Wednesday, November 26, 2008

bailouts take 2

I really don't understand our tax dollars being used to bailout private companies. However the activities of this week have made me even more furious. What drives me even crazier than even Republicans do is double standards. And we have seen a textbook example of a double standard when it came to bailouts this week.

First off we have the auto industry, who in my opinion have not been saints. However what they represent is the blue-collar segment of America in some parts of the country (I will admit that I have never even driven a GM car, and that I don't live in a part of the country that depends on the auto industry so I'm really not aware first hand of the economy's dependence on the auto industry). And the auto industry was told to come back when they have a concrete plan on what to do with the money. That sounds fine if you stand it by itself. And they've done some budget cutting when it comes to high paid avertising (they cut out the Tiger Woods endorsement)

However this was not an isolated incident. Just days after the auto industry fiasco happens Citibank comes and asks for a bailout. They're handed a blank check from Uncle Sam. However they represent a white-collar crowd that is not the bread and butter of an entire region of the country. And were THEY even asked twice about what to do with the money? Of course not. And when it comes to the high profile and pricey sports endorsemetns, well Citibank is still paying 400 MILLION to name the new Shea Stadium (even though I am a Yankees fan, I do respect the cross town rivals and HATE corproate stadium names, so I will continue to call it Shea Stadium). And guess who is paying for the naming of Shea Stadium? That's right it's you and me.

So tell me why Citibank can ask for a blank check and get it but GM needs to have a concrete plan?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obama's cabinet so far

Ok both Keith and Rachel were talking about how some of Obama's cabinet picks are not pleasing the left-wing bloggers and Obama's base. I consider myself a left-wing blogger (after all, you're not exactly reading Faux News approved material) and part of Obama's base. And I'm not furious with his cabinet announcements. I even expected him to keep a few Bush positions in office. I had cabinet picks in my head awhile ago (early summer), but so far none of mine have been right. I'm still holding out for Al Gore to head the EPA but realistically I don't see that happening.

I look at it like this. A cabinet is a team. Not all the appointments will be perfect, but they have to do a job for their boss, who will be Obama. No company I've worked for has ever had a perfect staff either. And given Obama's previous experiences, I think that he would fire anyone who's job he strongly disapproves of.

Another problem is that people are expecting a massive change. Yes Obama did campaign on change, and yes we will get that. However he does want experience around him too, and most Democrats with federal-level experience in the executive branch did serve in the Clinton years. Well if Obama returns us to the Clinton years, that would not be so bad either. Last time I checked, we did well in those years. I only wish I was old enough to reap the benefits of a Clinton economy.

Change WILL come, but not overnight.

I think this picture (from September) sums it up perfectly

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Monday, November 17, 2008

Government bailouts

First the banking/investment/insurance industry got a HUGE one on our dime, and now the auto industry wants one.

I was not very happy with the banking industry bailout, and now Detroit wants one. I can see both sides of this because if either industry fails, we are screwed (not that we aren't already). If I were in charge of this bailout business, I would put a few rules in place. If they want bailouts, they have to accept that the money will come in small installments with a lot of strings attached.

1) All of the executives of the company will be immediately terminated. There will be no bonus packages, golden parachutes, and pensions/healthcare for life. Depending on the executive's performance, he or she may have to surrender some of the compensation that they previously received on the job. And executive privileges such as corporate jets with gold-plated toilets will be sold, with the money helping otu the company.
2) New executives will be hired at a rate of 10x the average employee's salary. Bonuses can be awarded based on performance but not for at least two years.
3) If one single job is outsourced, then all remaining bailout money will be forfeited. Any money already received by the government will be paid back to them at the highest interest rate that credit card companies are allowed to charge.
4) There will be no comapny-paid fancy vacations for any employees as long as the company is receiving government money. AIG I am talking to you. Any money used to benefit any executive will be paid back to the government at the interest rate charged by the most expensive payday lender.
5) No company receiving a government bailout loan will be allowed to have a lobbyist working for them in DC or any state government for the duration of the bailout, and for at least five years after the last dime of money is paid back to Uncle Sam.
6) After 6 months, government auditors need to come in and audit the company's finances. This process will be repeated every 6 months. If the auditors find any misuse of the company's finances, the remainder of the bailout will be forfeited, and the company will have to pay back the government at the highest interest rate charged by credit cards.
7) If after one year, the company shows no improvement (such as new products in development by Detroit, or refusing to loan out the money for the banks) then the bailout money will be forfeited and paid back at credit card interest rates. If the company fails, the compay fails.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a 21st century President

who addresses the nation via online video. I'm liking this. Is it January 20 yet? Anyways here goes






On a semi-related note, I will be posting a lot of back-dated video to this blog as I want to recap some of the key moments in the campaign (Biden's VP selection, DNC, etc).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

something fun

www.superobamaworld.com

I've only seen two levels so far ("for everything else, there's the RNC" and "I can see Russia from my house") and I can only beat one.

