01/20/09 11:12 AM: Eight Years.
I am not old by any definition of the word. In fact, I suppose I am now at the age I always sort of “imagined” myself when I was younger. You know, living on your own, out of school, being able to “do whatever you want” and all of that.
I can only vaguely recall the specifics of what I was doing 8, 10, 15 years ago. I know that it’s been over eleven years since I started my first web site, and a decade or so since I spent most of my spare time administering IRC servers.
It was eight years ago that I launched this web site. At the time, it was a Blogger powered site located at d-a-v-e.com. I have since forgotten to renew that domain, so it’s gone. Most of my other web projects have expired and vanished from the web. And, I suppose, that’s quite alright. My main web presence now exists on other sites, each with their own purpose. Last.fm for music, flickr for photos, Twitter for micro status updates. There’s little need to put all of those things under the umbrella of a “personal web site.” Even the best designed personal web sites are islands in Web 2.5 or whatever we are on now.
Eight years ago, something else happened. George Walker Bush became President of the United States. The election in 2000 was the first that I was very much involved in, following the election process and even covering it for WHFH-FM. Alas, I was a year too young to vote, but I was amazed. I was also terribly disappointed by the outcome in Florida.
I started this blog on January 20, with the intent of making political observations throughout Bush’s administration. In the course of those eight years, I have neglected the site on-and-off. I have had other writers come and go, and I’ve had the readership rise and fall. I’ve posted about politics, sports, finance, and personal matters. I moved from the suburbs of Chicago to Washington, D.C. I applied to college, was accepted, attended, and graduated. I’ve had relationships come and go, I’ve had jobs come and go, I’ve made money, lost money. I’ve made new friends, and lost others.
A lot of things can happen in eight years. In four. In one. In a day. Today, January 20, 2009 is but one day in history. However, unlike that day eight years ago, today is a day of hope and promise. We do not know what the future holds for us or for President Barack Obama. It’s going to be a long road, however you look at it. But at least we are back on the road.
History can be made in a day, or a year, or a lifetime. I certainly hope that President Obama’s history will be much greater than just this day. But it’s a good one to start with.
11/04/08 01:47 PM: Election Day
In January of 2004, I was in Iowa just before the cacuses. I was volunteering as part of Howard Dean’s “Perfect Storm” operation. I knocked on doors in the town of Keokuk, IA, located right on the Missouri border. It was cold, dreary, and discouraging. For every Dean supporter we encountered, there were plenty of Gephardt or Kerry supporters, and countless more Republicans. In all, it was a fairly unorganized effort that ended in defeat at the caucuses.
Something was happening, though. You could see it, you could feel it. Young people from across the country had come, to knock on doors in the snow. People who had never volunteered before, people who had never donated before. A lot of us had never voted in a Presidential election before. Just before I went to Iowa, I voted for Governor Dean in Washington, D.C., in a symbolic “Presidential preference” election. Dean won.
After the loss in Iowa, and John Kerry’s nomination, a lot of people were disenchanted. The system was so broken, it seemed. No one with a message that was different than the status quo stood a chance. The only candidates who fared well were those who offered little more than the same thing. We had somehow gone from eight years of Clinton, to what seemed like an endless period of darkness. It was cold and dark in Iowa, and that’s how the rest of the country felt.
John Kerry, a patriot who served out country with valor, was discredited and openly mocked. There was little to no outrage. Some of the young people who were energized turned out in November, but there was no sea change. People, it seemed, resigned themselves to another four years of Bush. Perhaps it was inevitable, or perhaps people weren’t motivated enough. It was another year of voting against Bush.
The awakening that happened in 2004, though, wouldn’t be lost. When Howard Dean became the DNC chairman, he advocated for building a strong Democratic party in all 50 states. There should be no uncontested elections, there should always be a choice. It’s not about red or blue states, or red or blue districts. It’s about offering the Democratic alternative in each and every race in the United States. No one should be handed the title of Congressman, Senator or Governor simply because their “party” has historically won elections.
In 2006, things began to change. Democrats began to win races. In traditionally “red” states. Tester in Montana, Webb in Virginia, to name a few. The tide was turning, it seemed. The policies of the GOP had not been working, things were not getting any better, and people were growing tired of it. And now, it seemed, they were ready to do something about it.
