mm399: On the cusp of history

June 3, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

As I begin to write, shortly after 8:00pmCDT, CNN is telling the world that Barack Obama has amassed sufficient delegates to clinch the Democratic party’s nomination for president of the United States.

As an interested observer of history, notwithstanding whatever personal feelings one might have or not about Obama the candidate, one cannot help but be quietly amazed at this turn of events, once so unlikely and tonight so inevitable.

I was born in 1948. Yeah, okay, old enough to be your grandfather, perhaps. But, take it from me, 1948 was not that long ago.

In 1948 racial segregation was a fact of life for most African Americans. That year, President Harry Truman signed an executive order ending racial segregation in the U.S. armed forces, although it took several more years to take effect throughout the military. Less than a year before I was born, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play for a major league baseball team. Today, we take for granted our integrated military force, and our integrated sports teams, in fact both would be curiously empty otherwise.

Now, a majority of voters in this endless Democratic primary season that began 18 months ago after the mid-term election of 2006, have chosen an African American candidate to campaign for the U.S. presidency in November.

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mm379: Iraq = Lebanon. Finally it makes sense.

May 14, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Faithful reader (if s/he indeed is faithful) is probably disgusted with this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© lately, as we’ve been rehashing good old stuff rather than creating good new stuff here.

As I reflect on my lethargic approach to blogging this past week, my analysis finds that it’s partly due to the demands of the bill paying occupation, and partly my failure to extricate from the zillions of new pages popping up every day in said ‘Sphere a nugget of insight upon which to build.

Didn’t really want to write about the Democrats’ Clinton/Obama soap opera. Although, I commend to your attention Eric Zorn of yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s hometown Chicago Tribune on why Sen. Clinton is the wrong running mate for Obama.

So that left me with — what? Reruns, and this during sweeps month, too! smile_nerd

Tonight though, finally, revelation. Christopher Dickey of Newsweek makes a thought connection regarding the cesspool that is our Iraq adventure that makes such great sense that one is tempted to slap oneself, saying “it’s so obvious — why didn’t I think of that?”

I didn’t. Dickey did. Read and learn.

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mm368: Knowledge: Blast furnace of the 21st century

May 3, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Do you feel buffeted by the forces of the post-industrial revolution? How can you not?

The history of technology is a frequent visitor to this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©, mostly because it has long been of interest to yr (justifiably) humble svt. Also, because the macro changes occurring all around us are, of course, culminations, or at least stops along the way, of trends that began when humans created civilization, perhaps 10,000 years ago.

L-HC‘s History of Technology

mm361: Gin, television, Web 2.0
mm359: The Navy’s ferry tale — unhappy ever after
mm278a: Don’t look back: Something gaining on you
mm272: What the devil time is it anyway?
mm228: Toothpicks — Good to great to gone
mm224: Dec. 17, 1903: A seminal date in history
mm195: Edison and Tesla
mm159: Sputnik | Spacemen are from Mars
mm119: Creating the sequitur
mm104: There She Blew

The ages of human development have long been characterized, and popularized, by the most important attribute of the era. Thus we can cite some of the various ages, stone (which actually predates modern homo sapiens), agriculture, discovery, mercantile, industrial.

Have we moved beyond the industrial age? David Brooks tackled this topic in yesterday’s NYTimes.

nytimes

The Cognitive Age

Op-Ed Columnist | By DAVID BROOKS | Published: May 2, 2008

If you go into a good library, you will find thousands of books on globalization. Some will laud it. Some will warn about its dangers. But they’ll agree that globalization is the chief process driving our age. Our lives are being transformed by the increasing movement of goods, people and capital across borders….

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mm358: Federalists. Whigs. Democrats?

April 24, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

A funny thing happened on the way to Barack Obama’s coronation as the Democratic presidential candidate.

That’s if you consider Hillary Clinton funny.

She just keeps winning large elections in important states, the latest, Pennsylvania, the other day. It’s Hillaryus, to borrow an oft-coined a phrase.

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mm349: What’s Mike really going to do next?

April 16, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Thought I was done with Michael Bloomberg.

Not so fast, tiger.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC for U.S. President 2008

mm024: Bloomberg?
mm038.1: Jews Sorta Like Bloomberg Even Though…
mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility…
mm054: Chicago Tribune news: An Idea for Bloomberg
mm057: Bloomberg for President?
mm058: What Kind of President would Michael Bloomberg?
mm064: How to take down plutocrat Michael Bloomberg…
mm066: Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions
mm069: The Votes Are In for New York’s Mayor Mike
mm086: Bloomberg Takes School Plan… to Midwest
mm110: Grading Mayoral Control
mm117: The cure for the Electoral College is worse…
mm208: Overdue a Bloomberg post
mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?
mm248: Political Potpourri
mm254: Bloomberg – just won’t go away…
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger
mm280: Bloomberg for Vice President? Take 2
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm290: Gassing ’bout birds and supermen
mm300: Bloomberg: I’m not running, but…
mm301: Sorry, Mudge, the answer is no!
mm304: Mike, now I’m done!

