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2008.11.16 after the fact:

I had the best intentions, prior to the election to write a series of articles about some topics of importance to me, not the least of which was to be a follow-up to my McCain post about why I like Obama so much. Considering the internet's current position as my life's red-headed stepchild, those posts didn't get written. Ah well.

(Also, you may note, I have taken a page from Brian's recent posts, and reinstated the CAPITAL LETTER into my bipolar repertoire.)

So, in light of the fact that the election has already happened, and I now have the President-elect I actually wanted for a change… I thought I'd take a moment to discuss my opinions of the various election results.

(warning: as usual, "a moment" became more like "an hour", be forewarned)

1. President-elect Obama

Well, aside from the fact that this is absolutely hair-tinglingly fantastic, the election of Barack Obama has, in some measure, restored my faith in the people of this nation. Regardless of the historical significance of electing a black man to the nation's highest office (a great thing, to be sure), I saw this election as being about something above and beyond race, it was more about an acknowledgement that the last eight years' fiscal and social policies have, to a large extent, failed. It was about the people finally recognizing that we can only pull ourselves out of this mess, by pulling all of us out of it, together. The President-elect has been a consistent voice of hope and inspiration, a welcome change from past election cycles, where the public discourse, when not dominated by infantile personal attacks and questions of character, couldn't break away from a message of fear and disillusionment. Not so this time. The President-elect was able to maintain his clear message, and speak above the ignorant masses who desperately attempted to demean him by spreading blatant falsehoods.

But I digress… the election of Barack Obama would seem to be indicative of a major shift from the politics of isolationism and moral superiority to one of national unity and moral inclusionism. As I say, would seem to be…

2. Ballot Measures

As with previous elections, there were a few states voting on special ballot measures on topics including women's rights and marriage equality.

In light of the Presidential election results, it is somewhat surprising to see the across-the-board victory of morally repugnant anti-marriage laws. It seems almost unconscionable to me, that an individual or group, in this day and age, would deign to claim a right for themselves that they would deny to other people… Have we not learned from our past mistakes? Other, more eloquent people have spoken recently about the issue of gay marriage, and I fully intend to more deeply explore my reasoning for supporting it at a later time. So, at this point, I'll just say that I am incredibly disheartened that, in this time of unity, understanding, and inclusiveness, that we would do such harm.

It was somewhat enlightening to me, however, to see the results of some of the ballot measures intended to increase restrictions on abortions. Surprisingly, to me (since a significant portion of my family is firmly in the "pro-life" camp), these measures were soundly defeated. I wouldn't say I'm surprised thatthey were defeated, but at the depth of the defeat–there was a measure to amend the constitution in Colorado to define a "person" as "any human being from the moment of fertilization," which was defeated resoundingly at 73% against. That is a staggering defeat of what I see as the most critical point of contention between the pro-choice/pro-life groups. Again, I'm not going to get into my personal feelings about this debate here now.

Somewhat related however, and disheartening in its own way, was the passage of a measure prohibiting adoption by unmarried "sexual partners." While the ballot language apparently specified both same and opposite sex couples, at least CNN lists the measure as a "Ban on Gay Couples adopting children." The reason this irks me to the extent it does is not precisely because "unmarried couples" can't adopt, but because of those–religious and "pro-life" groups–who I'm sure were behind and rooting for this piece of legislation. It just strikes me as… I don't know… frankly mean as well as counter-productive. I mean, you have a group who says, "I'm sorry, but you can't get married because… well, because I say you can't… and because I say you can't get married, well, now you also can't have children. So… nyah, to you." I mean, really? Then, of course, you turn that coin over, and it's the pro-lifers who are saying "Abortion is bad because it's killing kids needlessly… there are alternatives like adoption to consider here! Oh… well, not for YOU people." Like saying there are all these loving families just waiting for children, lined up around the block, and you're now saying an entire segment of the population will not be allowed to bolster your argument just on principle. It's just stupid, and a big part of the reason why I can't align myself with religion as a social organism. But again, another post for another day.

Lastly, it was interesting to see, among the above mixture, some positive votes for, of all things, SCIENCE! In this age of Jenny McCarthyism, measures were passed to allow the use of medical marijuana, and to allow stem cell research (though that last one was apparently a state constitutional amendment, which seems bizarre to me…). So… yay science!

3. Senate and Super-Majority

The day after the election, I pretty simply thought that the populace of Alaska must be under some form of mind-control… to think that senator (and convicted felon) Ted Stevens was actually leading in votes was absolutely incredible to me. Thankfully, as the vote counting has continued, his opponent has taken the lead, and looks likely to be victorious.

I know very little about Al Franken's opponent (the incumbent Senator) in Minnesota, but I do like Al Franken.

