Sunday, November 28, 2004
Home Sweet Home
Thanks to echo_doctor for sending me this map. I modified it slightly to reflect an upcoming event. As you can see from the map above, I am in the process of relocating from my blue heaven in Washington to a state many people refer to as Big Red, and not just because of the large Scottish women you meet while you're there.
Because of some developments related to my day job, and my wife's career (just kidding, she's really a clown also), we're heading in to the heart of the Republican stronghold known widely as the Midwest. I have included a link in the title of this posting, if you're interested in learning more about the Cornhusker State.
If you're not interested in learning more about Nebraska, fuck off. What makes Nebraska such a great place is that people like you don't live there, Mr. or Ms.-I'm-too-good-to-learn-about-places-I've-never-visited. I bet people hate the place you live, because you're there. I know I don't plan on moving there, unless you plan on leaving, of course.
People who haven't visited Omaha or only drove through Nebraska while their parents were on a coke-fueled killing spree, often comment about how boring it seems, or how there must not be much to do there. HA! I'll have you know that there a literally hundreds of bars, like the Dundee Dell or McFly's Center Street Tavern. If you don't like drinking beer, you probably might be happier in Utah or at the bottom of a mine shaft, where I hear that it's difficult to get a cold beer. Not in Omaha, though.
As if the abundance of conservatives and cold winters weren't enough reason to drink heavily, Omaha also hosts the College World Series every June. If nice weather, baseball, and cool people who like to party from all over the country (I have an entirely new appreciation for LSU Tiger fans after the 2003 series) aren't your cup of tea, then you'd probably be better off hanging around your local quilting festival or the local beekeepers association meeting.
I will miss Washington, and the abundance of liberal and progressive thinkers that I have met here. I will not miss the weather, the traffic, or the lack of quality football and hockey teams. If you're missing the NHL, you need to check out US or Canadian Junior Hockey or US College Hockey. These kids play hard, fight often, kick each other's asses and love the game. Those are all things that are lacking in the NHL, and Omaha hosts both a college and US Junior Hockey team.
I'm sure now you're all wishing you could move to Omaha too, but I checked for jobs for you, and they're not hiring jackasses and douchebags in Omaha right now. They sent all those jobs to Texas and Florida because of the abundant labor pool in those fields.
So, next time you're walking around your city thinking that it's the best in the country, think again. Omaha might not seem cool to you, but that's only because you suck and you're too lame to appreciate it.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Your Colostomy Bag is Ready!
I just wanted to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you don't have to eat Tofurkey as part of your dinner. My question is: If you're a vegetarian and you don't eat meat, why punish yourself with an imitation meat that reportedly tastes something like a cross between peanut butter puke and baby poop? Don't lie either. Anyone who thinks tofurkey tastes good is as full of shit as that bag in the picture above.
I don't have a problem if you choose not to eat meat, that leaves more dead animal meat for me. And there are plenty of good vegan dishes out there, like carrots, peas and mashed potatoes. Green bean casserole is a great vegan dish, and no animals are harmed during its preparation or consumption. If someone told you that a piece of their poop tasted like turkey, would you eat that too, just to feel like a pilgrim?
I can tell you right now that the pilgrims and native Americans back at Plymouth Rock didn't eat tofurkey. The pilgrims killed any animal they could find, and when they ran out of animals to eat, they killed the guy that invented tofurkey and ate him too. With a big bowl of gravy.
I can hear all the vegans whining right now: "But Ryan, we need protein and tofu is an excellent way to get protein." Yeah, there are a lot of things out there that have protein in them, like dog food and cow testicles, but you don't see me relying on those items as key sources of protein in my diet. And I've seen a million great ways to prepare tofu, where it doesn't take on the color and consistency of my crap.
Bottom line: None of us carnivorous folk would give vegans or vegetarians a hard time if you all worked on the presentation a little bit, so that the tofu didn't look like a big bag of poop.
Monday, November 22, 2004
That's two minutes for cross checking.
The Detroit Pistons had a Fan Appreciation Night for Detroit Red Wings and Kid Rock fans on Friday night. For those of you who don't watch SportsCenter obsessively, click here to see the results. You can see a video of the whole melee by clicking on Video:Fight Video, Reactions. This is what happens when you cancel the NHL season in Hockey Town.
The most ridiculous part of the whole mess is when you hear sports reporters trying to explain why the whole mess happened. It was Ron Artest's fault, it was the fans' fault, it was built up frustration because no one even knows what an Indiana Pacer really is! You know what it was? A bunch of drunk morons (the fans, who thought it was WWE night) pissed off at a bunch of over-paid jackasses with super-sized egos.
Let's not read too much into this. It's sports, not education or the economy or foreign policy. The entire country is outraged because of this event, which happens about three times a year when the National Hockey League actually decides to lace up their skates, asking stupid questions like "What does this say about the NBA?" (It's really boring when a fight makes this much of a stir) "How long will it be before someone is killed at a game?" (Our own soldiers and thousands of innocent people are dying all over the world, every day) "Are the fans and players safe?" (Basketball players and their fans are among the safest people in the world right now)
The saddest part is that we've put so much emphasis on a bunch of morons being morons, that we lose sight of REAL problems, like the fact that two children starved to death in their home here in Washington and the civilian death toll in Iraq is estimated at 100,000 people. Who cares if some basketball players got into a fight with some fans? We've got actual problems to deal with, and the media is concerned about millionaires fighting with drunks? I consider myself to be a huge sports fan, but this public perseveration on this brawl is asinine.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
The World's Greatest Babysitter
If there's one thing that I didn't ever expect to have to do when I married my wife, it was babysitting. She managed not to get pregnant before we met, and I was able to successfully avoid making one of the crazy whores that I dated in college or high school the mother of my spawn.
