Wednesday, January 30, 2008
In his recent post on Real Clear Politics, Tom Bevan draws the connection between political candidates campaigns and brands, and asks the question is Hillary vs. Barack like Microsoft vs. Apple.
Perhaps this time Apple will win in the end.
Hillary Clinton, of course, is like Microsoft. Her campaign is a disciplined corporate behemoth that is based almost entirely around a rational offer (in this case, experience) but has very limited emotional appeal. That's not to say Democrats don't view her favorably -- they do -- but she does not excite the kind of emotions in voters that make her a compelling choice.
Even Clinton's strategy is based on a model similar to the one that fueled Microsoft's rise: Gobble up enough money, talent and endorsements (i.e., market share) to squeeze out smaller competitors and become the ''inevitable'' choice.
Microsoft achieved dominance not necessarily because people felt any joy in buying its products but because at the end of the day, thanks to ruthless tactics and execution, it became impractical for most people to choose anything else. Clinton hopes to achieve the same.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, is like Apple. His brand is driven primarily by its emotional appeal: He is exciting and fresh to some, hip and cool to others. Most important, his brand inspires hope and optimism, two exceedingly powerful emotions that allow people to make a statement about themselves by casting a vote for him.
Perhaps this time Apple will win in the end.
What if it's McCain vs. Hillary in November? Oh man, that would be a blast to witness. Two nearly identical choices for imperial manager, the one slight difference being that McCain says he's opposed to torture, while Hillary must wait to check wind velocity and direction. I can see the liberals twisting themselves into numerous knots trying to justify a Hillary vote over McCain, assuring each other that it's the right thing to do, and of course reaching back to Bill's criminal years for inspiration. You mules better hope that Saint Obama gets the nod instead. At least with him, the fantasy is easier to pull off. Change! Hope! Stardust! Ponies! If I ruled the world . . .
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Colorado has its caucus next Tuesday, so I've been thinking a lot about the choices on the Democratic menu. Baring some major event, it is going to come down to a choice between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Which candidate to choose, is a common topic of considerable discussion.
The truth of the matter is that Clinton and Obama aren't substantially different. They are both products of the mainstream Democratic machine. Both would get us out of Iraq, only the time tables differ - Obama wants to get out fast, while Clinton would linger. Both will try to do something about health care - Hillary wants to shoot for universal coverage, while Obama is willing to settle for something less. Both will pander to the public concerning the economy and immigration.
More to the point, presidents don't just dictate policy, at least not until the current administration came to power. They rely on advisors and cabinet members to set policy, and require the cooperation of congress to get anything enacted.
So do Clinton and Obama differ on these criteria? Chances are that both would have pretty much the same sort of people working for them. Where they may differ is in people skills. Arguably, Obama might be more successful bridging the political divide to get his policies through congress than the divisive Clinton.
So what is left? Only the intangibles of character and charisma. At first Obama reminded me of John Kerry - a patrician hyper-intellectual who can't give a straight concise answer to a simple question. As the campaign progressed, he out grew the similarities to Kerry. Clinton reminds me of Lyndon Baines Johnson. And I've always had a soft spot for LBJ. He was a complicated yet deeply flawed man, who did a wonderful thing. He brought to life the JFK's dream of civil rights in this country. In fact its hard to imagine who else could have gotten the Jim Crow south to drag itself into the the 20th century.
That said, I'm not supporting Hillary Clinton! She and Bill have run a nasty, condescending (bordering on racist), brutish campaign. They seem to think the office of the presidency is entitled to them. And lastly, they regularly take advantage of Hillary's gender - vote for Hillary or you're a sexist pig - when it benefits them.
A prime example of this came as a result of yesterday's endorsement of Obama by Ted Kennedy. The announcement has created a firestorm of criticism from Hillary supporters. The New York chapter of NOW made the announcement that ...
Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy's endorsement of Hillary Clinton's opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard...
And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He's picked the new guy over us. He's joined the list of progressive white men who can't or won't handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not "this" one)...
Yes, while you can argue that Hillary isn't responsible for this tantrum, she does encourage this sort of behavior from her supporters. She always has plausible deniability. She critically implies that black Obama supporters only vote for him because he is black, but in the same breath argues that women should vote for her because she is a women. She loves the language of victimization, stereotyping, gender bashing, and racial divisiveness.
Beyond that, Hillary has a consistently poor voting record. She voted for Bush's authorization for the war. She voted for the bankruptcy bill and for the restriction of civil liberties. She's refused to apologize for any of these votes, and commonly makes excuses for her record. Both Hillary and Bill are directly responsible to the deadlock in the senate by supporting Joe Lieberman's independent bid for his senate seat. Obama's voting record is less clear, since he typically didn't show up for senate votes if he wasn't needed.
