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I once passed a psych test in college by answering that question with "because." I'm pretty sure that professor is stuffing his pants with old newspaper and sleeping under a bridge these days.

At any rate, my question isn't that deep. I just want to know simple things, like:

  • why this young woman in North Carolina thought it would help her anti-animal-dissection cause to legally change her name to Cutout?
  • why, with 50 empty tables in the Miami Herald cafeteria - seriously, until about 10 seconds ago I was literally the only person sitting in our dining room - a guy who is a loud eater just walked up and sat at a table about two feet away from me? Of course, as I sit here taking a break from writing an article, I swear it is pure coincidence that Rockwell, singing Somebody's Watchin' Me, just started playing through my earbuds. I am not paranoid. Anyway, I'm pretty sure loud eater-sittin'-too-close-to-me-guy wasn't an executive. If it turns out he was, this time tomorrow you'll find a broken URL where Burnettiquette used to be;>)
  • why I have a sneaking suspicion that Osama bin Laden will finally be captured/killed a few days before the presidential election next month?
  • speaking of Osama, why I should believe it was an accident last week that an upstate New York county mailed out hundreds of absentee ballots with Barack Obama's last name spelled "Osama?" I've been typing for years, and even on those days when I try typing upside down or with my feet, there has always been at least two keys separating the "s" key and the "b" key. I've never mistaken the two.
  • why, speaking of ballots, I think voter registration AND voter prevention fraud will occur at exponentially greater levels than in the past two presidential election cycles? Don't smirk. ACORN, in all its support for Obama, is not alone. Before all is said and done you'll have heard about just as much vote-related fraud that benefits McCain too.
  • why I'm resigned to the notion that regardless of who moves into the White House next January, this economy is gonna have us all pole dancin' for a buck or selling apples and homemade sugar water on the side of the road to keep the bills paid?
  • why one of my close buddies - a longtime Republican, ever a friendly thorn in my side over my Independent status - got annoyed with me earlier today for not agreeing with him that a majority of black voters are supporting Obama because he's black? On the contrary, going back to the late 1950s voting records show that a majority of blacks have voted for the Democratic candidate for president. And until this year, that candidate has always been white. That majority has increased over the past five election cycles to a level consistently in the 90% range. Multiple polls show that this year more than 95% of black voters surveyed say they plan to vote for Obama. Now, since an average of 90% of black voters tend to vote for the Democratic candidate, period, the math and the science suggest that fewer than 10% of blacks who plan to vote for Obama are doing so because of his skin color. Now, in normal-speak: what's so shocking about the idea that people who mostly vote for Democrats in other years are doing so this year too? And why did my buddy get upset when I told him these discussions are growing tired since there's no scientifically measurable point of comparison for the Republican Party, since the GOP has never had a non-white presidential candidate (no, I'm not counting the primary contests - I'm talking final candidates).
  • why another buddy, James T. Harris, a futurist, marketing guru, and black conservative talk radio host in Milwaukee, Wis., has been flooded with hate mail and even life-threatening mail since attending a McCain rally last week and begging McCain to attack Obama harder? I don't see eye-to-eye with J.T. on everything, just as I don't see eye-to-eye with my consistently liberal friends on everything. Regardless, just because J.T. hasn't gone the way of the majority of people who look him doesn't mean he deserves hate mail and death threats. On the contrary, he deserves props for sticking to his guns, even when he knows his will be an unpopular decision in some quarters. He's got principles. You may not like his principles, but by practical definition, he's got 'em. That anyone thinks its cool to threaten the man's life and call him vile names 'cause he doesn't like Obama doesn't say a lot about their character.
  • why Dave Barry still hasn't chosen me for his running mate, and why more of you aren't planning on writing us in on your ballots?


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al in kendall

Nice comments, a breath of fresh honest air in the Herald.

James B.

thanks, al. the things i say though? they're why i could never run for and win public office - 'cause i don't have enough love for either side...that and the skeleton in my closet. really, i have a heap of bones in my closet.

i kid. no literal skeletons, just the same stuff we'd all ask ourselves before making our lives an open book.

