Book Report: Ozark Caves: The Unofficial Guide by Kevin V. Bright (2008)

Book coverAs some of you might remember, I visited the Smallin Civil War Cave a while back, and while I was there, I picked up this book in the gift shop. One of the cave’s owners wrote this book before he and his wife purchased the cave, but now they’ve got a good retail outlet for it.

The book itself is not a field guide to caves, per se. It doesn’t identify many locations to visit or that sort of thing. Instead, it’s the musings and recollections of an amateur spelunker who grew up in the Ozarks with its river caves that he could explore while out hunting. He talks a little about a cave operation and being a guide in a cave. Remember, this was written before he owned Smallin Cave, so he wasn’t just going into the industry on a lark.

I enjoyed it better as a memoir than if it had been an actual field guide.

Books mentioned in this review:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Has It In For Competing Shopping Centers

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posts another story, “Two more CEOs weigh in on proposed Chesterfield outlet malls“, about two shopping centers being built at the same time in Chesterfield.

The paper is aghast and shocked that two development companies would see the need for competing “outlet mall” style shopping centers in Chesterfield, which has become something of a retail destination for west St. Louis County (when I lived in Maryland Heights, we’d often cruise down Olive to get there ourselves to go to the strip malls along Highway 40).

This follows another piece, “Chesterfield may get two malls as rival developers refuse to budge“, which also decries the situation:

Two rival outlet mall developers are now betting that Chesterfield, already rich with retail, can indeed support both proposed malls, with about 200 stores between them, co-existing just a few miles apart.

That marks a change in the trajectory of the ongoing mall war between Taubman Centers and Simon Property Group, with the assumption up until recently being that only one would be built.

Yet analysts and industry observers have reacted to the prospect of these dueling outlet malls so close to one another with skepticism, noting that the malls would cut into the sales of the other.

Frankly, I’m not sure why the paper is so worried about the free market system, and I’ll leave it to you, gentle reader, to speculate as to why the paper is spending so many pixel inches on it.

But here are some random ideas to get you started, none or more of which might be true:

  • The paper doesn’t like that the two independent developers are going ahead on their own. Instead, in a reasoned, well-engineered system, government officials would pick one developer and lavish tax credits and so on upon that developer, and be left holding the bag if the thing worked out.
     
  • The city dwellers from the paper are envious that Chesterfield gets all the retail development while downtown St. Louis cannot, for some reason, manage to hold onto a major retail development in the downtown area or gets left holding the bag for strip malls in other parts of the city when their developers walk away from loans co-signed by the city.
     
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch just has trouble with suburban bourgeois consumer culture in general.

I’ll leave it up to you. But they’re certainly tarting up this story with a lot of drama, intrigue, and disproval.

Brian J. Is In Streaming Media Heaven

Back when I lived in Casinoport, lo, those six years ago, I put my radio on a bookshelf, extended the antenna and adjusted it just so, and could receive the local Jazz station, WSIE, in my office.

I listened to it while I sorted garage and estate sale finds, posted Ebay listings, and packaged sold items for shipping in that phase of my life. I listened to it while writing my novel John Donnelly’s Gold. I listened to it while I worked in my first months as quality assurance for the interactive agency, working remotely.

Once I got to working in an office downtown, I didn’t have over the air radio, and WSIE didn’t have a live stream at the time. So I ended up listening to KCSM out of San Francisco. That’s been weird, listening to the time two hours behind where it is here. To be honest, I thought the musical selection was okay, but they played a number of programs I didn’t like that much, and the on-air personalities where more excited than mellow, which is what I prefer on a jazz station.

But the stream has been wonky lately, dropping and not coming back unless I switch computers to the Macintosh to restart the stream, and so I looked for WSIE, and it’s finally gotten a live stream.

I like the musical selection better, but I do find it a little strange to listen to a St. Louis area station with its traffic reports talking about places I know, where I find myself mapping alternative routes to get around trouble.

Unfortunately, the station turned out all of its old on-air personalities. No more E.B. Stevenson. No more Ross Gentile (but what would he have had to talk about with the closure of Webster Records?). No more Adam Tracy (who really wasn’t the same after Buddy Moreno left the program). I suppose the decline started when they replaced LaVerne Holliday with canned jazz in the mornings.

