Friday, September 26, 2008

Uncovering the Political Truths

The biggest news stories of the past few weeks have circulated around the upcoming November 4th presidential election. When elections come around every four years they are accompanied by the usual smearing and under-the-belt politics that the campaigns, for whatever reason, feel obliged to use.

I really hate negative-campaigning, like when the candidates focus their energy on their opponents bad decisions rather than focusing on what they can bring to the county. Both John McCain and Barack Obama are guilty of attacking each other with whatever political ammunition they can find, be it truth or subterfuge. As one can imagine this makes it quite difficult for the public to decifer the candidate's policies accurately, and I believe that at this point the candidate's have thrown so much muck themselves that they are probably just as confused as to what they are standing for anymore as any of us are.

Now I call to you lone political scholar, do not cry, don't be sad. Our constantly thinking friends of Internet lore have an answer for all these confusing accusations. Two Web sites, Fact Check and PolitiFact have been launched to supply the truthful answers to all of the superfluous non-sensible bullshit that comes out of our politicians mouths. Fact Check is written in more of a blog type form, which just highlights the most recent accusations and judges their truthfulness.
A more recent Fact Check post reads:

A wildlife group's ad attacks Palin for supporting the shooting of wolves from airplanes. She does, but there's more to it than that.

Then the article goes on and explains in full detail what's up with Palin's views on this, my synopsis is that Sarah Palin hates puppies. PolitiFact is a bit more interactive than Fact Check and has really cool features like the Truth-O-Meter which is an electronic meter which rates the truthfulness of a statement, and then backs it up with things the candidate might have said or voted on. The truth-o-meter is interactive and fun! Let's again rate the truthfulness of a recent Sarah Palin comment.

If an Iranian woman shows too much hair in public, she risks being beaten or killed.

The PolitiFact truth-o-meter judged this statement to be totally false, again demonstrating Palin's inepetitude regarding anything foreign policy related. My own synopsis on this, Sarah Palin hates women? I just don't understand any other legitamate reason she would say that if it was never true in the first place.

How do Web sites like Politifact and Fact Check find the correct information to judge the truthfulness of these candidates statements? Once again the Internet Gods are mighty, there are two other sites I want to talk about that highlight the candidate's voting records and general backround. These are Project Vote Smart, which has a plethora of background information on not only the major and minor presidential candidates, but basically all the elected officials working in the Federal government. This site provides biographies, policy positions, campaign financing, as well as transcipts of speeches of everyone involved, it is quite dense, but full of information.

The final site which is more a database than a site, run by the Washington Post, it is the U.S. Congress Votes Database, which supplies details of every vote from every congressperson since 1991. This is a great resource in checking what either Obama or McCain have voted for or against during their time in the Senate or could be used to check whether your local congressperson is voting in favor of you, the constituent, or if they're voting more for their own political benefits. Now, because this is MY blog we will take a short look at MY congressman....can I get a drum role please?

Hailing a staunch 5'7 frame, graduate of Fordham University, hailing from Montclair, New Jersey, please join me in welcoming the Congressman from the 8th district of NJ, BILL PASCRELL!!!!!!!!!!!!
His votes:

DateVotePositionGOP opinionDEM opinion
9/24/08 Vote 628: H RES 1488: Providing for Consideration of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2638, Making Appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security Fy 2008 Yes No Yes
9/23/08 Vote 627: H R 642: Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones College Fire Prevention Act Yes Yes Yes
9/23/08 Vote 626: H R 5352: Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2008 Yes Yes Yes
9/23/08 Vote 625: H R 6983: Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 Yes Yes Yes
9/23/08 Vote 624: H R 6897: Filipino Veterans Equity Act 2008 Yes Yes Yes
9/23/08 Vote 623: H R 5244: Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008 Yes No Yes
9/23/08 Vote 622: H R 5244: Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008 No Yes No
9/23/08 Vote 621: S J RES 45: Expressing the Consent and Approval of Congress to An Interstate Compact Regarding Water Resources in the Great Lakes--St. Lawrence River Basin Yes Yes Yes
9/23/08 Vote 620: H RES 1476: Providing for Consideration of H.R. 5244, Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008 Yes No Yes
9/23/08 Vote 619: H RES 1476: Providing for Consideration of H.R. 5244, Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008 Yes No Yes
9/22/08 Vote 618: H R 6853: Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Coordinator Act of 2008 Not Voting Yes Yes
9/22/08 Vote 617: H R 1907: Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program Act Not Voting Yes Yes
9/22/08 Vote 616: H R 6685: To Authorize the Secretary of the Interior to Provide An Annual Grant to Facilitate An Iron Working Training Program for Native Americans Not Voting Yes Yes
9/18/08 Vote 615: H R 6460: Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization Act of 2008 Yes Yes Yes
9/18/08 Vote 614: H R 3036: No Child Left Inside Act of 2008 Yes No Yes
9/18/08 Vote 613: H R 3036: No Child Left Inside Act of 2008 No Yes No
9/18/08 Vote 612: H R 3036 Yes Yes Yes
9/18/08 Vote 611: H RES 1441: Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3036, to Amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 Regarding Environmental Education, and for Other Purposes Yes No Yes
9/18/08 Vote 610: H RES 1441: Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3036, to Amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 Regarding Environmental Education, and for Other Purposes Yes No Yes
9/18/08 Vote 609: H RES 1460 Yes No Yes

Ahhh what a mench! The man votes with his party every time, at least he's not a flip-flopper I suppose.
All Senators and Congresspeople can be found on this site, and it really does provide an excellent resource in making the votes readily available to the Internet population. Thus bringing us in full circle in uncovering if what the politician said is really what they mean.

As you'll find out, politicians are usually full of it, except Bill Pascrell of course.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Great Depression Part II

"It's funny how money changes situations."
- Lauryn Hill

The United States of America, a land of once unfathomable wealth and resources, is now entering a darker stage of its history.
The bank crisis has hit with big Wall Street firms like Lehman Brothers filing for bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch giving selling itself to Bank of America, and the government giving an $85 billion loan to AIG to keep itself afloat. It should come to no surprise of course that our wonderful government wants all of us little people to pay more taxes to keep the big firms alive.

If this doesn't make sense to you either please raise your hand.
Wall Street is taking a hard hit, the US is in a tedious recession and has been for quite some time. But what is a recession?

12 dictionary results for: recession Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This re·ces·sion1 [ri-sesh-uhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
1.the act of receding or withdrawing.
2.a receding part of a wall, building, etc.
3.a withdrawing procession, as at the end of a religious service.
4.Economics. a period of an economic contraction, sometimes limited in scope or duration. Compare depression (def. 7).

It's the last one that applies to us here : )

You see, I think that the government using the peoples tax dollars to basically bail out big companies to end this recession is just the most unAmerican and ludacris idea. I don't invest in these companies so why the **** (explative) should I pay to keep them alive? The government is trying to cover the economic disaster the Bush administration has brought unto us by paying with tax payers dollars to keep PRIVATE companies afloat.

If you're still confused please join my mind.

I don't get how its remotely acceptable for my hard earned money to go to this silly AIG company. I'd much rather my money go to a place like Cappy's Pizza and Subs..... on a late Saturday morning.... when I'm hungry.....for pizza, not to some elitist insurance company that I'm probably not even qualified to be insured with.

Ron Paul, wrote a very interesting article exclusivly for cnn about this, he believes and I agree that government intervention in the market only leads to inflation and false numbers and will end poorly. Ron Paul Article. He said this:

Until the big-government apologists realize the error of their ways, and until vocal free-market advocates act in a manner which buttresses their rhetoric, I am afraid we are headed for a rough ride.

It's a good read and definitely fills in some of the blanks regarding this financial crunch we're in.

Get the government out of my wallet, get the government out of my life, together let us cry.....FREEDOM!!!!

p.s. sign ups for the revolution will be held after class.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

comprehensive thoughts on three blogs

My first blog ever.

Pertaining to the assignment in my class I'd like to talk about three individual blogs that I visit and occasionally take the time to digest.

