Tag Archives: politics

The Twitter Diaries: October, 2008, part 2

@rosso well, damn, you couldn’t have waited for me? ; ) 8:02 AM Oct 17th in reply to rosso “…open source is on a run away adoption curve and will relegate companies relying on software licensing revenues to history’s scrap heap.” … 8:09 AM Oct 17th caricature artist in action 9:20 AM Oct 17th @missbhavens Read More…

@rosso well, damn, you couldn’t have waited for me? ; )

“…open source is on a run away adoption curve and will relegate companies relying on software licensing revenues to history’s scrap heap.”

caricature artist in action

@missbhavens that would be way worse if there were flies already on them

Looking for cupcakes and Wiis. Don’t ask.

@alanc actually, I was just wondering whether there’s any beer left in the lab fridge over here at BRM…

Does anybody really care about politicians’ sex lives? So bored of the panting hypocrisy around these things.

came home to find flowers had arrived from my dad. Very sweet.

@jowyang your equation would need to take into account the many countries where there are few pianos and very few tuners

@billstreeter almost as scary as the larger version

@Cinegage I have rarely seen anyone as vapid-looking as that Bachmann

looking forward to chatting with my vlogger buds in 12 hours. hope I can wind down enough to sleep tonight. beer wore off

“Republicans Rain Negative Automated Calls on Voters in Swing States” – glad I don’t have a home phone! only the Obama campaign has my #

The Streets of Colorado

just back from videotaping people about why they’re working for the Obama campaign. Powerful stuff

wow, I’d be cringeing if I were from Johnstown PA http://tinyurl.com/65z5tm This is not the America I want to be part of

my Obama volunteers video is compressing now.

“Why I’m Volunteering for Obama”

@ThinGuy I am SOOOO jealous. Saw him in Austin and embarrassing number of years ago

@jowyang probably basic salaries for wait staff are actually enough to live on in Japan. Also helps when businesses are family-owned.

if I ever watched TV with ads, I wouldn’t right now: http://www.nytimes.com/2008…

I hardly need to look at Google News anymore, let alone TV. I get all the important stuff, including good links, from my Twitter buds.

“…all towns have values, not just small towns…” – Why isn’t Colin Powell running for president?

some actual data on votes: http://tinyurl.com/4ofnwj

I got the band I wanted for the SC08 party: http://www.thesinghsband.com/ yay!

it’s warm enough tonight to have the windows open, so I can hear coyotes yipping down by the lake. American wildlife amazes me

@DavidHowell Americans’ Phobia of Socialized Medicine

@Cinegage botched healthcare happens everywhere, regardless of system. No system is perfect, but some are fairer than others.

Jon Stewart, my hero: http://tinyurl.com/6j7pvt (born the same day as me, too)

@DavidHowell gee, I had no idea I was so divisive. ; ) for anyone who’s wondering, here’s the URL Americans’ Phobia of Socialized Medicine: 

@DavidHowell it would be more interesting if @edubya put a comment on my article

@Cinegage for the value of “better” where better= “available to all”, yes, it’s better

@Cinegage why shouldn’t health care be a universal right? Clean water is. Police and fire protection are.

@cristianconti mh, potrebbe sempre cambiare in peggio. E’ questo che vorrei evitare.

@Cinegage so that should only be available to some people? it ain’t easy, but other countries manage to share that wealth of skill

supportive working environment = your boss provides whiskey (the good stuff) and chocolate on request

@Cinegage again: no system is perfect, but this system could be a lot more equitable

just had a thought: constitutionally, what would happen if McCain dropped dead before election day?

@deirdresm yes, but who then gets the position? The VP-elect?

@lbridenne76 in reference to the whiskey? dunno about the best job (tho I love it), but certainly one of the better bosses

the kids gunning down the road are probably in the same van I noted earlier with a grenade sticker on the back window. American yobs.

