Wednesday, February 28, 2007

attacked by robots

I wanted to post today. Of course I wanted to post, what with the good news.

But when I went to post I found a message saying my site had been shut down by anti-spam robots.

But I eventually beat them back by deciphering a secret code. And now I'm back. For better or worse.

I guess I need to buy this:

Monday, February 26, 2007

kcur forum 12

bla bla bla

Can we just vote already?

kcur forum 11

One more thought on Shields's shift from crime to global warming. Is it because she has Al Gore envy? Or is it because she's an alleged criminal? You know, indicted and all.

kcur forum 10

So Klein steps in and says, "When are we going to talk about crime? We're the 16th most dangerous city in the nation."

So Kraske obliges, turns the question to Katheryn Shields, who talks about...

Global Warming.

kcur forum 9

Am I asleep?












(When are they going to start fighting again?)

kcur forum 8

Is Al Brooks asleep?

kcur forum 7

"Becky, this is henry Klein and you can't do that. Becky. This is Henry Klein again."

kcur forum 6

Sheeeeeeet. Did Glazer just endorse Funk? He even called for a round of applause for him.

kcur forum 5

Katheryn Shields has a lone applauder in the front row. Sounds all nice and loud in this cavernous auditorium. Probably plays good on radio.

kcur forum 4

SO while they're talking about education, about all the stuff they'll do about the KC school district, not once mentioning that the best way to help is to cut back on the tax incentives to developers that are robbing schools blind, allow me a moment to talk about this wonderful building we're gathered in. This forum is in the auditorium at the Liberty Memorial WWI Museum, which is sumptuous in the extreme -- brand new velvety red chairs, smooth hardwood walls, automatic soap dispensers in the bathroom. As Borat would says, very nice.

Wonder who paid for it.

kcur forum 3

This is great. I can't even keep up with it. Kraske went right for the juggler on the negative campaign crap and all these usually stiff pols started dishing out the punches. Riederer took it straight at Nace, who everyone knows is behind it. Then Klein turned to her and called her out. Then Funk. Then even Eddy told about the automated message he got from Nace herself caling, absurdly, for an end to robo calls.

I wish I could type faster. It was one of the best KC media moments I've ever seen.

kcur forum

So Kraske goes right into the tough question, about these phony negative robo calls I wrote about this morning. And Riederer steps up and nails it, openly accusing Nace and Brooks of being behind them.

And so Kraske turns it to Nace, asks her point blank if she's behind the calls. And she says No! And she goes on to say that there were negative calls against her. But to my knowledge, there were no such calls. Haven't heard about any calls against her. Haven't heard about any negative postcards against her.

Dare I say the L-word?

kcur forum

I'm at this mayoral forum hosted by KCUR. They wanted bloggers to come and cover the thing live, so here I am, a completely biased reporter. Don't see many other laptops here. I might be the only one covering it. Never done one of these live boggerage things. My only fear is coming off too snarky. Usually at least three of the candidates at these things say something exceedingly stupid. So here's hoping I can bite my tongue, er, typing fingers.

robo calls

Yesterday KC voters received automated calls that were ostensibly made on behalf of the Mark Funkhouser campaign. We didn't have anything to do with them. In fact, we steadfastly agreed early on not to use them because they're totally annoying. So someone else did them, I guess to make Mark seem annoying while saying "Albert Riederer" and "negative" over and over. Kind of a two-birds-with-one-stone thing.

Here's the message:



Note the line, "There should be laws against this..." And then listen to this, from Becky Nace:



Hmm. So within hours of an annoying automated call saying there ought to be a law, Nace delivers her own automated call claiming she's the one who'll ban them.

Am I the only one who sees layers upon layers of absurdness here?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Saturday, February 24, 2007

pix

We came home with more than 500 photos. They're all online now. I've arranged them into a few photosets.


Monkey business (In which wild monkeys get very, very close to the newlyweds).


Pretty flowers.


The happy couple.


Los perros de Costa Rica.


Honeymoon sunsets.

hugo chavez

Before traveling south, I was pretty much pro Hugo Chavez, though I didn't know much about him. My thought was, If poor folks like him, he must be good. Plus, I gotta admit, I got a kick out of his strident speech at the UN.

But in Costa Rica I got to talking about him with a Canadian ex-pat who owned one of the places we stayed at. He and his wife hate him. They say he's insane, that he wants to be a dictator and that someone needs to put a bullet in his head. That same day, as it happens, Chavez closed a Venezuelan-owned factory in small town on the C.R. coast, stripping 400 people of their jobs, apparently in political retaliation for President Oscar Arias's recent criticism of Chavez.

These were the first blows to my respect for Chavez. Arias is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and he's leading an international effort to limit arms trade. He also pushed unsuccessfully to transform Central America into the world's first de-militarized region. It didn't work out, but he did persuade Panama to get rid of its military in 1994.

I still have a fair amount to learn about Arias, but at first glance he seems my kind of guy. So if Chavez is taking petty vengeance against him and his nice country, I'm naturally going to be suspicious.

