Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Modest Proposal

Given the prevalence of McMansions combined with the subprime mortgage crisis and the falling labor market in construction, here's my solution:

Renovations loans specifically aimed at turning giant fricking houses into duplexes so the family can stay in their home, but rent half of it out.

First step, I guess, would be revising zoning laws and neighborhood association bylaws to permit it.

Ron Paul

I know there are a few folks out there who still kind of like Ron Paul, and even though he's not in any danger of being elected (unless he uses all that money he raised and isn't spending to launch a third party run), it's be really annoying if he turned into a sort of Paul Tsongas of the right, lionized for being "too pure" for the electorate. As a geek, I get it. You can't look at our Constitution and derive our current system of government any more than you could read the Bible and derive the religious right. That doesn't bother me personally, as I'm results oriented, but it clearly drives process geeks nuts.

But Ron Paul is not a good guy. As a preventative measure, here's my list of reasons why Ron Paul should not be supported by anyone, with the obvious exception of the people who've been fans of his for decades:

1. Dave Neiwert, who blogs at Orcinus, covers the Pacific Northwest white supremacist beat, and he's been hearing Ron Paul's name for decades as "one of us" from them. This post is a good intro. Here's more.

Is it really fair, though, to demonize him simply because many of his views happen to be the same as those held by white supremacists? He has said that "they'll be disappointed" if they expect him to be a racist. But:

2. He hasn't returned any of the money they've given him, or donated it to charity, or anything like that.

Of course, maybe there's a principle at work there. Don't know what it might be ("What's mine is mine"?), but it's possible. But:

3. His newsletters from the 70s, 80s and 90s are full of the most revolting, bigoted nastiness. See here and here.

His defenders hear these attacks and respond "He is not a racist" but offer no evidence for that assertion that I have seen. Still, let's take that assertion at face value. Ron Paul is not a racist. Or a homophobe. But he is apparently willing to exploit and encourage those sorts of beliefs in others as long as it gets him votes or makes him money. That's opportunism, not idealism.

4. He wants to close a bunch of federal agencies, reduce the regulatory burden on corporations, and roll up the social safety net. "Property Rights" seems to trump everything for him, including consumer product safety, the environment (Google "tragedy of the commons" to see why this a problem), and civil rights.

5. A handful of other policies, including a return to the gold standard, show a bizarre nostalgia for the late 1800s combined with an appalling historical ignorance (he seems to think that Lincoln started the Civil War by freeing the slaves).

5. He's opposed to abortion rights, and has said that he "never saw one time when a medically necessary abortion had to be done." I've talked about this before, but abortion rights is one of those areas where the rubber meets the road in terms of personal liberty. Kind of like Neo-Nazi rallies and free speech.

Imagine, for just a moment, what Ron Paul, or any other libertarian, would say if the federal government passed a law that required all homeowners in this country to register in a lottery, and the "winners" had to provide lodging in their house for national guardsmen, police officers, or fireman. But never for more than nine months at a time.

Don't want a congressman sleeping in your house? Well, you should have thought of that before you became a homeowner. You don't have a guest room? Better buy a bigger couch, then, huh? Compensation? Please. These are heroes. You want them sleeping on the street?

The fact that many people would (and in fact do) volunteer for such a program doesn't give the government the right to mandate it. Outlawing abortion would be just the same, except that it's requiring you to have a guest in your body, not just on the couch. And Ron Paul, civil libertarian, thinks that's fine.

To sum up Ron Paul's universe, the federal government should not be allowed to tell you what to do with your money or your property, but if you get pregnant, they should have the right to force you to give birth and, presumably, to perform good prenatal care. On your own dime, of course, since he wants to get rid of Medicare.

If you're a geek looking to pick a candidate, please consider the above points, and then consider this.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I didn't watch the State of the Union Address. It's bad for my blood pressure. But I'm watching the Democratic response right now, and Kathleen Sebelius is impressing me with her words, if not her delivery (which is a little stiff). First off, she's framing it as the American response, not the Democratic one, which is a nice idea. We should try that sometime.

The tone is basically one of rebuke, reminding the President of all the things we, the people, know to be true that he seems unaware of. The line that most sticks out to me is "We know that caring for our children so they have a healthy and better start in life is what grownups do."

