Thursday, January 31, 2008

xkcd: Real Programmers Endorse Barack Obama

Alt: Real programmers set the universal constants at the start such that the universe evolves to contain the disk with the data they want.

Does that mean God is a real programmer?

On a side note, I was pleasantly surprised, and a bit shocked, to see this "blag post" from Randall Munroe, the author of the xkcd comic:
Okay, politics time.

I’m a political junkie, but I’ve largely kept that out of xkcd (other than occasional cracks about science and net-related issues). So this will be a one-time thing — after this post, you’ll hear no more political advocacy on this site for the rest of the election. But I think we’re at a balance point, where a few words between friends who are generally in agreement might make a difference, so here goes.

Please support Barack Obama.
He goes on to elaborate quite eloquently about why he thinks this. And honestly, out of all of the "endorsements" I've read, this is the most down-to-earth one. And go figure - he's not a politician.

I knew there was a reason I liked this guy. Besides that he has a great comic and is apparently a Super-Geek. He's also smart.

Need a Little Perspective?

Of All the People in All the World

I'm actually very sad that I did not have the opportunity to see this in person. I wish there were a photo gallery and/or a list of all of the statistics presented.

Undocumented Immigranats to Lose Driver Privilege Card?

This is a really dumb idea. The House has approved a bill to repeal Utah's Driver Privilege Card law.

Who in their right mind thinks that illegal immigrants are going to come here so that they'll break fewer laws (i.e. they get a driver privilege card)?

How many murderers, terrorists, gang members and sex offenders come from the immigrant population? Seriously! And if these horrible members of society are going to break every other law, why would they go through the trouble of coming here just so they "can get the card and use it for illegal activity"?

It would be much better to have all these people driving around (which they will do anyway) without insurance? Nice. Really nice. I'm glad we have such intelligent people running things.


Disclaimer of the Month

This is my favorite disclaimer, ever! On the Utilikilt site, there is an entry form to win a Utilikilt.

The idea is that you copy the following text from the text box and fill it out, then email it to them.
1. Your Name:
2. Your Age:
3. Location:
4. E-mail Address:
5. Where were you born?:
6. What is your occupation?:
7. Which Utilikilt(s) do you own and why?:
8. Tell us about the exotic or mundane places you have traveled in your Utilikilt:
9. Which of the photos you submitted is your favorite and why?:
10. Was there a book that changed your life?
11. Tell us about it!:
12. What is your favorite place to be?:
13. What is your heart's desire?:
14. How do you travel?:
15. THE QUESTION - What's under your kilt?:
16. Who would you like to see in a Utilikilt?:
17. If we came to visit you, where would you take us?:
18. What kind of beer are you buying for the first round?:

Disclaimer and Release: By sending this email to the Utilikilts Company LLC, I grant the Utilikilts Company LLC full rights to use the entire contents of this email for any purpose whatsoever, until the end of the universe. I understand that the Utilikilts Company LLC might use the text and images enclosed in this email on their web site, in printed or online marketing materials, or as a target on the dartboard in the executive bathroom, and I am fine with that. I mean it. I am flattered that my image or words might be used by the company in any way, shape or form.

I'm wondering if people are going to get creative, and alter the disclaimer when they enter. It almost makes me want to buy one for Dax so he can enter.

Dr. Susan E Rice

Dr. Susan E. Rice, who was the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under President Clinton, and who is now a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Obama, will be speaking this Friday at the Hinckley Caucus Room in Orson Spencer Hall at the University of Utah on Friday at 11:50am-12:45

Make sure to RSVP!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bush's Declaration of Dictatorship - How are you Going to Defend Yourself?

Blogging is great, but when Bush acts on his self-given dictatorship, what are you going to do?

The Salt Lake City Weekly has an blog of interest to those of you concerned with such a scenario:
According to provisions of Madsen’s S.B 157, every man, woman and child will be able to carry a gun on the streets during a “declared state of emergency.” No policeman, mayor, or city council could confiscate a gun, or, in fact, do anything to stop gun owners from “the lawful possession, transfer, sale, transport, storage, display or use of a firearm or ammunition.” Utah’s governor would be specifically barred from interfering with guns. And anyone who had their weapon confiscated could sue.

Ok, they had me until that last sentence. Seriously, if someone takes away your gun during a state of emergency, you get the right to sue? I'm for something a little more meaningful, like the right to shoot them as they try to take it away.

But, still - although the description given makes me wary (kids? really?), one of my main reasons for being against most gun restrictions is that if it ever comes down to it, it's downright American to take up arms in defense of yourself and your country. Even if it's your president, or in the case of our ancestors, your royalty, that you are defending yourself against.

Cold. Dead. Fingers.

A Picture Says 1,000 Words About the Last 8 Years

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

(We should all stop being so cool, and take to the streets with pots and pans)

[UtahforObama] 12 Utah Lawmakers Endorse Senator Obama [Updated]

Watch for this on the news tonight! (I wonder if this is "the big endorsement", or if we have something still in the works?)
11 Utah lawmakers Endorse Barack Obama
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - Today 11 Utah lawmakers endorsed Senator Barack Obama, citing his ability to unite the country and his judgment to lead the country forward.
"Barack Obama is the one candidate with the unique ability to unite people from different political backgrounds around a common purpose for change," said Rep. Brad King. "For those who want a change in direction, we believe Barack is the best person-- the most electable person-- to get us there."
"Obama, the one candidate who can unite America, will bring about real, meaningful change on the issues important to the people of Utah," added Rep. Carol Spackman Moss. "For those who want someone who will unite American again, I urge all Utahns to vote for Barack next Tuesday in the Democratic primary."
"We're yearning for a leader who is not driven by polls, but by principle; a leader who will fight for us not just when it's easy, but when it's hard; a leader who can actually work with the other party to make progress," said Senator Gene Davis. "That leader who can bring us together again is Barack Obama."
These endorsements, including five from Utah legislators in House and Senate leadership positions, come on the heels of Obama's historic win in South Carolina.
"To have the support of these community leaders is invaluable to our grassroots organization," said Senator Obama. "This grassroots movement in Utah will help us succeed on Tuesday, February 5 and will help bring about change we can believe in."
The following Utah leaders announced their support for Senator Obama today:
Senator Gene Davis-- Senate Minority Whip
Senator Scott McCoy
Representative Lynn Hemingway
Representative Christine Johnson
Representative Brad King-- House Minority Leader
Representative David Litvack-- House Minority Whip
Representative Phil Riesen-- Minority Caucus Manager & Utah State Rep. for Obama for America
Representative Jen Seelig
Representative Carol Spackman Moss-- Minority Assistant Whip
Representative Mark Wheatley
Representative Larry Wiley
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Erin Fitzgerald/ Andrew Savage: 312-505-4893
Shannon Gilson: 702-539-0796 (c)

Anne Filipic, the Utah State Director for the Obama campaign, added this in her email announcement:
Just wanted to make sure everyone saw this! The Obama campaign is honored to have the support of these 11 impressive members of the Utah Legislature, including leadership in the House and Senate. (Note that every member of the House Leadership team endorsed Senator Obama!)

We had a great press conference at the Capitol this afternoon. Check out the evening news for some press coverage!

