Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It Really Is the Vegans' Fault.

I remember a scene from the old movie PCU. If you've never heard of PCU, there's a very good reason for that. You're either not 25-35 years old right now, or you didn't watch enough daytime movies on Comedy Central.

Anyway, in the movie, a long line of people are standing outside the doors of a frat house or some such nonsense, the entering of which they are waiting for impatiently. Towards the end of the line, a black man says he should be at the front, because African-Americans have been persecuted in this country for hundreds of years. In the middle, a woman (a stereotypical and pejorative version of a feminist) says that women have been, to paraphrase, second fiddle since the beginning of time, so she should be at the front of the line. Further up, a homosexual man says that he would gladly give up his spot in line for the other two. Just kidding. He's pissed too.

What the movie is getting at here, in the language of early 90s humor, is that arguments like these are futile. Somebody will always find a way to one-up whatever problems you think you might have had. The goal, or at least, it's effect on me, is to prevent people from acting like this. Actually, the overall message of the movie was no more complex than "chill the fuck out and stop complaining."



Regardless, I would be not at all pleased with myself if I ever became one of those people. Specifically, I really hate getting into the "who has it worst in America" argument, myself being of the position that an atheist is a pretty hard thing to be sometimes. (I could almost hear people disagreeing with me before I even finished typing that sentence.) I'm going to state a case as to why I think that, but keep in mind that I'm doing this grudgingly and I don't even fully believe it myself and that if I were listening to myself I would say, "Kevin shut up." Nevertheless, I can't really vent my anger (what else did you think this blog was for?) without the actual comparison between a few things, so on we go.

The backstory is not too important. The political ad I'm about to reference takes place in North Carolina and was engineered by the Republican party against Democratic candidate for the senate. I'm cynical enough to believe that these facts are irrelevant to the situation, but if you're harboring a hatred for the Republican party, you're welcome for the fuel.

Here's the ad: (Not completely necessary to watch the whole thing)



The first thing I suppose I should address, if only to get it out of the way, is that the statements implied in the ad are, well, spurious to say the least. Kay Hagan herself is actually a Sunday school volunteer.

But the ad's not really chiding her for actually being an atheist is it? It doesn't even make a claim about what Kay Hagan would do if elected office. It says she took money from this organization, and that appears to be the biggest factor in her crime.

This is like debating Obama's religion however. You can argue about the Islamic school when he was a child and show pictures of him in a turban, but in the end, the only response that should elict from any thinking human being is a so what? The same rule should apply here. Sadly, it probably won't.

What gets me though is that while people debate Obama's religion, they wouldn't dare blamingly accuse him of accepting money from a Muslim organization like it was a terrible thing to do. That is the difference I would like to show. The Godless Americans group has opinions that differ from mainstream America, and that's cool. If you ask any Muslim American if they would prefer "Under God" or "Under Allah" in the pledge, they would probably answer the latter. Same goes with a Jewish American, a Buddhist American, a Hindu American and so on and so forth. (Replacing, of course, "Allah" with "Yahweh" "Shakamuni" or "Brahman" respectively.) The point I wish to make here is that they're not really any more radical than other group of this nature. Maybe a bit more honest, but that's about it.

However, you can apparently only associate with this group in the most insignificant of ways to keep yourself out of trouble. Imagine for one second what this ad would look like if you replaced "atheism" with "Hinduism" or any group, really. It's actually pretty hard to take it seriously. The only exception for this that I can think of would be violent groups, such as the KKK or neo-nazis. What we start to see here is that it's pretty ok to paint atheists as terrible people and those that associate with them, or even, god forbid, give them a voice in their own Congress, are just as terrible.

Here's the kicker though. If this ad were substituted with a different group, you would be sure as hell that not only that group would be pissed, but other people would be pissed for that group. You insulted the Jewish community? How dare you sir? But, nobody, nobody really cares about what's going on. I heard about this story on Olbermann, where it ranked 2nd as his worst person in the world section. Just second. There is a group of people out there, insinuating that a whole section of Americans are somehow inherently evil, despite having done no harm and just having a different opinion. That my friends is called bigotry, and you wish to tell me that it only ranks second in your book?

