Thursday, August 30, 2012

Election Prediction Poll

The unlikely, but entirely possible, 269-269 outcome
Got a new Survey up, inspired by my boss who is predicting a landslide for Romney. We'll call it an early indicator and I won't leave it up for very long. But here is a bit of explanation/scenario playing to the options;

How do you think the 2012 Presidential Election will end?

Big Obama Victory - Ohio and Florida go blue and the electoral map looks similar to 2008, the election is all but called before California closes it's balloting pushing Obama well over the 270 mark by 20 + electoral votes.

Narrow Obama Victory - Mitt does well east, getting Ohio and Florida but failing to grab any of the smaller swing states like Iowa and or Colorado, well into the evening the Nevada polls close and the state is called for Obama sealing the deal by just a few electoral votes.

2000 Election all over again - Florida declares a 'too close to call' as Obama needs 10 more electoral votes to Romney's 20, protests over confusing ballots and voter fraud abound and the country is held in a 4 day limbo as the Supreme Court "figures it out".

Narrow Romney Victory - The country stays up til 2 in the morning waiting for Ohio to finalize it's count. A surprising number of 3rd Party votes in Iowa and Arizona squash his chances for an easy victory, but much like in 2004, Ohio exit polling shows that Mitt has won and is the next President.

Big Romney Victory - Michigan goes Red along with New Hampshire and Ohio and Florida, Romney wins with 20+ electoral votes to spare. Didn't even need Ohio but glad to have them aboard.

And just to salt the wound that is my failure to even put Paul Ryan on the Ballot, here is the results of my first poll.

Who would you pick as Mitt's Vice Presidential Running Mate?

Who predicted Paul Ryan? Not I.
1. Rubio - 25% (Poll Winner)
2. Other - 20% ("Correct" Choice)
3. Portman - 12%
3. Pawlenty - 12%
3. Jindal - 12% (My Vote)
6. Daniels - 8%
7. Christie - 4%
7. Ayotte - 4%
9. McDonnell - 0%

Total Votes: 24, thanks again to all who voted.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Apple Effect

Apple's Q2 profits where $6.0 billion, tack on another $1.05 billion in the copyright suit that Apple won on Friday. Couple that with a stock surge that added about $15 Billion in value to the company and the fact that copyright law may still allow the judge to bump up the penalty to $3.15 billion and you got a pretty good week for the largest company in the world. Some of the intellectual property in the Apple litigation involved things like pinch-to-zoom, tap-to-zoom, an inertial scrolling behavior that includes a "rubber band" effect at the end of a page, and other features many consumers have come to expect from a quality smartphone user interface. Google's free Android OS (watch out Google, you know the Apple legal team is eyeing you) or yes, even Microsoft's latest Windows Phone implement some of these features. So some of these complaints could be aimed at competitors other than Samsung, but few of these other companies actually make any money "copying" Apple's mobile device ideas. Here are the specific patents that Samsung has been found infringing upon.

What are the repercussions here? If Apple were enforcing patents on ground breaking and unique new inventions that had taken several years and stacks of cash to develop and if, like in pharmaceutics, Apple required several years of market monopoly to recoup those investments, then the idea of the richest and most powerful company in the world suing a competitor over such feature infringement might not be met with such revolt. Raise your hand if you think that's what's happening here. Yeah, me neither.

What's going on here is this; The richest and most powerful company in the world, is suing their sole profitable competitor for imitating a few cool features that reflect a very small portion of the smartphone experience, features that shouldn't have been patentable in the first place.

Patent 087: A Rectangular White Phone - Seriously? 

Patent 677: A Rectangular Black Phone - Hmmm... must be a larger model...

Patent 305: Squarish App Icons - In the famous works of Jimmy Falon imitating Adam Sandler, "Who are the ad wizards who came up with that one?"

Apple has stacks and stacks of these ludicrous patients on file. One can only imagine that they probably have some that involve using electricity to power the phone, using a microphone and speaker to send and receive voice signals, and, of course, using a phone as a paperweight.

But take comfort Apple, if Microsoft, Cicso, IBM, and half a dozen other tech companies have taught us anything, it's that you don't need to keep coming up innovative and new ideas in order to stay on top of your industry. Oh wait-a-minute, nevermind.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Penn State, Just Stop It Already

The clock ticks away the final seconds as my Iowa State Cyclones eke out a 13-10 victory over the Jay Birds of Kansas. Iowa State has gone back into the winning record category and is 5-4 heading into some of the toughest games of the season. There is celebration and jubilation that we are beating the odds once again. A roar of cheers fills Jack Trice stadium and the PA system clicks on with a warm bass sound and the voice that is familiar to many college football fans, Neil Diamond, comes in "Where it began, I can't begin a knowing" The screams stop, the applause fades, and you wrap your arms around both your buddies, your loved ones, and even a similarly dressed neighbor. You look out onto the other side of the stadium and see tens of thousand of fans doing the same. Suddenly forty thousand people are swaying and singing together."Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you!"

