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Seriously…

So, I was checking in on the blog…not a lot of time for that recently as I am now losing sleep over the wedding.  It feels like finals week but with out the free food…and more showering but that is beyond the point.

…anyway, so my page views per day were obviously low for this month…~10.  Then, recently it jumped up to 180!  This is awesome, but seriously people?  What are you reading?!?  There is no new content!! I can’t really even figure out what anyone is viewing.

Anyway….in honor of the fact we will be gone for the election, get your predictions in now…what is going to happen in the upcoming presidential election???  Joe thinks riots… 😉

4 days to the wedding hoop-a-la.  🙂

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I can’t resist.  Despite my strong desire to blog about fluffy topics as some of my recent posts have um….backfired, I just can’t steer myself away from Sarah Palin.  I find it hard, however, to know where to start.  There are so many things I want to say, to discuss, and to expose.

In case you want to know my simplified position and you are too lazy to keep reading, please refer to the below comic.

Sarah (not to be confused with Sara!!) supporters have proven to be fanatics already.  They are turning out in droves to rally around her…oh, and that old guy that follows her around.  NPR this morning reported that the calm, subdued Republican rallies with McCain brought out people in the hundreds.  Those rallies with Palin are now in the thousands.  There is no question that people like her.

The McCain camp is even concerned that if they split up to campaign separately to cover more ground, more people will show up to see Sarah.  Regular American moms love her because she appears to be just like them.  Conservatives love her because she appears to follow the party closely on many key issues.  And let’s admit it…some support her just because she’s attractive. Her eyeglass style has become so popular that it is now on back order.  Women are buying shoes like her.  She has a “real world” appeal with “small town values” and she has become a real force in this campaign.   It is ironic that she is rapidly gaining that ‘celebrity status’ that was so casually mocked by McCain when it applied to Obama.  It appears that being a celebrity is working out in McCain’s favor…But there are a few issues that I’d like to address….

Hypocrisy runs rampant.

Her experience:

A mere few weeks ago, everyone was questioning Barack Obama’s experience.  His experience as a lawyer, community organizer, state legislator, and US senator was deemed insufficient to lead the nation.  But now, Palin arrives on the scene having been the mayor of a town of approximately 9,000 people for 6 years.  (I’m being generous.  I’ve seen numbers as low as 5,000…but really with numbers that small….its all the same.)  She is currently the governor of Alaska, the largest state in the union….at least that is what keeps being said.   Yes, she is the governor of the largest state, but the 48th largest state by population.  Hmmm…..what about education though?   Because if someone has the knowledge, that is truly the first step to being a good leader…

Palin spent her first college semester at Hawaii Pacific College, transferring in 1983 to North Idaho College and then to the University of Idaho. She attended Matanuska-Susitna College in Alaska for one term, returning to the University of Idaho to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in communications-journalism, graduating in 1987. (NOTE:  Her wikipedia article was mysteriously edited to get a “glowing make-over” 24 hours before the VP nominee announcement by McCain.)

Wow.  It’s a shame that Obama attended of Columbia University and Harvard Law School….those are upppity schools…not for the common man.

I don’t think I would get so fired up about it if the same rules for judgment applied.  If it were generally accepted that individuals could have different paths to the White House, that’s fine.  But do not ridicule community organizers.  That is an insult to all of those who put themselves second to help others.  (Also ironic to belittle these organizers at the RNC after their rally theme of “Service” the day before…)

The way that the GOP is spinning her “experience” is deplorable. Please see the below quote from an interview on ABC’s This Week with Cindy McCain…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But she has no national security experience.

McCAIN: You know, the experience that she comes from is what she’s done in government, and remember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. It’s not as if she doesn’t understand what’s at stake.

Don’t claim have national security and foreign policy experience if you have none.  She has never been to Russia despite her proximity…Did you know that she just got a passport in 2007?  How international of her….(To her credit, with this new passport, she visited troops stationed in Kuwait and Germany. She has also visited Ireland.)

To me, if none of the below issues existed, I would not even bring up the issue of experience.  It’s what you have DONE with that experience that matters and that is what is truly of concern.