With three Senate seats still up for grabs, it's not impossible that the Democrats could pull off a super-majority. I've had a few conversations with friends about the possibility, and basically I see it as a potentially good thing, though also potentially disastrous. For one thing, I think the legislative branch has been stymied for too long with partisan bickering just for the sake of being oppositional. Yes, the Rethuglicans and the Demobrats have genuine differences on some important points of policy, but I think the partisanship in the last 10 to 12 years has been disgustingly beyond the bounds of governmental propriety. The partisan divide has led to bills laden with pork, with incentives and honey pots to get fence-sitters to vote, and with poison pills to get others not to vote. Some good bills have been lost, and many bad ones have been passed, in the name of getting "something" accomplished, and in the interest of saving face. So, if a super-majority can lead to some cleaner un-encrusted legislation getting passed quickly, perhaps it's a good thing. Perhaps it will force legislators to work together to actually write good law, instead of just being obstinate.

That said, a super-majority could also be fraught with peril. The Democrats could run roughshod over the government, pass many questionable–even potentially dangerous and de-stabilizing–bills, and set themselves up as a national menace. They could, at the least, sully the good-will the party currently enjoys nationally, and set themselves up for big losses in the next election cycle.

Fortunately, I think congress will happily follow the lead of the President-elect, and that the President-elect will confidently and intelligently guide them to create good and appropriate legislation to achieve the goals he's set, and put our country back on the right path. So, though I think the manifestation of a super-majority unlikely, and while I recognize the potential pitfalls, I also think it might be a good thing.

The bottom line…

All this leads to the fact that the Democratic party, and liberals and progressives in general, are in the place they've been hoping, wishing, and praying for since Al Gore's loss in 2000. They finally have control, almost exclusively, to push through some far-reaching progressive legislation–to set this country right; to help this nation become a better, more inclusive union; to help stabilize, guide, and enlighten the world; and to set us on a clear path to the 22nd century.

Can they do it? Yes, they can.

But only with our help, and guidance.

- 01:47 am - PL :: 4 Comments
categories ::  Happy/Love - Politics - Society

 

2008.10.02 use it like a screwball would:

What a week, huh? The House fails to pass the bailout bill, the markets crash, and there was a period on tuesday where I wish I had $10,000 for about 15 minutes (Google's stock crashed right at close, then rebounded almost immediately in after-hours trading).

And most people are putting the blame for the bill failing the House squarely on John "Maverick" McCain. They had a provisional agreement until he touched down, then the shit hit the fan. Then again, they're also trying to blame Next Gingrich, so what does anybody know? I know that I'm really glad I never started a 401k, that's for sure.

Speaking of Google, I have started to covet the T-Mobile G1 (not in that ugly white, though). I thought, a few times, about switching to AT&T for the iPhone, but it looks like I've been rewarded for my patience. And my upgrade should make it more than affordable. Good thing, too…my RAZR is showing its age. Either way, it should make Matt's Treo look like it has some sort of childhood developmental disorder.

- 08:49 am - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Gadgets - Politics - Rants - Raves - Technology

 

2008.09.26 my man's (not) mccain:

i'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret: in 2000, when McCain was running against Bush, and Gore was an uninspiring shoe-in for the Democratic nod, i very well might have voted for McCain over Gore in the general election. i didn't get to agonize over that decision, as the frightening Bush candidacy dominated the republican primaries, and ultimately I didn't even get to vote for Nader because i went to the wrong polling place with no time to spare.

in 2000, John McCain was still widely regarded as the maverick senator who didn't toe the party line. he was a rough and tumble sort of guy with well defined convictions about how to improve or eliminate the problems plaguing our government. campaign finance reform, pork barrel spending, antagonistic relationship with corporate lobbyists and their interests. he was a republican, sure, but he had the right ideas about some important issues. and that whole thing about bucking the party line to take a stand was a very attractive component for someone who felt the stodgy old politicians were too enmeshed in their own comfort zones to do any real good.

so yeah, in 2000, John McCain was a great candidate, someone who appealed to the political independents who felt the major parties were loosing touch.

then, after the bush v gore debacle/travesty, McCain continued to stand up against the new administration when it counted. he appeared on talk shows, and all but called Bush a bumbling idiot. god, how i loved that! (because it's true, you see) he continued pushing for his causes, trying to make positive change, and being a thorn in the establishment's side.

then, somewhere around 2004, things started to change… i'm not sure exactly when i noticed it, or the specific situation, but there was a moment, when McCain came out in support of Bush, Bush the bumbling idiot, Bush the perpetrator of a War of Lies and Bad Intentions, and I *knew* then that McCain had done it—this was the moment where McCain made the decision to value political maneuvering over personal conviction. this was the moment where whatever respect i had for McCain as a politician, and a person, was lost.

after that, McCain appeared more and more in support of the administration, in support of the republican establishment. i didn't pay much attention to him after that, except to feel a sense of disappointment whenever i saw him.

now, we're on the cusp of another election, and this time, he's the nominee. he won. it's his show. and he's trying to bring up his maverick status, and his willingness to stand against the establishment, which is something that he hasn't noticeably demonstrated in the last 5 years or so. he still talks a good talk—about campaign finance reform, about pork barrel spending, about kicking the lobbyists out of washington and putting a halt to the undue influence of corporations on the legislative process. he's cribbed the obama cry for "CHANGE!" and tried to own it.

but in light of his recent record, all of this is hollow talk. he *had* a record as a maverick, he *had* a record an an anti-establishmentarian, he *had* a record of standing up against the lobbyists. he *had* a record as a broker of change.

