Monday, April 24, 2006

Bush Presidency

Let me try to respond quickly to Colvin before my delayed (once again!) flight leaves.

I think this downturn started in late fall. The liberals have always hated Bush, but since late fall he has begun losing popularity with his base. I think this can all be tied to the nomination of Harriett Myers. Yes, a lot of us had been frustrated with excessive spending, immigration, etc... but there were still other issues that lead us to support Bush - namely, the war and supreme court nominations.

I am still with them on the war for the most part. But when we lost confidence in his ability to choose justices it just made it much easier to criticize other policies. Ultimately he correctedhis mistake, but the incident in my opinion was the straw that broke the camel's back. If they can address the underlying issues that conservatives have been dissatisfied with for quite some time they have a chance at making a comeback. Oh, and congress will need to grow a pair.

Ok plane is leaving...!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Will the changes be enough?

This is the question everyone is asking these days. Can the Bush administration make the necessary changes to reverse the downward trend in approval ratings among other problems?

The answer, quite simply, is yes. Josh Bolten does seem to have the authority to make key changes. Bringing former Cincinnati area Congressman Rob Portman in as director of OMB is a good move to start. Portman has a great relationship with Congress and this is one are in which there is certainly quite a bit of room for improvement.

From my perspective (ant that of many others) there has been an issue with communication to the public and press with the White House. Changes are occurring here as well. It seems Tony Snow has been offered the job as Press Secretary and this move could make great strides. Snow is a warm communicative voice with plenty of experience on both the White House and press perspectives. Of course he has to be willing to take a pay-cut and will lose quite a bit of time with his family...so this is still very much a question mark. I, for one, will welcome bringing yet another Cincinnatian to a key role in the Bush White House.

On the topic of communication, I caught a bit of an interesting conversation on Meet the Press this morning. The video is not up quite yet, but I would suggest checking it out. To summarize Tony Blankley and Ron Brownstein discussed how this White House has tended to focus its PR on only a small segment of the population. On a very good day, ~52% of the country might respond well. When times aren't so good, ~35% of the nation will respond well. Does that number look familiar? Blankley suggested that the administration needs to appeal to the broader public rather. Also, to be sure, Blankley took himself out of the running for Press Secretary (unfortunately I think).

Secretary John Snow could be another change as this administration has had little to no luck at communicating what is actually a great economy. Snow has been seen as ineffective during his time. Recently, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez has been mentioned. While the economy has been stellar the issue of gas prices has overshadowed high growth rates and record low unemployment rates.

Beyond changes in staff and in the style of communication passing some common-sense legislation can make a difference. One big question is whether that is possible with the way Harry Reid is handling himself in the Senate. It seems Reid is insistent on not allowing legislation to go through (before the 06 elections, of course), even if it is relatively bi-partisan as was the case with immigration reform. Perhaps it is too much to expect Reid to put policy over politics but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. One big change that has been mentioned here and there is paper-less health records. Going to a paperless system has the potential to save thousands of lives in reduced medical errors and billions of dollars in savings. I'd like to go into more detail but that is for another time. This type of legislation would likely see wide bi-partisan support. Newt Gingrich and Hillary Clinton have been some of the bigger proponents.

So what do you think? What needs to be done? Is this presidency salvageable?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

This is really lazy.

Here is an installment I shall call "Narco's Thoughts" for lack of a better title. I caution the following might offend-but don't blame me...blame Narco.

Dr. Phil and Shaq are in Scary Movie 4. I have to see this.

I apologize to all of my fans for the 3 month lag in updates. I haven't felt clever lately. Deal with it.Why people watch women’s basketball – So I was watching an episode of “College Gamenight” on ESPN maybe last week when they decided to talk about the women’s NCAA tournament (for reasons unbeknownst to me). Apparently, Candace Parker from Tennessee dunked twice in the same game. The commentators were debating the merits of the dunk in the women’s game and what impact it might have if it became more prevalent. One of the commentators (female) said something similar to this, “The dunk will draw people away from the women’s game because people watch women’s basketball to see finesse and strategy, not power.” Here this commentator makes one dangerous assumption…that people watch women’s basketball. In fact, nobody cares about women’s basketball. As far as I know, only family members of people who play women’s basketball actually watch women’s basketball. Why would I want to watch a basketball game where the final score resembles that of a baseball or hockey game (and it is not due to great defense)? Dan Lebatard said it best on “Pardon the Interruption” last week when he said, “I like women. I like basketball. I do not like women’s basketball.”

Things identified by what they are not – I really hate the product “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!” OK, I understand that it is not butter, but what the hell is it? It could be ANYTHING except butter. It could be milk. It could be a shirt…just as long as it is not butter. I’m going to open up a furniture store and call it “I Can’t Believe They Aren’t Pants!” Seriously, if someone asked you to put some unidentifiable thing in your mouth, would you do it? I hope not.

