"I wish they would only take me as I am" - Vincent Van Gogh               "How Can I believe in God when just last week I got my tounge caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?" - Woody Allen              "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake" - Henry David Thoreau              "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia" - Woody Allen            "When promulgating esoteric cogitations, eschew platitudinous ponderosities" - Mark Rowan, my father            "Up, sluggard, and waste not life, for in the grave there will be sleep enough" - Benjamin Franklin             "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." - Albert Einstein            "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence" - Ronald Reagan            "It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don't quite fully share the hell of someone close to you." - Lady Bird Johnson              "I still want to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup truck" - Howard Dean

Monday, April 28, 2008

Misleadingly misleading

I received an e-mail from Howard Dean concerning John McCain's now infamous "100 years" statement. The e-mail reads:

John McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years. He's said it, and it's on tape.

But his campaign hates that he was caught. They've viciously attacked anyone who reminded the American people that he said it, including me. They've said that those who reference the 100 years comments are "deliberately misleading voters."

So we've taken John McCain's own words -- video of him saying that 100 years would be "fine with me" -- and made a TV ad. There's no confusion, no distortion, no misleading -- it's John McCain, on tape, for voters to judge on their own./
So, what does the ad show? a small fraction of the entire quote:

QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE: President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years..

McCAIN: Maybe a hundred....That'd be fine with me.
The audio is then followed by a shot of two soldiers being blown up. Just for fun, lets look at the full quote:

McCain: Maybe a hundred. Make it one hundred. We’ve been in South Korea, we’ve been in Japan for sixty years. We’ve been in South Korea for fifty years or so. That’d be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. Then it’s fine with me. I would hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Qaeda is training, recruiting, equipping and motivating people every single day.
So, Mr. Dean. Let me get this straight. Taking of 8 words out of an 88 word response, splicing them together, while dropping the remainder of the sentence, and tacking on video of a soldier being injured (which was addressed in the original answer) isn't misleading? Okay, lets try the shoe on the other foot.

Original quote from Obama's "monumental" speech on race:

I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man....Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans".


Okay, now lets see what our non-misleading spliced, out of reference quote looks like next to some clearly appropriate pictures:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Killing in the name of....

Environmentalism.

I do care about the earth, and I do believe that we should be careful stewards of it. When I see someone litter, I tell them. I recycle, use biodegradable products, and when I don't need a bag at the grocery store, I don't take one. Prior to moving to Cleveland, my wife and I paid extra on our electricity bill in order to purchase electricity generated by wind and solar. However, I am skeptical of policies that are intended to protect the environment because there are unintended (but not necessarily unseen) consequences that often severely hurt people.

For example, consider the recent government regulation that inhalers, such as those used to supply albuterol, be CFC free. CFC's are Chloro Fluoro Carbons, and they catalyze the destruction of Ozone. Albuterol is a rescue medication that opens your airways during an asthma attack. Without it, an asthma attack can be fatal.

So, what was the unintended consequence of the change? "it could amount to a 200 percent to 400 percent increase in out-of-pocket costs for insured patients. This may impact the quality of care and general health of all children with asthma". This shouldn't be a surprise.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Help or Hurt?

CNN, in its infinite neutrality, will be hosting a "Compassion Forum" soon, to provide Sens. Obama and Clinton the opportunity to discuss faith and compassion. When I first saw a commercial for this, my initial reaction was that it seemed a bit unfair to provide such a forum for the Democrat nominees, without regard to Senator McCain. For the majority of Americans, religion is an important issue when it comes to picking a president, and thus it would seem to be advantageous to provide such an uplifting forum to only one side of the aisle.

However, on second thought, this could really be a double-edged sword. While a discussion of one's faith would normally make a candidate more likable, more human, and clearly more compassionate, both candidates may have trouble focusing on this side of the discussion. Clearly Obama will have to face some questions concerning his controversial mentor, Rev. Wright, as well as the lingering "are you a muslim" question that always seems to come up (despite being completely bogus).

