Monday, January 24, 2011
Monday, April 07, 2008
I'm moving again...
Thursday, April 03, 2008
The War of the Omelets; the (kind of) return of Queer Nation
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I am furious (yellow)
Labels: Things I don't miss
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Worst movie ever
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Three cheers for the BoltBus!
Friday, February 22, 2008
Stupid spending: Everyone does it?
[Cross-posted from Beyond Red & Blue]
Elizabeth Kolbert writes in The New Yorker about all the ways we don't behave as rational consumers. According to "behavioral economists" (as opposed to the old-fashioned economists who believe that human beings are just calculators with arms and legs), we're constantly doing making dumb choices like paying an outrageous amont for a car just because it comes with "free" oil changes for a few years. Kolbert admits that she's padded Amazon.com orders with stuff she doesn't need in order to qualify for free shipping. I've done that, and I've also got a box full of subway fare cards from various cities because I always take the "buy five rides, get one free" kind of deal even when I know I won't be in the city long enough to use my free ride.
The public policy angle in Kolbert's piece comes with she discusses Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein's Nudge: Improving Decisions About Wealth, Health, and Happiness. As Kolbert explains:
[People are] effort-averse. They hate having to go to the benefits office, pick up a bunch of forms, fill them out, and bring them all the way back. As a consequence, many eligible employees fail to enroll in their companies' retirement plans, or delay doing so for years. (This is the case, research has shown, even at companies where no employee contribution is required.)
Thaler and Sunstein suggest that companies enroll employees in retirement plans without their consent but give them the option of filling a lot of paperwork to get out. This point makes me think about the debate between Democratic presidential candidates over universal health insurance. Barack Obama seems to operating on the assumption that if insurance premiums are low enough, everyone will get health coverage because it will be irrational not to do so. And Hillary Clinton's idea to require all individuals to get health coverage seems to rest on the assumption that it would be irrational not to get insurance if there's a penalty (a tax fine, or the garnishing of wages) for failing to do so. But maybe the best approach would be to automatically enroll all uninsured people into a health insurance plan and then say, "If you don't like it, there's a long, complicated procedure for withdrawing from the program." In other words, there would be a de facto mandate, but without the need to come up with a mechanism to enforce it.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
What is public TV good for?
The New York Times's Charles McGrath asks whether public TV is worth saving:
The average PBS show on prime time now scores about a 1.4 Nielsen rating, or roughly what the wrestling show “Friday Night Smackdown” gets....
Scanning the PBS lineup, in fact, it’s hard to detect much of a bias toward anything at all, except possibly mustiness. Except for “Antiques Roadshow,” all the prime-time stalwarts — “The NewsHour,” “Nova,” “Nature,” “Masterpiece” — are into their third or fourth decade, and they look it.
If those comments distress you, go to the reader comments, where you'll find plenty of hyperventilating ("In the wasteland of television there are but two channels I want or need: PBS for the quality and depth of shows that exist nowhere else, and NESN to be able to watch the Red Sox."), and it's entirely possible that one or two of the respondents are under 80 years old.
OK, if you don't have cable, you might enjoy being force-fed middlebrow programming by PBS. And even if you have 300 channels, I'm not aware that any of them caters to people with terrible taste in music the way PBS does. Otherwise, its bright spots are so few that it's easier just to forget it exists.
Breaking news: Suzanne Pleshette is still dead!
Dear Boston.com and Boston Globe:
Yes, I know that Suzanne Pleshette is dead. Please stop using her photo as an enticement to "Take a look back at the notable deaths of this young year" every time I look at anything on your website. (Scroll to the bottom of the home page or look in the right column of just about every Globe story. I'll be happy if this is no longer the case by the time you read this.) I'll wait until the end of the year (and the roll call of the dead at the Oscar awards) to contemplate my mortality. I don't need to perform this ritual every morning beginning on Valentine's Day. Thank you.
Labels: Boston Globe
Friday, February 15, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Revival of independent bookstores?
Will the Internet kill off chain bookstores and leave the independent sellers to flourish? Matthew Yglesias mulls the possibility.
