Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Greetings!

Today’s post includes things that don’t normally go together. Now Congress and graft? Yes. Congress and bullshit? Yes. Congress and Ebola? Not so much. But first, let’s get the daily stuff out of the way.

Managed day 9 today. 53:20 on the treadmill, 2.47 miles traveled, 2.78 mph. A little slower, but another 6 minutes and just shy of ¼ mile more traveled. I’m very pleased, considering it took a lot to wake up and get moving this morning. I also did it with a doozy of a headache. Tomorrow should be a little easier… it’s with the trainers, but it’s at 7 AM. I’ll get some weight training in as well.

I’m really noticing an improvement in general cardiovascular health. My stair climbing has gotten easier, and while my ankles continue to hurt, my feet seem to be holding up under the onslaught. Touch wood. I’m crediting the moisture-wicking socks. Maybe I need to consider some kind of moisture-wicking shirt, because I always come off the treadmill looking like I came in out of a tropical deluge. Things to ponder.

The Academy Award nominees have been released as well. Leading the way is Lincoln (big surprise). As much as I want to see it, I’m really intrigued by Zero Dark Thirty. This might be the first time in years that I actually want to see some nominees. Interesting stuff.

Now, on to some political news.

As many readers know, I like to spend time excoriating our political leadership here in the USA. Therefore, I was greatly amused when Public Policy Polling did a survey of just how unpopular Congress is, it was found to be less popular than cockroaches, traffic jams, lice and Nickelback, and slightly more popular than two of the biggest scourges facing humanity today: Ebola and the Kardashians. Way to go, Congress… people like you more than Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever that kills some 70% of its victims and causes bleeding from every known orifice. Your parents must be SO proud of you.

I might add that Congress polls slightly ahead of Lindsay Lohan and telemarketers. They also pulled better numbers than gonorrhea. Talk about a gold standard for excellence. Woot!

For complete poll results, visit the Public Policy Polling website.

So, there you have it for today. More to come!

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So, here we are. The Day After the Most Important Election in History. At least that’s what CNN says. Granted, they would hype a school board race in Perry County if they thought it would get ratings. I am confused, though… wasn’t 2008 The Most Important Election in History? Either way, the political sheeple are eating it up like Joey Chesnutt scarfing wieners at a Nathan’s hot dog eating contest.

I know this because I used to be one of the political sheeple.

Here’s a news flash:

It doesn’t matter that Barack Obama won.

Does. Not. Matter. One. Bit.

The world will continue to revolve. People will still go to work, worry about the economy, raise a family, try to make ends meet, and continue to live. The only immediate impact of the Obama win is that a boatload of Republicans have retreated to lick their wounds and rail about electoral sabotage and dirty tricks.

Politics is a funny business. We have citizens who think it’s the greatest travesty ever visited on the country that George W. Bush was elected twice. And that if Al Gore or John Kerry had been elected, well, the country would have been that better off and everywhere you’d look, there’d be unicorns shitting gold bars in the streets, free for the taking.

We have citizens who think the same thing about Bill Clinton’s presidency. That if Bush the first had been reelected or Bob Dole had won in 1996, well it would all be good. No recessions, and all that money would trickle down to us poor folks. Voodoo economics, indeed.

Fact is, neither side is right, and neither side is wrong. We view these elections through the “what’s in it for me” lens. What about what’s in it for the country? Has any one of these cretins actually given a shit about the country as a whole? I think not. I hear Barack Obama talking about hope and change and peace and love and dope and god knows what else. I heard Mitt Romney yakking about how he knows how to run things and people need to get back to work and no more welfare and all that rot.

I call bovine scatology.

Lets look at facts. The country is falling apart. The infrastructure is crumbling. Everywhere you look, moral decay, overcrowded prisons, government and other groups monitoring what you do with your body and in your bedroom, schools focused on standardized test scores rather than making sure kids actually learn anything useful, zero tolerance, massive overspending on a broken educational system, unions bitching that they aren’t getting a big enough raise, an increasingly litigious society that thinks it has the constitutional right to be stupid and then has the chutzpah to think the smarter part of society owes it, skyrocketing health care costs and a shrinking middle class shouldering a larger and larger portion of the tax burden.

