I think this is going to be the hardest presidency in memory for many, many people. The economy is shot, corruption is bad enough to be openly discussed at even the highest levels of government, the national government is in gridlock, we have 3 full-blown wars going without any clear and winnable goals, our international credibility has been dropping like a rock, our healthcare system is a sham among modern civilizations, and the normal evolution of civil rights stalled. Obama’s coattails are not as wide as the most optimistic people had hoped. I would not wish president-elect upon any close friends; I’d rather have them alive and sane in eight years. Especially not one who has “attend funeral of person who raised me” on their todo list. But I think we picked the better person for that job.

Remember Bill Clinton, the last guy whose presidency looked like an 8-year-long all-nighter (the academic kind, not the raging kegger kind)? He didn’t look like he got younger during those 8 years.

But, really, at the end of the day? Americans just elected a intellectual ethnic minority person with a funny name and a common perception that he’s a bit liberal. Something between 15-20% of us even think he’s a completely different religion than the majority. I’m surprised that there aren’t widespread rumours that he’s a martian, after the weird attacks upon him during that campaign. Clearly, we don’t have qualms about shirking reactionary politics when the opportunity presents itself.

Things are changing. It’s hard to not be a bit more patriotic tonight. Those times that make us proud to be Americans, where people ask “where were you?” in decades to come? This is one of them.

Wednesday ~ November 5, 2008 by b

Posted in news,poli | 6,844 Comments |


Preferably for Obama.

Monday ~ November 3, 2008 by b

Posted in poli | 6,956 Comments |

actual plumbers

also, from the article below:

But before Obama supporters fret about losing the plumber vote, it’s worth noting that the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters has endorsed the Illinois Democrat, in part because the union thinks he has the best economic agenda for its members.

Thursday ~ October 16, 2008 by blog

Posted in news,poli | 6,803 Comments |

What’s up, Joe?

So, Joe the plumber?

He isn’t a legally licensed plumber and has problems paying his taxes, already.

Thursday ~ October 16, 2008 by b

Posted in news,poli | 2,732 Comments |

do I really need to?

So, tonight:


McCain wasn’t even in the debate, or trying to win. He was only scatter-shooting buzzwords.

Wednesday ~ October 15, 2008 by b

Posted in news,poli | 6,262 Comments |


If you’re not watching the debate on tv, like I’m not, you can catch it online live at My only concerns now are how much bandwidth that stream will leave me, and will actually stay up under the load rather than crash because someone was too cheap with the IT department’s budget.

Wednesday ~ October 15, 2008 by b

Posted in news,poli | 6,611 Comments |

geek moment

I was looking at those big numbers for the bailout, the national debt, the budget deficit, and realized… most people have absolutely no clue how to relate the numbers to anything else they can observe or consider. But big numbers can be very important, and there are some ways to put them in perspective. Far beyond our current economic problems.

So, to start really big, the estimated number of synapses in a human brain (~500 to 1000 trillion) is very, very roughly the same order of magnitude as the number of neutrinos passing straight through a human body every second (~30 trillion).

To put that in perspective, both are larger than the number of galaxies in the theoretically observable universe (a mere 80 billion), far larger than the radius diameter of the observable universe in light years (about 28 billion to 100 billion, depending on your definition of “time”… 92 billion for working purposes) or the number of stars in an average-sized galaxy (100 to 500 billion). However, there are around 9 billion trillion stars in the theoretically observable universe, out to what we perceive as the edge of space in all directions.

The total number of stars in the universe is equivalent to the number of grains of sand on Earth, if you consider the top meter of the entire Earth’s crust as “sand”. Counting just every possible shoreline, including inland, the number of grains drops back down to around 1000 trillion.

Or, put another way… that national deficit? Around a trillion dollars. The yearly budget of ongoing U.S. wars? $400-700 billion, depending whom you ask and the definition of “war”. Coincidentally, the bailout of Wall St. is $700 billion. The most recent number I can find is that in 2004, maybe $700 billion in U.S. currency was in active circulation, including the 1/2 to 2/3 held outside the country.

If that’s all nonsense to you, 1 trillion == 1,000 billion.

Sunday ~ October 12, 2008 by blog

Posted in geek,poli,space | 6,535 Comments |


For those keeping score, Bush’s approval rating is now 27%, putting him very close to Nixon and Truman at the lowest ratings during their administration. Gallup hasn’t run a poll in which any other presidents ever scored lower.

Thursday ~ October 9, 2008 by b

Posted in poli | 6,479 Comments |

Obama / McCain @ Belmont

I watched last night’s debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. I didn’t expect much; I’ve made up my mind on who I’m voting for, how each candidate stands on issues that matter to me, and the arguments for and against those platforms. I was actually a bit surprised, and pleased that the candidates put each other under some stress. The President of the United States is an extremely stressful job, and I’d like to see how they handle stress as part of the relatively easy job interview.

First, I think McCain actually pissed off Obama. While Obama maintained composure, perhaps far better than Biden, I recognized his mannerisms. Usually in a debater confronted with an opponent entirely dodging the arguments repeatedly (rarely, it’s usually welcome) or blatantly lying about the evidence. It’s also the sort of thing that tends to clarify the required tactics and winning issues, that whole “game face” thing, which is exactly how Obama hit back. But from where I sat, McCain was quite rattled, losing both his cool and his nerve. Not a good sign, at all, for someone who needs to direct the absolutely trickiest negotiations on the planet. The “I’m crazy and have nukes” style of negotiation doesn’t actually work in the real world.

McCain also needs to take a second look at Teddy Roosevelt’s policies, if he’s going to call Teddy his hero. Also, he might not contradict himself by saying Reagan is his hero. Teddy Roosevelt caused the left to split from the Republican party by forming the Progressive party, as a result causing the GOP to become a conservative party. Teddy was the first president to advocate universal healthcare. He fought corrupt big business tooth and nail, breaking up many companies along the way. He made a very strong attempt to regulate some of the larger industries. He paved the way for FDR to enter office as a Democrat. He won the Nobel peace prize because of his focus on negotiating. To be fair, Teddy also had a bad habit of viewing all wars in racist terms, and pursued warfare specifically on the grounds that he thought his race superior. To me, that does not sound much like Ronald Reagan, and I don’t think any potential overlap has positive connotations.

Wednesday ~ October 8, 2008 by b

Posted in news,poli | 7,132 Comments |

on image reform

oh well. Guess I misjudged the polish as having some permanence.

Suffice to say, if you read the news and note comparisons of political figures to terrorists, please remember:

  1. “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.” — Samuel Johnson, noted conservative and literary critic
  2. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. Before believing someone’s assessment of an article they use as evidence – especially when it comes with the claim that the publication in which that article appeared is always factual and correct – it’s a good idea to read the quoted article yourself. Critically.

Sunday ~ October 5, 2008 by b

Posted in poli | 6,662 Comments |

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