Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Radical Conservative Talk Radio Sickens Me does most ranting of the insane. This goes for crazy liberals too... I'm looking at you, Chris Matthews!

This is not to say that I despise all pundits who dare take a position. You know who I'm talking about. I'm talking about the Rush Limbaughs, the Michael Moores, the Bill O'Reillies, the Al Frankens of this world. (The fact that he might be a senator in a few weeks is terrifying). What sickens me about these people is not their political stance, I support a wide variety of positions in the media. What I can't support though, is the fact that most of them rely not on presentation of evidence and analysis of said evidence, they rely on sensationalism and rumor. I suppose I'm just harping on the whole thing with Obama again, where people were afraid he was a Muslim, and even though that's just wrong, if it were true, it would somehow make him less qualified to govern, or less American or something. I'm all for discussing your views, but to be condescending and spread misinformation is not a way to do it.

For a good example of the way to do it, I'd offer up the McGlaughlin Group. That show frequently has people of widely disparate views talking about current issues in a rational manner, rarely if ever resorting to smear tactics. And it's exciting too, you get to watch them yell at eachother! If you've never watched Elenor Clift and Pat Buchanan yell at eachother for ten minutes, you really should.

So concludes my least coherant post in a long time. Yay!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nu Ma Nu Ma Iei

Okay internet, say it with me now:

Nu ma, nu ma iei.

It's Romanian. Roughly translated, it means "you don't, you don't take me with you." This can be heard in the song "Dragostea din tei," by Romanian pop band O-Zone, made popular in the US by poorly-named internet video "Numa Numa". Learn it. Know it. Pass it on!

The more you know, and such.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yay! Spiffy stickers!

Guess what I did...

And I got a free cup of coffee... then I bought myself a scone. It was delicious... tasted like freedom!

Happy Election Day!

Happy election day, everybody! Make sure you go vote (unless of course, you're not informed!).

Here's one for the tinfoil hat, I'm-moving-to-Canada crowd:

Only 76 more days of Dubya. Tonight it begins.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Election Generalities

I sit here this morning less than two weeks away from the next presidential election. Since I last expounded on the subject, we've seen more debates, new campaign strategies, and perhaps the best political SNL impression in the show's history. At this point, I'd just like to give my general impression of the goings-on in this race.

On one side, we have John McCain. Senator McCain wants me to identify with a tax-dodging plumber from the upper Midwest. It seems he follows president Bush's economic philosophy; mainly, that by spending money on an ever-growing military budget and off the wall mandated programs, then giving massive tax breaks to everyone from large corporations to the lowest of tax brackets, he'll somehow magically create a boom in the job market. Meanwhile, his VP nominee displays basically zero knowledge of foreign policy issues beyond the "Go, America, Go!" attitude that seems to... *ahem* "excite the Republican base." All the while she's running up a bill for clothes that exceeds my lifetime income to date.

Then, on the other side, we have Barack Obama. Senator Obama is a typical Democrat, economically at least. His grand plan is to get my vote by promising to implement more expensive social programs than his elaborate tax plan can possibly pay for. He's going to subsidize everything from healthcare, to college loans, to environmentally sound industry.

I suppose, in this economic respect, this is a typical election, in that both parties want to spend more money than they can afford to fund their parties pet projects.

Personal attacks have taken on an interesting character in this election as well. Obama and Palin are both getting cries of inexperience from the other side. McCain has been decried as out of touch with everyday Americans. The interesting ones, though, come directed at Obama from that excited Republican base (and their fear-mongering FOX news/ talk radio pundits). There is, of course, the accusation that he's a Muslim, which, while being completely false, I somewhat resent. The idea that being a Muslim would make someone unqualified to be president is ridiculous. These are often accompanied by accusations of ties to al-Qaeda. Then there are the assumptions (fueled by the McCain campaign) that '60s anti-war terrorist Bill Ayers is his closest adviser; the two served together on an education reform committee in Chicago and are friends, but Ayers does not work for the Obama campaign. Similar false accusations were made about failed executives from Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. The silliest ones seem to be about Obama's race. Apparently there's a rumor going around that Obama isn't actually African American, that he's 1/4 black and 1/2 Middle Eastern (again, the implication that an Arab American is automatically unqualified to be president is disgusting), and is only trying to court the black vote. This, of course, is easily debunked. Obama's ethnicity is a matter of public record, plus, he has been very forthcoming about his family history.

Is my bias showing yet? I guess my point is that there are a lot of reasons to dislike both these guys without making stuff up. Hate them for who they are, not for the names their opponents call them.

BUT! I, again, chose optimism! How can we go wrong, America, in an election year where EVERYBODY's the change candidate? At the time of this writing, we've only got 85 days left of George W. Bush, and that's something over 80% of us can celebrate!
Keep an eye on it! ------------------------>

As always, my dear silent and few readers, I'd be happy to discuss any of this further, but let's keep something straight... I consider my personal politics personal, and neither of these candidates represent them well, so this would be discussion for the sake of discussion. Politics is fun for me, and I'm a firm believer that we can agree to disagree, and still be friends at the end of the day.

