Tag Archives: Bill Clinton

My Actual Debate Response

Okay. As I said, I’ve watched the debate. Aaaaaand it’s a bit of a snoozer. My opinion from last night still stands. The response to the debate has been, generally, pretty spot on.

Seriously. President Barack Obama lacked a lot of the wit and rhetoric that makes him popular at rallies and speeches. He lacked the barbs required to truly pop the balloon of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. While he generally tended to actually lay out his plans decently well with some details, something he was chided for not doing much of in 2008, he lacked that passion that made him popular in 2008. Passion and nonchalance that made Bill Clinton’s DNC speech so well received. He’ll need to bring the fire and rhetoric to his next debate, or he’ll see his reelection chances slip away.

Meanwhile, Romney did well with being more personable, comparative to both the president and to, well, himself. And he did seem more playful, opening his arguments with a decent joke. The reason Romney “won” is because he came off as the stronger, more confident, more aggressive opponent.

What’s truly unfortunate about these debates, however, is that the content doesn’t actually matter all that much. Facts don’t matter. See, most of the fact-checking organizations I’ve found post-debate have agreed: Romney lied his butt off through the entire thing. Maybe it’s a famous (and seriously overplayed) reboot or Etch-a-Sketch moment for Romney, in which he once again says “Forget all that stuff I said I believe before, listen to what I say I believe now.” Meanwhile, Fox News and the Drudge Report are trying to nail Obama for things he said in 2007 (which they already tried to nail him for) and in the 1990s. But, honestly, if you just Google “Fact Check Presidential Debate,” you’ll find tons of sources that go through bit by bit what was said at that debate. And you’ll find that both candidates stretched the truth throughout. However, you’ll tend to find that Romney did it more, and more often. That he would flat lie while Obama would more often just misguide people when he slipped up.

That’s one reason I wish there were live fact checks. Because in our instant gratification nation, people don’t care about looking up the facts for themselves. They take what’s given to them, most of the time. They judge instantly for themselves and let it lie. That’s why this “Number truthers” bullcrap has been so popular amongst conservatives. I refer to today’s earlier report about unemployment. Unemployment numbers have dropped to 7.8 percent, the first time in four years it’s been below 8 percent. It’s a big deal, and a big boost for Obama. And along comes Jack Welch on Twitter, saying “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”

Clearly, these numbers, which make the president look good, can’t be real. Clearly, if anything good happens, Obama is cheating and paying people off.

It’s distressing that so many people in this country want to see this country ruined just so their candidate can win an election. And it’s distressing that telling falsehoods confidently, with more panache than your opponent, can mean you “win” a debate. Granted, it’s politics. Lying and misleading is part of the game. But wouldn’t it be great if the moderator or opponent could confidently call them out? Or, frankly, ANYONE? Just hit the Taboo buzzer and say, “False.” Maybe get Rainn Wilson to do it.

I don’t know what the issues of the next debate are. Nor do I know who the moderator will be, or what style it will be in. But Obama will need to attack. He didn’t once bring up Romney’s 47 percent comment, which was a massively missed opportunity for him. Even Bill O’Reilly was confused at that choice.

If you missed the debate, you can still find it on Youtube here. I implore you to look at the facts, though. And don’t be a Jack Welch. Don’t hope for disaster for either candidate. Hope the nation improves, and hope the facts of their campaigns are what prevail.

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Nothing Much To Say

I spent most of my evening napping… didn’t mean to. Meant to go pick up a check from three weeks ago… I really need to do that. Then I ended up watching more Marble Hornets videos with my roommates. Neither of these things is me driving home to see my family. I still need to pack and grab things that need to stay there… Oye. I guess I’ll leave early in the morning…

One thing I did do today is listen to former President Bill Clinton’s DNC speech. It’s pretty good. He tells people the facts. He isn’t divisive, doesn’t draw a “Republican vs. Democrat” line. He makes a plea for honesty and civility, compromise in government. And he makes a strong, factual case for President Barack Obama’s record and potential second term. I’d say it’s worth a listen.

Anyway, I guess I’m going to either try to pack or get some sleep (read as: watch more “Doctor Who”). Tomorrow, I should have a legitimate post up based on some discussions I had on a political website. The topic, unless something changes: Bigotry. What a fun, safe thing to discuss, right? Maybe I’ll actually have a fleshed out, thoughtful post that I don’t have to try to explain later, too. That’d be nice.

…well, goodnight for today.

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It’s Gonna Be A Short Night

I still find myself without much to say… I’ve been using up most of my sociopolitical ire on political websites, where one guy tried to tell me two completely different synonymous words had the same etymology.

I mean, I just… Uuuuuuuugh.

Further, I should’ve been in bed hours ago. I’m driving a friend of mine to the Birmingham airport in the morning. …for a 5:30 flight, I believe, so we’re leaving at 4 a.m. And pretty much right after work, I’ll be heading straight to Huntsville to visit the family and drop of some stuff I have here that I don’t need.

I’m going to get absolutely NO sleep at all, I shouldn’t wonder.

…and I totally just realized that I don’t have a bed back in Huntsville because my bed came with me. …UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH.

This is going to be a GREAT weekend.

I think I’m going to try to get a few hours of sleep now in the last bed I’ll sleep in for the next few days. If you want politics, the Democratic National Convention is happening, and people tell me there are some pretty great speeches from tonight and last night, particularly Julian Castro, Michelle Obama, Deval Patrick, Sandra Fluke, Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton.

I dunno, haven’t heard or read them yet. One day, when I’m bored and slightly suicidal, I’ll listen to the RNC and DNC speeches and write about them, maybe. But I have to be REALLY out of things to do to put myself through the RNC speeches, from what excerpts I read…

Anyway. Goodnight. (Ha! As if I’m going to get any sleep…)

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The Problems With The Bloomberg Soda Ban Proposal

So, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has proposed some limitations on the sales of soft drinks with a certain sugar content. The ban would force food service establishments, including fast food restaurants, corner stores, bodegas and movie theaters, to limit the sale of soda to 16-ounce containers. Basically, anywhere that gets regulated by the Health Department would be affected. The ban would not affect drinks with less than 25 calories per 8 ounce serving.

I have a bit of a problem with this.

Sure, I understand. Obesity and diabetes are running rampant. And sugar is a large part of the problem. But what exactly does the regulation of unhealthy consumables do? It sets a precedent. A very bad precedent.

Some might point out that some consumables, like cigarettes, are regulated. This is true. The use of cigarettes is regulated in some places. But that’s because cigarette smoke can be harmful to people around the smoker. The consumption of large amounts of soda does not create any risk, outside of some extremely specific and convoluted examples, to the people around you.

From a pragmatic standpoint, for movie theaters, servings are often larger because you’re sitting in through, often, a 90 to 200 minute film. You don’t want to get up and get a refill in the middle of the film.

Now, Bloomberg, when doubling down on his proposal, has said some things like “We have an obligation to warn you when things are not good for your health.”

I would at this point say that a ban is a bit different from a warning.

You want an example of a consumable that can cause excessive weight, is unhealthy and can cause risk for others when consumed, particularly in large amounts? Alcohol. Anyone remember what happened when there was an attempt to limit the consumption of alcohol? I’m not suggesting this ban would create soda speakeasies or anything, but the similarity is a little obvious.

Now, Bloomberg’s previous initiative to convince people to drink something healthier than soda, a soda tax, was not so disagreeable to me. It doesn’t attempt to force a behavior on people, it just makes a habit more expensive. But that initiative failed. Which makes this one more ridiculous. It’s as though Bloomberg tried to ask someone to carry 100 pounds, was told that was too heavy for the person to carry, and so asked them to carry 500 pounds instead.

Former President Bill Clinton chimed in on “Piers Morgan Tonight,” saying he approves of the effort, citing the problem of 9-year-old children turning up with Type 2 diabetes.

Yes, that’s no good. But do you know whose fault that is? Parents. Ignoring that children usually don’t drink from containers larger than 16 ounces, parents are the ones that are supposed to try and control their child’s diet. Instead of blaming the product, why not blame the parents? After all, sodas aren’t the only sugary things out there kids can consume a lot of.

You know what would really help with this sort of thing? Information. Spread information about the dangers of unhealthy eating habits. Research better alternatives. Propose and encourage healthier habits, not by discouraging unhealthy ones. Positive reinforcement. Create initiatives that spread information about healthy, cheap and easy food plans. One of the reasons that eating unhealthy foods is so popular is because they’re the cheapest, most convenient options available. If the government threw its weight behind changing that trend, you might find obesity lessening all across the nation.

