Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

I know what you’re thinking – Obama hasn’t even taken office yet – how is it possible to judge whether voters chose the right president already. Well let’s take a quick look at events from the last few days:

– President-Elect Obama has gathered some of the top economic minds in the country to come up with ideas as to how to stimulate the country out of recession. He has received messages from Chavez, Ahmedinejad and the leader of Hamas, indicating that they are willing to talk.

– The Republicans have continued name-calling, only now they’re insulting each other, with McCain aides calling Palin a “diva” and Palin responding by calling them “jerks”

So I may be proven wrong yet but it certainly looks like yes, America made the right choice


1. Obama has excelled at everything he’s done – from modest beginnings to Harvard to the brink of the US Presidency.

2. He’s already shown himself to be calm in the face of a crisis already.

3. From the three million donors, to the tens of thousands of volunteers, this has truly been a people’s campaign.

4. With a couple of minor exceptions, Obama has been unflappable throughout the campaign in the face of numerous smears and has not responded in kind (even though some of us really wanted to see him do so at times). He has shown that it is possible to run a classy campaign and still be in a position to win.

5. As regards his lack of experience, this is only because he has learned faster than anybody could imagine and has moved up really quickly – he is ready for the White House

6. Obama is a true winner, starting out his campaign as an underdog with little money and backing and taking on two formidable political machines by inspiring people and running an amazing campaign.

7. In Joe Biden, Obama has an able deputy who will help him govern successfully, as he showed in the Vice-Presidential debate, when he skilfully defeated Sarah Palin, removing the possibility of a significant “Palin Did Better Than Expected” bounce.

8. The American people have, to a great extent, moved ahead of their politicians in their views of the issues of the 21st century – global warming, defeating terrorism, race, economic stability. In Barack Obama, they have a politician who has caught up with them.

9. His economic plan shows that he understands that the middle class is the engine of the economy and is the best chance we have of avoiding a deep and sustained recession.

10. And of course, his presidency would be historic on so many levels…a big step towards the ideals of the founding fathers who held it “to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”

PS Given the sad news of today regarding the loss of Obama’s grandmother, I would like to add my voice to the chorus of condolences being expressed all over the net – my thoughts are with him at this tragic and difficult time

If you’re still undecided, firstly make up your freakin’ mind!!! There’s less than forty-eight hours left!!! After 20 months, countless debates, numerous interviews and millions of ads, what more needs to be said?? Anyway, hopefully this list, compiled with my wife Meri (http://merihayden.wordpress.com) will swing it for you – if it doesn’t nothing will.  

1. Obama’s awesome jumpshot

2. Joe Biden has the whitest teeth on the planet

3. Neither one is Sarah Palin

4. Obama would never mix up a French-Canadian radio host with Nicolas Sarkozy

5. Obama looks like a GQ model (settle down Meri! – Sam)

6. Wardrobe budget will be considerably less

7. Between Obama’s booming voice and Biden’s intense eyes, they’ll scare the crap out of Bin Laden

8. Frees up Palin and McCain to pursue their own successful careers in TV and radio sketch shows

9. Keynesian plans to grow the economy from the bottom up (lighten up Sam!-Meri)

10. It’ll be a complete lurvefest

Again, I know I’m a little late into the discussion. I was just wondering what Joe the (unlicensed) Plumber would prefer: to pay 39% tax on his marginal income over $250,000 (note:NOT his total income) instead of 36% (assuming he does actually in the end earn that much profit after wages and other expenses), or to pay a pittance in tax under John McCain because he makes no profit as the economy is in the tank?

Look folks, all Western countries (even the US) made the collective decision throughout the twentieth century that there were certain services that were too vital to be left at the mercy of the vagaries of the marketplace. For both Europe and the US these included Fire, Police, Education, Infrastructure. Europe and Canada added Universal Healthcare to that while the US has thus far shied away from it. The US has decided to have a larger and more expensive military than European countries. Decisions were made to provide varying levels of welfare to those who weren’t gainfully employed for whatever reason. Thus taxes had to be collected to pay for these services to be available for the good of all citizens, rich and poor.

Decisions then had to be made as to how to share the cost burden of these services and again all Western countries made the decision that those with more money to spare should pay proportionally more than those earning less, mainly because they could afford it but also because to do otherwise would compromise the ability of those in lower paid jobs to earn a living wage for a fair day’s work.

Over the years, different countries have tweaked these variables to various extents and with varying levels of success. However the general principles of a progressive taxation system to pay for essential services has remained in place for decades, that is until it came under attack from neocons seeking a redistribution of wealth to the haves with the promise that it would trickle down. And with the election of George W Bush, they got to implement these policies leading to the economic crisis of today. So a modest rollback of the taxcuts received by the richest 5% to pay for tax cuts to the middle-class is not a Marxist wealth redistribution programme. (especially as the wealthy didn’t get this extra income through extra work, but rather through political manoeuvring) – it is a sensible return to the principles of a mixed market economy that served the Western World so well in creating and distributing prosperity reasonably well through the 20th century.

So please do not get scared by tags like “socialism” into making decisions that are not in your financial interest and that are to the detriment of the global economy.

So McCain and Palin have decided on a new line attack on Barack Obama – that his policies are Socialist – and like their other attacks just a cursory look at the facts should debunk this. So let’s see what they’ve tried before:

1. His middle name is Hussein and his last name is nearly Osama, thus he must be dodgy – turns out, this is what is widely known (although maybe only in liberal Anti-American circles) as a COINCIDENCE!!

2. He’s a Muslim, although obviously a pretty rubbish one, as he kept making a wrong turn into a Christian church for decades.

