Project Threeway Update

Loyal readers,

I am recovering from finger surgery and will update on the last two episodes this weekend.



Acid House

Classic Acid House

This is a very nice, classic acid house mix from Brazil's DJ Murphy. Enjoy while it lasts.


01 - Maurice Joshua With Hot Hands Hula - This Is Acid
02 - Royal House - Can You Party (Todd Terry RMX)
03 - LFO - LFO
04 - Marshall Jeffferson - Move Your Body (Original)
05 - Galaxy 2 Galaxy - Hi Tech Jazz
06 - E-Dancer - The Human Bond
07 - Phuture - Acid Tracks
08 - Basement Jaxx - Fly Life Extra (Unreleased RMX)
09 - Joey Beltram - Energy Flash
10 - Ian Pooley - Celtic Cross (Bangin' Bass RMX)
11 - Green Velvet - Destination Unknown
12 - Slam - Positive Education
13 - Secret Cinema - Straight Forward
14 - Savas Pascalidis - Sugarland Express EP B2
15 - Underground Base Heads - This is A Track
16 - Carl Craig - The Floor
17 - Dave Clarke - Wisdom To The Wise (Red 2)
18 - Green Velvet - The Stalker (Laidback Luke RMX)
19 - Laurent Garnier - Astral Dreams (Speakers RMX)
20 - Green Velvet - Flash
21 - Inner City - Ahnonghay (Dave Clarke Remix)
22 - The Chemical Brothers - Is Doesn't Matter
23 - Secret Cinema - Timeless Altitude
24 - Fix - Flash
25 - Jeff Mills - The Bells
26 - Jeff Mills - Alarms (First Mix)
27 - Suburban Knight - The Warning
27 - The Advent - Bad Boy (P.A.S RMX)
27 - Joey Beltram - Game Form
27 - Grooveyard - Watch Me Now (Secret Cinema RMX)
27 - Altern 8 - Frequency
27 - Gypsy - Varisuvia
27 - Marmion - Schoneberg (Marmion Original RMX)
27 - Vainqueur - Lyot (Maurizio Mix)
27 - CJ Boland - Camarque (Original)


Project Threeway .6

I've been super busy at work, and haven't had a chance to share my thoughts on episode six. Since a new episode comes on tonight, I better crap out this summary as fast as I can.

Challenge: Recycle The designers head off to Jersey to pick up recyclable materials for their next challenge.

Loser: Alison

Alison is a bad-ass, and I still don't understand why she is gone. Yes, she wrapped her lumpy model with manila paper and topped it off with a ridiculous hair-bow. Yes, it is her responsibility to make a Jell-o model look like a beautiful popsicle. However, Alison did not submit the worst design on the runway. That honor belongs to Vincent. Again. For the sixth week in a row. I'll miss you Alison! (I really will!)

Winner: Michael

Michael is a bad-ass, too. The judges know it. It kinda helped that he submitted a very compelling design on the runway. Good for Michael. Next!

My Contenders

So, let's take a glance at my three contenders.


Uli offered up something a little different this week. This look has more body than her previous work. Considering the materials used in this garment, it moved quite well on the runway. In addition, I'm pretty sure that you can cook popcorn in the skirt, too. Hoorj!


Laura offered up a dress for nuts. Jeffrey complained that she created "another high-waisted" skirt. I guess it's a valid complaint, and I've said the same thing about half of Jeff's designs. And if he didn't have partners for two of the other challenges, he probably would've made "another high-waisted skirt" for those challenges, too.

Laura's dress is a bit tame, but that's to be expected from her. However, she seems to have a perspective that has been identifiable throughout this season. There were a bunch of generic lame designs last year, but they weren't as sophisticated and interesting as Laura's.


My final Contender Angela uses paper print to construct diamond panels that are draped over a basic aluminum undercoating. This is not a very compelling design, but it wasn't a disaster like so many others this week. Angela can't slink through with this level of quality over the next couple weeks, or she'll be back on the organic farm scouting mushrooms... And if she takes this dress home with her, she can also find work as a lightning rod.

