Thanks, George W. Bush

Eight years ago, there was the promise of a new presidency. I (and many others) thought that George W. Bush had the potential to be one of the greatest presidents in history–that he was at least in the same ballpark as Ronald Reagan.

In the end, we were left with mostly disappointment. Promises such as Social Security reform never even got out of the starting gate; we saw massive increases in the commitments of the Federal Government without the resources to cover them; we continue to fight a war that, if fought properly, would have been over long ago. Instead, it has become a wildly unpopular war.

His crowning achievement is that we have gone more than 7 years without a follow-up to the 9/11 attacks. I don’t think this is an accident and I don’t think it should be minimized.

I think that history (long after we are all gone) will judge George W much gentler than we have. Another massive terrorist attack would have tanked the economy even more than it has been already.

Despite some obvious failures, I do not think we can doubt his character, his intentions, or his love for this country. Despite the pundits, I really believe he did what he thought was right all along. I don’t believe any of it was self-seving.

He could have earned much more in the private sector than he did as president. No, I believe that this last 8 years was a labor of love. The overwhelming majority of us could not handle this job–nor tolerate it vs. the pay given.

GW took on the challenge and did the best that he could. For that, we need honor and thank him for his commitment to his country.

Thanks George W. Bush, for your service to our country.

Congratulations to Barack Obama

barack_obama_portrait_20051Those who know me personally probably realize that I am deeply disappointed with yesterday’s presidential election result. Those who only know me by following this blog may not know where I stand. This is somewhat intentional–I don’t want this to be a heavily political blog. Let me make one thing clear: I didn’t like either candidate. I thought that they would both take us in the wrong direction–just that John McCain wouldn’t take us there quite as fast. Having said all that, I trust and respect the collective will of the American people. They have spoken loud and clear.

So congratulations to president-elect Barack Obama. Just 40 years after the end of segregation, we have our first African-American president. This really is a proud, landmark day for the country. It shows how far we have come in defeating racism. There will always be a few ignorant folks that hate just based on skin color, but we are now a very diverse and predominately tolerant people.

The challenges we face over the next decade are huge. We have deep, deep economic, budgetary, and security problems that threaten our very existence. While almost half of us wanted someone else to lead us through these dark times, today we must join ranks, put partisan politics aside, and work together on these issues.

I take Obama at his word that he wants to be my president too and that we will work on compromised solutions that we can all live with. These words are uttered after nearly every election. However, this time, we cannot afford to not follow through with it.

It’s Election Day–Let’s Party!

For the first time in 69 years, Idaho residents can buy booze and vote on the same day. Liquor stores will be open today and you can buy drinks by the glass in restaurants and bars. Finally, depending upon your perspective of the outcome, you can drown your sorrows or celebrate victory and not be limited to beer and wine.

Cheers!

Please, Please, Please Vote!

This is said for almost every election, but this time I think it is actually true. I believe that this may be the most important election…perhaps in our country’s history. We are facing a huge perfect storm of challenges right now. We are in an economic crisis and I believe we are much closer to the beginning of it than the end. We also face numerous threats both abroad and I believe quietly organizing domestically.

The country has faced long odds many times and has always mustered the will and the right leadership to overcome the challenges. I still believe that the collective voice of the American people can, and will, select the right leadership at the national, state, and local levels to deal with the huge chaos I expect over the next decade.

So I don’t want to hear any excuses. Get informed and go vote. We need your input now more than ever before. Don’t let us down.

Let me address any excuses you might try to come up with:

I don’t have time: Give me a break, we don’t have time for you not to learn about the issues and candidates. Even at this late hour, there is time. Make time darn it.

I don’t understand the candidates and/or issues: Oh come on. There’s a wealth of resources on the Internet to help you understand where the candidates at all levels stand on issues that are important to you. It’s likely that your local newspaper and television stations’ websites have links to resources.

My candidate has already won/lost: Don’t let the polls sway you to not vote. When people start believing that it’s a foregone conclusion and decide not to vote, that’s when things can start swinging wildly from what the polls show. If you don’t vote because you think your candidate has won, you may cost them the election. Conversely, if you vote even though it looks hopeless for you candidate, you may just swing it for them if the other side gets complacent. Again, we get the best folks in office if everyone informs themselves and votes.

My vote one little vote doesn’t count: I think that I just addressed this. Every single vote does count. You have no idea how close some of the races will be. You really could be the one to put it over the edge.

Vote!

Happy Halloween!

Joe Biden: Gaffe Machine Extraordinaire

This is my fourth and final post in a series where I find a video making fun of a presidential or vice-presidential candidate. Today’s victim is the walking gaffe machine: Joe Biden

The Sarah Palin Story

Ok, I’ve skewered the presidential candidates in earlier humorous video posts. Now it’s the vice-presidential candidates turn. First up, Sarah Palin. Forgive the ad for the movie “W” at the beginning–I couldn’t find a version without it.

John McCain: Too Old to be President?

In a previous post, I took a humorous swipe at Barack Obama. Now it’s John McCain’s turn. Enjoy.

