February 2008

January 2008 -- 2008 -- March 2008

February 2, 2008

3 more days until February 5th!

Obama raised $32 million in January alone, all from individual contributors, 160,000 of them being new contributors to the campaign. It's amazing that a candidate is able to inspire people like that.

Speaking of getting large amounts of people, Obama held a rally in Idaho today that packed in 15,000 people, who stood in a line over a mile and a half long in the cold for a chance to see him speak. Someone took an amazing panaramic photo of what that looks like.

The Nation has a lengthy but very good article on why they support Obama for the Democratic nominee.

Time has a really interesting piece on young voters. One of the more striking statistics is in 2000, 13% of youth (18-29) cared about the election. This year it's 74%.

Finally, I everyone needs to watch the following two videos. They don't go into Obama's policy (again, look at the his 64 page policy outline for all the information you could ever want) but they show why he's unlike any other candidate of our time:
The story behind it and a link to the video.

February 3, 2008

The last day to register to vote for the Texas primary is this Monday, February 4th. You'll need to re-register if you moved to Texas or moved to a new county. It's pretty simple, just print and fill out the form and mail to the county you live in, postmarked by Monday. More information on change of address, early voting, and everything else can be found here.

Texas essentially has an open primary, you pick the party you want to vote for when you show up to vote.

I'm also going to be volunteering Monday morning to get people registered at whole Foods on 6th and Lamar, and probably show back up Monday evening too for a bit. Obama gets a lot of support from young and new voters, and with Texas looking like it could be important by the time March rolls around, it's hard to make your voice heard if you're not registered.

In completely not political news, a new photo gallery of some concerts I went to, and some added photographs of friends that have let me shoot them.

February 10, 2008

Once again Austin proves itself to be the best city in America, this time by having the Alamo Drafthouse do a showing of the classic 80's videogame movie, The Wizard, with Fred Savage doing a Q&A afterwards. And then I got to get his, the guy who played Jimmy, and the director's autographs on a cool specially created poster for the event (and the poster glows in the dark!) And of course get my photo taken with the cast and director. From right to left, it's Jimmy, Me, Fred Savage, and the director.

So Super Duper Tuesday has come and passed, with Obama doing quite well and winning more states and staying close/winning the delegate count, depending on whose numbers you want to believe. And now we swept the 4 states that had primaries this weekend, and is expected to do well on Tuesday, so his campaign is picking up speed.

Plus the guy picked up his second Grammy Award tonight, this time for his spoken word album, The Audacity of Hope, which is the audio version of his best selling book. I've heard amazing things about both his books, I really ought to buy them.

Here's an interesting video explaining Obama's positions on healthcare.

In some really what-universe-am-I-in news, super conservative Rush Limbaugh is raising money for Hillary because "We've got make sure she's the nominee if the Republican Party is to be unified." and "If Obama is the nominee, we are doomed". Lends an good argument to the electibility angle anyways..

One of the interesting bills Obama has headed was the one that created usaspending.gov, which provides in great detail exactly where all your federal tax dollars are going towards. for example $33 million to low income housing.

February 12, 2008

It's now official, my car is now outdated. The new 2009 TSX was leaked yesterday, which is the first major redesign that the TSX has had in it's 5 year history. Luckily I still love driving my car around, and I still planning on keeping it for a long long time.

Speaking of my car, I had to renew my insurance today. Apparently there's been a string of car robberies in my zip code in the last year, and so my rates (and everyone else's, I comparison shopped) went up. Having to deal with car insurance and comparing quotes and sorting through the ruckus is one of those things that I really don't like about being an adult.

And now back to your regularly scheduled Obamarama.

The Obama campaign has now landed in Austin, to start the work of helping Obama win Texas. It's looking like Texas and Ohio will be the deciding states when we hold our hybrid primary-caucus on March 4th. If Obama can win both states, then it'll be pretty much over, after including all his (projected) wins in February (he's won 8 in a row so far, all by large margins). So for the first time ever, my vote in a primary will actually count for something. Unfortunately (if you can call a vacation to Italy unfortunate) I'll be in Italy during the last 2 weeks of the campaign here, so I won't get to help out in those crucial days, but I do plan on taking the day off on election day to lend what support I can.

