01/9/14

Manopoly

Janet Yellen broke it.

Up until her confirmation this week, the Federal Reserve System was chaired by a long line of these guys:

pennybags

But, our obsession with demographic firsts is pretty stale. Numbers don’t really care.

You go, girl.

yellen now

Performed by the ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

Homemaker Equity

11/7/13

Glitch in the Matrix

Every new generation of the iphone, introduced, has more bugs than a Looney Tune. Or a coon dog watching an episode of Breaking Bad.

Google maps sent people to an airport runway.

The first people that buy a new technology get hosed. Costs more. Works less.

Like a 3-D television.

Two things are true about the Healthcare.gov Marketplace.

1. The rollout was unacceptable.

2. We’re a guinea pig generation suffering the reasonable growing pains associated with the implementation of a new and complex regulatory and technological system.

The Affordable Care Act likely won’t work well for us. That doesn’t mean that it won’t.

I own a Plasma TV.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Haralduz7.

Today’s blong here:

Needlestuck

09/30/13

Bright Side

Trust me, it wasn’t for lack of trying. To contract it, I engaged in all the traditional and recommended activities. But, apparently I’m impervious to mononucleosis. I mean a month off from shool?? I would have made it with Mrs. Fink and drank a bottle of baseball team back wash, for 30 straight days of Rocky IV and Sega Genesis.

sega-genesis

Same with this whole government shutdown deal. As a federal employee, I’m sort of eyeing a little unpaid vacation. Like a snow day. Not a week or month. A couple days. Of course, my boss thinks I’ve been “shutdown” for years.

Unfortunately, I perform a lot of what they call “essential” constitutional functions, like web-surfing and email-checking and reading internal administrative memorandum about what might happen if we do shut down.  Stuff that can’t be ignored.

But, I’m just saying, government shutdown = more news raps.  You guys do the math.

Performed by ipoet. Music produced by dj elder and dj etch-a-sketch.

Today’s song blog here:

On Pause

07/25/13

Shameful

The conduct of China’s Princeling, Bo Xilai, you ask?
(I like to imagine his last name is pronounced like the prodigious rapper of my youth, Chi Ali.)

Nope.

That he was just recently indicted for bribery, corruption, and abuse of power?

Nope.

How about that I already have a Princelings song ready to roll?

Uh huh.

At some point it ceases to be cute that you have a rap about everything and becomes just sort of uncomfortable. “Oh, you have a Joan Rivers rhyme, huh? Yeah, well, we should never, ever talk again. And, I’d like for you stop referring to me as ‘Mom’ or ‘relative’ or ‘woman you know’ in public.”

I previously covered the questionable culture of power surrounding the Princelings here.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Sundance.

Today’s retread blong here:

Crown Prince Party

07/23/13

Extra Mustard

Anthony Weiner is back in the news both as a Mayoral candidate in New York City and for new allegations concerning lewd text messaging with someone other than his wife. I covered briefly his prior transgressions here.

His mayoral candidacy is the second high profile political comeback of the year, after former Governor, Mark Sanford, won the congressional seat for the First District here in South Carolina.

This isn’t about infidelity or forgiveness or moralizing. It’s about not being dopey enough to just keep voting for a name we recognize. Our civic duty demands more.

So, please do yourself a favor and don’t vote for Weiner. Not because he’s unfaithful or a sex addict or the victim of one of the most self-fulfillingly prophetic names ever. But, just because surely there has to be somebody else.

anthony weiner

Performed by ipoet. Music produced by 2bit.

Today’s previously posted song blog here:

Hotdoggin'

12/3/12

Cliffhanger

They’ve dubbed it the fiscal cliff. The simultaneous expiration of the Bush era tax cuts and decreases to critical government spending. It would result in higher taxes for nearly everyone and almost certainly a new recession, say the experts.

To reduce the deficit and avoid the cliff, the President wants to increase taxes for the wealthiest two percent.

Republicans, however, want to freeze taxes for everyone and instead make more dramatic spending cuts.

So now the White House and Congress are deadlocked in a staring contest to see who has the greater political pain threshold. In thinking about it all, I was reminded of our national defense budget.

Apparently we spend some $700 billion dollars on defense annually.

This is a pretty startling sum. And, as it turns out that is more than the defense budgets of the next 17 countries COMBINED. Do you know what countries that includes? China, Russia, India, Israel, Great Britain, France. These are the most militarized places in the world.

As a general rule, I’m strongly in favor of strategic proliferation and armament. I want us to have more, and more powerful, things that shoot, than anyone else. It’s the old karate quip: if you can, maybe you won’t have to.

But, you know what happens when you want a big national defense? Well, for starters, you spend a whole bucket load of money. Maybe even rack up a deficit. Who knows. But, something else interesting happens too. You suddenly feel obligated to justify the expenditure. In other words, you want to use the stuff you bought. I’m not talking about down at Ricky’s Ammo and Shootin’ Range, either. Like, on battlefields and in other people’s countries. That sort of thing. And, this brings karate back to mind. The more people learn self-defense techniques, the more likely they are to conveniently “discover” the need to defend themselves.

Guns and money are the same in this respect. Whatever you have, you use. No cliffhanger here, folks. I’ve seen this one before.

So in our search for a compromise, cuts to the defense budget seem a really efficient start because they serve two ends: (1) improved financial health and (2) decreased incentives to fight.

Probably, too logical, though, right? I know, I know. I’ll keep brainstorming.

[P.S. Speaking of cliffhangers. You saw the mid-season finale of Walking Dead tonight, right? Just as a heads up. If ever I get a glass shiv in the eye, I’m going to be out of commission for a while. Probably not rallying the troops in the center of town.]

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced dj transform.

Today’s blong here:

No Suspense

11/12/12

Dishonorable Discharge

Way to ring in Veterans’ Day, Patraeus.

I suffer this weird bipolarity with our military. I have had the luxury of becoming mostly pacifist. But, I also have this great guilt and reverence for their service. Much of my family has served honorably, even through the conflict in Iraq. And, as trite as it is true: we are free for their sacrifice.

And, so I’m rabidly in favor of veterans’ benefits. Precisely because we live in a time where some serve the interests of all, our indebtedness to them is incalcuable.

If I’m president for the day (and if roughly 64,023 federal employees die it could happen), then I would propose the following. If someone serves in our military, for even a minute, they would get everything. House, car, healthcare, food. Now it’ll be something like a 3 bedroom, Kia Zoom, and Hungary Jack. But, if you so choose, you wouldn’t ever have to lift a finger again.

Because, whether or not a soldier ever sees conflict in an actual theater of war, and whether or not he/she personally had any volitional “choice” in joining the military in the first instance, they were subjected to the potentiality of the highest risk of all:
their life lost.

They accepted that risk, in some sense or another, and went in my stead. Which is the critical point because there was no way in the world I was going. I have asthma and small capillaries. Any military base above about the 38° latitude, and I would have required especially designed glove wear. And, nobody wanted that.

So all the while, I’ve just been playing baseball and going to school and buying video games and starting a family and writing news raps and generally just loafing around. You know. The whole “rising and sleeping under the blanket of security” thing.

The Patraeus scandal is not a good lens through which to reflect on the contributions of our military. (Hopefully, he won’t commit the counterpart gesture to what this guy did, to win back his wife.)

But, long before this weekend, some dissident voices had already begun to call into question his presumed heroism and choice of tactical strategies in the middle east and the ultimate effectiveness of the surges he requested and/or oversaw in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those people are typically viewed as either communists or “bastards” or Oliver Stone.

Maybe this isn’t the day to say it. But we have to be able to criticize and scrutinize our military without fear for our own reputations in loyalty and patriotism. Our politicians can be mercilessly satirized scapegoats but our military personnel are somehow sacred cow. For the same reasons government must be subject to public critique, all the more so our military.

Although it most certainly is for his wife and family, the Patraeus scandal is not about sex. For the rest of us it’s mostly about transparency. Transparency in our bureaucracies and in the White House. National Security interests obviously make only so much transparency realistic.

But our heros are flawed and our most altruistic stratagem failed. And, to me, there is nothing more patriotic than to be able to say so.

To hold our military to account is precisely to honor our veterans.

By the way, I have a personal source on the Patraeus scandal and Paula Broadwell, specifically. I feel almost like a journalist. Except with a velour Starbury tracksuit on. I assume those are strongly discouraged in the presidential press junket, right?

