Tuesday, October 31, 2006

One Week To Go

Well, we have one week to go until the election of 2006 and I thought I would look into my magic crystal ball and predict the outcome. In addition, I will list who Notes From The Front officially endorses in the major races in Minnesota.

But first, let's start with the prognostications.

The Democrats have more or less won the United States House. They have at least a 30 seat lead that does not include any of the tossups. So, get ready for Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Remember that she will be third in line, behind President Bush and Vice President Cheney, in order of executive power. I know many of you neocons out there are shaking in your boots and pooping your boxers. My advice to you is this: stop listening to the propoganda that your side is vomitously spewing out and listen to what she has to say. It may suprise you and if she follows through on her ideas, they have been way too long in coming.

The Senate, on the other hand, is a different matter. It's going to come down to Missouri, Tennesee, and Virginia. All three of those races are virtually tied. If all the rest of the states sit where they are right now, it will be 49 Democrat and 48 Republican without those three states. So, if the Dems take 2 out of 3, they have the majority. Remember if the end up tied at 50 a piece then the Vice President has the tiebreaking vote. Does anyone out there want Dick Vader to have even more power than he already has?

My prediction is that it will be Missouri and Virginia with Tennessee staying Republican. Clairie McGaskill (D) is running against the biggest horse's ass known to man, Jim Talent (R) in Missouri. I have a few readers in Missouri. Please vote for Claire.

If Jim Talent is the biggest horses ass, then George Allen (R-Virginia) is the biggest douchebag known to man. I have a couple of readers in Virginia as well. Please vote for James Webb and send Allen home for good. Allen's racism, misogyny, and outright psychosis is enough to show how unfit he is to be a leader....not to mention his unwavering support of Bush Co's horrifying national policies is terrifically nauseating.

I like Harold Ford in Tennessee but I just can't see a Democrat winning here. Nonetheless, if you live in Tennessee, get out the vote for Harold!

For an exact breakdown of all of the races I urge you to check out Electoral Vote. Com. This site has all the latest polls, maps, and tons of links to informative articles on the election. Now onto my official endorsements. Each name is hyperlinked to that candidates web site so you can check out their information.

For the US Senate, Notes From the Front officially endorses Amy Kolbuchar. She is one of the best candidates to come out of this state in years. Check out her website for her positions on the issues....all of which are dead-on right.

For District 1, NFTF endorses Tim Walz. How about a 24 year veteran of the Army National Guard weighing in on Iraq?

For District 2, NFTF endorses Coleen Rowley. Scroll down and read my previous post about Coleen.

For District 3, NFTF endorses Wendy Wilde aka MOM. I know this Jim's district but y'know he voted for the Iraq War and still believes that it is a good thing to be there. C'mon, folks, that's just despicable.

For District 4, NFTF endorses Betty McCollum.

For District 5, NFTF endorses Keith Ellison.

For District 6, NFTF endorses (with a loud cheer) Patty Wetterling. This is the tightest race in the state. Please vote for Patty and return some sanity to this district.

For District 7, NFTF endorses Collin Peterson.

For District 8, NFTF endorses James Oberstar. Congressmen Oberstar recently took a tour of his district to hear what people had to say. He found that most of his constituency wanted President Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld fired. Cool.

And I thought I would save the best for last. In the contest for Governor of Minnesota, NFTF officially endorses...Peter Hutchinson! Yes, yes. I know all of you are wondering why I am not voting for Tim Pawlenty aka W of the Northwoods.....

Hee Hee. Just kidding.

Seriously, though. Why is Markadelphia not getting behind his liberal pal Mike Hatch? Well, the answer is simple: Attorney General Hatch went after Medica a couple of years back and decided to try to have my good friend's dad, who is on the board at Medica, thrown in jail. So, it's personal between Mikey and me. I think he is a dick.

And I think Peter Hutchinson is a great guy. His ideas are bright and, most important, independent. Thank God!

So, there you have it. My official predictions and endorsements in the most important election of our time. Folks, get out there and vote. Let's see the same size voter turnout that we saw in 2004.