Obamanation

Some say that Barack Obama, as president, would take us to Soviet-style socialism. Having said that, here’s a parody of the former Soviet Union’s national anthem. I don’t care which side you are for. Shut up and enjoy a laugh. I have no doubt that I will find something to post to poke fun at McCain.

The Real Story Behind High Oil Prices

I’m getting tired of the knuckleheads on Capitol Hill wasting time parading oil executives into hearing rooms to pummel them over profits every week rather than actually solving the problem. Isn’t this still America? Aren’t we still a capitalist nation? A quick lesson on the purpose of a business: to make money. Yes, it’s that simple. The purpose is no greater or less than that. We should be cheering their profits.

Let’s say I were to grant you that a corporation could make “too much” money (I won’t, but let’s say I did). The oil industry has a profit margin well below the average of all industries. The reason for the huge profits in absolute numbers is simply the fact that it is the largest industry in the world. It would be like Joe’s Bar & Grill complaining that Applebee’s makes too much in comparison.

Anyway, let’s move on. Let’s take a look at what the mental midgets in Washington have done to address the issue of high oil prices:

  • They have made ANWR off limits to drilling
  • They forbid drilling off of the Florida and California coasts
  • They will not allow leases for drilling in the Gulf while China and Venezuela have signed leases
  • They are shutting down oil fields in Colorado
  • They won’t allow shale oil field development in some Western states
  • The EPA just added polar bear to the protected list even though their numbers have increased substantially. Oh yeah, and the polar bears are in the same area where we need to drill for oil.
  • They passed legislation allowing us to sue OPEC–I’m sure that won’t piss them off and cause them to cut off our oil.
  • There have been rumblings of a windfall profits tax (even though I pointed out earlier that they are below average in their profit margins). Trust me, increasing a company’s expenses, will not lead to lower prices.
  • All 3 presidential candidates have promised to pass cap and trade legislation (to fight the phantom global warming problem). The EPA estimates that this will increase the price of gasoline by $1.50 per gallon–other say it could be more like $5.00 per gallon.
  • They have not allowed the construction of a new refinery in over 30 years.
  • They will not allow the deployment of coal-to-oil technology. We are the Saudi Arabia of coal and could be energy independent with this technology.
  • They won’t reduce the federal gas tax–not even for the summer.

And they’re asking the oil executives why prices are so high? Stop the political grandstanding and provide real solutions folks.

What Will Our President Look Like After 4 Years?

It is well documented that President of the United States may very well be the most stressful job in the world. You need only look at the pictures before and after a presidency. A young, vibrant, energetic candidate becomes tired, ragged, and haggard after just 4 years.

So what will our next president look like after 4 years? The folks at PopPhoto have attempted to give us an idea. They altered a photo of each remaining candidate to show us how they may look in 4 years. The results are dramatic.

Clinton Campaign in Total Collapse

Okay, you’ve heard all the bizarre things Hillary has said over the last several days on TV and the debates. She is in total desperation mode now that she is starting to see the writing on the wall with her campaign. What you may not have seen is a couple of absolutely hideous videos.

The first one is a way too happy band that performs a song that sounds strangely like the Jackson 5’s ABC song. We never really see an audience, but there is massive applause and cheering at the end. Personally, I think they recorded the crowd reaction at an Obama rally and dubbed it into this video.

Next up is a song Sophie B. Hawkins did for the Clinton campaign. She adapted her song “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”. In this song, it’s “Damn We Wish You Were Pres-i-dent.” Horrible.

Here’s Who You Should Vote For

Who should I vote for?

I’ve seen a lot of quizzes out there that are supposed to help you decide who to vote for, but most of them seem pretty seem pretty lame. However, I’ve found one that may be a step above the rest. No tool like this is perfect, but it may be a useful educational tool. It’s called Glassbooth. You start off by weighting 14 issues. You have 20 points in which to allocate among the issues. If you are a single-issue person, you can allocate all 20 point to one issue. Otherwise, spread around the points as you see fit.

When you are happy with your point allocations, you move on to the questions. The questions are chosen based on the issues that you allocated points to. Your answer is on a 5-point scale from Strongly Oppose to Strongly Support. Answer those question and you are given the top 3 candidates that match you the closest by percent.

From there, you can drill into each issue and find out why they agree or disagree with you. They support their assertions with speech quotes and actual votes on bills, so you can understand why they think you match up or don’t with a particular candidate.

You are not limited to evaluating the top 3. They give you the ability to look at how you match up with any of the current candidates and many of those that have dropped out.

