Monday, October 20, 2008

Partisan politics

Let me start this post by stating that I have been a registered Republican since I was 18 years old. And I have never voted for a non-Republican candidate in any major election, ever. Until now. Will voting for Barack Obama make me a pariah within my own party? Probably. But enough is enough. When you become blindly loyal to a party to the point where you can't even recognize its most obvious faults, that's when you become part of the problem.

Take for instance those Republicans who argue that George W. Bush has been a good president. Huh? What about the bullshit war he led us into under false pretenses resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent people? As I write this post the current American death toll in Iraq stands at 4,186. And what about the numerous failed domestic programs initiated by the Bush administration? No Child Left Behind, The Economic Growth & Tax Reconciliation Act, Social Security Reform, and The Patriot Act immediately come to mind. And what about the Bush administration's blatant disregard for the environment? In Texas Chainsaw Management (2007) Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. argues that "The verdict on George W. Bush as the nation's environmental steward has already been written in stone. No president has mounted a more sustained and deliberate assault on the nation's environment. No president has acted with more solicitude toward polluting industries. Assaulting the environment across a broad front, the Bush administration has promoted and implemented more than 400 measures that eviscerate 30 years of environmental policy." And what about FEMA's botched respone to Hurricane Katrina under Bush’s reign? Talk about the mother of all cluster fxxks. And what about the near doubling of our national debt during Bush’s tenure as president? When Bush took office in 2000 the national debt stood at $5.7 trillion, it currently stands at over $10.3 trillion. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve for 18 years, serving under six Presidents and who describes himself as "a lifelong Libertarian Republican", writes in his book The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, that Bush and the congressional Republicans "swapped principle for power". "Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences". And Mr. Greenspan is certainly not alone in his criticism of the Bush presidency. On April 15, 2008, the results of an informal poll of 109 historians (conducted by George Mason University's History News Network) found that 98.2% of the respondents considered Bush's Presidency a failure. Sixty-one percent of the historians said that Bush was the worst President in United States history. Many independent sources also give him this title. Still wanna argue that Bush was a good president?

Or how about those Republicans who argue that Sarah Palin was a good choice for Vice President? What? Aside from the fact that her voice sounds like a shovel scraping against a rock, she is without a doubt the most unqualified vice presidential candidate in the history of the United States. Clearly the GOP picked her as a political stunt to manufacture excitement and demonstrate that McCain too is a candidate representative of change. But once the excitement of her RNC speech waned and people took an objective look at Sarah Palin's career body of work, it became painstakingly clear that she was a monumentally bad choice for vice president. If you don't agree with me you're probably illiterate so it's pointless to continue trying to convince you with this post.

And how about those Republicans who agree that Bush was a bad president, but argue that McCain is completely different than Bush in his political agendas and beliefs. Really? McCain believes that the Iraq invasion was "just and noble" and says he's prepared to stay in Iraq for 100 years if the casualties are low enough. He also said he believes that setting a timetable for withdrawal would be a "white flag of surrender". Sounds eerily similar to when Bush said "We need to stay the course". McCain's economic policies are also largely a continuation of Bush's. He wants to make permanent the Bush tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich (I happen to be rich by government standards - and no thanks you can keep your thousand dollar rebate check). Even though some of the largest tax cuts in history have failed to stop this recession from coming, McCain seems to think that even more tax cuts will get us out of it. McCain also shares a similar view to Bush on healthcare. He believes that any efforts to allow everyone the opportunity to afford medical care would be "socializing" it, and that all we need in healthcare is more competition. This didn't work under the Bush administration and it won't work under McCain (there are currently 48 million Americans without health insurance). Other controversial issues that McCain and Bush agree on include: No on gay marriage, Yes on Don't Ask Don't Tell in the military, No on renewing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, and Yes on overturning Roe v. Wade. Granted there are other issues that they don't agree on, but on the major stuff (the war, the economy, and healthcare) McCain and Bush are pretty much the same candidate. You can call yourself a Maverick all you want, but saying it doesn't make it so.

