Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ever More Glad I Voted For Gary Johnson In 2012

So the national Democrats sent me a letter asking for money.  I scribbled out a reply and stuffed it in the postage paid envelope.  I wrote, "When Obama and Congressional Democrats stop wasting tax money bombing people in the Middle East, I'll think about it.  Until then, save postage and don't ask." 

I mean if I wanted to bomb people in the Middle East, I could just vote Republican.  It would be nice to have the two major political parties offer more of a choice than bombing (Dems) and more bombing (Repubs).

The Economist this week has a great cover with Obama dressed up as George W. Bush in his Mission Accomplished fighter pilot outfit.  That about says it all.  At this point, even the biggest Obama supporter has to admit that he's little more than Bush Lite.

Bailouts for the rich.  Check.
War in Afghanistan.  Check.
Violation of civil liberties.  Check.
War in Iraq.  Check.
Deficit spending and debt growing.  Check.
Wasteful addition to government health care instead of doing something rational like setting up national health care.  Check.

I have to admit that Obama did keep his promise to close the torture facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Wait!?  He didn't? Scratch that then.  He did manage to get involved in Syria for the military-industrial complex, something that Bush wasn't able to pull off (at the height of the Iraq War giddiness in 2003, the Neocons wanted to roll into Syria, but then things fell apart), so that's something.

Something bad, but something.

I mean I could go on, but you get the idea.  The differences between the two past presidents aren't as great as their supporters try to get me to believe they are.  To me, it's the same crap.  

Do I dare hope that people who want something different won't fall for the next major party stooge (no offense to Moe, Larry, Curly, or Shemp) such as Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush?


My big decision in 2016 probably will be whether I vote Green or Libertarian.  You can laugh that I'm throwing my vote away, but look at what you're actually voting for.  If you do want something different out of the major party system, then you should get involved in the primaries and rev up a Rand Paul or Bernie Sanders.

Of course, before 2008, I might have thrown Barack Obama's name in such a suggestion, and we now know how that turned out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Just A Reminder . . .

. . . That Project Vote Smart is awesome!  And now they have new tools.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cost Of Governor's And Lieutenant Governor's Names On Highway Signs In Ohio

I heard back from the Ohio Department Of Transportation (ODOT) about the cost for putting the governor's and lieutenant governor's names on the "Welcome To Ohio" highway signs.  Steve Faulkner wrote, "No new signs are installed. We simply place overlays on existing signs. Cost is about $25,000."  I assume by overlays, he means the little signs they stick on the big signs, which is what I meant, but these people know their sign terminology, I'm sure, so fair enough.  $25,000 is even more than I thought it would come in at.  I hope this tradition can be abandoned.  In a state budget of billions, 25 grand every four or eight years might not be much, but it's still money that could be better used for other purposes.  Like I wrote before, I'm fine with buying new letterhead and business cards for the new governor.  Highway signs or overlays, not so much.  Actually, not at all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What Wred's Reading: A Clergyman's Daughter

George Orwell is best known for 1984, Animal Farm, and some classic essays, but I've enjoyed reading his lesser-known works as well.  I'm closing in on the end of his oeuvre, so I'm finally getting to A Clergyman's Daughter.  I probably have taken so long to get to this one because the title makes it sound like a boring 19th Century novel.

It's not.  Like most of Orwell's work, it's quite good.  I'm more than halfway through and enjoying the read.  So far, the book has been divided into three sections.  The first just details the main character's life, that of a clergyman's daughter.

Then things get weird.

The second part finds her having lost her memory and ended up in London, where she migrates to picking hops on a farm.  The third part is written like a play and just involves the protagonist trying to survive while being homeless in London.

As usual, Orwell's sympathy with the poor comes through.  He, like many of us, seems baffled how a society could just have people waste time on the streets barely surviving.  Though he published this novel in the 1930s, it could be very easily updated to the presentday in the USA.

The only sad thing about finishing this book will be that I have almost no new Orwell to read now, and I've never been the type to read an author's letters and whatnot, except for scholarship purposes, so I'm probably done with George. But if you have never read any besides the famous Orwell works, then you should know that the less well-known works are also worth a read, though it is obvious why some of his work is more celebrated than the other work.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Green Party Knows How To Save Taxpayer Green!

I heard back from the Green Party candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Anita Rios and Bob Fitzrakis, about their policy on putting the names of the governor and lieutenant governor on the "Welcome to Ohio" highway signs.

They are against it.

Hooray!  Finally, some politicians with sense.

I asked, "If elected, will you be spending taxpayer money to put your names, like Kasich and Taylor do, on the 'Welcome to Ohio' highway signs?"

They replied, "No; but if someone's names [were] already on there, we would have to spend some money on getting that removed or replacing the signs.

