Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

A Letter to Senator John McCain

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Dear Senator McCain,

This is a message of support from a Democrat who voted for Barack Obama.

We have all been through a long and difficult election cycle wherein the two candidates who started out as the underdogs of their respective parties ended up winning their primaries. That election is now over, which means that now, it’s time to get the real work done.

That you, Senator, have vowed to help President-elect Obama shows that you really do embody your campaign slogan of putting country first. In fact, whatever the differences on policy issues, it is clear that both of you have the same ability and desire to work across party lines, and that both of you have the same commitment to and love for this country.

This coming January, when Barack Obama takes his seat at the Oval Office, he will lead us and he will inspire us, but we will have to do the work. And while I don’t doubt that there will be politicians who try to hold on to the divisive partisanship that has plagued Washington, I know that you will not, because you are not a just Republican, Senator McCain, you are an American.

You could of course ride out your Senate career and retire and live a comfortable life, and God knows, you have earned it. Instead, I ask that you keep fighting, because we live in especially difficult times, and we need all the forces of good in Washington that we can get. And you, Senator, are a force of good.

This has been a long and difficult campaign, but the real work lies ahead.

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Taking the Debate to… Myspace? Seriously?

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

A friend of a friend, not pleased with the number of Obama fans on said friend’s Myspace page, decided to post a link to The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Hmm, what do you think they’d have to say about Obama’s tax plan? Something, non-partisan, perhaps? Right. Anyway, I was in a writing mood and so left this comment in response:

Question: do any of you make over $600,000? No? Then you’re going to get a few hundred bucks at best under McCain’s tax plan, all of which will be very likely swallowed up under his health care plan* and at least a thousand bucks under Obama’s. Plus, your payroll taxes will get a cut. (Quarter-millionaires, take note: They would increase for those making over $250,000.)

Look, McCain can cut out all the pork he wants, it’s still not going to make up for the the $300 billion decrease in tax revenue the federal government will have to deal with under his plan. What about those earmarks McCain is so fond of bringing up? That’s $18 billion a year. Of the $2.9 trillion we’re spending on our budget for 2008, about $1 trillion is not mandatory spending, and includes stuff like the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, NASA, the Department of Education, and energy spending. In other words, we’re not going to find $300 billion of needless spending no matter how hard we look.

Also, this:

* About that McCain Healthcare Plan

The plan encourages individuals to leave their employer-subsidized health insurance plans to go it alone by offering a $2500 rebate to individuals who do so ($5000 for families) and penalizes those who stick with their employer-subsidized plans by treating the portion their employer pays as taxable income, thereby… wait for it… swallowing your tax cut and increasing your taxes on the down-low.

Furthermore, the plan forces state governments to deal with anyone who is denied healthcare, thereby allowing insurers to deal with a low-risk (and low-cost) pool, while forcing states to come up with some kind of expensive government-subsidized healthcare for the high-risk pool, which will mean… wait for it… increased taxes! Oh, wait, you think the health insurers will pass on their savings to you? Has anyone ever passed on their savings to you? Of course not.

The AFA’s Latest Boycott: Hallmark Cards

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

I love how thinly veiled almost-hate-groups use names that make them sound all warm and fuzzy. Take the anti-gay organization American Family Association for example. Hallmark decided to start making greeting cards for same-sex couples to go with their five billion other hyper-focused greeting cards. The AFA has decided to set their targets on Hallmark for doing this, so Hallmark can now join the laundry list of other major brands who have been boycotted by the AFA. Bravo.

Here’s the fun part. The AFA has a form on their website right here for people to send complaints to Hallmark’s chairman, so you should know where this is going: subversion, obviously. Here’s the letter I sent:

Dear Chairman Hall:

I’m pleased to see that Hallmark is offering greeting cards for same-sex couples in an effort to reach this burgeoning market. It makes sense from a business perspective, but some people outside the mainstream might think otherwise.

I encourage you to ignore the glut of form letters you are no doubt receiving from the American Family Association, and I’m fairly certain that their boycott will not affect your business. After all, they’ve already boycotted basically every other major brand to little effect.

In addition to being an anti-gay organization promoting intolerance against this group, The American Family Association is trying to restrict a private business from operating in the free market as they see fit. Don’t let them dictate the way you run your business, Mr. Hall.

Note that their form seems to be down, so you’ll have e-mail Mr. Hall directly (the form has a handy link to his e-mail though). And I encourage you to do so.

Also, a quick note on the whole gay marriage issue: Why is it that I am a believer and have no issue with gays, and know that God loves gays the same as he loves all his creations, and yet so many people see it as such an affront to God that gays don’t deserve the same human dignity as anyone else? Replace “gays” with “blacks”, or any other race/gender/orientation/affiliation/etc. and the same applies.

