Category Archives: Politics

I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry Unless You’re Reading This In North Carolina

Hate.  Bigotry.  Sad.  North Carolina.  Unfortunately – especially since my sister lives there and I think it’s a beautiful state – those words are all synonymous now.  Amendment 1 has made that the truth.  I still can’t believe that here in 2012 we’re actually having debates like this.  I cannot fathom how I live in a world where in America, not in some tiny third world country run by a dictator or fascist regime, but the United States of America is oppressing citizens. Continue reading


A Simple Plea

I’m going to take a break from the not posting for a moment and get a little deep.  As with everything you read here, this is simply my thoughts and no one else’s.  You may agree, you may disagree and either way, you’re right.  See that’s the beautiful thing about America.  Hell, that’s the beautiful thing about being a person, you’re entitled to your opinion.  You have free will and regardless of what anyone tries to tell you, your opinion is, in it’s own special way, right.  So with that said, here is my plea to whomever wins the election tomorrow.

10 years ago, red and blue states didn’t exist.  10 years ago we didn’t really care if you were a republican or a democrat unless you were REALLY in to politics.  There wasn’t the hate and vitriol.  I beg of you, Mr. President-Elect, take us back there.  I’m tired of friends and family coming close to blows over red and blue lines that don’t even really exist.  I’m tired of the talking heads on TV ranting and raving, shouting simply to be heard, not to make a point.  I beg you, unite us again.

As an aside, this is the thing I’m most disappointed by with this campaign.  I believed that with both McCain and Obama, we had two men who could legitimately accomplish this and then the negativity began and I see at least a few more years of “divided we stand.”  Truly sad.

As for policy, I won’t try to advise you as I’m far too uneducated on things like foreign policy and the economy to help.  However, here’s what I would like to see:

1.  Please fix the economy.  I know it won’t happen in one term and it probably won’t happen in two.  But show me something.  Show me some growth.  Show me that I won’t find myself downsized or pay-frozen, struggling to get by on a tiny salary.  Listen to people like Warren Buffet.  There’s a reason he’s the richest man in the country.  He didn’t invent Microsoft, he just made smart investments.  To quote the CEO of the company I work for, “no company has ever gone under because of too little debt.”  This idea can be applied to the country.  Find a way to get us out.  Find a way to bring back the American dream, so that maybe I can own a house someday.

2.  Put some focus on education again.  No Child Left Behind failed.  Everyone admits it.  As we’ve seen here in Illinois, education is the first thing that gets funding cut in the troubled economic times we live.  This is so sad to me.  I know someone who thought for quite a while that Hawaii and Alaska shared a border because of the inset on the map.  You laugh, but it’s true.  This can’t continue.  Educate children so that someday they can grow up and fix the mess we’ve made of things over the last 8 to 10 years.  We won’t survive without them.  They must know where we came from, the good, bad, and ugly of it all.  They must know how to read, write, add, subtract, and so much more.  Let’s make sure that Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” bits die because he can’t find enough stupid people anymore.

3.  Get us out of Iraq.  It’s time.  If they can’t survive without us by now, they’ll never be able to.  I believe that they can.  Maybe I’m wrong, but we need to find out.

4.  Find alternative fuel sources.  To me, this is pretty simple.  We know how to tap in to solar and wind energy.  Everyday, the wind blows and the sun shines.  Get companies to adopt this and make it widely available.  We must end our dependence on foreign oil NOW.  I believe we must end our dependency on oil in general.  Why not?  It’s better for the environment, and it’s better on our wallet if we can drop gas down to where it once was (I’m talking under a dollar).  Don’t pay it lip service, do it.

5.  I’ve heard so much about change and hope.  Don’t allow these words to become punchlines and campaign rederic.  Become the hope and change you promised to be.  Lead us.  Show us how it can be if we work together.  Show the world that America is still the shining city on a hill that it was, and I still believe, has always been.  Be tolerant when you must, be firm when you must, compromise when you must, but lead us.  Don’t hide behind congress.  Don’t tell me they won’t cooperate with you.  Make them.  Make them believe the way we believe in you.  When it gets hard, and it will, raise your game.  Be like the great men of the past who dug in and stuck to their convictions when times were tough.  If you do, it can work out in the end.  Show us how great we can be again.

