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Posts Tagged ‘obama’

Occupying Wall Street In Boone: Act 2

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

The Facebook event says some 200 people are going to be there to Occupy Boone. I arrive and maybe 50 are there, with another 30-50 arriving by the time we actually start marching. The weather, to put it lightly, is miserable. 35 degrees, and rainy. It’s also a Friday, which means that everybody has the compelling urge to be at home, doing something indoorsy. But hey, those that are there are true believers in the cause. This isn’t a drive-by protest. No, everybody there is mad about something, and ready to make their grievances known.

As people get their signs together, and as reporters take pictures, a member of the campus police comes by to tells us not only that he supports the cause, but to call him if we run into trouble with the local police.

I'm on the left, in the very back, without a mask. I'm the one distracted by a Squirrel on my left.

Ah... But I Like Uncle Pennybags

The organizer of the event is a Veteran, female, fairly young, with a sign reading, “Now I know what I’m fighting for! Occupy!” Maybe 50% of the participants, are actual college students. Most of them seem just like members of the community, old, young, middle age. Some even bring their kids.

We then gather in a group as a few people volunteer to speak. A couple say they’ve been to the Occupy movement in DC, and were so inspired that they wanted to help with the cause here. One person gives a few guidelines of protesting so we don’t get arrested. You know, stay on the public sidewalks and stuff. Also, do only what we have  permit to do. That’s right, the organizers of the group got a permit just to make sure we wouldn’t be pepper sprayed. Granted, that’d make us martyrs, but it’d also be extremely unpleasant in the meantime. Also, it gives more bad press.

Then a few people get up to give purpose and a goal to a group that clearly is seen by many to have none. “Did you hear that one guy? He was a total Marxist.” a man says later to a friend about one of the speakers. In all, 3 speeches are given by people wanting to give the group a goal and purpose. It goes on for maybe 10 minutes, but it feels like 20 minutes in the freezing mountain weather. I zone out as I hold my mask on my side.

This is my Bulge.

Another reason people might not have been speaking to me was the fact that I had a plush Angry Bird under my leather jacket. I was bringing it for the party later and until then didn’t want to hold the plush bird as I held the sign, or for him to get wet. As a result, I looked kind of strange with an indeterminable bulge under my jacket that might have signaled that I was pregnant,  if I was in fact a woman, or if the bulge weren’t so weirdly shaped. As a result, people would try to reach their cameras up to my tall self so they could take pictures of me as high as they could. Otherwise, it just looked weird if they captured the along my torso area.

Eventually, we were ready to march. But first, we had to find a good marching saying. One person, probably the Marxist, said that we should say something that involved the word, “F**k.”

“Eh…” “No.” “How about something else.” came the rest of the group. Eventually, somebody started the basic, “We. Are. The 99%!” Good enough. It was time to march.

Spot the Bird

We march across and through the relatively empty college campus. It wasn’t empty because of the rain or cold, it was just Friday. So we took to the streets. As soon as we got near the streets, the mood immediately changed. We were marching for Democracy and our various causes. We held our signs in ways best seen by the drivers passing by.

Some drivers would honk in approval, others would stare at the crazy people walking in the cold sprinkle. The honks were most pleasing, as we took every bit of support we could get. They honked prolongly, that means they like us, WHOO! Some would yell their support as they drove by. They were busy going about their day, but they were with us, in spirit.

When we came to an intersection, we stopped for a few minutes to let people know of our grievances at the cross roads. Stopping at intersections is optimal for two reasons:

  1. Since people are stopped by red lights, they have almost no choice but to look at you.
  2. Since an intersection is basically two roads crossing, it’s like getting two for the price of one in avenues of potential people that needed to hear our good news.

Spot The Bird

We then walked to the downtown area of Boone, an especially congested part of town where you’re always sure to find some tourist gazing our our old-timey stores and restaurants. Heck, President Obama had just bought candy on the same street some 10 days beforehand. Not only were we reaching tourists and locals looking to get drunk on a dreary Friday, but we were also passing any number of small-businesses.

After walking through downtown, we came to a particularly construction-raddled intersection, which didn’t make for optimal protesting. So as we tried to dodge the construction, this gave people to think of other protest sayings. As we walked through downtown, the predominant saying was, “Show me what Democracy looks like. This is what Democracy looks like!” We tried to come up with better ones, but we had to stay simple, lest the harmony of the chants was lost as we, the crowd, forgot what the long chants were right after they were told to us.