I'm tired of her. I'm tired of her supporters. I'm tried of being insulted, abused, and condescended to. Obama seems to be a decent guy. I'm voting for character. I'm voting for Obama. Because in the end this is the real difference between the two.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
This device, which can record up to 130 thousand keystrokes, fits between the back of the PC and the keyboard cable. Once installed, it can capture anything that is typed on the key board - passwords, messages, etc. It was used to break the Sumitomo Bank’s wire transfer capability. The money was eventually recovered.
From ShortNews a follow up of an earlier post on the subject from KT Cat
Minnesota: A 30-year-old man in Goodhue County blew up a dump truck using Tannerite, an explosive sold online in 8-ounce cans as a shooting target for gun enthusiasts. The blast rattled a nearby casino and put a nuclear power plant on high alert.
Sheriff Dean Albers said "He had placed it inside of a [barrel] inside the bed of an old dump truck, and shot it it with a 50 caliber rifle from 300 yards away." Shrapnel was found over a 1/4 mile away. One officer spotted another vehicle bombed out.
"That you could go ahead and order 100 pounds of this, with the regulations out there, this day and age, you'd have thought someone would build a mechanism that would have detected someone's order this kind of amount," said Albers.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Well once again the Denver National Western Stock Show has shown its Neanderthal side. Every years someone sticks their head in the cow droppings. This year's winner is Greeley businessman William R. Farr, who made an incredibly lame joke about the white house needed to be renamed the black house should Sen. Barack Obama be elected president. What is especially sad about this incident is that the statement was made at the show's Citizen of the West banquet. It appears that Farr's faux pas was the result of ignorant cluelessness and not outright churlishness.
Past winners of the head in the cow crap award include jokes about lynching a black rodeo clown and various Jewish stereotypes about money. To their credit the stock show has apologized for the incidents and not invited the speakers back. So I guess that puts them ever so slightly ahead of southern states such as Louisiana where the response is just to cheer.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Virginia Lawmakers Considering Equality for Cats and Dogs
source is ShortNews
Virginia: State Delegate Jennifer McClellan is pushing for legal equality for the theft of cats and dogs. Currently dognapping is a felony punishable by up to 10 years prison while catnapping is a misdemeanor with a maximum one year sentence.
Among the questions lawmakers are wrestling with is how to protect people who feed a cat that then decides to stay, whether other pets such as guinea pigs and parakeets deserve the same equality, and how feral cats factor into the decision.
"I do not now, nor have I ever, owned a cat. But for people who do love their cats as much as dog owners adore their pets Virginia law is unfair. All I'm trying to do is have the law reflect… [that] the punishment should be the same," said McClellan.
source is ShortNews
Monday, January 14, 2008
Macaw Foils Pet Store Robbers
Boston, MA - Burglars thought they had an easy score after smashing the front window of a pet store, however they found out shortly afterwards the store wasn't empty. The intruders quickly fled the store when they heard a voice screaming for Rhonda.
Turns out, it was a blue-and-gold macaw named Merlin. "When he hears someone come into the building, or the puppies get riled up or whatever, he'll start calling for Rhonda, who is the woman who used to own him," Store manager Lori Oltman reported.
The crooks efforts were not in complete vain, they did mange to make off with fifteen dollars in change.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Wigan: After a friendship that extended to sharing a basket, a dog named Oscar has shown he was not content to let the grave separate him from his feline companion Arthur.
Arthur died at the age of 17 and was buried in the back yard of his owners. During the night Oscar dug Arthur up, cleaned him up, and carried him to the basket they had shared. The two were found together in the basket the next morning.
Arthur has been reburied in a grave that is much more likely to let him rest in peace and Oscar has a new companion - a kitten called Limpet. According to owner Mavis Bell Oscar is already very protective of his new friend.
Thanks to Dr. Zaius for pointing this out.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Hilary Clinton wins the New Hampshire Primary much to her surprise. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton leads Obama 39 to 36 percent. The full results can be found here
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
For those who care, here's our tree for this year. Its a bit too red, white and blue. Next year we need to get some warmer colors. Otherwise I think it turned out nice.
Saint Nicholas of Myra is the main inspiration for the Christian figure of Santa Claus. He was a 4th century Christian bishop in Lycia, now in Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his gifts to the poor, in particular giving dowries to three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian so they would not have to become prostitutes...
Numerous parallels have been drawn between Santa Claus and the figure of Odin, a major god among the Germanic Peoples prior to their Christianization...
Odin was celebrated at the native Germanic holiday of Yule and was depicted as a mysterious old man with a beard. Children would place their boots, filled with carrots or straw, near the chimney for Odin's flying horse, Sleipnir. Odin would then replace Sleipnir's food with gifts.