Friday, February 29, 2008

Born to be Exiled

The latest news on Senator John McCain is that his eligibility for the presidential election may be in jeopardy due to his birth in the Panama Canal Zone. Now, by no means do I want McCain to be our next president, but I've got to say that the qualification that a presidential candidate must be born in the United States seems out-dated and stupid.

In this, the land of freedom and opportunity, isn't it a bit counterintuitive that we restrict anyone born anywhere else from having an opportunity to run for our nation's most prestigious office? Does the fact that McCain was born south of our borders really make him any less qualified to run the country? If Barack Obama were born in Indonesia (where he lived for several years early in his life), would it intrinsically cause him to be a less patriotic or trustworthy person?

I'm always surprised by how well some of this country's archaic rules have held up over time. The Constitution, for instance, still guides are laws with relative fairness. But this is an out-dated rule that needs to be done away with. I strongly doubt that McCain will lose his eligibility over this ordeal, but the fact it's even in question seems silly to me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Three Random Annoyances

Three things that have annoyed me today:

1) My toaster
I hate it when I'm making toast, and when it's done it pops up but it stays pretty low in the toaster slots. So then I have to reach in and try to dig the toast out, but the medal around the toaster is extremely hot so I burn my fingers. Then I have to go get a fork and try to reach in and drag the toast out, and it gets all ripped apart. Then I realize I wasn't even making toast, I was trying to deep-fry a shark.

2) People who read while walking
I was walking around campus today behind some girl who was reading a paperback. She was zig-zagging her way around, bumping into things, and just generally moving like a drunkard. I don't know what she was reading, but I can't imagine that it's so incredibly engrossing that she can't put it down to watch where she's going.

3) Ross Perot
I realize we don't hear much about this guy anymore, and in fact for all I know he may be dead*. But Perot really grinded my gears, with his big ears and general lame-ness.

* Typing this reminded me of the time in Flight of the Conchords when Jumaine was kidnapped, and Murray solemnly acknowledged that his friend "may be dead." Except, when he said it with his cute little New Zealander accent, it sounded like he was saying "he maybe did." This confused Arj Barker's character, who repeatedly asked Murray, "Yeah, he maybe did what?" Good times. Now I must go search a labyrinth of marbles for my lost Eggo waffle.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bring On Nader

I am not too concerned with the addition of Ralph Nader into the presidential foray. That is, assuming Obama is the Democratic nominee (which is looking good right now). I am not worried for a few reasons. One, I think since the 2000 Florida Gore-Nader debacle, a lot of would-be Nader voters have become a bit disenchanted. I mean, they have to be kicking themselves just a tad, if you consider what we've had for the last 7+ years now. In fact, according to the all knowing Wikipedia, Nader received an impressive 2.74% of the popular vote in '00, compared to just 0.89% in '04. People know the stakes. Some may say that John McCain is slightly less scary than Bush was in '00 or '04, but I wouldn't be so sure. Secondly, a lot of Nader's vote comes from the farthest left portion of the spectrum, these potential would be Democratic voters. The reason why I say "if Obama is the candidate" is his broad coalition of support. Being the most liberal Senator this past year, Obama touts his support from independents and even some straying Republicans - something we've all heard about. And that is impressive. But he also does very well with this farthest left group. I would be surprised if Nader gets more than 1% in this election. And if its so close again that 1% will make a difference than we are doing something wrong in drawing contrasts with the GOP. I mean if we can't beat a "moderate" pro-war, pro-quagmire, from a fractured, wounded party - by more than 1% - we don't deserve to win. So I am not worried.

Tonight was a great night for SLP alumni. Congratulations to the Coen bros., you consistently make us proud. I only hope that the success of so many SLP alumni bodes well for us...

On a serious note, I was asked to blog about a problem that doesn't get a lot of attention. The request came from someone we all know well, but will remain anonymous. I think you'll be able to guess. Capital letters are posing a real danger to local eyelid farms. Please direct donations to the Nick Nelson Local Eyelid Farm Awareness Fund, or NNEFAF.

That is all.

Damn You Nader

That is all.

Friday, February 22, 2008

That's Debatable

The best and worst moments of last night's Democratic debate:

Responding to Hillary's charge that Obama and his campaign need to "get real," Obama said:
The implication is that the people who have been voting for me or have been involved in my campaign are somehow delusional. And that, you know, the 20 million people who've been paying attention to 19 debates and the editorial boards all across the country at newspapers who have given me endorsements, including every major newspaper here in the state of Texas. You know, the thinking is that somehow, they're being duped, and eventually they're going to see the reality of things. Well, I think they perceive reality of what's going on in Washington very clearly. What they see is that if we don't bring the country together, stop the endless bickering, actually focus on solutions and reduce the special interests that have dominated Washington, then we will not get anything done.
Clinton could only smile, with a look on her face that seemed to say, "Damn he's good."

Criticizing Obama for "plagiarizing" the words of his friend and campaign ally Duval Patrick, Clinton said, "Lifting whole passages is not change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox."

This whole line of criticism from from Clinton's camp has been horribly stupid (by all accounts, Patrick suggested that Obama use the lines in a speech) and it seems especially lame to accuse someone of using repeated lines and then attacking that person with a line like the "Xerox" one, which came off as tacky and rehearsed. When she continued to press Obama on the subject, the crowd started booing Hillary.