Her (-gasp-) Gender:

No matter what is said about Palin, if it is negative or questioning….then that statement is obviously sexist.  Yes, it is a big step or the Republicans to chose a woman running mate, and it most respects, the strategy of it is working.  Support from white women is up….and to be perfectly blunt (because it’s my blog and I can say whatever I want!  Muaha-ahaha-aha), how dumb are these white women then???  It’s obvious pandering by the McCain camp to get women and on the fence Clinton supporters.  They assume that the women will see a woman and flock to her without looking at her policies or history.  I find it insulting to my intelligence, because lets face it, she’s no Hillary.  So many other women (and MEN!) are more qualified and better suited for this position, yet she is the one McCain wanted.  Question that??  You are a sexist….yes you.

And the “lipstick on a pig” comment…please just read this article by the Times. It is a common phrase meant to show that even if you attempt to fancy something ugly, underneath that facade, it is still ugly.  It was not sexist.  It has nothing to do with lipstick or the women who wear it.   It was just twisted to enrage these supporters.  McCain camp: 1    High Road: 0

Those pesky earmarks:

It’s the imaginary bridge that just will not go away…mainly because Palin keeps bringing it back up.  It has become a stock statement in her rallies….

“I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere…”

But did she really?  When running for governor in 2006, she endorsed the project.  Then, as the political winds changed, she quickly adapted, and claimed to be an opponent only after Congress killed its funding the next year.  But, what did she do with that $223 million the state had received?  She kept it and used it for other state ventures.  So really, she said, “Thanks congress, but no thanks…and when I say no thanks, I mean yes please, I’ll keep that money.  Can I have some more?”

Also, how can McCain/Palin run around shouting about how they will veto pork barrel spending when there are facts like these???

In Palin’s two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in earmarks, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation.

When one of their campaign foundations (their renegade, maverick-like spirit) is based on a lie, what can you believe?  How will she act as a leader of the nation when the winds change after she has proven to bow immediately to political pressure?

Her Policies:

Reproductive rights:

I’m sure those of you reading this know she is a staunch Pro-Lifer.  She does not support abortion even in the case of rape or incest.  Abortion is such a divisive issue for many.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. – Obama

I would not even bring up the (ironic) story of her pregnant teenage daughter (How’s that ‘”abstinence only” sex education going??) but she said something that just needed to be addressed.  She said that she supports Bristol’s “decision” to have the baby and asked for others respect her privacy in the matter.  This  right to decide,( A.K.A. to choose,) and the right to privacy is something that Palin wants for her own daughter, but she also wants to deny me, my future daughters, and all of the women across the nation those same rights.  That doesn’t quite seem fair.

Another interesting note about Wasilla, Alaska. (Sarah Palin’s town.)  They used to charge rape victims (or their insurance companies if they where lucky enough to have insurance) $500 – $1200 for the cost of the rape kit, which included the medical examination to gather evidence.   There is a song and dance about whether or not Palin was aware of this policy, but when it got to a national level…

Congress in 2005 passed a law requiring states to provide rape exams free of charge or reimburse victims for the costs, says Knecht, whose group supported the provision.

“The reason we passed the legislation was that we saw it was prevalent enough to be a pretty considerable problem,” Knecht says. “There are no other victims of crime that end up being billed for evidence collection.”

The Senate version of the legislation that included the rape-exam provision was sponsored by Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was one of 58 co-sponsors; Republican presidential nominee John McCain was not.

It just seems shifty….shifty shifty.

Environmental issues:

Her policy:  Polar bears are not in danger of becoming extinct.  Man is not contributing to the changes of the climate of the earth.  Oil independence is as easy as a little off-shore drilling.

Groan……I’m honestly getting tired of finding all the discrepancies in her policies.  It has been encouraging to me that people are finally realizing that we need to invest in other energy sources and that we need to realize what we do has an effect on the world around us.  And here comes Sarah with her contradictory statements.  There she goes again.  Change with the wind (or the cue card)…

What does she really believe?  And why does it keep changing??