If you're still not convinced and insist on holding the party line consider the following: a) If McCain dies during his presidency (which is a real possibility considering his age and health history) Sarah Palin will be president and America will be the laughing stock of the free world, and b) The rest of the World currently hates America and wants to do us harm. If McCain is elected (which the World will essentially view as a re-election of Dubya) they will continue to hate us and continue to try and do us harm. On the other hand if Obama is elected it will send a message to the World that we are serious about change, and their hostility towards us will decline.

Contrary to what you're probably thinking I still consider myself a Republican, largely because of my conservative financial beliefs. And if Obama is elected President it will most certainly have a negative impact on my personal financial situation. That being said sometimes you have to put the greater good in front of your own personal interests. When I go to the polls on November 4, I will go not to vote for a party, or even for a candidate, but for the person I believe gives America the best chance to be great again.

In closing I really don't care if you disagree with everything I've just said above. When you go to the polls on November 4 (and I hope you do), vote for whoever you want. Just please be responsible, get informed, and know who and what you're voting for.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is it just me or does John McCain bare a striking resemblance to Howdy Doody?

I just wonder who's behind the curtain pulling his strings?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Please fire Tony Kornheiser

When Monday Night Football moved from ABC to ESPN in 2006, somebody had the brain child to bring on Tony Kornheiser as the color analyst. In my opinion Monday Night Football hasn't been the same since. Not only is Kornheiser goofy looking and uninspired, but he lacks football knowledge to the point where he makes Dennis Miller look like Knute Rockne. At the start of last night's broadcast he actually said that Eli Manning is a better quarterback than big brother, Peyton Manning. Are you fucking kidding me? Peyton Manning has 43,000 passing yards, 314 touchdown passes (with 158 INT's), and a career passer rating of 94.5. Eli Manning has 12,600 passing yards, 84 touchdown passes (with 68 INT's), and a career passer rating of 74.8. Peyton's career winning percentage is .644. Eli's career winning percentage is .557. Peyton is composed, polished, full of leadership, and a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame. Eli is a whiney, little bitch, who always looks like he's on the verge of tears during press conferences. The guy has 4 good games (including the Superbowl) and Kornheiser makes the proclamation that he's a better quarterback than big brother Peyton. Eli then proceeded to throw 3 horrible interceptions as his heavily favored Giants got embarrassed by the Browns on national television. Nice call Kornheiser, you douchebag. Would somebody please fire this guy? I'm tired of watching Monday Night Football with the volume turned off, and I'm tired of looking at Kornheiser's ugly mug. Can you believe they're actually paying him $1.8 million a year for the mindless drivel that spills out of his mouth? Talk about a waste of money. You could pair Mike Tirico and Joe Theismann up with a chimp and get better insight than what Kornheiser has to offer. I've heard he's a good columnist and writer (although I can't bring myself to read any of his work), but he's a horrible football analyst. I never thought it would be possible to actually miss the Monday Night Football broadcasts with Dennis Miller. In writing this post I googled Tony Kornheiser and found out something very interesting about him - he doesn't take criticism well at all:

* Stephen Rodrick wrote for Slate that Tony Kornheiser was allowed by ESPN to argue aimlessly on television and that his Washington Post column was being used to plug side projects rather than gather news from cited sources. Kornheiser called on Slate, then owned by The Washington Post, to fire Rodrick.

* After Kornheiser's first game on Monday Night Football, Paul Farhi wrote in The Washington Post that Kornheiser had emphasized the obvious, played third fiddle, and was reminiscent of Dennis Miller "in a bad way." Kornheiser responded saying that Farhi was a "two-bit weasel slug".

* Mike Golic, an ESPN colleague of Kornheiser's, who had expressed skepticism regarding his prospects as an on-air analyst because he was never an athlete, said that his performance on MNF was "fine." Kornheiser's response was, "I just want to wring Golic's neck and hang him up over the back of a shower rod like a duck."

Perhaps Kornheiser is so defensive because deep down he knows that he has no business getting paid to talk about football on television. Let's hope the higher-ups at ESPN figure this out sooner rather than later.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Proposition 8

Until 1977, California did not explicitly define marriage as being between a man and a woman, but court decisions, and some statutes, dating from both statehood and the 1872 codification of the civil law, assumed as much. In 1977, the legislature amended Civil Code section 4100 (predecessor to what is now codified at Family Code section 300) to read that marriage is "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman". In 2000, voters passed with 61% of the vote, ballot initiative Proposition 22, which changed the California Family Code to formally define marriage in California between a man and a woman.

