A Campaigning First

Until today no politician had ever campaigned for my vote on a motor scooter.


Until today no politician had ever campaigned for my vote on a motor scooter.

“Eighty miles to the gallon,” was Don’s reply when I asked about his ‘campaign bus.’

At this level elections really are retail. I’ll read his stuff. I admire his chutzpah.

Make Politics Less Like The Prom

New rule: If a politician is speaking from a podium he/she may thank no more than two people.

obama-queen.jpgI just watched President and Mrs. Obama walk into Buckingham Palace for an audience with the Queen. With all due respect your highness, waste of time.

The older I get and the more I see of our complex world the more I realize we spend much-too-much time on pomp and circumstance. Too much effort is spent by governmental leaders doing meaningless crap.

New rule: If a politician is speaking from a podium he/she may thank no more than two people. Even the Oscars have figured out we don’t need to/want to all those damn names. The person running the PA should have some ‘play-off’ music cued up. We all know it’s just butt kissing anyway.

Unless someone convinces me otherwise we can do without military bands too. As a trade-off U-2 and Bruce Springsteen will be disarmed. Let’s throw in Ted Nugent for good measure.

I feel this way about inaugural balls and political conventions too. I feel this way about most meetings out of politics. Many people feel process equals progress–it does not. My experience with meetings has not made me a believer.

In the past I have daydreamed of being a congressman (for some reason it’s Representative Fox, not Senator Fox). My district’s seat is safely held by the well loved Rosa DeLauro, so this is just a daydream–no more. Every time I think about it I also think about all the traditions which are kept that a pol must endure. Waste of time. My blood boils.

Who are these dozens on minions standing behind Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi when they speak (or John Boehner and his posse). Don’t they have something better to do?

Political life needs to be less like the prom.

Attack Ads – I Hate Them More Than Ever

I understand political attack ads, because they do work. I wish it wasn’t so – it is. However, this election cycle, I’ve become more refined in my distaste for them, because so much of what I see is so obviously ‘half truthiness’ and facts presented way out of context.

I was watching an ad for a local poitico and wondering, if this is the respect shown me in public (I am trying so hard not to let on which politician this was), how much contempt is there in private? Remember, this ad is really targeted at me, not the opponent who seems to be the target!

And, again (repeating, because my prose looks a little convoluted today) this is based on the obvious half truths and out of context statements used to sell their candidacy.

Originally I thought, maybe if politicians were forced to speak on their own behalf while trashing their opponent, that might quell some of this vitriol. Nope. I watched just that scenario transpire yesterday and it was still reprehensible.

TV stations are by-and-large powerless to do much more than collect the money (not that they’re complaining about that). That doesn’t leave them off the hook for getting criticized, as my friend Mike writes is his blog from Nashville (talk about contentious political battles).

What can we do? I don’t want to see free speech thwarted. Candidates should be free to speak their minds, but is there no humanity? Must the singular pursuit of political office be so demeaning?

Here’s my ground rule on this post – comment, but no candidate names or political parties. I have an obligation to my actual employer to remain non-partisan and I will.

Doing Our Taxes

The distinguished looking man on the left is Mark Everson. You probably don’t know him. You’ve probably thought of him. He’s the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

Hey, Mark! I’ve just done my taxes. What exactly were you guys thinking?

I am a lucky guy. I make a good living. With few investments outside my home, cars, or retirement account, my taxes should be easy. After all, I’m an employee. I can’t deduct much of anything.

Even using an online service, it still takes hours! I tried to get it right. Can anyone be sure they did?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m willing to pay taxes to pay for government services and programs. Sure, I don’t agree with everything you guys in Washington/Hartford/Town Hall are doing, but I’ll pay my fair share. I just can’t seem to figure out what that is.

Why should doing my taxes be so stressful? Mark, are you with me?

The commish is probably a bright guy. He went to school here in New Haven at Yale. Yale is no guarantee of brightness (insert your own joke here since the last three presidents have gone to Yale), though it’s a reasonable reassurance.

Why can’t I, a former math team member, easily blow through this thing without worrying I’ve done something terribly wrong and will end up bunking with a former politician in Danbury, or worse? Why is it so difficult? Why is it so confusing?

Is there a reason you’ve got multiple forms, all named 1099? There’s 1099B, 1099DIV, 1099OID… I could go on. This is like George Foreman naming all his children George – and you know how we feel about that idea!

Then, there’s the question of money for Steffie’s college expenses. We were good parents and put something away when she was a little girl. Exactly how much did we originally invest in the late 80s? Uh – I’ll get back to you on that.

In the past, I’ve had relatives who worked backwards in their tax forms. In other words, they decided what they thought would be a fair amount for them to pay, then worked from there until the other numbers made that happen. I don’t do that.

I’m not looking to move my geofffox.com headquarters to the Cayman Islands or Bermuda. Should I? That really pretty yacht we saw in Cabo San Lucas, owned by a guy from Montana, flew the Cayman flag. Maybe he’s on to something?

A few years ago, Stanley Works, the tool company in New Britain, CT, tried to move its offices offshore. Lots of companies have. Even our cruise ship, Norwegian Caribbean’s, “Norwegian Star,” was registered in the Bahamas. That’s not part of Norway nor the US.

All I want is an easier tax system. Since none of the special exemptions I have to ponder are for me, you’ll probably have to tick off people with more influence than I have. C’mon Mark, you can do it.

Finally, am I being graded on spelling?

Mis-covering An Election

The Iowa Democratic Caucuses have ended and one thing has been established. This year, at this point in the presidential campaign, news organizations are fixated with the horse race aspect.

That’s the wrong way to go. Aren’t the ideas of the candidates what’s most important? It’s not like there’s not a wide spectrum of ideology. Could candidates be farther apart than Dennis Kucinich&#185 and Joe Lieberman, for instance?

We hear about polls and political stumbles because it’s an easier story to cover and it’s dynamic – whereas you’ve got to hope the candidate’s positions are static.

I try to stay well informed and read like crazy, but I have a very tough time ascertaining where everyone stands. If we’re going to elect the right candidate (if that person actually exists) we need to know.

&#185 – In 1973, while at WGAR in Cleveland, I ate dinner sitting next to Dennis Kucinich at a station function. This was before his less than illustrious reign as mayor. We traded small talk, but all I can remember now was thinking how young he was to be a politician.