Posts Tagged ‘ politics

A parable

I’m watching a bio on Ronald Reagan. He offered, on behalf of all delegates, Richard Nixon as the Republican nominee for president in 1968. It was that film clip that made me realize a parable for what our country has been going through for the last 80 years.

Since Nixon, it seems like we’ve had an Old Testament God offering us two choices for president. In the Old Testament, God often gives the Israelites choices, often with detrimental repercussions. Don’t eat the fruit or you’ll lose favor with Me, don’t look back or you’ll turn into a pillar of salt,  don’t sin too much or I’ll destroy everything in a flood. Actually, I don’t think God offered any pre-flood retribution besides Noah and his family, but you get my point.

We hit great milestones and prosperity beginning with FDR, then later Kennedy and Johnson. We saw how great America could be, how we could change for the better in our actions with the world and each other. But then came Nixon. In my parable, Man’s sins killed Robert Kennedy, leading to our punishment – Tricky Dick Nixon. We finally turned around with Jimmy Carter, but like Christ he was too good, so we killed him too soon. Reagan and Bush I were meant to be our Great Flood, with Clinton as Noah, and prosperity and fairness returned.

But like the early Israelites, we just can’t seem to handle the good stuff for too long. We seem to live to suffer, so we elected the dumbest, worst president ever, Bush II.

Now is our chance to move away from that Old Testament God and join the new world, a New Testament with Barack Obama.

I am not saying that Obama (or Carter) are Christ-like in the least. Just that this is our opportunity to start anew, bring a new Covenant to America so we can grow and love and be loved based on our actions. I know that apple (McCain/Palin) is tempting to some voters, but don’t let it decieve you. Patience will bring us something like Eden, even if it only means a Clinton-like balanced budget and fair taxing or a FDR-style New Deal.

Review and Analysis – Candidate Websites

I present to you, dear reader, my take on the leading presidential candidates’s websites. Although I’ve been scoffed by one for this idea, I think we will discover some interesting insight into these people who may lead the free world for the next four years.

Please note that I viewed all sites with Firefox on my Mac, and with IE7 on my XP machine.

John McCain

Home/splash page: Sometimes I get a splash screen displaying a jovial image of Johny with a request for you to join the site, and of course donate. The deep red for the Donate Now and Submit buttons stands out nicely against the black background. The only way to get past the splash page is a text link under the large image. Fair enough, but ugly. The home page itself is nicely organized, if somewhat repetitive. For example, there’s two identical (but for color) buttons to join and donate within 200 pixels of each other.

Color: McCain’s site is dramatically different from those of any other candidate mainly because of the primary color chosen: black. Now, if you’re trying to convey that a 71-year old can run the United States, black is not the best color to use. The banner across all pages is the stars of the American flag in black coloring. Seriously — are you trying to convey death, Mr. McCain?

Overall mood: Like Tales from the Crypt needs money for a new coffin.

Web 2.0 features:

  • Blog — Tags, blog roll, comments…the works.
  • “McCainSpace” Yes, it’s even spelled like that. Users can “create your own Website”. I’m not about to give him my name and try it out. Here the black motif gets serious for some reason. Every image is tinted in grays and blacks.
  • RSS feeds

Favicon/logo: It looks like a general’s star. I suppose it’s just meant to signify the armed forces, which is an incredibly stupid thing to do in the general election.

Usability: The fonts and layout look pretty fresh, despite the dismal colors. I really dig the animation in the “Supporter Spotlight” section of the home page. His navigation style follows that of the other major candidates.
Desperation rating: 4 out of 10. McCain doesn’t come off as desperate here, he comes off as a man who knows his audience.

Although not related directly to his website, I want to share this story. Last week, my mom received two pre-recorded calls. The voice was female, stating she was calling from the Republican party. The message asked my mom to press the number of the Republican candidate she was going to vote for at her primary on Tuesday: 1 for Ron Paul, 2 for John McCain, and 3 for Mike Huckabee. Even though she’s never voted Republican and isn’t about to start, she entered 3 for Mike Huckabee. Then the voice thanked her and mentioned this call was paid for by John McCain. She got the very same call the following night. We joked that they’ll keep calling until she “gets it right”. How is cold calling like that effective, especially if you’re calling people who aren’t even going to vote Republican?

