Thursday, January 31, 2008

If you look at the comments for yesterday's post, you see one from Mark "Not the Race Car Driver" discussing whether or not other religions frown on homosexuality and same sex marriage and abortion as much as Mike Huckabee's God does.

Mark says he not trying to be argumentative. Neither am I, honest. But I do, as a Christian (yes folks I try to be – I know that is difficult to believe), view God differently than Mike Huckabee.

So I did a little research and thought it was interesting.

Here's a discussion about Buddhist belief on homosexuality and one on the Hindu faith.

Here's a link about the Hindu belief on abortion. and here is the Buddhist take.

Essentially, it would seem the general consensus is abortion is wrong, but the jury is at least sort of out on same sex marriage. Here's my part of building that bridge, Mark!

So I guess I AM going to Hell. I can not reconcile why a just and loving God would create homosexuals – since it is NOT a learned condition by most accounts – and then condemn them, though. Why put a creation you love through that? That's one of those BIG questions like why do good people die young and nasty bastards live until they're 90?

Well, I'll continue my little fantasy and believe in a Deity who loves us despite giving us free will and allowing us to screw up. And I will still believe there are many paths to Heaven which looks different to different people. And I'll still believe in a Constitution that tells us we're free to worship as we wish or not.

Other than the issue of the Constitution, we won't know who is right until it's too damn late.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs
I published this rant in the paper and received an interesting response which I'll post later today. Essentially a reader who identified himself as an "ordained minister" told me I was going to Hell because of my attitude towards religious freedom.

You see I was always taught that our Christian God was a loving and forgiving deity and that Jesus was all about love and tolerance. Of course throughout history people have interpreted those qualities as reasons for murder, exploitation and prejudice. Some folks still do.

When my wife and I took in our Buddhist foster child many years ago I thought this was an act of being a decent Christian. Not shoving Christ down her throat was also a way to show her we think there are many paths to the same God.

According to the letter writer, I'm going to Hell for my open-minded approach. What else is new?

I don't understand why my statement that America should be a country of religious freedom – which means having a government that doesn't impose a religion on the public – is such a radical statement, especially to people who view themselves as conservatives. I thought at least some conservatives were folks who yearned for a country that exhibited the values in the Constitution and that includes religious freedom – which also means freedom from religion. Of course, I'm wrong about that, I guess.

It's letters like this one that emphasize the very great divide we have in this country that goes way beyond simple differences of opinion or life style options.

You know I thought it would take a little longer, but I was wrong. Martin Luther King Day is being abstracted.

Do you know what the meaning is behind Memorial Day? Unofficial start of summer? Indy 500? How about the day to recognize Civil War dead? In the South, it was called "Decoration Day," as that was the day school kids would "decorate" put flowers on the graves of Confederate Army dead.

Quick, now why do we have Veterans Day? It's not just another three-day weekend, is it? No, that day was originally to denote the end of World War I.

Abraham Lincoln and George Washington worked for this nation so their birthdays would be vehicles to sell cars, right?

My theory is when all of the people who actually lived through a time when a holiday was created pass away, the holiday loses much of its meaning. So the generation that lived through WWI is largely gone and that event is now an abstraction, a chapter in a history text.

I received a cheery press release from Ski Vermont that read in part: "The combination of snow guns and the hefty snowfall that Vermont has seen this season guarantees resorts will be running full tilt as travelers make their way to the mountains for this year's Martin Luther King Jr. ski weekend . And, Vermont resorts provide the perfect learn-to-ski/ride experience for those thinking about jumping into the sport with a quick weekend getaway the perfect way to take advantage of the MLK long weekend."

Clearly a way to use the day set aside to consider issues of race and civil rights is to go skiing in Vermont.

There are still plenty of people alive who lived through Dr. King's career. There are people alive who knew Dr. King personally and professionally. I'm surprised that King has become a historical abstraction this soon. I didn't think it would happen for years.


Everyone misspeaks now and then. We all say goofy stuff we know is wrong the moment we close our yap. I know I have in the past and, regrettably, will in the future.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee recently said at a Michigan campaign stop, "I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that's what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than trying to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family."

Huckabee clarified his point on the FOX News show "Hannity and Combs" that he specifically was referring to abortion and same sex marriage and that he was not in favor of a theocracy.

