Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Well, that didn't take too long

You know that Israel-Palestine ceasefire? The one that's less than a week old? The one that Jeff said needed to be taken with a grain of salt, even though he probably should have substituted "truckload" for "grain"?

Yeah, it's over. So much for that.


Song lyric of the day:
"You should have seen it coming
Been coming for some time
You've got your broken heart, and I've got mine
Yeah, she said it's over but it was over right from the start"
- the Church, Seen It Coming

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not an issue

Apparently, there is a small but not insignificant group of pharmacies that are refusing to sell contraceptives or (perhaps more troublingly) prescription medications such as birth control. According to The Washington Post, one such pharmacy is opening this summer in Chantilly, VA, near my old (as well as my sister's current) stomping grounds. I remember reading about this trend a while back and being really pissed off. Now, perhaps in deference to my ever-increasing libertarian tendencies, I just laugh.

This will all sort itself out. In my opinion, pharmacies should have every right to refuse sale of any product they deem objectionable. Patients rights? Not violated. They can just go to another pharmacy, the glories of a free market. If this were a widespread phenomenon, I might be concerned. If the entire corporation of CVS or Walgreen's were to stop offering customers these products, maybe there would be mild cause for concern. But it would still be their right. Ultimately, the market will weed these companies out. There are plenty of pro-life people who use condoms, for crying out loud.

(It should be perfectly clear: the decision is that of the pharmacy, not its employees. That would be a clear violation of an employee's obligation to his/her employer. But, similarly to patients, they can go find themselves another pharmacy.)

If a medical worker were choosing to deny a patient a necessary medical procedure, that's a problem (and a huge moral one at that). Otherwise, as Billie Joe Armstrong might say, it's a "free-for-all, fuck 'em all". Which, due to laziness, I will make my Song Lyric of the Day and call it done.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Markdown at your local Veep dealer...

Now that Hillary Clinton is officially suspending her campaign (certainly much earlier than I expected), we turn to the next round of endless speculation: who will the vice presidential candidates be?

For the Democrats, will it be the "dream ticket" of Obama/Clinton? (My guess is this will only happen if we assume the dream in question is the one where you're falling and falling and then suddenly you wake up, hit the bed, and realize you just had a nightmare.) I've heard countless other names floated: former presidential hopefuls Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, even Chris Dodd; state governors Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Ted Strickland of Ohio, Tim Kaine of Virginia, even Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; Senators Jim Webb of Virginia, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, hell, even Republican (and early Iraq war critic) Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. My guess is Obama will select someone from a state in which he's weak (or a typically red state), and maybe also a Clinton supporter to show party unity.

For the Republicans, McCain's former opponents Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, as well as state governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Charlie Crist of Florida, and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota (the state with the longest streak of going Democrat, thank you very much Walter Mondale) are the most common guesses. McCain's challenge is to go conservative enough to win over skeptics on the right without going too conservative as to alienate the middle.

Amid all the confusion, I would like to propose (to either candidate) an as-yet undiscussed selection for the vice presidency: me.

Think about it: I'm non-partisan, which for either candidate signals a desire to move beyond partisan politics, and also suggests that in my limited capacity I will do what's right for the whole country as opposed to a particular party. For McCain, my strong First Amendment credentials will hopefully offset those who distrust his in the wake of McCain-Feingold, and my economic conservatism could bring back the long-defunct, currently laughable notion of the Republican party as the party of fiscal responsibility. For Obama, my no-nonsense approach to foreign policy might assuage accusations of appeasement, and being a military brat sorta counts (in the not-really-at-all way) as service. Also, over the last ten years, I've been resident of three potential swing states (Virginia, Tennessee, and Florida) as well as two strongly partisan states (California and Texas). It's win-win-win!

But Mike, the U.S. Constitution says you're too young to be vice president.

Wait, the Constitution still matters? I was under the impression we had thrown that away a long time ago. Wonder where I got that crazy idea?

Song lyric of the day:
"Slip through, ever the thief
You're posed to hero, but we'll see
This thing is your mission
The lone wishing condition"
- the New Pornographers, The Jessica Numbers

Monday, June 02, 2008

Way to blow it, Dems

In case you missed the news, the Democratic National Committee really stuck it to democracy this weekend.

My feelings on the punishment of states for the audacity of choosing when to hold their primaries have been previously documented. The Dems were disturbingly (albeit sadly predictably) stupid in their decision to punish Michigan and Florida for violating party rules, but once they made their decision, they should have stuck by it. Instead, they opted to amend the punishment by seating all delegates with half a vote each. Okay, in Florida that mostly made sense when you ignore that candidates were forbidden from campaigning in those states.

In Michigan, of course, the problem was dicier: candidates were asked to remove their names from the primary ballot. And, with the exception of Chris Dodd (who has admitted he only left his name on because, laughingly, it would have been too expensive to have it removed), Dennis Kucinich (chortle), and of course rule-flaunter Hillary Clinton, they did. Which meant not a single Democratic voter in Michigan cast a vote for Barack Obama. This led to the result in Michigan where 55 percent of voters selected Hillary Clinton, while 44 percent remained "uncommitted".

This weekend, the DNC, in its infinite wisdom, chose to award the entirety of "uncommitted" votes to Barack Obama, ostensibly as punishment to Hillary Clinton for not abiding by party rules (I assume).

I will make this statement unequivocally: you cannot award delegates to somebody the electorate did not vote for. How do we know the intent of those people? How do we know all 44 percent would not still be uncommitted were the election held today? Or that, given the current crop of candidates, a significant chunk of those voters wouldn't choose Clinton? We don't.

The Dems have really screwed the pooch on this one. This whole debacle just reinforces how ridiculous this whole primary system really is.

Song lyric of the day:
"On the way to God don't know
My brain's the burger and my heart's the coal
On this life that we call home
The years go fast and the days go so slow"
- Modest Mouse, Heart Cooks Brain