Category Archives: Politics

President Obama and Hitler’s coloring book

There’s been opposition to the President’s plan to broadcast  a “do well in school” message to the American student body.  In and of itself,  the message is probably harmless and probably a good idea;  who is better able to motivate our students than a good-looking, young President Obama?   Why are people making a fuss and opposing the president at every turn?  The problem lies in that it is being encouraged (some would say pushed) onto the American school system.

Officially, it is a voluntary program.  But we remember other “voluntary” programs like prayer in schools.  In that instance, any kids that refused to pray with all of the others were either ostracized or branded as atheists.   So I’m sure that any kids that opt out of the President’s inspirational message will be similarly affected.  I personally do not mind being branded a discontent at age 10, but it does affect your chances to get hired at the local hardware store for the summer when you turn 14.   That’s a heavy burden to bear.

The President should bear in mind other efforts to inspire young people without a chance for other voices to be heard.  This one-party messaging could eventually morph into something akin to Hitler’s propaganda machine.  One of their weirder efforts was this coloring book exhorting the Young German to do something that was probably decent and helpful.  But when a commendable exhortation turns into “obey my orders”  and “kill Jewish people”  then we have a little problem.1

Hitler's Coloring Book
Hitler's Coloring Book
  1. Just to make sure my message doesn’t get lost: Hitler was a bad man and killed a lot of innocent people.  We don’t want to be like him []

We are doomed… Playing The Race Card

Race relations are a big topic this year.  From the office of the Presidency to the next Supreme Court Justice to the selection of Surgeon General, race would seem to be a central factor in selection.  Not that these folk are not good, smart people; they seem to be good enough to do what their positions require.  But were they selected because of their overwhelming qualifications, or because they held some promise and they also advanced the color-blind American agenda?   Don’t get me wrong: it’s a good agenda.
Just witness the statue of Justice; it is blindfolded, ready to go into combat with that really big sword.  Another blind entity dispensing martial arts justice1.

Disclaimer: I am not a Caucasian, if that is even important.  Most dwellers of the Russian Caucasus region look nothing like your typical redneck person (sic)  from the Deep South. I could not pass for White, whatever that means.

But I have to take issue with the case of the alleged discriminatory Swim Club in Pennsylvania. Much has been made as to how a daycare class of minority students was run out of the club by just-awful white racists.  I think that the swim club is being harassed unfairly, by a day-care practicioner that has a chip on her shoulder.  Look at the facts, in a color-blind way: Was the group large? Yes. Did the group create a crowd that is unusual for the club? Yes. Did the crowding enhance the ability to swim laps in the pool or to enjoy a quiet swim? No.  Just for those reasons, I would have ended my contract with the daycare program: our facility is just too small to accommodate you.  There were 2 other groups that received the same reasoning for termination of contract; they are not making any waves (sorry, I could not resist)  about it.

Cute kids, ugly situation, flawed decisions.
Cute kids, ugly situation, flawed decisions.

But this one person decided that the swim club was too exclusive to be allowed to exist.  Exclusivity being defined as having the need to swim in a calm environment without 65 kids jumping into the pool. Trust me, I have small kids, it gets very loud.  So she took the comments of some of her students and decided to bring a lawsuit against the club.  Allegedly, some daycare kids heard others at the swim club make derogatory remarks, eg:watch the dark skinned kids or they’ll steal your towel and don’t they ruin a perfectly good pool outing.  Although I never automatically take a kid’s word above a trusted adult, this is what this unknown person did.  And now the swim club may have to close, since it cannot afford to mount a legal defense.

Did the swim club err? Yes.  They should have kept their contracts and notified members that certain swim periods would be crowded, since the club was assisting daycare groups that no longer had access to a regular swimming pool.  Did club members have the right to complain? Yes.  They had paid their dues and expected access to a swimming pool that was normally uncrowded.  Did they have the right to make racists remarks?  No. The club leadership should have used this opportunity to educate their members about life in the  20th, er, 21st Century.  Should they have used the words “[the kids] changed the atmosphere and complexion of the club?”  No. These are perfectly good English words,  but they do sound like the color of the kids’ skin had something to do with the decision.  Stupid word choice.

