Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mitt Romney Vows to Eat Bug

As last ditch effort in an ever tightening Florida Primary, Mitt vowed to eat a bug if you will vote for him. Romney highlighted his years in the business community doing whatever is necessary to please the customer and promised to apply that same experience his campaign, up to and including eating a live insect. "Voters in this state want change, I am the man to give it them. And should the voters want me to eat this beetle, then I will do so with a smile on my face. Really. I totally will." Romney went on to criticize his rivals John McCain and Mike Huckabee for their unwillingness to commit to eating anything the people want them to, saying that it exposed their lack of commitment to this great nation and whatever juvenile stunts happen to amuse it. "For too long Washington has ignored the will of the American people. And I have noticed that will sometimes includes the desire to watch people eat bugs on television. I make a solemn vow, that if America will elect me there president, I will eat any bug that it asks of me. Yes, even that creepy looking green one over there." Political strategists were unsure if the bold move would be enough to deliver Florida into the Romney camp, though he was said to be close to receiving the endorsement of Johnny Knoxville. Romney refused to comment on what his post Florida strategy might be, but campaign revealed that are considering a Super Tuesday blockbuster that may involve their candidate licking a toilet seat.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hillary Set to Become the 1st Woman to Lose the Presidency

After her victory in the Nevada Caucus, Hillary Clinton inched ever closer to her historic goal of becoming the first woman to ever lose the Presidential Election. "I can't believe it", said Hillary Supporter Elaine Chavez from Reno "It's so exciting, we've never had woman lose before. I can't wait until she actually gets to be defeated by John McCain!" Many Hillary supporters explained their support by noting the fact that past Democratic Presidential Losers had always been men, and they felt it was high time a women broke through the "Glass Ceiling of Failure." Clinton supporter Gloria Steinem cited the revolutionary candidate's potential "Surely Hillary can run a presidential campaign that can be every bit as feckless, calculated, uninspiring as John Kerry, Al Gore, or even Adlai Stevenson!" Ms. Steinem went on to explain that with Hillary's high negatives, a campaign dominated by soulless corporate lobbyists, and Ms. Clinton's unique ability to unite an otherwise fractured Republican party, there was an excellent chance she could become the Democrat Party's biggest loser since Walter Mondale. "Let's face facts" said political analyst Mark Sheilds, "The Democratic Party is in terrible danger of winning this election. The failures and scandals of the last Republican administration exposed a weak, bitter, and divided Republican Party thus creating a treacherous environment for Democrats where virtually anyone they nominate would be a shoe in to win the White House." Confronted with such a hopeless scenario, Democratic voters responded with confusion and the early primaries had been relatively close. However, Sheilds pointed out that in the end, there was only one candidate in the entire field who could deliver the two things that matter most to democratic voters: meaningless token gestures rather actual political change, and of course, crushing electoral defeat

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Brilliant Idea Which Will Fix Everything

One of my favorite things about American politics is the Punditocracy's resignation to ridiculousness. Fundamentally unjust and undemocratic aspects of our political system are treated like a wacky uncle at Thanksgiving dinner. "Isn't the electoral college just zany in way that removes power from the public at large and places it the hands of "swing states" and unaccountable electors intentionally unbound to those who voted for them? Ha, and now it's spilled it's wine again. What a nut!"

On caucus eve, I can almost hear Chris Mathews giggle as yet again world energy policy will be held hostage to the economic desires of a handful of Iowa farmers who are irrationally given a massively disproportionate influence on the national politics of the most powerful nation on earth. Oh, the wackiness

I have a idea: let's not do that.

Now is the time for change as other states have finally taken a look a Iowa and said "Hey I'd like a massive disproportionate influence on national politics too!" and have threatened to move their primaries as early in the election cycle as Inauguration Day.

Luckily, I have a solution.

I present to you: The Primary Draft Lottery

It's a little bit of the NBA draft, a little bit American Idol, and a little bit of genuine democracy.

On January 3rd of each election year both Parties hold a lottery to see which 3 states will go first in the the primary. But the draft is weighted; the higher your state's voter turn out rate, the better their chances of winning.

The three lottery primaries begin the first week February with a week between each. After that, you have four regional primaries with the order of each again determined by the voter turnout rate of each region.

So, what would the Lottery accomplish?

1. The early primaries return to their function as a screening/getting to know you process rather than the current "We hold more power than God" status. Candidates will not be able to saturate the early States or put all their eggs in one basket. Sure each State will have it's particular issues but they will no longer have utter blackmail ability Iowa currently enjoys with ethanol. National elections will be truly about national issues. Remarkable!

2. It cuts the length and cost of campaigns. No longer will the media be able to cram as much useless crap down our throats two years before and election because the just won't have a much to work with. The crucial details are unknown. And since the campaign season necessarily starts later and finishes quicker, primary campaigns become cheaper and Mitt Romney won't be able to waste 1.3 billion dollars to lose Iowa, thus saving his great-grandchildren from a jetski-less existence.

