In case you didn't read to the end of the last post, I am moving my blog. I wanted to get it up and running, even though it probably isn't completely done yet.

The new url is:

Head on over and check it out.
Over the weekend, I watched the ESPN 30-For-30 special Straight Outta L.A., a documentary on the Raiders experience in Los Angeles.

The L.A. Raiders, a short-lived marriage between Southern California and Al Davis, came to town at the height of gang activity in the city, as well as the beginnings of a new hip hop culture. In Los Angeles from just 1982-1994, one event stood out more than all others as I watched.

Straight Outta L.A. was narrated by one of L.A.'s gangsta rap founders, Ice Cube, who spoke painfully about the 1992 L.A. Riots. I remember these words he said about the mayor, Tom Bradley.

"I knew he was going to let the city burn." And it did.

Why do I bring this up? Because the images of Los Angeles came flooding to mind when I saw this:
The image is from the New York Times, and depicts Bangkok, the capitol of Thailand, yesterday.

Civil unrest has been brewing in Bangkok since 2006, when former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was removed from power in a military coup. Some members of the current government are blaming Thaksin for causing the current unrest.

However, unrest would be an understatement of massive proportion. Yesterday, the Thai military stepped up its aggressiveness, leading to a bloody takeover of the protests.
Arsonists in Bangkok set fire to almost 30 buildings, the government said, including the country's stock exchange, a massive shopping mall, two banks, a movie theater and a television station. Two city halls were set on fire in the provincial capitals when thousands of protesters reacted to news of the Bangkok crackdown.
Somehow, only 12 people were killed and about 60 injured, far less than expected. That is because, do to the increased pressure from the powerful Thai military, many of the protest's leaders turned themselves in yesterday. This is the same protest that saw a renegade general shot in the head while giving an interview with a western reporter last week.

That reporter wrote an incredible piece, saying he heard a bang, like a firecracker, before the general collapsed. He also talked about how the city is built to be a world-class city, with architecture portraying high hopes, yet it is often reduced to times like today.

Or yesterday. When the city burned.

What happens tomorrow? Here is a look from both sides.

Protesters apparently feel let down by their leaders, and it was at that point that they took to the buildings. They are calling for new elections (which they actually got, but rejected), and it is questionable what could actually end this. Thailand is a country with a hugely powerful military, meaning rebellion is very difficult, at least not without the military's help.

A quote from a protester: "We want democracy. True democracy, free democracy. Why is it so hard, why?"

On the other side, the directive should probably make their stance clear. Should protesters become violent at all, they will be shot. And they were yesterday. One protester said that, "if the prime minister wants to govern the country on top of this wreckage, he should go ahead and kill us all." Shortly after the military killed two protesters, wounded several journalists and killed an Italian news photographer.

All the while, the city burned.


Speaking of civil unrest, coming off of his blowout win in the Kentucky republican primary, Tea Party candidate Rand Paul is not talking about current policy, but is instead answering questions about his views on the Civil Rights Act. Check out this piece on the Rachel Maddow show. Before you pass it off as Maddow being an MSNBC hack (which she is), remember that Paul announced his candidacy on her show.

Apparently, Dr. Paul has a problem with the federal government telling private businesses whether or not they can discriminate. He is completely supportive of civil rights protections when government funding is involved. He calls it "ending institutional racism."

I just saw this clip this morning, but I've got a couple of thoughts. One, I've never been into a private business that still doesn't have a sign saying, "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." That said, there are very few business that don't receive some form of government funding or subsidy.

In addition, Maddow specifically asked him how he could be against discrimination, but not support the CRA. Well, I actually know quite a few women who are against the Equal Protection Act. Why? Because those protections already exist. In the Bill of Rights and the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments of the Constitution. In other words, I don't need to be singled out for protection. I need my government to enforce the foundation of its laws.

Third, per usual, this has been blown up by the left as Paul being a crazy right-wing, racist nut. That may or may not be true. I am all for the Democrat winning in Kentucky. However, this is one of those times that I get sick of two white people arguing from ivory towers about how to treat black people they rarely come in contact with. Let's use a demographic to get elected, but then forget about that demographic until we get elected again. What could change that? Black people voting.

Lastly, Paul makes one really good point. Today, being a racist business owner would be an awful business decision. Is the problem the lack of government regulation, or is it inherent racism within people? Which gets to Paul's original point. Is institutionalized racism the problem, or is it individual racism? I think the former far more than the latter. If children are raised in public school systems that reject discrimination and teach equality, as their public funding would suggest they must, then the solution of the problem happens at age four, not with glorified affirmative action.

Excuse me while I go back to being a Democrat now. And I'll think some more on this topic and get back to you.

Financial reform hit a roadblock yesterday, thanks to our junior senator from Washington, Maria Cantwell. Saw a good headline in reference to the senator's vote against cloture: "Yes We Cantwell." Majority Leader Harry Reid racked up 57 votes for cloture, was screwed by Mass. Senator Scott Brown, and lost Cantwell as well. Both Maine Republicans were 'yes' votes. The day after his loss in the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania, Senator Arlen Specter did not vote.

A big hearing on the Hill today, with nothing to do with anything you've heard about so far. The House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing on the effects of concussions on high school athletes. One of the biggest unknowns in athletics are concussions (in medical circles as well), and it cannot be long before a larger safety protocol comes. It could start with this report, from the GAO, showing the most athletes return too soon after suffering the brain trauma.

Finally, I am making this announcement today, knowing that you will forget, and I'll make it again. Over the last week or so, I have been transferring my blog over to a new host, with a new URL. It is pretty much ready, save for a couple of tweaks, though it is not yet what I want it to be. That said, go check it out at

It obviously looks very much like a blog, which is the main thing I am looking into changing. As you've probably noticed, I've moved a lot of my content into the news-y, political (and otherwise) realm, and less about my specific experiences in DC. That said, the people part still stands, because I expand on things, such as the Rand Paul issue from today, or the racism in America piece from last week. I'd like to separate that from the personal stuff. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, check out the new space, tell me what you think. And I will have a more personal piece on my visit to the White House yesterday, sometime this week.
As promised, welcome to a Tuesday morning look at the biggest primary day of the year, so far. We'll probably be saying this on June 8, which is the day after President Obama gives a commencement speech at Kalamazoo High School in Michigan.

No, Michigan's primary is not that today, nor is it today.

It is tough to find a real "headliner" for today, with three races really meriting a ton of attention. That said, let's go to Pennsylvania, where a one-time Republican is running at a dead heat in the Democratic primary.

Last year, when then 79-year old Senator Arlen Specter decided to make the switch from Republican to Democrat, his motives were plainly clear: re-election. Democratic party identification continues to rise in Pennsylvania, a state Obama won by about 600,000 votes in 2008. However, as The Fix points out, blacks could decide this race.
Specter, who as a Republican in his 2004 re-election race won just 25 percent of black voters in a blow out win, is leaning heavily on President Obama, Gov. Ed Rendell, a former Philadelphia mayor and current Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who is black, to serve as surrogates to this critical voting bloc.
Why does the black vote matter? Specter, who is being opposed by 7th district representative Joe Sestak, cannot win this race without pulling off a large margin in Philadelphia. He may not need (nor will he receive) the 90 percent of black voters Obama won, but the 79 percent Governor Ed Rendell won in the Philadelphia media market in 2002 would clinch it.

One thing not to forget about this race is that Spector is shooting for his sixth term, while Sestak, despite being in the race for quite some time, is still relatively unknown. What we do know is that Sestak wants voters to be reminded of just who Arlen Specter has been his whole life.

What I will say about Specter, he hasn't taken his party switch lightly. He has voted for Democratic bills. And when the president was trying to get the stimulus package passed, Specter didn't hold out for pork. He held out for increased funding for cancer research.

This race is the most likely to have ramifications in Washington, as the White House, as well as pretty much the entire establishment, is backing Specter. A loss, not all that unlikely, could really sting. My biggest wonder is whether a guy like Specter, seemingly prideful, would change how he votes based on the loss.

Both candidates are running behind the Republican leader, Pat Toomey.

Another big race in Pennsylvania today, with some ties to one of our own. Washington state Representative Norm Dicks ascended to the chairmanship of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee as a result of the death of John Murtha, who represented Pennsylvania's 12th district.

So, instead of a primary today, this is a special election, meaning this one will actually put someone in a seat when the results are tallied. And it's going to be close. Nearly $2 million has been spent by the national campaign arms of both parties, in an effort to elect one of Republican Tim Burns or Democrat Mark Critz. Burns has been up in the polls for quite some time, though I did see one with Critz up six points not long ago.