You can imagine my surprise then, when my wife approached me about watching the five year-old son of her boss, while my wife and her boss attended an important meeting. A little background is in order. I work with kids every day of my life because I work at a children's hospital. So not only do I work with kids but sick kids and often kids who have behavior problems. And this kid was five. No problem, right?
Here are some observations about 5 year-old kids based on my pro bono babysitting experience that will shock you:
- Video games that are rated M for Mature make 5 year-old kids cry... a lot. Halo 2 Deathmatch was a lot of fun until I shot him in the head with a sniper rifle. He didn't enjoy that very much.
- 5 year-olds, despite their expansive vocabulary and apparent mastery of the English language, don't have the slightest clue about what a sorry state the country is in. I explained to this little guy how much college will cost in 13 years when he's ready to go, and guess what he did? If you guessed "started crying", you get three points.
- 5 year-olds are picky eaters. I tried to get him to try 1 jalapeno pepper, and after one bite, he wouldn't even finish the whole thing. What a waste. He just cried.
- After all this, I thought it might be fun to play a game to cheer him up. If you want to kick someone's ass in Trivial Pursuit, recruit a 5 year-old to play against you. This kid thought the battle of Gettysburg took place in 1998.
All in all, I think the whole experience went well. I learned that I need to explore permanent sterilization, and I think he learned that jalapeno peppers don't make your mouth burn forever.
Friday, November 19, 2004
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
If you see this flag waving, it won't be at a Mensa Convention
JC and echo_doctor sent me this. The person who wrote it doesn't need my help explaining anything. One important thing to note is that states in the South, while being good topics for TV Classics like the Dukes of Hazzard and I Married My Sister, tend to rank poorly in terms of environmental quality, educational opportunities for minorities, and intelligence. Oh yeah, and Bush overwhelmingly won the South. Coincidence? I think not.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
For those of you who haven't had the chance, check out Steve Yurono's comments under A Call to Arms! I have included the link from his comments here, since you can't link directly from comments. It's worth taking a look at.
It looks like Condi Rice is going to be the next Secretary of State. The scary part of losing Colin Powell and passing the torch to Rice is how this will negatively impact our already imperiled foreign policy. Colin Powell was the only person in the administration encouraging bilateral negotiations with North Korea, and also pushed hard to get the UN involved in Iraq, even after Bush abandoned the international community. He was Bush's fall guy going in front of the UN and making a case the Iraq's WMDs, and Colin Powell deserves better than to be Bush's piss boy.
Rice's views on foreign policy are more in line with the administration's "You're either with us or against us." approach, and while that will make Bush's cabinet meetings more agreeable, the loss of Colin Powell as Secretary of State is a loss for anyone who supports rational and realistic approaches to foreign relations.
USA Today is also reporting that Bush Administration Terrorism PR lackey/Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge is the latest cabinet member to throw in the towel. Believe me when I say that the Department of Homeland Security is the biggest waste of time and money ever conceived, and has taken emphasis away from real terrorist threats (nuclear power plants, ports, domestic water supply, border patrol) and focuses everyone's attention on air security. The Administration should do us all a favor and not fill this position, and redirect the funds towards effective measures to reduce terrorism, like increased funding and manpower for police and fire departments.
In completely unrelated news, Libertarian-wannabe and New York Times columnist William Safire will retire at the end of January. I agree with very few things that he writes, because I think Libertarians need to invade Alabama and start their own country so they can experience what a true free-market economy would do to them, but I do appreciate the fact that his columns are almost always well-researched and rational. Even if you don't agree with Safire, you can read what he writes and say "I may not agree with that, but I could see how someone else might come to that ridiculous conclusion." Anymore with Bill "Touch me where I pee" O'Reilly and Shawn "Research, we don't need no stinking research" Hannity, we're soon going to miss William Safire.
Monday, November 15, 2004
David has an issue with my posting about political polling:
You were stupid for trusting the exit polls! They're crap! How else can you explain that 23% of gay people voted for President Bush?Well David, maybe that's the 23% of the gay population that never wants to get married? I was also stumped by that figure.
This one comes from Steve:
I really don't think that the President would attempt to make abortion illegal. I am opposed to abortion and think it's murder. But I recognize (as does the Pres) that it would be extremely difficult and probably politically dangerous to try to make it illegal. I think he will appoint pro-life judges, from the Supremem Court all the way down. Hopefully he -- and the judges -- would take a more common sense approach. For instance, why can't we pass consent laws which require parental notification before giving teens an abortion when high schools won't even give Tylenol with parental consent. The word "duh" comes to mind.The interesting thing about this post is that Steve doesn't seem to recognize the long-term implications of having a majority of pro-life judges. I wish that some pro-life person would stand up and admit that making it illegal and less accessible will not prevent abortion from occurring.
Realistically, 9/11 and the aftermath aside, I think Bush's goal, like every first term president, was to win a second term. With a Repub majority in Congress that's where you'll see him begin to make more ideologically based moves. I would be very surprised to see him make a drastic lurch to the right with a draconian "abortion is illegal" proclamation. This country has moved leftward incrementally since the post-WWII era and that's how I think we'll move back. There would be too much backlash otherwise. More tax cuts? Yeah. Pro-life judges? Yeah. Making abortion illegal? Ain't gonna happen.
Finally, echo doctor made raised a number of important issues about the recent exodus from the Bush Administration's cabinet. Is this historically typical? What impact will this have on the next 4 years? Is it a sign of the evil that lurks within?