Dear Florida

Friday, August 1st, 2008

This year, you might make up for the mess you made of the 2000 presidential election.

Don’t fail America again.

Li’l Castro, the Precocious Future Communist Dictator…

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Wikipedia has an image of a letter 12-year old Fidel Castro wrote to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, wherein the future Cuban dictator asked the then-US President for $10 and offered him a sweet hook-up on quality steel for use in building ships.

Admittedly, his English was not especially good, as he mentioned in his letter. And that’s where this image comes in. When asking for $10, what he wrote, specifically, was this:

“If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green american, in the letter, because never I have not seen a ten dollars bill green american and I would like to have one of them.”


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Florida Anti-Tobacco Campaigns, Now With More Twitter

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Qwitter What began more than a decade ago with Florida’s landmark $11.3 billion tobacco settlement and subsequent (and successful) TRUTH anti-smoking campaign has become the Tobacco-Free Florida initiative.

Like the nation-wide spin-off of Florida’s TRUTH campaign, TheTruth, this new initiative is all about targeting teens, and therefore all about keeping up to date with social networking. So, it’s no surprise when I happened across a sort-of Twitter app called Qwitter, which is kind of like the MyMileMarker app, but for smoking. The idea is that you send a tweet out to @iquit telling how many cigarettes you’ve smoked, and the app will compile your posts into a graph to track how much you’re smoking.

It’s simple, and I hope, effective, since it’s a lot easier and natural for today’s teens to txt a quick numeric message to Qwitter than to just write it down. It’s good to know that someone’s out there, and if anyone is saved by Qwitter, it certainly won’t be the first person Twitter has helped.

The Rapping Clerk of Courts

Monday, May 12th, 2008

The Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts, 70-year old Harvey Ruvin, seems to have a, er, gift. Witness, as he raps about the dangers of global warming, war, and so forth:

Yes, that video was done by a 70-year old politician. He’s also up for re-election, and making the environment central to his campaign.

Apparently, his campaign is both frugal and environmentally sensitive: the campaign held a fundraiser whose (e-mail) invitations asked invitees not to attend, so as to reduce their carbon footprint; specified that there would be no food served, what with the famine and all; and asked that donors would use the campaigns website instead of writing checks, so as not to kill trees.

Hey, I’d vote for him if I still lived in Miami.

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U.S. Satisfaction, 1980 through 2008

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Gallup posted their latest polling results on overall U.S. satisfaction yesterday. Here is full story, and here is their chart:

Gallup U.S. Satisfaction poll, 1980 - 2008

The first thing I noticed looking at this chart was that, lo and behold, satisfaction increased during Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s terms, and decreased during both George H.W. Bush’s and George W. Bush’s terms. An unscientific estimate—I squinted my eyes and looked at the chart really closely—shows that Reagan inherited an abysmal 17% satisfaction level and left with a 50% satisfaction level. Bush inherited that high satisfaction level and left with it at 29%. Clinton inherited that level and left with it at 53%. And under the younger Bush, it’s gone to a pre-Reagan era low of 15%.

Gallup U.S. Satisfaction poll, 1980 - 2008 with arrows depicting trend during various presidential terms

A terse translation: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton inherited shit and turned it to gold, and both Bushes took that gold and turned it back to shit.

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Starring John McCain as Col. Tigh…

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

So, I came across this post, which basically said what I’d been thinking since Battlestar Galactica first started: that John McCain and Col. Tigh might just be the same man.

Let’s compare the two, shall we?

Col. Tigh John McCain
Col. Tigh John McCain
Bald old dude? Yes Yes
Grilzzled war hero? Yes Yes
Tortured? Yes Yes
Has younger, blond wife? Yes Yes
Once-maverick, slipping in his old age? Yes Yes
Drunk? No* Yes
Cylon? ??? Yes

Those are just the similarities I can think of off the top of my head.

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A Bush and his iPod

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

So, I happened across an clip from a George W Bush interview wherein he talks about the music he has on his iPod. Presumably, he has an iPod Shuffle as well, but that was not the model shown in the clip. At any rate, the bit toward the end was classic. Were it Jerry speaking with George instead of Brit Hume speaking with President Bush, this could have been a segment from Seinfeld (also, if the show were still on in the post-Walkman era):

Bush: All of these… I put it on shuffle. Dwight Yoakam… I’ve got the Shuffle, the, what is it called? The little…

Hume: Shuffle.

Bush: It looks like…

Hume: The Shuffle. That is the name of one of the models…

Bush: Yes, the Shuffle.

Hume: …called the Shuffle.

Bush: Lightweight, and crank it on, and you shuffle the Shuffle.

That’s some snappy sitcom dialog! Right up there with “spare a square”. Here’s the clip. Enjoy.

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