What? Other Countries Don't Have Democracy, That's Silly

I think I follow more U.K.ians than Americans on YouTube. Because of this, I happen to know that U.K. general elections are coming up, and have taken an interest in the various differences between the U.S. system of government and the U.K. system of government.

First off the U.K. has a multi-party system, which I find endlessly fascinating. I had never even considered the fact that perhaps a country doesn’t have to be completely polarized into two completely opposite and extreme viewpoints.

The three largest parties, currently, are:

the Conservative Party, which has similar ideologies to that of the Republican Party here in the U.S.

the Labour Party began in favor of socialism, but its ideologies have since shifted to a position of democratic socialism.

the Liberal Democrats promote ideas of social liberalism and progressivism.

Historically, the Conservative Party and the Labour Party have been the two largest parties. In recent polls, however, all three parties appear to be about equal.

From what I could determine, the Prime minister and parliament don’t have set term limits, but instead the monarch dissolves parliament whenever he or she wants, although in accordance with the uncodified constitution, this is always done on the suggestion of the Prime Minister, limited to five year terms maximum. The monarch also has the authority to choose any citizen to be the Prime Minister, although, also in accordance with the uncodified constitution, this is always the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons.

This is different from the U.S. system, in that the voters don’t directly vote for the Prime minister, as they do the president in America. Instead they vote for the party, and they know that the leader of that party will become the Prime Minister.

I find the upcoming U.K. elections fascinating, and I will continue to cover the elections as events unfold.

Why Did the iPad Sell so Well?

As expected, the Macheads lined up like sheep yesterday, worshipping their almighty god, Steve Jobs, by paying him up to $800 in return for his latest edition piece of rubbish… wait a minute, what am I talking about? I love Apple. I would’ve been lined up there with them if I could come up with any conceivable use for the iPad that isn’t already accomplished by my phone, iPod, or laptop. . For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Apple released the iPad yesterday, a kind-of-tablet-computer-kind-of-huge-iPod-Touch-thing. With the cheapest one

holding 16GB of memory, no camera, no 3G, and not even supporting Flash Player, I can’t think a possible use I would have for this device that isn’t accomplished better by my laptop. However, I am scratching my head as to what 300,000 people figured out that I couldn’t. The skeptic/hater-of-humanity-and-firm-believer-that-everyone-on-the-planet-is-stupid in me thinks that if Steve Jobs redesigned Windows Vista so

that this was the default desktop, and it made that pretty Mac startup sound (which is so much better than the Windows startup sound, but I digress) it would’ve been heralded as the operating system of the future, and 300,000 people would’ve stood in line to upgrade their Macs. Maybe this is because Mac users are stupid, but I think not, partly because my MacBook Pro releases a telepathic pulse that forces me to defend all members of the iCult at all costs. I think its probably because, well, Apple products are shiny and pretty, and they look like someone took a piece off of the U.S.S. Enterprise and handed it to you. They look like the next big thing, probably because they always are the next big thing, and people want to make sure they’re the first to get their hands on the next big thing.

Oh Right! That Title Thing!

Allow me to exploit this story as a vehicle to mount my soapbox, once again. This story really bothered me, and more than just because of the content of the story, it was the article itself. The story is about a Christian militia that was prevented, by the FBI, from going through with a horrific killing spree of law-enforcement officers. The article talks a lot about who was involved, what happened, where it took place and when, but there is only one sentence in the entire story explaining why. I think this signifies a grievous oversight our general priorities. Sure, the FBI was able stop this attack, this time. But if we spent more time examining the thought processes that go along with planning such an appalling act of violence, we could address the actual cause. It all goes back to that “teach a man to fish” scenario.

Oh my gosh! What is that?

(it’s a Segway, get it? Because what I’m going to talk about next is completely unrelated, and so to segue I put up a picture of a Segway, because Segway and segue are homophones…. you get it.)

Today, Ricky Martin revealed that he is gay. In a similar story, historians are now hypothesizing that popular 50’s R&B musician, Ray Charles, may have suffered from some degree of visual impairment.