3. He attended to a radical, jihadist madrassa in Indonesia. However when one of the British news networks went there, the staff and students were all nice and friendly, we learned that they were respectful of his Non-Muslim status, although during Islamic religious studies he and other non-Muslims went to another room to catch up on their studies, and that they all wished him well (there goes number 2).

4. He’s dangerously inexperienced on foreign policy, yet in his debates with McCain he more than held his own on this area…and now Colin Powell has backed him.

5. He’s in league with America-hating terrorists…well, one actually, and his terrorism acts occurred when Obama was eight…and he’s been lecturing at a major university for twenty years…and they weren’t really in league with each other, they served on the board of the same charity…and that charity was set up by a member of the Reagan Administration…and Palin has much stronger ties with the America-hating secessionists of the Alaska Independence Party.

So how about the Socialism claims…well I don’t know, you go ask a middle-aged Eastern European whether an increase in tax on people earning over $250,000 from 36% to 39% equates to their experience of Totalitarian Socialism and watch them roll on the floor laughing. Oh My God, tax rates for the rich will go back to the levels they were at under Comrade Ronald Reagan!

Seriously, there is no country in the western world which is either purely capitalist or purely socialist. The US has socialized police, fire services, education and many other important (and perhaps some not so important government programs) while other countries like Germany, France, Britain and Canada manage to combine a Universal Health Care system and strong social safety net with a functioning market economy. And seeing that the eight-year experiment with extreme deregulation and deep (and unaffordable) tax cuts hasn’t exactly worked out as planned, perhaps it’s understandable if the good citizens of the USA aren’t completely freaked about a modest shuffle to the Left.

Who won? Who lost? Was a knockout blow landed? How should the debates be analysed? Is there an objective measure to determine who succeeded? Sporting metaphors abound (well actually boxing metaphors, mainly). But me, I’m going to use another sport for my analysis metaphor, one which unites me with suburban American Heartland homemakers: soccer.

Firstly, the clubs: It’s Obama-Biden FC v McCain-Palin United

Secondly: Tournament format: Four games with the first, third and fourth being contested by the clubs’ first teams, the second set aside for each club’s reserves. Winner determined by aggregate scores over the four matches.

Game 1: Team Obama v Team McCain. Played on what was supposed to be Team McCain’s hope patch, a late change in weather conditions combined with knocks picked up by Team McCain through over-exertion in an external mini-tournament plays into Team Obama’s hands somewhat and the tie becomes the proverbial “game of two halves”. In the first half Team Obama go on the attack forcing Team McCain onto the backfoot. Pressure pays off as Team Obama score a tidy goal by taking advantage of weaknesses shown by Team McCain that are similar to those displayed often by the unpopular, dirty and ultimately inept Team Bush. In the second half conditions improve for Team McCain and they score an early equaliser. However Team Obama show themselves more adept at the conditions than anticipated and soon retake the lead. Team McCain continue to attack, only to find that Team Obama are happy to soak up the pressure and create chances on the counter-attack and the game finishes with no additions to the scoreline. Final Score: Team Obama 2, Team McCain 1.

Game 2: Team Biden v Team Palin. In spite of being a reserve team game, this matchup is eagerly anticipated as the experienced but unpredictable Team Biden take on the inexperienced and unfancied Team Palin. There are concerns about whether Team Palin has any ability whatsoever and whether Team Biden will be too aggressive, losing support among neutral spectators or underestimating Team Palin and lose the match. The game starts at a high tempo, with Team Palin playing at a frantic pace and managing to string some passes together, leading to a scrambled goal for them. However, Team Biden soon take control of the game, smartly absorbing pressure from Team Palin and putting together a number of fluid passing movements, creating numerous chances and scoring two goals before half-time. In the second half the pattern continues and Team Biden score two more as Team Palin seem to run out of ideas and are reduced to chasing the game frantically and putting in a couple of wild tackles. Team Palin score before the end but it’s only a consolation. The most entertaining tie of the tournament ends: Team Biden 4, Team Palin 2.

Game 3: Team Obama v Team McCain: Played at a smaller, older, small-town venue, ostensibly to test the teams ability to play at grassroots level. This turns out to be a bad decision as the pitch turns out to be small and waterlogged and not conducive to expansive soccer and leads to a dull encounter. Team McCain doesn’t seem to want to attack to strongly, possibly due to fear of Team Obama’s counterattacking ability. Team Obama, meanwhile, seem happy to absorb whatever attacks are made by Team McCain comfortably, and this makes them appear like the superior team. However the only vaguely exciting moment of the evening occurs when Team McCain pick up a yellow card for a petulant kick out at “That One”. Final Score: 0-0

Game 4: Team Obama v Team McCain: Team McCain come out fighting aggressively, knowing that they need a big performance to have a chance of catching Team Obama. However, due to inferior ability, they resort to tough and sometimes dirty challenges on Team Obama. Team Obama manage to ride most challenges but Team McCain receive a yellow card for persistent fouling. Team McCain’s tactics lead to a scrappy goal, however Team Obama’s calm passing ability lead to two goals. Final score: Team Obama 2, Team McCain 1.

So final aggregate score in the tournament: Obama-Biden FC 8 McCain-Palin Utd 4. So I hope that clears it all up.

Do you agree with this analysis? If the debates are viewed as a soccer tournament, what was the aggregate result? Vote below.

In recent days Barack Obama’s lead in polls has tightened somewhat-for example the Gallup Daily has seen margin reduced from eleven points to seven. It’s still a winning lead but with two and a half weeks left to Election Day, with more attacks to come from the Republicans and considering he’s held a lead on two or three occasions before only to see it fritter away within days, it’s time to ask: