the categorical days: Politics

January 20, 2009

A warm welcome

Watching at home

Dan and I had big dreams of going to DC to see the inauguration in person, but after a little research on accommodations and thinking logistically, we decided watching it from afar would be dandy.

And it was.

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November 06, 2008

A bright day

The view from our hotel on the morning of November 5th (see the same vantage during the summer of 2005)

So much to say but no time to write.

Must get busy.

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October 09, 2008

Obama in Dayton

Speaking to the crowd about the economic situation, jobs, health care and responsibility [ + zoom ]

The streets were covered in fog this morning as I drove downtown, hoping to get a chance to hear Barack Obama speak in person.

I did, and it was awesome.

A good chunk of that awesomeness was the crowd; super positive folks of all sorts, congregating with purpose.

If you've heard Barack's most recent speeches, you're already familiar with the thoughts he shared on that baseball diamond this morning in Dayton.

But I know more than a few undecided voters, and these words don't add up to much without action. It's a concern I've heard more than once.

So in an effort to have a better understanding of his experience and accomplishments as a senator, I've collected this information to share:

Barack has 10 years of senate experience (8 state senate, 2 federal)
He has sponsored 136 bills and 145 amendments since Jan 4, 2005.
He has co-sponsored 659 bills and 278 amendments in the same time period.
Two bills have become law (both examples of bipartisan effort):

Coburn-Obama Bill
Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (aka "Google for Government")
Authored by U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), this successful bill created a Google-like search engine and database to track approximately $1 trillion in federal grants, contracts, earmarks and loans. The site is available online at usaspending.gov.

Lugar-Obama Act
The Proliferation and Threat Reduction Initiative

Authored by U.S. Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Barack Obama (D-IL), this successful bill expands U.S. cooperation to destroy conventional weapons. It also expands the State Department's ability to detect and prohibit weapons and materials of mass destruction.

Other notable items authored, under consideration, or passed:

Introduced the Patriot Employer Act of 2007 to provide tax credit to companies that maintain or increase the number of full-time workers in America; maintain their corporate headquarters in America; pay competitive wages; prepare workers for retirement; provide health insurance; and support employees who serve in the military

Introduced the Stop Fraud Act to increase penalties for mortgage fraud and provide more protections for low-income homebuyers

Introduced and passed legislation to create a centralized, federal database to help reunite families displaced by an emergency

Introduced the “Step Up" Plan that was signed into law; addresses achievement gaps in grade schools and provides for summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged children

Co-sponsored the Healthy Kids Act of 2007 and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007 to ensure that more children have affordable health care coverage

Co-introduced comprehensive chemical plant security legislation that would establish a clear set of federal regulations that all plants must follow

Introduced legislation to establish guidelines for tracking, controlling, and accounting for spent fuel at nuclear power plant

Authored legislation to create Teaching Residency Programs to prepare teachers to work in high-need districts

Introduced the Success in the Middle Act, which will provide federal support to improve the education of middle grades in low-performing schools

Sponsored an amendment that became law; provides $40 million for commercialization of a combined flexible fuel vehicle/hybrid car within 5 years

Co-sponsored a measure urging the Department of Health and Human Services to provide clear and reliable information on the Medicare prescription drug benefit and to ensure that Medicare recipients are protected from fraudulent claims by drug plan agents

I'll pose this summary from a moderate philosophy professor to provide some additional context:

(Barack Obama's) bills tend to have the following features: they are good and thoughtful bills that try to solve real problems; they are in general not terribly flashy; and they tend to focus on achieving solutions acceptable to all concerned, not by compromising on principle, but by genuinely trying to craft a solution that everyone can get behind.
- quoted from Obsidian Wings, written in October of 2006
In closing, I do intend to extend the same research on John McCain. It takes some time but worth every while. I'll share my findings before too long.

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September 26, 2008

There's no debating it...

Ike the cat

We're keeping him.