Brings me back to my childhood where the original Super Mario brothers game was out. Of course I'm as bad at this one as I was the original.

Monday, November 10, 2008

a bit of fear

I know, I know. Barack Obama's campaign took the high road and promoted hope over fear. The fear-mongoring was the key to the right wing's success in the wake of 9/11. However I can't help but to be very afraid right now. NOt for the future of our country, but for the future of our President-Elect. This article explains the extensive security, and how he gave his acceptance speech behind bulletproof glass.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/barackobama/3387103/Fears-grow-for-Barack-Obamas-security.html

There was already a foiled plot a week before the election (thank God that the thugs are behind bars), and I only fear that it would get worse. Despite Barack Obama's electoral landslide (yes!) we still have a very divided country, as I've seen by reading conservative forums. Just as I did not accept Bush's 2nd term, many of them do not accept Obama's first. The difference here is that I would never want anything to do with owning a weapon.

I also partially blame the GOP on this too. Not that I would make it through the doors at any GOP campaign rally (since they pre-screen their audience), but I've seen enough clips of McCain and Palin rallies on TV to know what the audience is like. I have not gotten the "Obama is a Muslim" emails (and anyone who sent them to me would not hear from me again). To John McCain's credit, he did correct a woman who accused Obama of being a Muslim terrorist. However Sarah Palin did not take the same route. At her rallies, people shouted "kill him" and "terrorist' at the mere mention of Barack Obama's name.

The people who attended the Palin rallies and shouted "terrorist" are the exact people that I fear. This time around, the Secret Service has their work cut out for them, and I don't underestimate their power. However in the back of my mind, there's some fear in there.

Sore Losers

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-onthemedia9-2008nov09,0,4216330.story

I almost want to add a video of a crying baby to this post because that's what these right-wing nutjobs are. They're sore losers. Hey Rush, yes *YOU* are the type of person that will see their taxes increase under an Obama administration, but you're filthy rich and can afford to pay it.

And you are a lying scumbag. Barack Obama is not going to seize a 401K account, so please tell your sheep, err listeners what the truth actually is. Oh wait, you don't know the truth you jackass.

Well here is a dose of truth for you Rush. You probably told us whining liberals to get over it in 2000 and 2004 and accept the fact that Bush was our president. Most of us tried to like him in 2000, but could not in 2004 as we already saw what he could do to a country. Guess what buddy. You had your turn, now it's ours. Get over it you whining scumbag. And I hope that Air America kicks your ass in the ratings.

I'm going to do a Keith Olbermann and call you today's worst person in the world. Seriously STFU.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Voter Turnout

According to this article in the Asbury Park Press, it says that voter turnout in NJ was down.
http://www.app.com/article/20081109/NEWS0301/811090324/-1/NEWS10

They (I couldnt find it online) listed the results of the two counties that encompass my region of the country. Although it is a heavily Republican area, hopefully we will do something to change that. The county south of me did not have a single town vote more for the Obama/Biden ticket than the McCain/Palin ticket.

At least my county is a little bit more Democratic. Hopefully that will change by 2012 as many enthusiastic people we met on voter registration drives wanted to vote for Obama but could not (due to age). On a positive note, Asbury Park had tremendous results of 4563 Obama/Biden to 512 McCain/Palin. My little town is not as Republican as I thought it was. It was 1132 Obama/Biden to 807 McCain/Palin. I didn't even realize there were almost 2000 registered voters in this town.

We've got our work cut out for us in the next election cycle.

Obama's victory speech

Ok I'm trying my luck with HTML this time so I can share some videos from youtube. I will start by sharing President-Elect Barack Obama's victory speech

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Link suggestions

I plan on making my list of links into a very extensive collection of news sources and blogs for progressive causes. I need the help of my readers though. If you have any suggestions for some links that I should add, leave them in the comment section please.
Thanks in advance :-)

Friday, November 7, 2008

return to law and order in the White House

Ok so we've had abuse of power in the White House for the last eight years. I think that Dick Cheney in particular abused his powers saying that he was not in the legislative or executive branch.

So less than a week after Obama is elected to the White House, this chart was released to the media.
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2008_government_manual&docid=214669tx_xxx-3.pdf

What a difference an administration makes.