In 2004, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom decided to ignore Proposition 22 and allow same sex marriages in San Francisco. This decision became a lightning rod for immediate judicial developments surrounding this topic. The 3,995 same sex marriages that took place in San Francisco were annulled by the California Supreme Court, but San Francisco began a legal challenge that was consolidated with other cases as In re Marriage Cases. On May 15, 2008 the California Supreme Court, by a vote of 4–3, ruled that the statute enacted by Proposition 22 and other statutes that limit marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. It also held that individuals of the same sex have the right to marry under the California Constitution.

Anticipating that either the courts or the legislature might overturn Proposition 22, opponents of same-sex marriages introduced several attempts to place a constitutional amendment before voters that would prohibit same-sex marriages—and in some cases, domestic partnerships as well. Prior to 2008, none had made it to the ballot (enter Proposition 8). Proposition 8 (which was submitted for the ballot by petitioners with the title "California Marriage Protection Act") is an initiative measure on the 2008 California General Election ballot titled "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry". If passed, the proposition would change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. The text to be added reads, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Proponents of Prop 8:
The list of those in favor of this measure includes: the Roman Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, John McCain, and Newt Gingrich. Need I say more?

Opponents of Prop 8:
The list of those that oppose this measure includes: the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Orange County Register, the Sacramento Bee, the San Jose Mercury News, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barack Obama, and anyone with even a slightly open mind.

My take on Prop 8:
Here's the deal people. Gay people don't choose to be gay. It's in their DNA. It's just like being born left-handed or with blue eyes. Would it be fair to penalize or discriminate against someone because they were born left-handed or with blue eyes? Well, it's absolutely no different than penalizing or discriminating against someone because they were born gay.

I'm a straight man who's married to a woman. I think marriage is good for individuals and for society as a whole. It promotes strong family values and provides a stable environment for children to grow up in. Call me old-fashioned. I also think that same sex marriage in no way takes away from the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. To me marriage is not about the gender of the two people involved. It's about love, commitment, and fidelity. If two people are ready to formalize their union, gender should have nothing to do with it.

Questions for those in favor of Prop 8:
First off why do you care if two men or two women get married? And don't feed me your religious bullshit. Religion is a product of man, created and documented by man, to help man come to terms with the things he fears and cannot understand. I don't care what it says in the bible - parts of that book were written over 3500 years ago. Secondly how will same sex marriage negatively affect your life in any way? I get that the thought of two people of the same gender having sex (especially two dudes) can be quite disturbing. But the thought of two fat people having sex is also quite disturbing - do you have a problem with two fat people getting married?

My take on how people should live their lives:
Everyone possesses a certain amount of eccentricity. It’s only natural to feel that our personal way of life is somehow the superior way of life. This is an acceptable belief but only when coupled with a heavy dose of tolerance. Life is subjective. There are certain moral rules of society that are not up for debate but little else in life is black and white. Different lifestyles work for different people and everyone is entitled to happiness. So long as somebody’s lifestyle doesn’t impede upon the lifestyle of others it should be practiced freely and accepted by all. Don’t ever make the mistake of judging other people based upon your own beliefs because your conclusions will be tainted by your own prejudices. Keep an open mind, practice tolerance in your daily life, and society will be better for it.

If after reading this post you still decide to vote yes on Prop 8, what can I say? Enjoy your narrow-minded, sheltered little world, and may your kids grow up with a broader sense of humanity than you.

Damn - when did this blog get so political?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

AIG fleecing taxpayers

September 16, 2008. In a bid to save financial markets and the economy from further turmoil, the U.S. government agreed today to provide an $85 billion US emergency loan to rescue the huge insurer AIG. The Federal Reserve said in a statement it determined that a disorderly failure of American International Group could hurt the already delicate financial markets and the economy.

Just days later senior execs from the troubled company headed south for a five night getaway at the luxurious St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, CA. The cost of this executive retreat? $440,000 of taxpayer money, including $200,000 for rooms (the presidential suite was booked for all five nights at a cost of $3200/night – gotta have a sweet crib for the hookers), $150,000 for meals, $23,000 in spa charges, and $7000 for golf. In these times of economic uncertainty at least we can be certain of one thing: Wall Street execs have always been and will continue to be miserable, self-absorbed scumbags, who are completely out of touch with reality.

Joe Norton, an AIG spokesperson, said the company’s stay at the St. Regis Resort had been incorrectly labeled an executive retreat by lawmakers and members of the media. “It was not an executive retreat,” he said. “It was a meeting to reward and incent independent sales agents.” As Norton described it, AIG had invited about 100 of its top salespeople to stay at the St. Regis for a week of meetings and motivational events. Norton said only about 10 AIG senior managers attended the event, although he declined to identify them. “They were the level of people who participate in such discussions,” Norton said, adding that resort holidays are “an industry practice to reward top producers.”

I don't care what the purpose of the retreat was. Perhaps somebody should explain to Mr. Norton that the other companies taking part in these motivational events aren’t on the verge of bankruptcy, and that their resort holidays aren’t being paid for with taxpayer money. Was there not a single executive in all of AIG who thought it might be a good idea to cancel this event? That perhaps given the circumstances a $440,000 boondoggle wasn’t entirely appropriate? Unfuckinbelievable.

I’ve never been a big fan of government regulation, but I think there’s a strong case to be made for it at companies like AIG. It makes you wonder how much of the 700 billion dollar bailout fund is going to be used for the common good, and how much of it is going to be squandered away on inappropriate and unnecessary perks for Corporate fat cats? And Wall Street still can't figure out why it's so despised by Main Street.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Justice for The Juice

What the hell were you thinking? You got away with murder 13 years ago and you just couldn't stay down, could you? It's not like you got away with petty theft or assault, we're talking MURDER. You had to know that even the slightest display of civil disobediance on your part and karma would kick you in your murdering ass. So what did you do? You went out and participated in kidnapping, armed robbery, and 10 other related charges. Then after the all-white jury convicted your condemned-to-hell ass, your lawyers came out with the following statements: "This jury was clearly on an agenda to make up for Simpson's (1995) acquittal, this was just payback", and "This conviction feels like revenge justice." Gee, you think? Where'd you get a crazy idea like that? (Johnny Cochran must be turning over in his grave) Juice - you must be even dumber than you look. For the past 13 years you've done nothing but play golf, smoke expensive cigars, and spend time with your kids. Now, because of your careless stupidity, you spend your days in a 7-by-14 foot cell staring at the walls. Just think how bad it's going to be when you get transferred to the federal penitentiary with the other lifers (hey boy - yer mouth's kinda perty). You came out with a very interesting statement after you were convicted on all counts: "I'm just sad I won't be able to see my kids graduate after I struggled to put them through college." How do you think Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown's parents feel, asshat? The universe has a way of doling out cosmic justice and it's about time you finally got yours. I hope you're completely miserable for the duration of your vacuous existence and I hope you're consumed by thoughts of the ultimate justice that awaits you in the afterlife. You're probably feeling sorry for yourself and the situation you now find yourself in. Well, you shouldn't. No punishment is bad enough to make up for what you did to the Goldmans and the Browns. The only shame in this whole thing is that your sidekick in these questionable crimes, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, now awaits the same fate as you. Talk about standing too close to a grenade and getting hit in the face with shrapnel when it explodes. Oh well, I guess he made his bed when he decided to associate with a low life like you. That's all I've got you miserable piece of shit - and I hope the bars of soap are extra slippery in the pen.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bailout Plan

Dear 25 Senators and 171 Representatives who voted against The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008,

First off you are stupid. Secondly, I take offense to those of you who say this bill moves the United States closer to becoming a socialist nation. When you make this statement you completely ignore the bill’s underlying purpose and instead use it as an opportunity to spread fear and paranoia in the hopes that it will help further your own political gain. For this blatant misuse of your vote, shame on you. The purpose of this bill is simple: to stabilize our nation’s banking industry and unfreeze the credit markets in an effort to stave off an economic depression. It’s not a perfect plan and perhaps it does give the government too much control over a large chunk of tax payer’s money. But desperate times call for desperate measures and what better alternatives were there? Instead of blindly criticizing the plan in an effort to gain reelection by your constituents, why not do something constructive like offering up a better alternative? What, you don’t have one? That’s convenient. And just in case you’re interested I’ve put together a brief summary of what socialism really means so that you don’t sound so ignorant in the future.