Dan took the little fella to the vet and he checked out fine save for a few fleas.

He's got his shots, a sharp looking collar, and a place in our home.

I promise not to make this a cat blog.

Aside: Watched the other debate... I personally felt McCain had few ideas and little tact. With all those years of experience, I'd expect better judgment.

On the other hand, Barack continues to describe values and vision with a strong worldview. I think he's a top notch candidate.

Current music: Thao & The Get Down, Stay Down "Yes, So On And So On"

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September 02, 2008

My first bumpersticker, and playing the card

I'm going to play the cancer card to tell a story.

I should fess up, I detest the idiomatic phrase to play any card, but it seems to crop up a bit these days--usually to obfuscate a matter. My intention is to shed light on one.

Most folks don't know (or forget) that I was diagnosed with Non-hodgkins Lymphoma over 10 years ago. Long past the date I statistically should have expired, I am still here: Taking pictures, wandering around, enjoying the seasons, and sharing the company of kind folk.

Generally I just try to get by, and do good.

It wasn't always cheery.

Many of these years, the bulk of my income would go to health care or medical costs that my inflated premium did not cover. If you've never had a CT-scan, they're not only uncomfortable, they're really expensive. I was trapped by escalating costs and the inability to shop around because I had what they call a 'pre-existing condition.'

There were the slim years where I'd pay my insurance and didn't have enough to pay for electric--eating out of the cupboard because the fridge wasn't working.

Things are better now. I've got health care coverage through my partner--a fella who loves me and I love right back.

But I'm not about to forget the pain of being trapped by a system that simply does not work.

So when Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination, I listened intently to his speech, applauding loudly in the living room when he said,

"As someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most."
And it wasn't just that part. There were so. many. issues. where I agreed with Barack's values, judgement, and vision.

With my optimism beaten by many months of smears, negative ads and disturbing commentary on and offline, I needed to be reintroduced to these ideals.

"Hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess."
Indeed.

I'm reminded not to waiver. It is not enough to just get by and try to do good. It is time to to roll up my sleeves and find a way to be of service.

The bumpersticker is not just a statement to someone following me on the road--It is a reminder to myself.

However things turn out this election, I need to hold these notions dear. Together, we can make things happen, no matter what cards we're dealt.

If you haven't seen Obama's acceptance speech, you can view it online (43:00 minutes), or download it through iTunes (video | audio).

Curious about Barack's positions on the economy, healthcare, foreign policy or anything else? Visit his website.

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August 06, 2008

The Many Moods of Farrah

cue Charlie's Angels music [ + zoom ]

I spent a chunk of the day moving things around the studio. Loading up the car with flat stacks of cardboard. Making mental note of stock levels and shipping supplies. And sorting things into piles.

So many piles.

I think Tom is secretly bringing out bins of stuff in the middle of the night.

Which, if they contain things like the above pictured "The Many Moods of Farrah," I am not only cool with it, I would encourage such additions.

I think he got this box of Farrah Fawcett doll heads a long time ago at Urban Outfitters, which I had no idea was run by a very wealthy conservative. I suppose I shouldn't let a CEO's politics bother me, but it does. (and I'm well aware it goes both ways.)

In a not so similar vein, did you hear that one about Wal-Mart telling managers that a Democratic win this presidential election would be perilous? This bit of commentary by Daniel Gross on Slate sums up why this might not make much sense:

...during Clinton's presidency, Wal-Mart's stock more than tripled. By contrast, Wal-Mart executives polled in 2000 would have been exultant at the prospect of two George W. Bush terms, especially if they were to be coupled with mostly Republican control of the House and Senate. And yet this decade has been a lost one for Wal-Mart shareholders: In the Bush years, the stock hasn't budged at all. [ source ]
Funny how that works out.

These political notions might put Farrah in a perplexed but affable mood, because that's how I like to imagine she rolls.

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May 07, 2008

property line

This, a view down the street from the studio today

Sometimes I wish politics were this clear cut.

