Friday, October 31, 2008

What to be afraid of this Halloween!

Some would point to either candidate as being frightening and scary. I think the chance of a tainted election is much more distressing. I do have trust in the choice of the entire electorate and if that is in question, it really is a horror show.

Thankfully in New Hampshire we use optical scanners which in my opinion are reliable and trustworthy.

Gael provided a link about computer voting problems, which I would testify as a computer guy are inherently fraught with problems.

The link is "Can you Count on Voting Machines"

I support using open source software if the decision is made to use computer touch screen voting and I have added a blog entry here. Even my Conservative co-author supports this strategy.

Enjoy your Halloween candy, watch some scary political ads and vote on tuesday

Tax Policy of the Candidates

Since many of the comments have been directed at the idea of re-distribution of wealth via the tax policy of Obama. I have provided links to the various websites of the candidates on the right side of this blog.

The question of socialism should probably include the staggering $700 billion bail out and the additional $140 billion added by Congress for all kinds of fun projects. Whew.... that's a lot of debt to eat....

I'll remove the calculator links after the election. After that it'll be too late

Happy Halloween! Is Obama a Socialist?

I'm trying to figure whether Obama is Hitler or Stalin. Maybe he is "Mabus" the 3rd Anti-Christ? Stalin was a socialist, Hitler had the National Socialist Party... it gets so confusing.

Or perhaps he is terrorist, an Arab/Muslim (not that there is anything wrong with that), the "Manchurian Candidate", "The-One", a "Celebrity" or ...

Maybe the best candidate for President!

I admit I may be wrong, but I'm willing to take a chance, roll the dice, ignore Nostradamus and Steve Schmidt and his team.

I admit I need some enlightenment so I'm trying to get a handle on the charges against this man. I'm trying to understand the "socialist" label. I'm providing a link to his tax plan from his web site. In full disclosure, I'll admit that his plan will benefit me financially.

Link: Obama's Tax Plan

Pehaps the readers of the blog will explain how a progressive tax policy is socialism. I'm sure I'll get some spirited responses. We can tackle the"Mabus" issue in another posting.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boo! Just in time for Halloween

I have been sent another email with a scary slideshow about what will happen under an Obama presidency (establishment of a Socialist State).
This was followed by an email from with a link to a "news" organization that alleged that Saddam Hussein help buy Obama's home.

What utter garbage. These are truly desparate times and I guess some people need to blame "that one"

Rather than clogging the email stream by replying, I thought I would provide a link to at least one of the sites. In the interest of balance I tried to find a bit about the group that produced the presentation. I discovered that they have a whole selection of scary movies and articles about Islamic terrorist and Mexicans. I'm suspicious of any presentation that I can't fact check but realized that it is almost Halloween, so as a public service I'm offering a link to some truly scary stuff.

Is it accurate? NO! Is it scary, with scary music? YES!

You have been warned!!!

Link: USA WakeUp Movies

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vote for Competence, Vote for Obama

Forget the issues, the TV spots, the pundits. Who has run the more competent campaign? Who has played to the lowest common denominator? As I wrote previously I liked the McCain of 2000. Where did he go anyway? I suspect that he may have become a victim of body snatching pods (imagine Rove and the spirit of Lee Atwater). This election counts, please vote. And now for some propaganda:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Plan a Victory Garden for 2009

I'm a great believer in the phrase "Think Globally, Act Locally". We are facing all types of challenges as a nation.   I've been growing a garden for 0ver 35 years, mostly as a means of getting fresh vegetables and learning about plants.

Many of my friends and family grow a garden. In World War II these were called "Victory Gardens" and the impetus came from no less than the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who established a garden at the white house. In 1943 Americans planted over 20 million Victory Gardens and the harvest accounted ofr nearly a third of the vergetables consumed in that year.

I dedicated a bit of the front lawn to tomatoes these last 2 years and realized after a disappointing crop that I need to initiate some crop rotation. I will be ADDING more garden space and REMOVING more useless lawn.