In conclusion, boo Republicans for not supporting Ron Paul.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Into the Arms of the Hockey Mom.

Here's a thought: in Thursday's Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden is going to slam Sarah Palin into the ground. His rhetorical victory will be overwhelming on the vast majority of the issues discussed. As a result he will lose.

He will be seen as being too hard on her, too aggresive to this pioneering, family-oriented woman, and will turn a large chunk of swing voters into the arms of the hockey mom.

I hope I'm wrong.

Monday, September 29, 2008

It was a Crazy Time...

If you've seen 311 perform live, you know they have an excellent stage presence, and know how to entertain a crowd. Keep that in mind, because it makes the exceeding awkwardness you are about to see all the more hilarious. I'm just going to chalk it up to the fact that it was the early Nineties, and people were still listening to Vanilla Ice.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's Like Sherman Said...

The last post was my 200th. Yay! Just for that I'm going to link you back to 100 Post-tastic Blogstravaganza!, which was posted slightly over two years ago... because I feel like it. You can ignore it if you want.

People often decry the horrors of war. In times like these, its an especially pressing topic, as it seems we're likely to be fighting in the Middle East for "as long as it takes," which, considering the history of the Middle East, could likely be forever. Usually though, people express regret and frustration with men killing other men, devestation to local infrastructure, strain put on the economy, and other such immediate measures that spring to mind when we think of war. Today, something I read reminded me of something much more simple, more basic, and what would frankly, for a lot of people I've encountered, be more pressing: cleanliness.

The following is an exerpt from E.B. Sledge's World War II memoir With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa. It describes the conditions the Marines faced at the Battle of Peleliu, which occured in the South Pacific in the fall of 1944. The account is gross, and probably not for the weak-stomached. You have been warned.

Occasional rains that fell on the hot coral merely evaporated like steam off hot pavement. The air hung heavy and muggy. Everywhere we went on the ridges the hot humid air reeked with the stench of death. A strong wind was no relie; it simply brought the horrid odor from an adjacent area. Japanese corpses lay where they fell among the rocks and on the slopes. It was impossible to cover them. Usually there was no soil that could be spread over them, just the hard, jagged coral. The enemy dead simply rotted where they had fallen. They lay all over the place in grotesque positions with puffy faces and grinning buck-toothed expressions.
It is difficult to convey to anyone who has not experienced it the ghastly horror of having your sense of smell saturated constantly with the putrid odor of rotting human flesh day after day, night after night. This was something the men of an infantry batallion got a horrifying dose of during a long, protracted battle such as Peleliu. In the tropics the dead became bloated and gave off a terrific stench within a few hours after death.
Whenever possible we removed Marine dead to the rear of the company's position. There they were usually laid on the stretchers and covered with ponchos which stretched over the head of the corpse down to the ankles. I rarely saw a dead Marine left uncovered with his face exposed to sun, rain, and flies. Somehow it seemed indecent not to cover our dead. Often, though, the dead might lie on the stretchers for some time and decompose badly before the busy graves registration crews could take them for burial in the division cemetery near the airfield.
There were certain areas we moved into and out of several times as the campaign dragged along its weary, bloody course. In amny such areas I became quite familiar with the sight of some particular enemy corpse, as if it were a landmark. It was gruesome to see the stages of decay proceed from just killed, to bloated, to maggot-infested rotting, to partially exposed bones - like some biological clock marking the inexorable passage of time. On each occasion my company passed such a landmark we were fewer in number.
Each time we moved into a different position I could determine the areas occupied by each rifle company as we went into that sector of the line. Behind each c`ompany position lay a pile of ammo and supplies and the inevitable rows of dead under their ponchos. We could determine how bad that sector of the line was by the number of dead. To see them so always filled me with anger tat the war and the realization of the senseless waste. It depressed me far more than my own fear.
Added to the awful stench of the dead of both sides was the repulsive odor of human excrement everywhere. It was all but impossible to practice simple elemental field sanitation on most areas of Peleliu because of the rocky surface. Field sanitation during maneuvers and combat was the responsibility of each man. In short, under normal conditions, he covered his own waste with a scoop of soil. At night when he didn't dare venture out of his foxhole, he simply used an empty grenade canister or ration can, threw it out of his hole, and scooped dirt over it next day if he wasn't under heavy enemy fire.
But on Peleliu, except along the beach areas and in the swamps, digging into the coral rock was nearly impossible. Consequently, thousands of men - most of them around the Umurbrogol Pocket in the ridges, many suffering with severe diarrhea, fighting for weeks on an island two miles by six miles - couldn't practice basic field sanitation. This fundamental neglect caused an already putrid tropical atmosphere to become inconceivably vile.
Added to this was the odor of thousands of rotting, discarded Japanese and American rations. At everyu breath one inhaled hot, humid air heavy with countless repulsive odors. I felt as though my lungs would never be cleansed of all those foul vapors. It may not have been that way down on the airfield and in other areas where the service troops were encamped, but around the infantry in the Umurbrogol Pocket, the stench varied only from foul to unbearable.
In this garbage-filled environment the flies, always numerous in the tropics anyway, underwent a population explosion. This species was not the unimposing common housefly (the presence of one of which in a restaurant is enough to cause most AMericans today to declare the place unfit to serve food to the public). Peleliu's most common fly was the huge blowfly or bluebottle fly. This creature has a plump, metallic, greenish-blue body, and its wings often make a humming sound during flight.
The then new insecticide DDT was sprayed over the combat areas on Peleliu for the first time anywhere. It ssupposedly reduced the adult fly population while Marines were still fighting on the ridges, but I never noticed that the flies became fewer in number.
WIth human corpses, human excrement, and rotting rations scattered across Peleliu's ridges, those nasty insects were so large, so glutted, and so lazy that some could scarcely fly. They could not be waved away or frightened off a can of rations or a chocolate bar. Frequently they tumbled off the side of my canteen cup into my coffee. We actually had to shake the food to dislodge the flies, and even then they sometimes refused to move. I usually had to balance my can of stew on my knee, spooning it up with my right hand while I picked the sluggish creature off the stew with my left. They refused to move or to be intimidated. It was revolting, to say the least, to watch big fat blowflies leave a corpse and swarm into our C rations.
- E.B. Sledge, With the Old Breed (p. 142-144)

