Friday, November 30, 2007

NORAD, Tracking Santa and the Magic of Technology

We all probably know how the tradition of NORAD tracking Santa began. But, we probably didn't know that Colonel Shoup's granddaughter works for Google:
It just so happens that Colonel Shoup is my grandfather, which is why I'm so excited that, 52 years later, Google is joining the effort. This holiday season, NORAD has partnered with Google to use technology including Google Maps, Google Earth, iGoogle and YouTube to track Santa. I can remember tracking Santa with my grandfather as a child, and I'm so proud to see my company carry on his vision of doing something this special for kids around the world.

The countdown begins December 1st on NORAD's website, where families can find a new kid-friendly game or activity every day until December 24th. And starting at 1:00 am PST on December 24th, you'll be able to track Santa's trip in real time. You can download Google Earth and add the NORAD Tracks Santa iGoogle gadget to your iGoogle page anytime, but make sure to come back to on December 24th to download the special Santa Tracking file for an enhanced 3D Santa-tracking experience.

If you don't already have Google Earth, go download it. Those kids in 1955 may have been able to use the latest technology from NORAD to track Santa, but watching him in 3D is something I'll bet they never dreamed of.

And for all you people out there who don't like the Christmas season, I think you should let go a little, and remember what Christmas was like as a child, or at least what you think that it should be like. Let the magic in. And track Santa in 3D this Christmas Eve!


Ok, I just got this email from the Dodd campaign, and I'm more than a little irritated. I'm not stupid, and I don't appreciate them playing games in the hope that I am. Here's the email from Sheryl Cohen:

I made a few small changes to your email draft -- you'll see them below.

Would have sent to the entire list myself, but I could only figure out how to send this test.

I know you're concerned about sending another fundraising email, but we're only $40,000 short of hitting our November goal, and that money will help keep us on the air and talking about ending the war in Iraq and the Constitution. And honestly, our supporters online are so terrific and have come through for us every time.

Plus, with votes on the war and retroactive immunity coming up, our leadership will help keep the pressure on other presidentials to keep their word.

Ask people to give at this link so we can track the goal publicly.


Sheryl Cohen
Campaign Manager, Chris Dodd for President

On Nov 30, 2007, at 10:53 AM, Tim Tagaris wrote:

Chris Dodd for President
Dear Friend,

Think about it for a second. Do you truly know what you'll get from the other candidates if they win the nomination?

If you really want the answer to that question, don't ask a person where they are going -- ask them where they have been.

Why do some candidates spend as much time apologizing for a career full of bad votes as they do talking about how they'll remedy the fallout if elected?

Why can't we get the simplest of answers to the straight questions from others?

And why do some just flat out skip the tough votes?

From authoring the Family and Medical Leave Act to his often single-handed efforts to restore the Constitution, you know what to expect from a Dodd Administration.

We set a goal about a week and a half ago to raise $100,000 online and we'll need your help right now if we're going to meet it.

Please get us there by contributing $25 right now.

Thirty-four days.

If you feel strongly about our fight to end the war in Iraq, prevent war with Iran, and restore the Constitution, we need your support right now.

Our field operation is humming along and our current "Restoring the Constitution and Rule of Law tour" is drawing larger crowds than we've seen at any point in the campaign.

But we need your help to keep it going.

Thirty-four days.

Your contribution right now will ensure we have the resources necessary to continue the fight through January 3rd.

You've come through for us every time.

Not much time left.

Let's get it done.

Tim Tagaris
Chris Dodd for President


Paid for by Chris Dodd for President, Inc.
PO Box 51882
Washington, DC 20091
To stop receiving email from Dodd for President, Inc., unsubscribe here.

This is just stupid and desperate, and it makes me wish I could take back the one contribution he did get from me. I'm glad he has no chance at getting elected, because he's not man enough to just ask for money (through email, no less) and has to play mind games hoping to get more from me. That's not what I want to see from a potential president. Dodd, you're off me "good guy" list.

DNC: Speeches, Presidential Candidates and Howard Dean, Oh My!

The DNC Fall Meeting is happening today, and if you want some Democratic warmth to get you through the winter, check out the live streaming video, or download the speeches (later). Apparently all the presidential candidates will be speaking, as will Howard Dean.

Name That Rudy Scandal Contest

From Daily Kos:
Hey, kids! Can't get enough of the "Rudy expensed his adultery, then tried to cover it up" scandal, but starting to get sick of using all those words to convey what you're talking about? Sensibly refusing to lame out and call it "Rudy-gate?" Appreciative of all the hard work being done by the crack TPM investigative team on Rudy's sordid past, but not in love with TPM's "Shag Fund" sobriquet? Well, the DKos editorial team is right with you!

That's why we're inviting you to enter the 2008 Name That Rudy Scandal Contest. Somewhere out there, there's a clever Kossack that can perfectly and succinctly encapsulate the adultery, taxpayer abuse, and Nixonian coverup attempts that make this scandal so much fun.

Submit your entries below[original article here] in your comment's subject line. Explanations and whatnot can go in the comment body, though if your entry needs explaining, it's probably not that great. Enter as many times as you like. The winner will be selected today or tomorrow by the DKos editors, and will receive A) copious recognition for their contribution to the annals of American political history, and B) very possibly something tangible, TBA, at a later time.

Good luck, and good scandalmongering!

I think Sex on the City is my favorite, although Pay to Play was good, too.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Who gets this xkcd?

The new xkcd:

And the alt - "And I was really impressed with how they managed to shock the Goatse guy."

It's really telling if you get this one without cheating or doing unwise internet searches (you really don't want to click that, I promise). Of course, having a prior roommate of mine who shall remain nameless (CoughMarkCough) send me a link and forever scarring me into twitching when I hear or read "Goatse" is my excuse. What's yours? Or are you claiming innocence?

xkcd store

Obama's UT HQ Open House!

This is an event 10 months in the making, and it's finally here! On December 8, Obama's Utah Headquarters will officially be open! Please join us to celebrate at the Open House. Doors open at 11 am, and the presentations begin promptly at noon.

If you're interested in volunteering, we would love to have you! My phone is 801-386-7729, just give me a call and we'll go from there. The address of our new office is 1747 South 900 West, in the UBDA building.

There are a few needs that we're reaching out to the community to help us out with, in the form of in-kind donations. (Please note - if you want to help with any of these items, please contact one of us before bringing them, to make sure they are still needed and to take care of any in-kind donation forms that might be needed.)

General Office Items Needed
  • Computers
  • Phones
  • Printer
  • Fax machine
  • UT State Flag

Open House Items Needed
  • Helium Tank
  • Balloons
  • Ribbons for Ballons
  • DJ (about 3 1/2 hours of music)
  • PA Equipment (might already have, not confirmed)
  • Streamers
  • Poster boards
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • String
  • Signs (professionally printed)

I really can't wait for this to happen, and I hope to see you (and your family and friends) there!

A New Gut-Wrenching Taser Story

Because tasering a man in front of his pregnant wife and the child in the car wasn't enough, the cops in Ohio went one step further.

Apparently, a pregnant woman tried to leave her 1 year old child with authorities because she was "tired of playing games" with the father. It's a bit unclear on what happened, but the cop didn't want to let her leave without answering questions, so she decided to leave with the 1 year old.

Let me pause a moment. This sounds like a battered woman to me. Why else would she be doing this?

