Thursday, July 30, 2009

How a Green would fix your mess

Yes, your mess. We didn't make it, you never elect us, you never even pay attention to us. You crapped on the floor, and now you're bickering about the best way to fix it. Not only are you fighting each other, you're fighting yourselves! Normal Democrats are mad at "Blue Dog" Democrats, Ohio Republicans are mad at Southern Republicans. You aren't getting anything done, the crap is still on the rug and if you don't clean it up soon you're going to need a Rug Doctor, and we're fresh out of cash to afford one because they're really expensive.

But, listen, I can fix it! I have ideas, big ones!

First thing I'd do is the most obvious one of all, legalize marijuana. It's shocking that it's illegal in the first place, let alone in 2009. The legalization and subsequent taxation of marijuana would be a cash cow for the cash strapped government. I could go into the medical benefits that marijuana has, but I've already done that. They're well stated, regardless of what the drug czar says, I have it on good authority that he's an idiot. The legalization of marijuana would also mean that restrictions on it's sister plant, hemp, would be lifted. Hemp can make all sorts of cool things, you can even eat hemp seeds and they're really good for you. Hemp can also be converted to ethanol which serves two goods: first is that it frees up corn to become exclusively a food source once again, and second is that it's rapid growth rate would help loosen imported oil's death grip on our economy. Of course, the oil and pharmaceutical industries would be none-too-pleased with this which is why we would have to outlaw corporate lobbying.

But that's not all! Call now and we'll outfit every municipal, county, state and federal building with green power systems and save tax payers a bundle by dramatically cutting the power bills for those buildings! Yes, that includes the sports venues that billionaires held cities and states over a barrel to build, those would get the same treatment and the associated sports owners wouldn't see a dime of revenue from it. Take this for instance, that's the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, a municipally constructed venue in the heart of Charlotte with a bare concrete roof. Do you not see the potential there? Next to the arena is the CATS bus hub, it would also be outfitted with them.

Recently Peter Gorman, he's the head of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, a failed educational organization in Charlotte, fired a bunch of teachers and announced that he may have to cut middle school sports. If you put self-reliant energy systems in the schools you could save a ton of money.

Of course, making marijuana legal would free up a lot of room in the prison system which would give us the ability to shut some prisons down and save even more money.

What would we do with all this money? Well, we'd have universal healthcare and bridges that don't fall apart.

It'd be nice, but you won't listen to us.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's just like watching Newcastle

Of course, I'm referring to the Republican Party of the United States and it's hilarious infighting. Of course, if they keep it up, they could meet a similar fate to the Toon!

Recently Barack Obama's poll numbers have taken a hit and while some Republicans have been quick to point this out, the party itself has been unable to capitalize on them, at all. In fact, their numbers managed to take a hit as well. The leadership of the party would like for the attention to be on the way the Republicans are handling the President's healthcare bill, but instead the spotlight has been shifted to the (loud) extremist elements of the party who claim that Obama is an illegal immigrant. Most mainstream Republicans reject (all of them voted to support some totally unnecessary resolution in Congress that said Obama was born in Hawaiʻi) this nonsense but that doesn't stop the "birthers" from screaming, literally.

Yes, that really happened. That's a real person going crazy at a town hall meeting held by Congressman Mike Castle (R-De.), a normal human being. Yes, I know that was last week, but it doesn't change anything.

It's not something I really want to go into, I find it that stupid, but I have to say a few things. G. Gordon Liddy, possibly the most famous "birther", likes to say "there's no hospital listed". My birth certificate doesn't list a hospital either. I'm pretty sure I'm American, in fact, I carry Catawba blood in my veins. Nonetheless, maybe I should start carrying my birth certificate (which actually reads "Certificate of Birth", maybe I'm fake too) around in a ziplock bag with a tiny American flag.


