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Articles: politics

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Trump v. Vance and Trump v. Mazars
Thursday, 2020 July 9 - 11:41 am
Today there were two monumental Supreme Court decisions, both of them related to investigations of the Trump's financial records. I'm breaking my long blogging absence to do a detailed breakdown of what the decisions mean.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

2020 Presidential Candidates, Ranked
Saturday, 2018 January 20 - 1:19 pm
The list of possible candidates for the 2020 Presidential election is starting to become clear, and although it might seem way too early to talk about this sort of thing, I wanted to write down my thoughts just to help me sort through them.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Eleven Nine, Two Thousand Sixteen
Friday, 2016 November 11 - 2:18 pm
I'm still trying to wrap my head around what happened. How did we elect someone like Donald Trump?

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Election 2016 Endorsements
Thursday, 2016 November 3 - 1:02 pm
Here's everyone I voted for in this general election.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

To Voters in the 2016 Election
Tuesday, 2016 September 27 - 11:34 pm
I've posted in three parts on Facebook, but these are thoughts that I want to make public. I'll probably repost all of this multiple times in the run-up to election day.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Third Party Presidential Candidates
Thursday, 2016 August 18 - 5:29 pm
I've posted some thoughts about third-party Presidential candidates in comments on other people's Facebook posts, but I'd like to give it a more thorough treatment, and it's probably better to do it on my own blog instead. (I'll talk about third parties in Congressional elections in a follow-up post.)

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Posted by Ken in: politics

2014 Elections: The Aftermath
Wednesday, 2014 November 5 - 12:13 pm
Well, it's pretty much over: Republicans have retaken the Senate. Alaska is still counting but will probably go to Sullivan (R) over Begich (D). Louisiana will go to a runoff in December that favors the Republican. It looks like Warner (D) will squeak by in Virginia over Gillespie (R); this after he was projected to win by something like 9%. So in the end, it looks like a 54-46 majority for the Republicans.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

U.S. Government Shuts Down
Tuesday, 2013 October 1 - 8:13 am
Here we go again.

Much like in 1995, Congress has shut down the federal government by refusing to pass a continuing resolution to fund its operations. In 1995 the conflict was largely over the Republicans' desire to cut Medicare. This time, it's all about a minority faction of the House, the Tea Party, and their continuing obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").

Some facts about the shutdown:
  • Among the affected will be active duty military personnel, who will see delays in getting paychecks.
  • This will do nothing to reduce the deficit; in fact, the act of shutting down and restarting government operations will cost billions of dollars.
  • This will do nothing to halt Obamacare.
So a shutdown accomplishes no Republican political priorities, it hurts Republican as well as Democratic constituents, and a large number of Republicans are against the idea. It is fifty or so Tea Party Republicans in the house that are holding the other 485 members of the House and Senate hostage until we appease their tantrums over Obamacare. (I don't think "tantrum" is an overstatement.) This is an outrageous upending of the democratic political process.

Why do John Boehner and mainstream Republicans go along with this? Because in the gerrymandered House districts in their states, they are terrified of Tea Party opposition in their re-election primaries, and they can't beat Democratic opponents without Tea Party support.

I predict that the mainstream GOP will cave on the issue and pass a funding bill without ties to Obamacare. If Boehner is smart, he will try to negotiate on some other point, like tax and spending reductions, but he will leave Obamacare off the table. He will infuriate some Tea Party Republicans and may in fact lose his chair as Speaker of the House, but at some point Republicans will surely come to understand that their job is to provide a functioning government for the people.

My sincere hope is that this event will end up fracturing the Tea Party from the Republican party as a whole; and that either the Tea Party will wither away and die, or that the Tea Party will be the new conservative opposition party and that mainstream Republicans en masse will defect to the Democratic party instead.

Please write to your Congressional representatives to tell them to stop acting like children.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

This Week in SCOTUS
Saturday, 2013 June 29 - 7:53 pm
It's been a big week at the Supreme Court this week. Here's a round-up for those of you who aren't SCOTUS-watchers.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Tuesday, 2013 January 22 - 2:09 am
It's been a month since the Newtown shooting and I've stayed quiet about the issue of gun control until now. But I think I need to say something.

