Thursday, August 25, 2011

Creepy McCreeperson...

Apparently the Lybian ruler had a "thing" for Condoleeza. Creepy! I wonder if other dictators have albums full of Hillary...or Powell...hidden below their mattresses?
In the ruins of Gadhafi's lair, rebels find album filled with photos of his 'darling' Condoleezza Rice

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adam for Senior Class President!

I'm a political optimist--I always have been. I say that in terms of "politics" (the mess of electing people) not in terms of being a realist or idealist (I'm more of a realist).  When I was in High School, I ran for office three times...and lost three times.

Junior year, I ran for Senior Class President. My date to Prom, Sara, was a shoe-in for ASB President. She was bright (4.0), popular and talented (lead in the school music etc. etc.).  What she didn't see coming was the 1998 high school version of Obama; Travis. Travis was a DIFFERENT popular. He was outside the "clique" and he and his brother, Spencer, were loved by everyone, not just the "cool kids".  Travis was also a member of the local CTK (Christ the King, but we only referred to it as "CTK") and thus had a built-in voting bloc for him.

Sara lost, badly, and decided to then run for Class President--her consolation prize. I was hurt, as she was my friend and knew how badly I wanted to be Class President.  But, I had faith (optimism really) that people would see two things 1. they'd recognize that she didn't REALLY want to be Class President, but only wanted to be on the Student Council and 2. that I "deserved" the position. Why? Because (in my mind) I had been ridiculously involved all four years, but only because I wanted to--I wasn't applying to college so it didn't matter, I didn't need to pad my resume.

In stepped Tom, the football kid, and long story short, Sara and I split our votes and both lost.

Why do I write about this now, 12 years later? (13?) Because as I read about the President, and I read about politics, I'm still an optimist. I still think people will "see through" the bull. They'll SEE that the obstinacy of the Republicans has led to stalled government unable to accomplish anything. They'll see that he HAS compromised (so much so liberal dems don't like him any longer). They'll SEE that the Perry's and Bachmann's of the world are know-nothing blow-hards who have nary a political understanding of the PTA let alone the Presidency--and because of all this, he'll win.

The realist inside me knows that the Tom's and Travis's wait in the wings, and while I'd like to believe otherwise, the general electorate isn't that much more informed, educated or less fickle than my high school.  The last few years have proved that. Buyers remorse over Bush II's second term proved as much. Renee Elmers and Sara Palin re-enforce that.  And so, I hope for the best, but I'm preparing for the worst.

unemployed veteran fix

I was listening to NPR the other day and there was a special about how, while well intentioned, the disclaimer that the VA Home Loan cannot be used for homes that are not "move in ready" is making it harder for Veterans to find homes that are in their price range.  Later, I read an article about how veterans are experiencing higher unemployment rates than the population at large.

One of the reasons for the high unemployment rate is simply that most "job skills" acquired in the Army are just not transferable--so, you can drive a HMMWV, shoot a 249, run quickly and take orders...thanks, but we don't need you in our Fortune 500 and we're scared to have you around kids.

So, I've come up with a genius solution and just need people to fund/implement it:
We hire veterans, and give them useful skills (mostly in the home building field--installing/weatherproofing windows, roofing, flooring, plumbing, electrical etc.). A company is created that signs a contract with foreclosed homes that are NOT move-in ready and work is done gratis by the company on the contingency that only enough work to make a home "move in ready" is done, and that it be sold through the VA Home Loan program.

Bam! We've now hired veterans as well as set up a separate home market for other Veterans to buy homes at a low rate that are "move in ready" that they can then improve upon further if they choose to do so. We help rid the market of a glut of homes that can't be sold and thus help stabilize the economy as well.

I deserve an award or something for this stellar idea...

Two years and what a difference

Does anyone beside me seem to remember almost two years ago exactly when the Democratically controlled Congress was trying to enact Universal Health Care?  They went home for their break and held town hall meetings where all hell broke loose. The Tea Party, just recently established, sent people in to shout down Congressmen.  Despite all evidence to the contrary that this was a "grassroots" organization, the Democratic lawmakers continued to hold their town halls, get shouted down, and returned to DC.  Their constituents, however, were heard.

