Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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Obama’s Acceptance Speech

August 29, 2008

It’s a pretty darn good one.

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Politiks

November 15, 2006

With my site down last week, I didn’t have a chance to express my enjoyment of the shift in political winds experience here in the U.S. Certainly, I can’t credit the democrats with anything like a vision for the future, leadership, a message, a plan, or even competence. But they, like stuffed turkey, cranberries, and cornbread (yes, I am looking forward to Thanksgiving) are not Republicans.

And so, because there are only two possible choices on this particular street (left and right), the country as a whole has decided to take a turn to the left. We don’t have a map or driving directions in front of us, but we’ll aimless wander until we find our way out of Iraq. It’s the American way, doncha know?

At the very least, my hope is that the next few years will see fewer tearful glances at the morning paper. My hope is that RSS feeds will no longer flow with the bitterest of indignaties to some of the subjects closest to my heart. My hope is that, for the moment, an inept president and a mandate-less congress will blissfully, thankfully, shut the hell up.

Ahhh … good news for once.

Of course, the week also brought the news that Russ Feingold wouldn’t be running in 2008. Could have done without that. :P

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Scott Adams For President

May 31, 2006

When I started reading Dilbert author Scott Adams’ blog, I figured I’d get the occasional amusing anecdote about doing regular cartooning work. Yay for wrongness! From today’s post:

As President, I would rarely take sides on the major issues. My job would be to bring the best arguments on all sides of every issue to the citizens and help them make up their own minds. My administration would make it a top priority to improve how the government communicates with its citizens. And that might require making the information more entertaining or at least easier to digest. As a general rule I would say that if the citizens don’t understand both sides of all important issues, I have failed as President. If the people need simple charts and graphs, I’ll provide them. If they need puppet shows, I’ll stick my hand in a tube sock and hide behind my desk. Whatever it takes. 

His arguments never fail to at the very least make you think. A really great read.

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Attitudes and Longitudes

May 30, 2006

Published by Anchor
Written by Thomas Friedman
399 pages; $14.95; black and white with hardback color cover

For a long time, I’ve avoided reading a book that had anything even tangentially to do with September 11th, 2001. It was an act of stupidty, arrogance, and …yeah, if anything in the world is, it was evil. But so is the stupidity, arrogance, and evil of Palestinian bombers, third world dictators, and christian fundamentalists, but the US hasn’t gotten nearly as upset about those things as it has about September 11th. This hypocrisy at the heart of the American psyche made it very hard for me to deal with “9/11” pablum and ra-ra Americana, both now and immediately after the event.

However, Friedman does a truly excellent job of touching on the subject without dwelling on it. This book, a collection of his editorials after the 11th of September, is proud of America without being jingoistic. He’s angry, but not frothing, and he lays out the reasons for his anger in a calm and logical fashion. Most of the book actually talks very little in specific about the 11th of September, 2001. Think of it more like a manual on “How the world works now”.

Mr Freidman lays out the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the personality of the average Muslim, the character of the Iranian citizen, and the depths of the fanaticism of Islamist terrorists, all without become a dooms-day alarmist or being more than understandably depressing. I expected to put the book down after only a few hundred pages or so, and found myself fascinated to the end. Mr. Friedman has managed to put down a whole lot of information in an approachable manner that touched me both intellectually and emotionally, and even managed to make me kind of proud of my country. I highly recommend anyone who was alive on September 11th to give this book a read. It will put thing into perspective in a way you may not have appreciated before.

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Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot

May 30, 2006

Published by Delacorte Press
Written by Al Franken
336 pages; $12.95; black and white with color cover

I love politics. The sweeping grandeur of the democratic process here in the US is an amazing thing to behold. When it works. Despite the grandeur, the best part of politics in America is the right to satire, and Franken doesn’t dissapoint. This book is a well written, well researched slam against the pundits of the republican party.

For a political party that has rooted itself in “christian and family values”, there sure are a lot of spokespeople for that party with seedy and sordid pasts. Rush Limbaugh… is chock full of the same type of dirt that the republicans love to smear around at the Democrats, and that the Democrats so rarely get to throw back.

It’s hard to describe the actual content of the book, as the book consists of a rambling, directionless diatribe about Rush Limbaugh’s Ass, Newt Gingrich’s infidelity, and the inordinate amount of lying that the right does. It’s no wonder his new book is all about lying, he had plenty left over in doing research for this one. You’d assume he’s just being libelous except for how amazingly well researched his jibes are. He uses plentiful quotes and always notes sources. Some of the best parts include the chapters following his “Adventures in Politics”, usually descriptions of his interacting with politicos through comedy. His story about consulting with Conan O’Brian before the latter’s presidential debut was priceless. I also particularly like the transcripts from his conversations with Rush Limbaugh’s fact checker. I’ll give you a hint: he’s not very good.