...what the brick and mortar store has to offer is, increasingly, not practical advantage but a bookstore experience. And though I think the chains actually do deliver a decent experience, they don't really match the better independents and I'm not sure they ever can since part of the experience of a well-liked independent bookstore...
A nice thought, but I'm not sure that an independent bookstore is enough of an anchor for an urban shopping district. The seemingly most successful independent booksellers in the Boston area -- the Brookline Booksmith in Coolidge Corner and the Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square -- are both near larger bookstores (a Barnes and Noble and the university-run Harvard Coop) and movie theaters. Could they attract enough customers if the Internet claims other businesses around them?
Labels: City life
Monday, February 11, 2008
There Will Be Deadwood
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Wintertime fun in Montreal for those who hate snow
Friday, February 08, 2008
Do one-way streets kill cities?
In a Louisville Courier-Journal op-ed, Matt Hanka and John Gilderbloom say that one-way streets are bad for pedestrians (because cars go faster on them), bad for businesses (fewer potential customers go by), and bad for homeowners (because they lower property values). They also say that one-ways can cause more crime:
One-way streets also create greater opportunities for crime in urban areas. Having one-way traffic reduces overall use, allowing for negative vacuums to be created. One-way streets are the gun, drug and sex distribution centers for a city.
Why? You need a two- or three-lane one-way street where you can pause to negotiate the deal and get out of there quickly. You can't do that on a two-way street because it slows down traffic. That's why the one-way two/three-lane street works best for pimps, drive-by shootings and drug dealers. If you break the law, it's better to drive 50 mph on a one-way with no obstacles.
I now live on a one-way street, and I don't feel unsafe (maybe because it's not a throughway), but the lack of activity at night is a bit spooky. And the two things I remember from several trips to downtown Lynn were that the place was practically deserted and that almost every street seemed to be one-way. Then again, one-way streets don't seem to put a damper on life in New York City.
Labels: City life
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Book-CD-DVD-tchotchke-store bans browsing
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Election Day in Malden Center
Labels: presidential politics
Monday, February 04, 2008
Patriots lose. HA-ha!
Friday, February 01, 2008
"Lost" vs. the presidential debate
Thursday, January 31, 2008
I've been forced to wake up and smell the coffee
I guess I'm never going to get an alternative to the two Dunkin' Donuts in my neighborhood. From the AP:
As part of a broad push to revitalize its business, the company said it plans to open about 425 fewer domestic stores and 75 more overseas than previously planned, for a global total of 2,150 new stores. Starbucks has more than 15,700 worldwide.
...the slowdown in U.S. growth will allow the company to make better use of its time, money and staff and could reduce "cannibalization" — easing pressure some stores experience when a new one opens nearby.
So open some stores that aren't near other ones!
TV diary: better Treatment
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Attack of the 60-foot Oscar winner
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
A smear against Blue Man Group?
When we get behind closed doors...
Friday, January 25, 2008
I'll let you open my junk mail for only $10!
Labels: Exciting business opportunity
But what do I know about politics?
Fears of a clown
"From children's perspectives," the researchers explain, "the babyish feel of hospital décor is something that child patients between seven and 16 tolerated, rather than appreciated." Interestingly, all children disliked the use of clowns in the décor, with even the oldest children seeing them as scary. "Given that children and young people do not find hospitals frightening per se -- and only express fear about those spaces associated with needles and associated procedures -- this finding is somewhat ironic," Dr. Curtis points out.My theory is that this is part of the mainstreaming of gay culture, as bad drag queens tend to look like clowns. They may be fun when it's late and you've had a few drinks, but they're not exactly comforting under harsh lighting and the looming threat of a tonsillectomy. Clown wallpaper may be especially alarming to young boys, who must contemplate tucking before they're mature enough to handle it. Construction workers, policemen, and American Indians would be far better images for children's ward wallpaper.
Labels: Patch Adams
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Fear the wrath of downtown Malden's Christmas lights
Where Shih Tzus rule
Gays for Hillary, journalists for Barack
Labels: presidential politics
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The Clintons meet the Klingons
Friday, January 18, 2008
"The Wire" moves to Mayberry
A blogger's wet dream
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Michigan primary aftermath
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Nightmares in Helvetica
Monday, January 14, 2008
But I've lived here my whole life!