Now’s probably a good time to talk about the extremist role in all of this. Not because were were attacked, but because it’s just a nice break in the protesting timeline. There are basically three kinds of protesters in the movement:

  1. Those that believe in the movement, but go too far. See Cornel West, probably. These are the minority.
  2. Those that don’t believe in the movement, and just use it to go too far. See Oakland. These are absolute fringe.
  3. Those that believe in the movement, and protest reasonably. These are the majority.

At one point while walking to our ultimate destination of protest, some of our people literally took to the street. Granted, it was a 4-lane street, but it’s still annoying to local drivers, giving the Occupy movement a bad image in their minds. Also, the police don’t like you walking in the street and clogging traffic. The people in the street saw themselves as doing right since they were “taking Democracy to the streets,” but the rest of us on the sidewalk knew it was a bad idea, and expressed our displeasure with “Nahs,” “Uhs,” and “Maybe We Shouldn’t Do Thats.” A minute later, everybody got back on the sidewalk.

Like the Marxist before, the rest of the group let them know of their displeasure because of the image it’d give our cause. With a movement like this, I think these voices need to be louder in chiding our fellow extremists. When we do anything for a cause, we need to approach it like a PR person. How can we portray ourselves in a positive light? How can I not give a negative image with my actions? Point is, the movement needs to do everything within the law, and chide those that do otherwise. There is a fine line you can walk, but I think it’d be better at this point, while getting everybody on your side, that the movement does condemn those who go too far, or even close to too far.

But getting back to the march. We walk down the street, yelling in approval everytime we heard a honk, to route to our ultimate destination, the local Wells Fargo bank.

Spot the Bird

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So Yeah, That Happened: Iowa & Tim Pawlenty Edition

August 16, 2011 4 comments

After the Debate on Thursday, I said this:

[Iowa is] historically bad at being an indication of the eventual Republican nominee due to their emphasis on Homeland values. Still, everybody puts way too much emphasis on its importance.

Well, didn’t that come true? Iowa, perpetually starved for people to care about them, decided many years ago that they’d be the first line of decision when it came to Presidential Primaries. Granted, there are others just days, weeks and even months afterwords, but Iowa is 1st of 49. As a result, everybody kind of looks to Iowa even though, like I said before, they’re historically bad at predicting the eventual winner.

In the last election for instance, Mitt Romney won the Straw Poll, Mike Huckabee won the Caucus, and of course John McCain won the nomination, having come in 4th in the Caucus.  Past winners of the Straw Poll include Pat Robertson, George H.W. Bush when he was running against Reagan, Bob Dole and Phil Gramm. Point is, that except for the 2000 Republican field, the Iowa Straw Poll has gotten in wrong, EVERY TIME.

The Iowa Caucus, aka Primary, has a better track record, but that’s mainly because the whole state gets a say. Granted, it’s still skewed for the country because Iowa is such a Cliche of itself, but the Straw Poll attracts a very biased sampling of voters. For one, you have to pay $30 just to get in. That’s right, you have to pay to vote! Granted, that also gets you dinner, but still! That’s only going to attract hardcore supporters and voters! By the way, you have to be at least “16 1/2” years old to vote. There’s also allegations that you can buy the vote, and so on. All in all, 17,000 votes were cast, with the winner receiving only 4,823 Votes. Hardly a representative sample for anything.

Keeping this in mind, here’s this year’s result:

This Is On You, Iowa

Seeing these results and numbers, as frivolous as they may be, still prompted Bachmann to do this:

Let's Play: Spot the Bachmann

During the speech that triumphed her great victory, Bachmann was quoted as saying, “You have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one-term president.” To which there was a great applause from the crowd, echoing Thursday’s debate where after moderator Bret Baier told the candidates not to grandstand, Bachmann specifically grandstanded by saying that Obama would be a one-term President. Only problem is that for Bachmann, it kind of doesn’t matter in the long-term. Bachmann seems to be sinking most everything she has in Iowa because that’s the only place she’s assured a win. It could also be the only state she wins.