Being a civil libertarian, there's a part of me that believes that responsible gun ownership is part of living in a free society. But that doesn't mean it can't be regulated and controlled in a sane manner.

I would hope that we would all agree on a couple of things. First, we should not tolerate living in a society where it is relatively easy for a teenager with mental health issues to walk into a school and murder first graders, using a weapon that has no practical use in either self-defense or hunting. So doing nothing is not the answer. The status quo is unacceptable.

Second, not everyone should be allowed to own nuclear weapons, nerve gas, or fighter jets... so regardless of where you stand on handguns and assault rifles, surely you agree that there's a line that should be drawn somewhere, and the right to bear "arms" is not an absolute license to own any kind of weapon imaginable. We should be able to have a discussion on where that line should be drawn, without accusing each other of being anti-American or part of a socialist conspiracy.

As for me, I will probably never own a gun. Not to be critical of my gun-owning friends, but if I ever reach a point where I think it's necessary to have a gun to keep me or my family safe, then it means that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong with my life. I'll change my tune when the zombie apocalypse comes, but as of today I'm much more likely to die from alcohol poisoning than an armed assailant, and I'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Election 2012
Saturday, 2012 November 17 - 11:56 am
With Obama's re-election two weeks in the rear-view mirror, there's been a lot of soul-searching and hand-wringing in the Republican party lately. Obviously most of the pundits have already weighed in on this topic, but I wanted to add my take on what happened in the election, what's in store for the Republican party, and what we might see in 2016.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Affordable Care Act Upheld by Supreme Court
Saturday, 2012 July 7 - 2:55 pm
Continuing in my three-part series of "things that were news weeks ago but I'm only just now getting around to commenting on", the Supreme Court last week upheld the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") in a 5-4 decision, with Chief Justice Roberts being the surprise deciding vote.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Wednesday, 2012 May 9 - 12:42 am
My favorite quote from "Broadcast News":
Paul Moore: It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room.

Jane Craig: No. It's awful.

Last night I was up until about 2:00 a.m., debating with someone I didn't know, about the North Carolina marriage amendment, on Facebook.


Those of you who know me know this: I generally try not to assert superiority over anyone. I do not like stereotypes, and the stereotype of the "smart Asian" makes me cringe.

But: when someone who may or may not have completed high school, and whose career now reads "trainee at a Pepsi plant", tries to tell me that they have a deeper knowledge of constitutional law, theology, economics, and public policy than I do... frankly, I'm offended. I have read the entire Bible several times over and have delved into many passages in the original Hebrew and Greek. I have studied the Constitution and a hundred Supreme Court decisions, and I can recite to you most of the various decisions that support the Establishment Clause and the Incorporation Doctrine. I've studied Keynesian economics and neoclassical criticisms. Also I know a large variety of Internet memes, Urban Dictionary terms, and funny cat videos.

So you know what? When you assert that Obama will ruin the country, and that China owns the U.S., and that God will judge homosexuals... you do not impress me. When you assert that liberals will take away your freedoms and force you to give up your private health insurance and force your church to marry gays... I tell you this: YOU, MR. WHITE PROTESTANT, HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT'S LIKE TO HAVE YOUR RIGHTS TAKEN AWAY.

Maybe that's all that it is... you have to have been the victim of discrimination, hatred, and bigotry to appreciate its harmful effects. Or, you have to be one of my enlightened and beautiful friends, apparently.

Today North Carolina voted to amend its Constitution with a horrific amendment that institutionalizes bigotry and discrimination. I am ashamed and embarrassed to live in this state. But as long as I live here I will fight this shamefulness.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Don't be the last one. Stand up and fight.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

What Has America Become?
Thursday, 2011 October 27 - 9:30 pm
There's a letter that appeared in a newspaper about a year ago, and it's been making the rounds on Facebook and the Internets again lately. It's attributed to someone named Ken Huber, and I'm going to post it in its entirety. I'm posting it not because I agree with it in the least; I'm posting it to expose it for the right-wing whiny bullshit that it is.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Republican Debate!
Wednesday, 2011 September 7 - 11:15 pm
Oh, how entertaining tonight's debate was. Remember back in 2003 when I first started blogging? One of my earliest posts was about the Democratic primary race. Yes, I was young and naïve then.

