Friday, February 27, 2009

Myrtle Beach!

I have a really hard time believing this new Myrtle Beach flight out of Capital Airport is going to succeed in the long run. I hope I’m wrong, but I really think this flight will soon disappear like they all do. And Myrtle Beach? That seems random. Maybe I don’t get it because I don’t golf.

Switching the flight to a Ft. Myers, Florida destination during the winter months at first sounded promising to me, but then thinking about it, even that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Springfield traveler. Maybe if the Florida destination was the in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale or Tampa area enough people might use the flight. But getting to Florida via Ft. Myers means you are probably going to have to drive some distance once there to get to your destination. And by the time you do that, you might as well just drive to St. Louis and take a more direct flight.

Another interesting thing in the SJ-R article is this:
Marketing at first will center on bringing Springfield passengers to Myrtle Beach but later will include bringing South Carolina tourists to Springfield to see the attractions.

“We plan on doing some creative things in this market,” Warneck said. “Businesses almost immediately will realize the benefits from the passengers we bring in.”

Hanna said the airport and Direct Air have been working with the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau on ways to promote Springfield to Myrtle Beach passengers.

“We hope there is a reciprocal tourism effect here,” he said.

He said Myrtle Beach, which has about 25,000 permanent residents, is “a great, affordable alternative vacation spot.”
Wow, we’re taping into the great tourist well of a city of 25,000! Sorry, but that cracked me up.

Still, I hope this works out and we get more direct flights like it. I’m just not betting on it happening.

Shorter Kev 02/27/09

Capital Airport rules! We now have flights to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and almost nowhere else. I love Myrtle Beach suddenly and you should too or else you hate Springfield. But even I don’t sound convinced this thing will work.

Kevan Kavanaugh’s commentaries can be heard regularly on AM 970 WMAY.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kenneth Responds to Bobby

Too Funny. I'm a big fan of Kenneth the Page. In fact, I see now where I went wrong in my broadcasting career. I should have just been Kenneth and happy.

Update: By the way, Jindal is never going to fully recover from this. Think Howard Dean and The Scream™

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Problem Like Burris

Roland Burris does not want to resign his Senate seat and there’s not a whole lot that can be done to force him out absent any actual criminal charges. We could hold a special election but I’m not sure it’s worth it considering that by the time that expensive event takes place, there will be a year or a year and a half left in his term. I mean, this time next year the primary battle for the seat will already be well underway.

It has been the right thing to do for people like Dick Durbin and several from the Illinois Congressional delegation to call for his resignation but, in the end, it’s Burris’ decision. Burris didn’t do the right thing in accepting the appointment so I don’t expect him to do the right thing now. I think we may just have to continue registering our displeasure with him (to keep the pressure on in case he does eventually cave) while keeping in mind that he is really just part of a Blagojevich hangover that will eventually go away on its own with time.

Shorter Kev 02/25/09

Obama rules! He told us there is hope! And that’s something new for him! Besides, all we have to do is think positively and the recession will go away. So now that we’re all thinking positively, it’s time to buy some radio advertising.

Kevan Kavanaugh’s commentaries can be heard regularly on AM 970 WMAY.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Too Old to Facebook

I took a How Old Are You poll on Facebook and discovered I'm very nearly at the end of the measurable age ranges.

Sack o’ Lunch

I was getting something out of a kitchen cabinet last night when I accidentally knocked over a pile of brown paper lunch sacks, spilling them all over the floor. As I picked them up, I wondered why we even have these things. We don’t use them. My kids often do take a “sack lunch” to school, but they don’t take them in paper sacks. Rather, they use insulated lunch bags. They put their food inside and, if the food is perishable, put in a reusable ice pack to keep the food cool (which wouldn’t work well with a paper sack).

This also got me wondering how we survived taking sack lunches when I was in grade school. We didn’t have insulated lunch carriers or ice packs. Instead, our mothers put tuna or bologna or ham sandwiches in a brown paper sack along with a Twinkie or Ding-Dong and off to school we went. At lunch, we ate the non-refrigerated sandwiches and lived to tell the tale. Every day.

This isn’t a “back in my day!” grumpy old man post, just an observation. I am all for having the kids keep their food cool. It makes sense to me. On the other hand, I’m assuming from experience that it really doesn’t make all that much difference. Long live the brown paper sack!

