Category Archives: Current Affairs



I just called Ryan at school and told him to look around, because he’ll want to remember where he was when Barack Obama was elected president.

I’m too giddy and relieved for deep thoughts, and there’s a bottle of champagne that Anne and I have been waiting to open for a long time, so I’ll just say: The nightmare is over. Now, it’s time to get to work.

(image yanked from kos)

one lever, pulled.

Photo 26.jpg

My voting experience was quick and easy. I think I spent more time confirming my ballot was marked correctly than I spent waiting in line. I guess going in the middle of the morning will do that for you. I wasn’t expecting it, but the historical significance of the moment totally overwhelmed me, and I will admit that I got something in both of my eyes when I voted for Barack Obama. I’ve voted in every election since 1990, and this is the first time I’ve ever felt genuinely hopeful when I cast my ballot, instead of resigned.

Have you voted? Feel free to share your experience if you like.

one last time . . .

I want my country back, and I want the despicable campaign of hate, fear, lies, and division run by John McCain and personified by Sarah Palin to be repudiated by a massive Obama win. We can make this happen. The polls all say we’re going to make this happen . . . but I remember 2000 and I remember 2004, and even though the polls say that we vastly outnumber the people who tragically support John McCain, we’ve got to get to the polls and make sure our votes count.

Make sure you get out and vote tomorrow, especially you younger people. You guys are overwhelmingly Democratic (yay!) but you’re also notoriously unreliable (boo!) so if you think you’re going to be in line for a long time and you’re going to get bored, bring a book, bring a DS, bring a PSP, bring a deck of cards, bring your cellphone and liveblog or Twitter the whole thing . . . just don’t get out of line and don’t leave without voting!

Everyone else, if you think it’s not worth waiting a few hours (or several hours) to cast an important vote in a close state, I have two words and one initial for you: George W. Bush.
Also, voter suppression is a terrible fact of life all over our country, and the ACLU has prepared a great resource for all 50 states, with printable sheets you can take with you to know your voting rights wherever you are.

The Voting Rights Project of the ACLU is dedicated to providing citizens with information and assistance in exercising their right to vote! We are urging citizens to ACT this election year. For more information or to voice a voting rights complaint, call 1-877-523-2792 […]

I seriously hope that Obama gets to 270 before the polls close on the West coast, but even if he does, it’s still important to get out and vote in California. We must defeat Proposition 8, and we can’t take anything for granted.

Californians: Vote NO on Prop 8

Proposition 8 and the people who support it disgust me. Want to know why? Replace every instance of “same-sex marriage” with “interracial marriage” and see how bigoted and discriminatory it is.

Here, these guys have done it for you:

I can’t believe it’s 2008, and this is still an issue. Contrary to the lies spread by its supporters, Proposition 8 is not about education, it’s not about forcing anything onto churches, and it’s not about protecting anything. It’s nothing but hate and discrimination, and it’s wrong. If you’re a fellow Californian, please vote no on proposition 8 tomorrow. In polling, it’s very close right now, and every vote is going to count.

ETA: If I wasn’t clear enough, reader swordman69 makes it crystal clear: “One thing to remember, voting NO changes nothing. It doesn’t affect a single thing. Only a yes vote changes what is currently legal here in California. Do we teach same-sex marriage in schools now? NO. Is it affecting you in any way now, NO. Only a yes vote changes anything. A Yes vote puts discrimination into our state constitution.”

more fun with twitter

Earlier today, I went into Target to get some storage bins. While I was there, I paid a visit to the Halloween section. Because what I need is more Halloween decorations. Really. I do. Shut up. I do. After looking at the various decorations (mostly meh, but a few cool things) I rounded a corner and looked at the costumes. I saw something that, speaking as a geek and Halloween aficionado, horrified me. I told Twitter:

In the Halloween section, Target tries to pass off what is CLEARLY an Orc Barbarian sword as a “Giant Ninja” sword. I weep for the children.

I mean, seriously. This sort of thing pushes me one step closer to the breaking point.

Anyway, tonight, as the debate ended, I had a related thought:

McCain’s the kinda guy who would sell you an Orc Barbarian sword, and tell you it’s a Giant Ninja sword, my friends.

Please let me share some of the @responses I got, because they made me laugh out loud:

JoeyMcAllister: @wilw Well, he’s a maverorck.

Gygaxis: @wilw McCain is the kind of guy who will finish up your lobster even if you did want the rest.

Rhinehold: @wilw Obama is the kinda guy who would require that all xp was split evenly, even to henchmen, no matter who did what

dallasthegreat: @wilw look, we need to get away from the divisive orc vs. Ninja talking points and tackle the pirate problem.

Lobsticles: @wilw Sarah Palin once saw a sword, so she’s sort of an expert on Giant Ninja Swords.

Spaceman: @wilw yes. Why yes he is. He should be talking about mario plumber.


There were tons of hilarious responses in addition to these, but I saved the absolute best for last:

seanmc74: @wilw An old man dispensing swords is no basis for a system of government.

Bravo, seanmc74. I believe you just won yourself an Internets, sir.


This was forwarded to me by a friend. It’s important to laugh, when the only other option is to cry.

From: Minister of the Treasury Paulson


Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship
with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country
has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of
800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it
would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my
replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you
may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation
movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need
the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these
funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly
under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for
a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the
funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund
account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to
[email protected] so that we may transfer your commission
for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will
respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used
to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully
Minister of Treasury Paulson

privacy is a fundamental human right

Bruce Schneier writes another thoughtful and insightful essay on privacy:

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.

We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.


[I]f we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that — either now or in the uncertain future — patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.


How many of us have paused during conversation in the past four-and-a-half years, suddenly aware that we might be eavesdropped on? Probably it was a phone conversation, although maybe it was an e-mail or instant-message exchange or a conversation in a public place. Maybe the topic was terrorism, or politics, or Islam. We stop suddenly, momentarily afraid that our words might be taken out of context, then we laugh at our paranoia and go on. But our demeanor has changed, and our words are subtly altered.

This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us. This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. And it’s our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives.

I reject the notion that we have to choose between privacy and security, and I agree with the oft-repeated quote about the foolishness of sacrificing the former in pursuit of the latter.


We deserve privacy, and we don’t have to give it up to have security. They work very well together. Encoding messages for my friends and family is fun, but I sure don’t want to feel like I have to do it all the time, just because I can’t trust my government – and, increasingly, my neighbors – to leave me alone.