Friday, August 31, 2007

Jealousy Strikes Deep

So I'm not going to prevaricate about the bush. I'm a creepy guy, and I like to know things. Stalker-ish things. For example, I like to search my address in quotes to find out neat things about where I live. Without such tendencies, i would have never learned that the building i live in now was sold for $589,160 on April 12 of this year to my current landlord. A piece of fun and interesting news since I got this apartment by replying to a craigslist ad in mid-march (no wonder he didn't want to let us see it right away). This is also a great way to find out about your neighbors--especially the ones that moved here from somewhere far away and posted their new address on their Myspace or Xanga page. They may have done it five years ago, but thats the beautiful thing about google cache.

Right now, I am browsing the LiveJournal page of one of my neighbors from upstairs. He writes songs for a band, came from Gainesville, FL (UF, I presume), works as a courier for Vera Wang, writes very introspective and personal blog postings, and has dreams about black umbrellas. While it may irk you (my imaginary audience) that I can reveal all of this snooping so callously, don't think that I escape these forays into the virtual heart of people unscathed--just now I learned that two months ago I missed a free Television concert in the park. Not because I was out of town, but because I was too busy partying to get up off my lazy ass and seek free shows. Its moments like these that I reflect on my chosen path, consider reform, and hit Ctrl+T.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Next, Rudy Giuliani

This post will be less of a one-off rant and more of a frequently-updated black hole in which I will dump all my frustration and anger over the inane policy points that Republican presidential candidates think necessary to win over the 28% of Americans who are registered idiots.

From Rudolph Giuliani's website ( "Rudy is committed to collaborating with the private sector to eliminate sexual predators from websites. A recent study showed that nearly 29,000 convicted sex offenders, about 5% of all U.S. sex offenders, had profiles on the popular social networking website"

Somehow, somewhere the party of small government became the party that endorses less civil liberties. We all balked when the patriot act passed, and we shuddered a little bit when we found out that the incompetent power fiends in the executive were actually willing to fight the constitution to have their actions deemed legitimate. We even hung our heads a bit when the newscorp talk machine was willing to sacrifice the precept of liberty, the most sacred of enlightenment ideals for a few more ratings in its unabashed endorsement of Bushtopia, but whodathunk absurd policy ideas like banning people from the internet because of the perceived heinousness of their prior crimes would make it into the rhetoric of a new generation of politicians? Is it true? Is it possible that the Republican party has actually made the complete and full transformation into . . . The Man?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Prez Sez . . .

Following far too many hours of scouring youtube for debate footage and too many more on candidate websites, I had a moment of severe reflection. The dark spectre arose from the depths of my soul and questioned whether the homogeneous and inane policy positions and pandering remarks should be regarded at all in the massively unsolvable computation that is this presidential election. In search of a more enlightened perspective on the matter, i retreated to google with the intent of getting a grasp on the potential educational backgrounds on the next leader of the free world. So here, mostly from wikipedia, i have compiled a list of candidates, institutions, and degrees conferred, majors, and in some cases honors. The list is by no means thorough. Feel free to criticize:

Mike Huckabee
Ouachita Baptist University – B.A. (magna)
Southwestern Baptist Theological University

Sam Brownback
Kansas State University
of Kansas
– J.D.

Bill Richardson
Tufts University – B.A. – French, Political Science
Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy – M.A.

Chris Dodd
Providence College – B.A. – English Literature
University of Louisville – J.D.

Hillary Clinton
Wellesley College – Political Science (departmental honors)
Yale Law School – J.D.
Yale Child Study Center – Post-Grad Study

Barack Obama
Occidental College – Some Undergrad
Columbia University – B.A. – Political Science (specialized in international relations)
Harvard Law – J.D. (magna)

Mitt Romney
Stanford University – Some Undergrad
Brigham Young University – B.A.(Valedictorian) –
Harvard Business School/Harvard Law – M.B.A./J.D.(cum laude)

Rudolph Giuliani
Manhattan College – B.A. – Political Science (minor in philosophy)
NYU School of Law – J.D.

Ron Paul
Gettysburg College – B.A. –
Duke University School of Medicine – M.D.
University of Pittsburgh – Residency – obstetrics/gynecology

Dennis Kucinich
Cleveland State University – Some Undergrad
Case Western University – B.A. – Speech and Communication
Case Western University – M.A. – Speech and Communication

Tom Tancredo
University of Northern Colorado – Political Science

Mike Gravel
Columbia University School of General Studies – B.S. – Economics

Joe Biden
University of Delaware
Syracuse University College of Law – J.D.

Mike Bloomberg (of course he'll run. he has to . . .)
Johns Hopkins – B.E.(S.) – Electrical Engineering
Harvard Business School – M.B.A.

Al Gore
Harvard University – B.A. – Government
Some graduate courses at Vanderbilt University

John Edwards
NC State University – Textiles -
UNC Chapel Hill School of Law – J.D.

Fred Thompson
University of North Alabama – Some Undergrad
University of Memphis – Political Science, Philosophy
Vanderbilt University Law School – J.D.

Interestingly, Barack Obama is the only candidate whose name is thought a misspelling by Microsoft Word. Hmm.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I Thought Ron Paul Was Smart . . .

He certainly gives that impression at least. Libertarians always make sense to engineers. Its an elegant minimalist solution to every problem, the kind of systematic approach engineers dream of. Unfortunately, to run for president in this country, you have to be entirely duplicitous. This post is about Ron Paul's immigration policy. I respect Ron Paul and his accomplishments greatly. Managing to challenge other candidates on issues based not on stock phrases, but on actual analytical thought is a very impressive feat in a mainstream debate. He has built a name for himself among the fringe, and though he stands no chance, he plays a very important role in challenging the often idiotic party line pitched to the 'base.' The republican party has lost faith in itself (actually i don't know if it ever had any). Gore Vidal once spoke of the contempt that elected officials have for their constituents. The republican debates confirm his conception of American democracy by focusing softball questions on issues that no one but the senile and the uneducated think are important to the nation. The republican discourse has been reduced to pandering such that even the most unqualified can legitimately participate in the debate.

Ron Paul is a Libertarian, but he believes in a nation state. Ron Paul believes in free trade, but he believes in strong borders and immigration control. Worst yet, he has taken the stance of 'no amnesty,' the hate-mongering battle-cry of people who focus not on issues because they understand and are concerned about them, but because they want people to follow their flag. Ron Paul may sound like he understands the essence of market capitalism, but he doesn't. After all, he is a congressman. Any free-trade neo-liberal would tell you that immigration fosters economic growth. For someone who rails against entitlements the way Ron Paul does, he should be less concerned with who may or may not gain access to those entitlements he already said he wants to dismantle, and more concerned with building the kind of economic growth that (while not possible) should equalize our economy. A libertarian should understand that our national standard of living is too high. So the question is, when Ron Paul talks about kicking out them damned illegals, is he pandering or is he really that wrong?

Sunday, August 5, 2007