Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Heckling ... why, the heck, not?

Much discussion has ensued after President Obama was at the receiving end of some heckling during his address to a joint session of Congress. Senator Joe Wilson, apparently disgruntled at the lack of sodas and hot dogs at the event, disagreed with one of Obama's comments and voiced his opinion in the form of the simple statement, "You lie!"

Perhaps, because Joe had his Blackberry out, he simply got confused, thinking that he was posting an anonymous comment on a live blogging of the event, but instead just screaming it out loud. Perhaps, Joe was actually trying to say, "You lion, you king of the jungle of health care reform," but he got cut off in the middle of the second syllable. Perhaps Joe was concerned for Barack's health and was asking him to lie down, thus averting the disaster and panic of a collapsing President.

Whatever the reason, what matters most is that Joe Wilson, probably unintentionally, made what was a boring speech on Health Fair, er, Wealth Care, er, whatever, suddenly fun. This is no slam on Obama. Giving boring speeches, especially when Congress is assembled together, is part of the job description. It's been boring like this for so many years, in fact, that the cable news networks keep track of applause and standing ovations as if they were stats in a baseball game. Wow. If counting how many times a bunch of old guys stand up to clap is the most excitement you can offer, then it is time to add some spice ... and Joe Wilson has shown us how to do it.

From now on, joint sessions of Congress will hopefully be a bit more rowdy. Biden can do a cheer before everyone starts, then a big elephant and donkey will come down to the floor and do a dance off to a Lady Gaga song before tackling each other mercilessly. Then as the President begins his speech ... let the heckling begin! Joe Wilson can do his worst, along with a couple other guys drinking beers on the front row. The Democrats can try to drown it out with cheers, or, better yet, Obama will be free to retort back. Something like this would be appropriate: "Yeah, well your face doesn't lie: it's as ugly as it gets!" "Your mom," jokes will ensue, and an all-out fun time will follow. Whoever leaves having dissed the other side the best gets their legislation passed, no questions asked.

Most of you, I'm sure agree that this is brilliant, but there may be those of you that don't agree with every aspect of my plan ... and that's okay. I have only one thing to say to you if that is the case: "You lie!" Yeah! Where you at now, huh!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cache Valley Civil War: Post #1

This is the first in a series that will explore the devastating events of an imagined breakout of civil war in the otherwise peaceful Cache Valley. While it is fiction, the author hopes that his readers will realize how close this is to being realized and that each citizen of Cache Valley, both Logan residents and County residents, are responsible for avoiding this seemingly inevitable catastrophe.

Perhaps because the beginning was so incremental, so seemingly trivial, it took a while for the people of Cache Valley to realize they were in a civil war. But they were. When the roads in and out of Logan are barricaded with checkpoints, when the power supply coming in from outside the valley is taken, when the water supply to outlying farms is strategically cut off, then it is pretty safe to say that you have graduated from political shuffling to civil war.

Strange as it may seem, all of this stemmed from a simple children's book: Green Eggs and Ham. Not necessarily a controversial book, you may remark casually (unless, of course, you are a health inspector), but when the book has been checked out of the Logan Library by a non-resident of Logan, that is when the proverbial sparks start to fly. Especially when this is done by the Cache County Executive, whose ill-gotten library card is subsequently torn up during a public display of dishonor by a particularly insensitive librarian.

The divide was always there, but this act , more than anything, helped to reveal it.

Next Post: Maneuvers Towards War

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Playground Parable

I apologize in advance for its length. If you do not have much time, then wait and read it when you have more time at your leisure. But do read it, please.

The Playground Parable

Long ago, there was a playground basketball court that had been formed with game rules so that kids could have an organized activity and location to participate in after school, bringing them together in an uplifting, team-building manner. The kids would play at the playground basketball court after school every day, and they enjoyed great pleasure in doing so for many, many memorable games. As nice as the games were, it was unfortunate, however, that only the kids who were around when the playground basketball court had been made considered themselves eligible to play there. Any kids that arrived in the neighborhood a little bit later had to sit by and watch while the first kids took all the time on the court. Eventually, however, the new kids came often enough that their status as newcomers was forgotten and they were allowed to play as well. Soon, none of the kids could really recall the time when they had not been allowed to play. The games were frequent and a lot of fun, and there was no real conflict, just friendly competition. There was no doubt to anyone that the playground basketball court was a positive asset to the neighborhood.