Is this song about touching boys in the shower? It's about as much that as my co-worker offering me a cucumber from his garden is an offer to start an affair. It is a song about spending the good times with people you care about. The idea being you are celebrating a team win with your fellow fans and the team on the field. But, apparently, the Penn State athletic association now believes these words to be too provocative. So, in the spirit of Neil Diamonds song, I want to reach out and help Penn State with some more ideas on how it can further erase any possible confusion or association with the despicable acts of Jerry Sandusky.

1. Players on both teams will be required to wear swimsuits in the showers after a game.
New Rules would make this coach wind up in federal prison.
2. Patting a teammate on the rear end will result in a 15 yard personal foul, repeat offense will result in player being erased from team roster retroactive to when the player hit puberty.
3. No Soap on the Rope, ever, anywhere, period.
4. The additional songs will also be banned from playing any where on the Penn State campus;
  - "Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band, 1976
  - "Let’s Get It On" by Marvin Gaye, 1973
  - "Physical" by Olivia Newton John, 1981
  - "My Ding-a-Ling" by Chuck Berry, 1972
  - "Rubber Duckie" by Bert, 1970
5. The numbers 0, 1, and 2 will be removed from all final scores.
6. Holding penalties will be referred to as "Mommy and Daddy Time" penalties, and will result in automatic turnovers.
7. Touchdowns will be referred to as "Properly reported incidents" (These will frequently be lost before they are reflected on the scoreboards).

If removing a song that has the word 'touching' in it, and if removing a statue of, and removing victories from NOT THE GUY WHO WAS MESSING AROUND WITH LITTLE BOYS IN THE FIRST PLACE is a serious reaction to Sandusky, then I can only imagine the positive impact that the above recommendations will have.

These are serious times people, and only a serious approach will make people take this serious program seriously again, seriously.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Case for Mitt Romney - Part 3

The trend lines are not pretty, since Rick Santorum's bow out of the primary, effectivaly handing Romney the nomination back in April, the RCP average says Romney has been in a Nationwide poll lead for only a couple days. Romney is in bad shape. After tens of millions of dollars’ worth of attack ads from Obama’s campaign and super PAC, voters consistently described Romney as an unlikable guy who doesn’t understand or care about the problems of you and I. That he is a tax cheat, and a killer. A change of dialogue was needed, to both take some heat off Mitt and start a discussion about the real decision being presented to the American people.

The Case for Mitt Romney - Part 3: Vice President Paul Ryan.

Welcome to the Race, Mr. Ryan.

I'll admit it, I didn't think this was a realistic possibility. I didn't even have him listed in my little survey on this page. And surely Mitt saw the commercial of Paul pushing granny off a cliff? Does that narrative go right into what Obama has already said (DRAT!! keep it positive)

But wait? What am I doing? Let's not pick this guy because the Democrats make attack adds about him?  This man is the only one who has actually put forward a plan that will make something called Medicare exist past 2024, or 2016. This is the only person to put forward a complete budget plan that actually passed a wing of congress. This is the man who appeared with Cong. Wasserman-Shultz on CNN, and has appeared on MSNBC. He also opened up at the Health Care summit the discussion directly to President Obama about the hidden and misleading costs of Obama-Care. This guy is unafraid to challenge people in any arena, and that is something that I feel most people have been looking for in this election.

He also plays well into Romney's narrative of bringing new ideas and tackling the big issues of entitlement reform and the debt. It will be interesting how Romney identifies his own ideas and plans in the shadow of such a developed and debated set of plans brought forward by Ryan. But, the primary point here is that new ideas will help change the narrative of the election and force the oppositions hand to come out with their own plan to tackle these issues.

There is also the superficial, Paul Ryan is a 42 year old, full head of hair, athletic man who fits the mold of a handsome fellow. He injects a young vigor that at least will catch the eye of a younger demographic.