Share your comments on these postings. You can even do so anonymously, believe me, a lot of the Category 1 Hate Mail I get is anonymous.
I wanted to be fair and also provide this link to the polar opposite of the Sorry Everybody webpage. These are pictures from people who are apparently not sorry about Bush's victory. I'm frankly surprised they're smart enough to operate a computer, but I guess there is AOL.
I've been talking with a lot of Democrats lately and even a few Republicans about what progressive people can do in these dark days ahead. The media wants to portray the Democrats and progressives as out of touch with mainstream society, elitist pricks, and sore losers. Frankly, this pisses me off quite a bit. In response to this, I made a list of things that we have to do in order to make the next four years bearable:
1) Write letters: It used to be that there was nothing that got under my skin more than the ultra-conservative, fascist asshole that would write a letter to the editor of my local town paper once a month about how the US trade policy should start by cutting ties with all foreign countries or how Clinton murdered everyone in Arkansas while Governor. The lies and the bias started to get under my skin, until I realized that I could do the same thing, only with research and a coherent message. Progressives are so much smarter than those who oppose us, but we can also be completely complacent. So do me and the rest of the country a favor, and once a year, write a letter to the editor of a newspaper or to a political figure about an issue that you feel strongly about. At the very least, you can annoy someone that voted for President Bush.
2) Be Aggressive: Conservative pundits and their followers load up bullshit like they were going to open a fertilizer stand. President Reagan was the greatest US President in History (who took a deficit from the previous 190 years of our country had been $790 billion and left us with $2.191 trillion in only 8 years). This is only one example of the crap that conservatives throw at us, and with a little research we can keep them honest.
3) Don't give up: We all know that we're right. We also know that the people who voted for Bush in this election were completely misinformed. They voted for him because of morality and security. If the last four years showed us anything, it's that the man does not have many strengths, but morality and security are probably his two biggest weaknesses. Bush could squander all this "political capital" that the Republicans have earned, just as quickly as he squandered the national unity that came after 9/11.
Progressives are at a crossroads. We can either sit back and take the abuse that is undoubtedly coming out way or we can stick to our guns, and give 'em hell. Michael Moore pointed out that Bush's 3% margin of victory was the smallest for an incumbent President since Woodrow Wilson. We should feel good about that, and remind conservatives around us that the resistance is strong and much smarter than they could ever hope to be.
Saturday, November 13, 2004
I promised you that I would post some of the hate mail that I get, just so that you can see the intelligent discourse that's taking place here. I am going to try to do this once a month or so. Alternatively, go ahead and put your gripes under comments, and just save me the time and save yourself the ridicule.
I post everything unedited. The hate mail that I have been getting thus far falls into two categories:
Category 1 Hate Mail - By far the most common type of hate mail, Category 1 basically consists of people writing things like:
- "Fuck you you fucking queer, commie cock sucker!!!!" (11/2/04)
- "YOUR DICK IS THE SMALLEST IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING WORLD." (11/9/04)
- "I hope that you and the rest of you fucking liberals rot in hell. I blame you and your fucking raghead friends for killing innocent babies" (11/4/04)
In the future, I won't probably put this kind of baseless crap on the website, but I did it here simply as an illustration of how I am impacting the people who read this site. I get about 2-3 of these a day, and they're at least worth a good laugh.
Category 2 Hatemail - This is the stuff that I actually look forward to reading. It's not always well-researched or thought out, but at least these folks have moved past insults, and on to attempting to refute the content of the website (My comments are in parenthesis). For example:
Ryan: Your site is an unoriginal source of liberal propoganda. Your attacks on the president are weak, and make me yawn frequently. You think your funny, but your really just bitter an angry about the election (I had to read this sentence like 6 times before I realized that he meant you're and not your). Defending deathrow inmates who kill people is disgusting (Killing the poor, undereducated, and minorities is equally disgusting). I hope the families of their victims read your website, or better yet meet you in a public place. Most of what you write doesn't even deserve to be discussed (Yet, here we are having a discussion?). Get a life.
(name removed and email removed) Brownsville, TX
Your posting on veterans day was a piece of dogshit. I'm sure you researched every single person on that list with the department of defense or something (A note about research - Google and LexisNexis have made research about all things political very easy. If you question anything that I have written, do a little research. Thanks to the fact that most of the politicians and pundits listed are egomaniacal jackasses, you can put their name into Google and get a free autobiography from their website. Check a few of them out if you don't believe me). If you liberals are so patriotic, stop criticizing the war and get behind the troops. You are pathetic.
I rarely get comments or emails that question the content of the website, which is what I had hoped for, but we've only been up for 2 weeks, so we'll see if we actually start getting some quality here. If it's a really good refutation, even if I don't agree with you, I will post it for the sake of discussion. If you don't believe me, post it yourself under comments. Otherwise, this just turns into a place for me to rant and rave, and we know what that looks like.....
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Raise your hands if you support the troops.
The hate mail post is coming on Saturday. I do have a day job, which makes keep things updated a challenge, but people keep coming to the website and writing hate mail, so I must be doing something right.
Also, check out this link. It makes me feel better about the state of the US, and it's definitely something we owe the rest of the world. Thanks to MAG for sending it to me.
In the final installment of the President Bush isn't Pro-Life trilogy (Part I - The Fetus Strikes Back, Part II - Texas Jedi Execution, and Part III - Sand Wars), we can discuss everyone's favorite topic, the Iraq War.
