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Archive for October, 2009

Part 3 in a series of 21-22.


Obama and some anti-American hooligan without a flag pin.

I wanted to compare Obama with some president, because everyone is (or was 8-12 months ago) doing the same. First, I asked myself several questions. Which president should I pick? Is Obama Kennedy? Is Obama FDR? Is Obama Ford? Is Obama Hayes? The short answer to all of these questions: Reagan, Kind of, Hmmm, No, and Who isn’t.

It’s almost impossible that all of the men who have been president wouldn’t have a few large, and a lot of imaginary or superficial, things in common. After all there were a lot of lawyers, businessmen and career politicians in the bunch. If each of them took the same online personality quiz at least half would say, “Hey, the quiz says I’m Jim from The Office.” Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Schrute.

The Kennedy-Lincoln comparison is popular, but faulty where most of the similarities are stretching the truth or made up, almost as if I had made the list. Although I would have included that both hid the truth about illnesses they had while in office and both (probably) contracted malaria. DUN.DUN.DUNNN. I chose to compare Reagan and Obama because it would be the most annoying to anyone who really likes Reagan or really likes Obama. Plus, it was super easy.

Obama himself made the comparison in January 2008, saying

“I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what is different is the times. I do think that, for example, the 1980 election was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not…I think he tapped into what people were already feeling. Which is we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

And boy, were John Edwards and a lot of Republicans not pleased with this, according to titles I glanced over in a short Google search.

Warming up: Reagan was born in Illinois, although the fact that I’ve yet to see his birth certificate makes me suspicious he was ever born at all. Obama was a senator from the state of Illinois.

  • Reagan and Obama are the messiahs of the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively, with John McCain occasionally saying nice things about both of them. Maverick!
  • Reagan used television as effectively as Obama used the Internet.
  • Both ran against male presidential candidates with female vice presidential candidates.
  • Both had Vice Presidents with the same letter in their last name.
  • Biden and Bush Sr. each walk the line between being a competent politician and perpetually silly.

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Obama and Reagan were both born left handed and remained left handed through adulthood.

Mixed feelings, middle names: Obama’s middle name Hussein is the surname of good guy King Hussein and bad guy Saddam. Reagan’s middle name Wilson is the surname of Rainn Wilson, who’s likable because he’s Dwight, and mean ol Joe Wilson.

Mixed feelings, general: We could argue all day about which president hung out with which terrorists and who funded whatever contras and such. I’m not going to post pictures of Reagan hanging out with the Taliban or Obama and Chavez (stupid Chavez). But the one thing we can agree on is that both Reagan and Obama have both ordered controversial invasions on the island of Grenada. But then again, what president hasn’t? And even if Obama hasn’t technically done it, Ollie North isn’t dead yet.

I like both of them: I like both of them. Obama and Reagan are some of the handful of presidents I will read three or more autobiographies or biographies (unlike two book limit presidents Taylor and Washington). Just last week I watch a tribute to Ronald Reagan’s best greatest speeches. I loved it and kept referring to it as a “Tribute to Ronald Reagan’s Greatness” because I thought that was the title. Obama has my vote locked up in 2012, unless the GOP decides to pick the folksy powerhouse that would be a PalinJindal ticket. Or if Al Franken runs.

Hollywood loved Reagan and Hollywood loves Obama: Unless they’re not a member of that person’s party. Chuck Norris for instance, loved Reagan (I imagine) and hates Obama. Chuck Norris is a terrible human being. Not for his opinion of Obama, as most Obama critics are nice people, but just in general.

Chester A. Arthur Fashion Plate Award : First Ladies Nancy Reagan and Michelle Obama, Fashion Icons. Although it wasn’t that hard to win best dressed in the 1980s.

Really reaching: Reagan had four children, Obama had two, but both had two with the woman who would be First Lady during their term(s) as president. Both have six syllables in their names if you pronounce Obama “Obb-ma.”

Also: Both gave speeches using the words hope and change in front of a crowd of cheering Germans, which means Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan are also both literally Hitler.

Also: Both Secret Service code names for them and their families started with R.
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Highlights of my afternoon early voting adventure: breezing through the line at my polling place, the act of voting itself, and meeting the lady I planned to vote for in a school board election.

I did not tell her I was voting for her partly because her name sounded like a character on the show Parks and Recreation. Mostly I voted for her because her pamphlet was informative and filled with nerd facts whereas her opponent’s pamphlet was flashy and had a baseball field on it. Finally after years of regret that I hadn’t been born three weeks earlier, I was able to vote for Gore, sort of.

