From The “Haven’t We Seen This Before?” Dept.

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Despite the numerous signs that the Dems are poised to lose their majority in Congress this fall, Newsweek says that may not be the case. It just seems that way! The Dems are actually, cunningly, setting up the biggest political head-fake in history. The article that appeared today, titled “The Dems’ Plan to Hold Congress“, starts out like this:

Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much these days. But lately it seems that they’ve been willing to set aside their vast, irreconcilable differences and publicly concur on at least one thing: that the Democrats are going to do really, really badly in November’s midterm elections.

OK. They even show that other news outlets are also predicting doom and gloom for their beloved Democrats.

(The press, for what it’s worth, agrees as well. Charlie Cook, Washington’s wizard of electoral predictions, puts 62 Democratic House seats and nine Democratic Senate seats in the “lean” or “toss-up” columns—that is, just enough to flip control of both chambers of Congress to the Republicans, provided everything breaks their way.)

(Not sure why that is in parenthesis, but I’m not, officially, a journalist, so what do I know). Anyway… is there some lingering hope, some Jedi Knight midichlorian inspired reason to have hope?

Case closed, right? The Democrats are “going down.” Well, not quite. In politics, winning may the most important thing, but managing expectations is a close second.

What’s really happening here is that the Dems are downplaying their chances in November for the same reason Barack Obama’s campaign team compared Sarah Palin to every orator short of Cicero in the run-up to her 2008 debate against Joe Biden: political results are only as useful as they are unexpected.

Oh. Wow! Clever!!! They’re using reverse psychology on the public!

Dig a little deeper at the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC, and you’ll find that the Democrats in charge are actually rather confident about getting their fellow Dems elected this year. The reason? They have a plan—a plan that they believe will produce much better results on Election Day than anyone expects.

So, what’s the plan Stan… er, Andrew?

The first part of the scheme involves the man at the top, whom readers might remember as the (somewhat successful) manager of Obama’s improbable 2008 campaign: Mr. David Plouffe. A boyish, buzzcut logistical whiz, Plouffe departed Obamaland after the election in order to write books, give speeches, and make money. But after Martha Coakley lost to Republican Scott Brown in January’s Massachusetts Senate special election, Obama asked Plouffe—who was always to supposed to assist with the 2010 midterm effort—to take on an expanded role. Since then, he’s been communicating “daily” with the DNC about campaign strategy. Plouffe isn’t on the DNC’s payroll, nor does he work at the White House. He doesn’t answer to anyone but Obama. As such, he’s the only person on the Democratic side with the power to “make the gears move more efficiently,” as Marc Ambinder has put it—to sharpen the message, to tweak the field operation, to decide where best to deploy the president. All from 35,000 feet.

Wow. Sounds impressive! Tell me more.

Plouffe’s main goal, though, is to focus on turning out the 15 million people who voted for the first time in 2008—an effort that Democrats believe could wind up affecting the outcome of many of this year’s 70-odd contested races. After the 2008 election, the Obama field operation, Obama for America, was renamed Organizing for America and folded into the DNC. All of its electoral assets—the 13 million–name e-mail list, the hundreds of thousands of volunteers and “community organizers,” the precision Internet tools—came along with it. Now Plouffe & Co. plan to bring those resources to bear on getting 2008’s newbies back to the polls.

And, then there’s this:

While Republicans hammer away at national themes targeted at right-wing activists—Obama’s “socialist” insurance reforms or the size of the stimulus—Democrats plan to focus on bread-and-butter regional concerns like jobs and … well, jobs.

Oh, you mean like this? (There are some assertions make in this article that need some analysis, but that will have to be addressed later).

Funny thing is, while I was reading this Democratic chearleading piece from Newsweek, I couldn’t help thinking back to the election cycle of 2006, and remembering all the similar stories I saw emanating from Fox news. Insert Karl Rove where you see David Plouffe, and “war on terror” where you see “jobs”, and it looks so similar, it’s eerie. And speaking of, I’m also reminded of this NPR interview of Karl Rove right before the election.

So, I wasn’t really sure if I should link this music video to this post, or this one…..

I’ll go with Aldo Nova, just because the leopard leotard this is just sooooo weird, yet captivating!

Oh hell, I’ll do the Ratt one to. I love Milton Berle. He was awesome! And the banquette scene, with all the assumed privileged, kind of reminds me of the Democratic party. Hey, isn’t that EPA chief Lisa Jackson at 40 seconds in?

Just A Question.

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If homeopathy is so great, and diluting something in water creates a memory in the water that retains the healing properties of the original substance…. Then why the hell doesn’t it work in swimming pools?

I mean, come on! I’ve dumped enough chlorine in that thing for it to remember what the hell chlorine is!!!! And yet, I still have algae. Have I not diluted my chlorine enough, or is my water just too stupid to remember anything???????