I'm trying really hard to not to say that atheists have it the worst in America, but things like this make it hard for me to avoid making that particular statement. I'll make this one instead: If we can't agree on who has it worst in America, can we at least start by treating all of our insults the same? In other words, if a Christian feels like standing up for me today, I'll stand up for them later (or, substitute the word "Christian" for any other minority you feel like...except vegans. Those guys can rot in hell.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Olbermann to McCain: Speak Up and Lead

I know the blog is video-heavy lately, but this is...very...worth sharing.

Socialist is the New Muslim

Wow. Just wow.

This is your media, America. I hope you're goddamn proud of it.

Take a look around 2:15, when she quotes Karl Marx to Biden and he says, "Is that a real question?"



[via Olbermann]

Monday, October 27, 2008

Don't Read This If You're Uninterested in Being Depressed

Not to be a downer or anything, but America managed to kill 12 children this weekend.

Here's the super-cool thing about these particular 12 children though. We did it in two different countries. Now we're multitasking our murders! Say what you will about the US of A, but we be efficient.

By the way, I'm talking about here and here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Give a Hoot, Don't Vote!

In a recent conversation with my younger sister, being the good influence that I am, I pointed out to her that voting is useless in certain places like Illinois that will always always always be blue. I suggested that instead of spending the money for gas to the polls, she might as well just donate it to the charity. The money will actually be used for something useful, instead of taking her to cast a pointless vote.

In her case, the gas mileage is a combined 6 hours worth of driving, but I think this can apply to other people as well. If you're not voting out of laziness, there's no way I can convince to care about anything. But if you're not voting out of rebellion, futility or even a lack of information, why not take the transportation fee you would have paid to perform your "patriotic duty" and put it towards a good cause, one that is a lying, dirty politician.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crutch 8

Hey kids, here's a fun fact. People actually vote for shit other than the president sometimes. On the rarest of occasions, it's something useful, like a dog-catcher. Most of the time, it's worthless crap like Representatives or anything involving a state congress. Mayors don't do shit unless a building falls down or levees break. Sometimes it'll be middle-of-the-road and you get to vote for a Senator, mostly useless, but in a pinch, you still want the dogcatcher. (Short aside to Obama: I won't be voting for you this year, because I live in Illinois and it'll just be drowned in a sea of blue, but I justify this by reminding you that I put you in congress four years ago. No need to thank me.) There really is only one reason to pay attention to the "other shit" during election season, and that reason is the referendum.

Perhaps you've never heard of the referendum. To be honest, I became aware of its existence at the age of 17, a time when I was already taught the minimum age for holding a national public office, how long their term is, campaign finance rules, half of the constitutional amendments and bunch of other junk that I forgot five minutes after the test. The concept of a referendum was unheard of to me. (Maybe it still is to you, friendly reader. A referendum is basically a citizen's chance to act like a congressperson for a day, voting directly on a bill in a "yea/nay" fashion.)

Now, in Callyfornea, there's a referendum of particular interest about to be voted on. The name is "Proposition 8" (referendums have boring names). It's particularly interesting because it repeals the right of gay couples to be married, which, hopefully you know, has been legal in California for about 5 months now. It's like the right to gay marriage was burning a hole in their pocket or something.

A bit of history of the right in question. Que Schoolhouse Rock music please. Gay marriage was banned a while back in another referendum called Proposition 22. The right to gay marriage started out in the state congress and a bicameral passage a few years ago (I am, by the way, not referencing the research I've done about this because I'm lazy, as always. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on anything.) After it got passed, it was vetoed by a Mister Governator. Twice. In May, however, the state Supreme Court of California declared that Proposition 22 was unconstitutional, because it violated that obligatory clause in every state constitution about equal rights for everyone. Go obligatory clause!

And I suppose you can see where this is going, a brand new referendum is going out now, Prop 8, that intends to overturn the overturning of Proposition 22. Got that? It makes dudes marrying dudes illegal again.

There is no doubt in my mind that making gay marriage legal is the best thing we can do as a country. And I did choose the word "best" arbitrarily, either. I get the feeling that twenty, thirty, fifty years in the future, we're going to be really embarrassed at the way we denied homosexuals the right to marry for so long and so ardently. Kinda like how the years that we desegregated schools and gave women the right to vote and abolished slavery aren't as far away from 2008 as we think they should be.

Regardless, that's not the issue at hand. The question that plagues me is what was the most just way of going about this gay marriage thing. By my count, there are four methods of legislation that went into this: the referendums, the congressional bill, the vetoing by the Governor, and the Supreme Court ruling.

