Politics: December 2008 Archives

Barack Obama was elected President today.

Not one word on the CNN.com home page, though MSNBC and Fox News buried it on their home pages. Odd. You'd think the election of the President would be a big deal worth more than four column inches.

Although, while it is a fact that Obama was elected President today, MSNBC incorrectly claims It's official. It does not become official until the vote is certified in Congress on January 6. slashdot.org

Mike Hope Wins Recount

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Republican challenger Mike Hope, in his third try at Representative for the 44th Legislative District, has emerged victorious in the initial count, and now in the mandatory hand recount.

Representative-elect Hope won the first vote over incumbent Democrat Liz Loomis (who had been appointed to fill Sheriff John Lovick's seat) by 118, with 104 write-ins, out of 68,860 votes counted. He has won the recount by 138, with 63 write-ins, out of 68,897 votes. slashdot.org

Until last year, the law in Washington disallowed the Washington Education Association from using mandatory non-member union dues for political activity. The WEA did it anyway, spending millions of dollars, the huge majority of the money going to Democrats.

Though it is no longer law -- the Democrats revoked that law last year, so the Democrats now force public teachers to contribute money to Democratic campaigns -- the WEA still violated the law at the time, and has now reached a settlement with the Attorney General to the tune of $975,000: $735,000 to the state, and $240,000 to teachers.

Thanks to the EFF for filing this complaint and following up with it. slashdot.org

Deborah Lawrence was offered an opportunity, by the Congress and the White House, to make an ornament for the White House tree.

She said the offer "nauseated" her at first -- because she hates Christmas, and presumably because she also hates any notion of American unity -- and then she decided to take the opportunity to show just how much hate she has in her heart by creating a Christmas ornament that called for the impeachment of President Bush.

Of course, as any sane person, no matter their political views, would agree the ornament was properly rejected. Even Jim McDermott said the ornament was inappropriate.

But if that's not enough, Lawrence also showed that she hates the very right that allows her to create her gauche piece: on the phone to KING5, she said that because the ornament was not instantly rejected, she thought that maybe "the Bush administration appreciates the First Amendment."

Anyone who thinks this has anything to do with the First Amendment must hate the Constitution so much that they've never bothered to actually find out what it means.

It barely needs stating that calling yourself an "artist" does not mean you're smart, or have any sense of aesthetics, but I feel like stating it anyway.

I appreciate contrarian and protest art more than most people. But I'd hope it be done with some sense of dignity and intelligence. slashdot.org

In an article today titled It's official: Recession since Dec. '07, CNN writer Chris Isidore tells us that it is now "official" that we are in a recession because the National Bureau of Economic Research says so.

And after all, he tells us, the NBER is "a private group of leading economists charged with dating the start and end of economic downturns." So therefore, it's official! Sounds good to me!

The word "official" necessarily implies some sort of authority; since we're talking about things the government's involved with it, it will imply to most people that it's an official government conclusion.

But it's not true. There is no such thing as an "official" recession. Or if there is, I've never seen it in the last decade of looking, and no one's been able to find it when I've asked, and certainly it's never been reported that I've been able to find. It's just blindly accepted that it's "official."

Now, I am not saying we're not in a recession. I think we are. I'm not convinced it started in December 2007 -- but then again, I also disagree with the NBER that the 2001 recession began in 2001, instead of 2000. But I am not finding fault with the NBER's analysis here, I am just noting the fact that there's nothing official about it.

That is, this is the NBER's official recognition of a recession, but it is "official" for no one but themselves. If a competing group of economists wanted to say the recession officially started in June 2008, that would be no less valid.

Isidore goes on to say, erroneously, that "Many people erroneously believe that a recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of economic activity declining." But there's nothing wrong with that at all. It is as valid as what the NBER says. It's less interesting, and less useful. But it's no less "official," because -- once again -- there is no such thing as an "official" recession.

It's like the claim that Pluto is not a planet. It's not official, and it's not true. What's true is that a group of scientists claimed for themselves that Pluto is no longer a planet. Their decision has no bearing on whether Pluto actually is a planet.

If you want to define "planet" in a way such that it includes Pluto, that is absolutely valid and reasonable. Just because a bunch of people you didn't elect or choose to represent you in any way get together and decide Pluto is not a planet, doesn't mean you have to accept it.

If you want to be a sheep and just accept what people tell you, fine. Or if you agree with the conclusions of others based on your own thoughts, also fine. But telling me I should agree just because someone says so? Not fine. slashdot.org

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from December 2008.

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