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Se muestran los artículos pertenecientes a Agosto de 2008.



The system by which we pick our presidents borders on the absurd.  The state primaries  and caucuses as a method of selecting the major parties’ presidential nominees is insane. It’s nuts to give more importance to little states like Iowa and New Hampshire than to huge states like Florida and Michigan. The process just goes on too long, with endless debates that become meaningless. At the end, we don’t always get the best Democratic and Republican candidates. That’s what’s happened this year. There used to be a lot of criticism hurled at the party bosses in the “smoked filled rooms” who decided on the nominees. That system was full of flaws, but to me, it seems those guys were smoking better quality stuff than the voters who turn out for the presidential primaries. The end results were better.

On the other hand, the Electoral College is an anachronism. It goes against the principle of majority rule. How can we call it a true democracy if a candidate can lose the popular vote and yet win the White House? Why not just have presidential elections based on the popular vote? At any rate, the system needs reform, which I doubt will be enacted in the near future. We’ll just have to put up with it. And truth be told, it’s much better than living in a dictatorship. At least in this country we’ve got the First Amendment, which I define as the right to bitch and moan. Permit me to engage in that pleasure.

The debate about how many houses McCain owns and how Obama bought his Chicago mansion is silly. But since I happen to like silliness, here’s my two bits:

While millions of Americans are scared shitless of losing their homes, old man McCain can’t remember how many houses his rich wife owns. So much for finger pointing at Obama as the one who's out of touch with the concerns of typical working class America. At the same time, let’s point out that McCain’s home for over five years was a Vietnamese dungeon, without a pool, cable television and indoor plumbing. The old guy deserves better living conditions at this late stage of his life. Definitely, he’s entitled to seek to add the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue to the seven mansions of diverse dimensions that his wife bought with her inherited fortune.

As for Obama’s digs, the McCain people are wrong to criticize him for living in a multi-million dollar manse in an exclusive Chicago neighborhood. Obama and his wife are both Harvard Law School grads. Where the hell do Ivy League lawyers usually live, public housing? I do admit this stuff about how a convicted crook helped Barack and Michelle buy their Windy City digs merits some scrutiny. But I haven’t yet seen any solid evidence that Barack exchanged his political influence for help in buying a bigger home for the family. On the other hand,  I do wonder about Michelle’s statement about being proud of America for the first time in her life because so many white people backed Barack in the primaries. Hell, Michelle, you don’t appreciate the fact that you got to attend and graduate from Princeton and Harvard?  It doesn’t mean anything that Barack, brought up by a single mom, got to go to Occidental College, the University of Columbia and Harvard Law?  That’s not progress, when it wasn’t that long ago that white people in the South were up in arms because a black student was admitted to the University of Mississippi?  Give me a break.


24/08/2008 19:13. ricardobrown #. sin tema

Do Obama's little girls like Daddy Yankee's music?


I didn’t get to see much of the opening night of the Democratic Convention. I was working. When I got home, I clicked Cnn on my television set. Michelle Obama was speaking. I really didn’t listen too intently, but I think she was saying Barack is a wonderful husband and dad and he helps with the dishes when he’s at home in Chicago. Wow. I did see the exchange between Michelle and her daughters and Barack, who was far away in Kansas City last night but appeared on a huge television screen. Michelle is a beautiful, bright woman and the Obama little girls are cute and smart and Barack looked relaxed and very happy . It’s obvious that the Obamas are a wonderful family, a sort of twenty first century version of those American families from fifties and early sixties television. They remind me of Leave It To Beaver and Father Knows Best. But, please tell me, because I’m very dumb: what the hell does any of this have to do with electing the next president of the world’s most powerful country?

I also read in the news that John McCain has been endorsed by none other than that great political thinker of our times Daddy Yankee, a fantastic “reggetón” star. I’m not a huge fan of Daddy Yankee’s style of music, but I recognize that he has a lot of talent and charisma, and I guess he has a perfect right to speak out on political issues and back or oppose any candidate of his choosing. But I must confess that I’m not giving much weight to his take on the presidential race.

I should probably be impressed by the fact that Obama has a stunning wife and they’re raising dynamite little girls, and that John McCain, who is just about to turn 72, has the support of a very popular, young “regetonero.” But I think all this stuff is banal and stupid. I guess I’m getting very old and cranky.



26/08/2008 09:26. ricardobrown #. sin tema

It wasn't really an election. It was burlesque theater.

As expected, voting turnout was miserably low in yesterday's Miami-Dade’s elections. And, also as expected, many pundits were moaning and groaning this morning about what a horrible thing it is for democracy that so few voters went to the polls. But I ask myself, just what the hell did they think was going to happen? First of all, the ballots were very complicated. They were filled with proposed changes to various city charters, written in convoluted language, both in English and Spanish. I read most of those ballots for Hialeah, Miami Beach, etc. Granted I’m dumb, but I couldn’t understand what the hell they were asking people to vote on. Why load these ballots with so much stuff? Why not write these questions in plain English and Spanish? Then there’s the matter of the supposedly contested races. Give me a break. We all knew who was going to win. The incumbents had all the advantage, they received all the campaign contributions, they got most of the media exposure. Sure we had a low turnout at the polls. But it’s not surprising. That’s what you get when you hold elections at the height of the hurricane season, when, at best, you can expect heat and torrential rains. That’s inevitable when they pack ballots with endless questions written in the best Orwellian fashion. That’s unavoidable when potential voters know that the incumbents are practically guaranteed a victory. To me, the whole thing is very clear. Most voters stayed home because that’s how the powers that be wanted it.

27/08/2008 10:39. ricardobrown #. sin tema