Speaking of the March 4th election, Texas has a very convoluted method of selecting our 226 delegates that go on to the national Democratic convention. 35 of them are super delegates, who get to decide on their own who to vote for. 126 are selected by voting in the primary. And then 67 are selected by a caucus held on that same day, at 7:15pm. However most people have no idea that there is even a caucus going on, so part of the Get Out The Vote efforts will be in letting people know that not only do you have to vote on March 4th, you also need to show up that evening and caucus too, because they both count. So all you Texas readers, make sure you let your friends know that it's a two part process. This page has a much more detailed explantion of the whole process.

I also received over the weekend one of those false "Obama is a muslim" emails that I'd read about people getting. It was also attached to a whole tirade about how Muslims aren't good Americans, which was filled with half-truths, lies, and all kinds of mischaracterizations.

Also I was reading on a forum online, and came across an argument that points out why I say Obama "gets it". It's because he's one of the few politicians I've seen who seems to believe in his policies not as a party line, but as arguments. In reading his statements, it's clear that he looked at all the sides and in the end, the evidence best supports the position that he's taken. Which is quite important when applying for a job where you never know what will happen the next day.

Experience? Here's some experience for you.

And even more on his background as a community organizer, civil rights lawyer, and why he decided to get into politics in the first place

And even though things are looking up for Obama, it wasn't too long ago that Clinton had a 33 point lead and pretty much no one would have bet against her winning the nomination.

February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's that day of the year again, where I briefly turn my website into an emo live journal (wait, does anyone actually use live journal anymore at all? That's so 2002) and fill it with every love/romantic/nerds-are-awesome thing I've come across in the last year. And in keeping with my habit of writing about Obama in any way possible, here's a You Barack My World valentine dedicated to everyone who regularly reads and/or randomely clicked on (which is probably 50% of my traffic), my website.

And thanks to the new design, it's possible to see all the previous Valentine's in one easy to follow page. It's so handy!

And speaking of technology, the Internet continues to help people find their true love, in ever more specific categories. Stuff like Jdate, SweetOnGeeks, and Millionaire Mate are so last century, the new hotness is finding your online message board soulmate, as grouped by internet site. Only want to date people as crazy about WoW as you? They've got you set. Of course one must be careful about misleading photos, as some creative cropping can create some interesting results.

Of course the true way to win a gamers heart would be with some chocolate Mii's

Here's a blog about one guy's adventures in online dating. It seems to prove the saying "The odds are good, but the goods are odd".

Thanks to the YouTube era, it's now possible to sing geeky swooning love songs to anonymous Internet strangers, like this guy did. "I know i'm not clever, I know i'm not smooth But when it comes to ddr i know how to bust a move". You can make this stuff up people!

Here's some more valentine's for the special people in your life, and an article about the new Geek Chic. Most of those people are posers though, I was nerd before nerd was cool!

And finally, I think xkcd says it best:
Will You Be My "It's Complicated" on Facebook?
Pitfalls of dating a computer person
Math doesn't solve everything after all
One for the physics nerds

That's all for this year, tomorrow it's back to more reasons why I think Obama is awesome, and some exciting SXSW news. (you see how I just hyped up an update to get more regular readers? I'm tricky like that see)

February 18, 2008

I'm going on vacation in a few days, and will be gone until the night before the primary, so this will be one of the last Obama updates in a while.

Biggest news is that the official Obama headquarters had their grand opening on Saturday, and over 2,000 people showed up to sign up and volunteer. I was down there on Wednesday and then on Saturday, and it was amazing how enthusiastic everyone was. I added some photos from Saturday morning, and if anyone reading this is from Austin, feel free to drop by the office at any time, they're open from 9am to 9pm everyday until the primary, and they're located at 8th and Congress.

Things are also looking pretty good for Obama, he's leading in Wisconsin, tied in Texas, and for the first time is leading in national polling. Just look at the steep uptick in support. And Democrats abroad seem to really like him, which in a global connected world like ours, is always important.

Once again, the more people learn about him, the more likely they are to support him. It's just a matter of looking past the "Well Clinton was good during the 90's and I don't disagree with her now" and seeing that there is actually a better candidate out there.

But if you need some more reasons, here's an interesting list. Oh and this one about cluster bombs and political calculation.