That is my plea to you.  We will never fully trust politicians, but show us that our faith isn’t always misguided.  My plea is a simple one…


I Ramble Therefor I’m Stupid

Ok, I’m warning you right now, this is pretty much just going to be me rambling.

First off, I saw a guy walking on campus today.  He was wearing a black trench coat and black hat (like the ones they wore in the 1950’s).  In fact, I think everything he was wearing was black.  Following closely was, I assume, his girlfriend wearing…you guessed it…all black.  I thought about this for a moment while I waited for the light to turn green, not because I find those kids scary like they’re going to shoot up a school or something, but because I find them very funny.  See, I assume they dress like that because in their mind, they’re rebelling against what they think we want them to be.  They don’t wear Abercrombie & Fitch clothes, don’t gel their hair, don’t listen to “mainstream” music.  I got news for you guys, you’re not rebelling against anything.  You consider yourself to be above us because you’re not caught up in material things, yet I question, how long did it take you to pick out that coat?  That hat?  How much money did you spend on your all black ensemble?  I’ll bet anything you spent more money and time crafting that look than I did on the outfit I’m wearing today, yet you would consider me to be another sheep.  Just food for thought.

Up until recently I thought that I would be fine with either Clinton or Obama winning the primary.  For the uninitiated, I’m an Obama guy and not just because I’m from Illinois.  I think he can do the most good for this country.  I must say though that recently I’ve been very disappointed with Hilary Clinton.  She’s almost constantly bringing up Obama’s connection with Reverend Jeremiah Wright who has said some fairly controversial things.  In the last debate which was watched by almost no one, she even made an attempt to connect Mr. Obama with Louis Farrakhan under the old six degrees of separation game.  But let me quote the great Stephen Colbert when he was discussing this: “if Obama is supported by Ted Kennedy, who is Catholic, and the Catholic Church is led by a Pope who was in the Hitler Youth, that can mean only one thing: OBAMA LOVES HITLER!”  Quick side note: I’m not Catholic, but I think the current Pope is capable of doing some great things and I’m a fan, but truth is truth…end side note.  What Mrs. Clinton has failed to mention is that after the Monica Lewinski scandal, whom did the Clintons bring to the White House for “spiritual counseling?”  Why, it was the Reverend Jeremiah Wright!  Interesting.  I give Obama credit for not bringing that in to the rhetoric yet.  Again, I don’t particularly dislike Hilary, I’m just disappointed in her lately.

NBA playoffs are going on, and if you like basketball, watch.  Seriously.  There’s some really good ball going on.  The Western Conference is just ridiculously good and there’s some really good series going on in the East.  Here’s my predictions:


Lakers over Nuggets in 4

Jazz over Rockets in 6

Hornets over Mavs in 7 (this one could be a whole bunch of fun)

Suns over Spurs in 7 (again, could be a TON of fun to watch)


Celtics over Hawks in 4 (I actually like Atlanta, but they’re vastly overmatched here)

Pistons over 76ers in 5 (I like the Sixers too, but I don’t think they’ll steal another one from Detroit, I think Detroit took them too lightly over the weekend)

Magic over Raptors in 6 (could go the other way if Chris Bosh can figure out how to contain Dwight Howard…which I’m not actually sure is possible)

Cavs over Wizards in 7 (Normally I’d say that Cleveland would win in 5 because I think LeBron can beat this team by himself, but Butler and Arenas are just ridiculously good and Washington believes in themselves)

I like the Pistons over the Celtics in the East, although I could easily see Boston winning.  I actually like Boston, but Detroit’s just too good and they have a big 4 where Boston only has a big 3, so you do the math.

The West is insanely difficult to pick, but I’m going to take the Lakers over the Suns in a fantastic 7 game series.  And even though it pains me greatly because I really hate Kobe, I think that the Lakers will be the champs, especially if Andrew Bynum gets healthy.  Don’t count Detroit out though, they’re physical enough to beat L.A. down and win.  That said though, this is the first time in quite a while where I just have no clue who’s going to win it all.  Should be fun.

