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Archive for the 'Society' Category


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

 

2008.09.26 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

 

2008.07.18 Love ya right back:

found this via the official unofficial Mudhoney fan site—a video wherein the boys of Mudhoney talk about how much they enjoyed their visit to my lovely louisville. <tear>

now, the really funny part of this story, and something I had previously decided *not* to post about after much debate, was the fact that, during the show and much to his embarrassment, Mark Arm gave a great shout out to the place and people of… lexington. it was a pretty funny incident that had him stumbling over himself trying to save face. perhaps it was the chorus of boos and surprised laughter that clued him in.

that's ok Mark, we love you too!

- 11:12 am - PL ::
categories ::  Cool Links - Happy/Love - Local/Louisville - Music - Society - Uncategorized

 

2007.04.19 whomp:

i'm not quite ready to talk about the recent tragic events at Tech, where my brother attends college. his story will keep, until i have more time to tell it appropriately.

as occasionally happens, i have been quiet on bipolar, but working busily behind the scenes. in fact, i have gone a little plugin crazy. last week i added the gregarious plugin, which gives us digg buttons on posts that have been dugg, and a "share this" link which now lives at the bottom of each post, and is great on the off chance you might want to bookmark or share us on one of several social link-sharing services. the "share this" page also gives you the opportunity to email a link to a particular post directly to a friend, directly from the page. part of the impetus for this addition was brian's recent lamentation on our lack of social penetration (yeah, knock it off) and his self-referential digging. plus, i have a few major posts in the works that i think might be suited to a digg-type feeding frenzy. we'll see.

with this addition i've also reformatted the post-ending link bonanza just a bit, i think making things a bit nicer. gone is the abbreviated "pl," in favor of the slightly less obfuscated "permalink."

the other obvious thing you might notice, looking down there, is a new starred rating thingy, again for individual posts. apparently, this plugin only allows you to vote once, and doesn't allow yout to change that vote once it's cast. i may have to do something about that, but i'll let it stand for now.

one less obvious addition is a "subcribe to comments" plugin, which allows you to indicate whether you want, when you comment on a post, to have subsequent comments sent to you via email. there's also a subscription management feature, so you can come in and remove yourself from subscribed posts if you like.

a very obscure (to you the viewer, anyway) plugin is one which checks for incoming links to a post (from offsite), and registers any that are found as "pingbacks" without the offsite poster having to actually initiate a formal pingback. if you understand what that means, congratulations, you're an official blog geek.

behind the scenes, i've also added a plugin that counts post views, mainly for the benefit of the last recently added plugin… a bipolar stats page. The plugin lists on that page many various stats from the blog, including the new post ratings and post views. One really fun feature (i thought, anyway) is the ability to see the nicks off all previous commenters, and the ability to go to a page listing all their comments. being that we allow "anonymous" comments (i.e. you don't have to register), many people have visited and used different nicks, so the list is rather longer than the actual number of individuals who've commented.

i still have a short list of plugins left to test and install, but i thought these were the most immediately useful ones.

here's what i've installed:

here's what i'm still considering:

so digg, email, subscribe, rate, view, and link away.

2007.03.27 of old friends, avail:

wherein your humble narrator again laments the inevitability of social distance

the wife and i had the pleasure this evening of hanging out with a few old friends, one of whom has recently embarked on a new life adventure in LA la land. again i was reminded of why it is i've chosen these people as close friends, and again i've had some nostalgic pangs for the times when i could just walk into the next room to enjoy wit, share an anecdote, or request advice. i realize, of course, that i've traded up&mdash;for someone with whom i can share many of the same things (along with many other things besides–not all of them "dirty", you cretins)

now all my closest friends but one are married (and he's probably not far off), and that has a way of cramping the social style, especially when you get doctors, near-doctors, students, and parents in the mix. schedules are hard enough to work around when you're just you. when there're two of you to consider, well, it quickly spirals out of control. work time, me time, us time, we time… we time nearly always gets the shaft in that arrangement.

i know that there's not a lot that any of us can do about it, so until we're able to be more proactive about it, i'm just planning on enjoying the infrequent times i get with my friends, and looking forward to the times that i can be reminded why i liked them so much in the first place.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

- 10:51 pm - PL ::
categories ::  Family - Friends - Happy/Love - Local/Louisville - Nostalgia - Society - Wife

 

2006.09.07 blast from the link-blog past:

not that bipolar was ever really a "link-blog," but I compiled this little list for my best gal earlier today, and thought it wouldn't be totally imprudent to post it here for you guys. i have a couple post ideas brewing, but really i just need to get off my ass and post my usual off-the-cuff b.s. like i used to.

anyway, here's the list o' links:

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.


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