So, the cop decided to force her to the ground and taser her. The article hints that the cop had no way of knowing she was pregnant. Which tells me that if cops can't tell by looking that someone (say who is pregnant or has a heart condition) could be majorly harmed by tasering them, is the use of the taser acceptible?

I think that cops should be allowed to use a taser in very limited circumstances, and any time they violate the rules, punishment should ensue. Tasers aren't toys, people.

Oh, and the officer remains on duty. I bet all of Ohio feels safer now.

Crooks and Liars has more.

Update: Kelly Ann Booth, A Progressive Utahn has a really good commentary on the whole story about tasers.

Johnny Depp

[Video auto starts and was removed due to complaints. Check out the web site to see it]

Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Does it get any better than Johnny Depp in a Tim Burton film?

SYNOPSIS: Johnny Depp and Tim Burton join forces again in a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's award-winning musical thriller "Sweeney Todd." Depp stars in the title role as a man unjustly sent to prison who vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, Sweeney Todd becomes the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who "shaved the heads of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard from again." Joining Depp is Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney's amorous accomplice, who creates diabolical meat pies. The cast also includes Alan Rickman, who portrays the evil Judge Turpin, who sends Sweeney to prison and Timothy Spall as the Judge's wicked associate Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen is a rival barber, the flamboyant Signor Adolfo Pirelli.

All I want for Christmas is Johnny Depp.

Phone Calls From God

Apparently, taking phone calls while speaking at events are a norm for the GOP, and not just Rudy.

As a Christian, I take offense at this. I believe Mike Huckabee is making a mockery of my faith, and my belief in prayer. This video took place at the Republican Governors Association Dinner in 2004. ThinkProgress has the transcript. Talk about mixing politics and religion!

It turns my stomach to think that people believe men like this should run our great country.

Down With The King, or Buying Local Is The Humane Thing To Do

As if we don't already have enough reasons to buy local, the King of Burgers has given us an extra one, apparently worth an entire penny.

Migrant farm workers in Florida earn 45 pennies for each 32 pound bucket of tomatoes they pick. A whopping 45 cents. And Burger King wants to reward them by giving them a 40% pay cut for Christmas.
In 2005, Florida tomato pickers gained their first significant pay raise since the late 1970s when Taco Bell ended a consumer boycott by agreeing to pay an extra penny per pound for its tomatoes, with the extra cent going directly to the farm workers. Last April, McDonald’s agreed to a similar arrangement, increasing the wages of its tomato pickers to about 77 cents per bucket. But Burger King, whose headquarters are in Florida, has adamantly refused to pay the extra penny — and its refusal has encouraged tomato growers to cancel the deals already struck with Taco Bell and McDonald’s.

And in case you don't think the immigration debate is worthy of much attention, here's one that should make you rush to one side or the other:
Migrant farm laborers have long been among America’s most impoverished workers. Perhaps 80 percent of the migrants in Florida are illegal immigrants and thus especially vulnerable to abuse. During the past decade, the United States Justice Department has prosecuted half a dozen cases of slavery among farm workers in Florida. Migrants have been driven into debt, forced to work for nothing and kept in chained trailers at night. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers — a farm worker alliance based in Immokalee, Fla. — has done a heroic job improving the lives of migrants in the state, investigating slavery cases and negotiating the penny-per-pound surcharge with fast food chains.

That's right. Slavery, right here in the Good 'ol US of A in the 21st century.

Back to the topic, though. The Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, which represents about 90% of the tomato growers in Florida, is making threats against any grower who accepts the extra $.01 for the workers.

Not sure how any of this fits together? Well, if Burger King hadn't refused to pay the extra penny, McDonalds and Taco Bell would not be backing out of their new agreements which amount to about $.77 per bucket, up from the current $.45.
Burger King has justified its behavior by claiming that it has no control over the labor practices of its suppliers. “Florida growers have a right to run their businesses how they see fit,” a Burger King spokesman told The St. Petersburg Times.

Yet the company has adopted a far more activist approach when the issue is the well-being of livestock. In March, Burger King announced strict new rules on how its meatpacking suppliers should treat chickens and hogs. As for human rights abuses, Burger King has suggested that if the poor farm workers of southern Florida need more money, they should apply for jobs at its restaurants.

I'm adding Burger King to my list of places not to spend money at. They're right up there with Wal-Mart, in my opinion.

If you'd like to do more, you can always write:
John W. Chidsey
Chief Executive Officer
Burger King Corporation
5505 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, Florida 33126

If you're an investor with Bain Capital, the Texas Pacific Group or Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, you should be aware that these three control most of the stock - which means that could be another avenue of action.

And, again, don't forget that buying local benefits you and your community. Check out this list of Food and Beverage companies from Local First. And if you know of businesses that should be on this list and aren't, encourage them to get listed.

(h/t Geekesque, one of my favorite Kossaks)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

I'm pretty sure this is one of the earliest life lessons most people get. If someone does something wrong, doing something wrong in return isn't going to change anything.

Almost everyone has seen this video:

It's highly disturbing, to say the least.

Jared Massey acted like an obvious idiot. But, so did Trooper Gardner. And the difference between the two is that Jared Massey was a private individual. The Trooper is in a position of responsibility and authority. If a kid in school throws a pencil across the room because he's mad at the teacher, he's probably going to get a time out, or some minor punishment. If the teacher throws a pencil because he's mad at the kid, I'd say he deserves some time off of school and an anger class. If a private citizen drives drunk, he deserves a ticket and a court trial and probably doesn't deserve to lose his job. If the county sheriff drives drunk, I'm guessing he already knows he needs to step down.

This Trooper has a responsibility to make us feel safe, but with his actions, and the subsequent lie(s) about his actions, I don't feel safe. I don't feel that if I get pulled over on a lonely stretch of highway, that the officer of the law will uphold the law. Getting tasered is one of my worst fears - I could never ever submit willingly. And when my imagination runs away with me, and I put myself in the position of being threatened with a taser like that, I can only imagine myself becoming hysterical, and trying to follow directions, but not quite making it, and having to endure the tasering.

I know that this scenario is not what happened in the video. However, the Trooper wrongly used his taser on a citizen, and my fears have now found justification because this. And the fact that he is not being disciplined takes the fears to a new level.

Call on the Utah Legislature to standardize rules about the use of a taser.

Call on UHP to punish the Trooper.

Much thanks to the blogging community for covering this injustice.

Ethan, SLC Spin
Tom Grover, KVNU's For The People
JM Bell
Marshall, Wasatch Watcher
Kelly Ann Booth, A Progressive Utahn

(Let me know who I'm missing for the list of links!)

Take the Happiness Pledge

Ezra Klein has found the key to happiness, and it came in the form of Thanksgiving Dinner.
Each Thanksgiving, our litany of gratitude suggests that, on some level, we know that [our happiness comes from other people]. But in the time between each Thanksgiving, we prove, rather decisively, that we don't know it all that well. Because so much as "people" happiness tends to rule our memories, "thing" happiness, or at least the promise of it, has a habit of governing our actions. How else to explain the ceaseless march for more hours at work, for larger incomes, for bigger houses (that, as we're rapidly finding out, we couldn't really afford in the first place)? How else to explain the fact that the United States, alone among developed nations, does not guarantee its workers even one day of compensated vacation time (France, by contrast, guarantees 30)?

