Tag Archives: barack obama

Booty Calls for Reform

For over a year, I have been receiving emails from BarackObama.com.  I’ve received all types of messages, from ones imploring me to vote, defending TARP, and refuting “scare tactics”… to other messages peddling Obama holiday mugs.

On Monday, I received the following e-mail from Jeremy Bird at BarackObama.com: “Your place Wednesday night?”  Whoa.  Easy now, slugger.  I expect to get these types of messages from Match.com and spammers selling fake Viagara, but not from Barack Obama.  

I realize that Obama’s image has taken a hit with the recent town halls, but trying to seduce your followers with cutesy e-mails about healthcare reform might not help.  I half-expected to see an emoticon wink at me in the subject line, followed by a message flaunting “Booty Call for Reform” mugs.

I’m hoping that Obama’s speech will help Americans better understand healthcare reform, including me.  And yes, Jeremy, I’ll be at my place tonight. 😉

obama-healthcare

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I’m Not a Hater, I Just Fuss a Lot

Back when George W. Bush was President, I would often lament the sorry state of American politics.  Twice we had elected a man who could not form grammatically correct sentences.  We had handed over top security codes to a guy who couldn’t pronounce “nuclear.”  And yesterday, we found out that the Bushie administration had tried to yo-yo with our emotions by manipulating the terror alert system:  “Let’s bump it up to Code Orange during the holiday weekend, just to clear out traffic on the roads.  Dick Cheney has a hunting trip.”

bushSo for eight years, I stewed.  I vented.  I called G-Dubs every synonym of “idiot” in the English language.  And I widely expressed my belief that W. was possibly the worst president in the history of our country, which is saying quite a lot, given the legendary ineptitude of Warren G. Harding.

But after Obama was elected president, I figured I would have no more need to complain.  Americans had finally come around.  I was proud that we were smart enough, bold enough, and progressive enough to elect Obama.  My hating would end.

It did not.

Now that Obama is President, I am lodging my complaints at complainers: birthers, neocons, fans of FOX News, Palins, gun nuts, and insurance executives.  Instead of disaparaging the White House, I am turning around and throwing spitballs at the American public instead (except for the ones carrying assault rifles).

But really: Are we seriously that stupid to think the government will kill off the elderly through “death panels”?  That universal healthcare will necessarily lead to hospitals overrun with illegal immigrants?  That Obama’s parents decided to fly from Hawaii to Kenya, just so their baby boy could reap the rewards of Kenyan citizenship?  Come on, people!

In the end, I suppose I’ll never be at ease unless I have no one to criticize.  Now that Bush has retired to his new Texas farm life, I’ve found new targets for my parting shots.  So Glenn Beck, Whole Foods, and town-hall wingnuts, beware.  I’ll be on the attack with my socialist, Nazi-fed, Grandma-killing ideas.  And if you’re part of the birther movement, I’m calling a terr0r-alert audible: we’re moving this up to a Code Red.

TERRORALERT

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The Impact of Santa Claus on Afghanistan’s Presidential Election

In the past few weeks, we’ve heard from Americans who are afraid of what’s happening in this country.  People are mad (and confused) about healthcare reform.  We’re concerned that the administration is leading us down the wrong path. With a government full of communists, illegal immigrants, Nazis, and Kenyans, perhaps our fear is justified.

Well, on the day of the Afghanistan presidential election, here is one more group whom we should fear: men with beards.

Yup, beards.  As in, chin warmers, mustache buddies, and neck rugs.

ahmadinejadWhy should we fear facial hair?  Personally, I believe that beards reflect poor judgment.  It’s coarse, it gathers crumbs, and it rarely makes one more attractive.  It also seems terribly uncomfortable: especially in the summer, I imagine it’s like wearing a fur hat around your face.  (If Santa Claus lived in Miami, he wouldn’t need a beard.)  So naturally, people who choose to have beards are either a) irrational, b) trying to hide something, or c) preparing for Christmastime.

nobeardMy beard theory is grounded in strict empirical evidence.  For example, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a world leader with a beard.  Barack Obama doesn’t have one, Gordon Brown doesn’t have one, and Angela Merkel (hopefully) can’t grow one.  I could think of only one significant bearded world leader, and that’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the crazy President of Iran.  (See?  Beard = bad judgment = psychotic dictator of Iran.  The transitive properties of mathematics don’t lie.)  If you think it’s a cultural thing, just check out the clean-shaven faces of other Muslim leaders: Zardari of Pakistan, Talabani of Iraq, and Mubarak of Egypt.  And while Kim Jong Il proves that beardless men can be psychotic dictators too, it’s never a sure thing unless you have a beard (see below).

bharrisonAre there exceptions to the rule?  Of course.  But at the very least, having a beard is just bad luck.  The last U.S. president to have a beard took office over a century ago.  Unsurprisingly, Benjamin Harrison (1881) is probably one of the most obscure presidents ever.  Before him, James Garfield had been the most recent President with a beard.  Out of 47 U.S. presidents, only five had beards, and both Lincoln and Garfield were shot and killed.

afghanistan copyThis is what makes the Afghanistan election so troubling.  Two of the three top contenders in the race have beards.  Incumbent President Hamid Karzai has overseen his corrupt regime with a full face beard.  Abdullah Abdullah, a former Afghan foreign minister and eye doctor, has a rapidly graying beard and very few friends in Washington.  The only beardless contender is longshot Ashraf Ghani, who has a Ph.D from Columbia, a resume that includes a stint at the World Bank, and a puff piece in the New York Times.

