My July Political And Other Donations

It’s the day before the dealine, when I like to give my donations.  I’ll keep this short because there’s other campaign stuff still to do.

I’m going to give $20 to Joe Biden and $20 to the Warren Democrats.  I’ll give $20 to the Democratic candidate for the 2nd District here in Tennessee.  I’ll give $20 to the Knox County Democratic Party and $20 to the Tennessee Democratic Party.

[checks email for other solicitations…]

Let’s see, how about $10 to Mark Kelly, because we need another astronaut in the Senate.  I think I’m going to donate in the future to the Sierra club, maybe the local chapter, but since they just endorsed me, it might be untoward to do so now.  Before the election.  I’ll keep them on the back burner.

Nothing else is jumping out right now.  I need to add a non-political donation, but if I find the right one, I’ll donate and update in next month’s edition.

Veepstakes – My Top 5 For Biden’s VP Pick

I haven’t written over here much, except for my political donations.  I see I did a top 5 back in March for the VP when Warren dropped out.  I’ve got a couple of spare minutes between my own campaign tasks, so why not update this list?

In March, I had Michelle Obama first, followed by Harris, Abrams, Klobuchar, and Warren.  The names have changed since then, as has the order.

  1. Susan Rice – I’m convinced, at least as of today, that she’s the best pick.  I’m giving most importance to the fact that she will get along with Biden very well.  She’s got foreign policy chops and some name recognition.  Downside is she hasn’t been “vetted” in a national campaign.  Also, Rs will use Benghazi against her.
  2. Kamala Harris – She might be 1a for me on this list.  Her run for President fizzled more than it sizzled, but she has a good amount of experience that helps her meet the “ready to President on Day 1” test.  Downside is maybe she doesn’t work well with Biden and might have an eye on 2024.
  3. Elizabeth Warren – She’s the most ready to President of any of the VP contenders.  I will personally be very excited about Biden’s candidacy if she’s on the ticket.  Downside is that her replacement is named by a GOP governor (unless they change MA law) and she’s not exactly a bridge to the next generation, since she’s in her 70s.
  4. Val Demings – She’s got a good background and, if you like that sort of thing, she’s probably more middle of the road, like Biden.  Downside is lack of vetting in a national campaign and lack of national name.  Is she ready to be President on day one?
  5. Keisha Lance Bottoms – About the same comments for her as Demings.

I had thought about putting Tammy Duckworth on here, but her recent comments on statues might have done her in.

Dark Horse – NM Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

That’s my list.  Who do I think it’ll be?  Kamala.  And I’m OK with that.

My June Political And Other Donations

Last month I did a little monologue about money in politics before the donation section, so maybe I’ll do that again here.

As you know, one of the main issues for me in my run for County Commission is the influence of money in politics even in a local race like mine.  My other big issue is how the County Mayor seems to favor development for the sake of developers.  Those two issues collide in the amount of money donated by developers, builders, and others with real estate interests to County Commission candidates.  And I come with an example.

I’ll spare the actual name involved, but there’s a developer in the area who donates a considerable sum to Commission candidates.  I did a quick look at the financial disclosures for the Republican primary candidates who ran for Commission seats in the March election (not Democrats, of course).  Out of a total of eight candidates in six races, this developer gave money to four of them.  The total amount he gave was $4500.  In my district, he gave to both candidates.  He also gave $1000 to a candidate who had no primary or general election opponent.

This is on my mind because, well, it’s an issue I ran on, so I care about this stuff.  And I’m pretty sure this one donor has given more to these candidates than I have spent on my entire campaign to this point.  But, additionally, today is the deadline not just for all the federal and state candidates, but also for me and the rest of the Commission Candidates.  We’ll have to have our next round of disclosures in by July 11th, I think.  And I’ll be paying attention for this developer’s name.  I suspect I’ll see it some more.

Anyway, on to the donations.

I gave $100 to the East Tennessee branch of Indivisible.  They’re doing work around the County, including for me, trying to help get Democratic candidates elected.

