Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 2nd, 2008

Our democracy needs a lot of work

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Ezra Klein:

It’s baffling that a country that so prides itself on being a democracy doesn’t take the legitimacy of its democratic process more seriously. A good example is vote purging. “Voter registration lists, also called voter rolls, are the gateway to voting. A citizen typically cannot cast a vote that will count unless her name appears on the voter registration rolls. Yet state and local officials regularly remove — or ‘purge’ — citizens from voter rolls. In fact, thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia reported purging more than 13 million voters from registration rolls between 2004 and 2006. Purges, if done properly, are an important way to ensure that voter rolls are dependable, accurate, and up-to-date. Precise and carefully conducted purges can remove duplicate names, and people who have moved, died, or are otherwise ineligible.” The problem, as this Brennan Center report concludes, is that our voter purges are not being done properly. Not even close: …

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Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2008 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Election

“No-Drama” Obama

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Joe Klein has a good post on the difference in temperament between Obama and McCain. Obama: calm, thoughtful, and measured; McCain: angry, impulsive, and reckless.

As Klein notes, the calm approach is often overlooked—because there’s nothing to see. In a business context, you often run across the Crisis Hero—the guy or gal who will work 20 hours a day to resolve a crisis, saving the day at the last minute. The problem is that this sort of temperament grows to crave the rush and the heroism and the accolades and so fails to improve the process so that heroics are not necessary. In some cases, the Crisis Hero will create a crisis in order to be a hero once again.

When I was working, I hated crises. For one thing, I had a life and interests outside the office. For another, the rush of heroism generally leads to oversights and errors that bite you badly later on.

Moreover, most crises are periodic: starting too late to design and develop the annual conference; starting too late to do revenue projections and budgets; even starting too late to do the monthly expense report. So every time I hit a crisis, I immediately made an entry in my calendar so that next time, I would start a week earlier. If it was still a crisis, it went into the calendar another week earlier. Eventually, I had a series of reminders for various tasks that allowed me to work calmly and reasonably, with no overtime, and complete the task earlier.

“Early,” as I’ve pointed out before, is the secret. If you have a paper due in a month, do the outline now and try to have the first draft completed this week. Then you have lots of time to revise, expand, and tinker and still turn in the paper a few days early.

I’m glad to have a president who thinks ahead and avoids crises. Bush certainly is not one, nor would McCain be one.

From Klein’s post:

… Part of Obama’s steadiness is born of necessity: An angry, or flashy, black man isn’t going to be elected President. But I’ve also gotten the sense, in the times I’ve interviewed and chatted with him, that calm is Obama’s natural default position. He is friendly, informal, accessible…and a mystery, hard to get to know. He doesn’t give away much, doesn’t — unlike Bill Clinton — have that desperate need to make you like him. His brilliant, at times excessive, oratory is an outlier — the only over-the-top, Technicolor quality he has. There has been no grand cathartic moment for him in this campaign, but rather a steady accretion of trust, a growing public sense that he knows what he’s talking about and isn’t going to get crazy on us. His demeanor has rendered foolish all the rumors about his alleged radicalism. This guy is the furthest thing imaginable from an extremist; McCain, by his own admission, is the bomb-thrower in this race. …

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2008 at 12:31 pm

Posted in Daily life

Good basic computer tips

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For the novice user—and sometimes the not-so-novice user.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2008 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Conservatives will say anything

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Glenn Greenwald:

With apologies and regrets to Ed “Captain Ed” Morrissey, whose well-deserved “Funniest Blog Post Ever” crown is being snatched away after such a tragically short period of time, this observation today, from National Review‘s Mark Levin, will be hard to top for many years to come, even by the most imaginative right-wing satirists:

The liberal uses crises, real or manufactured, to expand the power of government at the expense of the individual and private property. He has spent, in earnest, 70 years evading the Constitution’s limits on governmental power. If conservatives don’t stand up to this, who will? If they don’t offer serious alternatives that address the current circumstances AND defend the founding principles, who will?

Indeed. I wish those liberals would stop exploiting crises in order to expand the power of Government at the expense of the individual, but I sure am grateful that our nation is teeming with stalwart conservatives who defiantly stand up to those erosions, because if they didn’t, who would? You can read all about the conservatives’ heroic stance in defense of our Founding Principles over the last eight years, and their epic struggle to battle against the Left’s exploitation of crises in order to “expand the power of government at the expense of the individual,” in numerous books, including this one, by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Charlie Savage: …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2008 at 12:12 pm

Posted in GOP

Sarah Palin: the lies never stop

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From an article by Martha Mendoza in the Anchorage Daily News:

… Palin herself has said repeatedly that her job is inherently international because of Alaska’s location, across the Bering Strait from Russia.

In an interview last week with CBS News anchor Katie Couric, Palin suggested that her contact was more than just awareness of Russia’s nearness. When Couric asked Palin if she’d “ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians,” the governor replied, “We have trade missions back and forth.”

But Steve Smirnoff, the Russian Federation’s honorary consul in Anchorage, said Palin never accepted his invitation to open a dialogue with Alaska’s neighbor.

When Palin took office in December 2006, Smirnoff says, he sent her a letter suggesting “she could be instrumental in reviving relationships between Alaska and Russia, and the rest of the world.”

Smirnoff said he’d met Palin years before, when they both worked on then-Gov. Frank Murkowski’s campaign. Smirnoff had hoped for some rapport, but “I never received a response,” he said. “I don’t know if it was taken to heart or thrown in the trash basket.”

Patricia Eckert, who works in the governor’s Office of International Trade, confirmed that Palin had not held meetings with Russian officials during her term. The closest interaction she cited was when the Seattle-based Russian consul general attended a reception for the diplomatic corps that Palin hosted in Fairbanks. …

McCain said that he “often” consults with Palin on foreign policy.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2008 at 12:10 pm

Posted in GOP

Moving speech

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Via Andrew Sullivan:

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2008 at 12:04 pm

Low-energy streetlights that shine only when needed

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Very cool idea: equip a low-energy (LED lights) streetlight with a sensor so that the streetlight can dim itself (or even turn itself off) when ambient light (from the moon and stars) is sufficient. More info here.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2008 at 11:56 am

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