I feel sick: http://tinyurl.com/56zz33

why expats go to a lot of trouble to vote: http://tinyurl.com/64hhr6

contemplating an escape to an island

@trine Nope, someplace warm, where I can drink vanilla rum on a beach and sleep a lot

@Chuckumentary does anyone ever ask these people (a) define socialism and (b) why is it so scary?

ugh. Apple hold music is a really smarmy version of “Forever Young”. Some songs just don’t need to be redone, ever.

I need a Halloween party to go to so I don’t have to spend all night giving candy to kids. Yes, I am the Halloween scrooge

crunching video of Bill Moore talking about SSDs

came home early for a rest, last-ditch attempt to shake this cold. I can’t be sick now!

“Are we like getting closer and closer to like socialism and stuff?” http://tinyurl.com/6j7pwk

are any of my followers TCKs? http://www.beginningwithi.c…

(actually, can think of two off the top of my head – Tim Bray and Rick Ramsey aka BigAdmin)

the Google news thumbnails showing Palin are starting to look like the ones I used to see for Hillary: strident, ugly, aggressive…

@dfugate I assume you meant INcompetent beauty queen…? ; ) yeah. I don’t like her, but this treatment looks misogynist to me

video: The Solid State Storage Revolution, Andy Bechtolsheim: http://tinyurl.com/6bsj67

revisiting very old pages as I (slowly, painfully) move my site, here’s a classic

@markramsey wow, that’s amazing. My dad, 69, ran the (failed) campaign to try to elect a black mayor in Beaumont, TX ~1965

looking at very complicated travel arrangements, but worth it if we can make it work

tired of everyone claiming to be or know or speak for the “real” anywhere. There is no single reality, or viewpoint, anywhere in the world.

In the office, trying to believe I’m not really that sick. Have to fly to Minneapolis this afternoon.

today’s vids on http://blogs.sun.com/storage/ – ZFS Boot in Solaris 10 Update 6, Flash Performance in Storage Systems

Twittamici italiani: figlia cerca forum dove italiani discutono l’elezione americana. Lasciate un messaggio http://www.fotolog.com/ross…

comment on my site: “you say litrally WAY TO MUCH it annoys me so yea just thought id let you no” Uh, honey: writing about TRANSLATION

just got a call from the Obama campaign in Alaska. We Colorado voters are certainly getting a lot of attention.

Always pleased when I put friends together and they really click. Two martinis make me very mellow too

geez, I’m missing all the fun in CO – could have gone to a “Women for Obama” house party with Kevin Costner Monday. And missed Hillary yday

rebuttal to Palin’s fruit fly remarks

@Cinegage given the hysteria over the label “socialist” in the US, neither side can admit that their proposals and actions are, in fact…

@italylogue for many years Castroni was the only place in Italy to get exotic spices, that’s far from true anymore

the smells of a Minnesota hot dish lunch are overwhelming

feeling like crap. Maybe I can take a day off and sleep on Friday before filming all weekend…

“If Italy managed to make everyone pay taxes, or collect only half of the 100 million euros evaded, it would be a very different country.”

for my fellow antique business machines fetishists: http://tinyurl.com/5twrze

Arrived Denver too tired to stand in the aisle as usual. Learning experience?

@Happen2bBlack I’m not typical but i consider the attempt to define “real” Americans, unamerican

moving into a new office. Windows! Sunlight!

@italylogue thanks, enjoyed that!

temp over at NREL http://tinyurl.com/6o8lgz is climbing rapidly – something on fire over there?

@ThinGuy Halloween is Nevada Day? There’s something way too appropriate in that, at least as concerns Las Vegas.

home sick, trying to wake up enough to face a long and very complex mail-in ballot (which I will hand carry in)

trying to understand the welter of amendments and referenda in this Colorado ballot

next up: benefits enrollment. Life is way too complicated.

I went, I saw, I voted. Well, turned in my mail-in ballot by hand. (I’ve been living in Italy, I don’t trust postal systems.)

interesting the number of people who are photographing and posting their completed ballots this year

thoughts for the day: http://tinyurl.com/5kz2hv and http://tinyurl.com/yfaqsg (need I say it: tongue in cheek!)

followed this http://tinyurl.com/6l6dfx to https://implicit.harvard.ed…

dunno why I’m subscribing to food blogs. No time to cook anymore.

at least for me, online ad revenues are plunging. Traffic is up, clicks are up, but earning is way, way down. Damn.

my feelings exactly: http://tinyurl.com/5jfzhj

!@#$@!#$ Dopplr doesn’t know where St. Barth’s is. Trying to send me to Arhus, Denmark. ?!?

dopplr is missing the entire FWI?