First of all, let me point out that like everyone else in the US, I support the troops. Who the hell doesn't? The soldiers are over there in harms way, and my disagreement with the Bush administration has nothing to do with the troops. Our troops have made the world a safer place without Saddam Hussein in power. Anyone who ever accuses you of not being patriotic or not supporting the troops because you don't agree with the President needs to climb off his sister for a minute, turn off the Bass Fishing show, and remember that if you support someone, you don't leave them stuck in Iraq with an objective that's about as clear as why 59 million people voted for President Bush.
I'll also be the first to admit that I don't have an easy answer about what to do in Iraq. I do believe that having allies (including Arab countries that are members of the UN ) would help to make our occupation less costly, less dangerous for our troops, and less likely to give Al Quida a recruiting tool to use against to US. Unfortunately, we burned that bridge a long time ago. If you have a viable strategy to win peace in Iraq you can email George or Dick, but unless it involves no-bid contracts for US companies, I wouldn't count on them considering it.
The saddest part about the War in Iraq has been the estimated civilian casualties. I've heard people say that human death is part of war, and I can accept that. But, don't call yourself Pro-Life, when you continue to kill more and more people every day. We've lost over 1,000 soldiers, and continue to lose more every day, even since Saddam has left power. The problem that I have is that the President calls himself Pro-Life, and voters believe him, despite the fact that diplomacy never even crossed his mind. "You're either with us or against us" is not foreign policy. And you'd think that people who would consider themselves to be Pro-Life would see this, and think "Wow, the President's actions really aren't respecting the sanctity of life."
In closing, if you're Pro-Life and you voted for President Bush, you've been had. Not only does he have a long history of policies and actions that disregard human life, but the President continues to violate human rights and oversee the killing of innocent people. The rotten irony about the Pro-Life movement in this country is that they don't give a damn about people's lives, and they lack the judgment to see when someone is using their religious convictions to herd them like sheep to a slaughter.
Check out the link in the title of this posting if you want to know what the costs of our foolishness and lack of planning are.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Call them true blue. According to the Boca Raton News, more than a
dozen traumatized supporters of Democrat John Kerry "have sought and
received therapy from a licensed Florida psychologist since their candidate lost
to President Bush." Trauma specialist Douglas Schooler said he has treated
15people so far with "intense hypnotherapy" since Florida -- and the majority of
the country -- turned red and re-elected President Bush. Some mental health
professionals in South Florida, Kerry's stronghold within the state, said they've
developed a new category for the Kerry-related stress reactions. "We're calling
it 'post-election selection trauma' and we're working to develop a counseling
program for it," said American Health Association Executive Director Rob Gordon,
according to the paper."It's like post-traumatic stress syndrome, but it's a
short-term shock rather than a childhood trauma."
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
The Original Governator
In the first part of this discussion, I pointed out how interesting it was that President Bush aligns himself with Pro-Life movements, how scary it is that voters actually buy it, and how he seems to have missed a golden opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. In this next discussion, we'll take a look at his role in capital punishment in the State of Texas. If you have any questions about the death penalty in general, I linked the Department of Justice Statistics for Capital Punishment to the title of this posting.
Another example of Bush's Pro-Life crusade involved his role as Governor of Texas. During his tenure from late-1994 - 2000 Bush went on the equivalent of a Texas-sized killing spree. The link lists the names and crimes of those who were executed during his tenure. While Governor of Texas, Bush denied commutations to life sentences and subsequent stays of execution for a large number of the 150 death row inmates who were executed during that 6 year period.
I'm sure a lot of people are thinking: Good. That's what the death penalty should be. None of this 10 years of appeals, taking up space in our jails (that have CABLE nonetheless). The problem with the death penalty in this country is not the appeals process. Our problem is that we kill poor people, mentally ill people, minorities and we're one of the only countries with states where we can execute people who were minors when they committed their crimes or who are mentally retarded.
If you look at the Department of Justice statistics on Capital Punishment, it becomes apparent that a rich white person is very unlikely to receive the death penalty, while a poor mentally ill minority American is about 20 times more likely to be given a sentence of death. Maryland provides a clear example. Although there were 6000 homicides in Maryland between 1978-1999 and 85% of those homicide victims were African-American, 100% of the inmates on death row in Maryland killed white people. 75% of those on death row were black. I don't have a problem with people paying for their crimes, but I do have a problem with the way we hand out executions in this country.
Despite similar patterns in many other states, including Texas, Governor Bush oversaw more executions than any other STATE has allowed since capital punishment was re-initiated back in 1976. The recent decision in Illinois to commute death row inmates sentences to life without parole because of the significant injustices present in the system, makes Bush's killing spree as Governor particularly troubling.
Regardless of one's view on capital punishment, I think it's safe to say that someone who is Pro-Life wouldn't relish overseeing the executions of 150 people, but maybe the voters' definition of morality in the exit polls doesn't include killing people.
In other news, John Ashcroft is leaving the Bush Administration to start a band with Ted Nugent. Check out the link here. The band apparently doesn't have a name yet, but I will start a list of names on this site.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
The widely known and often cited exit polls suggested that quite a number of voters favored President Bush because of his strong moral character. The hallmark of this moral superiority is the fact that the President claims to be Pro-Life. A detailed look at the President's actions, however, provides an interesting contrast to his stated views.
Over the next couple days and postings, we're going to discuss abortion, the death penalty, and the war in Iraq. All three issues seem to contradict the President's Pro-Life rhetoric, but apparently the thousands of Americans that voted for Bush because of his strong morality forgot about those three things when they went to the polls.
President Bush definitely talks the talk of someone who is Pro-Life. Bush's policies on funding family planning organizations during his first term made a very clear statement that the President did not support US tax dollars going towards abortion. One consequence of this policy was that NGOs that work to prevent AIDs in developing countries were denied funding, even if their office only providing abortion related counseling. From a policy standpoint, the President's attempt to limit abortion was weak, and did nothing to address abortion domestically.
Still, the most notable aspect of the President's policies on abortion wasn't something that he did, but rather what he failed to do. Despite having Republican control in both houses of Congress and a Supreme Court that would have the 5-4 margin needed to overturn Roe v. Wade, the President made no attempt to make abortion illegal. How could our President, Savior of the Unborn Child, let this opportunity pass him by?
While President Bush is not going to win an Academic Decathlon (unless it's against a team of people from Alabama), he does realize that public opinion on abortion is fairly clear: no one thinks abortion is a good thing, but a majority of Americans don't support making abortion completely illegal. Only 25% of Americans polled recently, felt that abortion should be completely illegal under all circumstances. President Bush continues to walk a fine line between saying he's against abortion and doing jack shit about it, despite a complete lack of political barriers for the last 4 years.
This raises a question about how well the people in this country who are Pro-Life understand the way our government works. Wouldn't the President, being Pro-Life an all, with no barriers between him and an outright ban of abortion, do something right away to stop the slaughter of the unborn? It's not exactly something that would be good to take your time on, if you were truly against it. This fact makes no sense to me at all, particularly when you hear about how outraged Pro-Life people are about abortion. You'd think if you were the kind of person who enjoyed sitting on a street corner on Saturdays down by the mall with your gigantic aborted fetus poster for everyone to see, that you might have noticed that the President has yet to even mention making abortion illegal. Where's the moral outrage here?
Despite spending 16 of the past 31 years since Roe v. Wade with the likes of Reagan, Bush I, and now Bush II, the Pro-Life camp hasn't figured out that abortion is still legal. In fact, not one of those Pro-Life Presidents, Defenders of Fetal Freedom, ever even attempted to overturn Roe v. Wade.
So here we are with our economy in the toilet, sacrificing our young men and women in Iraq with no plan to get them home, 10% of kids in the US don't have health insurance, and you're voting for the guy because he says he's Pro-Life, and has done nothing to back it up. Thanks.
What this tells me is that a large number of people voted for Bush based on the perception that he stands on this moral mountain peak, but in reality this just shows that they put about as much thought into the whole process of voting as Bush did planning an exit strategy for the war in Iraq.
Abortion is an issue that should never have become political in the first place. Mainly because it's a personal health issue, but even more than that because politicians on both sides of the fence never do a damned thing about it. If you're a Pro-Life American and you voted for Bush this year, someone just sold you some magic beans, and the price you paid was the health and well-being of our children and our soldiers.
If you want good objective facts on abortion based on actual scientific research, click the link on the title of this posting.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Thanks to echo_doctor for sending this to me. The picture is an actual cover from the Daily Mirror. I don't think that one needs a lot of analysis.
Thanks also to the Maple Leaf Chapter of the BTMAA for sending
this little treat. Keep the humor coming. We need it.
I have lifted the restriction that only allows registered users to post comments. So anyone should be able to post now. If it starts getting out of control, then that's good. That's the point. I have been getting a lot of dissenting opinions via email, but I would like to have those comments posted to the site.
If you're not reading the comments sections below each post, you're missing out. There are some great posts there that are probably better in terms of quality and definitely more concise.
Some things to look forward to:
- The 2008 Presidential Election, where I hope that BenPatrick's prediction holds true.
- My assessment of Bush's "Pro-Life" Policies
- The next time you have sexual intercourse ( 2 months and counting!)
- My plan for Iraq
- The season premiere of The Bush Twins: Deep Six Nine (on Fox)
Keep those comments rolling.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Here are ten things we have to look forward to in the next four years with Bush at the helm. I tried to include data to back up my contentions, whenever possible. Feel free to read the links, particularly if you want to discuss it:
1) Economic Decline - Nevermind that Bush lost more jobs for the country during his tenure as President than any other since the great depression. The Bureau of Labor statistics shows plainly that not only did we have massive job loss, but the jobs we've replaced pay less money and have fewer benefits.
2) War - If there's one thing we can count on from this crowd, it's a good war. I'm sure the number of people who said they voted for the President's moral integrity had a hard time reconciling the fact that during out occupation of Iraq, we've almost caught up with the killing of innocent women and children that Saddam did before we booted him out. But, all those people that we killed in Iraq were probably insurgents, right? The big question is: Who's next to join the Axis of Evil?
3) Supreme Court Nominees - Chief Justice William Rehnquist needs a doctor. Badly. Even if Rehnquist pulls through this most recent setback, Vegas has set the odds the he kicks the bucket in the next four years at 2:1. The best news is that aside from a cyborg love-child of Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft designed by Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld, it's going to be tough to find a judicial nominee as conservative as Rehnquist, who isn't either planning to bomb a federal building or trying to get the Ten Commandments printed on currency.
4) Iraq - Thinks this fits under the war category? Weren't you there when the President said the war in Iraq was over? That's right, we're occupying Iraq in the middle of a civil war with no exit strategy. We're not at War with Iraq, we're creating Democracy by killing the people who don't agree with the Government we installed. Sounds like a stable foundation for a Democracy to me. A lot of Democracies start that way....like....uhhh
5) Health Care - Decreasing or a complete lack of insurance benefits got you down? You're not alone. This document has statistics about poverty, income and insurance rates from the US Census Department, and you'll notice spikes in poverty and dips in income and insurance rates (number of insured people not premiums) during the last four years after opposite trends in previous years. Our kids represent a depressing trend with 7.5% completely uninsured, and a larger more difficult to pinpoint number without adequate insurance. Bush's plan? I'll give you a hint, it doesn't involve health care coverage for all children. And if his jobs trend continues, a lot families won't be able to afford coverage for their children, let alone themselves. That means the rest of us pay higher costs for health insurance. It even hurts businesses.