So what does this boil down to? Marco Rubio or Kelly Ayotte could have helped in making large swaths of voters take another look at the republican ticket. At a glance, I don't see Paul Ryan doing this. A McDonell or a Portman could have given a nudge in a close swing state, Many people don't think Wisconsin is in play even in the wake of this choice (We shall see). Then what was the intent here? Simple, he is trying to motivate his base while learning lessons from the '08 pick of Palin. A Rubio pick could backfire, it would bring immigration to the fore front where an Obama plan could appeal more to Latinos. An Ayotte pick could force the 'War on Woman' dialogue where Mitt might have to defend taking away potentially free contraceptive care. Rubio or Portman With a Paul Ryan pick the dialogue is Debt and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), two items that have generally negative numbers among the populous. The first salvo being fired at the tremendous size of cuts that the ACA make, forcing the explanation that it's $700 billion in cuts are waste and fraud, and that that is why it should instead go to another government medical program that surely will not fall victim to $700 Billion in waste and fraud.

The Romney/Ryan campaign will have to break the mold of Middle Aged White Politician
See what I did there? I included a jab at Obama-Care in the context of what Romney was doing as part of his campaign strategy, is that breaking the rules? I digress. The point here is that it isn't about trying to attract the woman vote, or the Latino vote, it's about changing the dialogue to something that will energize Romney's Base instead of Obama's. It was a pick based on ideas and articulating his vision, not politics or popularity. At the very least, you have to tip your hat and say that it was a bold choice.

He's no Bobby Jindal, his explanations, though effective, can lull people a bit when compared to the excitement other politicians seem to generate. But, after taking a few days to look at how Ryan has hit the floor of the campaign, I'm impressed. The R&R campaign has pressed some of the issues Ryan has argued in the past. The hope being that it will expose a lack of new ideas or force justifications for their plans and actions. Demotivating their side, while simultaneously bringing the ideas that can save Medicare and reign in government spending that will motivate their side to the polls, here's to hoping it works. I give Mitt Romney pretty strong kudos in picking a running mate based on ideas and intellect. The person who looks better on paper then in a headline. The same way one would hire someone for a job rather than deciding who to go out on a date with. It's the approach you take when you are serious about running a country over winning over the masses. The one draw back of using this line of thinking here being that you must win over the masses before you can run a country.

The Case for Mitt Romney - Part 1: The Resume
The Case for Mitt Romney - Part 2: The Plan

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Surrender of Civility

I hereby declare, with no mincing of words, the complete and absolute surrender of any meaningful debate for the 2012 election. Let us move on to discussions of Romney’s murder trail, to what Obama wrote in a book 20 years ago, to what state Romney lived in, in 2001, and not least of all what Michelle Obama whispered in her husband’s ear last year

The concept of Civility is a punchline in and of itself
Politics has gotten personal, and for the first time in this young Americans life, the general acknowledgement is that there is nothing wrong with that. For all the talk of America as a nation divided, the talk that Americans themselves are somehow concerned that negative campaign ads, fiery campaign speeches, personal attacks and distortion of what is fact and what can be expounded away as ‘near fact’, we sure do seem to lap up a good argument over stuff that effects absolutely nothing.

Poll after poll will tell us that Americans are fed up, they’ve had enough, they don’t want anymore, the brunt of these people are lying, You can just as quickly point out source after source that can answer the question of ‘why do they keep doing it if people are sick and tired of it’. You’ve heard the saying before, say it with me, "They do it because it works". Now, people don’t even waste their breath trying to answer the question of what these arguments have to do with anything. What effect will Obama's grades in college affect his approach on education? What will the tax rate Romney paid in 2003 affect his tax policy? Heck, I'd even take those questions being asked, over the current "He must be hiding something, he won't release his college Theseus", or "He must be hiding something, he won't release 12 years of tax returns". Politics is ugly, and anyone wasting our time to convince us otherwise will probably end up losing in the end. Be it in ratings or an election itself.

Americans deserve better, no one doubts this, and with such a quiet consensus in favor of a more civil political discourse, you would think that by now the American people would be crying out to those who seek to represent us. But, unless you constitute answering a poll question as a form of protest, the outrage is gone, or at best feigned, from this year’s election cycle.

