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Optomistic but realististic too...'s Journal

Friday, January 16, 2009



I decided to check in for a few.

ta! Feel free to say hi. I'm just chillin now but probably will go out to Arlington for a bit. If there is anyone local are there any good spots to park in Clarendon free? *(I hate meters)

Is anyone going to the inauguration stuff? Plans?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

8:26PM - This caught my eye:

Mr. Bush’s political feat was to bring together social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and moderates into one coalition. ...

“He did not treat conservative voters of faith as the red-headed stepchildren of American politics and in my view, no future presidential nominee is likely to do so again,” said Ralph Reed, the former director of the Christian Coalition. “He really mainstreamed the role of faith in our politics in a way that no one had really achieved.”

It reminds me of the clever guy at a party who brings together a few of his girlfriends and introduces them to each other and says, "lets have an orgy," and wonders why they claw each others eyes out instead. Sure it was an act of genius, they are still reeling from the massive catfight this brand of politics created within the conservatives. :P

As for the second paragraph, the reason no one had elevated the cause of the religious conservatives to national policy before is that most people in the country think they are crazy (if the question is worded narrowly enough as in not to net moderate Christians under the label). It is not an act of genius to do something suicidal- even if it got him some instant gratification, it really did a lot of damage to their brand name and woke a lot of people up to the great soap opera going on under the guise of a boring "lesser of two evils" political stalemate.

The excerpt was from the New York Times article: Republicans’ Mixed Emotions About Bush

Thursday, August 28, 2008

12:53AM - *historic moment, shrug*

I am glad that african americans are celebrating Obama's run as democratic nominee and while it might make some democrats in conservative districts a bit wary, it is natural.

I would be a lot more worried if black people did not get excited about Obama. There is something creepy about constituancies who don't support the candidate that they should be most into, as it generally means there is something very wrong with the candidate. To be fair, older people are a lot more hung up on the racial issue then younger people of any color. It is just there are a lot of old people in this country who should be expected to be excited about the progress they have made and it would leave a void if they were not excited. If they were not excited I would want to know why.

Maybe this will even help some dissasociated youths get tied into the big picture, here's hoping common knowledge gets updated for this century.

And: I personally prefer it when smart people are brought to the forefront of a cause / interest, because if smart people aren't out there leading we have to deal with morons. If there is a demand for some political end, someone is either satisfying it, or trying to make money off of it, and I'd rather have statesmen up there then less savory politicians.

Friday, May 23, 2008

5:48PM - Why the mood has shifted...

Some stories from the Washington Post caught my eye today:

First I'd like to look at Michael Gerson's piece, A Phenom with Flaws, which is about Obama's post-partisan candidicay. I agree. He is not without his human side but that is why it is a genuine campaign. I'd say the internet has made the political process much more open then it ever has been before. There was some confusion in the earlier years of the internet politics but some order seems to be coming out of things, and people are becoming pretty savvy. Many of Obama's earlier supporters saw nuance in his speech that impressed them, and unlike Hillary Clinton, members of the conservative intellectaul base seem ambigous to an Obama presidency.

Yet I cannot get two figures out of my mind -- 75,000 and one. There were 75,000 attendees at Obama's Portland, Ore., rally on Sunday -- a monumental political achievement, found at the confluence of organization and enthusiasm. Obama does not merely talk of a new kind of politics; his charisma, story and tone symbolize a shift in political eras. Obama voters believe they are changing politics forever -- a claim that Al Gore or John Kerry could never credibly make. At its best, this desire to break the dominance of politics-as-usual motivated support for John Kennedy and the New Frontier. At its worst, it motivated support for professional wrestler Jesse Ventura to be governor of Minnesota -- he won nearly half of young voters in a three-way election. In either case, it is hard to bet against excitement and idealism.

The "one" is Mark McKinnon -- a media adviser to McCain, a friend and former colleague of mine, a Texas Democrat who strongly supported George W. Bush, and a man of great decency and integrity. Early last year, he gave me a copy of Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope" and said he had informed the McCain team that he could not help lead a general election campaign against Obama. This week, McKinnon kept his word by resigning (though remaining a strong "friend and fan" of the McCain campaign).

... The enthusiasm of many Republicans and conservatives to defeat Hillary Clinton would have come unbidden. Against Obama, it will come harder.

Of course indecision is hard to quanitify, and makes it hard to predict results, but the potential is for the Republican political machine to disolve as easily as to go into attack.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

4:47PM - From the Guardian

US army increases use of moral waivers to meet demand for troops The US army doubled its use of "moral waivers" for enlisted soldiers last year to cope with the stress of the Iraq war, allowing convicted sex offenders, people convicted of making terrorist threats and child abusers into the military, according to new records released today.

The army gave out 511 moral waivers to soldiers with felony convictions last year, relaxing its recruiting standards in order to admit them. Criminals got 249 army waivers in 2006, a sign that the high demand for US forces in Iraq has forced a sharp increase in the number of criminals allowed on the battlefield.

The felons accepted into the army and marines included 87 soldiers convicted of assault or maiming, 130 convicted of non-marijuana drug offences, seven convicted of making terrorist threats, and two convicted of indecent behaviour with a child. Waivers were also granted to 500 burglars and thieves, 19 arsonists and 9 sex offenders.

The new data was released by the oversight committee of the House of Representatives, which also noted that "poor record-keeping and maintenance" prevented the military from tracking how many convicted criminals had received moral waivers before 2006.

That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Let's bring a bunch of child molesters into a country where half the people are under 20 years old! :P

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

12:22AM - LoL Cats!

funny pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Saturday, March 22, 2008

4:48AM - Book? Any interest?

I'm kind of thinking of writing a book this summer, would anyone buy it? I don't think i explain things well on LJ as its mostly just not long enough of a format and it takes too long to explain in a page what's in my head as i think in multi-variables. I'd probably write on some of the stuff i've touched on in this journal (globalization stuff and the intersection of american and international politics) but hopefully better. I am good at explaining tricky concepts if given enough space and if I am not just hyperfocusing on a microargument it should be a lot more clear, as i've a background as a math tutor but as i'm just dicking around on LJ i never explain the whole concept in my head (which is why a book form would be better).

So if anyone has any ideas i wouldn't mind feedback. I've no idea how to publish anything as mostly i've just been fucking around with the whole blogging thing and am kind of sophomoric about it. Honestly i'm kind of a troll as its entirely too easy to do that online (and in person) but by what process do you 'grow up' and become a legit author? This chameleon is curious if anyone has good answers. :)

Maybe i could apply for a part time job and do this during the week. I'm not sure what the best way to go about this would be.

Current mood: geeky

Friday, March 21, 2008

1:22AM - obama's

So the speach obama gave. I kind of saw that he had it in him. That's why i think he has a good shot at the general election if he can make it out of the primaries. He is in the lead, but clinton can still hurt him.

I don't really see Obama as an affirmitive action candidate as he is able to come up with different ideas on the fly, him or his team, and yet i see hillary as trying to take the affirmitive action route into office, perhaps because she is older. She wanted to be president so badly that she took a lot of authority on (unelected) in the 1990's and now is trying to claim it on her resume even though her duties slowed down considerably after she failed to reform health care in america.

As for my predictions on independent voters, just sum up the most orthodox conservative and liberal points of view and put them in one label and you basically get a group of unpredictable activists. And I'm all for unpredictablity. Also, many independents, irregardless of their idealogy, rather like the idea of politicians who are willing to offend people. That's why it is both Obama (with his speach criticizing both blacks and whites) and McCain (who has offended many republican activists), are coming out ahead. Content once appologized for can be forgiven, but less so outright lying.

And too many politicians are too chickenshit to say any of the stuff that really needs to be said, as well as too akward to say it without massively offending people and creating a wellspring of political opposition.

12:50AM - It sucks that we're out of the basketball tournament already...

Too bad George Mason lost. I feel bad for coach Jim Larranaga, as he looked sad at the game. He really cares for the school and he's got a lot of talent, he could easily go elsewhere.

Friday, March 14, 2008

2:17PM - The danger of oversimplification: ethnicity in the presidential election

So is Barack Obama benefitted in some ways by being black in the democratic primary? -yes.

Are there some voters that are voting for him solely because he is black- absolutely.

However there are also voters voting for Hillary because she is white, as seen in many southern poles and in Ohio exitpole data. There are also voters who are voting against Obama because of his middle name, Hussein. In many ways, black people who make up 12-13% of the general population, are probably voting to cancel out the small number of racist white, hispanic, asian or other ethnic people in the population (as we're multi-identity Mud-Sling-Tastic these days).

From wiki (on Ferraro): "Writing in Newsweek in December 2006, Ferraro announced her support for presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.[20] Later, she vowed to help defend Clinton from being Swiftboated in a manner akin to 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry, and assisted with fundraising.

On March 7, 2008, speaking to a small Torrance, California newspaper, The Daily Breeze, Ferraro said regarding Clinton's nomination rival that "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position".[21] Ferraro had made a similar comment in 1984 about Jesse Jackson.[22] The comment drew heated criticism from the Obama side, and although Clinton did not call for her resignation from the campaign, she did express disagreement with its substance.[23] On March 11, again speaking to the Breeze, Ferraro remained defiant: "I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"[24] Further criticism from Obama's campaign ensued,[25] and although Ferraro refused to apologize, she resigned from Clinton's finance committee the next day, citing a desire to stop hurting the campaign.[23]"

First. I don't think Hillary is being swiftboated, as she has a lot of legitimate problems the media should focus on, as in just where are her tax returns? Second, I think Farraro probably did good things for women to advance us, however that does not mean she is liberal in regards to everybody. She's older, 72, and lived to see many bad political candidates who were minorities. This does not make her an expert on racial issues but a cynic- however cynicism is not why people are voting for Obama.

Third, is she racist? Possibly, in the way that many older black people are also racist as well as older whites: more out of touch, then haters. There are huge differences between the candidacies of Jesse Jackson and Obama: as Obama is seen as much more mainstream. Maybe it is also a function of the country itself changing but her words are out of step with current political realities, so I do not think she is owed an appology, she is the one who is in the wrong.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

3:10AM - Christ, what a psycho

I can guarantee she's not going to see her children anytime soon!

US mum tosses boys from freeway overpass

It seems to be Texas day, this is also bizarre:Woman sat on toilet for 'two years'

From Arizona, a hoarding incident: 800 dogs seized from filthy US home

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

3:39PM - Failure to Care: Airline Economics and Monopolistic Politics

More on the death of a passenger

First of all, corporations like airlines, plan for medical emergencies and the death of passengers. It's gonna happen statistically based on how many people who fly everyday. Second, they are supposed to train their employees on how to deal with the situation appropriately. Dealing with a medical emergency could include, stopping the plane to take the lady to a hospital, working equipment, and someone on the plane who can use the equipment. When working for Luftansa one summer a plane was late arriving in Dulles because they stopped the plane, on their way out of Europe, to take someone who was having a heart attack to a hospital. Airlines are late all the time for non-medical emergencies and people are getting used to the delays and are smart enough to understand the situation. A good manager would deal with the situation and concentrate on maintaining their reputation for quality service.

When in flight the airline industry doesn't want to stop the plane anywhere but their final destination. The main problem is how much stopping over would effect revenue as it uses up more gasoline. To bolster profits, airplanes have been carrying less gasoline in the last few years, in order to cut down on costs, and they would probably have to refuel at the stopover point. This would be very inconvenient for the airline as being late effects its flight statistics. Airplanes are very expensive to operate and they make a lot of money each flight so any sort of lawsuit awarded might begin to look paltry in regards to the total revenue and operating costs of a routine flight. So the costs for dealing with an emergency could outweigh the damage to their reputation.

Lawsuits are also capped for pain and suffering, so the death of a normal person would be worth less then a wealthy person and the lady is a racial minority, most likely in a coach class flight, so her life could be expected to be worth less to the airline then a business passenger. legal aspects and politicsCollapse )

The upper management in this industry has been feeling quite cocky lately. In recent news the 'struggling airlines,' much like the oil companies who were subsidied to help pay for losses incured by Katrina, cut employee pay, benefits, and hours, to give their CEO's bonuses which pissed off their unions. It's also a bit rude to go tell the investors how much you ripped off the federal government by convincing the american people they needed to put their taxes towards keeping the airline industry afloat. If it wasn't profitable they wouldn't be flying planes.

2:07AM - Woman dies on airline...


Does anyone else find this very creepy? A lady from Brooklyn on a flight from Haiti to NYC was having trouble breathing and there was no oxygen in the oxygen tanks. The airline of course is saying that they were not at fault but the family is being aided in the case by a doctor who seems to have been a passenger on the flight. The flight attendants were slow to act and the airline staff refused to stop over in Miami. After she had died the attendants wrapped her in a blanket and took her body into the first class cabin.

Monday, December 10, 2007

4:02AM - wow...

The guy who convinced Hidenburgh that he could control Hitler, and got him appointed chancelor, tried to re-start his political career in the 1950's. Unbelievable! (On Franz von Papen).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

12:37PM - Iran's changing... just look at the statistics!

Anyone else find it interesting that Iran's age structure is significantly different then it was 7 years ago? Iran's population growth rate (.663%) is slower then it is in the United States (.894%). They are barely replacing themselves, in the future, all the women who aren't having children either will have a baby boom or the country population might stop growing. I suspect that the people moving out are young men but maybe they are losing young women to migration as well. ??

The median age was 22.3 years old in 2003
Now the median age is 25.8 years old (2007)

The fertility rate is lower too, in 2000 it was 2.2 children/woman
in 2003, 1.99 children/ woman
in 2007, 1.71 children/ woman
(replacement rate is about 2.01/children per woman??, to remain in equilibrium)

Their birth rate went from 18.29/ 1000 population (2000)
to 17.23/ 1000 population (2003)
to 16.57/ 1000 population (2007)

Their death rate has risen, 0.19% points to 5.65 (2007, since 2000), as there are more older people reaching the end of their life and less younger people replacing them. This is also like birthrates, as a percentage of 1000 people in the population. (At this point 5.4% of the people are 65 years or older).

Population loss to net migration is high, except for when it lowered in 2003 probably due to refugees from Iraq. At this point the numbers are, -4.29 migrants/1000 population.

So this is the backdrop of the country, here is what the economist has to say on Iran.

Note: This is lower then China's fertility rate: 1.75 children/woman, and china's growth rate is barely lower then Iran's, despite having the significantly older median age 33.2 years old. Also not as many chinese people move, they are only losing -0.39/ 1000 to migration.

So yay. I love my CIA World FACTBOOKS! My christmas present to myself. Maybe I'll try to see if I can buy more!! I am disappointed. The 2000 books don't have my favorate statistic: the median age!!! Also. I got a blender.... does dance... i made smoothies!

Monday, November 5, 2007

11:22PM - Absolutely in California !!

Last action hero: Sadly, Arnold Schwarzenegger is likely to prove a one-off

Only in California
The west coast is famous for nurturing extreme left-wing Democrats in coastal soviets such as Berkeley and Santa Monica. Less well-known, but no less barmy, are its extreme right-wing Republicans. The party faithful, no friends of the governor, can block tax hikes, since these have to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the state legislature. But by asking voters to approve new spending directly, the governor has found a way to deprive them of this power.

The extremism of California's politicians is caused partly by the sharp contrast between the state's agricultural interior and its technology- and entertainment-oriented coast. But it is mostly the result of gerrymandering, the drawing of district lines in a way that virtually guarantees seats will not change hands. As a result, the only races that count are the party primaries,
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Actaully, there could be a base for this, post-partisanship. It just has to be built still. There are no new ideas in politics but if you want to go from the model of a republic, in which we've outgrown, as the small elites many masses model works best if the majority of people are uneducated. These days, in the era of mass education, it is no longer solvent. As a.d.h.d. and not ignorance is more of a problem as so many people get an educations now, just not comprehensive ones: to get jobs rational people speacialize as undergraduate speacializations and then graduate degrees are replacing the liberal arts model. The information is out there, the social networks to share the information are in their infancy; we are less of a meritocracy and more of a mediocracy but following a moderately educated (at least K-12) educated normal voter is a lot more democratic.

For a more direct democracy to work, the speacial interests would need to be neutered and the public involved more to cut back on apathy. Apparently this is what Schwartzenager has been doing 'only in california.' There is some progress elsewhere too, in Virginia the democrats have stopped trying to force the Independants to show party allegiance before working with them. That goes over a lot better as people here want to be able to choose between candidates but still bust up monopolies such as some members of the conservative alliance in Richmond. Its just we are also aware that situations change, in the 1960's the alliance that needed to be busted up was the Dixiecrats and they aren't the same as today's Democrats, nor will either party following a median voter model be the same in 40 years. We know this, some americans follow politics, to get the vote of more involved americans, political parties can't condescend.

But Kaine is upbeat about his chances, in part because he says Republicans have nominated several Senate candidates who are too conservative for Virginia voters. While stumping for Miller, Kaine noted that the Republican candidate in the race, Patricia B. "Tricia" Stall, once signed a petition advocating to end government involvement in education.

With foes like Patricia Stalls and Ken Cuchinelli, how can you help but giggle?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

3:46PM - Jena 6 Protests

Hey so, if people want they can wear black for the Jena 6 case. "As of Wednesday, according to the local NAACP and news reports, organizers said they were hoping up to 40,000 people would converge on Jena, a two-lane-highway town of 3,500." From The Washington Post , which actually does a better story then the NY Times on this as the NY Times leaves out much of the actual lead up to the towns tensions with the black community. 

If I was on the ball i could have gotten a free road trip out of this. While it would have been a bit awkward to just show up at Howard Uni, at the last minute and figuring out whether to metro or drive but I bet this would have been fun and i even have the day off but got up too late. (afternoon.) I'm sure all the buses left in the morning. Too bad. I've never been to Louisiana. And I bet they would have taken me if they had room. :(

This might be kind of interesting. I'm sure the town of 3,500, which is less then the size of my highschool, will find it educational to be the focus of such attention and such crowds. I bet you they're flooded! The blogisphere does make it a bit hard to have parallel countries within the same country, even if it does violate some privacy in the process. However this is appropriate as it sticks to laws and not private disagreements. Public officials should expect no privacy for legal actions, its not in their job description and they definately wanted those jobs. The same rigeur in investigating the race motivated attourney in the Duke Case (where the opposite conclusion was reached), is warrented here too.

Note: This was actually spearheaded by a local Radio DJ, Michael Baisden, and not Al Sharpton, which is probably why it actually highlights more of a real case. I've listened to him before, as I'm highly lazy about my radio dial and typically don't hunt for music as i go on short trips a lot. Other then that, he mostly seems to cater to the african american savage love and self help category type of radio show. (Probably for people over 30).

Monday, July 23, 2007

3:44PM - In News: Austrailia and Darfur (in Sudan)

So I kind of wander if people like this, Man charged over rock throwing incident think they're at war. Surely he didn't seem all that concerned that dropping a rock on a passing car might hurt the people inside of it. So basically, the thing is there are consequences: a 22 yr old girl is now in a coma over some twat's boredom and failure at life. (This is from Australia. I get their news occasionally as my e-mail has a New Zealand address. It's funny getting targeted news from halfway across the world!)

Also, slightly annoyed but a small article in today's paper that I liked didn't seem to make it onto the web from (The Washington Post). The gist of the matter can be summed up with a few choice quotes from the article and Sudanese officials: ' "There has been a lot of black propagand about Darfur and Sudan, lies, hypocrisy, speaking about racial cleansing," said interior Minister Zybaur Bashir Taha. "The Bush-Blair axis has been responsible for this black propaganda, and we'd like to show them this is not the case,"...'

Also reported was the Sudanese gov'ts estimation of loss of life: 9,000 people in Darfur. [Whereas International estimates are closer to up to 450,000, with 2.5 million displaced.]

As President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said, ' "During our visit we confirmed that most of Darfur is now secure and enjoying real peace." ... "People are living normal lives." '

'While The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrents for junior cabinet minister Ahmad Muhammad Harun... [he] was present at the metting. [Harun is] unable to travel outside Sudan or greet international delegations, he represents the ruling party at most official functions.'

So indeed, if you have today's paper its in section A page 12 near the bottom of the page, Bashir Paints Bright Picture of Darfur. Well at least some parts of the world are looking up, no? [/rolls eyes]

Thursday, July 19, 2007

3:23PM - Tax Gap and Loopholes, super-rich find way to pay only 15%

beginningCollapse )

The three leading Democratic candidates -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards-- all announced recently that they support higher taxes on what's known as "carried interest," a form of compensation received by financial moguls that has created some of the biggest new fortunes on Wall Street.

We may be seeing a political bubble bursting: For decades, the capitalists who ran private equity, venture and hedge funds managed to convince Congress that the 20 percent carried-interest profit share they took on deals wasn't ordinary income (taxed at up to 35 percent) but a capital gain (taxed at 15 percent), even though they typically were risking almost none of their own capital. This gross inequity was taken as a financial fact of nature. But no more.

Even the wealthy -- at least those with social consciences -- seem to share the new concern about restoring fairness to the tax system. The most prominent critic is mega-billionaire Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway and a director of The Washington Post Co. He famously admonished his fellow moguls a month ago that they were paying a lower tax rate than the people who cleaned their offices -- and offered them $1 million if they could prove otherwise.

Buffett is hardly alone in his discomfort with a system that has led to an ever-wider disparity in the distribution of income. That's what gives this movement traction: Some of the people who know Wall Street best understand how unfair the tax system is.
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Monday, July 16, 2007

4:40PM - I kinda wonder a bit what statistics they are using...

USA: 8.26 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
UK: 10.09 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Germany: 10.71 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Iraq: 5.26 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Iraq Age Structure:
0-14 years: 39.4% (male 5,509,736/female 5,338,722)
15-64 years: 57.6% (male 8,018,841/female 7,812,611)
65 years and over: 3% (male 386,321/female 433,407) (2007 est.)
Iraq's Median age: 20 years

USA's Age Structure:
0-14 years: 20.2% (male 31,152,050/female 29,777,438)
15-64 years: 67.2% (male 100,995,752/female 101,365,035)
65 years and over: 12.6% (male 15,858,477/female 21,991,195) (2007 est.)
USA's Median age: 36.6 years

UK and Germany StatsCollapse )

Courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Of course, it shows that many deaths in the developed world are due to old age more then violence. Considering the relative lack of people older then 65 in Iraq, only 3% of the population, their age related deaths are probably low. Having such a relatively high rate of deaths per population, without older citizens, shows how many younger people are dying to fill the gap. (Something to be expected as they are in the middle of a warzone.) I just thought I'd look them up since I was already on the CIA world factbook's pages to get the median age statistics.

For people who are wondering this is also where we get the whole "Graying Europe" rhetoric from as obviously if they have more senior citizens per population, percentagewise, they must all be going senile, no? (Of course this makes their statistics little different then any other group of statistics that are abused on an almost daily basis).

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