Starbucks has just moved up a notch in my book. Vote on Tuesday and they’ll give you a free coffee.
Starbucks has just moved up a notch in my book. Vote on Tuesday and they’ll give you a free coffee.
There has been a lot of talk about ACORN. This is an nationwide organization that aims to register low income people and minorities to vote. Recently it’s been brought to the attention of the national media that in some areas ACORN has turned in a lot of fake registrations. You can hear daily from the Republicans about how this is voter fraud and evidence that Obama is trying to steal the election. It’s not.
First of all, the most important point, Obama has not used ACORN at all during the general election.
Now that that’s out of the way, there are very good reasons why this has become such an issue. ACORN was paying people by how many registrations they turned in. The natural reaction for some would be to write up a bunch of fake registrations and get a lot of money for no work. These people have, for the most part, been fired. The registrations they turned in were flagged by ACORN as being fake. In some states every registration collected must be turned in to the election board so that the board can be in charge of deciding if something is fake or not. ACORN followed this rule and sent the bad registrations with the good and flagged each to be clear. That’s it. That’s the whole situation. Now, somehow, ACORN is destroying democracy and they’re becoming a focal point of the election. Remember those issue things? Yeah, all that stuff about policy and the real problems our country is facing? The GOP would apparently like you to ignore those things and focus on manufactured crap like this ACORN “issue”.
Also, for the record, this isn’t voter fraud. Voter fraud would be someone actually showing up and voting illegally. Brave New Films has put out a video that gives a good explanation for all this. They get into stuff about how Republicans want voter turn out to be low, and I’m sure there are some that do, but that may be the unfair part of this video. Anyway, watch.
It appears John McCain really can’t decide whether he wants to pander to hardcore conservatives or moderates and liberals. He has spent the last week blasting the system that allowed the market to become deregulated to the point that we have financial meltdown and now he’s going on television saying that deregulations have helped grow the economy. This really is like the Twilight Zone. You can’t have it both ways. Either regulations were a bad thing or they were a good thing. This is just like when he went on TV and said that he’s an ardent supporter of George Bush and then went around campaigning as if he’s the polar opposite and will bring tons of reform to Washington. I really hope this sort of newspeak isn’t convincing anyone.
The first presidential debate is Friday at 8pm on just about every channel. Watch it.
Today Obama gave a speech on the economy. The whole speech (38 minutes) is on YouTube. He basically lays out the actions he would take to straighten out the problems we’re having while simultaneously pointing out the fact that McCain has no idea what he’s doing. Check it out. Make up your own mind.
Lehman Brothers Holdings filed for bankruptcy today. Check it out:
They’re a big bank with a lot of investments in real estate. They’ve gone under because of the housing crisis. Big deal, right? A bunch of rich people lost their money/jobs, what does that matter?
It actually matters a lot. We’re all intimately connected with the big banks of our country whether we want to be or not. Even if you don’t have a bank account, credit card, or investment you will still be affected by things like this. It’s a big domino effect. When a bank has huge investments and they go under, all those businesses and people they’re invested in have a good chance of going under as well. They can be bought up by the government or other banks and that might help but it also puts a lot of stress on the economy in general. If some other bank has to buy this failing bank, that’s a lot of bank A’s capital that can’t be used to invest in successful businesses. Suddenly loans are harder to get and interest rates go up. Businesses that are being invested in by these banks that are trying to save their bank brothers now have more overhead so they have incentive to raise the prices on their goods.
That’s right, some rich guys in a big building somewhere out there in corporate land, making irresponsible deals to try and make a quick buck, ultimately help to screw over those of us who are just trying to get by. So, get rid of the big evil banks right? No. The problem isn’t that someone is out there trying to make a buck from their buck, it’s that they’re doing so in shady ways. There’s a lot of benefit to be had by having huge businesses situated in our country. It increases the country’s capital and trading power with other countries. That can only be beneficial. But we need to make sure that the people in direct control of all this capital aren’t doing really stupid things like giving loans to thousands of people who they know can’t afford them.
