I have went on rants in the past about how much it annoys me when a person’s vote is based solely on a candidates likeability. Bill Clinton got a lot of support because he was a people’s person and a good talker, and while George W Bush is nowhere near a good talker he manages to come off as some kind of every day Joe. Who cares if their policies are a bit on the insane side or if they think they have a mandate from Jesus to run the world; they look like they would be fun to drink a couple beers with, so they get votes. Despite how much this angers me, I find myself doing the exact same thing when it comes to John Edwards. From what I know about him, he seems like he would make a decent president; he made his money from taking down corporations, he is the most broke mainstream candidate, he has a supposed plan to pull US troops out of Iraq within ten months, and he claims to be about the people. I’m sure he has some dirty little secrets in his closet somewhere (like his $400 haircuts) but as far as Republicrats go, he seems like he wouldn’t (intentionally) drive the country into the ground. However – and this was the case when he was John Kerry’s running mate also – there is something about his looks that makes me not trust him. The way that his eyes are so squinty, his hair is always perfect, and even his voice leaves me with the same feeling I get from a used car salesman. I still like him more than Hillary and I would like to see what happens if he finishes in second again on Tuesday and eventually drives Hillary out of the race, making it a two-man competition; I reserve my final judgment until then.

                Why are we so afraid of a third party? There is an article in the New York Times today discussing how the candidates are focusing mainly on the independent voters in New Hampshire. This is why the one and a half party system that we have is bullshit; neither party gives any attention to their base (unless they are fund raising) because they know those votes are as good as gotten, and so they all pander to the people in the middle. Nothing is going to change until the independent voters actually vote for independent candidates. I would be very interested to see Michael Bloomberg run as an Independent and Ron Paul as a Libertarian; not only would this give us double the options, but it would also force both main parties to focus more on their bases. Now is the perfect time for this to happen; the Republicans don’t want to vote Democrat, but have a bad taste in their mouths from eight years of the worst president ever, while Democrats don’t want to cross over to the dark side, but are fed up at the fact that their party lacks anything even resembling a spine. How many more elections before people finally get fed up enough to demand other parties? Do we really have to wait for everything to come to us?

                As the violence in Kenya continues to subside, the humanitarian crisis begins to grow. Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are beginning to run out of food, clean water, supplies, and medical help and a harder and harder time is being had getting these necessities where they need to go. Negotiations are not going as smoothly as hoped for, as the president – Mwai Kibaki – still says he is willing to discuss a unity government while the opposition party leader – Raila Odinga – is demanding Kibaki admit he cheated and get someone from outside the country to mediate any talks. If either of these men truly cared about representing the people – and not just the power and money that comes with being president – they would make getting the displaced people what they need their top priority. I’m sure feelings of violence and anger can be put on hold to work for a common goal; helping their fellow Kenyans. One of the men will have to compromise a little bit in order for this not to become a huge disaster. Based on the limited knowledge I have of this particular situation or of Kenya in general, I would say that Odinga needs to swallow his pride and have meeting with Kibaki. Continuing to call him a cheater (which everyone apparently knows) and insisting that he admits to this (which he probably never will) is only making slimmer whatever chance of peace currently exists.

                Adam Gadahn is a man who was born in the United States to a Jewish-Christian family and had a normal upbringing. He then switched his allegiance to Islam, became a card-carrying member of Al Qaeda and is wanted by the US for treason. Guess where he is thought to be hiding? Pakistan, our buddies. Coming only a little over a week after Bin Laden released his most recent tape, Gadahn has come out with his own, urging his brothers in the Middle East to greet George Bush (who will make a visit to the area next week) with bombs and guns. He also urges US citizens to stand up to our government and demand the release of all Muslim prisoners. I disagree with both of his requests and I’ll tell you why. While I think Mr. Bush is straight evil and I wouldn’t shed a tear if he were to buy the farm a little early, that would leave us with an angry Dick Cheney as president. Does anyone think there would even be a place called the Middle East anymore if that were to happen? I disagree with him asking for us to demand the release of all Muslims because I’m sure somewhere there is a Muslim who has broken a real law. Sure, we should demand the release of all people who are being held prisoner simply because of their beliefs or skin color, but to demand the release of an entire group of people simple because of what religion they are kind of makes him seem a bit on the crazy side. Either way, I wish Georgie the best of luck on his upcoming trip – especially to Israel; maybe a couple close calls will do him good.

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