Shorter Kev 02/23/09

Obama sucks! He keeps saying we are in a recession and because he says that, we are! All we need to do is simply not admit we are in tough economic times, and then things will get better. It’s ALL attitude. Now let me read to you a long inspirational quote on having a good attitude.

Kevan Kavanaugh’s commentaries can be heard regularly on AM 970 WMAY.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Roof Divided Againt Itself

This past week we had the other half of our roof replaced. See, back in 2006 we had that little tornado thing that took off a lot of shingles from the west side of our roof. The insurance paid for the replacement of that half of the roof but the company was unwilling to replace the other half because the storm had done no damage to it. We didn't have the money to replace the whole thing in 2006, so only the one half was done.

We finally got the cash together recently to replace the east side of the roof. Thing is, we had a different contractor do this work almost three years later. And while I'm sure the contractor did his best to make the two sides match, it probably doesn't matter because you can't see both sides at the same time from the ground. However, I'm going to be really embarrassed if the next edition of Google Earth reveals a two-tone roof!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gene Siskel, Gone Ten Years

The famous film critic Gene Siskel died ten years ago today and this week his former partner at the movies (pun intended), Roger Ebert, remembers Siskel in this retrospective. Looking at the pictures, it’s hard to believe they were ever so young.

I remember first stumbling upon Siskel and Ebert’s show on PBS back in 1977. I think it was a monthly program back then. I was interested in film and the concept intrigued me. Several years later when I was in college, Siskel was scheduled to speak on campus and I was excited to go hear him. When I got to the place where he was supposed to appear, we were told the lecture had been cancelled because a thunderstorm in St. Louis had prevented his plane from arriving, or something. Oh well, next time, I thought. Next time never came and I’m still sorry for the missed opportunity.

Shorter Kev 02/20/09

The Maisenbacher House rules! Let me endlessly recite the whole history of the Maisenbacher House controversy since you probably aren’t aware of it. Now the rest of you just shut up about it and move on.

Kevan Kavanaugh’s commentaries can be heard regularly on AM 970 WMAY.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blago 2.0

Josh Marshall sez:

Roland Burris is on TV giving a speech defending himself against allegations he lied about his role in being solicited and then trying to help raise money for Rod Blagojevich to help get the senate seat. And it's basically identical to a series of speeches Blago himself gave when he was swirling around the bowl: How dare you give me any crap for lying about that fundraising stuff when, my god, I just helped pass the Stimulus Bill, SCHIP and the Lily Ledbetter bill.

It's almost like a homage to Blago. All he needs is a good Tennyson quote.

I was thinking something very similar early this morning. The more this Burris thing goes on, the more it mirrors the Blagojevich show that just concluded with impeachment.

Maisenbacher, Blah, Blah, Blah

So the City of Springfield more or less passed a balanced budget last night after facing a potential 12 million dollar deficit. That’s good news, right? Well, it seems that it is barely news at all because the city council also approved TIF funding for the forlorn Maisenbacher House. Now that’s news! For some reason! We must now all obsess about it! It’s simply an outrage! For some reason!

Shorter Kev 2/18/09

Roland Burris sucks! Because Burris sucks, all Illinois Democrats should be voted out of office. And Schmidty should throw the book at him for sucking.

Kevan Kavanaugh’s commentaries can be heard regularly on AM 970 WMAY .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sticking It to the Man

I like this strategy. Call it asymmetrical warfare:

ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. -- Kathy Lovelace lost her job and was about to lose her house, too. But then she made a seemingly simple request of the bank: Show me the original mortgage paperwork.

And just like that, the foreclosure proceedings came to a standstill.

Lovelace and other homeowners around the country are managing to stave off foreclosure by employing a strategy that goes to the heart of the whole nationwide

During the real estate frenzy of the past decade, mortgages were sold and resold, bundled into securities and peddled to investors. In many cases, the original note signed by the homeowner was lost, stored away in a distant warehouse or destroyed.

Persuading a judge to compel production of hard-to-find or nonexistent documents can, at the very least, delay foreclosure, buying the homeowner some time and turning up the pressure on the lender to renegotiate the mortgage.

April Charney, head of foreclosure defense for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in Florida, said the strategy has been so successful for her that she now travels around the country to train other lawyers in how to use it. She said she has gotten cases delayed for years by demanding that lenders produce paperwork they cannot find.