Nick At Nite – I must start by saying that I have a little trouble sleeping in complete silence. Thus, I usually turn on the TV so I can fall asleep to some noise. At the hour at which I go to sleep, the only thing on TV is Nick At Nite. I quite enjoy “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Roseane,” and “Full House.” I can’t stand, however, “Murphy Brown” or “Who’s the Boss?” Apart from ruining my slumber, the only thing “Murphy Brown” accomplishes is making me want to punch Murphy Brown in the vagina. If this is the “powerful woman” image that women today are supposed to strive toward, we, as men, need to put a stop to the women’s lib movement right now before all of our wives, mothers, sisters, and girlfriends turn into snide, decrepit, irresponsible old snatches. That notion is a good segue into the character of Angela on “Who’s the Boss?” Am I supposed to believe that Judith Lighe is hot? Am I supposed to be sexually attracted to this woman? Well, her guiles have failed to draw me in to the point of actually becoming bothersome. I haven’t seen a more prudish woman that wasn’t wearing a bonnet. Maybe if you gave it up to Tony, you would loosen up a little and I would be able to watch your show without being annoyed and thusly fall asleep quickly.

Geography Classes at UC – I had to buy a box of crayons to complete a project for my Human Geography course last semester. Crayons.

Bread Makers – I really don’t understand this appliance. Why make something at home of which the store has an abundance? Why make something that is an ingredient in something else (sandwich)? I have always trusted my bread-making needs to someone else. I really think the boys at Klosterman or WonderBread have it down.

Flying Cars – We already have flying cars. They are called airplanes.

Kids - I want to print up business cards that say “Freelance Abortion Specialist” and hand them out in front of a cheap motel on prom night. Sort of a “don’t worry, I’m here to clean up your mess” sort of thing. I really don’t like kids though. I don’t want any, that’s for sure. Not just because I don’t like them but because I’m too irresponsible to raise kids. I mean, I’m struggling to give the cats the life they deserve. It’s so bad that I’m pretty sure that if I got someone pregnant, the government would pay for the abortion. “He got someone pregnant? Oh, kill it.” That’s why I’m going to donate my sperm. I still want the satisfaction of having kids without having to raise them. Kind of like NBA players without the money…or sex. The thing with sperm donation is that the kid you produce can come searching for you after their 18th birthday. I think that would be kind of fun too. They show up at your door and are all “dad, I just needed to know who you are”…”Son, I’ve seen you grow up, I’ve always been there when you needed me…so this is going to be very hard for both of us…you’re all grown up now so I’m sending you off into the real world…good luck, don’t try to get in touch with me.”

Handicapped People – I don’t quite get handicapped people. They have to park 15 feet away from a building because they can’t walk really far, but we let them hurtle down the road at 65 MPH surrounded by metal around other, more healthy, motorists. What’s next? Will they be flying our planes? I don’t want Christopher Reeve flying a plane with me on it by blowing through a fucking straw. Of course, that particular situation is no longer possible…

Pittsburgh Steelers – I fucking hate the Steelers. WHO-DEY. That is all.Advanced Technologies – I was in one of the bathrooms in the new Rec Center at school the other day. I noticed that the lights came on when I opened the door. I finished my business, washed my hands, and walked toward the door. As I was about to leave, the lights went out. Obviously, they were on some sort of timing mechanism. This led me to wonder what would’ve happened had I taken a Number 2. I guess I would’ve had to feel my way out of the bathroom, which would’ve been slightly awkward.

Assimilation – I was eating lunch at a Chinese restaurant the other day. They were listening to Warm 98 on the radio. One of the songs that played was “God Bless the USA.” Come on. Nobody in America listens to adult contemporary. Nobody in America actually likes that song.

Immigration – Let me begin by saying that I have NO PROBLEM with legal immigration into this country. I also believe that it should be MUCH EASIER for immigrants to come to the United States and find employment. Debates have raged over the past several weeks both in Washington and at the Mexican border regarding the possible tightening of US immigration policy. Right now, we have a situation where people are crossing the border at great peril. Many immigrants have died wandering the vast deserts of the American Southwest. These people are coming in search of a better life. These people are coming in search of JOBS. There are people who reside in the United States who will not leave their homes to search for a job. Here we have a population who will traverse miles of harsh terrain and risk dealing with hostile Border Patrols or independent militias for the opportunity to WORK. Their dedication should be recognized, not punished. In this country, a significant percent of our labor force is comprised of illegal immigrants. A disproportionately large percent of our GDP is produced by this illegal immigrant labor (I don’t feel like looking up the statistics, but they are readily available). Immigrant labor is essential to the operation of American business. If they are “taking our jobs,” they are doing a much better job of production than we are. The easing of restrictions is a pragmatic, not just an emotional argument. Their contribution should be recognized, not punished. The issue at hand is whether or not government benefits should be extended to the illegal immigrant population. This issue ignores the best possible solution to that problem…to make it easier to enter the country legally. If the United States is to be a beacon of hope, let it be a refuge to those seeking a better life. We are an immigrant nation. Practically, it is best that we continue to be welcoming.

I'm back...

Sorry there has not been a post for some time. I have been quite busy, starting a new job and transitioning to a new city. (Ok, I've been a bit lazy too). Now as for the other folks-they're just plain lazy. Anyhow, I promise to post more often...maybe not while I am in Florida for business next week though :)...