Sunday, May 17, 2009

He's Not Superman

There's a quote from The Princess Bride that says, "Don't rush a miracle. You try to rush a miracle and you get rotton miracles."

Now, this is a quote from a fictional character who was asked to do the seemingly impossible task of bringing the hero back to life. But this is the thought that was going through my mind when Rachel Maddow interviewed Lt. Dan Choi.

I disagree with the policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell". But I didn't agree with the way Lt. Dan Choi went about with this. I can understand one side of it is the discussion that he may have wanted to get the wheels in motion. But it seems more like he did this in attempt to MAKE Obama hurry up with this legislation. Maybe some feel that President Obama should hurry up with the legislation - I mean he closed Guantanamo Bay immediately, he called back several Bush policies in his first days in office, why not just do this too?

Thats a complicated question in my book and I don't know the answers to it. But I remember in grade school learning that even when I thought the teacher was wrong, or that I was within the rules, its not always best to get into a shouting match or to question their authority. Whether we agree or disagree with a law in question, breaking that law is "breaking the law" and there is a punishment for breaking the law.

Nonviolent resistence is all about not following unjust laws, but its also about accepting the consequences and using these irrationality of these consequences to further make your point. So what Lt. Dan Choi does next will be interesting.

But I think its very important to understand who's for and against gays in the military, and how complicated the issue may be. We already have issues with "coming out of the closet" in the non-military US. I cannot imagine what that would be like in the military. How would the other soldiers treat their fellow openly gay soldiers? How much would need to be spent to prevent hate crimes in the military? What about ensuring that all the generals on the ground are not being biased with things like who's on the front line, who's getting promoted, or even who they will let serve under them.

These are just the issues that come off the top of my head. I understand this is an urgent issue, particularly to those who are risking their lives to protect us here at home but are forced to lie about their sexuality. But I also feel like there is a bit of people buying into the hype about President Obama being able to fix every wrong of this country with the flip of a switch. To paraphrase EnVogue, "He's not our Superman".

Guys and Romantic Comedies??

I just gotta know, do I lose my man-card for this?

I've been bored lately and it seems there's always a decent romantic comedy on. Today I just watched "You, Me, and Dupree". Before that I watched "Good Luck Chuck", Then there's "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days", "He's Just Not That Into You", "Just Friends", ... I can go on and on.

But I feel bad cause I only talk(ed) about these movies with my ex-girlfriends/dates. And actually I was using dates as an excuse to go and see these movies.

I think I migit be addicted to them. Is there something wrong with me?

Please. Help me!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Playoffs instead of Primaries??

So I was driving around in my car today and I was just doing some thinking. Right now the talk of the town (at least on radio) is the NBA and NHL playoffs. I'm a big fan of these playoffs matchups (much more than the regular seasons in these sports). I think I'd like college football a lot more if they had a playoff system - its just too hard to concentrate on that many bowl games over a 2 week period.

Anyway, I was switching back and forth between talk about the NHL playoffs and how the Caps are doing (Go Caps!!) and talk about elections in India on NPR. The talk about elections in India reminded me of a conversation I had last week where somebody pointed out the problems associated with a multi-party system - basically that while a majority is still needed in congress, no single party has a majority so its a lot harder for bills to pass. I'm not sure if the elections act in a similar way (I'd think not because they were talking about "round 4 of elections in India"), but this got me to thinking how would the primaries work if we had them set up as like a playoffs type system?

If you think of it right now, its kinda like a playoff system where the Democrats are the NFC and the Republicans are the AFC. The primaries are like the conference championship games and the November elections are like the Super Bowl (I'm going to stick to the football analogy since thats my favorite sport). But how would this system look under a different structure? What other structures are possible?

One thing about the primary system that I don't really care for is that it seems to eliminate third parties and third party candidates. So what if instead of the two round system we have now, we added more "rounds" of primaries where candidates go against some of these lesser known parties or maybe lesser funded candidates? Maybe this would be similar to the "wild card" round of the playoffs. One immediate question that I think of is, "how do we choose which candidates to go against one another"? Or who gets to vote in which primary?

Supposing that we did something like this, and it eliminated political parties all together, then we could adopt something similar to the NCAA tournament where the candidates are all put into some magical box which decides who to put into each primary. Then people would be able to register for the primary of their favorite candidate and go cast their votes.

Another thing about this is should the candidates go in head to head battles (similar to the November elections) or in one vs the rest battles (similar to the primaries as they currently are)? I'm not really a fan of the one vs all battles because again, I think they tend to favor the major political parties. But if instead, we were to engage in a series of head to head matchups, there's more of a chance that a third party candidate could emerge - either out of the public outrage against one of the major candidate, or just because that third party candidate actually represents the public interests better.

I don't know. This is just some stuff that was on my mind as I was driving and switching back and forth through some talk radio.
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