@smaragdis if you continue trying to give her freedom, yes. Worked with mine! (19 now)

I’ve been heroic enough for today. Let this next video finish uploading and I’m outta here. Besides, working Saturday and Sunday…

harangued my daughter about why this would be a really bad time to walk away from a scholarship.

the Obama campaign has done some of the cleverest marketing I’ve ever seen. My marketing hat would be off even if I didn’t want him to win

we’ve lost a great one: http://tinyurl.com/5akmem

The Economist endorses Obama: http://tinyurl.com/5gl2yg

@trine I once saw a pediatrician dress up as a beaten baby.

Why I’m Volunteering for Obama

Today I asked campaign volunteers in Westminster, Colorado, why they are dedicating so much time to getting Barack Obama elected. Here are their answers. You might also like: The Streets of Colorado Americans’ Phobia of Socialized Medicine On the Phone for Obama Popular: Barack and Hillary

Today I asked campaign volunteers in Westminster, Colorado, why they are dedicating so much time to getting Barack Obama elected. Here are their answers.

The Streets of Colorado

Last Sunday, a cold, dreary fall day in this part of Colorado, I went out canvassing to find out who’s going to vote for Obama. I arrived at the local HQ (a storefront in a strip mall near a Costco) around noon. A guy explained to me at length what I was supposed to do, Read More…

Last Sunday, a cold, dreary fall day in this part of Colorado, I went out canvassing to find out who’s going to vote for Obama. I arrived at the local HQ (a storefront in a strip mall near a Costco) around noon. A guy explained to me at length what I was supposed to do, over my increasing nervousness.

“Do I have to do this alone?” I asked. “I was told someone would be with me.” I didn’t feel confident about knocking on doors by myself. Having spent so much of my life overseas, most recently the last 17 years in Italy, I know that many standard American cultural cues pass me by completely unnoticed. And everyone’s armed in this part of the country (yes, including the liberals) – I didn’t want to miss something that might imply: “Get off my lawn before I blow a hole in you with my 12-gauge.”

Eric, the man who’d been training me, instantly agreed to go with me. On the way we chatted about more personal things and I learned, with no great surprise, that he, too, had been a Sun employee. He got laid off in July, calculated that he had enough money to retire early, and decided to devote his time to campaigning for Obama.

We had pre-printed sheets of paper with names, addresses, and (usually) political leanings for each of the people we were supposed to visit. These were organized by street and side of street (odds and evens), including a map showing the location of the targeted houses.

“Why are we going door to door instead of just calling?” I asked.

Eric’s an engineer, so he has studied the numbers behind his activities.

“This is more effective than calling. Studies show that, for every 14 doors you knock on, you persuade one voter. It takes 200 calls to do the same. This is a swing state, and Jefferson County has traditionally voted Republican. 200 votes could make all the difference here.”

“That’s a lot of doors,” I gulped.

We knocked on 34 doors in about 90 minutes that day. The people we had come to see were all listed as Democrats or undecided. We weren’t expected to call on any Republicans; the thought is that it’s too late in the game to persuade them. Now it’s mostly about making sure that people have their mail-in ballots and know what to do with them, or know where they can go for early voting (which starts Oct 20th in Colorado).

Many of the people on our list had already received their mail-in ballots, and some of those had already sent them in. Three or four refused our polite request to tell us for whom they’d voted. There are still people who feel strongly that this is a private matter, but Eric suspected that they had all voted for McCain and didn’t want to tell us that.

On the other hand, four or five told us they definitely had or would vote for Obama, and one said that her husband would also do so in spite of being a life-long Republican (they were both young).

We did the first street together, with me hanging anxiously behind, not liking the idea of disturbing people on a Sunday, though most took it well. At some places, someone was clearly home but did not answer the door.

Eric pointed out clues to the likely voting habits of the households we visited. A Subaru in the driveway indicated a liberal. On the other hand, 95% of the houses we visited or passed had four-wheel drive vehicles and/or trucks, so those aren’t necessarily a sign of conservatism. Every house seemed to have multiple dogs as well.

One house where I was just as glad no one answered had a jeep in the driveway hand-painted in camouflage, with various aggressive bumper stickers including one that said “Fuck Iraq” – an ambiguous statement at best.

We split the next street, one of us doing odds, the other evens. Eric was trapped for quite a while with a man who wanted to complain about the price of diesel fuel – the only canvasee who had shown much desire for conversation.

Then, frozen to the bone, we went back to the office. Happily, it’s supposed to be sunny and warm when I go out canvassing tomorrow.

Americans’ Phobia of Socialized Medicine

I am baffled by the people I encounter in this country who think that “socialized medicine” is evil. I’m not sure how they arrive at this conclusion. It seems that, for some, anything they can label “socialist” is automatically frightening. But we have state-run fire and police departments and military (among many other things), and Read More…

I am baffled by the people I encounter in this country who think that “socialized medicine” is evil. I’m not sure how they arrive at this conclusion. It seems that, for some, anything they can label “socialist” is automatically frightening. But we have state-run fire and police departments and military (among many other things), and the vast majority of Americans would agree that these areas of common human endeavor are best run by government.

Why, therefore, do so many instantly discard the idea that governments can effectively provide health care? Other countries’ governments are managing national health systems quite well. Do we have so little faith in the abilities of our own government?

I’ve seen socialized medicine working for my own family. I lived in Italy for 17 years (my Italian husband is still there), and have written about my (mostly positive) experiences with Italy’s national health system.

My father lives in England with his British wife, and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has done very well by them. Just a few weeks ago, Dad had a $60,000 operation – paid for by the British government, and he’s not even a citizen! – to implant an electronic device which interrupts pain signals from his body to his brain: a last-ditch remedy for ten years of extreme, chronic pain due to arthritis. And it’s working.

In Italy, my mother-in-law had a mastectomy within days of a tumor being discovered, and her chemotherapy and related medications were free. When our daughter broke her arm, a compound fracture requiring surgery, the surgery, hospital stay, and follow-up care were free. When I had my own cancer scares, all the tests were done within days, and I paid less than 100 euros for the biopsy. I’ve been under treatment for glaucoma for years; with my doctor’s prescription in Italy, the medicine costs 2 euros a month.

Because health care is universal in these countries, medical privacy need not be a huge concern: you’re going to get treated, no matter what you’ve got. Whereas, in the US, you must jealously guard information about any chronic or genetic condition you may have, for fear that it will damage your chances for employment and insurance.

The Problem of Choice

Some Americans fear that a government-run health system would limit their choices, which is likely true. But is that such a bad thing? Too much choice can be as bad as too little, especially when it requires so much time and knowledge to understand what’s on offer and make an informed decision.

One of the most difficult transitions for me in moving back to the US has been precisely this. I’m an intelligent and highly-educated person, but simply comprehending my health insurance options (and, thank Sun, I have options!) has been largely beyond me so far. I have insurance, but that’s about all I know, pending further study that I haven’t had time for. I can imagine how overwhelming this must seem to someone much younger (or older) and/or less experienced than I.

In Italy, things are a lot simpler. You choose a family doctor from a limited list of local practitioners, most likely someone whose office is convenient to your home. When you’re sick, you visit that doctor during his/her office hours (some by appointment, some you just sit around and wait). If you need a specialist or tests, the family doctor writes an authorization and you schedule an appointment, which will be available later or sooner depending on how busy your local providers are and how urgent your medical situation is. I once scheduled a routine mammogram 8 or 10 months in advance, but when I needed one in a hurry for a suspicious lump, it was performed within 24 hours. (NB: Bi-annual mammograms are free for all women over 45. Socialized health systems are big on preventive medicine, because it makes economic sense.)