This is all good sport in New York City, where, after all, Bloomberg is the two-term mayor, in a term-limit district. What’s a billionaire to do? Next?

Read the rest of this entry »


mm330: They’re ganging up on her!

March 27, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Can’t help it! It’s like a tennis match, this run-up to the Democratic convention.

Ooh, she hit a good one!

Swack! He got her good on that one!

Etc.

And, the happiest tennis fan in the stadium is John McCain, who sees the Democrats doing the heavy lifting for he and the until recently hapless Republican party. They’ve gotta be figuring that Clinton and Obama are dealing each other unrecoverable blows; they’ll be too exhausted to put up a defense against him come the general election, and McCain and the Republicans must be taking notes on what stroke aimed where is the most effective.

End of the tennis allusion; never my game, actually. (I was left-handed before left-handed tennis was glamorous.) But, you see its appropriateness.

He’s winning; she and her staff are working at fever pitch to stop him. Kind of ugly out there.

And the professional commentariat notices (as, of course, do we modestly talented amateurs):

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mm291: White (haired) man speak with forked tongue

February 20, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Late start tonight; busy day led to a busy evening.

Did get time to step outside into the crystal clear 13°F night to gander at the lunar eclipse.

Very cool. Cold, actually, but fun to see.

Puts our everyday concerns into perspective, when you get that all too rare chance to slow down, pause and look up to see the cosmos working in its own time and rhythm.

To business.

As part of the NYTimes series of extended coverage of the presidential candidates, they’ve just published the following:

nytimes

For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk

By JIM RUTENBERG, MARILYN W. THOMPSON, DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and STEPHEN LABATON | Published: February 21, 2008

WASHINGTON — Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

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mm284: A vote against Hillary is NOT a vote against women in high office

February 13, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

I’m a curmudgeon, but not a dope.

I believe in strong competent leaders. And I have absolutely no trouble with the concept that a strong competent leader is a woman.

The women in my life are strong, competent people. My wife, my daughter, my mother and mother-in-law: not one is a weakling or a coward.

For most of the past decade, by most measures by far the most remunerative in my 40+ years in the workforce [bar inflation, a subject of a future post], my supervisors, managers, directors and even one vice president / corporate officer, are all women. Strong, competent leaders, each of them.

Not all of them easy to work with or for, but that’s equally true of all of the men I have worked for all of these years.

Have I established gender neutrality credentials? Feminist (if a guy of a certain age is permitted to so classify himself) credentials? I hope so, because it’s how I lead my life.

Thus, I have absolutely no trouble with the concept of a woman ascending to the office of President of the United States of America. Long overdue.

But.

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mm280: Bloomberg for Vice President? Take 2

February 9, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

It’s Slippery Saturday (in these northern climes) following Tsunami Tuesday. And we’re wondering where Michael Bloomberg fits in the election puzzle.

As faithful reader knows, we’ve been following the non-candidacy of Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, since we staked out this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©. As a review, you might consult the following:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC for U.S. President 2008

mm024: Bloomberg?
mm038.1: Jews Sorta Like Bloomberg Even Though…
mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility…
mm054: Chicago Tribune news: An Idea for Bloomberg
mm057: Bloomberg for President?
mm058: What Kind of President would Michael Bloomberg?
mm064: How to take down plutocrat Michael Bloomberg…
mm066: Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions
mm069: The Votes Are In for New York’s Mayor Mike
mm086: Bloomberg Takes School Plan… to Midwest
mm110: Grading Mayoral Control
mm117: The cure for the Electoral College is worse…
mm208: Overdue a Bloomberg post
mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?
mm248: Political Potpourri
mm254: Bloomberg – just won’t go away…
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger

As this has been an eventful week in the endless saga of Campaign 2008 (began the day after the November, 2006 elections), we wondered how Mike’s plans (or non-plans) might be affected by the tumultuous events.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm248: Political Potpourri

January 9, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

We are all of us under bombardment. If it’s not politics, it’s electronics (the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week).

What’s an overstressed blogger to do? How to choose?

It’s 2008 — politics wins. Actually, it’s been 2008 politically since November, 2006.

From the veritable cascade of information flowing out of the results of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, as well as germane political news of a more general nature, we’ve put together another in a series we at Left-Handed Complement like to call:

shortattention_thumb2 ©

As this is our second effort in the past 16 hours or so, we will restrict ourselves to more cursory commentary. These are three stories that faithful reader should read for understanding.

There will be a test!

The New Hampshire results, especially Hillary Clinton’s surprise narrow victory over the sweetheart of Iowa, Barack Obama (a five-day honeymoon — that’s Britney Spears class!), most embarrassed the people who conducted the polls that had everyone, especially Obama’s team, believing in his invincibility.

nytimes

opinionatornytimes

They Were Misinformed

By Tobin Harshaw | January 9, 2008,  9:33 am

Well, it was a shocking defeat for this group, and today they’re going to have to take a long hard look at what went wrong. No, I don’t mean Team Obama — that crowd can move ahead — I mean the pollsters who were so certain that the Clinton campaign was D.O.A.