The 11 yo Madkiddo had a birthday this month and we did $25 to one of those Facebook donation things that she set up.  The Wounded Warrior project.

And, it looks like I accidentally set up my $10 donation last month to Cal Cunningham (Democrat running for Senate in NC) as recurring, so that went out again.  So, another $10 there, but I’ve turned off the recurring status for that donation now.  Not that I won’t donate to him again, I don’t know, but I like to do these each month depending on how I feel at the end of the month.

In addition to those, here are the donations I’m going to make today.

I’m going to give $20 to Joe Biden and $20 to the Warren Democrats.

I remember the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and I remember how Susan Collins made a big point of saying that Kavanaugh believes in stare decisis and that’s one of the reasons she voted to confirm.  We knew she was full of crap and now the decision on the Louisiana abortion law confirmed it.  Kavanaugh voted with the conservatives on that decision to let the very restrictive abortion law stand.  Collins needs to go, so $20 to Sara Gideon.

I’ll give $10 to the TNDP and $20 to the KCDP to round out my $100.

See you next time!

The Band Story – Pandemic Edition

I recently drove up to Virginia to have practice with the guys in anticipation of our upcoming wedding gig.  I thought I would give an update, since some things have obviously changed.

First, there’s this whole COVID-19 pandemic.  We haven’t gotten together for practice since February.  I wrote about that last one here.  Stay at home orders prevented that for the most part and the schedule with my campaign and other obstacles have prevented us from getting together.

Second, we’ve added a new member to the lineup – Pierre.  He gives us some sax, trumpet and fills in with keyboards.  I think he’s a friend of the wedding family and, since they wanted us to do some songs with horns, we brought him into the group.  He’s clearly a great musician.  We just have to work on fitting him in to our list of songs in time for the gig.

Third, speaking of the gig, it was moved from June 20 to August 15 because of the stay at home orders in Virginia.  They’re more serious about their shutdown in Virginia than we are here in Tennessee, so it’s not even certain that we’ll be able to go in August.  We’ll hear more about that in a couple of weeks.

I decided to drive rather than fly.  I’m a little hesitant to fly anyway and now with Pierre in the group, our practice day needs to be on Sunday.  Because of my schedule and the flying schedules from Knoxville to DC, I’m limited to doing a turn and burn drive up and back.  So I got up at 4 am on Sunday morning, drove to Herndon Virginia for practice.  We went about 4 hours.  I had a quick sub with my college age kiddo, who’s quarantining with his mom in Alexandria, and then I headed back to Knoxville.  I slept about 5 hours in the van and got home in time to wake up the MadDoc for work Monday morning.  Yesterday I did my usual Monday morning tennis match and then attended the County Commission meeting last night.  That went from about 5 to 930.  I crashed at 1030 and now I think I’m caught up, more or less.  It’s harder when you’re in your 50s to keep up that kind of schedule.  The next one of these days is tentatively scheduled for July 12, although if the wedding gets pushed back again, I’ll stay down here to keep campaigning.  It’s gonna be hard to lose 2 days that close to the election, but we’re far from tight and we want to make sure we put on a good show for the new couple and their family.

I think I’ve thrown out the list of songs we’re doing in past editions, so I’ll do that here as well.  The sets have changed, as you’ll see.

Til next time.

Set 1

  • American Band – Grand Funk Railroad
  • What You Need – INXS
  • What I Like About You – The Romantics
  • Heart of Rock and Roll – Huey Lewis and the News
  • Rock This Town – Stray Cats
  • Saturday Night’s Alright for Fightin’ – Elton John
  • Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry
  • Celebration – Kool and the Gang
  • Drive by – Train
  • Bad Case of Loving You – Robert Palmer
  • Synchronicity II – The Police
  • China Grove – Doobie Brothers
  • Jet – Paul McCartney
  • Can’t Take My Eyes off of You – Muse cover of Frankie Valli tune
  • My Love – Paul McCartney