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced dave santos.

Today’s blong here:

Digital Camouflage

11/6/12

Color My Map

My wife couldn’t get over John King’s hands. (King, along with Wolf Blitzer, is one of CNN’s main electoral analysts on election night.) They were frozen in a sort of claw position no matter the gesture. I told her, “Uh. Everyone knows the molded action-figure-finger is the optimal hand positioning for manipulating the Magic Board.” Sheesk. She knows nothing about politics.

On another night where only “swing states” really mattered, John King’s crippled hands and political analysts, cable-wide, were literally swinging around digital states like misshapen blue and red pucks on ice. Grided counties and precincts and swirling percentages and exit polls and actual votes. It was like a math team had exploded.

This just in: I nailed my Montana prediction. Again.

The candidates have been campaigning relentlessly in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania and Virginia and Florida and Colorado for the chance that those states would swing to their ledger. Tonight Romney was only able to pendulum Virginia and Indiana and North Carolina, however. That was never going to be enough.

[For those of you keeping score at home, I went Obama, Romney, Obama on my predictions. Best 2 out of 3. Consider it “nailed.”]

I don’t mind the political striation of our country. It’s pretty amazing really. America is not comprised of drastically red and blue states, although such creatures exist. I mean, places like Florida and Colorado are literally split down the middle 50/50. And, that’s a real impressive thing. Our political differences live on top of each other. Don’t let the map and King’s hobbled hands fool you. It’s not red in the middle and blue on the edges. It’s a puzzle of both throughout.

I’m thankful for the mad theater of our national presidential race. It’s like the Super Bowl and Family Fued all rolled up into one. It creates real democratic energy and I believe we will see that turnout was up again for a fifth straight election.

My wife also wondered out loud whether John King was married for his incessant breathless and auctioneer style talking. Surely not. And, she vowed that she would certainly call to tell me to stop if I were ever in his position. Did I mention she plainly knows very little about politics?? Incessant talking like a precious treasure.

Congratulations to President Obama. I believed he had earned a second term. And while I don’t publicly endorse, I had privately hoped. As I indicated, we would have been in capable hands either way. But, I’ve always sensed in President Obama a discretion that I could trust even over policy I could not.

Forward.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced djclutch.

Today’s blong here:

Swing State

11/6/12

Nail Biter

This is my electoral prediction for tonight. I’m predicting a Romney upset in Ohio and Virginia but that President Obama holds onto Pennsylvania and Colorado, and the White House, barely.

Ohio and Virginia (and PA) are places precisely where voter energy and turnout has been overestimated in Obama’s favor. I do not think that Obama will enjoy the same coalition of voters that made signficiant victories in those and other swing states possible in 2008.

11/4/12

What it tis it taint and what taint it tis

There is a quantum principle that says you can’t know the velocity and the location of a subatomic particle at the same time. You can know one attribute or another but not both simultaneously.

And they (as in smart theoretical physics dudes) swear it’s not a technological issue. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is an immutable quantum attribute. Smarter people and better equipment will make no difference.

Although I learned about it in school and have since read it’s description countless times, I couldn’t swear that what I’m about to say is actually true of it. But, I believe that the reason the principle is immutable is that particles of that size are necessarily affected by observation. They are so small and “influential” for lack of a better word that to “see” them is to necessarily change them.

That’s what everyone (as in the Republican right) is screaming about Nate Silver and his election probability data, which suggests that President Obama has an approximately 85% chance of winning the election. Nate Silver is a statistician with a background in gaming sports lines based on high falutin’ math principles like adding and long-dividing and stuff. His critics say that to make such a lopsided observation about Obama’s chances of winning is to necessarily influence people to vote or stay home somehow.

Considering the vast industry which has formed just around the political “prediction” business it is a strange accusation for any side to scream that Silver, having assigned a roughly 85% probability of an Obama win even as many important states are essentially a coin flip, has somehow unduly “affected” the possible outcome.

Like observing a gluon. To prognosticate is to dictate, apparently, the cry goes.

But, I suspect it’s more about one side not liking that their “guess” is getting less traction than the other guys “guess.”

Luckily, in two days the conjecture will all be through.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Sundance.

Today’s blong here:

Permanent Indeterminate