We’ll start, as usual, with Mark Blumenthal at Pollster.com, who dissects the final poll by CNN and the University of New Hampshire:

The discrepancy between the last UNH poll and the result seems concentrated in a few key subgroups. I will post the exact numbers tomorrow once the we get a final exit poll tabulations, but virtually all of the difference seems to come from women and college educated voters. For the moment, when comparing the UNH poll to the exit poll, I see a net 17 point gain for Clinton among women compared to a 5 point gain among men, and a 13 point net gain among college educated voters compared to a one point net loss among those with no college degree.

[Please click the link below for the complete article -- but then please come on back!]

They Were Misinformed – The Opinionator – Opinion – New York Times Blog

Back to the drawing board, pollsters. And, it’s game on for this political season, as the long-held (okay, five-day-long-held) sureties dissipated in Hillary’s “comeback.”

shortattention_thumb2 ©

It’s the season, and we’ve been increasingly concerned about vote fraud, most specifically when it involves voting machines (lately here and here).

This past weekend, the NYTimes magazine ran an extended feature on voting machines, and the crises in confidence they’ve caused in many states.

We all know the story of Florida in 2000 (which was a paper based system, in a state that politically gives Myanmar some competition), but disturbing stories are told all over the country.

nytimesmagazine

Can You Count on Voting Machines?

By CLIVE THOMPSON | Published: January 6, 2008

Jane Platten gestured, bleary-eyed, into the secure room filled with voting machines. It was 3 a.m. on Nov. 7, and she had been working for 22 hours straight. “I guess we’ve seen how technology can affect an election,” she said. The electronic voting machines in Cleveland were causing trouble again….

As the primaries start in New Hampshire this week and roll on through the next few months, the erratic behavior of voting technology will once again find itself under a microscope. In the last three election cycles, touch-screen machines have become one of the most mysterious and divisive elements in modern electoral politics. Introduced after the 2000 hanging-chad debacle, the machines were originally intended to add clarity to election results. But in hundreds of instances, the result has been precisely the opposite: they fail unpredictably, and in extremely strange ways; voters report that their choices “flip” from one candidate to another before their eyes; machines crash or begin to count backward; votes simply vanish. (In the 80-person town of Waldenburg, Ark., touch-screen machines tallied zero votes for one mayoral candidate in 2006 — even though he’s pretty sure he voted for himself.) Most famously, in the November 2006 Congressional election in Sarasota, Fla., touch-screen machines recorded an 18,000-person “undervote” for a race decided by fewer than 400 votes.

[Please click the link below for the complete article -- but then please come on back!]

Voting Machines – Elections – Ballots – Politics – New York Times

We have a lot to worry about, people!

shortattention_thumb2 ©

Couldn’t resist this one.

A fellow WordPress blogger (there are only a couple of million of us) had the following unique take on two men in the news (and present always, or lately, in this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©).

Always, Michael Bloomberg:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC for U.S. President 2008

mm024: Bloomberg?
mm038.1: Jews Sorta Like Bloomberg Even Though…
mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility…
mm054: Chicago Tribune news: An Idea for Bloomberg
mm058: What Kind of President would Michael Bloomberg?
mm064: How to take down plutocrat Michael Bloomberg…
mm066: Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions
mm069: The Votes Are In for New York’s Mayor Mike
mm086: Bloomberg Takes School Plan… to Midwest
mm110: Grading Mayoral Control
mm117: The cure for the Electoral College is worse…
mm208: Overdue a Bloomberg post
mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?

Lately, Barack Obama (see above, and here, for example).

Why not put them together? asks this distinguished political expert, blogger Jon Taplin.

jontaplinsblog

Obama-Bloomberg?

January 7, 2008 · 7 Comments

Obama- Bloomberg

With Drudge predicting Hillary’s exit and Barack Obama increasingly building excitement towards locking up the nomination on Feb. 5, I’m thinking about the role Mike Bloomberg could play as Obama’s running mate. The Republican battle could last all the way until a brokered convention in August. Romney has too much money to retire easily, McCain could take New Hampshire, Huckabee wins South Carolina, Rudy wins Florida and the Feb 5 races could be split with no clear winner. That leaves Barack with time to consolidate the Democratic Party, raise money for the general and choose a running mate while the Republicans remain in a squabble, spending their limited resources on the primary.

[Please click the link below for the complete article -- but then please come on back!]

Obama-Bloomberg? « Jon Taplin’s Blog

What a concept! It’s got legs, brains, $$$.

Would billionaire Mayor Mike settle for being anyone’s second banana?

Don’t you just love political season (except of course that it has apparently become the first true perpetual motion machine)?

And that’s L-HC’s first ever (that we can recall) Political Potpourri. Does anyone doubt that there’ll be more?

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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