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Friday, November 11, 2005

The Results are In!

The Ship is Sinking

It seems that the republicans are drilling holes in their boat again. (Probably looking for oil, I imagine...) It seems that most of the candidates in last Tuesday's elections who supported U.S. President George Walker Bush, or were supported by Mr. Bush, lost their election. In fact, many candidates were actively ducking the President before election day, fearful that his influence would be detrimental. It was.

I realize that this news is several days old (hey, I've been busy), but it bears repeating...

Mr. Bush stopped off in Virginia the day before the election, campaigning for republican nominee Jerry W. Kilgore. Mr. Kilgore lost his bid for governor to democrat Timothy M. Kaine. The republicans were hoping for a late surge of conservative voters to save the day for them, but it didn't happen.

Democrat Jon Corzine won the governorship in New Jersey over republican Douglas R. Forrester. That makes me happy...

The mayor of St. Paul, MN (a democrat) supported Mr. Bush last year. He was voted out of office by a two-to-one margin, replaced by another democrat, Chris Coleman. Hmmm...

In California, republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger embraced four ballot initiatives. Mr. Schwarzenneger has been, until recently, rather close to Mr. Bush. However, Mr. Schwarzenneger found himself in the unenviable position of trying to KEEP the President of the United States from coming for a visit. All four initiatives were voted down (a victory for unions, as one of the initiatives was anti-union).

Three mayoral races were won by eighteen-year-old high school students, and two high school students have been elected to city councils. Said Hillsdale, MI mayor Michael Sessions, "...From 7:50 to 2:30 I'm a student. From 3 to 6, I''m going to be out fulfilling this job as mayor." source

Closer to home, Sioux City has elected Mr. Jim Rixner to the City Council. However, the other democratic nominee did not make the cut. But, the city is now one Council member closer to sanity than we were last week...

One of the more interesting things to happen last Tuesday has conservative televangelist millionaire Mr. Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson (who owns both a refinery and a diamond mine, I think) foaming at the mouth. Again. He seems to do that with surprising regularity, much to my delight. It seems that a nine-member school board in Dover, PA, tried to introduce "intelligent design" to their high school students. Eight of the nine board members were up for election, and all eight were replaced by the voters. Mr. Robertson used his television show, The 700 Club, to say, "I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city." He continued, "And don't wonder why he hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city." source I guess Mr. Robertson isn't happy running his own empire, he wants to run everyone else's as well. (For more reading on my thoughts about Mr. Robertson, and a few of Mr. Robertson's more interesting quotes, click here.) It seems to me that teaching religion is the parents' responsibility, not the government's. And that's the end of this fairly mild rant.


You're gonna cut my WHAT?

The House of Representatives postponed a bill recently. They couldn't get the votes they needed to pass the bill, which, if passed, would allow drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, cut farm payments, cut social programs, increase Medicaid co-payments, restrict food-stamp eligibility, and trim student loans. I can't really think of anything they forgot to include in that list... Except for a salary cut for Congressmen and Senators. They seem pretty happy to take away from the poor right now. Thankfully the bill was postponed, and the part about drilling in the Arctic was removed (temporarily). Evidently it was a bit much for even some republicans to swallow, as they could have passed the bill had all republicans followed party line. source

Why do the republicans want to think about the budget now instead of when they decided to go to war in Iraq? (And, speaking of war, why aren't we doing more about Osama bin Laden? Remember him? And just when did our government decide that their definition of the word "torture" is different from everyone else's? And just when did Vice President Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney start actively campaigning FOR torture? What's up with that? When did my blood pressure get so high?) What do you think the odds are that Mr. Bush will try to buy goodwill for the republicans in 2007-2008 by announcing a "tax cut" for the people? Where is THAT money gonna come from?

At the moment, the Chief Executive Officers of the five largest oil companies in the United States are hanging out in Washington, D.C., trying to answer some very embarrassing questions from the Senate - such as "Why, when people are struggling to pay for gas and oil due to high prices, have you announced record profits?" The hearings didn't go well for anyone. Why? According to the Washington Post, "...maybe it was committee co-chairman Ted Stevens of Alaska, so cloyingly deferential to his corporate witnesses one had to wonder if he was auditioning for the job of head waiter at the grille room of the Petroleum Club in Houston." source Mr. Stevens, a republican, has make quite a name for himself lately. He pushed through an obscenely large bill to give Alaska millions and millions and millions of dollars to build a bridge for around 50 people (no, I'm not making that up). Then the two hurricanes hit. His fellow Senators asked Mr. Stevens to give the money earmarked for his bridge back, hoping to give the millions and millions of dollars to Katrina victims. Mr. Stevens actually BARKED at them. "NO!" I saw it on The Daily Show. It made me laugh, until I remembered that he's actually in power...

Back to oil... The oilmen told the Senate that high oil prices will lead to the oil companies being able to expand their operations, thus leading to lower oil prices. I find that hard to believe, somehow. Especially since any increase in U.S. production would be so small as to have no effect on global prices (which makes me wonder why they're so eager to drill in the Alaska Refuge).

I have nothing against a company earning money, and keeping it, but I was a bit upset to see that one of the CEO's made somewhere in the neighborhood of $21 million last year. That seems a bit ridiculous to me, especially as I have a reel mower and I walk to work because I can't afford gas any more. (Actually, I probably could afford the gas if I wanted to, but I hate the thought of giving the oil companies more money.) Honestly, does anyone (including professional athletes) really EARN over a million dollars a year? Methinks they get it because they convince people they're worth it, not because they really are worth it...

Meanwhile, everything that gets shipped by rail, truck or ship, will cost more due to the rising cost of oil and gas.

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