June 23, 2008

George Carlin, 1937-2008

He was arguably his generation's most gifted and most controversial comic, with little reverence for what most Americans perceived to be sacred. From the Seven Words to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Dogma, there was little left to be profaned, but George Carlin always found a way to do it. Every time that a line was drawn, George would leap across it and make it funny in doing so.

By challenging the conventions of the times, George Carlin broke ground for future comics, much like Hunter Thompson broke ground for future journalists in his gonzo style. Only four days before his death was it announced that George was going to receive the Mark Twain prize later this year. An event honoring him while he is absent will be difficult, because George had a way of mocking every folly and hypocricy prevalent in society and something tells me that it was bound to happen at the ceremony.

He was a force to be reckoned with. May eternal rest see him comfortably and may his life have been for a profaned blessing.

-rl

June 20, 2008

I have a question that I would like to pose to my fellow bloggers on the right and the left: will this election be a national re-aligning election?

I believe that it will be. Barack Obama has strong appeal even in the quaintest and most remote areas of Georgia, giving me hope that it may be true generally in the South, hopefully ending the nearly 40-year long Southern Strategy of the Republicans. In fact, the states that I believe will remain reliably Republican for this election are as follows:



  • Utah

  • Arizona

  • Wyoming

  • Oklahoma

  • Texas

  • Idaho

  • Kansas

  • Nebraska

  • Alabama




These states total only 83 electoral votes out of the 270 required to be elected to the Presidency.

These are the states that I think will be doggedly Democratic come November:



  • California

  • Washington

  • New York

  • Vermont

  • Massachusetts

  • Rhode Island

  • Maryland

  • Illinois

  • Hawaii

  • District of Columbia




Those 10 states total 154 electoral votes, over half of the required 270. Every other state, yes, even Alaska and Mississippi, are in play. I believe that this is not necessarily coming from a disapproval of the central "issues" of the Republican party, but rather the inability of the Republicans whom red states have elected to follow through on their promises, id est: the damaged Republican brand. Thus, I don't think that Barack Obama's election to the Presidency will constitute an endorsement of Democratic policy (for the time being), but rather will constitute a repudiation of the Republican party's inability to function as a government ethically. Now come 2010's midterm elections, we will be able to judge then whether or not the American public does accept a leftward shift in policy...

Undoubtedly the Republicans will suffer legislative losses as well and fall into an even smaller minority in both the House and Senate (55 Ds, 2 Is voting with Ds, and 43 Rs) and potentially having as few as 185 seats in the House. Potential for Republican losses may be even greater.

So, all that said, I throw the question to y'all once again: Will this be a realigning election?

-rl

June 19, 2008

Priceless words from Cindy McCain

(CNN) — Cindy McCain, wife of John McCain, said Thursday the spouses of the presidential candidates should be allowed to have some privacy.

"I do not think that spouses and family members … are fair game," she told CNN's John King.

"There has to be some decorum left in politics and in American journalism as well. Our husbands are the candidates," she said.


Cindy Mac says she's not fair game.

Cindy McCain, following her own angry rant about Michelle Obama's "first time in her adult life to be proud of America", finds herself backpeddling when there is much damage that could be done to Senator McCain's campaign if/when the goods are dug up on her. Funny how that happens.

By the way, I agree with her sentiment. I just think she's a hypocrite and I'm calling her out on that matter. Nothing personal, Cindy.

In other news, it's still excruciatingly expensive to get gasoline.

And did anyone who filled out the good wishes form on Senator Kennedy's Senate webpage get a response from him and his wife earlier today? I thought it was neat to get something back, even though it looked like a form letter.

-rl

June 17, 2008

The Continuing Story of George W. McCain

The NYTimes has a great article which helps voters who aren't generally into going through senatorial voting records to compare Senator McCain's voting stances against the administration's positions.

Is McCain Like Bush? It Depends on the Issue

When it comes down to bread and butter issues, John McCain is more like George W. Bush than George W. Bush is. McBush seeks to further the already aggressive regressive tax cuts initiated by this administration. Instead of trying to use the government to help remedy the issues facing the American public, McCain seeks to use the government to promote the outmoded theory of trickle-down economics (or as Bush the 1st put it: voodoo economics) that puts money back into the pockets of the moneyed elites of whom John McCain claims to be a fierce critic. Oh, the pennies fall out of the pockets lined with dollars of irony.

Chew on that a bit.

