-sorta-probably not affair with the lobbyist, and whatever unethical actions he might have had there.  Now, most people probably don’t remember it.

So, I predict that within a week’s time, something new will come along, and probably for one of the other candidates.  There’s six weeks to go before Pennsylvania.  If Clinton can recover after losing 11 states, I think Obama has a good chance of re-gaining ground in the next six weeks.  So, is it an issue?  Right now it is, but the media moves quickly.  In six weeks, it might not be such a big deal.

Only time will really tell…


Bruised and Breathless

Posted by Mike Merritt in Personal Life, Television on | No Comments

Well, I quite literally just got back from shooting a PSA in my college’s town.  The PSA is about talking to your 8-14 year olds about not drinking underage.

In the PSA, I got to play the patient (who sadly dies).  Most unluckily for me, the guy playing the doctor actually works at the hospital in real life, so now my chest hurts because of all the times he had to do chest compressions.  Thankfully they weren’t real chest compressions, or I might be hurting even more.  In real chest compression, the sternum or ribs are usually broken due to the force.  So, I can’t complain, and if it makes for a good PSA, all the better.  The stakes are about $2000, so I’m happy to take some pain for that chance.

We started around midnight, and got done a little after 5am in the morning.  We had to do it then because the hospital is busy at other times.

Now we just need to start editing, and find out if the party scene we planned is needed, so that the stage can be set.  Alternatively, we might decide that the hospital scenes are enough.  However, we shall see.

Now I’m off to bed!


Independent Candidates 2008: Blake Ashby

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In this chapter of the Independent Candidates 2008 series, I profile Blake Ashby.  Ashby is a small business owner who lives in St. Louis, Missouri.  Ashby worked for some Republican office holders in his early twenties, and for former U.S. Senator Jim Talent.  He wrote a book following the evolution of liberalism, arguing that the flavor we now know in the U.S. came from the idea of Utopianism.  Formerly a life-long Republican, he ran as a protest candidate in the 2004 Missouri primary.


National Security

Mr. Ashby would take a inclusionist approach to national security policy in the Middle East.  He would invite Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia to contribute troops to Iraq.  He says it is naive to keep these people out of the Iraqi stability process, arguing that the troop surge will not work, and the country would then be left to the Iranians, anyway. [Ed. Note: This platform may have been written before more recent developments in Iraq.  Though, whether the surge truly is the reason for stability is an issue for another entry.]

In Afghanistan, Ashby says the Taliban should be allowed to participate in their government, but only if they turn over Osama bin Laden.  He says it is up to the people to decide who their leaders should be, and if the Taliban recognizes the standards of international justice by giving up bin Laden, they should be allowed to participate in democratic elections.  He says if they win, it is a problem of Afghanistan government, not the U.S.


Ashby argues that the Bush tax cuts should be canceled, and that the argument that the economy will flounder if this is done is nonsense.  However, he also notes that spending must be cut back, and that the government should only spend what money it has, not what it wants to spend.  He argues that there needs to be faith in the free market to balance consumption and investment.

He also argues for tort reform, saying that attorneys need to have some liability in paying expenses if the other side should win.

United Nations

Ashby says the U.N. should create an agency to help spread the ideals of democracy.  It would evaluate countries on their political systems and spread democracy.  He argues that the U.S. flavor of democracy doesn’t need to be the message sent, just the idea of people electing their leaders.  Further, he argues that non-democratic nations should only have half a vote in the U.N.


Ashby argues that doubling the output capacity of existing nuclear energy sources is a must, and is the least disruptive way to lower our dependence on carbon-based sources.

He says that sugar should be imported at free market rates, and the trade barriers on the substance should be removed.  He argues that sugar is a much better method for bioenergy than corn.

Finally, he says that small incremental changes our the best way to reduce energy consumption, rather than a mass effort.


Ashby says that it must be easier to take away children from parents doing a bad job.  He argues that the worst parents are setting standards for neighborhoods, and that letting them do bad jobs derides all other progress, from the economy to education.


Ashby is for abortion, under the argument making it illegal would have an impact on the U.S. budget, and that every unwanted baby has a significant cost to the government.


Ashby has several suggestions for improving education.  First, as mentioned above, he would make it easier to remove children from irresponsible parents, so that education, rather than policing in the classroom, can become more of a focus.

He argues for a repealing of No Child Left Behind, arguing that the schools are better served from a local perspective of the parents, although he agrees with a national standard.

Finally, Ashby would make it easier to remove underperforming teachers.


I found Mr. Ashby very interesting.  He’s kind of like Ron Paul, but without the strict constitutionalist stance.  I agree with a lot that he stands for.  The economic arguments make a lot of sense.  I’ve said it before – you cannot cut taxes and then spend, spend, spend.  It hurts the economy, and the taxpayers.  It doesn’t make sense at all.

On energy, I’m nominally for increasing nuclear energy capacity, but also think that waste becomes an issue.  He doesn’t cover that issue in his platform, unfortunately.  Still, nuclear energy is not the end-all, and I think he recognizes this.   He argues that sugar is a better answer for biofuel.  I’d need to study the science behind it more, but I do know that all biofuel options have their pros and cons.

There are places I don’t agree with him, however.

I’m somewhat against his idea for Iraq.  He wants to put together Saudi, Iranian, and Syrian troops?  Talk about a mismatch.  The government of Iraq barely functions with Shia and Sunni elements together, and he wants to put in different kinds of military?  Not going to happen, I think.   As for Afghanistan, I’m not entirely in favor of letting back in power those who harbored the organization that attacked our soil.  While I understand the thought behind the idea, the Taliban is already gaining a foothold back into the country.

The U.N. idea is a nice one, but I think they have more important things to do than to go rating countries based on democracy.  I think it’s already easy to tell.  Besides, if we’re rating on how people elect their leaders, all the one who use direct elections are going before us!  I’m also not a big fan of the half-vote idea.  There are some countries out there that are still under true monarchies, but are not necessarily totalitarian or oppressive.

I’m going to remain neutral on his abortion platform, because I don’t have a fully formed opinion on his reasoning behind allowing it.  Finally, I didn’t include his platform on healthcare, because I think it was more of a mismash of what the problems are now vs. what the problems would be with true universal healthcare, rather than what he would do.

So, there you are, folks.  Blake Ashby, Independent candidate for President.


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