Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Burnout Bailout

After spending $700 billion to bailout the banking industry (although apparently there's some shady business going on with that), now the auto industry wants a bailout too; in the interest of fairness, Obama supports this, I do not. Granted, he's more qualified to speak on this in his sleep than I ever would be, but I still have to disagree with it. I know it would be bad for the economy and could potentially leave four million people without work, but you know what? Nobody is going to bailout Circuit City employees.

Here's the deal - Ford, GM and Chrysler are in trouble because they've done nothing but present shitty cars that nobody wants to buy anymore. GM passed on the patent to the Hybrid car several years back because it "didn't make business sense" and now they're trying to tout how much they care about the environment with their SUVs that get a whopping 22 mpg! Yeah, let me know how that makes good business sense when gas goes back up to $5 a gallon.

We love to talk about free market capitalism, but when things get REALLY ugly, our government - Republicans and Democrats - go running right to socialism to save it. The Big Three have all been prime examples of what happens when you let greed and irresponsibility run rampant in business with absolutely no regulation and we can't keep giving these people the so-called "golden parachute." Let them all fail and let it be a sobering wake up call to any business that thinks the practices of the last thirty years - downsizing, slashing benefits, killing off pensions, etc. - is the way to run a business. Just a little fun fact to illustrate how out of hand big business has gotten - twenty years ago the average CEO earned about $35 to every employee's $1, today, they earn $475 to every dollar.

But it's pretty cold to just let all those people that depend on the auto industry to go without work, right? You're right, I'm way too liberal to just let these people fend for themselves, so let's put all those people back to work in a budding new industry - marijuana!

Yeah, I said it. While the American auto industry rebuilds itself to provide consumers with cars that serve a better purpose than compensating for men with small penises, all those people that are out of work can work in the marijuana industry. Come on, if we're going to get serious about fixing this economy, there's no better way to do it than the complete legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana. You might think I'm crazy, so let's go to tale of the tape:

$45 billion
That's how much money is spent per year in the War on Drugs by federal and state governments. Just typing the numbers isn't enough, so let me spell it out - forty-five billion dollars per year! That's almost double what the auto industry is asking for in their bailout. Now of course, not all of that is just spent on marijuana and there's no way I'm going to convince anyone to legalize all drugs (that would just make too much sense), but marijuana is the most widely distributed illegal substance, so it probably takes up a good portion of that $45 billion.

$26 billion
That's how much money state and the federal governments receive in tax dollars per year from tobacco sales. Some analysts say that if marijuana were taxed like alcohol and cigarettes, it could bring in at least $6 billion per year in taxes. Sounds like a lowball figure to me, tax it a little extra and get it into the tens of billions, people will pay... it's legal weed.

83 million
The number of people over the age of twelve that have admitted to smoking pot in their lifetime. Now imagine if it were legal and people didn't have to go to the ghetto or call their creepy dealer to get it.

$113 billion
If this were the Price is Right, that would be the estimated retail value of the illegal marijuana trade according to a study done by Jon Gettman, a pothead with a PhD in public policy and regional economic development. He estimates that of that $113 billion, at least $30 billion would go to the government in taxes... what could we buy with all that money? Some new schools, new roads, fix our failing bridges, and oh yeah - bailout the automakers.

Hey, if we're "going green," let's get serious - all this pot isn't going to farm, grow, distribute, and sell itself. And you know there isn't going to be one brand of weed - all those potheads you went to college with are going to start their own businesses and turn marijuana into BUDweiser, Miller HIGH Life, and Rolling Blunt. Think about how many people are employed by the liquor industry and think of how many people would be employed by the pot industry if it were legalized. It would be a billion dollar industry, boost sales for Frito-Lay and could totally save our economy... and even if it didn't, we'd all think everything was just fine anyway.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm a Uniter, Not a Divider


Despite all the ranting over the last few months, I never thought things would turn out like this. Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Nevada and Iowa all turning and giving Barack Obama a decisive victory - a landslide - in this election. It still hasn't quite sunk in yet that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States - the same United States that looked like an entirely different country four years ago.
I remember coming home from work the morning after the 2004 election and just having this sinking feeling in my stomach that the Neocons were going to hang onto government for decades, but here we are, just four years later and the world is an entirely different place.

I'm writing today, not to gloat, not to rub it in anyone's face, but just to be happy. I know I've written some harsh things about John McCain in the last few months and I stand by every word, but the man gave a powerful concession speech last night and should be commended for his gracious and classy exit from the race. As I watched McCain last night, it got me thinking about where it all went wrong for the Arizona senator; now there will be plenty of time to place blame, and I will, but there's only one thing that really held him back - he wasn't John McCain.