-rl

June 12, 2008

Pot, meet kettle

I'm periodically reminded of this old saying when I listen to the propaganda spewed by the Republican noise machine... the latest (and maybe greatest recent) example of the Right Punditocracy's hypocricy was Vice President Dick Cheney's remark to the National Press Club:

"So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family and we don't even live in West Virginia."


I think its funny that the Vice President thinks this kind of comment is okay while his running dog lackeys heave accusations of elitism at Barack Obama. VP Cheney manages thus to prove two things: 1) He himself is an elitist, at least with respect to the people of West Virginia and 2) he has no respect for the people who twice voted his sorry tuckus into the Vice Presidency.

Elitism? Hi pot, here's my good friend kettle.

I'm not writing about gas prices today. It's too damned depressing to think about how much of my net weekly income goes into my gas tank. The economic signals we've been getting lately have been confusing me... unemployment jumped to 5.5%, consumer spending is up... there are two words to define our situation: inflation and recession. It is taking more dollars to buy milk, gas, food, phones, other currencies and economic growth is erratic at best. Let this be a lesson and let us learn from it. People treat the economy as if it were a real object unto itself, while it is actually a thick network of interoperating systems, controlled by other people. When we speak of capital inflow and outflow, these are the results of human interaction - something that seems to be lost on the people feeding us our information.

We need new economic policy, guided by smart policy with a proactive (vs reactive) component of the government to help. Once a problem starts, we can only work to fix it. Our goal should not be to fix problems, but to prevent problems. Allowing the housing situation to develop into a bubble and then explode is proof of the necessity for new policy. We can't afford to be afraid of our government any longer or else we'll cannibalize the system.

-rl

June 6, 2008

Who is Governor Brian Schweitzer?

Donklephant asks the same question and posits an idea which I have previously mulled.

Governor Schweitzer is a very popular Democratic governor in an otherwise very red state (Montana) and, as Justin notes, he's pragmatic and can walk the bipartisan walk like he talks it. While it can be said that he'll just be the VP were he Senator Obama's choice as running mate, I think Governor Schweitzer would provide valuable advice to candidate and President Obama.

As for this talk of Senator Webb, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with him just on the basis of having two legislators on the ticket. I'd rather have one person with legislative experience and one person with executive experience (see Clinton/Gore) as a ticket. It provides a balance on the ticket that goes beyond simple demographic balance, but also reflects a balance in leadership positions.

Those are my thoughts.

-rl

June 5, 2008

Seriously folks...

... 97 degrees? On June 5?

You've got to be kidding me.

Anyhow, I suppose it is time for the latest installment of the gas price round-up. Prices in Athens are averaging an arm and a leg, being at $3.92/gallon, up one cent. Looking elsewhere across the 50 nifty United States:

Akron, Ohio: $3.88/gallon (down $0.08)
Anchorage, Alaska: $4.11/gallon (up $0.06)
Atlanta, Georgia: $3.98/gallon (up $0.05)
Baltimore, Maryland: $3.92/gallon (no change)
Boston, Massachusetts: $3.97/gallon (up $0.04)
Burlington, Vermont: $3.98/gallon (up $0.04)
Charlotte, North Carolina: $3.94/gallon (up $0.01)
Chicago, Illinois: $4.20/gallon (no change)
Cleveland, Ohio: $3.92/gallon (down $0.03)
Dallas, Texas: $3.86/gallon (up $0.03)
Denver, Colorado: $3.86/gallon (no change)
Detroit, Michigan: $4.01/gallon (down $0.04)
Honolulu, Hawaii: $4.07/gallon (up $0.10)
Indianapolis, Indiana: $3.88/gallon (down $0.06)
Las Vegas, Nevada: $4.02/gallon (up $0.14)
Los Angeles, California: $4.37/gallon (up $0.26)
Miami, Florida: $4.03/gallon (up $0.02)
Minneapolis, Minnesota: $3.83/gallon (up $0.02)
New York, New York: $4.27/gallon (Bronx) (up $0.08)
New York, New York: $4.27/gallon (Manhattan) (up $0.07)
Newark, New Jersey: $3.87/gallon (up $0.04)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: $3.76/gallon (steady)
Phoenix, Arizona: $4.00/gallon (up $0.18)
Sacramento, California: $4.40/gallon (up $0.22)
St Louis, Missouri: $3.87/gallon (up $0.10)
Salt Lake City, Utah: $3.90/gallon (up $0.09)
San Antonio, Texas: $3.82/gallon (up $0.02)
San Francisco, California: $4.36/gallon (up $0.15)
Seattle, Washington: $4.22/gallon (up $0.13)
Washington, DC: $4.09/gallon (up $0.06)

National Average: $3.99/gallon (up $0.04)

Gas prices culled from gasbuddy.com. Gasbuddy.com: for all your price-fixing beating needs. Once again, please do not rely on blogginryan for your decision-making at the gas pump. This information is for informative purposes only and by reading this blog, you agree to indemnify the author if for any reason you should find yourself at the crummy end of a gas deal. Deal? Yeah. Check here: ( )

Crap, you can't check that, can you? Oh well...