6) Terrorism - Most voters in exit polls reported that they felt safer now than they did four years ago. While I will concede that we're more aware of terrorism than we were before, I don't think it's something we'll ever be safe from, regardless of who is President. The problem is that Bush has given us the idea that we're more secure, and taken steps that address specific threats (like flying airplanes into buildings), but has ignored other threats (like protecting nuclear reactors and ports) and has continued to occupy Iraq without the legitimacy of a multi-national coalition, making the US an easy target for terrorists to align themselves against. Unfortunately, terrorism is something that will be with us for the rest of our lives. The irony is that Bush spent all his time looking for a connection between Iraq and Al Quida, and in the process he created one.
7) Distortion of the Truth - We all know now that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and no imminent threat of chemical and biological weapons. This was our entire justification for invading Iraq quickly without UN support, and it turned out to be a complete lie. Now that Bush no longer has to worry about re-election, I think we're in for some REAL bullshit.
8) Justice - Bush's record as governor of Texas and the death penalty speaks for itself. These facts are particularly troubling given the recent evidence that has led other states like Illinois to drop the death penalty and commute those sentences to life without parole and evidence from the US Department of Justice to indicate that we're doing a pretty poor job of administering capital punishment fairly in the first place. What would Jesus do? Probably not kill people.
9) Isolationistic Foreign Policy - Despite the difficult economic problems we're facing, terrorism threats that don't have borders and don't exist only in certain countries, and the increasingly difficult task of rebuilding Iraq, we need the support of our allies. Where did they all go? When did multilateral diplomacy become a bad word? We're a great country that can do much on our own, but Bush will likely continue his "my way or no way" foreign policy, despite the obvious benefits of working with the world community at the cost of our security and economy.
10) Reproductive Health Issues - When you say this, many people automatically assume you're talking only about abortion. While abortion is part of this, the larger part and the part that has changed in the last 4 years relates to access to education and contraception, so women have options so they don't have to have an abortion. Bush continues to promote abstinence only education for the prevention of AIDS/STDs and unwanted pregnancies. An excellent review article about abstinence only education programs is available here. Now if you don't want people to have an abortion, and you understand that you're not going to be able to stop people from having sex, wouldn't it make sense to promote alternatives other than abstinence, in case some actually decides not to abstain? Not if you're George Bush, since good little boys and girls wait until they're married. If a person wants to wait until they're married to have sex, I have no problem with that. But it makes for very poor public health policy. And as a good friend of mine once put it "AHHH it burns when I pee!"
Someone told me today that it's time to move forward, and I agree. Hopefully, the list has helped to prepare you for what the road ahead holds. Feel free to add to the list at will.... (P.S. when STD comes up in a spell checker Styx is one of the suggestions ;)
The picture is either an X-ray, showing someone's head that is entirely made of bone, except two compartments which form a question mark
A way to show where the election stands as of 11:24 pm Pacific.
A comment from one voter:
This all sounds like a big game of Monopoly to me. At
what point will John Kerry & W just trade Marvin
Gardens so that SOMEONE can start building hotels.
The Fox News Channel , in yet another exemplary demonstration of fair and balanced media coverage, has been showing Bush winning the election since August, and while they may be right about the final outcome, we really don't have enough evidence to call the election at this point.
Iowa is reporting that we won't know for sure until tomorrow. The margin in Ohio is ~120,000 votes in favor of Bush, and it appears that the Democrats and sending the lawyers out to Iowa and Ohio. The issue with Ohio is that the law specifies that provisional ballots will not be counted until the 11th day after the election.
Despite being a Republican, the Secretary of State of Ohio J. Kenneth Blackwell, wanting to avoid being like Katherin Harris of Florida fame, has been cautious about putting a number on the impact provisional and absentee ballots could have on the outcome in his state. I think this makes J. Kenneth Blackwell is a pretty swell guy, since you can probably imagine the pressure that other Republicans are putting on him to pull a Katherine Harris, and hand Bush the election. Thumbs up J. Ken! Judging J. Ken's size based on the picture of him next to the planet earth on his web page, I would say that he is one big son of a bitch.
A number of people posted on the site and sent emails suggesting that this would not be decided tonight, which is turning out to be right on target. While things are looking pretty scary for Kerry at this point, I have to echo the sentiments of echo_doctor, which is that we'll just have to wait and see how this incredibly close election pans out. I don't think Ohio and Iowa are the only question marks right now, and I'm glad to see that no one, except the George W. Bush Fan Club at Fox News, is rushing to turn this election into the next Supreme Court Case.
Kerry is trailing in the popular vote by 3.5 million right now, which is going to take some legitimacy away from any attempts to challenge the outcome of the electoral college. I think Kerry's smart move at this point is to let all the votes be counted and see what happens when those final numbers add up.
The election has taken a lot of focus away from some great postings and emails that I have received in the past few days, and I want to address some of the comments about abortion, Iraq, and the economy. We'll keep things updated on this, but with Ohio in question, neither candidate has a claim to the election (or the 270 needed to win) for at least another week.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Election Day 2004
9:15 pm PT - Things are getting interesting. Florida goes to Bush. If Kerry can't make up ground in Ohio, there are going to be a lot of happy NASCAR fans out there. As I write this, Bush has a 129,000 vote lead in Ohio with 82% of the precincts reporting. Both sides are saying the precincts that are out are heavily in their favor. We shall see.
I think we'll know the winner before 10:30 pm Pacific time, when I predict that Ohio will slide to one or the other.