If the mortgage company can’t even find the paperwork, fuck ‘em. My guess is that this tactic won’t work much longer as these companies get wise to the tactic, but for now maybe it’ll give some people a chance for a better outcome.

A Schmidty Situation

So if Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Schmidt decides Roland Burris did commit perjury, is his office really prepared to try the case? I'm betting he finds no grounds for a perjury charge. Who needs that pressure? I’m betting Schmidt is sorry he even came to work today. This whole Blago saga with its Burris subplot is both endless and full of weird surprises.

On a related note, Illinois Republicans should probably let up on the calls for an early Burris resignation. It seems to me that if Burris can survive the primaries (a big if, granted) he would be a great candidate to run against.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Serious Insights: Stimulus Edition

It was nice of Congress to pass the stimulus bill for Valentines Day so we can all be stimulated today.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday Rock

My favorite TV lineup is Thursday evenings on NBC. Specifically, I never miss (or record) My Name is Earl, The Office and 30 Rock. Last night, those three shows came in with some of the best I’ve seen of each series. Which was great to see since Earl in particular has shown some signs of decline.

The best parts of each include:

Earl – The montage of Mr. Turtle's adventures on his own

The Office – Angela’s cat-grooming technique

30 Rock – Jack’s confession (as in Catholic Church confessional and priest)

The People’s House

I think stories like this give the impression that the Executive Mansion in Springfield was shuttered during the Blagojevich administration because the governor didn’t live there. That simply isn’t true. I attended business function there last fall. I’m not sure if there were regular tours available to the public but the Mansion could be rented by the public for use. Still, I appreciate Governor Quinn’s meet-and-greet effort. It does show a new openness and certainly goes a long way toward mending hurt feelings among Springfieldians.

Springfield to Washington, A Path Well Traveled

I’m not easily moved by such things, but I felt a certain sense of pride and hope last night when I watched Air Force One fly over my house, turn east and to head back to Washington DC. On that plane was our new president. A president who was working here in Springfield as a state senator only a few years ago. And now he was winging his way to Washington to face problems that tower over issues he may have faced here. It was almost symbolic; Obama coming to town to honor Springfield’s favorite son, himself a president elected at a time of crisis, and flying off in the majestic bird to go help craft a future that without superb leadership will be grim. I wonder if leaving Springfield last night, Obama didn’t finally get the sense that this was really it, it’s all up to him now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday A. Hussein Lincoln

You don’t look a day over 190. And look, while hiking out west I came across this strange rock formation that happens to look just like you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

All the Way From Memphis

Mott the Hoople from the early '70s doing All the Way From Memphis. The live 1973 version here.

Just a good song and a fun '70s jam. Love the piano but you can't hear as much of it in the live version.

They Day the Earth Almost Stood Still

So things almost got catastrophic a few months ago while we were busy going about our business. Via Ezra Klein, this from Rep. Paul Kanjorski is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets:
On Thursday (Sept 18), at 11am the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the U.S., to the tune of $550 billion was being drawn out in the matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help and pumped $105 billion in the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn't be further panic out there.

If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2pm that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S., would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.
Holy crap. At least Springfield would not have been affected out of sheer will and awesomeness (see my post immediately below).

Shorter Kev 2/11/09

Springfield is awesome! So awesome it is simply refusing to participate in the global recession. In fact, Springfield businesses are doing really great and surely have enough money and confidence in the future that they can buy tons of radio advertising. Just saying. Oh, and Pat Quinn and Barack Obama are awesome too because they know Springfield is awesome.

Kevan Kavanaugh’s commentaries can be heard regularly on AM 970 WMAY .

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Always Good to Get a Slam in on Kentucky

Matthew Yglesias observes:

Just saw Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) on TV warning that the stimulus plan will “turn America into Western Europe.” Terrifying.

Western Europe has its pros and cons relative to the United States and since it represents a diversity of different policy environments it doesn’t even really make sense to talk about adopting “European” policies. Still, it strikes me as odd that conservatives seem so convinced that a set of countries whose populations are healthier and longer-lived, and where dramatically fewer children grow up in poverty, is somehow obviously a dystopian nightmare. Indeed, even at the time when living standards really were clearly higher in the United States and tons of Europeans were eager to move here, the people of old continent were hardly clamoring to get into the glamorous world of Kentucky.

