Thursday, August 23

Working at the Fair, year 2

After a few days of catching up on sleep, I think I'm finally ready to record the experience for the ages. First of all, I wrote about last year last year so I don't need to rewrite those parts.

In general, people are still dumb and ugly. Or I should say not all people, but the fair-going type. People still walk into the path of on-coming vehicles after seeing said vehicles. Children still look just like their parents. I still got sunburned.

On the bright side, this year I wasn't alone. My friend, Dave, and I were co-garbagemen. It works much better with two people than with just a single person. Being engineers, we developed a system. I was the primary driver and we'd pull up to the middle of a few barrels. We'd jump off and I'd reach for and start opening a new bag. Dave and I would walk around and check the cans. If one was found to be getting full, he'd pull the tape off and depending on how open the new bag was, one of us would grab it and pull it out and stick in the new bag. I'd carry the full bag back to the trailer and he'd tape the new one down. In full gear, we could change a can in about 20 seconds, I'd say. We could change the midway in 38 minutes including the two trips to the compactor.

For the most part, all of the food vendors were back. There were more changes in location than in the line up. I recognized most of them from last year and I think they recognized me. It was quite unnecessarily awkward that for the most part, people ignored Dave and spoke to me. I felt bad about it. Perhaps they thought he was my assistant instead of colleague?

Last year it only rained a little bit at night. This year, the fair which ran from a Wednesday to a Sunday, only had two decent days on Thursday and Friday. The other days it rained, and quite hard at times. Friday, especially in the p.m., and all day Saturday are typically the best times for the fair.

For us it was a wash. The rain kept people away, which reduced the amount of garbage, but as it turned out, by the clean-up day on Monday, Sunday alone had put a few gallons of water in each bag. (A gallon of water weighs 8.4 lbs.) We had to hide our enthusiasm since all of the other fair workers and the fair wanted lots of people to come, each admission is $7.

In addition to the rain and a second person, the fair had acquired more cans. In fact, we had more than 1.5 times as many cans this year to allocate than last year, 150 from 90. It would sound funny to say, but garbage cans seem to be the status symbol amongst carnies. They always ask for more. People wave us down and ask for them. I've developed a short list of possible things to say to requests: 'we'll look into it', 'we'll investigate', 'I'll see what we can do', 'I'll pass it on to so-and-so', etc. I suppose that's just normal office or organization hierarchy talk.

In general, there was a garbage can between each thing: a food vendor or building. One of the barbeque stands, which was on a corner kept on demanding a third can. We had already put one on the exact corner, and on the main road at the end of their slot, and they wanted one for their private seating area. The interiors of buildings, exhibits, and stands aren't in our jurisdiction, even when they're outdoors. Behind them was the music stage area and we were transporting a few empty cans to that. We turned their corner and the lady was thanking us for bringing another can and we kept on going. Awkward!

During the fair, we were the manifestation of the fair higher-ups to the vendors, as we were hired by the fair board to perform a service that is one of the most important fair services to the food vendors. They pay money to have each of those slots and a fair with trash everywhere is very different and probably a lot less hungry than a clean fair. When a food vendor or the petting zoo guy is unnecessarily disrespectful, one's first instinct is to be saucy back, but as representatives of the fair, the customer is always right. Besides there are much more subtle ways of retribution.

A few people asked us for directions and food recommendations and prices. I'm surprised more people don't ask for food recommendations. But then again, does anyone go to a fair expecting to eat good food at low prices? We see what people throw away and it's surprising. The nice barbeque stand (the other one), always smelled good and one of the things on their menu was "giant turkey leg". We saw a few giant turkey legs in the trash with only a bite or two taken. There were tons of corndogs with only a few nibbles on the ends and funnel cakes mostly intact. I don't get why people wait in line and fork over lots of money for something fried just to take a few bites and throw it away. Dave's hypothesis is that people are drawn to the flashiest stand without considering much else.

I had one possible idea which would be to go around and compile a fair guide which would list items, prices, and reviews and then sell them to the fair goers. The vendors would really scream. However, the market works better and more efficiently with more information.

High schoolers are the most annoying people. The funny thing is that when you're a freshman, the seniors look like big kids, but now as a college junior, even the college freshmen look like little kids. Most people at least move slowly out of a vehicles path, but high schoolers quite readily offer their feet to be run over. They also stand in big groups in the middle of the roads well past the time that most other people have left. They're the only ones at whom I would honk.