Past Episode Commentary

Hot Tuna
Episode One
Episode Two
Episode Three
Episode Four
Episode Four Keith
Episode Five

Episode One


Project Threeway .5

Challenge: Update A Fashion icon

The designers have survived the first four challenges and now are tasked to update a fashion icon. This is an interesting challenge because nobody is on safe ground. The models choose the icon for their designer, and that's a problem if the designer is not familiar with their muse. The designers are also unable to draw inspiration from each other since each icon has a very distinct style.

Some of the designers said this was the best challenge of the season so far. It was definitely exciting to see where the designers would take their icon in the 21st century. Vincent and Bradley (and arguably Robert) have construction issues, and I'd be surprised to see them last much longer. Obviously, Bradley doesn't. But I suspect Vincent and Robert will be gone very soon.

Loser: Bradley

Bradley's icon is Cher. I thought Bradley got a little lucky, because Cher will wear just about any ridiculous costume on the planet. He just had to make sure that it sparkled, exposed plenty of flesh, and fit the model like a glove. Granted, Bradley wasn't familiar with Cher and her insane sense of style. He was given a single picture of Cher from the 70's, but that wasn't enough to inspire him.

Ultimately, Bradley delivered an update that failed on every level. He went shiny instead of sparkly. The top is like a bad 80's half shirt a gay jock would wear to a Cher drag show. The pants appear to have been wadded up in a ball for the last ten years. This outfit was such a disaster that you knew Bradley was going home when the episode was only half-over. Bye Bye Bradley. We'll miss your beard.

Winner: Michael

Michael updated classic Pam Grier to the 21st century. We haven't seen much of Michael's personality up to this point, and I was nervous that this meant he would be leaving soon. Fortunately, we did get to see more of Michael this week. Not only does he have a winning design ethic, he comes across as a very cool guy.

In the 70's Pam Grier was a sex symbol comprised of long sexy legs and an afro puff. Michael didn't screw with this formula. The hot pants reference Pam Grier's golden era while the top keeps it all modern and fresh. The color choice is fantastic on the model; I just can't say anything bad about any of this. Michael did an incredible job and deserves the win.

My Contenders

My three contenders offered their best work to date. I thought they all had a chance to walk away with the win.


Uli's icon was Diana Ross; like Cher she has accepted and challenged the definition of fashion. Unlike Bradley, Uli chose a compelling print fabric and created a modern look that retains Diana's animal spirit. However, the skirt doesn't quite work for me. Perhaps less would have been more in this case. I like the print a log, but I'd rather see more leg. Maybe I've just been looking at Pam Grier pictures too long...

Anyway, Uli captured Diana (via Prince's jungle) and could have walked off with the win if the competition was weaker. Let's move on to the next Contender.


Laura and Katherine Hepburn? Could you imagine a better match? If this was season two, Laura would have wiped the floor with Santino's funky rags. This might be the most mature design we've seen on the show so far. It's clean, elegant, modern, and sophisticated. And sexy. It's everything that Robert's Jacki O design should have been.

Laura is due for a win very soon if she continues on this path. (I'm not so certain that she's carrying Michael's baby. Now I'm starting to wonder if she may have gotten Angela pregnant. I still suspect her body might be inhabited by Leona Helmsley's spirit... even though the beast is supposedly still alive.)


Finally, we have Angela. Funky, quirky, flowery Angela. Obviously the granny circles made an appearance, but they did not overpower the overall design. Her task of updating Audrey Hepburn was difficult, because this seems like an icon that is somewhat stuck to a particular time period. Angela took a few risks modernizing this look, and she really pulled it off without losing her ability to editorialize. This is Audrey and Angela in the 21st Century. Great job, Contender!

Past Episode Commentary

Hot Tuna
Episode One
Episode Two
Episode Three
Episode Four
Episode Four Keith

Episode One

Fajita Strip District Sent Back to the Kitchen

Tom DeLay had a large part in securing the majority in the House of Representatives several years back. He did it by engineering the re-drawing of the congressional districts in Texas. While the re-drawing itself wasn't illegal, it reeked of political opportunism, and really, gerrymandering. Several Democrats who lost their seats succeeded in bringing their case to the federal court system, and received a mixed bag of judgments. While the court didn't find wholesale gerrymandering in the maps, they did order a re-drawing of certain districts. They found that DeLay's map diluted Hispanic representation, which violated the Voting Rights Act.