HAD.

now what does he have? a record of 90% agreeement with a 19% presidency. a campaign run, almost exclusively, by lobbyists and former lobbyists for the very corporations he's fought against in the past. he has a campaign that spews a torrent of LIES at every turn, and, even when these lies are dissected by the media, continues to regurgitate them. he has a campaign where the political maneuvers are blatantly obvious and frankly, somewhat disgusting. he has the audacity to make a baldly political VP pick with little to no actual qualifications.

and let me just talk about that for a second. off the bat, let me just say that Sarah Palin's gender is completely irrelevant, as is her religious affiliation, her sexual orientation, and her shoe size. what's relevant are her qualifications and her political views.

despite those things, it is obvious to me (outside looking in and all that) that McCain picking Sarah Palin was at least partially motivated by a desire to haul in those former Hilary voters who loudly and frequently (before the DNC, anyway) let it be known that they were on the fence about Obama. in other words, McCain's pick *was* gender oriented. considering Palin's other stats, that fact seems obvious.

as for her qualifications, there really aren't any to speak of. she has some local executive governmental experience, and she's been a Governor (since Dec. '06) for just a tad longer than Obama's been a presidential candidate (since Feb. '07). she has zero foreign policy experience, and her major federal experience has been in getting earmarks from congress for her hometown. she may be a great governor (though an ethics investigation may indicate otherwise), and she may be well suited to it. but this little bit of experience is not presidential material. senate, sure; house, definitely. but not presidential.

in fact, her almost total lack of qualifications for the office leads me to feel that her nomination for the post of vice president is actually… offensive! it shows a lack of respect for the office of vice president to nominate someone who is not eminently qualified for the post. sure, we had Dan Quayle for a while, and he was in no shape to run the country, for sure. but just because there's precedent…

but, ultimately, this is about McCain. and what it comes down to is this: he's a "used to be." he used to be honest, he used to be righteous, he used to be respectful. he used to be a lot of things that he's now left behind in the name of getting the victory.

he used to be someone i would consider voting for. he's not anymore.

- 02:22 am - PL :: 4 Comments
categories ::  Nostalgia - Politics - Rants - Society - Upset/Dislike

 

2005.01.05 another one's just begun:

so, Jan 2002 was the last time i did a year end recap post, and i've kicked myself every time i've forgotten. so, here goes…

setting the tone for a large percentage of the posts to follow (and the year to follow, natch.), my first post of 2004 (even worse than this one, at 17 days after the new year) jumped headlong into politics and razzing george w., and also mentioned some stuff about the gallery scripts, both of which practically became an obsession for me.

also, i think this was the first year where i've managed to post only once a majority of the months out of last year.

anyway, some major events happened this year, the first of which was deciding (not that i had to think very hard about it) to ask my girlfriend of 1.5 years to be my wife, then throwing down the bones for a ring.

of course, no sooner had i bought the ring, than my boss at work called me in to tell me the place was shutting down. luckily, i landed a new job before the last one was over, so i had something to come back to upon return from the trip to France Sara & i had been planning.

we left for France on schedule, me with a diamond ring hidden–wrapped in paper, taped to a fob on my keychain–so it wouldn't get lost with or stolen from the luggage, and so she wouldn't find it if she were to rummage through my carry-on. we had a first day in Paris that ranged from great to horrible, then woke up fresh-faced the next day ready (well, except that she didn't know about it yet) for the event that would alter our lives in subtle and profound ways. in the afternoon, i rummaged through my backpack for the ring, dropped to a knee, and asked her to marry me. of course, she said yes.

after this event, life carried on–settling into the new job, more politics, more gallery scripts, helping her cope with school, adjusting to the idea of being married, making wedding plans, making other future-oriented plans, looking for houses, talking about finances/money/retirement savings (sheesh). i'm startin' to feel all growed-up.

then of course, there was the travesty we called an Election…

and now Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year as well. it's time to hunker down and make preparations for tomorrow. time to think about the things we want in life, the things we can have, and how to correlate the two. don't make resolutions, just do what needs to be done, do what you enjoy, and do the best you can for yourself and others. none of us are at the mercy of our surroundings, rather, it's the other way around. grab hold of yourself and make this year a better one than the last. call up a friend, go to a movie, bake yourself a cake, quit smoking, just be happy.

