Friday, September 30, 2011

Hoosier Outdoor Experience

Two Sundays ago, we went up to Fort Harrison to have a go at Hoosier Outdoor Experience, a DNR event with all kinds of different things to see and do. I thought about trying it last year, but big things like that with Jackson can be daunting for me. There is so much to see and do that you would need to spend most of the day there to get to all of it, and even then you might not make it. We spent a couple of hours and visited each of the three sections of the event, but seemed to spend the most time at the pony ride and the straw maze. They called it a straw maze, anyway; but by the time we got there, it looked more like the house in Three Little Pigs after the Big Bad Wolf comes through. Jackson loved it, though, because there were big piles of straw that he could climb and then fling himself from the top of. I even managed to get around to posting some of the photos I took while we were there.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More Civic Action

Today I got a letter in the mail, from the Indiana Democratic Party, asking me to sign a petition to get John Gregg and Joe Donnelly on the primary ballot for Governor and U.S. Senator, respectively. I don’t know anything about Joe Donnelly, except that he’s running for the U.S. Senate—which I did not know until I got the letter; and I still don’t know much about John Gregg, except that his campaign ignores information requests submitted from his website. I still haven’t received a response to the questions I submitted on September 14th, and I also have not received a response to a follow-up message I submitted on September 21st. That ain’t cool.

But then again, I submitted very obviously liberal questions to a DINO. Maybe he just ignored me because he thought that nothing he could say would win my vote—or maybe it was the other way around, and he assumed that my obviously liberal questions meant that I would definitely vote for him. Neither supposition is accurate. I would write-in my Zippo lighter before I would vote for Mike Pence, but I’m also not going to vote for just any old hilljack, just because he claims to be a Democrat. (I sort of wish the two parties would abandon the Democrat and Republican designations and simply call themselves Liberals or Conservatives. That would make politics in this country a whole lot more honest. It would still be disappointing, backward, Conservative politics; but at least we would be able to see the true face of the intransigent monster obstructing progress. But whatever.)

So just for fun, I brought up Mike Pence’s website today, checked to see if anything on the site directly addressed anything I asked in my questions (no), and then used the feedback form to submit the exact same set of questions that I submitted to John Gregg—verbatim, except that I replaced “Mr. Gregg” with “Rep. Pence,” and changed “Governor Gregg” to “our next Governor” (which necessitated a small grammatical change a few words later) there near the end. I left everything else the same, including the one or two bits of moderately fiery rhetoric that were clearly anti-conservative. Here’s the strange thing: Mike Pence cannot win my vote, but if he actually answers my questions, I will have more respect for him than I do for John Gregg.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Deep Thoughts #66 - Special Topical Meaningless Numbers Edition

I finally got American Weather, by Charles McLeod, on eBay. When I left feedback, that gave the seller a net positive feedback score of 666.

John Gregg for Indiana - Not So Much

So it’s one week later, and I have not received a response by e-mail for any of the questions that I sent to Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg through his website. This is discouraging. As a liberal, I expect nothing from a useless human being like Mike Pence. I do not expect much more from people like John Gregg, who are basically liars—saying they are Democrats when their values hew much closer to those of Republicans and conservatives.

But regardless of what I think of them as human beings, I would expect any person running for office at least to respond to questions asked by a potential voter. Were my questions leading? Sure they were. I don’t imagine it’s possible to read those questions I wrote and not know that they were written by a liberal with the express hope that they would be answered by someone of like mind. I did not realistically expect that they would be answered that way. I am sure there are a few liberals in southwest Indiana, but I suspect that the likelihood of running into one of them randomly is about the same as that of randomly running into a liberal Saudi in the Arabian Desert.

I thought there would at least be whatever the electronic version of a form letter is as a response; but, you know, not so much. If this is because the Gregg campaign somehow did not get my e-mail submission from their web form, then that’s one thing (which I’m going to look into); but if it’s any other reason, then that’s a pretty good indication that liberals in Indiana are fucked for the next four years, regardless of which candidate is elected to replace Mitch Daniels.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

John Gregg for Indiana (?)

I know this isn't going to make a lick of difference. Everyone knew as soon as he announced that Mike Pence was going to be the next governor of the laughingstock state of Indiana. The vast majority of people in Indiana are the kind of foolish conservatives who think Mike Pence for...well, for a good idea. The damage that will be done by eight years of ultraconservative bigotry and stupidity will take generations to undo—assuming that enough people of intellect and character choose to remain in Indiana in the hopes that conservatism will eventually pass into history like other outmoded ideas—such as slavery and communism.