Think back to the primaries, who was McCain running against? A borderline theocrat, Mike Huckabee; a Bush clone, Mitt Romney; and a cross-dressing, egomaniacal, scumbag, Rudy Giuliani. All three Neocons in every sense of the word and would undoubtedly continue many (if not all) of George W. Bush's policies. Why did McCain win that primary? Because Republican voters came out and voted for the guy that would be least like Bush and given McCain's history, he was the most logical choice. Republicans, Democrats, the entrie country was done with Bush and that's why McCain won the primary, but then as the campaign heats up and Obama gets the Democratic nomination, McCain becomes Bush.

I loved John McCain, I would have voted for him in 2000 if he got the nomination and I would have likely voted for him in 2004 against John Kerry, but that John McCain was not around in 2008. I've been over this numerous times and I'm not going to beat the dead horse, but I honestly don't know what McCain was thinking when he surrounded himself with "Bushies." Hindsight is always 20/20, especially when America overwhelmingly rejects the policies of the last eight years, but these people do this for a living, how could they not have seen this coming? Neoconservatism is dead... I wouldn't be surprised to see them try one more time in 2012 with someone like Palin, but that's another discussion for another day; as it stands now, Americans are done with Neocons.

So let's move forward. Obama supporters - I know after the last four years, you're dying to just let loose and go crazy, but we still have a lot of work to do. Getting him elected was just step one, if we sit back and kick our feet up, then Obama's presidency will be about as effective as Bush's second term. The far-right got Bush re-elected and just figured that everything would be fine and dandy and look where it got them four years later. We have to prove to our opposition that Barack Obama was the right man for the job. When someone calls you a socialist or a baby killer for voting for Barack, instead of just calling them an idiot, tell them why they're wrong. If someone makes an inaccurate statement about Obama, politely correct them. When someone tells you America is doomed, tell them why you voted for Barack.

Non-Obama supporters - I hope you can look at this presidency with an open mind. It was ugly campaign, no question and you may have heard a lot of misconceptions about Barack Obama, I ask that you give him a shot. I know our side freaked out when Bush got re-elected, but we already had four years of the guy, we were pretty sure what was going to happen. Obama's brand new, give him a chance to sink or swim, don't let the blowhards on talk radio sabotage him before he's even inaugurated. They did the same thing to Clinton in 92, but we turned out okay over the next eight years, right? We don't know if Obama will be a good president or not, but we're all in this together and it's not going to help anybody if we let the far-right destroy his presidency before it begins.

Barack Obama ran a campaign unlike any other presidential candidate in history - he took the high road, he surrounded himself with people who weren't the typical Washington insiders, he didn't take a dime from corporate lobbyists, and he ran on a message of hope and change rather than fear and smear. Supporters, let's make our president-elect proud and show the world that we support Obama in a fashion similar to how he campaigns. Those on the other side, we welcome you with open arms and we'd be happy to do whatever we can to inform you about the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Obama 08!

So throughout the history of this blog, I have constantly ranted and occasionally raved about why John McCain, Sarah Palin and the current Republican Party should not be allowed anywhere near the presidency or our government in general. My writings are generally negative because the world we live in is negative - the hypocrisy of our politicians, the lies, the smears, the incompetence, the idea that there's a "Real America," etc. - these things make me angry and my desire is to shine a light on them... but not tonight. Tonight's piece isn't about why I'm voting against the Republican Party and John McCain, this is strictly about why I'm voting for Barack Obama.

When Barack Obama first appeared on the national stage at the 2004 Democratic Convention, I could instantly tell that he would be a major player in American politics, but I never thought he could potentially become president. Honestly, I didn't even think he had a chance of getting the nomination when he announced his candidacy, but his entire campaign has been about bucking the status quo. I'm glad I was proven wrong and I'm proud to say that I experienced history when I cast my early vote for the first black man to ever receive a major party nomination for president of the United States. Does Obama's race matter? We all like to say it doesn't, we especially like to say it shouldn't, but it does. Don't get me wrong, I'm not voting for Obama because he's black, but I do think it will send a major message to the rest of the world if a country with such a racist history like ours elects a black man named Barack Hussein Obama to the presidency.