The other thing about high schoolers is that I drove past a few guys I recognized from my high school class. They were more of the kind of people that just show up when the bell rings and just go home when it rings again. Anyway, at least twice I saw guys from my class pushing strollers. That's unfortunate. Dave observed that wherever a person is when he starts having kids is, for the most part, wherever he'll be in life.

Out of the non-public at the fair, there are the fair board people who actually run it, the food people, the ride operators, the commercial exhibitors, the arts & craps people, and the farmers. I've never dealt with the commercial exhibitors nor the a&c people since they're in their own buildings more than picking up what they pitch. As far as the other people go, the food vendors seem to be normal. Surprisingly as I found, the wikipedia lists carnies as anyone who operates a booth, ride, game, or food stand at a carnival. The ride operators are undoubtedly carnies, their vehicles said they're from Wisconsin, but I wasn't really expecting the food people to be carnies, too. Though they participate in the mobile lifestyle, they actually have to be presentable since people are buying food from them.

Talking about carnies, I discovered some proof that carnies do exist (in case there were any doubt):

A piece of cardboard fell out on in the back of the gator and I found it. Who knows what they're planning! Could be a carnival ... or an insurrection. We got a kick out of the strange item names, 'fun makers' and 'critter puffs', and the misspellings like 'sords' and 'for wheels'.

As you can imagine, to preserve our sanity, we, two college guys, came up with some running jokes, most of which is repeatable here, though you might not get it.

The biggest one had to be the voice and character of the bee in this video:

It's pretty applicable to anything. Start with the "Oh no!" and work from there. (There are a lot of "Oh no!" situations in garbage.) In that voice say what's bad, then something positive about it, and then declare your conclusion, "which is your choice". There were a few hours there, where we may have ended up getting stuck talking like that.

On the first day we noticed one of the vendors was a "God Mobile" vehicle (the picture is from their website):

We took "God Mobile" like the cell phone company "T-Mobile", the difference being that God Mobile offers stuff like unlimited roaming in Europe and North America, you never get disconnected, and stuff along those lines. You can make up your own jokes about it.

They offer a "two question test" as to whether a person is going to heaven. Being the omniscient garbage people we are (we eventually know everything) we got our hands on a copy of the test. I'm not going to type it here because it's online. Needless to say, no one short of a Ned Flanders is getting in.

The other big joke, for which Dave wants credit, is as follows: we were driving through what we called "Carnytown", the ride area, and upon passing the Fun Slide, I asked him what happens when someone gets to the bottom and asks the operator for a refund since he didn't have fun. Dave corrected me. He said the operator would say that it's actually a "Fun Slide" (pronounced FOON slide) from Eastern Hungaria, which the Eastern Hungarians used to escape to the West after the Soviets arrived. They also stayed in Fun (pronounced FOON) Houses which operated kind of like the Underground Railroad.

Like I said, those probably aren't as funny as when we randomly came up with them, but they got us through the fair. That and people watching.

The fair wasn't as much of a shock this year since I was fresh out of France last year. Dave, and I to an extent, were happy to see the Dane County sign as we rolled back to town. As I told Dave, I didn't think the people at the fair are an accurate representation of that area; they weren't an accurate sample. Also a typical county fair is pretty much the exact opposite of downtown Madison in every way possible. In the end, the world needs all types of people (even those who don't know how to correctly use an apostrophe).

Monday, August 13

One for the road

This is my last post before I leave, I promise.

I saw this video yesterday and, well, I guess he shows his true colors. To say the least, I am very, very disappointed. Where was this in 2004?

On Wisconsin Healthcare

I wrote this without really intending to post it here. I was starting to get disturbed by the blind belief in the recent state health care proposal.

I find this Wisconsin medical insurance law disgusting. There are a few major problems with it that people seem to not even be able to understand. Wisconsin is not going to magically turn into the land of milk and honey no matter how high they raise the taxes to pay for it.

For starters, 45 million people sounds like a lot, yet it is only 15% of the people in this country of 300 million. Why are we cutting down the 85% of people who are able to get coverage for themselves to match the unsuccessful 15%?

First of all, since Wisconsin will be paying for your medical bills, the state now has a vested interest seeing that you stay as healthy as possible. People seem to swallow silly cigarette taxes and bans, but that is just the start of us losing our freedom. They will tax and ban everything that's bad: fried foods, candy, soda, alcohol...driving a car, not exercising. We will lose our liberty and freedom of choice. You may say that we're safer though. Why don't they just wrap each of us up in bubble wrap and be done with it?