Highlight: Herman Cain laying out his crazy "9-9-9" tax plan, which no one else believes will work, twice.

Disappointment: No one else asked to comment on the crazy "9-9-9" tax plan.

Highlight: Rick Perry defending himself in the position that most scientists don't agree with 98% of scientists, when it comes to climate change.

Disappointment: Rick Perry not pressed after avoiding the question of exactly which scientific evidence contradicts climate change theory.

Highlight: Ron Paul acting and looking like a crazy libertarian Gandalf.

Disappointment: No one else asked about the issue of legalization of marijuana.

Highlight: Touching tribute to Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Disappointment: No one asked about the issue of stem cell research, which Nancy strongly supports.

Highlight: Jon Huntsman looking like only the reasonable intelligent guy in the group.

Disappointment: Jon Huntsman looking like he has no chance in hell of winning the primary.

Highlight: Michelle Bachmann's hair. Was she going for the Darth Vader helmet, the Geico caveman, or Ari from Planet of the Apes?

Disappointment: Michelle not really given much of a chance to speak. No really, I was looking for her to say something super crazy, but Ron Paul stole that show.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Osama Bin Laden
Thursday, 2011 May 5 - 1:01 pm
It's been four days since the big news that a U.S. Navy Seal team had entered Pakistan and killed Osama Bin Laden, in the mansion in which he'd been hiding. Unless you've been living in a cave (ha!), you have probably spent these last four days thinking and talking about the event.

By and large, Americans have been celebrating. In Washington D.C. and New York City, crowds gathered outside and celebrated all through Sunday night. Both Democratic and Republican politicians have hailed this as a great achievement for the country.

But then there are the critics. There are always critics. In this case, there are criticisms from both the liberal and the conservative side, and I wanted to take the chance to talk about a few of them.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Saturday, 2010 November 20 - 8:18 pm
It's hard to be a Michigan football fan sometimes. It's bad enough having to watch the team lose. But the most tiring thing is explaining to people why we're losing. No one cares about how young the team is, how we've been riddled with injuries, how we're still recovering from coaching transitions... no, they just care about MOAR WINS KTHXBAI.

I find it's similarly hard to be a user of Apple products. I'm tired of defending Apple against people who say things like "Apple should cut all of its prices in half" or "Apple should let other PC makers license their OS", as if Apple had no interest in actually making profits. I'm tired of explaining how the iPhone is not doomed even if Android is enjoying some success.

And it's hard to be a Democrat. It is exhausting to refute Tea Party nonsense all the time. I'm astounded that I have to explain to people all the ways that Sarah Palin is wrong about things. And I think I no longer have the energy to tell people that global warming is a reality even if it was cold today.

But yet I am all of these things: Michigan fan, Apple user, Democrat. I am a Michigan fan even if they lose, because that's what it means to be a true fan. I use Apple products even when the company is being torn apart for overblown reports of iPhone antenna issues, because Apple simply makes better products. And I'm a Democrat even when Tea Party activists seem to be grabbing all the headlines, because there are principles that I believe in.

Michigan lost to Wisconsin today. Most people expected that outcome, but during the game, the Internets were full of comments along the lines of "OMG FIRE RICHROD NOW". But still, as a fan, I persevere.
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Posted by Ken in: politicssportstechwatch

The Tea Party Paradox
Wednesday, 2010 November 3 - 11:37 am
Well, I'm sure most of you have heard the election news by now... the Republicans take the House, Democrats retain the Senate; Rand Paul wins but Christine O'Donnell loses. In my home district, Renee Ellmers defeated incumbent Bob Etheridge running on an embarrassing anti-Muslim campaign. So yeah, that all happened and we're going to have to live with it.