House dems are rolling on a two year streak in special elections, having won every one since May '08. The telling statistic: Dems out number the GOP 2-1 in the district. In other words, if they show up and vote, they win. If not, per usual, that is a GOP pickup.


Off to Arkansas, where Republican Democrat Blanche Lincoln is trying to fend off a primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. While she has White House support, reluctantly, Lincoln has been getting hammered by labor unions and environmental groups. My former employer, LCV, has been letting her have it for months now.

The kicker in Arkansas (where it is illegal to pronounce it "ar-KAN-sas") is that candidates need to win 50 percent of the vote, or else there is a run-off. With Lincoln leading Halter in the 46-36 range, 11 percent undecided and six percent to a really conservative Dem, the latter looks likely. Obviously, given the undecideds involved, that is a negative for the incumbent.

Five Thirty Eight, one of the leading election blogs, has a good breakdown just how we got here in Bill Clinton's home state:
The polling in this race has consistently shown Lincoln to be in deep trouble in the general election and some peril in the primary after Halter jumped in on March 1. The latest poll, from DKos/R2K, has her down 54/40 against Boozman (and with a 39/55 favorable/unfavorable ratio); in early May Mason-Dixon had her trailing him 52/35; and a late April Rasmussen survey showed Lincoln down 28 points (57/29). Indeed, the sense that she was getting a little toasty had as much to do as ideology with Halter's entry into the race.

While the major ideological issue in the primary has been Lincoln's regular defections from Democratic Party orthodoxy--most notably her flip-flopping into opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (which enraged labor) her less than helpful behavior on health reform, and her championship of large agribusiness interests--a late twist in the race has been her sponsorship of a very tough derivatives regulation provision in the financial reform bill currently before the Senate. Some have speculated that the Senate Democratic leadership is holding off a vote on Lincoln's provision until after the primary, when they intend to kill it.
Just how much has she rejected the Democratic party? Take a look at her main campaign ad, released in March:

Soon all she may be doing is answering the phone at home, unemployed.


Those first two races were basically expected. This one in Kentucky, however, is the first real test of a divide between Republicans and the Tea Party. Jim Bunning, a baseball Hall of Famer and two-term senator, is mercifully retiring at the end of this term. Bunning, some may recall, quite famously blocked an extension in unemployment benefits earlier this year, telling another member "tough s***" and also complaining that his own tactic took so long that he had to miss a Kentucky basketball game. For a minute there I thought Bunning's block lasted longer than John Calipari's Kentucky coaching career. The old guy is quite literally off his rocker.

Anyway, running for his seat are Secretary of State Tray Grayson and a name you might recognize, Rand Paul. Yes, he is the son of Texas Representative, and former presidential, uh, candidate, Ron Paul. As you have probably surmised from such information, Paul is the Tea Party guy. And in Kentucky, the tea has been flowing.

It is widely expected that Paul will win this race tonight, right in the face of the state's senior senator, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who endorsed Grayson. Bunning backed Paul. All four men involved here are Republicans. They even cause division in their own party.

The real question about this one is what happens when Paul wins. For that, let me quote someone smarter than me. Cue, Chris Cillizza:
McConnell's rhetoric glosses over the real differences between the forces behind Paul and those who, like McConell, are supporting Grayson. The tea party movement has, to date, resisted any attempt by the party establishment to co-opt its power -- much less take over the campaign of one of its own.

Having won largely by running against Washington (and Republicans in Washington), how does Paul reconcile his past statements against the establishment with a party that knows it must rally around him? Will Paul, who has run a campaign light on consultants, bring on polling and media advisers recommended to him by the National Republican Senatorial Committee? If not, how do national Republicans handle Paul -- someone who, by definition, doesn't like to be handled by the powers-that-be?
I don't like to be handled either. Which means, if you're looking for me tonight, stop. I'll be in front of election results like it's my job. I love Tuesdays...

- Politico takes a look at what the midterms could mean for Nancy Pelosi, concluding that her she will be as strong as ever.

- The New York Times has its take.

Two unrelated notes:
- Five US troops were killed, when a NATO convoy was hit by a roadside bomber this morning. None of them was Adam, who emailed me this morning.