But then it seemed that things were going too well, and those that played got along so well that they often ignored or excluded others. In fact, there was one group of kids that were shunned from the court entirely, based solely on the type of clothes that those other kids wore. The kids playing basketball claimed they did not want these other kids to ruin their sport, that they were different from them and not capable of playing the game of basketball as well as they. It did not occur to the kids on the playground basketball court that the type of clothes had nothing to do with the kids’ ability to play basketball. The clothes made them look different, certainly. But the ability to play basketball was, to them, the same as any other kid might have been. The adults of the neighborhood eventually heard enough complaints that they gathered together and tried to decide what to do. The adults could see that the kids on the basketball court were treating those with different clothes unfairly, and that there was no legitimate reason for them to exclude those kids from playing any basketball games with them. The adults knew that the kids would not ruin the game anymore than any other new kid to the neighborhood with the same clothing would ruin it. At the adults’ insistence, and much to the begrudging of several of the established playground basketball players (though not all), the kids with different clothes were allowed to play. Not much time passed before it was obvious that any fears about the integrity of the fun and engaging basketball games being ruined by these kids were entirely unjustified. The playground basketball court became more popular than ever and the games only increased in excitement. Eventually, the after-school sport attracted all sorts of basketball players. Some were welcomed slower than others because of the differences in the kids, but with the nudging of well-meaning adults, all were eventually included. Soon adult guidance wasn’t even necessary; the kids had learned to welcome everyone to the basketball games on their own. Their basketball court was one of the most open and free place for kids to play in all of the surrounding neighborhoods. And the games went on.