Exactly.
Yglesias is right, this article about AJ Ayer is worth reading, but the opening anecdote is unbeatable:

As related by Ben Rogers in "A. J. Ayer: A Life," Ayer -- small, frail, slight as a sparrow and then 77 years old -- was entertaining a group of models at a New York party when a girl ran in screaming that her friend was being assaulted in a bedroom. The parties involved turned out to be Tyson and Naomi Campbell. "Do you know who . . . I am?" Tyson asked in disbelief when Ayer urged him to desist: "I'm the heavyweight champion of the world." "And I am the former Wykeham professor of logic," Ayer answered politely. "We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men."
Just a little reminder that the Republican Party is currently advocating policy changes that would directly result in more old people freezing to death and arguing against new programs that would prevent heroin users from overdosing. Also, they made sure that the economic stimulus bill didn't include anything to help the poorest of the poor, even though economists agree that putting money in their hands is the most efficient way to help the economy.

Apparently they're opposed to helping the poor on the principle of the thing, not just because they're greedy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Absolutely fascinating (if true): In the U.S. south, is Canadian a new racial slur? (via boingboing)

It seems sort of plausible, in that it lets racists talk to another in a dog whistle code that most of us would never pay the slightest bit of attention to. On various occasions over the years, I've been 'pinged' by racists wanting to know if I shared their views, which has generally resulted in my telling them to take a long walk off a short pier. So this does serve a need, in that it gives their racism the social outlet they crave, but reduces the social cost.

On the flip side, though, how does something like this get started? And how does it spread? Is there some newsletter they all get? Was there a text message sent out?

This does mean that I'll have to stop making jokes about "those wily Canadians" and such. Which Christie's cousin pretty much broke me of. I made a crack about Canadians, and Megan said, "Hey, my mom's Canadian!" and that was pretty much it for me making fun of Canucks.
Dear MSNBC.com:

What the hell is Pat Buchanan doing covering the Democratic Primaries? The man is an admitted white supremacist, not to mention an asshole.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Microcosm Alert.

There's a painting in the Oval Office that Bush calls one of his favorites. He has a lovely story to tell about it. In Bush's story, the horseman in the picture is going hell-bent for leather to spread God's word.

In truth, it's a bit more complicated. The picture is by a German-American illustrator and was used to illustrate a number of stories over the years, one of which may well have featured missionaries on horseback. But it was originally created as an illustration for a story about a slick-talking horsethief, and depicts his flight for his life at the head of an angry mob.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Via Ezra, n+1 has an interview with a hedge fund manager. Like Ezra said, I don't know much about that world, so it's interesting to heard what he has to say. Interestingly, the guy they're interviewing doesn't have a background in finance, and thinks that's an asset when it comes to avoiding meltdowns like the sup-prime crisis. I tend to agree, largely because I've got an esoteric background in comparison to my job as well.

All hail the liberal arts!

Monday, January 21, 2008

On Cynicism

I had a political discussion with my dad this weekend, and it just reiterated my frustration with Hillary's candidacy. It's not that I don't think she's qualified, wouldn't like to have a woman president, or think she's personally execrable. It's just that when I try to talk about good governance in the last 30 years, Clinton is pretty much the only example I can give of a president who was looking out for the interests of average Americans and who was actually decent at politics. But it seems like I can't utter a single word of praise for Clinton without having to have the blowjob discussion.

And I'm so, so tired of having that discussion.

My biggest frustration, though, is with the "all politicians are the same" argument. What can I say to that? Politicians are people, and if you expect perfection, you will eventually be disappointed. But that kind of cynicism keeps good people out of government, and makes it easy to dismiss anyone who claims to actually want to help people. Flat out, it doesn't help.

So I believe what the candidates tell me. When Hillary says she wants to help average Americans, but it's hard, and she'll have to compromise, I believe her. When Edwards says he wants to protect us from corporations relentlessly pursuing profit, I believe him. I believe that Obama has plans to change the system. And when every Republican except McCain tells me that they want more torture and more secret prisons, I believe them. And when McCain says he thinks we could stay in Iraq for 100 years, I believe him. I believe Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to bring it more in line with Biblical principles because he told me so.