So, Afghanistan, what’s it going to be?  Five more years of furry faces, or a pick that will shock the world?

beardstimeless

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Defending Our Right to (Grizzly) Bear Arms

Back in May, at the White House press correspondents’ dinner, Barack Obama praised his wife Michelle, who was wearing a sleeveless dress.  He joked, “No matter which party you belong to, you agree that Michelle has the right to bare arms.”

It’s three months later, and for some reason, no one finds the Second Amendment funny anymore.

bear-arms

Maybe it’s because protesters are showing up at town hall rallies not only with handguns, but now, with assault rifles.  What’s next, grenade launchers and howitzers?  Maybe it’s because the same protesters are carrying signs urging us to refresh the “tree of liberty…with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”  This metaphorical tree seems awfully high-maintenance.

Or maybe it’s because the rationale for bringing a semi-automatic weapon to a public event is just too simple:  “Because I can,” said one man carrying an AR-15 at Obama’s town hall in Arizona.

Who came up with this crazy amendment?

Some of the reasons for our right to bear arms seem awfully outdated.  Perhaps “self-defense” may still apply in some cases…but I’m guessing that “slave control” is no longer used as an argument.

From news reports, it appears that most of our gun-toting friends are against Obama’s healthcare plan.  That’s not a huge surprise: conservatives and guns go together like peas and carrots, red meat and huntin’, God and NASCAR.  Softy liberals like Obama are trying to convince people with logic and common sense; heat-packin’ conservatives just prefer to shoot their opponents.  So, I can see why the Second Amendment doesn’t play with a laugh track anymore.

The GOP has made it clear that bringing guns to these healthcare debates is justified: then again, they’ve also embraced alarmist terms like “death panels,” launched ads about Obama euthanizing Grandma, and made allusions to socialism, communism, and America turning into Russia.  If I didn’t have a lefty conscience, I’d be chasing Obama around with a Golden Gun too.

levi-andyAt least in recent days, conservatives have diversified their attack.  Now, they have a song (“Grandma Got Run Over By Obama”) and dance (former House majority leader Tom DeLay just confirmed that he will be on next season’s Dancing with the Stars).  And today, Bristol Palin’s baby daddy said he’d pose nude for money.  Perhaps Levi, the “prolific baby maker,” needs more artillery for sheep hunting.

But hey, in this country, we still have the right to bare arms.

———

Grandma Got Run Over By Obama:

Grandma got run over by Obama
Walking to the doctor’s without leave
You can say there’s no such thing as rationing
But as for me and Grandpa we believe

She’d been seeing Doc quite often
For her heart and lumbago
But one day she got a letter
Saying “sacrifice yourself; it’s time to go”

They found her DOA that mornin’
At the scene of the attack
“Rejected” stamped upon her forehead
And an incriminatin’ O upon her back

Grandma got run over by Obama
Walking to the doctor’s without leave
You can say there’s no such thing as rationing
But as for me and Grandpa we believe

Now we’re all so proud of Grandpa
They don’t have him on the run
See him in there watchin’ NASCAR
And clinging bitterly to God and guns

It’s just not the same without Grandma
She was too young to be whacked
Only 70 on her next birthday
But too old according to The One’s contract

Grandma got run over by Obama
Walking to the doctor’s without leave
You can say there’s no such thing as rationing
But as for me and Grandpa we believe

Now the funeral is over
And the family’s steeped in gloom
And now ACORN’s at the front door
Taking stock of Grandpa’s empty extra room

I’ve warned all my friends and neighbors
Better watch out for your health
We should never have elected
A man whose main concern is spreading wealth

Grandma got run over by Obama
Walking to the doctor’s without leave
You can say there’s no such thing as rationing
But as for me and Grandpa we believe!

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Healthcare Reform for The Old and the Lethargic

During the past week, we found out about two high-profile affairs (Rick Pitino and Bernie Madoff), learned the fate of two embattled NFL athletes (Michael Vick and Donte Stallworth), and watched as Miley Cyrus danced on a stripper pole.  Yes, the second week of August had sex, sports, and scandal…

And yet, all anyone wants to talk about is healthcare reform. (That makes me happy, even if it means we have to hear from people like Katy Abram.)

daysofourlivesOf course, healthcare reform has been a pretty juicy topic.  Much of the past week was a soap opera of sorts, with quite a bit of melodramatic yelling, crying, and confusion.  Did Barack put out a hit on Sarah Palin’s son?  Did Chuck Grassley just stab Barack in the back?  Are Sarah and Chuck getting it on in the Aetna executive boardroom?

