Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Charter Schools

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

“Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.” –Barney Frank

There seems to be a large argeement that children should be educated, forcibly if nessecary. There also seems to be an agreement that the community should fund that education through taxes. These are things we’ve clearly chosen to do together. We’ve also traditionally chosen to determine what and how children are taught together. However, based on a recent email thread at work, even ignoring religious issues, there seems to be little to no agreement in what or how children should be taught simple things like subtraction. This indicates that we should decouple what and how education occurs from how it is mandated and funded. This is the best argument for charter schools that I have never heard.

Things the Campaigns Can’t Say

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Romney blasted President Obama in the last debate for “what [he’s] called an apology tour of going to various nations in the Middle East and criticizing America.” Romney clarified what he means by apology tour later, stating, “the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq… And then in those nations and on Arabic TV you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations.” Let’s ignore the fact that when President Obama said, “there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive,” he was actually in France and talking about Europe. Let us assume that he did apologize for America’s actions on Arabic TV. Does Romney remember what president Bush did? Bush was dismissive and derisive over other nations and certainly never did America’s popularity in the world any favors. Also, Bush delivered Iraq an unlitmatium leading to war in 2003. If an unlitmatium to Iraq is not dictating to other nations, then I don’t know what is. In 2008 one of President Obama’s strengths was that he would fix American’s foreign policy. Bush did so much damage to our relationships worldwide that a global apology tour was demanded by the circumstances! It’s actually too bad President Obama didn’t go on one, at least out side of Europe.

In the second debate Romney said “I can tell you that if you were to elect President Obama, you know what you’re going to get,” while describing that President Obama would deliver “a repeat of the last four years. We just can’t afford four more years like the last four years.” The repeat of the last four years, of course, is not correct, for a variety of reasons, but I do think Romney hit the nail on the head with the first part. “I can tell you that if you were to elect President Obama, you know what you’re going to get.” The same quote certainly can not be said about Romney. Romney’s policies have been all over the map. They change day to day, place to place, and it seems like sometimes he makes them up during the debate. There is no telling what policy’s he’d actually enact if he were President.

Don’t Blame Massachusetts

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

We sent a 10 out of 10 democrat delegation to the U.S. House today! Way to go M.A. If only more people lived, here then we could have done more to help. Trust me, I am doing my part, I have 4 room mates in a 4 bedroom house (plus me).

This is proof that:

  • We still love Obama.
  • Only Martha Coakley could have lost to Scott Brown.
  • Mike Capuano (my representative) still rocks! No one even had the balls to run against him in this year of “change.”

So, I don’t want to hear any whining when nothing gets done for the next 2 years. On the plus side Nancy Pelosi is out; if only she could be replaced by someone reasonable, and not John Bohner who’s just as damn fucking crazy as she is. Oh I wish every day was a rally4sanity.


Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

The Justice Department under president Obama has asked for a stay of execution while they appeal Judge Virginia Phillips’s ruling overthrowing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. What the fuck, Obama! This is exactly what is wrong with you. You have said, repeatedly that “This policy will end and it will end on my watch,” but yet you are now extending the policy, not ending it. This is an example of why your base is not energized in this election. You are going out of your way to fail to do what you promised. You’re recent defense, is no defense at all:

“I can’t simply ignore laws that are out there,” he said. “I have got to work to make sure that they are changed.”

This is true, however, laws can be changed in 2 ways: via congress passing new superseding laws, or via the judicial branch striking down unjust, unconstitutional laws. You have control (well maybe) over the first method, so that’s normally how things are done, but the second method is equally valid. Every law does not have to be defended all the way to the supreme court. It is perfectly legal for a law to be struck down, and the Justice Department to choose not to appeal the loss. We, your supporters all agree this is a bad law and it needs to go, so just let it go, quietly into the night without a fight. Without letting John McCain filibuster any attempt to change it; he can’t filibuster an already finished court decision. By appealing the decision you make this an issue, when it should not be, and you allow for the ruling to be overturned.

At the very least, don’t ask for a stay of execution. A law that you have every intention of repealing was declared unconstitutional by a court and the judgment was that it should not be enforced starting immediately. You like this decision! If you feel you have some legal obligation to appeal this favorable ruling all the way to supreme court, you can at least ensure that the law is not enforced, by simply doing nothing. Thousands of laws are not enforced every day, laws that are perfectly legal. Let this, declared illegal law not be enforced legally by not asking for a stay. You’re just going to repeal it anyways.

