Category Archives: 2008 Elections

New Puppy!

I think I can sum up my reaction to the election in three words:

Thank. Fucking. God.

I was worried about voting machines and long lines and the underlying theorem of American politics: Never underestimate stupid scared white people.

But the electoral votes gradually built up for Barack and I feel like I can exhale. I think Obama has an opportunity to be a leader on the magnitude of FDR and help to re-fortify the nation on a financial, moral and social level. I’ll be curious to see if he takes the bull by the balls and brings in the change you can believe in and the change you can’t believe until it happens.

Rachel Maddow had brought up a very important point in her interview with Obama where she noted that he did not build his campaign to run against conservatism. He didn’t run against an ideology but against specific individuals. And that maybe he is less of a ‘movement’ as people would like to see. Regardless it worked and I feel like the world will be a better place.

I am very pleased to see a family of color as the first family. I think it sends such a bright message to kids of all shades that there is a place for education and hope. Evidently the national adrenal glands have been burnt out and fear-mongering isn’t going to be effective for a few decades.

I think in a year we’ll look back and see that Obama as really been a Clinton-style centrist approach with a few nods to social safety nets and re-establishing economic stability in the country. I don’t think he’ll be starting any new wars – sweet Lord I hope not.

I feel like another piece of the ‘reconciling the past’ puzzle has been put into place.

And how refreshing is it to hear people not chanting U! S! A! but ‘Yes we can.’

I was planning on packing all last night for the move and then cleaning all tonight and then Ron and his mom coming in on Thursday and then we move on Friday. It was going to be nice and smooth and coordinated because I was doing all of it myself with no labor/management-style conflicts.

Then I get a text message yesterday afternoon from Ron that they’ve just landed. Part of me hopes that just means they landed in Hong Kong and they get back on Thursday. But a phone call confirmed that they were in transit and on their way to the house which was a complete mess of laundry and unwashed dishes.

Luckily Ron slept all day and his mom spent a lot of time emailing relatives and calling state-side siblings.

They have some absolutely wonderful photos from the trip that Ron will probably be posting to his Facebook account. He said last night in the shower ‘We are so lucky. Life over there is so hard.’ They had a prayer service for Ron’s grandmother in the house. Her four servants were still on the grounds – they had bathed her and prepared her for the funeral when she passed away many years ago. The entire village was ecstatic to see Ron and his mother. He caught up with friends from pre-school and his mom got to play mah jong with her extended family. There’s a certain amount of continuity there that I think hits you over the head. Nobody will go down to the bathroom at night because there’s so many ghosts on the first floor. The estate had been an outpost for the Japanese in World War II and supposedly prisoners had died on the grounds. Then Ron said he saw his grandmother’s ghost a few times.

Picture after picture of guava, mango, papaya, cacao, coffee beans… you’ll see. Oh and the market where they have buckets with live frogs or mudfish that they smack against a pole to knock them out before cleaning them.

He even came back with a t-shirt that says: 100% Pinoy.

As if there was ever any doubt.

Shining Shithole on the Hill

The good thing about being an INFJ is you see patterns in everything all the time but stay quiet and introverted enough that you pack down your suspicions labeled as paranoia. I don’t blog much lately because everything I’m feeling is so hopeless. I guess that is a bit extreme. Things locally are wonderful. Ron and I are great. My parents and sister and brother-in-law are all fine. But there’s a curdling unease.

Sometimes I can’t believe how fucking stupid Sarah Palin is. My next line should be, ‘I mean, really,’ but there isn’t any way to say more than that. She’s the worst example of the Ugly American. She an empty husk of consumerist hope wrapped in her own ignorance, proud of being uncurious and always at the ready to mumble ‘jingo all the way!’ She may have lipstick but she is no pit bull. She has the tenacity of a manatee and the intellect of tree stump. One blogger described her as a Pretty Hate Machine. Through the vice presidential debate, Ron and I sat there in a 90-minute cringe while a cowed Gwen Ifill rolled over and couldn’t muster the gumption for hard reporting like stalwart journalist Katie Couric.  She is an insult to smart women everywhere with her ‘I WEAR GLASSES TO SHOW I SMART’ styling and gosh-darn-gee-willickers cadence.