Tragically the number of “I Voted” stickers in my scrapbook remains at zero.

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Nephew #2 holding nephew #4, born about a month ago. Because I live in the same city as my sister, Samuel was the first nephew I got to see on the day he was born. It turns out 5 hour old babies are the opposite of cute,* but he grew cute fast. He was born in the same hospital as his mom and I, but I don’t know if he ever got out of the hospital, as this sign greeted my brother and me as we left the maternity ward.

*Also, while standing outside the baby viewing room, one lady looked at me and then at my brother-in-law and said, “So, you’re the…Grandmother?”

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Election 2009, Texas

There are so many things I love about Fall. There’s pumpkin pie, the change in weather, pumpkin cookies, less kids around in the day time, and the amazing and terrifying fried pumpkin pies from Whataburger and the radio ads for Whataburger that insist on pronouncing the word Punkin. However, the greatest thing about Fall has to be ELECTION DAY! Of course, this election day isn’t as sexy as last year, what with the Palin and the Obama and all that sweet, sweet pie, but despite their absence I will be voting on November 3rd (I’m hoping that this will be the year they give me an “I voted” sticker).

I have been a registered voter since that fateful day in 2000, when, a good three weeks after the 2000 election I turned 18 and marked a little box on a form at the Department of Public Safety while renewing my license. I have also been an unregistered voter since 1996, when I cast a vote in middle school for Bill Clinton and thought for months that I had determined the outcome of the real election.

Next month I’ll be voting for school board members and on 11 Texas amendments. Since there are so many, many exciting things that I barely understand, but heard about once in high school government class (it’s always a lie if I tell you I know what eminent domain means), I’m preparing by reading various blogs and editorial articles on the amendments. If you are a Texas resident, the League of Women Voters of Texas has a list of pros/cons for each amendment. I’m undecided on some amendments, but I’ll change them here when I decide. The proposition to get more pie in more mouths seems to be missing.

Amendment No. 1 (H.J.R. 132)
Authorizing the financing, including through tax increment financing, of the acquisition by municipalities and counties of buffer areas or open spaces adjacent to a military installation for the prevention of encroachment or for the construction of roadways, utilities, or other infrastructure to protect or promote the mission of the military installation.

Undecided, obviously, what does that even mean.

Amendment No. 2 (H.J.R. 36, Article 1)
Authorizing the legislature to provide for the ad valorem taxation of a residence homestead solely on the basis of the property’s value as a residence homestead.

Undecided

Amendment No. 3 (H.J.R. 36, Article 3)
Providing for uniform standards and procedures for the appraisal of property for ad valorem tax purposes.

Undecided

Amendment No. 4 (H.J.R. 14, Article 2)
Establishing the national research university fund to enable emerging research universities in this state to achieve national prominence as major research universities and transferring the balance of the higher education fund to the national research university fund.

Yes on 4

Amendment No. 5 (H.J.R. 36, Article 2)
Authorizing the legislature to authorize a single board of equalization for two or more adjoining appraisal entities that elect to provide for consolidated equalizations.

Yes on 5

Amendment No. 6 (H.J.R. 116)
Authorizing the Veterans’ Land Board to issue general obligation bonds in amounts equal to or less than amounts previously authorized.

Yes on 6

Amendment No. 7 (H.J.R. 127)
Allowing an officer or enlisted member of the Texas State Guard or other state militia or military force to hold other civil offices.

No on 7 Other people might want those jobs. Or just one of those jobs.

Amendment No. 8 (H.J.R. 7)
Authorizing the state to contribute money, property, and other resources for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of veterans hospitals in this state.

Yes on 8.

Amendment No. 9 (H.J.R. 102)
Protecting the right of the public, individually and collectively, to access and use the public beaches bordering the seaward shore of the Gulf of Mexico.

Undecided The Houston Chronicle says yes, but the angry people who comment on chron.com say NOoo!!!1

Amendment No. 10 (H.J.R. 85)
Providing that elected members of the governing boards of emergency services districts may serve terms not to exceed four years.

Undecided

Amendment No. 11 (H.J.R. 14, Article 1)
Prohibiting the taking, damaging, or destroying of private property for public use unless the action is for the ownership, use, and enjoyment of the property by the State, a political subdivision of the State, the public at large, or entities granted the power of eminent domain under law or for the elimination of urban blight on a particular parcel of property, but not for certain economic development or enhancement of tax revenue purposes, and to limit the legislature’s authority to grant the power of eminent domain to an entity.

Yes on 11? No?

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