- 05:19 pm - PL ::
categories ::  Bipolar: Year End Recap - Happy/Love - Love Life - Nostalgia - Politics - Society - Travel - Wife - Work

 

2004.11.05 move over bacon, now there's somethin' meatier:

Clinton's DLC sent out a message today about a "reform insurgency." and have to say i agree with them on pretty much every point.

and jennifer, in her comments on the post-election post (which i'm still pushing to get people to read and comment on, 'cause talk=good), mentioned two other worthy organizations we should investigate and invest our time & money in.

Democracy for America
Black Box Voting

but my number one recommendation to get yourself politically involved, even in a tertiary disconnected sort of way, is to donate to and join the ACLU today! To become a card-carrying member requires only a $20 donation, but please feel free to donate as much as your little pocketbook can stand.

and now, back to our regularly scheduled silence.

oh yeah, and by the way, i turned 31 on monday, so thanks alot for the birthday present America… was there a gift receipt in the box? it's a lovely president, i'm sure, but i might want to exchange it for something else.

- 06:32 pm - PL :: 7 Comments
categories ::  Calls to Action - Cool Links - Friends - Pleased/Like - Politics - Society

 

2004.11.05 Rock the… branding:

don't forget to go vote!

Unbridled Branding
forgive me for committing an internet faux-pax by directly linking another's image. but y'know, i paid for it, so i might as well.

don't forget to check the comment thread on the last post, it's quite enjoyable.

- 04:15 pm - PL ::
categories ::  Calls to Action - Politics - Society

 

2004.11.03 can't win for losing:

needless to say, i've been more depressed today than any day in the last ten years. i'm flabbergasted, completely dumbfounded. everything i thought i knew leading up to this, has been thrown to the ground and stomped on.

ok, hold on. yes, i expected it to be close. yes, i expected the unwashed masses to vote against equal rights. i even expected, on some level, for Mongiardo to lose, though i was hopeful 'til the end (not that i agree with his social conservatism, but he'd've been better than that old coot who won). i expected these things, but i also expected the throngs of liberal voters we were promised, and i expected the reports of skewed poll numbers leading up to the election to have been more accurate. i expected more people to have woken the fuck up during the last four years and to have seen the horror this administration has wrought. i expected quite a bit, and i was sorely disappointed.

as andrew sullivan pointed out, it wasn't the war on terror that was the pivotal issue of the campaign, it was the fear of homosexuals. it was "moral values" that drove the conservative voters to the polls, and it was precisely those "moral values" that Kerry and the other Democratic candidates hadn't campaigned to win.

and the thing that gets me is, how can you claim superior "moral values" when you're preaching discrimination, hatred, misunderstanding, ignorance, denying families the right to exist, stealing money from our children and grand-children (and now, most likely, our great-grandchildren), sending our youth to die for a war based on lies and faulty information, and the economic subjugation of the "lower" classes by the already wealthy? how are those "moral values?"

as you might've read in my last post, that email discussion with my dad, those aren't anything like the "moral values" i was raised to believe in. i was raised to believe that if you treat others with love and respect, that you'll build a better world. unfortunately the policies of those in power operate on a completely different tack. and even worse, the party in power has managed to befuddle the masses to the point where they actually believe they are supporting their values and ideals.

what we need now is to not give up. don't give ground. i dont' know if we need to go as far as Rich Malley suggests, but we certainly need to keep the screws tightening.

more importantly than that, we need to truly educate ourselves and become the shining font of education and information in order to re-establish our reality-based community (sic)
and spread truth.

as i said to my co-worker earlier today, we certainly can't be expected to be imminently knowledgeable about every issue, but we can certainly pick a topic or two to be "experts" on. find something that interests you, study it, learn it inside & out, and anytime you get an opportunity to talk to someone who's uneducated or misinformed about that subject, don't hesitate to shower them with the facts. don't hedge, don't qualify, don't apologize or state your "opinion"—assault them with facts. know both sides of the issue, know what the results of different policies would be, and make sure they understand when they're supporting the wrong ones.

form a network of knowledgeable friends. find out what your buddies know, where their areas of "expertise" lie. when you get in a conversation with someone who's talking wrongly about something your buddy knows inside & out, give him or her a call, or suggest that the person you're talking to seek that person out. or get their email address, and have your buddy contact them. somehow close the gap of knowledge and education.

it is imminently possible to eradicate the republican standard operating procedures of misinformation and miseducation, it's imminently possible to take back the "high ground" on morality and family values, but we can only do it if we can educate ourselves first, and present our personal knowledge in ways that can't be misconstrued. don't leave room for doubt, don't leave room for interpretation. cite fact.

we can take this country back, but we will have to work for it.

2004.10.23 it's almost over:

last week, my dad forwarded me an email with a political joke comparing John Kerry to one of the hurricanes that hit florida. in response, i copied the text of the new york times endorsement of john kerry for president and sent it to him and all the people on the original email list of the forwarded email. what fun!

anyway, he emails me back, with a point by point breakdown through about half the time's piece, and i responded to his points. the text of my response to his responses follows (if you haven't read the nyt piece, you can reference it to see what the hell we're talking about.