Solution?  Have the swim club institute racial sensitivity classes for members (including its President);  apparently they need them.  Have the daycare come back to use the pool and drop its legal case.    Contact between the swim club members and the general population is a good thing and would foster understanding between people.   But now  that the news shows have shown the swim club as a “bad” place and placard-wearing losers are using this as an opportunity to appear on those news shows (don’t they have jobs?),  this mess will move to its sad conclusion: the swim club will close and those very stereotypes that should be destroyed will be reinforced.  Oh yes,  everyone out of the pool !!!

PS> The daycare is seeking punitive damages against the swim club. I’d hate to think that the daycare program  is trying to shake down the swim club for money over this incident.  A lot of good daycare programs are receiving  reduced funds nowaways, and this may be a tragic way to raise money.  I will continue to think that it’s only the sad interaction between flawed people that has gotten us to this point.  That, and the eagerness of a lawyer to get some cash from (maybe) affluent people.

  1. remember the TV show Kung Fu? []

Zoe Saldana VS. Sonia Sotomayor

One is a prominent Latina female.   The other is trying to get into the Supreme Court. You be the judge as to who will have a longer lasting effect on the American people.

Sonia Sotomayor     VS.   Zoe Saldana

My vote is with Zoe.  She is from the Dominican Republic and is a living embodiment of the richness of African culture that came to the Caribbean and still influences the culture there. And she looks extremely hot in the Starfleet issue miniskirt and booties.  A worthy successor to the lovely Communications Officer, Lt. Nichelle Nichols, and I believe Zoe speaks fluent Spanish.

On the other hand, we have an outspoken, intelligent Latina female, Sonia Sotomayor.  She has been called a “racist”  by the right-wing but I do not concur.  From her isolated comments, I make her out to be more of a mysandrist1  But she is going into a Supreme Court slot that is being vacated by another liberal-leaner, Justice Souter, so her positions2 should not make much of a difference in upcoming court decisions.  She will be outspoken, though, so it will be nice to hear a strident counterpoint to the pontificating statements of conservative Justice Scalia.

My score: 

Zoe Saldana (1) for a fantastic Star Trek franchise debut.   

Sonia Sotomayor (-1) for inflamatory statements that were issued when she was not open to micro-scrutiny as she is now.   Once she gets coronated as a Justice, I’ll reset her at (0).     I’ll give her (+2) rightaway if she trounces Scalia at the weekly Supreme Court Poker game. 3

  1. Definition: a hater of males.  In this case, white males. []
  2. Normally, I would now digress into  positions held by Zoe Saldana, but I’m not familiar with her record  : )  []
  3. Always bet your hidden aces; do not try to trap or you’ll get your dream pair cracked by trip deuces or some such tripe []

Obama Inaugural — A Pointless Farce

Well, now that I have your attention let me soften up a little here.  Any Presidential Inaugural in the United States should be an occassion of joy.  In what other part of the world would you see the reins of government for such a powerful nation change hands so smoothly??  Bush is out and Obama is in, and not a single person has been incarcerated or worse.

Well, maybe I’m premature.  Given the low temperatures at the Inaugural and the fact that you have limited bathroom access and seating, you may yet see a few casualties of the new government.  A word of advice to our older readers: don’t go.  This standing around for 6 hours in freezing cold is for the young.

And it is the young that should be celebrating; they are the ones that put Obama over the top and elected him President.  In their excited fugue state, they are going to go and throw a fantastic party next Tuesday to celebrate the first African-American President of the United States.    But I’m here to throw a little cold water on your party,  a little dose of reality on the Change Band-Wagon that rolled so smoothly over the remains of the GOP ticket last November.   You voted for change but what you’ve been getting is pragmatism: your new President has limited options in the face of a melting economy.  You voted to punish the rich, but it seems that we still need the rich to kick-start the economic engine from its current stupor.  You voted yourselves a ticket to the opening of a cornucopia of endless green energy and bio-fuels, but instead you are standing in the soup line with the rest of us.  Better get out of the line and get behind the serving table: we are going to need all the help we can get.