Imagine, if you will, that during George W. Bush’s presidency this same court overturned a law that George Bush intended to repeal. He would praise the court for this rare instance of sound judgment amid a tide of judicial activism, and that would be that. He would set aside his claims of legislating from the bench for a few months (ok, days). If questioned on the apparent conflict in his reasoning, he would ignore the question. This is because what he wanted to happen, happened. This sort of thing results in a lot of awfulness, but it does do one thing well: It ensures that you are not the reason that you fail to succeed on your own priorities. I appreciate the thoughtfulness and the duty to the law, but if you want the American people to think that your are getting things done, you need to stop fighting against yourself, and occasionally ask yourself “What Would George W. Bush Do?” At least when it serves the good of the country in a minor, and legal way.

Offshore Oil Drilling

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

2010 Gulf Oil Spill

It is a huge embarrassment for US President Barack Obama that he proposed – admittedly under pressure from the Republican opposition – to expand offshore oil drilling greatly just before the BP catastrophe struck.

I didn’t make a post about it at the time, but I never understood why he did this. He pushed his health care package through congress without considering anything else for almost a year, and then, as soon as he got what he wanted (or as close as he could ever get to what he wanted) then he decided to appease his opponents. I could understand it if he tried to appease his opponents by throwing them this bone in order to get some leverage for the health care debate, and maybe that is what actually happened behind closed doors. I doubt it though, because if that was the deal, some embattled senator somewhere would have used that as a reason to support the “unpopular” health care bill. I can’t fathom what made him change his mind about drilling.

Back when the story about Obama being for drilling first broke and during the election, I was not against offshore drilling. What I am against is “drill baby drill” as a solution to our energy crisis. As covered in this long ago post about a talk given by a chief BP scientist that I was at:

[Given the] types and quantities of unconventional oil [that] are available at [certain] price points… [and] if the world can handle stable $140 a barrel oil there are literally trillions of barrels of unconventional oil that are profitable.

Some of that oil is deep under the ocean, and I’m sure that we will someday need it. To get it, we have to pay for it with higher prices. Apparently we also risk what is currently occurring. The point is that we don’t need it now. Luckily the spill did happen, and despite the fact that it made my guy look pretty stupid, and could easily destroy much of the environment and economy right where I grew up, it may propel us in the right direction.

Now all bets are off. In the United States, offshore drilling seems set to go the way of nuclear power, with new projects being shelved for decades. And, as is often the case, a crisis in one country may go global, with many other countries radically scaling back off-shore and out-of-bounds projects.

What we do, in fact, need are artificially high energy prices, not all at once, but gradually, forcing us to follow a more sustainable path. It’s awful that this spill had to occur to show the opposition and Obama what a folly it is to drill more now, but if it leads to higher energy prices in the long run maybe some good will have come of it.

The Coakley Problem

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Compare the maps:

2008 Presidential

2009 Special Election Dem.

The Coakley problem, I think, is evident in the maps. Compare the the green, Capuano to the darkest blue Obama supporters. They are the same places, the same people. The problem is not that even Massachusetts democrats are feel abandoned, betrayed, or have been dissatisfied by Obama. The problem is that people concerned about improving government, people who want the bickering to end and the government to get things done (Obama supporters) have been left without a candidate to vote for. I think the maps make it clear, that most of the deepest blue Obama supporters wanted Capuano.

How did we not end up with him? Maybe Khazei and Pagliuca were spoilers. I know that if I was not so worried about Coakley winning, I would have gone with Khazei. Of course, that is only because Capuano is already representing me. But I don’t think Pagliuca really spoiled a lot of Capuano’s votes, so maybe this is where the disenfranchisement came into play, with a low voter turn out in the primary. At the very least, it was the primary that was a referendum on Obama, not tomorrows election.

Tomorrows election is about people choosing between a lesser of two evils. A common political problem, but one not faced by democrats in Massachusetts in an election of national importance in quite a while. Despite his general lack of appeal, John Kerry remains a loved and elected senator here. I gleefully voted for Ted Kennedy last time, and Obama saved us from a disappointing choice in 2008. Of course, Capuano is already my elected representative; how lucky that I get to vote for someone who voted against telecom immunity and stands by that vote. That gets us all the way through the decade; we are not used to bad choices. That is what all the fretting up here, which is real, is all about.

