Tag Archives: obama

Since You Didn't Ask:

Thought I would share some commentary on a few salient topics of the day…

  1. I didn’t say that I liked the iPad, or that I thought it was cool, or that I wanted one.  I said that I think it will sell.  Granted, Apple is trying to carve out what I think is a pretty narrow niche in this handheld Internet device market, but for all the geeks I’ve talked to that can’t imagine how they would possibly use it or why they would want one, there are 2 or more parents that I think could.
  2. I think cutting off funding for NASA’s Constellation program is stupid.  Trying to encourage more funding in space exploration from private companies is one thing, but effectively giving up on a US presence in the future of humanity in outer space is another.  While we’re at it, let’s graduate a few thousand more physicists, chemists, engineers, and other scientists from overseas at OUR universities, then send them back home.  We obviously won’t need them to work at Starbucks or drive a bus or answer phones in a call center.  Those are them nice American jobs.
  3. On the other hand, at least there are some thoughts and ideas coming out of the White House this week after that State of the Union enema.
  4. I have been frustrated with the samba client and network manager on Ubuntu for long enough.  I finally found a fix that works for me (for now).
  5. After taking a stroll around our local Best Buy store, I’m realizing that a TV is one purchase decision that’s awfully hard to make exclusively on the Internet, no matter how hard I try.  You really have to see the screen, compare the sizes with your eye, and test drive them a little bit.  It also makes you antsy for one when you come back home to your 27″ CRT.

Other than that, had a straight-up weekend.  We went to Milwaukee on Friday evening for Tina’s birthday and had a nice time at Water Street Brewery & The Harp.  Saturday we stayed in, and Sunday was for housework.  Got the Super Bowl coming up next weekend, but I’m not sure it’s going to play too huge in these parts.  I am interested, but not riveted.  Speaking of the Super Bowl and TVs– have you noted the marketing blitz around this football game that all your electronics vendors are pushing?  Is it worse than ever, or have I not noticed it in the past?

Earth Moving To the Back Burner Again?

Apologies to those of you who also read the podcast blog for this dual-post; thought this was apropos for both…

In podcast #7, we touched on the so-called “green movement” and how it seems to be moving beyond the realm of partisanship. Today’s Dot Earth column from Andrew Revkin and the New York Times shows some numbers that beg to differ. The column is a good jumping-off point to read up on some recent stories on this topic. Revkin cites a Rasmussen Reports poll that said:

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats blame global warming on human activity, compared to 21% percent of Republicans. Two-thirds of GOP voters (67%) see long-term planetary trends as the cause versus 23% of Democrats.

With the price of gas down to levels we haven’t seen since 2006 and the global economy reeling, will we shove our collective head into the sand once again when it comes to climate change? Can we afford to? The new president doesn’t seem to think so…

Dude: We're Purple

It’s been an OUTRAGEOUSLY busy day at work, but I did turn on the inaugural programming on hulu and CSPAN, just kept it on in the background.

I talked to someone the other day who made a comment something like this is a big day for all those Obama supporters out there, and while that’s true, I don’t think the sentiment goes far enough.  It is a big day for those folks, but it is just as big a day for everyone who didn’t vote for our new president.

It’s an historic occasion, a time to celebrate the peaceful and seamless transition that we can so easily take for granted, and a moment to reach out to our fellow citizens that often disagree with us.  As we turn this page in American history, it’s important to focus on our strengths, put the past behind us, and make a conscious, concerted effort to work together in these troubling times.

It’s sad that it is so easy for us to distrust our elected officials.  But just maybe if we can put doubt aside and try to empathize with those on the other side of the aisle, it will be easier to follow the example that President Obama says he present: a transparent, honest and straightforward method of governance that you may not always agree with, but should always understand.

As excited as I am to see the person I voted for take office today, I am more hopeful than anything; that he will continue to demostrate the qualities that brought me over in the first place, and that he will earn the respect of those he hasn’t yet convinced.  I am hopeful that when Barack Obama leaves office, we as a nation can say that we have bit more faith in our government than we did yesterday.  It will definitely not be easy, but it feels good to think there’s a chance.

