Miscellaneous and Useless Information


Now that oil has fallen to half of what it was in the summer, we should the gas tax should be raised now, while gas is still cheap. The federal gas tax was last raised in 1993, and California’s state gas tax was last raised in 1994. In California, we would need to raise gas taxes by 18 cents per gallon just to keep up with inflation. It should probably be hiked a lot more. And with a higher tax, the price at the pump would not swing around so much; gas prices in Europe showed much less volatility than here.

I’m not the only one advocating this:

There’s still time today to get a free cup of coffee at Starbucks, a free star-shaped donut at Krispy Kreme, and a free scoop of ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s. Originally, only people who voted were eligible for the freebies, but since that apparently violates election laws, the companies had to open it up to everyone.

I’m the guy who keeps explaining to friends that Obama doesn’t need Florida and Ohio to win, he just needs Virginia and Colorado.

— Obama supporter Hank Kornblut

If you search for “obama impressions” on YouTube, you’ll get a ton of hits. But for my money, the best by far is by a comedian named Marlin Hill. Check out his appearance on a radio show in Milwaukee (part 1, part 2). Uncanny.

Part 1:

Part 2:

(Updated October 13: added part 1)

I’m watching analysis of Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, and it’s amusing to see the different (and predictable) slants that the different cable news channels have taken.

MSNBC is basically saying, Clinton did her job, the Democrats are unified, everything is happy. Fox News says, we’re getting inundated with e-mail from Clinton supporters who will vote got McCain, the Democrats are in trouble, there’s still a civil war in the party. (What do you expect from Fox viewers?) CNN is somewhere in the middle. Hilarious.

After Barak Obama scored a 37 in seven frames of a bowling game in Allentown, Pennsylvania yesterday, Hillary Clinton, taking advantage of April Fool’s Day, challenged Obama to a bowling game, “winner take all.”

It’s amazing how fast this year’s primary season is going, thanks to the compressed primary schedule. Two weeks ago Senators Clinton and Obama were essentially tied. A little over one week ago, Willie Brown, former San Francisco mayor, former speaker of the California State Assembly, and all-around political guru, said that since Obama was favored to win most of the contests between Super Tuesday and the March 4 primaries, he wouldn’t gain momentum, since momentum comes from something unexpected.

Looks like Mayor Brown was wrong. Obama has gotten momentum from his 9 wins in a row because something unexpected did happen: he has won by double-digit margins and cut into Clinton’s base of support. Clinton needs blowout wins in Ohio and Texas just to back into the delegate count lead.

Clinton’s campaign wants to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida at the convention, even though the Democratic Party took away their delegates because those states defied the party by moving up their primaries too early. To me, trying to change the rules in the middle of the game shows a lack of respect for the voting process, which made my opinion of Clinton more negative.

The Democrats should have done what the Republicans did and take away only half their delegates.

I’ve gotten really swept up in the excitement of this year’s election. Every primary night, I am glued to the 24-hour news networks, switching mostly between CNN and MSNBC. I love listening to the endless analysis, such as from Pat Buchanan (on MSNBC), who is as feisty as ever. The way he describes McCain’s speeches is hilarious. For example, regarding his victory speech on February 12:

McCain looked like he was briefing a flight crew, frankly, rather than a speech. Behind him you’ve got John Warner—I know all of them. They’re all good buddies of mine. What are these old guys doing there?

For a political and news junkie like myself, this year is the best I’ve seen.

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