I like to start off the week with a laugh, and Kevin Cullen's column in the Boston Globe today was just the trick. It's about a Charlestown native smart enough to buy a four-story brick house near Bunker Hill for a pittance ($16,500!) in 1963. Her tragedy? Someone is building another house next door:
She is 74 now, and still works as a flight attendant. She expected to enjoy her later years in the house at Monument Square. Instead she is locked in the latest battle of Bunker Hill. When she looks out the back window that for 45 years afforded a view of the city skyline, she sees the house Bill Pizzurro is building.
Doesn't that SOB realize that paying $16,500 for a house entitles you to keep the same view from each window for 50 years? If you don't think so, wait until the poor woman brings out the ultimate Boston argument:
"I've lived in this town my whole life," Pat Ward said. "I've seen them all come and go. When I was a kid, it was the absentee landlords. Then the BRA. Then it was the condo flippers. Now it's these guys filling in every open space. They make money but they don't have to live with what they do."
I've lived in this town my whole life. If only I had the foresight never to move a mile from my parents' house, I'd be on the right side of every debate over development in my neighborhood. Sadly, I made the mistake of seeing a little bit more of the world (well, a little bit more of the East Coast), which makes me an interloper anywhere I choose to live in Massachusetts.
According to Cullen's column, the builder of the new house has told Pat Ward to buzz off, and she doesn't seem to have legal grounds to prevent him from going ahead with construction. I guess we're supposed to feel sorry for her, but how many of us expect to live in the same house, in an unchanging neighborhood, for a half-century? Hey Pat: Just sell your house, take the money, and run!
Friday, January 11, 2008
Are you having 100 laughs?
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
I want more than a jewel case!
Music fans are also likely to see ... more albums pre-loaded onto small, portable storage devices. Consumers may also see a bigger push this year for CD singles, dubbed "ringles," that include mobile phone ringtones and other digital content...
Hey, here's another idea. Why not package CDs with liner notes or, better yet, booklets with lyrics and information about the music we're listening to? Maybe something equivalent to the director's commentary on DVDs? One reason I stopped buying CDs was that I got sick of shelling out $15 for a compilation disc (often of jazz performers) and finding nothing inside that told me when tracks were recorded, who played on particular songs, etc. It seemed foolish to buy CDs when I got nothing more for my money than if I downloaded songs from iTunes. (Actually, I got less, since CDs take up valuable space in my apartment.)
Sorry, I'll take a pass on those ringles.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
The start of a wonderful or terrible new year
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The gift of gluttony
Sunday, December 09, 2007
The shocking truth about the Orange Line
In the past two months, commuter rail employees have been participating in a covert “working strike” — holding up service and causing significant train delays — in retaliation for what they consider poor treatment by management, according to sources who spoke to Metro.
Conductors and engineers have been refusing to work overtime when the commuter rail is short staffed, or operate trains when there are minor maintenance issues, like a burned out bulb, in order to stick it to their employer — the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad — the company contracted by the T to run the commuter rail, a source told Metro.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
A good face for radio
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Straight fan of gay bar
I found your article in the Globe fascinating and very insightful. Being a straight male, I was fortunate to have a gay friend take me as a guest to the Napoleon Club in the early '90s and it was a wonderful eye-opening experience. My pal especially wanted me to hear the two pianists (I am a classical pianist and composer) who had completely different technique and repertoire, and I really enjoyed the cozy atmosphere and warm sense of camaraderie. I was saddened to hear of it's demise (late '90s?) and didn't realize that it was part of a general downsizing trend which you cite. However, one aspect of socialization that you don't mention is the rampant growth of the "coffee house" phenomenon which has really taken off throughout the country during this past decade. Cafes like Cambridge's two 1369 locations, Davis Square's lesbian-friendly Diesel, Newbury Street's Trident Bookstore (which is more of a restaurant), L'Aroma, plus Tealuxe's multiple locations aren't necessarily catering to a gay crowd but are blind to sexual/gender preference, as with their corporate counterparts including the Starbucks, Peets, Caribou, and Au Bon Pain chains. Unfortunately many of those who frequent those establishments feel more comfortable speaking to their laptops rather than their table mates but that is a byproduct of our recent cyber culture. Caffeine for thought.