He goes on to cite studies and logic in support of his case that we're trading happiness for possessions, and then sums it all up with this:
But there's an easy solution. Stop. Pull out of the competition. Seriously ask whether you want to continue trading away your time for your stuff. And that requires ignoring what your neighbors have. It requires shutting your eyes against short-term incentives and trying to remember what actually makes you happy, what you tend to remember when each year closes out. It requires keeping a little of that Thanksgiving litany in mind, even after the meal is forgotten and marshmallows and yams again seem an absurd combination.

I really think he got this right. I mean, we all know it, we've heard it for years, that keeping up with the Jones' isn't going to do anything but break our banks. But the novel suggestion of just pulling out of the rat race? It sounds insane! Which means it just might work.

I think that if I ponder this idea, and present it in just the right light, that we could get ourselves to stop. Not that we really buy things because our neighbors have them. But, we do tend to buy things that make us happy today, and might not make us happy tomorrow. I often think about where the money from my last paycheck went, and it's rather sad to realize that it bought little of lasting value. Was it worth it in the short term? Hell, yeah. But, in the long term it has no effect.

So, I think that I'll make this pledge:
I pledge to consider each purchase that I make and ask myself if it will still make me happy in a week, a month or a year. I will ask myself if there is something I could trade my time and money for that would make me happier longer. I will not trade my time and money for things that do not matter. I will consider what sort of happiness there is to be had, and trade my time and money for that instead.

Don't forget to read the entire article, Winning the Rat Race by Quitting it, to get a better perspective on why this actually means so much. If you're with me on this, I'd love to know why. Feel free to comment or link to your own blog on the topic. Come to think of it, if you disagree, or are simply ambivalent about it, I think you should also explain why.

(h/t Democracy for Utah)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Network - xkcd Goodness

Viruses so far have been really disappointing on the 'disable the internet' front, and time is running out.  When Linux/Mac win in a decade or so the game will be over.

And the alt text... "Viruses so far have been really disappointing on the 'disable the internet' front, and time is running out. When Linux/Mac win in a decade or so the game will be over."

The first virus I remember clearly was the Michelangelo virus. For extra geeky goodness, check out the Timeline of notable computer viruses and worms.

And just to tie it all together...
The henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

And the alt... The henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

A Victory for the First Amendment

So, here's the basic story. Robert D'Angelo sold books through out of his home. Mr. d'Angelo was a Madison, WI city official, and apparently the number of books he sold weren't minor. In fact, 24,000 transactions since 1999 seem to have been identified.

So, federal prosecutors went after him for tax evasion, along with fraud and money laundering charges.

Here's where my issue comes in. They wanted to hand over records for all 24,000 transactions. Not just the fact that Mr. D'Angelo sold which book which day, but apparently, they wanted customer identities, as well. I don't know about you, but I see no reason the government needs a list of the books I read. It would be one thing if Mr. D'Angelo's records were found and the customer info was there. But, they have all that they need to convict with evidence that a transaction indeed took place.

Thankfully, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker sees things my way. He recently unsealed documents detailing the dispute, and let this near-invasion of privacy come to light.

Thank you, Your Honor. Your integrity is appreciated.

Oh, and as a minor detail, prosecutors actually managed to find the information they needed by ummm, well of all things, checking out D'Angelo's computer records. My, my. Imagine that!

The full story is on MSNBC.

Christmas Wishlist - Villian Chair

From FederatedMedia comes a geeky Holiday Gadget Guide. My favorite item so far from the list is the Villian Chair:

Villain Chair

L.C. Angell  |  Home
If you ever plan to hide out in a secret underground lair, threatening to blow up the world, you're going to need a bad-ass chair to match your evilness. Well, this is it. The Villain Chair ($7400) is an oversize, swiveling lounger with enough leather and steel for any bad guy.
Posted on Nov 26, 2007 05:00 AM  |  Discuss (0)

All it needs is my white kitty in my lap as I sit in it.

Even if you're not dropping $7400 on me for Christmas this year (and let's be honest, no one is dropping that kind of cash on me), you'll find plenty of more moderately priced geeky gadgets for your favorite gadgety geek.

Jim Matheson, Still Not Doing Enough

Here's the email I just got from Congressman Matheson:

Dear Misty,

The lack of independent, accurate assessments about our progress in Iraq has stymied our efforts to secure the country and assist in its reconstruction. We have the world's most powerful military. If military might alone could succeed in Iraq, our mission would be complete by now.

We need more than a military strategy for Iraq--we need a plan for political, diplomatic and economic success. The President received such a strategy a year ago in the form of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (ISG) report. Unfortunately, he did not adopt it.

Going forward, in trying to establish a new Iraq strategy, I am guided by a set of principles that 14 Democrats and 14 Republicans support, including:

* We need a clearly defined and measurable mission for military involvement
* The government of Iraq must now be responsible for Iraq's future and must make progress on political, security and economic benchmarks
* Our soldiers, including Guard and Reserves, must have adequate rest and recuperation time between deployments
* A safe and responsible redeployment of our Armed Forces is necessary to transfer the combat mission to the Iraqi forces
* Any ongoing mission must involve counterterrorism operations, force protection, equipping Iraqis, helping refugees and preventing genocide

It is immoral to play politics with the needs of the men and women who protect the ideals we hold so dear. Our troops have performed heroically. We owe them a new approach and a thoughtful approach to the situation in Iraq. We owe them a comprehensive strategy for success.

Our intelligence community tells us Al Qaeda--the number one threat to Americans--is strengthening. We must not weaken our capability to combat that threat. I will continue to look for responsible ways to change course in Iraq without engaging in political games that would compromise the safety of our soldiers.


U.S. Representative
2nd District of Utah

It's sad that Matheson is so far behind the Democratic platform when it comes to so many important issues.

Seriously, he's "pushing for" this "principle" to guide us?
We need a clearly defined and measurable mission for military involvement

We needed this years ago, and now we just need out.

Oh, and is Matheson still part of the group who thinks al Qaeda is a threat to us in Iraq? They're kicking our asses over in Afghanistan, but there's not enough oil there for us to really care.

Get with it, Matheson!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

And I am thankful for....

Here are a few things I'm thankful for today.

1. That my turkey that sat in the fridge for 5 days and then in a brine overnight and was still frozen in the middle when I started cooking it turned out to be the best turkey EVER. (The menu was the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry compote, Sweet Potatoes (minus the caramel), mulled red wine sangria, cornbread stuffing, apple pie, pumpkin pie and chocolate pie. Maybe I'll read this next year and be able to find the recipes again!)

2. That when my cat clawed me in the forehead that he just pierced the skin, instead of leaving claw marks down my face.

3. That Hillary is losing ground in the polls, and Barack is gaining.

4. For brandy. Which goes good in egg nog. Which goes good in my tummy.

5. That I like all of the family I shared today with.

6. That I can recycle the 15 lbs of ads that today's newspaper was in.

7. That I have a dishwasher, and didn't have to wash all 5 loads (so far) by hand today.

8. That my cat loves me.

9. That my kids love me.

10. That my blog has really cool readers, so I don't just talk to myself on these pages anymore.

And the thing I am most grateful for...

11. That I have so many incredible people in my life, and it's a good one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Salty Peaks, Ron Paul and the North American Union Myth

Salty Peaks Snowboard shop has a new commercial on X96, talking about the North American Union and saying that anyone who can disprove it will get a $2500 shopping spree at their store. They say to go to to find out more. The Salty Peaks Snowboard shop also has a link to that site at the very bottom of their web site.

Salty Peaks also happens to have a giant Ron Paul sign leaning against the base of their store sign by the road.