NFL draft is this weekend, Jake Long will be the #1 pick.  I’m a firm believer that EVERYTHING in football begins and ends up front.  Left tackle is a notoriously hard position to fill and if there’s a potential franchise LT out there, take him.  Jake Long is that good.  I really like Chris Long (not related to Jake) but I think he goes #2 to St. Louis who need defensive help.  Matt Ryan goes 3 to Atlanta who desperately need a QB and McFadden goes 4 to the Raiders who desperately need everything.  After that, I have no clue.  I just hope my Bears take either an offensive lineman or Rashard Mendenhall at 14.

Baseball’s underway.  My White Sox are in 1st (awesome).  Today on The Score they asked “what’re you most concerned about with both teams (Cubs and Sox…both currently in first)?”  With my Sox, it’s still the bullpen.  Last year we started out on fire (David Aardsma didn’t give up a run until May, then he gave up a bunch), but then the pen fell apart.  The good news is that the lineup is hitting much better than all of last year and Danks and Floyd have been really good.  Jose Contreras still scares me.  I think we’ll need to address that sooner rather than later.  For the Cubs, I’d be concerned about a couple of things.  First off would be Alfonso Soriano.  I thought that they gave him too much money and too many years because he’s older than you think, but this injury is the latest in what’s becoming a long line of them and he may just be too far on the backside of his career to be the player the Cubs thought he’d be.  Kerry Wood concerns me too.  Shockingly, he’s spent 4.5 of his 10 year career on the DL.  Not good.  I’d be mighty worried about the starting pitching too.  Dempster’s been great, Zambrano’s Zambrano, but Lily is currently sporting a 9.16 ERA.  Now that will come down, but I doubt he gets much below 4, which isn’t real good.  I also doubt he wins more than 12 games.  Rich Hill has a much better 3.86 ERA, but just got his first win yesterday.  There’s some cause for concern there.

I can’t wait for Iron Man and The Dark Knight.  I don’t care what you think of me for that.

Finally, I ask a simple question.  If you are a woman, would you stay with a guy for 12 years despite the fact that he clearly has no intention of ever marrying you and treats you generally like a second class citizen?  I sincerely hope you said no.  Someone that I happen to be crazy about is doing just that and it makes absolutely no sense to me.  I’m not going to say I think I’m the greatest catch a woman could get, but I certainly treat women better than that and yet I’ve been single for 5 years and counting.  I’m telling you, there’s no justice in life.

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America’s Game

Pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training on Saturday which on one hand is absolutely glorious.  It means that it’ll warm up soon (it’s absolutely freezing here), and frankly there are few things in life that I’d rather do than watch a baseball game.  But as you probably know, baseball has a dark cloud hanging over it right now.  Steroids have been a hot topic for years now but the most damning moment happened a few months ago when former Senator George Mitchell released the report of his investigation in to steroids in baseball.  Now the report is not nearly as accurate as it could be since Sen. Mitchell and his crew did not have subpoena power, so no one was forced to talk to them.  However the report named names, the biggest two names being Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens.

The two of them won a couple of World Series titles with the Yankees, led the Astros to the 2005 World Series (which they lost to my White Sox), and were two of the best pitchers in the game for several years.  Pettitte has shown signs of time catching up with him lately as he’s not nearly the dominant pitcher he once was.  But Clemens, well he’s a modern miracle.  The man’s in his 40’s and throwing big time heat.  He still dominates like he was 20.  Frankly, even I was impressed, and I’ll admit, I’ve never been a fan of his.  I think he screwed the Boston Red Sox, which normally I’d be fine with, but I have a real problem with athletes who clearly put their stats, their legacies, ahead of what sports are supposed to be about, winning championships.  Clemens at almost every turn took the money over the chance to win.  Sure, he won with the Yankees, but he didn’t exactly take a pay cut to go to the Bronx.

Today, he found himself in front of Congress with his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who also happens to be his accuser.  I watched as much of the hearing as I could, and I must say, I think it was utterly pointless.  Some quick background for those who don’t follow this stuff as close as I do:

-Clemens and Pettitte are best friends.

-McNamee trained both Pettitte and Clemens

-McNamee told Sen. Mitchell that he injected both Clemens and Pettitte with HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and other steroids.  Clemens claims the only thing McNamee injected him with was vitamin B12 and Lidocaine.

-Since the Mitchell Report came out, Pettitte as well as another player McNamee accused of using steroids, former Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch, have admitted that they did indeed use steroids or HGH provided to them by McNamee.

