Race to the Bottom, Part 2

October 30, 2008

There are two great clips I found from the daily show relating to my previous post.  The first makes fun of both parties, the second is just McCain bashing.  To be fair I do think the McCain campaign deserves more criticism on this one.  I think Colbert said it well, “if you want a transformational figure…endorse John McCain, this campaign has transformed him into everything he hated!”.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

link to “Daily Show – Rallies of Fear“, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

link to “Daily Show – 10,000 McCainiacs“, posted with vodpod

Race to the Bottom

October 24, 2008

I have been following the election fairly closely this year and if nothing else it has been interesting.   I think both candidates are normally fairly respectable and not your usually slimy politician.  Going into the election I would have thought we might get some respectful discussion about the plans each candidate has if they were elected. While we have had a little of that we have also had a lot of idiotic name calling.  Does it really matter that John McCain has a bunch of houses or that Obama’s middle name is Hussein?  Obama does not hate America and “pal around with terrorists” and McCain is not a senile old man.  To suggest so is dim witted and extremely insulting.  It says that we the American people are not intelligent enough to decide based on the different tax and economic strategies or the ideas on diplomacy, so instead we will vote for the one with fewer houses or the one who’s name doesn’t rhyme with Osama.  It is pandering to base emotions and the least intelligent of voters, and terrifyingly it appears to work.

It is understandable that at the political rallies the crazies and idiots (extreme left and right respectively) will come out and say stupid things, but what is wrong with calling them on it and having them removed from the crowd?  To his credit John McCain has done this he defended Obama’s character from his own supporters and got booed for his efforts.  For me that speaks more to the character of John McCain then anything else I have seen and I don’t know why it hasn’t received more coverage in the media.  He should be applauded for it and Obama should be challenged to behave similarly.  However, at the final debate with everything pre-planned he said he was proud of the people that come to his rallies.  To me this says the real John McCain is an honest and intelligent person, the scripted PC John McCain is shamelessly trying to claim the crazy vote.

Another troubling trend is the popularity of the “common man” political figure, politicians who cultivate an image of a “normal” person just like me (I’m looking at you Bush and Palin).  People apparently like someone that seems like the neighbor from down the street with “small town values”, whatever that is.  Why having a folksy accent would help convince some voters and attending one of the most prestigious universities in the world would discourage some voters is totally beyond me.  I don’t want someone just like me to be running the country, I want someone much more intelligent than me!

For once I would like a candidate to treat me like an adult tell me that we are going to have to raise taxes and cut programs to realistically balance the budget.  If the budget can’t be balanced in 1 year show a plan to do it in 4.  Pie in the sky tax cuts, no major program changes, and a budget surplus sound nice but so does a 3 day work week, I’m not holding my breath.  The only politician I know that has done this is, not suprisingly, not a real politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He presents a responsible balanced budget with contains program cuts and raised taxes and the result was a deadlocked legislature for 85 days.

I plan on voteing for the candidate I think we reduce the deficit the most, ironically right now this appears to be the Democrat.  I’m not sure when fiscal responsability left the Republicans (ok it was Regan) but until it returns I will be looking for greener pastures.


June 3, 2008

It’s official, I don’t like Detroit anymore. My window was broken. Again. I take back everything I said in my last post about not getting angry, I am angry, very angry, one might even say quite peeved. I am looking for someone to blame and unfortunately the people who broke my window are not around to throw rocks at (this one was caught on tape but the quality is so low there is no way to ID him). Instead I will throw rocks at our beloved mayor. He seems like a fair enough target, he is in charge, he has wasted millions of dollars of the city’s money which could have been used to pay some of the 1000 cops he laid off, and he is almost undeniably corrupt. Well it is undeniable if you are on this side of the rabbit hole. In fantasy land, where Kwame apparently lives, a “lynch mob” is out to get him. I’m not sure who is supposed to be in this mob, perhaps the single white member of a city council that has repeatedly called for his resignation, or maybe just maybe he is pulling the race card yet again to get a knee jerk reaction of solidarity. There are plenty of reasons to dislike him as mayor, and none of them are racial.

The Detroit Free Press has a number of really good articles detailing his many indiscretions, they have a whole “Mayor in Crisis” section. Or just head to Wikipedia for a good summary (about 10 pages worth of controversy).

Motor City

May 31, 2008

I just knew I could pull it off one more time. One final hurrah before I leave the city, yes my car was broken into for the fifth time. I hadn’t even managed to get all the damage fixed from the last time. Surprisingly I don’t really care that much. Yes, it is money wasted and ya it is a pain but I guess I just expect it now. It is like paying taxes, not a favorite activity but you know there is no way to escape it. I guess I should be happy they haven’t tried to steal the car or steal parts of the car.

