Wednesday, March 26, 2008
There was a time when 1976 was the present not the past. The press in that moment treated every little detail of the world, those that would not survive a one week news cycle, as if each were earth shattering and new. Our crazy shnazy 2008 media is not all that different, though we imagine it is. In 1976 the discussion was all about the danger of the Republican Party taking the fight all the way to the convention.
Ever since I saw Gerald Ford on the Simpsons I thought he seemed like a good all around guy. He was well humored, humble, and wise. I especially enjoyed the sentiments he allowed to be released after his death on the dangers of the Imperial Presidency and his distaste for the direction America was heading. But thats him in history, in 1976 Gerald Ford was a politician in the thick of it with slick haired actor turned politician on his second wife named Ronald Reagan. Forget the great man he was and the great leader, in 1976 he hadn't done anything yet, oh, and, he was from California. Ford had the number advantage, he was gonna win unless something swung, but the Reagan team decided to fight him down to the last delegate.
Gerald Ford lost that election to Carter. Ford won the nomination but it was Reagan, whether he planned it this way or not, who really won. Reagan destroyed Gerald Ford for the general even though he was a long shot to get the nomination. Reagan did not win the delegates but it became 4 years until could run again, not 8. Hillary Clinton will be 65 in 2012 and her only chance at becoming President is to destroy Barack Obama so that he doesn't spend 8 years in the office.
Just like Reagan it is entirely possible that this notion didn't occur to Hillary Clinton personally. And that comforting notion is why I respect her and her service to our country. The issue that complicates things is that Clinton is a brand and a political machine more then it is the individuals. This machine allows them to accomplish great things, which both have, but it also breeds distrust in a time when Americans feel the urge to rage against the political machine.
I hope I am wrong about this but I think the Clinton Strategy is to create division amongst democrats in a game of political chicken until the bitter end. There are many objective arugments that can be made such as popular vote, delegates, national opinion polls, fund raising numbers, or head to heads against John McCain which all could be used to make the case that Obama should flinch first. I think if Obama was were no winning in every one of those measures then he would have the wisdom to flinch first in the name of the country like Al Gore did in 2000.
Hillary has made the right choice to stay in until Pennsylvania, but if she loses even one more after that then she needs to pipe down. She does not have to concede or drop out. They just need to stop trying. I like Hillary Clinton, but she is no Reagan, and I do not want her to think she is in 2008.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Obama spoke today about our quest for a perfect union. In this speech he demonstrated his grasp of how hard it is to achieve great things and gave no ground to the nay-sayer who attack his hope and faith in the goodness of America. He is a provider of Hope because of his very clear vision of what he hopes for and what it takes to achieve it.
America is a pursuit of a more perfect union. This is not a pursuit of the perfect union or my/your perfect union. Our nation was founded on the principles of a constant re-examining of the law, global acceptance for all men, and in a word ; liberty. Barack Obama has the potential to not only lead, but awaken this country because we ARE a great nation, and we do aspire to those lofty ideals. Americans have the courage, humility, and realism to endeavor to come together and attack the challenges of this world head on and most importantly with our eyes open.
Video and Transcript:
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I am guessing none of the answers to these questions is all that impressive or else there'd be a commercial about it paid by the Obama campaign, but I still wish I knew what they were. At the very least I should be able to spout out what college it was at, right? I mean shouldn't I have gotten a test or something before they let me wear the Obama t-shirt to work.
This country has a hunger for Obama, whether he wins the nomination or not thats undeniable. I think one of the reasons for this is that sense that he is an idealist and pragmatist on the same frosted mini wheat. The fact that he was once a constitutional lawyer makes me so happy. The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights are the most important words that our President should go gah gah over. Every elected official should live and die by words like inalienable and of, by, for the people. He or She should get teary when they thinks about the freedom of the press and the genius of our founding fathers, of illegal search and seizure, and most of all that amendment that made it legal to drink booze again.