If the former governor were here in my office, I would ask him just which "living God?" The Judeo-Christian God? The God of Islam? Buddha? The Hindu deities? The Pagan Gods?

Now I know he means the Judeo-Christian God, but here in America we have people who practice many different faiths and things can get a little murky when a presidential candidate clearly picks one faith over another for public policy in a nation where we have a separation of church and state.

I don't care how you worship. That's your Constitutional right. And I don't care if you oppose abortion and same sex marriage. That's your right, too. But, Governor Huckabee, don't try to impose your religious beliefs on me and the rest of the country through this political process.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Everyone is asking me the same question: what did you think of Hillary Clinton's appearance in Springfield? and the answer is "I don't know! I couldn't go!"

It was a hard thing for this political junkie to pass up, although I'm not a fan of Clinton at all. I am fascinated by the process, the message and the means used in political campaigns.

I have to lay out newspapers on Mondays and Clinton's appearance was inconveniently scheduled... damn her! My sister-in-law went with her son, out nephew Douglas who at age nine is an avid presidential historian. Douglas got his first taste of dealing with politicians as the senator was two hours late to the event at Springfield College.

Most elected officials, I've learned through years of bitter experience, are always over-booked and therefore chronically late. The bigger the official the more apt he or she will be late.

Heather Brandon had a great posting while Bill Dusty had some pithy comments on his blog. Check them out!

The rumor is Senator Obama may be in town as well this week with Senator Ted Kennedy. Stay tuned.

Personally I would love to interview John Edwards, but I truly doubt, given his resources, he'll come here when he could campaign in a larger Super Tuesday state.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hey I sold some books!

I had a fine time at my first signing yesterday with about 25 people turning out for the talk I gave at the Springfield Central Library. What was gratifying is that several young people were in the room who were studying animation, as well as folks genuinely interested in the subject.

Of course it would have been wonderful if I had a box of books to sell, but the "boys at the warehouse" apparently aren't under any obligation to actually ship your books in a timely manner. And my publisher can't make them do anything! Got to love American works ethic and customer service!

That's showbiz, as I explained to my granddaughter Noel who asked me in true unvarnished 13-year-old fashion if I was nervous no one had yet come to the signing five minutes before it was to start.

I explained most of my career has been in the business of preparing something for public consumption, doing your best and then hope the public likes it. There's nothing quite like having four hours of on-air time to fill and hoping people respond to your topics. Or wondering how many returns of your magazine you'll receive form your distributors. Or if people will respond to the front pages you created and pick up your 'paper.

Anyway, it was a fine time and I saw my old Westfield Evening News friend Doug Pratt who I haven't seen for over 25 years. Doug came in from the eastern part of the state and I appreciated his effort. He has a great Web site and if you're a comic book fan you MUST go here to watch a great BBC documentary on the career of Steve Ditko. I didn't know this film existed.

Hey Hilary Clinton is going to be in town tomorrow at 12:15 at Dana Gym at Springfield College on Alden St. to campaign. Well I was wrong. I didn't think any of the candidates would turn up here. Despite it being lay-out day, someone from my 'paper MUST go to this thing.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A bunch of links tonight..

First, I'm trying to write more about media and so here is the link to a new post at That's Thirty.

Second, my buddy Jake at my favorite lunch spot in Springfield wanted me to look at some of the voter fraud allegation surrounding Ron Paul's results in New Hampshire. I don't agree with a lot of what Paul says, but I think this is very interesting reading.

The corporate media and the bigwigs of both parties don't want us to consider anyone but a selected handful of candidates. Perhaps that distresses you and perhaps you think it's just fine to turn over the democratic process to those who "know better." might have missed thisthis in the mainstream press because they're not covering it very much. I wonder why?

Now I don't want to offend anyone, but I don't understand why Clinton's sexual mis-adventure warranted impeachment – well he did lie and I can't bring myself to forgive him for doing something so stupid...NAFTA, too – but the loss of American lives and innocent Iraqi lives is just fine? That is not worth the formal examination of a trial?

Solutions and explanation accepted...
©2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A scene from my salad days: cavorting with minimum wage slaves encased in Ren and Stimpy costumes while covering the 1994 Video Software Dealers Association trade show for my first animation magazine, Animato.

