April 26, 2008

Kevin has a blog entry!

Go read it!

(this is to cleverly distract you from the lack of entries on my own blog)

Posted by Shelby at 11:45 AM | Comments (2)

April 15, 2008

Vote in Pennsylvania!

If you live in Pennsylvania, that is. Otherwise you can "vote" by donating money to PA public school kids in honor of your chosen Democratic candidate via DonorsChoose.org. It's an organization where public school teachers submit proposals of things they need in their classroom (like, oh, paper, or calculators) and DonorsChoose goes through and verifies each proposal, and then the donors choose. So you select a specific proposal and donate however much you would like, and hopefully enough people will pitch in on each proposal to fully fund it. If you donate more than $100, you get pictures and letters from the children. If, like me, you donate less, you get a friendly email from the teacher.

This "election" challenge was set up by Stephen Colbert, a comedian journalist who filed to run for President back in the Fall and asked supporters to send donations to South Carolina public schools through DonorsChoose. Donors stepped up to the tune of nearly $66,000. So for this primary, the focus is on schools in Pennsylvania. I'll let you guess who's winning this primary*.

*Barack: 2,215 donors; $154,091 donated; 31,950 students reached
Hillary: 315 donors; $29,043 donated; 8,378 students reached

Conclusive evidence that Obama supporters either 1) care more about PA public schools than Hillary supporters do, 2) Watch the Colbert Report in greater numbers than Hillary supporters do, or a mix of both.

Posted by Shelby at 09:13 PM | Comments (1)

April 11, 2008

Just admit you're wrong and move on

One of the things that has most disturbed me about this current administration is Bush's complete and utter inability and refusal to admit that he was wrong or that he made a bad decision. Even when it's painfully obvious and he would have a receptive audience, he just can't admit an error. It's infuriating and has done nothing but lead to continued bad decisions because to abandon a strategy, regardless of whether or not it's working, would be to admit being wrong, and we just can't do that.

And this is also what is really disturbing me about Hillary Clinton. She is completely unwilling to admit that she made a mistake or to take responsibility for anything, and even when she says "I take full responsibility" it's followed by a "but..." and some excuse that's so ridiculous it insults everyone's intelligence.

The most obvious and glaring example would be Iraq, of course. Look Hils, you voted for the war. Just own your shit, okay? Because to say, "well I thought I was voting for weapons inspectors and that's what I was told and even though the entire bill spelled out 'use of force' clearly including the title, I didn't support the war and didn't vote for it thinking that it would be a war." Please. Does she really think anyone is buying that? And if we did, what does that say about her judgement? That she took the word of Chuck Hagel over the actual text of the bill and is now shocked and dismayed that Bush did exactly what the bill explicitly authorized him to do? That's supposed to make us feel better? She couldn't just say, "Okay, I voted for the war. It was the wrong thing to do, but I've learned from the experience"? The American public has an unbelievable capacity for forgiveness.

And then there's Bosnia. Hillary, Hillary, Hillary. What a mess you've made for yourself here. It's a true act of desperation to lie so blatantly and so many times, including in a prepared speech, about something so easily proven untrue. So Bill says, "But there was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995." Bill, honey, you're not making anything better here. Now the Bosnia gaffe is all over the front page again. Not smart.

Of course, it seems like such a Clinton thing to do. I mean how much trouble, time, and money could we have saved if Bill had said, "Look, I had sex with a woman who was not my wife in the Oval Office. It was wrong and I'm sorry."

And then there's NAFTA. You can't have it both ways here, Hillary. The evidence is clear that you were in favor of it and now you claim to oppose it. Naturally the Clinton tendency to never admit a fault is at work, so now you claim you were never in favor of it. But at the same time, you claim that during your husband's White House years you gained so much political experience and influence that makes you far more qualified than your opponent. Yet somehow that political experience and influence did not translate into stopping NAFTA (or providing universal health care for that matter).

And speaking of experience--why on earth does she think it's a good idea to claim experience and being in war zones against JOHN FREAKIN' MCCAIN??? Perhaps it's bad advice from a chief strategist with a big, bad case of conflict of interest? Whom you gave the facade of demoting but by all accounts still maintains the influence he had before? Great idea!

The fact is, Hillary had no plans for a campaign beyond Super Tuesday, yet rather than regroup, plan, and execute, she opted to "Stay The Course" and continues to Stay The Course even when the course is clearly not working. Gee, where have we seen that before?

Posted by Shelby at 12:05 PM | Comments (1)

April 03, 2008

Oh, ouch

In my morning news summary, I had to follow an article entitled Ten Cars That Lose Value Fast, if only to feel superior enough to say, "Well I would never have purchased that." Of course they didn't just have a handy list (they want you to read the article and all) but they did have a slideshow so I made a list for you. According to the Kelley Blue Book Residual Value Guide, the typical new car loses 65% of its value over 5 years. Since both Kevin and I come from a background of people who buy a car and drive it into the ground for 20 years, I haven't always been up on these issues, but I was pretty surprised by the findings.

Kia Sedona (minivan) MSRP: $21,420, Five-year depreciation: 80% (OUCH!)
Lincoln Town Car (sedan), MSRP: $45,910, Five-year depreciation: 79% (I had no idea these were so expensive to start with!)
Isuzu Ascender (SUV) MSRP: $27,884, Five-year depreciation: 77% (I've never even heard of this car, but it's not my market)
Dodge Durango (SUV) MSRP: $26,455, Five-year depreciation: 76%
Ford Econoline (Custom full-size van), MSRP: $23,725, Five-year depreciation: 76% (I may give this one a pass since it's designed to be for a family of 12 and you can customize it and stuff)
Suzuki Reno (sedan) MSRP: $13,599, Five-year depreciation: 75%
Chevy Uplander (SUV) MSRP: $21,540, Five-year depreciation: 75%
Suzuki Forenza (sedan) MSRP: $14,249, Five-year depreciation: 75%
Mercury Grand Marquis (sedan) MSRP: $25,280, Five-year depreciation: 75%
Suzuki Aerio (sedan-ish) MSRP: $14,770, Five-year depreciation: 74%

That's gotta hurt.

Naturally I had to run over to the Kelley Blue Book and figure out the value of my own car. Mine is a 2000 Mazda Miata (MX-5) with very low mileage (49,000 miles) in "good" (not "excellent") condition. I bought it for $21,000. According to the Kelley Blue Book, it's current private party value is slightly over $10,000. Good news! My 8-year-old car is still worth only slightly less than half of what I paid for it. Phew!

Compare that to the Kia Sedona with its MSRP of $21,420 and it's 5-year value at $4,280. Yikes!

Posted by Shelby at 09:50 AM | Comments (1)