I can only assume that there is very little substance to the time Barack spent as a constitutional lawyer because a couple well placed sentiments about how much he loves the constitution would make me giddy and I am sure that, if there is going to be a second act to the Barack Obama story, this period in his history would have been turned into a digestible narrative by now. I am really hoping there is a second act instead of "Hillary somehow beat him" or "He won and then lost to McCain". Maybe someone out there knows what this narrative is, if you find 'em lemme know.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
I am not very interested in seeing Hillary Clinton as president and according to the rules of the game she doesn't add much to the ticket as VP. I wholeheartedly support and respect Hillary Clinton and I don't see this as being in conflict with my strong desire to NOT see her as President. I truly think that she is a Patriot with battles to fight for America. But her chances at winning those battles would be greater if she remains a US Senator in a 60 Democratic Senate.
Barack Obama will be the best possible 44th president of the United States because his leadership is well suited for the current enviornment in America, the current collective soul. Barack Obama and Hillary share almost identical plans for solving our problems and having her in the Senate as an ally to push through an Iraq Policy (I like to call it Success Plan for Iraq), a health care policy, and a suring up of our infrastructure would turn these into HER acomplishments. The next president will need to address the economy by modernizing our energy policy and motivating the country for it. We need to make renewable energy our apollo project and if Hillary is in the Senate she can be the architect. Same goes for health care and Iraq. Hillary can be the Obama pen in the Senate where she changes the law as he engages the nation and builds willpower and consensus.
If Hillary Clinton was chosen as VP then you would lose her as an ally and, frankly, a vote in Senate. I think a rational decision maker would conclude that she could do more good for the nation and exert more influence in that capacity.
Now all that said, I started off with a qualifier about the rules of the game. One of the best things about America is we are nimble and can change the rules of the game very quickly. Vice President Dick Cheney has established a transformative notion of the VP that enhances his role as leader of the Senate. In an official and even legal way he has been able to claim without refute that his office occupies significant authority in both bodies and co-exists in 2 of the 3 co-equal branches of government. This transformative role of the office of the Vice President of the United States will either be dismissed by the next administration or we could see the VP being somewhat of a Prime Minister/President relationship in the not too distant future.
Dick Cheney brought the very first movement to the US, the very first inching along on the slippery slope of transforming the Vice Presidency. No longer a back up in case of the President's incapacitation, he formed energy policy, directed intelligence, and held independent sway in much of the national decision making. If Hillary Clinton would be elected Vice President I think it should come as a surprise to no one if she views this as a co-presidency role. She could very easily build on the Dick Cheney legal precedents set and even challenge to take them further. Oddly enough the conservatives may come to hate Dick Cheney as much as the Liberals do if history anoints him as the one who broke down the limitations of the Vice Presidency and allowed Hillary Clinton to assume that power as the first Prime Mininster in VP's clothing of the United States
Closer to home I realized the real reason behind why I support having this overpowering military strength. I bought a personal security policy with my 35% taxes to uncle sam and I don't give a shit about world politics as long as I feel as personally safe. I think my support for the military means that if some terrorist crazed jack ass comes after me then, as an american tax payer, I have a reasonable expectation that the calvary will arrive to come get my ass. I mean if I got put on Iranian TV, I would be looking every guard in the friggin eye to find that one dude whose gonna whisper in my ear..., "Sir,I am working with the US, Tuesday we will kill all these people and put a chopper on roof. Sorry for the inconvenience sir, here is a diet coke." Now this scenario may be unrealistic but I don't wanna know how the cavalry works, I just want it to work.
A government that uses our massive military spending correctly, or at least just focused on the correct things, should be able to do whatever it wants in the world. Just having a devoted, mind you I said devoted, army of resources assigned to intelligence gathering and diplomacy should make us unstoppable. Think of this scenario, you are being taken hostage and need to just be whisked away to the nearest friendly embassy. This escape can happen if the US government flips the one guy who has the power to move a prisoner from point A to point B. Like the cops trying to extricate a confession from a murderer you get enough background on the right one guy to find out what pushes his buttons and make it clear you have the power to hurt him. Use this as a bluff before answering all his prayers and offering him everything he could ever want for he and his family. Provide a fortune and freedom in order to purchase his betrayal. The rest is simple.
How could the US save me in this scenario (I hope someones reading this in the govt in case I ever get nabbed!)
Here is an example of one possible scenario, let say I am in a hostage taking crisis. On day one of a crisis you send in 100 or more "diplomatic staff" as the American Diplomatic Team (ADT!) to
So, why can't the US provide a calvary that can effectively guarantee my saftey as a free US citizen? We are already paying for it, all I want say to the national security officials is, hey stop it with the playing the RISK boardgame with the world, lets get serious. Summer break after the cold war is over and now you have to do your jobs again. I love spending money on the army, but I want to get my money's worth.