Now Senator George Voinovich (R-Oh.) says "the Southerners" are ruining the Republican Party by getting on TV and acting like, well, morons. Southern Republicans (like Louisiana's David Vitter, who has ties to the D.C. madam) have lashed out at Voinovich, calling him "wishy-washy". Vitter is up for re-election in 2010, one of his opponents is Stormy Daniels, a pornstar Independent who was just arrested on charges of domestic violence. Seriously. The Democrats could probably run Teddy Ruxpin in a Che shirt and win 65% of the vote in that race.

This is where the Libertarian Party should be paying attention and running homegrown candidates, not defected Republicans and Democrats. They actually have a chance to take a real slice of the conservative base over the next two years if they get on the radio and television making sense instead of making wild accusations about where the President was born. Libertarians can get away with sex scandals too.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a problem

I noticed NASCAR was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week. Between the BS about how prestigious the venue is they mentioned something about how during the 2008 NASCAR race at IMS the tires tore all to hell. Tire problems? At Indy? That sounds familiar.

In 2005 Formula 1 staged their United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it turned into the biggest charade in motorsports history as paying fans witnessed what as essentally a parade as all the cars using Michelin tires pulled out of the race after tire wear issues in earlier sessions.

Both times the blame was deflected. In 2005 Formula 1 and Michelin were blamed for the incident, in fact, it basically destroyed the relationship and left Bridgestone as the sole tire supplier in Formula 1 as Michelin pulled out. In 2008 NASCAR and Goodyear were blamed, Goodyear brought a bad tire and NASCAR let them do it people said. Different tires, different cars. But lets look again, what do these two incidents have in common?

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The track itself is the problem. Not F1, not Bernie's hair, not NASCAR, not Brian France's jaw, but the track. The holy, the infallible, the precious yard of bricks. The track caused both incidents, and if it wasn't Indianapolis Motor Speedway, people would've blamed the track for the incidents just like they blame Talladega when someone flies into the air at Talladega. The difference is that Talladega was built in the late 60's by a guy many people like to think of as a redneck, and the races were attended by people many like to think of as rednecks (and trust me, there are a good few rednecks) so it's impossible to attach "presitigious" to Talladega Superspeedway like you can Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but Talladega Superspeedway has one glaring thing in common with The holy, the infallible, the precious yard of bricks.

Talladega Superspeedway sucks.

It's too big, it's literally the size of an airport because it used to be it's own airport. You can't see all of it from the stands, a trait it shares with Indianapolis. It's gimmicky, just like Indy. No, there's nothing simple and elegant about building a golf course and a freaking castle in the middle of a track, it looks gaudy. You want to see how a simple, elegant, very American race track looks? Look here, where the USGP belongs.

I know, I know: The history! Just because a sports venue has history doesn't make it impervious to criticism. I'll say this right now: Hampden Park is an awful little turd of a stadium. It has a track that isn't big enough for track events, it's dirty, and the fans are a million miles from the field. Hampden has more history in it's sport than Indy does.

I know what you'll say: "Indy is better than Charlotte" and you'd be wrong. Charlotte's track isn't perfect, but it's better than Indy. Yes, Charlotte is gimmicky as hell, but you can see the entire tracks. Yea, tracks, Charlotte has three configurations within it's main oval, and you can see the entirety of all three from the stands.

It's time we admit the truth here, the track is doing more harm than good for motorsports in America.

NASCAR needs to leave it. Move Atlanta's date back to the fall, move California's fall date to Indy's weekend, and bring back Darlington's second date for Labor Day. Darlington is a better track.

F1 needs a USGP, but it doesn't need Indy. It needs to alternate coasts each year: Odd years - Watkins Glen, even years - Laguna Sega.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite, 1916 - 2009

Today we lost the most trusted man in America. A true journalist who wasn't afraid to say what the country needed to hear instead of what it wanted to hear. Mr. Cronkite had spoken openly about his displeasure at the blurring of the line between information and entertainment in media, a topic which concerns many people.

Cronkite felt that American journalism was becoming too soft, and too vulnerable to corporate financial interests. He worried that this could damage our democracy. He was right.