So it’s not without mixed emotions that I return home to WSIE. I’m pleased with the quality of the stream and with the musical selection. I am saddened and miss the old guys. I’m nostalgic, warmly, for the era in which I listened to it daily. And I’m hopeful I’ll learn to like the new guys.

Now I just have to invent reasons to sit at my desk and listen.

A Program Whose Name Means What It Says

In New York City, a new program is called Latch On NYC Initiative.

Strangely, it means it literally, not figuratively.

Still, it’s the best program name for an overweening (ahut*) government program I’ve ever seen.

(Link seen Hot Air.)

* ahut represents a vocalization my sainted mother used to make whenever she made a pun or some bit of humor. It was a sort of throat semi-clearing rimshot she used to signify pun intended.

Wherein the Spanish Inscription Makes Brian J. Speculate

You’re not mistaken; the Good Book Hunting posts have dropped off here recently. I only hit three or four book fairs a year these days, since they’re not as prevalent in Springfield as they are in St. Louis, and we’re reaching an epoch where an average garage sale these days doesn’t feature many books, and if they do, it’s not books that I need to read. Garage sales, if you find them, are heavy on the relating to God, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and public school teaching books. Even if you’re going to a large church garage sale. Plus, I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve bought enough books. So until I get to reading them by the cartfull, I’m going to slow down the purchases.

Saturday, for example, I went to a garage sale at St. Agnes, and I only bought one book.

I’m more on the lookout for interesting record albums. In addition to the normal big band, jazz, or classical LPs I’m on the prowl for, I’ll pick up something on the cover looks interesting or for other slender pretexts.

For example, Saturday I picked up The Songs of Terry Ber because she covers a Leonard Cohen song on it (and I mistakenly thought it was an album of spoken poetry anyway).

I also picked up a copy of Rocio Jurado’s 1979 album Señora because the album cover and everything are completely in Spanish, and I want my musical collection to be multilingual (we already have an album in Hebrew, a collection of Israeli brass music):

Rocio Jurado's Senora

How Spanish is it? There’s an inscription in the corner:

Senora inscription

I can’t quite make out the pivotal word in it; with the something of forever/always. It’s hard to read handwriting in the best of cases, but in Spanish, the pattern-matching skill necessary is lacking. But it’s a love inscription, probably, from 1980. I can’t help but wonder if they’re still together 33 years later. Probably not, or I wouldn’t have the album now.

The music itself is light pop from the era, kinda with the vibe of Debbie Boone, but in Spanish. Did I mention I bought a record in another language? It would only make me more of a hipster if it could somehow throw up some subtitles.

At any rate, I’ll listen to it again, and every time I do, I’ll wonder about the people from the inscription. Starting with their names. What is that, nuts? nita? I have no idea.

What Have You Done For Me Philately?

Another hobby on its way out: Stamp collecting.

Every now and again, you get some article in the newspaper (probably from a news bureau, which has a Mad Libs style template for the story, where the journalist can just drop in some proper nouns) that decries the death of collecting hobbies, especially as Boomers downsize and discover that their beer can collections aren’t going to supplement their Social Security very well. Hey, I’m a hoarder; I know the urge to collect things, but I’m not going into it with the idea that my collection of old handheld video games from the 1970s and 1980s is ever going to be worth anything. My generation is that pivotal generation that remembers the old artifacts, but also embraces the digital content that used to be stored on those artifacts, so it doesn’t want those bulky old things in the loft.

But I digress.

Stamp collecting. I had a kit for it when I was a boy, with the little hinges, lined mounting paper, and envelopes of old stamps. I didn’t really get into it, though, but back then, the allure must have been much more. It was a way of interfacing with history through historical stamps and with exotic foreign lands through stamps from other countries. Back then, people still had international pen pals, for crying out loud. There was a community. Clubs for collecting stamps, even.

Now, stamp collecting is running into some serious head winds.

First, people aren’t collecting as they used to. See above.

Secondly, the exotic nature of foreign stamps has no doubt fallen since you can learn all you want and talk to people all over the world, instantly, through the Internet. For example, my QA Hates You Twitter feed has followers from Russia, Britain, Canada, India, Pakistan, Australia, Egypt, Brazil, and a bunch of other countries. My mother had a Japanese pen pal who would send her letters a couple times a year. I’m exchanging quips worldwide daily.