I was heartened to read a great open letter by Michael Pollard describing what the next president can and should do to remake the way we grow and eat our food. The link is "Farmer in Chief".

Michael Pollan was interviewed on "Fresh Air" and I listened to the podcast. It may be heard a this link "Food As A National Security Issue"

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm Joe the Plumber

On a recent morning walk, my friend John Poltrack suggested that maybe I would have been a better icon to represent the proverbial small business man than the now world famous Joe the Plumber. John the Software Engineer owns his own business, employs people, and pays a good chunk of his business income in taxes. I think I pay too much in taxes, but of course everybody thinks that. I made the mistake one time of sitting down and calculating how much of Big Time Software’s income actually goes out in taxes of way form or another and the answer is a very discouraging 50%. That qualifies as too much in my opinion…and I still consider myself a patriot despite what Joe Biden might think. My business makes more money than Senator Obama seems to think I deserve to keep, so I can look forward to being in his crosshairs to pay even more should he be elected President.

I certainly don’t want to attract the scrutiny of the crack investigative media teams that have unearthed every skeleton in poor Joe’s closet, and I think this probably came as a surprise to Joe as well. It's somewhat unsettling to see this poor bastard's life laid bare before us.

We now all know Joe isn’t really a plumber because he doesn’t have a license. I’d be OK there since software engineers don’t need a license. Good thing since if our plumbing worked as well as most computer software we’d all be hip deep in poop.

We also all know Joe owes the government some money for back taxes. This is news? This guy was thrust into the spotlight because he complained he had to pay too much in taxes. In the interests of full disclosure let me just say here and now that in 2002 Big Time Software was audited by the IRS. I had two IRS employees in my office working full-time for two days pouring over my books. In the end they pointed out some mistakes I made in my accounting (actually it was QuickBooks that led me astray…please refer to the previous paragraph). I got a pretty extensive accounting lesson out of the deal, and owed $102 in additional taxes. This seemed like a real bargain to me, but also not a real efficient use of IRS manpower.

Of course, it goes on and on. We now all know about the details of Joe’s divorce, his personal finances, and his voting record. We know all this because Joe asked a pointed question of a political candidate that the candidate didn’t really want asked. Who among us would invite or survive this type of scrutiny in our personal lives?

The truth is most of us are Joe the Plumber. In fact, just about everybody I know is Joe the Plumber. We’re doing our best to make a living for our families, keep a roof over your head (maybe even heat it), try saving something to send our kids to college, possibly even socking away a little nest egg to be able to retire someday, and even begrudgingly paying our taxes. The truth is I expect very little from our government, but most of all I expect it to get the heck out my way. 

Spartacus is this great old movie starring Kirk Douglas about a slave who leads a revolt against the Roman Empire. You’ve probably seen it. At the end of the movie, the Romans capture the rebel slave army and demand the prisoners to identify the leader Spartacus. One by one, the captured soldiers step up and declare “I’m Spartacus!”. It’s a very moving moment. I think it would be great if the next time any of us met a political candidate, we began the conversation by introducing ourselves as Joe the Plumber. After all, Joe’s story is our story at some level. I’m proud to be Joe the Plumber.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vote for Competence this time around

After 8 years of stellar incompetence, isn't it time for a change? I was very pleased to see that Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president. His words are quite moving as he describes his reasoning for this decision. Hopefully this will have some sway with retired military, older voters and other folks that may actually believe "hate radio" and robo-calls. As I described in earlier posts, I liked the McCain 2000 brand when he was running against "W". It is truly sad that he has adopted their tactics and message. Here is a link to the endorsement video:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Financial Planning

Editorial on Federal Bailout Bill

I contacted Rep. Lew Evangelidis to ask permission to publish his editorial. I agree with his sentiments:

Subject: Editorial on Federal Bailout Bill

Dear Citizen,

Like so many of you, I am very frustrated and upset with the current affairs with our Federal Government and the $700M  bailout bill.  I have always felt as though special interest money has led to a disservice of the American People.  I think this a critical time in American History when people are upset and paying attention. I have submitted the attached editorial to many papers across Massachusetts.  If you agree with my sentiments I would ask you to forward it to your e-mail list so we can continue the dialogue of how to make our Government more representative of the people. As always, I hope that you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather here in New England.


Lew Evangelidis 

Date: October 8, 2008

 Where is our Abraham Lincoln when we really need one?

The culpability of Wall Street in our current fiscal meltdown has been clear.  What needs to be equally clarified is the culpability of our elected officials in Washington D.C.  The American people must hold both political parties accountable for passing legislation and allowing deregulation of the banking and investment industries. These actions are at the root of our current crisis. 

 This was a bi-partisan betrayal of the American people for which we are now being asked to pay the bill; to the tune of $700 billion.  What must come out of this crisis is getting the special interest money out of our politician’s p ockets once and for all. 

I offer a brief history on how we got here. Following the Great Depression of 1933 the Glass-Steagall Actwas passed which set a clear boundary line between commercial banks and investment companies.  This separation protected our deposits in banks, forcing banks to choose between being a simple bank or an investment firm. Beginning in the 1960’s banks started lobbying Congress to allow them to enter the bond markets, leading to a lobbyist subculture around Glass-Steagall. Some lobbyists were overheard bragging about how the bill put their kids through college.  Over the past twenty years our Federal Government has dismantled these protections, which directly led to our current condition.  Both parties participated in these repeals and both have been compensated greatly for their cooperation by the banking and investment industries.  The most min imal research shows how thoroughly our politicians have “for sale” signs displayed on their office doors. The number one contributors to the last Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, were those in the securities and investments industries.  The current Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, these same interests are number two on her contribution list, only behind lawyers.  These lobbyists, PAC’s, Corporations and special interests are deeply embedded in both of our political parties. Corporate interests almost single handily pay for each parties national conventions and nearly every candidates war chest up for re-election.  It is hard to imagine how any of these interests help the American people get a better Government.

 Congress passed several bills during the 80’s and 90’s culminating in the 1999 Financial Modernization Act which was the ultimate repeal of the separation of banks and business firms.  In the 1997-98 election cycle prior to the passage of this bill, the finance, insurance, and real estate industries ( referred to as the FIRE sector) spent over $200 million on lobbying and made more than $150 million in political donations. This is a repeat of The Savings & Loan scandal which cost the taxpayers over $200 Billion just 17 years ago.

 Incredibly, the very same lobbyists that helped to create our fiasco have now descended like vultures onto Capital Hill to get their piece of this $700 billion pork loaded bailout. This is playing out like a Shakespearian Comedy, a very unfunny one at that. Unless we, the American people, wake up it will soon be back to business as usual on Capital Hill. 

We the people have a chance.  Our forefathers set up our Constitution where the people have the final say.  I propose the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.  This Amendment would ban all lobbyists, PAC’s, Special Interests, unions and corporations from contributing to any candidate seeking public office in this country.  How do we as American’s benefit from allowing these interests to have such influence to dictate our laws? These last few weeks have clearly demonstrated the heavy costs to the American People of the status-quo. A Constitutional Amendment is certainly a dramatic step for our country, but also our greatest hope to restore a Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. 

I represent the First Worcester District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and I can be reached at


Friday, October 10, 2008

Vets give McCain a "D"

I made the assumption that because of John McCain's extraordinary POW experience that he had nailed (and deserved) the Veteran and National defense vote. I guess I was wrong. Apparently he missed a crucial vote on the new GI bill, stopping a second rate GI bill, and enhanced Veteran's benefits. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave him a "D" for this record.

Obama did much better with an "B" and Kucinich garnered an "A". I really like Kucinich and I feel it was unfortunate that he was ridiculed during the primary season. It was a strange experience, but I was listening to John McCain in Peterborough and missed seeing Dennis who was signing books in a nearby bookstore. I regret that lapse.

I feel this is relevant information, because Cindy McCain is now making allegations that Obama does not "Support the troops" because he voted against a funding bill that did not have a "time line". Cindy seems to have a lapse of memory because her husband voted against a similar funding bill that DID have a time line.

Some background on this radical group:

Who is the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America?

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is the nation's first and largest group dedicated to the Troops and Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the civilian supporters of those Troops and Veterans. IAVA is an independent organization and is not affiliated with any groups other than our sister (c)4, IAVA Action Fund.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

As if being asthmatic isn't hard enough already....

My cousin SarahD a petition request to the family. To me it seems like a case of a lack of flexibility in matters that have a direct effect on human health and safety. The issue at hand is the banning of Metered-Dose Inhalers (MDIs) that contain ozone depleting propellants.

More infomation may be found at this FDA link:

Here is the text of Sarah's message:

"Now the gov't and drug co's have added another layer of fun to it!! Katie and I both have asthma, and barb mentioned that Jim P does too. I'm interested to find out anyone else's experience with this. Let me preface by saying that I love the environment and do not want there to be a whole in the ozone layer. HOWEVER, i am very bothered by this....
Ok, so up until recently albuterol inhalers have been made with CFC as the propellant that pushes the medicine out and into your lungs when you push down on the canister (makes the "puff" if you will). The CFC kind of inhalers have been discontinued as of 12/31/08 (because as we know, CFC's are bad for the ozone), and have been replaced with inhalers that deliver hte same medicine with HFA as the propellant. I found this out at the pharmacy the other day and was NOT happy. I have used the same type of inhaler all my life and it is waht allows me to have a quality of life equal to someone who doesn't have asthma. It allows to me be as athletic as i am - which is a big thing for me. I'm afraid this switch will impact that.
These are the main problems i have with the switch:
1) NO MORE GENERICS - CFC inhalers have been around long enough for drug co's patents to expire, allowing generics to be on the market. HFA inhalers are new and have new patents so there won't be generics on the market anytime soon. In my case, I'll go from paying $15 per inhaler (roughly per month) to $30 or more. This is mostly an annoyance for me, but what about inner cities where asthma in children is so concentrated and families can barely afford the generic! :(
2) EFFECTIVENESS - I tried the HFA inhaler the other day before runnign and had to stop mid-run to use it again because my chest was feeling tight. I had to slow my pace way down for several minutes as i waited for the medicine to do it's job. With the old inhaler i used it before running and could run for a long time without any discomfort. This is really frustrating and disheartening to me because I'm training for a marathon...I better save the remainder of my last old inhaler for race day!
3) THIS:
I'm not sure if this will have any impact - I mean, if CFC's are banned, they're banned. But it's at least worth a shot. Please sign the petition below if you see fit.
Thanks! Sarah "

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Voting machine software should be open-source

Computer scientist Ka-Ping Yee makes a compelling case for using open-source software for computer voting machines. He created the prototype voting machine software he calls Pvote. The idea is that if software can be seen by everyone, flaws and security holes can be brought to light.

Watch the short video on the Science Friday website

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bring back the McCain of 2000

Today I managed to receive not one but two blatantly racist emails about Obama. I find this repulsive. I won't honor these with a link or reference. Granted they did not come directly from his campaign but the recent "rallies" with his pit bull VP choice aren't helping. When you see people in the crowd shouting "terrorist" and "Kill him" you just have to say, where is the McCain of 2000? Where are you John?

Let's see Barack HUSSEIN Obama hangs out with a terrorist when he was 8. Omigod can we trust him?
What absolute crap. Where is John circa 2000?

Of course this has to be the strategy of a person who needs to change the subject as the economy implodes. The republicans love to channel Ronald Reagan who felt that "government was the problem". Just let everything work itself out. What a great idea. Deregulation.. that's the ticket.

I get a real kick about the complaints about the "Tax and Spend" liberals. Ahem, the money the 840 billion dollars is gonna come from somewhere, so the promises about "tax cuts" seems silly.

In 90 minutes, I'll be watching the debate. I'll confess that my mind is already made up. I just hope that the participants in the town meeting will have the good sense to ask some real question.

As a footnote, I ask that you check out the "Fact Check" links on the right side of this blog entry.