Jeni Hill Ertmer

Actually James, there is a whole ROW of letters and three keys (or spaces) then between the "S" and "B" keys, so making a typo there and thus substituting an "s" in place of the "b" -to my mind, looks more than a bit impossible -at least not an accidental typo anyway. If I were the person in charge of production of those absentee ballots, I'd be going after whoever was actually in charge of the typing, big time!
The name change is just beyond ridiculous.
The voter registration thing -how can people who registered under the name of a dead person, or a fictional name vote because they would have to remember what name, exactly, they registered under and what precinct that put them in too, wouldn't they? Not saying some don't manage to vote illegally, but would a lot of other things also have to occur for it to happen?
And what the heck is with people who challenge that others might vote for someone based on the candidate being of the same race? There was a similar uproar back in 1960 over Catholic voters who voted for Kennedy too, ya know. And yes, there were many who did vote for him based on religious lines but is that any different than those who consistently vote ultra-conservative based on the preachings of certain ultra-conservative church groups? That type of voting is always gonna happen. I worked with a lady who voted for the person she felt was the best looking candidate and was very upfront about her choices there too. Granted, I don't think those reasons to choose a candidate are the best, certainly not really logical, but heck, people are gonna do that anyway and I guess we could say "At least they are voting." How many women will automatically vote for McCain now that he has a woman partner on his team? Ok, not me, but yeah, I'm quite sure there are some, same as there no doubt are a few men who will vote for them because Palin is attractive too. But your explanation of the black vote as always being predominantly democratic is quite accurate and thus, with the added surge of pride some blacks may have to see a candidate of their own race on the ballot, sure it's going to bring a few new voters out and is perfectly understandable too if Obama is their choice. Frankly, I admire their wisdom in that selection.


Soooo....I enjoy your column James. Always a new side of perspectives.
And yes you should be Dave Barry's VP unless Gene, Judi or Walter would be upset.
I'm having a hard time validating the amount of money spent on propaganda commercials. Let's just say "NO" to any political advertising on TV. Waste of money and time and certainly not advancing our politics.
They took cigarette ads off the TV and magazines because it was bad for American's health. These attack ads are bad for American's health.
People are crazy with the lies and the stupidity of "I approved of this message" stuff. The stuff the tabloids are made of not our "We the people" choices for president.
Money spent for this should go to a better cause. Like Health care. Betcha those advertising folk have great health care.
So pay me to put a sign on my lawn. I'll use it to do a spell check on my absentee ballot.
Just saying.

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you've always been one to drive me to questions .. so seeing you throw them out blatently...

i never considered you as an existentialist. ;p


Loud-Eating Lout sat next to you for the same reason that loud smokers bearing boom boxes and unruly IBS-afflicted dogs invariably sit next to me on completely empty beaches.

I also wonder about the anti-vivisectionist name change, which her father approves. That name just cries out for a boyfriend with a serious tattoo habit.

The Sarcasticynic

Ovama perhaps. Onama maybe. Worst case, YoMama. But Osama?? Too coincidental, I'm afraid. What's next - McPain?


Independent? James, you can fool some of the people some of the time but please dont insult my Northern intelligence. You have a Dog in the fight to quote your fellow Brother, Randy Jackson. Your Dog has already won and you are grinning like the cat who ate the canary. Enjoy it while you can cuz your guy may is gonna send many to the unemployment line. You may very well be one of them. At least you will be smiling as you stand in that line.

James B.

Mark, if it's your intelligence that leads you to refer to someone as my "fellow Brother, Randy Jackson," then I'm going to have to insult it. I don't know anyone named Randy Jackson, nor am I related to anyone named Randy Jackson. I have one sibling, an older sister. And her name isn't Randy.

If the best you can do is funnel your anger by tying me to Obama because we share a skin color then your intelligence isn't as deep as I'd previously thought.


You are right James. My comments were out of line. Please accept my apology.

James B.

Mark, of course I accept. As the kids like to say, it's all good. No worries.

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