So, now we have another Congressional recess, and this time things have changed. One house of 1/3 of the government is controlled by the Republicans, but as we all know, this means anything shy of Republicans getting their way on everything means Democrats aren't "compromising".  They are in the middle of their nomination process (well, closer to the beginning) and have a few unpopular issues plaguing them--namely their House passed bill to completely tear down and re-shape Medicare as well as their votes to push the country to the brink of default. 

You'd think they'd be holding town hall meetings to meet their constituents in similar displays of "democracy" and "grassroots" organizing. But, you'd be wrong. Instead, we have the author of the Tea Party/House budget locking his doors, banning cameras and recorders, (unless you can afford the $15 luncheon) and a rash of Republicans (including Ben Quayle) who refuse to allow their voters to question them--unless you can afford to attend a ten dollar a head luncheon (well, $35 a head if you're Ben Quayle, the guy whose political ad was him staring into a camera saying, "Obama is the worst. President. EVER.).

One, Cravaack, was pressured by protesters and will now be holding a town hall tomorrow.

My point? I just think it's funny how before, the Tea Party was the great democratic grassroots wave of American voters here to save the day. Now, two years later when the Republicans are de-facto in power, the voters are to be kept at arms length...unless you represent business groups.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

artistic renderings

Why do so many architectural artistic renderings have things like glowing people and buildings? Am I supposed to assume that if a building/memorial gets built, that we'll all live in TRON or something?

Fox News Doesn’t “Begrudge” Obama A  Vacation…. Except That It Does

Too funny...a synopsis of Fox News reporters begruding the President a vacation while simultaneously saying "I'm not begrudging..."
Fox News Doesn’t “Begrudge” Obama A Vacation…. Except That It Does

lawerly humor...

I don't know if this should be called "passive aggressive", "aggressive aggressive" or just "what happens when you piss off a lawyer and he gets all lawyerly snide on you", but either way it's interesting.

For background, some law school professor started a blog about how Law School is a sham designed to milk students out of their money while improving their own lot. He was later un-anonymousized by someone and then people came out writing about how wrong he was, some of whom got quite ad hominem.  This is his response to one of those guys. Funny...if you catch the humor between the sarcasm.

Bachmann's circular reasoning

There is circular reasoning, then there's CIRCULAR REASONING. This is such a great and perfect example of illogical statements that I had to post it. Here goes, Michelle Bachmann on marriage in-equality:
We all know that marriage is between one man and one woman. If it were two men together, then it wouldn't be one man and one woman, so therefore it wouldn’t be marriage. This reasoning is clear.
Seriously. This woman hopes to be President of the United States of America. People, millions support her. If this is the level of thinking that goes into her Presidential aspirations, I fear for the future if she were to become President. An issue as simple as this, being so poorly construed and thought through, should be evidence that she shouldn't...can' trusted with anything weightier.

As an added logical bonus, I just read the following on a legal blog:

Judge Walker’s extensive findings of fact suggest that this pitched battle over marriage largely emanates from religious believers – he concludes, among other things, that “[r]eligious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”  This is far too simplistic. Public opinion polls show that many religious believers support legal recognition of same-sex relationships. Even religious institutions fail to fall squarely on one side of the issue, with some opposing same-sex marriage legislation while others prepare to celebrate same-sex marriage rites.
I'm sure there's a more official term, but unless I'm mistaken, this is a case of inverse Venn diagrams.

What I mean to write is; Judge Walker didn't write that all religious people are against marriage equality, but that all (most) reasons against marriage equality are religiously motivated.  The difference is important. One is an attack upon a certain class of people (the religious). The other serves to legally nullify the reasoning behind anti-equality laws due to the purpose of the laws being outside the realm of the state.  It's an easy mistake, and one made too often. In fact, I find myself telling people often that they've "got their Venn diagrams backwards." Normally that garners an awkward look since in passing conversation it's a strange thing to say...but it makes sense.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Things I'm reading:

Things I'm reading:
  • Less than a year ago, Governor Perry published a book about governance titled, Fed Up!.  Now, his communications director is realizing what he wrote doesn't sell well. So, how do you backpedal? How about:
    “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix [Social Security].
    Because, clearly, a year has passed, so he's changed quite a bit...or something.
  • My favorite tweet of the day:
  • Not the cause for me being an urbanist, but at least it's evidence to support my already held decision: for every doubling in population density, the population becomes 15% more productive.
  • And evidence to support why marijuana should be legalized, as well as why most people who think like me view the "war on drugs" as an inherently racist endeavor.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

gay is not a diminutive form of straight...