- And, to lighten it up, the North Carolina State baseball team apparently has a new name. While you are laughing at this unfortunate mistake, think about the intern, who has to take the sticker they order, and place it perfectly on the cover of thousands of media guide because of this screw up. Just sayin', don't forget the little people.

Finally, the most important information on election days.
- Philadelphia, PA - Probably not good for Specter, or Critz.
- Arkansas
- Kentucky

Happy Voting!
For a piece called "Blowout" 60 Minutes found a survivor of the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico. Mike Williams, however, isn't just a survivor. He jumped some 100 feet from the bridge of the rig, into the burning Gulf, and into a layer of oil.

Williams didn't think he was going to die. He thought he was dead.

But, even before the catastrophic events of late that evening, Williams knew that negligence had made an accident like this one possible.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Watch CBS News Videos Online
The first public high school in Michigan, and alma mater of one Derek Jeter, won a contest for which the reward was special: President Barack Obama as the school's commencement speaker.

Here is their winning video:
Thought I'd give you a little anecdote of what happens when you live in Washington D.C.. I get these emails about once a week, but usually the building just ignores them. Not today. My office is across the street from the FBI (makes all those worried about feel a little safer, huh) and apparently a protest is heading by right now.

Sent: Monday, May 17, 2010 9:24 AM
Importance: High


DC Metropolitan Police just informed us a large protest will be coming past our building around 9:30 AM. They have asked us to lock down the 9th Street and “D” Street doors until the protestors past. DC Police will station a police officer outside of both entrances and employees will be able to use their fob keys for entry into the building.

Management will send an email once all the doors are reopened. Thanks for your patience in advance.

Property Manager | Property Management
401 9th Street, NW, Suite 150
Washington, DC 20004
T: (202) 420-5970 | F: (202) 638-5897
Just a day in the life.
The headline is obviously referring to the blog, which is currently under repair. I think the only thing showing right now are the actual posts. Spent most of the weekend working on it, but ran into some frustrations. Eventually (probably over the course of the week), you will see a new look, along with possibly a new URL. Stay tuned...

Lots to mention to get this week started, one that looms large in political circles. More on that later and probably in another post.

Let's start with a birthday, born of a $1.65 billion investment. That is how much Google paid for YouTube in 2007, considered a major risk at the time. Well, last October, the internet video powerhouse eclipsed some one billion page views per day, and just recently it announced that figured had doubled. Today, YouTube turns five.

It is almost amazing to think that YouTube didn't exist when I was in high school. In what is clearly a sign of the information age, it is so prevalent right now as to give the impression that it has always existed. Yes, I was born before computers were even that ubiquitous. When I was in elementary school the cool thing to do on a computer was play Oregon Trail." Now, well, on this browser alone, I have nine different tabs open (five of them are related to this blog actually).

Google as a corporation has revolutionized information, taking advantage of the internet in the same way Microsoft did the personal computer. There is no slowing this train down. What I find funny to remember is the man who is largely give credit for creating the internet (financially anyway), Al Gore, is now so widely criticized in his current endeavor (clean energy) as to think he's never successfully done any forward thinking. Even Gore could not have expected this. The internet, as you don't need to be told, has changed the foundation of just about everything in the world, including the family. Google has been by far the leader.

So happy birthday to one of its arms, YouTube.

Uplifting, yet sad at the same time, the University of Virginia women's lacrosse team opened up the NCAA tournament with a win yesterday, in its first game since the murder of one of their own, Yeardley Love. Love's mother and sister were in the stands as the entire team held up pieces of paper with the number "1" on them, a reference to the motto of both teams in the NCAA tournament, "One Love." The alleged killer was a member of the men's team, which returned to action with a win on Saturday.

BP is claiming some success today, after a pipe inserted into the 21-inch riser pipe was able to begin diverting oil to a tanker on the surface. The mile long pipe is just four inches wide, means its effect is minimal, but it marks the biggest positive step anyone has seen in stopping the leak. Late last week reports suggested that more than 10 times more oil was leaking that previously thought. At the original rate there would have been about 5.6 million gallons spilled up to today, in the fourth week of the spill. In the newer range that has been hypothesized, somewhere around 100 million gallons has already spilled. That would be about 10 Exxon Valdez spills, with the end still of in the distance.