It Was Also Selling for $52

Bachmann is a polarizing figure, but polarizing in the fact that most everybody dislikes her in some regard, but for the far, far right of the party and Tea Party, she’s like the best thing ever. Still Independents and Moderates will probably avoid her like the plague. Iowa just so happens to be far right with their Homeland values, which Bachmann embraces. The fact that she’s putting forth that she was born in Iowa also kind of makes her the hometown favorite, even though she current presides over Minnesota. Still, with all of that, she almost lost to Ron Paul.

Recently, it seems like stereotypes are reinforcing themselves around me. I walked into a small-town Virginia antique store over the weekend and found all manner of racist and southern pride paraphernalia including Rebel Flags and a book from 1942 called, “Little Black Sambo,” that was described by the store as “beautifully illustrated.” Now, I’d like to think that Southern stores wouldn’t think stuff like this is OK, or even describe it in a positive manner, but that’s what they had, and it wasn’t even the only blackfaced toy or item in the store.

The 75-Year Old Political Virgin

Then there’s Iowa. I’d like to think that people from Iowa are like people from the rest of America. I’d like to think that they have the same amount of intelligence, instead of a black hole of stupidity, but this poll kind of actively goes out of its way to prove me wrong. After all, Ron Paul almost won. Think about it. Ron Paul almost won what many consider an important point in choosing the Republican nomination, and assessing your campaign. Ron Paul isn’t a fringe candidate in Iowa, no, he’s actually considered a contender and somebody they want to not only run against Barack Obama, but they think he can win against him. Not only that, but they think he’d be a great President when he gets into office.

Now, here at Random Independent, we believe that when comedian Patton Oswalt made a joke about an 120-year old President who ordered everybody to marry a Pelican, that he was actually referring to Ron Paul. And Iowa almost declared him the winner of their Straw Poll. As if we needed yet another reason to dismiss Iowa, the Iowa Caucus and the Iowa Straw Poll, Iowa makes it loud and clear that they like Ron Paul.

Moving on…

I Have the Courage To Stand, But As Soon As The Going Gets Rough, I Am Sitting the Hell Down

At least he had the best campaign poster...

Now knowing what we do about the Iowa Straw Poll, it’s insane that anybody would care that much about it, much less put all their resources into doing well in it, much less leaving the race if you don’t finish in the top 2. So naturally, in hindsight, not only is Timothy James Pawlenty insane, but a gargantuan idiot that would have made a poor President to say the least. After all, if he’ll put all his eggs into one massively stupid basket, maybe he’d also station all of the troops in France on the off-chance that Germany invades once more.

Just because you’re the first one to declare yourself as running for President isn’t going to give you an advantage either, especially if you’re as exiting as a This Old House rerun. In addition to failing to energize any sort of crowd, he also failed to get any attention, or disagree with anybody. During a debate, he coined the term “ObamneyCare” in attacking Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare system, but then went back on it when asked about it later. He was too nice a guy, or he was just weak. Either way, Pawlenty was the opposite of Presidential material, and never had a chance in hell. He thought could turn it around in Iowa, but he never even came close. So yeah, better late than never, but looking back, never is all we should have seen of Pawlenty in this race.

I would say that he’s just one less candidate we have to deal with, but now Rick Perry is in on the race. It just never ends… Until next November, that is.

A Photo Collage of the Repulbican Iowa Debate Winners & Losers

August 12, 2011 2 comments

"So let's say there's a bus full of children speeding off a bridge, and to save them you have to raise taxes by $10..." - Ezra Klein on the Hard Stance of the Republicans on Taxes

Loser: If at least half of this current crop of candidates actually won the Presidency, they'd instantly be in the running for Worst. President. Ever.

 

Loser: Not even seeming like a Republican at times, Huntsman buried himself with every unprofessional word and action he talked about. If there's one thing I know about him after tonight though, it's that he's Proud of basically everything he's ever laid a finger on.

Loser: Herman, who?

Loser: Between the constant bashing by Ron Paul and the thunderous applause of the audience, there was clearly a dislike of any Foreign Wars.

 

Winner: Not only is Michele Bachman stealing away her crazy and discrimination thunder, but she's just sitting quietly doing her thing until she'll called on for VP again or a Cabinet position. Either way, she's sitting pretty with less of the hassle.

Winner: Coming in late in the race, he gets a huge lead and the media attention while the weaker candidates get shoved under the rug.

Winner: Coming out early on his "7 Points to Fix the Economy," Romney had the only solid backing for a problem presented to any of the canidates all night. He'll keep his lead for at least a bit longer.

Winner: Sure, he'll never win crap, but he did an inadvertent job of turning the spotlight onto himself, confusing the crowd with his fast-talking into liking him, and he threw several people off game and off message. He's still crazy, but he livens things up.

Loser: Although he won favor with the Fox News commentators afterwords, his arguments were mostly superfluous, with his performance instantly forgettable.

Draw: Bachmann is Bachmann. Her hardline sticking to her principles would never work as Presidency, but for now, she's a Tea Party darling, which will make her very powerful through the early Caucuses.

Loser: Coming off as more than a bully than a fiery President, Pawlenty sealed his fate by picking a fight with anybody he could.

Loser: Although the whole moderating panel did a great job and asked legitimate questions all through the night, they were constantly attacked by the candidates and booed by the audience to the point I felt sorry for them.

Winner: For once, American Idol didn't have the most annoying audience on TV. Iowa beat them with hecklers, yellers, booers, and loud applause every time Ron Paul spoke. They wanted to hear what they wanted to hear, and nothing else.

Loser: Whoever picked the formatting of the debate, and I assume it's the network since they aired and mostly moderated it, did an awful job at it. candidates disappeared for long stretches of time, while some candidates hogged whole portions of the debate. In the end, it helped nobody, and even hurt a lot of the candidates.

Loser: Although 2 of the Republican candidates were from Minnesota, you would never know it with the amount of bashing that went on between them. Between them and Jesse Ventura as Governor, it's amazing the state is still livable.

Loser: In addition to being the home to that annoying crowd, they're historically bad at being an indication of the eventual Republican nominee due to their emphasis on Homeland values. Still, everybody puts way too much emphasis on its importance.

 

"I love America, and Barack Obama is not America, so I do not love Barack Obama." - Basically Everyone's Closing Remark

The Onion: America’s Finest (And Apparently Most Confusing) News Source

Established in 1988, The Onion started off in newspaper-form that found very limited success on college campuses in Wisconsin and Colorado, although this success could either be attributed to the satirical news stories, or the coupons that came with the paper. In 1996, the organization went global with the creation of their website, leaving their material to be consumed and mistake as real news by the general public. Notably, Westboro Baptist Church’s Fred Phelps used an Onion story as proof that homosexuals were in fact being recruited. Beijing’s paper posted an international story that featured Congress threatening to leave DC unless a new Capital Building was built. After demanding proof that the story was in fact false, the Beijing Evening News retracted the story saying:

“Some small American newspapers frequently fabricate offbeat news to trick people into noticing them with the aim of making money.”

Yes, The Onion has been confusing the heck out of people for a long time now. In 2007 they expanded their reach with video reports that have now expanded into a full-length news program for the Independent Film Channel. These videos garner hundreds of thousands of views, but still seem to confuse people, like this woman that bears a resemblance to Danica Patrick:

Here’s the video the Danica Patrick look-a-like feels sounds legit:

Harry Potter doesn’t in fact have an executive producer named Bryan Mitchell. References and photoshopped pictures of Variety and Ain’t It Cool News confirming the story are fake, used to give the story some fake credibility. The news network telling the story is not real, as you can tell by reading the ticker at the bottom that says “U.S. State Department advises China to try playing it a little cooler with the Tibet situation.” Oh wait, never-mind. Americans wouldn’t know that it was fake becasue they can’t point to Tibet on a map. I guess that would go with the headline they also had on the ticker, “Rand McNally unveils new map featuring only countries Americas give a s**t about.” Also, the trailer for the fake film was in fact, fake. Shocking, I know.

So how does The Onion keep doing this? How are Americans perpetually fooled by the silliest and most ridiculous stories? And what does it really say about the state of our nation? Here’s a rundown at the various reason:

  1. People Don’t Pay Attention: This is probably the most common reason. They see some sort of aggregation service or their their friends posting something that looks like a news story, so they read it without stopping to consider the source, the logic of the story, or how ridiculous it all sounds. After all, the real world can be weirder than The Onion, so we’re naturally more willing to believe weird things today than ever before. Besides, with news and surfing the internet moving faster than the speed of love, who has time to check or think? Read, post thoughts, spread. Done.
  2. People Don’t What The Onion Is: This is true for foreigners, people that don’t get our American sense of satire, or older people. That’s right, The Onion is kind of hip thing that the kids love. Fake news, why would somebody write that? One of the reasons that The Onion is financially successful in several sectors is the advertising they attract because of the 18-49 demo that flocks to the paper. Try to decipher the pixelated Facebook pictures of the people mistaking the stories and you will come to the conclusion that most, if not all of them are older.
  3. They’re Wanting To Believe It Anyways: When Fred Phelps saw The Onion, he was probably looking for something that conformed to his belief that homosexuality is bad. When people look for information to confirm and conform their previously held beliefs, the results almost never come out well, or truthfully. The Anti-Obama guy already thought of Obama as a nut, so when he saw The Onion reporting that Obama had overcome the urge to set off nuclear war yet again, the man thought he was confirmed in his belief that Obama was crazy.
  4. The Onion Is Just Very Convincing: Part of the reason why The Onion is so revered is the fact that they have a lot of talent working for them, whether it be their staff of writers, or former real Fox News anchor Suzanne Sena playing fake Onion News Network anchor Brooke Alverez. She knows the real world, so she knows how to be convincing in her parody of it. They’re all very professional, and very good at what they do. They’re not a kid in their basement; they’re paid professionals. Thus, the quality in their work shows.
  5. We Don’t Like To Research: This includes ordinary citizens taking something at face value, but it can even include the New York Times. Yes, THE NEW YORK TIMES. In a recent retrospective of Tiger Beat magazine, a teen-centered publication, the New York Times included past covers of the magazine, including an issue that included a “Giant Obama Poster Inside,” and a “quote” by the President saying “I Sing In The Shower.” This cover of course came from The Onion, forcing the New York Times to make a retraction. This was in April 2011, mind you.
  6. We’re Just Dumb: The Onion serves to make fun of our dumb world, issues, people, etc. It just happens that the people they’re making fun of happen occasionally read it. The resulting clash either signals that the world is not too far off from becoming a true Idiocracy, or the fact that our dumbness helps define us as a people, and we should try to learn for said dumbness, but most of all, laugh at it.

Also note that the magazine also promises more personal facts about Obama inside. Do tell Fake Tiger Beat!

When The Onion Is Seriously Peeled

Recently, a new blog was brought to my attention that chronicled a strange trend on the internet: The Onion being taken seriously. For those that don’t know, which is apparently a lot of people, The Onion is a satirical publication that during the age of the Internet, has became a shining beacon of comedy poking fun at society and all its strangeness, usually by making things more strange. If you went on the website right now for instance, you can read about NASCAR giving a driver money for making a homophobic comment, you know, because NASCAR is southern and therefore dislikes gays. You can read about how the new budget accidentally gave schools enough money to properly educate students, until Congress recognized the mistake. And depending on your mood, you can read a story about Helicopter mating season, with a picture depicting the act of Helicopter mating.

Anybody taking any of the above stories seriously would of course be hilarious, but it can also say a lot about the society The Onion so unmercifully satires. Let’s take a look, shall we?
The Israel controversy is the type of controversy that only a political junkie could love. It’s a story that involves a country that’s not our own, the US possibly making statements that it might or might not have a right in saying, and you know, it kind of involves the Middle East, which if the box office receipts of The Hurt Locker are any indication, Americans really hate looking at unless Tony Stark is there. This brings us to this man, who is clearly a political junkie since he clearly knows what the State Department is, and knows the happenings in it so much that he can clearly come to these opinions. Only thing is, you know, The Onion is fake and the government is kind of the one telling Israel to move borders. Pro-Israel supporters aren’t asking the nation to give up land, because you know, I’d think that’d be a negative action. In the end, this post confuses me more than anything. Moving on.

Can you imagine being this person? You have so little faith in your President that you feel that at any moment, on his whim, you could be evaporated in a radiated ball of nuclear glory. Yes, this is an example of somebody being so anti-Obama that he’s been driven stupidly insane. After all, it’s one thing to disagree with, and a whole bunch of giant leaps of “logic” to believe Obama is so nutty that he would destroy the whole world just for the heck of it. I imagine this guy’s picture of Obama actually resembles the Bond villain Blofeld, sitting in the Oval Office stroking his dog Bo, while burning Reagan photos while taking dumps in hallowed-out copies of his biography. Sure, this guy is on the Fringe of society and his political affiliations, but it’s kind of crazy that guys like this actually exist, and you know, vote. I wonder if this is how crazy Democrats picture Sarah Palin, with the added element of her decimating the aids-ravaged villages and poverty-striken peoples of Africa with an arsenal of chemical weapons.

Now, this is where the topic starts to get more serious. Although the blog is relatively new at chronicling these Onion reaction posts, by far the story that it captures most is called “Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex.” The story is about Planned Parenthood, recently off the high of Congress recently deciding to keep their funding, an issue this blog has already discussed, announcing plans to open a state-of-the-art “Abortionplex” in Kansas, that costs 8 billion dollars. In addition to being able to terminate a baby every 3-seconds, the complex also features a movie theater, restaurants, 3-story nightclub, retail outlets, shuttles from local schools directly to the complex, and it also has coffee shops, one of which I would assume is of course a Starbucks.

The story is of course satire, taking perceptions of Planned Parenthood to its consumerist extreme. After all, it seems crazy that anybody would build an 8 billion dollar anything nowadays, especially since the organization is non-profit. Also, the fact that anybody would go to it, or that there would be that many abortions, or that there would be a Lazy River that goes around the complex. But does that stop several people from taking the article seriously? Of course not, this is America.

First off, when you Google that quote, it comes up with pages of quotes that are attributed Mother Theresa, but were never actually said by Mother Theresa, mostly because the quote doesn’t make any sense. Secondly, is contraception really silent abortion? The Easter Bunny that was passing Condoms around my college campus would probably take issue with that. Thirdly, the war is punishment for man’s sins and repent crap reminds me a lot of the Rhetoric of Westboro Church member and frequent angry Tweeter, Megan Phelps. Fourthly, there’s a lot of stuff wrong the comment she adds afterwards. Let’s move on for time’s sake.

Your taxes will pay for a lot of stuff, but not entertainment complexes, especially ones that also happen to perform Abortions. Also notice that a separate person “Likes” the article, for reasons that are anonymous, and yet another separate person is roped into beleiving the articles validity in the comments.

Again, it’s a little Phelps-like, and again, they rope in another person to believe the article. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t “deceived” be too lite a word if this was actually taking place? I don’t know what a proper term would besides Weird, but Deceived just doesn’t seem to fit. Then there’s the part about abortions being “not normal.” Wait, that’s your argument? First off, of course “killing babies” is not normal, unless you’re in a population-controlling country like China (I kid!). Normal is one of the worst words in the English-language anyways, but used in this context just makes it fell… Wrong? Also, this person will be happy to know that this story is in fact, not true.

This post is great since it has two very different opinions by the poster and the yet-another-person roped into believing the article in the comments. First, off the poster’s comment on the last article refers to this “quote.”

“But after a couple of margaritas and a ride down the lazy river they’ve got circling the place, I got caught up in the vibe. By the time it was over, I almost wished I could’ve aborted twins and gotten to stay a little longer. I told my boyfriend we had to have sex again that very night,” Kolrath added. “I really want to come back over Labor Day.”

The interesting thing about the satire, and people taking it seriously, is that the subject-matter concerns people who would get an abortion and actually enjoying it because of the amenities in the facility. Could such a process ever be “fun” as these posters keep fearing? If it could ever be fun, could it ever be so fun that it would entice young women to have more abortions to keep coming back to the resort-like complex that is presumably paid through tax dollars and is free to them? Somehow I feel like the people that would actually partake in this as having something more than responsibility issues.

Now we come to the commenter that the poster roped in. All of these posts have had reactions that are either crazy, or have had statements that just don’t seem to fit the situation to me. This commenter seems to be the only one to take a realistic approach and reaction to it, even though they still seem to believe it, though through skeptical eyes.