Set 2

  • Hard Day’s Night – Beatles
  • Back in the USSR – Beatles
  • I Saw Her Standing There – Beatles
  • Drive My Car – Beatles
  • Birthday – Beatles
  • I Want You To Want Me – Cheap Trick
  • If You’re Wondering If I Want You To – Weezer
  • Kiss Me – New Found Glory cover of Sixpence None the Richer tune
  • Semi Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
  • That Thing You Do – The Wonders
  • Hold On Loosely – .38 Special
  • Still The One – Orleans
  • Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney
  • Live And Let Die – Paul McCartney
  • Long Train Runnin’ – Doobie Brothers
  • Jumpin Jack Flash – Rolling Stones

Set 3

  • Lido Shuffle – Boz Scaggs
  • Hard to Handle – Black Crowes
  • I’m a Believer – Monkees/Smashmouth/Neil Diamond
  • Happy Together – The Turtles
  • Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
  • Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
  • Takin’ Care of Business – BTO
  • Rock and Roll All Night – Kiss
  • Don’t Gotta Work It Out – Fitz and the Tantrums
  • Get Ready – Rare Earth
  • Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne
  • After Midnight – Eric Clapton
  • Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd (not necessarily played here, but you know someone will call out Freebird)


My May Political And Other Donations

Before I start, I wanted to comment here on the recent news that Elizabeth Warren is doing a high dollar fundraiser for Joe Biden.  In my own campaign, I’ve sworn off big money and PAC money.  And I’m generally against the big money model of political fundraising in general.  Even though it’s legal, I think it presents an access issue.  The people who donate big bucks get catered to.  Their issues are the ones that candidates and elected officials see and get exposed to.  I think that works on the little stage here in Knox County as much as it works on the big stage in Washington.

But.  I also realize there is a big difference in running for one of eleven seats on a county commission and running against the Republican juggernaut (and the worst president of my lifetime).  Trump, Inc., will spend a billion dollars in his campaign for reelection.  Joe Biden won’t come anywhere near that number.  But he does need money to run in the current system.  And, until that system is changed, I’m not going to get upset if national Democrats have to take big money, even though I’m not going to.  Donald Trump is an existential threat and he needs to be defeated.  That is the bigger problem than campaign finance.

And, no, putting Bernie Sanders at the top of the ticket and letting him run with his small dollar army isn’t the answer.

So, now I need to catch up with my backlog of donations.  Not that you care necessarily, but it’s easier for me to go back and look at these posts I’m writing to see to whom and how much I’ve given.

I gave $50 to the Tennessee Democratic Party.  I gave $100 to the Knox County Dems.  In May, we were scheduled to do our one big fundraising event for the year.  Since that was cancelled for the pandemic, they asked for donations in the amount of the tickets.  I obliged.  I also gave $25 to Feeding America.

Now, on to my end of month donations.

I’m going to give $10 again to Joe Biden and to Renee Hoyos, like I did last month.  I’ve already given to the party orgs, so I’m thinking $10 each to three more Senatorial candidates.  This month it’s Mark Kelly in Arizona, Cal Cunningham in North Carolina and Sara Gideon in Maine.

Stay safe out there!

My April Political And Other Donations

I haven’t been writing here much.  I’ve been heavily working on social media for the campaign and any writing I’m doing is on Facebook or the other site –  Still, there are some things that I will continue to write here, including this monthly post.

With everything going on with the quarantine, political fundraising is down.  And nonprofit organizations are hurting as well.  I mentioned in passing that I had given a donation to the Knoxville Zoo.  But I’m going to formalize my nonprofit/charitable giving and add that to my “budget.”  I’m also going to raise my monthly amount for a little while.  Here are my adjusted parameters.  My limit is $100 per month.  I’ll try and give $10 per politician or political cause and $50 another local organization that can use the money.

I’m starting off with $10 to Joe Biden.  I’m not yet enthusiastic about Joe like I was Elizabeth Warren.  But I am enthusiastic about defeating the incumbent.

