Friday, December 29, 2006

Why Dodd?

In January, we will see a boatload of announcements of Presidential caliber. As this will be the first Presidential cycle in a long time with no incumbent President or Vice President from either party eligible to run, the field should look fascinating on both sides.

Soon, one of the potential Democratic candidates will be making an announcement. He may decided not to run for President, which will force me to reconsider and will render anything else I write in this post obsolete. But, then again he may enter.

Other than the typical American tendency to root for the underdog, why am I supporting Chris Dodd?

First and foremost, he'd make a damned fine President. He's no heir apparent. He's no rock star. But he is a lifelong public servant who has been a champion of the middle class his entire career. While he is a very savvy politician, his energy has been focused on improving life for working class Americans. He has been doing what all politicians should be doing, working for the people, and helping to increase the middle class. After 8 years of corporate government, someone who will be a champion of the people is sorely needed.

Dodd's legislative experience is varied. He knows American foreign policy intimately, and he can and has eloquently put forth sensible plans on Iraq and other foreign policy dilemmas. He is on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and has spent much of his career on health care and education issues. And as the incoming Chairman of the banking and finance committee, he knows his way around a balanced budget.

Let's take a look at some of Senator Dodd's career highlights. He is one of the chief architects of the Family and Medical Leave Act. He was named "Senator of the Decade" by the American Head Start Association because of his tireless support for early childhood education. He has fought for and obtained health care for many of our country's uninsured children. He has fought for funding for local health care centers and emergency workers in local communities, making them better able to respond to terrorist attacks and public health emergencies. He was also the author of the Help America Vote Act, which, despite the GOP's best efforts, has made it easier for many Americans to cast their vote.

Senator Dodd graduated from College in 1966. Since then, he hasn't wated a moment in serving his state, country or planet. He served in the Peace Corps from 1966-1968, in the US Army Reserves from 1968-1975, in the US House of Representatives from 1975-1981, when he assumed the Senate seat he holds today. Senator Dodd got that 1966 degree from Providence College. That College's mission statement concludes, "Providence College prepares its students to be responsible and productive citizens to serve in their own society and the greater world community." In reality, the average Providence College student is bombarded not only with the importance of service to one's community, but with opportunities to do so. That is probably what PC does best.

Dodd's connection to PC is particularly important to me because, 39 years after Mr. Dodd, I too graduated from that college. Not only are we fellow Friars, but we are also fellow English graduates. In fact, I think there may actually be one or two faculty members we may have shared. While I was at PC, I was instrumental in reviving the PC Democrats, who were defunct when I arrived. As the group's President, it was up to me to chart our direction, make us into a stronger organization and lay the groundwork for our future. With the help of many very talented fellow students, I accomplished all of this successfully. But it wasn't just the Adam Roach's and Mike Raia's of the world that helped me do this, it was also the role models that came before me. People like Patrick Kennedy, Charlie Fogarty, Teresa Paiva-Weed, and a host of others, and of course, Senator Dodd.

I have every confidence that Senator Dodd will make a fine candidate. I know he will make a sensible and down to earth candidate. I also know he probably doesn't have a chance. But, people like underdogs, and once they get to know Senator Dodd, many will be impressed. And if a miracle happens and Chris Dodd becomes our President, it will usher in a new era of government working the way it ought to.

For more information about Senator Chris Dodd, visit his website at

If you want to donate to his Presidential campaign, you can do so below...

Chris Dodd for President Draft Fund$

Thursday, December 28, 2006

R.I.P. Ford

Comedy has become reality, as Gerald Ford has died at the "senseless age" of 93.

Which means there are no respectable Republican Presidents, current or former, left alive, and that every one of those Republicans is a Bush. President Ford seems to have had some sense, and it would do 41 and 43 some good to listen to him...

"The Constitution is the bedrock of all our freedoms; guard and cherish it, keep honor and order in your own house, and the Republic will endure."

"The American People want a dialogue between them and their President. And if we can't have that opportunity of talking with one another, seeing one another, shaking hands with one another, something has gone wrong in our society."

I'm Back!

Internet access restored. Too bad I don't have much time to post.