Countdown to self-promotion!

Set your alarms clocks to Saturday at 2 p.m. when you'll have the chance to buy my book "Escape! How Animation broke into the Mainstream in the 1990s" when I appear at the Central Library on State St. in Springfield for a talk and a signing.

It will undoubtedly be the ONLY time the cover artist Mark "not the race car driver" Martin and I will be at a signing together. Don't expect Mark to hold forth with a detailed discussion of the genesis of the cover design. Mark's a man of action, not talk!

That's two autographs for the same price.

And you'll be doing a good thing because I'll be giving the library's non-profit foundation a chunk of the proceeds.

Directions: When entering the signing you will be randomly given a signing line pass. It might be red, blue, or yellow. You will form an orderly line when your color is called. Please do not look me in the eye or ask for a "special" inscription. Preference in the signing line will be given to those wearing Hawaiian shirts. Even greater preference will be given to those who hand me a fine cigar. Super preference will be given to someone who brings me crayfish from Chef Wayne's!

I can be bought and the charge is $20!

Need a preview of me blathering about animation? Tune into 560 AM WHYN at 8:30 tomorrow morning. If they do a podcast on their Web site, I'll post it here.

I'm hard at work preparing another sample chapter of the Fleischer book for my prospective publisher. I'm writing the Betty Boop chapter and revisiting some cartoons I've not seen for years.

Do you know there's a Web site We love Betty that has an inventory of over 1,500 Boop items for sale? The character is making more money for the Fleischer family now than she was when she was in theaters!

Serious stuff tomorrow....
© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Barry Kriger, the vet anchor of WWLP is amused by something I said. Hey I always try to add a little humor to things. Sometimes it works. Gawd, I'm rumpled, grey looking guy ain't I? No threat to TV am I! At least I look the part of a newspaper editor.

The above is a shot of yours truly taken during a panel discussion at the recent communications conference at Western New England College in Springfield. Sponsored by the college and the Valley Press Club, the conference has been around five years providing attendees with some good information about the local press, marketing and public relations.

I've been on a panel three or four times and it's an almost odd experience as frequently you're sitting with people with whom you compete. Most of the time everyone plays nice and there is a feeling of colleagues sharing something common.

This year I was on the "mainstream media" panel which frankly made me feel a little odd. I don't consider what I do at a weekly newspaper to be"mainstream." By subject matter, it certainly can be, but the way we package the news and treat our readers I think we are an alternative to the daily and the TV station. That's who I think are mainstream.

In any event, I did have the chance to present my theory on why the press is suffering so much in this area: a declining advertising base as more locally or regionally owned businesses fall to chain stores. Chains don't like to advertise locally. They make their decisions on a national or regionally basis. Without advertising from local businesses, papers such as the ones I edit and write will indeed fall to the wayside.

That's because Americans have been taught that news comes to them at a very low cost or not cost at all. We've had that situation for generations and the new media on the Web is reenforcing that tradition.

If people aren't willing to pay for for a local news product because of declining ads sales, then goodbye local news.

Some folks who pride themselves on being "informed" pay only attention to national stuff. I have little respect for people who can lecture one another on presidential politics but don't know the issues in their neighborhood. Sorry.

The only way a republic such as ours can survive is through intelligent participation. And you need news sources for that. If trends keep going the way they are, there will be less and less local news and we will be all the sorrier for it.

But I bet we'll know what Britney is doing.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Working at Tundra was my "degree" in business. I learned so much there that I apply daily to the issues that have confronted me since that time.

Since I was a very little fish at the place I can't reveal as much as Steve Bissette has in numerous interviews, which, by the way, has earned him the permanent stink eye from a fair number of people.

Has I said in my previous post, Tundra was a grand experiment in allowing creators – in this case comic book creators – to control every aspect of the creation, marketing and distribution of a project. In some ways Tundra is the spiritual child of companies such as United Artists.

There were some people who actually said "no" to marketing and public relations efforts, while others wanted everything. Marketing costs were added to the expense of the project and literally could affect the profits. Hopefully marketing would pay for itself and produce more sales.

The shot glass for Steve's book did indeed cause hard feelings as I was an "outsider" who actually came up with a success. That damaged the precious little egos of the in-laws and relative crowd.