---
The national trend is up slightly, but the biggest jumps come in California, where prices in LA, Sacramento, and San Francisco shot up sharply over the past week. Wichita, Kansas, is seeing the lowest prices at the moment, averaging around $3.66 per gallon of 87 octane gasoline.

We're on the verge of hitting a national average of $4.00/gallon, but will falling crude prices keep this from happening?

In other news, reports abound that HRC will be ending her campaign sometime soon, with Friday and Saturday being the most frequently stated days. I won't believe it until it happens, though.

Did I mention it's hot down here and it's only going to get hotter before settling in the low 90s by mid next week? This weather is foul. G-d bless the South.

-rl

June 4, 2008

Unity and Uniting

As I sit here in my office I wax mildly philosophical regarding the state of this great nation of ours and how I just felt like lobbing out a vitriolic post re: Hillary Clinton's speech last night. Then I read some things that Jill had to say regarding the whole matter and I found my center. Ultimately, if one believes what Hillary says, Hillary does want to work to ultimately fight for the ideals she espouses. Her record in the Senate echoes that by and large, so her words do not ring entirely hollow.

Over the course of an intense and exciting electoral process, people tend to exhaust themselves in their words, sometimes causing them to sound like they've run out of ideas (so put by Mary Matalin about Barack Obama this morning on CNN) or that they've lost tact (RFKgate on Hillary's end). Ultimately, though, the two minds behind the words ring full of ideas that will work to better serve America. Can the same be said of John McCain? Probably, but I disagree with his ideas, because I feel that a market left to roam freely will be a market that cannibalizes itself. That continuing to occupy Iraq isn't the best way to bring this conflict to a reasonable and successful conclusion. President Bush has certainly done enough to keep that from happening.

Whether the folks who read and author pieces for websites like HumanEvents and Newsmax wish to admit it or not, whether a President Clinton or Obama were elected, America will not become a new Socialist Republic of Badtopia, Israel will not be annihilated by Iran through the willful ignorance of the American leader, and they certainly won't take your ball and go home.

Let us then unite behind our candidate. I forgive Hillary for all of her statements, though I still wonder what compelled her to say many of the things she did (and more importantly did not) say, forgive her support of the gas-tax holiday, and forgive her support of going to Iraq in the first place. I will forgive you Senator Clinton for your supporters effectively threatening to rend the Democratic Party if you were not the nominee, looking out for you instead of the general goals of everyone else. And I can forgive you for calling Barack Obama misogynistic without giving pause to the words coming out of the mouth of your husband, the ex-President.

But now, will you forgive us? Will you forgive our screeches of racism and four-and-five letter words? Will you forgive us for our stunned disbelief with your repeated stating that you had won more votes than did Senator Obama, rendering all votes cast in caucuses meaningless? Will you forgive us for our equally stunned disbelief at your insistence that you could compete in a general election in purported swing states because you had won the primary elections in those same states? Will you forgive us for our anger when your supporters insist that they will be voting for you via write in instead of, again, looking for the greater good by combining forces with Senator Obama in electing a Democrat against Senator McCain in November?

I will forgive. Will you, will your supporters?

-rl

Hillary Clinton, epitome of class...

... will not answer Barack Obama's calls. From the New York Post:


Singling her out for praise for her stance on universal health care and poverty and calling her campaign "barrier-breaking," he said, "Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton."

He tried to call her twice following the speech - but got her voicemail. She finally returned the call as his plane was about to fly out of St. Paul to Washington.


Well, at least not until later.

By the way, in the speech last night, Hilldawg, by invoking 9/11 you went to further prove that you are shameless in continuing the fear-mongering that current administration has engaged in while condemning those who do the same against you.

Let's put all this talk of "dream ticket" aside. For Hillary Clinton to be vice president is insufficient in her eyes, as last night's speech went out of its way to prove. At this point it's more likely that Joe Lieberman would be Obama's running mate than HRC... and as vice president, she wouldn't be one to trust. She should stick to her job in the Senate until the fine Democrats of New York wise up and pull a Ned Lamont on her in 2012.

That's all for now.

-rl