Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why are *you* on the Obama bandwagon?

As a realist, I know even though I don't like it Obama is going to win the nomination. But I still haven't found an Obamite that can tell me exactly why he/she is on the Obama bandwagon. Without using the words "cool", "young", "hip", "change washington" or any such nonsense. It just seems people are on the bandwagon (and yes it is a bandwagon) because
  • they think Obama is cool and all the cool people are with him (Jimmy Carter, college students that don't know electoral college from community college)
  • they realize Obama is gonna win and it's better to hitch your trailer to a winner (e.g. John Edwards)
So, tell me, why do you love Obama? Why do you think he's the best democratic candidate when he can't even win states that democrats, traditionally, must win in general elections?

To me this is how I see it: Obama is a risky choice since he can't win the "blue" states. You can preach all you want about a single America but to win elections in this country: you've gotta carry the states of your party, steal some from the other guy's party and hope the independents and old people don't confuse you for Nader. So fair or not, hopeful or not, there's a clear path that each party's candidate must take to get the required number of electoral college votes (of course it helps if your father has pals in the supreme court that can swing things your way. that's the ultimate joker.)

Clinton has demonstrated that she can win using the tried and true democratic path (after all she won the big "blue" states).

Obama is saying to hell with all that tried and true formula. I am writing my own rules. I am going to contest in every state and run a true national campaign. None of that blue state, red state for me.

So the question for you, as a voter, is are you willing to take a chance with Obama? Or will you go for the tried and true formula?

Of course, with Obama racking up so many super delegate endorsements you may not really have a choice!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Surcharge: a capitalist's favorite word

How do you raise prices without raising them? Sounds like a trick question but it's not. If you are frequent air traveler, you are no doubt familiar by now with all the "surcharges" airlines levy on their passengers. Fuel surcharge, baggage handling surcharge, airport security surcharge etc So what's a surcharge? According to Merriam-Webster, a surcharge is an "overcharge", is to "charge an extra fee". To these airline companies, surcharges are a way to keep ticket prices low but still bilk the consumer to death. Sure you can search for cheap tickets on expedia and other such sites, but when airlines can charge whatever they want under the guise of various surcharges, are you really getting a good deal on your tickets? Imagine if every industry started adding on surcharges...we'll end up with something like this:

  • from fast food companies: sure we have a dollar menu but there's a $0.99 surcharge
  • "extra topping surcharge" for pizza
  • security surcharge at shopping malls

Thursday, May 08, 2008

NSL makes America a SHAM!!!

Imagine you live in a country where the govt's internal security service can issue a secret letter that authorizes them to get ALL sorts of DATA on INNOCENT citizens. Not only that, the letter is not subject to ANY judicial approval and the recipient(s) ARE BARRED from EVER revealing its existence! So let's review:

* secret govt agency can get records on innocent citizens
* citizens can't disclose the existence of the letter

If you lived in such a country, perhaps you'll cry out about the injustice, the trampling of rights. Perhaps you'll even cry for America to come to your aid. Well, you'll be sorely dissappointed. That country is America. And yes the FBI can issue a National Security Letter to get ALL your records (internet, phone etc). You may think "well it's time of crisis and am sure the FBI uses this power judiciously"...again you'll be wrong. The FBI issued 50,000 NSL each year. That's a lot of secret subpoenas that don't require judicial approval.

And to think America walks around posing like the picture of democracy...what a lie!

So how do you fight an FBI's NSL: you hope the recipient of the letter has enough balls to sue them! The Internet Archive did and won: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/07/AR2008050703808.html?hpid=topnews

Friday, May 02, 2008

The NBA is a rigged league

Why? I am not some conspiracy theorist but here are the facts:

* LeBron throws an elbow at Andray Blatche's head in Game 1. No call. However, he's retroactively fined just before Game 3. That's 4-6 days later. Wizards get no advantage of free throws or suspension of a key player.

* Haywood gets a flagrant foul in game 3. No suspension (but then the tide was definitely in Cleveland's favor).

* Darius Songaila, a guy who's not known for getting techs, accidentally hits LeBron in Game 5. He's tee'd up.

* The kicker: 5 hours before a critical Game 6, Songaila is suspended. How do you announce a suspension of a key reserve just 5 hours before a fricking game? At that point, you know the coaches have finished their game plans.The teams have had their LAST practice. And now you suspend a key reserve? That's like the NFL suspending a player on Sunday, before the game.

If that's not fixing the results, well the NBA is really going to extreme lengths to make it appear so. I suppose a Celtics vs Cleveland matchup is sexier to the NBA. Bucking fastards.