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I’ve been thinking of writing my city councilman a letter suggesting San Diego pass a law requiring anyone with Arizona plates be pulled over and shown proof of citizenship in our great town. My motivation was to give the crackers from Arizona who drive around town like morons all summer a little taste of their own medicine. Then it occurred to me that not all the Arizonans who come to visit are crackers, and it would really suck for the Phoenix hispanic population to get treated like that at home and on vacation.

And I can’t help but wonder how many of the folks out there who are supporting the wave of thinly veiled racist laws they are passing realize that they are doing a wonderful job of replacing the deep south as the geographic region best known for bigotry. Maybe they realize it and they’re proud, I don’t know.

And for any Arizonans who happen to come across this (not likely given the WFS popularity), I know you don’t all think everyone with brown skin should have to show their papers like Jews in Nazi Germany, but I’d prefer if you’d take that upĀ  with your representatives before you take it up with my comments section.

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Not sure why I’m blogging so much when I’m in Hawaii (it has something to do with grey skies). But I came across UC Berkley’s ‘Opinion Space’ were you answer some political questions and they put you on a map. I’m happy to see I fall far from Rush Limbaugh (or what those Berkley hippies thinks he thinks). They also give you the following question to answer

The U.S. economy is in turmoil. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman warned of a “crisis in confidence” over a year ago. Do you have a personal experience that illustrates this crisis in confidence? And what strategies might be effective to restore the confidence of American citizens?

Which links to your little dot. My answer:

Compliments and alcohol are good ways to encourage confidence. President Obama, as well as Congress and local governments should take a few minutes each day to call randomly selected individuals to tell them everything is going to be all right. Government employees should also be sent around out into the world to buy hand out Zima’s to persons of age at shopping malls and car dealership.

I couldn’t find a worthwhile comment (including my own).

(Name withheld) thinks to really commemorate the holocaust and its tragedy the occupation of Palestine must end…”Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana

A provocative statement on world affairs. The poster had just changed her profile pic. In it she appears to be grinding on another girl, both in bikini’s. It’s a nice picture.

I think I posted on the importance of voting a while back. Over at MR they linked to this video espousing the irrationality (in econo-speak) of voting. While your personal vote might not make much of a difference, the influence you can have on others may. This of course, depends on whether you write a blog with one reader, or Oprah. The former having less effect on election outcomes than going to the polls yourself, the latter having the ability to swing the entire soccer mom demographic.

The problem with video’s like the one I linked to (maybe I should delete the link) is they are going to convince logical people who make informed decisions from going to vote. I may be biased on this, but I think those are the people who should vote. What we need is an argument for the emotional, irrational decision makers. Like, if you go to vote you could run over a baby on the way to the polls, so you should probably stay home.

I am going to vote, not because of the Presidential election. As a California, there is no way I’ll influence that election. But as a San Diegan I have a slightly greater chance of deciding whether or not we will be able to enjoy PBR on the beach next summer. I feel it’s my patriotic duty to stand up for the pursuit of happiness on this issue during these tough times.

Addendum: A related quote from another MR post:

voting and not voting are motivated by the thought that you are better than other people.

Tis the season and WFS is apparently on a political streak, we’ll try and shift things up soon but first we wanted to get one more opinion in the blog-o-sphere.

Partisan political opinion motivated this post, namely the thought of Sara Palin as VPilf, but should we really have an office that is given next to no power besides what the P dolls out, is next in line to be in charge and is now selected not based on their qualifications for that strange job description but on who will complement the Presidential candidate best in terms of securing votes?

Assuming your picking based on qualifications and not politics, shouldn’t a candidate pick based on who they think would be the best President if they couldn’t be? Do the recent VP nominees seem like those people?

Ben Harper sent me an e-mail encouraging me to register to vote. Ben has a lovely singing voice and I can’t say I’ve ever walked away from one of his concerts dissapointed, but I’m going to respectfully disagree with him on this issue. I have been accused of being a bit of an intellectual elitist in the past, and my train of thought on this subject is the kind of thinking that caused that.

I’m not proposing a minimum IQ for voters, disregarding some practicality issues I wouldn’t be upset by it, but I’m not proposing it. I like that we live in a place were anyone who wants to has a say on who’s in charge. It’s unfortunate that a result is people with no knowledge of issues helping to decide them, especially in an age of catch phrase political campaigns (Tim Eyman anyone?).

