What I wish I had said…

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
— President Barack Obama, during his inaugural address

So that one paragraph pretty much said everything I meant yesterday. I absolutely love it, and I hope that this goal is put into action. Especially all of that stuff in the second half.

And this is a damn good start in my book:

Nostalgia Tuesday Politics

Nostalgia Tuesday: YES WE CAN

Straight Outta Gotham

I’ve usually avoided talking plainly and openly about mainstream politics on this blog. It’s not that I’m not politically-minded. It’s just that I prefer to keep this place lighthearted and upbeat. And well, when you start talking politics….

But despite that, I’m going to go that direction now. I may ramble, so please forgive me.

In the fourth grade I wanted to grow up to be the US ambassador to the U.N. and figure out solutions to all the world’s problems. I planned on convincing the Russians to get together with the Italians to make nuclear powered Lamborghini Countaches instead of missiles. I studied Churchill and Lincoln so I could learn from the good guys. I read Mein Kampf so I could try to understand the bad guys. I browsed through almanacs and atlases like most normal people consume Us Weekly.

This is not to say that I wandered around the library at Wood Elementary with my rose colored glasses held together with Scotch tape and a Bob Dole commemorative pen in my pocket protector. While our Social Studies civics lessons may have told us how the political system was SUPPOSED to work, my politics were shaped just as much by Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Dennis Miller, Johnny Carson and Lewis Grizzard, who once said, “In North Carolina, they put slaw on barbecue and God sent them Jesse Helms as punishment.”

I was well aware that Washington was, is, and likely always will be an absurd town full of professional crooks and liars. (And not very good ones at that.)

I’ve always considered myself a conservative. But I don’t think that still means the same thing these days.

Being a conservative used to mean a strong belief in the separation of church and state. Being a conservative used to mean cutting spending THEN cutting taxes. (In that order.) It meant keeping the government out of your private life. Conservatism was the foundation of civil liberties, and the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to protect the people from the ambitions of their government. And those Amendments were demands, not suggestions.

But accountability and credibility are, and always will be, more important to me than any single piece of public policy. It’s about character more than it will ever be about ideology.

For that reason, before 2008 I had never voted for a Presidential candidate who won their election.

But this year I am celebrating.

Fairly early on, before the primaries were even in full swing, I knew that Barack Obama was going to be my candidate, and eventually my President this time around. And this is coming from someone who voted for John McCain TWICE before.

I fully understand that Barack Obama may represent an ideal more than a reality. (In fact, I was mightily disappointed with his vote on warrantless wiretapping towards the end of his tenure in the Senate.)

But I still have high hopes for the next 4-8 years. And I don’t just mean hope that we will climb out of the economic pit we’ve dug ourselves into, or that we might find some way to extract ourselves from the quagmires we’ve built for ourselves overseas.

I believe that this election proved that our nation rose up to voice its yearning for something better from the system, rather than just ambivalently accepting the lesser of two evils. I hope that we will find that the faith and trust we place in our elected leaders will be rewarded.

As always, I have my doubts and anxieties about our bureaucratic machine. But for the first time since I thought I was going to be directly involved in the process myself, I’m truly excited about the opportunity we have to do things right this time around.

… It’s a good thing I still have the Texas Rangers, college football and the music industry as outlets for my deep well of cynicism.

Good luck, Mr. President. Don’t let me down.


Bailout passes. Cats and dogs! Living together! Mass hysteria!

This bailout deal stinks, and Congress should be ashamed of themselves. Both sides. Every stinking one of them.

Do you realize that both Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh actually AGREE WITH EACH OTHER that this thing is a swindle? Sure their reasoning is different, and they blame different people, but they both think this thing is a scam. And seriously, the Pope and the Ayatollah are more likely to agree than these two.

Yes, this is bad. Old Testament. Real wrath of God type shit.

We should vote all of those bums out of office. We just got taken for a ride.


I’m sorry, but we need better than this

CBS will make you sit through a commercial, but you need to watch this video. Doesn’t it remind you of the second video here?
Watch CBS Videos Online

Now, I don’t mean to pick on her, but this is the second time she’s had to answer this question. And after the last disaster, she’s had more than enough time to come up with (or be coached to say) something smart. I’ve voted for McCain TWICE before. But I’m be afraid to vote for him with Palin as his running mate. The idea of her as president just scares the bajeezus out of me now.

From the hip Geeky stuff Politics

3 things I do that are killing the planet and don’t intend to stop doing

Yes, he's doing exactly what you think he's doing

Yesterday was Earth Day.

The internets were full of all sorts of handy tips of everyday things you can do to save resources and save the planet — things like turning the water off while you brush your teeth or keeping your tires properly inflated.

For the most part, I’m fairly environmentally conscious. I reuse and recycle just about everything I can. I don’t buy bottled water. I avoid plastic bags whenever I’m shopping. (Seriously, dude at 7-11, don’t put my single pack of gum in a bag!) I leave my thermostat set a couple of degrees higher than most people in the summer and lower in the winter.

With all that said, I’m going to use this post to make three confessions. I have a a few habits that many would consider environmentally unsound, but I do them anyway. And I have no plans of changing.

1 – I take really long showers.
We’re talking “until the hot water runs out” long. The shower is a sacred retreat. There are few places more comforting to me than the “think tank.” I love the steam. I love the white noise. I love the lack of distractions. I can’t hear the phone. I can’t hear the doorbell. I can’t hear the cars pass by on Park Springs Boulevard. I love the shower. You can take my steamy, hot shower away when you pry the loofah from my cold, dead, pruney hands.