Time passed. While the type and amount of kids playing at the playground basketball court had changed dramatically since the very inception of the court, it was the structure of the game itself that kept it so popular. Always, the structure of the game stayed consistent, even when the kids unfairly opposed others from participating and then finally allowed them to play, it was the players—not the rules of the game—that changed. But among all of the changes that came across the neighborhood, the playground, and among the kids, none of them had been able to ruin the integrity of the game that kept the kids engaged in the prosperous after-school activity. But then there was an interesting development. Some kids, for reasons not quite known—some say that they tired of the regular game of basketball, some say that they never could enjoy it from the start—but some kids had experimented with a new way to play the game of basketball. Instead of scoring a basket by throwing the ball up and into the top of the hoop, the kids changed the rule so that you could score by throwing the basket up from underneath the hoop. Moreover, they played that after one successful shot, the game was over. This change, of course, was entirely up to those kids, and while most kids did not approve of this new and different way to play the game, they simply ignored it, as it did not pertain to their playground basketball court or their games. And yet, the kids who played by different rules were not content to play on their own. Because they knew of the history of the playground basketball court and because they knew that other kids who were also ostracized had eventually been accepted on the playground basketball court, these kids assumed that they had just as much right to play in the game as those kids that came before them. They started demanding that they be allowed to play. Well, things had changed much since the days where the kids would exclude others. They were quick to invite the other kids to play, under the condition that they would play by the rules of the game that had been consistent on the playground basketball court from the very moment it had been created. To this, however, the kids refused. They could not understand why the other kids would reject their way of playing. They pointed to the kids with different clothes and asked why those had been allowed to play and they hadn’t. Clearly, they were being excluded, discriminated, just as those who came before them. Those who had been playing were horrified to think that they would make the same mistake again that they had made with the kids who wore different clothes. But then someone made the succinct point that the kids who wore different clothes were just as capable of anyone else at playing the game, and so they had every right to be included. Then that someone explained that these kids wanting to play now were also just as capable of playing basketball as anyone else, but this time the difference was that they wanted to change the game, not just play in it. “You discriminate against us because of the way we play basketball. What makes you think you are better than we are?” came the accusation. The kids who had been playing basketball tried to explain that they did not think they were better, only that they played the game with certain rules and that if the kids would not play by those rules, then they could not play with them. “What makes your rules so much better than ours?” was the taunt. “I don’t know that our rules are better than yours, but that is they way that the game is played on this court. It has worked wonderfully for us for a long, long time and has proven itself.” But the kids were not appeased, and the accusations of discrimination and exclusion continued to barrage the court. Constant appeals to the example of the kids who wore different clothes were alluded to, the ugly time in the history of the playground basketball court that nobody would have wished to see again. These unsound examples drowned out the genuine reasoning of the well-meaning kids of the court, whose comments were ignored and displaced by haphazard labels of intolerance from the kids who played the game differently. The kids who played on the playground basketball court were saddened by these vicious attacks, and they were also afraid that, indeed, they were excluding these kids who played differently. They encouraged the kids to play at another court in their own way, and that way both could be happy. But the kids who played differently wanted nothing to do with another basketball court. They wanted the playground basketball court. Some of the kids playing on the playground basketball court even went so far as to offer to schedule different, but equal time on the courts for the kids play the game their own way, giving up some of their own precious playing time to accommodate. But it still wasn’t enough. “We want to play our way in your games. And if you don’t let us, then you are discriminating.” The kids who played on the playground basketball court, however, drew the line there. “No. We don’t play the game the way you do, so it wouldn’t work for you to play with us. We can’t do that.” The kids who played differently could see that they were not going to get any farther with the other kids of the court, so they appealed to the justice of the adults, whose wise decisions early on helped to give the kids who wore different clothes a place on the playground basketball court. The views of the adults had changed much by this time. Since the days where the kids who wore different clothes had been excluded from playing, they had become paranoid about a similar occurrence happening again within their neighborhood. They became so afraid that they actually had leaned towards accepting not only of all types of kids, but of all sorts of habits with those kids, even some that weren’t necessarily that good—but all in the name of not excluding kids, no matter the kid’s activities. While this was good in one sense, as it dispensed with unfair treatment of those kids who had every right to be included, it was also quite detrimental in another sense, as it is very difficult—once a liberty is given—to reclaim it if the liberty turns out to have been given in error or too much has been given or that liberty takes unduly away someone else’s liberties. Well, you can imagine the adults’ state of mind when they were approached by the kids who played differently. Their automatic trigger of justice told them that everyone should be included, no matter what the cost. Just as before, they forced the kids at the playground basketball court to include the kids who played differently. When the kids at the playground basketball court tried to explain how they had tried to include them, but that the kids insisted on playing the game their own way, the adults replied, “Far be it from us to dictate to these kids how they are to play. What are our rules to theirs? We must allow them to play the game however way they want to.” With the decision of the adults laid down, the kids at the playground basketball court had no choice but to allow those who played differently to participate in their games. The kids who played differently were ecstatic in their victory and claimed to feel as the kids who wore clothes differently felt when they were allowed to play on the playground basketball court with the other kids for the first time. But the triumph was short-lived and definitely not shared by the other kids. The game became confusing very quickly. The method of playing changed with each person that touched the ball, and the kids soon learned that the kids who played differently tweaked other aspects of the court’s rules that they weren’t aware of. In the end, no one was sure who was scoring when. No one was sure who was playing, or what rules were being played by. Arguments were had about when a game was over and when it was not. Sometimes the confusion was so great that passer-bys assumed that there was no organized game being played at all. The integrity of the game, after all that it had been through over all that time and across such a prolonged history, had finally been ruined. And this, all in the name of equal rights. Well, soon enough kids stopped caring about the playground basketball games. What was the point when the rules could be changed on a whim and any new player entering the game had to be accommodated for the way they thought the game should be played? Kids stopped playing. Slowly, one at a time, they just stopped showing up. Some of them would try to go play on courts in other neighborhoods, where the integrity of the game had not been ruined, but the distance was far and the strength of the games lay more than in just the scores, but in the gathering, the society of other kids who played it correctly. Other kids just stopped playing entirely, and without an organized activity after school they ended up just sitting around on the sidewalks and streets in the neighborhood with little to nothing to do. Eventually, they would commit acts of vandalism just to stave off their boredom. Some even joined local gangs, which were seeing an upsurge since the advent of the “new rules” basketball (dubbed “no rules basketball” by the former players). The gangs, at least, had their own codes of conduct that they lived by—even if they were unsavory, they were organized. Even the kids who played differently, once they had the court all to themselves, they realized they didn’t care much for the way they played the game. In fact, they never really cared much about basketball in the first place. It was more about the challenge of getting on the court and legitimizing their different rules. So in not so little time, the playground basketball court, for the first time in its long and glorious history, lay vacant.