Something's been bothering me lately about the Tea Party candidates, and I've finally put my finger on it. I call it the Tea Party Paradox. Here's the flowchart; click on the image below for a larger version.

Tea Party Paradox

Here's the crux of it, highlighted by the blue box: if lowering taxes is part of the solution to lowering the budget deficit, then why are we worried that higher deficits will lead to higher taxes? That logic just doesn't add up.

The good news is, having Republicans in the House has probably increased Barack Obama's chances of being re-elected in 2012. For the past two years, there's been no one to blame for everything except the Democrats, and so it's no surprise that they got clobbered yesterday. Over the next two years, Republicans will actually have to create policy and not just politics, and I'm betting it won't be pretty.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Tuesday, 2010 November 2 - 11:44 am
It's mid-term election day, and the Democrats are widely expected to get clobbered. I'm in a heavily Republican district, and the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina has been looking pretty lopsided... but still, I vote because I care. My one vote might not make much of a difference, but it counts just as much as any other. That's the wonderful thing about the election process.

For voters who are still on the fence, struggling to get through these tough economic times and feeling angry at politicians: please try to remember who got us into this situation.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

History in the Making
Sunday, 2010 March 21 - 10:17 pm
This is one of those nights where people might actually want to watch C-SPAN.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Citizen's United v. FEC
Saturday, 2010 January 23 - 4:46 pm
Some of you may not follow Supreme Court cases as closely as I do. Maybe you're aware of the bombshell that the Court dropped a couple of days ago, in the case of Citizen's United v. Federal Election Commission. It boils down to this: The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are entitled to use unlimited amounts money from their general funds to finance political advertising, because (a) corporations are essentially people, (b) money is essentially speech, and (c) the First Amendment guarantees people the right to free speech.

Perhaps you have a vague sense of the implications of that, but let me lay out a few numbers for you. Exxon Mobil made $45 billion in profit last year (on $443 billion in revenue). If they spent just one percent on that profit (or just a tenth of one percent of their revenue) on political advertising, that would still be four times more money than Obama and McCain spent on their 2008 campaigns combined. That's one company, taking a tiny piece of their profits, dwarfing the combined campaign spending of two presidential candidates.

Now suppose you take the Fortune 500 list. Looking at the companies that were profitable in 2009, if they set aside four percent of those profits and put them towards political advertising, that would be enough to buy every ad spot on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and CW for an entire year. All of them. EVERY. SINGLE. AD.

We're talking about a lot of money, folks. Wait until you see what happens in the next couple of elections... if you thought political ads were bad in 2008, it'll be an order of magnitude worse in 2010 and 2012.

And that's not even the worst part.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Today's Episode of "The Biggest Douchebag"
Thursday, 2010 January 14 - 1:55 pm
In the red corner, we have Rush Limbaugh, who suggests that the White House might steal from any Red Cross donations you make via the link.

In the redder corner, we have Pat Robertson, who suggests that the Haitians are being punished for making a deal with Satan in exchange for freedom from French rule in 1803.

The winner: nobody. We all lose. We'll have to continue enduring these idiots for many years to come. Thank you for playing.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Dear Sarah Palin
Thursday, 2009 November 19 - 7:49 pm
Please run for President. That will be the greatest thing you could do for the Democratic party.

Your key talking points:
  • The global war against health care for Americans
  • How my celebrity status qualifies me to be President (because I am not a Kenyan Muslim, duh)
  • The list of magazines I've learned the names of (since the Katie Couric interview)
  • Rogue is the new Maverick
  • How Alaska benefits from global warming (because it's cold there, ya?)
  • How I've learned to agree with the Bush Doctrine (now that I know it's not a porn thing)
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Five Lessons: Macroeconomics
Thursday, 2009 July 23 - 10:48 pm
Today's lesson: Five Lessons in Macroeconomics. Or, Five Things Conservatives Get Wrong About the Economy. This one is a little political, so sorry. Also, I'm just an armchair economist, so while I've put a fair amount of thought into these arguments, I'm not going to claim enough expertise to be 100% sure I'm right.