This book is a light, quick read with a lot of dirt between the pages. For a one or two day jaunt into the gastro-intestinal tract of the body politic, this is a great read.

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Fuck The Creationists

August 4, 2005

Since I know there are some respectable individuals that read this blog, I apologize for my crude language in the title. But, indeed, I must state it plainly. Fuck the Creationists. Every last one of them. I have been accused, on more than one occasion, of being close minded and bigoted about this particular issue. To that accusation, I have to plead guilty. That a fist fight at work about this subject makes me smile with glee should be an indication of the seriousness of my outrage. I normally hate trolling, but the anti-ID trolls on that thread made me grin. I kept my mod powers in a hat today, though. No need to fuel those flames.

In any case, what prompted this outburst was this sentence in the Washington Post article referenced at Slashdot: “Bush told Texas newspaper reporters in a group interview at the White House on Monday that he believes that intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution as competing theories.

The affront, the sheer gall, that it takes to mention Intelligent Design in the same breath as the Theory of Evolution like that is staggering. Obviously, though, because both are just theories they’re equally valid. Of course, of course.

Years of rigorous research, the lives and spirits of dozens of scientists, hard evidence by the reamful…all obviously pales in comparison to an alteration to Creationism dreamed up by someone who can’t successfully follow a paper published in Science.

Though Bush’s statements are rage inducing, the first time in this most recent discussion that I really saw red was at this little nugget of thought, put forth by Gary L. Bauer: “With the president endorsing it, at the very least it makes Americans who have that position more respectable, for lack of a better phrase…It’s not some backwater view. It’s a view held by the majority of Americans.” You may remember him from the 2000 Republican bid for the Presidency.

I will state, now and for the record, that if his view that this is the understanding of nature held by the majority of Americans my countrymen are blithering idiots. It’s nice to see that the world’s assessment of our educational standing is accurate.

Really, is there any way our country look more ridiculous to the rest of the world? Is there any other possible way in which we could be revealed as the undereducated, overfed, xenophobic extremists that we are?

::sigh::

The saddest part of that question is that the answer is yes. I’m sure I’ll find out what it is in a week or two…

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London’s Bad Day

July 7, 2005

This is what I woke up to this morning.

The very first thing I did was to call Rob. Previously he’d stated that with stories like that (outside the norm for Slash), he wanted to take the editorial bullet if there was any flak. I left a message on his machine, and sat back to prune the bin as much as I could. The submissions just kept coming. “London Blast” “London Bombing” “London Incident”, etc, etc…When I first logged in there were over 140 submissions, and thirty minutes later when I decided to go ahead and post the story there were still over a hundred despite my fervent deletions. I was (and am) regretful that I went ahead without his okay, but at the time it seemed like the thing to do.

The London Thread reminded me of another Slashdot story that I recall quite vividly.

I honestly don’t remember what I wrote on my site on September 11th, 2001. I know I wrote something, because I’d been keeping up a pretty steady tempo on the blog for a while before that.

My post for that day, like so many others, was lost when I accidentally deleted all of my posts to date in June of 2003.

I’m not sure what I wrote, but I’m sure I wasn’t up to it. I wasn’t even out of college. I had several friends in the NYC area who, while I had no reason to assume were anywhere near the Trade Center, I worried fervently about anyway.

All I remember about that day, lo these many years later, is calling my mom and Katie. I don’t remember what we talked about, but i needed to reach out and connect. I also have a memory of heading up to the campus sandwich station to get a turkey ‘wich. There was a big TV pulled out into the common area of the building, and there was a crowd of about 40 people standing, sitting, and leaning near the set so that they could stay in touch with the news coming in from the east coast. No one talked, no one said anything…it was quite eerie for an Evergreen moment.

From all the things I’ve read today, and I’ve tried to keep that to a minimum, British folks are taking this with the class and poise they’re known for the world over. They’re angry. They’re frustrated. But they’re not scared. Whoever it was that orchestrated this, therefore, lost this match-up before the first blast went off. In the world we live in today, I think London’s refusal to roll over makes it all seem a just a little bit better. That’s what I’m going to take away from today. “We will show by our spirit and dignity and by a quiet and true strength that there is in the British people, that our values will long outlast theirs.”

The people of Second Life respond.