Dodging That Bullet, To the Best of My Knowledge

Caught ‘The Opinionator’ column in the NYT today, which talked a bit about the dilemma of Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau (not that Jon Favreau).  Apparently there were some unsavory photos of him on a social networking site, engaged in shennanegans with a cardboard cutout of Senator Hilary Clinton.

My point here is not to weigh in on the electronic vetting process of the upcoming administration, but to wave my flag one more time in favor of STAYING AWAY from Facebook.  Also, if you’ve ever been denied my personal blessing to put pictures of me on the Internet, this story is basically a gold-plated case study to justify my feelings on that.

To everyone under 25 years of age posting idiodic, drunken, stoned, naked picutres of yourself on the web: I know it doesn’t seem like this could ever be a bad idea right now, but believe me when I say that 10 years is going to grant you a tremendous amount of insight.  When I was your age (can’t believe I just invoked that phrase), we had only “hard copies” of those embarrassing photographic moments, and for the most part, they stayed in the trusted hands of friends and lovers.  It was a vastly superior arrangement.  If you can maintain control of those photos, all the better.

So, the next time you’re uploading pics from your phone to Flickr, you may want to step back for a second and think about whether or not you’d like your future spouse, boss, mother-in-law, or child to see that one of you sprawled out on the porch, spread eagle and barely conscious at the end your housewarming party.

Because I know I wouldn’t.  And so it’s not there.

I Don't Think You Were Listening

These are the last comments that I’m going to be making about Obama’s election for a while.  Yesterday, I made a point of watching a little Fox News, catching some of the daytime programming on WTMJ, and generally gathering a sense of the conservative reaction to the presidential election (which, if you were at or watched a McCain rally in the days leading up to November 4th, you may have expected would have included a military coup by this time).  It seems strange that my reasons for voting as I did really came into focus ON election day; at least now to the point where I feel I can easily verbalize them, and talk a little about what I expect or don’t expect from the incoming administration.

From what I watched or heard yesterday, there seems to be a sense among conservatives that people who voted for Obama think that he’s the second coming of Christ; that we think he’s going to walk into the Oval Office, lay hands on the desk and fix everything by January 21.  Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone, but in my case, this is not even remotely true.  And sure, I must grant that there are plenty of people who are going to not like the next president no matter what happens, or no matter what he does.  They’re not interested in hearing what he says or figuring out the sort of leader he will be.  For anyone else, let me highlight some of my reasoning:

  • Obama is a fresh voice on the national political stage that hasn’t had the time to be absorbed into the “establishment.” In my mind, that is a good thing.  Obama doesn’t owe anything to an interest group or a lobbyist, or even really to his party as he enters office.  People on both sides wanted to vote for “change” in this election, and Obama’s background is certainly that.  At the same time,
  • Obama is a genuinely intelligent, articulate, charismatic, and even-tempered person. I did not get that vibe from Senator McCain; and I never had that sense from him, even though, as I mentioned the other day, I hope we can get “the old McCain” back now that the campaign is finished.  The method with which I expect Obama to address the issues he’s presented on a daily basis is one of thoughful examination, careful consideration, and intelligent consultation.  These are opposed to the current administration, which seems much more pig-headed, single-minded, and easily influenced.  I think that the new president’s more intellectual or academic nature is going to be extremely beneficial, because
  • Obama has a number of ideas that I think are good, some that I think aren’t great, but he seems open to reasonable and logical argument. In his book, The Audacity of Hope, he discusses the policies and perspectives of It’s my hope that this quality will help him to wrest some control over the members of his party, many of whom I imagine want to get drunk on the power that they saw their political adversaries enjoying early in the Bush administration.  I think it’s been demonstrated that that’s the wrong way to serve one’s constituents, and a sure way to get voted out of office.  Moreover, I get the impression that Obama’s platform and the ideas that got him elected are not set in stone.  I don’t expect every promise to be fulfilled or every idea he put on the table to be picked up again.  But those ideas demonstrated to me that this was a candidate who thought our nation’s issues through and wants to do what’s needed to make things better.