There is also the electability angle, which was one of my main concerns with Hillary being the nominee in the first place. I have no problems with her really, but I think she hurts the Democrat's chances in the general. And this article shows that very well based on polling data. Obama wins by +9 in Oregon versus McCain, while Hillary loses by 3 when put up against McCain.

And while I keep hammering on how the "lack of substance" argument is shown to be completely wrong with just a little bit of research, here is yet another example of that, with the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, who is intricately familiar with the national budget, saying that he was more than comfortable with Mr. Obama’s grasp of substance.

I've also made a webpage explaining the whole Texas primary and caucus confusion, sprinkled with information on voting in Austin. This news article explains the Texas caucus pretty well though.

So the 24 hour news cycle always needs to create some news so people will continue watching, and the latest example of this starts with Obama refuting Clinton's claim that words don't matter. This of course ignores the point I keep hammering that she is presenting a false choice by saying you have to be either good at policy or good at words. Or ignoring the years of experience that Obama has. Or that inspiring people to get behind your policies, and getting independents, moderates, and even Republicans behind you helps get your ideas passed.

So Obama pointed out all the cases where words did matter. The Hillary campaign then tries to make a mountain out of a molehill by replying that Obama's close friend and ally, Deval Patrick, used that same line of argument back in a 2006 Massachusetts's governor's race, and implying he stole Patrick's lines. Completely ignoring that, well, Patrick himself had suggested that Obama use his lines about the power of words and that he "applaud [Obama] responding in just the way he did." And that well, every politician, including Hillary, re-uses concepts. Obama even said himself these aren't the important things, both Hillary and McCain have used "his" "Fired Up and Ready to Go" line, but he realizes it's stupid to argue over things like that. So the change Obama talks about? This is an example of the kind of stupid petty stuff that a whole day is spent yammering on about instead of actually talking important things.

February 20, 2008

Tomorrow I leave for Italy!!! This will be my first time overseas, and I can't wait to explore all the history, culture, and food that Italy has to offer. I'm going to be taking the fancy shmancy dSLR camera too, so expect some really good photos once I get back. I'll be spending 5 nights in Rome, 3 nights in Florence, and 2 nights in Venice, and get back on March 3rd, just in time for the Texas primary and caucus.

However that doesn't mean there won't be any updates until then. One of the 10 people I'm going on the trip with is bringing his laptop, so I should have some internet access. And I might even be able to post some photos here, so check with the RSS feed to see if I have some travel updates or new photos I put up. And then once I get back I promise I'll have the photos up quickly on this website.

In the meantime I'm horribly unprepared for this trip, so I'm hoping my friends know what they're doing because I'm just along for the ride basically. I have a huge long list of stuff I need to make sure I do before I leave, and I have yet to start packing, but I figure it just makes life more exciting this way right?

I did though make sure to find some best pizza places in Italy because there is no way I could go to Italy without eating pizza.

I'm going to miss all the excitement over the election since I'll basically be cut off from the news, but make sure you

vote and caucus on March 4th

Speaking of which, this article talks about management styles and who is more likely to make gains on health care.

And here's an article about the amazing fundraising that Obama has accomplished, with 90% of the donations being under $100, and a full 40% being under $25. And all raised without a single special interest group or PAC or lobbyist in sight.


February 21, 2008

Italy Day 0:
So ok, I'm cheating. This is actually being written while I'm still at home in Austin. But I've got my bags packed, lists crossed off, and now I'm just trying to adjust myself to the time change, as we're 7 hours behind Italy. So when I land at 7:30am Italy time, it'll feel like midnight in Texas time, and I'd want to immediately go to sleep. So instead I'm saying up semi-late to take a short nap, and then *hopefully* do some sleeping on the 9 hour flight across the Atlantic.

I somehow managed to have space left over in my suitcase. I'm still investigating how that is possible. Even with all the warm clothings I packed in there, there was still room.

Ok, so now it's to sleep and then off to the aeroport. Special thanks to Laura for being awesome and taking me!

Wow, this basically puts the talk about "empty rhetoric" v. "history of accomplishments" to a definite end if only more people read this. It covers quite a lot of what I knew about the bills he's passed and how Obama thinks about problems, but that article pretty much lays it out explicitly with facts. Next time someone asks about what Obama has to offer, just send them there.

