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

Barney Frank Talks to a Dinning Room Table

At a Barney Frank town hall meeting in Dartmouth, MA, a constituent asks, “Why are you supporting this Nazi policy?”

Frank, an openly gay, Jewish, Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts from  responds: “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” He then calls her approach “vile, contemptible nonsense.” He closes by saying: “Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table.”

Glad someone finally said what was really on their mind about this, way to go Barney Frank.  I have a feeling Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri will be the next to open a can of whoop-ass.

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The Revolution Will Be Twittered

At this point, I am sure anyone reading this blog entry knows about the situation going on in Iran, or at least has read/seen/heard some bits and pieces.  The truth is, we don’t know anything, or we wouldn’t know anything if it wasn’t for social media utilities like Flickr, Twitter and Facebook.  Through these mediums, Mir-Hossein Mousavi presumably won an election.

Following in the footsteps of Barak Obama, Mousavi rallied millions of Iranians to his reformation platform, a platform of change. Each of these presidential candidates used Flickr, Twitter and Facebook and drew millions of viewers, followers and fans.

We all know the results of the election in Iran.  With about 125% of the populations votes reported, yes, 125%, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has won with a sweeping 66% of the vote.

With that, the people of Iran decided to stand up for themselves and after days of peaceful, mostly silent, protests, it has become violent.

The Iranian government closed off all cellphone service, muted international media outlets and shut down internet service providers.  But in this world we live in now, that simply isn’t enough to stop a population, much of which are young, intelligent and passionate about their lives.

Workarounds were discovered, people created proxy servers for Iranians to access and IP addresses were quickly distributed through Facebook and Twitter.  Videos began streaming through YouTube from cellphones, TwitPic and Flickr streams overflowed with images of peaceful protests, followed by the blood stained faces of people.  Civilians, from children to grandparents; bloodied, beaten but not defeated.

Here’s a post from Soodeh Nezamabadi’s Facebook.  Soodeh Nezamabadi, by the way, is a recent graduate of Berkeley University in California.  It isn’t unreasonable to think that someone reading this blog entry might have met Soodeh on campus or in the bay area…

This Facebook note is the reason I made this post.  The strength and spirit of this note overwhelmed me.

Soodeh Nezamabadis Facebook Note

Soodeh Nezamabadi's Facebook Note

Can you imagine yourself, in this situation, thinking this way?  Understanding how unimportant your individual life was for the sake of an entire nation, world?  The pictures on Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s Flickr stream (click here to see) provide a gruesome telling of the situation in Iran.  His last Twitter message, sent over twelve hours ago…

Mir-Hossein Mousavi - Last Twitter

Mir-Hossein Mousavi - Last Twitter

I don’t know what else to say, or what else I could say.  There certainly must be something we can do here in America and around the world to help these devalued citizens.  If all I can do is blog about it, change my Twitter avatar green… then so be it.  I can’t simple stand idle while I read, see and hear of the things going on there.

In two months my parents are moving to Saudi Arabia.  What if something like this happens there?  It isn’t so unlikely is it?  Some how this hits close to home for all of us.  What will you do, what can we do?

At the very least, we can’t forget.  Take a look at your life and appreciate, again for the first time, the world we share; who knows when it might be taken away from us.

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KATG – Gay Marriage

Keith and The Girl logo
Image via Wikipedia

Keith and the Girl is one of my favorite podcasts, definitely my favorite comedy podcast, everyone, subscribe to their podcast now.

Ok, with that outta the way, Keith and the Girl (KATG) have gone to the airwaves to defend gays and advocate for gay marriage twice in a row.  Their commentary is not only hilarious, but also straight forward and honest.

[audio:KATG_Gay_Marriage.mp3]

I really couldn’t have put it better, or at least couldn’t have been as funny.  It’s one thing for a group of gay people to get together and stand up for their rights, or lack thereof.  To have four people regularly stand up for gay rights, 1 bisexual woman and three straight guys, means a lot more, at least to me.