Thirdly, the volume of mail has diminished, and the stamp is on its way out. It’s not something that connects the exotic and the historical to present day experience. I think one tends to collect the normal things of life and extend it to artifacts outside one’s existence. Maybe I’m off afield or generalizing from my own experience, but that’s what writers do.

Finally, the stamps themselves, if they exist, are becoming less interesting. We still get commemorative stamps and whatnot, but most of the time here in the US, we get bland Forever stamps which don’t have the price on the front. That removes them a bit from their particular moment in history. Increasingly, people are turning to postage they print on their computers. Who wants to collect that?

Here’s an example: Although I’m not a philatelist, I keep my eyes open for stamps because one of the organizations at church collects them to sell to philatelists to raise funds. I get a British periodical that’s shipped in a plain envelope and stamped. Or so I thought. Is this a postmarked stamp or something printed at home?

A British stamp, I think

I dunno. I’ll take it in and let the experts decide to throw it out as worthless.

As a fundraising strategy, I think this one will be on the way out.

And although I’m not a philatelist, that’s not saying I don’t have some stamps I’ve purchased to keep as keepsakes.

Ayn Rand stamps

Wherein Brian J. Admits He’s A Sissy Because Sometimes He Makes Household Fixes With Something Other Than Duct Tape

I know, I know, you’re seeing all the blog posts about crafting books and are thinking, “What kind of man is this Brian J.?” The answer is, “Not much of a man at all.” For further proof, note how he does not make all improvised household repairs with duct tape. Continue reading “Wherein Brian J. Admits He’s A Sissy Because Sometimes He Makes Household Fixes With Something Other Than Duct Tape”

In Lake Woebegovernment, All Salaries Are Above Average

In Springfield, the head of the city’s HR department has told the city council that city salaries are too low:

Springfield is at best average — and more often significantly worse — when it comes to the pay offered to most city employees, according to a salary survey City Council discussed Tuesday.

The survey, completed earlier this year, compared the maximum pay for 61 city positions to the salaries offered for the same work in 11 of Springfield’s benchmark cities.

“All in all, 64 percent of our salary survey positions are in the lower third,” said Sheila Maerz, the city’s director of human resources. “Our goal is to be in the middle third.”

You know what citizens should call this? A bargain.

The article does mention that Springfield has the lowest cost of living among the cities sampled for this information. The city also says that its cost of attaining new workers, which would seem to indicate that they’re not having trouble filling the jobs they post. So, what’s the problem?

It’s hard for me to imagine an HR director at a private company going to the corporate management and saying “We need to boost salaries just because.” If Springfield’s city salaries go up, its benefits costs go up, and its ability to meet its future obligations go up drastically. Let’s take a look at the cities Springfield compared itself to:

  • Abilene, Texas (Dyess Air Force Base)
  • Amarillo, Texas
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Columbia, S.C. (Fort Jackson)
  • Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Huntsville, Ala. (U.S. Army Redstone Center, NASA)
  • Knoxville, Tenn. (U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge)
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (State Capital)
  • Savannah, Ga. (Hunter Army Air Field)
  • Wichita Falls, Texas (Sheppard Air Force Base)

Look at all the government jobs available in those positions. Of the other eleven benchmark cities, at least six of them have military bases or other federal installations in them and one of them is the state capital. As such, they are automatically going to have competition for government workers and would have to pay better to keep the city workers from becoming state or Federal employees or contractors.

I wonder if the presentation covered the possibility that the job competition might have had an impact.

Welcome to the Lexicon, Pal

I shall coin a term:

Galinize: To clean something in one’s household that nobody will see.

Example: I just galinized my kitchen by dusting the tops of my kitchen wall cabinets.

So named after my aunt who was very particular in this regard and who managed to keep a tidy house when the poor relations, including nine-year-old and eleven-year-old boys, came to visit for a year and a half.

Also, we would be remiss to not cover an additional term:

Regalinize: To draw attention to something that one cleaned in one’s household that the audience would not have otherwise seen. Typically, the person who hears or reads about the newly cleaned invisible object should compliment the person telling the story.

Book Report: Plexi Class by Tonia Davenport (2007)

Book coverTo keep with the recent theme of crafting books on the blog here and to have something to page through for a couple minutes while my children button mashed on the educational computers at the library, I picked up this book. It contains a number of ideas, projects, techniques, and whatnot for working with plexiglass and Lucite.

