Thursday, June 15, 2006

America, Come Back to Us

Can you feel it? The frustration with the US government seems to be at an all time high. I can not recall a time when there was so much cynicism about our elected officals. Look at the approval ratings (subject to change daily, of course, but consistently low):

Bush 30%

Congress 28%

Cheney 18%

I’d really like to poll the 12% who like Bush, but hate Cheney, and see what is in their respective heads. Aren’t those two a package deal?

The Democrats should be riding high, as they are expected to sweep many of the November elections, and perhaps change the balance of power in Washington. I’m not convinced this is exactly a good thing. There seems to be an almost equal amount of corruption on both sides of the aisle, to varying degrees.

Full disclosure time: I’m a registered Democrat. Even so, I do not vote along party lines, and have voted for Republicans, Greens, and Independents over the course of my voting life. Vote the candidate, not the party, right?

We need new blood in Washington. More parties need to be part of the mix. The trouble is that the two main camps have set things up in such a way that makes getting on the ballot extremely difficult, and alternative parties are relegated to the fringes. Ross Perot made a nice run in 1992, and struck a populist chord, but in the end, it seemed like he was simply a guy with lots of cash indulging in a fun side project.

We need a party that honestly will look after the interests of the rapidly vanishing middle class. A party that does not equate corporate profits with economic success, but rather strives to ensure that Americans are not only prosperous, but also able to pursue what used to be the American Dream. The new global economy has meant nothing more than the exporting of middle class jobs. The United States of Corporate America rules, with each party more than willing to sell out to the highest bidder.

I think the creation of a viable third party would free up conflicted politicians who are currently forced to align themselves with one of the Big Two. Ever notice how much different a candidate sounds before he or she is forced to adopt the platform of their respective party? They must play ball, or they will not get the support (and the money) from the party. That’s insane. I’m sure there are plenty of Pro-Choice Republicans, and Pro Gun Democrats, etc. who are very electable, but won’t get anywhere since they do not cater to the extreme wings of each party. I would love to see a GOP candidate tell Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson to get bent, but when push comes to shove those fat asses have to be kissed to ensure a voting block. John McCain recently giving a commencement speech at Falwell’s Liberty University is a perfect example. Some “maverick”!

How about a Democrat who is a card carrying member of the NRA, and favors small government? That would be cool. Better still, an openly Gay Republican, who crosses the aisle and chooses a Pro-Life Democrat as his running mate!

My point is, the country is ready and willing to hear new voices. Voices of reason, which aren’t beholden to any group and can be immune to lobbyists. If this started, I think it would catch on quickly. The monopoly the mainstream media had is eroding with the growth of independent news and, especially, the Blogsphere. The internet provides a much more effective way of spreading grassroots movements around the world, and the declining ratings for TV news, coupled with the shrinking circulation of traditional newspapers, show a new breed of people who are tired of being told what to think about the news. After all, why should a media that is corporate owned be trusted when they amount to nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Government, never challenging, and following along in lockstep? (BTW, kudos to Steven Colbert for exposing these cowards at the correspondent’s dinner a few weeks back.)

What’s out there now? Some examples of viable alternative parties are listed here:

Libertarian Party

Green Party

Let’s do it, America. Let’s take the country back.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Soldiers of the regiment: June 5, 1944 - D-DAY

Today, and as you read this, you are en route to that great adventure for which you have trained for over two years.

Tonight is the night of nights.

Tomorrow throughout the whole of our homeland and the Allied world the bells will ring out the tidings that you have arrived, and the invasion for liberation has begun.

The hopes and prayers of your dear ones accompany you, the confidence of your high commanders goes with you. The fears of the Germans are about to become a reality.

Let us strike hard. When the going is tough, let us go harder. Imbues with faith in the rightness of our cause, and the power of our might, let us annihilate the enemy where found.

May God be with each of you fine soldiers. By your actions let us justify His faith in us.

Colonel Robert Sink
Regimental Commander, 506th P.I.R, 101st Airborne Division

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Carl Monday – Cleaning Up Ohio, One Creep At A Time

If you haven’t seen this, courtesy of the amazingly awesome Deadspin, well, pull up a chair. I won’t even setup the clip, as there is nothing I can really add. Suffice it to say, it just might be the funniest report you’ll ever see, specifically the sections that feature a man named Mike Cooper....