As much as I applaud Ricky Martin for finally coming out, I’m a little it upset that he waited so long. When he was asked about his sexual orientation, when people actually cared, that is (circa 1999), he would avoid the question or straight up say that he didn’t want to talk about it. I kind of thing that this is how everybody should respond when asked about their sexual orientation, it’s nobody else’s business, and people should be allowed to reveal facets of their character on their own time and at their own comfort level.

But he always refused to answer the question because he was embarrassed about the answer, and afraid it would ruin his career. What kind of example is that set for all the young in-the-closet boys who want to grow up to be the next Ricky Martin? Stay in the closet until your career is dead, and so that when you finally do come out the media and the world erupts in a resounding cry of “duuuuuhhhhhhh”?

*descends soapbox*

Tada! Health Care!

For the n00bs: The Health Care Bill passed. Where have you been?

But what does that entail, exactly?

At the very least it means that Obama will not go down in history as that attractive guy with the great speechwriter who sat in the Whitehouse twiddling his thumbs for four years. It also means that the democrats have actually done something with their majority in Congress, and it means that for the length of time it takes to vote at least, the politicians weren’t worrying about getting reelected and were instead worrying about getting something done.

Yes, but what does it actually DO?

Throughout this entire struggle, I’ve heard more misinformation about the health care bill than I have real information (“Death Panels” anyone?). It seems to me that most people who oppose the bill do so on principle, because Obama is the president, or because he’s a democrat, or because his dad was from Kenya, or because they lap up like starving rats every hate-filled, repugnant, misinformed, bigoted, discriminatory, tearful word that falls out of Glenn Beck’s mouth like acid rain on the heads of the ignorant and weak-minded— whoa, sorry, just a wee bit of a digression. Moving on.

At any rate, people seem to oppose the bill with little or no knowledge of what is actually in it, so I took the time to read all 1,000+ pages of the bill and thought I’d outline it for you now complete with visual aids. And by all that, of course, I mean I searched for #healthcarereform on Twitter, and I found this and this (I know, it’s FOX, so just take it with a grain of salt, although this article seems pretty ok, “fair and balanced”-wise).

The highlights for me are that I won’t be booted off my parents’ insurance plan until I’m 26. This is good, because I’ll be turning 22 (when I’d normally be kicked off) in four years, and I somehow doubt that I’ll have the capabilities to obtain or pay for any sort of insurance anything.

Also, if when I’m 26, I can’t afford health insurance, the government will help me pay for it, or if I make little enough, I can go on a government plan.

The bill isn’t perfect, by any means. But it’s certainly a step in the right direction, a conversation starter of sorts. Now, we’ve got 9 more months of holding the majority in congress, I propose we get something radical done. Marriage equality, anyone?

(Three days later...) Oh! That's Right! Blogs Need a Title!

This week’s news story makes me a little bit sick to my stomach, so I’m just going to write this and be done with it, because I think its something that you should know about. I don’t know to whom I’m particularly referring when I say “you,” but it could include any literate English speaker with access to Internet, and if that’s the case, you should know about this. Also, tell all your illiterate, non-English speaking friends with no Internet, because they should probably hear about it too.

But I digress, again. Basically, Utah is trying to pass a law that would attempt to prevent illegal abortions in that State, by “criminalizing a [pregnant] woman's ‘intentional, knowing, or reckless act’ “ that leads her to have a miscarriage. What this law would actually do is make it possible for any woman who has a miscarriage in Utah to be charged with homicide and possibly serve life in prison.

Personally, as a woman, an individual who might conceivably get pregnant one day, and also might conceivably go to Utah one day, the fact that this law is even up for discussion is disturbing. Who is the state of Utah to tell me what I can and can’t do while in a particular medical state? I think this is a violation of civil rights, and freewill, but I think a lot of laws are violations of freewill, which isn’t protected in any constitution I’ve ever read, so I’ll try not to dwell on it.

