Category Archives: Politics

Freedom of Speech

I’m in a bit of a quandary.

I’m a big freedom of speech advocate … I think that everyone is entitled to their opinion and to voice that opinion in the appropriate forums.

Enter Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.

There is a case currently in front of the Supreme Court where the family of a fallen Marine sued Phelps for “intentional infliction of emotional distress”.

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Jason Kottke pointed out that the robots.txt file was changed almost immediately after the inauguration …

It went from this …

User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin
Disallow: /search
Disallow: /query.html
Disallow: /omb/search
Disallow: /omb/query.html
Disallow: /expectmore/search
Disallow: /expectmore/query.html
Disallow: /results/search
Disallow: /results/query.html
Disallow: /earmarks/search
Disallow: /earmarks/query.html
Disallow: /help
Disallow: /360pics/text
Disallow: /911/911day/text
Disallow: /911/heroes/text

… to this …

User-agent: *
Disallow: /includes/

Web site owners use the /robots.txt file to give instructions about their site to web robots; this is called The Robots Exclusion Protocol.

One small step towards the new attitude of openness and transparency.


I was just reading Obama’s Inaugural address and one of the phrases he used jumped out at me …

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

… which reminded me of a line from the David Roth‘s (the folk singer) song “Dragon to Butterfly” which has the line …

A man can move mountains, a world can be turned, and the greatest of distances easily spanned, When the strength that’s invested in making a fist is transformed into shaking a hand.

I like the symbolism in both.

It’s Over

Well, the election is over … and, as many will tell you, it’s quite a relief.

While, in general, I agree with this sentiment … however, without a doubt, this has been the most interesting & engaging campaign & election in recent memory.   The number of people who went out and actually voted is a testament to this.

Even the primaries were interesting … in my entire life, I cannot remember a primary where my vote actually made a difference.   This time everyone’s vote made a difference … down to the last state.

As most who read this blog know, I have been an Obama supporter for quite a while … but I have to say, the caliber of the Barack’s campaign was quite nice … he definitely took the high road and resisted the temptation to spread lies & rumors.   McCain’s campaign, not so much.

To my mind, this election should demonstrate to the world what our country is all about … we can put aside prejiduces, petty differences, and elect the person best suited for the job at hand … regardless if they are black, white, man, woman, etc.

I am definetely looking forward to the next four (or eight) years.

Vote for the RIGHT reason

Over the past few months I’ve heard lots of stories on the radio about the election and how people are going to vote.   I’ve got to tell you … there are some people that are just so incredibly stupid about how they make their voting decisions it just makes my blood boil.

Please, people, vote for the RIGHT reason … for instance:

  • Don’t vote for McCain BECAUSE he’s a veteran … vote for his position on veterans affairs.
  • Don’t vote for Obama BECAUSE he’s a African American … vote for his position on minority rights.

The worst example was from a story on NPR’s All Things Considered … during the primary they interviewed some women about Hillary Clinton running for the Democratic ticket … and one woman said that she thought it was admirable that Clinton was running … but it just wasn’t appropriate for her to be president because woman should be subservient to men.   To be fair, they were interviewing people at a conservative church gathering) … but still …   GAAHHHH!!!   What a stupid person.   People like that should have their voters registration cards revoked.

Of course, this raises one of my other pet questions … what’s worse … not voting or making an uninformed vote?

No Priuses Allowed

In an effort to criticize John McCain’s economic policies and his apparent unwillingness to support “buy American” restrictions including Harley-Davidson motorcycles for the Secret Service, a group of American-made hybrid car owners and Harley riders rolled into downtown Grand Rapids, MI on Tuesday to support Barack Obama. The only stipulation for participation? Hybrids had to be American made, meaning no Priuses allowed.

No Priuses Allowed at Hybrids & Harleys for Obama Rally

Darn, wish I had known about this before … would have been cool to roll along with in my Ford Escape Hybrid (built in Kansas City, MO).

I’ve got it…

I like this …
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It’s a fun political ad … I really like the ending.

The Coding Congressman

Bill FosterI found this on CNET (via Slashdot) today:

In what appears to be a first, the US House of Representatives now has a Congressman who can code…in assembly. That’s right, a Congressman with geek skills.

Democratic Representative Bill Foster won a special election this past Saturday in the 14th Congressional District of Illinois. This was the district that former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert held from 1986-2007. Hastert stepped down in November of 2007.

The tech world rejoices: A Congressman who can code.

Ok, this guy is officially my second favorite politician after Barack Obama. Even if he doesn’t represent our district (Melissa Bean is pretty good too).

Not only did he eat the republicans lunch, cast the deciding vote in a major ethics reform bill, but he knows the difference between ram, rom, dasd, and control structures.

Apparently he’s proficient in Assembly, Fortran, and VB (two out of three ain’t bad). Sadly, RPG is apparently not among his skills.

Obama Takes Iowa

Barack ObamaWell, it seems that the Iowa Caucuses are over and Obama has won.

I, for one, am quite pleased with this result. I have to admit that I was worried about Clinton. I’m not going to get into why I don’t like Clinton … that’s for another post.

Aw heck, I will get into it … it might annoy some people, but so be it.

In my opinion, Clinton has absolutely NO RIGHT to her position as Senator for New York. She was basically appointed to the position by the Democratic party. They wanted her to be in the congress and had to figure out where she could run. She didn’t even live in NY when she ran for office. Yes, she won in a free and fair election … but people were not voting for her because she could represent them … they were voting because she was famous (same reason, btw, that Schwarzenegger won in California). The fact that she (and Schwarzenegger) just happen to do a reasonably good job is just happenstance. I don’t know who said it … but I stick by the adage: Any decision, made in haste (or for the wrong reason), is invariably flawed.

The only thing I really want in the primary season is for the final candidate decision not to be made before the Illinois primary … so I have a chance to make my choice known.

Of course my choice is going to be Obama … and it may be a forgone conclusion by February 5th … but I at least want some semblance of a say in the matter.

On a slightly different note … I am REALLY confused by the Iowa Caucuses process. It seems so labor intensive … almost as if it’s designed to keep people from participating. I like the primary process Illinois uses. It’s a lot easier for people to participate in (not that they do).