Oh bluegrass snapitude!

Now if McConnell was truly worried that this country might be transformed into Somalia or even The Democratic Paradise of Iraq, then I could at least understand his alarm. But saying you fear becoming like Western Europe (!) just isn’t going to frighten anyone except the wingnut base-of-ignorance that routinely worries about the strangest (and often non-existent) things. But hey, that’s why they are coming increasingly irrelevant as more and more people see that these guys are just nuts.

Tax My Beer

I have no problem with the proposed 5% sales tax on packaged liquor in Springfield. Well, except that the idea comes from The Can-Man and that always gives me pause.

Look, the money is going to have to come from somewhere, and while this tax will not come close to filling the city’s entire budget deficit, it will help. And while some people may actually go out of their way to find there liquor outside the city to save 5 cents on the dollar, that’s going to be a very small group of people. I say go for it.
And by the way, SJ-R, Heineken sucks. Use a better beer (which would be almost any beer) for price comparison. Actually, why not just show us what the price difference would be for a 6 or 12 pack of Bud Light? That would be something more people could relate to. I say tax Heineken at 10%. And while we are at it, any beer with fruit in it should be taxed at 50%.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Not His Fault

Citizen Rod Blagojevich has just released a new version of his side of the story.

Shorter Kev 2/9/09

Abe Lincoln rocks! Springfieldians, embrace the man and the legacy! If not for him, you might not have your state job.

Kevan Kavanaugh’s commentaries can be heard regularly on AM 970 WMAY .

Friday, February 06, 2009

Schock the Hunkey

Our new rep. thanks the Huffington Post for voting him the “Hottest Freshman” of the 111th Congress.
I appreciate this honor, but my real goal is to have a "hot" legislative record on behalf of the people I serve.
What’s he have in mind, tax breaks for Victoria’s Secret? Legislation requiring TWO annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues? Have the FCC designate a special network adult swim prime time slot for shows like Californication?

Phone Pacing

This topic came up briefly last night within my inner circle of Facebook friends and I thought I’d bring it up here too. Apparently those of us who pace around while talking on the phone drive everyone else crazy with our pacing. I do this all the time while on the phone. I always have, even back in the days when I was tethered to the phone by a cord. I’m not sure why I do it but, hey, it’s good exercise and keeps the blood flowing so I can make even more stimulating conversation. The other consensus was that this behavior is mostly a guy thing. Is this an example of the hunter-gatherer vs. nesting instincts still embedded in us? Or is this just a character flaw in some men like leaving the toilet seat up?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Supreme Asshole

I think I’ve been paying attention for the last 35 years or so, and I don’t ever remember sitting Supreme Court justices writing books, going on book tours, making media appearances, shouting down 20 year-old college students

The book promotion led Florida Atlantic University student Sarah Jeck to ask Scalia if the Supreme Court’s opposition to having its proceedings televised was “vitiated” by, among other things, “Supreme Court justices going out on book tours.”

Her question drew laughter and applause from the crowd of about 730, but Scalia wasn’t amused.

“That’s a nasty, impolite question,” Scalia said before moving on to another query.

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I like Supreme Court justices to keep to themselves and not offer their opinions except in legal matters before the court. If Scalia wants to do this sort of stuff, he should step down.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Argumentative Stacking

While Republicans continue their attempt to block the jobs bill in congress, some of them are resorting to showing us just how much money a trillion dollars really is. One senator, John Thune, even told us teh other day how high that much money would go if stacked. Thanks, John, that’s very helpful to the debate! Not wanting to let that go unchallenged, Josh Marshall, has an equally useful graphic comparing the height of the money with the combined height of unemployed Americans.

Excellent! Our height is greater than yours, so we win!

Funny how the trillion dollar cost of the pointless war in Iraq never concerned some of these guys (to them wars and tax cuts are free). I wonder how close to the moon we would get if we stacked all the dead and wounded end to end. More charts!

Good Fences Make For Clever Neighbors

Speaking of wasteful government spending, remember that big, expensive wall we are putting up on the Mexican border to stem the flow of illegal immigrants? How’s that working out?
And all the while, drug smugglers and illegal immigrants continue to breach the fencing that is up, forcing Border Patrol agents and contractors to return again and again for repairs. The smugglers build ramps to drive over fencing, dig tunnels under it, or use blow torches to slice through. They cut down metal posts used as vehicle barriers and replace them with dummy posts, made from cardboard.