[Update]Shortly after the above press release came this one:
Former utah Congressman BILL Orton Endorses Obama
DNC committeeman says Barack channels energy of jfk
SALT LAKE CITY, UT -- Former Congressman Bill Orton (D-UT), who served Utah in the United States Congress from 1991 to 1997, endorsed Senator Barack Obama today in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.
"Barack Obama channels an energy of hope and inspiration I haven't seen since President Kennedy," said Orton. "He knows what this country needs and has the unique ability to unify our country to take us there. He will be a leader we can believe in again."
Orton represented the Third Congressional District of Utah for six years and currently serves as a Utah Democratic National Committeeman.
Congressman Orton's endorsement comes on the same day as 11 Utah lawmakers endorsed Senator Barack Obama at the Utah State Capitol.
# # #
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

John Edwards Dropping Out [Update 5] (Now With Video)

ThinkProgress is reporting that John Edwards is dropping out of the race. I will update this with more information as it becomes available.

[Update 1]
The AP reports:
Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters' sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.

The two-time White House candidate notified a close circle of senior advisers that he planned to make the announcement at a 1 p.m. EST event in New Orleans that had been billed as a speech on poverty, according to two of his advisers. The decision came after Edwards lost the four states to hold nominating contests so far to rivals who stole the spotlight from the beginning - Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
Apparently, he doesn't plan to immediately endorse anyone. But, I would think that if he does endorse anyone it would be Barack. Of course, if he's the VP, then of course he'll endorse Barack. We'll see.

Edwards planned to announce his campaign was ending with his wife and three children at his side. Then he planned to work with Habitat for Humanity at the volunteer-fueled rebuilding project Musicians' Village, the adviser said.

With that, Edwards' campaign will end the way it began 13 months ago - with the candidate pitching in to rebuild lives in a city still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards embraced New Orleans as a glaring symbol of what he described as a Washington that didn't hear the cries of the downtrodden.
I've been trying to find out for a while...does Edwards have control of what happens with his delegates now? I'm assuming he still gets to "accept or decline" the delegates, to get people who will vote however he wants, but what are the rules? Anyone know?

[Update 2]
Ok, this isn't really an update, and it's not really true, but it's definitely amusing (if you get and like LOLCats humor):

[Update 3]
Here is Barack Obama's statement on John Edwards:
John Edwards has spent a lifetime fighting to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the struggling, even when it wasn’t popular to do or covered in the news. At a time when our politics is too focused on who’s up and who’s down, he made a nation focus again on who matters – the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America that is not seen or heard or talked about by our leaders in Washington. John and Elizabeth Edwards have always believed deeply that we can change this – that two Americans can become one, and that our country can rally around this common purpose. So while his campaign may end today, the cause of their lives endures for all of us who still believe that we can achieve that dream of one America.
Anyone know where I can find Hillary's statement? I heard there is one, but I didn't find it on her blog or newsroom.

[Update 4] The 2008 Democratic Convention Watch site has some answers on what happens to Edwards' delegates. I don't consider it an authoritative source, and it doesn't have any citations, but I'll accept this as the most likely answers, until I get citations or authoritative sources.

According to them, the 12 delegates from New Hampshire and South Carolina will attend the August convention as "uncommitted". His Iowa delegates will be replaced with Clinton or Obama delegates, depending on how the state level delegates decide to vote.

[Update 5] This is probably my last update for this post. Here is video of Edwards' speech.

Woman Power at it's Best

The idea of empowering women and what it means to be a feminist has been on my mind a lot, lately. This is for a few reasons.

First, I was asked to start a Women for Obama group here in Utah. I had kind of avoided the "Women for Obama" movement because I had a lot on my plate being involved with the all-inclusive Utah for Obama group, and because I felt like maybe "Women for Obama" was too narrow of a view about why I support Senator Obama.

Secondly, Hillary Clinton recently attacked Barack Obama's record on women's issues.

Lorna Brett Howard, the former Director of the Chicago chapter of NOW (Nation Organization of Women), who had been a Hillary supporter, was so offended by this attack that she not only turned around and endorsed Obama, but put out a video defending his record with the facts.

Then when Senator Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack, the NY State Chapter of NOW got more than a bit upset and called him a traitor.

Actions such as this are why I've never considered myself a feminist.

So, what does it mean to empower women, and to be a feminist?

Does it mean that no matter what other issues there are, supporting a woman should take priority? Does it mean that because I am female, I am better than men? Does it mean that women have some kind of inherent rights that trump a man's inherent rights?

I get the impression that there are women in America today who believe that the answers to those questions are yes, and that for any woman, or women's rights activist, to support anyone but the female candidate, they are betraying women everywhere.

And I have to call bullshit.

That would be like saying that a black man who supported John Edwards was betraying the black cause, and that he should support Obama regardless of whether he believes Obama is the best choice, or not.

And I'm saying that to support a man because he's black, and only because he's black, is the same thing as ostracizing a man because he's black.

I'm saying that to vote for a woman because she's a woman, and only because she's a woman, is the same thing as not voting for a woman because she's a woman.

I will admit that if all things were equal, I'd love to vote for the woman candidate. But, I don't believe she's the best choice. And because of that, I'm supporting another candidate. I'm not betraying women's causes in doing so.

In fact, I believe that voting for a woman only because she's a woman is actually doing a lot of damage to women's causes.

Back to my original question - what does it mean to empower women and to be a feminist?

I may not have all of the answers, but I have a feeling that there are some good ones in this book, Good As Lily.

I hadn't heard of it before seeing the review on Boing Boing.
It tells the story of Grace Kwon, a young Korean-American girl who, on her 18th birthday, finds herself in the company of her six-year-old self, her 29-year-old self and her 70-year-old self, three women who become a part of her life as she finishes out her last semester of high school before going off to her freshman year at Stanford.

Grace is a perfect young adult protagonist, likable and flawed, insecure and brave, driven and oblivious all at once. She's in love with her drama teacher (and bent on rescuing the school play from budget cuts), surrounded by great (and flawed) friends, and embroiled in high-school dominance struggles that are savage as only school fights can be.
The review really makes it sound like the ultimate book on what woman power really is, and if I'm ever lucky enough to have a daughter, I hope I remember this book. It might not hurt my sons to read, either.

I decided to go forward with Women for Obama because I feel like it embodies what the feminist movement should, even if the feminist movement gets it wrong sometimes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

xkcd: The Important Things

Alt: That's my hat! You took my hat!

As if trains weren't scarring enough.

Sad New Phrase Enters Vocabulary: Forclosure Pets

This was something I had never thought of before, but apparently, pets seem to be suffering from foreclosures, too. This MSNBC article was the first I'd heard of it. A Google search returned way more results than I'd hoped for. I was thinking maybe this was just a media exaggeration.

A site dedicated to Foreclosure Listings gives a bit more insight into the problem:
In Ohio the animal welfare groups are in a huddle trying to find space for an increasing number of abandoned pets. In Arizona concerned pet lovers have set up an e-mail network to find homes for the foreclosed-pets. Stockton is at the centre of the foreclosure and Michael Parker an officer in animal services is a worried man. Thousands of evicted families have temporarily forgotten their pets. is a rescue just for cats who have suffered for their owner's poor or unlucky decisions.

The Humane Society has issued a statement urging people not to forget their pets when they are forced to relocate.

The list of sites like this that I found through Google was amazing. And saddening.

Caroline Kennedy Ad

Here's the new Caroline Kennedy ad:

If you haven't read Caroline Kennedy's endorsement in her op-ed in the NY Times, it's well worth a read.