Succinct perhaps, but nevertheless wrong! It is an example of the liberal press and how they are trying to influence the election. I have stopped listening to much of the news reporting, including Public Broadcasting, because they are obviously biased in everything they do.

There was very little in the NYTimes piece that was inaccurate or quantifiably false. I didn't say nothing, just very little. And yes, the opinion included in the piece attests to their "liberal bias", but still doesn't discount or negate the accuracy of the mentioned facts.

There is no greater responsibility to the future of this country, to our

Absolutely! And that is why I will strongly support George Bush as the best hope for the future of America. The liberal agenda of John Kerry and the Democrats will lead to moral degradation and eventual destruction of the American society! I don't have much time left to worry about myself; but, I have grave concerns for my grandchildren.

If you truly believe this, then you really don't know what the "liberal agenda" is. If you consider "doing unto others as you'd have them do unto you" and "love your neighbor as yourself" to be tenets that will destroy our morals and our society, then perhaps you're right.

If one of those qualities includes the willingness to say and do anything that will promote himself, I agree! Otherwise, everything I see in him is negative.

what exactly are you talking about here? aside from the fact that he is a politician (thus you can't escape from some self-aggrandizing) i've seen a man who's taken stands and stuck to them, until he learned–by benefit of more complete information and analyses–that he'd been wrong. i've seen a man who's learned from his mistakes, and who has striven to correct them, rather than someone who merely takes the politically advantageous position.
In contrast, with Bush, you've got a man who takes a position and sticks with it, even if he's wrong, and even if he's proved wrong again and again. He's practically stated that he feels he was "destined" for the role of president, and given it by God Himself (tell me that's not outrageous self-promotion!). And this is a man who can't even come up with a single mistake he's made in the three+ years he's been in office. If you asked, i could name at least 20 off the top of my head.

John Kerry has no morals I would support! He is a pathological liar in the vein of Bill Clinton. Truth is whatever is good for John Kerry!

i would sure like to see an example of this. in what instances has he lied, and what about? name just two.

He used his Vietnam period specifically as a way to make himself look good.

yes, of course. John Kerry went to war and put his life on the line "just to make himself look good."

did he capitalize on his experience during his campaign? yes, of course. This campaign, because of the Iraq war, has been all about who can be a good Commander in Chief, who can make the right decisions, with the primary goal of taking care of the soldiers and not putting them needlessly in harms way. I say that Kerry's Vietnam experience makes him a far better choice for CinC than Bush who never fired a shot at an enemy, never had a shot fired at him, and who has no real idea what it means to be a soldier. sure, he was in the Air National Guard, but his record in that endeavor was just about as bad, if not worse than my own.

Then, he turned his back on his fellow soldiers by speaking out against the war. To me, he is just as bad as Jane Fonda in that respect.

here you're just parroting right-wing propaganda gobbledygook. he did his duty as a soldier, he put his life in the hands of his government, and he came to realize that the war was not what it should be. it was being handled wrong, and good men were dying when they didn't need to be. the Vietnam war was a travesty, and kerry was doing what he thought would best serve his fellow soldiers who were still giving their lives.

He was willing to follow his convictions of what is right – which John Kerry will never do

Bush did follow his convictions, which would have been fine, had he campaigned as a radical right-winger. Unfortunately, he didn't. He campaigned as a centrist, as a moderate republican at best. He promised to protect social security, he promised to continue paying down the nation debt. he promised lots of things, and there were only a few that he kept. And as i said earlier, he may have followed his convictions, but he also is incapable of learning from or even admitting his mistakes, and many of the "convictions" he followed turned out to be ill-advised or altogether wrong. And yes, you are correct, John Kerry will never simply,blindly follow his convictions of what is right. He is a thinker, a decider. He will take as much information as he can get and only then will he make a decision. And you can bet that the decision that he makes 80 – 85% of the time will be the best decision that can be made for the largest portion of this country.

another. He moved quickly to implement a far-reaching anti-choice agenda

Pro-life is not "anti-choice"! I'm for pro-choice as long as the choice is whether to get pregnant! Once a life is created by conception, to terminate it is murder!

this is a very hairy topic, so much so that even in the midst of this email, i'd prefer not to get into it. suffice it to say that yes, i believe abortion is an abhorrent practice. the one point where i diverge from Kerry's stance is in his opposition to the partial-birth abortion ban. i think i would align myself more with Clinton's philosophy of "make it legal, make it safe, but make it rare." because, it is going to happen one way or another, and i'd rather have people doing it "safely" than having a bunch of people going back to the days of the wire coat-hanger in the truck-stop restroom.

also, if you think Bush is the great anti-abortion president, perhaps you should read this.

