So, I’m checking out events for this year’s summer festivities – YES and Steely Dan are BOTH coming to town, holy shit, holy shit – and I notice the CMAC concessions page:

CMAC Concessions.

CMAC. The “C” stands for Canandaigua, right in the middle of Upstate New York wine country. And guess who is serving up wine at the venue? Why, California producer Mondavi, naturalmente. And Arbor Mist, the company that makes Mad Dog 20/20 seem almost legitimate. And what else?

Well, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is never frowned upon, nor are Zweigels Hots. But c’mon! Why not some local beers and cheeses? Some tastes of the region? At least something that makes a vague play at being healthy might be a nice touch.

I’m sure there must be some bullshit reason for all of this. Guess who doesn’t give a shit what that reason is?

Update: Its been pointed out that, duh, Constellation is running the show, so that would explain the choices. Partially. But for fuck’s sake, give me the Clos du Bois Merlot or Alice White Shiraz over any bullshit from Mondavi any day of the week and twice on Steely Dan night.

I had a litte fun with the silliness of this poll overall: what is the purpose of asking Americans if they are in favour of negative things without a relative choice to make? Taxes and service cuts do not live in bubbles, they’re a part of the whole. But I’ve gone over that one to death.

Americans’ Message to States: Cut, Don’t Tax and Borrow.

What is interesting in the poll is the reaction to the question of cutting state workers’ benefits, an idea which is roundly rejected by a solid eleven-point majority. It seems like the situation in Wisconsin, New Jersey and elsewhere has stiffened Americans’ resolve on that count, which is nice to see.

Once again, just watching the same poll data over and over again: we want to solve what we believe are budget problems, but we don’t want to actually take any of the steps that are being presented as options:

Two in Three in U.S. Say Their State is in a Budget Crisis.

There are a number of issues with the entire concept of this article. For example, two in three people in the US think their state is in a budget crisis. Well, how many of them were actually right? Of those polled, how many lived in states with actual budget crises and how many were not?

This strikes me as a quantitative question with a right or wrong answer. That two in three Americans see it the same way is probably telling in its own right: it seems like the Republican message is getting through, if not the appetite for their remedies. But there is a real baseline here to compare and contrast with, so why is that not included in the report?

The other problem is that, as is the typical blind-spot for polls, multiple choice questions leave us with only one predefined set of answers. Gallup to their credit chose the more common methods of budget cutting, but the choices were all budget cuts. And the problem with that is: we didn’t need to cut the budgets when we were making money in this country. Nowhere in there is the option to “put people back to work and raise tax revenue,” though this is in reality the only measure that works.

I’m not arguing that budgets can’t be cut, that bloat doesn’t happen, that success doesn’t hide a multitude of sin. I’m saying success hides a multitude of sin.