I came a long three years after Cronkite signed off from the CBS anchor's chair for the final time, but if you watch the news in America, you feel his impact.

We lost a legend today, may he rest in peace.

On some of that ol' Jeremy Mayfield sh*t

It won't stop. It just won't.

I'm not a great NASCAR fan, but I do live in Charlotte which would make me an expert in NASCAR by the standards of any other city.

In Charlotte, Jeremy Mayfield's court battle with NASCAR is as big a news item as the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings, and a bigger deal than the Mexico v United States match being on Mun2. That's to be expected though, NASCAR is more or less Charlotte's second biggest industry after incompetent guys in suits screwing up and getting bailed out by the same people they keep trying to screw over, I mean banking.

By now I'm sure everyone knows, it's even mainstream on ESPN. Back in May NASCAR claimed that Jeremy Mayfield failed a drug test and announced he'd be suspended. Mayfield denied any accusations of doing drugs, as you would expect, and demanded that NASCAR lift his ban. NASCAR said "no", they can do that because one family owns NASCAR, it's not like the Premier League, the NFL, or The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques League Cup, well, it's a little like that one. Of course upon hearing that NASCAR denied his request, Mayfield sued them. He went out and got Charlotte's biggest (literally and figuratively) lawyer, Bill Diehl (random fact: Bill Diehl's wife was my third grade teacher, and a good one at that - six degrees of NASCAR, bitches) to represent him in court. NASCAR countersued and everything went crazy. Eventually Diehl found a way to get Jeremy's ban lifted by the courts, NASCAR was pissed. Mayfield was allowed to show up at Daytona, NASCAR even had guys at the gate waiting on him, no word on whether or not they also had a truck load of wild Pit Bulls. Mayfield didn't bring his #41 car to the track.

Mayfield also no-showed the following week (at "Chicago") and rumors began to circle as to why, some accused him of doing meth again. On July 15th NASCAR announced that Mayfield had failed a drug test, again for meth, on July 6th and had a sworn statement from his stepmother saying she'd seen him snort meth at least "thirty times" in a seven-year period. Mayfield blew his top. He said of his stepmother "She's pretty much a whore" and said that she "shot and killed (his) dad". He also said she's always trying to get money out of him, that she's a golddigger, and a trashy bitch, rumor has it he dropped the C-bomb on her too. She sure sounds like a class act. But, if she saw him doing it "at a race shop in Mooresville (Mooresville is a giant race shop, basically)", why didn't anyone else in the race shop see it. Okay, he may have been alone with her at that time, I'll concede that, but why didn't she alert NASCAR to the problem knowing that a tweaked-out driver was putting at least fourty-two other lives at risk every week?

Mayfield also said of Brian France: “Brian France out there talking about effective drug policy, it’s kind of like Al Capone talking about effective law enforcement. And that’s the way I feel about it. The pot shouldn’t be calling the kettle black, you know what I’m saying? And I think the world needs to hear that, too.” Which I thought was hilarious.

That was it, that was Jeremy's story, or at least that was Jeremy's version of the story. A couple of days later I got the truth from Tommy, you always got the truth from Tommy, it was one of his major weaknesses. He never lied, he never took drugs, and he never cheated on anyone...wait, that never happened.

Anyway, back on topic. Mayfield says he's going to fight NASCAR with everything he's got, and he will. One thing that has to be said for Jeremy Mayfield is that he doesn't know when to quit, he doesn't know how to give up. He never has, he never will. If he's lying then he's really playing with fire, but if he's telling the truth NASCAR could end up in a world of hurt. WADA has already said their drug testing policies are garbage and NASCAR still refuses to adhear to WADA guidelines, probably because WADA is European. Because of NASCAR's hardheadedness on this issue there's still a chance that the judge will rule against them, having expressed disfavor with NASCAR's testing methods in the past. Jeremy also says that he has passed several independent lab tests since May, if he's telling the truth, Brian France has some 'splainin' to do. Okay, enough channeling Tom Coburn.