The next step for "pro-choice" liberals will be the choice for euthanasia – first by the individual; then by the family; then government.

there is governmental euthanasia already. it's called "the death penalty" and individual euthanasia would be "suicide" (not that suicide is expressly legal, but who do you prosecute?)

All these programs are discriminatory! A person should have the opportunity to compete on an equal basis – not given an "edge".

I agree. Unfortunately, there is still inequality in the system. Affirmative Action, though not perfect, is an unfortunate necessity to ensure an "even playing field" for many underprivileged people. And no matter what you might think, not everyone has the same opportunity in this country. Many inner city families struggle against their own lack of social inertia, they were born into and perpetuate a cycle of defeatism that it can be difficult if not impossible to break out of. Yes, it is possible to break out of it, and thankfully many children & young adults can and do, but just because they can, doesn't mean it's easy.

I have suffered throughout my professional career because of so called "affirmative action" programs. Had I been a black woman with my credentials, I could have been the president of a university.

I had it easy growing up, thanks to your hard work and determination. But you had an advantage over non-whites your age that allowed you to progress as far as you have. I don't know the particulars of your struggles, and/or how affirmative action may have hindered your professional development, but i freely admit that the system isn't perfect. Unfortunately, until women and minorities can truly compete on an even field, the program may remain necessary. Even right now, i can't think of a single black person at the office where i work. There are several Indians (as in from India), and even a Russian, but not one black person.

When the nation fell into recession, the president remained fixated not on generating jobs but rather on fighting the right wing's war against taxing the wealthy. As a result, money that could have been used to strengthen Social Security evaporated, as did the chance to provide adequate funding for programs the president himself had backed. No Child Left Behind, his signature domestic program, imposed higher standards on local school systems without providing enough money to meet them.

The financial problems of the country are the direct result of eight years of Bill Clinton's policies. Without the policies the Bush administration put into place, we probably would have had a depression rather than recession.

Clinton presided over the greatest economic period in our nation's history (s'far as i know, anyway). The economy and markets didn't start to decline until late in his last year, probably around the time Bush got elected. The recession didn't start until late March or April of 01, a full three months after Bush took office, and 5 months after his election. <i'm inferring a connection between Bush's election, the election fight, and the faltering economy, for the slower people out there. m@ > Clinton gave us a 5 trillion surplus, enough to protect Social Security for another 40 years, and paid down the national debt by at least half. Under his leadership, we were well on the way to becoming a debt-free nation, which would have bolstered the economy and heralded a new era of progress. Instead, we got Bush, whose answer to the unprecedented economic strength during his campaign was "tax cuts!" After Bush took office, and the economy started it's slide into recession, Bush's answer was still "Tax Cuts!" Does that really make any sense? It sure doesn't to me. It didn't to his Secretary of the Treasury either, who fought to convince Bush the tax cuts were a fruitless idea at best. Paul O'Neil told Bush and the Congress that the tax cuts would have a negligible effect on the economy and wouldn't make any difference in the long-run on the recession. Bush's idea was that if you give everyone a cut, then more people will have more money to spend. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, since prices for everything were rising as the tax cuts were being passed around. The tax cuts for the wealthy didn't help at all, because they don't even spend a large percentage of their income anyway, they just invest it. Their tax cuts didn't "trickle down" (to borrow the Regan term for Bush's tax plan), because they just went straight into stocks or other investment vehicles.

I'm not against taxing the wealthy, and the wealthy are taxed to a greated extent ( higher level), but you can't finance the country on the backs of the wealthy.

The whole idea of the progressive tax system is that those who profit the most from the system contribute the most to it. Besides the wealthy may be taxed to a greater extent according simply to the IRS bracket structure, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Because of the Bush tax cuts (and other tax incentives/loopholes geared toward the wealthy) more often than not, the truly wealthy ($1M annual and up) often end up paying lower taxes than you or I might. I forget the exact figure, but the actual amount of taxes Cheney paid on his income, after incentives and loopholes, was somewhere around 3%. just doesn't seem right to me.

Add to that all the corporate tax incentives and loopholes, and you've got corporations like Enron & Halliburton who can go for 5 years or more and not pay one red cent in taxes. Are they paying their "fair share?" I think not.

Everyone should be willing to pay their fair share. The Robin Hood ethics of Democrats may be noble, but it's still thievery. It also stymies economic growth to take away the incentives of people to get ahead.

What you're talking about is the welfare system where people get "something for nothing" (according to right-wing propaganda). Yes, the welfare system needs to be reformed such that people aren't allowed to "take advantage" of it, and have to do something to receive something. Clinton made strides toward this regard in getting the largest number off the welfare roles since the inception of the program–something about 20 million new jobs created during his two terms, and also through the "welfare-to-work" program. WtW wasn't perfect, but it was a step in the right direction of making sure that we weren't just bankrolling deadbeats. If you manage the system in the right way, and make it more about getting people jobs and training for jobs, and less about just paying them enough to live on, then you'll truly make a difference.

