California, vote NO on 8.

So, today, driving back from work, I was accosted by “Yes on 8” (get rid of gay marriage in California forever) at an intersection in my town. When I made clear my distaste for “Yes” – by a thumbs down – I thought the children they had employed to wave signs were going to come after me with rocks.

And it is not like this made me decide that “No” is the way to go. Prop. 8 takes away people’s rights, so if you think you are protecting “values”, what you’re actually doing is the same thing as banning interracial marriage. You take away people’s right to express their love and commitment, and more importantly, you legislate people’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, if you truly believe that all men are created equal, then the choice is obvious: NO on PROPOSITION 8.


My final electoral thoughts

The 2008 Presidential Election is tomorrow and I think we’re going to be in for a doozy. Now, whether that doozy is an extra-inning nailbiter or a blow-out, I can’t convince myself either way, but it will be quite the experience for all of us. 

So, here I am. You all already know that I have endorsed Barack Obama for president, so what else can I say.

A lot.

This election might be the most important in the U.S. since 1980, or, at the very least, since 1992. The U.S. is at crossroads where it, as a whole, must decide whether it wants to continue to follow the path that the George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (and Karl Rove) have set us, or whether we want to choose a different path. If you agree with the agenda outlined by Bush, you might not want to read on. You’ve probably made up your mind about the election of 2008, so I’m not going to change your mind. If you are against it, then you’ve also made up your mind. If you’re unsure, well, maybe you need to read on.

In my opinion, the eight years of the Bush administration has left the U.S.:

  • in an economically disastrous position – the free-for-all for corporations and Wall Street led by greed has left the country without any safety net.
  • lacking the international standing that it once had. The “go it ourselves” attitude has not only strained the country’s relationships with allies, but also inflamed our enemies further.
  • with little faith in the government – the secrecy and doubletalk of the Bush administration has left the government in a more precarious position than the Watergate.
  • divided. They (Bush/Rove/Cheney) have pitted the citizens against themselves thanks to the Rovian ideology of 50+1% to win an election – Abraham Lincoln was right when he said “a house divided against itself cannot stand”, and we’re left with a nation that could be on the cusp of a cultural civil war.
  • in a quagmire of a war in Iraq and Afghanistan, hemorrhaging billions of dollars a month in wars that may not leave the U.S. any safer than when they began – we lost our path when we stopped trying to find Bin Laden and rout Al-Qaeda.
  • a country that no longer values education and scientific advancement.

Now, this indictment of the Bush administration is at least how I think history will remember the Bush administration: an extreme administration that divided the nation against itself and led the U.S. out of its hegemonic stance in the world. Whether the U.S. was already on the way out like the British Empire in the early 20th century or whether Bush sped the process up is purely conjecture, but he will be remembered as the president who was in office when the U.S. lost its place as the international leader in economics, ethics and scientific advancement.

This really has little to do with the 2008 election because, of course, Bush cannot run for office again. However, his policies can, and that is what we get with John McCain. The former maverick might have tried to pull the wool over the nation’s eyes by nominated the Bush II of Sarah Palin – an empty suit of conservative ideas – as VP for the Republicans – but McCain has become the party flag-bearer, even before he won the nomination. McCain fell into line with Bush long before the 2008 election, voting with Bush’s policies a vast majority of the time, and his presidency would just continue the Bush policies we’ve lived with for the past 8 years.

Luckily, the nation has a choice other than John McCain. And even more, we have a choice that isn’t just “not Bush”, but a candidate that can inspire the nation. Barack Obama is that candidate. He has been criticized as “not experienced enough” to be President, but really, this nation doesn’t need “experience” in the form of McCain right now. Whether you agree with Obama or not, you can agree with the idea that this nation needs to feel good about itself again. Obama can bring us out of the economic and international quagmire that we are in, or at least provide us with an option that doesn’t extend the neocon ideology. I, for one, agree with Obama’s ideas of making the distribution of wealth in this country more equitable because it is obviously distorted beyond belief by the Bush administration’s policies of “trickle-down” economics”. I agree with the idea that affordable healthcare should be provided for all – and private companies are not going to do it on their own, it is not in their interest as “for profit” institutes. I agree with the ideas of repairing our international relationships by not avowing to a “go it alone” path. I agree that this country needs to start thinking of itself as a beacon to the world, rather than one who allows for torture, corruption and lies to the world.

Barack Obama will, undoubtedly, not be able to live up to the promises he’s made, the dreams that he has offered this country, and the repair that this country needs from the Bush administration, but he does offer hope and inspiration. It is a symbol, an abstract idea, but maybe that is what we want, we need. McCain might be a pragmatic choice, but Barack Obama is the idealistic choice that the country needs to revive itself. I believe that Barack Obama is the right person to be the next President of the United States.

This election can’t come soon enough … and I mean it this time

I’ve caught some flak for the tone of my voter suppression post, and to an extent, I agree. I was definitely caught up in the partisan rhetoric, and I probably hate that more than I hate voter suppression. It is that partisan garbage that is what is tearing this country apart, and instead of trying to rise above that and just making sure that people know what to do if challenged, I got all partisan upside your head. That, itself, is wrong. This isn’t about parties and divisions, this is about your right to vote as an American, liberal or conservative. 