On one hand, you have the foreign born, pot smoking, dog eating, Muslim incumbent, and on the other, the tax cheating, wife killing, beholden to the Mormon Church felon who is challenging him. The issue I am trying to address is, that many people will be reading this nodding in agreement at one half of that statement, and then shaking it in a type of feverish anger at the other half. Civility is preached, hypocrisy is exercised.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m probably not helping the cause out much, I’ve posted before trying to poke fun at the mud that is being slung, trying to steer clear of issues that I would think don’t matter (Romney has money in the Kaman islands, Obama saying “Polish Death Camps” instead of “Nazi Death Camps”. I ultimately fail, I even started writing a tenacious response to the new ad that tries to pass responsibility to Romney for the passing of a man's wife. This is because if you don’t bring up at least of a few of these ridiculous, usually improbable, largely irrelevant topics, people stop being interested. You know it and I know it. Sadly, I will probably dismiss most of what I say here in the coming days and weeks, after all, a wise blogger once said, Civility is preached, hypocrisy is exercised.
Put my supposition to the test, ask a friend or colleague what they would like to see happen to the tax code, at best you would get a snarky one or two word response, such as “simplify it!” or “cut it in half!”, any attempt to engage in more discussion then that will probably be met with disinterest or vehemence.  The more likely scenario will play out with just a general level of disgust against one group or another, “The rich need to pay more”, “I need to pay less”. Then ask them what they think about Mitt closing down a paper mill in Indiana, and you could get a lecture about either how there is a smear campaign going on by those rotten liberals or how one candidate is so out of touch we would be fools to elect him into office. The alternative would be someone who has already surrendered, who has already stopped caring.

If I had an answer, if I knew a way to bring the conversation back to fiscal policy, austerity, our troops serving overseas, and things that may actually have an impact on the country past election night, I would be doing it right now. I've always considered myself one to make concise, fact backed arguments to express my views, and to an extent rambling about it here is my attempt, but this is not a call to action, this is a concession speech. Goodbye civility, hello new era of politics, goodbye to a kinder old era where your choice was between an AWOL soldier or a flip flopper, and a new era where you are left between a choice of a candidate that can’t run because he is a felon, and another candidate because he wasn’t born in the US, the time to make an informed, thoughtful choice for the future of this country has been fully morphed into a choice between what disgusts you more, eating dog, or strapping one onto the roof of your car. The choice is yours America; I hope you realize the consequences of your vote more then the circus of conjecture that it is premised on.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Future of the Cubs

Welcome to September! Wait, what? It's still August? Well don't tell that to Cub's fans. After an eventful, albeit fast paced trading season, the Cubs had to dip into their prospects pool to both fill out the 25 man roster and to give fans a preview of what this team will look like as we continue to shed salaries and look for those home grown base players to begin a new era of baseball on the north side.

Dempster, Soto, Mahalom, Johnson, and Baker are gone, with then a total of 49 seasons of experience. The only player with any major league experience we got in return is Vizcaino who is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. The optimistic approach is that the bounce back rate for pitchers elbows is getting better all the time and late next year/after next year will will have a highly rated prospect pitcher. We also picked up two more above average pitching prospects in Chapman and Hedricks who should both be major league relavant within the next three years. These are much needed prospects, In reviewing the Cubs pitching prospects over the past couple years, you have McNutt who has been up and down, Hayden Simpson who needs another year before anything conclusive can be determined about him. Carpenter; traded, Archer; traded. And that pretty much catches you up. The optimistic scout will  give Dolis a chance to prove himself at the major league level and give Rusin a chance to catch up to AAA hitting and make his way into the majors perhaps later next year. So our farm system for pitching is looking better then it has in some time, but probably won't start seeing returns until 2014. And with news breaking today of Garza perhaps being shut down for the season, tons of question marks begin for what the rotation will look like next season. I'd like to see the team go and grab a veteran this off season to take some of the pressure off guys like Coleman and Wells to shore up a sub-par rotation, but currently the opening day rotation looks something like this;

1). Samardzija
2.) Garza (unless he does well in spring training and earns opening day honors)
3.) Wood
4.) Coleman
5.) Volstad

Yeah, I know, Hopefully Germano finished strong and we can sign him for a year or two. Wells is out of options so it will be interesting what happens to him next year. Rusin or Raley are the other dark horses here. For now though, we have one 10+ Game winner in here and he currently is forbidden from picking up a ball. Wood and Samardzija have shown some streaks of good pitching, so give them a chance to prove themselves. Coleman is at that point where he is running out of options but hasn't proven the ability to be a long term major league player, perhaps better suited for the 'pen. Volstad kinda scares me to be honest. I was excited when he came over but has done little to impress me personally since.

Hopefully we got a couple front end guys coming up in a couple seasons from the aforementioned group, and I'm sure pitching will continue to be the focus on trades for the off season and probably next season (yeah, I'm calling it now, Cubs will be sellers in 2013). I'm not so convinced I see an Ace in the batch, but how many Strasburgs are there out there? We'll draft a high first round pitcher next year and trade for another pitching prospect, and I'm confident from the pool of 3 or 4 high pitching prospects someone will emerge as a consistent 15 game winner to head off a rotation with a couple well suited wing men to help the team score, by which of course I mean prevent the other team from scoring. Time for some new metaphors!  