I certainly have never been one of the rich, but I don't begrudge what they have, because I believe I have more because of what they have done!

i certainly don't begrudge the rich what they have either, i just don't like that they are able to wield power because of that wealth, and get out of paying their "fair share" for the privilege that allowed them their success in the first place. It is their duty, as successful products of this society, to give back to that society which made their success possible.

This country was conceived and built on the idea that people should have the right to improve themselves. The government should help people better themselves, as it certainly did in my case. Without welfare while I was a kid, I would have had no chance to pursue an education. However; the government should not be expected to take care of me all my life.

see my points on welfare above. but also, yes, this is why it is imperative that we set up the system so that it truly does the job of preparing people for the workplace, and finding them work to do. of course, that also means that you have to have an economy that is creating jobs, something Bush has proved largely inadequate at doing. He may have added 1.6 million jobs in the last 13 months, but it takes at least 150,000 jobs each month to sustain a growing economy, and Bush hasn't been able to do that. 130,000 one month, 60,000 another, 10,000 another, 110,000 another. This is not the way to grow an economy. The reason unemployment has dropped, at least partially, is that people are dropping off the rolls because they can't find work, or they've exhausted their benefits. Not because of the upswing, or new job creation. New job creation isn't even keeping up with the pace of new workers entering the job force, much less the old out-of-work ones.
anyway, the government should make every effort to make it possible for everyone who wants work to have work. and if you don't want work, then you're a homeless bum with no welfare.

Environmental protection in the US is in better hands than it was with Bill Clinton and the Democrats. I can speak more directly from the agricultural standpoint since I have been directly involved with farmers trying to deal with the repressive policies of the Clinton administration. I believe farmers need to be environmentally sensitive and responsible. There are better ways to accomplish that than "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" as EPA was doing. I was in a meeting just a couple of weeks ago with EPA people in Atlanta planning how to deal with animal waste on farms. I can assure you they are working to address the problem without risking the disruption of food production.

Perhaps the EPA was too harsh with small-time farmers who are being driven out of the market by huge corporate farms already. But the bulk of Clinton's EPA was devoted to protecting the environment from irresponsible corporate interests. The Clean Air act made great strides in reducing pollution and holding companies accountable. I don't know all the particulars, but nearly everyone agrees that the environmental policy the Bush administration has pursued has been the most egregious disaster for public health and the environment in recent years.

And anyway, maybe food production needs to be disrupted a bit. Farmers are getting paid less and less for more and more, and are constantly having to find new ways to produce more from less, correct? And the American waistline is growing bigger and bigger by the day. The vicious cycle of production/promotion/consumption is killing us all.

America's security; 90 percent of the cargo unloaded every day in the nation's ports still goes uninspected.

Which is 10% more than it was under Clinton!

I doubt that, but nevertheless, it's still 80% less than it should be, or could be if Bush hadn't bankrupted our government such that he can't even fully fund "his own" initiatives (Bush initially opposed creation of a Homeland Security department, which was originally a proposal of the Democrats).

When you have been attacked in your homeland, changes are justified. There may have been some inconveniences, but who knows what may have been thwarted by those policies.

Removal of basic civil rights is never justified. If we think we can implement totalitarian policies just because we've been attacked, then we're really not much better than terrorists ourselves, are we? In any event, and to paraphrase a common refrain from the time of the attacks, if civil liberties are repealed then "the terrorists have truly won."

I do agree that this election will have a lot to do with the future of this country. I want what's best for my children and grandchildren in the years to come. I truly believe that John Kerry is not suited to lead it in the right direction. George Bush may not be the best person for the job, but he is the best choice we have at this time.

You sound just like me, but opposite. John Kerry isn't the second coming, he's not perfect, but i think at least he's got an IQ equal to my own or better. At least he will entertain facts and make decisions based on them, rather than decided based on what God tells him, or what he simply "thinks is right." My biggest fear is that, with four more years of Bush, we'll have no friends left and more enemies in the international community, we'll have unbreathable air, undrinkable water, we'll have a national debt that even my 5th great grandchildren won't be able to dig out from under, and we'll have a society in which the rich and the poor are separated by an uncrossable economic gulf. The american dream will become a legend, then a myth. the Poor will no longer be able to come up from the foothills of the Appalachian mountains and make a cozy home for themselves and their families.

Let me just say that I respect your opinions no matter how much I disagree with them. I am sorry that I failed as a father to instill in you the values I hold so dear.

Believe me, you didn't fail as a father. I carry the values you taught me with me every day. They inform my every decision, every conversation, every aspect of my life. My values are as i describe above, distilled down into those two tenets. "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" and "Love your neighbor as yourself." It is only by mutual respect, love, and understanding that we can move this country, and this world, into the future. Without them, we'll see fear, hate, and greed on all sides, and there will be no escape.