Which is why I think we should stop telling everyone it’s their responsibility to vote. If you don’t care enough to A) Educate yourself on what your voting for and B) Take the time on your own accord. You shouldn’t vote. Nineteen year olds are plenty smart enough to make intelligent decisions, and realistically they’d probably change elections in a direction I’d like, but if they are too busy playing Guitar Hero to know anymore about Obama-McCain than one’s the guy from that Will.I.Am video and the other one hangs out with the chick from Alaska, they shouldn’t vote.

I’m not advocating any changes in rules on who can vote, and I think we should make it as easy as possible to register, I just think it’s time for celebrities, ministers and PE teachers to stop running around telling people to vote. Anyone got an argument against?

PS. I was about to put a link to a site to register on here, but decided anyone who doesn’t care enough to Google shouldn’t be allowed at the polls.

PPS. I should have added that all the energy currently put into telling people to vote should (in my opinion) should be shifted towards encouraging people to learn about issues. If someone cares about issues someone will be more likely to vote, and vote based on what is important.

Based on unscientific, anecdotal observations I’ve made, if your planning on watching the vice presidential debate, you probably already know who your voting for. If you care enough to watch you probably already know about as much as you will in November about these knuckleheads. So why not get drunk while you watch?

Since WFS is doing all we can to help people come together, this will be bi-partisan, so get together roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. If your in the midwest or northeast this might be difficult, so get to Ohio as fast as you can. Below our the comments that will alow your party to hand out drinks to the opposing party, intended for 3 people on each side. Multiply by X/3 where X is the number of persons on each side to properly get your debatin’ drink on. The republicans should have bud light with shots of Jack Daniels on hand in honor of the good Governor, democrats, stock up on Sam Adams and your favorite elitist Scotch.

  • Sarah Palin says ‘hocky’ or ‘mom’ dems give out 3
  • Joe Biden says recession, GOP gives out 3
  • Sarah Palin says ‘hockey mom’ dems give out 9
  • Joe Biden says quagmire, GOP gives out 9
  • Joe Biden states (again) that Barak Obama will personally hunt down and kill Osama Bin Laden, GOP give out two shots.
  • Sara Palin mentions health care when asked about the economy, Dems give out one shot.
  • Talking heads compare Joe Biden to Catie Curic, everyone drinks one.
  • Sarah Palin says “I’ll get right back to ya.” Dems give out three.
  • Joe Biden mentions his experience in any way, GOP gives six.
  • Sarah Palin makes a statement that in no way relates to the question asked (must be agreed on by both sides, and remember to play nice) Dems give out 9.
  • Biden mentions Palin’s daughter, GOP give out one.
  • Palin mentions Palin’s daughter, Dems give out 9.

So there you go, have fun, drink responsibly, vote responsibly.

On the bus to school the other day, the busdriver and a woman passenger were weighing in on the whole bailout situation. Neither seemed to have an especially strong understanding of economics or finance, but I’m not sure John McCain or Barak Obama do either. But since everyone else in the world is throwing their two cents in I thought I would too. I’m not an economist, but I have considered reading “The Wealth Of Nations.”

First off, having crunched not a single number, I think the bailout seems to be a little higher than is necessary. Here’s my reasoning.

  • The purpose of the bailout is to keep financial institutions functioning that, if they were to cease functioning, their would be a large negative impact on the U.S. economy (which would probably be pretty bad for both the San Diego and world economy’s). This is sound.
  • The bailout should provide the minimum amount of money to allow this to happen, and only to as few institutions as possible (sorry Lehman Brothers).
  • My assumption here might be off, but I would think that these institutions, run by intelligent people (who made some very bad decisions), could continue to operate if they were given a couple hundred million dollars.

Based on that thinking, it seems like we could throw a couple of hundred million dollars at a couple of banks/brokerages and the world wouldn’t end. Now if I was running said banks and brokerages, and I had friends in DC (which they do) I would try and get as much cash out of the government as I could. While, actually I wouldn’t, but I would expect some folks to, which would lead to a grossly inflated number. The Paulson Plan. The Bush administration does have a track record of more or less giving government cash to private firms they have connections at (see Haliburton, Iraq).