Teach people the benefits of eating smaller portions several times throughout the day. Teach them the benefit of diets with fiber and whole grains, the benefits of certain oils and fats. Educate them about the healthy foods versus the unhealthy ones. But when you start telling people what they can and can’t do, instead of what they should and shouldn’t do, it’s going to turn people off of the entire thing.

Let people make their own decisions, whether they be good or bad. But let them be informed decisions.

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How Will Obama’s Gay Marriage Stance Turn Out?

So, if you’re completely unaware of major news stories, President Barack Obama has said directly that he supports same-sex marriages.

This is a big deal for several reasons.

First, homosexuality is a HUGELY hot-button issue. It saw a lot of focus during President Bill Clinton’s time in office, during which the Defense of Marriage Act was signed and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was implemented. During Bush’s reign, many states furthered their anti-homosexual legislation by banning gay adoption or explicitly making same-sex marriage illegal. The biggest case came around 2008, 2009, when California pushed Proposition 8 through with financial support from the Mormon church and other religious organizations. It’s been a tumultuous ride since then. Some states, like New York, have started explicitly allowing it. Others, like North Carolina did just yesterday, have gone out of their way to ban it through constitutional amendment. You can expect some political fall-out from this announcement.

Second, while homosexuality and equality therein started showing itself as an issue during the 1950s and ’60s, particularly during the Civil Rights movement. The biggest display of frustration from the GLBTetc. community came in 1969 with the Stonewall riots. But, as I mentioned before, it gained a big political spotlight around the ’90s, one that has grown exponentially since then. This move, along with Obama repealing DADT, having the memo about the unconstitutionality of DOMA and making sexuality an included protection against harassment federally, makes Obama the most progressive president when it comes to equal rights for the GLBTetc. community ever.

Third, this is an election year. As suggested in the first point, there will be political fallout. While trends are showing a shift from the early ’90s dislike for same-sex marriage toward a majority approving it, that majority isn’t exactly well-spread amongst the nation. In many swing states, Obama could potentially lose votes for his position on this issue, votes that could be crucial for his second term.

You may think Obama’s announcement simply a political ploy so soon after North Carolina’s Amendment 1, but there was no other time than today for Obama to make the announcement, having gone so long without it. Vice President Joe Biden’s words earlier this week, combined with constant media badgering about his position on the issue and the sudden, extremely disappointing N.C. vote forced Obama to make the announcement today. Had he waited longer, it would have been entirely pointless, after such a (im)perfect storm.

Even if waiting until today was a political ploy, at least he said it. At least our president has taken the side of equality in an official way. Now we wait to see the fallout. Right wing pundits will of course say Obama has started a war against traditional marriage (To them I ask whose tradition are we looking to here?) and slam him for “flip-flopping” (To them I say bugger off, as this is one of the most unfortunately controversial issues a political player can take a stance on, and I believe Obama’s stances previously dealt with support for civil unions but NOT marriages.), but I don’t really care about them.

Now we have a hot, relevant social issue that is being debated all across the nation currently standing as the focus of national discourse. On one side, Obama, officially, publicly standing on the side of support for gay marriage. On the other, Mitt Romney, officially, publicly standing on the side of opposition to gay marriage.

This issue will color the way voters view the candidates and will color the votes in November. Now, that’s still a while away. There is plenty of time for other events to change the national discourse. But you can bet your bottom dollar that, during the presidential debates, Romney will be appealing to social conservatives with this stance like a starving, dehydrated man appeals for free food and drink. The question is… will this affect Obama’s chances in November? Will this be a bad thing or a good thing for him vote-wise?

I don’t think he knows. I don’t think he has any real idea. And that’s why I disregard the talk of this being a power-play. Because this may very well have ruined his reelection. Or it may have confirmed it. Either way, finally, we have a president on the right side of things. We’ll see in November how it turns out.

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The Sexual Harassment Cycle

Okay. This Herman Cain sexual harassment thing is something I can’t actually continue to ignore anymore. After “The Daily Show” makes fun of it, it’s hard to ignore it. Unfortunately. Well, at least Jon Stewart grants me the joy of laughter. Because, really, there’s a lot to be had involving this situation.

If you don’t know what’s going on, then you’re really good at hiding from the standard stream of media. Basically, GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain, lasting as the GOP’s top-of-the-charts #1 hit for longer than any previous candidate has managed thus far, has had a bit of a scandal on his hands. About a week ago, Politico broke a story about the cover up of sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain while he was president of the National Restaurant Association.

As Jon Stewart points out in one of the segments I’ve linked above, these aren’t allegations coming against Herman Cain. These are facts being reported: The NRA (the non-shooty one) made monetary settlements with women that alleged Herman Cain sexually harassed them. The allegations happened back in the ’90s. Not now.

Anyway, since Politico broke the story, more women have been coming out of hiding to tell of their own Herman-handling. (#VeryPunny) There are, I believe, five women in total, and some of them (like the fourth accuser) have started leaving anonymity and letting people attach faces to the accusations.

So, how is everyone reacting to this?

The only way they know how: Hilariously. Let me break it down.

1) This is a double standard! Liberals attack Cain for his sexual misconduct but were okay when Bill Clinton got raunchy!
This response has nice levels of laugh out loud material. First, I’d like to point out that by attacking Bill Clinton’s sexual activities and misconduct while claiming a double standard and defending Cain’s sexual activities and misconduct is, in fact, the quickest turnaround I’ve ever seen. You’re using the very double standard that you’re decrying in the definition of the double standard. It’s so… meta. Delicious. Second, are you sure liberals weren’t disappointed in Bill Clinton? I’m pretty sure many were. I think what most conservatives mistake for defense and support is the lack of a rallying cry from liberals to get Clinton booted out of office. But, come on. Did conservatives really want that? That would have made Al Gore president, and I’ve met far too many conservatives that shudder at that name. Third, Clinton seems to be every conservative go-to guy. Even though Anthony Weiner had his nice debacle just recently, and there’s always Eliot Spitzer. But what about the many Republicans that have had sexual scandals and been defended by and large? Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Foley, Mark Sanford… Can we not all just agree that there are many people in positions of power (which will inevitably include politicians) that have done things of a sexual nature that are scandalous and unfortunate?

2) You’re only going after Herman Cain because he’s a conservative black!
Aren’t there other black conservatives, or has the GOP finally disowned Michael Steele? But, seriously, despite what Ann Coulter thinks, I don’t know that there’s much talk of party ownership of blacks. And last I checked, being black or being conservative wasn’t all you needed to have media scrutiny targeted at you. Really, it’s being in the spotlight. Considering that Rick Perry had that hunting ground thing dug up against him when he was leading the polls, Obama had the “Muslim” school, the terrorist and the terrible preacher thrown at him, John Kerry had his Purple Hearts scrutinized… and so on and so on. There is no conspiracy. When you’re in the limelight, people dig for dirt on you. Doesn’t really matter who you are, what your politics are, what the color of your skin is.

3) Rick Perry/Liberals/Rahm Emanuel leaked this story, the jerks!
For some reason, as this video of “The Five” shows, this response is getting more attention than should. Exactly who cares who “leaked” the story? If anyone even did? The story is out. The allegations, the facts, they’re out there. While Herman Cain was president of the NRA, the NRA made settlements thanks to sexual harassment claims filed against him. It is a fact. It doesn’t matter who the heck pointed out those facts, the facts are there. Facts are not different because of the voices that said them.

Meanwhile, Herman Cain has been conveniently forgetting and remembering and denying and refusing to answer questions and going all over the freakin’ place with handling this situation. But, somehow, he’s still the front runner. Personally, I find the way that he’s handling the situation to be the most alarming thing about it. For God’s sake, if he becomes president, how is he going to handle a legitimate crisis? Or if a foreign power accuses the U.S. of shenanigans? The more he stands at the head of the class and says and does things, the more frightened I become of the idea of him actually being president.

The number of politicians that don’t have dirt, that haven’t done some sort of sexual shenanigans, that haven’t had a financial anomaly, that stick to their guns no matter what… well, that number might be above zero, but I can’t be positive. The entire discussion on the sexual harassment stuff is just an endless cycle of idiocy and departure from the things that actually matter. Can we just stop politicizing the scandal and say, “I wonder if Herman Cain is fit to lead America?” Look at his policies. Look at how he handles pressure. Look at how he interacts with people that work for him.

(Spoiler alert: The answer to my question is a giant no.)

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