Really though, choosing the most democratic method is easy enough; it's the referendums. Dare I say that voting on a referendum is more democratic than voting for president.

But here's the thing though, it was a referendum that institutionalized this atrocious discrimination in the first place. And, the way things are looking now, it is another referendum that will continue it.

When the Governator vetoed the bill passed by the Calif. state congress, he stated something along the lines that the government should not make a ruling on this, and then mumbled something about the constitution in his wacky accent. In case you haven't heard, any political figure on the national level has played this routine innumerable times. They all say that it's not a decision for the national government to make, and it should be left to the states. When left to the states, they say that it's not for the states to decide, but should be left up to...what? I have no idea.

Can we promptly dispell with the theory that legalizing gay marriage is somehow impeded on the rights of the church. Allowing something and mandating it are too completely different things. Churches have refused marriages before on grounds not based on homosexuality, and nobody cried discrimination there. If churches still wish to only perform man-woman marriages, that's their business and their embarrassment. Besides, there is always somebody around who will perform a marriage. It sure as hell doesn't have to be a church.

And, while I'm ranting, don't let any conservative tell you this gay marriage fiasco is somehow the fault of "a handful of activist judges" (I'm looking at you Limbaugh. Yes, you.) The citizens of Calif. elected their representatives and senators to do their job and they did. It was one man who vetoed that voice.

The question then becomes, did the state Supreme Court do the right thing? Let's assume for the sake of argument that Proposition 22 was 100% wrong, and overturning it was 100% good. Has the Supreme Court done the right thing by overturning a referendum, the direct voice of the people for the sake of good? If something is performed in the most democratic way possible, does that make it exempt from any other kind of legislation?

I don't suppose I have an answer to that question. I can actually make a good argument for both. And after dedicated only 15 minutes of thought to the subject, it's easy to see that there will never actually be a good answer for this. Somebody will always get screwed.

There is a good thing though: I, or anybody else, won't have to make the decision of whether the actions of the Calif. state Supreme Court were just or not. The Proposition 8 vote takes place in November and luckily (against the odds) the people of California will do the right thing. And, if we're really lucky, luckier than we ever though we could, we'll never have to deal with this question ever again. This is another reason why it's important to have a well-informed and conscious citizenry.

(Google's thoughts on the matter)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Coin Flip

Alright, I don't know how they did it, but Fox News totally predicted this correctly.

Colin Powell Backs Barack Obama

Shit. I guess this means that I owe Fox News an apology for one, and somehow their racist, derogatory logic actually works.

Shit, again. That means that if Obama becomes president, he really will repaint the white house to match his skin color. We're fucked!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Utter Speechlessness (This Doesn't Happen Often)

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/15/colin-powell-fuels-speculation-possible-endorsement/comments/

When you think about it, it's the only logical conclusion one can reach.

1 - Black people dance
2 - Black people vote for Obama. Always.
3 - Colin Powell dances
4 - Therefore, Colin Powell is black.
5 - Colin Powell is required by law to vote for Obama.

Seriously though, how fucking stupid are these people at Fox? This is the most unapologetically racist news article I've ever seen. "Colin Powell was at an African festival, so he's probably going to vote for Obama." Are you serious? Are you fucking serious?

Nevermind the fact that Powell didn't just recently acquire his blackness. You know, despite the lack of dancing over the past couple decades, he's been black the entire time. That's right, believe it or not, but he was actually born with it. But no, once he busts a move, now he's black enough to vote for Obama.

This, by the way, is a fine example of racial discourse in this country. I can almost picture this coming out of the mouth of Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel from Simpsons. "Lookee here. That dark fella likes the hip-hop sos he must be votin' for that ot'er dark fella."

(From Mr. Bors.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Be Kind to the Elderly

I'm trying really hard to get just one point across. If you can stand to sift through the terrible Street Fighter references and bad journalism jokes in this blog, and you can only take away one thing that I've said let it be this: There is no Sonic porn on this website. But, if you can take away two things, one of them should be the first thing, and the second thing should be: We own America.

McCain is taking a lot of flak lately, and if you've watched five whole seconds of news or even saw a front page in the past few days, you know what I'm talking about. The guys in the audience of a Palin rally who say "Terrorist" or "Kill him". The inane supporters with their asinine signs who draw links to Obama's middle name. Old ladies who think Obama is an Arab.

To approach this in point-counterpoint fashion, any decent human being should put a stop to this. Yes, this is politics. Yes, the idea behind a campaign trail is to make yourself look like a prince and the other guy an incompetent moron. Yes, McCain is not coming out and saying, "Look, that one, he's a terrorist." I understand all that. But McCain, have you no shame?

Here is my one-two punch. The jab is morals. McCain, when your supporters are in possession of so much misinformation, the kind that makes them want to say, "kill him" or call your opponent a terrorist, you have a responsibility -- do you hear that? a responsibility -- to set the record straight. Your constituency will be pissed when they hear you say, "Fact: Obama is not Muslim. Fact: He is not of Arab decent. Fact: He is not a black radical," but for god's sake you'll be able to sleep at night.

This is hard for you to understand, because there are no lies floating around about you, not serious ones at least. If the Huffington Post reported tomorrow that you were a terrorist, not even the idiots that read the Huffington Post would listen. But if Fox News called Obama a terrorist, well, you can see the difference here.

Your opponent is being branded as the worst thing in the entire world. Do you get that? His reputation amongst your constituency couldn't be worse unless he had the numbers 666 tattooed somewhere on his body. Do you understand, Senator McCain, that people get shot for this? Are you hearing me? People get fucking killed for this. In fact, presidents and presidential candidates have been killed for much, much less.

You have, in your possession, the power to save Obama's life. And yet you do nothing. You don't distance yourself from your crazy fucking vice-president who lets people yell kill him and tries to associate him with terrorists. When you tell your supporters that they shouldn't be scared of Obama, you're on the right track. When they boo you for you, that should be sending warning bells off in your brain.

The right hook here is a political one. Your campaign is floundering, Senator McCain. People think you're playing dirty and they're partly correct. You want to show the world you're a "maverick"? Say these words: "Obama is a decent, Christian man who is not a terrorist or a radical. He won't be a better president than me though." Honestly, Senator McCain, your poll numbers couldn't get any worse. If you're a Republican, you can't get less than 40%, so you might as well ditch your strategy, pull a 180, and you might not lose in shame.

Now, a rebuttal, from...myself.

Dear media, what is your deal? Repeat after me: John McCain is not the internet. John McCain is not the internet.

Do you think that this whole "Obama = black = scary" garbage started with John McCain in the 10th month of the year 2008? No, idiots. This has been happening for a damn long time.

He's dancing around the issue, I know, but he's not outright endorsing it, which might actually boost his numbers. Don't you know that if you're a Republican, you can't get less than 40%? If he were truly as bad a guy as you make him out to be, he wouldn't mind just going ahead and declaring Obama a terrorist. No, instead, he takes the mic away from his voters -- his voters -- and says, "No, Obama is a decent man."

(Short aside here, I'm not going to attack McCain over his very, very embarassing gaffe when speaking to the old lady about how the opposite of "Arab" is apparently "decent person". That was a very stupid thing to say. Most definitely. But we all know why that old lady (does she have a name? I'm too lazy to research that) called him an "Arab". Because to her, in her mind, that represents "bad person". I think we all already knew that.)

Here's the thing, media, if you want to quell this racism and hatred against Obama, you're going after the wrong guy. In fact, you haven't even targeted the right group of guys. You need to start looking at, hm, America perhaps?

I'll say it again: McCain did not start this ridiculous and unfounded Obama hatred. America did. Your country. Our country. We let this happen. Every one of us is responsible for fostering a society and environment where it's ok to let this happen. Every time a vice-president calls someone a terrorist, it's because we did not demand better of them. Every time a citizen declares that we should kill Obama, it's because we allowed it to happen.

We give up too easily don't we? There have been too many times hearing news about this election when I've shrugged my shoulders and said, "Oh, well, that's the bible belt for ya. What a bunch of sillies." When we should have displayed unmitigated outrage. Every slur thrown in Obama's face is a slur that could have been thrown in any black man's face if he got "too uppity" and decided to run for president. What the hell is wrong with us? Could we possibly pretend that these insults and racist remarks could not be applied to any other potential black candidate or any other candidate with a Muslim-originated name? We allowed these people to insult hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens and then shrugged it off.

And that's our fault, not McCain's.

