First time my wife and I had seen him (she got me hooked on him 15 years ago), and we were both impressed. The big surprise was the quality of his guitar playing and singing. I admit that parts of Groovy Decoy sound a bit ... off ... but his inventiveness as a songwriter overcomes any liabilities from those early days. Thursday night, though, his voice was spectacular. Dynamic, strong delivery, working the mic and the crowd and an unruly harmonica perfectly. His guitar playing, particularly on a very woody sounding acoustic, was top notch as well.
All in all, an enjoyable show, better than I imagined, although I wish he'd stayed on the acoustic all night.
-- David Storm, posted on Nov. 12
Winburn Is an Amateur
(Re: "What Happened to Winburn?" post on CityBeat's Porkopolis blog about the Nov. 6 election results.) Charlie Winburn is already indelibly labeled the Harold Stassen/Al Gore of local politics.
Here's my take on the main reason he lost. I spent most of my career, such as it was, as a salesman. I can spot an amateur. He has a vacuum cleaner he wants to sell you in his hand, and you don't care how much you have to squeeze his foot to keep it from getting through your front door.
I hope someone else here will speculate as to whether Charlie brought Melanie Bates down with him.
-- David E. Gallaher, posted Nov. 8
Elections Are Fair
(Re: "Oinker of the Day" post on CityBeat's Porkopolis blog about whether ballots are accurately counted and reported in U.S. elections.) The same examples always come up when we ponder whether "my little vote actually makes a difference." There are old legends about dead people voting in Chicago and a Cleveland suburb that had 400 more registered voters than it had residents.
I believe that these events probably happened. The reason we don't have a thousand more examples just like them is because they are relatively rare. I'm sure there is some low-level monkey business in almost every election. Maybe Grandpa passes on and Dad votes for him. Or someone votes at both their old and new addresses. It happens on both sides of each race, but the net effect can't be more than a few dozen votes in either direction. It's a rare election indeed that is close enough for that to affect the outcome.
Nonetheless, we want our system to be perfect, straight up and beyond reproach so that we can trust its legitimacy. There is simply too much at stake to accept anything less.
You tend to see election corruption where one party is so dominant that they can gain control of the counting process. The best defense is to maintain a strong adversarial environment of vigorous opposing parties. Our boards of elections are always comprised of equal members of the two dominant political parties and they watch each other like hawks to see that the procedures are followed.
The whole process has strict oversight by the Secretary of State's office using auditors from both sides of the aisle. Further protection is provided because any conspiracy would involve such a large number of people that it couldn't possibly be kept secret, so they don't even try.
-- Mark Miller, posted on Nov. 6