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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

My soul, once hardened and foul, like the crust on dirty dishes, has been soaked (in democracy), scrubbed (with voting) and it sitting ready in the drying rack of my heart.

Yes, I did miss writing impenetrable metaphors.

Now that we Americans can once again claim that we value our ideals, our country and the rest of the world, I am ready to start tearing shit apart again with crude, slightly simplistic explications of irrelevant things (a.k.a. blogging). But before we get to that, here’s a nice trip down memory lane: Brooklyn Skeptic on Mr. President-elect, Barack Obama.

Seriously though, folks. Thank effing god. I think we might be okay after all.

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It started about a month ago. After the creeping onset of panic infected the Hillary campaign and supporters. Slowly losing both the pledged delegate vote, popular vote, and the super delegate vote…some began making outlandish claims of mythological primary where Hillary is in fact winning.

The first time I started hearing this argument fully was with Sean Wiltz’ article in Salon called, “Why Hillary Should Be Winning” (which annoyed me enough to send a response into Salon, later selected among “editor’s choice” woot).

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I haven’t been 100% up on what was and wasn’t getting included in the Farm Bill as it made its way through Congress over the last year – but I read just now that today Pres. Bush vetoed the Farm Bill! And then the House overrode the veto! The Senate will begin consideration tomorrow, and according to the AP they’re expected to have enough votes to override as well.

Read Bush’s veto notice here, and the USDA support of the veto here.

NPR’s coverage highlights that the vetoed bill contained prosocial things like food aid for the poor, biofuel development, and incentive to let farmland lay fallow (this is prosocial because of its long term benefits to the land). Unsurprisingly, NPR’s take on things is different from the federal government’s. What IS surprising is that the issues the feds object to are totally easy to agree wtih. Bush’s and the UDSA’s statements cited subsidization of farmers with income over $15 million (?!!?! This figure comes from Bush’s statement – I don’t know where that number comes from); funding and authority for the noncompetitive sale of National Forest land to a ski resort; and a $170 million earmark for the salmon industry.

Here are the beginnings of my thoughts on the Farm Bill as it stands now (or, as the media is reporting that it stands now):

PRO: Cuts tax credit for corn-based ethanol (less sustainable of biobased fuels), and creates tax credit for cellulosic ethanol (more sustainable of biobased fuels).

 

PRO: Adds $10.4 billion over 10 years to nutrition programs, including food stamps and food pantry donations. 

CON: Well, not a con so much as a ‘that’s good, but you need more.’ As in, those are poverty mediation efforts, not poverty prevention/eradication efforts. But they’re necessary for the world we live in now.

 

PRO: Increases funding for land stewardship. Almost $30 billion, according to NPR. When food prices are so high, farmers have way more incentive to plant, and take advantage of the record prices. It takes $$ to encourage them NOT to plant. Not planting is important in safeguarding the longterm viability and quality of the soil.

 

CON: National reserve land gets turned into a ski resort!

 

PRO: The bill would deny all subsidies to people with more than $500,000 a year in off-farm income and bar “direct” payments to those with more than $750,000 a year in farm income.

CON: Is this stringent enough?

 

CON: This salmon farming business – wtf? Haven’t seen an explanation of that anywhere yet.

 

And yet… I’m confused! Is Bush trying to distract us with images of richy rich farmers raking it in, when really he wants higher corn-based ethanol rates for his buddies at high corn-producing outfits like Monsanto and Cargill? Or does he want to squeeze the nutrition and emergency food money out? And did the Dem’s in Congress really let these porky earmarks in at the last minute?  Or was Bush just feeling bored and ornery and wanted to use his veto power while he still could? All of the above?

With a 1700 page, $300 billion behemoth legislation like this it’s pretty safe to assume that no one has read it cover to cover. Shit gets snuck in at the last minute – who the fuck knows how. The legislators are so disassociated from the actual effects of their work that budget items and restrictions and tax credits get traded back and forth as though they were items of comparable value. 

drama Drama DRAMA!

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This has been reported much more frequently than when I started writing this…so let’s at least recap.

Bush had a delightful day yesterday. He decided that, after pretty much forgetting about Israel for seven years he should pay them a second visit. Maybe wish them a happy birthday. And reminisce over the days of the Nazis….

Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,…We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

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Clinton wins…with 0% reporting. Okay.

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West Virigina votes today. It’s interesting to see how this has all been shaping up lately. Each of the candidates trying hard to connect with the hard working types of the midwest…ish..ness.

First, Obama picks up a masculine centric game that doesn’t end in embarassment. Pool.

By the way I’ve tried that behind-the-back shot several times. I’ve missed every one of them. So this should mean something to the electorate. I have also been thinking about the “masculinity off” of last election and how as far as the most recent ones go (bowling and pool?), they are rather wimpy ones. Even metro sexual. Very low chances of getting out of breath or breaking a nail. There’s less of that gun wielding and football throwing.

Now I hope I’m not showing my bias too much, because I blame Hillary for the lack of testosterone so far (this is surprising because as some of you may have heard, she has three testicles) I’m sure she’s turned down any of the challenges of a nice cage match wrestling event (editors note: turns out this was incorrect), and instead has really hidden away in the drink. This is a really clever way of avoiding the more physical pandering maneuvers, and clinches last year’s segment of “I’d like to drink with that candidate” vote. Which really, turns out to be a great test for president.

Either way, she is set to win West Virginia. A thing of note is that West Virginia has a claim to fame. They like claiming, “Every nominee has carried the state’s primary since 1976, and no Democrat has won the White House without winning West Virginia since 1916.”. It’s a beautiful sentiment: That the quaint, nice, sometimes misinformed (come on, secret Muslims can’t play pool!), hard working West Virginians, are microcosms of American Democrats everywhere! The truth I found much more amusing. Turns out, they’re just always last at these things. So by always being last, they get to choose the presumptive nominee any ways. Well spun West Virginia, well spun. You deserve it though, after years of feeling like the “other” Virginia…you need something to hold on to!

Well so tonight we’ll see how this primary turns out. But it’s still more than likely that Obama will clench the nomination, giving me hope that I might see Obama and McCain have an arm wrestling match for the general election. Then we’ll know for sure who is tough enough to be the President of the United States.

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Last night, I lounged on my couch, wistfully viewing American Idol sans Brooke White and lazily clicking through the internets, catching the latests news from the North Carolinian and Indianan voting precincts.

As the night progressed, it was clear that Obama was Archuletaing the shit out of North Carolina. He breezed in with his charm and precocious professionalism, and rolled out with all of our hearts. All the while, Clinton faltered like Sayesha before Andrew Lloyd Webber week.

And then this happened:

Jason Castro perfectly mirrored Clinton’s showing in Indiana. Both had stong showings in their contests – Clinton won the state and Castro loosed his charm and adorableness upon America. But the slightest of hiccups for both will probably mean curtains for them.

Clinton’s less-than-a-point lead in Indiana and thorough whomping in North Carolina will make it even more difficult for her to overcome her opponent. And poor Jason’s inability to remember the words from the first verse of the song he was singing pretty much guarantees him the axe tonight on the results show.

American Idol once again proves itself a vitally important tool for understanding the complexities of electoral politics.

On a final note, I just also need to say a word for a fallen hero, the Mike Huckabee of American Idol. She lasted longer than anyone thought, and yet she was taken from us far too soon. Sweet Brooke White.

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