My lone creative project was done in collaboration with Bissette and was a calendar for horror fans that featured his art and my research on milestones in horror-dom. We had been toying with the idea about a year previous to Kevin Eastman founding the company. For those who don't know Eastman, he is half of the creative duo behind The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"The Year in Fear" was an abject failure. We sold about 125 of them to the comic book market and we rescued a bunch of the trash pile, which were then converted to prints that Steve could sell at shows. Others I sold through Fangoria magazine without the assistance of any one at Tundra. I have one in my office at the 'paper as a constant reminder of what NOT to do.

This is what I learned:

If you start out on trying to create a product you have to research it if you no previous experience with it.
I just thought if we come out with it at the right time, it would sell. Silly me. The calendar industry is a beast onto itself with lengthy advance times for the creation and marketing of calendars.

Get everything in writing.
I don't remember a contract that spelled out everyone's involvement. We were all friends, right? Wrong.

Develop a real business plan and stick to it.

Don't trust anyone that they actually know what they are talking about without checking things yourself.
Ah, there was one guy – part of the in-law and friends of Kevin mob – that insisted he could get all of the print run into BJs or Costco. Pure fertilizer.

Look at your product as objectively as possible. Does it meet the conventions of the industry?
Our calendar didn't have a functional grid and it didn't have a hole. It was much larger than most calendars and would have required a "dump" – a cardboard display box. It was a freak – a beautiful freak – and I didn't learn this until I tried to sell it to Spenser's Gifts. A kind but firm buyer told me just how wrong the thing was.

Where and how you sell your product is very important.
The main source for the calendar was initially comic bookstores. When that proved to be the wrong market, the calendars were to be dumped. We took a load of them and I worked out a deal with Fangoria magazine to sell them through them on a fulfillment deal. I moved some more that way without anyone's help at Tundra. We then cut them into prints to sell at conventions. Did we make money on them? No, not really. Tundra, which fronted the money for the printing, didn't make anything either.

Ultimately what I learned is that creators could be a pretty stupid, trusting lot – at least I was and I've tried to be much more savvy about things since that time. When I did licensing work for my friend Richard Gordon (producer of such films as "Fiend Without a Face, "Haunted Strangler" and many more) everything was done in writing and I was much more prepared.

So as I enter any discussion for new ventures I try to ask the necessary questions and realize the potential for being screwed.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New reviews are posted over at Animation Review. Head over and take a look.
Heather Brandon is a blogger whose work has set new standards here locally. If I had the budget at the 'paper I would hire her in a second.

I was honored to be interviewed by her for a blog she wrote on the relationship of bloggers in news organizations and anyone who is interested in "new media" should give it a read. Go here for it.

A handful of people who read this blog are aware I worked for Kevin Eastman's experiment in creator's rights publishing, Tundra, back in the late '80 and early '90s. I did marketing and p.r. for the company and was given specific comic artist/writers with whom to work. My "clients" – as a I was a freelancer – included Rick Veitch on "Brat Pack," Steve Bissette's "Taboo" – on which I pissed off some of the full-timers by coming up with a promotional item that actually made money for Steve; that sealed my fate, there – and Bernie Mireault's "The Jam" among others. I did some work for Mark Martin as well if I remember correctly.

I was at the epicenter of the creator's rights movement in comics. Although I have many, many reservations about what was done at Tundra I will always give Kevin credit for attempting to create a new economic model. Where he failed was in having the wrong people in key positions, not willing to say no as often as he should have and not thinking out his model as thoroughly as he should.

To me much of what is now going on in the new Web media involves the same arguments that have plagued mediums such as comics and is at the center of the screen writers strike: who owns the work you create? How should all of the parties involved benefit from the work?

I believe that every for-profit business must pay for work on which it profits. And that business only buys the rights which the creator wants to sell.

When I co-published "Animato" and then soloed on "Animation Planet" I made sure contributors were paid every time we could afford it. I hated being in a "fanzine" position of asking for favors. Naturally the contributors maintained all the rights to their work.

With the Web, the question is how to we get people to pay for content when the lure of the Web is "free" content? If I hear another person tell me the Web is the "answer" for diminishing newspaper advertising profits I'm going to suck the gas pipe. The bottom line is no one seems to have the handle of how the Web can replicate the still very healthy model of magazines.