This brings us, ultimately, back to the election. All this has happened under Bushy’s watch. Bush isn’t running again, thankfully, but McCain is. Now, if McCain circa 2000 was running, that may not be so bad. The problem is McCain circa 2008 is running. This is a guy who not so long ago told Tim Russert on Meet the Press that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. This is a guy that during the Republican primary debates said he didn’t have enough expertise in economics to answer a question. This is a guy who has been supporting Bush’s policies for the last few years 90% of the time. This is also a guy who tries to deny all of this when these facts are re-introduced to him.
What we have here is the perpetual sinking of the Titanic. Bear Stearns crashed, Lehman crashed, Fannie and Freddie were taken over. These are all financial institutions that, in previous eras, were considered impenetrable. So, try to give a shit. You can vote in November. You can vote for your members of congress soon too. It does make a difference.
UPDATE: Wow. I just found out that McCain, today of all days, repeated his belief that the fundamentals of the economy are good. Today, after Lehman Brothers collapsed, he claimed that the fundamentals are strong. Let me just repeat this for emphasis. John McCain, today, has said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Here’s the video.
I was watching the News and a McCain supporter talked about how McCain’s plan offered greater portability and the Obama supporter that was on said that was completely false. I checked it since I didn’t think it was true either and it turns out that he does want greater portability. He doesn’t say anything about how to achieve this but he does say he would like to keep it that way.
I ended up reading through his whole “plan” and, by the end, I couldn’t figure out what his “plan” actually was. He often repeats how he wants to keep control in the hands of the people and increase competition but there’s barely a word about how he would do that. The only thing I found that seemed like a concise idea that would be helpful was to make healthcare available between states.
That was it though. Other than that little tidbit, the plan seems to consist of a wish list that doesn’t even fit together. He stresses free market ideas, lowering costs, and making sure that no one, regardless of health, is denied care. The first two parts might work really well except that he doesn’t accept the fact that people would most likely have to be denied insurance if costs are going to go down. I’m not a healthcare expert but how do you set laws that stop insurers from denying insurance to people with pre-existing chronic illnesses and not increase costs? Wouldn’t that mean that insurers are taking on customers who would immediately be a loss to their business?
If someone wants to show me how this is a good plan or even a plan at all, I’m cool with that. Otherwise, things like this make me really wonder why anyone likes McCain. Maybe they don’t and it’s really Palin vs Obama.
I was trying to avoid watching Charlie Gibson’s interview with Sarah Palin as it would only make her that much more prominent on YouTube but this thing is absurd. Seriously. I’m thoroughly confused about where she stands on every issue now. I watched all four videos and the parts of her answer that gave a glimpse into her thoughts made me think she’s a moron while the other parts make me think she has a complete inability to think coherently. This really is just a regular hockey mom disguised as a vice presidential candidate. Check it out and tell me if you understand a word of this mumbo jumbo.
That thing I was talking about the other day, the Large Hadron Collider, may have its own spin-off technology. The amount of information created and collected by this machine is up in the petrabyte level (millions of gigabytes). There was no way for the project to use the internet as a backbone for moving all this information between the 55,000 servers they’re using so they developed a new, completely fiber optic system. This network is about 10,000 times faster than current broadband connections. That, from the viewpoint of computing today, is essentially an unlimited amount of bandwidth. What this means is that cloud computing, along with a complete disregard for bandwidth limitations when developing new technologies, could be on the horizon.
The idea behind cloud computing, if I understand it right, is that your computer would be a gateway instead of the workhorse behind your computer use. Your computer’s power would not be limited by what pieces of hardware you have in front of you. Instead, most things would be saved on various computer on the grid and you would just be accessing it all from your computer. You would also be using the processing power from all these other computers. That’s the big thing. Whatever processing power all the other computers on the network aren’t currently using could be picked up and used by your computer. So, all those people who have brand new laptops that they use purely for browsing the web, yeah that won’t be a waste of computing power. The power users who may be playing high end games, running graphic design programs, editing movies, etc, will not have to worry about running out of power. If you build a 3D object in a CAD program that’s really complicated, it might take 3 seconds to render it instead of 5 weeks.
If you think about it, this might also lead to even more independent media being produced on the same level as commercial media without those independent people needing to spend thousands and thousands of dollars. Do you know why Pixar movies look way better than the 3D videos you’ll find on YouTube? Because they have the processing power to render them. Imagine if anyone who wanted to could create their own Pixar movie without even having to consider the hardware limitations. Neat stuff.
I’ve been reading the Hunchback of Notre Dame. There’s a chapter in that about how the printing press destroyed buildings. What Mr. Hugo was referring to was the art of architecture. He makes the argument, which may or may not be correct, that before the printing press the most widespread form of the common person’s expression was architecture. People could fancy up their homes and it would be seen by every person that walked by. It was much more expensive for them to write a book and have it copied by hand and only the nobility really had access to those books afterwards because they were so expensive. With the printing press, that suddenly flipped. Writing books was a much cheaper way to express yourself and your ideas could be picked up by more people than those who just happen to walk by your house. The internet has done the same thing to every other form of media. Movies, music, graphic arts, fine arts, are all instantly cheaper to create and easier to spread. The ability to shape our culture is being placed in the hands of the people like never before and things like this grid system can only progress that pattern. I don’t know about the rest of you but that gets me excited.
You can read a bit about the technology here:
BTW, just to tie some political spin into this. John McCain doesn’t even use the internet. How can you trust a guy who hasn’t even used the internet yet to be able to react to how these new technologies are changing our world?
So far this election year hasn’t been too bad on the stretch-the-truth meter. I’ve been following it closely since the beginning of the primaries and, while there have been some out of context statements, pretty much every inaccurate claim has only been a small stretch of the truth. Now that we’re less than two months away from voting day it appears that blatant lies are the way to go. The Washington Post wrote a good article on this.
The article lists lies from both sides but, and maybe this is just a bias of mine, the McCain camp seems to have the big ones. Obama’s mistakes consisted of claiming that McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years and saying that McCain thinks the fundamentals of the economy are sound. McCain really did say both of these things. The 100 years in Iraq statement is a bit out of context since he’s talking about keeping forces there in the same vein as we have in places like Germany. The problem with that is that Germany isn’t fighting off insurgents like Iraq. The situations are completely different. But still, it was a stretch of the truth on Obama’s part. And the sound economy statement, well, I don’t even know what McCain really thinks. He’s talked about how the economy is in trouble quite often but the statement he made about how it was doing well was made on Meet the Press some six months ago or so. On that episode he was being asked about his connections with Bush. He was basically pandering to the Bush crowd by saying how often he has agreed with Bush and how the economy is doing just fine because of him. So what’s his deal? Is he a Bush-y or is he a maverick? I really don’t know anymore.
On the lies from the McCain camp, here’s a list.
Palin turned down the bridge to nowhere. FALSE
- She actually campaigned in support of the bridge until she won her election for governor, then she decided she didn’t want the bridge. She also didn’t give back the money that congress gave her for said bridge.
Obama will raise taxes on everyone. FALSE
- Yeah, he’ll actually lower taxes more than McCain for everyone except those who make more than $250,000. It works out to be an increase for 10% of Americans and a cut for 81%. This one is so blatantly false and repeated so ridiculously often that I think it may be the biggest misconception of the year. I frequent a forum with a lot of people who are interested in politics and even they think Obama is going to raise everyone’s taxes. Did you see the percentage of seniors who think Obama will raise their taxes? 41%?! That’s insane given that seniors who make under $50,000 a year will literally pay $0, ZERO DOLLARS, in taxes. I’m sorry, but this one bothers me a lot.
This is going to take longer than I expected so I’ll leave the list at only two lies. There are plenty of others though. The point is, pay attention, check out the facts at places like FactCheck.org. This is why it’s important to vote. Do you want to end up with completely unfounded bullshit for the next four years? It makes a difference. There was a lot more opportunity in this country eight years ago, remember that.
And don’t forget to check out the debate on the 26th. I’m sure a lot of this will come out there.