Now, I would dearly love to find an MP3 of this commercial, because I can't recall exactly what it says. How am I to win this $2500 if I can't have the details except on the radio?

Anyway, putting 2 + 2 together, I did a little Google search of the fear-mongering "informational" web site in question, and oddly enough, it mentions Ron Paul 117 times. All of these seem to be, of course, pro-Paul, since he wants to stop said union. A little more curiosity led me to find out that Barack Obama is mentioned about 60 times, Hillary about 80 times, John McCain about 127 times, Rudy Giuliani about 75 times and so on and so forth.

Of course, most of these mentions are on a message board, which you must be a member of to even view. Thankfully, Google has this nifty little caching feature, where you can view Google's copy of a page. Here's one message from their message board which I find interesting:
Mifflin's Sentries

Joined: Jul 16 2007

Posted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 10:41 am Post subject:
We should of fought and stopped this crap years ago. It is so out of control right not we have to fight every day. They bring up one thing and the people get hot and they bring up something else to take the heat off the other. It's endless.
We need to get more people involved. It amazes me that well educated people don't have a clue about what is going on. Our country is being invaded and it's hard not to notice!
We need to keep fighting. We will only win if we get control of our representatives. I've noticed a lot of them are being very quiet now because they were slammed by the people they represent. But there are others like Kennedy that will fight for amnesty no matter what. And you can't trust any of them.
Bush thinks $3 million is too much to spend on securing our country, but he gives mulitple times that to La Raza organizations. Is there something wrong with this picture? Yes, Bush doesn't want the border. And why should he? If the SPP passes, the borders will have to be opened again. America will be gone forever.
Every day I hear and see more crap going on and it just tears me up. I am never going to give up the fight tho.
We need to promote candidates that are for America. Like Tancredo, Paul and Romney. Someone that is as appauled about what is going on as we are.
God bless America!
(emphasis mine)

So, here's the next response:
Site Admin

Joined: Jun 24 2007
POSTS: 682
Location: New Jersey

Posted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 10:57 am Post subject:
this might interest you Very Happy

Working to get this information out. One step at a time and we're building momentum!

Look at Hunter, Tancredo, Steve King & DeFazio's amendments that MADE HISTORY this week! FIRST Anti-SPP amendments on legislation!!!
In Memory of "G" ~ USASA 66-70

So, I can't click through, since whenever you click a link to their forums, it redirects to a different page. I can't find that particular thread through the Google cache. And, there's no way to register, since clicking the register link also redirects you. I do wonder why these forums are so hard to get to - are they hiding something? What did that link that would make him "Very Happy" say?

The idea of the North American Union in ludicrous. It's the same sort of fear-mongering that GW has used to keep Americans "in-line" and supporting his "war on terror". Only, this N.A. Union bullshit is based on racism, scaring people into thinking that Mexicans are going to take over, and that they shouldn't be here because...well...they're Mexican. Ron Paul IS a racist, and that is why he has so many racist groups backing him, and why he has published racist statements, even though he attributes those statements to other people.

I don't feel a need to fight back against Ron Paul, because he stands no chance of being our next president.

However, Salty Peaks is wrong for their commercial, wrong for spreading lies and racism, and wrong for promoting that web site. That web site is wrong for the lies and racism, as well.

I generally shop local, and I haven't been inside of a Wal-Mart for a very long time. However, if I had the choice between Salty Peaks and Wal-Mart right now, I'd choose Wal-Mart.

If anyone has the Salty Peaks commercial available to listen to, please let me know. I'd even split the shopping spree with you.

Ahh, the memories

Today's xkcd:

The TI-86 was bad enough.  I don't know how I'd have gotten through high school if I'd had a laptop+wifi.

The "alt" tag doesn't seem to be working, so this is what's supposed to pop up if you hover your mouse over the image: "The TI-86 was bad enough. I don't know how I'd have gotten through high school if I'd had a laptop+wifi."

Ahh, the memories. Pong. Now there was a game from hell. I loved it! And the ultra super cool "Olympics" game on my uncle's Commodore 64. To think, he typed all that code from a magazine in and out came a game. Could definitely be a contributing factor to my chose career.

Anyone else getting nostalgia?

Tell America What It Means To Be Progressive (with video goodness!)

I just got an email from asking me to vote on (and then chip in to air) these ads. Since they're tiny on the MoveOn page, I thought I'd post them here, but don't forget to go vote for your favorite!

"America At It's Best"

"The Progressive Movement"

"Progressive VS Conservative"

"Progress Is American"

Here's what I thought, in order.

"America At It's Best" seemed a little bland to me. I don't think the point gets across to anyone.

"The Progressive Movement" was my favorite at first, because I think it expressed what progressive means and might have the widest appeal. But, on watching it a second time, I realized that only the video told the audience anything, and the audio doesn't get any point across. And the text of the video moves so fast that I don't know if the average person could read it all.

"Progressive VS Conservative" was my least favorite because I think it comes off as attacking conservatives, and does little to promote progressives. It would leave people feeling defensive, rather than open to the progressive message.

"Progress Is American" is what I ended up voting for. It's amusing, and my personal belief is that all commercials suck unless they're at least amusing, if not downright funny. It also gets the message through via audio, with the video being a reinforcement of the message. It brings up positive ideas about the progressive movement, without putting anyone on the defense.

What did you think?

[Update] Ok, so I forgot JM Bell posted two of these last week, but I still say my post is better. :-P

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Message To Troops and Veterans

VoteVets has introduced their blog, and asked presidential candidates to write a message to troops and veterans. Barack Obama's message is now up, as are most of the other candidate's messages, including John Edwards, Ron Paul, Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton. Joe Biden and Bill Richardson's messages are still on their way, as of right now.

So far, all of them except for Clinton and Paul have addressed the issue of PTSD, and all of them seem to want to fund the vets. It's definitely interesting to see what each of them felt it was important to say on the topic.

Bill Campaigning for Barack?

If I didn't know any better, I'd say Bill was preparing America for Barack in this video.

"I believe experience counts, but it's not everything. Values, judgment, and the record I have amassed in my state..." "We have got to have the courage to change. Experience is important, yes. I've got a lot of good experience dealing with ordinary people." "We need a new approach. The same old experience is not relevant. And you can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience. Mine is rooted int he real lives of real people, and it will bring real results if we have the courage to change."

iceburgslim at DailyKos argues that the job of the President is always one of on the job training, unless you've already served as POTUS. So, while certain kinds of experience are relevant, you have to look at their values and judgment, what new ideas they bring, the strength of their character.

Senator Obama has shown that his judgment is sound, by speaking out against the Iraq War from the beginning, when it could have hurt his political career, and by organizing inner city neighborhoods and leading the people there to bring themselves a higher standard of living.

He brings a message of hope, and it is not an empty one. Hope that we can have a president who is the leader of our entire nation, not just those who are willing to agree with him. Hope that our nation can find solutions to the energy crisis, and stop being dependent on foreign oil. Hope that we can bring a diplomatic solution to the horrible events in Iraq, not only so that our soldiers can come home, but so that the people in Iraq can share in this idea of hope for themselves, and their sons and daughters and mothers and fathers will not continue to die senseless deaths. Hope for a balanced budget that does not leave our children facing national bankruptcy due to irresponsible spending. Hope that our Constitution will be restored. Hope that we will have a President who is worthy of our trust.