And with that, I leave you to a happy lunch time. Hopefully I'm the only one who's yet to eat. With the Old Breed is a very interesting look at World War II, especially if you're tired of Hitler-centric History Channel style accounts, focused only on the tactical moves of the generals, and the political dealings of the Big Three. In the study of war, it is essential to consider the experience of those in the trenches, so to speak, and Sledge's memoir is a solid and telling example.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nice Move, Idiot: The Bleak End of the Halo Trilogy

I've had this in the drafts folder for a little while. I thought I'd finish it out, clean it up, and post it.

So, I've been playing through some Halo 3 campaign levels recently, (Matt and I have been helping eachother get the scoring achievements) and I realized something about the end of the game.

Warning: What follows is a far too in-depth analysis of nit-picky details in the story of a video game about shooting things. If you haven't played the Halo series, I can pretty much guarantee you won't care. Also, spoilers! Oh noes!

By firing Installation 04 2.0, our heroes basically ruined their long-term prospects. Yes, they destroyed the entire contingent of Flood on the Ark, and with it the Gravemind (regardless of whether or not you accept that the Halos kill Flood themselves, since Gravemind is a sentient being, it falls under the umbrella of the Halo network's ambiguous killamajig). But, if Installations 04 and 05 are any indication, there is a high probability of Humanity (or somebody else) encountering a serious infestation of Flood at some point in the future. Sure, it's all well and good if you can effectively quarantine them on the ring; Master Chief was able to do that with Installation 04. But in Halo 3, we see what happens when a coordinated Flood infestation gets off the ring: mainly, everybody's screwed.

In the course of what can't be more than a couple of days (from the time Regret's fleet arrives at Installation 05 to the end of Halo 2) the Flood manages to assimilate a large combat force, expand its control outside of the ring's quarantine zone, and establish a foothold on its most powerful adversary's most significant vessel. In what can't be more than a couple of weeks, (between the time Truth's fleet leaves High Charity for Earth and the events of Halo 3) the Flood has managed to break the Covenant's quarantine efforts at Installation 05 with at least one infected ship and make a charge for Earth. This is soon followed by High Charity itself, now completely infected, and serving as a mobile base of operations for the Gravemind. While these two threats are contained, with the Shadow of Intent glassing east Africa and the firing of Installation 04 2.0 respectively, it is reasonable to believe that there are other infected ships somewhere in the galaxy. Despite their reliance on the tactic of overwhelming force, it would represent a significant strategic blunder for the Flood to send its entire strength through the Ark portal.

This is the important part. Even if one accepts that the entire active contingent of the Flood followed Covenant, Humans, and Elites to the Ark, and were eliminated by the firing of 04 2.0, there are surely more dormant populations on the other five Halo installations and research facilities like those on the Threshold gas mine as seen in Halo 2, if not more active populations like that encountered on Installation 05. So far, the only successful methods we've seen for wiping out an infestation are the complete destruction of the infested area (as in the case with Installation 04, the Threshold gas mine, and East Africa) and the firing of the Halo network (as was the case in the Flood/Forerunner war). Therefore, to get rid of the Flood means to either destroy the Halos and all related facilities in the galaxy (which, considering the reach of the Forerunners, represents a daunting, if not impossible task), or fire the Halo network once again.

With the Ark presumably destroyed in the premature firing of 04 2.0, there is no way to fire them safely, without wiping out the vast majority of sentient life in the galaxy. If there is a Halo 4 as is rumored, it will be interesting to see how Bungie handles another appearance of the Flood, story-wise. It seems to me that they should leave things where they are, lest they be forced to invent something ridiculous to explain themselves.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cut Through the Crap?