My fellow Austinites and I were greatly affected by DeLay's devilism. Austin, long known as the liberal bastion in Texas, was split into 4 districts, effectively eliminating any congressional representation we had. As far as I'm concerned, that's gerrymandering. Fortunately, my residence fell in the beloved Lloyd Doggett's district, who doesn't seek out the spotlight, but is known as one of the most progressive Reps in the House. However, my district was a thin strip of land that stretched to the border of Mexico. Only the Repubs would think that border citizens and Austinites would have issues in common that needed representation in Congress.

Back to the first paragraph, a new map has been released, giving Mr. Doggett yet another new district. This, too, is a mixed bag. While he now represents most of Travis County (where Austin is located), the city is still split in 3 districts. As he notes in the article, he now represents conservative Lakeway, yet he doesn't represent the neighborhoods around his and mine alma mater - University of Texas (those fortunate students are represented by Lamar Smith, whose district is mainly situated in San Antonio - again, two constituency groups that have little in common). Furthermore, Doggett lost the support of the Rio Grande Valley hispanics, who vote overwhelmingly Democrat, and now has to contend with the conservative rural voters in south-central Texas. According to preliminary estimations, the 25th District will support a Democrat candidate with 54% of the vote, the Republican will receive 42%, and the Libertarian will receive 3%. This isn't quite the ass-kicking Doggett gave Rebecca Armendariz Klein in the 2004 election, where he took 68% of the vote. That's what Rebecca gets for re-instating her maiden name during the campaign in order to curry support from the Hispanics.

Fresh Catch enthusiastically supports Lloyd Doggett, and donations to his campaign can be made here.

I would just like to say a big THANK YOU to Lloyd, not only because he actually speaks for me, but for a personal reason. When mine and Tuna's father passed away, we had a difficult time in securing our inherited money from the Social Security Administration, and were told no action would happen on this case unless a Congressman intervened. I wrote to Mr. Doggett, who promptly called the SSA and got our money to us, so that we could pay the after-death expenses. I have never experienced such personal help from a Congressman, and I will never forget it. He also was never too busy to come and speak at a University Democrats meeting, where I had the good fortune of meeting him.

Pic of the Day

Cats Gone Wild


Big Mistake

Well, I screwed up and accidentally read a blog post by Andrew Sullivan. (I'm not going to link to that crap, but I'll excerpt it here.) Let's see what he says about his support of the war in Iraq:

the proclaimed Bush policy was not mere deployment of brute force, torture, bombs and swagger as a response to the civil war within Islam. It was ostensibly to create a beach-head for modernity and democracy in Iraq. That, at least, was the rationale I signed onto.

Yeah, the Administration had a chance to support modernity and democracy in Afghanistan first. We saw those threads begin to unravel before we even set foot in Iraq. I guess some people were too busy advocating for the new war instead of assuring the first war was executed successfully. Oh well, I guess you could say we were virtually victorious, right Sully?

But, for all Cheney's and Rumsfeld's flaws, they are at least proposing something serious, however ineptly carried out.

Yeah, Jim Jones preached about something serious, too. It was called apostolic socialism. It had its theoretical merits, just like the neocon agenda. Unfortunately, neither are practical in the real world. Honestly, is this all we expect from our leaders? A proposal of "something serious"? I suspect the extreme Religious Right have proposed "something serious" regarding homosexuality in the United States. Are you ready to sign up for that one, too, Andrew? I hear that it's virtually pain-free...

I have yet to hear anti-war voices on the left propose a positive strategy for defeating Islamist terror at its roots, or call for democratization of the Arab Muslim world. Indeed, I heard little but scorn or silence when Bush announced this vision in London.

I've yet to hear anybody on the right propose a positive strategy for either. What exactly is Bush's plan? Spank the Taliban a little but let them fester for another generation? Spank Al-Qaeda a little? Destabilize Iraq and allow Iran to become the power player in the Middle East? Oh wait. I forgot that the Administration proposed an idealistic fantasy where we'd be greeted as Liberators and roses would be thrown at our feet. Basically I guess Andrew would be happy if the Democrats came out with something called the Super Happy FunTime Prancing Pony Democracy Rainbow Rollout Tour (Now with Cher!). It's virtually feasible, right Andrew?