-Pettitte delivered an affidavit stating that on two separate occasions he spoke with Clemens about Clemens’s use of HGH.  Clemens claims those conversations were actually about Clemens’s wife using HGH for a medical condition.

You can read a better description of everything that went down from ESPN’s Jayson Stark here.  What I saw today was basically a waste of time because Clemens stuck to his story (never did steroids, HGH, nor was he at some party at Jose Canseco’s house…I have no clue why that’s important), McNamee says “oh yes you did and I know cause I injected you myself.”  We have no clue who is lying, and we won’t for a long, long time.  What I saw today were some members of Congress that want the truth.  They’re genuinely concerned about the game, and more importantly the message MLB players using steroids sends to kids.  There were other members who, frankly, were gearing up for re-election or perhaps a run at the White House in 2012.  There were some who believed McNamee, some who believe Clemens (one Rep told Clemens “you’re going to heaven”), and there were others who, like me, don’t know who to believe.

I’ll say this, I believe Andy Pettitte.  He’s a deeply religious man who genuinely needed to clear his conscience and his reputation among Major League Baseball is that he may be the most honest man playing today.  He has no reason to lie about his best friend taking HGH/steroids. 

I want to believe Brian McNamee.  At this point, he strikes me as having no reason to lie.  He even said that in his opening statement today.  But the man has lied, and he’s lied a lot.

I don’t know if I want to believe Roger Clemens.  That doesn’t mean though that I don’t believe him, I’m just not sure if I want to.  Clemens has the most to lose as this could ruin his legacy forever.  Until we figure out how we’re going to handle the steroid era players when they become eligible for the Hall of Fame, it could impact if Clemens, who is absolutely worthy of the Hall, ever gets in.  That says to me he has more incentive than anyone to lie.  But I just don’t know that he is.

I do know that MLB officials *coughBUDSELIGcough* and players union officials *coughDONFEHRcough* should be utterly embarrassed and ashamed of themselves.  They could’ve stopped this problem before it became a problem by simply doing what the NFL did and saying “hey, this stuff’s illegal, it’s bad for you, and we’re going to test you for it.”  But they didn’t.  Players should’ve happily agreed to testing because it levels the playing field and keeps them from having to get daily testosterone shots, like former MVP and admitted steroid user Ken Caminiti did because his body stopped producing it naturally.  Of course, that didn’t happen.  The union said “no” to testing and the owners and commissioner said “Ok.”

I also know that the day when we can stop talking about this is a long way off.  Commissioner Selig has the chance to stand up and cement his legacy by forcing the union in to a legitimate, effective testing policy.  He’ll never have a better chance with not only the public, but Congress, in his corner on this.  Will it happen?  I just don’t know.

So sit back, relax, and strap it down because it’s gonna be a wild ride.

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Reason #8,932 Why The Record Industry Is Incredibly Stupid

(That’s a rough estimate…there could be WAY more reasons than that)

The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has once again demonstrated their mind-blowing stupidity.  Let me say first that these people apparently feel that the Internet is just some fad because, despite calls from their own artists whom they claim to care so much about, they refuse to abandon CD’s and go purely digital.  This is explained in much better prose and detail than I can offer by my friend J.B. here.  However, as if their refusal to embrace the future wasn’t enough, they’ve once again popped off at the mouth on their “biggest night” (their words, not mine), the GRAMMYs.

Now you may feel the urge to point out that the RIAA doesn’t actually put on the GRAMMY awards, it’s produced by the Recording Academy, to which I would say, you’re absolutely right.  However you can’t talk about the music industry without talking about the RIAA, and frankly, what this rant is about didn’t come from the Recording Academy.  Each year, just before the tribute video to all those who passed away that year, we’re treated to a lovely speech about how great the Academy and the RIAA is from Academy President and C.E.O. Neil Portnow.  The last two years, Mr. Portnow delivered a speech talking about how piracy is bad.  Essentially saying that if you download just one song illegally (read: for free), you are taking food off the table of everyone connected with the record industry.  FALSE.  Are you hurting their sales?  Potentially, however studies have actually shown that piracy in some cases actually boosted record sales.  Essentially what happens, in a nut shell, you download a song, you like it, you go buy the CD that it appears on (or in today’s world, you go to iTunes or whatever and download it).  However long before Napster, iTunes, Rhapsody, etc., there was radio.  And that’s what Mr. Portnow chose to reign down on tonight.