2014 rotation

1). Garza (I'm an optimist that the Cubs will keep him long term)
2). Samardzija
3). Chapman
4). Rusin
5). Wood

Here is the good news, Position Players;

The Future is now, as we are giving several guys from the system a chance to earn there spot in the Cubs long term planning. We are currently seeing Jackson, Vitters, LaHair, Rizzo, Barney, and Castro, for a total of about 4 years of major league experience, get their shot. Although it's early it looks like we have a great contact hitter that flashes leather in Castro, a potential Gold Glove candidate in Barney, a 30+ HR hitter in Rizzo, a potential 20HR/20SB player with plus defensive in Jackson and the other guy who happens to be an All Starer this year in LaHair. Sadly, LaHair does seem to be the odd man out as is. He started the year strong and covered first base as well as anyone out there, but his early sizzle cooled down and he still struggles with left handed pitching (hitting .067 against lefties compared to .304 against righties). Couple that with the Cubbies not getting rid of Rizzo anytime soon and having one of their few veterans in DeJesus signed for two more years playing right field, I think LaHair could be a nice looking trading chip this off season. And to seal the deal, I just got a jersey shirt of LaHair for my birthday (adding to my collection of ; Ramirez, Soto, Murton, Patterson, and Garciapara).

Of course the club would still like to move Soriano, a shame since our list of players with more then 2 years experience can be counted on one hand, but his 25ish HR a year with so-so average and ho-hum defense in his good stretches just doesn't appeal to any long term strategy. I'd like to see the team grab a veteran player or two, even as stop gaps, just so the younger players have someone to look up to, DeJesus is probably carrying a large amount of that load, but in fairness to Soriano, the team speaks highly of him as a person who leads by example etc. Assuming Jackson is up for a while, a likely scenario is that Soriano gets traded this off season and LaHair is given left field. If we can't dump Soriano, I predict LaHair will get moved for another pitching prospect. Leaving Jackson in Center with DeJesus in Right. The Chicago Flame Campana will fill a 4th outfielder role splendidly.

The infield is starting to firm up. I don't see us doing much better then Castro, Barney, and Rizzo for their respective positions. 3rd base is currently wide open with Vitters given a chance to earn it long term right now, It will be interesting to see what happens when Stewart gets back. Stewart has 20+ HR Potential and a big plus sign for defense, but his average, well, stinks. He is getting a nagging wrist injury looked at which may have been inhibiting him at the plate, but I don't see him being more then a .220 or .240 range average. Meanwhile, Vitters has always been an offensive player looking for a place on the field. A Minus sign for defense covered up with 20+ HR potential, but with a near .300 average to go with it. Vitters is up right now due to a need for some offense and 3rd base being more or less available as Valbuena's average continues to tumble. But he has been developing slowly in the majors and may need a bit more time to ensure he can cover the hot corner in a major league game. I see Stewart getting the starts beginning next year but on a short leash with Vitters sitting in the wings, the interesting thing here is the hot hitting Baez is moving up through the minors as a shortstop that appears destined to move over to third as he bulks up and turns into more of a power hitter. Comparisons to the likes of Miguel Tejada and Hanley Ramirez make him one of the hottest position prospects who isn't getting called up this year.

The other position in question is catcher, it's a shame Soto never panned out into the major defensive player with a bat that could sneak up on an opposing team late in the lineup. He called a good game and it will be interesting to see how Castillo and Clevenger do splitting some time behind the plate. Most people say Castillo as the future last year unless Soto turned it around. Allthough Castillo isn't making the big splash that Soto did in '07 but does look ready for the major league level. With no real prospects in the wings the stakes are pretty high here.

The other major point of concern going forward is the bench, right now we have LaHair, Clevenger, Valbuena, Mather, and whatever other guys we called up from Iowa this week (currently Cardenas). Very weak. This is where getting a couple of veteran guys could really benefit the team in more ways then one. Change up Valbuena for Vitters/Stewart non-starter and get a veteran utility player (What's DeRosa up to these days?) or perhaps a Campana just as a late inning base runner and you can fill several rolls, but ultimately you need at least one scary bat from the right and the left. If Stewart starts and LaHair becomes more of a bench player that gives you LaHair for righties and Vitters against lefties that could work. But Vitters winning the third base job, accompanied with a Stewart release/trade would leave a gap for a decent right handed bat off the bench.