Where fencing is going up, the look varies from place to place. In high-traffic pedestrian areas, such as around ports of entry, the barriers include 10-foot-tall mesh fences, angled to deter climbers, and solid walls made from Army surplus steel originally used to create landing strips during the Vietnam War. There are about 300 miles of these pedestrian barriers up now, built at an average cost of $3.9 million per mile, including land acquisition, according to the Government Accountability Office.

In remote regions where drive-through smuggling is the top concern, the Border Patrol has built vehicular barriers, often steel posts driven into the desert ground at close intervals. The average cost is about $1 million per mile, according to the GAO.
Well, at least we aren’t wasting that money on birth control!

Perfect February

I would be remiss as an observational blogger not to point out that this month, February 2009, is perfectly symmetrical on the calendar:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Free Grand Slams

Yeah, but how do you tip 20% on $0? Maybe this wasn’t so good for servers.

Seriously though, good on Denny’s. Hopefully it will turn out to have been a good business decision (promotion) for them as well.

Why Blago Lives On

I find it kind of funny how some of the local and Illinois blog/talk show/pundit crowd continues to be so upset by citizen Blagojevich’s appearances in the major media. Really, these appearances are not “news” and aren’t meant to be. They’re entertainment. That’s why Blago will be on Letterman and Larry King tonight, because the guy is a freak show and people will tune in to see it. No one should get frustrated when Blago lies and the interviewer doesn’t bust him on it. That’s not why he’s there. And that’s actually part of his media appeal; everyone knows he’s a scoundrel but it’s entertaining to see him pretend he’s not. He's harmless now. Let him be stupid.

Back of Envelope Blogging

Republicans in Washington, in full obstructionist mode, have decided they are going to do everything they can to stop the economic stimulus plan floating around in congress from passing. They contend there is too much "waste" and they would rather no stimulus at all than have a bill with anything even remotely objectionable to them.

So what parts of the $900 billion package do they find so offensive they would hold up attempts at economic recovery? Well, they released a list of several dozen items o’ waste. I went ahead and added up all of the amounts on the list and it comes to about $24.5 billion. That’s a whopping 2.7% of the bill. These guys are willing to go to the mat over less than three percent of the total cost. And look at some of the things they deem wasteful:

$2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.

$88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).

$1.2 billion for "youth activities," including youth summer job programs

$1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs

$600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees

$160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

$75 million to construct a "security training" facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.

Yup, no stimulus there at all. Those things are all going to get done without hiring a single person. So let’s just stand in the way of whole thing.

Update: Ha, ha. The GOPers are now asking “Joe” the “Plumber” for assistance in formulating a proper stimulus package. I guess the war correspondent thing just wasn’t working out for him.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Copy Kats

Don’t plagiarize your plagiarism policy.

Members of a committee formed in response to plagiarism accusations levied against a former university administrator received word this week that they need to reconvene and examine documents they may have plagiarized.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the 10-member committee of Southern Illinois University academics and administrators commissioned to develop a plagiarism policy may have borrowed from Indiana University’s definition—without
citing IU.

SIU officials seemed surprised by the news and stressed the policy was still in draft form.It would be a near perfect example of irony: a definition of plagiarism created in the wake of plagiarism scandals may itself have been plagiarized.

Both policies open with similar sentences.

“Plagiarism is defined as presenting existing work as one’s own,” the SIU definition reads.

“Plagiarism is defined as presenting someone else’s work, including the work of other students, as one’s own,” the IU definition begins.

SIU’s 139-word definition is nearly identical to the definition IU adopted in 2005 and currently publishes on its Web site under the heading, “How to recognize plagiarism.”

New Holiday

The day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday. We could chuck Columbus Day in exchange (I mean, the guy was a bit of an asshole and how can you “discover” a place where people are already living?). The day after the Super Bowl is needed for clean up and sleeping in or sleeping it off.

President Obama, a hung-over nation looks to you for leadership through bloodshot eyes.

Shorter Kev 2/2/09

There is interesting stuff in my AARP magazine. Did you know that pre-paid funeral plans may be a rip-off? And Roland Burris may be partly to blame. This sis going to be a big story, mark my words!
Kevan Kavanaugh’s commentaries can be heard regularly on AM 970 WMAY .