Cynthia Tucker, saying this better than I ever could have.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Straw-Graspery, The Conclusion

Part Three - I am Angry with America (but Maybe Not Forever)
Or "Obama v. Words"

And I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America, as the greatest source for good in this world. I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country. (Source)

Sarah Palin goes on to say that no, America is not perfect, but evokes phrases such as "shining city on a hill" "collectively together America represents a perfect ideal". There is my full disclosure.

There is a word in that soundbite that always stuck out to me, maybe you heard it too. It's "imperfect." Obama does not see the country like us; he sees it as imperfect.

I've considered before that in regards to the current state of the nation, people born around the same time I was are in a peculiar place. I was sixteen when 9/11 happened, and that's a strange age to be. Far from an adult, but old enough to remember the Clinton and Bush years, old enough to remember something that could qualify as "pre-9/11". Any younger and I think this might not be possible. I would know only the blissful years of childhood, by definition politically ignorant, and post-9/11. Any older and my ideas about the world would already be formed; 9/11 would be something I would be adapting my current philosophies to.

But that's not how it happened. I was sixteen when it happened, just starting to care about the world that I lived in. That's a hell of a way to learn, but alas, the circumstances leave those in my age bracket with little choice. While everyone older than us was adapting, and everyone younger was nearly born into this new world, not knowing any different, my people, my generation, are the ones who grew into this, and we are the ones whose lines are most dramatically drawn.

It's not our fault though. There are really only three choices. The first is complete apathy. Now, I don't want to make apathy sound like these people are too lazy to care. I don't think that's it at all, actually. What I do think is that it's a completely natural response to the overstimulation that 9/11 and the politics surrounding it have created. We are the generation that remembers when the biggest deal, the most important political event in the 90s, was when the president got a blowjob, as though he were immune from receiving them. That was the worst we had to deal with. People in their late twenties and beyond at least had the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Gulf War. Our political atmosphere went from "slightly embarrassing adultery" to "Axis of Evil" in a day. A day. It's no surprise some of my generation wants as little to do with politics as possible.

I'm trying very hard not to pejoratively name the second group, as it is the polar opposite of mine, and the one I understand the least. "Group B" is the best I can do. Every time you hear about the liberal idiot youth, there is a member of Group B you don't hear about it, the members of the generation that grew into the rhetoric of nationalism and wars on terrors, the guys that volunteered for military service. Our political attitudes typically stem from our upbringing, and the conservative environment that fed these people was encouraged by the nature of the Bush Doctrine. What I'm trying to say here is, we don't all watch The Daily Show.

But some of us do, the Group C-ers, the skeptics. When you're so young, how can you not get caught up in the jingoistic fervor that is the early 21st century? Did we question when we invaded Iraq? No, and neither did the country. But somewhere in the back of our brains, or at least in mine, we had the thought, "Maybe it shouldn't be this way."

And the language, oh god the language.

How deep do I need to delve into this? How much reminding do you really need about the way we talk now? It is stifling, and the closer you chronologically approach the year 2001, the deeper it becomes. To give a small, but embarrassing, example, look at the questions about Obama's religion. The word "Muslim" is used as a campaign smear. Attending a Muslim school at the age of six automatically qualifies you for terrorism. In regards to questions about Obama's religion, some of us have asked "so what?" but not enough. Not nearly enough.

"Keep it vague, Sarah," her advisor probably told her. "Keep it vague and they cheer." And it's true. The power of suggestion is always much more useful than cold hard facts. To say that Obama is pallin' around with terrorists is a thousand times more effective at making him out to be dangerous than to say he served on a charity board. To say that Obama thinks the country is perfect is more effective at making him out to hate America than to outline the ways that America could be better.

I beat this message into my friends and unfortunate passerbys: language is powerful. Just the word "terrorist" does so much without any other words attached to it. And it goes straight to your brain; there's no way to shrug it off without actually considering for a nanosecond what the word means to you. And instantly, without you realizing it, you've conjured an image in your head of what you think a terrorist is, and any number of subsequent words and images in your mind. It shoots into your brain. Obama may be a good man, but he can't stop bullets.