So that’s what I thought about as I voted.  I also wanted to take this opportunity to diffuse some of the rhetoric I heard about what I, as an Obama supporter, am expecting, or what I (allegedly) believe about government:

Let me assure you, this was not a trick. What I heard yesterday from the conservative talking heads about “how this could have happened” focused on “the ways in which Obama supporters were tricked into voting for him.”  Not exactly in those words, but the discussion was framed in such a way that they could go over point-by-point: “Well, Obama said [X], which his supporters understood to mean [Y], and what they’re actually going to get is [Z].”  I didn’t hear any talk about what the Republican party needs to do or change or examine within itself to have the most appealing ideas and convey the best message.  For me, it wasn’t like I drank a potion and fell in love with this freshman senator; I considered his views and felt like they were aligned with mine.  You don’t win elections by tearing the other person down, you do it by building yourself up.

I am aware that Obama isn’t Jesus, and that this journey isn’t over. I don’t come in to the next presidential administration with the mistaken notion that every item Obama talked about is going to be pushed through Congress in the first hundred days or the first 4 years of his term.  I don’t doubt that there will be bumps along the way or unexpected detours.  Again, what is different about this man that made me vote for him is that he seems to see that, too, and he wants EVERYONE to have to a stake in where we’re headed.  Like it or not, we are all citizens of this country, and what we do affects one another.  I don’t think Obama wants to do for everyone; he wants us to WANT to do for each other, and to take pride in where we’re going together.  No matter how much you repeat a buzz word, this isn’t socialism; it is restoration of civic pride and responsibility.

And that sort of makes me think about how much of the advertising and commentary that I heard in the days leading up to the election focused on taxes.  Y’know, here is the truth: rolling back the tax code to the Clinton era is not going to make rich people stop getting rich.  If the rich are still making more money, and the poor are not being trampled as hard or as fast, what’s the problem with that?  If you have the notion, you might seriously want to consider reviewing what factcheck.org had to say about both candidates’ proposals.  Truth be told, neither is perfect, and no one’s ever is.

So I’ll leave it at that.  Listening to the commentary over the last couple days really made me feel that I needed to say something about my perspective on what happens next– now I just hope that we can more forward and reconcile.  One thing that the last administration taught me for certain: bullying your ideas through doesn’t endear anyone to you.  We can’t accomplish anything without each other.

Morning In America!

I am traveling to a conference today, but wanted to drop something here quickly before I leave.  Very exciting goings on in the presidential race last night– what a refreshing revelation about the power of individual citizens joined together in a common purpose.  And as for John McCain: a very gracious exit, and like I said to Michelle, “I hope the REAL Senator McCain goes back to Washington now.”  Because Presidential Candidate McCain was not a very appealing figure.

Count it down, folks.  January will be here before you know it.

Worth Reiterating

I mentioned yesterday that I needed to catch up on the Internet and the blogosphere a little after my fall-startup-hiatus.

I have to credit Petters for linking to a NY Times article about Obama’s economic attitudes and policies.  It’s not the lightest article ever, but my link will point you specifically to part five, which discusses his tax proposals in detail.  There is no doubt that the wealthiest Americans are going to be paying more in taxes if Obama is elected.  However, most of us are NOT the wealthiest Americans, and in fact would enjoy a decrease in taxes with Barack in the White House (and a larger one than McCain would bring).

In my experience, it’s hard for some to get passed the idea that a Democrat automatically will “tax and spend,” as if the behavior is etched into a liberal’s DNA, like a salmon returning to its birthplace to spawn.  The article did a great job of explaining the underlying philosophies behind the Obama economic plan.