This ad is being run nationally, so we might be seeing it a bit here in Utah, in addition to the Utah specific ads.

Senator Obama's Visit Cancelled

Senator Obama has canceled his visit to Utah that was scheduled for this Saturday. Here is the press release:

Obama Statement on the Passing of President Hinckley

Campaign Cancels Event in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, UT-- Due to President Gordon B. Hinckley’s funeral, the Obama campaign has cancelled Senator Obama's visit to Utah on Saturday.

“Last night I spoke with President Thomas Monson and expressed my deepest sympathies to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” said Senator Barack Obama.



Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Erin Fitzgerald: 312-505-4893 (c)

Shannon Gilson: 702-539-0796 (c)

Monday, January 28, 2008

HB 139 - Public Wireless Access - Meeting

From a comment on Pete Ashdown's blog:
I have received the following reply from Representative Daw:
I will be hosting a meeting here in the Capitol on Thursday, January
31st at 3:00 P.M. We will be discussing House Bill 139 about public
wireless access. I will be in attendance along with some members of the
Attorney General’s staff and members of the Xmission ISP staff. Anyone
is invited to attend, and please let us know if you will be able to.

The meeting will be held in the East (Senate) Building, in the Beehive
room which is just south of the cafeteria on the first floor. I hope to
see you there.

STD Prevention Fund Passes

Representative Phil Riesen has sponsored a bill that will fund educating the public about STDs, their consequences and where to get treatment.

Since this bill also requires the health department to inform people that abstinence and fidelity prevent the spread of STDs.

Apparently, Utah County, one of the most conservative counties in Utah, also has the 3rd highest rate of chlamydia cases.
Representative Lorie Fowlke testified in favor of the program, saying it is greatly needed, even in her district in conservative Utah County. That prompted a question from House Majority Whip Gordon Snow:

"Did you draw a correlation between these diseases and conservatism?" Snow asked.

"I guess you could make that argument," Fowlke responded.

Regardless of what your politics are, the fact of the matter is that STDs are preventable, and educating the public about them is vital. Since this bill does address the conservative ideal of abstinence, I have a feeling it will go all the way.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Things You Must Read - Your Special Weekend Edition

Ironic Headline of the Weekend: Anti piracy group 'breaks law' to track file sharers

Gold's Gym, porn haven for weak souls. Speaking of porn havens, the owner of Clean Flicks, Daniel Dean Thompson, must have been into cleaning up films to get his jollies.

Can you tell me which of these headlines is satire?
  • Bill Clinton: 'Screw It, I'm Running For President'
  • How Clinton Will Win the Nomination By Losing South Carolina
Did you know it takes a database to track the Bush Lies? 935 have been documented for your gut displeasure. I wonder how many they missed? Alison Jackson has a series of photo artwork featuring George W Bush that many may find interesting, though I will give a warning that this artist has other work that may offend innocent eyes.

Paul The Wine Guy has some interesting artwork (like all artwork, some of the more sensitive may be offended, as may your employer). One of his projects is apparently translating art into geekspeek.

Yay to Whole Foods for ditching plastic in favor or reusable! I still get weird looks at Smith's when I bring my grocery totes with me. They either haven't seen them before, or they have and want to charge me for them again.

Raise your hand if you have ever heard "wine coolers" or "flavored malt beverages" called "alco-pops" by someone who drinks them. [I'll wait, go ahead] Ok, no one? That's what I thought. Actually, if someone had said something about alco-pops before this media and conservative political push to get them banned from grocery stores, I would have thought they were something similar to jell-o shots.

Patent law reform, anyone?

Here's a great quote I missed from last week (I'm still catching up on blogs): The difference between Romney and McCain is that the press hates Romney for lying to them, while McCain has figured out how to get them to lie for him.

Save the Date! Obama is Coming!

If you haven't yet heard, Senator Barack Obama will be coming to Salt Lake next Saturday, February 2. There are basically no details available yet, but as soon as there are, they'll be made public. I look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, January 25, 2008

This Really Disgusts Me

I still haven't blogged about my trip to Nevada. I really want to, and I wish I had the 3 hours of time it is going to take! I got to attend a caucus, and it was an amazing experience. Thankfully, I didn't see any of this happen in the small town I was in:

January 22, 2008

Jill Derby, Chair
Nevada State Democratic Party
1210 S. Valley View Road
Suite 114
Las Vegas, NV 89102

Dear Chair Derby:

On behalf of the Obama for America campaign, I am writing to request that the Nevada State Democratic Party conduct an inquiry into an apparent and disturbing pattern of incidents reported at precinct locations throughout the state during the January 19 Caucus.

These reports suggest the possibility of activity conducted in violation of Party rules and the rights of voters—activity that, as the volume and distribution of those complaints indicate, may have been planned and coordinated with the willful intention to distort the process in the favor of one candidate, Senator Clinton. A sheet of instructions provided by the Clinton campaign to its precinct works captures its program for the Caucus: "It's not illegal unless they [the temporary precinct chairs] tell you so." (See attachment). This certainly suggests that, for the Clinton campaign, the operative standard of conduct was, simply and only, what it could get away with.

On the day of the Caucus, we received by phone reports of misconduct, violations of the rules and irregularities, in the hundreds. Since that time, well over a thousand more accounts have been sent to us. Others have begun to emerge in other sources.

At the outset, we wish to make clear what the inquiry we are requesting is not intended to accomplish. We are not seeking to challenge the outcome of the Caucuses at the precinct level.

Nor is it our intention to question the extraordinary efforts devoted by the NSDP to the organization and conduct of the Caucus, including the contribution its leadership made to resolve the high volume of questions and problems that exploded during the caucusing. Indeed, the Party responded promptly and effectively to the frontal attack on the Caucus in the form of an eleventh hour legal action by Senator Clinton’s allies, intended to shut down voting locations or to put into question the legitimacy of the process.

The question raised here about activities on Caucus Day concerns solely the tactics employed by one campaign and their effects—their intended and actual effects—on the participation of voters supporting other candidates. Participation is a principle second to none in importance to the Democratic Party, emphasized throughout the national party’s rules, as well those of the Nevada party.

Nature of Suppressive and Other Improper Activity

We have attempted to sort through the range of reports received, and while our own review has not been completed in the short time since the conclusion of the Caucus, we suggest that the evidence supports an inquiry focused on the following:

Door closings

As you know, and as their own training materials confirm, the Clinton campaign informed its precinct captains that the doors should close—and registration should end—at 11:30 am. This is, of course, false: the rules could not be clearer that any voter wishing to participate would until 12:00 pm take his or her place in line. What the rules clearly specify is repeated, with equal clarity, in the party’s own Guide to the Caucuses.

It seems inconceivable that a well-financed and nationally organized campaign, stressing a platform of competence and experience, could have inadvertently misunderstood a rule of first importance to the Caucus. It is a rule governing participation and intended to encourage it. Any preparation for the Caucus would have included careful attention to any such rules of eligibility.

Yet the Manual put out by the Clinton campaign stated a false statement of the “closed door” rules.