But this rhetoric is in danger of losing its power. The whole book of tricks has been thrown at Obama. The name connection with bin Laden and Hussein, the Muslim thing, the terrorist thing, the domestic terrorist thing, saying he hates America, questioning his patriotism, beating out a potential first woman president, militant wife, angry pastor, eating his bread with the butter side down...god, this list goes on and on. Every word, every smear, every insult that we ourselves were terrified of being labeled after 9/11, this man has been called. Literally. Not one of us would want to be called a terrorist in 2002. An act of bravery was (is) required to declare you're a Muslim. Saying you hate America or think that America is not the greatest country in the world has been likened to treason in the past seven years. This man is all the things we've been afraid of for so long.

And here's the thing, there is a very good chance he'll be president.

Can you comprehend how far-fetched that sounds when you add together all the smears against him? If you were to even suggest it in 2004, you would get laughed out of a room. And now, it could happen. Dare I say, for the first time in my adult life, the people of America will care more about a candidate's character than the fact he has a goofy-sounding name. There will be a majority of voices who will say, "So what if he might be Muslim?" People won't be afraid to say, "You know what, this country is imperfect." We don't have to go along with the nationalistic fervor anymore.

Maybe it sounds like I'm endorsing Obama. Maybe I really am endorsing Obama. But moreover, I'm rooting for the possibility that this rhetoric of jingoism, hatred and fear will finally die out. One month from the election, Sarah Palin can publicly and openly declare that Obama is a terrorist that hates America, and it won't matter one bit. That the man who collected every known term that we were too cowardly to attach to ourselves these last seven years might very well end up our president.

And that's how you become stronger than language.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Please News, Take a Break

Listen, BBC, I have a job, alright? Maybe that doesn't mean anything to you, but it means something to me, gosh darnit. I would appreciate if you would save all your Kevin-angering news stories until the weekend. kthxbye.

Anyway, the US -- and when I say "US" I mean, "both sides of the congressional aisle" -- is putting the finishing touches on a nuclear deal with India for civilian energy. On the surface, that sounds like a great plan. India's not really a threat or even an enemy to us, so there's very little chance this'll blow up in our faces (pun intended). Further, India is a country that really, really needs something like this, what with its billion people and all.

Here's the thing: We're doing this the wrong way. For some reason, we agreed for the right to inspect their civilian facilities, but not their military ones. And, we're not requiring India to sign the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Act. (India's refusal to sign is the reason we haven't been doing nuke business with them for the past thirty years. We have suddenly changed our stance on the issue.)

To be fair, India has a better track record with nuclear weapons than we do. It would even be wise to say that maybe they should be watching us instead of the other way around. They have "we won't start it but we'll end it" official policy, which is better than us, again. Besides the point that the NPT is really just a piece of paper. If someone really wanted to bomb us, or build up their nuclear aresenal, they will.

This is what gets me though: Bush said this about the transaction, "This agreement sends a signal to the world: Nations that follow the path to democracy and responsible behaviour will find a friend in the United States of America."

This is what I heard: If you are our friend, the rules don't matter.

The NPT is not a small deal worldwide. Countries that don't have nuclear arsenals, countries that couldn't even possibly have nuclear arsenals, have to sign this thing. India has refused on principle, which is cool, but, on principle, that means you shouldn't get any benefits.

We have decided (France too, I shouldn't leave them out) that even though India refuses to play by the rules that we all established long ago, just because they are our friends, we will help them out.

Secretly, I think we want them to bomb Pakistan or China for us, but whatever.

Sucks Being Right All the Time

I told you this was a more important story.

Good christ I'm angry.

The White House then appealed, saying the original ruling - the first of its kind - could set a dangerous precedent.

A "dangerous precedent"? A dangerous precedent for what? Following the Geneva Convention? Not imprisoning people without charges?

Here's your fun history fact for today: The Sedition Act was repealed by Jefferson about 200 years ago.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wh-What?

C'mon, this is just getting silly now.

From the AP, on Yahoo News

12-Step Program Needed

I have a problem. I really do.

I am addicted to two things. The news, and being angry.

I think I've just realized, this very morning, that this problem is tearing my life apart. I mean, I have a busy day, I have five classes -- all solo, no Korean teacher -- and a huge presentation I have to prepare by Friday where I attempt to teach Nathanel Hawthorne to 9th Graders. And yet, I find myself compelled to blog. I used to make fun of people who did that all the time, and now, I am one of them...

Anyway, the situation that has me riled up this morning was what I caught on the Washington Post website. I clicked on what I presumed was a news story about the debate (hoping to learn what day it would air) and I was treated to someone's blog.