Oh, and why was Bush's Vision met with scorn and silence? Because he does not have a REALISTIC plan. It might be serious enough for Sullivan to sign on, but the rest of the world needs ... oh, what are they called? Details. Feasible, realistic details. It's the same reason that Bush's Mars Vision is met with virtual silence and scorn...

Do the Democrats stand for democracy in Iraq? Or in Iran?

Gosh, Andrew, those are good questions. Do the Democrats also stand for unlimited unicorns? How about ice cream cones that don't melt? What is the Democrats position on kittens? Are three too many?

I can't speak for all Democrats, but I'd rather see the people of Iraq and Iran enjoy the benefits of economic development that allow them to consider forming a democracy for themselves. I was always told that democracies are born upon the backs of the middle class. Without the economic security necessary for a stable middle class, all talk of democracy is seriously moot. One man, One vote doesn't mean squat to a man without bread. Let's turn this question around: Where do the Republicans stand on investing in the infrastructure necessary to provide economic development? Actually, I think we've seen the answer to that question.

Until the opposition party presents a progressive, democratic agenda to reform the Middle East - as Blair has done in Britain, for example - there's no reason to take them seriously on national security.

I didn't realize our national security depended solely on reform in the Middle East. Is North Korea located in the Middle East? How about China? When did Russia move to Persia? I could've sworn the ultra-violent MS-13 gang come from South America, but perhaps that's actually in the Middle East, too...

Blair's proposal is serious. A very serious pipe dream. Are American Conservatives willing to invest in funding this pipe dream? Um, I doubt it. They aren't willing to invest enough money in NASA to fund Bush's Mars pipe dream.

Get a grip, Andrew. It's time to support realistic candidates that are capable of making intelligent, rational decisions in short periods of time. If you're satisfied with the decisions made by this Administration, then you should not support any party other than the Republicans. They obviously have the "serious" proposals that you're looking for.

Oh, and note to self: Never, ever read Little Roy Cohn's blog again... My time is better spent reading this.

Houston Astros 80's Night

UPDATE: Astros beat San Diego 4-2 tonight. Awesome-O!

Tonight is 80's Night at Minute Maid Park (home of the Houston Astros).

In keeping with the theme, the players have special pictures for the Jumbotron screen. Without further ado, here are the 80's version of Craig Biggio, Adam Everett, Andy Pettitte, and Willie Taveras:


DeLayed Followup

Following up on my post from yesterday, there's more big news on the House race for TX-22.

Former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay will support a write-in candidate for his old seat, his daughter said today, one day after the state Republican Party lost its legal battle to replace him on the November ballot.

In a statement, DeLay said he would withdraw his name from the ballot. Since state law does not allow a party to replace an official nominee who withdraws from the race, no Republican candidate will be on the ballot.
-Houston Chronicle

Tom DeLay is officially quitting the race and walking away from his constituents in my district, TX-22. So, I am officially being taxed without representation until November. Of course, I wouldn't expect the Bug Man to see any problems with that...

Toxic Tom continues to say that he is no longer a resident of Texas and should be replaced on the ballot. Hmmmm.... So why was he a resident during the GOP primary a few months ago but no longer a resident today? Military service? Ministry work? Nope, he's moving to Virginia so he can make more money dictating a book about his faith and collecting public speaker fees.

Tom has abandoned his constituents, abandoned his city, and abandoned the Lone Star state in the pursuit of his true Lord God Money. Oh, and it seems like he wants us to believe that the courts are robbing us of choice in the election.

No, Tom. It was YOUR CHOICE to stay in the GOP Primary to be the candidate for Representative of TX-22. You won it fair and square by beating half a dozen other Republicans. And then you saw the polls that said you will probably lose to the Democrat because the voters in TX-22 now see you as the slimy, dirty, sleazy, morally bankrupt political hack that you are. It was YOUR CHOICE to leave the city where you attended college, it was YOUR CHOICE to leave the residents that supported you for twenty years.