One thing I hate about election season is that there's so much bullshit thrown about. It's convention season, after all, and that means the major parties are busy congratulating themselves and telling you how horrible their opponents are. It's an interesting part of the process, but often the candidates are so full of it, it just makes me sick.

Recently, I heard about, a site run by a non-profit group out of the University of Pennsylvania, that's dedicated to taking the soundbites and slogans of national politics, and basically filling in the holes. Wondering if McCain really considers everyone making less than $5 million/year middle class? Does Obama really want to give up Iraq to the trrists? Well, they try to answer questions like that. For example, here is an analysis of Obama's nomination acceptance speech, and here is an analysis of Tuesday's Republican convention mudslinging.

It is worth noting that most of the articles seem to be pointed at McCain's campain. Whether this is because they're more full of crap than the Obama side, or it's actually an indication of bias, I'm not sure. But as the campaign ramps up toward November, I'm going to be keeping an eye on it. It seems though, that this site could be a good resource to cut through the crap. God knows, they're laying it on thick these days.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Trouncing was Thorough!

And just in case anybody was actually wondering, (I know I was!!) UT - Chattanooga used to be known as the Moccasins, probably named for Moccasin Bend, a part of Tennessee River near Chattanooga. Up until the 1960s, the team's mascot was a water moccasin (good choice, right?), when they started using an actual moccasin... you know, like the shoes. In the '70s, they adopted a Native American theme, and their mascot was a caricatured Indian chief. In 1996, amid the wave of sickening mascot political correctness, they threw out the Native American theme. Oddly, they passed on this perfect opportunity to go back to the fearsome water moccasin, chopped off the last two syllables of the nickname, and changed their mascot to a mockingbird dressed as a train engineer, simultaneously honoring the state bird of Tennessee and the song "Chattanooga Choo Choo". Yes, seriously. Thanks, Wikipedia.

Incidentally, does anybody remember this song? I saw it in a commercial today, and was reminded of how much I liked it.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Tomorrow, OU's football season begins with the trouncing of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs! I have no idea what a Moc is... but if their logo is any indication, it has something to do with trains!

As they are from the esteemed Southern Conference, from the Division formerly known as I-AA, I doubt they'll cause anybody much trouble. But still, it's the season opener, and everybody loves the season opener. It's still a little weird not getting ready for the first Pride show, but it's a lot less strange than last year. I didn't even miss pre-camp.

I'm going to put down a prediction of an 11-1 season, another Big 12 Championship victory. We're going to win the BCS bowl this time too... I probably won't be there, because I'm really poor, but we're going to win, damnit.

Anyway, tomorrow's the main thing right now. Here's to nobody important getting injured, and a convincing victory all around!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Discrimination? Coincidence? Habanero- flavored Tortilla Chips?

The door to the room slowly opens with a low squeak. A svelte young man pokes his head in, then steps through the crack. He glances around at the sparse, ill-attended furnishings, cuts a tiny swath through the accumulated layers of dust on the table with his index finger. He rubs it, pensively, with his finger for a brief moment, pulls the nearest chair out, and quickly sits.

Right then.

Sorry about that. It seems I pulled a... you guys. Hopefully that won't happen again, at least not for a little while.

Anyway, this morning as I was checking my email I popped in my DVD of The Office (Season 3), and took in an episode, the one with the Christmas party, where Michael, Dwight, Jim, and Andy all go to Benihana for lunch. For those of you unfamiliar (which should be nobody, since, as far as I know, everybody who might read this watches The Office) Benihana is one of those teppanyaki places, where they grill Japanese food on the table in front of you. To the point though, in the episode, all the servers and cooks are Asian. Michael refers to it as "Asian Hooters". All this general silliness brings me to think about such places, where they seem to hire staff based on a physical trait. We don't have a Benihana here in Norman, but we do have T.E.A. cafe, where all the employees (save one, that I've seen) are Asian. I've always wondered the reason behind this... whether it was on purpose, or if they just happened to have attracted this ethnicity, due to the beginnings of the place. For example, maybe it started as a family business, with an Asian family running the place, and when people considered applying, they took the ethnically homogeneous staff into consideration. The fact that they do have at least one non-Asian employee there leads me to believe that the latter is probably true; through the connections and relations of the original staff, the cultural bent of the business, and the perceptions of prospective applicants, they just happen to have acquired a staff without much diversity.

Another common instance of this trend can be seen, around here at least, in Mexican restaurants. In most of the locally owned Mexican restaurants, the entire staff is Latino. These cases, though, are fairly easily explainable by the language barrier. In most of these restaurants, the business in the kitchen is conducted almost entirely in Spanish. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect them to hire employees who speak it, and could easily blend into the work environment.

Then, there are cases where there's an unspoken standard of beauty that the companies seem to uphold. Is it really a coincidence that all the servers at some restaurants and bars are physically attractive young women? On the record, the businesses probably tell you that, but I doubt it. Do mall clothing stores only get applications from young, white, pretty people? Almost surely not... Abercrombie and Fitch, in particular, has taken flack in the media for their shady hiring practices, and it surprise me if they were the only ones holding their stores up to similar unethical standards. It's unfair, sure, but does it matter?

