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Here's Yer Blog Post of the Day: John Cole, who has always struck me as a decent guy, partly because he also gets his indecent on once in a while, says good-night to his Republican Party and the blogologists who still shill that way. (Link via LAist.)

I assume there's a Republican or two reading this site who have walked away from the GOP some time during the last five years. Cole says his trigger point was Schiavo. Anyone else have a different Moment Where it All Went Horribly Wrong? (I'm talking about people who have voted for a national Republican over the last five years, but would be happy to see them get whupped this year.)

UPDATE: Richard Bennett makes it a two-fer.

11/01/2006 11:08 PM  |  Comment (11)

I Need Your Help -- Who Should I Write in for Uncontested Races Next Week? I don't think Cuba should be a model for American democracy, so I won't be voting for the incumbent in any one-candidate race, such as my congressional district, where only Democrat Diane Watson is on the ballot. Course, I probably wouldn't vote for her anyway, on account of the four years' worth of junk faxes she sent me, wasting toner cartridge after toner cartridge, with her staff utterly baffled as to how to take my number of their list.

Anyway, there are plenty of races like that in Gerrymanderfornia, not to mention elections for posts that should just never be voted on, and I was hoping y'all could give me some suggestions about who I should write in. Real person? Living or dead? In our out of politics? Cartoon character? In 1992 I wrote in the name "Jerry Brown" a couple dozen times; clearly that's not in the cards this year ... Aaron Burr, maybe? Elmer Fudd? Ken Layne? If we can all coalesce around a candidate, then perhaps we can really change this country, blah blah blah.

UPDATE: The people have spoken, and in a landslide at that. Ben Sullivan for everything! If Ben doesn't get at least 100 votes for Board of Equalization, I'm going to be very disappointed in all of you. He's not bad!

11/01/2006 08:25 AM  |  Comment (12)

Duncan Shiels, RIP: Foul news from across the pond -- Duncan Shiels, a warm-hearted Hungary-based journalist with a perpetual mischievious twinkle in his eye, has died of cancer.

Duncan was one of those refreshing figures, found more abroad than home, who treated journalism as a means, not an end, even when he had a good and interesting job with Reuters. His eyes would really light up not when he described his day job, but when he talked of some strange music/art project he'd been tinkering with for the last several years. Or merely when discussing the adventures of a mutual friend. From the Budapest Sun obit:

The founding president of the Hungarian International Press Association, he had lived in Hungary from 1986 to 1998. Under the last years of Communism he taught English and French, was a member of the Hungarian dissident performance band Art Reaktor, and a freelance writer.
Sure. Another Bud Sun appreciation can be found here. Or how about this memory from an African journalist Duncan once helped train, as posted to the wonderful DuncanShiels.com website of remembrances:
Please pass the following message to the family. I met Duncan on two occasions in Nairobi when he came to co-run a couple of Reuters Foundation courses which I participated in. I got the impression that he was an enthusiastic and dynamic journalist who inspired most of us on the course to push the limits in our professional lives. He taught us valuable skills in handling statistics. He answered our questions and encouraged us. And he had a keen sense of fun and humour which helped a great deal. I retain a song he wrote after the first course last year which I believe captures his attitude towards life and people. He composed it about the Nairobi course to be sang to the tune of Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World and sent it through to all of us who attended the course.
Michael Roddy, the former head of Reuters Budapest, sent along this note:
It was typical of Duncan that he circulated in several worlds at once and was involved in a variety of film and book projects over the years. The crowning achievement of his life, published in French this month, is a book on the Rajk brothers who played an influential role in Hungarian politics before, during and after World War II -- from opposite sides of the political spectrum.

The last image many of his admirers will have of Duncan is his participation, in a wheelchair and on a drip, less than two weeks before he died in a roundtable at the Barbican where the actress Susannah Yorke read excerpts from his book.

I'm very glad he got to finish his book, and to know it was being published in several languages. And I can't believe this is the same guy we ran into 11 months ago in Budapest, as we always do, by accident at Café Kor. Emmanuelle, who knew him better than I, has a tribute and fitting picture here.

10/29/2006 11:18 PM  | 

Hi! What are you doing down here?

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