Last night, the Bellmore-Merrick Democratic club of Long Island New York held a straw poll. The room was packed with people from all over the Island. Both campaigns tried to get as many party activists as they could to the event. The crowd was energized, some carrying Hillary signs, but most of us carrying Obama signs. We listened to some well crafted speeches by representatives of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Dennis Kucinich. Following that was an hour of questions. Then came a straw poll.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Paul Krugman wrote a piece in the New York Times called Lessons of 1992, in which he writes,
"First, those who don’t want to nominate Hillary Clinton because they don’t want to return to the nastiness of the 1990s — a sizable group, at least in the punditocracy — are deluding themselves. Any Democrat who makes it to the White House can expect the same treatment: an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false (at least not on Page 1)."
Sunday, January 27, 2008
My most popular post so far has been Barack Obama Endorsements [January 4-14], which I posted two weeks ago. [For a current list, see Running List of Obama Endorsements.] Since that time, there have been several high profile endorsements. Most moving of all was the stunning endorsement from Caroline Kennedy, daughter of JFK, delivered through a New York Times Op Ed piece entitled A President Like My Father. She ends,
"I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president - not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans."
- Senator Edward Kennedy (of Massachusetts, brother of JFK)
- Caroline Kennedy (daughter of JFK)
- Senator Patrick Leahy (of Vermont)
- Former Senator Jean Carnahan (of Missouri)
- Congressman Rick Boucher (of Virginia)
- San Francisco Chronicle
- San Jose Mercury News
- Modesto Bee
- Santa Barbara Independent
- New York Observer
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- Arizona Republic
- Philadelphia Inquirer
- Chicago Tribune
- Seattle Times
- Rocky Mountain News
Saturday, January 26, 2008
A former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women explains why she very recently switched from supporting Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. The Clintons have hurt themselves and the Democratic party with their tactics over the last few weeks. Please don't blame Obama for fighting back a bit.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research is trying to start a master's degree in "science education". Here is an article from the Austin American-Statesman (thanks DG): Leading scientists oppose creation institute's degree plan. (see contact info below to take action.)
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I had been thinking that Huckabee was basically harmless, doling out religious pablum to his base. But this is quite scary. He says, "and that's what we need to do is to amend the constitution so it's in God's standards...". If this doesn't scare you, read on.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Here is an interview with Lawrence Krauss about science and religion from Point of Inquiry. The interview is about half an hour long, so here's the main thing I got out of it. Krauss argues that scientists should convey what they have learned studying nature, particularly in the area of biological evolution, but that, in the end, religious beliefs (or lack thereof) are outside science's purview. Thus he is somewhat at odds with Richard Dawkins, at least in style.
Monday, January 21, 2008
- extremely inexpensive ($200)
- durable (e.g., sealed rubber keyboard)
- easy to power (e.g., can use sunlight to view screen)
- easy to use (simple apps, open source software)
- easy to network (rabbit antennas—see below)
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Here is info from the SEA on all the remaining candidates (thanks DF). They have info on the candidates' views on Energy, Evolution, Global Warming, Healthcare, and Stem Cell Research (only Huckabee is against that):
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
- Culinary Workers Local 226 (largest union in Nevada, state with the next primary)
- Senator John Kerry (of Massachusetts, former presidential candidate)
- Senator Claire McCaskill (of Missouri, vowed to work hard for Obama)
- Governor Janet Napolitano (of Arizona)
- Former Senator Bill Bradley (of New Jersey, former presidential candidate)
- Congressman George Miller (of California, close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, liberal Democrat)
- Governor Jim Doyle (of Wisconsin)
- Senator Ben Nelson (of Nebraska, a conservative Democrat)
- Senator Tim Johnson (of South Dakota, a moderate Democrat)
- Mayor Shirley Franklin (of Atlanta)
- Former Vice President Al Gore
- Senator Barbara Boxer (of California)
- Former President Jimmy Carter
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I just joined a service called Digg, which lets people rate blog posts, webpages, videos, and more. If you like any of my posts (past or future), please click the "digg it" button next to it (it will probably ask you to sign up for a free account the first time).
Saturday, January 12, 2008
As you can see, the dots are bunched around the most probable value and taper off in either direction—in the same way that the the area under a bell curve decreases away from the center. s, the distance from the blue line to Mars divided by the size of the error, is 3.7, giving a probability of 10,000:1.