The Sad State Of California – From The “Would You Make Up Your Mind” Dept.

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Once upon a time, in the late 1970’s, environmentalists, especially those in California, in order to save the forests from logging, got us to stop using paper bags in favor of plastic ones at the grocery store. How times have changed. Now they’re pushing legislation through that would ban plastic bags in favor of…

Yep, you guessed it, paper bags.

And just to make sure that no pocket goes unpicked, there will now be a five cent or more fee charged for each paper bag used.  But, on the bright side, I guess that means that logging is no longer as evil as it once was…. as long as it’s done in Canada.

Again I ask, Why do I still live here?

Uh… Because… You Know…. The Word…

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Sometimes, it’s better to quit while you’re ahead.

Hat Tip: Small Dead Animals. (it’s not what you think)

To Power Condition, Or Not To Power Condition?

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Haven’t done a bass technique post in a while. Some helpful advise on running power conditioners from the guys over at Talk Bass. Here is a comment from fourstringburn:

One thing you should know about power conditioners. There great for plugging your rack mount equipment but contrary to opinions, You shouldn’t plug an amplifier into them….

The main reason why you shouldn’t run amplifiers into power conditioners is simply because your amp will starve for operating power when running hard because the power conditioners job is to maintain steady clean voltage, but when your amp demands more amperage, the power conditioner prevents it.

If you check with Furmans website, you’ll see they have a product called “Power Factor”. This is a type of power conditioner just for amplifiers for this exact reason. This products store up to 45 amps of power which is far greater than a regular power conditioner, so amplifiers will have the extra juice they need to run on when driving hard. This could be the difference between your amp sounding good or great when driving it hard.

I contacted Bob at QSC’s tech support on this product, but just like regular power conditioners, he doesn’t recommend this product for amplifier use either. He claims the best thing for an amplifier drawing up to 20 amps is to plug it straight to the power source and anything in between acts as a buffer, I agree!

So I myself run an high powered bass rig and my amplifier is plugged in straight to the source, but my preamps and other rack gear ( compressor, tuner,) are plugged in to a Furman PL-plus series 2 power conditioner. I highly recommend power conditioners for your other rackmount gear. The rack lights come in handy and it keeps your rack looking neat with one power cord coming from your rack.

Bill Fitzmaurice, of Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design, agrees:

The main reason is that they aren’t necessary and don’t offer any improvement over the ‘conditioning’ already built into all well made gear. The so-called ‘dirty power’ issues they supposedly address are highly over-hyped and are filtered out by the power supplies in your gear anyway. And they can restrict the current supply to your amp, resulting in degraded performance.

An engineer from amp manufacturer Genz Benz (their little Shuttle amps are freaking awesome) says this:

1. The industry has a very (VERY) loose definition of what a power conditioner or protector or whatever they choose to call their device actually is or exactly what it does.

2. Most are UL listed for 15 amp loads only, protected buy a 15 amp thermal breaker and switched by a 15 amp rated switch. Putting a big amp or two on these can destroy the switches because most (if not all) switches are not protected by arc supression capacitors and the contacts can weld shut.

3. Most of these devices are worthless protecting against any real lightening strike nearby. Aside from too much inductance in the ground path (lightning is a very high frequency, high voltage signal), there’s not enough energy dissipation in the shunt protectors to prevent them from being blown to bits.

4. The typical “protectors” being discussed here do not protect against any kind of low or high voltage condition, regardless of what’s “implied”.

5. The typical “protector” has very limited spike protection, and even less surge protection. The spike let-through voltage is typically equal to about 200-220 volts peak.

6. The noise filtering is pretty much worthless, and duplicates the filtering in many amps on the market today. Folks that think they make a difference on audio frequencies are probably hearing something different… most are effective at radio frequencies but there’s plenty of this already in quality amps.

7. All amps that meet the CE standards already should contain the necessary protection to allow them to survive 2.5kV voltage spikes (both power line and to chassis ground), resist RFI (conducted and radiated), and have been tested by an accredited lab. I know for a fact that all of our amps have passed the battery of required tests.

8. Voltage regulating conditioners (much more expensive and heavier) in general should not be used with larger power amps because under some heavy dynamic conditions, the voltage regulating devices can hunt and oscillate. Some self-destruct and may take the amp out in the process.

Used as glorified power strips, they can be handy and in general can’t hurt, but as a consumer it’s important to be educated anytime a device promises something that’s usually too good to be true and can’t really be proven. Especially when there is a significant profit incentive involved, impartiallity is almost impossible.

Having some electronics theory under my belt, I figured that they were a bit over-hyped. I do have one, but it was a cheapie. It’s as much for the convenience of having a single switch to turn the rack set-up on and off, as much as anything else. Another plus of course; it has dimmable lights in front. Cool!

BTW, here’s my rack, such as it is.

And yes, the propane tank is vital to my sound!!!!!