It's time to take back our country!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

World Champions

Most of you who know me understand that I have a deep love/obsession with St Louis Cardinals baseball. I hang on every pitch, every hit, every game, every year with the emotion of what can only be described as pure joy. When it comes to the Cardinals, I am very much like a giddy school girl on prom night.

I love baseball. It is the greatest game ever invented and the hardest game to play i.e. it requires tremendous athletic ability. People that play it are right up there, in my eyes, with the likes of John Lennon, JFK, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Any player...any team....are all wonderful but if you wear a Cardinal uniform, you are a god. I have said the following often:

Since baseball is the sport that God plays in heaven with the angels, it is the only sport that she takes the time to watch.

Last night, the Cards, who all season have looked highly average, won the World Series 4 games to 2 against the Detroit Tigers. The video above shows the last pitch and the melee of love which ensued afterwards.

It was fucking awesome.

So many thoughts and emotions ran through my head. I thought of my dad and my grandmother and all the games we watched together. Both of them are no longer with us but I know that they are most assuredly smiling in infinity.....wherever the Great Spirit has taken them.

I thought of my 90 year old grandfather who, in his lifetime, has seen them win all 10 of their World Series rings. They have won in the years 1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1982, and 2006. My grandfather was at one of those World Series victories. I don't remember the exact date but he told me about how, when he was just ten years old, he got to see Babe Ruth play at Sportman's Park in October of 1926. Amazing!

I have only seen them win twice in my lifetime. 1982 was a great year but this year, with my man Albert, was something truly special. The last time they went to the Series was just two years ago and they were swept by the Red Sox. Less than a week later, George W. Bush was elected President (for the first time) and my men's volleyball team lost to our arch rivals.

It was a dark time.

This year, in so many ways, the Cardinals atonement for their loss in 2004 shows up all their critics and proudly silences the loudmouths who speak of a supposed National League weakness. Their victory last night represents a harbinger of light...of good things to come in the next week and a half.

So, could it be that the country that I love so much is going to make up for the worst mistake it has ever made?

We will find out on November 7th.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Fear Card

Well, neocons are playing the fear card again. Gosh, what a shock. Check this add out and tell me if you know of anyone that would actually buy this line of bullshit.

Laura Ingraham said on her show today that "the terrorists are watching our election and we all know who they want to win."

Really, Laura? Because from where I am sitting the only terrorist attack that occurred on our soil was on Bush's watch. And it has been FIVE FUCKING YEARS and we haven't caught the person behind it yet. To top it all off, reports from Afghanistan say that most foreign jihadists are leaving Iraq (too dangerous with that "non" civil war going on) and are now back helping the Taliban.

Great. Good job, neocons! It looks to me like you are INCREASING the chances of a terrorist attack by your failed policy. Your policies have hurt us, not helped us and they make us weaker. Do you want to know that the Democrats will do if they take back Congress?

Cut off funding for the Iraq War, redeploy troops to Afghanistan (where the actual people that attacked us are hiding), and start kicking diplomatic ass up and down the Middle East which will re-establish our country's street cred.

Do you want to have a strong country? Start listening to people like Jack Murtha (D-PA), a twenty year veteran in the armed forces and Vietnam combat volunteer. His plan, which can be read here, is the only sane idea for Iraq I see coming out of Washington these days.

How anyone can take conservatives seriously anymore, in the face of so many facts to the contrary, completely boggles me...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Second

It looks like the Minnesota Second is now a battleground as Coleen Rowley, the Democratic Challenger, has jumped up 7 points in the polls and now trails Republican incumbent by only 8 points (42 to 50).

Coleen Rowley is a very interesting candidate. I urge you to check out her website here. She is running a campaign that is befuddling Democrats and enraging Republicans. Rowley was listed as one of Time's Women of the Year in 2002 for being one of the only people on our government that was trying to warn us about the 9-11 attacks. She used to be a Republican until she decided that her party had gone off the deep end. The Democrats don't like they way she is running her campaign, citing her stance on immigration is being to far from the party lines.

She also doesn't seem to want to spend as much money as her opponent does. Rowley has consistently wanted to run a campaign on the issues, specifically getting the troops out of Iraq and redeploying them to Afghanistan, a new focus in the War on Terror, increased veteran's rights (something the Bush administration has been quite poor on), and serious immigration reform.