I believe them all, and let that guide my decisions, even when I know some of it probably isn't true, and that some of it can't be true (I'm sure some of what Romney says is true, but it can't all be). Because the lies that people tell reveal more about their character than the truth. After all, if you're telling the truth, you're constrained somewhat by what the truth actually is, but if you're lying, you've got carte blanche.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Watching Lewis Black on Comedy Central tonight, it suddenly hit me that what I really, really love about all of the Republican candidates is that step one of their immigration plans is "identify all the illegal immigrants currently living in this country and round up all eleven million or so of them." And what they're arguing about is step two.

It's like listening to a bunch of people who all want to fly to the moon riding on the backs of butterflies, but they vehemently disagree about what kind of front porch they're going to build overlooking the Sea of Tranquility.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Chain Mortiser: Nothing I actually need, and totally out of my price range, but bad-ass is definitely the word for this tool.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cell phone use in cars

Everybody does it. And everybody has some horror story about almost getting killed because some (other) moron was doing it. So here's my idea:

Don't make it illegal, because creating a law that so many people break creates disdain for the law and is pretty much impossible to enforce.

Do amend the law so that if you have an accident while you're talking on your cell phone, it's automatically your fault.
I've been told that, had things gone differently, Rob might have ended up at Kodak instead of NASA. This is strong evidence he would have fit right in.

Update: I guess Rob never almost worked for Kodak. Christie told me he was up for a job in upstate New York, and I guess I just made the leap to Kodak. Mea culpa.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Boing Boing is having a Contest for the Suckiest Gadget Experience and the comment thread is hilarious. My favorite sentence is, "The woman in the commercial looked so happy while using the hair removal tool."

It's like the beginning of the world's most banal horror novel.
ikea hacker: joe's fabulous car room a reality
Wow. I mean, it's not really my thing, but it's still pretty awesome. Especially considering that it's cobbled together from Ikea stuff.

I would kind of like to have a slotcar table that lowered from the ceiling, though. Christie, what do you think?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Reading Matt's comment on my Hillary post triggered a bit of a flashback. Sometime in 1995 or so, I was in grad school, talking politics with an office mate about ten years older than I was, and she was amazed by how cynical I was about politics, along with pretty much everyone else of my generation. Sure, she said, Watergate left her a little shaken, but the system worked, and they kicked Nixon out of office. That was her first real experience of politics.

Mine, I said, was Iran Contra. The executive branch didn't like the laws Congress passed, so they ignored them. And then, when the president was asked about it, he simply said that he didn't remember if he authorized it or not. And the country bought it. George H. W. Bush went on to do his four years as President, and he pardoned everyone involved. And nobody cared. And this was after Reagan trashed the social safety net in the name of fiscal responsibility while shooting the deficit through the roof with pet projects that fed money to his financial backers. And nobody cared. Sure, it hurt them a little bit politically, but they still got elected, and the media moved quickly on.

No wonder I was so cynical.

I can't even imagine what it's got to be like for a twenty-five year old today. In their entire adult lives, they've never seen government that works. The last time they saw a government that cared about the needs of average citizens, it was a Clinton administration paralyzed by sordid scandals. Frankly, I'm not sure the word "cynical" would even cover it.

Me, I'm becoming more hopeful. Partly because the Bush administration is about as bad as it could get, with a media that has completely abdicated its responsibility, and the American people have stood up to make their displeasure known (not a lot, but I have low expectations). But mostly because I've got a kid on the way, and I've got to hope that we can get our shit together in time to make a better world by the time it's time to hand over the reins.
It's silly geek pandering, but I got a chuckle watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles and noticing that the street address of the computer store John was shopping at was "1337".
Cogitamus: The GOP Primary Field in Buffy Villains

Monday, January 14, 2008

So I've got this phone, and I mostly love it (it's a Razr V3), but it has this "feature" that's driving me nuts. There are two buttons on the side of it that you can use to flip between audio profiles, which is nice when I'm heading into a meeting, but it's way too easy for them to get hit by accident while the phone is in my pocket, which isn't really a big deal, except that one of the answer profiles is "Silent". Not vibrate, which I use a lot, but "Silent". No notification of any kind. At all. Nothing. Unless I happen to be staring at my phone screen.