7:15 pm PT - The electoral votes are really piling up for the President, but still no surprises. He's up to 193 according the CNN.com. One important thing to consider though is that Bush needs 77 electoral votes to win, and Montana, Idaho, Arizona and Nevada are his only sure bets. A guy from New Mexico indicated that we won't likely know the results there or in Colorado until tomorrow. We might be in for a long night.....
One thing that is really interesting is how Gay Marriage Bans on the ballot has affected the turnout. As of right now, six states ( Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arkansas ) passed various and sundry resolutions/initiatives that define marriage as only between a man and a women. 5 other states (Michigan, North Dakota, Utah, Oregon, and Montana) are considering similar laws today.
While I disagree completely with the aim of these laws, I have to hand it to the strategists who got these on the ballot, because it seems to have motivated voters in those states who were against same sex marriage, who would tend to be more Republican. So far, all of those six states have gone to Bush, which is a disturbing trend when one considers the importance of Ohio for Kerry to win the White House. Michigan is another close state where this could come into play.
5:00 pm PT - States have started to be allocated. No surprises thus far. Kerry takes Vermont, Bush takes Kentucky (that's a prize), Indiana and Georgia. The prizes coming up in the next hour are Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Good news keeps flowing from those exit polls (if you're a Kerry supporter). If Kerry picks up Florida or Ohio and maintains leads in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, Bush will be heading back to Crawford.
Several people have commented about the varying coverage between networks at this point. Fox News is predictably Pro-Bush, CNN is predictably Pro-Kerry, and NBC doesn't want to be the network that got it wrong two Presidential Elections in a row.
My prediction is that there are going to be some surprises from all of this. Hear me know and listen to me later, but I see Kerry taking Iowa and New Mexico by paper thin margins.
I'm not making any rash predictions until I see how Ohio ends up, but I continue to gain confidence with each new poll and projection. Feel free to chime in either in comments or via email .
3:00 pm PT - Good news if you're a Kerry supporter...the first exit polls are in here
Now, I will strongly caution you, as the author of the article does, to remember the exit polls have predictive value, but can be thrown off because they don't include absentee ballots etc. I'm encouraged, but I got excited in 2000, when Coolio and Al Gore were singing "Gansta's Paradise" and I still haven't recovered from the disappointment there. It will be interesting to compare these initial numbers with the final numbers. Any predictions?
1:00 pm PT - I have been monitoring the news all day and things seem to be going well with very high voter turnout News link
An interesting story on NPR this morning: apparently someone called a number of elderly people in a very conservative area of Pennsylvania pretending to be Ret. Gen. "Stormin'" Norman Schwarzkopf, telling these people that he was supporting John Kerry. It was obviously a prank, as Schwarzkopf has made it no secret that he supports Bush. But, part of me actually found this quite funny. What do you think? My feeling is that if you need a General to call and tell you who to vote for, prank calls are the least of your concerns.
Finally, a gripe of mine. Are any of your out there still undecided? I have heard from a number of people today that there are still people on the fence. I'm interested in hearing more about this because I had assumed previously that undecided voters were a statistical anomaly, and like Santa Claus, the Yeti, and compassionate conservatives, really didn't exist. If you're still undecided and you do a good job of explaining yourself, I will post your response here with your name or an alias so that we can all better understand where you're coming from. Email me here, if you'd like
9:00 am PT - Mission Accomplished (at least partially, the rest of you have to do the same thing). I voted this morning at 7:00 am, incidentally at a local church. Mister Bling raised an interesting question about the tendency for churches to be used as polling places. I would be interested to hear more reaction about this. I have also had several emails from people outside of the US, and I will be posting their reactions later this afternoon.
The place where I voted was packed. There were probably at least 50 people waiting. The scanner was malfunctioning, so we had to place the ballots in an emergency box to be scanned at a later time. I would have had a more negative reaction to this, but a representative from the State Attorney General's Office was there observing the whole mess, and assured several people that the ballots would be scanned.
From the media reports at MSNBC.com, it appears that there have been few voting problems, and most of them have been resolved. Just a reminder that if you need information on where your local polling place is, the Election Updates title will take you to a website where you can figure that out.
I was also excited to learn that in certain states, you can register on the day of the election (Wisconsin, for example). I hope people take advantage of that, because I know Wisconsin is going to be contentious when it comes to the Presidential Race.
More updates coming later today regarding the election. Also expect updates on my gripes with celebrity endorsements for President and your reactions to the election.
6:00 am PT - Good Morning. Just a reminder to get out there and vote today, regardless of the candidate you're supporting. In the title, I linked a website that can help you figure out where to vote. The polling place locator has had a lot of traffic today, so be patient. I'm afraid the entire day might be a bit disappointing, since the whole thing could end up in court, anyway, but we'll keep our fingers crossed.
For those of you in the US, send me information or pictures about your voting experience and I will share that here with either your name or an alias.
For those of you in different countries, send me your impressions of how our electoral process works with either your name and an alias.
I have some comments already that I will post later in the day, that I received via email.
Monday, November 01, 2004
A kind reminder from 1% of American voters
The blog has been going now for less than one whole day, and I have received my first collection of hate mail. To be fair, a couple of people have sent me gentle reminders that Ralph Nader is also a candidate in this year's Presidential Election. I guess that depends on how you define "candidate." But Ok, we'll address that.
A couple of others have berated me for not including Nader in my previous posting about the election. So, I thought I would address directly the 1% of the American public who consider themselves Ralph Nader supporters.
First of all, I have no problem with Ralph Nader as a person. He's actually quite intelligent and interesting, which are two qualities not inherent in our current President. There is an informational link in the title of this posting, if you're interested in learning more.