I'm looking forward to January. Calmer times at work, and the political world will be riveting. The new Congress will take over, the Christmas-delayed Virgil Goode fallout will commence in the media (I can't wait until Stewart, Colbert and Olbermann jump on Virgil), and a flurry (no pun intended... I don't do puns) of Presidential decisions will be made.

Plenty of material for blog fodder.


Despite their flirt with sanity a while back, I witnessed day before yesterday why Kroger is so pathetic.

Their newly remodeled store at Barracks Road is beautiful. It doesn't look like the same store, and it still has that new store smell. The shelves are fully stocked, they have many more items than before and everything looks clean. I don't expect any of that to last.

One thing hasn't changed... their customer service. It was fairly busy when I was in. The customer in front of me in line was under the impression that the grapes she purchased were 1.99/lb. Naturally, when they rang up at 2.49/lb, she objected. I wasn't going to wait all day to see how another customer's situation was resolved, but after waiting for several minutes, checking out in another line and then leaving the store, she was still standing at the register.

What I did see was a cashier attempt to fix the problem for quite some time, which failed. Also unsuccessful was this cashier's attempt to enlist the aid of another cashier. After about a full minute, an eternity in grocery-store-line time, they FINALLY got a supervisor. The supervisor took a while to arrived, had to be informed of the situation, and then proceeded to go ALL the way to the produce department to check the price. Mind you, this is the farthest register (non-self check) in the store from the produce. As we were leaving the store, the supervisor had returned, and was still haggling with the customer.

This might come as a bit of a surprise, but Kroger and another local grocery store where I happen to work have approximately the same profit margin. We make no more money than they do, even though anyone can see we provide better customer service. This customer at my store would have received her grapes at whatever price she thought they were. The cashiers actually have that ability. Failing that, she may have even gotten them for free. I guess we're more farsighted. We know that a customer returning next week is far more valuable than the 2 bucks you might lose for the grapes.

This attitude is clear at any local Kroger. It has always annoyed me that the Hydraulic Road location turns off some of their lights late at night. I would applaud them if this was some effort to save then environment, but I doubt that's the case. I suspect it's more because they can save a few pennies per hour. It's the same reason they have broken fixtures and employees who are grotesquely underpaid. They want to make a buck now.

I don't care what anybody says, they're far worse than Food Lion.

Friday, December 22, 2006


I wish I had more time to post... and fully flesh out the Virgil Goode situation.

Apparently Waldo Jaquith does have time, and has done just that over the past couple of days.

I can't help but be reminded of all this of a situation from earlier this year. Minnesotans are, rightfully, upset with Rep. Goode. Here we have a case in which an elected official from one state insulted the citizens of another. Specifically, Virgil Goode insulting Representative-elect Keith Ellison and the 136000+ Minnesota voters who elected him. It reminds me of a group of Virginia firefighters who were subjected to a bizarre tirade from Montana Senator Conrad Burns earlier this year when they were in that state helping to battle forestfires.

Fortunately, Montana voters saw that we don't need that kind of personality in the US Senate, and they did the right thing on November 7th.

Virginia voters did the right thing as well, getting rid of the racist Senator George Allen. Unfortunately, Goode didn't show his true colors until after the election, and this story will blow over long before Goode has to face re-election again.

I hope we find a candidate in 2008 who is able to revive the story. Just like George Allen didn't deserve to represent Virginia, the xenophobic bigot Congressman Goode doesn't deserve to represent the 5th District.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


After Comcast disconnected out cable service (though, oddly, not internet) with no warning after they "lost" our payment, we immediately called DirecTV. Unfortunately, during the satellite installation, our internet access was stripped out along with the cable... hence the light posting lately.

About 1 more week until everything is up and running and I have full access back. Yay!

This has been the longest I've gone without internet access since 1992, and yes, I am an addict.

Monday, December 04, 2006


It's no secret that I am not a fan of Kroger. I would, however, like to thank my cashier from a while back.

This cashier did not react with a sense of alarm or disgust when they were informed that I did not want a bag for my two small items. Nor did they then proceed to stick those infernal orange stickers to my items. I appreciate not being made to feel weird for not wanting a bag and for being trusted enough to walk the few feet from the register to the door without a sticker broadcasting that I paid for my items. Thank you.

(Kroger location, dates, times, names, genders, items purchased and other details withheld in case the aforementioned cashier violated some innane company policy.)