Ultimately, we have to decide as a society, if we care. Personally, it doesn't bother me that Asians are serving me Asian food, and Latinos are serving me Mexican food. T.E.A. Cafe, at least, can prove that a non-Asian can get a job there, and language concerns such as exist at many locally-owned Mexican restaurants are, ultimately, legitimate job-screening tools. Sure, an ACLU lawyer could probably get some Gringo hired at Tarahumara's if they felt slighted enough, but it would probably only make problems for the efficiency of their business. Cases where people are hired only for their looks, though, are different. The companies here are violating the essential meritocratic principals that are central to the American ideal, that with enough will power, determination, and skill, anyone can get ahead in life. While it's true that the world doesn't operate on idealistic principals, to so blatantly reject them is reprehensible, and worthy of all the disgust the practice incites.

Friday, May 02, 2008

I STILL love you, Alex!

He he he..."How can I buy something before I've arrived? Your speech is constructed on paradoxes!"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You're It!

Instead of going to sleep, I spent the past hour-ish finishing the tags on all my posts. I finally made it to the end of the archive. So, now you can read all the posts about Music, the man, or OU. Maybe you want to read about Football...well, it's over there. Perhaps you want easy access to every last episode of R.O.P.D.R.P.W. It's over there too! Maybe you want to relive the harrowing saga of The Clunker? Well, what are you waiting for!? Get to clicking! Clickity-CLICKITY!!! -------------------------->>

Monday, April 28, 2008


Hello, The Internet. I'm still around.

The big news for me is that I'm basically done with college! I turned in my last paper on friday, so, thanks to the oddity that was my one-class schedule this semester, I don't have any more work to do. I'm just waiting two weeks, then I'll be a college graduate, hooray! Anyway, I should probably start studying for the LSAT, which I'll be taking in June. Later then!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Nothing to post about, really... I'll just endorse the Juno soundtrack. It's delightfully weird. Plus, it's baseball season, so that's cool. Also, I like that crazy name, so I think I'm going to keep it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Goodbye Forever!

Well, I finally did it.

I screamed at everyone, and I stormed out of work in a huff. I was afforded this opportunity because I've decided to join an archaeological expedition in Europe, searching for the remains of Charlemagne. We'll be living the glamorous life of vagabonds, and if there are any Nazis around, we'll probably fight them. Anyway, the plane leaves tonight, so I'll probably never see any of you again! Goodbye!

P.S. I'll let you know when I find the remains of Charlemagne.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tycho Seems to Have Figured it Out

To quote from Wednesday's Penny Arcade Newspost:

...when people pre-order Haze from EB Games in Canada, and then trade it back within a week, they'll be refunded the entire purchase price of the game - in store credit. It seems nonsensical at first, but that transformation of your money into the tokenized, internal currency is the key. They're virtually guaranteed to sell that traded in copy - only a week old - at their typical grasping rate. Even if the game isn't traded in, they still secured a preorder, one of each store's rated metrics. That game will now travel through the company's intestinal tract, sold and resold, until the disc is too scored to play - at this point, they will offer to sell you a Game Doctor scratch repair kit. Their deepest fear - what literally keeps them up at night - is that you won't trade your games in. They appear to have cracked the code.

It's another sleazy-sounding money making scheme from Gamestop (which owns EB, of course), but this time, at least they're doing the customer a favor at the same time. Despite the fact that they're basically the drug dealers of the electronic entertainment field, I still feel okay going there, because one of my dearest friends is a manager, and I like to support my friends. It's kinda like my thing about not going to Walmart before 10PM.

Don't worry, I still love you, Alex.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Blogging: A Philosophical Inquiry

See how much smarter things sound when you use words like inquiry? Denotatively, it's no different than if I had just written "question", but connotatively, it's like I've paid thousands of dollars over the past five years for education or something! (I realize that the taxpayers of the great State of Oklahoma footed most of the bill- a fact for which I am grateful, but you get the point.) Speaking of $10 words, "denotatively" is one, but isn't bullshit, like "inquiry". I can't think of a single instance at the moment where "inquiry" couldn't be replaced with a much simpler synonym, but as far as I know, "denotatively" would need a big ol' string of words to get its point across otherwise. Interestingly enough, the Firefox spellcheck doesn't like it. Now, it has no problem with "denotative," but as soon as you turn it into an adverb, here come the angry red underlines of you're-wrongness.

But, to the topic at hand:

I wonder, is it important to you, my readership (which as far as I can tell, numbers anywhere from two to five), for these posts to actually say anything? So far as I can tell, when I'm not telling sarcastic jokes or ranting about politics, most of the time I'm just writing to hear myself talk, so to speak. Do you care? Does anybody read these posts? Sometimes, I don't see how they could really be that entertaining to anybody, but you know, stranger things have happened. Now, I doubt that anything about this blog will changed based on your feedback, but I am a little curious. Doesn't that make you feel loved, my numerous readers?

Heh, my digressing paragraph at the beginning was longer than the main point of the post. Can you digress from nothing? I mean, if the digression was right at the beginning, you haven't really strayed from anything, because there's nothing to stray from. Eh, I suppose you're digressing from the title. There you go.