Mr. Portnow pointed out that the Academy supports all their artists, and certainly they have done great things with their Music Cares program, I would never attempt to take that away from them.  But Mr. Portnow pointed out that they will make sure that all their artists will finally be fairly compensated for their work being played on radio (that’s not a direct quote, but it’s pretty close).  They way he delivered that line implied that radio has been ripping off the RIAA and musicians since the dawn of music radio.  This, again, is FALSE.  Apparently Mr. Portnow forgot about ASCAP and BMI.  Those are two entities that every single music playing radio station in the country pays a rather hefty sum of money to each year for the rights to play any song that is covered by ASCAP and BMI, which is pretty much all of them.  While I am not in a position where I see how much is spent annually on ASCAP and BMI licenses, I recall my general manager mentioning once that the amount is several thousands dollars.  Let’s do some quick math.  I’ll give the RIAA and Recording Academy the benefit of the doubt and rule out all AM stations as music playing stations (even though there are several nation wide that still play music).  There are roughly 7,000 FM radio stations, the great majority of which are music format stations.  So let’s say that each station pays ASCAP and BMI $4,000 per year.  7,000 stations x $4,000/year = $28,000,000 per year.   My point is this, if musicians aren’t getting money from their songs being played on radio, it’s not our fault, it’s the RIAA’s.

So already we’ve debunked the myth that John Mayer doesn’t make a dime from “Waiting on the World to Change” playing on the radio.  But let’s not forget that the chief marketing wing of the record industry has and always will be radio.  Think about it this way, MTV and VH1 don’t play videos during prime time hours, or even daylight hours, anymore.  So you can’t turn on Headbanger’s Ball like we did years ago to hear new music.  Certainly the record labels can and do take out ads in magazines and they run commercials on TV, but in this day and age, unless an ad REALLY grabs you, you tune it out as background noise.  So we’re now left with one final source for the artists to turn to for help to get their product out there…radio.  Study after study continues to show that good old fashioned radio, who unloads millions of dollars per year for the rights to play these songs, is still the #1 source that people turn to for music.  Yes, iPods, satellite radio, and Internet radio have made a dent, but the vast majority of people still turn to radio for new music.  In other words, not only is radio paying an estimated $28,000,000 per year to the RIAA, radio is driving their sales, but that just isn’t enough for the RIAA.

Late in 2007, the RIAA began lobbying Congress to pass laws forcing radio stations to pay more money for the licensing rights to play music.  Radio owners are fighting it as hard as they can, but the RIAA simply has a better lobby than we do (a.k.a. they have more money…which they got from us, it’s a vicious cycle).  What does this mean to you?  Well, radio has threatened to abandon music formats all together as an “F-You” to the RIAA to prove that they need us more than we need them, but don’t count on that EVER happening.  What it truly means is that if you have a favorite D.J., you might want to send them a “thank you” card because if these new laws go through, that D.J. probably won’t have a job much longer.  Radio has long been on a trend of replacing jocks with anyone or anything that’s cheaper.  Syndication has put many, many talented people on the unemployment line and if these laws pass, expect a lot more to join those already there.  Owners will do what all business men and women would do when faced with a cost increase that wasn’t budgeted for, they’ll cut overhead however they can.  That means people lose their jobs.  Call it downsizing if you want, but it’s what will happen.

To be totally honest, this is all part of the RIAA’s ongoing overreaction to downloading music.  They killed Napster.  In fact, I don’t actually know of any P2P music websites anymore.  I certainly wouldn’t be shocked to find out that a LimeWire or something like that still exists, but most everyone uses a pay site such as iTunes these days.  So, the RIAA won and they know they did, yet CD sales continue to decline.  Something that most people don’t know: the artists make the bulk of their money from tours, not CD sales, so artists don’t really care about the downward trend in CD sales.  The labels though, oh boy do they care.  They make their money from you dropping $13 on a piece of plastic.  So since they’re now sweating, wondering how long they will continue to be employed, they have to find someone to blame.  They blamed piracy, they beat piracy, and it didn’t help.  So they looked around and asked “who else is putting music out there for free?” and saw radio and said “AH HA!  It’s those bastards!”  As J.B. points out in his blog, going 100% digital would cut production costs for the RIAA which would offset the 99 cents it costs per individual song or the roughly $10 for an entire CD, but don’t tell them that.