Facts Are Nice

Sent this in an email to some, so sorry if it’s a repeat…

I haven’t made my voting intentions a secret during this election cycle.  I think there are a lot of unique, 21st-century sort of problems facing the United States right now, and I really don’t have any faith in a presidential candidate who’s been entrenched as a member of the GOP establishment for 25 years to have a useful perspective or any new ideas (let alone the political freedom from special interests to execute them).

The onslaught of negative advertising from the GOP has been, and will continue to be, relentless.  Here is a nice video summary that I was sent today, poking holes in the half-truths and sniffing out the BS in McCain’s ads to date:

I’ve encouraged people from the start of the primary season to collect the facts, read up on the candidate’s actual positions, and make informed decisions based on the issues at stake.  With that in mind, bookmark this one for yourself, too:

Whatever you choose to do in the voting booth in November, I hope that you won’t just *think* you’re doing the right thing, but be knowledgeable enough to KNOW you are…

Sifting Through the Static

This is the time of an election year when it gets the hardest to sift through soundbites and 30-second ads and mudslinging in order to get at pertinent materials that deal with issues.  I was saying to Michelle last week that I would really like to get more policy specifics from Barack, because it seems like the only things I see on TV from him are defensive reactions to the McCain camp’s relentlessness.  I’ve watched some of those McCain ads, too.  Just ridiculous.  Regardless of who you want to support in this election, you have to agree that an ad whose thesis is “all of that candidate’s supporters are fickle dipshits that just like rock concerts” is pretty weak.

Instead of just repeating over and over that your opponent has no plan (which is patently false), let’s talk about some actual voting records positions on issues.

So with that in mind, here’s a little shortcut to Obama’s page on new energy and the plan for combating global warming and dependence on oil.  You’ll jjust see summarized info on that web page, if you want more details, you should download the PDF that’s linked from there.

Also remember that factcheck.org is a good resource for getting the stories of the candidates straight.  This is an important election cycle, and I hope we can all make informed decisions about these folks.

Oh and a little PS — sorry for dearth of new info, between working on school and working AT school, it’s a helluva month.  Stick with me, folks, there’ll always be more to tell…

Call Off the Dogs

I believe that I found a new place to live.

I can’t say that with 100% certainty, since I haven’t heard back yet about the application that I filed on Wednesday, but I think it looks pretty good.  All things considered, I will be trading a lot of space and the free & available washer/dryer that I have now for a significantly shorter commute and slightly lower overall per-month living expenses.  I’m glad that I’ll now be able to focus on thesis work and getting packed in the short term.

I was told when I saw the apartment that I would have the opportunity to move in early, paying a pro-rated portion of a month’s rent.  I’ll probably shoot for a week ahead; I took a few days at the end of the month off for that very purpose.  I’ll now be just under 2 miles from work; an easily bike-able distance.  Maybe I’ll even get a chance to shed some of this doughy flab with the balance of my summer, too…

Been very busy at work, which is my excuse for the gap of several days between posts.  In the meantime, what’s happened?  The Brew Crew is on a tear— here’s hoping they can carry that momentum through the road trip.  Even if the Cubs haven’t gotten around to losing just yet, you know they’re not going to win out for the rest of the season.  Brewers just have to keep it up, and put the lengthy losing streaks behind them.  It’s a well-documented point that a season is going to have ups and downs, but Milwaukee has pretty much used up their allotment of “downs” already.

Also very glad to see the Democratic presedential primary season finally coming to a conclusion.  I was glad to deliver the news to Petters last night that Hillary is going to officially leave the race at the end of this week.  In the short term, that means that focus will shift to Obama selecting a VP.  I am NOT at all in favor of the Obama/Clinton ticket for one major reason: I would be concerned that Hillary was trying to run the show from the backseat all too often.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Clintons are really, really, REALLY pushy when it comes to politics, and that’s probably putting it lightly.  Barack needs her to be a valued campaign resource, and he definitely needs her endorsement, but he also needs to make this potential presidency his own.  I’m pretty sure that’s what we (his supporters) got on board for.

OK, back to it.  These phone calls aren’t going to ignore themselves…