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Saturday, February 14, 2009
The Economy

Yeah, it’s shit right now. It’s everyone’s fault.*

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know enough about economics to know what we should be doing. In fact, I’ve written a post about that before. Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you really don’t either.

I’m not going to comment one way or the other on the stimulus package and whether or not it will work. As I’ve just said, I don’t know. Lots of very smart people, with much more experience in economics, also don’t know. Or, they think they do, but there are people just as smart and experienced who disagree with them. If the top economic minds can’t agree on what it will do, or what the government should be doing, what the fuck do you and I know about?

You’re free to express your opinion, obviously, but please stop making posts where you are 100% certain the stimulus will fail and we just need more tax cuts. Tax cuts don’t help people who are unemployed, though no fault of their own. Also, please don’t tell me you’re absolutely sure it will work, either. No one knows.

In short, if you’re trying to talk about what the government should be doing about the financial crisis, don’t pretend like you know what the fuck you’re talking about. Thank you.

*The government (both sides of the aisle), the banks, people who bought houses they couldn’t afford. I don’t mean you, individually.

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Posted by alan to politics at 1:04 pm PT | Link | Comments (4)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Today’s shirt, obviously, is in honor of today’s inauguration. The Obama-nable President? Once again, laziness led to a crappy picture. This time, with the camera on my Blackberry.

Purchase location: GAMA-GO
Purchase date: October 7, 2008.

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Posted by alan to [politics, t-shirts] at 1:30 pm PT | Link | Comments (2)
Monday, November 10, 2008
Day 10

I got my Arduino starter kit, and a few other random pieces with it, today. I had it hooked up and downloaded one of the sample programs within a few minutes. Seems fairly easy to use. Now I just have to come up with something to use it for…

I’ve really got nothing else today, again. Posting every day is difficult.

Does anyone else think this is hilarious?

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Posted by alan to [geek, politics, television] at 4:53 pm PT | Link | Comments (2)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
More Election Stuff

Just a few random notes on the election.

Stuart Smalley Al Franken probably narrowly lost to the incumbent Republican Senator in Minnesota. With 100% of precincts reporting (but not all absentee, provisional ballots counted), he’s losing by less than 500 votes out of over 2.5 million. There will be a recount.

Alaska somehow managed to re-elect a convicted felon. Again, there’s still counting to be done, but the Democratic challenger is down by 3500 votes out of only a little over 200,000. The votes required to win probably can’t find their way through the tubes. They’re clogged with enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material. They should have tried to use a big truck, instead.

My lunch plans yesterday had to be altered because of the election:


Fox News seems to not be trying to hide it anymore. Sure, if you read the smaller text, everything looks fine, but who does that? It sure looks like it’s intended to be misleading…

A World of Trouble

And lastly… didn’t know AFRICA WAS A CONTINENT? Strangely, also from Fox News…

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Posted by alan to politics at 8:26 pm PT | Link | Comments (1)
Yes We Did


I voted yesterday morning. For the first time in my life, my vote for President went to the guy who won was declared the winner. And this time, he won so overwhelmingly that it can’t be stolen from him. This is obviously a historic day, and a chance to get our country back on track. This election cycle was also the first time I ever donated to a political campaign, and the first time I ever voted in a primary.

The celebratory Red, White and Blue shot:

Red White and Blue

Republicans made a huge deal in 2004 about the fact that Bush got more votes (popular, not electoral) than any other Presidential candidate in history. They conveniently ignored the fact that the election had a huge turnout, and Kerry was second on that list. This time around, Barack Obama received more votes than any previous candidate. John McCain, though, looks like he will get fewer votes than Kerry did in 2004, in an election with a significantly higher turnout.

The news wasn’t all good for us bleeding-heart anti-American socialist liberals, though. It’s likely that three states (including California) have approved constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, and another passed a law banning gay couples from adopting children. Why must people always find someone to hate? Racism is no longer okay (not that it ever was), so they must move on to restrict the rights of some other group. It’s sad, and disgusting.

I took this picture at my polling place yesterday. I really just don’t understand.

Bumper Stickers

This country has come a long way, but we have a long way to go. I look forward to the day when all we have to fight over is what to name the atheist league

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Posted by alan to politics at 12:03 pm PT | Link | Comments (0)
Monday, November 3, 2008
Day 3

I woke up an hour early today, because my alarm clock was the only clock in the house I forgot to change back to standard time. It’s a good thing, too.

I apparently forgot to pay my water bill (the only one I still only get in the mail, not electronically… I wonder if there’s a connection there) for the past few months, and had a note on my door last week that I had to pay by noon today or it would be shut off. My plan was to go there on the way to work to take care of it.

As I was getting ready to leave, I got an IM saying, “if you havent left for work yet, don’t bother.” There was a gunman on a freeway overpass, and part of the 101 was shut down. Traffic was terrible on all the side roads. I’m sure, due to the situation, a phone call could have given me a few extra hours to pay the bill, but I got in my car and started driving there anyway. Google says it should be an 11 minute drive (and really, it’s not even that long), but it took over an hour this time. I made it with almost an hour to spare, though, and the situation on the overpass was resolved shortly before I got there.