- 01:32 am - PL ::
categories ::  Family - Politics - Society

 

2004.10.07 how will i ever DO anything:

i am no stranger to obsession, thought sometimes they run stronger than others. for the last… er… what, like 8 months? a year? almost a year… i've been singularly obsessed with politics. and not just politics, but with current events as well (though not with a broad scope). i have collected links to sites that i read on a regular basis, and in the past couple of weeks it has seemed that pretty much all i do anymore is read news sites/blogs and either store the information loosely in my buggy brain, or slip it softly into a "staging" folder in my bookmarks.

for quite some time i've used a "daily" bookmarks folder to house links to all those sites i visit (oh, this is good, you'll never guess) daily, with subfolders for sites i visit "frequently" and for the sites of "friends." before that it was just a huge dailies folder and a blogs folder.

about a week ago i finally decided to take some time and figure out what bloglines was all about. now, i've attempted to use RSS aggregators before, but never really found them to integrate well into the way i surf the web. plus there never seemed a good way to fold the results of all those RSS feeds in with each other. bloglines still doesn't integrate the feeds, but it does an adequate job of tracking entries that have been read, so that i just have to check periodically for new ones. since it's a browser-based aggregator, it's integrated into my regular browsing habits just like my daily bookmarks, but quicker (plus, i no longer have to remember–for the most part–which posts i've read and which i've not, not that it was that hard to begin with).

anyway, it seems to have streamlined my daily reading, but now i seem to have so many damned sites that i read, most of which are fairly prolific posters (or teams of posters) that all i seem to do is read.

The Daily Reads:

43 Folders
AmigaWorld
Bloglines | News
Boing Boing
Cool Tools
The Courier-Journal
Daily Kos
David Allen
Daypop Top 40
Engadget
Gizmodo
On Lisa Rein's Radar: Daily Show Clips
InfoWorld
Jabber News
Josh Rubin: Cool Hunting
LostInLouisville
Louisville, KY – Topix.net
MobileWhack
MoCoLoco
MT-Blacklist/Comment Spam Clearinghouse
Quotes of the Day
Screenhead
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
Talking Points Memo
Techbargains.com

i've actually managed to do a little work tonight (answered a few emails, updated old-man.net, and written this post) but i still feel like i'm racing the clock.

part of this continual feeling of overwhelmed ineffectualness has driven me towards things like Danny O'Brien's LifeHacks, 43 folders, and especially David Allen's Getting Things Done. i am now making a concerted effort to learn the GTD concepts, and research and figure out how to apply the principles in my life, and with the tools that i like to use. i want to figure out how to make that Handspring Visor i've been neglecting a vital part of the process for me. right now, my room's a mess of discarded envelopes (and, of course, their content) and i have a bad tendency to let things sit for too long or forget them altogether until it's too late. i've gotten my finances under control because i have A SYSTEM, now it's time to get the rest of my life in some semblance of that same control. i know i have the capacity, now i hope i'm finding the methods and the tools that will let me figure the rest of it out. we'll see, but i do have a good feeling about the whole thing.

oh yeah, bush sucks, kerry rules.

- 10:22 pm - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Cool Links - Personal Projects - Politics - Rants

 

2004.10.01 no debate about it:

here's the text of an email i just sent to several news organizations, in support of Kerry's victory in the debate last night:

"In the first debate of the 2004 Election, Americans everywhere saw John Kerry as the man best suited to the Presidency of this great country. Last night, they saw him speak clearly, with strength, conviction, candor, wisdom, and a clear understanding of the facts. For those who may have questioned his resolve or dedication to protecting this nation, he left no doubt as to his ability to lead and win the global fight against terrorism. In Iraq, John Kerry offered hope for a fresh start, and laid out specific plans as to how we can best finish what our current President so unfortunately started.

"Bush wasn't expected to be eloquent, but what America was presented with last night was the picture of a man with little grasp of reality, who had to resort several times to the same tired rhetoric the Bush campaign has been attempting to sling all along. Mr. Bush offered no hope for the future, tendered no regret for the egregious mishandling of the Iraq war, and no apologies for the unconscionable misrepresentation of the facts that led us there in the first place. Throughout most of the debate, the president seemed flustered and off-guard, he was quick to jump in several times almost before John Kerry had finished speaking, but once he had the floor he either paused, mumbled, or resorted to the canned responses and phrases he'd said several times already.

"Suffice it to say, John Kerry presented himself to the American people with strength, resolve, intelligence, and a real plan for the future of this country. John Kerry proved why he should be America's next President."

needless to say, i thought Kerry did a great job, and i feel more confident now than ever that things will work out alright.

Now, don't get cocky Kerry! i'm betting it's your race to lose, not Bush's. Keep the pressure on, keep bringin the fight to 'em.

- 03:18 am - PL ::
categories ::  Pleased/Like - Politics

 


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