Religion:

Faith has a strong place in an individuals life and can be used as a good moral guide for his/her decisions, but it has no place in the laws that dictate to others how they should act.

  • It has no business telling me what to do with my body.
  • It should not hinder scientific advancements that could cure so many health problems.  ( She also opposes stem cell research calling it “the destruction of life…”)
  • It has no business dictating who can or can not love each other.  (She opposes same-sex marriage and supported a non-binding referendum for an Alaskan constitutional amendment to deny state health benefits to same-sex couples.)
  • Religion has no right to censor information, specifically books in a library.  Now granted, the ‘book banning’ issue was blown out of proportion.  She never actually banned any books from the Wasilla library.  She just inquired if she could…and fired the librarian when she told Palin no.  Sure.  That’s the best way to use the power given to you by the people……..

Religion also is not a justification for the policies you would like to see implemented.  What did she have to say about the building of a new natural gas pipeline?

I think God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get the gas line built, so pray for that.

But sometimes it takes more than prayer.  Sometimes we must follow His plan for the nation…

Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s will.

She said the Iraq war is God’s will.  GOD’S WILL.     Think about that.    How does she know that God approves of the pipeline and the war?

Everything else….

What else do we really know?  Her fiscal policy is a bit unclear to me, as is her foreign policy, plan for health care…etc.   I’m sure her political beliefs will be come clear with time, or once someone tells her what they are (and then they will change to further her career or to maintain her status).  It’s all so frustrating to me…

…what is most frustrating, as I said earlier, is that the American people are eating it up!  The love it.  “Tell me what I want to hear and I’ll be yours forever!  I don’t even care if its true.”

I don’t know what to tell you America if you can’t find out the truth for yourself.  The GOP campaign is starting to play dirty.  There is no surprise there.  You find a strategy (create fear, lie to the people about the other candidate) and Blamo, you’ve got a Reeeal winner.  It would go something like this…

…Did you hear that Obama is Muslim?  Well, I heard he tried to teach sex-education to kindergartners!  I heard that he hates his white mother because she is white.  I heard that he hates America.  Wait, is he even American????

Wake up, people.  She could be the President.  Sure she could be a wonderful, down-to-earth person that you may want to have a beer with (-ahem-…sound familiar???), but does that make her ready to lead the country? Sure, McCain’s mother is 96, but little Johnny is still OLD.  Palin is one-heartbeat away from the oval office.  I’ve always dreamed about a woman president, but I also said that the first one would set the stage for the acceptance of the ones to follow her.  The stage that is being set by McCain/Palin is more like a nightmare to me.  As the above comic said…”Why would an intelligent woman vote for a woman politician opposed to women’s rights?”

Someone wake me…

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Election season is upon us.  Sadly, Joe and I will be blissfully unaware of the presidential outcome until we decide to seek out the news on our honeymoon cruise ship.  (We are voting using absentee ballots, FYI.)  I cried myself to sleep after the last election…I can only hope that

  1. The outcome will be better and it will be the cherry on my honeymoon …  OR
  2. Being in a tropical paradise with my new husband will snap me out of the post-election blues.

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile….I’m sure most of you are aware of this…but as a refresher….

“Both major political parties in the United States select their presidential candidates through a process of primary elections. However, voters do not directly select presidential nominees in these primaries. Instead, they choose delegates from their respective states who will attend a national party convention to nominate a presidential candidate for their party.”

So in the nomination process, there is a “safety net” so no hooligan candidates get in to the big dance.  Also to my knowledge, there is nothing that states that these delegates have to follow the voting outcome of the individual state.

So, now that we have our two main-party candidates, we get to vote on them to pick a winner.  But…not really.

“Instead of voting directly for a presidential candidate (and his or her vice-presidential running mate), voters in the fifty states and the District of Columbia vote for a slate of “electors” who are pledged to vote for a particular presidential ticket (president/vice-president team). The political parties in each state select a slate of electors. The electors selected by the party of the candidate winning the most popular votes in a state become the electors for that state.”