So I come home and pend an afternoon researching him, trying to find trustworthy reports. And I can't make heads or tails of it until I come across a study by the International Crisis Group. They seem an honorable, trustworthy group, and their report is damning.

While Chavez appears to have some well-intentioned plans, it looks as though his economic strategy is suicidal and, worst of all, he's consolidating pretty much all of the government under his direct control, he's using extra-constitutional military groups to intimidate the opposition and silencing his critics (even going so far as to shut down one of the country's oldest TV networks).

So consider me an anti-chavizta hence forth. No me gusta.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

el borat

I have become the American version of Borat here in Costa Rica. Everywhere I go I speak Spanish in a naive but earnest accent and my sentences are littered with bad grammar that's kind of cute. Instead of very nice! I'm constantly saying muy bien! I've even taken to flashing the thumbs up when I'm happy about something.

On our first day here in Quepos I went to the farmacia to find something for my big toe, which I banged up pretty good when I slipped in the spa at Tabacon (tore part of my toe nail off). I went up to the counter asked asked the woman, Do you know something about the sick fingers? And I lifted my foot for her to see the mangled toe.

But so far I haven't gotten anyone to admit that they wish slavery were still legal. I guess it's not that kind of country.

cohiba

I smoked a great big Cuban cigar last night by the pool. Fantastic.

It's so strange that the best cigars in the world come from Cuba because they seem such a capitalistic indulgance.

Fortunately Allie talked me out of buying a bunch to bring home. For now cigar smoking will remain a habit only in the tropics.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

manuel antonio

Now on the Pacific Coast. In the place where there are ¨more monkeys than humans¨¨ -- though I haven´t yet seen a monkey.

I did see dolphins. Lots of them. Up close. Plus flying fish. And I mean flying. Like, they fly like little birds for great distances across the water. And we saw manrays jump. And I snorkeled and fish bit at my fingers. Bright-colored fish. This was on a sunset sail.

All has not been perfect. I lost a bag with my iPod and some over-priced Cuban cigars and, worst of all, a chip with a couple of hundred pictures (including those of Allie and I covered in chocolate). But there´s still hope of reclaiming it, I left it on my chartered bus.

Too much to report, really. We´re in a funky little town called Quepos. Last night we ate in a restaurant made out of a plane that was part of the Iran-Contra scandal. We spent time on the beach, of course. Tomorrow we meet monkeys and sloths on some sort of jungle cable sliding adventure.

(BTW, I´ve caught a little of the news back home. I think it was Glorioso and Riederer. At any rate, it totally backfired, and paid off for us. Go funk!)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

tabacon

All's well. The first two days have been in Tabacon, the most luxious resort we've ever been to. We have the honeymoon suite, with private outdoor jacuzzi and patio. The resort has rivers of hot mineral water you can soak in, plus a waterfall of hot water you can stand under. We've had massages, and we've been covered in chocolate. Last night we ate a delicious dinner.


There are lots of bright-colored flowers.

Tomorrow we will be on the beach.

That's enough internets for now.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

bride

after party

a new man

I'm married now.

The wedding was great. As predicted, I can't remember much of it -- and I didn't even drink. But a number of people told me it was great. Some even said it was the best wedding they ever attended. Add my voice to that chorus.












p.s. I changed "fiancée" over to the right over there to "wife." Allie's come a long way since "woman," hasn't she?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

wedding preception



We had a meet and greet last night at Waldo Pizza, for the out-of-town folks. It was fun. Click picture above for slideshow.

Tonight I get married. In a new suit.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

endorsements

Check out what Funk's opponents have to say about him:

Monday, February 05, 2007

winding down

I'm supposed to be out of campaign mode, but I had to see the whole poodle scheme through. It paid off: The Maria video was picked up nationally on Salon.com and onegoodmove.

And, best of all, all this was newsy enough to get the Star to mention it on their blog, along with a link to the official campaign site, which has many more substantive videos waiting. The hit count's been going up.

And best of best of all, this is in addition to news that came out yesterday that our candidate is firmly in place to clear the 12-candidate primary and into the general election -- due, I suppose, to the hip campaign we've been running.

So now it's time to get married and go to Costa Rica.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

on the campaign trail

I'm rapping up the last of my duties on the Mark Funkhouser for Mayor campaign before going full-time into wedding mode. I'm pretty pleased with the latest most recent stuff we've done. Check it out:

And on the more serious side:

Saturday, February 03, 2007

bloggy buzz

I been working on Mark Funkhouser's campaign, mostly on the media side, and it's been going pretty good. Part of my job is to maintain the website. There's a page on there with links to all the articles and blog entries I can find that mention Mark. As you can see, it's getting pretty long. I think the blog entries are particularly cool, because they indicate what the Average Allie is thinking. (Plus, he's gotten several straight-up endorsements in the blogosphere).

Well, being a tad competitive, I decided to see how many blog mentions his competitors have gotten.