If I am to vote for a president based on his or her ability to negotiate peace in Iraq and prevent war with Iran, I want someone who understood the difference between Sunni and Shia, and could explain it, way back in 2002.

If I am to vote based on how they'll do at taking care of America, I want someone who has been more than a casual tourist of low income neighborhoods, someone who has helped these people help themselves. I want someone who has lived the life of an average American, and who knows life outside of politics. Someone not indebted to special interests.

All of these things describe Barack Obama and are parts of the reason my hope is that he is our next President.

I love the fact that 6 months ago, he stood in Detroit and told auto manufacturers that they have a responsibility to produce cleaner cars, and that they had to straighten up. And 6 months later the United Auto Workers of America endorsed him. He is able to tell people truths they might not want to hear, but he can still get his message across to them. Part of today's culture is to avoid offending people, in this era of political correctness. You don't stare at cripples, you aren't supposed to notice when someone's skin is a different color, you don't tell jokes that poke fun at minorities or people less well off than yourself, and you don't tell people that their breath smells. You just don't say or do anything to directly offend others, especially when you're campaigning for their votes. So, for Senator Obama to stand in front of them and say what he meant, and criticize them, and for them to turn around and endorse him speaks volumes about his ability to be President and how much experience he truly has.

Senator Obama becoming President Obama will be the difference between being ashamed of our country, as I am now, and once more being proud to be an American.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Obama's New Utah Field Director and Offices

This evening I had the privilege of meeting Aaron Wiley, the new Utah Field Director for Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential Campaign. Aaron is a recent graduate from the University of Utah, where he obtained his degree in Political Science, and was also the President of the Black Student Union. Aaron and his wife have two beautiful children, ages 15 months and 5 years. He comes to us from the campaign of Senator Gene Davis, where he started as the Deputy Director for the campaign, and is now the Director.

I met him at the new field office for Senator Obama here in Salt Lake City (which happens to be the only Presidential Campaign office in the state, at least for the moment). We are still setting up, but we'll have two offices, along with a phone banking area, a central gathering area, a large conference room with a projector that can hold nearly 150 people, and an executive conference room available.

We hope to be able to have the Open House sometime next week, and that information will be posted as soon as it's available.

If you are a supporter of Senator Obama, we will need your help, and as much of it as you can offer. We have a list of over 3,000 Utahns to call who have volunteered to help with this campaign, and our very first goal will be to reach them. As soon as the offices are stocked, we'll be sending out the call for people to come in and help us to call them.

Below are some photos I took earlier this evening. Unfortunately, I was not prepared with my "real" camera, so these are just from my phone. I'll post better ones as soon as I get them.

Main Conference Room
Here is our conference room, which has a projector and can hold around 150 people. That's Aaron off to the right.

Phone Banking Area
Here is the phone banking area.

Office 2
Here is our second office, just across from the one Aaron is set up in.

Gathering Area
Here is the gathering space.

Silly Americans! You're misunderstanding what privacy is!

From the Guardian Unlimited:
As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

Say that with me, out loud this time to make sure you got it right.

Privacy can no longer mean anonymity. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

Doh! We were just being silly! Privacy doesn't mean you get to keep your secrets, it means you just need to trust the government to keep it for you.

We were going off of Webster's dictionary, which defines privacy as:

Main Entry:
pri·va·cy Listen to the pronunciation of privacy
\ˈprī-və-sē, especially British ˈpri-\
Inflected Form(s):
plural pri·va·cies
15th century

1 a: the quality or state of being apart from company or observation : seclusion b: freedom from unauthorized intrusion (one's right to privacy)
2 archaic : a place of seclusion
3 a: secrecy b: a private matter : secret

I need to grab the latest version of the George W. Bush English Dictionary, so I can be sure of exactly what "'is' is", since he might change the definition of that, too. Not that he could read it.


I just wish this might have a chance at reaching an audience that wasn't already aware.

(h/t Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars)

Congratulations Pete Ashdown, XMission!

Leftover from last year's Senate campaign, I still get Google Alerts for Pete Ashdown. To my delight this morning, I received two news articles talking about how Pete has switched XMission completely over to renewable energy.
"As one of Utah's top consumers of electricity, I am proud that XMission is setting the example for other businesses. You can eliminate pollution from your business and be economically viable,” said Pete Ashdown, President and founder of XMission.

With this recent upgrade, XMission has increased its renewable energy purchase by 412%. In addition to its participation in the Blue Sky program since 2006, XMission has implemented green standards in its own data center. These improved standards include upgrading equipment and increasing efficiency of power and cooling systems.

XMission also participates in Salt Lake City’s e2 Business Coalition, which helps Salt Lake area businesses reduce their carbon footprint and encourages earth-friendly business practices, such as recycling, efficient lighting, and other measures.

This is one more example of why I supported Pete last year, and plan to support him in his next bid for Utah State Senator.

Congratulations, Pete! And thank you!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I <3 Harry Reid

Ok, so I don't always love the guy, but most the time he rates up there as one of the really good guys in my book. And today he inched up a bit more. Harry Reid has said that he will hold Pro Forma sessions instead of allowing an extended break in the Senate, in order to prevent George W. Bush from making recess appointments.
The Senate will be coming in for pro-forma sessions during the Thanksgiving holiday to prevent recess appointments.

My hope is that this will prompt the President to see that it is our mutual interests for the nominations process to get back on track.

While an election year looms, significant progress can still be made on nominations.

I am committed to making that progress if the President will meet me half way.

But that progress can’t be made if the President seeks controversial recess appointments and fails to make Democratic appointments to important commissions.

As Democratic leader, I recommend nominees to the President for many important commissions like the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

These independent agencies are required by law to have Democratic representation.

As a result, the President has a statutory obligation to honor my recommendations and move on them in good faith.

And, up until recently, the President has generally discharged that obligation.

In the last several months, however, the administration has been stalling progress on Democratic appointments.

This problem existed before the August break.

In an effort to solve it, I worked hard to confirm over 40 administration nominees in exchange for a commitment by the President to make progress on a number of important commissions.

When we reconvened after August break, I also worked to quickly move on the President’s new Attorney General.

I did this despite my own opposition to that nominee.

Even with all this hard work on our side, the commitments the administration made to me before August break were not met.

In the almost three months since that break, we have received no Democratic nominees to full-time commission positions.

For some, in fact, absolutely no discernable progress has been made.

With Thanksgiving break looming, the administration informed me that they would make several recess appointments.

I indicated I would be willing to confirm various appointments if the administration would agree to move on Democratic appointments.

They would not make that commitment.

As a result, I am keeping the Senate in pro-forma to prevent recess appointments until we get this process back on track.

I was very upset that our Democratic "leaders" were not going to do anything to prevent this, since it was something we knew was coming. Not only is the idea of Bush going behind the Senate's back to do this wrong, but the fact that he wants to appoint a homophobe to the post of Surgeon General is ridiculous! The Senate requested answers to some questions that Holsinger never answered, therefore he never got a hearing. Bush thinks he can get away with just "doing it anyway", and if the Senate was going to let it happen, when it could so easily be prevented, I was going to be pissed to put it mildly.

Thank you, Harry Reid!

Obama's Debate Highlights

Here is a collection of highlights from last night's debate, if you'd like to pick and choose what you want to watch, or I'll have the entire video later - it's not available as of yet, at least that I can find.