Hillary Clinton

Home/splash page: I get a splash screen every time I visit Hillary’s site. Instead of the minimal email addressed asked for on McCain’s site, Hillary wants to know my name, zip code and email address. The home page itself displays a huge graphic/animation at the top, which I’m sure changes all the time. The “5 Things You Can Do” pod is super nice — the icons are very modern, even if they were likely taken from stock icons. The little show/hide bits in the other pods make the site feel more interactive.

Color: Light blue is always a crowd-pleaser. Everyone but McCain got that memo. Hillary’s definitely going for the red white and blue patriotic thing here, trumping McCain.

Web 2.0 features:

  • Blog
  • Video section
  • “Share Your Thoughts” forms on the Issue pages. This is a nice feature so you can respond to Hillary’s take on the world.

McCain’s team seems to be more in touch with the kids than Hillary in terms of community stuff. Sure, there’s tons of ways to “join team Hillary” and there are links to sponsoring or visiting Hillary parties, but there’s no “McCainSpace” or any other sort of faux Facebook type thing built in. Granted, she does include the logos of all the biggies — MySpace, Facebook, even Flickr. And yes, it points to Hillary Clinton’s photos. She’s got a pro account!
Favicon/logo: I guess the favicon is a mishmash of the flowy flag-like thing under her name in the proper logo, but it looks really weird. Like a bunch of random right angles. The proper logo itself is probably the ugliest of all candidates. It’s an ugly font and decidedly not modern looking.

Usability: The layout is nice because it uses a very simple grid (like everyone else’s), but all the huge logos and graphics near the bottom of the home page make it look a little trashy.

Overall mood: Very hopeful. It’s interesting to note how few pictures of Hillary there are around the site. Do they want us to forget she’s a woman? Do they know how easy it is for her to take a bad picture and they don’t want to risk it?

Desperation rating: 6 out of 10. The “Help make history” motto makes her sound like she’s the only one who would “make history” if nominated.

Barack Obama

Home/splash page: The splash page contains a soft pic of the Obama family, huddled together with much love. His fabulously Web 2.0 logo and motto sits above the family in a simple display with plenty of breathing room. There’s no immediate request to give him money on the splash page, just a short form (email and zip code) to “join the movement”. Skipping sign up is accessed by a pretty blue button.

Color: In fact, everything is pretty and blue on Obama’s site. Everything has a soft touch to it, almost feminine. Nicely played, Barack’s web team.

Web 2.0 features: Barack’s web team knows where it’s audience is. More obviously fun than McCain’s “McCainSpace”, my.barackobama.com is like Facebook lite, even in terms of it’s look and feel. Members get a dashboard, can see who from their area is already a member, a place to blog for Obama, and other fun things to keep you glued to the site. This is brilliant marketing to the 35 and younger crowd (and other internet-savvy types). Additionally, there’s the regular Obama blog and the Clinton-esque list with fancy icons on the home page.

Favicon/logo: As I’ve already stated, Obama’s logo is pure genius. It’s a red white and blue horizon, looking as hopeful as ever. It’s all shiny and beveled, looking a thousand times more modern than Hillary’s.

Usability: Obama’s is by far the most usable site. It’s the least crammed, the least messy of all the candidate’s sites.

Overall mood: The banner on every page features Barack looking out into the horizon, symbolized in his fun little logo. He appears tall and strong in the banner image — like a leader.

Desperation rating: 4 out of 10. Obama only comes off as classy on his website, not desperate in the least bit.

One thing worth noting is the lack of a search function on all of them except McCain’s. I’m not sure what this says about Obama and Clinton. Surely it’s an intentional decision that was made by some committee, but how does not including a search function help? What are they hiding?

Another item I’ll briefly note here is the fact that neither Obama nor Clintion include gay rights in their list of “issues.”