John Gregg doesn't have a prayer of beating Mike Pence, but I can't just sit idly by and not at least try to do something to prevent a Pence Administration, which will surely be the worst thing to happen to the State of Indiana since...I don't know, the KKK? I'm actually tempted to sign up for both Facebook and Twitter, just to give the guy a couple of more "likes" and "followers." Pence is currently obliterating Gregg on both Facebook and Twitter, and that's sad because those are largely the domains of young people—and young people are supposedly bread and butter for the Democrats.

That said, though, I don't necessarily want to throw my support behind a conservative dressed in blue, just for the sake of voting for a Democrat. I'm not a Democrat, and I don't think Democrats are really that much better than Republicans. Liberals are better than conservatives, of course, but Democrat does not always equal liberal—especially in a laughingstock state like Indiana. When I read on Gregg's website that he's from southwest Indiana, I just shook my head. There aren't any liberals for miles around down there. That's Brad Ellsworth Blue Dog country, and that dude got smoked by Dan Lobbyist-Coats in a Senate race. Gregg will get likewise smoked by Pence because Hoosiers, mostly, are stupid.

And having said all of that, I still feel like I need to find out a little something about John Gregg before I decide if I'm going to vote for him or not. (And I won't vote for the Libertarian, either—those people are just pretentious faux-intellectual conservatives anyway.) So with that in mind, I went to Gregg's website today, and set him the following questions:

I am curious to know Mr. Gregg's position on issues such as education, gay marriage, Planned Parenthood, and immigration.

Does Mr. Gregg support the "letter grade" system of evaluating schools? This kind of simplistic system does a disservice to all parties (and is condescending, besides). Will Mr. Gregg instead support (or propose) a system of evaluation - for both teachers and schools - that focuses primarily on how much students learn year over year, rather than what they can demonstrate that they have memorized by taking a standardized test - and which, of course, provides different tiers of evaluation for different students, especially English Language Learners (ELLs) and those with special needs?

Does Mr. Gregg support the right of two people of the same sex to marry? When the State denies a marriage license to two people of the same sex, the State is committing gender discrimination. The national tide is turning, correctly, in support of gay marriage, and I believe that the next four years will see homophobic politicians swept out of office and those who support equal rights for ALL PEOPLE swept just as eagerly into office.

Does Mr. Gregg plan to immediately reinstate funding to Planned Parenthood? This organization provides many important services to women in need - not only the abortions that fear-mongering conservatives blindly claim are its sole reason for existence. By removing funding for Planned Parenthood, the State of Indiana sends an alarming statement about its lack of concern for women and children.

Does Mr. Gregg support the DREAM Act, and any other measures that would provide a path to full-time legal status or citizenship for thousands of people who are in this country illegally through no fault of their own? For those who have violated or are violating the law by being in this country, does Mr. Gregg support a plan that would allow these people to make restitution for their infractions and then pursue full-time legal status or eventual citizenship?

These are important issues, not just for Indiana, but for the whole country - and, indeed, for the world. I hope that the citizens of Indiana can count on Governor Gregg to lead with integrity on these issues, and I look forward to finding out where he stands on them.

Thank You.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Deep Thoughts #65 - Special Topical Hilljack Republican Edition

I was wrong. Bobby Jindal endorsed Rick Perry for the GOP nomination - proving Jindal is just as deep-fried as the rest of the Retardlicans.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting

I get the feeling that I have to defend myself if I make the assertion that people should support public broadcasting; and I find it sad that I get that feeling. I find myself thinking that I should make my own arguments, rather than just linking to bullet points put together by someone else; but it seems like every time I start, I wind up going off on a rant, which is completely counterproductive. I'm going to take a deep breath and give it a shot, though: Public broadcasting is non-profit, it has no agenda, and it offers some of the best programming that radio and television have to offer; and because there is no advertising, you get to see and hear more of that great programming than you would see or hear if you were watching American Idol or listening to Smiley. If you’ve never listened to public radio or watched public television, you really should give it a shot. Public broadcasting needs public support. You can find more information at 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting, and if you sign up for their e-mail list, you can download a free music sampler.