On a lighter note, who wants to place bets on a dog that the Obama girls will get?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Confidence Restored

Politics has always been a divisive sport, and elections will bring out the worst in everyone. This year signs were stolen and cars were vandalized. It really is ashame that this country as divided as it is, but I think we made great progress last night.
In my adult life, politics were not always very exciting. I started my voting age life when we were spending taxpayer dollars investigating a blowjob. I don't know about you, but I really don't give a shit about someone else's sex life. That has no impact on anyone's ability to do the job. In my mind, it was a ploy to divide the country to separate the "values voters" conservatives with the rest of the world. The first presidential election separated the red and blue states, with the Supreme Court ruling against a Florida recount, and that brought us George Bush.
There was a moment in Bush's first term when the country WAS united. However it took a national tragedy to unite the country. Just in the aftermath of 9/11 was the only time I could honestly say that I approved of the president's job performance. The honeymoon was over as soon as he used the unity of this country to pursue his political agenda of leading us into two wars. By the time Bush came up for re-election, we did not have the United States of America, but instead had the Red States of America, and the Blue States of America. I fit the stereotype of a member of the latter.
I think much of that divide is gone as of today. Sure you still have the Sarah Palin Republican base, the social conservatives and single-issue (abortion) voters that are in tears right now. But I just hope that they realize that people like me were in the same boat just four years ago. And positions on social issues aside, many of them will be better off economically in an Obama administration. Ironically, some of the people who are such staunch social conservatives are the ones that end up using the forms of government assistance that their party opposes. And with the economy in the toilet, people losing their children daily to an unjust war, and the national debt soaring, many people realized that social issues are not at the top of the priority list right now.
It was not that long ago when people of my generation (who grew up in mostly Republican rule) did not care about politics. In 1996, more people watched the Super Bowl than voted. I was the only one of my friends who voted in 2000, and I voted for a candidate simply because he shared a birthday with me. In a neighboring city, Asbury Park, the turnout in 2000 was 6% jumping to 17% in 2004. Today it was in the 80s, and could be pushing 90. That is impressive.
Everyone I spoke to today when I was campaigning in PA had already voted and were encouraging their friends and family to vote, if not taking them to the polls. We rode in from NJ on the "bus for change" and gathered momentum on the way. Some people joined us from the local Democratic party HQ and others joined us as we were already on the streets. The youngest person to help us out was 6 months old (she was wearing an Obama onesie, she didn't do much but her sister who was about 2 happily waved a sign in the air). The oldest was well beyond retirement age. People joined us on the street corners to wave signs for us. They were black, white, and Hispanic (no Asians though). Young and old, and all had voted or wish they could have voted (due to their age). Everyone was honking their horns at us. For the first time in my adult life, I truly saw what unity was all about.
If the next 4 years is anything like the last 48 hours, my confidence in America is once again restored.

we did it

And as Bush's infamous banner says, mission accomplished

All I have to say is

Yes we can, yes we will, yes we did!

Here's to President-Elect Barack Obama and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden. I'm very confident in their abilities to lead our country over the next four years.

Much more later.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I voted

I was up early today and voted first thing in the morning. I went to bed late last night, so I didn't vote at 6 AM like I had planned on doing before heading off for a day of campaigning in PA.

I got to the fire house at 7:30, and was in and out of the polling place in five minutes. I guess that's an advantage of living in a very small tourist trap town where most people do not live here year round. The polling workers were impressed with me, and how I voted so fast.

I came armed with my sample ballot and school ID (I still do not have a NJ drivers license, and I know they would have turned me away with my NY license). There was not a single person waiting in line, and I was #80. The poll workers were impressed that i was able to vote so fast. My sample ballot was filled out, and I knew exactly how I was voting before entering the voting booth.

So how did your experiences go?

the writing on the car

Ok so in 2004, I never had any stickers on my car, even though I wanted one. I never got around to ordering one. However the day before the election, I took a bar of soap and wrote VOTE BUSH OUT all over my car.

Since Bush is not running this time (even though McCain's voting record shows how much he supports the President), I didn't want to write the same. But I wanted to get more creative.

So a guy at a Bus for Change event in Red Bank yesterday handed us a sign that I wound up paraphrasing.

My Election Day message on the car this year was "Vote McCain and our future goes down the drain. Joe the plumber can't fix it" then I put "Obama/Biden 08" and "Vote 11/4"

Monday, November 3, 2008

America's voting system and how to fix it

Before the next major election, the Help America Vote Act needs to be revised. If I held public office, I would make the following changes.
1) Require precincts to have 1 voting machine per X number of voters. That number will be the same in urban and rural districts, democratic and republican districts, rich and poor districts.
2) Allow early voting for all 50 states. Base machine capacity to assume a 25% turnout for early voters.
3) If a state requires a government-issued ID card to be able to vote, make it free of charge for people to get. In NJ a government issued ID card is $24, which could mean the difference between eating and starving for a low income household.
4) Any electronic voting machine must have a voter-verified paper trail. Two receipts would print, one for the voter and one for the machine BEFORE casting the ballot, and have the voter verify that their vote is counted correctly. Since voting machine companies can produce ATM machines that can print multiple receipts easily, I don't see how this would be a problem.
5) Any company that wishes to get in the business of voting machines must be non partisan. All executives and the company itself would be banned from making any political contributions to any campaign.
6) Allow voters without transportation to use public transportation free of charge to get to the polls.
7) State, county, and local officials should not purge voter registration roles within 6 months of an election. Require the official to attempt to make contact with every purged voter, barring an official death certificate.
8) Allow people to register to vote at the polls.

moments of election 08

Was there any single moment of this election that really shaped the outcome for you? Now that it's almost over, we can take a trip down memory lane.