Secondly, they budget for only so much. They, just like every other country with socialized medicine, especially Canada and Britain, will draw up a list of how many of each procedure they can afford to perform. X number of heart surgeries, Y number of cancer treatments this year. If it's October and they just performed the last budgeted organ transplant and you need one, guess what happens.

Thirdly, anything that is perceived as free is wasted. Since it doesn't cost anything to the people, as far as they perceive, people will start going to the ER every time they get a boo-boo or something hurts or their baby sneezes. That's already been going on with low co-pays and whatnot. It will get worse as healthcare turns into the newest example of the proverbial "Tragedy of the Commons" as everyone races to try to get his fair share of healthcare out of the pot.

Remember back to grade school. I remember people who made trips to the nurse all the time 'because their tummy hurts' and all sorts of stuff. I only went once to the nurse in 13 years of public school, K-12, when I broke my finger in gym class. If they charged kids even a dollar or two for each visit, then the chronic complainers would stop blocking up the nurses office for the people who actually need it.

Furthermore, if there is a shortage of doctors right now with only 85% of the country having access to them, then when 100% of the people are covered, then they'll get 18% (100/85) more busy! Not to mention that the State will soon start regulating the salaries of doctors in order to keeps its costs down, which will encourage people to be doctors in other states if at all. Fixing the problem through government will only make the problem worse, causing the need for more government and so on it snowballs.

Now, I don't complain about something unless I offer solutions. The state of Wisconsin should definitely not provide any kind of health anything. The state (and federal government) should eliminate as much regulation as possible on the medical industry. The shortage of doctors is because the American Medical Assoc. has a monopoly. They are not a doctors' union, rather they control how many open spots per year there are in medical schools and how many can then practice. Their incentive is to keep that number as small as possible to create a shortage to raise doctors' salaries (supply and demand).

On a side note, people are trying to get around the artificially small opening via fields like chiropractics. One of the coaches at my high school was one, and I'm sure he and many of them would make fine enough doctors, but they can't and didn't ever have the opportunity to go to medical school for doctors, which a free market would have allowed them--chiropractor school is under different, freer regulations.

Moreover, Wisconsin needs to allow people the option to practice whatever profession they want without a license--make requiring a license optional. Now, upon first consideration, you may find it disgusting to think that whoever wants to, can set up shop and claim to be a doctor. Well, they should be. First of all, if it's important to you ask to see the doctor's credentials. A license should mean that whoever, a barber or a doctor, has at least enough skill to be recognized by the state as competent, but if you want to save money and take a chance on an unlicensed doctor (or barber, or teacher, or real estate agent, or lawyer), you're free to.

As an example, perhaps then a nurse with a few years of experience who knows enough about what to do with people who walk in sick, can then open up a small clinic for sick people, or for physicals, then medical capacity increases and the price decreases.

I am an engineering student. Would you believe there are few if any government regulations concerning engineering and the country operates just fine? (For all the things we design, build, and make in this country, so few things go wrong that it's big news when they do.) We have several professional organizations that have boards, mainly old and retired engineers, that draw up books of our own standards and regulations completely free of the government. If something does break, then we are legally held to those standards in court.

No matter how much kool-aid you drink, the government and the bureaucracy cannot do a better job than the market. The government does not create anything (except for long lines, space shuttles, and atomic bombs [and we all know how that worked out]); it only moves around wealth at an alarmingly inefficient rate.

I'm sure all of you have been to a sporting event, whether professional, collegiate, or high school. Have you ever seen a referee who thinks he is a player? Those games always go the worst. In real life, we, the people, along with businesses are the players. The government is instituted to be the referee. Our problems of today have all be created in the last 70 years when the government decided that it is not just the referee, it should be actively involved in shaping how things turn out.

As John Stossel says, at the least Wisconsin is going to show the rest of the country why control is a bad idea. Too bad we have to take one for the team, I guess. (Heh, that's altruism for 'ya.)

If they say Wisconsin has a brain drain now, wait until this gets implemented. People will run screaming for the nearest state line. Of course, there are some idealistic people who will move in, along with everyone else in the country with a chronic or costly ailment seeking treatment. People will start washing up on Michigan's west coast in old rusted cars and on other assorted pool accessories. (Okay, maybe not that last sentence.) I, along with other productive people and businesses, will be promptly taking our leave from this state. I'll be gone as soon I graduate.

If they implement this and the state goes to hell in a handbasket, they will never repeal it. Old laws never die.