Like every good soap opera, we have an array of villains and the constant threat of violence (thanks Second Amendment!).   But unlike currently televised soap operas where it’s easy to spot the villain (it’s the man with the bulging neck), the healthcare reform soap leaves it up to you.  Are you convinced that wily Sarah is making up incendiary lies to discredit Barack?  Or do you think Barack wants to euthanize the elderly?  It’s a tough call.

Either way, I’m excited to see how this ends.  Will Sarah’s premonition come true in Guiding (Grandma’s) Light?  Will we see Chuck and Barack make up in One Life to Give?  Will our universal healthcare plan see defeat in As the World Turns Socialist?

I know one thing: this is way more exciting than General Hospital.

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The Friend Bullseye

On this blog, we have talked about how important our friends are.  Well…actually, we have discussed categorizing our friends in a modern-day feudal system made up of serfs, peasants, and nobles.  Given that references to the Middle Ages may seem somewhat archaic, I have revised our friend-stratification strategy.   Introducing, the Friend Bullseye:

friendbullseye

As an example, I have taken on the patriotic duty of filling this out for President Barack Obama.  There were a few question marks on Barry’s bullseye: For example, is Tim Geithner a “work friend”, a “convenient friend”, or just a poor-performing “acquaintance”?  What about Sarkozy, whose overtures to Obama may signal a one-sided man crush? Where does Sarah Palin fit in (especially since Batshit Crazy is already taken)?

I find that filling out the Friend Bullseye can be a rather illuminating exercise.  Further, the bullseye can also serve as a gift-giving guide–the closer the friend is to the center, the more money you should spend on birthday gifts: inner ring $75, middle ring $50, outer ring $25… and if a friend misses the board completely, then a Facebook message shall suffice (or at least a Cabinet post).

So, get out your pencils, scour your old yearbooks, and start stratifying your friends.  Not only can this help you determine Christmas-gift-worthy friends, but you’re giving yourself a head start on the vetting process for 2012.  After all, buried deep in our pasts, we all have at least one Batshit Crazy friend that we’ll have to overcome in our run for the presidency.  Sarah, we’re looking at you.

obamabullseye1

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Will Today’s ‘Stupid’ Become Tomorrow’s ‘Smart’?

Back in November, both presidential candidates acknowledged that we had to reform our education system. Like most everything else, Obama and McCain naturally disagreed on how to solve this issue. Perhaps we need to pay teachers more and get the best-qualified educators to head our classrooms. Perhaps we need to have more vouchers and charter schools to foster competition. Perhaps we just need parents to get more involved in building shoebox dioramas and helping their kids with algebra problems.

Or, perhaps we’re just getting dumber. (After all, we elected George W. Bush twice. Enough said).

Now that Obama’s education team is in place, here is my billion-dollar proposal: tell smart people to start making babies. Seriously. Set up some mood music in grad school dorms, dim the lighting in the labs, and arrange for some conjugal visits at the space station. Let’s do everything we can to encourage reading and breeding amongst the nation’s intellectual elite.

Why? Consider this: over the past few decades, we have seen significant declines in the birth rates across the country. As more and more young people started going to college, and women became more prevalent in the workplace, births in the U.S. have naturally declined. With that, the composition of mothers has also changed:

“Fertility tends to decline as education level increases. Women may put off marriage and children to further their education, then to get established in the labor force. Women age 40 to 44 with no high school education had about 2.5 children in 2004, compared with 1.6 children among women with a graduate or professional degree.” – Mary Kent, Population Reference Bureau

So keeping this in mind, let’s look at the following charts from the National Center for Health Statistics, which show the birth rates by state in 2002.

In this graphic, the blue states are the most fertile, while the green states are the most sterile (somewhat ironic).  We can see that the states with the highest birth rates are typically in the Midwest and South, whereas East Coasters and Californians are apparently too busy to procreate.  The state with the highest birth rate was Utah (20.9 for every 1,000 people), which may not be all that surprising. (Go to full report)

Now here is a graph from a U.S. Census report, on the percentage of college graduates by state:

So it looks like the states with the most college grads are also the states which tend to have the lowest birth rates.

Hmm…

Consider if this trend continues: the least-educated areas of the country are popping out babies like hotcakes, while the sterile Ivy Leaguers in the Northeast are busy trading mortgage-backed securities on Wall Street. Thus, the composition of the American population is skewed towards those with parents who are less educated. One may argue about the degree to which parents’ educational attainment affects their children’s test scores, but there is undoubtedly a correlation between the two. And while Texans and Idahoans may rightly argue that causality cannot be determined by a few colorful graphs, the data is in line with what we know: women who attain less education have more babies. There is a greater likelihood then that their kids will get less education than children born to snooty PhD candidates in Washington. And their kids will have more kids and more kids, while the slice of snooty intellectuals gets smaller and smaller.

So what can turn this around? In the end, we need to build a universal culture that values learning, instead of a dumb-is-cool culture that values a self-righteous idiocracy. We need to get students excited about education, and close the achievement gap that too often divides along racial and socioeconomic lines. We may need to rehaul our schools, implement student incentive programs, or pay our teachers more…

And we could also start encouraging smart people to make some babies, too.

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