Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The "White Horse" meets Eric Cantor

A quickie: all those folks worried about the Constitution "hanging by a thread" have a new enemy -- Eric Cantor:

Eric Cantor supports destroying the Constitution

This is Tea Party delusion at its greatest -- destroy the Constitution in order to save it. Since I'm a self-declared Millennial Positivist, my belief is antics like this will doom these guys to irrelevancy. They might try and succeed in one or two states (maybe. And that's if everything goes exactly the way they planned), but it won't take long for people to realize how ideas like this run strongly counter to their interests.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baseball and Politics: Expansion

I desperately want a major league baseball team in Salt Lake.  I could see myself going to a few dozen games every season.  As a lifelong Red Sox fan I would have no problem switching allegiances to a new, local team (especially after the Sox have won a couple World Series recently).  The only way I see this happening is through expansion.

There are currently 30 major league teams.  There are 16 teams in the National League and 14 in the American League.  The reason they are unbalanced is because in baseball every team plays just about every day, and teams play in (typically) three game sets, so you need an even number of teams in each league to avoid scheduling problems.  This means that the NL Central has six teams while the AL West only has four.  It would be ideal to add a couple of western teams to even out the leagues and enfranchise some disenfranchised parts of the country (I think Portland would be perfect for a second team).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rant Time: Pres. Obama is No Liberal

And he's certainly no socialist, despite the popular conservative argument otherwise.  Here's what we have seen so far:
  1. He gave away the public option before the debate even began.  Health care reform ended up being a huge win for the health care industry which will soon be flooded with new customers thanks to the mandate.
  2. The stimulus was too small and included too many tax cuts for corporations at the Republicans' behest.
  3. He has failed to follow up on, pursue, and prosecute Bush Administration illegal activities such as torture and illegal wiretapping.
  4. The war in Afghanistan, which pretty much everyone agrees we can't "win" militarily, has been escalated instead of ended.
  5. The financial reform bill was watered down in the face of the powerful financial lobby to the point of likely being completely ineffectual to prevent the sort of the economic meltdown we are currently working our way out of, over two years later and with no end in sight.
  6. He is now backing down from his stance of letting the tax cuts for the super-wealthy expire and extending the tax cuts for the vast majority of Americans permanently.
  7. And now, reports are that the administration is stepping up covert attacks in Yemen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Skalestial Music Station

With liberals being betrayed by our elected Democrats on a daily basis now (more on this soon), I need to cleanse my palate, and that is often accomplished by the soothing and rolling sounds of ska music.  I've decided to share my Pandora ska station with all of you, for you listening pleasure:  Skalestial Music.

It's not perfect, by any means.  I still get a little too much pure reggae on the one side and punk on the other (I have a separate punk station I'm working on, but I'm rarely in a mood where I want the two to mix), but it's nonetheless pretty awesome.  I've put a lot of time into it, more than I'd care to admit, so please enjoy.  If anyone out there wants to share their favorite Pandora station with the rest of us, please feel free.  And if you want to learn too much about my affection for ska music, click here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Millenial Positivism: Jacob Chapter 5 -- Breeding Out the Bad Fruit

As promised, here is the first installment of my series on "Millennial Positivism", or a version of pre-Millennial events that doesn't sound like something out of Mad Max.

The fifth chapter of Jacob offers a unique take on pre-Millennial events. Most other revelations on the subject tend to jump around and talk about various "signs" without presenting a coherent narrative. The fifth chapter of Jacob, on the other hand, runs straight through starting from some time after the exodus and ending with the burning of the earth following the Millennium and the great final battle between good and evil. It sticks to a single allegorical model -- olive trees in a vineyard -- throughout. It skips over many of the usual touchstones found in similar revelations; no talk of great tribulation, cataclysmic natural and man-made disasters, armageddon, or any of the other hallmarks of apocalyptic writing. Instead it focuses on the overall process of ridding the world of evil, and how that is to be accomplished in the "last days". The resulting tone is much more upbeat than one usually encounters in these sorts of revelations.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Utah's Republican Hegemony

Utah again elected a Republican as governor and a Republican as United States Senator.  Both Gov. Herbert and Sen.-elect Lee won by wide 2-1 margins against moderate-to-conservative Democrats.  These are perhaps the least surprising election results since racist Democrats owned the South from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Era.  In Utah, Republicans win and they win big, particularly for governor and United States Senate, which are the big, important statewide elections.