On Pakistan and human rights
(Brilliant answer)

On the failed strategy in Iraq
(By the way, this is one place where he says we'll have every combat troop out by 16 months, for those who are asking - the rumor that he won't commit to that is untrue)

On health care

On nuclear waste and energy
(This is one of my favorites, I loved how he basically said to quit being pessimistic, we ARE going to find the answers)

On bipartisanship
(He says "I can do it better, that's why I'm running for president" and then lays out exactly how he will lead on this subject)

On taxes and social security
(He called Hillary out on this, saying that she's wrong about who she's calling middle class)

On honesty
(Called Hillary out again)

Hopefully I'll be able to find the entire debate somewhere soon. What were your thoughts on these clips, or other moments in the debate?

Technology Leaders Endorse Obama

Senator Obama spoke at Google earlier this week, just after unveiling his technology plan. This was the Senator's second trip to Google, and it seemed to make quite the impression on the Googlers in attendance. You can read what the Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Google, Andrew McLaughlin's, had to say in his blog. Here's video of the "fireside chat", or you can also watch the entire speech on Mr. McLaughlin's blog.

Interestingly, I also found this list of Technology Leaders who endorse the Senator. I've emphasized some of the ones I find the most interesting/important.
Stuart Benjamin, Professor of Law, Duke University
Robert Blackwell, Founder and CEO, Electronic Knowledge Interchange Consulting
Joseph Farrell, Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley; Chief Economist, Federal Communications Commission (1996-97); Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economics (chief economist), Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice (2000-02)
Lloyd Frink, President and Co-Founder, Zillow
Julius Genachowski, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Rock Creek Ventures; former Chief of Business Operations & General Counsel, IAC/InterActiveCorp; former Chief Counsel to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt
Don Gips, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development, Level 3 Communications; former Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Gore
Rob Glaser, Founder and CEO, Real Networks
Mark Gorenberg, Managing Director, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners
Nick Hanauer, Partner, Second Avenue Partners; Founder, aQuantive
Adam Hanft, Founder and CEO, Hanft Unlimited
Reed Hundt, Former Chairman, Federal Communications Commission (1993-97)
Mitch Kapor, President, Kapor Enterprises; Founder, Lotus Development Corp.
Jed Katz, Managing Director, DFJ Gotham Ventures
Michael Katz, Professor, NYU and UC Berkeley; former Chief Economist, FCC; former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economics (chief economist), Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice
William Kennard, Former Chairman, Federal Communications Commission (1997-2001)
Deborah Lathen, President, Lathen Consulting; former Chief, Cable Bureau, FCC
Steve Lerner, Managing Partner, Blue Hill Group
Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Stanford University
Blair Levin, Managing Director, Stifel Nicholas; former Chief of Staff, FCC
Andrew McLaughlin, Director, Global Public Policy and Government Affairs, Google
Ted Meisel, Elevation Partners
Jon Miller, Former Chairman and CEO, American Online, Inc.
Glenn Neland, Retired Senior Vice President, Dell
Robert Nelsen, Managing Director and Co-Founder, ARCH Venture Partners
Craig Newmark, Founder, Craigslist
Beth Noveck, Professor of Law, New York Law School
Chamath Palihapitiya, Executive Vice President, Product and Operations, Facebook
Deven Parekh, Partner, Insight Venture Partners
Sunil Paul, Founding Partner, Spring Ventures; Co-Founder, Brightmail
John Place, Retired General Counsel, Yahoo!, Inc.
Jeff Pulver, Founder,
Arti Rai, Professor of Law, Duke University
John Roos, CEO, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Alec Ross, Senior Vice President, One Economy
Kim Scott, AdSense Director of Online Sales and Operations, Google
Carl Shapiro, Professor of Business Strategy, UC Berkeley; Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economics (chief economist), Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice (1995-96)
Howard Shelanski, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley; former Chief Economist, FCC
Steven Spinner, Executive, Danoo
Phil Weiser, Professor of Law and Telecommunications, University of Colorado
Kevin Werbach, Asst. Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Tom Wheeler, Managing Director, Core Capital Partners
Tim Wu, Professor of Law, Columbia University
Ed Zander, CEO, Motorola

Of course, I'm not a "Technology Leader", but I do work as a software developer, so I am involned in technology - and I endorse him! Do you?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Obama to open SLC office [Updated]

Yep, it's true! Senator Barack Obama will be opening a field office here in Utah, and we will be the first campaign to have an office in Utah for the '08 race. Raul Alvillar has been interviewing people for the staff position this week, and hopefully will be making the final decision today (Friday). As soon as that information is available, I'll write about it here. And when we find out about the party to kick off the opening of the office, that'll be here, too.

We're also hoping to find office space, preferably as an in-kind campaign donation. Volunteers will be coordinated out of the office, and we'll be able to begin our calling campaign.

I think that we stand a really good shot at bring home at least most, if not all, of Utah's delegate votes. Raul has several really good people that he's interviewed, and whoever he picks will have a ready and willing team of volunteers to make this operation a huge success.

On a side note, today is the day to donate to the Obama campaign. Why today? Well, because it's a good day! Utah for Obama hopes to raise $5,000 for Obama's campaign by the end of the year. At last night's Debate Party, many of us pledged to donate $50 today, in support of Barack's great performance in the debate. Whether you can donate $5 or $500, please consider doing so today.

[Update] I still don't know who they're hiring. But, just for the record, it won't be me. I didn't apply. I like my volunteer position, and I plan to continue volunteering. But, Raul has said it will be a local person, so chances are it might be someone you or I know already. And that's all I'm sayin' 'bout that. (At least till I know who it'll be)

Barack on Education

This is a perfect example of why I believe in Barack Obama's ability to lead our nation. Here is his new television ad in New Hampshire.

He's got a plan to provide a better education for our children. Great. Most candidates do, most candidates talk about making it better. But, he says right there that the government can't make it happen all on it's own. Parents have to be involved, and their participation is what will make the difference for the children.

So many of his ideas have this same foundation. This idea that we as a society have a responsibility to those around us, but that is balanced out by the fact that each of those people also have to do their part. The government can't give you a better life, but they can provide tools so that you can give yourself a better life.

Individual responsibility is a refreshing idea that I think our country has moved away from. I don't think all of it has been completely unhealthy, but take look at the subject of auto insurance.

Auto insurance is rather necessary. If I have an accident in my $12,000 Jeep, I'm not likely to be able to fix my own vehicle, much less pay for the bumper of the Mercedes I just hit, right? But, if I take that as a license to drive like an idiot, because I won't be held accountable, that insurance isn't doing me or society any favors.

On the other hand, if I didn't have insurance, should the other guy have to pay for his own repairs because I don't have the money or the insurance? No. So, we have deductibles and fines and other ways of requiring a person to be responsible for their actions.

I believe that many of the government services we have, and some we don't have yet, are necessary. I understand the conservative view that big government is bad. But, I think that by taking the initiative to tell a parent that they have to be a part of their child's education in order for that child to succeed, Barack Obama will help to change America's sometimes lazy viewpoint about what is required in life. To stimulate Americans to achieve greatness is far better than patting them on the back and telling them "it's ok, you don't have to do anything you don't want to, we'll take care of it for you".

Just to bring this back home to Utah - this was part of my point about vouchers. If the parents and other people that were for vouchers would put their hearts and souls into public schools, we could achieve everything voucher supporters dreamed of, and more.

Barack Obama will be one of our great presidents, not just someone to fill the office for a few years. I'm excited about the possibility of seeing our country thrive.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Obama's Technology Plan

Barack Obama will unveil his Technology Plan before a visit today at the Google Headquarters. Senator Obama plans to appoint a technology czar, appropriately called Chief Technology Officer, or CTO.