Let me start with a caveat: This survey isn't scientific, and I won't pretend to be totally thorough. What I did was a blog search on each candidate's name in Google. Below you'll find links where each one has been mentioned. I decided to leave out the big overview entries like Can't get this sozen in a box and The Candidates and Who's the Grinchiest?. I've also taken all the entries that mention Funk alond with other candidates and moved them fully into Funk's column -- for one because, obviously, I'm biased toward him and, two, because, quite frankly, the entries are mostly positive about Funk and negative about the others. I also left out KC Buzz Blog, because they've done too damn many entries on the mayor's race, and because they aren't necessarily just regular folks blogging for fun.

Anyhoo, here goes...

Alvin Brooks
KC Mayor's Race - Alvin Brooks -- Alvin Brooks

Chuck Eddy
A cuppa Kansas City whine -- Chuck "We Need Bridges" Eddy -- People of KC Support Cancer Instead of Chuck Eddy

Janice Ellis
Tell Me Lies -- Janice Ellis -- Janice Ellis Sees Stars

John Fairfield
John Fairfield and His Friends -- TIF abuse reaches new heights in Briarcliff -- John Fairfield

Jim Glover
Another NPH First

Stanford Glazer
Mike "Corporate Hack" Hendricks wants to play the nickname game -- How Difficult is It?

Henry Klein
Klein Getting Desperate...Already? -- Mike "Corporate Hack" Hendricks wants to play the nickname game

Becky Nace
Just Say NO to Becky Nace -- The Backs Some Candidates Ride to be Mayor -- Becky Bartle? -- Let's not be nice to Becky Nace . . . In fact, she deserves a lot of bashing -- Can Kansas City Afford the Becky Nace Administration? -- Better Play Nace -- Becky Nace -- Deb Hermann and Becky Nace are less trustworthy than hookers

Katheryn Shields
Unethical Appraisal Gets You 20 -- Katheryn Shields Indicted!!! -- Boom -- Katheryn "I will be Mayor" Shields -- Irony in Motion -- Shields, interrupted -- Bitch better have my money: Where is my $19 Million?

Albert Riederer
Hey! Hey! Hey! Its finally Albert!! -- Riederer joins the mayoral pack

And then there's Funk:
(I didn't add links because Blogger is freaking out. Here's the news page.)
Penguin Hunting: The High Cost of Failure
Hip to the Funk?
Can Cauthen survive without Kay?
Brookside Forum Results
A Captive TIF Audit
Barnes is so KATTY
Funk TV
Transportation Issues
Klein and Funkhouser Push Ideas
Mayoral Candidates Face Off
The Media tries to determine victors
The House of Funk
Support for Funkhouser
Bring in the TIF Gimp
Mark Funkhouser is far and away the BEST candidate
Who Will He Pick?
Groupie
Fast Funk
Ming the Merciless for Mayor
Draft Funkhouser for Mayor
Funkhouser and Frevere
Funk, Authenticity, and the Cheesecake Factory
Putting the fun in Funkhouser
Sign of the times

We're also kicking their butts in the MSM.

Friday, February 02, 2007

cops

Last night I met a recently retired high-ranking officer in the KCPD named George Roberts. A videographer and I were working on short videos of folks who support Mark Funkhouser for mayor. He really impressed me.

For his little testimonial video, George talked not about more cops on the street or more jail space. Instead, he talked about broken sidewalks on Kansas City's East Side. He talked about a community that has essentially been abandoned by City Hall, and how that has more to do with the murder rate than the number of cops patrolling the street.

Kinda blew me away. Here's this white guy. Lives north of the river. Combs his hair straight back. Ordinarily my prejudice would pin him as one who could give a shit about the folks who live around Central High.

But he just cut to the chase and laid out a real progressive rap.

Then he got to talking about the current chief of police. Jim Corwin is a total reformer, according to George. Another real progressive.

I was aware that Chief Corwin has a Blue Print for the Future. But I haven't read it and I don't really know what it entails.

But my ears perked up when George told me Corwin brought in a psychologist to assess the difficulties they'd face as the department undergoes a fairly radical transformation.

Then George started talking about how Corwin is catching all kinds of heat for thestuff they're doing at a neighborhood police station on the Westside. The area has long been home to KC's Latino community. And in recent years one particular corner in the area has become a spot where recent immigrants hang out looking for work. It's been a strain on the community, so Corwin and the neighborhood cops have started providing services for these folks -- showers, laundry, etc. George told me the neighborhood leaders are happy with the arrangement. But xenophobes in Jeff City are outraged because Corwin isn't locking the folks up and reporting them to INS -- those who've immigrated here illegally, that is.

What surprised me about all this was not that KC apparently has a good police chief, which is kind of surprising, frankly. But that I'd never heard any of this.

How is it that there's a major reform effort going on in our police department, and the local papers aren't all over it?

I mean, the psychologist thing alone is worth a story, doncha think?

(Or did I miss it? I know I have trouble catching all the important stories on the Star's jumbled website.)