More than half of the book deals with making different kinds of jewelry and jewelry elements, using techniques like embossing and decoupage to add some texture to create beads, pendants, and the like. The other projects in the book include a tote bag, keepsake box, and whatnot.

Because it’s such a radical departure from the mainline books I’ve read which deal with more straightforward crafting with beads, woodburning, or whatnot, I think I got more out of the book than I do out of those. The material looks to be pretty easy to work with, and it’s not something I might have thought on my own to try manipulating. Whether I actually get to manipulating it on my own or not is another story. But it’s something cool to think about.

As far as material, here’s my thought: Given my recent work with glass and similar projects in mind for the future, it’s far cheaper to acquire glass and plexiglass from yard sales than the hardware or craft store. Simply buy up cheap frames and artwork with the glass or plexi, remove the glass or plexi, and then you can either donate the glassless art and frame to another garage sale. The glass or plexi is your viggorish.

Books mentioned in this review:

Not Quite A Full Deck

As you can guess, gentle reader, I am not one who easily gives up old photographs, even when I don’t know who is in the photograph. As I have inherited my mother’s old photographs, which includes photographs she inherited from her mother and from her sister, I have boxes of them and also have discolored old photo albums full of them. Not only do I have loose ones with or without captions or information on the back (which does not necessarily help me, seventy years and two lost generations later), but I also have them collected and grouped in magnetic magic pages where there are a large number of photographs, some trimmed, have the same people in them, but I don’t know exactly who those people are.

But a lot of people have those. A lot of people of my generation or older, I mean. Many in my generation have gone to an all-digital format, where the collections of random images are far larger and far easier to ignore.

Worse than that, though, is this collection of the same image that I have and absolutely cannot get rid of. And, unfortunately, I do not have enough of them to make a deck of cards. Continue reading “Not Quite A Full Deck”

Book Report: Command Strike by Don Pendleton (1977)

Book coverThis book is far less topical and dated than Dixie Convoy, which was definitely stuck in the 1970s with its CB focus. This book has a more typical Executioner excursion into the heart of Mafia territory: Manhattan.

The bosses in New York are scrambling for power after the recent death of the Boss of all Bosses at the hands of Mack Bolan. A confidante of the BoAB has been working to secure his own place as the old man was slipping, but his quiet push for consolidation encounters some scepticism from some of the other leaders of the mob. The power behind the Aces, an autonomous group of mob super-hitters, looks into the mess, and Bolan steps in to make sure that mess keeps boiling and the mob men keep dying.

Does that sound like a blurb for the back of the book?

As I said, this is a better book than #27 (I missed 28). Not only does the book avoid dated technologies, but it also has a climax (two, sort of) that rather smoothly fits into it.

At this time, I’m closing in on the end of the Pendleton books of the series, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss them. I’m not sure who the publisher used immediately after Pendleton, but I know the far later books lack some of the depth and philosophical musings that lift these books above the other period pulp. And I’m not just saying that for you, Ms. Pendleton, although I hope you take some pride that your husband’s work continues to be enjoyed 35 years later.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: Over the Hill and Past Our Place by Harold Warp (1958, 1976?)

Book coverThis book tells some of the early life of Harold Warp. Who is Harold Warp? He was a farm boy who grew up on a farm in Nebraska in the very early 20th century (no electricity, no internal combustion engines). After he his father died when he was three, his mother ran the farm until she passed away when the boy was eleven. The book collects memories from that era, an era that saw radical changes to the farm. In those eight years, the house got a telephone, animals were replaced with gas engines, and his brother got a car. It’s a fascinating read.

In his 20s, Warp patented Flex-O-Glass and started a company to manufacture it. That went very well. The company, Warp Brothers, is still in business. Warp did so well with it that he donated the land and materials to start Pioneer Village, which is still in operation, near his old homestead.