Voters have given these reports, which are representative of others received like them:

• "It happened at my caucus site and it happened, apparently, at every caucus site in Southern Nevada, as I spoke to dozens of Barack volunteers from other caucus sites who all said the same thing. At 11:30, the Hillary supporters were clamoring to have the doors closed, saying that the caucus was supposed to start at 11:30 and the doors should be closed immediately. The theory was that if a number of different people asked the caucus chair to close the doors at 11:30, some caucus chairs might believe that 11:30 was indeed the official door-closing time and would close the doors. This appeared to be the case and a number of caucus locations across the Vegas area, from my own first-hand (random but small) sample.

Apparently, Hillary's strategy was to tell her supporters to get there early, and have the doors close 30 minutes prior to their prescribed time, thereby shutting out some Barack supporters who might be a little late."

• "Those Hillary people…closed the doors on our people and we had to call the cops in some precincts to have locks cut from doors, [they] slipped people in the back doors, they sent people home at 11:30 when it was illegal to prevent people from voting before noon."

• “Issue one was when the temporary chairman locked the doors at 1:30 preventing at least two caucus participants at 11:34 and 11:40 from entering. He stated that the rules were to close the doors at 11:30. Immediately stated that I was informed that the doors were to close at 12:00 but was rebuffed.”

• “The Precinct 16 Caucus Chair...ordered the doors locked at 11:30 am. not 12 noon. I objected and called the hotline, and [the Chair] relented, but not before many voters were prevented from entering.”

Obstructing Voter Access

Voters have given these reports, which are representative of others received like them:

• “While my precinct ran well due to the fact that we had only 24 caucus members present, there was mass confusion in the five other larger precincts at the same site. Obama people were being told my Clinton supporters that they could not register because the sign-in sheet was only for Clinton voters.”

• “In Precinct 21, a Democratic worker …(who was clearly for Hillary) refused to register Obama supporters and said she was only registering Hillary supporters.”

• “Someone told Obama supporters they had to wait until 11:30 to enter because Republicans were voting. (A Clinton supporter in front of the School.) There were many Clinton supporters telling Obama supporters to leave. A Clinton supporter took our bottles of water, and then tried to take our box containing precinct packet and voter registration forms. I had to run her down in the crowd. By the time I located her (with help)she had thrown things out, but kept the water bottles in her large bag.”

• “Almost immediately, I was told by a couple of other Obama precinct leaders, whose names I don't know, that the Hillary people were turning our supporters away, by asking to see their ID's and telling them they weren't valid.”

Improper Handling of Voter Preference Cards

Voters have given these reports, which are representative of others received like them:

• “The next controversial issue involved the voter cards disappearing into the Clinton camp, so that the Edwards and Obama people were left with no cards. When we asked them to give us back some cards, we then noticed that they had all been pre-marked for Clinton.”

• “We circled Obama and were given a small slip of paper with our names and no voting ballot. We were told they were out of ballots. How convenient. It wasn't until later than I realized the Hillary group had ballots.”

• “I personally observed one of Hillary's precinct captains taking up the ballot of the voter before the caucusing started. When the delegates were moved to the other side of the room she could not find all of the people that she took their ballots she then put them in her purse, further another one of Hillary supporter collected ballots as well and she had a ballot where some one was voting for Obama she fold it up in her hand. I call her on this matter she stated that she could not find the person that it belong to.”

Process for Conducting Review

This is a smattering of the reports we have received. Emerging from them is a disturbing picture of rules violations, discriminatory treatment of voters, bullying and disrespectful behavior toward those from other campaigns, the mishandling of preference cards, and failure to follow the process specified under the rules for the conduct of the vote count.

To support the inquiry that we are asking that you conduct, we will provide them these reports, unedited or redacted, to the Party, subject to an agreement protecting the privacy of voters who have given these accounts. We are confident, however, that with the benefit of these protections, these voters, if asked, will give their first-hand recollections directly to party counsel and representatives.

We would ask that this process be expedited. It is crucial that the Party enforce its rules. And, in the interests of all voters, any and all questions about misconduct at the Caucuses should be conclusively and clearly addressed so that what seems to have occurred in Nevada on January 19 will not be repeated.

We stand ready to support and cooperate in this inquiry, and hope and expect that the same support and cooperation will be forthcoming from the Clinton campaign and any and all others with relevant information.

Very truly yours,

Robert F. Bauer

The small town I was in, Eureka, had a county and a city caucus in the same room. They were held separately, but the two ladies running them relied on each other for support. One was an Obama supporter, and the other was for Clinton. They weren't necessarily perfect in everything they did, but they followed all of the important rules, and the general process was nothing if not open and honest. The people relied on each other as a community, and the caucus process was a wonderful and beautiful thing. While they had differing views, none of it was underhanded.

However, the area didn't have a big Democratic base, and if it weren't for the fact that a local activist was an Obama supporter and pushed for it, the area just wouldn't have had a caucus. So, I'm guessing because that the small effect the area had, the Clinton camp wasn't interested in them. So, I would doubt that she even had a Clinton manual, and I know that it probably wasn't read if she did, because she didn't seem to understand much about the caucus process.

I truly wish that this would stay a debate about the issues.

Did Our Friday Just Get Some FISA, After All?

Apparently, Harry Reid either grew some balls, or he's bluffing for some strange reason. But, he seems to be standing up to Bush on FISA.
Harry Reid took a tougher stance then we’ve seen on the FISA battle on the hill today during the State of the Union preview speech at the National Press Club. He called out President Bush over his trying to force the bill to pass and pushing immunity for the telecoms. Reid wants there to be a debate on all the amendments. He’s still playing it close to the vest on immunity, but probably playing it smart at this point. It still comes down to Monday.
Ohh, I guess it's a Maybe FISA Monday?

Muppets for Obama?

The picture is great. The story is better.

South Carolina Results Watch Party

We're meeting at SLC Obama HQ to watch the South Carolina primary results come in. As always, you're welcome to join us, even if you're not sure that you're going to support Barack.

The address is 1747 South 900 West, Salt Lake City. Make sure you head for the back room, since the volunteers and staff will be making phone calls in the main room. You're welcome to bring food and drink to share, but it's not required.

See you there!
The Washington Post has a pretty insightful article about the Clinton attacks. Most interesting was something I thought none of the party officials were willing to say aloud:

In Washington, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who endorsed Obama last week, castigated the former president for what he called his "glib cheap shots" at Obama, saying both sides should settle down but placing the blame predominantly on Clinton.

"That's beneath the dignity of a former president," Leahy told reporters, adding: "He is not helping anyone, and certainly not helping the Democratic Party."

That concern was also voiced by some neutral Democrats, who said that the former president's aggressive role, along with the couple's harsh approach recently, threatens to divide the party in the general election.

A few prominent Democrats, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), have spoken to the former president about the force of his Obama critiques. There is some fear within the party that if Obama becomes the nominee, he could emerge personally battered and politically compromised. And there is concern that a Clinton victory could come at a cost -- particularly a loss of black voters, who could blame her for Obama's defeat and stay home in November.

I'm just grateful for Obama's Fact Checker section. I don't think the latest rebuttal to a smear is up yet, though. Clinton attacked Obama's pro-choice record, which led Lorna Brett Howard, former President of Chicago NOW, to not only quit supporting Clinton, but to switch over to the Obama camp and release her own video explaining exactly what Clinton's lies were, and why they were lies.

Things You Must Read - Your FISA Friday Edition

My boyfriend just got a new Ford Escape Hybrid. I love driving it. It's like some kind of VR video game where you try to keep the little meter above 59.9 MPG, so it says "Maximum" and then you feel like an Environmental Superhero.