Now, I don't think I'm stupid, probably. One would assume that the big headlines are news stories, and not someone's blog. I started reading and found out that the big question tonight is whether or not Obama is "ready to lead". And how unscripted moments might ruin Obama's career. But not McCain's? Oh, I get it. This is opinion.

I'm not opposed to blogs on news websites (I'm definitely not in favor of them though. What's the point?) but this is...I feel tricked. I think the responsible thing to do was to make it unambigiously clear that what I was clicking on was a blog, someone's opinion (unfounded or not) on what the debate tonight would be about. (Really? The big question is whether or not Obama's fit to lead? McCain hasn't even asked that in a while.)

This is irresponsible of WaPo, and furthermore, unnecessary. I think the story about releasing prisoners from Gitmo is still more important than the debate. Anyway, here's what the page looked like at the time I saw it:


Some things to notice. First, that ad is huuuuge isn't it? The top of this image represents the absolute top part of the actual newspaper. That is to say, I cut off the links at the top. "Nashville Faceoff" was what I clicked on. Not the absolute top story, but pretty close. Notice the story about the prisoners, ranked third by my count, at the bottom of the page.

I don't want to start accusing people of "pushing agendas" but directing traffic towards a pro-McCain blog as opposed to any number of real news stories is deplorable. I take it seriously because only a small number of Americans choose to read more than one news source, and sometimes one paper is all they get (if that).

The more I think on this, the angrier I get. The blog is unabashedly biased. It belongs somewhere in the back of the newspaper, not the front page.

For comparison, NYTimes:



More or less the same format. Ads are a little smaller. That picture brings you to a link that isn't a blog, by the way. Can I say, on asthetics alone, both those pictures suck?


Annnnd, for funsies, here's Fox News. I didn't find anything about the prisoners in Gitmo, but admittedly it's hard to search through that hodgepodge down there at the bottom (NYTimes has this same problem all over its pages). Pictured: Cheerleaders. Top story: Debate. Next: Economy. Way to go Fox News.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Straw-Graspery

Part Two - I am Angry with Everybody
(Or "The Idealistic Side of Kevin that Thought People Were Too Big to Care")

Well, the Obama Campaign has responded to Palin's accusation that he is buddy-buddy with a domestic terrorist -- FREE-FOR-ALL MELEE MUDSLINGING.

I was hoping it wouldn't come to this. I really, really was. The accusation that Obama was friends with a terrorists was weak the first time around when Clinton said it, and it still is. When you say "Pallin' around with a domestic terrorist" it sounds pretty scary, much scarier than "lived in the same neighborhood and served on a charity board with a domestic terrorist." It's silly. It's flat-out silly, but Obama got scared by it, I guess, and released a documentary on McCain's association with Keatings and the Lincoln Savings and Loans scandal in the early 90s.

Point one, if you're not at least moderately familiar with the fact that McCain was kinda-sorta taking illegal money from a bad man over fifteen years ago, you probably shouldn't be voting in either direction anyway. Remove thyself from thou swing state! No excuses if you were six at the time. (yo.)

Point two, the Obamarama machine did not make this video recently. I think it was Clarence Page who said it, but they didn't throw this together one Saturday night. This has been sitting around for a few months. Bravo on not using it sooner. Fuck you for using it now.

I shouldn't be surprised, and I definitely shouldn't take it too seriously. As Sarah Palin would say, "Doggone it, that's just the way politics are happennin'. Maverick, maverick, maverick." Is it normal to feel so disgusted with politics in your early twenties? Is this one of things about "growing up" that gets easier as time goes on, like going to the doctor? Or is it one of those things that always sucks, like going to the dentist?

But it's not Obama I'm pissed at. I'm pissed at myself, for one, for just assuming, like a jackass, that his campaign wouldn't take something so ridiculous so seriously. For two, I'm pissed at Olbermann, who released a special comment about the whole affair and pointed to a number of shady characters in Palin's past.

I don't question anything in Olbermann's analysis of said characters, but I'm sick of this game. Wright, Muthee, Volger, Ayers, Keating -- These people never mattered much to anyone, nor will they ever. There is apparently some sort of goofy math occurring in presidential campaigns that says a person's importance is multiplied just by knowing the candidate, thereby making them much more dubious than they really are.