However, Hillary may have some trouble, as well. Remember her "Today is a day the Lord has made" statement? Her words were strained, and she appeared so incredibly uncomfortable talking about her faith. If she's going to get any boost out of this "compassion forum", she's going to have to speak of her faith comfortably.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

My Immigration Policy

Summer is coming up soon, which means the season to discuss illegal immigration again. Republicans and sound-minded independents are going to discuss the need to stop the illegal influx of foreigners across our borders. Soon, those opposed to illegal-activity will be endlessly called racists, the line "jobs that Americans won't do" will be used, debated, and argued ad nauseum, those sympathetic to 'the cause' will drop the word "illegal" from their vocabulary in favor of "undocumented" (as in "I'm an undocumented pharmaceutial supplier"), and millions will take to the streets to demonstrate why illegal activity is okay. Before all this gets underway, I'm going to state again my general policy on immigration.

1. Illegal immigration is illegal. Nuff said.
2. We currently only allow roughly 1 million legal immigrants per year (2007 saw 1,052,415) into a country of roughly 300 million! In my opinion, this is far too low. Immigration (of the legal variety) is a boon for America. It adds to our diversity, improves our innovation, and lets those from around the world experience the American dream. That being said, this number should be expanded several fold. I'd suggest at least 3 million per year, and personally I'd like to see 5 million.
3. Skilled and educated applicants for green cards should be fast tracked. I support them being prioritized (as they already are).
4. Employers of illegal immigrants should be penalized appropriately. That being said, they must be given the tools to verify status.

That's pretty much it. I've said it before, and I'm saying it again now. What's your policy?

More Kudos

This line by Hillary makes me laugh everytime I hear it.

“I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.”

Friday, April 04, 2008

Kudos to Hillary

Because I don't often agree with elected democrats (I find it easy to find common ground with democrats in the general public, mostly), I think its important to make a point of it when I do agree. Hillary Clinton was on Jay Leno last night, and the following exchange struck me:
JAY LENO: Well, that's really true because I ‑‑ this is a pet thing of mine. I have some scholarships that I set up for kids that want be to be mechanics.

HILLARY CLINTON: Good for you.

JAY LENO: Because you can make a lot of money working in mechanics. In our society unless you're working on a computer, oh, if you're a transmission specialist, these guys make $150,000 a year about. Somehow that's looked down "Oh, you got your hands dirty." That seems so wrong.

HILLARY CLINTON: Boy, Jay, I wish you would talk about this on your show all the time. It's one of my causes because, you know, try to find, you know, a plumber, a carpenter ‑‑ we have so devalued and disrespected the work that a lot of people don't go into it, and these are not only good jobs, these are really important jobs...
I agree with her (and Jay) whole-heartedly, and I really commend Hillary for offering such a scholarship. This is in sharp contrast to Obama saying that 'every child should go to college', and this sort of attitude likely contributes to the fact that her message is resonating so well with working class people.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

McDermott...not quite clear on the Constitution

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) has been ordered to pay Rep. John Boehner over $1 Million over a lawsuit from 1998. This stems from the fact that McDermott leaked an illegally recorded tape of Boehner speaking to Newt Gingrich. The tape was recorded by a Florida couple, who wiretapped Boehner's cell phone, supplied the tape to McDermott who leaked it to the press. The irony of the fact that McDermott has voted against the FISA wiretaps deigned to stop terrorists, yet supports individuals illegally wiretapping the phones of elected officials isn't lost on me. Anyhow, McDermott's statement concerning the decision is interesting:
"While the amount of damages assessed in this case is significant, I submit that defending the First Amendment is beyond measure and worth every penny,” McDermott said in a statement, adding, “With the end of this case, another threat against the First Amendment has been met and turned back.”LINK

Funny, I though Illegal search and Seizure was the fourth amendment, not the firts.