She is the conservative vision of women reduced to an icon: an obedient vagina with a gun.

It isn’t sexist to call a stupid women a fucking idiot.

I dreamt of Biden simply saying: ‘I’ll give my time for rebuttal to the governor so she can give you a direct answer.’ I dreamt that when McCain said he might not make that first debate that Obama would say ‘That’s okay. Nader and McKinney can come.’

I have been rather surprised at how poorly the GOP’s campaign has been executed. John McCain must really be out of his mind and not listening to his advisors. There’s no unity, no narrative, no metaphor aside from HE’S BROWN AND HE GON KILL YOU.

And McCain has turned himself into an embarrassment. His constant flogging of his own flogging has grown tired. I don’t disagree he sacrificed for his country but that doesn’t mean we owe him the White House. And for him to call Obama an elitist when he married into wealth with a blonde trophy wife while his first wife laid in the hospital disfigured. And the multiple houses. And the multiple cars. And the jet. But see, he means elitist as in That Colored Boy Think He Smarter Than You. And if there’s one thing Americans hate it is a nerd. Especially a nerd that isn’t white since he points out the possibility that if you work really hard and are smart you can succeed instead of falling into wealth by marrying it or betting your life in an economy reduced to porn, bullets and casinos.

Obama won’t change anything. He is a civil rights scholar and an expert on the Constitution but rolled over with FISA and telecom immunity. He hasn’t said dick about stopping our torture programs and other gross human rights violations. He will continue the imperial project that is driving the country into financial ruin. As more former prisoners come forward and detail the systematic abuse at the hands of Americans we learn how morally bankrupt we are, and now we’re learning how financially bankrupt we are as well. Yes I love Obama and Michelle as symbols but if there’s no there there than the symbol is just an empty totem. Maybe I should give Obama the benefit of the doubt. I dream on day one he’ll dissolve all those executive orders that set up the levers for a dictatorship and martial law – I think he could have run on a ‘restoration’ type message.

There’s no fucking money. Why won’t McCain or Obama say that? There is no money. We are beyond running on fumes. At least fumes can be inhaled for a high. We don’t even have wooden nickels dipped in shit. We don’t even have shit.

That 2 and a half page that McCain didn’t read had been cooked up months before by the White House. That congressional showdown was so suspicious to me. Any time they want to ram through legislation that fast I remember the Patriot Act and the Authorization for Use of Military Force. You can sense the hubris. They didn’t even bother making it a really long bill that nobody would read. It was just under three pages and enough of that language to include that no decisions could be undone or reconsidered. Why didn’t someone simply ask: What is the value of having no oversight?

Then came the second version of the bill that fellated any pissed off congresman with earmark/bribes so they’d say yes to anything. And then the $700 billion became $818. Like that is some sort of solution. ‘Oh it didn’t past the first time, we must need to add more bullshit to it.’ And they just came up with the number anyway. And then AIG’s big party.

Listening to a This American Life episode from NPR the question I’d kept asking myself was answered. They were talking about Credit Default Swaps – the blurry financial instrument that had undermined AIG and caused the collapse of the commercial paper market. I’d kept wondering about oversight and guessed that there was probably no regulation – and I was right. But worse than that, there was no disclosure. All the free market monkeys are always talking about how markets self-regulate if there is trust and public information (i.e. no insider info). Congress had a chance to say they wanted transparency but the greedy-grabbers decided they wanted to go without and so that is why I think there should have been a big ‘Um no, fuck YOU’ to those parties that engaged in risky business knowing full well all of the ramifications of their behavior and rewards and losses. We get to learn the lessons of the 1920s and 1930s all over again. Which means a world war should be coming any day now.