I really like her. It took cahonies to stand up to Bush Co. and tell them how badly they fucked up on 9-11. She is definelty someone I want representing our state in DC.

Folks, if you live in the Second, vote for Coleen!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bachmann Part Deux

I can't see why any rational person would vote for someone like Michelle Bachmann. What color is the sky in her world?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

God Called Me

I thought I would post this piece of video to go along with the thread in comments of my last post. This is Michelle Bachman, Republican candidate for the Sixth District in Minnesota, talking about how God called her to run for Congress.

I would like all of you female voters in the Sixth District to note how, according to Bachmann, you (as women) should be SUBMISSIVE TO YOUR HUSBANDS!!

You gotta love that one...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How To Ignore Reality 101

Yesterday on the radio I got to hear part of the debate between Patty Wetterling (left) and Michelle Bachman . Wetterling, a Democrat, is running against Bachman, a Republican, in the sixth district in Minnesota. It's been a few years since a politician caused my jaw to drop and transform my mouth into a heckuva fly catcher. I think the last time it happened was when President Bush, less than six months after the 9-11 attacks, said that Osama bin Laden "didn't matter" and "didn't spend too much time thinking about him."

But Michelle Bachman (left) broke the drought when such pearls of wisdom spilled from her mouth as, "Global warming has not been proven to actually be occurring. There is no scientific evidence for it." She also said, "Terri Schiavo was a healthy women who was killed by people who hate life." I suppose I shouldn't expect anything less than pure dribble from the woman that has said that, if elected, she will prosecute any women that has ever had an abortion and put them in jail.

I should really thank Ms. Bachman, though, for showing me exactly why I will NEVER be a conservative: complete and utter ignorance of reality. In listening to her today, it dawned on me how conservatives are just plain wrong on so many issues. Let's take a look at how neocons deal with each issue that is on the minds of voters these days:

Abortion? Just don't have sex. (So realistic.....)
AIDS? Just don't have sex....and don't be gay...(Equally as based in reality as above)
Environmental issues? There are none...everything is fine (contrary to the reams of evidence)
Iraq? No problems there...everything's fine...(600,000 dead people as result of the war)
Education? Kids just need to be tested more...that's all...never mind that everyone learns differently
Economy? Spending? Deficit? Where? Look at the Dow....all is good...
Health Care? Uh, don't get sick and everything will be fine...
Genocide in Africa? So what...they aren't Americans....who gives a fuck?

Up and down the line, neocons refuse to look at fundamental realities of the world. They seem to think that if one ignores a problem, it will go away. Their solutions (if you can even call them that) solve nothing and pander to people who can't handle the difficulties we face. Neocons are good salesmen, though. They sell the "simplicity" because people need to believe the lie. They can't face dealing with reality because it actually requires work and effort.

In other words, conservatives are lazy. They don't want to have to think about an issue and so do many undecided voters, which is why Bush won in 2004. People don't want to hear someone talk about problems (i.e. the Democrats) and present complex, diverse solutions. It's too much work and it also requires too much thought. The current demographics in the Wetterling/Bachman race support my point. In three recent polls, people that are going to vote for Wetterling are college educated or above and people that are going to vote for Bachman have a high school diploma or less.

If you need further evidence of my point, take a look at how Patty Wetterling addresses issues as opposed to Michelle Bachman by following the links below:

Wetterling Solutions

Bachman Solutions

Bachman's issue page reads more like a "Cliff's Notes" version of our nation's problems. I'm sorry, but that offends me. We need comprehensive solutions to these problems so, PLEASE, if you live in the sixth..


Friday, October 13, 2006

The Roof Is On Fire

This week, Professor Kevin Barrett at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has come under fire (again) from the national media for likening President Bush to Adolph Hitler. Howls of protests, calling Professor Barrett a lunatic, can be heard up and down the dial from Fox News' Bill O'Reilly to radio's Rush Limbaugh and all of the other "liberal" media.

Since my heart leaps with joy and glee when neocons get worked up into a lather, I decided to look into this matter myself. There have been a lot of posts in comments on this blog on the similarities between Bush Co and the Nazi Regime. Several people who post here have vehemently refuted such a comparison, calling people who draw such a juxtaposition insane. Some politicos that I have talked to personally say that the current Necon leadership purposefully modeled their approach to seizing power based on Nazi Germany. The question is: how accurate is any of this?

