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February 10th, 2002:

Women who kick butt

Karin rants about Britney and the sad lack of powerful women in rock music nowadays. I hear what you’re saying, but fercryingoutloud, how could you overlook The Pretenders? I wouldn’t bet against Chrissie Hynde in any butt-kicking contest, regardless of the competition.

I suppose country music offers some hope, in the form of the Dixie Chicks and Mary-Chapin Carpenter. I’m at least as clueless as Karin as far as the hiphop world goes, so maybe the landscape is truly barren. Just don’t forget about Chrissie Hynde, or it might be your butt she kicks next.

Referrals, we get referrals

If you’ve come here via the link on Matt Welch’s Warblog, please note that his URL contains a typo, which is why you’re here at the top of the page instead of here, which is where he intended to send you.

Regardless, I’m glad you’re here. Don’t be a stranger, take off your coat and stay awhile.

UPDATE: I’m pretty sure this was the referral that first put me on the map. I got a ton of hits (over 200 on the first day) from this, and subsequently started seeing myself on more blogrolls. Actually, it’s Matt Yglesias who deserves the most thanks, since Welch cited Yglesias’ cite of my post.

Governor race update

Governor race update Tony Sanchez appears to have a decent lead over Dan Morales according to the latest poll of Democratic primary voters. Sanchez’s advertising, which I’ve mentioned before, is helping him.

Over in the Senate primary, Victor Morales has a small lead over Houston Congressman Ken Bentson and Dallas mayor Ron Kirk. This surprises me, since Morales (last seen during his 1996 race against Phil Gramm for this same Senate seat) has done nearly no advertising or campaigning so far. Heck, I’d forgotten he was in the race. Much as I admired Morales back in 1996, I’m not sure he’s the one this time. It’s still too early to call this race.

It should be noted that having Hispanics Democrats in the main races could be very bad news for the state GOP. Hispanics historically have not been much of a force as a voting bloc. Too many are unregistered, and too many who are registered don’t vote. That could be changing, though. The lesson we learn from Orlando Sanchez’s run for mayor in Houston is that Hispanic candidates will draw Hispanic voters, even (as was often the case with Orlando Sanchez) if the voters don’t necessarily agree with the candidate’s politics. The state GOP is hoping to capitalize on former Governor Bush’s popularity with Hispanics, but I think they’re going to take the historic opportunity to vote for one of their own.

Not that the Dems should get too smug about this. Governor Perry has good popularity numbers and will certainly play up his ties to the President. The GOP is also pretty adept at turning out its voters. There’s no indication that Tony Sanchez or either Morales would have coattails, either, so John Sharp better make his own effort to court these voters if he wants to become Lieutenant Governor. Finally, while Orlando Sanchez may have invigorated Houston Hispanic voters, he still lost the race. Hispanic voters may have a lot of potential to determine political races, but as we know from sports, “potential” means “ain’t done nothin’ yet”.

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias and Ginger Stampley also have words of wisdom on this topic.

What I’d like to see at the Olympics

It’s nearly de rigeur to complain about the coverage of the Olympics. From the extreme glut of Oprahesque stories about athletes conquered obstacles on their way to acheiving the Olympic dream, to “plausibly live” coverage, to too much focus on American athletes in events where they have no chance, to banishing the less-sexy sports from the airwaves, everyone has a gripe about what they do and don’t see on NBC.

Well, here’s what I think. I think NBC or whoever should look for a way to create personalized Olympic coverage. Offer a subscription for $25 or $50 that would allow a household to pick and choose exactly what events they want to see on a given day. Nonsubscribers can still watch whatever the network suits choose to air on the main station, anyone else can be their own executive producer.

I have no idea whether this is financially feasible for a network, and it may only be realistic for folks with some combination of digital cable and TiVo, or perhaps a satellite dish and TiVo, but ask yourself: Wouldn’t you pay a reasonable fee for guaranteed coverage of what you want to see? It can’t be that much different than established premium services like ESPN College Game Day. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this?

UPDATE: Got a note from Duncan Fitzgerald, who recalls that a pay-per-view scheme was tried before, in 1992. Guess it wasn’t much of a success, but surely the technology has advanced enough that it could be done better now. I think people are more used to the idea of paying for premium coverage now, which argues for another attempt. Tying into TiVo/ReplayTV technology also means you can work around the problem of when the games are in an awkward time zone for American audiences, as the 2004 Games in Athens will be. C’mon, guys. There’s synergy to be captured here!

House update

We’re getting close to making an offer on the house we’ve been looking at. We toured three other houses yesterday, and though one of them was very nice we came away more convinced that we’re not going to find anything better. Now we’re getting worried that someone else will come to that same conclusion and beat us to the punch. So, we’ve asked our agent to see if the owner of that house will consider a contingency offer. We’ll see.

In the meantime, we are getting our house’s exterior painted. Today we’re planning on doing some of the fixup jobs inside that will need to be done before we can start showing this house. That will be either some repair to the walls in the master bath (reinstall a robe hook that fell off, patch a hole for an ill-placed towel rack, etc), or repair the window sill that Harry scratched up while barking at trucks and other dogs.

Next up is the mortgage qualification process. Then the fun really begins.