Two Days in the USA

MLK Day and Inauguration Day, that is. It seems fitting that the inauguration of the first black president of the USA is the day after the celebration of MLK’s legacy.

I wondered about the algorithms for assigning specific dates to these days. I should probably have known, and maybe most citizens do, but I didn’t. An article that popped up on Yahoo News today told me that the 20th amendment moved inauguration day from April 30 to January 20. There were technological reasons for the switch to the colder time of year. A senate committee put it like this.

Under present conditions [of communication and transportation] the result of elections is known all over the country within a few hours after the polls close, and the Capital City is within a few days’ travel of the remotest portions of the country.

That was in 1937. It’s somehow cool to juxtapose that with the thought that Obama is taking a train, rather than jet plane, to DC.

On the other hand, it’s somehow strange to see how white the world is this MLK day. I refer to the snowstorm that went on rather longer than the forecasters thought it would. MLK day is “observed on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of King’s birthday, January 15” (from Wikipedia).

President of Change

We (our rather, the citizens of the country in which I reside, but cannot vote) are about to get a new president. Central to the discussion has been change. Obama notoriously uses the word at every opportunity.

But McCain and Palin have been talking about the concept of change just as much. It’s just that, while Obama has owned the word itself, McPalin have found other ways to refer to, and attempt to claim, the concept. In particular, Palin has used the word maverick almost as often as Tina Fey has.

A maverick is an unbranded range animal, especially a motherless calf. It can also mean a person who thinks independently, a lone dissenter, a non-conformist or rebel. There’s other good stuff at Wikipedia, but the point is that Palin associates herself and McCain with change by describing the two of them as non-conformists. (If you want to address the question of how each can be both a lone dissenter and the running mate of the other, please do so in the comments.)

Now, if you wanted the American people to associate you with change, which word would you choose? A one-syllable word, preferably change itself? Or a three-syllable word meaning a motherless calf? And, if your opponent has already claimed the C-word for himself, would you reinforce the central place of change in the discussion? Perhaps you had to, unless you wanted to campaign on four-letter words like Bush and same.

By the way, Changing Way makes no official endorsement of either candidate. But you can probably detect endorsements unofficial and subliminal.

Presidential Meme

I just tried the 2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz, despite being a victim of taxation without representation here in the USA. I didn’t know much about my match, so I Googled him, only to find that ABC has just cut Mike Gravel from a Dem debate because he doesn’t meet the station’s “quite inclusive” criteria. Kucinich was also cut. Sorry if I somehow jinxed you, guys.

79% Mike Gravel
78% Dennis Kucinich
73% Chris Dodd
68% Barack Obama
66% John Edwards
66% Hillary Clinton
65% Joe Biden
64% Bill Richardson
44% Rudy Giuliani
38% John McCain
37% Ron Paul
30% Mike Huckabee
27% Mitt Romney
17% Tom Tancredo
14% Fred Thompson