The law doesn’t even make sense, since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, ruling that a fetus is a fetus and not a baby, why should the state pass any laws protecting that which the Supreme Court ruled is not alive? By that logic, it should be illegal for anybody to, for example, fall down the stairs, or consent to getting punched in the stomach.

Alright, well, that’s enough of that. I shouldn’t get too angry, it might raise my blood pressure and damage the eggs in my ovaries, which may one day become a fetus, which may one day become a baby. I really need to stop engaging in such “reckless acts.”

Various Things That I Thought Were Cool

So… this…

Is just about the coolest thing of all time. Finally! All of my nerdy dreams are coming true! They have a laser that can shoot down a missile, next thing you know this technology is going to be mounted on an Ds-1 Orbital Battle Station, pointed directly at the peaceful planet of Alderaan. So let’s do our best to keep this technology out of the hands of the Empire- I mean Iran.

So, apparently, Obama doesn’t do his own tweeting. I have to say, I feel betrayed, all this time I’ve been following him, thinking I had a special connection to the president. LIES. Although, I suppose I should have known, I thought it was a little suspicious that he kept tweeting quotes from the State of the Union Address while he was giving it.

Anyways, apparently he’s looking for a new tweeter, and I’d like to make this my formal application for the job. I’ve even included a few samples of possible tweets from the president:

ObamaLogo1.jpgBarackObama OMG lyk srsly letz git #healthcarereform trending. RT plz.


BarackObama Got spammed by some trolls/fiscal conservatives. You guys need to back off with the hate.


BarackObama Oh NOEZ! teh nashunal debt iz up 2 $12.3 tril. #gotsomesplainintodo.

I guess he also has an entire new media department. Really? You mean people are getting paid to go on Facebook? And not just one person, no, it takes an entire department full of people to maintain the president’s Facebook account. I think I’m headed down the wrong career path.

Lastly, this story piqued my interest for two reasons. Firstly, I was fascinated to learn they have these things called “payphones” that are apparently just like cell phones that are attached to a booth-like device, sitting around randomly on sidewalks and stuff, that you have to pay to use. Who knew?

But what was really interesting was the scenario I imagine this poor reporter had to go through to get this story. Basically, I imagine he stood on a sidewalk, outside a courthouse, in Queens for 36 hours. He probably went home occasionally, but in the scenario in my mind, I like to imagine that he stayed there the full day and a half, nonstop. So, he’s waiting for someone to use this payphone, which I imagine didn’t happen a whole lot because it’s a payphone and it’s 2010, but then, after someone used the payphone, this reporter had to walk up and try to interview them about the reasons and situations surrounding their payphone usage. As much fun as that sounds, I think I’ll stick with being Obama’s personal tweeter, thanks.

My Superbowl Letdown

Probably the thing that I was most looking forward to talking about this week was that big controversy over the Tim Tebow Anti-Abortion Superbowl ad.

The endless internal war from the liberals between free speech and civil rights finally comes to a head when the pro-lifers fork out the dough and convince millions of women to change their evil and heathenish ways.

Or… not, that’s cool too.

When the subject of the controversy finally aired, and then I watched it on YouTube three hours later, I was completely underwhelmed. Sure, it had all the cheesy, fake, family-oriented, vomit-inducing factors of a conservative trying to sell me something, but what was the product? The ad was for a website, www.focusonthefamily.com, which I went to, just out of curiosity. After perusing the site for about ten minutes, I found the word “pray” in bold a few too many times for my liking, but other than that, I couldn’t find anything more than not-so-subtle Christian bias telling me not to have an abortion.

So I’m trying to figure out who won in this situation. I want to say it’s a pro-lifer fail, because they didn’t convince me of anything. But on the other hand, they didn’t attempt to encourage anyone to overturn Roe v. Wade either, or try overly hard to change my religion. Plus, there was a group that did try to get the commercial banned, which I am so not ok with.

So, I’m going to go with a pro-choice: fail on this one. Weird, I know. Well, I suppose you don’t know, but that is not at all like me.

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