The euphoria I expect to see next Tuesday reminds me of a fantastic wedding day put together for a couple that never gave much thought to what is needed to form a long-lasting marriage.  The couple was so focused on having a great time at the wedding that they did not plan out the rudiments of a real marriage: a firm financial and emotional foundation for the life-long effort that lay ahead. 

I have heard so much about the menus for the different Inaugural celebrations being held but not much about how folks are going to pay for the meal and the entertainment.  Is this money disposable income or is it coming from your unemployment benefits?  Is it worth spending a piece of your future to get a short-lived high?

This is akin to the feeling you get when your team wins a game.  For a few moments life seems wonderful, but it is a feeling that is built on a meaningless event.   Roger Ebert has a great article on the feeling of elevation  and how you get it at the movies: it is a great sensation but it is built on something less than reality.  When the movie is over, so is the feeling of elation.  It take a little extra effort to turn the memory of that moment into action that lasts a lifetime.   I can only hope that that is what will happen on Inauguration Tuesday.  Go get  your jollies that day, but don’t lay the weight of the future on Mr. Obama; only you and the hard work of a few million others can make it as bright as you are expecting it to be.

How Prop 8 Passed

Paul Bogan writes angrily yet eloquently about California passing Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriages. One of his points is that Californians could not possibly have misunderstood the clear wording of the bill.

This is East Coast Thinking, which I understand because I spent more time there than here. On the east coast, when someone cuts you off on the parkway, you think, “What an asshole!” But when you get to California, everyone seems so nice. In short order, your perception of your fellow residents changes. Then, when someone cuts you off on the freeway, you think, “What an idiot!” I’ve spoken with a lot of California transplants on this exact issue and it’s pretty unanimous.

This election, I voted no on darn near every prop1, and I did this because I actually took the better part of a day to research them all. However, I think most people do research at the voting booth. They skim and make a gut reaction.

That’s why we voted for a $10B down payment on a train to San Francisco. Yes, people, it’s a down payment! It will cost way more – maybe 2-3 times that! Can’t we start with decent local public transportation first? JetBlue is already doing a fine job flying us to SF. I want a train that takes me from Huntington Beach to the Santa Monica Promenade, Hollywood and Highland, and Old Town Pasadena.2 If you insist on building a bullet train to somewhere cool, make it Las Vegas. San Fran is perhaps the coolest city in America, but it’s crazy expensive. Even with gambling and strip clubs, Vegas is downright cheap in comparison.3

Ignorance and misguided compassion is also why we voted for $980M for children’s hospitals when we just allotted $750M in 2004. Newsflash: we still have $350M of that yet to grant, under the same rules as this prop. This is akin to taking a huge cash advance on our credit card when we’re already knee deep in debt and we don’t even need the money!

I understand how Paul – who is obviously so wise in the way of (political) science – might think Californians could not possibly be dumb enough to vote incorrectly on Prop 8. However, the commercials that called for no on 8 were vague on what you were voting against. They made it clear you were voting against discrimination, but never said of what. I think a lot of people heard prop 8 was the gay marriage bill and thought, “Why, I think Gay Bill’s a swell guy. He should totally have the right to get married. Yes on 8!” OK, maybe not that bad, but just yesterday I heard a guy call into Headline news4 to say that he was not gay, and that he “really, really loves the ladies”, but he thought gays should have the right to get married. Unfortunately, the drafters of said proposition used “confusing language” and he accidentally voted yes when he meant no. Is he the exception that proves the rule? Maaaaaaybe. But I’m often reminded of a quote from the late, great George Carlin:

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

Of course, he also said:

“In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem.”

