Escaping the present

From an external news perspective, 2017 has been a difficult year. I find the current administration to be full of dangerous nitwits who will either get us all killed or leave our way of life severely weakened.*
I found myself continually sad at the end of each night during the first quarter. I would read the news or browse Facebook (which consisted mostly of news for me) right before going to bed, then be depressed at what the next four years would bring.
Come Q2, and specifically a long weekend trip we planned to take in early June, I felt an urge to read fantasy/sci-fi. I recalled some elements of Brandon Sanderson’s takeover of The Wheel Of Time series, but felt like the last three books were worth another read. And so, I picked up each of books 13, 14, and 15, and read them at nights, during free time, and more.
I didn’t stop there. After plowing through them in 2 months, I then decided to re-read Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive series. I finished those two books in another month.
And looking back, even though there were moments where I was definitely overdoing it (somewhat ignoring my family, sneaking pages in here and there), I was way, way happier falling asleep than when I read the news or Facebook.
So, here’s to hoping I can find a happy medium!
*Every other part of my life has been wonderful. I guess I can’t complain too much.

How to make AIG executives give up their bonuses

The government claims they are contractually obligated to pay 400 AIG executives and employees their $165M in bonuses.

How do we get these people to do the right thing and forgo these completely undeserved bonuses?

The administration can play hardball. Make a public statement that states, yes, you can take your bonus as the law dictates. However, if you do, we will make your names, addresses, and the amount of your bonus public. Not hardball enough? Then, make this policy apply in perpetuity (e.g. if you move, we will keep your address up to date). Too hardball? Limit it to those taking home >$500K from this bonus pool.

This will certainly make them think twice about accepting this money.

Of course, none of this would have been a problem if we hadn’t bailed them out in the first place – they would enter bankruptcy and these contracts could be void.

I love this guy!

From here:

“For a long time now there’s been too much secrecy in this city. Transparency and rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.” – Barack Obama

The new president effectively reversed a post-9/11 Bush administration policy making it easier for government agencies to deny requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act, and effectively repealed a Bush executive order that allowed former presidents or their heirs to claim executive privilege in an effort to keep records secret.

It may not be the type of thing that Mr. Bush wants to hear, however. Experts said Mr. Obama’s moves would have the practical effect of allowing reporters and historians to obtain access to records from the Bush administration that might otherwise have been kept under wraps.

How wonderfully refreshing!
Let the floodgates open on the secrets that the Bush administration tried oh so hard to keep secret. Exciting times, indeed.

Analysis on the election

This site offers an excellent analysis, complete with charts, on how voter turnout compared to 2004 and 2000.

  • McCain did better among the rich than the poor, but his lead decreased among the highest income brackets.
  • No massive youth turnout, again. Instead, Obama got a much larger share of the youth vote.
  • As in 2004 and 2000, the map was very partisan by state (see the charts for more details).

The World’s First President

This Newsweek article, The World Hopes for Its First President, really steps me back from the daily ground game I read about over at and editorials at, to a more global, and heartening, perspective. Barack Obama seems to be the overwhelming favorite in a US election that has been more closely watched across the world than any other by far.

Obama, whose life story allows him readily to be seen as the personification of change, racks up landslide-scale support in global surveys. Recent polling by the London-based firm YouGov had Obama garnering more than 70 percent support in Nordic countries and well more than 50 percent in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They show him rising in the polls since May, ever so slightly in Germany, and by 13 points in Britain, to 62 percent in October. In France, friends-of-Obama committees have proliferated; the French Support Committee for Barack Obama sells “France for Obama” T shirts online. The Portuguese-language version of the social networking Web site Orkut, dominated by Brazilians, has 293 “communities” dedicated to Obamania, including Eu Amo Obama. In Brazil, flattery knows no bounds: at least eight candidates in recent elections simply borrowed Barack Obama’s name and put it on the ballot instead of their own.

(Emphasis on my favorite part my own)

Some more statistics illustrating his global appeal.

Obama went into Election Day with a steady lead in U.S. polls, averaging about 50 percent to 44 percent for McCain, but he was headed for a landslide around the world, topping polls in virtually every nation often by strong margins: 70 percent in Germany, 75 percent in China and so on. Somewhere along the road to the White House, Obama became the world’s candidate—a reminder that for all the talk of America’s decline, for all the visceral hatred of Bush, the rest of the world still looks upon the United States as a land of hope and opportunity.

Las Vegas Republicans to use lawsuits to win the election

A point of view from The Washington Independent. It’s unfortunate that disenfranchisement is turning out to be the most effective tactic by the GOP to try to win this election.

The strong Democratic turnout has Republicans mulling possible legal challenges. “We question whether these are valid registrations,” said Smith, the Washoe County GOP chairwoman.

While talking to Smith, she was interrupted by a cell phone call, which she inadvertently put on the speakerphone. It was the state GOP executive director Zachery Moyle, and the two discussed what could be done about the tsunami of Democratic Party registrations.

“I’m looking for people to sign on to a lawsuit,” Moyle said to Smith, who fumbled with the phone while turning off the speaker. “You didn’t hear that,” she said glancing in my direction.

When asked later that day about the potential for a lawsuit, Moyle said there was no “definitive plan” to go to court. “There’s been obviously concern with voter fraud across the country,” he said.

Emphasis above is my own.

ADA files suit against McCain/Palin

I file this one under “funny” because, well, read on and you will see. Hopefully you will find the humor in it also. If not, you are a robot.

Sometime in the 1970s, the ADA coined the slogan, “Drill, baby, drill!” When the phrase was tested in Oregon in 2002, it was supposed to promote dental visits. Needless to say, it went over like a lead balloon. Thoughts of the dental drill don’t sit well with most people. So the ADA has never promoted the term in advertising. However, they retain the right to do so because the words are the intellectual property of the ADA.

The McCain/Palin campaign uses, “Drill, baby, drill!” in relation to energy. Vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said in a recent speaking engagement that “Sink and exploratory well, baby, sink and exploratory well,” just doesn’t have the same ring. And she’s right. The crowd responded with “Kill the ADA!”