Enough disclaimers. On with the smackdown.

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Posted by Ken in: interestingpolitics

Are We Done Yet?
Tuesday, 2009 June 30 - 1:37 pm
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered that Al Franken be certified as the winner of last November's Senate election. Should the Senate proceed with seating Franken next week, that will give the Democrats a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate.

Coleman may still pursue challenges in federal court, but dude... just give up already. The race is over; you lost.

Let the Republican agonizing and wailing begin. (Or perhaps I should say, continue.)
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Sarah Palin says Letterman owes women an apology
Friday, 2009 June 12 - 12:17 pm
In case you hadn't heard the furor about David Letterman and Sarah Palin, the gist of it is that Letterman made a joke about stripper-chasing baseball player Alex Rodriguez having sex with Palin's daughter. The reference was clearly about Bristol, Palin's teenage daughter who was infamously pregnant during last year's elections. But Palin took the reference to be about her fourteen-year-old daughter Willow, who was traveling with her at the time.

So, Sarah Palin was outraged. OUTRAGED! And now she's demanding that Letterman apologize to all women.

Ms. Palin: David Letterman is a comedian who makes cheap jokes at the expense of public figures. You are a public figure, and you seemed to have no qualms about prominently featuring your visibly-pregnant daughter Bristol during your campaign. So Letterman has every right to ridicule you both. Was the joke in poor taste? Perhaps, as are many jokes that are made in late night TV. Does Letterman need to apologize to all women for this? No.

The person who needs to apologize to all women, Ms. Palin, is you. You've spent your life advancing yourself on your looks and your folksy charm instead of intelligence and actual qualifications, and that's precisely the opposite of what feminism is about. You are not the standard bearer for women's rights. The only women you seem to defend are yourself and those in your own family. Did you defend Hillary Clinton when she felt attacked by the media? No. Did you defend rape victims in Wasilla when you required them to purchase their own rape kits? No.

No, you're just using any opportunity you can to stay in the media spotlight during the long run-up to the 2012 elections. If you don't think that's utterly transparent to everyone in the country, then you're even dumber than you look.
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Posted by Ken in: politicstelevision

Sotomayor, Eh?
Tuesday, 2009 May 26 - 11:16 am
In perhaps the least surprising SCOTUS news of the year, President Obama has nominated Sonia Sotomayor to be replace David Souter on the Supreme Court. And while I'm not going to go all Republican and suggest that Obama chose Sotomayor merely because of her sex and her race, those factors had to play some role in the decision-making process. But still: it's a solid selection. She's clearly qualified for the position. If she doesn't breeze through the nomination process, I'll be shocked.

Also: it's fun to say "Sotomay-ORRR" with a pretend Spanish accent.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Today's Headlines
Friday, 2009 May 8 - 8:36 am
Former Illinois police sergeant Drew Peterson has been indicted on a murder charge in the death of his third wife. Wasn't he Sloan's dad in Ferris Bueller? Also: what's the deal with guys named Peterson killing their wives? There was Scott Peterson, Michael Peterson, and now Drew Peterson. Note to women: don't marry men named Peterson.

Senate Republicans are attacking Obama's health care plan... before they even know what it is. Really? I guess the idea is "any change to our health care system would be bad". God forbid we should have the same "socialist" health care they have in Europe (i.e., affordable and convenient). Better to keep our good old American system with its spiraling costs and profit-motivated insurance providers. Note to Republicans: when you talk about reducing the size of the federal government, please keep in mind that the government spends about 750 billion dollars a year on health care. Doesn't that seem like a good reason to reform our system?

Top flu expert warns of a swine flu-bird flu mix. Note to pigs: stop having sex with chickens.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Today's Headlines
Monday, 2009 May 4 - 9:19 am
Some U.S. senators have suggested that Obama's pick to succeed David Souter on the Supreme Court should perhaps come from somewhere other than the federal appellate courts. Mr. Obama: I agree. Pick me.

