So you think you’re informed?

November 23, 2013

I’m an information snob.

By that, I mean I hate it when my friends try to tell me they’re “informed.” Usually what they mean by that is they watch “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report” and listen to NPR every so often. They think that by being on Facebook and following @CNN on Twitter means they know what’s going on in the world.

This drives me fucking crazy.

Granted, I work in news, so my standard of “being informed” skews kind of high. I work with highly informed individuals on a daily basis, and a lot of my daily interaction comes from people who work in government. It’s my job to be as informed as humanly possible. I guess it’s why I’m a snob when it comes to “being informed.”

Case in point: before SCOTUS handed down its ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, a friend on Facebook had posted a status about how gay people should allowed to get married because love is love. Then he said he was in favor of Prop 8.

facepalm

In case you didn’t know, the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2008, but a ballot measure known as Proposition 8 passed that fall, which made gay marriage illegal again. So my friend was basically saying he was in favor of gay people getting married, BUT NOT REALLY.

And you know what I ESPECIALLY hate? I hate it when people try to one-up me when it comes to being informed. Old college friends try to do that a lot. They try to tell me, “Oh, I stay so well-informed. I know what’s going on in the world. I understand current events. I think the government shut down was total bullshit. I think the health care roll out is a disaster.”

Yeah, OK. Good for you. You took a cursory glance at CNN’s homepage. Have a cookie.

But here’s a little test I’ve devised to see how truly informed an individual is. When someone comes up to me bragging about how informed they are, you should ask them this series of questions in this exact order:

  1. Who’s the president of the United States?
  2. Who are the U.S. senators for your state?
  3. Who’s your U.S. representative?
  4. Who’s the governor of your state?
  5. Who’s your state senator?
  6. Who’s your state representative?
  7. Who’s your mayor?
  8. Who’s your city council person?

Chances are they’ll know the answer to Nos. 1, 2 and 4. The rest, they’ll be screwed.

Look, everyone and their mother can stay informed of national politics. In this day and age of information and technology, you’d literally have to be living under a rock not to know who the president is. But if you want to impress me by how informed you are, then keep up with LOCAL current events because that is where the majority of shit gets done. The ordinances and state laws that happen practically in your backyard is what affects your life the most. It isn’t Obamacare, it isn’t the government shut down. It’s the municipal government, the county government and yes, your state government.

So when you’re able to answer all of those questions, then I’ll be impressed. But until then, don’t try to one up me in informed-ness, because you’re going to lose every goddamn time.


They should replace the definition of incompetence with one word: Washington

March 1, 2013

Well, our trusty Washington lawmakers have done it again.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, fiscal armageddon is fixing to strik in oohhh…about 12 hours. And guess who’s fault it is? That’s right, our lawmakers. And guess who’s doing something to stop it? That’s right, NOT our lawmakers.

Fiscal armageddon, also known as sequestration, is the $1.2 trillion in across the board spending cuts that came about as a result of the disastrous debt ceiling negotiations last year. It was supposed to be so horrible that it would FORCE our lawmakers to confront our deficit problems and come to a bipartisan solution. But since our lawmakers couldn’t negotiate an icy sidewalk without first blaming the other side, it surprisingly isn’t going to happen.

The more I think about sequestration the angrier I get. Literally, I’m so angry as I type this, it’s just ridiculous.

Sequestration is going to hit our armed forces the hardest, because half of the cuts are taken from defense spending. OK, so I get that we spend a lot of money on defense and at some point their budget needs to be reduced, but to do it all of a sudden? To just be like, “Yeah, we’re going to halve your budget and you’re just going to have to deal with it” is reprehensible. We should first WAIT until we’re NO LONGER AT WAR before we reduce the budget. That would be the sensible thing to do, right?

nope

Instead, our lawmakers are reducing the budget NOW and they’re making no moves to stop it. So you know what’s going to happen? Civilian employees are going on furlough. They’re going to have to take a 20 percent pay cut. Children at DoD schools are going to be forced to take days off because their teachers are going to be forced to take days off. Contract workers at military installations are going to be laid off, and we all know what it’s like trying to find another job in this economy.

It just kills me. I know that these people are civilians, but they’re serving their country, too. They’re doing their part to ensure the mission gets done, and how does their country thank them? By cutting their pay or laying them off. It’s just absolutely infuriating. I can’t even…GAH.

And you know, sequestration isn’t only going to affect military spending. It also affects education spending and health spending. In my state, about $11 million will be cut off from our schools, ensuring less teachers and bigger class sizes. Another significant amount of money that I can’t remember right now will be cut from the public health, leaving less money for early childhood vaccinations.

Our lawmakers seem to think this is one, huge, gigantic joke. They don’t seem to understand that they are screwing with people’s LIVELIHOODS. They don’t seem to get that ordinary people have jobs that don’t include messing around with huge amounts of money. And these assholes get elected over and over again.

The next time you see your lawmaker, do me a favor and tell him or her about this blogpost. I doubt it will sway anyone’s opinions, but maybe they’ll begin to understand how this is so not a joke.