People (like Rick Santorum) who simultaneously say that they "don't hate gays" and/or "respect our decision" but don't support our rights need to face the reality/cognitive dissonance that position puts them in to hold.  Simply put, no one knows better what is real for me than me. I was not: abused as a child, abandoned by my father, coddled by my mother, affected by in utero-drug use, exposed to sex at a young age or any of the many other things that people who AREN'T gay often peg homosexuality upon.

When straight people tell me, things like, "I love you, and support your decision, but we can disagree about this." they are, simply put, wrong. We cannot "disagree about this" if you really love me. Sure, that may sound harsh, but let's examine this in the reverse--

Imagine you were getting married and I told you, "I'm so happy for you." and followed that up with 1. voting against your right to be married 2. donating money to politicians who want to stop you from having children and 3. saying things like, "I support your decision to be straight, but we can disagree about that." where "that" means your being straight to begin with, that means you think my relationship, my love, is either delusional or something "less" than what you have.

It's a fairly simple concept to grasp.  It is, in fact, so simple that it's almost hard to articulate. It's as easy to understand as the need to breathe air or drink water--it's a fact of life.  A persons sexuality simply IS. It's how I was born, it's part of who I am inasmuch as being brown-skinned and dark-haired is. I cannot change it. I did not choose it.  It is not a diminutive version of "normal" or just some "valid choice" it simply IS who I AM.

I know some of you are probably sick of having to read this so often lately, or my political posts about such, and I'm sorry for that. But, the reality is that for those of us who are in this position, it matters not how much love and support I get from friends and family, we are still not equal.

So, therein is the challenge. I'm throwing down the gauntlet. No more conflict, no more speaking out of both sides of your mouth. Either you do, or do not, believe that I am equal with you. If you do not, say so and hold true to that. Tell me "I'm sorry...I'm not happy for you. Your relationship is not just a joke, but a dangerous and self-destructive thing, and I cannot be happy for you." or say, "Congratulations." and stand with us and fight for us.  Why? Because it's the right thing to do.

The issue of equality is too simple, too black and white and too important for me to continue to be as invisible as I have been. Let's settle it now and move on.

Jon Huntsman for Republican sanity!

To my Republican friends...PLEASE SAVE YOUR PARTY and elect Jon Huntsman! He's the sane Conservative who can save your party from self-destruction. You may win the election with someone else, but you'd lose the longer war for responsible governance, sane leadership and a future plan for the country. Jon Huntsman is a smart, experienced and practical politician.  Compare below:
vs. Rick Perry:

If you want a President who adheres to his political beliefs as religious dogma (and blurs the lines between the two at will) then, please, continue to support Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann or Sara Palin. But, if you want someone who can articulate your party's position as well as lead them away from a cliff instead of going off the end to prove a point, then vote Jon Huntsman--the rest of us are waiting for a viable second party and you haven't provided one in years.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I'm reading Andrew Sullivan before work and noticed something that "got me thinking..."

There is this weird sense in America that we want our politicians to "be like us".  At the same time, there is no definition of "us" that fits everyone. One thing I've learned traveling everywhere is how amazingly diverse and different places are.  You don't even have to compare San Diego, CA to Salina, KS, you can look at Manhattan, KS vs. Colby, KS and see a rather amazing diversity of people and cultures.

However, our political culture demands that our politicians do their best to be "average Joe" while at the same time being somehow above average.  What does this cause? It causes things like this:

Now, I'm not saying that Clinton doesn't drink beer, Pawlenty isn't an avid hunter or that Perry doesn't generally at pork chops by hand.  What I'm saying is the political pandering and strong desire to get the image across that this is how they really are when they're off stage is ridiculous.  But, it's all part of the calculation to make sure they seem the most "normal" to widest audience possible.

Obama has never been very good at this--he eats arugula and fancy mustard. 

I was talking to Peter the other day about perceptions of "normal" and what "normal" is in America. He comes from a vastly different background than I.  Even within our subculture (gay) there are variations of "normal" and differences in upbringing.  For Peter, he's always felt "normal" because he went to a school where a teenager could be openly gay.  I did not, so for me, my sexuality will always to some degree make me feel like an "other".