2 – I drive a bigass pickup truck.
Well, there might be a little remorse here. It’s not so much that I wouldn’t rather be driving a smaller truck, but that I couldn’t cost justify it. And sadly, the “smaller” trucks these days (a) really aren’t that much smaller and (b) don’t get significantly better gas mileage. Put a new Dodge Dakota next to the old Chevy LUV pickup I drove in high school and you’ll see what I mean. When you combined the higher resale value, better utility, and the ability to actually FIND them here in Texas, the bigger truck just made a lot more sense. (Seriously, most dealers don’t even bother stocking the small trucks around here. Go figure.) All in all, I’d love it if they brought back the LUV. That was a great, economical little truck. But when I can get 20mpg in my Sierra, the “mid-size” options just don’t make much sense. I should also point out that I don’t commute. I work at home, so the truck hardly gets many miles put on it anyway. So far I’m on pace to keep the odometer in the four digit range all year long.

3 – I eat cows. Lots of them.
Cows are tasty. Supposedly they consume a disproportionate amount of natural resources, and I think for cows that spend their entire lives on feed lots eating imported grain there may be some truth to that. But seriously people, have you eaten grass-fed beef? Have you had a thick steak grilled over an open fire until it was a nice juicy red medium rare in the middle? If you’ve only been eating “well done” beef, you may as well have been eating charcoal, anyway. You go ahead and switch to a vegetarian diet. I’ll eat your cows for you.

Photography Politics

Bo Nash

The Candidate You Can Trust …

… to not bother shaving

Photography Politics Sports Stupidity in action

I just flew in from Chicago and boy are my arms tired

I just got in from Chicago. I took some pictures while I was there. (See them here.) Worked. Hung out with Sophie and Chris. Met a person with Alton Brown’s phone number in their cell phone. All in all a great trip. I’m freaking exhausted.

I rode the L a bunch while in Chicago and it made me think about how sad it is that I live in the largest city in the United States without any form of public transit. How can Arlington have a major league baseball stadium and soon be home to the most popular franchise in the NFL, yet still not have a convenient way for people to get to the games?

While in San Francisco last weekend I rode the Muni to the Giants game. It was ridiculously convenient, and if I lived in that city I’d go to games all the time. I used to have season tickets to the Rangers, but not only has the product on the field not really been worth watching lately, but when you also factor in that you have no choice but to drive to the game and pay ten bucks to park on top of the ticket, it hardly seems worth it. (Especially in the summer heat.)

If I could ride a bus from the “park and ride” down the street from my house for a couple of bucks, that would make the ball game a much more enticing night out.

And that’s just a selfish and frivolous reason it would be nice to have public transit. I won’t even get into the economic and environmental reasons why it’s such an important thing to do.

It’s pretty rare that I’m embarrassed for this city. But this is one of those times.

Politics Stupidity in action

Why we should demand voting machines with auditable paper trails

I’m not one of those guys who thinks that someone could get away with maliciously swinging an election by monkeying with electronic voting results. This isn’t because I believe it can’t happen. It’s because I believe that it would be really hard for someone to keep it a secret.

Nope. I’m not worried about the conspiracy theory kind of crap. I’m worried about something far, far simpler.

Here’s why I believe we need paper trails on our voting machines:

People screw up.

Check out THIS STORY (from CNN) about a computer technician in Alaska who accidentally deleted nine months worth of data concerning the Alaska Permanent Fund. The APF is a fund that distributes oil revenues to the citizens of the state. For the rest of us, this would be like the IRS accidentally deleting all of the records for every person’s tax refund in your state.

Nine months worth of information concerning the yearly payout from the Alaska Permanent Fund was gone: some 800,000 electronic images that had been painstakingly scanned into the system months earlier, the 2006 paper applications that people had either mailed in or filed over the counter, and supporting documentation such as birth certificates and proof of residence.

And the only backup was the paperwork itself — stored in more than 300 cardboard boxes.

According to this article, it cost over $220,000 in overtime and contractor fees to recreate the data from the paper record. Imagine what the cost would have been if the paper didn’t exist at all. What would your options even be?

Think … What would it cost to have a “do over” election?

Brilliance in Marketing Politics

Lame holiday gift idea #576

Stupid stocking stuffer idea

This is the start of an ad that was in an email I got today from the North Texas Tollway Authority.

I’m not sure what’s crappier, the mere concept of a TollTag as a stocking stuffer, or the suggestion that it’s okay to be a cheap bastard and just “get someone started on the road to savings with a new account.”

I dunno, but to me that feels just one step short of saying, “Merry Christmas! I filled out one of those credit card applications you got in the mail for you!”

Note to family and friends: This is not what I want for Christmas.

Note to federal, state and local governments: Cut this crap out. We’re not your consumers or customers, we’re your citizens. Also, a toll road is a (sometimes) necessary civil project, not a luxury good.


Okay, the more I thought about it, the above post seemed really crabby, and while I don’t take back a word I said (yet) I do think it’s only right to provide a little positive balance. I’ve been watching a lot of My Name is Earl lately, and I think Karma would appreciate it. So, below is a link to what I think is an example of honest-to-God GOOD marketing of an actual luxury good. (And note to the family: This makes an excellent stocking stuffer idea!)

Nostalgia Tuesday Politics

Nostalgia Tuesday: Why you should go vote today

This picture was from my first “sleepover” birthday party. I believe this was in the second grade. As you can tell, we were some crazy mofos.

So what does this have to do with election day? Not much, except you should keep in mind that these crazy mofos have been old enough to vote for over a decade now. Think your vote’s not important? For every one of you, there are four nutjobs like these with a ballot and intent.

Or, alternatively, you could look at it this way … your vote is needed to counteract the poor judgment of the parents who got these obviously deranged kids hopped up on ice cream and caffiene resulting in THIS picture:

In retrospect, my parents probably realized this was a bad idea