Down to the wire, isn’t it? Two-ish days to go, no clear victor, a Bin-Laden tape, UN workers held hostage in Afghanistan and a new European Constutition, we’re down to the wire. I voted yesterday at City Hall, where lines were long and the fever of the campagin could be felt in the line. I’m heading off for London in a few hours, so I’ll be back to blogging (both politics/election and of the trip) once I land and I’m setup. Good luck, John Kerry.
Over at Bengt’s blog is a great story of how the Hotmail Operations team and a bunch of others managed to give to charity to get the chance to select a new MSN Messenger emoticon. Their choice? A goat! For real, the next new emoticon in Messenger is a goat, thanks to Bengt’s drive during the Microsoft Giving campaign. Ha!
Let’s see what’s in the news. Arafat’s health is bad but some reports have said it’s stabilized a bit. He’s arrived in Paris for treatment for what is believed to be cancer. The economy grew slower than expected. Also in economic news, China has raised its interest rate. It’s a wise step to control their grown and ensure that inflation is kept in pace. Must be crazy to live in China these days. Early elections are on the rise, mired with issues arleady in Florida. In fact, I’ll be voting early at City Hall this Saturday since I’ll be out of the country on election day. Friday’s Zogby has Bush and Kerry in a dead heat, with 47% each. It seems as the number of undecidedes are going down towards zero, and compared to last year Bush had a 3 point lead on Gore. And to end, I’ll leave with a quote from the Economist‘s backing of Kerry.
YOU might have thought that, three years after a devastating terrorist attack on American soil, a period which has featured two wars, radical political and economic legislation, and an adjustment to one of the biggest stockmarket crashes in history, the campaign for the presidency would be an especially elevated and notable affair. If so, you would be wrong. This year’s battle has been between two deeply flawed men: George Bush, who has been a radical, transforming president but who has never seemed truly up to the job, let alone his own ambitions for it; and John Kerry, who often seems to have made up his mind conclusively about something only once, and that was 30 years ago. But on November 2nd, Americans must make their choice, as must The Economist. It is far from an easy call, especially against the backdrop of a turbulent, dangerous world. But, on balance, our instinct is towards change rather than continuity: Mr Kerry, not Mr Bush.
I just had to pull out the bit where they talk about Guantanamo:
The biggest mistake, though, was one that will haunt America for years to come. It lay in dealing with prisoners-of-war by sending hundreds of them to the American base at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, putting them in a legal limbo, outside the Geneva conventions and outside America’s own legal system. That act reflected a genuinely difficult problem: that of having captured people of unknown status but many of whom probably did want to kill Americans, at a time when to set them free would have been politically controversial, to say the least. That difficulty cannot neutralise the damage caused by this decision, however. Today, Guantánamo Bay offers constant evidence of America’s hypocrisy, evidence that is disturbing for those who sympathise with it, cause-affirming for those who hate it. This administration, which claims to be fighting for justice, the rule of law and liberty, is incarcerating hundreds of people, whether innocent or guilty, without trial or access to legal representation. The White House’s proposed remedy, namely military tribunals, merely compounds the problem.
Bombay is an interesting city. It’s full of really rich people and really slummy neighbourhoods and has all the hints that it used to be a beautfiul British city. By and large all of my family hails from Bombay (Mumbai, as it’s called these days). This interesting article points to some of the issues of growth the city has and how without some major infrastructual work the city will eventually grind to a halt.
Out of Netcraft today is news that the Bush web site blocks requests from outside the US. Figures, considering the administration’s view to the world. Bush’s lead in Zogby went down by two points, now to one percent. People have also started paying attention to the fact that with the election so close, what would happen during a tie in the Electoral College? It’s really nasty, considering the vote would go to the Republican controlled House. And of course, the missing explosives is still an issue that Bush has finally spoken on.
In to the home stretch now with seven days left in the election. The latest Zogby has Bush 3 points ahead, but the states polls show a much different picture. As Jamus points out, those are the ones to watch, given the electoral college. Chief Justice Rehnquist’s admission to Bethesda Naval Hospital (or whatever it’s called) for thyroid cancer treatment comes as a shock (?) at this point in the election. I’m sure this is news that neither party wanted to hear since it’s a bit hard to strategize over it. Also, consumer confidence hit a 7 month low. Seems obvious, given violence in Iraq, oil prices and a lack of a clear victor next Tuesday. A federal judge also ruled that the new electronic voting machines in Florida don’t have to keep a paper trail, which is awful considering the security issues that have been reported by the community regarding commercial voting machines.
The Journal ran an interesting article in today’s paper about amateur election modeling by political junkies, fueled by the existence of blogs. Various professors, computer scientists, etc have wired up Excel spreadsheets or Matlab equations to pull the latest poll data and run through the possibilities. In one simulation, the end game was whoever won Florida had an 88% chance of taking the election. It can’t be forgotten that nobody has won an election without winning Ohio (in recent memory — whatever that means). Also in today’s Journal is in interesting piece on the Colorado senate race, with the state’s Attorney General Ken Salazar holding a narrow lead over Pete Coors (yes, that’s right — Coors of Coors Beer). Apparently, Coors (the company) has hired Mary Cheney (the Veep’s gay daughter, in case you missed it) in order to help the company’s image in the gay community; however, Coors (the Senate contender) favors the anti-same sex marriage constitutional amendment. Pete Coors still holds the position of Chairman of the Adolph Coors Brewing Company, but is currently on ‘hiatus.’
Eight days left until election day and imagine the irony that I’ll be out of the country when it happens. Today’s election news brings us the New Yorker giving it’s first endorsment to any canidate in over 80 years to Kerry, saying the Bush “has been one of failure, arrogance, and — strikingly for a team that prided itself on crisp professionalism — incompetence”. The latest hot button issue is seems is this new UN report stating that hundreds of tons of conventional weapons have gone missing in Iraq. Also, Clinton is now on the campagin trail backing up Kerry (god, he makes good quotes: “From time to time, I have been called the comeback kid. In eight days, John Kerry is going to make America the comeback country”). Also, it seems that in polling that Hawaii is now the to-watch state, with latest polls showing it leaning to Bush.
Note on the title: I saw Mos Def in concert last Tuesday night in Santa Cruz. Amazing show and Mos was an angry black man, talking about reperations and the like. Very fun.
I’m heading back to London on October 31st for work. I’ll be spending a week in London, then going to Paris for the weekend to visit my sister and then to Dublin for some meetings, departing November 10th. I’m quite excited for the trip, there’s been a lot of really amazing progress with us working with the team in London and now a small group of us are heading over to get really detailed and specific. Dublin hosts our localization team, who are consumers of one of the major things I ‘own’ at Hotmail, so it’ll be great to see their perspective on the this stuff. Plus, I’ve never been to Dublin before and if lucky, I’ll try to take a day off to check out the city and hopefully some of Ireland.
Next week, I’m also in Seattle (Redmond, really) for two days to continue the work and progress we’re making with some teams in the mother ship as well as to meet some vendors. Exciting times at work. Also, Jeff just bought a three bedroom condo in Bellvue, which I’m hoping I’ll get to see. Can you believe it? I’ve known Jeff since high school and now he owns a home. He used to drive a mini-van.
Last weekend Ami and I made it back to San Diego. We stayed in the W San Diego and on Friday night our friends met us at the Beach Bar. Nearly everybody we know in San Diego managed to show up, which was absoultly awesome and we had a great time hanging out, catching up and basically being stupid with our friends.
Saturday we woke up way late and ended up going to Balboa Park. We saw the Museum of San Diego as well as the Timken Musuem of Art. After the park, we went and picked up Shane from Dan’s place and headed over to Dumpling Inn to get dinner to go. From the Inn, we went over to CLICS at UCSD, where we met Dan for a play/reading. Being back on campus was incredibly bizare, a very surreal experience. The play/reading was excellent, it was done by a member of the faculty and was the memoirs and poems of a young British soilder in World War I. Apres, we went over to Dan’s pad in Hillcrest, which I should say has an excellent location and is an awesome bachlor pad. We watched Chungking Express, by Wong Kar-Wai, which I realized half way through I’d seen before with John and Arthur. Austin came over for a little bit and passed out and after the time the movie ended we all headed home.
Sunday was spent doing our annual trip to Julian. As the pictures show, the weather was miserable and we all nearly froze. We ran in to a super-senior who was out collecting campaign donations for Kerry. Shane tried to give a dollar, but that unfortunatly wasn’t good enough. A couple of cups of cider and apple pie later we left and went back to San Francisco.
I bit the bullet, I’ve donated to the Kerry Campaign through the DNC. After recieving a mail “from” Al Gore, I went online and donated $50 (not much, but hey, I’m doing my part). While I don’t agree with how campaign finance works at all, but times are dire and seeing the tracking polls not moving that much since Kerry’s bounce from Debate 1, he’s going to need all the help (read: money) he can get.