Notice that the scale here is 500,000 km, so this is zoomed out by a factor of 5 from the 9 January picture. Two things have happened in the fortnight. First, the position of the blue line has changed a little. More importantly, the size of the error was a lot bigger two weeks ago. Back then the error was large enough so that the distance from the blue line to Mars divided by the error was only 2.2, giving a probability of 25:1.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Last month, it was reported that a very small asteroid had a 1-in-75 chance of hitting Mars, which was very exciting. It would be awesome to see the effects of such a collision. Then the number was 1-in-25, which was even more exciting. Now the number has dropped to 1-in-10,000, so it is very unlikely to happen. How could the numbers change that much?
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
- Science Debate 2008
- Champagne Bubbles
- Ron Paul & Evolution
- Thought Experiments or Cannonballs
- Second Amendment
- Barack Obama
Exit polls indicate that Hillary did much better with women in New Hampshire than Iowa. It has been conjectured that those voters did not want to give up on the dream of a female president. I understand that. I hope we elect a woman as President of the United States some time in the near future. I also look forward to the race barrier being broken.
Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
Nashua, New Hampshire
I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire.
A few weeks ago, no one imagined that we'd have accomplished what we did here tonight. For most of this campaign, we were far behind, and we always knew our climb would be steep. But in record numbers, you came out and spoke up for change. And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment – in this election – there is something happening in America.
There is something happening when men and women in Des Moines and Davenport; in Lebanon and Concord come out in the snows of January to wait in lines that stretch block after block because they believe in what this country can be.
There is something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit – who have never before participated in politics – turn out in numbers we've never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.
There is something happening when people vote not just for the party they belong to but the hopes they hold in common – that whether we are rich or poor; black or white; Latino or Asian; whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. That is what's happening in America right now. Change is what's happening in America.
You can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long political darkness – Democrats, Independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington; who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable; who understand that if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence that's stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there's no problem we can't solve – no destiny we cannot fulfill.
Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable, unavailable health care in our time. We can bring doctors and patients; workers and businesses, Democrats and Republicans together; and we can tell the drug and insurance industry that while they'll get a seat at the table, they don't get to buy every chair. Not this time. Not now. Our new majority can end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut into the pockets of the working Americans who deserve it.
We can stop sending our children to schools with corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success. We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness. We can do this with our new majority.
We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists; citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our planet from a point of no return. And when I am President, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home; we will finish the job against al Qaeda in Afghanistan; we will care for our veterans; we will restore our moral standing in the world; and we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election, it is a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the twenty-first century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.
All of the candidates in this race share these goals. All have good ideas. And all are patriots who serve this country honorably.
But the reason our campaign has always been different is because it's not just about what I will do as President, it's also about what you, the people who love this country, can do to change it.
That's why tonight belongs to you.
It belongs to the organizers and the volunteers and the staff who believed in our improbable journey and rallied so many others to join.
We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change. We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come.
We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.
Yes we can.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.
Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.
Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.
Yes we can.
It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.
And so tomorrow, as we take this campaign South and West; as we learn that the struggles of the textile worker in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas; that the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America's story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea – Yes. We. Can.
Monday, January 7, 2008
I've realized that I'm not always going to have time for a full post. And perhaps some of you would like things in small bites. So I will sometimes publish short posts called factoids. This one is on the speed of light.
The constant c in Einstein's famous equation E=mc2, is the speed of light. c is 186,282 mi/sec, or 299,792 km/sec. That means light could go around the equator of the Earth (in some conduit) about 7 times in a second. On the other hand, the sun is so far away, 93 million miles, that it takes light more than 8 minutes to get here from there.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
To make expandable posts, as I've done recently on this blog, please follow the directions on this hackosphere post.
I did need to click on the Expand Widget Templates button. I advise clicking on the Preview button at the bottom of the page after you do each thing to make sure you haven't fried your template. Also, make a copy of the template before you start, and remember you have an 'undo' command :).
Friday, January 4, 2008
Here are speeches by 7 of the candidates following last night's Iowa Caucuses.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
I debated whether I should endorse a presidential candidate in this blog. Much of the time, I hope to present information and let you form your own opinion. I think all of the candidates for US president have their plusses and minuses, and I could understand someone sensible supporting almost any of them, for one reason or another. I could also understand someone being opposed to any of them. But one has to decide. I am for Barack Obama.
“Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Let's set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let's recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let's make college more affordable, and let's invest in scientific research, and let's lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America.”
— Barack Obama Presidential Announcement Speech in Springfield, IL 02/10/07