September 14, 2004
The Campaign Week That Was
As someone who always likes a good pennant race, I'm actually enjoying this election year. Sure, the important issues aren't really being debated, but there is at least much political sniping to watch. Here's a brief (albeit biased) rundown of some campaign items from last week.
You Could Get Arrested for That - By now, most of you have probably heard George Bush's stunning take on health care at a campaign rally in Missouri: "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country."
Exactly what was he trying to say? Who knows? One thing is for sure. He has certainly won over the humor columnist vote, though women might not be so pleased. If I were John Kerry, I think I would come down firmly against OB/GYN's practicing their love with women all across the country. That sort of thing is probably frowned upon in the medical community.
The Validity of John Kerry's Third Purple Heart - Actually, this has been in the news for quite some time because of the commercials from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. These commercials question whether one of Kerry's purple hearts was really deserved. Here's what I don't understand. Even if this is true, all that means is that John Kerry still has two other purple hearts, which is about two more than anyone else running for President.
Admittedly, Kerry has brought much of this on himself by emphasizing his purple hearts so much. It's fine to be proud of your service, but even in a campaign it's a little unseemly to be drawing attention to your medals and awards all the time. I half expect him to start wearing them out on the campaign trail. Let's put it this way. When I won the 8th Grade Algebra Award, did I go around school bragging about it? Of course not, I humbly accepted it and moved on.
Typewritergate - It seems that the major political debate last week was about the fonts available on typewriters in the early 1970's. CBS News ran a report about President Bush's less-than-stellar National Guard record. The report featured documents questioning Bush's service that were allegedly created in the early 1970's, yet -- and this is where it gets really exciting -- many now believe those documents were forged because the fonts and formatting in them were not available on typewriters of that era. Others have argued that those fonts were indeed available on certain IBM typewriters.
Welcome to political discourse in the year 2004. In what many think is the most important election of our lives, the current debate is revolving around typewriter fonts from the early 1970s. Hey, while we're debating the 1970s, I would personally like to know how each candidate feels about 8-track cassette recorders and bell-bottoms. On the bright side, we've at least moved beyond the year 1969, which is where the campaign seemed to be stuck for much of August. At this rate, we'll finally be able to discuss the important issues of 2004 sometime during the 2008 campaign.
The EBay Economy - How good is the economy? Well, according to Dick Cheney, it's considerably better than the numbers indicate. As he recently explained, unemployment rates and consumer spending measurements fail to take into account all the money that is made on EBay.
"That's a source that didn't even exist 10 years ago," Cheney told voters in Cincinnati. "Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on EBay."
Of course, this might be because many people in the country now have substantially more free time seeing as they no longer have to go to their job. Thankfully, those people unable to replace their $15-an-hour job with an $8-an-hour job have at least been able to sell some of the junk in their basement on EBay.
John Edwards had perhaps the best response when he said, "If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking."
Still, Cheney does have a point. EBay is a vital, yet often overlooked, cog in our economy. As just one example of the capitalist spirit alive on EBay, for just $15.99 you can bid on a "Go F*** Yourself" t-shirt with Dick Cheney's name on it, honoring those stirring words the Vice-President recently uttered on the floor of the United States Senate. That's the second item that comes up when you search for "Dick Cheney" on EBay.
Actually, if you include all the anti-Bush and anti-Cheney items being sold in the country, then this economy might indeed be going places.
©2004 Joe Lavin
July 27, 2004
Free Speech Now! Over There!
It says something about this country that the organizers of a political convention have to create a special "Free Speech Zone" outside the convention. Here at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, the Free Speech Zone is nestled comfortably underneath what used to be a subway bridge far away from the entrance to the convention. The ground is asphalt, and taller protesters might have to duck in certain spots so as not to hit their heads on girders. ( More.... )