Somewhat on topic, but meth is/was considered a WMD in parts of North Carolina. Really.

But remember, when you say the name of the make that wins the championship in 2011: it's Hyundai (Hun-Day), like "Sunday".

That said, this evil little peace loving librul needs his sleep.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

¡Hola, Mun2!

Since my OleOle blog post isn't showing up....

Well, maybe I should say "Hi there, Mun2!", considering that Mun2 usually broadcasts in English.

(Note to self: Watch the Chicas project)

Why am I writing about Mun2? Well, if you're asking that than you obviously aren't aware of the situation concerning the Mexico v United States World Cup Qualifying match on August 12th.

Usually US National Team matches are broadcast on ESPN2 (or sometimes they feel generous and put them on ESPN), at the very least ESPN Classic. But that isn't the case for this match, and that isn't the fault of ESPN actually. Since Mexico is the home team the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación (or FEMEXFUT, which is equally a mouthful) controls who owns the rights to broadcast the match and they have a deal with NBC Universal through Telemundo for both rights -- Spanish AND English. This is where it get interesting.

Supposedly NBC outbid Disney (ABC & ESPN) for the World Cup but the USSF had a word with FIFA about how ESPN supports MLS and therefore deserves the rights to the World Cup more than NBC. Needless to say, NBC wasn't, and isn't, happy about this. The rumor is that ESPN approached NBC about buying the English rights so they could show the match, which is expected to be in high demand given the ferocity of the rivalry and the Americans recent Confederations Cup success, NBC said "How about naw?", or something like that.

So, instead of the match being broadcast in English on ESPN it will be broadcast in English on Mun2, Telemundo's baby sister, and I do mean "baby" - Mun2 is in 30 million US homes. Telemundo has yet to decide who will call the match for Mun2.

This has caused a fair bit of controversy in American soccer circles, obviously. Hardly anyone gets Mun2 (though many get Telemundo, who will broadcast the Spanish feed). There's even a petition (linked) to get the match moved to one of NBC's seven-gazillion other networks, namely the USA Network.

People have a right to be angry, but you can't exactly fault NBC. If the World Cup rumors are true they really got screwed. Plus they obviously want people to be more aware of Mun2's existence, it doesn't seem like a bad channel to be honest. It's kind of like MTV.

If you've gotten this far, I love you. Mun2 is on Dish Network 838 and DirecTV 410, I believe the latter requires a subscription to a Spanish language package.

In other news, the doctor says I have bronchitis. Ick.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rep. Paul Broun is a horse's ass.

One that's just had a large, grotesque bowel movement at that. A horrible little disgusting excuse for a human being.

On July 10th Rep. Broun (R-Ga. 10) said that Britons and Canadians "obviously don't have the appreciation for life that we (Americans) do", and that public healthcare would "kill people", a lot of people.


We're not allowed to say Americans kill themselves at a rate much higher that Britons, because that would make him look stupid. So I won't. Oops.

Suicide is a horrible thing and I feel terrible using it to make a point.

My point is not that Americans commonly off themselves, it's that you should think before you open your mouth. It is amazing to me that some people, people in Congress, can say things that are so outrageous without even thinking about it.

I do believe that we need healthcare reform, badly. I'm uninsurable and lower middle class. In America's unspoken caste system, I'm an untouchable. If I could get insurance, I would have it. I know, I know. "They don't have to take a chance on you", and you're right, they don't. Nevermind that I passed my last physical (and paid in cash for it) and all I want to do is be able to see a GP from time to time. That's okay.

I guess it's also okay that 15.3% of the US GDP is spent on a broken healthcare system while Japan spends 8% of it's GDP on a fabulous one? I mean, you can call Britain, Canada, France, and even Germany (though you can opt out of Germany's system) "Marxist" (Groucho or Karl?) but Japan is more capitalist than we are, much more even. Go ahead, call them Marxist. Or little libertarian Switzerland, say it about them.