Perhaps I should reorganize and rethink this, screw that. I'm awesome.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

R.O.P.D.R.P.W. Episode XIII: Clockwise From the Left, Please

I firmly believe that had Thomas Edison built a time machine, it would have been purple with a lightning bolt on it. Also, President Arthur would have stolen it.

I realize that Chester Arthur has been done over and over again, but I picked him solely for his wicked-crazy facial hair. Check out the chops!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Election Impressions, 2008 (part III) The Republicans

This post has been two weeks coming, and in that space of time, the Republican side of the primaries has gotten extremely boring. While two weeks ago we were talking about a brokered convention, now it's McCain, McCain, McCain. Well, alas, it is not what it could have been. Here they are, following the same guidelines as I followed for the Democrats.

*Former Governor Mike Huckabee
Huckabee is still the favorite candidate among the religious right. In addition to all of what that brings, he supports the Iraq war, and is big on national defense, securing the borders, etc. Somewhat refreshingly, he does support the Fair Tax plan, and the abolition of the IRS. That aside though, I'm glad he isn't going to win the nomination, given his statements about wanting to amend the Constitution to "follow God's law." Don't get me wrong, I'm all for following God's law, but that's not the government's place. There are plenty of people in this country who would disagree about what God's law is, what God is giving the laws, or whether or not there's any God with any laws to begin with, so let's not go pulling down the first amendment, okay?

*Senator John McCain
McCain, for better or worse, is the guy for the Republicans. He lacks somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 delegates before he has the required count for the nomination, and has a 600 delegate lead over his closest competition, Mitt Romney, who endorsed him this week. He also has the endorsements of President Bush, the Governator, and a whole slew of prominent Republicans. McCain is best known for being a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and being a moderate in the Senate, crossing party lines on a number of votes, most notably the 2001 "Bush tax cuts", and co-sponsoring a number of bills with Democrats, most notably the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform bill. Recently, though, he's been trying to appeal to conservatives, saying that if he had the chance again, he would vote for the tax cuts, as well as being a strong proponent of the Iraq war, and the president's "surge" strategy. He was recently quoted as saying that we would stay in Iraq for "100 years" if necessary. Personally, I think he's much more moderate than he's been making himself out to be recently, and I'm going to wait to see how he stacks up against his eventual Democratic opponent before I make a decision reguarding McCain.

* Representative Dr. Ron Paul
From the beginning of this, Ron Paul has been my candidate. Really, he represents the only time in my short voting life that a major party's candidate has lined up with the majority of my views. Though he's a long-time Republican, he conforms much more to the party's long-time basic ideals than its recent practices, advocating small government and low taxes. What truly set him apart from the rest of the Republican field is his opposition to the Iraq war from the beginning. Essentially, he comes out to being fairly libertarian. In the preliminary campaigning season, it looked like he might surprise some people in the elections; he put up some astounding fundraising statistics, and made a splash going toe-to-toe with Rudy Giuliani over foreign policy in the debates. The media, though, never really gave him a lot of publicity, and while his supporters may be some of the most dedicated, he never really caught on with the larger party base, and has consistently brought in 5-15% of the voters in most Republican contests. Frankly, I had much higher hopes that the candidate I actually registered for a party to vote for would make a stronger showing, but I'm content that there are other people (and at least one actually in government) that feel the way I do about the way our country is going. A vote for Paul has become a vote for his message, and I'm encouraged that that message is not dead yet.

There is one positive I failed to mention about Governor Huckabee...he rocks!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Election 2008, Impressions (part II) The Democrats

So, I lied. I didn't get this done yesterday. But here it Anyway.

As I sit here and write this, there is currently less than an hour until the polls close in the South Carolina primary. This could mean the end of the road for one or more candidates, but I'm writing right now with the current candidates still in mind. So, without further ado, the Democrats:

*Senator Hillary Clinton
Basically, when you get down to it, I'm not really a big fan. First of all, I disagree with her on many issues. She's been known for a long time as a major proponent of a socialized healthcare plan. On the war, she's been inconsistent. She made a major mistake in the beginning, voting to approve war funding and to give the president permission for a long-term deployment. She's since advocated a withdrawal from Iraq. Whether this is truly what she wants, or if she's merely following the popular sentiments of her party, God only knows. As far as most domestic issues go, she's basically a classic Democrat, favoring increased government programs and assistance, and covering the cost through tax increases. To her credit, she has recently advocated a balanced budget, but personally, I don't want to cover the costs for a lot of things she'd be paying for. On the positive side, I do like the ideas behind her plan to increase confidence in government. Also, her immigration reform plans seem like a step in the right direction, if not a genuine solution. She likes to paint herself as the experienced candidate. Apparently, being first lady gives her experience, because being a Senator makes her soooo unique in this years' field. What it ultimately comes down to for me, though, is that I just don't trust her. I look at Hillary and I see a politician's politician. I realize this is truly subjective, and that if she does get elected, she may turn out to be a noble leader, but I'd be willing to bet that she'd do whatever she could and step on whoever she could to get her personal agenda ahead. Also, a Hillary win means a return to Bill. Anyone who's been paying attention can see that, for better or worse, they're operating this thing as a team, and though it probably won't be in any official capacity, he would wield influence in a Hillary White House.