Professor Barrett's main point is that 9-11 was an inside job similar to the burning of the Reichstag in 1933 in Germany. Without reading a single iota of Barrett's research, I went to Wikipedia and looked up what exactly happened at Reichstag. I urge you all to read the full article on Wikipedia. The link is here.

What I read there was appalling.

To sum up, The Reichstag Fire was essentially the beginning of Nazi Germany. On February 27, 1933 authorities were summoned to the Reichstag, Germany's parliament, which was on fire in several places. They found a shirtless man there named Marinus van der Lubbe, a known Communist. Blame was initially placed on him and 3 other Communists who were sent to trial for arson in early March of 1933.

Coincidently, on March 5, 1933 general elections were to be held, at the request of Hitler, to determine whether or not the German constitution should be dissolved, more seats given to Nazis in the government, and Hitler's Enabling Act be passed. This act essentially allowed Hitler to act without the approval of Parliament. Up until this election, the Nazis only had 32 percent of the seats in the government. After the fire and running on a campaign of "see how evil communists can be," the Nazis won 44 percent of the vote. They then proceeded to buy off the other parties in government so they could have the two thirds vote they needed to pass the Enabling Act. And they did.

As the years have gone by, many historians have wondered how such a massive fire could have been started by one man. According to the article, "Considering the speed with which the fire engulfed the building, van der Lubbe's reputation as a mentally disturbed arsonist hungry for fame, and cryptic comments by leading Nazi officials, it is generally believed the Nazi hierarchy was involved in order to reap political gain-and it obviously did."

Does any of this sound familiar to any of you at all?

Look, I'm not saying that Barrett is 100 percent accurate. I still think Al Qaeda was behind the attacks. But he makes a compelling point about the parallels between the Reichstag Fire and 9-11. Think about how strikingingly similar the two incidents each country reacted in the same way, giving unwavering support to the government out of questions remain about the 9-11 attacks and who knew what and when. Did they let it happen so we, as a nation, would fall in line? And how the elections played out, comparing 1933 to 2002 and 2004, as a result of these actions is quite simply eerie.

I know that some of you will say I am nuts, paranoid, and blah blah blah but I think a lot of these accusations are worthy, at least, of further investigation. They say that those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Currently, I have an extraordinary sense of deja vu.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Blast Heard 'Round The World

Last Sunday night, right around the time the St. Louis Cardinals clinched a berth in the National League Championship Series, North Korea successfully tested a nuclear bomb underground. This was a massively destablizing maneuver that threatens, at the very least, the countries of South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China and, at the very most, the entire world. Kim Jong Il (left), the leader of North Korea, has essentially thumbed his nose at the world and, in doing so, has shown the complete and utter failure of diplomacy on the part of the United States for the last 20 years.

The Bush Administration, in particular, has done nothing to stop this and has allowed "diplomacy by proxy" to occur, letting China handle the matter. I don't want to rip Bush Co. too much here because clearly the things that Bush 41 and Clinton did also did not work but does our current leadership know what the word diplomacy even means? I have talked with many people about this over the last few days and most of them want to bomb North Korea. Some think further sanctions are in order. None of the choices seem appealing to me. If we weren't embroiled in the Iraq War, a military option might hold a little more weight.

The way I see it is that we need to take a page from the Reagan playbook and choke off any money going into North Korea so Kim can't pay off his generals. This idea was put forth by by Congressmen Ed Royce (R-Cal) in a recent interview on MSNBC. He feels, as does John Bolton (US ambassador to the UN), that an an interdiction of cargo comes under the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) launched by the U.S. in May 2003. The measure encourages member countries to share intelligence and train to interdict weapons from North Korea, Iran and other states of concern. All ships going in and out of North Korea would be searched and their cargo potentially seized, not just for weapons, but now for everything.

I really think this is the only way to stop this guy. If his generals aren't being paid, then their loyalty will begin to strain considerably and their will be a coup. Now, what if the next person is worse? Well, I think that is a risk we have to take because the other options of doing nothing or bombing them are totally unappealing.