Notre Dame's decision to have Obama speak at their commencement has infuriated some Catholics. I suppose a war-mongering torture-supporting President would have been OK, though. Why are people so insistent on making abortion the single defining issue in politics?

I'm fascinated by the story of the professor who allegedly killed his wife and two other people. John Bankhead of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation states: "He's not the typical type of fugitive police have to deal with." In other words: most criminals are dumb; this guy isn't. Hollywood usually portrays criminals as idiots. In the Hollywood version of this story, the professor would be caught after attempting to sneak back into town to cut out the heart from his wife's body or something. No such luck for police this time.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

In the News
Tuesday, 2009 April 28 - 1:06 pm
Sometimes I feel guilty about not posting more often. It's not just that my blog is being neglected (and that recent entries are dominated by American Idol posts), but also that I often see interesting stories in the news that seem like they'd be worth a quick comment.

On the other hand, sometimes I don't really have much to say about those stories, so I'm not sure if anyone would care for my one-line analysis. Eh. It's my blog, I guess, so whatevah, I do what I want.

So anyway, read on for a couple of newsworthy tidbits.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypoliticstechwatch

Inaugural Moments
Tuesday, 2009 January 20 - 6:22 pm
A few notes:

1. Since John Roberts screwed up the recitation of oath of office, that will give Republican wackos ammunition to claim that Obama isn't really President. And what's up with calling him "Senator" at the start of the whole thing?

2. This might have been the oddest phrase ever spoken in a benediction: "Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right." (An immediate protest was lodged by the Blue Man Group.)

3. Obama's speech seemed to make W awfully uncomfortable out there. I suppose that's understandable, since the speech was essentially "we've been screwing around for eight years, now let's finally do something right."

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Controversy 2: Abortion
Thursday, 2008 November 27 - 11:47 am
This is my second post about a politically controversial topic: this time it's about abortion. The first post, concerning gay marriage, can be found here.

The point of both of these posts is that although some religious conservatives have taken very hard lines on these political issues, these positions are not backed by Biblical texts as they might claim. So, perhaps it would behoove us all to separate the religious arguments from the political ones, and perhaps then these issues wouldn't be so divisive.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Controversy 1: Gay Marriage
Friday, 2008 November 14 - 4:39 pm
Sometimes I wish that we didn't pay so much attention to divisive topics like abortion and gay marriage. There are so many more important issues to discuss, and so many ideas in which we can find common ground... why devote such energy to wedge issues like this?

But with what's happened with Prop 8 in California, I think I have to say something. That will make me as guilty as anyone of fueling the fire of debate, but so be it.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Behind the Scenes
Tuesday, 2008 November 11 - 10:03 pm
I'm not quite done talking about the election. The more I read, the more fascinated I am by how it all turned out. Newsweek has a great seven-part behind-the-scenes story on the Obama and McCain campaigns.

Barack Obama: How He Did it
John McCain: Back From the Dead?
The Long Clinton-Obama Siege
McCain Camp Retools, Targets Obama
McCain Gambles on Palin
Battling it Out in the Great Debates
The Final Days

Someday, I hope this turns into a documentary... or at least, a made-for-TV movie.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Blue State
Thursday, 2008 November 6 - 10:06 am
North Carolina voted for Barack Obama.

Oh, and we also elected a Democratic Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Senator. And 8 of our 13 House representatives are Democrats.

It's good to be in a blue state again.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Tables Turned
Wednesday, 2008 November 5 - 8:32 am
I was very curious to see how various facets of the Republican party would react to this election. Some have been gracious, including McCain and his staff; many recognize the historic nature of the election and profess hope that Obama's promises come to fruition.

And then, there are the people who comment on Republican web sites and blogs.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Live Blog
Tuesday, 2008 November 4 - 8:48 pm
... as well as I can do this from my phone.

Pennsylvania goes to Obama, Kay Hagan poised to win the Senate seat in North Carolina. More updates in the comments section; feel free to contribute.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Tuesday, 2008 November 4 - 8:35 am

And now we wait. Other than the Presidential race, I'll be closely watching the fortunes of Kay Hagan (D-NC), Al Franken (D-MN), and Proposition 8 in California.