I am an over 30 year old who attempts to watch the news every day as if its my civic duty. I have learned that you are struggling to attract a younger demographic to this programing from articles I have read in the new york times. I take serious issue with the fact that the local news plays a million times a day but due to the schedule of an over 30 year old I constantly miss the world news. Your company needs to make your world news available the same way that you do features of your hit shows. CBS news should begin allowing unadulterated access to their news immediately as a matter freedom of information (even though, when you think of it, it is also in your best interest to attract my demographic as a win win).
I think it is unethical of your parent company, Viacom to withhold publicly broadcast information available from your website in its entirety. The airways you lease from the FCC belong to the people and I plan on writing a letter to my district's congressman nancy pelosi, local councilman, and my local senator to demand you make this Data available. Viacom has no right to horde its broadcasts which containin "on record" Data because this affords Viacom too much power to "control the conversation" in politics. The public must be free to scrutinize every moment our president and other foreign officials say. How is it ethical for John Stewart and other brainless comedy shows to obtain your clips and re-broadcast them, yet you do not provide this access to the public from which you lease your air waves?
I would like to see, in months not quarters, a notification that you have made your broadcasts available in some kind of form and in any kind of format. Any access at all would acceptable as I do understand that you will need almost a year to formulate a distribution strategy that it as monetized as possible for you company. I am a republican and fully support industry and capitalism.
I don't care if you email me an obscure link to some obscure site where I can download a fuzzy avi every day as long as I get to make informed decisions on where I stand on issues and who should be elected in the USA. Please provide me a contact to confirm whether I have any legal basis to bring a suit, because even if I am a loon, I could spend only a couple thousand dollars to have a lawyer find the smallest technicality or ambiguous wording and the publicity alone would force you to provide this data. I would prefer to hear from you that you are taking steps to make your world news available instead making this my hobby and paying law clerks to research (though it would be kinda fun to get 15 minutes of fame for under 10k), so please just contact me.
Internet Services Analyst
PS. Sorry for the poor grammer and spelling but your form is terribly thin and difficult to use.
The patriots lost the superbowl this year (stay with me here) even though they were perhaps the best team in football ever. The way they lost is because there was a huge turning point when they played the philadelphia eagles mid-season and almost lost their first game. The reason this was a turning point is the eagles unlocked the formula for beating them, the chink in their armor, allow moss under 20 yard gains and bring obnoxious pressure on brady, was followed by the giants.
Renewed attention on Obama's cake walk with the media has revealed the big chink in Obama's armor recently and, though he looks numerically unstoppable, that recently discovered attack strategy has time to take root and superdelegates will do their job (they were only created in '82 for the very purpose of confronting a populace woo'ed by style and no substance). We are that chink in the armour. They have not come up with a way to attack Obama because he is arguably the best canidate you can image. But his supporters have a willing suspension of reason that they are willing to be caught up in. When I watch the talking heads on TV I see that the Obama supporters can not answer the question of why they are supporting him beyond the words change and hope. When they come up with anything else they are hard pressed to provide an answer.
If Hill-dog can keep her firewall strong in ohio and texas by exposing this then the tide will quickly change in the "who has the best chance to beat McCain" numbers and there will be an Obama exodus. An effective strategy of putting the face of irrational hippy liberals on Obama supporters and hard working blue collar americans on Hillary supporters can be his demise. Many people just feel that Obama is the right choice and reason be damned. Many of those folks are having trouble making the reasoned arguments and point counterpoints on the national stage as either surrogates or supporters.
That said Obama is outspending Hillary about 2 to 1 on media and organization. Ironically he may be able to use the old strategy of buying the nomination even though he is the good guy. The difference is he has all this money because people like me logged on to Obama.com and donated comfortable amounts, an unprecedented event in modern politics and a revolutionary idea, "you can spend all you want, but your money has to come from the voters, not the special interest."
I love this stuff.
The greatest momements
stand behind unlocked doors
Sifting and sorting aches
jumping with causality strains.
The greatest risk is activity,
the pitiful death is a surprise.
