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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finding a New Home: A letter to Republicans

With the increasingly obvious disintegration of the Republican Party, much like its predecessor, the question becomes, "Now what?" The unholy alliance between the various factions is fracturing, with the paleos becoming the voice of the modern GOP, much to the consternation and disgust of the intellectual wings of the party. The most recent, and damning yet, defection was by none other than C.C. Goldwater, granddaughter of Barry Goldwater. I found her criticism of McCain to be particularly poignant, because she was talking about the disintegration of something her grandfather helped build but would not recognize today. On second thought, maybe this isn't a "new" defection, per se. I just ran across this website, and I found it very amusing and on point.

For the moderates in the GOP, and the Democratic Party for that matter, I have discovered a political party that may serve you well. They are moderate in both social and fiscal issues, and their platform seems quite sensible. Also, they have a name that should be familiar to students of American history, with a twist. I refer to the Modern Whig Party. Looking at their platform, I have trouble seeing why they aren't huge already, and if they are well-led, I see a far greater potential for their growth than even the Libertarian Party in their heyday.

For Independent-minded voters, I include the Independence Party of America, not to be confused with the paleoconservative Alaskan Independence Party with which we have become too familiar with the nomination of the Trojan Moose for Vice-President. The thing I like the most about this group is their refusal to rely on any one set ideology to fix the problems that face us. I find that rational, sane, and refreshing. I also have hope for a bright future for this party.

Just for shits and giggles, I'm also including the Personal Choice Party. I don't know why I'm including them, but I'll cite blogger's prerogative. For fuck's sake, they even had Marilyn Chambers (yes, THAT Marilyn Chambers) as their VP candidate back in '04. They seem to be an ideological libertarian party, whose belief in non-interventionism stretches as far as any I've seen aside from the Voluntaryist movement. I think they're a bit odd, but I find it hard not to like their thinking.

I mentioned the Libertarian Party, and I admit that I say this with some sadness and fondness for what they once were. Still, for those whose main issue is free trade and getting the government out of as many aspects of our lives as possible, this is your party. Their biggest problem is a penchant for infighting which has stunted their growth significantly over the decades of their existence. For years, I have hoped they would get their act together, but that hope is dead. The moderates have long since jumped ship for the GOP and the Democratic Party, and I'm one of them. The reason: Not only have the inmates started to run the asylum, they have torn down the asylum brick by brick. How else can you defend their choice of Bob Barr as their presidential candidate?

Finally, for the Dominionists, Christian Reconstructionists, and Christian "conservatives," as well as Mona Charen and her fellow victims of intellectual Stockholm Syndrome, I have found a fitting hell for you: the Constitution Party, a place where you may fling shit at each other and preach damnation at those who would oppose you. Forget Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, which clearly states that the United States of America is NOT a Christian nation. Forget the sad irony of the following quote by President George Washington, "...the Government of the United to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance...May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy." No, continue on your Dominionist rants and further marginalize yourselves, and leave the heavy lifting for those who truly deserve the appellation "conservative".

In closing, enjoy the music, but only if you like metal. I don't know if I've already posted this song, but I've had it stuck in my head all day. 6/8 time at 65 dotted-quarter-notes per minute for almost six minutes. Damn! How do they have any energy after this one song?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What is the most sacred thing in your life?

Believe it or not, this is not necessarily a question of religion. I am aware of the many atheists and agnostics, or few as it were given how few people actually hit my blog at all, who visit this tiny corner of the blogosphere. I have done some thinking recently, and I thought about my faith, my family, and my childhood, and what exactly I value. When I really gave it some thought, my answer somewhat surprised me, and it had nothing to do with the Bible or the other holy books or magazines of my faith. It didn't even have anything to do with football, my "other" religion and the one I've been the most faithful to over the years. No, one of the things which I find most holy is made of thirteen ingredients, and it's not because of what those ingredients make, although it is quite good. It may not even be the best of its type, but it, or rather, what it symbolizes, is holy to me. Yes, it's a cake, but more than that, it is the expression of a father's love for his son in one of the only ways he could really express it, and it is that love, as symbolized by a cake, that I find holy above everything else. It is the nights my mother stayed up all night and took care of me when I was sick as a child that I find holy above all, or when my other family members and I would play as children, or when I would smell the pleasant aromas associated with homemade bread making, or the pungency of tomato plants in our garden, or any of a number of great memories from my childhood. If I'm ever asked who my god is, I suppose I will have to be honest and say that some of my gods are my family, regardless (and sometimes because) of their flaws. I may not always like them, but they will forever have my love and respect, though worship, well, not so much.

I'm sorry about the introspective mood. It happens from time to time. In the meantime, enjoy the music. For today, I'm including a bonus video since both seemed to fit my mood quite well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Answers, and a letter to Senator McCain:

Governor Palin, the answers are as follows: Roman Abramovich and Roman Kopin are the former and current governors of Chukotka, respectively. Dmitri Medvedev is the current President of the Russian Federation. Dennis Fentie is the current Premier of the Yukon Territory. Geraldine van Bibber is the current Commissioner of the Yukon Territory. Gordon Campbell is the current Premier of British Columbia. Steven Point and Iona Campagnolo are the current and former Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, respectively. On the place names, the correct answers were Yukon, Chukotka, Sakhalin, and Kamchatka. Of these, Sakhalin comes closest, but Alaska still has a slightly higher population.