It makes more sense to me that Wisconsin should provide auto insurance before it even starts to deal with health insurance. It's against the law in the state to drive without auto insurance! They should at least give people a decent solution since they created the problem in the first place. (Note: I'm not suggesting they should provide any kind of insurance.)

Au revoir

I shan't be posting for the next few days. I'll be too busy and at home, working at the county fair again this year. (Hint: Kenosha is the big city in my county.)

I wrote about it last year. This time I've got a friend to do it with me, but there's one thing to which I'm not looking forward: the smell of all that fried stuff. Or the fair-goers. There are two things to which I'm not looking forward: all the fried stuff, and the country people, and the trash...

But this time, I've got some Ron Paul bumper stickers. And I won't be fresh out of Europe, so it shouldn't be so much of a shock. I'd take a camera, but I'm not planning on it--it could easily be swiped, so there may be photos. Otherwise, I'll be seeing you in a week.

The Hottest Toy this Xmas:

The Ben Bernenke Action Figure. I want one! (From here) Click for a bigger image.

Friday, August 10

Political Potpourri

It has started.

The campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards accused former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) of taking “every opportunity to exploit the memory of 9/11 for political gain.”

The statement from Edwards’s campaign manager David Bonior, a former congressman from Michigan, came in response to Giuliani’s statement that he “was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers."

“Evidently, Rudy Giuliani has taken a break from reality,” Bonior said. “It is outrageous for Giuliani to suggest, in any way, shape or form, that he did more at ground zero or spent more time there than the brave first responders who worked tirelessly around the clock for many months during the rescue and recovery operation.”

The Giuliani campaign reacted with an equally strong statement.

“For John Edwards to lecture Rudy Giuliani about September 11th is laughable at best," said Katie Levinson, Communications Director for the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee. “This is, after all, the same guy who thinks the War on Terror is simply a ‘bumper sticker.’”

Isn't that a classic case of the kettle calling the pot black? The swiftboats are swooping in and have just landed. Not a minute too late, I should add.

Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he misspoke when he said he spent as much time, if not more, at ground zero exposed to the same health risks as workers combing the site after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The former New York mayor struck a nerve with firefighters and police officers when he said Thursday in Cincinnati that he was at ground zero "as often, if not more, than most of the workers."

"I have a real problem with that statement," said Battalion Chief John McDonnell, head of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association in New York. "I think he's really grasping and trying to justify his previous attempts to portray himself as the hero of 9/11."

Does Rudy have anything other than 9/11 on which to run a campaign? Not really.

- - -

Tomorrow is the big Ames Straw Poll for the presidential candidates. Historically whoever wins it goes on to do well. It doesn't have any official consequences, but a few of the candidates that take the bottom spots are expected to pull out of the race and lighten the field.

The big candidates, McCain, Guiliani, and Fred Thompson aren't actively out in Iowa, only Mitt is. I'm sure the Iowans will remember that when the time comes. If you go on his website, his campaign, to which he gave $9 million, will buy you transportation and a $35 ticket to vote in it. In contrast common folk people are buying Iowans tickets to vote for Ron Paul.

I hope Ron Paul at least places in the middle; he might get as high as 2nd, behind Mitt. I guess what people don't understand is that he's trying to help you, not himself like most other politicians nowadays. A Ron Paul government would want to neither run your life nor your money. He's got a 20 year congressional record backing him up. He's hasn't flip-flopped and he's never voted to raise taxes. The lobbyists don't even bother trying to sway him. Since he's against the war he's the black sheep of the GOP, but does anyone think that a pro-war candidate can actually win the election?

Who will drop out? It's definitely make or break for Tommy Thompson. I hear he's spent all of his time there campaigning from county to county. Overall, he's making a surprisingly little splash. I think this might be the last hurrah of Hunter and Tancredo. Huckabee's been doing well, but still not good. Brownback is somewhere in between them. Nothing out of the McCain camp lately...

- - -

Congratulations! Your money is worth less today!

Since some people at some banks made some bad loans the Fed had to throw money at them today so they don't start to tank. Today it "infused" just an emergency $38 billion into the markets today, after $24 billion yesterday. According to the Fed there's already approximately $783.5 billion floating around out there. That's a total of 7.9% over the last two days. Expect inflation as this extra money works its way through the market.

Riders "leaking" from MSN

From the WiSJ:

Despite dramatic improvements over the past three years — including a $65 million renovation and an expansion in the number of nonstop flights — more Madison area travelers are bypassing the Dane County airport to do their flying from Milwaukee or Chicago.