From the way I see it, the electoral college is an insult to the intellect of the American people.  Again, there must be a safety net for fear the the imbeciles will chose a horribly unqualified candidate.  Some say this reason is invalid because these electors are bound to cast their votes according to how their state voted, but really what are they bound by?  (Can anyone comment to this?)

Others say that the electoral college is necessary so that the states retain a certain power and individuality in the presidential election process. If we took away the electoral college…

“…the significance of states and the candidates’ competition for support in key, “swing” states would disappear. Candidates would be inclined to simply run nationwide ad campaigns and visit large population centers.

I really can’t contradict that…but really, how many states actually see candidates campaigning currently? At least if the candidates traveled to the large population centers, they could be accessible to more people.  (e.g.: If you lived in rural Indiana, and presidential candidate A stopped in Indianapolis, I think you could drive the 1-2 hours to hear him speak.)  It would be much better than the current model where states (like Indiana) are completely skipped over because the candidates assume they know how the people will vote, write the whole state off, and move on to Ohio where their efforts are put to much better use.

The figure below shows in the 2004 election how many times a candidate visited a certain state (purple hands) and how much money was spent there (green dollar signs).

Wow….it sure is a good thing we have swing states……..(-shakes head-)

Also, the system obviously is not fail-proof. (2000 election anyone?)  But more interesting is this…

The closest the nation has ever come to abolishing the Electoral College occurred during the 91st Congress. The presidential election of 1968 had ended with Richard Nixon receiving 301 electoral  votes to Hubert Humphrey’s 191. Yet, Nixon had only received 511,944 more popular votes than Humphrey, equating to less than 1% of the national total.

One percent of the votes equated to a victory by 110 electoral votes.  ONE PERCENT!  There is something wrong with that…

All I can say is this…

As a democracy that touts its belief that each of its citizens have a voice that can be heard and accounted for through his/her vote, I do not understand how America still has the electoral college.  If I want to vote for Johnny No-name, the independent candidate, I want my one vote to make him be one vote close to winning.  I want my vote to go towards his total.  I want my vote to count for something.

Likewise, if I vote for the Republican candidate in a state that will undoubtedly go to the Democrats, I still want my vote to count.  This is not a state-wide issue.  This is a nation-wide election and whether or not my candidate gets support should not depend on how my neighbor votes.

I am tired of merely voting symbolically for a candidate.  Too many Americans are disenfranchised by the government and the entire election process and these “safety nets” of delegates and electors are just perpetuating these feelings.

Give me a real vote.  Give me a real say.   Get rid of the electoral college.

Thoughts anyone?

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So, it’s been a month without a new installment of the blog and I figured it was about time to come out of my perceived temporary retirement. Many notable things have happened in the last month, and I almost found it too daunting to know where to start. So, for the time being, I will point you here and here for the highlights and move on.

Well, another year has passed…another year of taxes paid. Before I begin my small rant, I must quantify that I have no tax law experience. I am not a CPA, economist, or anything of the like. I honestly don’t even know what month taxes are due. (Side note: I just looked it up…April. I guess I have awhile to complain.) All I know is that I have some beef.

My animosity is not with the entire tax system. I am a full believer of providing funding for health care, social security (even though it looks like I will not be able to benefit from it…), public projects, defense, etc. Truly, my frustration started with that little baseball; Barry Bonds’ famed baseball (you know-the one with the ‘asterisk’…) Anyway, here is a recap:

Matt Murphy, a 21-year-old student and construction supervisor from New York, emerged from a scrum with the ball on Aug. 7. He decided to sell it, he said, because he couldn’t afford the tax bill that would result from holding onto the ball.

Some tax experts said Murphy would have owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes based on a reasonable estimate of the ball’s value even if he had never sold it. He may also have faced capital gains taxes as the ball gained value. ~USA Today

Now, please feel free to comment and correct me…and I realize that the tax experts have spoken on the issue, but to me, that seems like a load of bona fide crap. I understand taxation on revenue gained if he would have sold the ball (or even set an asking price), but just to keep it? I find it unreasonable to put an expected value on the ball. I believe the only taxable value that can be assessed to the ball is the face value of what the ball is worth…$12.99 at Dicks Sporting Goods. He should not have been forced into selling that ball.

