Friday, July 02, 2004

Late last January, just before our primary, I went through the checkout lane at True Value with my scarf partially obscuring my Dean button. With a bright smile, the checkout lady asked: "Who's Edward Dean?" I pulled the scarf away and said: "Howard Dean." She replied: "Oh, who's Howard Dean?" I explained and asked if she would be voting in the primary. She said, of course, she always votes. Depressing. Then last week, I discovered that my brother-in-law, who usually votes Republican, didn't know who Karl Rove is.
Do we need a test before people are allowed to vote? I'm not talking about one that asks them the three branches of government, either. I'm talking basic knowledge of current events. Here are the first five questions I'd use if the election were being held today. (Anyone who can answer all the extra credit questions correctly gets to vote twice). Feel free to add others.
1. Who is President Bush's top campaign manager?
a. Richard Perle
b. Karl Rove
c. Tim Russert
d. Wes Clark
(Anyone who answers Wes Clark is to be immediately ejected from the polling place.)
2. In which state did Supreme Court justices recently rule that gay marriage had to be legalized?
a. Massachusetts
b. Florida
d. Connecticut
e. Colorado
Extra Credit: Name a state that already has civil unions for gays.
3. What is the name of the American proconsul who has been in charge of Iraq this last year?
a. Paul Wolfowitz
b. Douglas Feith
c. Donald Rumsfeld
d. Paul Bremer
Extra credit: Name the new ambassador to Iraq now that sovereignty has been turned over to Iraqis.
4. Ahmed Chalabi is:
a. an Iraqi exile who urged Bush to attack Iraq
b. Osama bin Laden's second in command
c. an American born Muslim who is accused of planning to use a "dirty bomb"
d. the new head of the Iraqi governing council
Extra Credit: Name the Middle Eastern country where Chalabi embezzled millions of dollars and from which he had to flee in the trunk of a car.
5. What criticisms did opponents of the new Medicare Bill offer:
a. There was no provision for bargaining with drug companies for lower drug prices.
b. Drug prices were not locked in for people who bought prescription cards.
c. Drug companies could import Canadian manufactured drugs and sell them at twice the price in the United States.
d. all of the above
e. a and b
f. a and c
This one's not so easy. Maybe it should be extra credit. Here's the new #5:
5. One of the following statements is pure fiction. The others describe secrecy in the current administration. Which one is imaginary?
a. Vice President Cheney refused to surrender the records of the secret meetings of his energy commission.
b. For more than two years, Attorney General John Ashcroft refused to release the names of prisoners taken in Afghanistan.
c. A government accountant was threatened with firing if he revealed the true cost of the Medicare bill before Congress voted on it.
d. President Bush refused to appear before the 9/11 Commission, in public or in private.
Extra Credit: John Kerry embarrassed himself by denying that:
a. he owns an SUV, when, in fact, his family owns several.
b. he owns union busting Wal-Mart stock, when in fact he owns 2000 shares.
c. he accepted a contribution of $2000 each from Chinese companies applying for permits in the U.S. Kerry did accept them.
d. His daughter frequents a gay bar, and he is aware of the fact.


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