Tom, you won't be missed. You weren't beloved. Hell, you weren't even beliked. But I hate to think this is good-bye. I'd rather send you off with a phrase uttered on the floor of the Senate by your friend, Dick Cheney... "GO FUCK YOURSELF."


Brooklyn vs. Space City

The Fresh Catch crew journeyed to Blur Bar off Westheimer last Friday to catch some of our favorite DJs Frankie Bones and Chris Anderson.

We arrived shortly after Chris started playing, and we immediately recognized his trademark tech-house sound. The BPM was just a little slow for my tastes, but otherwise I enjoyed the set that concluded with a track featuring a devastating bassline and sample from Deee-Lite. I thought Chris said it was a track from Andreas Kremer and "some french guy", but... I must have misunderstood what he said. There's just now way Kremer was involved with that one.

The Bonehead kicked off his set with DJ Rod Lee's Holla, a nasty ghetto breakbeat tech track. Eventually, Frankie worked the club deeper into his type of techno. Highlights of the set included PQM's You Are Sleeping and Faxid's Acid In My Head. A familiar Woody McBride track was circulating through the mix, but I can't quite remember which one.

Unfortunately, we forgot to take the digital camera so we couldn't take any pics of the lame-ass Houston dancers. Echh.

Blur seemed like a nice little club. The lights and sound were decent, and it's located in a cool part of Houston. It was obviously a gay/lesbian bar, but the crowd was a nice mix. It was a little tame for a couple of old Area 52 clubheads like us, but I guess you can't really complain these days. I'd definitely go back to Blur if they bring in another techno dj.

No DeLay?

It's official. Tom DeLay stays on the ballot in what should be a dirty, ugly campaign. Since I'm a resident of his district, I get to witness the carnage first-hand. Even though it's a bit premature, I've decided to support Nick Lampson. I could write a lengthy post explaining why Lampson is a better candidate. But why bother? All that matters is that he is NOT Tom DeLay.

Fortunately for Nick, he previously represented half of this district for four terms and the people here still like him. Even the Conservatives at work admit that he was a good Representative and will vote for him again. However, I live in the lesser Fundamentalist half of the district. This race will come down to the Get Out The Vote effort, and I'm a little concerned that Toxic Tom will have more success energizing his fan base. Unfortunately for Tom, he has these tiny, little money laundering and conspiracy charges to fight. It's kinda expensive to run a race in Houston AND pay one of the most expensive attorneys in the state.


So, Cindy Sheehan is back in Texas heckling George Bush's fenceline.

CRAWFORD - Love her or hate her, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan returned to Texas on Sunday with plans to resume her vigil near President Bush's ranch.

Sheehan, whose son Casey died in the Iraq war, recently bought 5 acres of land in Crawford that her supporters have designated Camp Casey Three, the third in a series of campgrounds they have occupied in protest of the war.
- Houston Chronicle

What's wrong, Cindy? Your summer vacation with Hugo Chavez fall through? Couldn't you find another state for your Summer Whine Camp? Better yet, how about finding another country, or perhaps even another epoch? (The Planck Epoch would be perfect!) Basically I think you've overstayed your welcome here in Texas. I wish you and Pretzeldunce Bush could find some nice ranch land in Utah or maybe Canada. You've both outstayed your welcome here. Please, just go and let your son rest in peace.


Project Threeway .4

Challenge: The designers were tasked to design a three piece look for Macy's International Concepts label. Like most of the team challenges, each designer had to sketch a design and present it for approval. In this challenge, four designers were chosen to lead a team featuring two other designers.

Since there were only four looks on the runway, I'll discuss all four instead of discussing my Contenders.

Losing Team:
Team Leader Bonnie, with partners Bradley and Uli, offered a look that defied the INC design philosophy. Bonnie's look is nowhere close to contemporary or stylishly retro, it's just tired. The somewhat modern jacket is the lone exception, but it can't overcome the retro time field that emanates from the pants. And all goodwill is sucked into the gaping wormhole of the turtleneck top. I really don't understand what happened with Bonnie's design. She would have been safe if she had just copied her own dress from the Dog Challenge. It was young, modern, sleek; everything INC expected.