I am a tech junkie, I've used computers my entire life and have grown up in this "Me" generation that is absolutely obsessed with technology. A lay person might ask, what might it mean to be a tech junkie? It means that I needed the iPhone 3G when it came out, that I will not watch television that is not at least 720 psi HD quality, and the Xbox 360 is one of my best friends (not really, but kinda?).

The blog that I visit to keep myself up to date on all things technologically concerned is Each blog post focuses on a new product or software and basically highlights the features and rumors about it. I like this post titled "Lenovo rolls out bundle of new enviro-minded ThinkVision monitors"

Lenovo's already kicked out a pair of low-end
ThinkVision monitors
that promise to do their small part for the
environment, and it's now finally expanded that enviro-mindedness to some of its
higher-end offerings. At the very top of the heap is the 24-inch L2440x
(pictured above), which boasts the usual 1920x1200 and some less-than-common
white LED backlighting, which is apparently a first for a Lenovo monitor. Those
looking to keep things fluorescent-backed can also opt for the otherwise
identical L2440p, or you can drop down to the 22-inch L2240p monitor, which also
scales the resolution back to 1680 x 1050. Rounding out the latest offerings are
the 17-inch L1700p and 19-inch L1940p, which unsurprisingly offer the biggest
energy savings and, like the other models, also pack less mercury content than
your usual LCD monitor. Look for the whole lot of them to be available by the
end of this month, with prices ranging from $230 to $750.

Although may be totally superfluous to you, an environment friendly LCD monitor sounds like bliss to one like me, who is always looking to use as little mercury in my monitor as possible. Kudos Lenovo and thank you for the awesome information edgadget!

Every time I open up Mozilla Firefox on my computer there is one site I visit before any other, not my e-mail, not Facebook, but a little ol' news blog called The Drudge Report. The Drudge Report, run by news junkie Matt Drudge, brings news headlines from publications and pictures from all over the world to the homepage of his site for viewers to link to. His site is so visited that it is held in high regard in Washington D.C. as a place that can make or sometimes break a politician's (cough...Hillary Clinton..cough) career, obviously depending on a story and/or accompanying photograph he finds and links to. Although most of his content is from other news sources he does post rumors that he has received from confidential sources as developing stories.

Right now at 4:26 PM on September 17th, 2008 he has a developing story as follows:


Hopefully in a few hours we will see the full story, with Matt Drudge reporting I have no doubt that we will.

The last blog I have in my mind is one that means a lot to me personally. Yes, I Jared Molton am a Prestidigitator, otherwise called magician. Over the past few years I've had the great opportunity to work at the oldest magic shop in the United States in New York City, Tannens Magic Shop.
Over the past few months Tannen's has started their own blog, Tannen's Magic Blog, that is linked to from their store website. The blog represents news within the magic community and therefore is something that magicians like me would hold a lot of interest in. The blog has updates on TV's favorite magician, David Blaine, and his newest
One of my favorite magicians Guy Hollingsworth, who had left the field of magic to pursue a career in law for several years has returned again to art of mystery, so the Tannen's Blog reports.

Guy Hollingworth is an English conjuror known for his skillful card magic and elegant performing style. He created a sensation in the magic community with his trick The Reformation, in which a signed playing card is torn into four pieces and then visibly restored one piece at a time. He is well known for his acclaimed book, Drawing Room Deceptions. Some of his card magic is also featured in his videos The London Collection and Routines. He was also featured on NBC's "World's Greatest Magic III" TV special.

Hollingworth is currently performing "Expert at the Card Table" at the Assembly's 2008 season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August. The show contains deception, betrayal and cheating at cards. Renowned conjurer Guy Hollingworth performs dazzling exhibitions of card chicanery and incomparable legerdemain whilst unraveling the mystery of its enigmatic author.

I was a huge fan of Hollingworth's only book, "Drawing Room Deceptions" and so his return to the magic circle is great for all magicians who are interested in very simple but yet oh so complicated card tricks.

Until next time, adieu.