Definition: Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society. Modern socialism originated in the late nineteenth-century working class political movement. Karl Marx posited that socialism would be achieved via class struggle and a proletarian revolution, it being the transitional stage between capitalism and communism.

Modern socialism: In some Latin American countries, socialism has re-emerged in recent years, with an anti-imperialist stance, the rejection of the policies of neo-liberalism and the nationalization or part nationalization of oil production, land and other assets. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, for instance, refers to his own political program as socialist. Chavez has coined the term "21st century socialism”. After winning re-election in December 2006, President Chavez said, "Now more than ever, I am obliged to move Venezuela's path towards socialism.” He went on to say: “Those who want to go directly to hell, they can follow capitalism. And those of us who want to build heaven here on earth, we will follow socialism.” What a nut job. Aren’t you glad you don’t live in Venezuela? In addition to being one crazy mother fxxxer, the US government also believes that Chavez is a serious threat to democracy in Latin America (can you say Bay of Pigs?). His opponents see him as an authoritarian or a totalitarian communist, militarist and demagogue who has failed to deliver on his promises, violated fundamental rights, meddled in the affairs of other Latin American countries, threatened Venezuela's economy and democracy, illegally silenced opponents, and destabilized global oil prices. Other than that he’s a super terrific guy.

The day that Hugo Chavez has his own parking space at the White House I might start to worry. Until that day occurs the notion of socialism in America is absolutely absurd. Please remember that you were elected to act in the best interests of your country, not in the best interests of yourself. I can already hear your rebuttal: the polls showed little support among the public for bailing out Wall Street investment banks, and voting against the will of your constituents is simply not democratic. To this I respond that most of your constituents are dumber than you, and part of your job as an elected official is to save the public from themselves. Wait, that sounds kind of socialistic… whatever it’s my blog and I can write whatever the hell I want to.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thank You Al Davis

Thank you Al Davis. Thank you for doing such a commendable job in continuing to drive your franchise into the ground. Thanks to your extraordinary efforts my San Diego Chargers now enter every new season with two guaranteed victories, which says a lot in this era of parity. How bad are your Oakland Raiders? Since your Superbowl season of 2002 your Raiders have a cumulative record of 20-64, which is the worst record of any NFL team over that span. That's right, the worst. You've also lost to my San Diego Chargers 10 straight times dating back to 2003, by an average margin of defeat of 15 points. We might as well start spotting you two touchdowns just to make things interesting. Your once proud franchise is now a complete joke. I'm sure it wasn't easy becoming the worst, but you need to take credit for all of your hard work. During your bizarre news conference a couple days ago when you announced the firing of Lane Kiffin, you made a valiant attempt to give other people credit for the complete ineptitude of your team. But I'm not buying it Al, so don't be so modest. Everyone knows that it's you alone behind the curtain pulling all the levers and pressing all the buttons. Your dysfunctional dictatorship might have worked back in the 60's and 70's when your football knowledge was still relevant (hell you even got lucky a couple times in the 80's), but it's 2008 now Al and your abilities to run a professional football franchise are about as attractive as your dried up, reptilian appearance. The funny thing is your Raiders were a much improved team under Lane Kiffin. They were actually starting to look like a team who could possibly win more than 4 games in a season. Thank goodness you sensed Kiffin's competence as a coach and promptly let him go. Now you can start over from scratch with a new coaching staff, a new system, and hopefully some new failed draft picks. Firing Kiffin probably set your franchise back at least a couple of years which will ensure at least a couple more seasons of failure. Well done Al. Please stay strong in your resolve to never change and please continue to make decisions without consulting people in the know. Trust me, the "experts" who criticize you on talk shows and in the papers don't know what they're talking about. Although when I was listening to your rambling press conference I actually began to feel sorry for you. You sounded not unlike the confused, old guy at the rest home who forgets where he puts his stuff then complains about the staff stealing his socks. No, I'm sure it was all part of your master plan. You're trying to get people to under estimate you which will give you the upper hand - sneaky old devil. I hope you live for another 20 years Al. If you ever need a blood donation to stay alive I will be the first in line with the rest of the Charger fans. Stay golden Al, or more appropriately stay silver & black.