In the book American Theocracy, Kevin Phillips writes:

It’s finally happened: moving money around has surpassed making things as a share of the U.S. gross domestic product.

He then goes on to detail the decline of manufacturing and the rise of the finance, insurance and real estate industries. When I first read that I kinda shuddered. I may be a traditionalist but I don’t believe an entire country can survive on service jobs and ‘knowledge work’. We have to make something. Besides weapons. But that is what has happened. Has there ever been a case where globalization didn’t result in a race to the bottom? Phillips also details in the book the current crisis in national, global and household debt.

So the reason the car companies are failing isn’t because they make such shitty cars – they do – but that the cost of pensions is skyrocketing. I’m waiting for the generational war to begin between the boomers and everybody else.

Okay who ever has their goddamn Blackberry IM going off can please please please silence it.

I feel like I can’t find enough creative ways to say ‘we’re fucked.’

Here in Silicon Valley the VC firms are locking up and money is going to slow to a trickle. Hopefully my company is well capitalized and has reserves to weather the crazyness. I hear conflicting views on ad spending during recessions.

On the lighter side my time in the gym seems to be paying off. I’m not getting lean like I wanted to but Ron and I can barely fit side-by-side on the Muni. A co-worker noticed I’ve been getting broader. A stroll through the Castro Street Fair brought welcome glances at my chest or smiles. Ron always like this. He likes to know I’m coveted.

Okay the muffins are wearing off.

My Sarah Palin Conspiracy (With an Assist from Sam)

Andy: oh yes [Palin cancels appearance at RNC Tuesday night] – yup it is on the Gnews

Sam: jesus

Andy: I wonder if they are going to switch her out. and it wasn’t even: OH SHE GON BE AT GUSTAV

Sam: i don’t see how it’s not a legitimate concern to her base…   hwo can she possibly be going for this job considering the wreck of her family

Andy: I know. it isn’t because she has a vagina – it is because she’s got a NEWBORN. unless hubbie is staying home… like a fag

Sam: well that and she’s got a teenage girl who is crying out for fucking help

Andy: 🙂 well there’s that

Sam: and instead of trying to manage this they are bringing babydaddy along for the ride. levi, who is a self-described “redneck”

Andy: exactly. she found the worst possible chump and got knocked up. AND she supposedly had mono as she’s pregnant?

Sam: i’m sorry, that retarded baby is hers, not sarah’s

Andy: so you think Bristol gave birth to the tarder tot 😉 and then turned around and got re-knocked up?

Sam: it’s happened before.

Andy:  mmkay

Sam: my first theory was she’s not even pregnant at all right now. and she will “miscarry”. that’s my conspiracy theory
Andy: OH. tha’ts a good one. OH SAM. OH SAM.

Sam: yes YES!!

Andy: she isn’t appearing tonight because of the miscarriage. CONVENIENT EXIT. nobody gets aborted


Andy: sympathies felt – flowers sent – continues to qualify for speakers circuit

Sam: right, and anybody who questions it is belittling their experience.  as a family. the stress of this all just caused her mucous plug to shoot out like a bullet from her mom’s shotgun – no one was injured.

Andy: YES

Sam: liberals caused the death of yet another defenseless child

Are All Guys Named Tucker Complete Assholes?

Basically McCain’s spokesman boils down to WHY DO YOU HATE MOTHERHOOD SO MUCH? From TPM:

I just saw McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds on CNN with a new line on Gov. Palin’s foreign policy experience: McCain and Palin have more combined military command experience than Obama and Biden put together. [video]

Palin Tried to Fire Librarian for Not Banning Books

It just gets better and better:

She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving “full support” to the mayor. [Mayor Palin: A Rough Record]

What If Bristol Palin Were Black?