What's your take?
© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Okay, something truly significant happened this week, specifically at 6:42 Tuesday morning. Our foster daughter Chau – who is as far as we are concerned is our daughter – gave birth to our second grandchild, a calm little girl she and her husband named Cat for a Vietnamese fairy princess.

Granted I opted for anything like Michelle, but Grandpa has little sway in such matters.

I think there is nothing as so profound as birth. My reaction was to weep when I saw her. I'm probably going to do the same when I see her next.

In the photo are Chau – who is the prettiest and most composed women ever to have just given birth; she didn't break a sweat – her husband Kevin, and proud grandma Mary. Grandpa took the photo.
My man Bill Richardson dropped out of the race today before I got a chance to vote for him. That is what is so wrong with the current primary system. Candidates are not allowed to actually reap the support that they have built up. My other choice, John Edwards, just got dissed big-time by our absentee Senator John Kerry. To my fellow Bay Staters, when was the last time you saw John Kerry here? He has so little connection to his home state that frankly I view him as inconsequential to our life here.

Yes, I'm a Democrat, but I'm not happy with him.

Anyway, here's a thought or two on national politics.

Remember when Massachusetts had a presidential primary that almost mattered? The importance of the election in our neighbor to the north is the significant one for New England, but I do recall that some candidates actually made a point of swinging through the Bay State what seems to be a long, long time ago.

As a kid in high school and college, the news coverage of the primary basically started with the Iowa caucuses and ended with the "gavel-to-gavel" coverage of the conventions.

More and more, though, the primaries have been merged together so just several states seem to hold the key to the nomination. During the last race, I honestly thought that much of the democracy had been drained out of the primary process. The election seemed so cut and dried.

This time, while both parties have a long list of candidates, I see a national press that focuses on just several while ignoring the rest. It doesn't do this country any good.

And what the press likes to talk about are subjects that seem to stray away from what I think are issues. I don't care if Oprah is backing Barack Obama. I don't care about Mitt Romney's faith or Mike Huckabee's faith. I don't care if Hillary Clinton is going to employ her husband in some capacity if she is elected. I even don't care that Rudy Giuliani clearly has a big ethical problem.

I actually get angry when I see candidates wasting their time as Obama did dancing on "Ellen."

For us in Massachusetts it's very frustrating to see the national press cover Romney. How many reports have actually been about his record here as governor and how many have been about his religion or his flip-flopping. Granted, changing your mind as a politician can readily appear as political expediency rather than enlightenment, but what about reporting about what he has done or not done?

What I care about right now are the records of accomplishment for the candidates and how are they going to solve problems.

If I was on the campaign trail or if any of the candidates were here in Western Massachusetts, these are the topics I would ask about:

What would you do to re-build manufacturing jobs that helped create the middle class in the 1950s and '60s? Would you work to repeal or amend NAFTA? Would you support any other international treaties that would make it easy for jobs to leave this nation?

Would you support a revision of the federal tax codes that would allow all Americans to pay their fair share?

How would you end the war in Iraq and how would you secure our citizens against acts of terrorism?

What is your idea to solve the health care crisis in this country?

What would you do to stop global warming?

Tell me five ideas you personally started and saw through to implementation in government and how these relate to the experience needed for the presidency.

That's what I would do and I promise I wouldn't ask any of them to dance.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The new book...
I spent a good part of this weekend working on the Springfield postcard book for Arcadia Publishing. I've assembled a good number of images and have acquired some great Springfield history books from 1936 and 1876 to help in the the captioning.

Remember the old Forest Park zoo? The lion house and the monkey house? The polar bear (now mounted in the Museum of Science)? Fond memories for people my age and older, although the zoo certainly didn't meet today's standards. I'm still a sucker for bears. I go to the current zoo and can watch the bears all day.

The other image is the former armory which is now the home of the South End Community Center. The building ( for those of you not familiar with that neighborhood of Springfield) is still intact with its towers and turrets.

