Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: January 1999

State of the Union – Live!

Update: I was going to flesh out my notes, then I read last year’s notes. How sad.


State of the Union-

Poor Robert Rubin. Can you imagine how bad he wants to get out of

How can the Republicans not clap at the “State of our Union is
strong”? That’s a Democratic issue or something?

Aging of America . . .hey, I’m all for octagenarian euthanasia-
oldest first- make way for Strom, ‘kay?

Social Security. Yawn. What?! Remove earning limits on SS

Guaranteeing the soundness of Medicare? Lord, y’all are so screwed if
even just those eligible right now take advantage of it.

Affordable prescription drugs? Do you have any idea how many of these
folks retire from Congress to pimp for pharmaceutical companies? Where would
they find the money to provide retirement paths if this happened?

Universal Savings Accounts? I’ll keep it under my mattress, thank

Tax credit of a thousand to deal with aging? How nice, that’ll pay
for a 1/2 a month of care.

(Baby boomers- if these folks try to claim the same amounts of
benefits seniors do now . . .)

I’ll have to give credit on the HOPE Tax credit (which still ain’t a
GA Hope Scholarship, but . . . )

Oh, who cares about being connected to the internet when the teacher
can’t spell, herself?

Ending social promotion. Umm, there’s no explicit policy in place .
. . whaddya gonna do?

(Triples funding for summer school and after school . . . very good

(Year round schools would be a better step . . .)

(Umm, how much of this gonna happen? I mean, for all the local
hollerin’ bout it, the federal government doesn’t have much pull . . .)

Issuing report cards on every school . . .umm, I hear a commission
opening. Quick, someone order the cherry desks. (Where are the local

Raise the minimum wage . . shouldn’t that just be a recording by
this point?

Equal pay for equal work? What an impossible albatross . . .

Protecting the privacy of medical records. I like the idea, but why
does that make me nervous?

The Justice Department is gonna take the tobacco companies to court
. . . hee hee ha ha hoo hoo . .

Income gap= skills gap. No shit. But that you for pointing that out.
In fact, forget college financial aid- open up some real trade schools. Who
the needs English Lit when you’re still working slinging boxes at a

Cutting the welfare rolls nearly in half. Traitorous bastard. Wait
for this rubberband to snap.

Dick Armey. Please add him (again) to the list of people I’d love to

“Bring it back to the farm . . . crop insurance and income
assistance” . . . oh my ()*@#@ god . . if I was ever for just leaving it to
the free market . . .

Y2K. Solving the Y2K problem? Social security checks on time . . .
(Work with us . . . so, we’re gonna pass a bill banning the advancement of
time . . . )

The rest of the world is in recession . . .um, yeah. This is a
really really weird thing. While the rest of the world is going to hell in a
handbasket, we’re paying 200 for shares of Yahoo.

Trade has divided Americans for too long? Lord, thank you. Will you
please help explain this issue? I mean, let the shit jobs get exported . .
.if we can provide bridging trading . . . no one is this country should have
to be fighting to protect the right to shovel pig shit. Ugly, but
important, argument.

(Janet Reno and her one blue dress)

(Oooh, Japan bashing may be back in style . . )

Ahhh . . . banning child labor … how . .. brave!

(Hey, nearly an hour in before the first drink . . )

Did he say lasting peace in the middle east? Was that a straight

Nuclear treaties . . hmm, sounds faintly familiar . . . .

Iraq. Get over it.

(Oh my god who picked Capt. Taliferro for the family gallery?)

Time to reverse the decline in Defense Spending in 1985? 85!!?? (you
sorry hypocritical bastard)

Pay our Dues to the UN (you keep teasin’ me, baby . . .)

“Stability can’t be bought at the expense of liberty”? Oh lord, if
we could apply that here . . .

100K more community police officers? Did you increase the internal
affairs budget, too?

Brady Bill has stopped 250K felons from buying guns? What bullshit .
. .

50K more police . . . can we make sure they aren’t all

Digital mugshots. Ooh, how technically advanced.

If you stay on drugs, you stay behind bars. Wow, more bravery.

Extend ban on gun purchases to minors. Umm, so I beat the hell out
of someone when I was 13, and I lose a Constitutional right as an adult?

Leaving this land an even better land for our descendants than it was
for us . . (what I’d love to hear next is “so I’m outlawing suburbia”)

A one billion dollar livability agenda? Okaaayyyy

(Umm, did I tell y’all about TEA-21? Transportation Equity Act for
the 21st Century . . good stuff)

AmeriCorps!!!!! Warms my black little heart.