Obama's policy for Open Government will put the new CTO in charge of open meetings which are transmitted via live feed between his Cabinet members, legislators and various agencies. Even more exciting is that he plans for a public comment period on the White House web site before legislation is signed.

He plans to aggressively support broadband access, and even wants to change the subsidies that are given to carriers to only include those who are providing both phone and broadband to rural areas.

He wants to make the open wireless spectrum available to lease to 3rd parties, so that major companies cannot buy it and sit on it to prevent competition.

Obama has come out before in support of Network Neutrality, but this is more comprehensive. Obama's plan imposes minimal regulatory burden. While he would allow the idea of offering "tiers", his plan makes certain that all companies are offered the same terms.

He calls for a review of the H1-B visa program, first by trying to bring the jobs to America through training, but secondly to remove or alter the country-specific caps on permanent visas. This will protect the workers from exploitation by employers, because of limitations on short-term visas.

Overall, this plan is very encouraging, because we've had so many people making laws and decisions about technology that do not understand it. I compare it to Utah's putting teetotalers in charge of the booze. It makes no sense. We definitely need the Technology Czar!

[Update] JM Bell has video!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Army of Dude

I found a blog called Army of Dude through the Weblog Awards. It looked interesting, so I added it to my RSS feed. This post was probably the first blog that has ever made me cry.

I'm not entirely sure why it made me so sad (as opposed to any of the other stuff I read about the war), or why I feel compelled to share it. But, I do.

The war is real, it's not a made up story in a movie on our t.v., it's real people dying and real people killing and real people living. It's real, people.

DFA Won't Settle For Hillary?

I just got this email from Democracy For America.
Dear Misty,
Fight for a Progressive President. Support DFA with $15 Right Now.

The mainstream media and Beltway pundits have made up their minds. The Presidential Primary is already over.

Not so fast. The media isn't going to vote on caucus day -- but we are.

That's why Dennis Kucinich fought hard for your support in the DFA Pulse Poll.

Why John Edwards was first to respond to DFA members with his positions on Iraq and Global Warming.

Why Barack Obama is using DFA Training Academy materials to give his supporters the skills to win.

You know that primaries matter -- and this primary is the biggest of them all. Democracy for America is not going to let the pre-ordained front runner walk away without a fight.

Chip in $15 right now and support DFA's fight for a Progressive President.

Last week over 150,000 DFA members voted in our Presidential Primary pulse poll. No candidate was able to walk away with a majority, but one thing was clear. DFA members will not settle for the pundit's top choice.

DFA members are the boots on the ground fighting for progressive change. We are the caucus-goers, the early primary voters, the ones whose votes actually count.

DFA members support bold candidates with big ideas. Progessive candidates like Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards and Barack Obama. DFA members support candidates who are going to take our country in a new direction, stand for principles and make change happen.

We will not triangulate a third way. This race is not a foregone conclusion. Support DFA with a $15 contribution right now.

Together, we will show the pundits that primaries matter.

Thank you for putting your contribution into action.


Rachel Moss
Finance Director

There are a few things I picked up in reading this. The very first point was that the Chosen One of the media (Hillary) hasn't already won the Primary. Then they mention Kucinich, Edwards and Obama in a rather positive light. Just in case a person didn't already see what they were getting at, that was followed up with saying they weren't going to "let the pre-ordained front runner walk away without a fight".

They all but say that Hillary isn't progressive, and they don't think she should be in office.

The bold type was DFA's, and not mine, so I think the impressions I got were the ones they wanted me to have. I wonder how big of a ripple this will make in the end, but I have to say I'm highly impressed that they would do this, and I hope that other Democratic organizations will take their lead and not be afraid of pissing Hillary off. Because they're right - this race is not a foregone conclusion. We should be voting for who we think is the right person, and not who the media tells us has already won.

Now if we could just get Gore to tell us who he's endorsing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Debate Watching Party

Utah for Obama is getting together at Mo Diggity's (3434 South State) at 6:00 on Thursday to watch the CNN Democratic Debate. You don't have to be an Obama fan to join us, but you do have to be 21, since Mo's is a private club.

Mo's has a nice non-smoking movie room that we'll take over.

The debate starts at 6, but if you get there early enough, you can pick between the giant Love Sac, couches or booths. I think the kitchen might be open, but I haven't confirmed that as of yet. Rumor has it that it's also "cheap drinks night".

Details are here.

[Update] The kitchen should be open about 6, maybe a little earlier. I highly recommend the hot wings or Tenley's Famous Philly Cheese Steak.

Let's Get The Facts Straight - SwiftKids For Truth

Friday, November 09, 2007

Obama/Paul? Paul/Obama?

The latest buzz seems to be that Barack Obama and Ron Paul ought to be running mates, in one fashion or another. Let's do a comparison and see how that might work out.

Paul voted NO to H.R. 437, to require lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations, May 2007.
Barack Obama has spoken out against such bundling.

Energy Independence and Environmental Impact
Paul Voted NO to H.R. 6
Obama voted YES to H.R. 6
to move toward energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to increase the energy efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, January 2007.

Paul Rated 5% in 2003 by the League of Conservation Voters, indicating anti-environment votes.
Obama rated 100%, the highest environmental rating by the LCV.

Paul Voted NO on raising CAFE standards and providing incentives for alternative fuels, August 2001.
Barack Obama believes that we can meet energy needs while also protecting our environment, with such things as a Cap and Trade system, finding alternative fuels, and that the way to achieve that is to invest in them.

Paul Voted NO on the Kyoto Protocol, Jun 2000.
Barack's energy policies are in alignment with the Kyoto Protocol.

Big Business vs. The People
Paul spoke out against Network Neutrality.
Barack Obama is most certainly for Network Neutrality.

Paul Voted YES on restricting bankruptcy rules, making it harder for the average American, while protecting business, January 2004.
Barack Obama spoke on the Floor of the Senate against such restrictions.

Individual Rights
Paul Rated 0% by NARAL in 2003, indicating a pro-life voting record.
Barack Obama has a 100% score from NARAL.

Paul Rated 100% by FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), indicating a voting record restricting immigration.
Obama wants tough, practical reform, but not an end to immigration.

Paul Voted NO on H.R. 2, to increase minimum wage to $7.25 in January 2007.
Barack voted YES to minimum wage.

Paul Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC in July 1999.
Barack Obama believes LGBT couples should have the same rights as everyone else.

Government Reform
Paul wants to close the Departments of Energy, Education & Homeland Security.
Obama wants to overhaul and improve them, not destroy them.

Paul wants to abolish federal Medicare and leave it to states.
Obama will give all of us healthcare that works.

Paul Voted NO on strengthening the Social Security Lockbox, May 1999.
Obama promises to fight for and strengthen Social Security.

Paul says he'll abolish the IRS immediately after taking office.
Obama has a tax plan to both cut taxes and ease the hassle of filing.

In considering the above differences, and these are just a few, I do not believe that our country would benefit from a ticket including both of them. We need progress, and Ron Paul's idea of progress is quite different from Barack Obama's. Ron Paul's voting history tells me he wants to protect businesses and eliminate government, while Barack Obama wants to protect the people of America, while eliminating government waste. Our President and Vice President should be working towards the same goals, not against each other with opposite goals.