It got me wondering when the last time was that Utahns elected a Democrat to statewide office.  It turns out that Utah has not had a Democrat in statewide office since Scott Matheson (father of current Rep. Matheson) left the governor's office in January of 1985.  That's about 26 years.  Utah has not had a Democrat in the United State Senate since Frank Moss was defeated by Sen. Hatch and left office in January of 1977.  Sen. Hatch, ironically, made a big deal that Sen. Moss' 16 years in office were too many and that he had lost touch with Utahns.  Sen. Hatch has now been a senator for about 34 years.

I then began to wonder how this Republican hegemony stacked up against other states that are perceived to be dominated by one political party.  The results were not good for Utah.  No other state has gone as long as Utah voting for a single party in the major statewide elections of governor and senator.  The results follow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Economy, Mitigated by the Tea Party

. . . unfortunately.
This was certainly a drubbing for Democrats, no doubt about it.  After making six years of gains they have lost the House in resounding fashion, lost a bunch of governorships, and lost a handful of Senate seats.  I have no problem with fluidity in political power, but when you take a look at the underlying factors in the Republican landslide last night, the picture isn't so neat and clear as it might seem.

Take a look at the polling that asks Americans which issues are most important to them.  The economy is always the most important by a wide margin.  In the most recent CNN poll 52% of respondents said it was the most important issue while only eight percent thought issues such as the deficit, health care, our lame wars, etc., respectively were the most important.  In a recent Pew poll 39% thought the economy was the most pressing issue, 25% said health care was, and 17% said the deficit was.  In a recent Bloomberg poll 49% listed the economy as problem number one, compared to 27% for the deficit and ten percent for health care.  In a recent CBS poll it was 57% for the economy, seven percent for health care, three percent for things like immigration and the deficit.  Exit polls from last night show the same thing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Divided we Stand, United we Fall

Election Day 2010. 19 Seats are in play for the Senate with the Democrats currently holding 46 and the Republicans holding 35. 111 Seats are in play for the House with the Democrats currently holding 150 and the Republicans holding 174.

I have a feeling that no matter what the final roll call is at the end of the day, there will be no satisfaction and there will be no progress. Why? Because the willingness to accept differences, concede changes, or invoke cooperation in the our delightful partisan government is as rare as rocking horse poo.

Along with my major frustration with political campaigning are the empty promises. Take Sharron Angle from Nevada for example. Set aside the fact that Mrs. Angle is as dirty and manipulative as they come, and focus only on her promise that her first act as senator would be to submit legislation to repeal "Obamacare". Fair enough, she's not alone in wanting to draft such legislation (Minority leader Jim DeMint and Colorado candidate Ken Buck, among many others). What bothers me is that there is almost no chance that they can repeal the healthcare bill. Let's assume that the predicted becomes reality and Republicans gain control of the House. This doesn't help any of the senators cause, because their legislation has to first be approved in the Senate. Let's assume that all craziness is realized and Republicans gain power in both the House and the Senate. Maybe under these conditions they could get legislation pushed through - right onto President Obama's desk, and next to his Veto pen.

So, we are going to have a new congress, with the same old problems. Despite what all the candidates are promising, and until enough of those that (ostensibly) represent us mature to the point that they can cooperate, there will be no revolutions. Maybe we should turn to the punks for advice:

"I'm tired politicians, of patriots and nots. I'm tired of deeper knowledge...It's hard to know the right choice to be made, and harder still to keep....Be not afraid to hold out your hand. Be not ashamed, to not understand." - Crazy Arm, Still to Keep

"Unity, as one we stand together. Unity, revolution's gonna come." - Operation Ivy, Unity

"Constant entertainment for our restless minds. Constant stimulation for epic appetites. Is there something wrong with these songs? Maybe there's something wrong with the audience." Against Me!, Don't Lose Touch