  1. Yes on 11 and 12, if you must know. []
  2. Yes, I realize that in 5 years, through the wonders of “gentrification”, they’ll all be the same place. Like when I discovered that San Diego’s Gaslamp District was a carbon copy of Old Town Pasadena (or vice-versa). Now, the Promenade is slowly remaking itself into the image of The Grove. SoCal is becoming one big homogenized crap factory. []
  3. Probably because because SF has better, more expensive strip clubs. []
  4. Why they accept phone calls now I cannot fathom. It’s not news; hell, it’s barely opinions. HLN: If you need more filler, just show your sexy female news anchors shooting coy looks at the camera, maybe biting their lip a little. On slow days, licking a lollipop or sensuously eating a banana. Ratings will skyrocket. []

A note to racists

Now that Obama is on his way to America’s throne, (note throne/toilet double-meaning) I wish him the best of luck with the turd Bush left for him. I personally did not vote this year because I did not like either choice. Playing eenie-meenie-mynee-moe at the booth is nonsense.
I have nothing against Obama, it’s just that I’ve never heard of the guy until the “bandwagon” effect started rolling, and yes I do follow politics. On the other hand I’m not voting for a Bush-clone either.
The fact is, Obama’s intelligent, well spoken, educated…. and black. Don’t try to correct me about his race. The community defines your race, not your blood-line. So as long as the black community emraces him as one of their own… he’s black.

Now here’s my request: Please for the love of humanity, stupid, racist, KKK, Nazi, skinhead, rednecks, leave this one alone. You don’t have to love him, but please just leave him be. My biggest fear is what would happen to America if he was assassinated by one of these kooks.
It will push race relations back 50 years. Riots will break out in every major city. We finally live in a time where whites don’t feel the need to feel sorry for errors of past generations, but this will all be erased if anything happens to Obama. It doesn’t help much that the (to be) Vice President is about as gringo as they come. People will start conspiracy theories about how this was the plan all along.
The fact that 60% percent of Obama’s voters were white will not help our cause. Another black hero dies, and it would probably be a long time before another gets to the same position.
So please gripe all you want if his performance gives you a reason to, but either way lets leave violent racism in the 20th century.

note to FBI/CIA: You’ve probably received some automated alarms related to some key wording I’ve used in this rant, so just to be clear: Neither I, nor anyone I know, is connected in any way to plots, designs, meetings or individuals with intent to bring harm upon any public figure.

But I have been sharing privileged information concerning Roswell.
Suck on that.

Obama Wins !!! Break out crystal ball.

Yes, Presidential Election Year 2008 seems to be over.  Or is it?? Read on.

With most polls placing Democratic candidate Obama 10+ points over Republican candidate McCain, it would seem to be a routine slide to November 4th this year.  However, I like to keep things interesting, so here are my top predictions for an Obama presidency:

Item 1: Obama wins. Duh.

But he does not win by the 10+ margin that the polls predict.  I believe that the contest will be a lot closer on Nov. 4th.  There will be a lot of Republicans kicking themselves in the butt for not voting.   Shame on you;  all Americans should vote on this Election Day.  The unexpected vote numbers will possibly be blamed on the Bradley Effect witnessed in the California Gubernatorial election of 1982 :folks did not admit to the pollsters that they would not vote for a black candidate.  When the election took place, the true numbers came out.  But this disparity in reporting vs. reality will result in……

Item 2: Media backlash. 

All of us are aware that the media was in bed with candidate Obama, eg: Saturday Night Live lampooned this phenomenum when they showed reporters asking candidate Obama if he needed a pillow or if it should be fluffed some more.  Candidate Hillary Clinton alluded to this “Obama Effect”  during her own candidacy.  I believe the American people will not tolerate 4 more years of this whore-pimp situation and will strike back against the media by NOT WATCHING.  Expect higher viewing numbers for reality-television shows and Entertainment-Tonight-type programs as news viewership declines.  Same for newspapers, unless they print sale-coupons or cents-off coupons for food.  Which brings us to…..

Item 3: Economy in the toilet. 

Despite Obama’s “efficiencies”  and his research into extracting sunlight from cucumbers1  the economy will continue its slide into crumminess or at best, into stagnation.  There will be an initial bump upwards, due to the change-is-coming effect, but this will quickly be replaced by the cold truth of reality.  Useless investment in ocean wind farms and solar panel cities will not trickle down to other sectors of the economy.  They will not produce enough energy to fuel an economic resurgence, but they will make for an exciting IMAX film coming to your neighborhood soon !!! 2  Which easily leads to…..

Item 4: Blame it on Bush. 

Blaming anything and everything on Bush has become such a popular pastime that I don’t think  it will stop.  Obama got elected by blaming the Bush Presidency and I don’t think he will stop.  Blaming the continuing crisis on 8 Bush years will get pretty old, though, and soon.  The Economic Crisis got him elected, but it will also bring Obama down in popularity and job acceptance poll-numbers.  There will be books written on this period of economic distress, which is why I find it so curious that none will be written about……

Item 5: Big Conspiracy. 

I always connect a big event with the people that most benefit from that big event.  This crisis got Obama elected, ergo, the Democratic Party is behind it.  Now wait.  Before you consign this thought to the rubbish bin section of your brain, consider this:  the crisis was bound to happen, the bad home loans were in place, the banks were running on vapor; but what made it happen just NOW??  Why did it not happen months ago, or on November 5th?  Why was it so fortuitously timed for a particular person to benefit??  Just the timing of it makes my conspiracy-theory-minded Spidey sense tingle.  And trust me, I am not the only person making this kind of fantastical leap: most reporters got their reputations by developing that investigative-hunch-bone that makes them uneasy when things “just happen.”  But the lack of investigative reporting makes me wonder about how far this conspiracy reaches.  Could it be that not only the Democrats but also the Republicans have something to hide in this mess, and they have both managed to keep the press at bay??  Newshounds know that you can’t piss both sides of the political process, or you end up with 4 years of reporting on Libertarian and Green Party issues.  But they can still redeem themselves and avoid Item 2.  It just may not be possible to do so.  Just look at the finger that pushed the first domino in the chain of bank failures, that’s were the fault lies.

And bonus Item 6

Obama’s ethanol initiative will pollute the environment in a big way and turn environmentalists against him.  Again.  But nobody cares about this, so please ignore.

Afterthought Item 7: Sarah Palin runs for Presidency 2012.  This year shows that inexperience is not a detractor to the Presidency if you are popular enough.  After discarding the McCain deadweight (sorry John!!), Palin will reject public funding for campaigns and go on to raise prodigious amounts of cash that will take her to the Presidency.  But watch out: her run will encourage Hillary Clinton to also run in 2012, capitalizing on her opposition to Obama since the very start; she will find an understanding American public.  That’s the campaign *I* want to see made into a movie!!3

  1. “Gulliver’s Travels”, Jonathan Swift []
  2. As an engineer, I am actually intrigued by these new power systems; they
    will look pretty cool but will not produce the scale of energy needed by a country the size of the USA []
  3. NOTE to Spike Lee: we don’t want an inspirational Obama film starring Denzel Washington, unless Obama is running a secret war against extraterrestrials on the Dark Side of the moon, with lots of special effects explosions and USA space troopers launching out of the Capitol building []

The Wicked Witch, Hitler and War Criminals

Quite a title for this article, but it really makes sense.  Trust me.

The Wicked Witch

I was listening to the soundtrack for the Broadway show “Wicked.”  It is based on the premise that the Wicked Witch of the West was really not evil, just a  misunderstood soul.   Wow.  They are taking one of the iconic evil figures from literature and giving her a second look, an alternate-universe history that makes her, well, nice1.   And that’s not right.

Taking this alarming trend to its pinnacle, could it be far behind for Hitler to make a comeback?? 

(NOTE: the following are satirical comments.  Do not mistake them for reality; they are just an artifice to make a point.  That is how satire works.) 

After all, Hitler was really nice to his dogs. And he did put all of the German people back to work on that really cool roadway, the Autobahn.  Did I mention that he created the Volkswagen?? That picture of Hitler and his gang of killers parading around on a convertible Wolkswagen has got to be the coolest, most disturbing image of the war. 2  So except for the 6 million people he killed, Hitler was a really nice guy.  Really. 