I agree that Obama must work across party lines, which is usually the argument for this, but that doesn't mean he needs to get in bed with them. He could pick Richardson, Edwards, or whoever it is that he's inclined towards, and still be able to work just fine with the Republicans. That's just who Obama is, and he doesn't need a GOP running mate to do it.

Children's Rights?

I read this letter to the editor in Tuesday's Salt Lake Tribune:
In her Oct. 18 column, "Utah takes small, slow steps on gays," Rebecca Walsh asserts that the Utah Supreme Court recently denied a "lesbian mother's request for visitation with the daughter she had helped raise from birth."

As one of the lawyers who assisted with this case, I can state that this assertion is incorrect. The daughter in question had no biological, adoptive or legal link to the woman requesting visitation with the child. In fact, she was not the "mother," but at the time of the girl's birth, was a live-in partner with the girl's actual and biological mother.

If you take that rationale to its logical conclusion, a live-in boyfriend, who may have only known a child for seven months or so, could claim to be a "parent" and demand visitation. Once you start extending visitation rights to individuals who have no biological, adoptive or legal link to a child, you open up a Pandora's box of issues that will ultimately destroy the rights of biological or adoptive parents.

The issue was not denial of visitation to an "aggrieved parent," but instead was sleight of hand to advance an agenda that seeks to redefine the family until it has been reduced to meaninglessness.

Joe Infranco
Senior legal counsel
Alliance Defense Fund
Scottsdale, Ariz.

After reading it, I was frustrated as all hell. So, I decided to write my own letter to the editor, and it was published in today's paper.
Joe Infranco (Forum, Nov. 6) wrote about parent custody. I believe that denying equal rights to same-sex relationships is exactly where the Pandora's box comes from. If two women could choose to legally define their relationship, then the nonbiological mother would have either had the rights of a parent, or those of a live-in boyfriend.

By denying same-sex partner rights, the question of what makes a parent must be raised, or equal rights given to same-sex partners in all areas regarding relationships.

People, such as Mr. Infranco, who believe that this pursuit "seeks to redefine the family until it has been reduced to meaninglessness," must not understand what a family is. Families provide children a safe place to grow, learn and explore. Until they see this, they condemn children to having that safe place ripped out from under them when they are told that "Mommy isn't Mommy," and these children may grow up without understanding how to provide loving families for their own children.

Mr. Infranco would better give meaning to family if he would put the children ahead of his own intolerance.

Misty Fowler
Salt Lake City

The article by Rebecca Walsh is here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Byrne To Back A Communist?

Wow, I can't imagine any governor, or wannabe governor, seeking his help after Byrne's meltdown. I thought I'd heard it all, until I read the article from Forbes.
A day after Utah's school-voucher program was wiped out, the chief financial backer of the movement accused voters Wednesday of being insensitive to minorities...

...also said he would take his voucher campaign to black churches in South Carolina.

But The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People opposed Utah's voucher program, saying it would lead to segregated schools.

Ok, so the above wasn't a melt down. Here it comes:
In a phone interview with the AP, Byrne blasted Huntsman, who signed the voucher law but didn't do much to try to persuade voters that it was worth keeping. Byrne gave $75,000 to Huntsman's campaign for governor in 2004.

"He said, 'I am going to be the voucher governor.' He said this was his No. 1 priority. He said this was going to be his legacy," Byrne recalled. "The moment Jon Huntsman becomes Gov. Huntsman, all this changed."

Awww, was Governor Huntsman not for sale? Well, maybe someone else will be.
"I can say definitively he has lost my trust," Byrne said of Huntsman. "I think that he, as a governor, he's house-sitting in the governor's mansion to the day Utah elects an actual governor.

"I don't care if he's communist. I wouldn't care where he was politically," Byrne said. "If any opponent emerged, he would have my unqualified support."

Wow, a communist? Impressive Mr. Byrne. Impressive. Just hope they don't find out how badly you piss your pants when you don't get your way.
The event was turned into a TV ad for the pro-voucher group, Parents for Choice in Education, although Byrne claims the governor's staff demanded the ad be pulled.

"I don't want to be mean, but I do want the citizens to know what really went on behind the scenes," Byrne said.

Well, let him go throw his money away elsewhere. I'm with JM Bell, no more of my money is heading his way.
"He clearly does not understand the African-American community," Jeanetta Williams said. "For him to think all he needs to do is go to the black churches and throw his money around and win support - that's not the case. It angers me."

All of the above is in addition to his other hissy fit, which was summarized this way by Crooks and Liars:
Got that? Disagree with the right on voucher schemes that don’t work, and you’re a child-hating moron.

Haven’t guys like Byrne ever heard of losing with dignity? Maybe a little class?

h/t paramaphil)

Mind Boggling

Driving home rather late last evening, I caught the BBC on KCPW, and caught this little gem escaping Governor Bush's mouth:
"My message was that we believe strongly in elections and that you ought to have elections soon and you need to take off your uniform. You can't be the president and the head of the military at the same time, so I had a very frank discussion with him."

Ummm, what? If Mr. Bush believes that you can't be both president and head of the military...well, I can't...I just...The Decider...he's, you know...The Chosen One, right?

My mind will explode if I try to wrap it around this any longer, or I'll need to start screaming obscenities. I might do that anyway.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

UTOPIA Legislation Gets Tabled

I'm sure that Jesse from Free UTOPIA was less than thrilled by having to add this little nugget to the Live Blog of The Government Competition and Privatization Subcommittee hearing:
12:55PM Whoa. The UTOPIA legislation is not going to be discussed today. The reason? They're going to "seek consensus" from UTOPIA, Qwest and Comcast before making further amendments on the bill. My main concern there is that this will not be done in public hearings so we might not be able to weigh in again before the general session starts. I'll make sure to keep track of this one and keep everyone updated.

Ok, raise your hand if you think that a consensus stands even a tiny chance of happening here? [crickets]

Green Gathering for Obama [Updated]

Utah for Obama Logo
This Saturday, Utah for Obama will be joining Tree Utah to plant trees along the Jordan River Parkway. Our Events Coordinator, Janet Hurley, came up with the idea for us to help a few weeks back, and oddly enough, the Obama Campaign came out with a request for us to do a "Green Gathering" that same day, with suggested activity ideas including tree planting. Damn, are we prepared, or what?

Anyway, if you'd like to join us, sign up here.

Utah for Obama will also be resuming our bi-weekly meetings at the SLC Main Library that afternoon. Come find out more about Obama or volunteer to help with other upcoming events.

[Update] I forgot to include other events that are going on in the state. There's a River Trail Cleanup, also part of the Green Gathering effort, and then that evening's USU for Obama meeting, both in Logan.

If you can't make it in person, or create your own, you can always check out the Virtual Green Gathering that another grassroots member has created.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Liberally-oriented people hate blacks?

Ok, I have to admit that I've liked a lot of the blogs I've read from Frank Staheli, but this one really has me questioning his sanity.
The FDR generation is wrong, no matter how intense the shrillness of their cries. Clarence Thomas is right. That's why so many liberally-oriented people hate Justice Thomas to this day. He's also black. That makes them hate him even worse.

I'm with Jason The on this one. I mean, seriously, liberals are the ones who want equality, and work their asses off trying to make sure the conservatives don't pull shit like preventing them from voting.

I get some points of view that I don't agree with, but this one makes my head spin. Yeah, we don't like Thomas (shhhh! it's because he's... colored!). WTFever. Stupid, stupid.