Warp’s story, included as a couple of photocopied things in the back, is as fascinating as the book. Especially when you think in the sheer number of technological changes wrought in the fifty years between Warp’s birth and the book’s initial publication. I mean, he started out in an environment where his mother spent all night repairing clothing by the light of a coal oil lamp and where he and his slightly older brother were allowed to get their own rifle when they were about 10 as long as they would hunt jackrabbits to eat. When I think about the changes I’ve seen since my early days in the 1970s, we’ve got, what? Oh, the “Internet,” which is an extension of computer networks I was using when I was twelve. So we’ve got all the LOLcats we want, but on the 1970s, men were walking on the moon. It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

At any rate, the writing and presentation of the book are a bit slapdash in spots. Sometimes, the chapters collect unconnected incidents and musings where stray sentences of unrelated memories just sort of drop in and then go, almost as though this was dictated while his mind wandered and no one edited it. But overall, it’s a cool book, and at 73 pages, it’s an easy read in one sitting. The book was published and kept in print in association with the Pioneer Village, so you can probably pick one up if you’re in Minden, Nebraska, on vacation. Which I have considered, briefly, on the weight of the book.

Books mentioned in this review:

A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned; A Federal Dollar Saved Is A Fiscal Disaster For Someone

The Government Services Agency, recently in the news for its expensive and lavish conferences which sometimes mocked the thought of fiscal restraint, has cut a conference from its docket. St. Louis businesses who would have benefited from the largesse this time around are unhappy:

That was the case this week, when a scandal-plagued federal agency, still reeling from revelations about a lavish conference in Sin City, pulled the plug on an upcoming gathering here in the Gateway City.

Now 10 downtown hotels are left with a bunch of empty rooms and wondering if they will ever get paid.

The General Services Agency, which manages nuts-and-bolts federal purchasing, told St. Louis convention officials this week that they are canceling a big energy trade show scheduled for America’s Center next month. It would have filled nearly 2,500 hotel rooms downtown for four nights, generating an estimated $6 million in hotel and convention spending, plus cab rides, meals and more. Now? Nothing.

“It’s impossible to fill almost 2,500 hotel rooms for four or five nights in a month,” said Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe, president of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. “Those hotels are going to sit empty. Cab drivers won’t be working. Restaurants won’t be as busy.”

As we have seen in Missouri, we get an article from this template when the legislature performs any sort of spending restraint that caps spending increases, reallocates fiscal resources according to some sense of priorities, or even eliminates some programs. Open your local paper today, and I’ll bet you’ll find a story about people who won’t receive money from the state or nonprofits who will not receive some sort of state funding. I even had a full schtick going during the Blunt governorship pointing out all the people Matt Blunt hated by cutting their funding.

It’s easy to report on the people who lose the federal dollars because that impact is focused, and journalists can find people to quote and photograph. It’s easy to mobilize these people to call their legislators to get that funding restored.

The savings impact, though, is diffused throughout the budget. That $6,000,000, not all of it government funds, will get spent on something else. But, still, savings are savings. Cancel a couple of these conferences, and you can buy an Apache. Which is more important to the country? Ask the GSA or some energy company, and they’ll say the conference. Ask any number of soldiers, if they think about it, and they’ll say air support. That’s optimistic, of course; the six million dollars will remain in the GSA budget for something like a fleet of Chevy Volts or something, but still, that’s at least not quite as ephemeral as a conference.

It’s unfortunate that the city of St. Louis’s publicly funded convention facilities have lost publicly funded conferences to trickle some money into the hands of actual citizens and torrents of amenities into the pockets, maws, and alcohol-fueled sleep of government employees and government hangers on. But it’s a step in the right direction, and further steps, if they’re taken, will lead to news stories much like this one, rending garments and wailing.

The Two Commercial Interests, Hey?

Normally, David Nicklaus is pretty reasonable in his columns for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But in his latest, In heavyweight fight over card fees, consumers are the likely losers, he underemphasizes an important point:

When two big commercial interests start a fight, consumers would be wise to watch their wallets.

So it is with the dispute between banks and retailers over swipe fees, which the store incurs every time you pay with plastic. The fees average about 2 percent of each transaction and have risen over time.

Congress capped the swipe fee on debit card transactions, costing banks an estimated $8 billion a year.

So whose fault is it that you’re going to have to pay a premium, maybe, at certain shops to use a credit card?

Congress. Or, more to the point, the former Democrat-controlled national legislature that gave us Dodd-Frank.

I’ve given a stray thought to the impact of this settlement. Will retail establishments start charging a 5% premium (or giving a 5% discount) to people who pay with cash? Maybe.