Obama is the candidate the world wants us to elect; now of course we're not at the mercy of the rest of the world when it comes to who we vote for, but we do need to consider things like this. This isn't the early 1900s, it's 2008, we can literally communicate with the rest of the world in seconds, we live in a global market and when our economy fails, so does everyone else's. I've heard a lot of small-minded people say it doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks, but it does. Our dollar is practically worthless, our reputation throughout the world is possibly the lowest its ever been and our basic infrastructure - roads, power grids, bridges, and communications - becomes more antiquated by the day as China trailblazes. Barack Obama understands we've lost our standing in the world and that's not a slam on America, that's a fact. You don't get fixes from people who don't think something is broken, but Obama understands that we've lost our way in the world, but watch the video of him in Germany where 200,000 Germans are waving the American flag and cheering him on - the world wants us to lead again, we just have to step up to the plate.

You can run down the gambit of issues and see where Obama stands on everything, but at the end of the day, we're voting on who can restore America's reputation and make the country a better place to live in. Barack Obama is a once in a generation kind of candidate who certainly doesn't have all the answers, he certainly won't fix every problem facing our country, but he's the step in the right direction that we need right now. We're at a crossroads in our history and we can choose to continue down our same path or we can finally make a change. It won't all get better on January 20 if Obama is sworn into office, but it very well could be the day that the world looks back on and says "this was the moment." Again, it's not all about Barack Obama, it's about every person in this country and on this planet that know we can do better as a society and Obama understands that desire.

We can continue to look at America like a child looks at his mommy - perfect in every way and anyone who criticizes her is wrong - or we can look at America like a person looks at their spouse - flawed, but through hard work and compromise, they can come together to improve one another. I choose the latter, I hope you do as well on November 4.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

God & Government

In case you haven't seen it reported on the news, Senator Elizabeth Dole (wife of former presidential candidate Bob Dole), is in danger of losing her job come election day. In a true act of complete desperation, Sen. Dole put out an ad linking her opponent Kay Hagan to an atheist group and the ad ends with a picture of Hagen and a woman's voice saying "there is no god!" Of course, the voice is not Hagan's, but it's certainly the message that the smear is trying to convey. Here, see for yourself:

Pretty disgusting. Hagan has no "godless" connections, in reality (where the non-Republicans live), she's an ex-Sunday school teacher. But you know what, even if Hagan were some godless atheist - who cares?! Let's read that silly little thing called the Constitution again:

no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

Oh how I wish that were true. We like to say there's a separation of church and state, but we all know that an atheist or an agnostic has no chance at higher office in this country. Sure would be nice though, someone governing based on personal morals and principles rather than their warped vision of a belief structure, but when Sarah Palin is possibly three days away from becoming Vice President, I have no hope for that scenario.

Look at what religion has done to our country, just in the last eight years we've been ravaged by a bunch of complete lunatics that think God is talking to them. 9/11 was religiously motivated, George W. Bush claimed he had superpowers when he saw Vladimir Putin's soul, he also said that God told him to invade Iraq. Religious nutjobs got Bush reelected in 2004, how's that working out for us? And now, thanks to John McCain's maverickosity, we get someone even worse than Bush in Governor Avon Lady.

Sarah Palin belongs to a church that believes in witches... literally. I'm sorry, that has nothing to do with morals and values, that's just stupid. We've had eight years of this "values" nonsense and it has affected every facet of our culture from Janet Jackson's tit at the Super Bowl to the Ten Commandments being displayed on public property to women's rights being on the verge of being stripped away to homosexuals being treated as second-class citizens just because their bedroom behavior doesn't meet the standards of people like Sarah Palin.

A little less God would do our government a lot of good. To be honest, I really don't think Barack Obama or John McCain are all that religious; pure speculation on my part, but I think Obama sees the church as a way to unite people around improving their community and I think McCain sees religion as a way to get votes from the people that reelected Bush. For the sake of our country, I hope that they're both lying when they talk about how devout they are, but the scary thing is, I know Sarah Palin is not. This woman isn't just your average Christian who is trying to live her life by the teachings of Christ, she's a theocrat like Mike Huckabee who thinks we should change the Constitution so that it fits "God's" will. Of course, her god is an ultra-corrupt bigot that wants to tell you how to live your life.

This notion that a person isn't fit for office because they don't believe in God turns my stomach. Honestly, I think the more devout you are, the less qualified you are to be serving our secular nation - if you want to preach, get out of the governor's mansion and go to church. There's a place in our culture for religion and if that's what gets you through the day, fantastic, but when it comes to our government, the Elizabeth Dole ad is right - there is no God.