I could go on, but this report already took a lot of time. Hopefully more analysis will come later. Let me know what you think about our favorite candidate’s web site!

My big caucus

I had an AMAZING experience at my caucus! I absolutely loved it. I’m still on a high from it.

When I came up to the intersection where I needed to turn left to get to my caucus place, I saw a long line of tail lights. I thought maybe a school event was going on because the polling place was a Junior High school, but much to my surprise, they were all going to caucus! And they were all going to the Democratictic caucus, which surprised me even more because I technically live in a very affluent district. The place was a madhouse.

I expected 20-40 people total. I didn’t realize we’d be separated by precinct. Nobody knew that they needed their pricint number so they were mobbed around a map. Finally I found my room where there were already people sitting on the floor and leaning against walls. They’d run out of ballots (I got there a little before 7:00), so I voted for prez on a folded post-it note. The ballots went into a modified shoe box. We proceeded with party business, picking delegates and leaders for our state contests. There were lots of eagar volunteers.

There were even some testy spots (who the delegates vote for was one), but it was great. People were really passionate. While they counted ballots, two people proposed resolutions for the DFL to endorse. Both failed. One was to institute a vote-by-mail system (I spoke against that one heartily) and someone wanted the education budget to come 70% from the federal goverment.

Then we got the results. There was a total of 147 votes (plus one late comer we allowed, but I don’t know how she voted). 47 for Clinton, 95 Obama and 5 Uncommitted. People cheered.

It was so much fun. I can’t wait for the next one. :)

Will we let him get away with this?

Hopefully Bush’s budget will be the last prank he pulls on the United States of America.

I know everyone says Congress will “ignore” it but why would he bother if he didn’t know that some, if not many, elements will become our national budget. I welcome conservatives to explain to me how taking money from programs like Medicare, Medacaide and veteran programs helps anything. This budget proposal makes even less sense than many of his other totally retarded ideas. Proof below:

“Our formula for achieving a balanced budget is simple: create the conditions for economic growth, keep taxes low and spend taxpayer dollars wisely or not at all,” Bush said in his budget message.

Or not at all????? So let’s have more bridge collapses and fewer cops and firefighters. That’s just brilliant! Bill Clinton was able to give us a surplus without cutting spending that much. We all pay for it all somehow eventually, and it costs more (with the massive inflation we face) later, so let’s deal with it NOW.

If we spend more on war (nobody can honestly claim this is “defense” spending anymore) than we invetst in our own people, our country will go down the drain even faster than it is already. That’s simple, modern economics. America is not a corporation where spending as little as possible on a nice office or the fancy printer eats into our profits, turning our shareholders away. This is a nation where taxpayers (the investors) want a return. And that return is in public services that help them directly. Like roads, schools and safety. Yeah, those things seem to be important to most other industrialized nations…but not to King George II.

And newsflash: increasing abstinence education does not improve our schools. Fucking hell, welcome to the 21st century! It’s so unbelievable, cursing back is the only thing that seems to make sense.

Short-sightedness + misinformation = stupid Republicans.

Of course the weird part is that nobody (save Bill Moyers, Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher) will make a big deal out of it. Hillary, Barack, the “liberal” media…nobody. That’s why he can get away with it. It’ll be a headline and that’s it. No discussion.

The Times They Are A-Somethin

There’s tons of stuff going on in the world right now. Of course there’s the ubiquitous wars and famines and poverty, but we are in the middle of a very important time in history.

The United States is in dire straits–the economy is in a downward spiral while we are faced with a stupid, expensive war. To top it off, every citizen is faced with the challenge of picking a new president this year, the person who will hopefully make some much needed improvements. Between the early mudslinging between the top Democrats and a group of Republicans who seem to each be from a different party, this will be a difficult choice for everyone. Or at least I think it should be difficult.

I listen to the news and feel concerned for the future. How long will America as we know it last? The threat of terrorists or war isn’t what concerns me–it’s what we do to ourselves that worries me the most. We are still so backwards in so many ways. The sexism that Hillary Clinton faces is astounding. The lack of any discussion by our government, both current and potential, of climate change is humiliating. Everyone’s talking about bailing out the middle class, but what about the poor people here? The people who can’t afford to buy even a sub-prime house?