A Rhode Island school that fired all of its teachers has reached a tentative agreement to rehire all of them, after a three month process. The school board of the district voted to fire every staff member, teachers and administrators, over low student performance. A new deal would allow the teachers to return to work in the fall without having to re-apply for their jobs.

After 40 years, the Boston University class of 1970 walked in a graduation ceremony this weekend, a chance the 3,000 graduates never got during the turmoil of the time. Final exams and the ceremony were canceled that year after the university, like so many others, became the site of strikes, sit-ins, building takeovers and fire-bombings. That spring saw President Richard Nixon invade Cambodia and National Guardsmen killing nine students at Kent State.

Attorney General Eric Holder gave the commencement speech to the entire graduating class, including the 2010 grads, saying, "I love you all," then gesturing toward the class of 1970, sitting in front him, "But these are my people."


Amazingly, I avoided Congress and politics for a while there, but no longer (I will be avoiding the Mariners, however, so if you want to be depressed, try the Seattle Times).
  • Politico suggests that President Obama is rolling his sleeves up and taking a more hands-on approach with Congress right now, as financial reform and possibly energy work their way through. That can only be good for those efforts.

    It probably also shows that, with some Democrats unwilling to campaign on a health care bill that was painted in such a negative light, the administration needs to give them something else. Cracking down on Wall Street should work every time.
  • Not necessarily political, but I absolutely loved this interview yesterday in the New York Times Magazine, with Alan Greenberg of JP Morgan Chase.
  • Congressional hearings this week on the oil spill in the Gulf will focus on the federal response. Two things to watch:
    - Are federal officials just as non-committal (or even finger-pointing) as their oil executive counterparts. After the speech Obama gave on Friday, for his administration to point fingers at oil companies would likely backfire.
    - That said, expect to see the officials talk about how their response was appropriate and swift, even though there was very little the government could do initially. Quite frankly, what is often missed is that oil companies know best how to handle these sorts of things, which is why BP is still involved at all. If the hearing gets into how close the oil companies and their regulator are, or why BP was not required to do a full assessment before drilling the well, it could get ugly for the administration.
  • Here is a quick primer on what is going on in Pennsylvania, something my later post will cover. This one is far more interesting than the others, to me at least, simply because I really do think Arlen Specter is the only one that can win the general.
  • Expect to see something from me on this as well, as questions loom over whether Governor Christine Gregoire will be nominated for the solicitor general position being vacated by Elena Kagan. That obviously has ramifications across Washington state politics. This next day or so of blogging is going to be fun.
My sports-related note comes from where else but UW. After a marathon NCAA tournament last year, that saw the Husky softball team travel from Massachusetts to Atlanta to Oklahoma City on chartered jets for three straight weeks (with no trips home), the team will host an NCAA Regional, partly thanks to that success.

Despite being a higher seed at both the regional and the super regional last year, the Huskies were forced to travel because their stadium did not have lights, an NCAA requirement for hosting. The Huskies turned the lengthy road trip (which, unlike basically every school outside of the west coast, was in the middle of the academic quarter) into a positive and rode it the program's first national championship.

Along the way, their story was told over and over again on ESPN, leading to an influx of donations and the unveiling of lights to begin the 2010 at Husky Softball Stadium. The Huskies (45-6, 17-4) will host a regional starting Friday. Despite being the top-ranked team in the country for the entire season, unanimously for most of it, the Huskies are just the No. 3 overall seed. Alabama and Michigan are one and two, respectively.

A couple more things on this: The Huskies head into their 17th-consecutive postseason appearance coming off of the best regular season in school history. Washington missed out on the tournament in its first season of existence, 1993, but has been there in every year since.

And not only was this a big season for the team, but, as mentioned in previous posts, reigned National Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie has cemented her place as maybe the greatest pitcher to ever play the game and certainly one of the best athletes in UW history. She set the Pac-10 career strikeout record over the weekend. Lawrie heads into the postseason with, get this, a 35-2 record, 0.99 ERA and 407 strikeouts in 247.1 innings, while also hitting .322 with team highs of 14 homeruns and 55 RBI. Have the Mariners even scored 55 runs yet this season? Before last weekend she was almost out-homering that whole team.

Finally, if you can get past the blatant partisanship here, the way he presents this is absolutely hilarious. Obama was talking to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Yes, he is completely finger pointing, but tell me when he says, "No!", you didn't laugh.

Happy Monday