Bonnie appeared to be an inept team lead, too. She made serious errors at MOOD Fabrics. The color palette and fabrics are too safe, too boring. Upon returning to the workroom, Bonnie seemed somewhat overbearing. There is a fine line between inspiring or demanding a teammate to succeed. Bonnie's importunate leadership did not inspire Bradley's best. Instead he was reduced to the role of a fashion scullion. Uli's immunity allowed her to avoid conflict with Bonnie, removing a critical voice from the team's dynamic. It's unfortunate that Bonnie should leave so soon, but she failed every facet of this challenge.

Team Lead, Angela, with assistants Michael and Angela.

Angela desparately wanted to redeem herself after the last two challenges. While she's still one of my Contenders, her design philosophy isn't working for the judges or the other designers. Fortunately, Angela hit a home run. Every aspect of this look is killer. The scrunched sleeves on the shirt, the flipped collar on the jacket, the dark charcoal fabric... The final product is fashion-forward, contemporary, and wearable.

Angela definitely owes part of her success to her assistants Laura and Michael. These two have undeniable style and construction ability, and Angela could not have picked two stronger teammates. Did they overpower Angela and overhaul the design to suit their fashion ethos? Or did this team work together as equal partners? I'm not sure. If this was a team featuring one of my Contenders, I would suspect the power would tilt in favor of the Contender. However, this is a team of two Contenders and one Honorary Contender. I think this was a collaborative effort that resulted in a big win. Good job, team!

Not The Winners
Team Lead(?) Keith, with assistants Alison and Jeffrey.

This team faced an uphill battle with the loss of its leader, Keith. I've already posted my thoughts about his dismissal so we can just focus on the runway submission here.

Keith's offered a very strong design spec that appealed to the visiting VP from Macy's. The look is sporty, modern, and sophisticated. After losing Keith, Alison and Jeffrey had to step up and 'make it work'. The final look was nearly enough to score a win, but I think the top's side loops are a little 'fashion-forward' for the INC line. Kudos to Alison and Jeffrey for their execution of Keith's design and overcoming the loss of their leader.

Not The Losers Team Lead, Robert, with assistants Kayne and Vincent.

Oy. I'm not sure what to say about this look. On the bright side, one could argue that the end result is better than one might expect given the calculus involved. Two Queens + One Space Cadet Could = Courtney Love :(

Fortunately, it wasn't a disaster of epic proportions. Each piece is well constructed and stands on its own merits. Unfortunately, the combination of the three elements left me confused. The skirt and blouse say, "Let's meet for cocktails after work!", but the jacket says, "But I'll need a ride because my Corolla is in the shop."

Robert's runway look might have been confusing, but at least it was rooted in this decade. He stays in. Bonnie goes home. And the show goes on.

Past Episode Commentary

Hot Tuna
Episode One
Episode Two
Episode Three
Episode Four
Episode Four Keith

Episode One


Project Threeway .4 K

I've been toiling away on my Episode 4 post and decided to separate my notes regarding Keith's dismissal.

First, I would suggest checking Tim Gunn's Episode 4 Podcast. It sounds like Keith had two chances to turn over the contraband books. Keith dug himself into a hole that he could not escape, and it's unfortunate that he cheated himself out of a chance to prove his design abilities.

Keith didn't make a lot of friends on the show, and the viewers overwhelmingly supported his dismissal. I'm not too concerned about these personality conflicts, and I don't find satisfaction seeing him dismissed. He has a design philosophy that is modern, fashion-forward, and sophisticated. This isn't learned or copied from a book; you either have it or you don't. I regret that Keith will not live or die on the runway this season.

As a software engineer, I understand that "pattern" books are quite valuable. While I do not use fashion books, I regularly use code books at home and work. These books are essential for engineers to produce quality software in an acceptable time frame. However, these books are not acceptable for software writing challenges. Your submission MUST come from your (or your team's) skillset. The winner shouldn't be the person that knows all of the available shortcuts; the winner is the person that can design and construct a product in their own head AND then produce it with the hands.

I hope that Keith overcomes this major disappointment and draws inspiration from it in the future. Good luck, dude.