At the same time, I often tweak the more common "square peg" cliche and say I'm an octagonal peg--I don't fit in anywhere.  I'm an atheist who grew up Catholic. I'm a Mexican who doesn't speak Spanish. I'm too brown to fit the WASP expectation that I see in the mall. I'm "butch" enough to have been in the military and graduate West Point, but clearly too "gay" to do so without most people figuring it out without me having to spell it out.  For every group I could associate myself with in the hyphenated-American forms, there's a conflicting side to my upbringing and culture that negates it.

A quick look at our old typical family fourth of July parties would show what I grew up considering "normal" American culture...a family where kids who were almost all half-Mexican and half (take your pick, Taiwanese, American-Indian, Filipino, Polish, or other) would eat Carnitas, wave small American flags and dance to live mariachi music).  It's probably not what most people would consider "normal" American culture, but it was more normal and more American than anything I can think of right now. 

But, how ridiculous would any one of the candidates for President look, standing there with a corona in one hand, small flag in the other and mariachis behind them to celebrate America's birth? Likewise, how silly would I look in an orange jacket holding a rifle, or chugging some typically American beer (side-note, I got laughed at here in Kansas for ordering a Blue Moon).  I may not ever fit the mold of "American", but that's only because the mold is a joke. It's a construct that's devoid of real meaning, but has instead been created and bullet formatted:
  • hunt something
  • drink a beer
  • eat at a diner
  • flag lapel pin
  • end with "and may God Bless America!"
I don't know if this posting has a point other than to share my observation.  In any case, I like my "normal" better--it's more fun and more interesting. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

So Perry is officially in the race.

His combination of ignorance and recklessness will put Bush's to shame were he ever to become elected President. Unfortunately, it seems the time is ripe for just such a person to capture the national sentiment--the masses are looking for someone not with answers, but with guts.  His swagger will mask his lack of substance. He'll be the cowboy version of Palin; low on substance, high on assurances, and both "giving it to God" when nothing else helps.

By way of stating loud and stating early what I think of him:
  • He is a secessionist
  • He is against allowing us to elect our own Senators
  • The budget he championed without raising taxes will have $25 Billion dollar deficit
    • He staved off larger debt by shifting state sponsored education funding to the federal $17 billion
  • He thinks Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional
Those, friends, are the things I know only from reading about him over the last few months. I am sure, if I actually read into his speeches are more, there is a veritable treasure trove of crazy out there.  Republicans, you can do better. Nominate someone who is NOT an ideologue, and who has the ability to lead the country away from the wide-eyed crazies who would have us default on our debt, invade Iran and otherwise push us over the brink of empire.  Please...

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

surprising...or not so, actually.

What would you call a candidate for President who:
  • received more than $250K in government subsidies for a private business
  • secured more than $3.7 million in pork for the district represented in Congress
  • requested bridge and highway projects under the stimulus plan in order to "promote economic prosperity"
Surprising who that description fits. Of course, I doubt the Tea Party or Palin will refer to said candidate as a Socialist or "un-American" because...well...just because.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

random musings on today...

I've had a little to drink. I'm on TDY to TX and have no car, and no computer, so you can imagine that the happy hour at the bar called my name. That being said, I've been watching the news--or what passes as it lately.

Here's my take:
I think it's ridiculous in so many ways that the same party that now claims that the debt is the most crushing thing to America is the same party responsible for most of it. (see chart below)When Rove said, "deficits don't matter" there was a parenthetical unsaid, of "deficits don't matter (unless there's a democratic in charge)".
That being said, after the debt ceiling fiasco (in which, and I'll agree with this assessment, a minority of a party that is in control of 1/3 of the government quite literally held hostage the rest of the country's fiscal stability in order to get their way), I asked some friends if they thought we (the military) could absorb the cuts, and if so how?

The answers were as follows:
  1. Better oversight of budgets and contracts
  2. stop "use it or lose it" funds and ammunition
  3. change promotions and ratings to allow for easier "trimming" of excess personnel
Another thing? The Tea Party is ridiculous. Across the board ridiculous. They're NOT Federalists. How do you know they're ridiculous? When they turn on someone like Alan West as a "communist", then they're ridiculous. Also, when will Palin call him out for calling her and her ilk "schizophrenic"?

defense spending

funny things...

Said at work today:
  • "terroristic"
  • Let's push this noodle up the hill
  • don't try to bite the whole elephant at once
  • "We'll end today's briefings on the military decision making process [a seven hour brief] with an hour on rapid decision making"