Greed has taken over our country as the leading cause of sickness, pain and death here, and possibly around the world. I’ve heard that in Germany businesses one does not discuss how to make more profits. Sure, you shoot for making a big profit, but it’s not something you talk about as the primary goal. America used to be like that, to some extent. The writers want more money for internet sales of the stuff they wrote, but the producers won’t give it to them because it would mean they’d make less than the millions they currently make. I know the world has never been fair, but it’s also never been this unfair since the time of serfs and monarchies. What brought this on?

Speaking of the writer’s strike, today brought some interesting news in the entertainment world. “Juno” was nominated for the best film Oscar and its star, Ellen Page, for best leading actress. This is important not only because it’s an “indie” film, but also because it’s a comedy. Sure, there are poignant bits, but you’d find it listed under comedy in any store. Although not unprecedented, comedies nominated for best picture are rare, but even more rare are comedic performances. Well done, “Juno” crowd–it’s time for comedies to get the props they deserve.

Also, Heath Ledger died today. It’s been a while since a young, promising example of the good end of pop culture died. And like the others, he died unexpectedly from something to do with drugs. Let’s hope nobody else goes the same way.

Come on 2008, you can do better than this.

P.S. This is my final post as a 29-year old. Next time, I’ll be a 30-year old blogger. I expect more of us will cross this threshold soon enough, changing the perspective of the Interwebs once again.

The person in Hillary

I made up my mind about a month ago that I was an Obama fan. It wasn’t anything he said or did that convinced me. It wasn’t him leading polls, or anyone I knew supporting him that convinced me either.

hill.jpg

Prior to backing Obama, I was pro-Hillary. I thought she was the most qualified. And maybe she is, in resume terms. But sometimes the person with the longest, most interesting, resume isn’t the best fit for the job.

Since changing my mind, I’ve felt guilty as a woman for not backing Hillary any more. What she has gone through, both in front of her and behind her back, has been one sexist remark after another. I want to help her. I want to stand up for powerful women.

But she constantly appears so (and I know this is becoming cliche) calculating and cold, almost robotic. She continues to prove Obama and Edwards’s insistence that we need an outsider in the White House. She appears to be too deep in the game. And that’s not what I want.

But then just before Iowa I starting liking Edwards. I may still go to my caucus (assuming I get the nerve to go) and call for him first, just to make it interesting. But a video I saw today brought me back to Hillary. Or at least it made me feel even more guilty.

Many of you may have already seen this, but I hadn’t until today. It shows Hillary at her most human, almost shattered. Maybe she opened up because she was in a room of women. Maybe she spoke her heart because she was really fucking tired. I don’t care. It’s an enlightening look at the person in Hillary.

Watch the video here.

Woman, 65, States Desires of Nation

DATELINE Small Town, WI (SM) Reports claim that as recent as Christmas Eve, a 65-year old woman proclaimed that she misses Bill Clinton as President of the United States.

The woman, a widow living alone in rural Wisconsin who wishes to remain anonymous, first told her daughter about these feelings of longing during a newscast featuring a clip of President Bush.

“I miss Bill Clinton!” the woman shouted as Bush yammered away about staying the course in Iraq at a news conference. “So what if he liked the ladies? At least he was smart. I miss Bill Clinton.”

The following day (Christmas), during a car ride, the woman couldn’t stop thinking of Clinton. Mariah Carey’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” came on the radio and during the stirring saxophone solo, the woman shouted, “Bill Clinton!”, recalling his sax prowess revealed on the Arsenio Hall Show. “I miss Bill Clinton!” she exclaimed for the second day in a row.

Later Christmas Day, the robots that create playlists at the local radio station played “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” once again, producing the same outbursts from the woman as the last time.

When asked if she would settle for Bill Clinton’s wife, Hillary, the woman shrugged and sniffed at the thought. She gave no statement at the time.

By Jane Pauley Shore jps@notthenews.com