If Amazon doesn’t do it, small businesses (or larger businesses) that charge 5% extra will lose business to Amazon and larger businesses that don’t charge the premium. That business decision will cause more smaller businesses to leave the field. Thanks, Congress! Of course, this will get blamed on large banks and credit card companies who need to maintain their product margin and additional costs of compliance with Dodd-Frank and its Frankenagency’s whims (what, doesn’t the Secretary of Health and Human Services get to arbitrarily impose anything with this legislation? How did she get left out of something passed between 2009 and 2011?).

Hey, let’s travel on a tangent: Why, this very week, I ate at a small business that had a sign offering a 5% discount for cash. When I paid for the bill with cash, the discount was not applied. I didn’t quibble with it. That 5% just came out of the tip. But whenever I see all those twee signs, pictures-with-words that pass for insight on Facebook, and whatnot that says “Buy from a small business” as though a small business is inherently more moral than a large business, I can’t help but think of the times when I’ve been rooked, overcharged, or otherwise immorally treated by a small business. Caveat emptor, I know, but still, the sentiment is twee. I buy from whomever is convenient, least expensive, best quality, and whatnot. Sometimes I like to buy from a small business because I like to support small business. But there’s no moral compulsion to do so, and some small business people are only limited in their immorality by the fact that Bank of America or Unilever have not bought them out and brought them into the executive ranks of a large business.

Where was I? Oh, yes. To sum up: Dodd-Frank sucks, and Congressional action has made things more expensive for consumers, but again in a fashion where they can frame capitalism for it.

Book Report: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman (1995)

Book coverThis book offers a template through which you can view the relationship with your significant other, typically a spouse as this is a lightly Christian-flavored book (although it’s lighter than something like So What’s The Difference, so non-Christians can get something from this book if Christianity does not offend them). Chapman identifies five distinct silos of behavior types to which classify interactions with one’s significant other (or others–more on that later). He uses the metaphor of a “love tank,” a vessel that holds positive feelings towards one’s SO, which is constantly draining but that you can fill up with one or more actions in the template.

The five love languages (sorry, apparently this is a registered trademark, more appropriately The 5 Love Languages®) are:

  • Words of Affirmation, which is saying something nice.
  • Quality Time, doing something together.
  • Receiving Gifts, which relies on physical tokens.
  • Acts of Service, which is doing something for someone.
  • Physical Touch, which is pats, hugs, holding hands, and sex.

So finding your partner’s primary love language and showing love for your partner will help to “top off” that love tank and keep the relationship strong and healthy. Okay.

Well, it is a new framework in which to view one’s relationship, and by thinking of the relationship and the trappings/interactions of the relationship qua relationship, I can see where this is helpful. However, the book focuses a lot on primary love language, where I can see how using more than one of them as expressions of love in daily interactions can be more beneficial still than only focusing on one (although one might have primacy over the others, yes, I get that).

Chapman explains or wonders whether the source of the primary love languages stems from youth, what the child lacked at home or how the child saw his parents interact and chose to emulate or reject those patterns of behavior. That can be a little forensic, really, and what matter most is in the present application of the framework.

The book is told as a series of composite sketches, where Chapman talks to people or couples and they have epiphanies every chapter. I guess I can live with that fictionalized dramatic recreations of complete conversations. But after he gets through with his thesis, Chapman tacks on a couple chapters of further examples that were a bit superfluous and includes a chapter of using the framework with your children, which I didn’t find consistent with the premise that the source of the primary love language came from childhood. I can see it being something on the nature side of the ledger, but in the first chapters, the source of the primary love language comes from the nurture side. I dunno. Didn’t work for me.

So it’s an interesting read and might be a new framework, a template for considering your interactions with others, but it’s just a template, ultimately, and if or how you choose to apply it should remain up to you.

Books mentioned in this review:

John Brunner Discovers Sarah Steelman, Todd Akin Were Legislators

John Brunner has funded a pair of Web sites, Sarah Steelman Facts and Todd Akin Facts that illustrate that both served in legislators and voted. Thus, the fact that they voted on some things that conservative bloggers don’t like is evidence that they’re RINOs or something.

Unfortunately, Mr. Brunner has no voting record to attack. Unfortunately, he does have a record as a businessman, so he’s made some decisions that were good business decisions that might conflict with conservative principles.

Jeez, Louise, kids. The Claire McCaskill ads that say, “Even members of his/her own party say….” start here. So how about you focus more on what you believe and what you’ll do rather than cast aspersions on your fellow party members?