(NOTE: the satire has now ended.  Back to reality.)

Hitler’s Beetle

But we all know that the winners of a war write the history books, so they can adjust the facts to suit themselves.  There are many instances of Allied atrocities in WW2 that should have been tried as war crimes.  I am thinking of the conventional bombing of the German city of Dresden, or the firebombing of Japanese cities.  The latter killed a whole lot more people than the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki (better left for some other article).  But a lot of terrible things happen during a war; it’s just distasteful to try to justify them as being necessary for a greater good.  It’s so much more honest to say what is really inside: the enemy is inhuman and we’re  scared sh*tless; we need to kill as many of them as possible before the war ends.  Afterwards,  we have to go back to being human beings and play nice again.  Or whatever passes for “nice” between bellicose nations.

So back to the Wicked Witch of the West.  The play does a good job turning the Oz universe on its head.  As with many revisionist works, there are problems with it, since it changes a couple of  really key points that clash with the world that Frank L. Baum created.  Similar to those Star Wars prequels that cannot exist in the same universe as the original Star Wars movies.  But these are nits, and you can still enjoy the Wicked concept if you ignore them.  Just don’t expect me to change my worldview: The witch is still evil. (Don’t forget, she did try to kill Dorothy.  And her little dog, too.)

  1. What is next?? Darth Vader used to be a nice guy that made some  wrong choices?? []
  2. Except for that other disturbing photo, showing thousands of his dead victims from the concentration camps. []

No Offshore Drilling; where’s my nuclear car??

Time to set the record straight:  whatever, whichever politician said that gas prices are not coming down was right.  Offshore drilling is a good idea, but it will not bring gas prices down.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for drilling for oil in our own backyards.  When I first moved out to California, I was enchanted by all of those oil derricks pumping, pumping away in the beautiful hills of Huntington Beach, down along the beach paths and even on the beach dunes themselves.  It made California look like the golden El Dorado that I had always imagined: golden roads lined with cool-looking cars and all of the oil we needed right under our feet.  And yes, I was also expecting bikini-clad girls to pump my gas and sell me my milk from those roadside milk stands (I saw pictures of this put out by the Orange County Chamber of Commerce).  I’m sure the girls and the pumping action of the derricks was some sort of Freudian juxtaposition that made me drive out to California all the faster.

So why don’t I support the drilling now?? Because once the oil is out of the ground, it is immediately put out on the international market where China can bid on it, along with every other gas-thirsty country that is finally making its way out of the Third World.  We would be competing with them for our own gas.  And make no mistake about it: it’s our gas.  It is coming out on nationally-owned areas (offshore or the ANWR in Alaska)  and the oil companies are getting a low-risk, fantastic return on investment.  If that is the case, they can afford to lose a little bit of profit by selling that gas DOMESTICALLY, ONLY.  Does that sound socialistic, the first hints of nationalized gas production?? You bet your sweet light-crude that it does!!  But if you’re going to drill in my backyard, and I own the land and mineral rights, you have better pay me off by at least selling me the oil at a domestically-competitive price.

But I’m also realistic.  Using oil to power our cars is a technological dead-end.  With all of the Chinese, Indian, Polish, Russian, etc. etc.  economies finally coming out of the Dark Ages and increasing the number of privately owned cars, we are going to be running out of oil soon (peak oil production).   So where’s my nuclear-powered car??  If all of those Disney documentaries in the 1950’s promised plenty of energy in the future, how come I have to use my bicycle to go to the library and to the store??

The anwer of course is that we can’t trust the average person to drive a quarter of critical mass around in their engines, waiting for some terrorist to figure out that (4) times (1/4)  equals (1).  Boom.   And I can hardly imagine the bad traffic created when the radioactive cleanup team cleans up the pieces from your average 4 accidents per freeway per day. 

We need to use nuclear power to generate the electricity to provide the hydrogen to run the cars.  Simple enough, please give me my new-model 2010 hydrogen-fueled SUV.  In Earth-Friendly Green,  of course.  And feel free to stick as many oil-sucking straws in the California Offshore until then.