And if you want choice in Italy, you can pay out of your own pocket to go to whatever practitioner you like.

Of course, no system is perfect. Malpractice can happen anywhere. My father-in-law was probably killed in Italy by an anesthesiologist too old to be administering an epidural. My aunt’s botched hiatal hernia operation (in Austin, Texas) led to ten years of agony and, eventually, her death. Malpractice suits are rare in Texas, so she never got the money needed to help fix what the doctor screwed up. Penny-pinching by the Medicare system (America’s version of national health, available only to the elderly and used only by those who have no choice) likely exacerbated her problems and also contributed to her death. Being poor and uninsured limits your choices far more than a national health system does.

Given all this, I don’t understand why so many Americans have such a knee-jerk negative reaction to nationalizing health care. Can anyone explain this to me?

On the Phone for Obama

I spent an instructive couple of hours this evening making phone calls on behalf of the Obama campaign. Yes, I am one of those annoying people who interrupts your dinner to ask who you’ll be voting for. (I’m in Colorado, one of the few states where the answer actually matters.) I’ve had a fear of Read More…

I spent an instructive couple of hours this evening making phone calls on behalf of the Obama campaign. Yes, I am one of those annoying people who interrupts your dinner to ask who you’ll be voting for. (I’m in Colorado, one of the few states where the answer actually matters.)

I’ve had a fear of cold-calling ever since a short-lived, traumatic (and rather funny) attempt at phone sales during my college years, but this wasn’t so bad. Somehow I got the nice people list to call: all women over 60 (some well over), all of them polite. Although the two times I got (presumably) their husbands on the line first, they were rather abrupt.

For the few who were willing to say that they are undecided, I offered to try to answer any questions or concerns they might have, but no one took me up on that. The only woman I spoke to at any length said: “I’m just not sure. He seems so young, though that’s not an issue.” She wasn’t really happy with McCain or Obama, and is disgusted with the recent behavior of both: “They’re fighting like a couple of high schoolers.” I could only glumly agree with that.

“We’re in a rut, and I’m not sure there’s anyone in the whole history of the country who can get us out of it,” she continued. And she wasn’t just talking about the economy.

I empathize, truly I do. You haven’t heard much about Obama from me before, because I would have preferred Hillary. I like her experience and I like her balls, and I would love to see the ultimate glass ceiling  broken.

But John McCain won no points from me for selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate. In fact, that move utterly canceled the respect I used to have for him. He thinks I’d vote for Palin simply because she lacks a penis? The utter cynicism of that shows just how little respect he and the Republican party actually have for women. Palin is the polar opposite of Hillary in everything except her chromosomes, and, most worrisome, lacks almost any useful experience. By reason of her sheer lack of competence, the idea of her being McCain’s faltering heartbeat away from the presidency is frightening.

Her religious and social beliefs scare the proverbial bejesus out of me. Bristol Palin is pregnant at 17 as a direct result of her parents’ conservative ideology. You can’t stop teenagers having sex, but, if you’re a sensible and caring parent, you can at least provide them with the knowledge and birth control to prevent them getting pregnant. The failure of abstinence-only sex “education” is starkly illustrated in Palin’s own family, and I’m disgusted (though not surprised) that no one is even mentioning this as an issue. Family privacy be damned: Palin would try to impose this on every teenager in America. We have every right to discuss this – loudly.

Sarah Palin has propelled me hard into the Obama camp, and is the main reason I expect to spend quite a bit of time campaigning for him. But there are things I definitely like about Obama, too. For one, he’s a third-culture kid. Like me, he has a multicultural family and has experienced other countries and cultures by living in them. McCain’s experience of other countries, at least during his young and impressionable years, was of going to war and then being a prisoner of war in Vietnam. I don’t have a window into either man’s psyche, but human intuition tells me which one is likely to have a broader, more nuanced view of the world outside US borders.

And that’s something we desperately need now. The world is too small and too tightly interwoven nowadays for US exceptionalism to be the answer to every international question. We have to think about our role as world citizens, not just American citizens. And I think Barack Obama is far better equipped to do that than John McCain.