Will you be with me?
even if I don't care what we do?
Sometimes I just want you to want
me to want to be with you.
Phew... the honesty
I'm not done yet....
I'm not done yet?
Burrowed deep in the rabits hole
leaping legs tend to gain weight
Hindsight jumps to regret
as realization sinks in.
what could have been, can be
and you see now it should be had.
now I see.
Guide the masses. Lead us from the darkness.
Draw the blood back towards the feet,
correct the stupidity of standing on my head.
But my sad ass is yet laden.
Oh so much could be seen,
The things that you could do.
A man could do great things with one of those
Wait a minute, I am a man!
But where should I go?
So I have a dirty little secret. I like my dorky job. I like the promise of what can be done with the enormous amount of information that flows around now adays. Data is like a crystal ball and really can be used to make predictions about the future. You need to be good at the art of hypothesizing on behavior and processing it if you want to make magic happen but if you are good at it you can do anything. Things like have your tivo record the shows you actually want and maybe didn't even know about, or the netflix to tell you the right movies to rent, or determine which promotions would really interest you (any one need a free ipod). It just so turns out that databases, excel, powerpoint, and business speak are the raw material to build crystal balls.
So at work all day I get excited because I feel like I spend my time helping people with thier crystal balls or building my own. And gosh darn it, It may be a dork job, but I like my dorky little job.
The power hungry (and bear in mind you can be power hungry and not evil, some of the greatest benevolence has come from Imperialistic forces) have learned that the way to circumvent the difficulties presented in the denial of free speech by "silencing" it is to silence the message by drowning it out. Information flow, the sales pitches floating around, is contributing to the corruption of our system. The fact that it costs money to put together a quality sales pitch makes it cost money to get out information. And add to that America needs to be sold everything from a war to a plan to fix social security. Our country needs to clear the path for well defined messages one pebble at a time. Currently the dynamite to the wall approach is the only one being used in America with huge resources going toward every problem. Think about how much Bush spent on the presentation alone trying to sell the Social Security plan. Now think if a congressman from some po-dunk state with a better idea could have shouted over that and the rest of the pool of opinion, fract (god bless s. colbert), and talking points.
One big problem, the thing that lets dirty people hide the evil and lets selfishness continue is the ability to trust there will be anonomity for your dirty, evil, and selfish deeds. By making it a right that people have free speech that means they are free to shed this light into anyones closet. America is based on the fact that we do have this right. If you know the president cheats on his wife you won't be killed for telling people.
Giving money to a political canidate is using money as free speech but it is time for that notion to evolve into the new era. The original talk show was nothing more then the leveraging of tv to make announcements and the commercials pay for it and therefore sponsor the message. Not too controversial when the message was the Yankees score. Now media is owned by the corporations and the special interests have every right to take over the media which is much more complex, so we need to put a price tag on the making every message a special interest because the lobyists are the dynamite we are performing surgery with now.
Wouldn't it be nice if there was a company that puts together just any old sales pitch in order to get your message put forth. It wouldn't be hard to start, just rally together all blogsphere folks and pay them dirt cheap to do the work around a set project plan. Find some of those guys who are good at getting the message out by leveraging a complete media strategy, put a pricetag and time box around "message" and find out who thinks something is worth saying. Once enough people think something needs to be pitched, the pitch is created.
In my vision of etopia people express thier veiws on an issue one penny at a time like a telethon. Once you reach your goal you get your research done and message out. The messengers would be topic agnostic so that you may have impartial representation of both sides. Why can't the same company make a telethon and make a comercial that is pro abortion and one that is anti?
Luck is the blind mans explanation for why he was too lazy to create momentum.
No, I think that there is a better way to handle the situation and we just haven't pulled our Ace yet, make it complicated. If there is one thing that the business world teaches it is that the more bureaucracy the less that gets done or, perhaps, more gets done but more slowly. The solution is to make drugs legal but to make it a pain in the ass with a lot of forms and lines and lead time to satisfaction. Make it more like paying your taxes or getting your car registered.