An idea pushed by the women on the bus that I have heard from more mainstream media is that the government should pay off some of peoples mortgages if they are going to give those Wall Street fat cats free money. The general idea seems to be that the normals should get a handout if anyone is. No one seems to mention that the people who are losing their houses made a bad financial decision too, they aren’t victims. I’ve heard the argument that these naive folks got talked into taking loans they couldn’t afford to pay back, but making those kind of decisions is what being a grown up is all about. You also get into trouble of deciding who gets mortgage handouts, peopel in no danger of defaulting shouldn’t be given cash, homeowners already get plenty of tax breaks, but it won’t seem fair if Cletus next door who can’t afford his home gets free cash to stay while Johnny Money bags has to keep going to work at his law firm everyday. If you give all homeowners cash, when some obviously don’t need it, why not give money to everyone? And that’s just silly. It’s a popular political idea, because homeowners vote, but I don’t see how it makes sense either for helping the economy or in a fairness point of view.

To close with a side note, if you google Lehman Brothers, the second link (excluding News Results which is really an ad for Google News) is Work at Lehman Brothers. I’m not sure that would be the best place to apply at the moment.

I often read the San Diego Reader when I eat alone because it’s free and I have an affinity for local weekly publications that I developed while living in places that had decent examples of the genre (I don’t think genre is the word I was looking for but it’ll do). The staff at the Reader occasional write something worthy of a small college newspaper, but usually fall short of that lofty mark. To the best of my knowledge the listing of local music is accurate, so they’ve got that going for them.

Last Thursdays addition had some highpoints, including an ode to my old neighborhood set in the laundrymat across from my apartment. Another article “An Olympic Moment” told the story of Jacob Blumenfeld, a former San Diegan who went to Beijing during the Summer Olympics to bust out a Free Tibet sign. After being arrested, he was asked if he worked for the government and who was in charge of his operation. The Chinese didn’t think a couple of 20-somethings would head off to a far away country to complain about Tibet. If you enjoy shouting “America’s Number One” or something similar, and are worried that China may be a challenger in the Earthly domination category, this observation should be reassuring.

This country is great at blowing stuff up, designing iPod’s (but not so much at making them) and creating overly complicated financial instruments (oops) and a big reason for this is we live in a country were a sixteen year old could come up with an awesome new widget, get some financial backing and sell it to the world. Or fly to China and protest human rights issues. As long as the Chinese are following in line with the Party, they’ll have trouble getting past the design stage. At least that’s what I think.

As for Mr. Blumenfeld, he and his co-conspirators were deported back to the U.S. along with a crate full of Wallmart bound tupperware, and the Chinese government paid for the ticket. So next time you want to go see Asia, buy a one way ticket and pack a free Tibet sign.

I haven’t posted for a long time, which probably has lead to me losing my reader. Oh, how I miss my reader. I’ve started a post on my summer adventures in the Orient, hopefully I’ll get that one out soon. But I thought I’d get the ball rolling with a quickie, concerning politics. Specifically, politics as entertainment. Here’s an excerpt from one of those instant message things that I recently partook in regarding Obama’s speech at the DNC:

Ian: what about the speech?

me:
9:23 PM I don’t watch that stuff, it’s just talk
bla bla bla
Ian: seriously?
it was inspiring man
he’s a fantastic speaker
me: agreed, but it’s still talk and I know who I’m voting for
Terminator 3 was on
Ian: hahaha
9:24 PM me: I gotta go get drunk, talk later
Ian: it’s a decent flick
cya
HA
me: no its not
brett out
Ian knows who he’s voting for as well. Most people I know who watch CNN and debates and all that already know who they’re voting for. It seems the vast majority of people who follow politics are doing so primarily not to make informed decisions, but to reinforce their current beliefs. This is reinforced by the current flashy nature of politics.
My solution, which is not practical, is to get rid of politics from the tv and radio, campaigning will be reduced to position papers and regimented biographies printed up in some dull publication. People who actually want to put the time in to make informed decisions will give it a read, everybody else just walk in the booth and randomly pull a lever. I don’t think the randomness would be much worse than the current state of huge numbers of Americans voting down party lines.
As a side note, watching T3 might influence me next time I vote for governor, which will probably be a tougher decision than I’ve got for the presidential election.