Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quick Hits

A few things that have had me thinking...

Money in the Bank - The world is waking up today to the news that the Federal Government is planning to "partially" assume control of the giant lending institutions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Sounds like a good idea, seeing as they are both in serious danger of failing, and combined they control between $5 and $9 trillion of the nation's housing market. Of course, this is going to cost a lot of money. On the order of anywhere between $50 to $250 billion over the course of the next nine months to a year. Who will foot this bill? The taxpayers, of course. Don't worry, though; the 94 - ish percent of us in the workforce can pool together and get through this. It's not like our economy is in shambles, or we have two wars to fund, or that fuel prices are at all time highs. Here's my idea: Let's all return those DVD players, flat screen T.V.s and other gadgets and gizmos we purchased with our tax relief stimulus checks. You remember those checks, right? They were sent out to you courtesy of our President, all part of a plan to stimulate our economy. Well George, consider the economy stimulated. These tax cuts have added $3 trillion to our national deficit. That kind of cash might come in handy at times like these, but what do I know? File under: Call it a wash.

Just Win, Baby - John McCain caused quite a stir when he selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate on the 2008 Republican Presidential ticket. Another maverick move by an outside the box thinker, right? Well, not so much. In fact, just another example of the Republican tactic of doing whatever it takes to win. Now, don't get me wrong - having a female on major party ticket for only the second time in history is a noteworthy event, but the circumstances of Palin's selection are dubious at best.

In selecting a female, John McCain engaged in an obvious ploy to court female voters disenfranchised or discouraged by Hillary Clinton's exit from the Democratic race. Plenty of people disagree with this view, and many would label my opinion as 'sexist.' I argue that the sexism comes from the selection itself. Selecting a running mate based on a set of criteria that not only includes gender, but places it at the top of the list - that's sexist. The ploy is even more transparent when placed against McCain's stated goal to staff his administration with the most qualified and experienced Americans, regardless of their party affiliation. Palin's experience and qualifications, as far as being second in command, are shaky at best. This selection seems to have been the product of some hybrid Help Wanted/Singles ad:

WM seeks MWF for partnership, possibly more. Experience a plus, but not required. Must love America, Big Oil and family values. Qualified candidates please reply to US RNC as soon as possible. Background information helpful, but a full check will be run upon acceptance of the position. Country First!

Animal Cruelty - There is a lot of animal imagery tied up in our national political culture. From the mascots of our two major parties, to terms like hawk and maverick, to the very icon of our nation - the bald eagle. These animals, for the most part, are meant to embody noble, positive traits that we find in ourselves. We can debate the admirable qualities of some one labeled a "war hawk" and question how the Democrats got stuck with the ass as their party symbol, but where along the line did the pit bull become a noble beast? Forgive me for offending pit bull owners, of which there are many (and please don't tell your dog I've said this), but pit bulls are, at best, extremely dangerous attack dogs around whom you have to be on guard at all times, and at worst they are (by canine standards), fairly unintelligent, overly inbred attack dogs that maim and kill more Americans every year than any other animal.

Pop quiz: What animal does Sarah Palin choose to politically personify herself as? A pit bull! And, if you replace the "unintelligent" (Sarah Palin is very intelligent), with "uninformed", Sarah Palin was a pit bull during her RNC acceptance speech. Now ask yourself: why is that a good thing? Of course, Palin's peers have frequently used a different animal to draw analogy to her: the barracuda. To recap - What's the difference between a pit bull and an Alaskan hockey mom? Lipstick. What's the difference between an Alaskan hockey mom and a barracuda? Lipstick and lungs.

Nit Picking - Not a lot of press has gone to this story, mostly because it's more amusing than important, but it's still worth pointing out. During John McCain's acceptance speech, around the time he was speaking about veteran's affairs and his own personal experience of being medically treated upon his release from a P.O.W. camp in Vietnam, a picture was displayed on the giant monitor behind him of Walter Reed Middle School in California, not The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington as was clearly intended. The McCain campaigns response? We meant to do that! “The changing image-screen was linked to the American thematics of the speech and the public school was simply part of it,” said spokesman Tucker Bounds. Of course, I suppose they can't really admit the truth, which would go something like "The unpaid intern we had doing the audio visual work must have just typed 'Walter Reed' into a Google image search and picked the first one he saw. Our fact checker didn't catch the error because we do not have a fact checker."


  1. Ian
    This is some of your best writing to date. Your thoughtful insight and sharp-toungued wit are very apparent. You should be writing for a political commentator, or better yet; you should put this insight and vision into action.
    You should become politically involved and run for an office.

  2. I agree with Anonymous.

    I also had a thought that is only related to the Barracuda icon Sarah Palin chose to run with.

    Neither of the sisters who make up the band Heart wanted their song to be used without permission during prime-time for political poise.

    I have read hundreds of stories in the last few years regarding the MPAA and RIAA cracking down on licensing of movies and music, respectively. Why are they reserving their judgment and war-hawk like persecution of mis-use so clearly displayed here?

    Keep up the great work here - this blog is always fairly-viewed and well written.

  3. Hi Smack,

    Thanks for the pointers. Next time I dip my toes into the nitpicking arena I'll be sure to consult with an expert first. Now I know where to find one.

    Thanks for reading,

    Ian McCarty

  4. One more question regarding the recent legalization of non-permissive mash-ups: I wonder if Robert "Vanilla Ice" Van Winkle stands to recoup his undisclosed sum from David Bowie and Queen? This ruling at least calls for an immediate remastered release of To The Extreme.