You can be against it, that's fine. But you'd better have a good reason, and you'd better not support any wasteful spending. If you really supported a free market, the following things would be private: The Military, tap water, the Police, fire & rescue, parks, and roads.

Couldn't you just see the Marines all decked out in NASCAR-esque suits to cover the bills? Yea, didn't think so.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Did Palin crap the bed too?

If the rumors are to believed, she did, big time. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and say it's a hollow rumor, but if she did...

At this rate the Republican primary in 2012 will consist of Mitt Romney, Ron Paul (if he's around), and hilariously Pat McCrory. I know, I'm stretching it, but at the rate they're dropping due to scandals it might not sound so crazy next year. He actually appeals to both sides and is a Republican who, *gasp*, doesn't drone on about his religion. That's probably because he has an actual platform though. On second thought, don't run him, he may actually make sense as oppose to those train wrecks the Republicans keep trotting out.

Oh well, looks like we won't have Sarah to kick around anymore. But these people probably still out there somewhere.

Would someone please shut that loud one up? Good lord.

But I do have to say, as an architecture snob, the Menard Sports Center is a ghastly little hole of an arena. They went over budget on that? Wow. I guess I can't really talk about projects going over budget, being from Charlotte and all, but at least our over budget stuff is usually neat.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

From Africa, To Africa

I bought some coffee from Starbucks today. It's called "From Africa, To Africa" and as the name implies it's an African coffee and revenue from the product goes back to African farmers. That's nice.

Jane told me about it and she was really excited about it - she doesn't tout it much, but she actually really cares about helping people, she's a lovely person - so I bought it. It's actually quite good, though I'm not a huge coffee drinker because I have a delicate stomach.

The whole (red) line finds itself on the end of a lot of criticism, a lot. I'll admit that I seem like I'd be in that camp, but I'm not. We live in a consumer based society and at the moment there isn't much we can do about it on a grand scale. Companies aren't required to give any profits to anyone other than the shareholders of that company, and many of them simply don't. Thanks to NAFTA and it's ilk, companies aren't required to practice fair trade, and many of them simply don't. Thanks to deregulation the food industry isn't required to use products not tainted by growth hormones, and many of them simply don't. Starbucks does. See here: charities (ones they don't tout, they just do), fair trade, unmodified milk. Yeah, they actually do what they claim to do. Do you? Yes, that's a general rule, if you're going to call someone on it, you better damn well do it yourself.

Could Starbucks do better? God yes. Everyone could, and unless you live in a mud brick house, grow your own food, and use the sun as your only source of light, so could you. We could all do better, but most of us don't even try, Starbucks does and they deserve credit for that. Remember, this is a company that isn't exactly doing well either, so it's not like they have money to spend on this type of thing.

I'm not saying don't pressure them, by all means, write them letters and ask them to be more Green. Please do. For instance, they could put solar panels on some of their roofs, that'd be a nice start. I'm not on Starbucks' side, but calling them out for actually doing stuff is a bit crass. Who cares if they market it, they actually did it and that's what matters.

Starbucks isn't the enemy. They do some less than desirable things, yes, but they also do a lot more good than many other companies. You want a company that destroys lives, jobs, health, and the environment? Look no further than Monsanto. Want to make a difference? Stop them, not Starbucks. Starbucks doesn't have the blood of an entire town on their hands, Monsanto does: meet Anniston, Alabama. There's also the whole Agent Orange and the blood of an entire nation thing as well.

I also have to say, the (red) campaign is to raise awareness of AIDS in Africa. Believe it or not, many Americans simply aren't aware of the scope of the problem. You can blame this on a number of things, mainly the public schools and their infatuation with test scores while ignoring issues of worldly concern. There's another thing you can rail on. It needs to be advertised, that's how you get people's attention in America. When they went on Oprah and talked about (red), that was a big moment, that got people's attention. The companies involved made that moment happen.

I'm not arguing against traditional charity, that's a wonderful, wonderful thing. If you do it. But if you don't do it, don't you dare mention it.