Yes it sucks. Yes you have to vote Coakley

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

How the hell did she win the primary! She is one of those Nancy Polosi types, an epitome of whats wrong with the Democratic party. Not so much a thinker as a left wing reactionary. Oh how wonderful it would be if Mike Capuano or even better Alan Khazei were our choice. But, as much as I hate to admit it, blue mass group is right:

Let’s get this out of the way. You might not want to vote for Martha Coakley. You might think she deserves what’s she’s getting after an absentee, self-satisfied campaign (why should I bail her out?). You likely want to send a message to everyone from the attorney general all the way to every Democratic official in Washington, DC. Odds are you didn’t vote for her in the primary. And, you might be wondering if it’ll make a difference who wins this Tuesday.

You got every reason to be pissed, but it needs to be clear: not voting for Coakley is the same as voting for Brown. And voting for Brown is a very, very bad thing.

I’m not sure I agree with the rest of their points in the article, but at least we agree that we have been forced to send the wrong woman to congress.

Can we do that every week?

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Wow. The president of the United States just spent an hour of live national television to answer reporter’s questions. I have only one question, “Can we do that every week?” This is exactly the type of change that I was hoping for when I started advocating for Obama more than a year ago. I’ll admit that he didn’t answer every question, and I’ll be the first to admit that his answer to the first question was more like speech part two than an answer. However, I can not recall the last time a president took live questions of this magnitude. I can’t wait to hear what Jon Stewart has to say about it.


Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

My dad told me recently, since the election, that he was yet to see this change that “has come to America.” I disagree, but not because I see a grand change to the country, but a small change in myself. I noticed myself reading Ron Paul’s article on where the GOP should go on CNN today. I have agreed with some of his ideas before, and I’m interested to see if he can lead the GOP out of the culture war and into libertarianism, because I think I could support something like that, and I’d like to see it happen. I caught myself, a life long democrat, a bit surprised. You see, now things are scary.

Now, for the first time in my adult life I’m politically without a safety net. I turned 18 during Bush’s first term in office. I had no say in that first contest, and could not be blamed, but already I could cite “I told you so” in my defense. Anything, and everything Bush did wrong was tempered by the fact that he was the other guy, and it was the guy the other people chose who was being so stupid, power hungry, disrespectful of the rule of law and the constitution, ineffective, and wrong. Through it all there was a tinge of rude laughter, “I told you so.” I saw a video during the campaign of a female republican pundit who claimed again and again that no one could see the disasters of the Bush presidency ahead of time. On each issue she broached, I made note that I had seen it coming. Save for the financial crisis of the current year, I did not see that coming, but I don’t attribute it to Bush in any meaningful way either. To be clear, I didn’t see it all in 2000, but I saw it all before it happened.

Now things have changed. If Obama screws up I can not hide behind my cynicism as I have advocated publicly for him. If he leads the country down the wrong path then I am partly to blame. It’s a small part, but it leaves some small part of me looking for the next idea to hide behind. But I can not; I have only to sit in a metaphorical corner crying “Oh shit, what have I done” should he make the wrong choices. That or take solace in the belief that the other guy would have done no better. That doesn’t seem like a message of hope, it is a fear of failure. When all there is, is hope, the fear of failure is small, when a beacon of hope arrives the chance of failure comes with it and the tinge of fear that we won’t be able to make the change is itself a change.

Election Something on the Way

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

I’ll have something to say on the election, I just don’t know quite what it is yet, something along the lines of On Being a Millennial. Also, It seems that my North Carolina prediction is on the cusp of coming true, if they ever call that darn state. But really, my prediction was that Ohio would continue to fail and that North Carolina was way around that problem. Which, is not what happened, and for that I offer big Thank You to Ohio and to all my friends and family there. Also, Indiana, I really, I just didn’t know you had it in you, you’ve blown my mind (and it was good). While I write an actual response to the election I ofter you this image, from digg, described as the “Saddest Picture You’ll See All Day:”


North Carolina has finally been called, for Obama, as predicted! Also, I was thinking, whichever Gilmore Girls writer decided to have Rory follow Obama on the campaign trail as her fictional post college job, good show.