Are you following me here? If you're best friends with someone who has a misdemeanor on their record, it's just as bad as seeing a felon on the street, and both these people are suddenly a threat to the free world.

I've always wondered if maybe someday I'll be running for office, and I'll suddenly discover that somebody I knew was really a terrorist. Or hell, would they even need to go that far? I'm sure I've said some things publicly that would immediately discount me for an election, probably one too many erection jokes for my own good.

My point is (Did you know it's considered bad form to state your thesis at the end of an argument instead of the beginning? I bet you didn't, but after reading my asinine jokes for several paragraphs to get to the point, you can imagine why) connections with people of less than stellar attributes are nearly guaranteed. And if you know anything about social situations, it's not always best to immediately and completely disassociate yourself from a person because you disagree with them. "Oh, sorry. I can't serve on this charity board because one of its members did something bad 20 some-odd years ago."

I'm sick of talking about this made-up fiasco. When I come back to it (Thursday or Friday if I don't get distracted by something else first) I'll talk about what actually fired me up about this business in the first place.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Straw-Graspery

Part One - "I Am Angry at Palin"
(Or "The Political Side of Kevin that Thinks He's Always Right")

I'm looking at that sentence at this very moment, and it seems so strange to me. Who's campaign is this? I thought McCain's, but apparently Palin is exerting some non-existent power as a candidate for the most useless job ever. She's a maverick alright. (I am so sick of that word. "Clarion call" is a phrase that can go to hell too.)

Anyway, maybe you've heard the news, Obama's bestest buddy in the world is a terrorist. What kind of terrorist you may ask. Why, the worst! Unlike those wussies in Afghanistan, this bastard's been raised on American beef, corn, jello pudding snack cups and the blood of patriotic babies across the Midwest, who would have most likely grown up to be soldiers. He's a scary one, alright.

Bill Ayers is so evil, dare I say, that the American government lets him think that he can walk around without being watched. They even tricked him into getting a very prestigious career as a distinguished professor at the University of Illinois. What a dope!

What subject does he teach, you surely must be wondering. Let me enlighten you dear reader. It is not Bomb-Building or Brainwashing or even Flag Pin Crushery. No sir, much more nerfarious than that. He teaches Elementary Education! That is, he teaches young people how to teach younger people. The government must be terrified of someone to keep him far away from the innocent youth of the nation.

But where does Barry Obama fit into all this? It's quite simple really. You see, when Obama was about 8 years old, he was viciously opposed to the Vietnam War. After all, he was in danger of being drafted (in ten years). So Barry strapped on a bomb and heeded the clarion call to rage against the machine.

Not only that, but the jerks had the audacity to serve together on a charity board. I'm not sure what the charity was for, but one can only assume it was for buying blood diamonds. The bloodiest.

Alright, look, I can't condone for a second the actions of the group Weather Underground (Or Weatherman). People died. Opposition to the Vietnam War was a good thing, but setting bombs with the intent to harm innocent people is not. Let's get that straight. Bad.

There are two things to remember here. Despite his past, he's not a big threat now. He is noteworthy, yes, but he's walking around sans-manacles. The group he was a member of did terrible things, yes, but not enough to frighten the government into sending him to Gitmo. And the government is a very skittish kitty. They've locked people up for less. Ayers himself was never convicted of any killings.

The second thing is that his relation to Obama doesn't seem to be the buddy-buddy variety that Palin has pictured it to be. The story about both serving on a charity board is true; the eight-year-old with a stick of dynamite in his teeth is not. The charity was anti-poverty, by the way, not pro-blood diamond. It also met a whooping four times a year.

Ayers did contribute to the Obama campaign for $200 in 2001. I haven't heard any numbers on the current campaign (admittedly I have not searched too dilligently. I can't care too much about this, to be honest.)

To conclude, I think this relationship is innocuous at best, but you don't have to believe me. In fact, I don't want you to just believe me, believe the Palin campaign. Barack Obama is consorting with terrorists. He is a danger to his country. He hates America. We can't have a dangerous individual like this in the executive office. Palin doesn't have a problem if he's a Illinois senator or a US senator though. Those two offices are ok. But that third one...No sir. That's the line.

I'm reminded of McCain's statements that he can catch Bin Laden, but only if he's president. It's a cute phrase, isn't it? McCain can catch Bid Laden but only if he's president. Obama is a danger to this country but only if he's president.