Past Episode Commentary

Hot Tuna
Episode One
Episode Two
Episode Three

Episode One

Asleep at the Reel

Admittedly, I've fallen behind on all posting, not just the hashing of Project Runway. Busy days ahead, but felt this was worthy of a quick mention. Awhile back I posted about the estate tax, and the push by the conservatives to permanently abolish it. Republicans, while doing many disgusting, unscrupulous actions since they became the majority party, have sunken to an all new low (I'm sure they will reach China soon). A few weeks ago, the labor defenders (laff) in their party thought it would be a great idea to introduce a bill that would significantly increase the minimum wage, which has remained untouched for almost a decade. What, Republicans increase the minimum wage...there must be a catch, pun intended. You probably guessed it - they tied this bill to a permanent reduction in the estate tax. So the wealthiest families in America will escape billions in taxes, while the working guy/gal who struggles to make ends meet will make an extra $2.10 an hour. I doubt this increase even matches the rate of inflation in the last ten years, as the price of gasoline per gallon has certainly increased this much since then. See if this sounds fair to you:

Average Joe: $4,200/year - before taxes

Cheney family: $61 million - no taxes!

Fortunately, the Democrats risked being viewed as enemies of the wage earner, and blocked this bill. I hope they remember this, and when they take back one of the chambers, they will pass an increase in the minimum wage. The Democrats have long since lost my vote, simply because they forgot about the people they're supposed to represent. A pall will remain over the Democrat party as long as the minimum wage stagnates at a paltry $5.15/hour.

Obviously, many state and local governments have taken the initiative to raise the wage themselves. Chicago, a city long steeped in corruption, has done something truly revolutionary. Their city council passed an ordinance that would require "big box" companies like Wal-Mart and Home Depot to pay a minimum wage of $10/hour by 2010. Additionally, they are required to pay at least $3/hour in benefits to their employees. Bravo Chicago! Of course these retailers will assemble an army of legal experts to fight this ordinance, citing equal protection, but there are dozens of court cases that set the precedent for the legality of such a law.


Too Black? Too Fat? Too Sassy?

The NYTimes features an article about those black, fat, sassy women peppered across the media spectrum. It comes as no surprise that the article is full of fantastic quotable nuggets.

Her onscreen presence takes on many variations, but she is easily recognizable by a few defining traits. Other than her size, she is almost always black. She typically finds herself in an exchange that is either confrontational or embarrassing. And her best line is often little more than a sassy “Mmmm hmmm.”

Large black actresses have had recurring roles in commercials over the years, and often are cast in roles where their aggressiveness is a defining trait. The heavy black spokeswoman for Pine Sol was one of the first to embrace the role. Her aggression was aimed at household dirt, however, not people.

Orlando Patterson, a sociology professor at Harvard, amplified that point. “To the black audience, this may be, ‘You do your thing, sister,’ ” Professor Patterson said. “The white audience is laughing with her. Then they go back to reality, and they laugh at her.”

I don't have anything serious to say about all of this. I agree that some audiences will laugh at Ms. Big and Sassy for different reasons. However, this issue hits nearly every type of audience. White Guy With Erection Disorder evokes laughter from Ms. Big and Sassy, while I find it a depressing harbinger of the future...

Right Wing Greens?

You're probably aware of Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania. If not, then let's visit some of his best hits...

Here Santorum discusses why he has nothing against homosexuality, it's just the homosexual acts that disturb him...

I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions.
- USA Today

And here Santorum provides a little context into the Catholic Priest Boy-Love scandal...

Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.
- Catholic Online

Now, for some strange reason, the Santorum campaign is concerned with his re-election poll numbers. He's currently about ten points behind the Democrat candidate. These numbers tell a story, a story about the voters in a state that no longer want to be represented by a bigot.

So, what would a group of Conservatives do if they were afraid the Democrat could beat the incumbent Republican? Well, I guess one thing they could do is help fund a Green party candidate in the belief that Green voters will be pulled away from the Democrat. But would Republican supporters really offer to support a Green candidate? You're damn right, they will. According to TPMmuckracker:

Every single contributor to the Pennsylvania Green Party Senate candidate is actually a conservative -- except for the candidate himself.

When you read the entire story, you'll see that Santorum supporters funded the Green Party voter signature effort. Politics makes for some strange bedfellows, eh?