Where does it end?

Bad news, folks. It will only end when we stop the petty bickering and actually elect some folks who just want to go to Washington, do what they were elected to do, and get the hell out of there.

SPW has said that her political party hasn’t been invented yet. The Personal Responsibility Party. What a concept. Imagine someone shooting themselves in the hand with a nail gun and instead of suing Black & Decker, they say, “Whoops… My bad.” Don’t expect to be handsomely rewarded if you slip on your neighbor’s sidewalk… It’s icy, dumbass. Think maybe it might be a little slippery? Or did you not know that ice was slippery because it wasn’t on the standardized test? Maybe if people would man up and take some responsibility, it might be a different story.

Proud to be part of this 1%

I saw something on Facebook this morning where someone wrote, “Let the healing begin…” We shouldn’t need to be so divided that we need to heal over an election where the candidates are basically opposite sides of the same coin. I heard all sorts of Romney-ites saying that a vote for anyone other than Mittens was a vote for BHO. I disagree. It’s my vote and I voted for what I felt would best benefit the country. I was told that if I voted third-party, I was wasting my vote. Bull. I voted with my conscience.

It’s no secret I have no love for BHO. I think he’s a charlatan issuing empty promises, using one hand to distract the people while using the other to twist the public teat until it’s purple. It’s no secret I harbored similar feelings toward W, though not for the same reason. Each of them has sullied the office, and despite all that, I still respect the office, even if I have trouble respecting the officeholder.

So, you probably wonder what I would do if it were up to me to fix. Here’s my summation of my ideas and the best ideas I’ve seen in social media:

  • Election season would be six months. No more, no less.’
  • Election financing would be provided on an equal basis to each candidate. NO PRIVATE DONATIONS. There would also be a spending cap set by law.
  • All primary elections would take place on the same day.
  • All general elections would take place on the same day. No early voting. Polls would be open longer hours to serve the voters.
  • News outlets would be prohibited BY LAW from predicting winners. This practice can have an effect on an election and discourage West Coast voters from going to the poll if it seems one candidate has a large lead.
  • Instead of campaign advertising, each candidate would be given the opportunity to provide a position statement on a given that would be read, verbatim, by a news anchor, without commentary.
  • One debate each month.

Is it ever going to happen? Not as long as politicians are politicians, but imagine a civilized campaign. And no phone calls from Chuck Norris, Clint Eastwood, Michelle Obama or anyone else. Blessed silence.

This is my last political post/rant for a while. I hope I am proven wrong and the next four years are prosperous for our nation.

I hope.

(the following post contains a rant with profanity… please proceed with caution)

When I see some kind of gaffe in someone’s writing, I often think, “Why didn’t the author think how that might be construed?”

Never thought it would happen to me.

I was viewing the blog stats, which I do periodically, and looked at what people are searching for that led them to my blog. Now, many of you have read my stories of Gratuitously Naked Guy and his lack of a towel. What I thought was a humorous anecdote, well, here’s the search listings:

Think I might need to refer less to GNG in the future.

Next topic is car dealer service departments…

No matter what you take your car in for, they always want to chisel a few more dollars out of you. For example, I took Mario the Super Honda into the local dealership for an oil change. They called and said they recommended a tire rotation and balancing. Now, I just had the tires rotated a month ago at the place I bought the tires, so I said, “That’s funny… I just had the tires rotated and balanced a month ago.”

Dead silence.

Then, “Well, they seem to have different tread depths.”

Me: “That’s funny… I bought all four tires at the same time.”

Them: “Oh. Well, your battery is getting weak.”

Me: “Oh, OK. I’ll install a new one.”

Them: “We can do that for you.”

Me: “I know, but I can do it, too.”

Sigh.