Moving on to my next piece of beef: Double (and Triple) Taxation. This frustration has several aspects to it. The first has to do with savings/investment dividends. As a new member of the work force, I’m trying the best I can to make responsible monetary decisions. I’m saving for retirement, being a conscientious consumer, putting some money in a savings account, and investing some in a low risk money market fund. But recently, I got in the mail my dividend summary for the year on those accounts. I am pretty livid that I have to be taxed, again, on this money. I have already been taxed once on this money as my salary. I used what was left responsibly and it seems like I am being punished for such actions. I suppose I understand when people make several thousand dollars as day-traders or whatnot, they ought to pay taxes on such revenues. But really, if you only make more that $10, you are taxed on it. Right now, I’m just trying to keep up with inflation. Give me a break! The goverment should be encouraging their citizens to make smart monetary decisions rather than making them feel like they’ve been had…again.

Basically, I want to be taxed one time. If I buy a car for my sister (not that she needs one, she’s got a pretty sweet ride 🙂 …) that costs over $12,000, I will use my already taxed salary to buy the vehicle, be charged the taxes on the car itself, and then taxed also again for the gift tax. That’s triple taxation…and it makes me mad.

And Congress (to my knowledge) still has not passed a budget. Why am I giving them money three times over when they can’t even reach an agreement on what to do with it!?! Please feel free to comment. Am I missing something here?

(-grumble, grumble-)

Anyway, Welcome Back & Happy New Year everyone 🙂

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Well, its the Friday of finals week for students at Georgia Tech and elsewhere. My sincere best wishes go out to all of you…

…of course I say this as I giddily have been planning for a Christmas party all week rather than spending it cooped in a library studying. These are the days I’m so glad to be done with school!

Anyway, in the honor of finals week, I read an article on Yahoo News that detailed less than stellar research. “All-nighters may not improve grades” REALLY? I can’t make myself smarter by staying up all night cramming? The article basically states “that students who have never pulled an all-nighter have average GPAs of 3.2, compared to 2.95 for those who have.” Then, they proceed to analyze sleep schedules and how productive one can (not) be at 4AM. I think the obvious thing that is missing here is that if you are staying up all night for a final the next day, you probably didn’t plan very well…and if you didn’t plan very well…you probably aren’t a very good student. Now, granted, I have procrastinated and stayed up with the best of them. (There was actually one night I slept for 1.5 hours in the library under a desk in order to finish a project.) But in general, if I felt like I had to stay up all night in fear of what the next day way going to bring, I probably didn’t plan the whole semester very well. Hmmm…I wonder if those results should be an article on Yahoo…

Moving on…

New Jersey
decided to abolish its use of the death-penalty. I think this is huge. This is the first state in 40 years that has revisited this law and decided to revoke it. One opponents to the measure stated, “There is no doubt whatsoever that those criminals now sitting on death row are guilty, yet their lives are being spared in the name of justice. Tell me then, where is the justice for [the victims] and [their families]?” To me, I do not believe in ‘eye for and eye’ justice in the first place. However, if that system is in place, I think it brings less justice to the victims and their families by stating that the criminal will be put to death, when probably (…the last execution in New Jersey was in 1963!) he won’t be. I thankfully have never been in position of a grieving and angry family member and hopefully never will be, but I would think that certainty in the sentencing (life with no chance of parole) would provide more justice and would give me more peace than the endless appeals game.

And, I’ll leave you with my favorite quote of the week.

“Does no one see what Russia is doing? It’s like they are trying to be the next AT&T.” ~ Joseph I.

(Please see the video featuring my good friend Stephen for further explanation if required.)

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Ahh…

Not much to say other than …check it out !! I suppose I need to set more lofty goals next time…. 🙂

que-sera-sara.JPG

Woooo! haha 🙂

Also, my quote for the day as something to ponder…

“And even if they want nuclear power for purposes that are not peaceful, with what right does (the U.S.) question it?” ~Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega speaking about North Korea and Iran.

What do you think?

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