The latest craze in Detroit is stealing catalytic converters. Amazingly they do this in the middle of the day on fairly busy streets. This has lead to a number of pairs being arrested but there are always more waiting to take their place. In case there are any enterprising criminals out there this is how it is done. One person walks the street looking for cars with a mirror on the end of golf club, if he spots a catalytic converter they can steal a van pulls up and double parks, someone hops out with an electric saw and cuts off the converter. In the neighborhood where I work two of my co-workers had their converters stolen in the middle of the day, and one of those they tried to steal it, failed, then came back two weeks later and stole it. Also about two blocks away I know two more people whose converters were stolen. Apparently they are being sold for scrap metal, sky rocketing metal prices have made it very lucrative.

Over all car crime has spiked around the university. Between January and April this year 101 cars have been stolen on or immediately around campus, this compares to only 17 over the same period last year.

It isn’t a big mystery why all the businesses, upper, and middle classes have fled the city, if they want to turn Detroit around they need to do something about the crime. And the mayor.

President Bluth

April 11, 2008

I filled out my taxes today, I ended up owing a little, but then I found out I was eligible for the $600 stimulus tax rebate.  $600 is good news, who wouldn’t want $600?  However, this good feeling is tarnished somewhat when I think about the mind numbing deficit that our Republican government is once again pushing us through.  I seem to remember something about fiscal responsibility being associated with Republicans, but this is apparently no longer the case.  Unfortunately the country appears to be run by short sighted idiots who only care what happens for the four years they are around.  They in turn are surrounded by savvy bankers who are more then willing to up the limit on their credit card.  I honestly think that the country is being run by the Bluths.  When you think about it Gob’s management style actually bears a striking resemblance to the policies of George Dubya.

To protest this lack or foresight and out of pure spite I will be spending my $600 economic stimulus package in another country, the Czech Republic to be exact.  At this point I figure the only party that takes fiscal responsibility seriously is the Libertarians.  As there is virtually no chance of them being elected I have decided to be petty.  I am taking my stimulus package and I am leaving the country.

A New Low

March 22, 2008

You know you have been spending too much time randomly browsing the internet when you find yourself here.  I really need to go buy another book.

Thumb Screws

February 10, 2008

I read a really good article over at ars-technica about the music industry. Sales of CDs are dropping and they are desperately seeking something to staunch the flow of lost revenue. For some reason none of them have come up with the revolutionary idea of offering their customers the option of downloading CD quality music for a slightly reduced cost (as there is less overhead). Instead their approach has been to erect larger and larger barriers to keep people from pirating, the latest of which is apparently filtering internet traffic. The article has a great quote:

the real issue is that filtering won’t work until the thumbscrews are so tight that blood is pouring from people’s hands. Should that day ever come, the revolucíon won’t be far behind

The article goes on to say that they need a different business strategy not tighter thumbscrews.

This is turn reminds me of the circus that is airport and border security. The Washington Post has a great article talking about the search and seizure of electronics at international borders. Right now your laptop can be seized without a reason given, held indefinitely, all of your data copied, and you can be forced to reveal all of your passwords. To me this doesn’t seem much different from them holding you in the airport while the police in your home town do a thorough search of your home and office. I’m not really sure what they are hoping to accomplish; maybe that a randomly selected business traveler will somehow turn into a terrorist and keep all of their plans and Osama’s home address on their laptop? The above quote is just as true here as it is with the music industry, it isn’t that this might not help, it’s that for it to help we have to surrender all of our civil liberties. The police/intelligences agencies/military/homeland security don’t need less restrictions, they need a new strategy.

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

-Benjamin Franklin (or perhaps Richard Jackson)

I think I’m going to be sick

November 15, 2007

On a whim I looked up how much we have spent on the war in Iraq as of right now. It is about $440 Billion with a B. Estimates of the total cost by the time we get out are in the neighborhood on $1 Trillion, but lets just focus on the 440 right now. $440 billion that is about $1500 for every man, woman, and illegal immigrant in the United States. Thats a good amount, I think most families of four could use an extra $6000, but if we are going to spend it what could we get for it? Well we could have given it to the Iraqis directly, it would have been about $15,000 for every man, woman, and child in Iraq. If you thought your family of four could use $6000 think what a family of four in Iraq could have done with $60,000. Considering that the average salary there is about $1000 a year (as far as I can tell) I am thinking that would have gone a long way.

We always could have spent the money at home, fixed that pesky social security problem, repeated the Apollo project four times (we could have gone to Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter!) or maybe just not DOUBLED our national debt (seriously when he took office $5.6 Trillion, now over $9 Trillion, its not double yet, but I’m sure it will be before he leaves).

After all of this Bush is complaining about the proposed budget from congress because it was over budget by $10 billion. Is he f***ing insane? Lets see where could be get an extra $10 billion…where indeed.