Here is the problem. The percentage of passengers who bypass the local airport to fly out of other cities is called "leakage." After the service improvements at the Dane County airport, the Madison area "leakage' should have declined. Instead, it increased.

Data from Mead & Hunt of Madison show that from late 2002 to late 2003, just over 63 percent of Madison area travelers chose to fly from the Dane County airport. Most of the rest used Chicago or Milwaukee airports.

From mid-2005 to mid-2006, after many of the airport improvements had been made, the percentage of passengers flying from the Dane County airport declined to just over 59 percent.

The percentages of local passengers flying from Chicago and Milwaukee were up.

Last year I flew in and out of Madison, both times the other terminal was O'Hare to connect to go elsewhere. The Dane County airport is very pleasant and hassle-free, especially considering that there isn't much of a line in Madison to go through the same security as in Chicago.

A flaw in Madison's airport has to be this, which I experienced first hand: it's a bit isolated. I flew back on a Sunday and stopped by the info desk to ask where the bus stop was. I was quite surprised to find that the bus doesn't go to the airport on weekends. (The taxis must have a good lobby.) On weekdays between 6:30 am and 10:55 pm, it stops twice an hour in the morning and afternoon rush, and hourly during the day. I then had to pay $14 to split a cab instead of using my $600+ buss pass (see "segregated funds") to ride for free.

The lack of bus connectivity probably doesn't affect most Madisonians. They either park or ask a friend or family to stop by and pick them up. However, I imagine with a major university here, a lot of potential fliers are foreigners, especially foreign students, and students headed abroad. Coach bus tickets from Memorial Union to O'Hare run about $20 and are probably round trip.

Looking up the flight from MSN to ORD on the airfare websites shows that that a ticket is roughly just under $300, one way. I think flying to Madison or taking the bus would be a wash. After paying hundreds to fly international and spend hours on planes, I'd probably take the bus and save some money. By bus it's about 2.5 hours on 135 miles of I-90, but I had to wait that long in O'Hare for the 25 minute flight to Madison anyway.

In the end, Madison has too small of a market and is just too close to one of the biggest airports in the world to directly compete with it. However, Madison seems to be a better option for flights that go to cities a few states states away in the South or on the East Coast.

Tuesday, August 7

Bitch, please!

It appears New York City has gone from banning stuff that goes in to people's mouths to stuff that comes out of people's mouths.

The New York City Council, which drew national headlines when it passed a symbolic citywide ban earlier this year on the use of the so-called n-word, has turned its linguistic (and legislative) lance toward a different slur: bitch.

The term is hateful and deeply sexist, said Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn, who has introduced a measure against the word, saying it creates “a paradigm of shame and indignity” for all women. . . .

While the bill also bans the slang word “ho,” the b-word appears to have acquired more shades of meaning among various groups, ranging from a term of camaraderie to, in a gerund form, an expression of emphatic approval. Ms. Mealy acknowledged that the measure was unenforceable, but she argued that it would carry symbolic power against the pejorative uses of the word. Even so, a number of New Yorkers said they were taken aback by the idea of prohibiting a term that they not only use, but do so with relish and affection.

Bitchin'! The mall Santas are going to run into trouble.

Sunday, August 5

Ron Paul on Fox News

Ron Paul had a really good interview on Fox News in the last hour. Check it out:

Part 1 of 2 (5 mins):

Part 2 of 2 (5 mins):

Republican debate

I'm a bit disappointed. I think there's another hour of it floating around somewhere, but I can't watch it since at the commercial break in the middle of the debate, the local ABC station went to paid programming, but I will comment on the first hour.

Right away it started off pitting a Sam Brownback campaign statement against Mitt Romney over Brownback's pre-recorded phone message calling Romney a flip-flopper on abortion. Along those lines, this debated seemed especially confrontational in comparison to CNN's debates, but Stephanopoulos has done a better job of not being as easy a pushover as Blitzer by the candidates. He seemed to work in nearly all the candidates in each round at the expense of the number of questions; CNN was visa-versa.

The first round was abortion. The second round was Iraq strategy and Ron Paul got the bookends on that one. Though I support Ron Paul, the Iraq issue is the one with which I am the most unsure of about him. On the one hand, democracy and freedom is good, but you can't point a gun at people as you tell them to vote. And the war is costing us billions and billions and if we really want to spread democracy and whatnot, then basically what we should do is to invade everything between Morocco and India. I like Ron Paul's proposal that we spread democracy by being the good example. Unfortunately, that method takes generations instead of a few years.