Thanks for sticking up for us Keith and Chemda!

Disappointed that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will seem to continue under Obama along with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).  Both of these were major issues Obama fought for during the campaign.  I really want to get married some day.  Not for tax benefits but because I love someone and my church recognizes that love.

Sometimes America just disappoints me, but maybe this “Federal employees will get domestic partnership benefits” thing is an olive branch…

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Election Paaarty!!

We all knew November 4, 2008 was going to be a big deal.  What we didn’t know was exactly how it was going to play out.  And what better way to deal with uncertainty than with a large group of similar thinkers?  So off to the watch parties.  But first, I had a drink with Chase.

Since the theme of the evening was Change, we decided to check out the all new, very tall, Quinton’s Bar and Deli.  This is a bar that went from basically a wide hallway to a full downstairs bar, a second floor bar, a third floor bar and a fourth floor terrace.  Yes.  Four levels.  The views on all three (?) balconies/patios are great.  For a moment we joked that we weren’t in Columbia.

Then we saw the water tower.  Blurg!

I was interested in how well they built this thing.  It certainly doesn’t feel like it was built by Missourians, in Missouri.  It’s built like a tank, no jankity, ghetto going on here.  Nice stuff, especially for a college town.  Go there, you’ll understand.  They even have outdoor couches.  Nice touches like accent lighting and speakers built into the metal guard rails and 3/4″ thick glass walls just really seal the deal.

Even the bathrooms smelled nice.  For now at least.

It’s very industrial, have a look!

After we had our drinks there, I just had a Monster Vodka since I had taken some vicodin earlier in the day…  Chase took down a few beers.  Like a man, hurrah!

Then it was drinks and Texmex with Karen (aka @ok2baprincess).  Ryan and I shared the vegetarian fajitas which were amazing, his peach margarita was pretty tasty too.  I just had a sip, he can be a bit of a booze hog!  (j/k j/k!)

Finally we made it to the watch party at Ragtag Cinema Cafe.  There we found a few other friends, but not the ones we were aiming for.  Nevermind that, apparently they went to Bleu, our other haunt.

We watched The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert report the election results.  Hilarious.  Plus there were drinks and popcorn and it was full of like minded liberals, which are the best kind, IMHO!  So many that it scared away the Republican we had in our group.  Like Minded Liberals FTW!

I remember when they announced Obama won.

The crowd went wild, and thus so did the rest of the night.  Well for everyone else there.  Ryan and I went home to watch the rest of the festivities on the big screen in HD in the comfort of our home.

Who else absolutely loved Obama’s acceptance speech?  I’ve never heard anything like it.  I’ve never seen such a crowd that wasn’t celebrating New Years.  It was a sight to be seen for sure!  I posted the video earlier, check it out if you missed it as well as McCain’s Concession Speech which was also quite good.

This election ended as it should have begun.  Anyone else with me on this?  Especially for poor McCain.  He would have won had he been himself, the maverick he really, and truly is.  He is a hero for America and for half a decade, one of her greatest servants.

gObama.  I’ll be reliving the night over and over until it finally becomes real to me.  Perhaps sometime in late January 2009…

Obama’s Acceptance Speech

Just as I thought speeches could not get any more emotionally driven, Barack Obama accepts the presidency before an ocean of supporters in Chicago.  It was as though we were waiting for the ball to drop on New Years Eve in Times Square.

Oh to be there, to experience that kind of positive energy and love.  The celebratory spirit, the first time in our history that an African American was elected President-elect of the United States of America.

His speech was more of a compilation of earlier speeches, taking the best bits and creating something that captured the moment, a moment that will forever live in history and will be something I tell my kids about.  It was one of those moments where you remember where you were, what you were doing and who was with you.  It’s one of those moments you never can forget.  It’s one of those moments you live your life for, that you dream to come true.

Tonight it did!  Barack Obama is our new president and with his guidance and the support of an incredible amount of the popular vote, I think we truly can turn things around for America.

Here is his speech.

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