Death and Taxes 2014: US Federal Budget Infographic

I received an email today from the good folks over at Visual.ly. One of the charts they sent, really an infographic, is one depicting the United States Federal Budget as proposed by President Obama. There has been a good bit of controversy on the 2014 budget. Not just because of the content of the budget but because of how late it was.

Obama presented his first budget on May 11, 2009, a month and two days longer than President George W. Bush’s budget was released during his first year in office. However, every year after that his budget was delivered in February, just like George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. This year, on the other hand, Obama was two months late. Not the end of the world but this was the latest submission by an incumbent president as far as I could go back, 1923. Continue reading

The Real Cost of the 2012 Election

Today is the day that millions of Americans will cast their vote for the next President of the United States, for members of congress and thousands of other state and local issues. And as with any election, the most important thing you can do is get out and make an educated vote for the candidate and issue that matters most to you. That being said, here is something I meant to tweet out today but realized would not fit into 140 characters.

I’m going to keep this as short as possible but here’s the gist of it. Remarking only on the presidential election, here is why I am voting to re-elect Barack Obama as President. I would list the accomplishments of his first term but The Washington Monthly already did that. Read that.

My argument for Obama isn’t all the great things he has done and it isn’t all the great things he will do. It’s also not just because I can’t stand to stand for the ever changing ideals of Governor Romney or ignorant beliefs of Paul Ryan. Yes, those are incredibly important factors, however there is something of great consequence that will out-last his presidency and many more that follow. The Supreme Court.

  • Anthony Kennedy (Reagan) – 76 years old
  • Antonin Scalia (Regan) – 76 years old
  • Clarence Thomas (George H. W. Bush) – 64 years old
  • Stephen Breyer (Bill Clinton) – 74 years old
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Bill Clinton) – 79 years old
  • John Roberts (Chief Justice) (George W. Bush) – 57 years old
  • Samuel Alito (George W. Bush) – 62 years old
  • Elena Kagan (Barack Obama) – 52 years old
  • Sonia Sotomayor (Barack Obama) – 58 years old

There are of course nine justices on the Supreme Court. President Obama was given the opportunity to appoint two in his first term, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. He elected two of the only four female justices in history.

Four of the current Surpreme Court Justices are 74 years or older and it is expected that two, and even perhaps all four, will be replaced through retirement or for health reasons by the end of 2016. If Obama does not get re-elected, this gives Conservatives up to four more Supreme Court justices on their side of the issues. Two of the four potential retirees were appointed by Bill Clinton. The rest (excluding Sotomayer and Kagan) were appointed by President Reagan, President George H. W. Bush and President George W. Bush.

That means, if Mitt Romney wins the election, he will be given the opportunity to replace as many as half of the Democrat-appointed justices with Conservatives. That means the 5:4 split we currently have could become a 7:2 split.

What does a 7:2 split mean? It means Marriage Equality would be dead for 15-30 more years. That Roe v. Wade could likely be repealed. It means horrible legislation like Citizens United will stand. That immigration reform and dozens of other civil rights issues will be dust in the wind. That healthcare reform would be repealed.

I’m voting for President Barack Obama’s reelection because I want to get married. Because I respect my female friends and family. I’m voting for President Barack Obama because without healthcare reform, I cannot get insurance.

I’m voting for President Barack Obama because I’m afraid of what would happen to my rights and the future of civil rights for decades to come should Mitt Romney win.

A Bad Lip Reading of the First 2012 Presidential Debate

Big thumbs up to Thomas Sanchez who posted this on Facebook earlier today. It is, by far, the funniest thing I have seen all week. And believe it or not, Denver debate moderator Jim Lehrer seems more in control of the debate in this parody video than in real life. Ok so that isn’t so hard to believe. Sadly President Obama still loses this debate, bad lip reading or not.

This was created by the brilliant people over at Bad Lip Reading. Can’t wait to see what they do with the next debate. Hopefully President Obama will bring his A Game instead of whatever that was he brought to Denver. Oh and, you’re welcome.

Jason Mraz on I Won’t Give Up

Jason Mraz Love is a Four Letter Word

I’ve been a huge fan of Jason Mraz for the last eleven or so years. His music has always spoken to me and his personality on stage, in interviews and in person is as authentic and kind as anyone could hope him to be.

Anyways, his new album came out yesterday (link to download in the image above) as did an interview with CNN. I Won’t Give Up was the first single off of the album and when asked what the song was about Jason explained:

Traditional marriage between a man and a woman, and trying to put that into a law or a rule, is basically saying that gay people aren’t real. Well, gay people are very real. It is treating our gay and lesbian citizens like second-class citizens. I think it is the final step in the civil rights movement.

So that’s pretty cool. I’ll leave you now with the video for I Won’t Give Up.

Now if only we can get the loud minority of this country to agree with him.

The Gay Rights Movement

I just stumbled upon this video through a friend’s Facebook update and immediately felt compelled to share here. It’s a trailer for a documentary titled “Second Class Citizens” which you can sponsor via Kickstarter.

This documentary is something that is very near and dear to me; someone who is considered by my state and country a second class citizen. By extension, I am a second class citizen to all my friends and family members who continue to vote for people who fight against equality, donate money to organizations and churches who cast aspersions on who I am and look the other way all the while.

Explaining what it is like to be gay isn’t easy. I kept it a secret until I was 18 years old because I feared that I might be made a victim of harassment beyond what I was already experiencing in junior high and high school. I was so stressed out about being gay that I became physically ill; acid reflux, debilitating migraines, panic attacks & major depression.

If it wasn’t for the friends I made in college, I don’t know that I would have survived to be where I am today. Far too many people like me don’t make it through the bullying. They are commit suicide or are murdered because they or someone else was unable to accept the person they were born to be.

I can’t tell you the number of times I was verbally or physically harassed, my property vandalized and my life threatened. My first semester in college a neighbor in the dorms threaten to hang me in the stairwell because I was gay. Try explaining to your parents why you have to switch dorms when that is your reason. I never did because I never had the courage to do so.

Ryan James Yezak is hoping to produce a documentary titled “Second Class Citizens” and has created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund it. I implore you to check it out and if you find it worthy, to invest in his film. I am going to do that right now.

Rick Perry disgusts me

I try not to make it a habit of writing purely political posts but the new Rick Perry YouTube video threw me over the edge. If you like the video, you probably won’t like this post.

There is no shortage of reasons I don’t think Perry should be a presidential candidate for the Republican party. I don’t even think he should be the Governor of Texas. It’s not just because he’s a goof who embarrases most people from Texas, like myself, it’s the way he markets himself as a candidate.

For whatever reason, the loud, far right conservative politicians on the scene these days treat culture and intelligence as negative attributes. They forget that Christian law, much like Sharia law, is not United States law. They forget that smart people create solutions where others can’t. They forget a lot of things, many of which were their founding principles. I’m not talking about all Republicans, I’m talking about people like Rick Perry.

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It’s Time to End Marriage Inequality

My Twitter friend Gabe retweeted a link tonight from @Padbury that simply read, “Please watch this, ‘It’s Time'”. I stopped what I was doing and decided to click the YouTube link. What followed was one of the best marriage equality videos I have ever seen. Zero dialog, remarkably real and absolutely magical. This is what matters.

Please share this post, this video, this message with the people in your life. Also, check out http://www.getup.org.au/marriagematters. There are half a dozen ways below this video to share this with all of your friends. Take this step for marriage equality.

That is all, thanks so much.