For the world's longest election season, I was an undecided Democrat. To be honest, I would have been happy with any Democrat over any Republican. I didn't have much of a choce by the time my primary came along (it was on Super Tuesday) because all but Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had dropped out already. And neither of them were my first choice. I went into the voting booth that day undecided, and wound up voting for Obama because I did not want to see the White House run by two families for most of my lifetime (ok so it's been in the control of two families since I was eight years old, and I wanted fresh blood in there). I do think that Hillary Clinton is a very capable candidate, and she was my Senator until I moved down here. I did vote for her for the Senate.

What single moment shaped the election for you? For me, it started out with a Democratic debate that was about a year ago. Of the upteen debates, this one had the most memorable moments. Hillary Clinton was grilled on drivers licenses for illegals, Kucinich is questioned about UFOs (a wtf moment in a debate that could have killed him right then and there, I really wanted him to go further). And the two Democrats still still standing used the debate to not bring down their Democratic opponents, but their Republican ones. Since the debate was right before Halloween, the moderator asked about the candidate's Halloween plans. Future president Barack Obama mentioned that he was going to dress up as Mitt Romney and have three positions on every issue. However future VP Joe Biden had *THE* best one-liner of the whole campaign season, and killed the candidacy of Rudy Guiliani at the same time with his "a noun, a verb, and 9/11" line.

The other moment that really shaped me was the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate. The moment he announced it IMO was wrong, because he took Obama's thunder away from a great DNC. But it was very clear that he was trying to go after Hillary Clinton's voters by putting a woman on the ticket. It seems fine on the surface, but once we get to know Sarah Palin, she stands about as far apart on the issues (including women's issues) than Hillary Clinton.

I'd like your comments on this one. What moments shaped this election for you?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bus for Change on the boardwalks

The Bus for Change is an old school bus that is painted in Red, White, and Blue, and travels through NJ to help out progressive causes in the state and region. I first had exposure to the bus in mid October when we were in Asbury Park registering voters. It is a great visibility tool for any campaign. If you would like to help out the cause, you can go to www.busforchange.com and make a donation.

In the weekend prior to the election, we were blessed with very good weather. So we decided to hit the boardwalks of Bradley Beach and Belmar. We had people from all walks of life helping us with the campaign. The thing that impressed me the most was the number of helpers we had that were not of voting age. There was a child with us, who was about 10, that wore an Obama halloween mask and stood on the boardwalk waving to people. He wore a blazer, and in my opinion, played the part perfectly. The response to a child did not fly well with me. As much as many people loved him, there was no shortage of negative responses. He did draw a one-finger salute from many drivers along Ocean Avenue. But that was the least of the responses. There were people that actually called a (white) child wearing a mask the N word.

Say what you want to about the likely president, but please refrain from calling a child the N word. That is inexcusable to me, and most people.

Bradley Beach is a lot more liberal than Belmar, but we're still in a very red part of New Jersey. Belmar had a much bigger crowd at the boardwalk due to being more of a destination town, and they had a dog rescue event and hokey-pokey contest going on too. So we were able to get more visibility but a lot more negative responses.

How this election turns out in Monmouth county is still unknown. As someone who is from a much more liberal area (neighboring town to the Clintons' post White House residence) I am not used to that many conservatives around. I guess I will have to get used to being in this red part of an otherwise blue state.

this woman is clearly not ready to lead the country

If the name Sarah Palin does not scare you by now, this should. Her running mate sings songs about bombing Iran, she thinks we're already there.

Maybe you should learn how to read a map before you attempt to be #2 in command for a country. Seriously, I could do a better job. And don't blame media bias on this one as it played on the right-wing Faux News network.

the road I chose not to take

Today is Halloween. It's a day that many choose to dress up. I've had fun dressing up in the past, but today I chose not to.

It was veeeerry tempting to dress up as Sarah Palin. If I did my hair the right way, and bought some glasses and wore a business suit, I could have easily gotten away with it. I really wanted to go door to door at some of the very Republican houses in town that were so nasty to me while canvasing, and spout out some Tina Fey lines.

I chose not to though. I have decided to follow the campaign and take the high road.