2013 Starting Lineup;

1). DeJesus* - RF
2). Castro - SS
3). Jackson* - CF
4.) Rizzo* - 1B
5.) Soriano - LF
6.) Vitters - 3B
7.) Castillo - C
8.) Barney - 2B

Prediction for 2013 Season; Continuing a progression of bettering defense all around and a big improvement in power, Cubs hit about 30 more HR's to move us to the middle of the pack power wise, and we steal a few more bases, but our average flounders with low numbers coming from the Catcher and Third Base posistion. Overall making us a pretty average offensive and defensive team but with an optimism for the future as most position players have good stretches of exceptional play. If it wasn't for the pitching that sputters and studders as we still look for middle relief and a set up man. Marmol rebounds a bit but doesn't become lights out going for about 30 for 38 in saves. Our starters struggle to hit .500 as individuals and ultimately can't keep the team ERA low enough, Runs/Game of team is about 4.3 to go with Team ERA of 4.7, Cubs go 68-94 or .420 winning percentage (current 2012 season is hovering around .400, so a slight improvement). However, as our talent pool develops and more quality pitchers float through the top, and with players like Baez and Soler looking to be big bats in the future, It looks like the 3-5 year plan fro Cubs to returning to competativeness is well on track. Also, consider that the North side salary will be <$80 million next year, down about $50 from just a couple years ago. so once we develope this base team, going out and getting that Ace, or veteran catcher, or whatever position comes up a little short at the end of this rebuilding process, from free agency will be much more realistic. So, I wait with baited breathe Chicago, as I have for years and will continue until the day I'm left with tears of joy and covered in beer because someday, we'll go all the way! Take it Eddie!!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Debate

Mo Derator: Good evening, and welcome to the first Presidential debate of the 2012 election. My name is Mo Derator, and I will be asking the questions for tonight’s debate. When I ask a question of one of the candidates, they will have one minute to answer, then their opponent will be granted a thirty second rebuttal time. When their time expires they will be interrupted with a buzzer sound, like this; <BUZZ!!>

MO: Now, please join me in welcoming our two candidates. President Barrack Obama, and Former Governor Mitt Romney.

<The two candidates enter the stage to the crowd's applause.>

MO: Good evening, Mr. President.

Barrack Obama: (Looking back and forth to his left and right): Uhhh… I think there may be an issue here.

MO: There is no issue Mr. President, this is a debate, you do not get teleprompters.

BO: Ah, I see, well then, let me just start off by saying it’s great to be back in whatever swing state this is.

MO: We are in West Virginia, Mr. President.

BO: Oh no! <turns to crowd>  I'm not black! Just really tan! Please don't shoot with your guns or pelt me with your Bibles!

MO: I assure you, you are quit safe <turns to Gov. Mitt Romney> And a good evening to you, Governor.

Mitt Romney: It's a pleasure to be here Mo, may I call you Mo? The most amazing thing happened on the way in here, you have these doors on the outside of the arena, I found myself looking quite foolish waiting for one of my butlers to open the doors for me, but it turns out there is this sensor, really neat stuff, and the door opens up for you.

MO: You mean it was an automatic door?

MR: Yes, that is what they call it, really incredible what can happen when American innovation is unleashed.

MO: Very good, their inventors from fifty years ago express their gratitude. Let's get to the questions. First, to the challenger, Governor Romney, millions of Americans are feeling the hardships of a struggling economy, what is your plan to turn it around.

MR: I'm glad you asked, this is a time for people to get serious about our challenges. People come up to me and they say, 'Hey Mitt, you have a great head of hair, what would you due to turn this economy around?' and I say to them, I say 'Average citizen, if we just do the things we do in business everyday, in business, you have to balance a budget, if you don't, you loose money, if you loose money, you go broke, if you go broke, you stop being able to buy things, if you can't buy things, you can't buy paper to print out a budget, and then what is the point? So, what I ask to you, and to my opponent, is this, where did all the paper go?

BO: If I may, I believe that falls on you Mitt, you exported 200 paper mill jobs to a call center in India, had we kept those jobs in whatever swing state they where in, I'm confident, that we would have an abundance of paper, for not only the wealthy like my opponent, and myself <Mitt chuckles to himself>, but for the working families of this great nation.

MO: How very un-enlightening. Mr. President, you spoke of wealth, would you explain to the American people your plan on taxes?

