Category Archives: politics

Bushims: They Will Be Mist

Watching this collection of Bushisms is oh so bittersweet. On the one hand Bush’s presidency was, by all accounts, a complete and utter disaster. On the other hand, he did manage to give us some of the most delightfully cringe worthy sound bites of any president, and now they shall be no more. Watching Bush speak is like watching a poor swimmer slip and fall into the deep end – which is probably why you get a sinking feeling every time you see him standing at a podium. He stands there and does his best to keep his head afloat, but eventually he succumbs to the unrelenting current of grammar and and syntax. What bubbles up afterward is both hilarious (because you can’t believe what he just said) and depressing (because the guy who just said that is also the President of the United States of America). Honestly, Bush seems like a pretty down to earth, laid back and likable kinda guy – the kinda guy you’d want to sit down and have a beer with, but certainly not the kinda guy you’d want to hold the most powerful office on the planet.

They say the toughest times are yet to come, but if we can survive eight years with Dubya at our country’s helm, than I’m certain we can handle whatever else might lie ahead. And that, my friends, is a sentiment that shouldn’t be misunderestimated.

Related Listening: “Speak Slow” – Tegan and Sara

The Art of The Interview: Jon Stewart

Daily Show host Jon Stewart may call himself a comedian, but he just so happens to be one of the most talented interviewers on television. Unlike the vacuous talking heads which other stations trot out to debate hot-button topics via split screen, Stewart actually sits down with his guests to ask insightful, thought-provoking questions that most other political talk shows seem to miss, or are simply too afraid to pose. And the best part? He always manages to find a faint glimmer of humor while doing so – no easy feat to be sure. All of this begs the question: why is some of the best political journalism coming from a fake news show?

Yesterday’s interview is an excellent example of Stewart’s skill, as he sat down with former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for a candid discussion about gay marriage. The resulting dialogue is truly amazing, with Stewart managing to highlight several contradictory points in Huckabee’s logic as it pertains his book is currently shilling.

Standout quotes from Stewart include:

“You write in your book that all men are created equal, and yet for gay people you believe that it is corrosive to society to allow them to have the privileges that all humans enjoy.”

“Gay people don’t choose to be gay. At what age did you choose not to be gay?”

“I think it’s a travesty that people have forced someone who is gay to have to ‘make their case’ that they deserve the same basic rights.”

While it’s true that gay marriage proposisitons nation-wide did not find support last election day, I have no doubt that if there is more open and thoughtful debate about the topic in the future, gay marriage can and willbe a reality. Watch the whole interview. It’s a good one. And if for some reason Youtube disables the video, watch it here.

Yes We Did

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Here’s a picture of my impromptu Obama victory celebration from my tiny little corner of South Korea. Even though I was the only American in the bunch,  managed to wrangle a Canadian and a South African to help me round out the letters. It didn’t take much convincing. Everyone I’ve spoken to in the last few days seems pretty excited about the news. I’ve even had students, some of which can barely say the most basic of sentences, come up to me and give an energetic “Obama, Obama” chant. It’s been so long since I felt really proud of the US, but yesterday gave me a renewed sense of patriotism, and you know what? It feels good. Yes We Can. Yes We Did.

Related Listening: “Fresh Feeling” – eels

Hope

Can’t really focus on anything right now. For better or worse I’m completely consumed by the upcoming U.S election. Now that the brutal crescendo of campaigning has come to an end, the time to finally make a decision is. So far this election is shaping up to be quite different than any other I have experienced, mostly due to the fact that I’ll be sleeping (hopefully) while the rest of America is voting. Normally I get to watch things unfold as they happen, state by state, county by county, city by city, and if CNN had its way, probably person by person. But that is not the case this year. Instead I’ll be in standby mode, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not often that you can go to bed one night and wake up next with a chance to feel completely different about your country, but after eight years, I’m ready.  After eight years of blunders and incompetence it’s time for a change, and Obama is the man for the job. Here’s to Hope! Now get out there and vote!

Related Listening: “Hold On Hope” – Guided By Voices

Word Choice

Recently went to the Korean War Memorial and Museum in Seoul. It is without a doubt the most thorough museum I have ever been to. The first exhibit starts with prehistoric war heads and the last exhibit ends with a piece-by-piece breakdown of the Korean Army’s most recent artillery shells. In between there are four floors full of tanks and jet fighters, recreated battle scenes, and massive relics devoted to seemingly every military engagement Korea has ever faced. Perhaps then it’s no surprised that in a place dedicated to war, there is what can only be called “information overkill.” If you want to feel what it’s like to be bludgeoned in the face by statistics and dates, then this is the place for you.

As I plodded my way the endless slog of battle recreations and strategic maps and old guns, one sight in particular managed to catch my eye, not because of what it looked like, but because of what it said. Located in the middle of one of the many rooms dedicated to the North/South Korean conflict, stood a statue of three massive bronze soldiers all holding grenades, their bodies charging ahead, their faces frozen in defiance. The plaque beneath them read, “Three Human Bombs at the White Horse Hill.”

I stood their thinking about that phrase for while. Three Human Bombs. The words seem hang around in the air after you say them, like black exhaust fumes spat out from a broken down semi truck. Three Human Bombs. What’s so human about a bomb? This phrase is of course a clumsy military euphemism for “suicide bombers,” but everyone knows that that phrase doesn’t sell entry tickets or mugs at the museum gift shop, so Three Human Bombs will have to do.

As I was looking at the statue, I couldn’t help but wonder about the back story for that trio of men. Did they choose to blow themselves up? Did they draw straws? Were they assigned the task by their superiors. If it’s the later I can just imagine how that conversation might have unfolded:

The commander calls three soldiers into his tent

COMMANDER: Remember when I told you men that if we wanted to win this war we were going to need more live ammunition?

SOLDIER: Yes, of course. But what does that have to do with us? [Long pause as reality slowly sets in]

COMMANDER with a somber, knowing look, hands the men a box of grenades, then walks out of the tent.

The three Soldiers stand together in silence…

[End Scene]

Regardless of how that night unfolded, I think it sets a low standard to celebrate people who blow themselves up to kill other people, regardless of how much “bravery” that must have required. The word “human” is really stripped of all meaning when placed next to the word “bomb.” The same type of thing happens when you put the words “vegetarian” and “hot dog” together, or “soft” and “rock.” It just doesn’t add up.  Anyway you slice it, the human race is in a sad state when we start exalting praise onto what amounts to little more than glorified weaponry.

In the end, it makes you question if we aren’t paying attention to the wrong thing entirely. I could easily do a quick Internet search and find thousands of museums dedicated to nothing but war, but the real question is: where are all the museums dedicated to peace?

Related Listening:

“Masters of War” – Pearl Jam

“Weapon of Choice” – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

I Could Also Watch This Forever

Apparently Joe the Plumber had to make a house call or something because he was nowhere to be found at a recent McCain rally. Too bad no one told McCain that. Watch as Old Man McCheeks stretches for a recovery that’s so painful, it’s good.

I Could Watch This Forever.

Oh how I love a good bit of schanedfreude in the morning. Here’s video of John McCain talking himself into a pretty little pickle at recent rally in western Pennsylvania. Will someone on that campaign staff please give him his meds so he can read the teleprompter correctly!?