Time passed. After a short period of this, the kids who had originally played basketball on the playground basketball court, including those who wore clothes differently, decided that they were tired of seeing their neighborhood deteriorate because it had been inclusive not just of all kids (which was good) but of all habits (which, turned out, were not all good). They decided to reclaim their playground basketball court. They came in small numbers at first, not even enough for a team, but they played anyway. They established the previous rules that had been made from the first time the court had been created, and they stuck to them. They were very careful not to exclude any kid who wanted to play. It did not matter what clothes they wore, it did not matter what language they spoke, it did not matter what hair color they had, all kids were welcome to play. But there was one stipulation: they had to play by the playground basketball court rules. Otherwise, the kids knew by experience, accepting different rules on the same court in the same game would ruin the game for everyone, would drive kids away, and would ultimately destroy their sacred activity that had meant so much to them and their neighborhood for so long. With the rules renewed, the popularity of the playground basketball court increased again, to the point where it was even more popular than it had ever been. Gang sizes decreased to next to nothing, neighborhood delinquency went down, and the kids stayed healthy and happy and felt included.

But, almost as sure as a moth seeks a flame, the kids who played differently, who had given up on the playground basketball court after they had won it, came back. And as before, they demanded to play. This time the kids on the playground basketball court were polite but adamant. “Yes. Yes, you can play, but you have to play by the playground basketball court rules.” The ready and easy reply came out almost as if no time had passed since the last argument: “Discrimination! You have no right to tell me or my friends how to play! You are a bigot! You discriminate! You are hateful!” But the kids on the playground basketball court did not budge. They politely insisted that the other kids were welcome to play their own way on their own time or at another court, but if they chose to play on the playground basketball court, they would play by the court’s rules. The flurry of accusations and insults followed, but when they did nothing to stir the players, the kids who played differently ran to the adults, knowing that it had worked before. Though the adults did not like the changes that came over the neighborhood over the past little while when the playground basketball court had been abandoned, they did not realize the link between the lack of basketball playing and the problems. So when the kids who played differently came crying to them for intervention, they did not hesitate to exact their authority for what they thought as justice. Amazingly, when they came to the playground basketball court, the kids would not heed them. The adults reprimanded, they chastised, they shamed the kid players on the court and told them that they would force them to accept the kids who played differently, just as they did before. But the kids on the playground basketball court, not a word they replied. They played their game as they always had, according to the rules that had been set, and they paid no heed to the calls of the adults. The kids who played differently were infuriated by this display of apparent disrespect and they demanded that the adults did something about it, that they forced the kids into submission. The adults stood by and watched, stupified, for a long while before they meekly told the kids who played differently that they could not do it. In embarrassment and muffled tones they said that they had never realized how many kids were there before. There were simply not enough adults to force all of those kids to submission when they were all so perfectly unified as they were. The adults retreated, ashamed at their inability to bring equality to the situation. Much later, those same adults would wonder at how the neighborhood had recovered from its sorry state and regained its former grandeur. But they never guessed the reason and they lamented only that the neighborhood was a good place except for the intolerance of the kids there. As for the kids who played differently, once the adults had left, they stayed and jeered and taunted the hatefulness of the kids playing on the playground basketball court, but the kids acted as if their hecklers were invisible and inaudible. One by one the kids who played differently drifted off in a different direction. Some were never seen in the neighborhood again. Others lurked in dark areas and cursed the narrow-mindedness of the playground basketball players. But there was one, one who dropped his bitterness and resentfulness for the players and asked to play, according to the rules of the court. He was, of course, accepted and came to enjoy the company of his new friends. And even if he never loved their rules to the game, he did at least come to tolerate them.