One thing I will miss, if Obama wins: Tina Fey's impersonations of Sarah Palin. Those were pure gold.

*Edit: This is not my actual ballot. Apparently you can't take pictures of your real ballot in this state... and if you do take a picture, you can't post it on the Internets. So, instead, I've posted this highly accurate reproduction.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

And By the Way
Monday, 2008 November 3 - 8:40 pm
Here are things that I will not miss about this election:

Guilt by Association. I think "William Ayers" is the new "Willie Horton" in Republican presidential campaigning. It's sad how the McCain is reduced to raising FUD about vague associations in Obama's past, in a desperate attempt to tarnish his reputation. To McCain's supporters, let me ask you something: would it be fair to judge you using the history of everyone you've ever worked with, had a drink with, or shook hands with?

The worst example is right here in North Carolina: Elizabeth Dole is running an ad attempting to link Kay Hagan with an atheist PAC called "Godless Americans", because they donated to her campaign. Not only shouldn't that matter, but Kay Hagan was a SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER. I mean, really.

The term "RINO". For those of you who aren't familiar with this, it stands for "Republican In Name Only", and is a derogatory term for any Republican who dares to speak out against the party line. That term was applied to McCain for much of his career. Now, it's being used on notable moderate Republicans like Colin Powell, or D Magazine editor Wick Allison (who posted this thoughtful article). If folks like this are RINOs, then only people left in the "real" Republican party must be right-wing extremists. No wonder the party is adrift.

Joe the Plumber. If there was ever a stupid theme for this election, it's the idea that some Republican voter heckling Obama about taxes would be held up as the archetypical American. He was never an undecided voter. He's not even a plumber. And his taxes aren't going to go up. The whole thing is just ridiculous.

Animals Choosing Elections. Finally: can we please end the practice of using domestic or barnyard animals to predict the results of elections?
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Your Liberal Elite Voting Guide
Monday, 2008 November 3 - 7:55 pm
It's last minute, I know, but here are my personal voting guides for Wake and Johnston counties.

Wake County 2008
Johnston County 2008

Sorry, I don't have time to do Durham, Chatham, and Orange counties this year. You'll have to make do with the Independent Weekly's endorsements, which pretty much fall in line with my own.

I'm sure all my regular readers know that I'm unabashedly liberal when it comes to politics, so take my endorsements with a grain of salt. Whether you're Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, or independent, I encourage you to do your own research and make up your own minds. But most importantly, vote. It makes a difference.

Here's to a better tomorrow.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Thursday, 2008 October 30 - 8:56 am
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Election News
Tuesday, 2008 October 21 - 11:08 am
Interesting election news over this weekend.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama, and criticized the tone of McCain's campaign. He was also critical of the choice of Sarah Palin as VP. Powell commands a lot of respect among moderate Republicans, so this is a big deal. Of course, what did Rush Limbaugh say about this? That Powell endorsed Obama because of his race. Tell me something, Rush: when a white man endorses McCain, is that also because of race? Or are you saying that black people are more prone to being racist than white people?

Barack Obama's campaign raised $150 million in September. To those that say Obama is "buying" the election, consider this: most of that money comes from grass-roots supporters and small donors. It's not Obama's own money. If the majority of Americans support Obama and are sending money to his campaign, then isn't it right that he should win the election?

Obama's poll lead is up to 8 points. And according to the analysis by, Obama's chances of winning the election are 99.9%. It's too early to start celebrating, but we can at least be hopeful and guardedly optimistic, yes?

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Obama-McCain Debate #3
Wednesday, 2008 October 15 - 10:31 pm
So, McCain was pretty sharp... for about 25 minutes.

McCain definitely scored on a few points. Perhaps the most memorable part of the debate was when he said, "I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago." That line will get a lot of play in tomorrow's press. And he was able to get a lot of jabs in about the economy.