3. Create a little excitement and motivation for every state. Who wouldn't tune in to see which state goes first? Which state party wouldn't amp up their voter drives in hopes of increasing their odds? It sprinkles in a little bit sports and pop culture and almost makes politics - fun! Parish the thought.

So, as you watch the returns role in tonight, keep in mind no matter who wins, it's high time to admit our crazy uncle primary system has moved beyond quirky and endearing, and crossed over into dangerous irresponsibility. We need to do the mature, difficult thing and and take away the keys before somebody drives America into a tree.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

GOP Questions Legitimacy of Kitten “Cuteness”

After successfully defending the nation from the threat posed by sick children, Republican operatives today attacked the Democratic Party for what it called a “Pre-911” mindset toward the adorability of kittens. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell cited what he referred to as shocking and appalling naiveté exhibited by the Democratic Leadership towards kittens endearing tendencies to chase string and pounce on brightly colored objects.

“Can’t they see the murderous intent in the eyes of Mr. Whiskers? I find it amazing that the Democratic Party is more concerned with protecting animal loving extremists than they are with safe guarding the Homeland against these blood thirsty felines. Did Siegfried and Roy teach us nothing as a nation?” Right-wing bloggers picked up the theme posting pictures of alleged kitten atrocities including several dead mice, and a lizard missing its tail, as well as posting the home addresses of several of the cutest and deadliest kittens. Staffers in McConnel’s office also stated that the "Anti-Kitten" proposal was only one part of the GOP's efforts to win back the hearts and minds of voters and suggested that he may offer a resolution in the fall condemning the Dickens character "Tiny Tim" for his appearance in a MoveOn.org ad.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men: Part II

A few weeks ago I went to the see the the Italian film "La Strada" by Frederico Fellini. The plot revolves around the sweetly naive, clownishly angelic Gelsomina whose family marries her off to the brutish Zampano: a cirus strong man traveling with his ramshackle one-man show from village to village. Eventually one of Zampano's drunken rampages lands him in jail and Gelsomina, free for the first time in her life seeks the advice of Zampano's impish rival known only as "The Fool" to help her choose between staying with Zampano, or fleeing with another traveling circus. Though "The Fool" never clearly offers her a path, he assures her that everything has a purpose. Even the smallest pebble resting beneath his shoe. Even Gelsomina. It is the one uplifting moment in an otherwise bleak film.

I hated it.

Nothing against the film itself. It just that I always hate it when people say, "there is a reason for everything." I realize that its supposed to be comforting and sweet, and I try not to hold it against people when they say it to me. I know their hearts are in the right place. But what they don't realize is that this kind talk is really no different from the conspiracy theorist's dark fantasies. Far from being some sort of profound wisdom, stating "everything has a purpose" is nothing more than the sentimentally optimistic side of the coin to the conspiracy theorist's paranoid need to impose a sinister order on a frighteningly uncertain universe.

People forget what "everything" includes. Everything means everything, including some of the most unpleasant and evil things you can possibly imagine. So when people say there are "reasons for everything" they are saying, there's a purpose behind child abuse, a meaning behind murder, a function behind genocide.

Of course they don't really mean that, but it's only intellectual laziness that keeps them confronting that very unpleasant consequence of what they say. And all too often they mean something very close to exactly that. I remember reading an article on Iraq, where a soldier was interviewed about an explosion that killed his comrade standing only feet away, but left him untouched. He replied that the experience had reinforced his belief in God's plan, stating that divine intervention is the only possible explanation for his survival. On one level he was simply asserting an unshakable faith that God had special plan for him, but on some level he had to understand he was equally asserting that God's plan was perfectly OK with his buddy being blown to a million pieces.

Like the conspiracy theorist's secret world controlling cabal, the soldier is using "divine intervention" to keep at bay what he fears most: That there is no order to the universe, that there is no good reason whatsoever why he survived instead of his buddy. To confront that fact would be to acknowledge that it could have been him; that his death could be just as random, instant, and unavoidable as his fellow soldier's was.

The arbitrary nature of mortality is a hard fact to confront and it's application isn't limited to soldiers on the front line. It can be utterly paralyzing if you look it straight in the eye and I can understand why people perform so many mental gymnastics to avoid dealing with it. What perplexes me is that those gymnastics can lead to much more dangerous and difficult places than the admittedly hard challenge of simply confronting the chaos of life head on. Like most things in life, the consequences of avoiding difficulties are usually worse than the difficulties themselves.

The question remains though: how do you accept the uncertainty that rules our existence and still retain the courage to move forward? I will attempt to tackle that question in Part III of this discussion, but for now - I'll leave you with a piece of wisdom from two of my favorite philosophers.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

File under: I Wonder What Canada Is Like This Time of Year?

In any sane country this would be front page news and the President would be forced to resign in disgrace. However in the good ol' U.S. of A., yet another confirmation that our President took us to war based on the discredited ramblings of a pathologically dishonest drunken ex-cabdriver while ignoring CIA vetted information from the highest sources within the Iraq government has to make way for a detailed examination of exactly how wide Senator Criag's bathroom stance could reasonably be.

God Bless America.