From Huffington Post:

Which brings us back to Obama. Do you think the Republicans would lay off of Obama if his 17 year-old daughter had gotten pregnant out of wedlock? You know the answer to that question. Everyone does. “This is what the permissive liberal attitude gets you. If you allow your children to think everything is acceptable, they have no boundaries. They wind up getting themselves in trouble like this. It’s a predictable result of the liberal lifestyle. [Cenk Uygur: What If Bristol Palin Were Black?]

Americans Don’t Think It’ll Get Better

via Krugman in the New York Times:

The Survey Research Center of the University of Michigan has been tracking American economic perceptions since the 1950s. On Friday the center released its latest estimate of the consumer sentiment index — and it was a stunner. Americans are more pessimistic about their situation than they have been for more than a quarter century. Meanwhile, a recent Pew report found that the percentage of Americans saying that they’re better off than they were five years ago is at its lowest level in 44 years of polling.

Michelle Obama’s ‘Bitch, Please’ Look

I love Michelle Obama.

She is smart and funny and graceful. Let the record show I would rather have her be the president for her sheer practicality and unabashed authenticity. You can tell she is the one that grounds their relationship. You always feel she is just one step away from kicking ass (either physically or rhetorically) and taking names. She is so opposite the Lady MacBeth or Stepford Wife, Guenevere or Xanax’ed Smile we’re used to seeing from first ladies:

Wonkette writes about Michelle’s ‘you have to be kidding me you idiot’ look that she saves for the stupider of journalists. Or in this case, Anne Romney way back when:

Michelle, I know this look. I have given this look. This is the look that a woman gives another person when s/he’s saying something so dumb you’re afraid it might rub off. This is the “bitch, please” look. I love that you gave this look on stage, in public, to Ann Romney.

Be on the lookout for more of these brief glances where Michelle levels with us and indicates that she’s as fed up with stupid campaign coverages as everybody else is.

Porn and Casinos, Bullets and Prisons

I was talking with a trusted colleague last night on Skype and we were batting back and forth what we thought would be the effect of the recession on the online business scene. I’m kind of a pessimist. Each time the credit crisis spreads to a new sector of the financial ecosystem the Fed dumps in money hoping to stanch the bleeding. Nobody in the US seems particularly alarmed that the UK had to nationalize one of its banks… the government took control of a bank. (isn’t nationalize just another word – gasp! – socialize?) The dollar continues to collapse and oil prices continue to rise. I know you think I’m just being a big commie for being concerned about this. I feel like I know enough to be scared shitless but not enough to feel at ease. And I know there will be a bailout. Industries get bailed out, individuals don’t. Those that made stupid mortgage choices will not be required to pay the piper – and the loan officers that convinced uneducated customers into loans they could never afford will never be punished. People seem so desperate to find some example of constant and ever-expanding growth. I’m all for abundance and attraction but come on. I don’t think it will ever get as bad as it did in Argentina where the entire banking system collapsed. But do you really trust the nation’s leading financiers to do the right thing for all of us or just for themselves?

This coupled with my complete and utter disgust at our Presidential election wear on me every single day. As we become willing torturers and nourish ourselves on the hateful fearmongering and war-profiteering of the smallest minds who knows how that will affect business.

I’ve said before that the entire reduction of online business cooks down to porn and casinos. I think that the entire reduction of offline industry boils down to bullets and prisons. I don’t think it matters who gets elected. No one is willing to dis-assemble the surveillance state that is being built up systematically and shifting it’s eyes from foreign nationals to citizens. The boundaires of constitutional rights continue to blur and no one seems particularly alarmed that habeas corpus no longer exists. You probably just rolled your eyes and called me a name. Or you have the defense that if you are’t doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry aobut – well if I’m not doing anything wrong then why do you need to watch me or track my online usage or my Tivo recording dhabits or credit card purchases or geographic incidence of purchase patterns.

So the recession that most economists agree that we are in will do two things to online business: bring in more desperate people hoping to strike it rich.