What we’ve seen over nearly the last two years is nothing short of incredible. The Democratic party endured a grueling primary fight. Yet, at the end, the party was more unified than ever. When Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses earlier this year, I knew something was happening. Something big. Where Dean had failed in 2004, Obama succeded. In doing so, a little bit of that hope that had been left behind all over Iowa was restored.
“Yes we can.” Three simple words, that now evoke tears in many people watching this election. We’ve seen too many leaders fail to lead, taking us only deeper into a darkness that has now surrounded everyone. Millions without health care, hundreds of thousands losing their jobs and their homes, troops continuing to fight without proper equipment and not receiving proper care when they return, homelessness, skyrocketing energy prices, global warming, the infrastructure collapsing, are just a few problems we are facing. Problems that those we entrust with leadership should have seen coming. Problems that those who lead us have simply run away from.
Not again. Yes we can. Yes we can solve these problems. Yes we can provide health care to every American who needs it. Yes we can take care of our veterans and make sure they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Yes we can ensure that children are provided a world class education and the chance to go to college. Yes we can rebuild our national infrastructure, one that will be more efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels. Yes we can.
Millions across the country are standing in line right now to cast their vote for Barack Obama. Millions of people are not simply voting against John McCain, but for a vision of America that over the past eight years has been lost.
There has been, and perhaps always will be, talk of the decline and fall of the United States of America. That we have overspent ourselves, our reputation is too tarnished, our economy is in shambles… we will never rise again to be a great nation.
The only way we fail is if we lose hope. The only way this country will crumble will be if everyday Americans stop believing that things can be better. That tomorrow is a new day, and that just because today wasn’t so great, it won’t always be like that. The only way we fail is if we give up our dreams, choose fear over hope, and continue to remain lost in the darkness.
Today the American people will once again come together, and choose to vote for someone who understands the American dream. Someone who has lived it. Someone who believes with every fiber of their being that the sun will rise again tomorrow, and that no matter what the challenges may be, we can meet them.
Yes we can.
11/03/08 08:20 PM: Election Prediction 2006
I’ll perhaps write a little more in depth tomorrow, but here’s my prediction:* 56 Democratic Senate seats * 41 Republican Senate seats * 269 Democratic House seats * 166 Republican House seats * 364 Obama Electoral Votes * 174 McCain Electoral Votes * 53.7 Obama Popular Vote Percentage * 45.1 McCain Popular Vote Percentage
We’ll see. I think he might get Ohio, but I’m not super optimistic.
Also, RIP Madelyn Dunham.
10/29/08 08:01 PM: Quick update
I will be writing a big update prior to the election. In 2006, I wrote a post predicting the outcome of the midterm elections. I was fairly dead on with those, and I’ll be writing about my prediction for the presidential election.
Anyways, a thought I had… I think Obama began to finally hammer this home tonight in his 30 minute piece.
It’s not about the government taking over and doing things for people. It’s not about a bigger government that “takes care of you.” It’s never been about that. It’s about one thing, a very important thing.
Life is very hard. It’s never been easy, and no one ever said it would be. Today, just keeping a job and taking care of your kids and maybe saving a bit for retirement is very very difficult. Sending your kids to college is more difficult than it’s ever been. Costs are skyrocketing. It’s getting harder to even have health insurance.
It’s not about the government doing all of this for us. It’s about making it just a little bit easier. Times are hard right now, and people are having a very hard time just making ends meet. They don’t want the government to do it for them, but the government (or large corporations) shouldn’t make it harder. We all pay taxes. We all put this money in some big, invisible pot. There’s nothing wrong with using that pot to make things just a little bit easier for everyone. That’s not socialism, that’s not communism, that’s not capitalism—that’s community. That’s country. That’s what it means to take care of your fellow citizen when times are hard.
So let’s make paying for health care just a little bit easier. Let’s make affording college just a little easier. Let’s make saving for retirement just a little easier. No one is saying you can’t do it for yourself. No one is saying we’re going to take your money away and say you have to do it this way, or that way. No, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about taking just a little bit of that burden off your shoulders. It’s about making your life just a little bit easier so that in turn, we are all better off. That’s what defines us as a country, that when times are hard we stick together and we have each other’s back.
I’m voting for Barack Obama because I sincerely believe that he has my back. That he will look out for not just people like me, but everyone. That he will work to make all of our lives just a little bit easier. That if we go to work everyday, that if we pay our bills, that if we are responsible with our finances… we can do better. We can all do better.
09/08/08 01:12 PM: Weekend Roundup
So DC survived Hanna, with some moderate-to-serious flooding in the suburbs in Fairfax County. Otherwise it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Hurricane Isabel back in ‘03, so that’s good. An Isabel-sized storm could always happen again, though, so hopefully having TS Hanna come through at least gave the government some practice in responding. Maybe.
Election Watch 2008 is still on, and McCain is enjoying a bit of a post-convention bounce. The Gallup/USA Today poll that puts McCain-Palin up by 10 points is crap, it’s clearly an outlier. The other post-convention polls pretty much put it at a dead heat (nationwide, likely voters).
However, we have to remember these polls mean little or nothing. Not only is the election still two months away, but national polls don’t measure a whole lot when it comes down to the votes that count, and that’s the Electoral College. Check out FiveThirtyEight.com for an amazingly intricate look at state-by-state data and EV projections. Some of you might remember electoral-vote.com from previous elections… 538 seems to be much more in-depth.
09/02/08 02:40 PM: Election '08
The last time I wrote about politics on this site was prior to the 2006 midterm elections. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I was pretty on the dot about how the Senate and House would end up.
Since then, aside from the year-long hiatus, I had avoided the topic of politics. At the time, I felt like I had nothing to contribute, given the vast numbers of “professional” political bloggers out there.
Lately, though, I’ve been rethinking this. For one, while I am not a “professional,” I have been blogging about politics for nearly eight years. In various capacities I have covered political stories, whether as a blogger, for my old high school radio station, or for my college newspaper.
These credentials are often more than any “pro” blogger has, aside from the fact that they get paid to write about politics. Also, I’m interested in politics, and really that’s the only qualification anyone should ever need to write about the subject.
So I’m going to get back on track here, and write more about the 2008 election. We’ll see where I go with it, but it should be fun.
08/29/08 12:20 PM: McCain-Palin
Eventually I’m going to move away from politics on this blog, but since this is a huge topic of conversation, let me say a few things.
First off, I really have to ask if McCain has lost his mind. Well, no, I think we already knew the answer to that question. He lost it ages ago. I suppose the better question to ask is how did he end up with Sarah Palin as his choice?
I see two possible answers:
1. McCain thinks women are stupid.
2. Everyone else said no.
I think it’s probably a little from column A and a little from column B. Does McCain really think women who supported Hillary will support him simply because Palin is on the ticket?
And just, by the way, let me pause and again ask just who the hell is Sarah Paulin? Oh, that’s right, a former mayor of a tiny little village in Alaska who somehow managed to become governor.
So this is who will take over when/if McCain is no longer able to perform the duties of President? Really?
07/04/07 04:31 AM: On this date, 1776.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
01/26/07 01:48 AM: Very good point
From Stephen Colbert's wrap-up on the State of the Union:
Stephen Colbert: What made [Tuesday's State of the Union speech] so groundbreaking, I think, was all the new stuff we've never heard from the president before...like a domestic agenda. Take his proposal to fix the whole health care mess with the only proven cure-all: tax breaks...
Bush clip: And for the millions of Americans with no health insurance at all, this deduction would help put a basic private health insurance plan within reach.
Colbert: It's so simple. Most people who couldn't afford health insurance also are too poor to owe taxes. But...if you give them a deduction from their taxes they don't owe, they can use the money they're not getting back from what they haven't given to buy the health care they can't afford.
01/26/07 12:07 AM: Rumor Mill Continues: Cheney to Resign?
How many times have we heard this one?
The CC Insider/InDecider has just heard more rumors (see earlier posts) from a SECOND reliable source that Dick Cheney will be stepping down as Vice President and will be replaced as Vice President by Condoleezza Rice. And now we’re hearing that she would like to be on the ticket as the GOP VP candidate in ‘08.
According to our rumor-meister, John Negroponte will be filling Condi’s current position as Secretary of State. Negroponte is currently the Director of National Intelligence (the first person ever to hold the few-years-old position) and the former US Ambassador to Iraq.
I wonder how this would go over with the rest of the Republican Party? I can’t imagine anyone from the Bush White House having anything coming close to a shot at the nomination.