Shatner “interprets”. Result? Gold.

A YouTube clip of Shatner “singing” Rocket Man. This was done almost note-for-note on a Family Guy episode, with Stewie assuming the tuxedo clad lounge lizard role, and was awesome. The original, however, is a thousand times better. As Bill Simmons said, this automatically shoots directly to the top of the Unintentional Comedy Scale, bumping all others to second place. Enjoy, if you dare.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Immigration: Quick Fix Ideas

Lots of talk these days about Immigration. Suggested solutions sound as follows:

Build a fence! Round 'em all up and deport 'em all!

Look, the key word in "Illegal Aliens" is ILLEGAL. Can we arrest them all? Of course not. What to do, then? It's funny, this has been going on for years, but only now has it become a hot button issue. Since rounding up 12 million people for deportation is impossible, and building a fence is a waste of time, what do we do? How about asking the big question - why are they so desperate to leave Mexico? How bad are things there? Didn't NAFTA create more jobs in Mexico, at the expense of American manufacturing jobs?

Look, I can't fault anyone for wanting to come here. We have a large land, full of opportunity, and I will never fault any person who is trying to improve their life. But….why not go through the process and do it legally, as millions have already done? Don't even get me started on the lack of desire to learn English and at least attempt to assimilate.

The solution is simple. Three easy options are presented below.

1.) Call out the Mexican government, demand they assist in the effort to keep their own people from crossing the border. If they're such "good friends", as Bush keeps telling us, they should be more than willing to help.

2.) Punish those in the US who hire cheap Mexican labor, eliminating the incentive for them to cross the border. This will undoubtedly ruffle some big feathers, since many large corporations (read: contributors to the GOP) are guilty of this.

3.) Wait, I've got it! Bring the troops back from Iraq, and stick them on the border, thereby fixing two hot button issues at once. So simple, which means there is no way in Hell this
administration will do it.

There, fixed that for ya! Anything else you need straightened out?

Always On?

Private time is something we all value, and with good reason. With the ability to be connected at all times available to us, the “alone” time we crave is becoming harder and harder to experience.

Cell phones, love ‘em or not, are here to stay, and have proven to be an invaluable thing to have, particularly in an emergency. They’ve since devolved into just another method of chatting aimlessly about nothing in particular, but at a much higher cost. Not to mention the fact that people, still, think that they just aren’t as good as a regular phone, thus need to speak LOUDLY whenever using one. In a public place, the desire for one to strangle these idiots grows…

Blackberries, while addictive, serve a purpose. Being able to answer an email or two while away can free up time upon returning to work. It also helps to be able to respond to another person without them having to wait until the next morning when you return to the office. Admittedly, they can become an obsession. There is nothing more geeky, however, then a room full of corporate types all tapping away on their handheld at the same time.

There is something to be said for being unreachable, though. I find the trend toward eliminating free time a disturbing one. Companies seem to provide less in the way of benefits and perks, while expecting more out of their employees. Fearing the dreaded outsourcing, employees are forced to work longer hours, and when not in the office, be responsive, even when busy, for fear of job security.

This is wrong. It forces the corporate type to envy the nine to fiver. When they punch out, work stops, and they go home. Beautiful. I tend to take it personally when I get contacted during evenings and weekends. Though that might be an immature response, it offends me that the perception exists that I can be rung up at any time when an issue arises. I have a life, and would like to enjoy it. If you need me to be available during off hours, talk to me and try to schedule it. I am under no written nor spoken obligation to make myself available, even if I am home watching crappy television shows or playing video games or, most importantly, just being with my family. My time is my own, and though my company pays me, they don’t own my ass 24/7.

Look, the Type-A corporate go-getter who is always on has a place in this world. I say let them have at it. Better them than me. Does this mean I have a bad attitude? Not at all. When I am at work, you’ve got me. I will work my tail off to make sure my job is done well, and that I’m responsive and proactive. I take pride in my work, but just cling to the notion that once I’m out the door, I’m gone. Maybe I should be working in the deli cutting meat - I bet they never get 3:00 AM phone calls!

Am I off base here? Let me know.