Cheers, Erik Lindgren
Labels: City life
Ladies, please take your boyfriends to age-appropriate films
Monday, December 03, 2007
The South End Is Over
Here's the deal: You live in a city. Get over yourselves. As long as there's not a crack house operating next door, you should consider yourself lucky.
A bucket of good cheer
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Why straight people should care when gay bars close
Saturday, December 01, 2007
In which I learn how to avoid pledge drives and looking like a flag
Friday, November 30, 2007
How to get strangers in Boston to talk to each other
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Mass transit porn
Charlotte's trolley system had a great opening day last week. From the Charlotte Observer's Steve Harrison:
CATS expects the state's first light-rail line will handle 9,100 passenger trips on an average weekday in its first year. Saturday, it handled 34,000 trips in the first four hours -- well above capacity -- and 60,000 by evening, CATS estimated. Trains rolled into stations with people standing nose to shoulder, often allowing only inches for new passengers to board. Riders waited as long as two hours at the I-485/South Boulevard station for free rides.
For photos of people who aren't jaded subway riders, click here. Except for the casual dress, this might be how people behaved when the first electric trolleys sped along Boston's Beacon Street in 1889.
I attended a conference in Charlotte a few years ago and found it to be a friendly city with some charming restaurants, but I was disappointed by the lack of pedestrians on downtown sidewalks. (There seemed to be a lot of indoor passageways among hotels, malls, and offices.) Maybe the light rail will help change that.
Naked Boston Bruins
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Liquor Land conquered by drug empire
...come January, after 68 years serving everyone from the homeless to college students to millionaires, the liquor store at Harrison Avenue and Northampton Street will close to make way for a CVS. "We used to hear gunshots all the time, but now it's safer, a nicer atmosphere," said [Jackie] Petrillo, 58, who co-owns the store and has managed it since the 1980s. "We worked for this day for so long, and now this? I just can't believe it." Adding insult to injury: It was her cousin, owner of the 75,000-square-foot building, who refused to renew her lease, opting instead for a negotiated deal with CVS.
The reaction among neighborhood activists is mixed, and Abel quotes one as saying, "It's no disappointment to lose a liquor store." Maybe a supermarket would be better on that site, but a CVS? I'll get my Nyquil fix elsewhere, thank you.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The enemy above
Monday, November 26, 2007
"What we need is a Starbucks"
One glimmer of hope comes from the Gnarly Vine and several trendy restaurants that have opened in a five-block radius in the heart of the downtown. “Often bars, restaurants and small boutiques are the first to signal that a change is actually taking place,” Mr. Beyard said. [Michael Beyard is with the Urban Land Institute.]
I'm hope that's true, since Malden Center has several new trendy restaurants, but I'm not so confident. New retail businesses seem to have a much tougher time in the Internet Age. Significantly, the Times story is vague about precisely what kind of retail stores New Rochelle hopes to attract. Bookstores, music stores, and old-fashioned department stores are dying everywhere, and houseware and furniture stores prefer locations with huge parking lots. But let's worry about that later. For now, Craig King, New Rochelle’s commissioner of development, has an idea shared by many of my neighbors in Malden:
“What we need,” he said, “are upscale boutiques, a Starbucks and some other more interesting shops that will generate more sales tax dollars for the city and give our downtown some real style.”
Your favorite movie sucks
I was warned many, many years ago by the great Jonathan Lynn, co-creator of Yes, Minister and director of the comic masterpiece My Cousin Vinnie, that Americans are not raised in a tradition of debate and that the adversarial ferocity common around a dinner table in Britain is more or less unheard of in America. When Jonathan first went to live in LA he couldn’t understand the terrible silences that would fall when he trashed an statement he disagreed with and said something like “yes, but that’s just arrant nonsense, isn’t it? It doesn’t make sense. It’s self-contradictory.” To a Briton pointing out that something is nonsense, rubbish, tosh or logically impossible in its own terms is not an attack on the person saying it – it’s often no more than a salvo in what one hopes might become an enjoyable intellectual tussle. Jonathan soon found that most Americans responded with offence, hurt or anger to this order of cut and thrust. ... Disagreement and energetic debate appears to leave a loud smell in the air.
