Tag Archives: politics

Earth Moving To the Back Burner Again?

Apologies to those of you who also read the podcast blog for this dual-post; thought this was apropos for both…

In podcast #7, we touched on the so-called “green movement” and how it seems to be moving beyond the realm of partisanship. Today’s Dot Earth column from Andrew Revkin and the New York Times shows some numbers that beg to differ. The column is a good jumping-off point to read up on some recent stories on this topic. Revkin cites a Rasmussen Reports poll that said:

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats blame global warming on human activity, compared to 21% percent of Republicans. Two-thirds of GOP voters (67%) see long-term planetary trends as the cause versus 23% of Democrats.

With the price of gas down to levels we haven’t seen since 2006 and the global economy reeling, will we shove our collective head into the sand once again when it comes to climate change? Can we afford to? The new president doesn’t seem to think so…

Dude: We're Purple

It’s been an OUTRAGEOUSLY busy day at work, but I did turn on the inaugural programming on hulu and CSPAN, just kept it on in the background.

I talked to someone the other day who made a comment something like this is a big day for all those Obama supporters out there, and while that’s true, I don’t think the sentiment goes far enough.  It is a big day for those folks, but it is just as big a day for everyone who didn’t vote for our new president.

It’s an historic occasion, a time to celebrate the peaceful and seamless transition that we can so easily take for granted, and a moment to reach out to our fellow citizens that often disagree with us.  As we turn this page in American history, it’s important to focus on our strengths, put the past behind us, and make a conscious, concerted effort to work together in these troubling times.

It’s sad that it is so easy for us to distrust our elected officials.  But just maybe if we can put doubt aside and try to empathize with those on the other side of the aisle, it will be easier to follow the example that President Obama says he present: a transparent, honest and straightforward method of governance that you may not always agree with, but should always understand.

As excited as I am to see the person I voted for take office today, I am more hopeful than anything; that he will continue to demostrate the qualities that brought me over in the first place, and that he will earn the respect of those he hasn’t yet convinced.  I am hopeful that when Barack Obama leaves office, we as a nation can say that we have bit more faith in our government than we did yesterday.  It will definitely not be easy, but it feels good to think there’s a chance.

Morning In America!

I am traveling to a conference today, but wanted to drop something here quickly before I leave.  Very exciting goings on in the presidential race last night– what a refreshing revelation about the power of individual citizens joined together in a common purpose.  And as for John McCain: a very gracious exit, and like I said to Michelle, “I hope the REAL Senator McCain goes back to Washington now.”  Because Presidential Candidate McCain was not a very appealing figure.

Count it down, folks.  January will be here before you know it.

Six Days to Go, Please Remain Calm

When we get down to the wire in important elections, I think it’s easy for people to lose their heads a bit.  After all, what do we love in America more than anything?  No, it’s not Dunkin Donuts.  We love confrontation.  We love the stories of us versus them.  We watch sports contests of one type or another 13 months of the year, and we produce endless droves of “reality TV” that pits one group of people in a contest against the other.  Why do we do it?  So we can know who the winner is.  We want to decide who is better.

And like the 4th quarter of a playoff game, this last week is more tense the any time earlier in the race.  We’ve chosen sides, we’ve decided who to root for, and we desperately want to see our team win.  At the same time, we’ve been building up a callus of hatred for The Other Guy.  This is what we need to be wary of, and we really should just let it go.

Hopefully we’ve all had time to reasonably think through the issues, and we’ve made an informed choice.  That’s the sensible thing to do.  It’s a little bit insane to actually and truthfully be gripped by tangible fear at the prospect of our candidate coming in second.  We have a good system in place here.  We have checks and balances built into our system of government (for the most part) that keeps an undue amount of power out of any one person’s hands.

To think that Your Candidate will solve all the problems he’s proposed to solve is naive, but so is the notion that The Other Guy is going to single-handedly flush our democracy down the toilet.  The world continues to evolve and the status quo continues to change, but it is much bigger than one man in one office in one American city.  Moreover, the rhetoric of a political campaign is generally a lot sharper than actual policy.

Make no mistake, this is an important election; there is a lot at stake, and the President of the United States continues to be a key international figure.  But regardless of the outcome next week, it’s not worth jumping overboard if things don’t go the way you’d like.

Stressful

Watching the 2nd presidential debate right now.  I feel sorry for Tom Brokaw– he’s trying to keep both these candidates within the time constraints they agreed to, and it’s virtually impossible.  Not that it matters much, as neither one is doing much to address the actual quesitons that are being asked (by my non-scientific count, in the first hour I’ve seen Obama give what could be considered a direct answer twice, and McCain twice once-and-a-half).

You know what I would like to see in the next presidential election cycle?  ACTUAL DEBATES.  These charades are basically just 120-minute ads with the candidates bickering and shouldering each other for the most time.  If you’ve taken the time to read up on the candidates, done some independent research, you can totally skip these things.

OK, now next question.  Next QUESTION.  NEXT QUESTION!!!!!!

Going Fishing

Just wanted to pass along this brief and somewhat interesting link that I got from the AP today.  Looks like the GOP is looking for excuses on why Sarah Palin lost will lose the VP debate before it’s even happened:

Gwen Ifill’s impartiality questioned

Personally, I have a feeling that Biden will perform better, but Palin probably won’t come off as quite the Quaylian* dufus that a lot of lefties think she is…

* – adjective coined by DH Schrubbe, to the best of my knowledge

Facts Are Nice

Sent this in an email to some, so sorry if it’s a repeat…

I haven’t made my voting intentions a secret during this election cycle.  I think there are a lot of unique, 21st-century sort of problems facing the United States right now, and I really don’t have any faith in a presidential candidate who’s been entrenched as a member of the GOP establishment for 25 years to have a useful perspective or any new ideas (let alone the political freedom from special interests to execute them).

The onslaught of negative advertising from the GOP has been, and will continue to be, relentless.  Here is a nice video summary that I was sent today, poking holes in the half-truths and sniffing out the BS in McCain’s ads to date:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH0xzsogzAk

I’ve encouraged people from the start of the primary season to collect the facts, read up on the candidate’s actual positions, and make informed decisions based on the issues at stake.  With that in mind, bookmark this one for yourself, too:
http://www.factcheck.org/

Whatever you choose to do in the voting booth in November, I hope that you won’t just *think* you’re doing the right thing, but be knowledgeable enough to KNOW you are…

Call Off the Dogs

I believe that I found a new place to live.

I can’t say that with 100% certainty, since I haven’t heard back yet about the application that I filed on Wednesday, but I think it looks pretty good.  All things considered, I will be trading a lot of space and the free & available washer/dryer that I have now for a significantly shorter commute and slightly lower overall per-month living expenses.  I’m glad that I’ll now be able to focus on thesis work and getting packed in the short term.

I was told when I saw the apartment that I would have the opportunity to move in early, paying a pro-rated portion of a month’s rent.  I’ll probably shoot for a week ahead; I took a few days at the end of the month off for that very purpose.  I’ll now be just under 2 miles from work; an easily bike-able distance.  Maybe I’ll even get a chance to shed some of this doughy flab with the balance of my summer, too…

Been very busy at work, which is my excuse for the gap of several days between posts.  In the meantime, what’s happened?  The Brew Crew is on a tear— here’s hoping they can carry that momentum through the road trip.  Even if the Cubs haven’t gotten around to losing just yet, you know they’re not going to win out for the rest of the season.  Brewers just have to keep it up, and put the lengthy losing streaks behind them.  It’s a well-documented point that a season is going to have ups and downs, but Milwaukee has pretty much used up their allotment of “downs” already.

Also very glad to see the Democratic presedential primary season finally coming to a conclusion.  I was glad to deliver the news to Petters last night that Hillary is going to officially leave the race at the end of this week.  In the short term, that means that focus will shift to Obama selecting a VP.  I am NOT at all in favor of the Obama/Clinton ticket for one major reason: I would be concerned that Hillary was trying to run the show from the backseat all too often.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Clintons are really, really, REALLY pushy when it comes to politics, and that’s probably putting it lightly.  Barack needs her to be a valued campaign resource, and he definitely needs her endorsement, but he also needs to make this potential presidency his own.  I’m pretty sure that’s what we (his supporters) got on board for.

OK, back to it.  These phone calls aren’t going to ignore themselves…

Global Warming– Debatable?

I am enjoyed this New Scientist feed, and I have to thank David Q. Schrubbe for sending me its links a number of times and getting me keyed in there…

Anyway, I read a story today about a study to investigate how knowledge about global warming effects a person’s perception of the phenomenon. The finding was that more knowledgeable Democrats were more concerned, and more knowledgeable Republicans were less concerned.

I mention it just because this echoes my experience trying to talk about the subject to a T. What I don’t understand, and what I wish some conservative die-hard could tell me is: if climate change is, as you like to believe, some sort of liberal conspiracy invented by Al Gore (much like the Internet), then… what would be the POINT of that? All these scientists doing all this research, taking all these core samples, compiling all this data– how exactly does this advance some perceived liberal agenda to trash capitalism and take away everyone’s guns?

And I realize that I might’ve mentioned this before, but no one ever came back to me with an answer.

On a completely different side note, this will likely be the last post for me until after Memorial Day. Michelle and I are headed up to Bayfield and Madeline Island for a long weekend. Hope you enjoy yours; weather’s supposed to be phenomenal in Milwaukee…