I would probably support Ralph Nader for President and be more accepting of his supporters, if he or those who support him would do two things for me:
1) Admit that Ralph Nader helped to elect George Bush in 2000. We can argue about the number of votes and whatever from here to eternity, but be honest: if Nader hadn't run in 2000, Gore probably would have won Florida, winning the election, and keeping the whole mess out of the Supremely Conservative Court.
2) Recognize that some of the largest backers for Ralph Nader this year are Republicans who realize that Nader will probably siphon votes away from John Kerry. This makes Nader a political tool of the Republican Party.
I completely agree that we need more options than just two parties who are owned an operated by the private sector. I think if you wanted to, you could argue that Ralph Nader is the best candidate for President in this election. I don't think Nader is the best candidate, but there's a larger issue here.
When it comes to Presidential elections, I think it's very important to be realistic, and realistically, Ralph Nader's candidacy is simply there to help Bush win, even if that's not what is intended. I can hear the political idealists screaming "But Ryan, I don't agree with Kerry or Bush, why should I vote for one or the other, when there's another option?" I'm not telling you who to vote for. I'm asking you to acknowledge the impact of your voting decision.
Most of the Nader supporters I have talked to said that they want to force a change in the political structure of this country. Ironically, in the present election, the decision to vote for Nader will likely have to opposite effect. I think a political change in this country is long overdue, but don't stand behind Ralph Nader waving a sign for change, when your decision to vote for him will likely reinforce the status quo. There are many things you can do to affect changes politically, but supporting Ralph Nader is not one of them.
Our political world would be a much better place, if Nader and his supporters accepted their role in the current political process.
Just flush the silver handle....
A little FYI before I get started on this one: If I link an article to the rant (click on Election Polls title above), it's probably a good idea to at least look it over, if you're going to make a coherent response.
Political polling is a very interesting practice, not only because of how it is accomplished, but also because of the value we put on it. If you read the Slate article, it gives you a bit of information about how the polls weed people out, how they might potentially affect their results, and how some of them flat out don't disclose HOW they get their numbers. I'm not going to repeat what was written in that article, because the authors did a fine job the first time.
Let's look at some figures for an election where the outcome was known:
If you look at the trendlines for the 2000 election, the numbers were in the ballpark, but multiple polls indicated that Bush had a sizable lead among "likely voters". We all know how the popular vote turned out with that one.
Lesson #1 - Polls do a pretty poor job of predicting the popular vote in close elections. We're seeing this now with polls showing changing leads from day to day. Is it really that likely that people are changing their minds on a daily basis? Probably not. It's related to that "Margin of Error" (which I will address in more detail later).
Lesson #2 - Using "likely voters" as a criteria for inclusion ignores first-time voters or people who didn't vote in the last election. In some elections, this effect might be negligible. This year, new voter registrations are exploding in key states: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/26/politics/campaign/26vote.html
Now, this is not to say that this favors one candidate over the other, as some have reported. We can't know that because not only are none of the national polling organizations looking at this issue, but also they are deliberately excluding people who identify themselves as newly registered or first-time voters.
It seems like this year would be particularly important to look at that trend, in light of the significant impact that those voters may have on the outcome of the election, in addition to recognizing which candidate would benefit from first-time voters. If you know about a poll that examines first-time voters (my wife is one of these), let me know, and I will post more information here.
The margin of error in the polls is also particularly interesting. Most researchers and statisticians would agree that if the results of a poll are within the margin of error, that the results are uncertain. I have read that further certainty can be added to the equation by looking at trends over a period of time (ie if one candidate maintains a lead, even if it is within the margin of error, that lends validity to the lead).
Many major polls are making significant claims about who is going win the election ( see http://www.gallup.com/election2004/showdown/ for just one of many examples) based on electoral college calculations that are within the margin of error (Florida on the paged linked above) -OR- use dated polling data (see North Carolina and Nevada on the page linked above for example). I'm not sure what the agenda is here, but it's clearly a misleading way to look at an election.
For what I believe is an less biased look at the state of the election based on multiple polls, partisan and non-partisan, trend-based statistics check out the Election Scorecard at Slate.com (http://www.slate.com/id/2108751/ Updated daily as polls come in). Feel free to share other sources of information as well.
North Korean County Fair
Well, here we are. Less than 24 hours before the more responsible members of our society make a decision that will change this country. Sounds pretty scary. Regardless of who is being supported, the 2004 election has revealed a lot of incredibly frightening things about our country.
I'm angry because people in this country believe that unless you support the President, you can't support our troops. No larger load of political bullshit has ever been heaped upon those who criticize the President than this. I'm angry that many people think we can just pack up and leave Iraq, now that we've reduced the country to chaos.
Despite my obvious leanings to the left, my anger and frustration has resulted from people on both sides of the fence. This is a way for me to resolve that, and hopefully you'll choose to participate in some way, even if it's simply pointing out that I'm completely out of my mind and full of shit.
From any angle, we're divided, we're increasingly susceptible to terrorist attacks and even to diseases and other threats within our own country. I'm not about to sit here and tell you that things will change if we elect John Kerry http://www.johnkerry.com or stick with that Cowboy Guy from Texas www.georgewbush.com.
This blog is based on my opinions and those of my close friends. With as divided as the country is, regardless of the candidate we choose, there are going to be some interesting discussions, and this is a place that can be part of it.
If you're not interested in what my friends and I have to say, there are plenty of websites or blogs out there that you may find more interesting. No one made you come to this site, and certainly no one made you read this.
I will try to update often, and share a variety of opinions, because one sided discussions tend to get boring pretty quickly.