Maybe I should move to Britain if I want to find a husband. In my experience, the best way to make a bad first impression in America is to criticize anything. It's considered especially bad form to accept an invitation to a movie, play, or concert and then point out the flaws during the post-performance coffee or cocktail. This is being "negative," even though dissecting the entertainment is often the most enjoyable part of an evening out.
I'm not attacking you if I politely say what I find objectionable about your favorite movie or band. I'm just assuming that you're more than eight years old.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
My thermostat doesn't go to 11
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I hate coffee, but I love Starbucks
Friday, November 02, 2007
I'd better see flames next time!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Brothers and Sisters and Banality
When is a good person a Samaritan?
Gilbeau was undoubtedly heroic, but I thought a Good Samaritan, by definition, was someone who goes out of his way (or misses church, in the original story) to help a stranger. Here the term just seems confusing, and even euphemistic in a way I can't figure out. Why not just say that the two men were friends or neighbors, or some other vague term that doesn't come from a parable specifically about providing aid to someone one has never met before?
Gilbeau, Bash, and two women had been at a bar in Vergennes before returning to the Hinesburg trailer where Bash and his girlfriend lived. The couples had retired to separate rooms for the night when Gilbeau heard Bash and his girlfriend fighting, according to the affidavit filed by Vermont State Police Detective Sergeant James Whitcomb.
The end of gayborhoods?
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Cool demolition photos from Malden
Sunday, October 21, 2007
MBTA says: You Catholic girls start much too late!
Friday, October 19, 2007
Civil disobedience on the Orange Line
New slogan for Boston Now?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Slate.com's maddening brain teaser
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Suburbanism strikes the (reasonably) big city, part two
Suburbanism strikes the big city, part one
A 6-year-old Brooklyn girl's family was threatened with a $300 fine after a neighbor complained to the city about the girl's blue chalk drawings. The absurd warning from the city Sanitation Department arrived Oct. 5, a few days after Natalie Shea scribbled a blue flower on her parents' 10th St. stoop in Park Slope.
I understand the "broken windows" theory, but if you're worried that a little girl's drawing of a flower can tip your neighborhood into the slum category, you're probably better off in a gated community.
On an unrelated note, I was intrigued by the last pararaph of the story, which is an altered quote from the little girl's mother:
"I'm a good New Yorker. I like to obey the rules," she said. "If it's really illegal for Natalie to use chalk on her own stoop, if that's really upsetting to Mayor [Bloomberg], I will comply."
Why the brackets around "Bloomberg"? Did she really call him "Mayor Jerkwad" or something? Maybe she thought Rudy Giuliani was still mayor, which makes no sense because Rudy would have made a special trip to Brooklyn to see little Natalie put in handcuffs.
Labels: City life
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The T takes the mute out of commuting
High-rise residents of Malden, unite!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Bay State Puritanism strikes again
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Gay bars and pay phones on verge of extinction?