I would say that I can't think of a single use for this profile, but actually I can. If I were being hunted by a serial killer, and I was hiding behind the bathroom door, and I'd already called 911, and they said, "I'm terribly sorry, but I'm in the middle of something right now, can I call you back in just a second?" so I'm waiting for a call with a serial killer RIGHT IN THE NEXT ROOM, and I really don't want him to hear, then, yes, I would be staring at my phone, waiting for the call to come in, but it would be absolutely essential that it not make any noise at all.

So, yeah, I can see where it might come in handy.

But I'd like to be able to delete it, or at least change it to vibrate, because somehow that's the one profile my phone ends up on for days on end, and I miss a bunch of calls without knowing it because I'm not staring at the screen when they come in.

Unfortunately, Motorola, in all their wisdom, seems to have made it impossible for me to remove any of my call profiles. I can edit them, though. Except for the Silent one. That one's locked in all its useless glory, which is just fucking stupid.
I watched a bit of Hillary on Tim Russert's show yesteday morning while I was prepping pancakes. I only watched the part where she talked about Iraq, and I think she did a decent job of defending her vote in favor on the authorization of military force in Iraq on the merits of the legislation itself. Basically, she said that she was voting for the threat of military force so that we could get inspectors into Iraq, and she lay the blame for the misuse of that authorization squarely at the foot of the president.

Which is fine, as far as it goes.

But if we take her at her word and boil this justification down to its essence, it's that she trusted Bush to do the right thing, and he didn't. And that shows a naivete which doesn't match up with her claim of great experience and judgment.

On the other hand, if we believe that she has the experience and judgment to "get things done" in Washington, then the only plausible explanation for her vote was as a political maneuver to cover her ass, made necessary by the same conservative political machine that has McCain kissing Jerry Falwell's ass, etc. Which doesn't make her look like she's very effective at fighting for us in Washington.

Either way, it's a problem.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like Hillary well enough. But I cannot, off the top of my head, think of a single time in her life where she's taken a principled stand that actually cost her something, and that bothers me. If you can, though, please post it in the comments. There's a chance she'll be our nominee in the fall, and I'd like to be happier about it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The best kind of math.


Power tools + plywood +
a free Sunday afternoon =
happy Mike.

And sawdust.

And a start on a new coffee table.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tool Recommendation

For Christmas, Christie's folks got me Bosch's PS20-2 Lithium-Ion Pocket Driver. Basically, it's an electric screwdriver, but with enough torque to drill small holes if necessary. The batteries had power right out of the box, but I charged them up anyway. Since then, I've rehung an organizer in the pantry, put up a mirror and towel ring in the new bath upstairs, installed a closet kit in the baby's room (which included a few extra holes, as it was a bit of a custom job), removed the old track lighting in the living room, and installed a new one. I've used it at least three times a week every week since Christmas. And last night, it finally ran out of juice.

Nice.

Oh, and a note on track lighting. The track lighting in the living room was from Ikea, and it worked pretty well, considering that it cost about $30. But it was a pain in the ass to install, and earlier this week the transformer went from delivering 12v to about 2, which just barely got the light bulbs to glow. In other words, it lasted about six months before shooting craps. We replaced it with a Tiella track lighting system that's similar to the one in Christie's sewing room, and while I can't testify to its longevity as of yet, the installation was incredibly easy.

The moral of this particular story, I guess, is that sometime cheap is cheap, and expensive is better.
Gaslight Justice League Custom Figures

Four Things That Make It Hard for Me to Enjoy TV or Movies, Especially Science Fiction

1. My brother is a paramedic, so I know that letting your patient die and then resuscitating them is not good for anyone's career but the mortician. Also, knocking people out it harder than you think, and also more dangerous.

2. My readings in linguistics have convinced me of the existence of a universal grammar, and that languages which fall outside that structure would be effectively impossible for the human brain to even recognize as a language, let alone learn to pronounce. So no talking to aliens.

3. Deconstructionism. Looking at the social forces at work in contemporary society, it's clear that Curious George is a stand in for an infant, and that Ted is clearly a stand in for the dad freaked out by his sudden parenthood. Ted's acceptance of his new role at the end of the movie is supposed to mirror the way we, the audience, accept our adult responsibilities and find in them grand new adventures. Okay, actually, that doesn't ruin the movie for me. But, as Theron has pointed out, George is an ape, not a monkey, and Ted would know this unless he's the world's worst anthropologist. Which, I suppose, he might be.

4. I used to live in a house that was about 50 years old, and not a single one of the doors opened properly without some attention from a block plane, which makes it very hard for me to believe in working secret doors/traps in ruins that have clearly been abandoned for thousands of years. Every visible surface is covered in vines. I'm supposed to believe there aren't tree roots in the counterweights that are supposed to make that door open? No.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Walking through the break room, and Oprah's on the teevee talking to a woman who realized she was gay immediately after giving birth. Not a good thing for an expectant father to watch.

Clicking around, though, I find out she thinks she's probably always been gay, and there were lots of clues in her early life. So I guess Christie and I are safe.

A form of multitasking I've never seen before

Texting while pissing.

Huh.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Christie calls me a junkie, but if they didn't want me to refresh the primary results every 30 seconds, why did they put an F5 key on my computer?

Actually, it hit me this morning at work why I love politics so much. It's a messy process with an unambiguous result. That makes it the opposite of data mining.

Update: NBC just called NH for Clinton. I'm glad. ish. I guess I'm really rooting against the media here. They said Clinton was inevitable, and I was glad to see them proved wrong in Iowa. Then they said she was toast, and she came back to win New Hampshire. When she was ahead, they said it was just because she won the cities, and that the rural returns would kill her lead, and her lead held.

It's not that I dislike the media; it's just that I'd like to see them get better at their jobs. For the record, I'd also like to see them stop talking about politics as if it were sports, and to acknowledge that the policies the candidates are talking about are more than just political maneuvers. But I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Here in Columbia, it's 70 degrees, and we all just had to march down to the basement because of a tornado warning. In January.

Good thing global warming is a hoax, or else I'd be worried about all this weird weather.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I'm happy with the Obama win in Iowa for the following reasons:

1. His policy proposals are, for the most part, intelligent and based on actual research and data on what works, and he talks about them in a way which gets people excited and often persuades people who didn't agree with him in the first place. This bodes well for his ability to actually make things happen.

2. He's the biracial child of an immigrant and a midwesterner, with roots in so many different pots that most anyone can look at him and see something that resonates. That bodes well for his electability, his ability to relate to people, and makes him an inspiring figure that helps show the best face of America.

3. Obama's made the claim again and again that he was doing a new kind of politics, that he could bring people not currently politically involved into the system. He's also made the claim that his political organization skills would help him do this within the current system. The caucus process has a high barrier to entry for those kind of people, but Obama clearly pulled it off, more than proving his claims.

In other words, I think Obama is an inspiring figure, I like what he wants to do, and I think he's got the skills to make it happen.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Welcome to all the Reddit users who clicked over from the dollars to donuts post. I promise to keep my eyes open for other opportunities to make pithy observations about the narrow overlap between linguistics and economics. In the meantime, I hope you find something here that you like.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

If you know me, you know I don't follow sports, couldn't care less about cars, don't buy comic books, and don't play much Halo. I channel that manly tendency to obsessiveness into politics (and a little into home improvement). So, yes, I am paying a little bit of attention to the Iowa caucuses. And knowing that I have at least two readers who are very likely caucus goers (Hi Dawn! Hi Patrick!), I may have a disproportionate opportunity to influence the outcome of the big event.

The thing is, I don't really care. Last time around, I was a Dean supporter, but in the end, his organization failed to get out the vote, and he lost. And that is what disqualified him from running for the presidency.

Okay, I do have one request for anyone going to vote in a primary or caucus: don't think about electability. The test for electability is the primary itself. Nobody votes for a president because he or she is "electable". They vote for him (or her) because they heard or saw something in their candidate that evoked hope, or fear, or joy, or something, and they were moved to check that little box next to their name.

So, vote for the person you'd most like to see as president, because, let's face it, the Dems could run a bucket of spit and they'll likely win the election, because the Republicans are down to their lunatic fringe these days and will refuse to nominate anyone who isn't bugnuts crazy. Good for them. Nice to see such dedication to principles.