In order to dis-incent you really can't play with the price because if you raise the price as a deterent then adicts will just whore themselves out or steal my shit. These are the activities tjat lead the innocent folks getting hurt instead of those who decided to put themselves in harms way getting hurt. The better solution is to make drugs legal and add cost through bureaucracy. No profit for the organization really, but the government runs the shit and makes it such a pain in the ass, maybe hire idiots on purpose to fuck up orders, that you really have to be committed and unashamed. Part of the budget would also get funneled directly into anti-marketing campaigns.
This may sound harsh but think about it, if people want to spend thier existence slowly poisoning themselves to death then we have to let them. How can a species persist where we work to keep the weakest alive? We already have over population and we could never feed everyone if we had to go back to substistence living. Flat out. Some of the people just gotta die. Now they can be innocent folks, cops, and the like suffering or they can be the individuals who want thier poison sooooo much they are willing to wait in their apartment as if the cable guys was on his way. That bastard has got to be determined to hurt himself.
Think about those early stages right when a drug addiction is getting to be a problem. That is when you would be able to use anti-marketing, when you can nipp the thing in the bud. Folks are gonna slip up. And lets remember we aren't even talking about normal folks we are talking about devoted drug adicts here. It may just take John Doe that one job he lost because he took one too many sick days that were actually Heroine holidays until you can get through to him, but you will know who he is cuz you're his dealer.
Another benefit is that by controlling the distribution you can know the quantities that are being distributed to each consumer. You will know who is in what risk category! You can flood thier mailbox with get help brochures. Most importantly you can customize the touchpoint with the customer in such a way that it is the complete opposite of what most businesses are. Most business want to sell shit, most business want to gain more customers, and most businesses have limited resources. We have crazy loot coming in because WE ARE SELLING CRACK! We hope that all of our inventory grows in shelf life. We hope that our weed is all dry and shitty. We want our customers to have to go really out of thier way to get our product. Cokes corprate strategy is to have a beverage within the reach of anybody. Well we want everybody to have to jump through hoopes here at the Crack corp.
Imagine a better war on drugs. A war where the procedes from drugs are the fuel going to fight the drugs. A disease that will slowly consumes itself and where the actual drugs are produced to be the least lethal possible. Wouldn't it be great if there are only half as many things killing you in the drugs themselves(i.e. no bad hit of acid). And most importantly all the folks who get hurt by drugs, though the number will not dip dramatically, will shift more towards those most committed to hurting themselves versus those trying to protect them from themselves. How committed is the average person to self destruction? How committed do you have to be to stop them?
Trying to stay awake with heavy eyes
The image of a man resting on an edge by his forehead alone flashes across my mind.
How is it he uses nothing but his neck to hold his entire body from falling?
And slowly with his legs and neck how does he manage to fling himself?
He is over the edge and then completes the move by flipping forward with accidental grace.
He places his head on the floor and whips his legs around; visciously.
A quick gust of wind blows him back from his precepice and he holds on to this edge just barely with his forehead.
Eyebrows one by one slipping over the angle.
He can see his feet but no matter how much he desires it, he can not fall.
First and foremost this is not george bush's fault. I am not some tree hugging liberal from San Francisco, though I do live in San Francisco (it's a sweet place you should give it a chance). The blame lies with each and every one of us who wraps themselves in the comfortable "we're #1 blanket" of American mythology and doesn't take the time to evaluate what we are number one at and why we are number one. I love America, I mean I really love America. I also know why, its because it has indoctrinated sharing power between the powerful and the weak that have the ambition to better themselves, it has guaranteed our freedoms by documenting them as the highest law using checks an balances to make sure no institution can overshadow this constitution, and it codifies term limits that force a new perspective into prominence every 8 years or so. These basic ideas have led to our land being the most innovative place in the world and we deserve every bit of that success. Anyone in the world who doesn't like it should have to give back their indoor toilets, computers, light-bulbs, 80's music, air planes, cars, movies, nuclear bombs, ipods, rubber bands, and web pages. But where we are at right now is a country of under informed individuals straining to avoid the true labor of thinking. It's horrifying to ask these people why we are number one and hearing nothing about the present or the future but only empty sound bytes about Russia and ww2. We are at risk because we need to focus on what we need to win in the future and stop harping on the past. I honestly see no value in deriving self actualization from our parent's victories.
