Archive for the 'Politics' Category

15
Sep
11

Can’t play by the rules? Change ’em.

I think it’s awesome that Republicans would rely on electoral chess to try to win an election rather than the merits of their ideas about how to help American citizens. And by “awesome” I mean “cynical, ugly and disappointing.”

Continue reading ‘Can’t play by the rules? Change ’em.’

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09
Sep
11

Obama’s got game

I’m impressed with President Obama’s politicking in the last couple of weeks.

First he forces Republicans to deny a president a speech to a joint session of Congress, for the first time ever, drawing more attention to the speech. Then he has the grace to accept an alternate date, proposed by a Republican. (He also had no choice, but he still looks good.)

The pre-speech leaks did not convey the breadth of his proposals, so last night’s speech seemed even bigger in comparison.

Finally, so many of his proposals are Republican ideas, that they look even more obstructionist when they push back at the plan—especially in an environment where the public hates Congress even more than they hate the president.

The speech may have been a master stroke of election politics, but it also has the added benefit of being a helpful plan that might actually be passable—except that congressional Republicans are more intent on making Obama a one-term president than actually doing anything to serve their jobless constituents.

10
Nov
10

Trickle-Down Down

The finer points of economic theories have eluded me for most of my life. I’ve had enough book learning to understand that supply-vs-demand graph, but it pretty much ends there.

It’s a shame, really, because so much of what drives the current political debate is supposedly about the economy. And I know a lot of it has to be bullshit, but I don’t know enough to know what not to believe. So I usually dismiss most of it as political clap trap. Doesn’t matter what either party says on the campaign trail. Chances are it’s not going to happen anyway.

When I hear Republicans and Tea Partiers hammer away at their small-government/cut-taxes/create-jobs dogma, it makes me wonder if they’re as interested in the truth about how the world really works as they are in convenient populist political ideology.

So I got curious about that tent post of the Right, the axiom that, above all else, cutting taxes is an absolute guarantee of job growth. Is this true? Can it be proved?

Continue reading ‘Trickle-Down Down’

03
Nov
10

Of Coffee and Donuts and Half-Eaten Hoagies

On Election Day, I always have a soft spot in my heart for the volunteers working the polls. Every polling station has some variation of the same thing: a half dozen retirees, sitting on folding chairs, stationed at folding tables, a box of a dozen donuts on one side, a slowly cooling polystyrene cup of coffee on the other. They look over the rims of their glasses at you. They squint in the dull fluorescent, sometimes gently flickering, light.

Whatcha last name, hon?

Continue reading ‘Of Coffee and Donuts and Half-Eaten Hoagies’

21
Oct
10

To Ask or Not To Tell, That is the Question?

Following the news about the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy can be dizzying. Reporters have a hard time explaining this. Gay citizens are feeling confused and disappointed. Everyone else is just flummoxed. It’s like: Am I reading this correctly?

So, last week a court ruled that DADT is unconstitutional and the Pentagon could not enforce the policy. In turn, the Pentagon announced yesterday that it will stop investigations and discharges of gay soldiers and will now accept openly gay recruits. Nice work.

The then the administration responded by asking for a freeze on that court’s decision. So, in effect, the Pentagon can enforce DADT. Wait… what?

While the appeals court reviews the policy, there’s a lot of judicial uncertainty about what precisely the rules are. So the Department of Justice, with urging from the White House, asked for this stay to temporarily maintain the status quo until there’s a firm decision.

Continue reading ‘To Ask or Not To Tell, That is the Question?’

11
Oct
10

Hungry, Hungry Hypocrite?

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is getting some guff for pushing to prevent poor families from buying sugary snacks and sodas with food stamps while at the same time offering similar items to employees at his financial firm. This is the height of hypocrisy, some say. (“Mayor’s Soda Plan and His Company’s Policy Differ“)

He has, on the record, served junk food at Gracie Mansion and at events in his townhouse. Further — gasp — he uses salt at home.

So, does this deflate his argument that poor families should not be using food stamps to buy crap for their kids? Not at all.

Bloomberg’s employees are given healthy snacks as well as Coke and Fanta. I agree 100% that it’s a little weird that he gives away soda. His employees are basically a captive audience. They will take what is given to them. Just like families on welfare. They’ll take what’s available to them. So, to align better with his public policy, he should probably do away with the free junk food at work.

Better yet, he should install a vending machine. Then will people have to actually buy the stuff. It would be completely their choice and their responsibility.

If he wants to salt his food and if his employees want to spend their own money on junk food or bring in whatever they buy from elsewhere, let them. But we should not allow poor families to use taxpayer money to buy crap for their kids. Force them to make better choices. Lobby retailers to offer better options.

Food stamps should be used for things that are actually nutritionally beneficial for kids. Anything else is a waste of money and an insult to the taxpayers who fund assistance programs. Food stamps are for food: fruit and vegetables, meat, cheese, bread, milk. Someone at some point has already had to decide what families are allowed to purchase with food stamps. Items have already been vetted and either added to or eliminated from the program. Under further scrutiny, it’s a very excellent idea to cut as much nutritionally void content as we can. A government in the business of assisting its less fortunate citizens has a responsibility to give them access to the good stuff, not some bullshit that’s going to make them worse off.

10
Sep
10

In Defense of “The Media”

It’s tiresome to see so many people blame The Media for blowing this Terry Jones thing up into something bigger than it should be. As if The Media is some sort of insidious, evil force desperate to manipulate reality. It’s such a cheap, thoughtless and simplistic cop-out. The Media. What does that even mean?

Continue reading ‘In Defense of “The Media”’




the untallied hours

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