I’m also going to give $10 each to the Knox County Dems and to Renee Hoyos.  I’ve been giving to them in the past.  Renee’s team has been very friendly and offered to help my campaign.  The KCDP are very supportive as well.

Beyond that, I’m going to send $10 each to a couple of the Democratic candidates for Senate, in the hope that they can help President Biden get his agenda enacted.  So, $10 to Amy McGrath in her quest (quixotic though it may be) to take down Mitch McConnell.  And $10 to Steve Bullock in the hope that he can turn Montana a little bit blue.

A few weeks back, Renee Hoyos suggested we give to the InterFaith Health Clinic instead of donating to her campaign.  Well, I donated to Renee’s campaign, but I’m also going to donate to the Clinic.  According to their website, the InterFaith Health Clinic “provides accessible, affordable & quality health care service to the low-income working uninsured & underserved.”  So, I’ll send them $50.

The Mad Doc and I are in the position to be a little more generous with our money right now.  She’s one of the healthcare heroes out there still seeing patients and delivering babies despite the stay at home orders that the rest of us are following (hopefully).  If you’re in the position to help, I hope you will too.  We’re all in this together after all.

Stay safe out there!

My March Political Donations

What with Covid and the online stuff I’ve been doing for my own campaign, there hasn’t been much time to write here.  College basketball went away.  The Democratic nomination is pretty much sewn up by Biden, although someone needs to tell Bernie.  Still, the down ballot races are moving, albeit more slowly.  Today’s the quarterly deadline, so there’s some urgency on the part of campaigns.  The quarterly deadline also applies to me.  I’ll be filling out my quarterly financial disclosure, tomorrow I think.  As always, these donations don’t include anything I’m giving to myself.  If you want to see that info, you can check out  I should have my post about that up in the next day or two.

I haven’t really given much thought to this month’s donations.  We’ve been making other charitable donations because of the Covid crisis.  Notably to the Knoxville Zoo.  Plus, I’m doing home school (ish) with the 5th grader of the house.  But I guess I know where I want my $20 to go this month.

Now that Warren is out of the race, it’s an easy call for me to be with Biden.  I’m a progressive, not a revolutionary.  Biden can beat Trump.  I don’t think Bernie can.  Plus, Biden will help down ballot.  $5 to Biden.

I’m with Renee Hoyos, who is running to unseat Tim Burchett, the former Knox County Mayor and current member of the House of Representatives from the 2nd District here in Tennessee.  $5 to Renee.

I’m going to give $5 to the Knox County Dems, as I’ve done the last few months.

My wild card this week is Amy McGrath.  I’m skeptical that she can beat Mitch McConnell, but my copy of Mitch, Please came today, so I’m willing to throw $5 at the candidate who is trying to send Mitch packing.

See you next month.

My College Basketball Bracket – March 8

This could change a lot with the conference tourneys coming up.  Seems like the top 5 are set at this point.  I fully expect the NCAA to create the bracket of death with Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke, unless there’s an early exit in the conference tourneys for one of those teams.

Midwest (Indianapolis)

  1. Kansas
  2. Kentucky
  3. Duke
  4. BYU
  5. Illinois
  6. West Virginia

East (New York)

  1. Dayton
  2. Florida State
  3. Villanova
  4. Virginia
  5. Auburn
  6. Ohio State

South (Houston)

  1. Baylor
  2. Creighton
  3. Seton Hall
  4. Louisville
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Penn State

West (Los Angeles)

  1. Gonzaga
  2. San Diego State
  3. Michigan State
  4. Oregon
  5. Houston
  6. Michigan

Top 5 Candidates For The Democratic Vice-Presidential Pick – Warren Drops Out Edition

It doesn’t seem like there’s any reason for me to do a Top 10 or anything like that for the Democratic nomination for President now.  There are 3 candidates left and one shouldn’t have been in in the first place.  For what it’s worth, my list would be: 1-Biden; 2-Sanders; 3-Gabbard.  But she’s only on the list because she hasn’t dropped out.