With all that said, I will give Clinton due credit. Her final piece, coming in response to a question about challenging moments that have tested the candidates, was engrossing and compelling. Here is the full transcription:
Well, I think everybody here knows I've lived through some crises and some challenging moments in my life. ... And I am grateful for the support and the prayers of countless Americans. ... I resolved at a very young age that I'd been blessed and that I was called by my faith and by my upbringing to do what I could to give others the same opportunities and blessings that I took for granted. That's what gets me up in the morning. That's what motivates me in this campaign. And, you know, no matter what happens in this contest — and I am honored, I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored. Whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and that's what this election should be about.
I did think that Hillary seemed more resigned to defeat than ever before during last night's debate, and it does seem like she might be preparing herself for a defeat that is become increasingly inevitable. However, I don't know if I'd agree with the political pundits who have opined that the above statements were "valedictory" and that they signal that she's ready to give up. I think she will continue to work hard for the next couple weeks. But if she doesn't win both Ohio and Texas on March 4, I do think she'll withdraw from the race.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bill's "Temper"

Talk show hosts and members of the anti-Clinton camp have been leveling a lot of criticism at Bill Clinton over the past week after he lashed out at some pro-life activists who were protesting at a rally for his wife (here is a link to the video for those who haven't seen it). Many people have made a case that Bill has done more to hurt Hillary's campaign than to help it. That's just blatantly untrue.

The criticism of Bill for "losing his temper" at the pro-lifers is completely unfair. How exactly would one expect him to act in that situation? He didn't become physically aggressive, he didn't curse. He just raised his voice and was very firm with a couple people who are, frankly, idiots.

I have no problem with people who take a pro-life stance on abortion. It's not a viewpoint I agree with, but I certain respect people's right to feel that way. What I don't respect is the way these people chose to express their views. Taking signs to a rally for a liberal candidate that is sure to be filled with a bunch of hardcore pro-choice people and heckling the speaker are not actions that are going to get people to sympathize with your viewpoint. All it will do is build more animosity around a topic that is already very contentious in this country. I think Bill was perfectly within his rights to lash out at these people, and to be honest I thought he kept his temper in check pretty well.

Furthermore, the idea that Bill is hurting Hillary's campaign is nonsense. He was an extremely well-liked President, and having him as a surrogate who can go around and preach Hillary's message and draw support is of crucial importance. The media choose to blow his minor run-ins with hecklers out of proportion, but I don't think there's any questioning the amount of good he has done for his wife's campaign.

In The Balance

Hello All. First, let me thank Nick for the nice introduction and plug for my previous blog, a joint venture with fellow blogger Alex Blanski, in which we tried the world of vegetarianism for a month. Check out the link, the stories are decently funny and still relevant, and maybe it will inspire you to give it a try as well. Let me also sing Nick's praises for a second and mention that he has a widely successful blog of his own, the Nick and Nick's Twins Blog which has received its fare share of accolades.

On to the matter at hand. I am in the balance over how to approach this blog. I admit that I am a huge Obama-phile. And if this were to take a political turn, I could post daily about my opinions about the race. However, they would be both quite opinionated and more serious in nature, and thus I feel as though I should shy away from the subject a bit, and find more light-hearted musings. Serious or humorous? You may say to yourself, "Devin, you're not that funny, don't worry about it." And you know... that's a good point. Either way I look forward to this joint project and am anxious to reestablish myself in the blogosphere (is that really not a word yet? probably for the best). (By the way, I use an unhealthy amount of parenthesis in my posts, so bear with me). (Like this!). So if I get too serious, talking about Obama or the environment or whatever, just slap me, or at least send me an angry message.

I look forward to hearing your comments, as they are always more welcome than you can imagine.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just Words

Hillary Clinton continues to hammer home her main point in criticism of Barack Obama -- that his skills as an orator are unimportant because speeches and words are outweighed by solutions and results. Let's do a quick tally here:

Problems solved by Barack Obama as President of the United States: Zero.
Problems solved by Hillary Clinton as President of the United States: Zero.

Just checking.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008



This is the beginning of a joint project between me and Devin. The title of the blog is intended to be a clever play on words, as I will be doing my writing from the Midwest (the great state of Minnesota, to be specific) while Devin will be doing his blogging from Massachusetts. Or Mass. Or Masses. Midwest to the Masses. Get it? Yeah, it's lame.

Anyway, this blog will likely be a channel for opinions on various topics. Being that this is an election year, many of the posts will undoubtedly relate to the upcoming presidential race which is just beginning to heat up. It should be noted immediately that both Devin and I are supporters of Barack Obama; however, I think we are both fairly open-minded fellows and the hope is that this can be a place of civil discourse, should anyone choose to express their own differing viewpoints. I also suspect there will be commentary on other current affairs, including sports and entertainment.

I don't know what's going to happen with this thing. It's entirely possible that this will be the only post ever written on this blog, but I hope not. What I do know is that Devin is a funny kid who did some great work with his own unfortunately short-lived blogging project, and I have too much free time on my hands. Plus, we both have a lot of opinions. All of these factors have made it absolutely necessary that this project at least be attempted. So here goes nothing.