Gay bars: As The Orlando Sentinel noted in a recent article, around the country gay bars have been going out of business as gay men and women have been gaining greater acceptance in society. What used to be a hangout for people who felt unwelcome elsewhere is becoming less necessary. Odds of survival in 10 years: As with many industries, the very best of them will endure; the rest won't.Greater acceptance in society as a whole, particularly among younger generations, is indeed one reason for the drying-up of the gay bar scene. (I'm still mourning Dedo here in Boston, but then I'm old enough to remember the Napoleon Club, the 1270, and Buddy's.) Here are the other nine reasons: 2.) The raising of the drinking age to 21 and the prohibition of happy hours in some states (like Massachusetts) has taught young adults to find other ways to entertain themselves at just the time that they're establishing lifelong habits. And $10 martinis don't help. 3.) Neighborhood groups in Boston, New York, and other large cities are increasingly unlikely to tolerate gay bars in their midst, as they fight against anything that might be noisy or bring "outsiders" to the area. This isn't necessarily a form of homophobia, since gay residents are often the loudest opponents to gay bars. 4.) More gays and lesbians are moving out to the suburbs, both because such communities are becoming gay-friendly and because "livable" large cities are becoming so expensive. 5.) Rents and property values in gentrified cities (often gentrified by gay men) are so high that it doesn't make economic sense to open a business tailored to a narrow demographic group. 6.) Manhunt, craigslist, and other forms of online hooking up. 7.) Gay men and lesbians socializing together more than in the past, and the difficulty of figuring out a bar atmosphere that appeals to both groups but somehow doesn't attract a large straight clientele. 8.) Strippers and porn videos are not such a big draw now that bare skin is so accessible through other means. And they turn off a large segment of the gay clientele anyway (some of whom see go-go boys as an occasional treat rather than a weekly attraction). 9.) Musical tastes among gay men are a lot more splintered than during the disco era. Put three random gay men in a gay bar, and two of them (maybe all three) will flee with their fingers in their ears. 10.) Too many gay bars have aggressive patrons, which can turn off guys who just want to meet friends and aren't interested in going home with anyone. Unfortunately, one busy troll (sorry, I can't think of a euphemism) can make his way through an entire bar and ensure that dozens of guys will never come back.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
My unexpectedly decadent bed
Friday, October 05, 2007
Offensively inoffensive TV
A scene in TV's Desperate Housewives that used Philippine medical education for a punchline prompted angry calls from viewers, an online petition demanding an apology and criticism from Philippine officials. In the season premiere that aired Sunday on ABC, Teri Hatcher's character, Susan, goes in for a medical checkup and is shocked when the doctor suggests she may be going through menopause. ... "OK, before we go any further, can I check these diplomas? Just to make sure they aren't, like, from some med school in the Philippines?" Susan fires back. Viewers called the network to complain but the number of callers wasn't available, an ABC spokesman said Wednesday. As of Wednesday evening, more than 30,000 names were attached to an online petition seeking a network apology. ... ABC said it was considering editing the episode.If an ill-informed and self-absorbed fictional character isn't allowed to say anything ill-informed and self-absorbed, I don't know why I would waste my time watching the TV show she's on. The chilling effect of ABC's "maybe we'll edit this out" statement scares me away from a series like Dirty Sexy Money, which is ostensibly about badly behaving people with money. I'm afraid it even makes me reluctant to watch Friday Night Lights, given how many story possibilities must be off limits on NBC. (There is, for example, the rule against TV characters choosing to have abortions.) Thank God for even below-par HBO shows.
Competing with myself in the blogosphere
Earl goes gay, The Office goes 10 minutes too long
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
The price of self-abuse
Monday, October 01, 2007
Curb Your Gluttony
Labels: Food and drink
Pottery Barn is a crockery tease
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Globe sums up Boston's past 30 years in one headline
Monday, September 24, 2007
Things I Have Learned From Moving to a New Apartment
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
How to set the wrong tone for a landlord/tenant relationship
Media disappointed by lack of death and destruction
Late-forming El Niño conditions are blamed for the fact that last year's hurricane season was more benign than forecast, said Philip Klotzbach, a forecaster at the hurricane center of Colorado State University in Fort Collins.I would have thought El Nino deserved credit, not blame, for preventing another Katrina, but then I'm not a Weather Channel groupie.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
And why is the end of everything so bad?
"You now see the end of a system that we've been living with since the 1970s," said Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore's campaign in 2000 and is a member of the DNC rules committee. "It fell apart in the last cycle, but we kept it together with very interesting glue and duct tape. Unfortunately, this is really out of control."Let's see, turnout in the primaries has been steadily dwindling since the 1970s; presidential candidates have been withdrawing earlier and earlier each cycle, leaving most primaries with just one serious candidate on the ballot; and the Democrats haven't been able to come up with a nominee who got more than 50 percent of the vote in November since... 1976. What exactly is Brazile worried about?