For the fillers, Roman Jakobson was a Russian linguist who passed away back in 1982 when you were playing beer pong at your sorority. Vsevolod Abramovich was an early Russian aviator who died in 1913. Danila Medvedev is a Russian futurologist. Dennis Leary is one of my favorite comedians/comedic actors. Geraldine "Geri" Halliwell is better known as Sexy Spice of the Spice Girls. Greg Campbell is a not particularly great cricket player from Australia. Steven Soderbergh is one of the highest grossing movie directors of all time whose work includes "Erin Brockovich," "Oceans Eleven," "Solaris," and "sex,lies, and videotape". Finally, Iona Nikitchenko was the judge for the Soviet Union during the Nuremberg Trials. The filler place names are all parts of Russia.

Finally, the letter to Senator McCain. Enjoy.

Senator McCain, I hope this finds you well. By now you must be aware that your campaign is floundering. There is little you can do except tarnish your legacy; yet even the hope of avoiding that is in vain. Your crude attempts to excessively link Senator Obama to Bill Ayers have served only to spark hatred and fear. This is wrong, and you know it is wrong. While Bill Ayers and Senator Obama have worked together in the past, it has been only infrequently and for a short duration. The causes for which they worked together: education reform and anti-poverty efforts. What kind of bastard would help kids and poor people? That was a little thing called "sarcasm", by the way. Senator Obama was only eight years old at the time of the Weather Underground's most infamous acts. You know this, yet you persist in your dishonorable attacks on your fellow Senator.

You claim you will fix the economy, but how can your word be trusted? You were part of the Keating Five who assisted in causing the Savings and Loans collapse of the 1980s. Furthermore, your push for deregulation helped cause the current meltdown. You have admitted your ineptitude on this issue in the past, yet you claim you can fix this? I do not believe you, and the American people do not believe you. This is evidenced by your poll numbers. Why else would your best surrogate, Sarah Palin, be in West Virginia instead of a battleground state like Ohio?

It is as though you are reversing the course Thomas Dewey took in 1944 and 1948. In 1944, Dewey made extreme and unfair claims about his opponent, FDR, not unlike what you have done this year. In 1948, he took the self-serving "principled" stand you took in 2000. In one thing, however, Thomas Dewey and you are united: Your attempts to achieve the highest office in our land will have been unsuccessful. The time has come for your shameless self-promotion to come to an end. It will be with a song in my heart that I and millions of my fellow Americans will vote on November 4th to end your career. After this event, I wish you a long life and the wisdom to think about what led you to this point. That said, my hopes on the latter are muted by your stubborn refusal to learn from your past mistakes. The future is now. Your time is past. Enjoy your obsolescence. I know I will. And for those who are still continuing their drinking game from your last debate and that of your running mate, I have two things to say: "my friends" and "maverick".

Enjoy the music. The music is, fittingly enough, "Everybody Loves a Loser" by Morcheeba.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Questions for Governor Palin:

You claim that you have foreign policy experience because you are the executive of a state that borders Canada and is close to Russia. Being such a great foreign policy expert, perhaps you can tell me which of the following people you may have had cause to meet during your tenure, and why. If you have not met these people, please provide a reason.

Roman Abramovich
Roman Jakobson
Roman Kopin
Vsevolod Abramovich
Danila Medvedev
Dmitri Medvedev
Dennis Fentie
Dennis Leary
Geraldine Van Bibber
Geraldine Halliwell
Gordon Campbell
Greg Campbell
Steven Point
Steven Soderbergh
Iona Campagnolo
Iona Nikitchenko

Do you recognize some of these names, Governor Palin? Do you know who these people are? I'll even give you a hint: Eight of the people listed above have served in the governments of your immediate neighbors during your brief tenure as governor. The rest are famous or infamous for other reasons, though one of those who served in your neighbors' governments is also infamous in his or her own right.

For extra credit, I have a list of place names. I'm not including British Columbia since even a child could get that one right.


Of these, which are the four closest to Alaska, and do any of them have a population greater than that of your state?

Given the difficulty you may experience answering this question, I must ask one question: What foreign policy experience do you bring to the table? What foreign officials have you met for more than a brief photo op? I'm not asking about heads of state and heads of government. I'm asking about your counterparts in Canada and Russia.

Give this some thought, and get back to me. I'll be here. In the meantime, CRANK THIS SHIT UP!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The winner of the Sept. 27 debate:

This is a quick little post based on a rather pleasant trip to the Yahoo political dashboard. First, a brief rundown of what's happened. Obama is up 5% in Colorado, 6% in New Mexico, 5% in Wisconsin, 5.6% in Minnesota, and over 6% in the following key states: Michigan, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. All of that is the appetizer. Here's the meat of it: Florida has shifted to a 3% Obama lead from a solid McCain lead. Nevada has shifted from weak McCain to a 0.5% Obama lead. McCain's lead in Indiana has shrunk to 2.4%, and his lead in Missouri has shrunk to 1.7%. Virginia has shifted from solid McCain to a 2.5% Obama lead, and North Carolina has shifted from solid McCain to a 0.3% Obama lead according to These polls about who performed better or who got the better digs in or other psychological aspects of it, while interesting, do not carry anywhere near the significance of the electoral map. Psychology is important, and I don't mean to diminish its value, especially in presidential politics. However, the most important measure of its impact is found in the electoral map. It is for this reason I address these polls instead of the "Who do you think won last Friday?" poll questions.

I have created a new scenario that is plausible based on the current data. It exceeds the previous high-water mark for my optimism about Obama's chances. The states I gave to Obama were plausible, and the states I gave McCain were plausible. I think the name I gave this scenario says it all.

Enjoy. I can't embed this song, but I can provide a link. :) I don't know how applicable it is to this post, but it's just good music.