Oh, and if you want to hear the North Korean's side of all this check out their official web site here. There are lovely souvenirs you can purchase there. Whee!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

American History

I thought the thread in the last post's comments would be fun to continue after we all watched this highly educational video.

From Wikipedia:

"In response to suggestions that homeowners were at risk from home invasions and would be wise to acquire a firearm for purposes of protection, researcher Arthur Kellermann tabulated in home homicide figures in three cities over several years, and found that the risk of a homicide was in fact higher in homes where a gun was present; his study led to the conclusion drawn by some that the risk of a crime of passion or other domestic dispute ending in homicide when a gun was available was large enough to overwhelm any protective effect the presence of a gun might have against burglaries, home invasions, etc. In seeming confirmation of this conclusion is his little-remarked upon finding that almost all the risk was limited to homes where a handgun was kept both loaded and unlocked, and therefore available for immediate use; apparently, the amount of time and effort required even to just remove a loaded gun from a locked cabinet was sufficient to allow tempers to cool enough to prevent a shooting."

"It has been claimed that Kellerman does not show causation and homes in which firearms are kept may have elevated rates of homicide may simply reflect the incidence of gun ownership in dangerous neighborhoods. However, Kellermann did control for such factors as drug use, neighborhood, domestic violence, and criminal history and still found a significant positive correlation between gun ownership and homicide."

"Some claim that Kellerman does not take into account the incidence of defensive guns uses. However, if guns in the home are often used defensively to deter or scare away criminals then homes with guns in them would have a lower rate of homicide than the homes of non gun owners. As it is, Kellermann found that homes with guns in them higher rates of homicides."

Statistics don't lie. Ask any police officer if they would rather that people had guns in their houses or did not. Most of them see gun deaths everyday and know that it is usually someone you know i.e. a family member that would shoot you. By this indisputable fact, having a gun in your house will increase your chances of being killed. The various stories about how people who had guns in their homes and saved themselves are nice for NRA propaganda but the facts and/or reality (once again, something neocons have trouble with) don't support this claim.

In other words, the boogeyman is not a comin' to get is your dad or your mom or your older brother that is the bad guy which is the truly sad thing about all of this.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Worst Idea Ever

With the recent spate of school shootings, there has been a call from neocons and other psychos to arm principals and custodians in our nation's schools.

This is the dumbest fucking idea I have ever heard and it really demonstrates the level of sheer stupidity on the part of some conservatives.

Talk about a knee jerk, fear mongering based reaction. Yes, it is sad and horrible that some students have been recently shot at school. It is also extremely sad and horrible that 40,000 people will lose their lives in automobile accidents this year...and next year...and the year after that. Where is the drastic reaction on auto accidents? Put it in perspective, people...c'mon!

Putting guns in schools is NOT the answer to this problem. The chances of it being used or stolen once it's in there is more than likely going to increase the level of violence in schools. This issue demonstrates the problem with gun advocates: having a gun does not automatically mean your safe. It is an illusion. In fact, I bet if every school was armed to the teeth there would still be the same amount of school shootings or more. It is not going to solve anything. It will not be a deterrent. Guns do not protect you from anything. We do not live in Darfur. There are not hoards of psychos gunning for our women and children.

Most kids will go their whole school careers and not get shot at. There are plenty of other things to worry about, believe me. The media takes stories like these and blows them so far out of proportion that soon all of us will believe that our children are constantly in jeopardy from being shot. In the case of Fox News, their wall to wall coverage of the Amish shootings is a hilariously veiled attempt to distract its viewers from the Foley scandal and drum fear into them as way to energize their disenchanted base.

Don't give in to the fear, folks. Stop listening to these mouth breathers that are part of the problem and not part of the solution. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fair and Balanced?

You gotta love Fox News. They just can't admit that a Republican could be capable of doing anything wrong. So, in an effort to blame the Democrats....again.....they listed Mark Foley, the disgraced congressmen who exchanged dirty emails and instant messages with a minor, as a DEMOCRAT. They say it was just an error but it happened at least twice last Tuesday.