And the players of the playground basketball court continued to provide a refuge to new kids in the neighborhood of all backgrounds and types. The games became more exciting and engaging than ever. The kids grew close together and formed bonds that would last for what they could only assume would be an eternity. And all the while the playground basketball court, and its tried and proven rules, stayed the same.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Concession Speech

It is, perhaps, not surprising that I secretly hoped that I would succeed in being the underdog, write-in, winner of the Presidential election. It seemed that the grand majority of my posts would end in the revelation of myself as the best candidate for the job, something that naturally developed from each brilliant perusal. I could only assume that most people, including the millions of followers reading this blog, had come to the same conclusion. So on Tuesday night, I went to bed confident, not even bothering to watch the results. Those poor saps McCain and Obama didn't stand a chance. That night I was already working out a cabinet to announce for the next morning (I won't give away all the details, just because the electors haven't officially cast their votes in the Senate Chamber, but the Secretary of the Treasury was going to be that top hat guy from Monopoly), so you can imagine my shock when I found out that Barack Obama not only won, but that I didn't receive a single electoral point. In fact, as far as I have been able to tell, I didn't receive a single vote. Not even my own for that matter ... I wasn't exactly sure how to do write-ins with that electronic voting machine. So it is with great disappointment that I offer my concession speech:

To all of my faithful supporters: where in the heck were you?! It was like I was running this campaign out of a cardboard box (which is true except for the cardboard box part). Yet, even though you failed to help or even donate any money, please don't despair. We fought the good fight, and though we did not prevail on this day, there are plenty of other days left for us not to prevail on. And if you are feeling really disheartened, then I will still allow you to continue contributing money to the campaign, so that I can cover all of my debts.

To all those Americans that did not vote for me: what is your stinking problem?! Clearly I am the most obvious candidate, if only for my catchy name. President Lipsey? How do you top that? Were you not aware of my intentions of using the Secret Service to form an elite football team and have them go around and play other NFL teams as fundraisers? I doubt you could find a similar promise in your precious Obama.

To the President-elect, Barack Obama: it was a worthy struggle. To be quite honest, I really pitied you for most of the campaign, wondering how you were going to deal with the inevitable loss. But I was surprised with how well you hid your despair in the face of my relentless and dominating campaign. I also must say this now, in order to avoid future, pestering phone calls: I am retiring from public life, so please, please, please don't call to get my advice, offer me a political post, or ask for any favors ... unless you will agree to exchange any help for one of the American Samoan islands. (Is that asking for a meeting with preconditions?)

To the people of America: it is Edgar Lipsey. Get it right! E-D-G-A-R L-I-P-S-E-Y. Next time you are doing a write-in, don't botch it up. It was really quite embarrassing to wake up Wednesday morning and see how many of the voting public struggle with their spelling and had to go for the default, easy-to-spell Barakc Oboma.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Dozen Reasons I'm Voting "Yes" on Proposition 1

