Life is a Mystery

25 May 2008 . Comments Off on FFR: Ajax demos

FFR: Ajax demos

AjaxDaddy might be a place to go learn some Web2.0 tricks someday.

22 May 2008 . Comments Off on FFR: Gas temperature

FFR: Gas temperature

This little map could get more and more interesting as the coming decade wears on. I can easily imagine gas prices over $10/gallon within five years. Maybe we’ll all be looking at maps like this. Try zooming in.

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20 May 2008 . Comments Off on The power of not knowing

The power of not knowing

It is always hard to say “I don’t know.” Some of my most difficult supervisory challenges have come from supervising staff who cannot seem to say these words. I’ve got to imagine it is even harder for a presidential candidate to admit not knowing something, but I find it very comforting. Witness:

It looks like I’m not alone in finding this a decent thing to do. Candidates are real people. They can’t know everything. But they can know their limitations and ask for help. I’m glad Obama seems capable of this very important act.

Of course, he’ll still catch hell for saying “I don’t know.” I just hope the American public knows how lucky it is to hear those words from someone in power.

20 May 2008 . Comments Off on So there is a term for it…

So there is a term for it…

structured procrastination (hat tip to AndrewS).

I have been intending to write this essay for months. Why am I finally doing it? Because I finally found some uncommitted time? Wrong. I have papers to grade, textbook orders to fill out, an NSF proposal to referee, dissertation drafts to read. I am working on this essay as a way of not doing all of those things.

18 May 2008 . Comments Off on Proud Alex

Proud Alex

Wow, today was a big day for Alex. He was confirmed in the Roman Catholic church today. This is something that he decided on his own was important to him. Certainly Mary and I have expressed enough frustrations with the church that Alex is going in with his eyes wide open. He was very excited about the confirmation and did a great job of taking care of the preparation. Bravo Alex!

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18 May 2008 . Comments Off on FFR: Mac battery charger

FFR: Mac battery charger

Just in case I’m ever looking for an external battery charger, this one looks simple and effective.

17 May 2008 . Comments Off on Why don’t Democrats stop the war?

Why don’t Democrats stop the war?

This week I got this question from an acquaintance: “The Democrats are refusing to stop the war. Do you understand that??????” Its a variation on a theme I sometimes spew myself. While I do think the D’s could have done a lot more to make the kind of fuss this war deserves, it is important to understand one thing: the Democrats don’t hold a majority on the war.

The D’s hold the Senate by one: 50 to 49. One D has been out of commission for this whole past session since they took the majority (Sen. Johnson, South Dakota): 49 to 49. The one “independent” in the Senate, Leiberman of Connecticut, sides with the R’s on the war: 49 to 50. That’s the deadlock we’ve all been in for the past two years, since the D’s “took control”.

Combine that minority position with their spinelessness, you get continued funding. I note the House finally dared to oppose a funding bill this week. High time. Of course, it won’t get through the Senate this way and that will bring the funding back in conference.

The D’s need a clearer majority in the Senate to make anything happen on the war. With luck and hard work that will be forthcoming in the fall: vote Democrat! With even more luck and hard work we’ll elect a president who will work with this new majority to end this fiasco: vote Obama!

16 May 2008 . Comments Off on Hanging by a thread

Hanging by a thread

Nice puppeteering!

15 May 2008 . Comments Off on Bowling for dollars, and much much more

Bowling for dollars, and much much more

Joshua Green writes an insightful article about “The Amazing Money Machine” that Obama has built. Two pillars: first, Obama recognized that a source of big money Clinton left on the table was Silicon Valley new tech money and he made sure to pick it up.

I asked Roos, the personification of a buttoned-down corporate attorney, if there had been concerns about Obama’s limited CV, and for a moment he looked as if he might burst out laughing. “No one in Silicon Valley sits here and thinks, ‘You need massive inside-the-Beltway experience,’” he explained, after a diplomatic pause. “Sergey and Larry were in their early 20s when they started Google. The YouTube guys were also in their 20s. So were the guys who started Facebook. And I’ll tell you, we recognize what great companies have been built on, and that’s ideas, talent, and inspirational leadership.”

Second, Obama harnessed the technology social networking in a whole new way and made the big money pale by comparison to the new money.

“What’s amazing,” says Peter Leyden of the New Politics Institute, “is that Hillary built the best campaign that has ever been done in Democratic politics on the old model—she raised more money than anyone before her, she locked down all the party stalwarts, she assembled an all-star team of consultants, and she really mastered this top-down, command-and-control type of outfit. And yet, she’s getting beaten by this political start-up that is essentially a totally different model of the new politics.”

Together, these pillars helped Obama create a campaign organization that continues to thrive even as the primary calms down and the general is months away.

“They’ve gone from zero to 700 employees in a year and raised $200 million,” Steve Spinner says of the campaign. “That’s a super-high-growth, fast-charging operation.”

One of the reasons I am such a believer in Obama? I think he can remake Washington as he’s remade fundraising. If this social network he is building can attract cash to a campaign, just imagine how effectively it can attract talent to an administration. You don’t imagine they will just throw that network away if elected, do you?

15 May 2008 . Comments Off on In which I rant

In which I rant

I got a posting that included this bit from a friend of the family responding to this op-ed this morning:

Nicely written article but it does not address the interesting point that the war was brought to our shores first on Sept, 2001. We were not looking for a war. We were doing our thing, quietly in our open society.

The op-ed itself is worth a read. My rant probably much less so. But for the record, my rant lies below the fold. It is much more a riff on the “brought to our shores on 9/11” than the cogent arguments of the op-ed. But it is early, I am bleary, and I wanted to capture this before I was clear eyed and in control enough of my faculties to edit myself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org