You'd think that with McCain's hero status as a POW, he'd try to avoid traitors.

QOTD: "For one cold night in Iowa, Barack Obama brought America together: liberal and conservative, black and white, male and female, rich and poor, young and old. At that moment, anything seemed possible.

Fortunately, it's not too late to be on the right side of history."

Jon is right. Bush really does look happiest playing on the toys.

I keep saying this, but A Vote For Hill is Not a Vote for Bill.

Before I forget again - much thanks goes to UDOT for painting the lower sides of the barricades between I-80 east and west bound in a reflective yellow paint, and painting the lane stripes more frequently. Now if they would just put taller barricades in, so that the oncoming traffic doesn't blind me so that I can see the paint on the roads and barricades. I'm just never happy, am I?

Is Bush going to invade California, next? Oh, what delicious visions of Bush vs. the Terminator that gives me!

It's so nice to see justice served. I honestly think that part of the answer to crime is that the punishment should really fit the crime, as it did here.

For anyone who doesn't support impeachment, how about you answer for me why someone could be arrested for telling Cheney his Iraq policies suck? I'm guessing though that no one has told Mr. Howard that the First and Fourth Amendments are among the majority of Amendments which have been suspended for our "protection", since he seems to be complaining about it.

If the RIAA didn't enjoy harassing people with lawsuits as a sustitute way of making money now that their business plan has failed, they might consider checking out Paulo Coelho's sucessful business model of helping people pirate his books.

Mosquitoes engineered to die a young and sudden death, unless they are given an antibiotic? Nah, nothing could go wrong there.

Presidential candidates are courting Utah like never before. Is it because Utah's 23 delegate votes that are up for grabs will make that big of a difference? Well, with 2,025 being the magic winning number, I'm not sure that our 1.13% is going to be that huge. I think that part of this is that the candidates are competing against each other, and in order to stay on message, they have to include Utah, as well. And it's close enough that our "piddling" amount might just be the deciding number. But, over all, I think it's because Utah Democrats are excited and involved like they haven't been in the past. Many of the "activists" seem to have come out of nowhere, and the excitement is contagious. So, I think the biggest reason for the attention we're getting is because we're demanding it, and we never did before.

In general, I think that people who are debt collectors are pretty miserable people, or at least have miserable jobs. But, can you imagine this phone call:
Hi, Mrs. Smith. I'm with Veteran's Affairs, and I'm calling about your son Johnny's account with the VA. When he died from that roadside bomb in Iraq, we had overpaid his GI Bill benefits, so you need to pay up.

I think Rob Miller ate the wrong kind of mushrooms or something. That or he's trying his hand at writing, and considering crossing the writer's strike picket line. Ah, well. It made me laugh.

Let me give you a piece of advice. If you don't want the world to see something, don't put it online.

Does Bill have a fetish we don't know about?

According to the Deseret News, there's a rumor that Barack will be back before February 5. (Trust me, I'll be blogging this if it ever becomes more than a rumor) But, the interesting part is a quote from Rep. Jackie Biskupski: 'Democrats statewide "are completely energized by what's happening with Hillary.' Ummm, energized by what? Because the closest thing to anything 'happening with Hillary' that she'll send her hubby and her kiddo, but not bother to show up herself? Seriously, though - I know there are Hillary supporters here, but I haven't seen any sort of "energized" groups. What am I missing?

That's it for today. Don't forget to join me at HQ tomorrow (1747 South 900 West) for the canvassing starting at 9:30. We'll be having a South Carolina Watch Party, but it will be in the back room, since the main area is being taken up by staffers and volunteers making nonstop phone calls. As always, feel free to bring drinks or snacks with you to share, but join us whether or not you bring anything! (I'll blog this as soon as I finalize details.)

McCain Just Lost the Last Shred of Respect I had for Him

I've been watching McCain through the primaries, and more than once, I felt him to be the most sane of the Republican candidates. Although he supports the war, and I don't, I felt like he had the most sane view on it from the Republican party. Well, ok - Ron Paul does, but you just can't count him as a sane, rational being if you look at more than his war policy.

Anyway, John McCain has dropped from my esteem down to the likes of Rudy "9/11" Giuliani and Mike "Phone Call from God" Huckabee.

What's with Giuliani there? "I was for it before you were against it?"

Damn, that ending actually makes Ron Paul look sane. It's a sad day for the GOP.

Top Ten Barack Obama Campaign Promises

They were all good, but the top 5 had me rolling! (And you gotta love a presidential candidate who can laugh at himself without appearing to dumb to have gotten the joke)

Politics of Hope

This campaign (Barack Obama's) has been about the politics of hope from day one. That is why I have worked hard this past year, to share that hope with people around me, and to have someone positive in Washington. And that hope is not blind optimism, but rather it is aiming for the best, rather than assuming the best isn't possible. It's about average citizens becoming a force for change, instead of a disgruntled populace, as we have been for years.

But, now, we are down to crunch time. No matter who you support, you feel the anxiety in the air, the realization from every side that right now is almost too late, and those involved in campaigns are almost holding their breath to see what happens.

Joe Vogel (who, if you remember, was involved with inviting Michael Moore to BYU, and wrote The Obama Movement: Why Barack Obama Speaks to America's Youth, among other books) wrote this early this morning on his Barack Obama blog:
Remember how we felt the night Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses. For a brief moment, the division, the bitterness, the cynicism, the anger subsided. Even the most skeptical pundits recognized the beauty of the moment as Barack Obama and his young family made their way onto the stage where he delivered one of the most memorable speeches in a generation.

That night as I read through blogs and comments on news sites I witnessed something I have never seen before or since. Almost unanimously, people recognized something profound just happened. They were inspired. They felt hope. They were proud to be Americans.
He gives an interesting insight, and perhaps a reminder for those like myself, to breathe and remember why we're doing this. The last two sentences truly sum up everything I needed to be reminded of this morning.

Maybe I should have joined a yoga class this week instead of the gym.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Things You Must Read - Your Thursday Doldrums Edition

Apparently, the reasons we will always hate despise George W Bush can be narrowed down to a "Top 42" list.

If you've never checked out FOUND, or don't get why it's so interesting, today's Letter to God is a perfect example of why it's on my RSS feed.

Next time you get pissed about something, you might want to make sure your plans for revenge are founded on hard evidence.

The Obama campaign now has 2 offices in Utah!

I love WiiHacks, but this one really has me going! I think I'm going to have to find some "spare" time to do this.

Kucinich announced that he's dropping out of the race.

Do you enjoy your civil liberties? The ones you have left, I mean. Because, more of your civil liberties are going bye-bye, and only you can stop it.

xkcd: As if Riding the Train Doesn't Make You Anti-Social Enough

Alt: And the journal is filled with all the things I'd say to her if I were nice like you. I burn it when it's full.

I've known a few of these people. I loved riding Trax, except during rush hour, because people invade your space, and I don't do well when that happens. Especially when I can't punch people.

Can We Please Hire Someone With Half A Brain? [Updated for clarification]

Representative Brad Daw is yet another elected official who doesn't have a clue about technology. Hey, that's ok by me. As long as said official is willing to get the advice of people who do have a clue. Daw, however, is not. He wants to shut down open wireless, such as Pete Ashdown's service through Xmission. Check out what Pete has to say.

I haven't yet read the text of this bill, but the most obvious thing to me is that if a kid has a laptop and is being left alone to use it, and the parents haven't put filters or protective software on it, there's a pretty bad parenting issue going on.

Oh, and what about companies where open wireless is a necessity?

There are a lot of reasons why this is a bad idea. I think this may become my pet project for a while (secondary to the Obama campaign, which has precious little time left [see Update]).

I asked Pete what we, as citizens, should and could do about this. For starters, call AND write to Rep. Daw. Secondly, join the UTPoliTech list and watch for news. If I have time before showdown on this bill, I'll be trying to organize as many of us as find this important, to actively work against it. Please do join that list, or if you don't want to (it's low-volume), let me know directly, and I'll try to keep you informed of any action taken.

[Update] By "precious little time left" in reference to the Obama campaign, I just mean that the primary race is almost over, and that is my entire scope of view for the presidential race right now. And with Utah (and 22 other states) having their primaries on February 5, there really isn't much time left! And the heaviest part of my involvement with the campaign will be over, and things will go back to "normal", whatever that is, so I'll have more time to pick up a new pet project.

Obama Ad For Utah

Here is the Obama ad for Utah:

H/T to Bob for seeing it on tv first! (Keep watching, there's even better stuff coming down the line! And I'm not talking about ads.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Things You Must Read - Your Wednesday Before South Carolina Edition

Today seems to be playtime. I'm starting off with a lot more "fun" stuff than news-y stuff. Like GW's Head.

Not that I normally like Flash much, but this was a fun little site.

Know anyone living abroad? They get to vote online in the Democratic primary!

Uh-oh! Senator Obama, your foreign policy wisdom is showing!

I sure hope Nevada says "buh-bye Harry Reid" next time around.

Al Gore endorsed gay marriage, but since he's not actually in office, I think Ralph Becker's plan for Domestic Partners in Salt Lake City will have more impact.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Things You Must Read - Your Tuesday 'She's ba-ack!' Edition

I'll get to the Nevada trip as soon as I can. In the meantime, here are today's things you can't live without reading.

DNA has freed yet another innocent person. I know what you're thinking, but really this should have no bearing on whether we nix the death penalty, or not.

Fred Thompson who?

Want an excuse to visit Park City during Sundance? The ACLU of Utah needs 30 minutes of your time to hand out buttons and materials before showings of relevant movies, in order to promote the closing of Guantanamo.

QOTD: Romney has racked up victories in Wyoming, Michigan, and Nevada. His secret: Versatility. Whatever you want him to be, he'll be.

I keep forgetting Gravel is in the race.

Need some perspective of how we fit into the world scene, or maybe how the world scene fits into us?

Oh, and for all the nay-sayers - Utah really does seem to be heading in a Blue Direction.

xkcd: Twice the Fun!

To Be Wanted:

Alt: Or so I hope?

The Data So Far:

Alt: But THIS guy, he might be for real!

Sorry, no time for commentary. Feel free to add your own.

The Economy - Whatcha Gonna Do When It Comes For You?

Here is the transcript of Senator Barack Obama's speech on recent economic developments at Furman University in Greenville, SC.
This morning, we woke up to bad news from Wall Street. For the second day in a row, the global stock market has continued to plunge as the world continues to fear that the United States government won’t do enough to prevent a recession. We hope that the rate cut announced this morning will restore some confidence and stop the damage, but the fear remains.

It’s a fear that hasn’t just confined itself to those who nervously watch the tickers or scan the headlines of the financial section, but one that I have seen on the faces of working Americans in every corner of this country long before anxiety ever hit Wall Street.

I’ve seen it in the faces of families who are being forced to foreclose on their dream because an unscrupulous lender tricked them into buying a home they couldn’t afford just to pocket a profit.

I’ve seen it in the faces of Maytag workers who labored all their lives only to see their jobs shipped overseas; who now compete with their teenagers for $7-an-hour jobs at Wal-Mart.

And I’ve seen it in the face of a young woman who told me she only gets three hours of sleep because she works the night shift after a full day of college and still can’t afford health care for a sister who’s ill.

In the last several months, their fears have grown worse and are now shared by more and more Americans. What started as a crisis in the housing market has now spilled over to the rest of the economy. Banks are facing a credit crunch, leaving businesses with less money to invest and more Americans unable to get loans. Joblessness rose more last month than at any time since just after 9/11, and oil reached $100 a barrel. People have less money to spend, higher bills to pay, and fewer opportunities for work.

For years, we were warned this might happen. But Washington did what Washington does – it looked the other way. It rewarded lenders and lobbyists with whatever they asked for while ignoring the voices of working people who needed help most. And all the while, we’ve been led by George W. Bush – a President who’s done more to contribute to this country’s widening inequality than anyone since Herbert Hoover; a President whose tax breaks for wealthy Americans who didn’t need them and didn’t ask for them have only encouraged the mindset in Washington and on Wall Street that “what’s good for me is good enough.”

That’s why it’s no surprise that after months and months of watching families struggle to get by in this economy, George Bush finally offered a stimulus plan last week that neglects 50 million workers and seniors who need our help the most; the very people who are most likely to spend and give our economy the boost it needs right now.

Well George Bush’s economic plans haven’t worked before and they’re not going to start working now. More importantly, they don’t reflect who we are as Americans. We haven’t come this far because we practice survival of the fittest. America is America because we strive for survival of the nation – a nation where no one is left behind and everyone has a chance to achieve their dreams. That’s who we are. And that’s who we can be again at this defining moment.

This isn’t an issue I found along the campaign trail. I introduced legislation to stop mortgage fraud and predatory lending almost two years ago. I called for a middle-class tax cut back in September that would put money into the pockets of over 90% of working Americans; that would eliminate income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000; that would give a tax credit to struggling homeowners. And that’s why when I announced my economic stimulus package the other week, I called for immediate tax relief for working families and seniors – because they shouldn’t have to wait another day for Washington to act. They need our help right now.

We should send each working family a $500 tax cut and each senior a $250 supplement to their Social Security check. And if the economy continues to decline in the coming weeks, we should do it again. This is the quickest way to help people pay their bills and get them to start spending.

We should also immediately make unemployment insurance available for a longer period of time and for more people who are facing job losses, and we should make sure it benefits part-time and non-traditional workers, something that will particularly help women, African-Americans and Latinos. We should help those facing foreclosure refinance their mortgages and stay in their homes, and we should provide direct relief to victims of mortgage fraud. And we should provide assistance to state and local governments so that they don’t slash critical services like health care or education.

Of course, it’s easy to propose plans and policies when you’re on the campaign trail. You can make all sorts of promises and tell people what they want to hear when they want to hear it.

But in this time of economic anxiety and uncertainty, what this country needs most is a President who says what he means and means what he says; a President who won’t just do what’s right when the politics are easy, but when the politics are hard; a President who’s not just in it to win it; but in it for you.

In the debate last night, we spent some time talking about the economy. And one of the things I brought up that concerned me was that when Senator Clinton first released her economic stimulus plan, she didn’t think that workers or seniors needed immediate tax relief. She thought it could wait until things got worse. Five days later, the economy didn’t really change, but the politics apparently did, because she changed her plan to look just like mine.

It reminds me of what happened when we started debating the credit card industry’s bankruptcy bill – a bill that would make it much harder for working families to climb out of debt. Believe it or not, Senator Clinton said again last night that even though she voted for the bill, she was glad it didn’t pass. I know you can get away with this in Washington, but most of us know that if you don’t want to see a bill pass, there’s a pretty easy option available – you can vote against it.