Other times I turn off the TV, radio, avoid newspapers and certain websites.

Wait a minute, politics are this clear cut.
.
Current music: The Rave-Ups "Positively Lost Me"

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March 28, 2008

motorcade

I-675 [ uncrop, zoom out ]

President Bush was in town yesterday. Traveling between a speech about the Iraq war at the Air Force Museum and a fundraiser down the road. We crossed paths, kinda.

Somehow Dan and I managed to get on the highway at the exact point before they shut down all the exits and blocked the turnarounds in the median.

It was downright spooky: Our empty side of the highway and his procession approaching.

As we passed I can't deny a tingling sensation—likely from the notion that a v. powerful person in the world was in such proximity.

I had to respect that.

But I can't deny I felt immediately better when there was some distance between us.

I'm looking forward to some time apart as well.

Current music: The Dears "Lost In The Plot"

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March 05, 2008

Scientology's closed

due to thetans

You might be wondering, what is a thetan? (pronounced THAY-tan)

I was wondering the same thing when I walked to lunch this afternoon. Luckily the Wikipedia has an answer that works as well as Cliffs Notes did back in high school:

When a person dies – or, in Scientology terms, when a thetan abandons its physical body – they go to a "landing station" on the planet Venus, where the thetan is re-implanted and told lies about its past life and its next life. The Venusians take the thetan, "capsule" it, and send it back to Earth to be dumped into the ocean off the coast of California.

Wait a minute. That doesn't sound right at all. Here is how Scientology's "official site" defines it:

Man consists of three parts. The first of these is the spirit, called in Scientology the thetan (from the Greek letter theta, meaning "thought" or "spirit"), which is the individual himself.

The second of these parts is the mind. The thetan uses his mind as a communication and control system between himself and his environment.

The third of these parts is the body. The body is not the person.

The most important of the three parts of man is the thetan, which is the spirit, or you.

In other news, you might be wondering if I'm terribly upset about the results of the primary polling in Ohio yesterday.

No, not terribly.

It's like that bit in Adaptation about love in some strange way. And no, I am not in love with Obama.

But I dig hope.

I can keep that long after the results are tabulated.

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March 04, 2008

In lieu of a lapel sticker

that felt really good

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February 09, 2008

Every kid will pine for stuffed Abe Lincoln in the crane game

Now if they only had a Reagan

Comes with notable quotes on the tag!

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

I hope that comes to fruition some day.

Current music: José González "Slow Moves"

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January 19, 2008

head cleaning

If only everything had a button to diagnose and fix problems, like a printer

I was forwarded an email that spoke quite ill of Barack Obama. One word in particular came to mind when reading it: persecution.

Now it's early in the whole presidential race and I'll wait until things settle before sounding off proper, but I wanted to note this particular bunk. If I had received something about Romney or Huckabee, I would also take it with a grain of salt and seek answers to the best of my ability.

In this scathing email it is written: "We checked this (he's a flag-hating muslim who refuses to say the pledge of allegiance) out on snopes.com. It is factual. Check for yourself."

Not that Snopes is some great trusted source, but I heard mention of this at the last debate. So I went ahead to check and here's what they had to say:

The e-mail in circulation claims "We were told this was checked out on 'snopes.com'. It is factual. Check for yourself." and includes a link to this web site. It's our guess that whoever included that bit was counting on folks to not check, as our article says the opposite.

Here's the link. Mind you, their site has pop-ups and questionable practices in content presentation, but they seem to answer the questions with adequate citation for my comfort.

Just thought I'd share. I figure we'll all be getting our inboxes flooded with this stuff.

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November 08, 2006

Elks Lodge

Celina, OH

I've spent a good part of the evening at the Elks Lodge in Mercer County, Ohio.

It was all about the local race in that room, and there was beer, so I was happy.

For now, I'm just watching FOX News to catch up on the election.

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