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Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Cyclist In Chief

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

There’s a cool article on Yahoo! news about President Bush mountain biking. I had heard that Bush was into mountain biking, but this is the first article I’ve seen that’s specifically about it. There’s another article here. Regardless of your opinion of Bush, you’ve got to admit that this is pretty cool.

So which card are you?

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

I, Squub pointed me to this WFMU blog posting by about one of Bank of America’s employees singing a modified version of U2’s “One” at a corporate conference celebrating their merger with MBNA. (See the video on YouTube) The singer, bank manager and independent musician Ethan Chandler, modified the lyrics to fit the occassion — see the WFMU blog for examples.

Apparently, this has caused quite an uproar, McClung saying that “it shows the crassness of corporate culture,” the YouTube comments are mostly along the same lines, and Squub is disgusted as well, calling it “cringeworthy.” He quotes the following lines:

“And we’ll make lots of money. Forever I can sing about trusting in teamwork and doing the right thing. We’ll live out our core values while the competition crawls, ‘cause they want what we have got.”

I don’t find any of this even remotely offensive. What is the purpose of a corporation if not to make lots of money? Who cares if they want to sing a song while doing it? Squub points out that they’re talking about values, yet not demonstrating any values. That may be true, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with a merger, and they aren’t demonstrating a lack of values in any other way, either (Keep in mind that I know basically nothing about this merger aside from this). Besides, lots of people talk about values and never really follow through — in no way is that specific to corporations.

I view this in the same way I view a lot of corporate feel-goodery. I think it’s silly, and I wouldn’t be motivated by it, but I do find it extremely amusing. In fact, I think that Chandler’s adaptation of the song is in fact quite clever. Not to mention that the guy can sing!

At one point in my conversation with Squub, he asked, “Is this a political discussion?” It may not be directly political, but I do think politics have a lot to do with it. I happen to believe that wanting to make lots of money can be a good motivator. Some people find this focus on money revolting.

So, who’s right? Is this a harmless, silly corporate motivational song, or is this an example of disgusting corporate greed infringing upon art?

I’d ponder it some more, but I need to get back to making lots of money for my company.


Friday, November 10th, 2006

I meant to write about the election sooner, but I’ve been too busy working on my blog to actually write in it. I’m not really going to go into any of The Issues, but there are some things I feel compelled to mention.

This was the first time I’ve bothered voting. In the past, I either lived in Illinois, where the Democrats were sure to win, or in Texas, where the Republicans were sure to win, so I didn’t really see much point, especially since I never seem to like any of the candidates. When it’s a “lesser of two evils” situation and you know your vote is not going to make any difference one way or the other, it’s hard to be motivated to vote. But this election, I knew it was going to be a close race and felt like I needed to do my part.
However, I had a pretty hard time actually voting. First of all, the polls here close at 6:00 pm, which is OK, but kind of crappy. I had to leave work a little early in order to (hopefully) leave myself enough time to vote.
I was confused about where I was supposed to vote. To make a long story short, I first went to University Elementary School first, when really I needed to be at the University Gym (owned by Indiana University). Having two polling places, University Gym and University Elementary School (which, of course, has a gym) was pretty confusing.

I had given myself enough time for a mistake like this, and got to University Gym to vote. Indiana has a new law requiring voters to show photo ID — this is brand new and is the first election to have this requirement here. Similar laws have been struck down by the courts in some other states, saying they put undue burden on voters. I don’t have a problem with the photo ID requirement. I always have photo ID with me anyway, and I knew in advance I would need it. I thought I had myself covered.

So I get to the front of the (very short) line and give them my ID. The guy tells me he can’t accept my ID because it’s an out of state driver’s license (I still have my Texas license). I was furious. I hadn’t heard anything saying the ID we used had to be from Indiana, and really didn’t expect it. They were even accepting Indiana University IDs, which I’m sure are made by some work-study kid with a webcam at some IU building; in fact, you can get an IU ID using an out of state ID, so I’m really not sure how that’s more legitmate than my Texas driver’s license.

Should I have an Indiana driver’s license by now? Sure. I’m not sure the specifics, but I think that I am supposed to have gotten an Indiana license within x days of moving here, or something. But I’ve moved around so much in the past few years that getting a new license every time I moved would’ve been a real burden — so I haven’t done so. Maybe I could get a ticket for that or something, I don’t know. I’ve even been meaning to get an Indiana license, but have been putting it off. Regardless, that definitely shouldn’t prevent me from voting!

Anyway, the guy told me that he could only take Indiana IDs, or ones issued by the federal government. I went home to try to find my passport. It took me a bit to find it, but I did and made it back just in time to be the last person to vote in my district. I’m lucky that I even have a passport, because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to vote.

I felt a bit lame about voting, because I really wasn’t informed going in there. I had been meaning to learn about the candidates, but never got around to it. Most of the things I intend to do never happen.

On a semi-related note, why did Rumsfeld resign once all was already lost? It seems to me that his leaving could have been helpful to Republicans if it had happened before the election; A lot of people love to hate Rumsfeld, and some new leadership in the war could have increased people’s confidence in the administration and Republicans in general. Instead, he leaves when it’s too late for that to make any difference in the election. What gives?

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