So once again, the RIAA remains committed to the 1980’s way of thinking and continues to believe in their own infallibility while they attempt a move which would be the real world equivalent of England stabbing America in the back.

Neil Portnow’s officially off my Christmas card list.

 UPDATE:  Turns out, I was waaaaay off on the numbers.  After the GRAMMYs, several people at work asked my general manager about this new “performance tax” as the RIAA calls it, and he let everyone know the scoop.  According to him (and he would know, he pays the bills), our group of 4 radio stations paid ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC (3rd one that I didn’t know about) $175,000 in 2007.  He also says that the rate that you pay is based on your market size, so it’s actually a lot cheaper for us in market #200-whatever than it is for New York (#1), L.A. (#2), or Chicago (#3).  Obviously I don’t know what the larger markets pay, but if we assume that the rates paid for all 7,000 stations in the U.S. that play music works out to about $500,000 per station then the RIAA is making….are you read for this?….$3,500,000,000.  That’s a lot of zeroes.  By the way, TV has to pay too, and we’re not even counting them.  My G.M. called the above organizations a “perfect storm,” saying that if someone ever wrote a book about the “cartels” that control the world, these agencies would be the source funding them.  He says that the money basically goes in to a vault and no one knows what happens to it from there.  The massive sums of money being paid to the organizations makes accounting incredibly difficult, so tracking the money’s virtually impossible.  I’m going out on a limb and assuming that it’s propping up failing record labels, but that’s just me.  The proposed “performance tax” would produce another $2 to 8 billion for the RIAA, so once again we see the record industry making a move that is essentially the business equivalent of the bully demanding your lunch money.

So I beg you, write your Senators and Representatives and tell them this is incredibly wrong because it is.  It’s extortion at it’s finest, indeed, Michael Corleone would be proud.

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Primary Colors

Did you ever see that movie?  I stumbled on to it on USA one time and it’s very underrated.  Turns out that John Travolta may be the best Bill Clinton impersonater alive today.  Not that the movie was about him.  Anyways…

The primary elections for about half the country were yesterday.  We here in Illinois had our’s and to no surprise, Barrack Obama won.  Hey, he’s our senator, what’d you expect?  Frankly I’m thrilled as I see Mr. Obama as being the best hope we have to once again become the UNITED States of America.  Nothing against Hillary or McCain, both of whom I would actually be ok with, but I think Obama’s the best candidate out there today.

What I found to be very surprising was Mike Huckabee winning several states and showing that indeed it is a two-man race on the Republican side…just not the two we thought.  Interesting stuff.

What yesterday showed (at least to me) was that voting is so vitally important.  Once again, young voters stayed home which is very disheartening to me.  Look, I’ll put this as simply as I can: if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.  It’s that simple.  By not voting, you’re essentially stating that you don’t care.  If the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections taught us anything, it’s that EVERY vote counts.  Look at the primary races going on right now, you think that Mitt Romney, and most certainly Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama wouldn’t kill for your vote?  At one point last night, according to ABC News, less than 100,000 votes separated Obama and Clinton nationwide.  That’s the political version of a one point game.  It’s close and could go either way.

But back to the young folks.  I hear more complaints from people in the college age or young professional age range than just about anyone.  In other words, if you’re between 18 and 30, I’m talking about you.  You should complain.  The current administration has done an excellent job of not listening to you, and it’s YOUR future they’re mortgaging on the present.  It’s YOUR friends, family, husbands, wives, boyfriends, and girlfriends that they’re sending to Iraq.  But you continue to remain silent.  Why?

If you want to affect change, you have to use the avenues provided to you.  The founders have you an avenue…the vote.  Use it.  Maybe you said “well it’s just the primary so it’s not that big of a deal.”  If you live in Illinois, you can probably justify that since we knew how it would go here, but if you live in any other state, you’re dead wrong.  So please, I beg you, vote in the November election, and if your state hasn’t had the primary yet, vote in that too.  Just ask Mike Huckabee how much of a difference it’ll make.