Tancredo said last week that he'd drop the bomb on some of the Muslim's holy cities if we are attacked and he reconfirmed it today. I think that's by far one of the worse ideas, ever. Though in the immediate heat of something really bad, it wouldn't seem like such a bad idea, that'd be the kind of thing for which we'd deserve a regime change. If only he weren't an extremist he'd be more viable. On healthcare, I think it was he who said something like 'the president's job isn't to educate and care for kids, it's to protect the country'. Whether or not he said it, it is true.

Rudy was out with his normal nonsensical statements. In the past he said "freedom is about submitting a large amount of control of your life to authority". Today he said something like 'Democracy isn't about voting, it's about the military using force to control stuff' and that people were afraid to go out for groceries before he was mayor. I sure hope he doesn't get the nomination. He does this certain look that's incredibly annoying when he opens his eyes really wide and raises his eyebrows.

He got, quite frankly, bitch slapped by Stephanopoulos twice. Confronted with his words, Rudy denied the phrasing of something, and George said 'I've got the transcripts right here' and then he disagreed so George read it word for word.

Mitt Romney is annoying too. He seems as plastic as John Edwards. It's interesting to hear how their phrasing shifts over time. Today he was picking up a little Paul by saying that we need to set a positive example. He did have the funny of the debate when he said that Barack Obama "has gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove" in the last week. (How I miss that mineshaft gap.)

Huckabee seemed to do well. I'd say he's my #2 candidate. A few weeks ago I saw him on tv refuting the film Sicko. He comes off as being stable, conservative, and real. I find myself agreeing with him with other issues, but he seems strong in the healthcare field for some reason, likely to the chagrin of Tommy Thompson.

I think Tommy had a good debate, perhaps even his best. Really though, healthcare is the only issue he's got and he's not particularly special on it. Other than that, he seemed like the polite, level, older gentleman on stage. Unfortunately for him, playin' it safe is leaving him in the dust with, 4% I think it was in Iowa, even after he's spent all his time going from county to county.

I'd like to see what they're talking about in the second half. This one was more of a debate in that most of them were actually almost disagreeing with each other.

Saturday, August 4

the Networks' Presidential Coverage

I came across a chart from the New York Times of the amount of time each presidential candidate has been interviewed by news channel through the middle of July. (Click on it for full size)

Some of the numbers don't quite make sense. Surprisingly, John McCain has had the most air time at nearly 6 hours spread evenly across the board yet his campaign is going down like the Titanic. The candidate with the second largest amount of time is Joe Biden, with just over 5 hours, whereas Hillary, the current Democrat frontrunner, has only had half that and she's near the bottom of air time. The third and fourth spots are held by Huckabee and Richardson who are both largely ignored.

Someone who really is ignored is our own Tommy Thompson dead last with 53 minutes. I heard one commentator mention that he'd be lucky to stay in for another two weeks. Unfortunately Ron Paul is third from last.

The most striking contrast has to be that of Fred Thompson who has only been on two channels, NBC and Fox, and despite not even actually running has the second most air time on Fox, of 101 minutes, just 14 minutes behind Rudy's 115.

It is said that the media has a liberal bias, so I took these numbers and did a little computing:

Hmm, it appears the "fair and balanced news" channel isn't so balanced. Other than that, these channels are slanted liberal, but rather moderately in comparison to Fox News. In fact summing up the swing of the other five stations yields 73%, slightly larger than Fox's 70.5% Republican swing. Fox is literally single-handedly balancing tv politics, it would appear.

Taking into account the fact that there are 10 GOP and 8 Democrat candidates the chips fall as such:

On the bottom is how much more interview time each channel gives to the average candidate from each party. Once again, Fox News is the most slanted, but overall the Democrats have still gotten 1.2 times as much tv time as the Republicans.

One last chart, each channel's top three candidates:

This chart is near even, 11 Dems and 9 GOP'ers. CNN has two ties.

Overall from the first graphic, I would say CNN and MSNBC do the best job of covering all the candidates, though leaning Democrat. CNN emphasizes the big candidates and MSNBC emphasizes the 'others' (although CNN needs to add a 'Wolf Blitzer' category). The air networks ignore the 'fringes' and Fox ignores 'fringes' and Democrats.

***On a side note, the next presidential debate is this Sunday morning at 8 am CST on ABC with the nine Republican candidates. Yikes!