The person isn’t blatantly anti-abortion like the rest of the people, but rather just uses the same language, “nauseous” in this case, to refer to the implications of it. An “Abortionplex” with a lazy river would be taking the act of abortion rather lightly, when it is anything but. Whatever take you have on the subject, I would hope that one would both take it seriously, and put some seriously thought into it. I suppose the whole issue does come down to responsibility after all, but besides the fact that it is an “Abortionplex,” it also takes a serious issue very lightly. The reasons to get an abortion usually deal with some horrific events that shouldn’t be surrounded by shopping and coffee excursions. Also, the commenter does make a good point in that the controversy surrounding it would be so great that it would never be built in the first place, privately-funded or publicly-funded. Remember the Mosque controversy? What about the Oklahoma City Bombings?

The point is, not everything should be put into an entertainment complex. Also, when you’re against something, there’s reasonable ways to approach issues that don’t either make you seem crazy, or just out there enough where the people you’re trying to persuade aren’t persuaded. See Megan Phelps on the wrong way to handle the issue. See Me for something resembling the right way.

So why do people take these clearly satirical articles seriously? That’s a whole other discussion altogether, and an also important one, but one that will be tackled at another time.

Looking For A Sputnik Moment: A State of The Union Analysis

January 26, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve only been watching State of the Union addresses for about the past 10 years, but that’s enough to already make me cynical about them. Why? Because I know how they work, and what the main goal of them is.

Essentially, The State of the Union is about where we are as a country, whether it be good, bad, could be better, strong, weak, etc. etc. The content of the SOTU is comprised of the President’s wishlist of things he would like to do to make the country even better. If the country is divided on an issue, he’ll try to bring unity. If he thinks healthcare will make things better, he’ll argue for healthcare. It brings this to Congress because they collectively act as Santa Claus to decide what the President gets off his wishlist. So to bring this the point of the SOTU back around, it’s about proposals. The President gives proposals, by listening to him, Congress decides which proposals they are willing to tackle.

The only problem is that at a best-case scenario, he can only hope to tackle 4 major proposals, thus creating 4 major solutions. Where do I get that number? Because that’s how many two-year intervals of Congress there are. Essentially, the President has a number of political currency, and if he tackles a major solution, he has used all that currency for the two-year term. For his first two-year set, Obama tackled healthcare. After that, he was totally out of political currency, and now has to regain it from the new set of Congressmen, and then hopefully spend it on another issue, if he gains enough currency. Bush for example spent the majority of his currency focused on the middle east. As a result, despite SOTU after SOTU of other proposals, he wasn’t able to do much else. One caveat I should add is that the amount of political currency to get stuff done is a lot more if you have a Congress that is politically against you. For example, Obama will have to gain a lot of currency if he wants to get stuff done for the next two years. Clinton was able to do it to some degree.

Of course, there are just problems and solutions that completely depend on execution and other various not-completely related political factors. For example, Obama can talk about the importance of teachers all he wants, but unless they’re paid to the level of their supposed importance by their institutions, and therefore state, the job of the teachers will become that much harder. But to pay them their wage, you have to fix the economy. And to do that, that requires something short of a major solution. He can talk about getting 80% of our energy in 2035 from clean energy, but there’s a LOT of steps and years in-between now and that goal. In my opinion, if we’re not at that point already, then the Earth will be in terrible trouble. Heck, the world might have ended by then. 2035 is 25 years away. 25 years ago it was a Reagan White House. Yeah, a lot has changed since then.

Let’s take for a moment the sheer amount of everything addressed in the SOTU to sink in. There’s no possible way, even if you had all the political currency in the world, that all this could be accomplished in 8 years. There simply isn’t enough time. You have to draft it, you have to work out all the details, etc. etc. etc.

The State of The Union says a lot of things the President wants to do, but very rarely does even more than a fraction of it actually get accomplished. Whether that makes you depressed, cynical or whatever, it’s just the way things are. That’s how politics works. That’s how humans interaction works.

Overall, while a lot of his proposals sound fine and dandy, State of the Unions should be taken with a grain of salt, since most of them won’t be acted on. As for the speech itself and reaction, it doesn’t seem like anybody was exactly swayed in the way the President was surely hoping for. The next two years will be tough for Obama. I just hope he uses his political currency correctly and tackles the right issues in a logical and bipartisan manner. It will be hard, but here’s a piece of advice that will make the upcoming debates a lot more tolerable and easier: Keep An Open Mind.
Rating: 3/5