The future security of our hegemony, or at least for a peaceful rise of a rival for mutual benefit, (Pepsi is nothing without Coke, McDonalds needs Burger King) depends on energy. Our under informed and civics illiterate populace strains to comprehend that this issue is more then some skinny pot smoking liberal picked last in dodge ball who is whining about the environment all the time. Energy is the responsibility of the school quarterback and the schoolyard bully and we have fallen behind, far behind, the rest of the world on the most important card any country has to play. It has always has been the name of the game since the first cave men raided the tribe next to them cuz they had the fire going, those with energy need to make more, defend what they have, or steal it from someone else. The world is focused on nuclear energy but that's bull. Solar is where it's at. Not because it's clean, but because it is safe, compartmentalized, and has the most potential in terms of lowering the costs and getting more out of it with more research and investment. Every rooftop in America could be a power plant. The sun that demands higher air conditioning costs in the summer can be the very driving force to provide more energy for providing it instead of rolling blackouts.
Energy independence is a multifaceted goal we have completely lost sight of as we try to force feed democracy to the middle east (cuz of their energy). There is potential for propagating a measure of self sufficiency by just focusing on solar though. We can easily safe guard our corporate economy from a major part of it by making sure no other country can turn the lights off. America is more and more an information economy and you don't need oil to manufacture or move information. You just need large server rooms and lots of electricity for pcs, tvs, and cell phones. Yes, this is an oversimplified view but I say put the solar infrastructure in place so that each rooftop is its own power station. Watch how this investment leads to a booming solar industry and how money in that industry will lead to more optimum use. And this will lead to a day when every square foot generates its needed square wattage itself. The grid suffers from scary fault lines that any coordinated terrorist attack could impact, is it so hard to envision Tehran taking down the grid.
The third risk to America and the reason we are at risk of losing everything is that as the bureaucratic heavy weight we have forgotten what its like to be the nimble little guy. We are knuckle up with Iran right now and they can take us down. I truly think that our arrogance and their energy coupled with their understanding that the face of global power has changed gives them the advantage. Sure we can level them with nuclear bombs, but would we? We are so drunk off our victory in the cold war that we are like the sleeping uncle after thanksgiving getting straws stuck up his nose by the kids. If there is one thing that Israel's Lebanon debacle showed us it's that the paradigm has shifted. Our pentagon and our defense department shouldn't forget about traditional warfare but they need to realize that we are a sitting duck until somebody starts thinking outside the box. Remember when we beat England way back when, it was because of the embryonic American expertise at innovation and thinking outside the box. We need fresh ideas and fresh leadership.
America is losing the war on terror, America is challenging its populace to sacrifice their freedom instead of making sacrifices for energy independence, and the world sees our Achilles heel. We need to channel our countries patriotism into an effective strategy to continue as the first and greatest benevolent super power and I believe we can do it. One of the great things about America is our codification of term limits to force new ideas and fresh understanding into power. Its time to remove the grey haired congress and the entrenched presidential candidates. Its time our generation attacks the world stage free of preconceived notions of what worked in the past and surprise the world with a new direction. Let's send flowers to castro, treat Iraq more like Israel 2, and open diplomatic ties with everyone. Lets set a bold energy independence doctrine, demand sacrifice from the populace, and get our marketing message out to the world, America is back and who else would you want be #1?
Its 2006, robots should do my choresThink about the rich folks who lived all high and mighty back in the day. It was because those people had second class citizens who lived there and did all the crap work. So I think that part of the american dream is that we want to have as few second class citizens as possible and technology has enabled that by producing machines to do the crap work. I think that its time for the next round of technology to do even more of our chores
The microwave can produce a meal from the freezer in about 10 minutes, dishwashers wash dishes in less then an hour, and washing machines wash our clothes. These were all great time savers but living in a bachelor pad there are last mile tasks that nobody ever wants to do and I think there has got to be a way to train a robot to do them. Tasks like empty the trash, unload /load the dishwasher, and put individuals shoes/mail/clothes into segregated areas so that they can put them away at thier leisure.
Now I am not some fancy shmancy robotics engineer but I think there are some out there. I think for at least a few of these things just having a design to make it easier to acomplish these goals could be a huge asset. For example a trash can design that is easier to get the bag in and out of. or a dishwasher where the rack the dishes are washed in just all goes in one quick swoop in the cabinet. Wouldn't that be great. So you people out there, what robots can you think of!