I also spend time working on a new chapter for "Made of Pen and Ink," my book on the Fleischer Studios. Here's an image that has never been published anywhere:

This is one of several full color sketches that were made in preparation for a cartoon on mermaids that was never produced in the late 1930s or early '40s. Max's daughter Ruth Kneitel had them and allowed me to photograph them. She also had the script that was covered in notations in red pencil by Max himself. She wanted me to know that although Max had relegated himself to business and technical affairs, that he was still interested in the creative end of the business, although this was his brother's Dave's province by mutual consent.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Thursday, January 03, 2008

And hey, my first signing of "ESCAPE! How Animation Broke into the Mainstream in the 1990s" will be at 2 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Central Library in my home town of Springfield. I'm going to deliver a program about the changing face of animation and then sign some books. Bring a twenty and you'll get a book! Free copies of my old animation magazines will be available as well! Double-bag collector's items!

  • For more information go here.
  • Well, my new toy works!

    But Lord help me what a process! I'm running a new operating system (Dogboy, thanks for the offer of helping me install the memory, but I took it to the Apple Store and the "Genius Bar" so if something went wrong I could yell at them! The next movie will be on me!) and it appears to be working.

    The iPhone appears to be working just fine as well and I've decided to be one of THOSE people...Bissette probably won't ever talk to me again...I'm going to keep the work cell phone for my day job and carry the iPhone for personal stuff. I know having two cells is just pretentious but I want my bosses to continue to pay for a cell phone that they and the public use to contact me. Why should I have to pay for work minutes on a personal account?

    Now to something more interesting. My friend Tony Cignoli is a political consultant who has worked on many campaigns in this and other countries. He sent me a succinct explanation of how the Iowa caucus systems works:

    How the Iowa Caucus Works (On paper, according to the rules...technically, supposedly..legally).

    I have been asked to prepare the briefest possible synopsis of how things work in Iowa. This brief has taken me some sixteen years to write.

    The following is my attempt at simplifying one of the wildest festivities of democracy that I have ever participated in. I am glad it occurs only every four years.

    As you read this, remember that I often remind clients and interested electorate of a truth attributed to another fellow from Springfield, Massachusetts. The founder of our profession; Joseph Napolitan once said: "Politics is perception, not reality."

    How Democrats Do it in Iowa

    As Democrats often are quick to point out, they do it different than Republicans. Especially in Iowa.

    For the Democrats, the Iowa Caucuses are a three-step process.

    The First Step:

    Folks attending the caucuses have thirty minutes to get into the correct "Preference Group." This is the group designated for the candidate that caucus-goer is supporting for President. For a candidate's preference group to be recognized, the assembled group must be comprised of fifteen percent of the total number of people participating in that caucus site. Without fifteen percent, the group would not be recognized as viable.

    Step Two:

    After the Chairperson of the caucus determines and declares which groups are viable, participants have thirty minutes to switch their allegiance and join another caucus group. Supporters of other candidates can try to supporters of a different candidate to come one over. Backers of non-viable candidates, who appear to have less than the required fifteen percent, are prime targets for this woo-ing.

    Step Three:

    When the groups are finally set, the caucus chairperson then will determine the number of county convention delegates each group is entitled to elect. Those numbers are then totaled state-wide. The candidate with the most delegates is the winner of the Democratic Caucus.

    Note: Undecided can be a preference group of it's own. One need not back a specific candidate.

    Note: Regarding Step Two. It can be easy for a person to change their passionate, all-out-zeal, with-my-candidate-
    unto-death support of their sworn-to candidate when their cousin who is with candidate A reminds them that
    they still owe him for the cattle feed they were short on last spring. Or, when their mom reminds them that she
    knows everything about them - stuff they would not want other folks to know so they better vote for candidate B. Or, when their state legislator or County Assemblyman reminds them that they still have not decided on that land-border dispute sitting on their desk and that voting for candidate C sure could make a difference on who gets what piece of the North Forty.

    The Republicans Do It This Way:

    Frankly, they just go and do it. Republicans assemble at their separate caucus sites and vote for president in a straw poll. They do this by paper ballot or a show of hands. The results are tabulated and sent in to the Republican State Committee where simple math is done. The winner of the Republican Caucus is the candidate with the most votes.

    Sam Donaldson, the famed ABC news vet was on Ed Schultz's great progressive talk show the other day saying the Iowa system should be scrapped for a plain old election. After reading Tony's explanation, I have to agree.

    © 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs