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Good news! I still exist! September 4, 2009

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Wait a second. Waaaaiiit just a second here. Has it REALLY been a bit more than two months since my last post? WOW. Inexcusable. Although, the one thing I will offer in my defense is that I can’t force it. I can’t make myself write something if I’m not “feeling” it. If that sounds nonsensical to you, then that makes two of us, because I don’t pretend to understand it either. Anyway – some random, stream-of-consciousness thoughts on what’s been going on recently:

  • The SHLF Project is continuing (original post about it can be found here) and I love it. I’ve given out over 130 messages so far, with many more to come.
  • College football! Starting tonight! I’m a bit excited. IMO, all these people (and polls – I’m looking at you, AP and USA Today) that have Texas ranked above Oklahoma have got problems. I’m no fan of either team, but OU is going to be the better team this year, and they’ll beat UT.
  • November is going to be awesome. My homeslice John Mayer’s new album, Battle Studies, drops on the 17th, and, later that same week, there’s this little movie called New Moon coming out that I may or may not be really excited for.
  • When I heard about Obama nominating Ben Bernanke for a second term as the Federal Reserve Chairman, all I could do was close my eyes and shake my head. Bernanke has become symbolic of everything that is wrong with the way our country’s monetary system works. It amazes me that more people weren’t up in arms over Obama’s re-nomination of him – it’s not like this information is hiding on some underground blog, or whatever. You can see it on Youtube! There are more videos than I care to sit through of Bernanke getting absolutely SCHOOLED, before Congress, on the way things should work. Granted, it’s mainly Ron Paul doing the schooling, but that doesn’t surprise me, at this point. I mean, just do a Youtube search for Peter Schiff. He predicted, with sometimes astonishing precision, exactly what has happened to our country’s economy, he was saying it years in advance, and no one listened to him! He’s a believer in Austrian Economics, which is, shock of shocks, the same school of economic thought that Ron Paul (another guy who tried to warn us of all the danger we were facing) subscribes to!

Whew! I apparently am still capable of blogging!

sweeping up a life. March 13, 2009

Posted by Jordan in Books, Quotes.
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Excerpt from Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama – Chapter Thirteen, pages 249-251

 

“I’m telling you, man, the world is a place.”

“Say, the world is a place, huh.”

“That’s just what I’m saying.”

We were walking back to the car after dinner in Hyde Park, and Johnnie was in an expansive mood. He often got like this, especially after a good meal and wine. The first time I met him, when he was still working with a downtown civic group, he had started explaining the relationship between jazz and Eastern religion, then swerved into an analysis of black women’s behinds, before coming to a stop on the subject of Federal Reserve Bank policy. In such moments his eyes would grow wide; his voice would speed up; his round, bearded face would glow with a childlike wonder. That was part of the reason I’d hired Johnnie, I suppose, that curiosity of his, his appreciation of the absurd. He was a philosopher of the blues.

“I’ll give you an example,” Johnnie was saying to me now. “The other day, I’m headed for a meeting up in the State of Illinois Building. You know how it’s open in the middle, right . . . big atrium and all that. Well, the guy I’m supposed to be meeting with is late, so I’m just standing there looking down at the lobby from the twelfth floor, checking out the architecture, when all of a sudden this body flies past me. A suicide.”

“You didn’t tell me about that —”

“Yeah, well, shook me up pretty good. High up as I was, I could hear the body land like it was right there next to me. Terrible sound. Soon as it happened, these office workers rushed up to the guardrail to see what was going on. We’re all looking down, and sure enough the body’s lying there, all twisted and limp. People started screaming, covering their eyes. But the strange thing was, after people got through screaming, they’d go back to the railing to get a second look. Then they’d scream and cover their eyes all over again. Now why would they do that? Like, what do they expect the second time around? But see, folks are funny like that. We can’t help ourselves with that morbid shit. . . .

“Anyway, the cops come, they rope things off and take the body away. Then the building crew starts cleaning things up. Nothing special, you know — just a broom and a mop. Sweeping up a life. Whole thing’s cleaned up in maybe five minutes. Makes sense, I guess . . . I mean, it’s not like you need special equipment or suits or something. But it starts me thinking, How’s that gonna feel to be one of those janitors, mopping up somebody’s remains? Somebody’s got to do it, right? But how you gonna feel that night eating dinner?”

“Who was it that jumped?”

“That’s the other thing, Barack!” Johnnie took a drag from his cigarette and let the smoke roll from his mouth. “It was a young white girl, man, sixteen maybe, seventeen. One of these punk rock types, with blue hair and a ring through her nose. Afterward, I’m wondering what she was thinking about while she was riding up the elevator. I mean, folks musta been standing right next to her on the way up. Maybe they looked her over, decided she was a freak, and went back to thinking about their own business. You know, their promotion, or the Bulls game, or whatever. And the whole time this girl’s just standing there next to them with all that pain inside her. Got to be a lot of pain, doc, ’cause right before she jumps, you figure she looks down and knows that shit is gonna hurt.”

Johnnie stamped out his cigarette. “So that’s what I’m saying, Barack. Whole panorama of life out there. Crazy shit going on. You got to ask yourself, is this kinda stuff happening elsewhere? Is there any precedent for all this shit? You ever ask yourself that?”

“The world’s a place,” I repeated.

“See there! It’s serious, man.”

one day left. November 3, 2008

Posted by Jordan in Politics.
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Tomorrow. The 2008 Presidential Election is TOMORROW. Holy crap. Can’t believe it’s been four years since I voted for the first time. Can’t believe we’re finally going to have a President who’s name doesn’t end with Bush or Clinton. I very much hope that we get a strong turnout tomorrow, regardless of who wins – America can do way better than the 64% of voting-age citizens that voted in 2004. For my part, I voted early several days ago. Wanted to vote to re-elect Randy Neugebauer, our district’s Congressman, as he voted against the bailout both times and generally seems like a reasonable dude, but I learned that he’s a big advocate against online poker, which I profoundly disagree with, so I couldn’t do it. After seeing some TV ads for John Cornyn, our Senator that’s up for re-election, I did some Googling and … Wikipediaing? No clue how to make that a verb. Anyway, I looked him up, checked some of the bills he’s sponsored, and discovered that back in 2005, he and a Senator from Arizona co-sponsored a bill that, if passed (it didn’t, thank God), would have required anyone arrested or detained by federal authorities to give a sample of their DNA to be kept in a central database (more info here). You could say that kind of made me less than thrilled about him, and you would be right. So, given that, I decided that even though he’ll win, I needed to throw him under the bus, and I voted Libertarian.

As far as the Presidency goes, I find the whole thing to be way more confusing and frustrating than it has any right to be. Even though I agree in principle with John McCain on some stuff, watching him trying to sell himself as an agent of change and thinking about how far away he is from non-interventionism does nothing at all for me. I probably sound like I’m drinking the New York Times Kool-Aid here, but Sarah Palin absolutely scares me, for multiple reasons. I continue to be amazed at how, to her, it’s apparently quite reasonable that you can be a staunch women’s rights advocate and yet not even support abortion rights for rape or incest victims. That, to me at least, is more frightening and more deserving of media scrutiny than Barack Obama’s connections to a guy like Bill Ayers, when it’s known that everyone has skeletons in their closets, especially politicians, and to try to single out the other guy’s past while also trying to completely absolve yourself is just absurdly transparent.

