Category Archives: politics

Victory Song?

President Elect

President Elect

“Baaaaa-rack! Ohhhh-bama! Barackobamarackamaba, Baaaa-rack! O-bama, ooooh-bama!” was sung over and over again by Sophia, age 3 as we shopped in Target today. “Honey, do you know who you’re singing about?” I asked her. “No, not really, but I like to say it, it sounds fun.” Nice. You listen to a little NPR while on errands, you change a little history for the country, you get a little fun song. Again I say, nice.

Whether you voted for him or not, I think I can say this is a “well done” step for our country’s history as a whole. I’m excited for the world (to a degree) that my kids are heading into. One where this sort of thing isn’t out of the norm.

The Phreakiest Phriday: La Pequeña Sarah Palin

So, Phreaky Phriday seems to have run it’s course. People have pretty much figured out where to find weird stuff on the internet, without needing the soft guiding touch of the roadketeers. I feel a little sad, though, that we didn’t give it a proper burial.

I can think of no better way to close out a fine tradition that with this video. This is, undoubtedly, the phreakiest phriday. Ever. Ladies, Gentlemen, Bobby, I give you:

La Pequiña Sarah Palin

Warning: this video contains some scenes that may not be suitable for children, undergrads, or persons with strong objections to hideous mental imagery. Enjoy!

What is The Community Reinvestment Act?

So…  I’m gonna get political here.  Sorry.  This video got my attention in a big way today, and I think it’s worth talking about.  I’d really like to hear from both conservatives and liberals on this, because I’m trying to sort it out.  

I am an undecided voter.  Honest.  I like Barack Obama.  I like how he speaks.  I like that he acts presidential.  I feel that one of the most important things right now is that the country needs a psychological lift.  I was an early Bush apologist, but I have a hard time with him now.  I think leadership needs to be able to explain itself eloquently.  I get really testy when people attempt to dismiss the important of the perception of the masses, dismissing the masses as unwashed and uneducated.  The masses may indeed be unwashed and uneducated, but they’re our masses nonetheless, and if you don’t want to lead them effectively, go get a real job. (This from the musician… yikes.)  

In the past, I have liked John McCain.  I’m struggling with him right now.  It seems like he’s running a three ring circus.  Lions, Tigers, Bears, Oh My!  While Sarah Palin is certainly entertaining, I am really looking for people with conservative values that can raise the level of discourse in explaining and articulating the benefits of conservatism, because, frankly, conservatives pretty much suck at it, and then get all pissy when one points that out.  With all due respect to the governor, she has (in my opinion) failed to do so, and she’s the big rock star right now.  

So… here I am feeling like the conservatives have made a pretty huge mess of things in the past 8 years, and I’m getting ready to cast my first Democratic vote, ever, and then I run across this little video.  Now, it becomes a McCain propaganda piece towards the end, but the first 6 minutes or so raised my eyebrows.

Discuss.

Notes From an Undecided Voter #2 – Looking and Sounding the Part

Dear Senator McCain,

I like you.  You seem like a cool cat, honestly.  Your sacrifices in Vietnam are indeed staggering.  Your sense of duty, and honor, and loyalty to your friends is inspiring.  I sincerely wish you had won the primaries in 2000.  I think you would have made a far superior president then Dubya, and this is coming from a guy who was an apologist… at first.  

It’s cool that you have a sense of humor and all, that you’re having fun with the age issue, trying to deflect it and not come off as an old fart.  I get that.  

However…  our nation is in desperate need of someone who looks and sounds presidential.  I know… I know… it’s all opinion and subjective.  Welcome to the 21st century, Senator.  Love it, or hate it, perception is important.  For the past eight years, most of us in this country have grown increasingly nervous every time our fair leader opens his mouth.  More often than not, those of us who spent the first few years of this new millennium arguing about liberal media bias and presuppositions about intelligence and accents, were rewarded for our good faith by an uninterrupted string of… well… pretty moronic statements.   

Senator, remember when The President of The United States represented the pinnacle of the American ideal?  My wife and I saw an old video or Reagan, and love him or hate him, that homeboy was poised.  He was noble.  He was… presidential.  

Our economy is in the toilet, and people need a psychological lift.  Yes, I know that I’m talking in hippy-dippy fashion, but we live in a hippy-dippy world, and we can thank your generation for that, can’t we?  The economy, and really anything involving representative money, is a fragile agreement between parties.  People need to feel hopeful.  People need nobility.  I am not an expert on economic concerns, but I am an avid student of people, and I’m telling you… this is really important to our country right now.  We need a lift.  I know that we’re a nation of whiners, but we’re your whiners.  Leaders must rise to whatever unfortunate circumstances greet them, or frankly, I think they’re whiny leaders, and whiny leaders are the worst whiners of all.  

So, Senator, if you’d like my vote, you gotta punch up your public persona a tad.  I think that perhaps the best thing your opponent has going for you is that he gives a hellava speech.  Stop harassing him about it, and learn from him.  Tell your speechwriters to stop pandering to the base.  Tell them to write you a real speech.  Give me John Adams.  Give me Roosevelt.  Give me a president that I can point to and say, “That’s the leader of my country, and by God I am proud to live here.”  

Be bold, and take a place in the great pantheon of American orators.  

Whatever you do, don’t sing “Bomb Iran” again.

Notes From an Undecided Voter #1 – Health Care

Yes, it’s true.  I am an honest-to-goodness undecided.  I don’t want to get into the reasons that I am undecided as much as get my thoughts on screen as to what it would take to make me stop being an undecided voter.  This first one is directed at the Senator from Illinois.  

Hey there Barackster.  