And we’ve heard her say the same kind of thing about NAFTA and China trade –agreements that sent millions of American jobs – thousands from this very state – overseas. Because only in Washington could Senator Clinton say that NAFTA led to economic improvement up until she started running for President. Now she says we need a time-out on trade. No one knows when this time-out will end. Maybe after the election.

The point is – this is exactly the kind of politics we can’t afford right now. Not when the stakes are this high. Not when the economy is this fragile. Not when so many banks are foreclosing on people’s dreams. We can’t afford a President whose positions change with the politics of the moment, we need a President who knows that being ready on day one means getting it right from day one. And South Carolina, if you give me the chance, that’s the kind of President I’ll be.

In my twenty-five years of public service, my positions haven’t changed when the politics got hard, and neither will the policies I pursue as President.

I started my career as a community organizer on the streets of Chicago, fighting joblessness and poverty when the local steel plant closed. I provided tax relief for working families as a state Senator in Illinois. And when I am President, I’ll take away the breaks that Washington gives to companies who ship our jobs overseas, and give them to companies who create the jobs of the future right here in America.

I won’t wait to raise the minimum wage every ten years – I will raise it to keep pace every year so that workers don't fall behind. I’ll take on the credit card companies who are profiting by driving working families into debt. And I’ll make sure that CEOs can’t dump your pension with one hand while they collect a bonus with the other. That’s an outrage, and it’s time we had a President who knows it’s an outrage.

On health care, I know what it takes to expand coverage to the uninsured. In Illinois, I brought Democrats and Republicans together to expand health care to 150,000 children and parents. And when I’m President, I’ll do more to cut costs for families and businesses than anyone in this race, and I’ll pass universal health care not twenty years from now, not ten years from now, but by the end of my first term in office.

And when it comes to taking away the power of lobbyists and special interests, I’m the only candidate in this race who’s actually done it. In Illinois I passed the first major ethics reform in twenty-five years. In Washington I helped pass the strongest lobbying reform in a generation – we banned gifts from lobbyists, meals with lobbyists, subsidized travel on fancy jets, and for the first time in history, we forced lobbyists to tell the American public who they’re raising money from and who in Congress they’re funneling it to. Last night Senator Clinton defended lobbyists again, who she has said represent real Americans. Well let me tell you – if you really believe that lobbyists represent real Americans, then you don’t. Washington lobbyists haven’t funded my campaign, they won’t run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of working Americans when I am President.

We know the road ahead will be difficult. None of the problems we face will be easy to solve and change will not happen overnight. It will take a new spirit of cooperation and sacrifice. It will require each of us to remind ourselves that we rise and fall as one nation; and that a country in which only a few prosper is antithetical to our ideals and our democracy. And it will take a President who can rally Americans of different views and backgrounds to this common cause.

I’m reminded every day that I am not a perfect man. And I will not be a perfect President. But I can promise you this – I will always say what I mean and mean what I say. I will be honest about the challenges we face. And most importantly, I will wake up every single day ready to listen to you, and work for you, and fight for you not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard. That’s what I did for those men and women on the streets of Chicago. That’s what I’ve done over the last decade for the working families of Illinois. And that’s what I will do for the American people if you give me the chance to lead this country. Thank you.
(Emphasis mine)

I've been waiting for this speech, and I think it's exactly what we need. Not only does he outline what he's done in the past, but he shows that he's not waffled on this subject, and he will make wise decisions to help America through the financial downturn that Bush has put on us.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In The News

After last night's Volunteer Meeting & Nevada Debate Watching Party at SLC Obama HQ, a few supporters decided to head downtown, and if you watch carefully, they can be seen here on KUTV 2 News, on the right, waving Obama signs, just a few seconds into the clip.

They can be seen again here in the first few seconds of this video:

Thanks, Willow (& your husband, I'm sorry I didn't get his name!) & Eric! You guys did a great job! We'll definitely do more of this!

xkcd: Computers are people, too!

Alt: Checking whether build environment is sane ... build environment is grinning and holding a spatula. Guess not.

I happen to be dealing with some kind of insane build environment today, or maybe it just got old and slow overnight for no apparent reason. Either way, I'm about to be an insane programmer.

Things You Must Read - Your Wednesday Excitement Edition

I doubt I'll be writing these for the rest of the week, or if I do, they'll be short and/or sporadic.

Does anyone else see the irony here?

Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian.
- Robert Orben

Although I wish that Democrats in Michigan had voted "uncommitted" on the Democratic ballot against Hillary, it seems they followed the advice to vote for Romney. It seems that neither the Michigan Republican Party nor Faux News nor even the candidates themselves were well prepared for the hilarity that ensued.

Wexler Wants Hearings, and his efforts go to the next level today. Of course, even with 190,000 people backing him, there's a total media blackout. If only there were a blow job or stained dress involved.

If you use the iGoogle homepage, and you're geeky, like me, you may be happy to learn that the iGoogle Themes API has been released.

If you are on the side of Henry's Law, you'll be very interested in this! (And please spread the word about it)

House Minority Leader John Boehner compares buying carbon offsets to the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages when you could buy indulgences.

If you're a Democrat with strong opinions on the GOP candidates, this straw poll from is for you!

Crooks and Liars has a video that might help you decide from among the GOP candidates who you'd vote for on that straw poll.

And with that, Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm off!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Things You Must Read - Your Tuesday Debate Edition

Tonight is the Democratic debate on MSNBC at 7:00 MST. Don't miss it! (Utah for Obama is hosting a Watch Party, with a Volunteer Informational Meeting at 6:00)

Where Obama Stands: On Poverty is a great way to find out Obama's policy stances, and provides a way for you to provide your own feedback on the subject. (I've had response and know that ideas can and do make it to the Senator)

Texas (my home state) may wind up going to Kucinich. Or at least dozens of their votes. It's always nice when you can identify with a presidential candidate on something. Though some fear it may be the end of times.

While the GOP candidates made an appearance at the N.A. Auto Show, I'd like to remind you that Senator Obama didn't just make an appearance, he told them like it was, and still got a standing ovation.

Obama got 2,500 to show in Reno, NV. I wonder how many will show in Elko this Friday? My sister got there today and gives many good reports (and previously unknown information about the Senator's Elko trip while I will happen to be there! W00t!)

I refuse to link to any of this, but there's a big "scandal" because a "precinct captain" put out a flier titled "You can be a Democrat for one day", which has all sorts of people up in arms. Seriously, I and others here in Utah call dozens of people every day who agree to be Precinct Captains. They are very important to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts, but they are volunteers, and not "screened" in any way, nor should they be. I'm glad this is the worst thing anyone can find on the Obama campaign.

I'll be heading to the SL County Clerk's office to cast my ballot for Obama prior to heading out tomorrow.

Ok, Ok. Enough Obama stuff. It's just hard, because I'm seriously "Fired up! Ready to go!" and I need some kind of outlet, ok? ;)

My favorite Military blogger, or at least one of my top two favorites, has announced that he will be blogging at Vet Voice,'s blogging group.

Ever get lost in the grocery? Well, Microsoft will fix that! (P.S. Buy Local!)

Don't have a "Life Plan"? Well, maybe you need a 12-year old plan.

