Category Archives: Politics


Bill O’Reilly:

“I didn’t like the bit [in President Obama’s speech] about having to sacrifice our values to protect ourselves because sometimes we have to”

Sort of like how Republicans are against murdering innocent gran’babbies, except in cases where their daughters get knocked up and their political careers are on the line. The Republicans party folks.

Dismayed by Prop 8?

I just read this in a CNN article and was startled. Our attitudes are changing very fast:

A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 75 percent of respondents supported allowing gays to serve openly in the military, up from 62 percent in 2001 and 44 percent in 1993.

31% change in 15 years. My guess is that these marriage bans have a few more years of life and then will be overturned quietly and without much fanfare.

And yes, I\’m also as depressed as you that 1993 was 15 years ago.

The New PC

So, we were watching the election on CNN and I realized that we’ve now entered a new world of Political Correctness. The new minority group not to offend are conservatives. More specifically conservatives who use terms like the Main Stream Media, to describe non-partisan media outlets. Watching CNN on election night was ridiculous. They were constantly letting their Republican pundits talk. Constantly asking them for their opinion, even though a few were obviously delusional. They wouldn’t in any way analyze any of the elephants in the room. When Pennsylvania and Ohio went for Obama they asked the Republican pundits whether there was any way forward. They both replied that it was “hard”. Which was one of the most ridiculous statements of the night. Hard? Are we really at the point where we can’t even suggest that we don’t think it’s going to happen? Fox News was even reporting more honestly than this.

I think some of this was respect for people who hadn’t voted on the west coast. But some of it was just stupid. Conservatives aren’t going to start watching CNN because it’s ridiculously well-balanced. It’s always been pretty well balanced. There are a lot of people now who want entertaining news tailored to their bias. That’s fine. We have Fox News and the Daily Show. But when I want real news I don’t want silly pandering. I want you to report that it looks like Obama is going to win, when it looks like Obama is going to win. Otherwise you just look like ignorami who can’t do math.

Great T.R. Quote

Because of things I have done on behalf of justice to the workingman, I have often been called a Socialist. Usually I have not taken the trouble even to notice the epithet. … Moreover, I know that many American Socialists are high-minded and honorable citizens, who in reality are merely radical social reformers. They are opposed to the brutalities and industrial injustices which we see everywhere about us.

Don’t let Prop 2 be a knee jerk

So Prop 2 is coming up. It’s widly supported and I expect it will pass. I mean how could it not? It’s phrased in such a way that voters will always vote for it. Prop 12 – New Parks for Austin, Prop 13 – Keep Pedophiles Away from Children, Prop 2 – Stop Subsidies to Luxury Retailers. Who would vote against any of those? They’re all written to appeal to the knee jerk. And I’m speaking as someone who’s generally a knee jerk. I’m constantly fighting my impulsive knee.

But sometimes we need to talk about whether our parks department has the budget to maintain a new park, and whether our plans to keep pedophiles away from children might also keep non-pedophiles from volunteering with chlidren, and whether stopping subsidies to a certain luxury retailer might actually encourage more of the Big Box developments we know and loathe.

We seem to have a lot of the same people who were against the WalMart at Northcross against the Domain subsidies as well. What are you guys looking for? What sort of shopping would make you happy? The city spent a lot of time and got a lot of input and decided that the majority of Austinites wanted the city to look like Hyde Park. Homes, mixed with apartments all withing walking distance of public transit and stores.

So IBM starts selling off parts of the domain and the city comes up with a plan to start creating a new urban neighborhood. They give these goals to the investors building the project. They provide incentives to hopefully bring in tonier clients (and thus bringing in better tax revenue). Remember we as Austinites have a real incentive to get high dollar businesses in town. Every time we drive to Sunset Valley or Beecaves to shop those tiny cities get to drive down their property taxes. And Austinites get the privilege of paying for the roads that lead there.

The city also provided incentives to build affordable housing (again something the electorate has been overwhelmingly in support of), and $1 million dollars to help get local businesses into the development.

Sometimes we have to make decisions. Do we use some of our tax dollars to ensure we don’t get more big box stores and have affordable housing? Or do we just hope and pray that developers will magically stop building the kind of shopping we hate (but go to anyway) and build the type we like?

And let’s not forget that Prop 2 was sponsored by a real estate investor (Brian Rodgers). There don’t seem to be a lot of people asking him what he’s getting out of the bargain. As a real estate investor is he planning on creating mixed-use developments like The Domain without the assistance of the city? Or is he just planning on building more suburban strip malls and big box retailers?

McCain Irrational?

No, I think he’s being completely rational. I think he believes he’s going to loose so he’s going to screw the economy to ensure that Obama is a one-termer. Think that’s impossible? Remember, we’re talking about Republicans, they’ll do anything to win.

Moscow isn’t close to Alaska

New York City is only about 300 miles farther away from Moscow than Anchorage, Alaska. And due to the way the earth spins New York is a bit closer by plane (you hop over the north pole and use the earth’s spin to make it only a slightly longer trip than flying to London).

State sponsored marriage

So the Californian Supreme Court overturned the state’s marriage ban. A ban that was voted for by 60% of voters in that state. It’s sure to be a popular decision. Especially with the talk radio set.

So why do I think this is a bad thing? Because it’s still legislating marriage. Marriage is inherently a religious institution. If you look at the number of different ways marriage is instituted around the world it quickly becomes obvious that the United States doesn’t just have a legal framework for marriage. It has a legal framework for a generalized Christian marriage. Then it heaps a ton of laws on top of this religious event.

I feel a lot of sympathy for the religious right on this one, because they are having their religion dictated to them. Their vision of marriage has been turned into a legal right that can be modified and changed with prevailing societal norms. We’re so used to marriage being part of the state that it doesn’t seem odd anymore. But what if communion was state sponsored? Or confession? This is the key reason that the framers of the constitution wanted a separation of church and state.

A democratic religious state would still be much freer than a complete theocracy. Look at Iran. There’s still an large amount of dissent in a country that we think of as pretty theocratic. But that’s at least partially because once a government becomes theocratic it begins watering down the religious aspects for practical concerns. After all, it’s goal is to build roads and provide electricity, and if it needs to interpret a few religious laws in new ways to do so, it’s probably going to.

Look at the LDS Church. They had polygamy as necessary to get into heaven. But even though they were a predominantly Mormon territory they denounced that part of their religion to become a member of the United States. This is what happens when politics mixes with religion. The religion always loses.

Let’s throw marriage out of the government. Civil unions for everyone. Even civil unions for polygamists. It would simplify our legal system immensly. And then you could get married in a church in whatever way you want. And no one could say a thing about it. And if your church wanted to ban gay marriages because your god hates gays, that’s your complete right. And that right wouldn’t interefe with life insurance benefits or alimony payments.

What do you think? Do you think the state should be in the marriage business?