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Archive for February, 2008

I’ve been whining a bit about an Obama presidency (which is most likely, in my opinion) but I thought I’d take a look at the positions of the other hippie running for President, Ralph Nader.

In case you don’t know, Nader is a consumer activist who has run for president in the last three elections.  Many Democrats blame him for costing Al Gore the victory in 2000 because many of the votes that would have gone to Gore instead went to Nader.  In a close state like Florida, this cost the Democrats the White House.  They have a point; if not for Nader, Gore probably would have won.

Let’s take a look at some of Nader’s positions.

  • Half of federal budget is now military spending. (Jan 2008)  Not true.  In 2006 (the last year for which I have data according to the CBO), military spending was 20% of the budget.
  • The economy is down, when measured by human yardsticks. (Feb 2000)  Ambiguous; what yardsticks is he referring to?
  • Corporations control government; that defines fascism. (Jan 2008) The big part of the problem is that because there is so much gov’t redistribution, this is what leads to corporate control of gov’t.  In other words, the very thing that Nader advocates (more gov’t) is what leads to what he preaches against (corporate influence).  Incidentally, his definition most definitely does not define fascism.
  • Economic powers control our lives and our elections. (Jul 2004) Well, he’s got a point there.
  • It is time to break our addiction to fossil fuels. (Feb 2008)  Yawn.  Everyone says this.  The fact is that gov’t won’t be the one to pick what we move to.
  • US should be the world’s humanitarian superpower. (Feb 2008) I think he’s a little late to the party on this one.  The US gives more foreign aid and donates more to charity than any other country.
  • Solving Palestinian-Israeli conflict would reduce terrorism. (Feb 2008)  Good luck on that one.  Ronald Reagan says we don’t understand the region.  I tend to agree.

There’s plenty more issues I could harp on, it’s just that Nader is so wrong so often.

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Over the course of time I have worked here at Frontbridge and then Microsoft, I have submitted a number of friends resumes to our HR department as a recommendation for hire.  In 3.5 years, not a single one has ever been hired.  Until now.

I found a guy on a discussion board and recommended him for a position as a spam analyst at Microsoft.  They flew him up, put him on the interview loop and he has verbally accepted the offer.  As a bonus for me, I get a referring bonus!  I don’t know how much it is going to be worth but probably enough to buy a pack of gum.  I feel pretty good about this, I have broken my losing streak of referrals/no hires.

Everything’s coming up Cool Spot!

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A friend of mine from back home in Manitoba recently posted a link on his Facebook profile.  It’s the one where the Simpsons spoof the Youtube video where a guy takes a picture of himself every day for a year (video here); the Simpsons spoof is a daily picture of Homer for his entire life (video here).

I had seen the Youtube video before but never thought anything of it.  But when I saw that my friend Rudy had the Simpsons spoof on his Facebook page, I immediately remembered the Youtube original link.  And that’s when I got an idea.  I am going to do the same video – I am going to take a picture of myself every day for a year, and then put the video up on Youtube as a tribute to this guy, and because I think it’s cool.

I’ve already taken 4 pictures.  This is going to take a while.  Results posted in 1 year.

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Last year, one of my co-workers got married.  His was an arranged marriage (he’s from India) and at the celebration dinner which I arranged, we started talking about the advantages of that.  Well, not me, the other guys.  Basically, their parents do all the work of selecting them a spouse.  If you’re Indian, you even get a dowry.  What a deal!

Of the group of us who were there, I was one of the older ones.  We’re all in our mid to late twenties, and all of us were single.  People started asking me, somewhat in jest "So, when are you getting married?"  I would then return the favor by asking them, and the consensus was that none of us really knew.

Turns out they were holding out on me.  The topic has come up over the past couple of days.  Keep in mind that it is not me bringing it up.  One of my friends (from Pakistan) turns to me and says "So, Terry, when are you getting married?" (like it’s a foregone conclusion).  I said "Well, probably not this year.  I mean, first I would need a fiancee, and before that I’d need a girlfriend.  That whole process would probably take at least a year."  I decided to flip the question around and asked my friend the same question.  "What about you?  When are you?" 

He then says to me "Probably next year some time."  I was like "What?  How do you know that?"  It turns out this guy is from a culture where his parents will arrange his marriage.  So, his work is taken care of.  And then today, another friend asked me the same question, and when I flipped it around on him, he replied the same thing!  His parents were arranging his marriage as well!

Personally, I think that this is cheating.  You can’t ask someone who is not from a culture where their marriages are arranged when they plan to get hitched.  That’s not playing by the same set of rules!  In fact, I think that asking the question is cheating.  The difference in cultures means that the whole concept of timing is misaligned.

I thought about bringing up Apu’s point that 1 in 25 arranged marriages ends in divorce, but I’m not sure they would have gotten the joke.

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So, I recently went and checked out the websites of the three presidential front runners, here’s how I rate them.

  1. Barack Obama’s site is the nicest.  The site is well laid out and interfaces well with web 2.0 applications like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and Youtube.  No wonder that guy has raised so much money, it has a very friendly user experience.
  2. Hillary Clinton’s site is next.  It has a nice, airy feel to it with a good layout, but the Issues link simply isn’t as comprehensive as Obama’s.
  3. John McCain’s home page is the least nice.  I wouldn’t say it’s inherently bad, but it is more cluttered and busy than either of the other two.

I correctly called McCain getting the nomination several weeks ago.  I’m proud of that call, but I was wrong in predicting that Hillary was going to win; I really think at this stage that Obama will get the nomination.

I am going to make an 8 month prediction and say that Obama will win the presidential nomination.  I am not looking forward to that, I think he has a bad economic plan and is very weak on foreign policy.  Those are the two most important issues to me.  The fact that he has such a huge domestic program concerns me, it goes way beyond the executive powers proscribed in the Constitution.  After all, doesn’t the Constitution concentrate most of the duties of the Executive towards foreign policy while the Legislature handles domestic issues?

I am now going to make another prediction: Time Magazine’s 2008 Person-of-the-Year will be Barack Obama.  <sigh> You can count on that one if (when) my first prediction comes true.

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Youtube is a great site, but there’s one thing about it that annoys me.  Almost all of the comments on a given video are retarded.

Seriously, check it out sometime.  Click on any Most Watched video at random and check out the comments.  They don’t make any sense.  People will swear and say something stupid, or the grammar is completely non-sensical.

Don’t people think before using their keyboard?

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to play Guitar Hero for the Wii and PS3, and just tonight I played Rock Band for XBox 360.

Basically, the game play is this: you have a miniature guitar as a controller.  The game play is like Dance Dance Revolution in that you have to hit the notes on the guitar as they come up on the screen.  There are five buttons on the guitar to function as frets and a switch by the right hand to function as a pick.  You get a bunch of songs to play along to and the higher the difficulty, the more buttons you have to hit and faster the songs progress.

I got to tell you guys, this is a fun game.  If you know a friend who has an XBox or Playstation or Wii, get them to buy Guitar Hero or Rock Band and convince them to invite you over to play it.  You won’t be disappointed.

The reason I say so is because it’s an innovative game.  I like playing Halo 3 multiplayer, but Guitar Hero is different.  I feel like I’m actually accomplishing something.  I’m not really doing anything, but it’s still fun.

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