Mayor Becker seems to be getting it right so far. Think he'll wind up with a better score than Congress? (Hint: I think Rocky scored higher, even among Utahns. Get a Democratic president if you want a Democratic Congress to do anything more than block bills)

The 2008 Legislative Gala is this weekend.

New Hampshire starting their re-count tomorrow. Thanks Kucinich!

On January 30, there's a free screening of the movie "Freedom from Abuse of Power" along with a discussion led by Tim Chambless.

Keith Olbermann wrote his first diary at Daily Kos today. Apparently, the comments crashed the servers.

Democracy for America has the 2008 training scheduled. It looks like Utah didn't make the list, but at least there's still Night School.

In the interest of politics and technology, Slashdot is setting up "Ask the Presidential Candidates".

And the daily edition of "The Terrorists are Coming! The Terrorists are Coming!" has to do with FISA, and Bush's "I am Lord and Master" mentality. If it wasn't so serious, it would be funny that people really fall for this, when the facts are considered along with the fear-mongering.

SL Weekly has posted some pretty awesome shots of the new weather tower going up on the Walker Center.

I generally like MSNBC, but this little bit about John Edwards being "just the white guy" was not ok.

Oooh! There's a debate about the debate!

Bob writes about local union busting, and puts a personal touch to the story.

We all survived the Y2K bug, but will we survive the Y2K38 bug? This Saturday begins the 30 year countdown to the date when that bug hits. Unfortunately, this could give new meaning to the "mortgage crisis". 30 year loans would be exceeding that date, and that could get real ugly, real fast.

I wasn't aware before now that Romney had such feelings for the "Mormon-owned newspaper". (I gotta say, though - I like Lisa Riley Roche! She was one of the most fun reporters I've interviewed with.) And wow...did he really say he tried to "use the connection"? Let's get this man in office!

I Get To See Barack Speak Friday!

I found out last night that Barack will be in Elko this Friday, while I'm going to be there. So, I emailed Brad, a friend of mine who is interning in Elko, and got the scoop. We volunteers will all get to see Barack speak, and will probably be helping with the event. Yay! I'm so excited!

He also says that I can expect a lot of time going door to door, so I should bring warm clothes and gloves. I think I'll bring some hand and feet warmers.

I'm staying at the hotel across the street from Elko HQ, and I'm told it's a decent place to stay. If you're going out and would prefer to stay at the hotel, it's the Esquire and the phone number is 775.738.3157. The one bed rooms are $39.

There will be a lot to do in Elko, and helping Barack win Nevada will greatly increase the momentum already going. There's not a lot of time left, and that means "Now or Never!" - and like Barack says "Our time is now!"

If you haven't signed up to volunteer in Elko this week, and want to, call Aaron at 801.886.2262.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Things You Must Read - Your Monday Blues Edition

When I got divorced years ago, my ex put a little clause in the divorce decree saying I "had to" drop his last name. So, any way we can make Lieberman drop "Democratic" from his title? (See credits at the end of the article)

Is Ford Motor Co. going to hire the RIAA lawyers? They seem to have already hired their marketers.

Joye smells a rat named "Dr." Daneen Peterson, of North American Union Fame.

In case you missed it, Marshall posted Utah for Obama Events Update.

Speaking of which, I'll be in Nevada Wednesday night through Sunday morning. I hope to be able to blog some during my trip, but I can't guarantee anything. But, I hope you'll be at Obama HQ for the Nevada Watch Party on Saturday, and root for us! A lot of Utahns are volunteering in Elko, and I am so excited I can't hardly stand it!

I would like to think that there's no way that this would make it through both the House and Senate. It's something to keep an eye on, though - unless you like the idea of giving Uncle Sam the ability to read all of your email, file transfers and web searches. I wonder if Google would lobby on this issue?

xkcd: Fantasy Fiction

Alt: My Redwall/Jurassic Park crossover fanfic is almost complete!

I read a series of books called Confessor by Terry Goodkind recently, and I highly recommend them. I haven't actually finished them, yet. But, I think I'm only 1 behind, and it's the last one in the series.

Anyway, they are a very enjoyable fantasy story. Throughout the books, Richard, the hero and heir to the throne, struggles with good and evil, as any fantasy hero should. The difference this time is that he seems to be on a journey to discover what good and evil actually mean. At different times, the same act with differing contexts are good or evil. His definition of good and evil start out very self-centered, because his idea of the world is so small and naive. As the story progresses, Richard becomes very conflicted at times, because the idea of good and evil is not so clear cut as it once had been for him.

Something I've come to believe, now that I can look back on my childhood and early adulthood, as well as many others', is that any kind of absolute belief is extremism. Sometimes the consequences for one may not be as bad as another. However, any time that morals are an absolute for a person or culture, bad things happen.

Killing is bad, right? What if you're killing to save your family from an intruder? I've actually never met anyone who would say killing in that circumstance is 100% absolutely never a morally acceptable action. Except when I was growing up as a Jehovah's Witness, where we were instructed to have faith in God, and know that if the intruder killed us, we would wake up in "Paradise Earth". And so I was raised to believe that, although the bible talks about killing in God's name all over the place, it was a moral absolute that killing was wrong.

I'm sure there are other people or cultures or religions that also believe in this moral absolute. But, my point is, it's rare and in society in general, or at least the society I live in, protecting your family in this manner is the right thing to do.

Living here in Utah, there are a lot of generally accepted moral absolutes from the majority population of LDS followers. I know a lot of Mormons who believe in those moral absolutes, but they also believe that they are not supposed to take away a person's ability to choose right and wrong. I've also seen a lot of atheists who believe that they have he absolute truth, and that it's their civic duty to enlighten those around them to the "idiocy" of believing in a higher power. I think all humans are guilty of this, to some extent.

So, there you have my ramblings about why the first line of the comic was so true for me.

Friday, January 11, 2008

xkcd: Your Greatest Dangers Are....

Alt: Zero results: 'snake charming' and 'haberdashery'. (Things like 'car' and 'boating' and such are of course the highest, by a huge margin.)

It's a good thing I crochet, instead of knit. And if you're wondering how dangerous blogging really is, try searching for "died in a blogging accident".

Although no one has ever died in a ball pit accident, it should be of concern to Randall, the xkcd blogger, who is the first one I know of to have an actual ball pit in his living room, though. If you don't count the toddler ones I had for my kids.

Things You Must Read - Your Friday Smarty-Pants Edition

If only cleaning up after G.W. were always as easy as "fixing" the official transcript.

"Body of War" is on my must-see list.

A big "Oops!" and some deep questions.

Kids this young shouldn't be this smart. What is society coming to? Does this make anyone else think that maybe it isn't a good idea to automate absolutely everything?

Not that Giuliani is in any danger from too much intelligence.

Did you know that if we banned cell phones, pedophiles would be stopped? No need for parenting or community that way.

Edward Norton as the Incredible Hulk? It's got Liv Tyler in it, so I'll probably watch it. But, seriously, Edward Norton?

Don't expect much over the weekend, between kids' ball games and work a "Holiday Party" (yes, in January) I doubt I'll be blogging much. Not that this will be any different from a normal weekend.

Oh, and hey - Obama supporters in SLC - head down to the office to volunteer if you have time this weekend. 1747 S 900 W or 801.886-2262. Calls don't get made on Sundays, but there's plenty of other stuff to do.