*Former Senator John Edwards
Edwards, who was a major player in the 2004 Democratic primaries, and the eventual running mate for John Kerry, has fallen somewhat by the wayside in this year's elections. He, like all the Democratic candidates, favors a comprehensive healthcare system; his plan would call for across the board coverage by 2012, paid for by repealing tax cuts passed during the Bush administration. Also, poorer families would receive tax subsidies. He's also proposed a plan to end poverty by 2037, of which one of the steps would be to move the poverty line. Some of the policies make sense to me, some do not, but considering I could write an entire post about it, I'm not going to get into details. Needless to say, it would entail a lot of government handouts. For foreign policy, on one hand, he favors a quick withdrawal from Iraq, but on the other hand, advocates US intervention in other countries on other issues. He also favors education reform, and giving legal status to some illegal immigrants. The way things look now, if he does not put together a strong showing in today's South Carolina primary, he may drop out of the race. South Carolina being his home state, this probably represents his best chance for a win. That said, he may stay in all the way to the convention on principal. If his history is any indication, he may try for a spot in the administration of an eventual Democratic winner.

*Former Senator Mike "Give 'em Hell" Gravel
Mike Gravel is the only marginal candidate still in the race for the Democrats. He is most known for being from Alaska, strange YouTube videos, and standing on the edge of the stage during debates, yelling about how he doesn't get enough opportunities to speak. He is staunchly anti-war, emphasizes environmental responsibility, supports the Fair Tax plan, universal health care, and increased funding for education. All that said, none of his positions hold any importance in his race, as his party has completely written him off. None of his opponents pay him any mind, and the commentators don't even bother dismissing him anymore.

*Senator Barack Obama
Obama, unlike the other viable candidates in this race, has consistently voted against the war in Iraq. He supports tax reforms to make the code more simple, and also provide tax credits to the working class. He supports the establishment of a preschool education system, as well as further reforms for national education requirements to encourage higher performance. He also supports universal health care. Uniquely, he favors negotiating with our enemies, rather than ending all relations completely. The main problem with him is that I can't see him speak without thinking of Dave Chappelle impersonating a white guy! Seriously though, he says he's the change candidate...again, whether or not he would actually change anything, time may tell. A lot of people seem to talk about him affecting the vote simply by virtue of being black. This may be true, but the same situation could be said of Clinton being a woman.

Together, their mudslinging has brought the race to a point of constant accusations, the funniest of which took place in last weeks' debate, in which they spent ten minutes arguing about who liked Ronald Reagan the least. Anyway, this election is still tight, and depending on how super Tuesday comes out, this one may go deep into the primaries without being decided.

The next post will cover the Republicans. Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this thought:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Election 2008, Impressions (part 1)

This post was supposed to outline my impressions of the current presidential candidates. As I began reading and writing, though, I realized that these impressions were inherently tied to my views on the "hot button" issues. It quickly became apparent that I'd have much more explaining to do than I originally intended, so, I've decided to write this one in a few separate parts. Part one here covers my opinions on some of the big issues this election year. I haven't covered every little thing, and I'd be happy to respond to inquiries about other issues. So, here it is, the post to inform my readership (which, by my estimates, fluctuates from around 2-5) of my opinions on some issues, because I feel it's necessary if I'm going to discuss my opinions on the current crop of candidates. Also, because I like talking politics. Now, with that tripe out of the way, on to the post proper:

Here are my basic stances on a few key campaign issues:
  • I am against national healthcare. Yes, our current system is broken, but putting it in the hands of the government is not the way to fix it. That will only break it in new, different ways.
  • The war in Iraq is wrong. We went there under false pretenses, and threw a relatively stable country into chaos. Yes, Saddam was an evil man and deserved to be dealt with, but not by us. Now, we are stuck maintaining an occupation that's costing billions of dollars that could be spent on a worthy cause at home, while we watch as some thousands of our finest men and women, who could be working to ensure the security of our nation, are killed propping up a weak government. We've lost sight of our true, direct enemy, Al Qaeda who attacked us on our own soil, and still considers themselves to be in a state of war with all Americans, military and civilian. Meanwhile, we anger less extreme Muslims and bolster our enemy's cause with our unjust war. All that said, we cannot abandon Iraq just yet. We need to work DIPLOMATICALLY with the disputing IRAQI parties, and broker some sort of consensus, where they can govern and police the country themselves. Then, we can pull the troops out.
  • Yes, we have a problem with illegal immigration. Does it bother me? Not a whole lot. People want to come here because, despite its myriad problems, this is the freest country in the world. Rather than simply step up enforcement to try keeping people out, we should make it easier for those who want to come here and contribute to our economy to get here legally. Also, people who are here on some sort of work or study visa, and desire to stay longer should be able to, but if they desire to stay, they should have to become citizens, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. This issue is very simple, really. Those who want to live here permanently should become citizens. If they do not, they need to extend their visa or go back home. None of this hanging around, undocumented business. As for the illegal immigrants already here, I favor blanket amnesty on a track to citizenship. If they do not want citizenship, they should obtain some sort of documentation or face deportation. This is unpopular with many people, because it rewards illegal behavior. I suppose it does. But it also provides a pragmatic solution to a problem that's not going away. This would be a one time thing, and before it took place, enforcement would have to be ramped up. Once the amnesty program was complete, nothing like it should be needed again, unless the situation drastically changed.
  • I'm pro-choice, anti-abortion. I think unless the health of the mother is at risk, it's always a better decision to carry a baby to be born, and if you don't want a child, give it up for adoption. At the same time, I know it's not my place to make decisions for pregnant women. It may be an ugly practice, but it's not the government's place to say whether or not it can be done. That's between the woman in question, her doctor, and her God.
  • Our tax system is inherently broken. It is complicated and unfair. Depending on your particular occupation and level of income, your money may be taxed five times before it leaves your hands. For a long time, I've favored a flat tax, with breaks built in for charitable donations. Then again, income tax was unconstitutional in this country until 1913, with the passage of the 16th Amendment. I read somewhere that without income taxes, the government's budget would only be cut down to the size of that in the late 90's. While I don't see this as entirely practical, it's clear that our tax system needs to be scrapped completely, not tweaked.
  • The rampant deficit spending out country has been up to since 2001 needs to end, now. In order to stop our currency and our economic standing with the rest of the world from plummeting, we need to get away from the constant meddling with the money supply and balance the budget. Congress needs to wrest control of the dollar from the federal reserve (as is its constitutional responsibility), and stop creating larger bureaucratic structures for and throwing money at every problem that comes along. Though the current system is entrenched in the minds of most people as the only way, Congress has the power to change it. Unfortunately, it will never happen without a push from the American people.
Again, this is far from comprehensive. Part two should come tomorrow; it'll be about the Democrats.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Hillary and Obama are going to punch eachother in the face. You heard it here first.

*Pic from

Friday, January 18, 2008

On Quadrennial Observances

I've decided that I love events that occur every four years. This has come to my attention in light of the recent political goings-on. I love election season, despite the unsavory qualities it tends to bring out in some; the primaries, I think, are particularly exciting. There's so much possibility before we're confined to the lesser of two evils.

Ah, yes, the lesser of two evils... the eternal plague of what has become of the American political system. George Washington knew his stuff. All that business about staying out of foreign wars and avoiding partisan politics made a lot of sense to me. Trouble is, nobody listened...but anyway, that's neither here nor there. What I'm trying to say here is that such a rigid two party system is bad for the country. It encourages division and polarization, and tyranny of the majority, when such a thing exists. It's even more frustrating for an independent like me, whose views line up with neither of the major parties' platforms. The last presidential election, my first, was particularly depressing. Knowing what I know of recent American political history (which is probably not enough, but certainly a cursory knowledge), you'd have to go back to 1976 to find another presidential election with no major candidate that I could be satisfied voting for. Every four years, from nine before I came onto this earth to the time when I actually had the opportunity to vote, there was, in my opinion at least, a palatable major candidate for president. I voted, of course...there was no way I would skip my first presidential election. But it felt flat, empty. But, again, this current election brings new hope... hope that a decent candidate will emerge from the two-faced buffoons... hope that will probably be dashed like so many plates at a big, fat, Greek wedding. (Worst Simile Ever? I think it's possible.)

This reminds me of the World Cup. Most of the time, like most other Americans, I show almost no interest in association football. Every four years come summer, though, I'm a pretty big soccer fan. It's hard to pry me away from the World Cup, and every time I watch it, I hope it will be the United States' year. Every year, we disappoint. At least six years ago, in Japan/S. Korea, we made a run in the elimination round. Seems every time the cup's played in Europe, we don't even get out of group play. Qualifying for the 2010 cup (which will be in South Africa) will take place over the next two years in the form of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. The top three teams will go to S. Africa.

I have a similar rabid enthusiasm for the Olympics (the winter ones, more so than the summer, but I love those too), though they're usually much less disappointing. There's always some sort of American success story at the Olympics, and whether or not we do well, the Olympic hockey tournament is always up for some great watching.

So, yeah. Quadrennial stuff...gotta love it. In-depth-ish presidential election post forthcoming. Hasta luego, internets.

Monday, January 07, 2008

BOLD Prediction

So, OU got thrashed in a bowl game again. So, that sucks.

The title game is tonight, and I will make a bold prediction.

Ohio State will get itself thrashed, again, and stupid LSU with its crazy Les Miles will win the championship again.

See what I did there? Eh, whatever. As they say, there's always next year. I think we'll be alright. We've got a solid core of players coming back, and it seems they're always reloading here. I keep hearing that Stoops can't win the big game, but he's done it before, he can do it again. Here's to dominating the Big XII for years to come!