So, remember:

  • Your vote is guaranteed.
  • Be sure to get a provisional ballot if challenged.
  • Bring ID.
  • Contact 1-866-OUR-VOTE and/or the local media if you are hassled or challenged, inside or outside the polling place.

And don’t get caught up with all the partisan nonsense. It just makes this country come apart even more, and doesn’t add to, well, anything. It is YOUR VOTE, not a party’s.

Sarah Palin, the hypocrite, also likes to “spread the wealth”

Hmmm. Who is the socialist now, Ms. Palin?

A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist—Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine—that “we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.”

The Republicans really need to vet their candidates, eh?

The Intellectual Thicket Endorsements

Yes, I know you’ve all be responding “undecided” to the pollsters until you could see who I support, so without further ado …

(Note: This works for all the races in Winters, CA, where I vote).

President/Vice President of the USA: Barack Obama/Joe Biden (D):

If this isn’t a “gimme”, I don’t know what is. The last month has shown us that Obama has the temperament and intelligence to be a strong leader, while John McCain, well, sort of looks crazy. Beyond that, this country needs a fresh start after the 8 years that have been the disastrous Bush Administration.

U.S. Representative (District 1): Mike Thompson (D): My endorsement here is mostly because Rep. Thompson’s office was very responsive when I was having trouble with passport issues. I appreciated the help from my local representative to the House.

State Representative: Lois Wolk (D)

Rep. to State Assembly: Mariko Yamada (D)

Proposition 1A (High Speed Rail): Yes: OK, it might be overly ambitious in the economic times we find ourselves, but we need grand projects like this to get us out of the Eisenhower highway mentality.

Proposition 2 (Cage-free Farm Animals): Yes: I think it is easy to see why paying a few cents more per egg is worth letting a chicken live in a space bigger than a sheet of paper.

Proposition 3 (Children’s Hospital $): No: One of the many “give us money” propositions that pop up each year that are unnecessary and not well-thought-out.

Proposition 4 (Waiting Period for Minors seeking Abortions): No: Not only is this just an attempt to end-run Roe v. Wade, it is also dangerous and illogical.

Proposition 5 (Nonviolent Offenders Rehabilitation Act): Yes: Reduce jail time for minor non-violent drug offenses? Heck, we need to go whole hog and decriminalize a lot of this stuff. This of the money we’d save if we weren’t jailing everyone who is caught with pot.

Proposition 6 ($ for Law Enforcement): No: See Prop. 3

Proposition 7 (Renewal Energy by 2025): No: Surprised? Well, the law is cumbersome and not well-conceived. Also, when the Green Party is against something like this, we know it has problems.

Proposition 8 (Same Sex Marriage Ban): NO:

Talk about insanity. Let’s not start taking away people’s rights, OK?

Proposition 9 (Victim’s Rights): No: Unnecessary legislation that mostly already exists.

Proposition 10 (Alternative Fuels): No: Again, surprised? This is the “Pickens” proposition for Natural Gas, which oddly, is what T. Boone Pickens owns a great deal of. I suppose in the business world, we would call this “synergy” eh? Sierra Club opposes this, so, again, something must be fishy.

Proposition 11 (Redistricting California): Yes: Here is where I break away from most liberals in California. I am for changing the way redistricting occurs mostly because we need a method that at least attempts to take control from the party system. I’d be more for this if it got rid of all party-based criteria to begin with, but that is a pipedream.

Proposition 12 (Veterans’ Funds): Yes: California has voted “yes” for this since 1922, so who am I to argue?

I’m through with the election


I hereby withdraw from thinking about the 2008 presidential election. If the American people are so naive as to get duped into thinking Sarah Palin is more than a sorority girl who got lucky in politics, then they get what they deserve. I’ve listened to the interviews with Palin, and I am just struck by the seeming lack of comprehension of pretty much everything by the Alaska governor. Now that McCain’s campaign is busy running Alaska and scrubbing her offices, it is clear that Palin was nominated because she’s an empty suit and pretty face for the far right to latch onto to save McCain. 

You can tell this election has decided that issues don’t matter because all there seems to be now is both sides getting offended by inconsequential nonsense. Issues are too difficult to turn into a soundbite, to make into a talk radio talking point, so why even bother? I can’t take the sort of rhetoric, hatefulness and garbage that is being thrown around on both sides, so I am going to stay out of it from here on in.

That being said, I’m endorsing Obama-Biden for the Presidential ticket in 2008. This country needs a reboot from the divisive politics that Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich have used to bring the GOP power since the mid ’90s. McCain-Palin offers nothing more than the same. Barack Obama can bring us that breath of fresh air that this country needs to break from the quagmire we find ourselves in – politically, internationally and financially. We’ve lost our foundation thanks to the neo-conservative ideologues who think every situation has to be boiled down to “us vs. them”. It is time to bring the country back together again, to rejoin the world and to start new and Barack Obama is the man for that job.