In case you care about my quiz (I know you don’t), first here’s how I allocated my 20 points among the issues:

  • Medical Marijuana and Drug Policy: 0
  • Civil Liberties and Domestic Security: 3
  • Crime and Punishment: 0
  • Iraq and Foreign Policy: 3
  • Trade and Economics: 2
  • Environment and Energy: 2
  • Gun Control: 0
  • Immigration: 3
  • Health Care: 0
  • Social Security: 4
  • Taxes and Budget: 3
  • Education: 0
  • Gay Rights: 0
  • Abortion and Birth Control: 0

Here are the top three candidates it spit out based on my answers to the subsequent questions:

  • Mike Huckabee: 71%
  • Ron Paul: 65%
  • John McCain: 65%

I checked out the other two remaining candidates to see how I match up with them:

  • Hillary Clinton: 44%
  • Barack Obama: 38%

I’d be interested in seeing what John and anyone else interested comes up with on this quiz.

Cheers to Obama

Barack Obama is the son of a white American mother and a black Kenyan father. The Kenyan people are very proud of their “favorite son” and the success he is finding in American politics. They have actually taken to gathering in bars on primary nights to watch CNN while guzzling beer. Their favorite beer is called Senator, but they have unofficially renamed it Obama. The day after the latest primary, mountains of kegs could be seen outside of the local watering holes.

They love this beer because it is strong and cheap. Should Obama win, I think it would be entirely appropriate for us to drink Obama beer. We’ll need the strength of it to quickly drown our sorrows; and the cheapness since we’ll only be left with “change” in our pockets after taxes go through the roof.

I Thought You Wanted Change

Today Mitt Romney announced that he was suspending his campaign, paving the way for John McCain to win the Republican nomination. On Super Tuesday the Democratic race was pretty evenly split, but Hillary Clinton did finally pull into the lead on delegates. The race is far from over on the Democratic side, but Clinton now has more than 50% of the delegates needed for the nomination.

I thought everyone wanted change. If we end up with McCain and Clinton, that’s about as far from change as we can possibly get. They won’t even have to hire a moving company–they can just carry their boxes from their Senate offices over to the White House.

1968 Retrospect: Republican Primary

On November 18, Romney announced that he had “decided to fight for and win the Republican nomination and election to the Presidency of the United States.” Early polling indicated he was the leader among moderate Republicans. However, Romney withdrew from the race on February 28 after his internal polling showed that he was certain to lose.

So why am I telling you about Mitt Romney when I’m supposed to be talking about 1968? Well, I’m not. The story above is about Mitt’s father George and his short-lived run for the White House in 1967-68.

After Richard Nixon won the presidency, George Romney was appointed to Nixon’s cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. After the end of the Nixon administration, he largely fell out of the public eye to concentrate on public service and as well as work with his church.

Obama Takes Idaho By Storm

Idaho is the most conservative state in the country. In fact, I think we may have a law on the books explicitly banning liberalism. However, it appears the some have been able to sneak across the border.  🙂

Barack Obama held a rally in Boise today to an overflow crowd at Taco Bell Arena. Organizers originally setup the venue for 8,800 people–using a black curtain to block off part of the arena. However, they quickly had to reconfigure the arena to open it up completely. When the dust settled, more than 14,000 people were in seats and standing–a record crowd in the 25 years the arena has been in use. 1,000 people even braved the cold temperatures to stand outside and listen on speakers.

Say what you will about his politics, but this man is inspiring and exciting people in a way not seen since Ronald Reagan in 1980 and John Kennedy in 1960. He doesn’t have a prayer of winning Idaho in the general election, but I think we may see a surprising number of cross-over votes.

http://www.ktvb.com/news/localnews/stories/ktvbn-feb0208-taco_bell.81b065ff.html

Change, Change, Change: Shut Up Already!

Change. That seems to be what all of the candidates are talking about. Of course, they won’t tell us what that change is. We just need change for change’s sake, right? Regardless of who gets elected, I’m worried that change (in my pocket) is all that I’ll be left with.

The video below put together by Hugh Atkin is fantastic. The first 45 seconds or so are a bit tedious, but then he takes sound bytes from speeches to sing David Bowie’s song Changes.

Obama: Stop Escalating the Religious Rhetoric

According to an article at cnn.com, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is aggressively battling an e-mail campaign falsely labeling him a Muslim. Unfortunately, I think his response to this “smear campaign” is a mistake. He is playing into the idea that there is a significant portion of the population that hates Muslims. He said:

“I think it ‘s very important for people not to buy into the kinds of dirty tricks that we’ve become so accustomed to in our politics, and people need to understand I’m not and never have been of the Muslim faith.”

“I think that those who are of the Muslim faith are deserving of respect and dignity, but to try and feed into this fear-mongering and try to question my faith commitments and my belief in Jesus Christ, I think is offensive.”

Calling someone a Muslim is not a “dirty trick” nor does it “feed fear-mongering”. In this case, it is simply a lie. His best course of action would have been to either ignore it or issue a simple denial. Unfortunately, his rhetoric here simply escalates this to no good end. He may very well end up offending the Muslim community with these remarks.

Here’s a bulletin to Obama: This is the 21st century. The overwhelming major of people are not so stupid as to discriminate against someone based on their religion. I don’t care what religion you practice. As long as you are a good, decent person and I agree with a good deal of your policies, I’m going to consider you. Religion will not, and should not, having any bearing.