  1. Jay Monson is voting "yes," and that guy rocks.
  2. Because it sounds like the title to some spy movie: "Proposition 1: This Time It's Personal!"
  3. Ron and Daina Zollinger make really, really good apple cider, and if it weren't for acts like Proposition 1, they wouldn't have their beautiful niche of a farm for creating such delicious delights.
  4. I believe in a free market economy. Wait, how does that apply here? Well, let me stretch things just a bit. This opens up the market to allow a community investment instead of limiting it to just big business developers. Technically, yes, it will be owned by the "government," but remember, locally that government is us--the citizens, much, much more than it would be if it were the large behemoths that are the state and national government.
  5. I believe in provident living, not just on an individual level, but at a local, community level. Would it be wise for an individual to squander his most valuable resources for a quick buck? A year ago, importing food from outside the valley was very feasible and, at times, cheaper than even some of the locally grown food. Suddenly, with gas prices sky rocketing this summer so did transportation costs ... and therefore, food. Even the big monsters of cheap food production, Western Family, for instance, couldn't hide growing transportation costs in overhead--they distribute food all over the western United States and that type of extension ultimately takes a toll on the food price (where usually the only toll was quality, which, for the right price, most people can ignore). Thankfully, gas prices have since gone down, but we would be fools to let such a warning cry pass unheeded again. Let us be provident and wise. Let us keep our Cache Valley gardens and not mete them out to speculators from whence it is nearly impossible to recover developed land. Those gardens, convenient and pretty now, will be essential in a future of continually limiting resources. They will be the key to keeping Cache Valley prosperous instead of desperate and dependent. Just as we shouldn't be dependent on foreign oil, neither should we be dependent on foreign fields for food (alliteration intended, thank you very much).
  6. It is easy to say laissez-faire when it comes to land development, but that will quickly turn to laissez-swear-words-flow when traffic on Main Street gets worse as more and more enclosed subdivisions route growing populations to main arteries for traffic. The same will be said when Highway 89/91 becomes littered with stoplights, transforming a fifteen to twenty minute drive from the mouth of Sardine to Logan or from Smithfield to Logan into a half an hour or more (shudder). Laissez-faire, indeed. Laissez-faire into a traffic nightmare.
  7. This isn't about preserving the old (though I'll admit, that is nice). This is about controlling the new. Will it be a new of spattered, all the same except for a different shade of brown cul-de-sacs (what is with all the French words ...? I suspect they are somewhere at the bottom of this problem ...)? Or will it be the new of farmlands carefully distributed with residences, balancing each other neatly across the landscape? We ask the question now as if interfering with the natural development of residential neighborhoods were blasphemous, but let us remember that our town legacies are owed to the foresight of such "interfering" Mormon pioneers, who developed balanced neighborhoods that were the marvel of haphazard metropolises back east. It is our valley; of course we have the right to pitch in as a community to ensure it develops in ways that will benefit us.
  8. Everyone could stand to be a bit more positive these days. Say "yes."
  9. More taxes rock! Okay, that is a blatant lie and we all know it. But, when I say that this is more than taxes, it is an investment, I mean it sincerely and not in the way that most cheesy/annoying salesmen say it just to hide a crappy product that is overpriced. You could not overprice the value of having open land in Cache Valley, and I am not talking, in the least, about aesthetics--I'm talking real, long term value. Farmland might come at a decent market value, but once it has been developed, the costs to bring it back would be out of reach. So much easier and cheaper is the transforming of current residential housing to clean and neat apartment complexes or condos, thus accommodating a greater population, without compromising the great resource of our open space, which in the case of exorbitant gas/food prices will be more than just a nice thing to look at, but it will be a gold mine.
  10. I'm against big government. The less government the better. The best government is local instead of thousands of miles away in Washington D.C. But leaving this land open to the unpredictable waves of the market is not conducting business without government intervention. In fact, it is leaving it up to state and out-of-state real estate companies and conglomerates that reach clear back to the mortgage companies, lobbyists, and banks that put this nation in the economic crisis we're in now to begin with (with big government help, of course). Taking the land away from big, national government-regulated real estate agencies and mortgage companies and putting it, instead, in the hands of the local community, in the hands of people that you know personally or can have easy, face-to-face contact with puts government right in its place--with us. How much sway would you have over what happens with the local land in the hands of a county committee? Maybe not a lot, but a heck of a lot more than if it were in the hands of a business speculator in California.
  11. It's possible, not likely, but possible that the local committee will purchase my side lawn that dies thirsty each year and then they will be responsible for watering and mowing it.
  12. And lastly, "Proposition 1" rhymes with "Ammunition Gun." I'm not sure, exactly, what that has to do with anything, but I see the workings of a cool poem.

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flying In To Save The Day ...

Sure, John McCain suspends his campaign when there is a huge bailout bill being put through Congress right in the middle of an unprecedented economic crisis. But where was he yesterday? Huh, Mr. McCain?! Where, indeed, was Mr. Obama?! These two senators were milling around with potential voters when Congress was cranking through some intense bills. What were those bills? There were nine of them. You are probably thinking, "Wow! Nine bills in one day. That's not bad, what with all of the debating and vote-hunting that accompanies them." That, my friend, is only the half of it. 8 of the 9 bills were for naming Post Offices. And the other? Similar in its groundbreaking status: the naming of a highway in California.