For the record, though, I like Obama, Edwards, Clinton, Biden, and Dodd, more or less in that order, and there's not a single person running on the Republican side that I think is remotely sane, relatively honest, and not evil, and those three are the minimum criteria for my support.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

You may well be wondering, what was the first thing I cooked in the new year? Probably not, but bear with me.

Christie requested lentil soup, and what the pregnant wife wants, the pregnant wife gets. Since it was New Year's, I threw in some black eyed peas for luck.

It's a tasty soup, and cheap as all heck to make, too. There are other potential benefits, but they're still theoretical. See, the city of Columbia just put in a plant at the landfill to generate electricity from the methane coming off the pile. And they have a net-metering program so that people with solar panels on their roof can sell electricity back to the net. Once some enterprising person combines those two things, then the lentil soup will really pay off, because, man! does it give me the winds.

Too much information?
Having a blog makes all that "year in review" stuff pretty easy.

January: Thinking about gas taxes, ice storms, and head colds. Clearly a nice, uneventful month.

February: More politics, and finally kicking the dust off the tablesaw that had been idle since I used it on my finger. I can read between the lines a bit to see that things were fairly crazy at work, project-wise, but I don't write about work here except in the vaguest terms, so I can only see it by its absence. And by the posts about GTD, which I read three or four times around this time, trying to get a handle on too many projects.

March: A couple of poems, including one that took a long time. Also a bit of politics.

April: Christie and I came out of the infertility closet so we could write about the emotional repercussions. Started the diet. Sort of. Well, decided I needed to lose some weight, and started thinking about methodology. And bitched about Orrin Hatch and domestic terrorism.

May: The big event this month was watching Christie's cousin graduate from law school and making my first visit to Ikea. I'm sure law school is really hard and everything, but, c'mon, Ikea is awesome! And we replaced the washer and dryer.

June: More sawdust (especially if you count the tree we took out). And Neil Gaiman answered my question, but with no linky love. Damn. I'm convinced that with the adsense and all, if Neil would link me, I could clean up. As it is, I've made just under $4.00 in the last two years. I'm sure I could double that with a link from Neil Gaiman. This is also the month in which we decided not to have fertility surgery or undergo IVF. We definitely wanted to be parents, but weren't sure about the considerable risks and certain financial costs. We did not, however, write about that particular decision. And we didn't tell too many people about it, either. I didn't write much about politics in June, but did get into religion a bit.

July: A week at the cottage, and a weekend with the new Harry Potter. If I recall, I told Christie's sister, "Yes, I saw your name on the caller ID, but we weren't taking any calls until we finished the new Harry Potter."

August: We joined a gym. Four months is apparently my incubation period between feeling fat and doing something about it. And I have a nice argument in favor of universal health care. Exciting stuff.

September: Sometime in the middle of the month, Christie and I conceived. More political ranting. And I found a book on the training of Christian mimes. Just had to mention that again.

October: Hurt my foot, putting an end to the noble experiment of gym-going. Christie also cuts back on going to the gym because she's feeling tired a lot, and kind of nauseated, oh, and, hey! we find out we're pregnant! And I talk about politics some more.

November: I start work on the upstairs bathroom (clearing the to-do decks before the kid arrives), and we head south to give thanks. For what may be the first time ever, I go an entire month without once mentioning politics. Weird.

December: Phew. Politics, religion, navel-gazing, sawdust and drywall. Finally, things are back to normal around here.

Wow, I was thinking next year was going to be an eventful one, but 2007 was a pretty full one as well. We started out the year trying and not knowing why we weren't getting pregnant, spent a few months in infertility limbo, then ended up pregnant more or less by accident. We redid a couple of rooms, replaced some dying appliances, made two trips to Ikea, replaced all the ugly old light fixtures, recovered from one injury, acquired another, and built a couple of pieces of furniture in the midst of all that. And wrote a couple of poems. It didn't really seem that busy while we were doing it, but I guess that's life.

Next year should be a piece of cake, though. Just need to have a kid and elect a new president. Easy peasey.

Oh, and Republicans suck. (Got to make up for November.)