And I admit that I’m a bit bummed about the fact that Elizabeth Warren dropped out today.  She’s been top of my list since last summer.  I’m using some of her ideas in my own campaign and she’s definitely part of the inspiration for why I’m running in the first place.  Sad to see her go, but I know she will be a prominent figure in the party for a while to come.

But I’m here to give you a first shot at a list of potential names for VP to either Biden or Bernie.  A couple of old white guys need some balance, so that’s who I’m focusing on.  I heard someone say today that he thinks Biden’s pick will be Mayor Pete.  That’s just crazy talk.  Pete in the administration?  Sure.  Just not as VP.  Both of these men need to put a woman on the ticket, someone young preferably, and possibly someone to shore up their weak areas.  Do they go for a unity pick or someone who reinforces, like Gore to Bill Clinton.  Any chance Biden and Bernie share the ticket?  No to that, but everything else is on the table I think.  Except it has to be a woman.

Here you go:

  1. Michelle Obama – It’s a pipe dream I know, but a Biden/Obama ticket is a sure fire winner.  She doesn’t want to the do the politics thing and I don’t blame her.  But she wouldn’t have aspirations for the top job and could take on some important issues as VP.
  2. Kamala Harris – OTOH, maybe Biden needs a powerhouse whom he can groom to take over and who can do a little of everything.  Harris has experience at the state level and in the Senate.  I’ve heard her floated as AG, but I think they should aim higher with her.
  3. Stacey Abrams – Maybe not as much experience, but she can excite the youth vote in a way that no other of these candidates can.  Or I’m reading it wrong.  Plus, she’s great at campaigning and organizing.
  4. Amy Klobuchar – She’s a good complement to Biden, not so much for Bernie.
  5. Elizabeth Warren – She’s a little too old and I think her talents would be wasted in the 2nd banana spot.  But maybe she is a unity option with Biden.  Or does she rein in some of the more extreme parts of Bernie’s plans?  Plus, if she’s selected, a Republican governor chooses her successor.


Politics At The Dinner Table

MadZee is doing his first voting this year.  He’s attending the University here in Knoxville, but his registration is back in Virginia, where he graduated from high school.  So, he’s doing absentee voting.  Last Fall he did a vote for the local Virginia elections in November.  Now, he’s doing the Super Tuesday primary vote for Virginia.  He doesn’t keep up with politics like the rest of us around here – too busy with classes and basketball it seems.

He brought his absentee ballot with him this evening to fill out.  Pretty late in the process, as it turns out.  It needs to get back to the local election commission by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.  So I’m running out to overnight his absentee envelope tomorrow morning.

MadZee was doing some due diligence.  I wouldn’t say a lot, since he wouldn’t have waited til the last second if he was really being diligent.  But I remember being 18.  Vaguely, anyway.  He said he wasn’t sure whom to vote for.  He did one of those online quizzes and it didn’t give much differentiation between the candidates for him.

I asked him what his issues are.  He said, climate change first.  Then, maybe immigration.  And criminal justice.  He mentioned getting people who have finished their time the right to vote.

So, I told him a little about the candidates as I see them.  From the perspective of a Warren voter who does not have Bernie as his second choice.  I mentioned that the MadDoc voted for Pete.  My mom came out of her cave and we asked her who she would vote for (the grandmas still don’t have their Tennessee IDs, although they will by August – in time to vote for me).  She said Bloomberg.  Then, the MadDoc’s mom came downstairs from her room and she dropped the bomb that she had just heard that Pete was dropping out.  She said she would vote for Biden.

I’m pretty sure MadZee’s mom is leaning Bloomberg and he sounded at first like he was going that way too.  I’ll admit I put a thumb on the scale against Bloomberg and gave some of the oppo research on the Mayor.  MadZee pondered over dinner and eventually went for the former Vice President.  I half expected the youngster to go for Bernie.  Once upon a time, he was a fan of Andrew Yang.  I like Biden well enough.  I think he’s more electable than Bernie and will have longer coattails.  Biden’s no Warren, but he could have done worse for his first foray into voting for the President.