Anita would issue an executive order stating that the practice of putting elected official[s]' names on signs should not be permitted as it is a frivolous waste of tax dollars for the sake of promoting politician[s]' names."

Yes, unfortunately, taking the signs off will cost money, but it has to be done sometime.  From the looks of them, the sign with the names can just get unscrewed from the main sign, but since I'm typically driving past the signs at 65 miles per hour, I can't say for sure.  In any case, it would be great to get the names off the signs as soon as possible and start a tradition of not having taxpayers shell out thousands of dollars every time the governor or lieutenant governor changes.

Well, I haven't heard from the other campaigns yet, but I know which candidates I'm voting for now!  I promised!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

R.I.P. Visible Voice Books

I am saddened by the imminent closing of Visible Voice Books in Cleveland, Ohio USA.  It is a cool store and not only because they stocked The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus for a time.  I live on the opposite side of town, but whenever I visited the Tremont neighborhood, I always stopped in.  They have a good selection of underground books (it probably was the only bookstore in town to sell The Dirty Poet) and magazines.  Plus, it is just a pleasant environment to be in.  Well, the doors are closing shortly.  The good news is that everything is 40% off.  The bad news is that, after September 27, 2014, another cool bookstore will be gone, as the digital revolution marches on, leaving more beloved casualties behind.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Updates! Updates! Updates!

With the end of summer, things get hectic, so, as you no doubt, noticed, blogging has slowed down.  So here is a speed round of updates.

1) I saw a rough cut of Monster Of Party Beach.  It was very funny.  Mark Justice told me that he filmed it for less than $200 or something.  I've seen Hollywood films made for millions that I have liked far less.  Fans of Ed Wood and films such as The Naked Gun will likely enjoy it.  My acting is horrible, but Mark seemed to enjoy it, so maybe you will as well.  I don't know when the first public showing is, but I will keep you posted.

2) I have doggedly (ok, a couple of emails a week probably doesn't count as "doggedly" but I don't see anyone else concerned about this issue, so I'm sticking with that as a fair description) been pursuing trying to turn putting the governor's name on highway signs into a campaign issue, but without much luck.  I emailed Melissa Ayers of the Ohio Department Of Transportation (ODOT) to find out how much it cost to put the governor's and the lieutenant governor's names on all the "Welcome to Ohio" signs.  From some articles that I've been able to dig up from Maryland and Pennsylvania, that work of political vanity seems to cost taxpayers between 9,000 and 12,000 dollars.  Ayers works in the communications department of ODOT, so I figured that she would know whom I should talk to in order to find out how much Ohio wastes on that (more would be my guess since the lieutenant governor's name goes up as well).  Unfortunately, she's on leave until Sept. 15th. (well, maybe fortunately for her; I know that I enjoy my time away from work), so I emailed Brian Cunningham of the same department as well, but he apparently is content to let Ayers handle it when she returns.  If I don't hear from them, then I will followup elsewhere in the department.  I also emailed the Democratic (Ed Fitzgerald and Sharen Neuhardt) and Green (Anita Rios and Bob Fitzrakis) Party gubernatorial campaigns, asking for their positions on the issue (I'm hoping for a pledge that the new governor will abandon the practice), but I didn't hear from them either.  That kind of hurt, especially since the Green Party campaign website is a Wordpress blog.  I mean I use Blogger, but then again I'm not running for governor of Ohio.  I didn't bother contacting the Republicans (John Kasich and Mary Taylor) since their names are up on the signs.  I'm assuming that they have no intention of taking down the signs.  But if a pledge can be gotten from one of the other campaigns, then maybe they will reconsider.  In fact, if you're really bored, email the campaigns and ask them to pledge that they will not put their names on the "Welcome to Ohio" signs (and in Kasich and Taylor's case that they will take them down).  This should be an easy issue that will unite people of most political persuasions, though I would love to hear some ridiculous counterargument for why motorists need to know who the governor is.  I also emailed Mike McIntyre of The Plain Dealer and WCPN in hopes that he was really hardup for story ideas.  Again, no dice.  I will keep plugging away and keep you posted.  In the meantime, I will make a campaign promise.  The first set of candidates who promise not to put their names up on the sign (or take them down) get my vote.

3) The talent show that I entered didn't go so well.  The website for the submission was buggy, so I emailed the organizers to make sure they had received my submission.  They assured me that if they didn't they would let me know, but I couldn't find my video among the ones up for a vote.  I kind of got the impression that they were disorganized, so I wasn't surprised.  By that point, my buddy Matt had already invited me to his birthday party, which was the same night as the show, so it worked out well.  Maybe next year!

4) I did play the Sam Ash open mic.  I'm supposed to get a $10 giftcard as a result, but it's a month later and it still hasn't arrived in the mail.  Seeing as they were also disorganized, I think I'll just skip playing there in the future, though the next time I go there, which frankly might be years from now, I'll try to remember to ask them about it.