Rosa Parks. Excuse me while I get goosebumps of pride.

And Barney Frank, as much as a wacko as he is, is the man.

Immigration. Lord, I really wish this would be national issue, and
not just one left to the border states. Either shut the doors and focus on
urselves or stop setting up recent immigrants for failure.

Honoring Hillary. Whatever you think about them, that’s a hell of a
story if ever there was one . . .

Nationally recognized millennium community- preserve part of the
past- embalm Strom now!

A more perfect union. I really wonder . . .

He . . or She . . (I’m thinking Hillary . . )


Republican Response . . .

Proposing a 10% cut in taxes. Yawn.

Spending the surplus for social security doesn’t work? How in the
fuck is that spending?

“I’m a single mom.” I’ll vote for a Republican when they sit someone
up there who says “I’m a single transvestite (preop) father”.

Give working Americans a choice to invest funds in private accounts
. . . umm, yeah. Didn’t I just hear that?

I married my high school sweetheart, a cheerleader, . . I was a
football player . . (I’m choking on laughter)

“I had to ask someone what GOP stood for after I was elected”. (I’d
like a grand jury please . . .)

“Preserve the notion that true liberty and freedom come from God,
and that the way we act toward God depends on that . . ” (Happy Ramadan).

Oh my god, we’re calling for Star Wars all over again.

Partial Birth Abortion . . what, no graphics?

“At the heart of free enterprise, is an education” . . .(well, that
explains why we didn’t clap at any of the propose education initiatives,

Oh, sure, lets scrap the IRS code. Of course, you know that all of
the code is that complicated to provide easy ways out for all poor people
and their accountants to get out of, right?

Invoking Dr. King. That takes balls on his part . . . uh huh.

“The word congress, is made of two latin words, which mean . .
.”(Did Farrakhan write this?)

The body is strong . . . the heart needs attention . .

Invoking Vince Gill for national guidance.

BLACKS AND WHITES? (let’s not get started)


“It was a boffo performance . . .” (Bill Kristol)

Big Ol’ Jet Airliner

Delta Flight 578 touched down at National Airport about 10 minutes late, and the guy in 2A was the last one off the plane.


It’s the end of my high (and more importantly- free) flying days. I’m figuring it’s been nearly a quarter million miles flown since 1990.  In that time, I’ve learned a lot of things:

  • You don’t need to show up at the gate till 10 minutes before the flight.
  • Never, ever, ever check luggage.  With a bit of planning, anyone can live out of a pull along for up to a week and look good.
  • Pleasant words and a sincere smile for flight attendants pay off in the most unexpected ways.  Payoff or not- be nice.  They deserve it.
  • It’s very easy to get very drunk very quickly at 32,000 feet.  If it’s not a trans-oceanic segment- count your drinks.  Test it by how you feel, and you’re probably going to end up ripped.
  • Virgin Airlines Upper Class is the ideal way to get across the Atlantic.  Skilled massages, 30 movies, and full sized couches make it more comfortable than hanging out at home.
  • Don’t joke with customs.  At all.
  • Small children may be cute.  They may be charming.  They should be at the other end of the plane.
  • Make good use of the aromatherapy mists available in the overnight kits they pass out.
  • Avoid Dallas-Fort Worth at all costs.  National has been a blessing.
  • You can’t carry handcuffs on international flights.  But the flight attendant will hold them for you, giving you a smile that makes even the shameless embarrased.
  • It’s better to take an inconvenient flight and get business class than sit in [r/c]oach.
  • Free and easy flights create a social network that has nothing to do with where you live.  While you’ve still got free and easy flights- no problem.  When you take that away, it’s not so great.
  • Little things like getting a gate assignment closest to the arrival/departure curb makes a huge difference.
  • You can fly Atlanta to Gatwick, get the Thameslink to St. Pauls, have breakfast and a bit of shopping in London, and catch the flight back in time to get to bed.  Early, even.

So, those are a few of the things I’ve learned.  Of course, I’ll have a few opportunities to develop these lessons later this year.
Interviews will necessitate a few domestic flights.  I’ve also got some travel ambitions, which I’m sure I can make on the summer off-season.  Of course, I’m convinced that mentioning that dooms them now.  One used to be Constantinople.  Think that counts?

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