I get the wanting to be profitable, but times are tough out there. If I can buy a battery for $100 and put it in myself, why should I pay them $300 to install it? They get $95/hour to work on your car. I don’t make $95/hour. Most people don’t. These are the same people who tell me the car needs a full alignment. Every time. They usually back off when I point out that they did a full alignment in May when I had it inspected.

(Image courtesy of world-crisis.net)

Finally, election phone calls. I understand the need to get out and vote. It’s an essential part of the process. I don’t understand the need for the artillery barrage of robo-calls from celebrity endorsers. I was waiting for Honey Boo-Boo to call and tell me to vote for whoever she’s endorsing. I get the newspaper endorsements… I get party and organized labor endorsements. I don’t get why we care who (insert self-important celebrity here) endorses. I especially get irked when I see it reported as mainstream news… I mean when the CNN talking head trumpets that “Kim Kardashian supports Obama!”, I wonder about that, since Kim probably can’t spell Obama in the first place. Have we become so obsessed with celebrity in this country that it really matters? I actually think that country singer Brad Paisley said it best in his song “Celebrity”:

 

Someday I’m gonna be famous. Do I have talents? Well, no. These days you don’t really need it, thanks to reality shows.

OK… so there you have it. I’ll leave you with my final words. Get out and vote today. If you are of legal age and citizenship status, that is. Unless you’re in Chicago, in which case, vote as many times as you can. I’m sure my guy’s not going to win, but I’ll be damned if I’ll waste my vote on the current occupant or on Mittens. One has promised the world and failed to deliver (and yes, I know he’s only one guy and he can’t control everything, but it would be nice if he’d man up and admit he screwed the pooch) and the other, well, about the best thing you can say is that he’s not the current occupant. Both of them ran billion dollar campaigns. That’s billion. With a “B”. Where’d they get that much scratch? The short answer is from the rich people who both candidates claim to detest. From Wall Street. From the lawyers and lobbyists and influence peddlers. From the celebrities.

Now imagine, if instead of spending beaucoup cash to buy influence, they donated the money to people who could actually use it. Those affected by Sandy or other natural disasters. You know, people actually helping people instead of  funneling the money through the most inefficient bureaucracy in human history with a lot of it being diverted to line the pockets of the fat cats. The priorities in this country are so fucked up it’s astounding. Instead of The Donald promising $5 million to whatever charity, how about he sends one of his people to the local Home Depot, buys a shitload of gift cards, and passes them out to people who need a hand… who have lost everything? I guess if that was done, it couldn’t be claimed as a tax deduction. What a joke.

“Brian,” you say, “you’re living in a fantasy world. You’re wishing for a Utopia.”

Naaah. Maybe a country less divided. Maybe a cultural shift to where we can respect one another’s opinion without taking it as a personal insult if someone else disagrees with you. Although the media wants us to be at each other’s throats and offended by everything so they have something to report, we still have a RIGHT to OUR OWN OPINIONS! I might not (and probably won’t) agree with what Barbra Streisand or Rush Limbaugh have to say, but I will defend the right to say whatever drivel they can dream up.

OK… rant over. Now get out and vote! You still have 30 minutes on the east coast.

Good morning (it’s morning now… might not be by the time I finish, so deal with it, ok?)! Hopefully this finds you well. It’s 54 degrees and raining today, which makes it feel like a Monday. The 54 degrees is fine… perhaps a little chilly, but it’s the rain that causes the problems. It’s kind of hard to go for a walk in it, especially if you have to worry about your feet getting too wet.

Monday, the real Monday, started off with a whimper. It’s a tight schedule day… gym appointment at 7, at work by 8:30. I got dressed, ate some breakfast (Cheerios and a banana, if you’re keeping score), and went out to the car. I should say a few words about my car. It’s a 1999 Oldsmobile with only 101,000 miles. It can be, shall we say, temperamental? It decided not to start… not because there was a problem, but because the security system was having a bad day. It’s not a good system… it basically senses a chip in the key and decides whether to start or not. If it doesn’t start, you have to wait around for an hour until it resets. Sigh. It doesn’t do this often, but it always seems to be while I’m in a hurry. So, I had to grab Supportive Partner Woman (sports editor extraordinaire!)’s ride, go to my session, come home and pray the car started. It did, but that was my morning shot to hell.

We’re doing a new proof of concept at work that’s had some hiccups… that pretty much blew the main part of the day. In the evening, I drove SPW to our hometown so she could participate in a class reunion meeting. I killed time at Barnes & Noble while she did reunion stuff, then we went home. Such an exciting life, you know?

So, since Monday was shot to hell, Tuesday has become the new Monday. At least for this week. I’m so looking forward to the evening when I have nothing planned.

In the Seriously, dude? files for today, had a phone call and a letter from Comcast. The purpose of said missives were to inform me that my cable modem would soon not be able to handle the full array of internet services the Xfinity offers. Of course, they would be happy to rent us a new modem. Of course. Seriously? Did they learn nothing from me? I tried to update my modem a few months ago and all I got was a piece of colossal excrement from Motorola.

It just seems that anymore, the inmates are running the asylum. Take my driver’s license renewal. I made a mistake and wrote the check for $29.00 instead of $29.50. Rather than call and say, “Hey, you messed up,” they mailed it back to me (costing them $0.42 in postage, making me write a second check for $0.50, which probably cost them around $8.00 to process. Net profit on that $0.50 was around -$7.92. Glad they got basic economics figured out. And these are the people running things?

People ask me what happened to me. I used to be totally fascinated by the political process. I was a poll worker, a judge of elections, worked phone banks, whatever was needed. I would attend political rallies. I was versed on the issues and thought that it mattered who was elected… that my candidate would be the better choice. Anymore, I see the elections as nothing but a choice between two unpalatable options. Politics has always been a dirty business, but lately it seems that the country has been completely polarized with no willingness to even listen to another point of view. Hollywood gets a few things right, and politics can be best summed up with the following quote from the 1990 release The Hunt for Red October:

 Listen; I’m a politician which means I’m a cheat and a liar, and when I’m not kissing babies I’m stealing their lollipops.

Only problem is, they aren’t just stealing lollipops. The politicians and all of “official” Washington are stealing our country. The two-party system is a failure and has marginalized those who don’t fit in either party’s mold. Economist Jeffrey Sachs writes in his book The Price of Civilization that:

The main reason for America’s majoritarian character is the electoral system for Congress. Members of Congress are elected in single-member districts according to the “first-past-the-post” (FPTP) principle, meaning that the candidate with the plurality of votes is the winner of the congressional seat. The losing party or parties win no representation at all. The first-past-the-post election tends to produce a small number of major parties, perhaps just two, a principle known in political science as Duverger’s Law. Smaller parties are trampled in first-past-the-post elections.

Tim Holden – I’d think that $174,000 a year would make him a little busier

Barring the emergence of a viable third-party, it seems to me that the best way to shake things up is to institute term limits. When guys like Arlen Specter spend 30 years in office, suckling at the collective teat of the people, there’s a problem. I grew up in the old 6th district of Pennsylvania which was “represented” by two, count them, TWO people. In 40 years. The current occupant of the office, Rep. Tim Holden, has these examples of groundbreaking legislation as his legacy. His predecessor, Gus Yatron, was even more ineffective. In 22 years, he sponsored 15 bills, none of which were made into law. There was one resolution condemning human rights violations in the former USSR, though. Earth shattering stuff.

So, in short, make sure you vote. Even if it involves holding your nose and voting for the candidate who stinks slightly less. If the elected officials aren’t getting it done, throw them out. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I still believe these people work for me, not vice-versa. Don’t think that you need to vote Republican or Democrat, either. There’s no law that says you need to vote for either Mittens or for the current occupant. Take the time to learn about an alternative, whether it be an independent or Libertarian or Communist, even. Vote for who you want… it’s your vote, not Candy Crowley’s or Wolf Blitzer’s or Anderson Freakin’ Cooper’s vote.

Anyone remember Gus Hall?