So, listen:  Health care in this country is messed up, and everyone knows it.  However, when I hear your compatriots talk about how they’re gonna fix it for us, my eyes start to glaze over a bit.  To my formerly Republican ears, it sounds a lot like you guys want to fix the blame for our national health care problems squarely on “Someone Else.”  Big Insurance.  Bit Pharmaceuticals.  Big Fast Food.  

I can’t remember how many times I heard something that sounded like, “I met Jack and Jane Americana recently in Clicheville, Indiana.  Jack is a (Insert Stereotypical Midwestern Job Here), and Jane is raising (insert national average of offspring here).  Jack and Jane work hard, play fair, pay their taxes, and yet they can’t afford health care because Large American Company X is evil and shafting them.”

Here’s what you’re not mentioning:  Jack and Jane Americana are fat.  The health care problem will never, ever be solved until we start giving the people of this nation a little wake up call.  We are the enemy.  We are the problem.  No nationalized health care is gonna fix that.  No corporation is going to fix that.  I realize that calling perspective voters fat-tubs-of-crap is not a great way to win votes, but it will win mine. 

Yes, Health Care is a mess.  Yes, some corporations are just downright evil (this means you, Blue Cross).  However, step one of fixing our national health care system is not shifting blame, it’s a little tough love.  

So c’mon, Barack,  Tell it like it is.  Go sink a few more 3-pointers, tell Jack and Jane that you love and accept them, and acknowledge that there are problems that are bigger than they can solve by themselves and that we all need to come together for a change,  but that they also need to get the eff up off the couch.  You mocked John McCain for his “Nation of Whiners” comment, but you need to tell the truth if I’m gonna vote for you.   

Oh, and also I’m coming for you next, Senator McBadass.

The Media Elite (or, The Fallacy of Neutrality)

I watched most of both major parties’ conventions streaming on C-SPAN. I don’t have TV (a lack for which I am more and more grateful every day this political season drags on), so it was online or nothin’. All the major networks and many cable outlets offered their coverage online, but I have to tell ya: I can only take so much talking head. So it was C-SPAN for me.

In addition to what seemed to be contempt for community organizing, I was struck by the outrage expressed by many of the RNC speakers regarding the “media elite.” Now, charges of media bias are nothing new in politics; everybody’s heard of the librul media. And I readily recognize that the unique circumstances of Gov. Sarah Palin being picked as the GOP running mate torched off what can legitimately be called a (an over-?) zealous media frenzy. (To ask what I think is a fair question, wasn’t that kinda the point?) But what threw me off a bit was the implied assumption that the news media (I assume that’s who they mean when they say “media elite”) should be impartial.

Stop the presses! some of you are saying. Isn’t journalistic neutrality something that should be assumed?

Here’s the thing: I don’t know. I know there is a long tradition of “serious” journalists (and schools of journalism) preaching objectivity and “disinterestedness” (as they like to call it); I’m just not sure, in our age of reality TV and the 24-hour news cycle, that it’s even a possibility.

But I’m also not sure that’s a bad thing.

Am I the only one who finds it a bit reassuring to know where most everybody stands? Man, I love checking in on The National Review Online and The Weekly Standard to see what David Frum and crazy ol’ neocon Bill Kristol have to say about the underhanded plotting of The Evil Left. And I love peeking in on the ganga-fueled ravings of the Kossacks and the merlot-soaked bloviating of The Huffington Post to stay on top of the newest conspiracies hatched by The Evil Right. I love PajamasMedia and the whole roll over at The Atlantic. And I love watching Jon Stewart make hearty and delectable mincemeat pie of the whole shebang on The Daily Show. (I draw the line at watching FOX News, but there are 8 million+ people covering that base for me.)

Gone are the days when we could tune in as a nation to trustworthy Walter and know that we were getting the straight poop. And I think maybe it’s okay. (Furthermore, I’m pretty sure there’s no going back outside of some kind of apocalypse, so we may as well roll with the punches, given the alternative.) New media, for better or worse, has given everyone with wifi a soapbox from which to air his or her well- or ill-considered take on the world’s goings on. I, for one, am glad that the “media elite” are no longer the sole arbiters of information.

And when I get tired of all the opinions-couched-as-truth, I can always watch C-SPAN.

copyright law

How convoluted is the US copyright law? The following flowchart was created by Bromberg & Sunstein, an intellectual property law firm, as an in-house flow-chart to help their lawyers figure it out.

Hillary wins Penn

The Democratic Primaries? STILL not over. I think it’s funny how upset everyone is that Hillary won’t drop out. She has money, she has a campaign team, she’s winning states, why shouldn’t she run all the way to the convention? Isn’t that the point of the convention, to select the general election nominee? I mean, nobody is upset that Ron Paul is still running on the GOP side …

Taxing Time

Once a year, the government decides that, instead of being a competent musician and decent professor, I should spend several hours pretending to be an accountant. It’s Gretchen’s favorite time of year, because she sits huddled up in the corner of the couch glancing over with frightened puppy-dog eyes as I make bellowing grunts of frustration every 10 seconds. The only way I get through it is by drinking several beers, and getting progressively more and more hammered as the night goes on. By the time I’m finished, I’m making such staggeringly brilliant connections as:

  1. Childcare costs incurred while Gretchen is working as a florist are deductible, and
  2. I frequently watch the kids while she is doing a wedding, and
  3. I pretty much always take them to the LA Zoo on those days, which means
  4. We should be able to deduct the cost of our Annual Pass to the zoo as a childcare related expense!

By the time the evening is over, I’m pretty much too sloshed to legally sign my name to anything, so I leave everything scattered on the table, stagger off to bed, and wonder why there is a special deduction category for payments received as part of a settlement agreement pertaining to the Ottoman Empire.

By the way, if anyone asks, I went ahead and listed all 198 of you as dependents. If you could just email me your social security numbers, that would be great.