BO: I'd love to! You see, my opponent wants to make the middle class pay more, so that he can pay a lot less. An independent council, and by that I mean I didn't hire them, ran some numbers, and it turns out, that if Mitt passes a $250,000 tax cut for himself, and people like me <Mitt continues to chuckle> then you know what? It would take about 250 American families paying right around $1000 a year more each to pay for it. We tried this once. It didn't work. It's what got us into this mess in the first place! And now, they want us to hand over the keys. Well I say to that, you can help push us out of the ditch, but one of us has to stay in the car, to, you know, hold on to the steering wheel and signal our intentions to the other cars on the road, so I say to my republican colleagues, to get out and uhhhhh.... <BUZZ!>

MO: I'm sorry Mr. President, your time has expired

BO: May I just finish my last thought there.

MO: If the Governor will yield the time

MR: Oh sure, take it away, uncle money bags. <laughs outloud>

BO: Thank you, as I was saying, in conclusion, uhhh... push. Thank you.

MO: Governor Romney, your response.

MR: First of all, I just want to say you are hilarious, I mean, wealthy like you <Romney pulls a wad of hundred from his pocket and wipes a few tears of laughter from his eyes, then casually tosses the bills aside> I have put together a simple, straight forward, 57 point plan to reduce taxes for everyone, and balance the budget. Step one; cut taxes for everyone, step two; buy a race horse for Ann, step three; but a yacht for Tagg, step four; buy a hot air balloon for Ben...

MO: I'm sorry Governor, perhaps for the sake of time we can fast forward past the parts of your plan that involve buying lavish gifts for your family.

MR: Certainly Mo, can I call you Mo? So, let's see, that would be <counts quietly to himself> yes, step fifty-seven; balance the budget. Thank you.

MO: Thank you Governor Romney. The next question is a two part one for you Governor, the President has taken some controversial steps to allow immigrants who came to this country as minors stay in this country legally, Governor, would you reverse these actions? And, what immigration plan would you put into action?

MR: Well, Mo, may I call you Mo? I would undo the presidents policy and enact a policy of self deportation, that is, hire these minors to arrest their own parents and ship both themselves, and their parents back to Mexico, or whatever third world country the Mexican's call home.

MO: And you aren't afraid that would be considered insensitive?

MR: What do you mean?

MO: The imagery of a teenager arresting their own mother might be shocking to some people.

MR: Because... of what... the teenager... is... wearing?

MO: Because of the brutality they would impose on a member of their own family.

MR: Oh family, I am very much in favor of a traditional family!

MO: <shakes head> Mr. President, can you defend your recent actions on immigration.

BO: What state are we in again?

MO: West Virginia, Mr. President.

BO: <Looks into the crowd> No, I can not, but to those Latino families watching at home in Florida, Arizona, and Nevada, you are welcome!

MO: Let's move on to national security. Mr. President, how do you respond to people saying that you are weak on defense?

BO: Weak on defense? I am so far from weak on defense! Who started a secret Cyber War on Iran, who started a secret Drone War on Libya, this guy right here! And the best part is, we won't make any new enemies abroad because no one knows it's us doing it!

MR: I once saved a business that sold weapons overseas, created over 900 jobs for the great state of Massachusetts. But under this President, the company had to be shut down because of Obama Care back in 2005.

MO: The American Care Act was passed in 2009, I believe you mean your Healthcare act you passed in Massachusetts.

MR: Another distortion. I had actually left the office of Governor back in 2004 to save a whale that was trapped under a sheet of ice in Alaska, and it's only pool of water that it could use to breath was slowly freezing over due to reverse global warming, I think they made a movie about it. I had to open up 3 new factories right on the ice shelf to increase the global warming in that area, created 2000 jobs, saved the whales. Afterwards the factories sank into the ocean because they were built atop of the ice that they was melting, luckily, I wrote off the $30 million on my taxes and collected $40 million in management fees, it was a modestly profitable Tuesday, and I am not ashamed of what I earned, and I will defend Bain Capital for the decisions it made.

BO: What about the 600,000 layoffs at Bain owned companies between 2000 and 2002?

MR: That was during a remodeling at Bain, new toilets and such, even got a new name! They called themselves, Bane. Totally different company, I don't know what was going on there during that time, I left my dear old, but totally incompetent, friend Frank in charge during that time.

BO: When are you going to step up and stop passing blame on to your predecessors?

MO: Predecessor? Don't you mean successors?

BO: Uhh.. Mo, Bush was not my successor.

MR: Precisely my point. If the state was empowered, then Obamacare would never have passed. That's why we need to repeal this terrible law.

MO: That statement doesn't really make any sense governor.