But then McCain lost his way. Twice, he seemed like he was about to implode. The first was when he started talking about Representative John Lewis' criticisms of the rabidly racist supporters that have appeared at a few of his (and Sarah Palin's) rallies. (And if you don't know what this is about... check out the various YouTube videos of some of these rallies.) It made McCain seem petty and whiny. And it was disingenuous to hear him complain about being attacked when all of his own TV ads are negative, when Sarah Palin is accusing Obama of "palling around with terrorists", and when a Republican party official says Obama and bin Laden "both have friends who have bombed the Pentagon." There is no universe in which McCain can plausibly claim to be taking the high road in this election.

The second implosion was when he was trying to make a point about the so-called "fine" that Obama would impose on small business owners who didn't get health care for their employees. He clearly thought he would score by continuing to press the question of how much the fine would be. So when Obama said the fine would be "zero", because his plan has an exemption for small businesses, McCain looked like he had just swallowed a cat.

It's true, as some of the CNN analysts said immediately after the debate, that McCain was on offense and Obama was on defense for much of the debate. But still, Obama was effective on defense, and he scored highly on the issues that mattered. This is an election about domestic issues; right now, everything else is secondary. William Ayers? Being opposed to the trade agreement with Colombia? Is that what your campaign has come down to, McCain?
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Obama-McCain Debate #2
Tuesday, 2008 October 7 - 10:38 pm
It seems that neither candidate is really determined to win any of these debates. Or actually answer any questions.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Obama-McCain Debate #1
Sunday, 2008 September 28 - 6:01 pm
My prediction prior to the seeing Friday's debate was that all the presidential debates would be cordial and dull. But with some prodding by moderator Jim Lehrer, Obama and McCain finally did engage in some sparring.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

News In Brief
Tuesday, 2008 September 23 - 9:22 pm
Random things I noticed in the news today:

Time Warner Cable in North Carolina is going to carry the Big Ten Network, finally. It'll be on a digital sports tier, but it'll be worth it to be able to catch all my Meeechigan games.

Clay Aiken is gay. No, for real this time.

Sarah Palin met Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in New York today. Why is everything that Sarah Palin does described as "controlled" or "scripted"? McCain might as well have chosen a wooden puppet as his running mate.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypoliticssports

Insert Your Own Joke
Wednesday, 2008 September 10 - 9:25 pm
By the way the McCain campaign is reacting to Obama's "lipstick" comment, you'd think "lipstick" is the most charged and offensive word in the English language.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Republican National Convention Part III
Thursday, 2008 September 4 - 9:56 pm
Let me say this about John McCain. He's an honorable and decent guy. I appreciate it when he says he has respect for Obama and the Democratic campaign. I appreciate it when he admits that Republicans and Congress "lost the trust of the American people... when we valued our power over our principles". He has more class and humility than the rest of his party, who can seem to do nothing but criticize Obama for being charismatic.

It's really the Republican party that has lost its way. The party has embraced the ideals of its most far-right fringe elements. In the official party platform this year: abortion should be illegal even when a mother's health or life is at risk; there should be no path towards residency for illegal immigrants; gay marriage should be outlawed. These are all positions that McCain personally opposed in the past, but he since has capitulated to the Republican party (flip-flopped?) in order to win conservative support. A maverick? Maybe he was, once. But somehow, a good man has been dragged down by a party that is bent on a reactionary agenda.

It's an important thing to remember here: you're not just voting for a person when you vote for president, you're voting for a party and an administration, an executive branch with hundreds of federal appointees who represent their party interests. Sure, the character, charisma, and intelligence of the president himself are important. But you can't ignore the issues and the principles of the political parties when you cast your ballot.

Election day is Tuesday, November 4th.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Republican National Convention Part II
Wednesday, 2008 September 3 - 9:58 pm
Okay... did they really start a "drill, baby, drill" chant during Giuliani's speech? Really? Really?

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Posted by Ken in: politics

McCain's Voicemail to Sarah Palin
Wednesday, 2008 September 3 - 3:49 pm
This is brilliant.

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Posted by Ken in: funnyhahapolitics

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