Fair and balanced my ass.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Bird's Eye View

In the cinema classic, Citizen Kane, the character of Charles Foster Kane (left) makes a statement to the characters of Jedediah Leland and Mr. Bernstein. He calls it his Declaration of Principles in which he promises the readers of his newspapers that his will be THE source of the reality of the world. In that same spirit, I would to make that pledge to all of you.

And, to also tell you, Notes From The Front is going to change.

All of you may have noticed some evidence of this already. First, the tag line now reads "where politics, sex, and religion are always polite to discuss." I want to officially announce that this is a place where you can freely talk about these three subjects without being muzzled by uptight assholes. It drives me loony when people say that it is "impolite" to talk about this stuff. To me, they are probably the most important and interesting things to discuss. So, since people in our culture (particularly my intensely rigid home state of Minnesota) aren't allowed to have passionate opinions anymore (without being accused of being loony), this blog is now officially open for all who wish to shout to the highest mountain tops. Please feel free to let it all hang out, if you will, in these key subject areas.

In addition, starting this week I am going to write shorter columns in the hopes that more people will leave comments and we can have a more interactive discussion. I want to try this for a few weeks and see how it goes. If you have ever wanted to leave a comment, now is the time. It can be as short or as long as you want. You do NOT have to use your real name. Have fun with it and make up a fake name! This is your big chance, guys, you can pretend to be a woman! And ladies...well...most of you that I know act like men most of the time anyway so it won't be much of a difference.

I also want to keep the columns shorter because they can then stay more current. There are many interesting things that happen in the news everyday so it might not be uncommon to see 2 or 3 short pieces a week. I won't be sending out that many email announcements so check back to the blog frequently and, as always, forward the web site address to any friends that you might think would like to join in. There are also going to be guest columnists so if you ever want to write something, send it to me and, more than likely, I will put it up.

In the coming weeks, I will be talking a lot about the 2006 election. This is going to be a big one, folks, and you can rely on Notes From The Front to give you all of the latest poop. And believe me, there is going to be a lot of poop in the next few weeks that is going to be flying around and Notes will be a great locale to watch it soar.

So, all of that being said let's dive in with this week's topic. Looking down on our country from a bird's eye view, it seems like a pretty fucked up place right now. We are sharply divided into three categories: conservatives, liberals, and apolitical. It is unfortunate that the last category of people make up the bulk of the population. Since around 50 percent of eligible voters actually vote, that leaves 50 percent of our public that doesn't care, sits around on their ass, takes the time to vote for American Idol, and watches NASCAR....never caring a wit about how their world is being shaped.

Lately, I have received much flack from conservatives regarding my "condescending" opinion. I suppose the last sentence in the above paragraph could be viewed as elitist but what is with the "I don't want no fancy book learning" trend that has swept the country in the last few years? Don't people want to make themselves smarter? Better through knowledge? I don't think it is condescending to point that out to people.

To me what IS condescending is a bunch of rich white men sitting around in a room figuring out which is the largest most easily manipulated group of people in the country to help them win elections and thus, remain in control of our country's wealth and power. They have chosen the religious right and small business owners. The first group is the easiest to manipulate. Conservative leaders throw out various moral "wedge" issues, act as God passing judgment on the rest of us heathens, and bam! have 20 million or so voters. You hit the second group with the fear that their livelihood is going to be taken away (as if it isn't already with conservative leaders controlling all the wealth anyway) and now you have a decent base. Throw in the group of people that don't care and guess what you have? 75 percent of the United States of America in the year 2006!

There is so much information out there that I think many people go into overload and just shut down. There are also people, the majority of which are conservatives and their vast media network, that just flat out lie. Call them on that lie and you are condescending. Whatever. I don't have time for that irresponsible bullshit anymore or more importantly, WE should not take the time to listen to that irresponsible bullshit anymore. When I hear someone say that don't care about politics and they never vote (as a young woman did in my class last week), I cringe. Don't they realize how important voting is? Especially at a local level, elections shape the way we live our lives and our children's futures. What possible way is there to get through to these people? There has to be a way, that is not condescending, that can wake people up and get them involved even if it is just at a local level.

So, the question is...what is that way? There isn't much time left, folks, and we need all the help we can get to stop our country from going in the wrong direction and get it back on track.