OB: If I may interject here. This is what I'm talking about. This is what makes America great. When we all come together and sit around eating gluten free apple pie and some frozen yogurt made by my beautiful wife Michelle.

MO: Again, Mr. President, that statement really fit into the context of the discussion, and I would have to say we drifted off the topic pretty dramatically. In fact I have lost track of the questions entirely so why don't we move on to closing statements, first to you Mr. Romney.

MR: Thank you Mo, may I call you Mo? We are at a historic point in American history. We have the opportunity to do what we have never done before. To vote an African American president out of office, never been done before. I understand that people may not want to do that, I mean look at him! He's tall, dark, handsome, heck, I'd vote for him. So, this election day, I hope, you vote for change.

MO: And to you, Mr. President.

BO: Thank you. Folks, I know times are tough out there. I know that many of you are having troubles making ends meet. You worry about keeping food on your table, and keeping the lights on. Putting gas in your car. You have concerns about terrorists entering this country, some of you are even worried about your rights diminishing due to actions taken in Washington. You've lost faith in the system, and you can't trust what your leaders are telling you. You feel as though we are never going to stop this economical and social down spiral. That we are at risk for being the first generation that will leave things worse off for our children. To all the critics and skeptics out there, I can put your worries to rest with this one simple truth, and that is...<BUZZ!>

MO: My apologies, but we are all out of time, I'd like to thank Governor Romney and President Obama. This is Mo Derator with Kurmudkin News signing off. Good night.

>>Click here for more of my twisted sense of political humor<<

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chic-fil-a, What the Cluck?

"Have you heard about Chic-fil-a? Did you drive past Chic-fil-a today? I heard on the radio about what was going on over at Chic-fil-a!" If you happen to live a typical life such as I, then you probably heard one of these statement today. Drones of people coming out in support of the 'foul' servers. I rolled my eyes, thoughts of dread at the thought that people are now going to associate bigotry with people who believe businesses have the right to run their business their own way. You then hear about what is being planned for Friday, when a counter sign of support for the gay community will take place at Chic-fil-a's across the country in a public display of support with a public display of affection.

What is going on!?! The countries fury over the rights of same sex couples rights versus religious morals will be served up on a kaiser bun and a side of fries. We have everything from small town politicians to Kermit opining on the hateful statements made by Chic-fil-as' COO and President Dan Cathy.

Turns out Gonzo doesn't want you to eat more chicken.
But after talking aloud about how crazy this whole thing was getting, I paused for a minute and realized that I didn't hear this story break, I heard about Lisa Henson reacting as she scoffed at the comments in questions and pulled her companies Muppets from doing business with Chic-fil-a. Then You heard as disapproval poured in from all corners of the world. Tom Menino from Boston, Rahm Emanuel from Chicago, half a dozen celebrities in Hollywood, but you don't hear the statement that dropped this who issue into the fryer. I felt the need to go out and find the specific verbiage that began this torrent of anger;

"We are very much supportive of the family, the biblical definition of the family unit... We are a family owned business, a family led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

There it is. My first reaction was at the jab to divorcees with the "first wives" comment. Obviously he is opposed to the idea of same sex marriage, but I guess I was a bit disappointed in the lack of vehemency. Where is the "...and they will burn is hell!" or "... and that is why I am directing our stores to stop hiring and to stop serving to the gays."? It's not there. This is about as plain spoken and simple of a statement in support of traditional marriage as you can get. Now don't get me wrong. It would make me think twice about finally going to the one Chic-fil-a within 50 miles for the first time in about 3 years anytime soon. I have no problem with same sex couples having the opportunity to wed, and look forward to the day when this is no longer greeted with such controversy, but this stance is so far from new or truly controversial. Heck, up until about three weeks ago every president in history has come out in support of traditional marriage.

My point is this. This is someone who nobody knew, talking to a news outlet that I was unfamiliar with until today (and you can ask my boss, I do a lot of web surfing for obscure news stories), about something that has been in the public arena of discussion for decades, why do we give a flying cluck? Now we have Mike Huckabee calling for days of support, a Wendy's franchise owner showing his support, and people coming to the defense of business independence.  Someone out there made a decision to take a statement that would have been forgotten as soon as it was made and turn it into a rallying point for both sides. We live in a country that appears to be pretty 50/50 on this topic, and rather then pushing this to the 98/2 split that I feel is ultimately inevitable by showing the face of homosexuality as people who are just as human as anyone, with the same emotions and wants, someone took the steps that  prompted potentially hundreds of thousands flocking to these less then gourmet restaurants in a sign of solidarity. So I say, poorly played whoever did this, poorly played indeed.