February 22, 2008

So day one in Italy is done! Saw the colloseum, lots of old historical things, and have been adjusting to jet lag pretty well. It's amazing how you can turn a random corner and all of the sudden is a hidden church or a small plaza with statues. It's all so gorgeous! No pics yet, but I've taken almost 300 so far!

February 23, 2008

Italy Day 2!

Trevoli Fountain (I probably totally misspelled that), the Panthenon, Spanish Steps, and all kinds of plazas, a 6 course wine tasting, an AMAZING dinner at a local Italian restaurant, and more great photos.

I think my favorite thing is how different everything looks as compared to America, the small streets I've wandered down just don't exist, and all the different colors of the building and patios.

I also love me that gelato!

February 24, 2008

Rome Day 3!

Today went to Sunday mass at the Vatican, and basically had my mind blown at how amazing gorgeous it is. Quite possibly one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Then we got to see the Pope give an address to the crowd in Vatican square. Tomorrow we're seeing the Sistine Chapel.

Then we went to see AS Roma futbol team win their game against Florence. It was so cool to see a real European futbol game, and all the hardcore fans. They had cops everywhere and actually sectioned off the opponent section and surrounded them by police. Europeans are craaazy about their football!

Then I had pizza and gelato for dinner and basically discovered true happiness. I love this city! I can't believe I have only one day left now, and then it's on to Florence!

February 26, 2008

This morning we traveled to Florence via the train, and what a cool quaint little city! We haven't done a whole lot yet, but supposedly the gelato here is amazing.

But to finish up the Rome portion of our trip, we went to Campo di Flori which was a really cool open vegetable and fruit market, then stopped at got some pizza, before making our way to the Vatican museum to see the Sistine Chapel. We then got to know our fellow Italians quite well by cramming a ton of people into one of the tiny little short electric buses in order to get to dinner. Which was an interesting affair since no one in the restaurant spoke any English.

Then I met a really cool study abroad student from the states while eating more of that oh so yummy gelato, and wandered around the city in one last tour of Rome of all the monuments at night, and completely empty of people. Seeing the Vatican at night is amazing, and visiting the Spanish steps completely devoid of people was really cool when contrasted with the huge masses of people the first afternoon we went there.

European trains are also really cool, it was a great way to travel, we really need to get these things in the US!

Oh, and the photo count is now up to 700.

February 27, 2008

Today I got to see a lot more of Florence, including some of the museums where I went to go see the famous statue of David. The guy is HUGE! We got off to a late start, we slept in until about 11 and watched a lot of Italian MTV (which was about 75% American music videos, with a handful of British and Italian).

Today was also the first day of "bad" weather we had, which actually wasn't all that bad, just a little rain and drizzle, but it still hasn't been that cold.

Also ate more gelato, and had another great Italian dinner, with some amazing dessert wine. For lunch we had some great panni sandwiches, which was was actually the first really great bread of the trip. That's been the only disappointing thing about Italy so far, I was really looking forward to eating all the good bread with pasta, but so far most of the restaurants have had pretty lousy tasting bread.

I also downloaded the pictures onto one of the laptops last night, but unfortunately it can't connect to the wireless for some reason, so no pictures yet.

February 28, 2008

So this is my first post ever from an internet cafe type place. The keyboard is some sort of weird QWERTY hybrid, the shift key is in a weird place so I keep hitting wrong characters.

Today we went to Pisa and Siena, both by train, which was really cool. We then rode the bus back to Florence which is where Im typing this.

OK time is almost up, its off to Venice early tomorrow!

February 29, 2008

Today we took our train ride over to Venice, which is a really really cool city. We rode a water bus from our hotel near the train station down to St. Marks square, where we played with the pigeons and looked around the city. I thought Rome was a nightmare to navigate, but Venice is even worse. I'm still not sure how we wandered our way down to our hotel tonight after a day of sightseeing.

Today was also the first cold day of the trip. Tomorrow I'm going all out with the coat and thermals, gloves, and hat. But it didn't rain and the fog gave some interesting photos, so it's all good in the end.

I am sad that we only have one last full day of Rome left, as most of Sunday will be spent traveling and then we leave early Monday morning. This trip has flown by, but I've had so much fun.

January 2008 -- 2008 -- March 2008