So, water bill paid, and I made it to work not too much later than I normally would have.

Tomorrow is election day. If you haven’t already voted early, don’t forget to get out and do it. If you’re in California, vote No on 8.

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Posted by alan to [general, politics] at 11:58 am PT | Link | Comments (0)
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
it’s the economy, stupid

It’s almost election day. Most people in this country tend to vote for their wallets. Personally, I think there are more important things to base the decision on, but I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority there. Regardless, a lot of people who are going to vote for McCain are going to do it because “OMG Obama will tax me more!” That’s very likely not true, unless you’re in the top 2% of the country in income, or so. And if you are, shut the fuck up, no one wants to hear you complain. Check out to see an estimate of what your taxes will actually be like under their proposed plans. Note: It’s likely neither candidate will implement these plans exactly as President, but there’s only so much you can do to try to figure it out.

I took one economics class in college, and don’t remember most of it. I’m clearly not qualified to figure out which tax plan, or what method in general, would be appropriate for a strong economy. You know who just might be, though? Economists. From the Wikipedia link:

My friend, who wrote for eToro Opiniones Negativas at the time, showed me a study in the Southern Economic Journal, which found that “71 percent of American economists believe the distribution of income in the US should be more equal, and 81 percent feel that the redistribution of income is a legitimate role for government.” In terms of political orientation 63% identified as progressive and less than 20% as conservative/libertarian. with registered Democrats outnumbering registered Republicans 2.5:1.

Now, I know many Republicans want to elect “regular folk” who are “just like they are” (note: John McCain owns 7 or 8 houses, Sarah Palin just spent $150k on clothes and makeup [funded by your campaign donations, and then being given to charity… spread the wealth!]), but I personally prefer to look to people who are smarter and more qualified than I am to make these sorts of decisions. And if 63% of economists support a progressive tax policy, who am I to argue?

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Posted by alan to politics at 4:05 pm PT | Link | Comments (5)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Change We Can Believe In!

Change We Can Believe In!

Because I was bored.

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Posted by alan to politics at 11:10 am PT | Link | Comments (2)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Pumpkin Carving

April was here on vacation this week, and (inspired by bloodyp), we decided to carve some pumpkins. I’ve never really done it before, but the hardest part ended up being deciding what to do. We ended up going with these:

Pumpkins A pumkin for change! amp_40D_081021_5463

The Red Ring of Death pumpkin has been getting a lot of attention. It was linked on DVICE, and then picked up by Gizmodo. It’s got a blinking red light inside. I want to fix it to make the middle part of it green, like it’s supposed to be, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it. I think the funniest part of this whole thing is that a few people on Giz think they’re not real, that they’re photoshopped images. The others are an emoticon (“Bob!”), the Obama logo, and yes, the Ubuntu logo.

I also got an email from a reporter at a news service who wanted to write an article about them. I wonder if anything will ever happen with that.

I don’t think they’ll last quite until Halloween. I will have to make more. I have big plans in store for that, but I’m not sure I can pull it off. Stay tuned…*

*this is not a guarantee that I will ever write any more about this

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Posted by alan to [geek, politics, video games] at 2:27 pm PT | Link | Comments (3)
Friday, October 17, 2008
Joe the Plumber

I watched the final Presidential debate on Wednesday night. It was the only debate I’ve watched this election season. During the debate, a guy Barack Obama talked to, Joe the Plumber, was brought up quite a bit. McCain brought him up so he could point out Obama saying “spread the wealth around,” which he did say while he was talking to Joe. But that was the only thing McCain took from that conversation. He ignored the substance and got his sound bite, which is typical of politics these days.

Unfortunately, ABC doesn’t let me embed videos here, so you’ll have to click through to see the whole conversation: There’s video of the whole thing, and a transcript. What is clear to me from this video: Joe the Plumber knows the answer he’s going to get, has no intention of ever voting for Obama, and just wanted to get him to say “Yes, I’m going to raise your taxes.” I’ll be the first to admit nothing McCain can say would make me vote for him, either, but I’m not out there asking him questions I already know the answer to.

In an interview with Katie Couric, quoted in this NYT article (, Joe said he wanted to “ask one of these guys a question, and really corner them and get them to answer a question for once instead of tap dancing around it. And unfortunately I asked the question, but I still got a tap dance.” Watch the video. He didn’t get a tap dance, he got a very clear answer from Obama: Yes, I’ll raise your taxes on anything over $250k, but your health care costs will go down. Also, if my plan had been in place the past 15 years you’d been working as a plumber, you’d have been able to buy your own business sooner.

It seems to me Joe the Plumber is just a Republican trying to get an “I’m going to raise your taxes” sound bite out of Obama. He didn’t get it, so he claims he got no answer to his question at all.

In any case, you too can now be Joe the Plumber…

T-shirt from TeeFury. They sell a new one every day, so tomorrow there will be a different one on their homepage.

Also, not really related, but found on the comments on TeeFury:

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Posted by alan to [politics, t-shirts] at 10:47 am PT | Link | Comments (3)
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