Friday, September 19, 2008

Hardly Working

Quick Political tidbits for the day. Much angst. Skip to the "---------" if you want just the happy updates.

Bush: One of the top headlines today is "Bush says he's working hard on economic turmoil", emphasis mine. Every time he says he's "working hard" on something, it means I'm probably trying not to snort Dr. Pepper out my nose while laughing hysterically. It means something has gone horribly, catastrophically wrong and he has only just noticed, when most of the country could have given him a head's up months in advance of that announcement. It means he's playing catch up. It means he's being utterly useless. Worse than useless. I am just counting the days to where I never have to hear of another absurd piece of garbage about him working hard while the rest of the country is bleeding through the ears.

Palin: At a town hall meeting someone "volunteered" a highly engineered softball question asking, in about 5X this many words, which skills she has that can be applied to foreign policy negotiations. She said she's "ready" and "enthusiastic". That's what you need in a band booster, not a VP. She couldn't volunteer even one skill to discuss in an overly friendly forum. Ok, clearly she's such an underqualified bully that she barely deserves discussing. What brought me to it is that SOMEONE needs to point out that she was asked for a skill and couldn't give one because the NPR summarizer failed to point out this obvious defect.

It's not reporting to just echo soundbytes; it's being lazy. It's not bashing to point out defects to a populace less entrenched in the lingo. It is the journalist's duty to analyze and interpret what is being said, to provide context for understanding. I have seen or heard very little of this is years, but it's starting to turn around. Playing sound bytes without analysis and calling it news is like throwing raw tomatoes at me and calling it serving marinara sauce.

McCain: Found out a couple things recently. No, I was never going to vote for him anyway, but here's why you shouldn't either. (1) One of his primary economic advisors was the same guy who degregulated the very things that are causing our economy to crash this year. This guy wrote up the bill and pushed it through congress 5 days before Christmas, knowing there would be little challenge and no time for assessment. No matter if McCain distances himself from him now, his fist is in the basic policy and strategy McCain is working from. (2) After graduating in the bottom 5 of his naval academy class, he crashed 5 planes. That sounds like a lot to me. No one but an admiral's son would be given a pilot slot for that lousy class rank nor kept it after several crashes. My friend's husband is a highly competent pilot and reviewed the available literature. His assessment is that one crash was not his fault, one could go either way, and the other three were almost certainly due to his lack of competence. Hardly the grand war hero. And as far as I understand it, other pilots are not fond of him.

While it's hard to say that a 72 year old man should be judged on his college record, part of his "appeal" is his war experience. But by all accounts, he was miserable at that. And while someone has to graduate at the bottom of the class, do we really want that person to be president? Lots of people grow up a lot after college. Do smarter things. I'm not convinced McCain is one of those people. He's still a thoughtless hothead who gets the people around him into hot water. Not someone I'd like at the helm in these trying times.

Biden: Sponsored the "Violence against Women" act that led do a reduction in battered and killed women, and in men killed by the women they batter by making police and legal response to domestic abuse more standardized. I hear it was overturned as unconstitutional, but it's a step in the right direction that shows he values the quality of women's lives. Unlike some other VP candidates we can now freely ignore.

Obama: Calm, cool, collected, and talking to every big name expert in economics. Go to the head of the class. Oh, wait, he kinda did that already. Maybe not valedictorian, but they don't put just any old schlub in charge of the Harvard Law Review. Competence makes a nice contrast to some other presidential candidate I could name.


Other stuff going on today unrelated to politics. All good, but too lengthy to waste space with bullets.

I woke up feeling like it was Friday. I got a text from handy boy - I can't really call him flake boy after all the lovely cabinet work - asking was it Friday yet? I got to work and the guy who was supposed to bring Friday breakfast? Brought it today! It was Hawaiian which means there was Spam. Ask most mainlanders if they eat spam and they say no. But give it to engineers and they will take it without question. I still have an actual Friday to get through, a technical document to write, and then have a class in advanced JuMP analytics Monday and Tuesday. But yay! Food! At least Friday is Talk like a Pirate day.

There are a couple of techs I work with. I like them and think they look cute together. I have been dying to ask if they're still dating, but figured it was none of my business. Turns out they're no longer dating - they got married this weekend! Yay! They're both very friendly, upbeat people. I think it'll work out for them.

I've been slogging, just slogging through a re-read of Cryptonomicon. I loved that book when I read it the first time. I'm seeing a lot of infodump in it now, and a lot of blather that doesn't move the story forward much. But there are enough bits of genius, interrelation and hilarity that it's all worthwhile. "Randy, how common is 'Waterhouse'"? I hit page 516 (of 900 some) and got to the "pig truck incident" involving the running theme of "enhancing shareholder value" and a jeepney's "secondary, ternary, and quaternary honking systems" that made me laugh until I cried. It took me 15 minutes to get to page 518. Shortly after that, a scene started in Bobby Shaftoe's POV and I was expecting the infodump and it went a completely different direction, following Shaftoe's addled train of thought. I think the problem I had with Quicksilver (aka "Craptonomicon") was that there was lots of the slogging without sufficient early payoff. I think I made it to page 200 and still had no idea where it was going or why I should read it. Snow Crash I loved from the first page.

I assembled my second to last cabinet of the current batch - the 12" base cabinet for the trash can. It's loverly but it was more fun and 3X faster to do the assembly with handy boy, so I'm going to wait until he's available before diving into the corner cabinet. I've submitted a request for a quote to a local sheet metal shop to resize my range hood. I'm hoping to hit up IKEA soon and order the final batch of cabinets. And see if I still like the sink I picked out at Lowes.

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