On the other side, I very much like Obama, just as a gut-feeling, instinctive, one-dude-to-another type of thing, and I’m currently in the process of reading The Audacity Of Hope. He’s intelligent, thoughtful, eloquent, balanced, calm, and you just get the feeling that he likes considering lots of possibilities before making a decision, but even if he was on a truncated timetable, he would still be supremely confident in whatever course he chose. I’m just not sure about how far to the Left he seems to be on certain things, and the idea of having him in the White House, along with a possible filibuster-proof Congress, does make me nervous. Not necessarily from the perspective of “OMG the Democrats are evil and will destroy us all”, but moreso that I’m not sure there has ever been a time in our history when one-party rule has been conducive to the marketplace of ideas. Variety, and our freedom to believe as we wish, is a beautiful thing, and I fear for our immediate future if one party gets drunk with the notion of, at least legally speaking, being able to invalidate, on a completely arbitrary basis, any concepts or legislation put forth from the other. I do like that his health care plan doesn’t mandate that everyone have the coverage, whereas Hillary Clinton’s would have. I’ve got to admit, it would be refreshing having someone as President who’s partisan yet not blinded by his ideology, and who is smart enough to admit that the other side might sometimes have a point. I just wish that grounded sense of policy would extend to his fellow Democrats.

Most polls have Obama ahead, and based on what I have seen and read, it looks like the election is his. I remain quite unsure of where we are going, but our nation is strong, and I do find a sense of satisfaction and happiness in our ability to have a black man in candidacy for the highest office in the land (I’m white, but I despise racism). I will also say that, despite ideological differences, the message he has been broadcasting is quite appealing, as he is correct in the notion that we are, in fact, a better nation than the one the rest of the world has seen the past few years. It was really quite interesting, as far as my voting experience is concerned – when I got to the machine, I found myself wanting to vote for him more than I had anticipated. I didn’t, and I didn’t vote for John McCain either, but just between us, I look forward to what Obama will be able to do for the psyche of our country.

Obama vs. McCain – Bonus Debate Coverage October 15, 2008

Posted by Jordan in College Football, Politics.
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What you are about to read is a transcript of lost footage from the recent Town Hall debate between Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ). Due to time constraints and editorial judgment, moderator Tom Brokaw did not allow certain questions and responses to be aired. However, through shrewd negotiations and outright blackmail, a deal has been brokered a deal allowing a previously unreleased discussion to be released to the blogosphere.

BROKAW: Our next question comes from Randall Kirby of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Mr. Kirby?

KIRBY: Good evening Senators. During this campaign, we’ve heard you talk a lot about the economy and energy and the environment. But neither of you have said one word about one of the greatest injustices in our country: the lack of a college football playoff. If elected, what would you do to reform this system? Thank you.

McCAIN: Thank you, Randall, for that question, and thank you for being a part of this very important debate. And again, I want to thank Tom Brokaw and the fine people of Belmont University –

BROKAW: Senator McCain, you’ve already thanked me five times and Belmont six. Can you move on please?

McCAIN: Ah, yes. Thank you, Tom. My friends, I want to make it clear that this is an issue that I’ve been passionate about for many years. When others in the Washington establishment were content to preen and posture talking about national defense and the environment, I was working behind the scenes to get rid of the BCS. It’s an inefficient, antiquated system, and it needs to go. As president, I would charge Vice President Palin with the responsibility of taking down the BCS and replacing it with a suitable playoff. And I tell you, I can’t think of anyone who is more qualified to overhaul our broken college football system. Just like with the energy issue, she knows more about this topic than anyone alive on planet Earth. And that’s not hyperbole, my friends. It’s just straight talk from this maverick to you, my American friends.

OBAMA: Randall, first I just want to say that I know what you’re going through. As I’ve traveled over this great country, I’ve met a lot of people who share your concern. They’re frustrated. They want change. Their voices just aren’t being heard because the big corporations who run the BCS – and who are supported by George Bush and John McCain – don’t care about the individual college football fan. Now, when you elect me as president, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. First, I’m going to set up a government agency to investigate this issue and come up with responsible, alternative strategies and set hard-and-fast timetables. Now, you won’t hear John talk about timetables. He prefers to keep more of the same old BCS and George Bush policies. He thinks your unhappiness and discontent are “no big deal.” Second, I’m going to increase the taxes on these evil corporations, and return that revenue to our beleaguered college football fans, to provide some relief. They just need a little help during this difficult time. These folks need hope, and we can give that to them. It’s our duty as Americans. Besides, other than change, what’s more important than hope?

BROKAW: Ah, gentlemen, as a follow-up to that issue, how would you handle the inequities inherent in the current system, until an improved system could be implemented? Obviously this is probably the most complex issue facing America today, and nobody here can realistically expect an overnight fix. So what do we do in the interim? Specifically, what do we do with the most egregious abusers of the current system, places like Ohio State and Oklahoma? Senator Obama, you may answer first.

OBAMA: What Ohio State has been doing in the BCS system of late has been nothing short of criminal. As president, I would put together a blue ribbon commission to investigate the BCS and Ohio State for what I consider collusion and conspiracy to commit athletic fraud. While those fat cats in Columbus, Ohio were playing in title games, people from places like Athens, Georgia and Lawrence, Kansas were sitting around their kitchen tables wondering how they were ever going to get a fair shake. The sad truth is that they will never get a fair shake under this corrupt regime. That’s just wrong. These people need to be able to have hope. Hope that change is coming. Don’t you worry, Boise State and Hawaii fans, I have heard your voices. And I am on my way to Washington to bring about the kind of hopeful change that you’ve been hoping would be changed.

McCAIN (glancing at projected electoral map): Now, you see, my friends… Senator Obama is playing the blame game. The fact of the matter is that the state of Ohio is the birthplace of college football, and Ohio State is what all other football programs aspire to be. Senator Obama wants to punish Ohio State for being more successful than the rest, and that’s just his typical liberal mentality. Have I mentioned he has the most liberal voting record in the history of voting records AND liberalism? My friends, now is not the time to unfairly stifle success just to even the playing field for the have-nots. Now is the time to inspire the Floridas and LSUs of the world to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and just try, for once, to compete with Ohio State. Nobody said it would be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. My friends, we can do this, and with Vice President Palin leading the way, the future of college football is as bright as our fundamentally sound economy. Oh, and I don’t give a damn for the whole state of Michigan. O-H! Thank you.

wooooow September 14, 2008

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This, right here, is just amazing:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/14/obama-campaign-confirms-they-raised-66-million-in-august/

Really? REALLY??? SIXTY-SIX MILLION?? That’s mind-blowing! McCain raised $47 million in August, which is a new record for him as well, and who could have possibly predicted that would barely be two-thirds of what Obama raised? I mean, $77 million cash on hand? wow. WOW. This race is just getting crazier and crazier as time goes on, and I can’t believe that Election Day is just over seven weeks away! If I had a candidate that I could actually stand behind comfortably, then I would be all set, but alas, no such luck. It’s looking to be really, REALLY close – it has been my opinion from the beginning that the Palin selection would either really be the shot in the arm that McCain has so desperately needed or it would end up causing the whole thing to crash and burn, and I think, depending on who you ask, that it’s kind of done both so far. She’s really energized a lot of the grassroots conservatives, and McCain has been looking better in the polls, even pulling ahead of Obama by a point or two in some of them. Of course, as far as most Democrats are concerned, McCain could not have ever possibly made a worse choice in a million years, and it’s a tragically obvious sign of his pandering to former Hillary Clinton supporters, even though that reasoning makes no sense whatsoever considering that Palin and Clinton are polar opposites on tons of issues. To go into Hubie Brown mode for a second, if I’m a former Hillary Clinton supporter (which I am not), I’m staying as far away from Palin as I can get.

I finally spent some time on www.factcheck.org earlier, after hearing some buzz about it, and I found it quite interesting. I very much liked the reporting and debunking of statements from both the Left and the Right, with no immediately apparent signs of favoring one or the other. Good to see some sources of information that let people make up their own minds!