Our country is spiralling into an economic crisis with few parallels, and thankfully our Congress has the ability to set aside politics, step away from the crazy world of Wall Street, and get their priorities straight by sticking to their Constitutional right to (Article I, Section 8, Clause 7) "establish Post Offices and post Roads."

Of course, because this is so darn important, I'm afraid that some of these bills are being passed a bit too frivolously. I'm afraid that some of our own representatives and senators are simply passing off on some of these proposed Post Office namings without any research or opposition. That can, as we all know, be a dangerous precedent to tyranny. You can bet that Kim Jong Il, the North Korean dictator, got his start naming off Korean post offices. No one thought to stop him from it until it was too late. And Fidel Castro? Yep. He was wily enough to see that communism gets a toe-hold through post office naming. The next thing you know ... whabam! Castro and Che are sorting letters and paychecks as dictators-for-life.

So write your senators and representatives today and let them know that you will not stand for any more "Minnie Cox" Post Office Buildings in Mississippi or "CWO Richard R. Lee" Post Office Buildings in Connecticut. No longer will "Gordon N. Chan" Post Office Buildings in San Jose, California get a free pass from our senators. If needs be, let them know that you will support a filibuster or even open rebellion if that is what it will take to prevent a "Jacob M. Lowell" Post Office Building in Illinois.

And for heaven's sakes, get John McCain and Barack Obama in there to put a stop to this nonsense now, because if they want to prove themselves as true leaders, they'll show that they understand priorities and will drop economic grandstanding for the truer crisis of misnamed Post Office Buildings/roads.

And then, perhaps, finally, I'll get my ultimate wish and be able to have the "Edgar Lipsey" Post Office Building that I have wanted for so long ...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Debates: No Fun, Fights: Awesome

Top Photo: John McCain dwarfed in size but not spirit by the high school wrestler behind him. Bottom Photo: Barack Obama squeezing the air out of the basketball in his lap with his killer grip in his high school basketball team photo.

There is going to be a presidential debate tonight. I'm going out on a limb to guess what will happen: Both candidates will say the EXACT same things they have been saying for the past years now (in some cases even longer). Just to stir things up, they might switch up some of their prepositions or begin one of their robotically memorized sentences with an introductory clause, but besides that they will repeat word for word for word everything that has been said already. Not only that, but about %90 percent of the time, they will say the EXACT same thing as the other candidate, although at the same time claim to be vastly different from that candidate. About once or twice in the debate (in a time they feel to be the most appropriate, or sometimes not having an appropriate opening, it will just be dropped in randomly), they will spout out a prearranged joke or zinger at their opponent that they think will make them look clever and spontaneous, even though it was more scripted than the stump speech they've been regurgitating forever.

And then finally, after the debate is over they will shake hands (this is to prove that the two were actually in the same room and not just recorded images from previous campaigning pasted side-by-side). And then the media will sift through the hour and a half boring monologues to find some hang up to focus on and talk about for the next week or so. Usually the hang up will be one or the other candidate mispronouncing a foreign dignitary's name, and then as they psychoanalyze the outrageous effects of this supposed gaffe, they--in turn--will not come up with a consistent pronunciation of the dignitary themselves.

This is why I find it silly that people criticized John McCain for nearly canceling his first debate because of the economic crisis. Banks are toppling like a domino set and people want to actually believe that John standing in the same room with Barack Obama to spit out the same rhetoric that he has been saying for months is doing a service to the American people? Now, whether John was a superhero and flew into Congress to save the day is another blog for another time, but let's not kid ourselves in saying that the debate itself was crucial.

So should the debates be scrapped comletely? Nah. Let's just make them a bit more sincere. Let's tear away the layers of political mumbo-jumbo that they spew, and let it come down to raw, emotional physicality. I mean, come on. We know what their views are, but now we want to see how passionately they will defend those views. So, if you want to still call it a debate, fine. If someone else wants to call it a wrestling match, whatever. Either way, we've got ourselves at least something worth watching.

Careful Johnny, I hear Barack has got a killer headlock.