The U.S. has elected a new president, Barack Hussein Obama. Along with the dramatic turn in the economic situation, this marks a definite turning point in the history of the country and of the world. Big illusions have been created that Obama will provide “change”. What American workers have voted for is an end to policies that benefit the rich – but does Obama represent real change?
Tag: 2008 elections
Dec 03 2008
Nov 24 2008
Steve Clemons Reports McCain & Obama Camps Coordinated on Building Staff Rosters for Next Government:
“…A senior Obama campaign official shared with The Washington Note that In July 2008, the McCain and Obama camps began to work secretly behind the scenes to assemble large rosters of potential personnel for the administration that only one of the candidates would lead…”
At this point, the story is as Clemons termed it, “A Scoop”, so there hasn’t been verification of this by other sources at this time.
Nov 22 2008
On Sunday November 23, 2008 Venezuela faces one of the most decisive elections in its history. These elections will determine who controls the governors and the key municipal positions throughout the country. What happens on Sunday will have a profound impact on the future of the Bolivarian Revolution.
Nov 16 2008
Nov 16 2008
I grew up in about as stereotypical a Midwestern white middle class household as one can imagine. My dad worked, and my mom was a full-time stay-home mom, as were most of the moms of my friends, with a few schoolteachers and nurses as exceptions here and there. We were not rich, but we were very comfortable. We had everything we needed, and much of what we wanted. We knew our neighbors, not just next door, but for blocks in any direction. Any kid with a scraped knee could knock on any door around and find a mom with a bandaid, a mom who knew your name and knew your parents and with whose kids you played and went to birthday parties (in those days, with the little girls wearing white gloves and party dresses, and the boys in dress pants and bow ties, believe it or not…)
Nov 13 2008
Although official voter turnout figures won’t be available until the 2008 elections are certified in each state, Dr. Michael McDonald of George Mason University has published a list of estimated voter turnout percentages.
My revised national turnout rate for those eligible to vote is 61.2% or 130.4 million ballots cast for president. This represents an increase of 1.1 percentage points over the 60.1% turnout rate of 2004, but it falls short of the 1968 turnout rate of 62.5%.
McDonald has also compiled some statistics on early voting in the 2008 election. The information is a bit jumbled and incomplete, but the bottom line I was looking for suggests that 25.7% of votes cast nationally were cast early, compared to 22.5% in the 2004 election. With all the stories we heard about a massive turnout expected, I was curious how early voting affected the turnout in states that offer it and whether either candidate gained a clear advantage from early voting.
Nov 10 2008
My Son, my friend,
Decided to send you a note on lunch in rural France, on politics and how the French now perceive us since the election. And, maybe a little more.
In Arzal, right now, I’ve taken a break from the lunch we are having with Bertrand, Nadine, the kids and Joe and Martine from up the street. In September Joe and some of his friends shot and killed a few wild boar. Seems that wild boar are everywhere here, a bad overpopulation problem, and hunting them is becoming a passion with the French who go in for such things. As you know, I don’t care one way or the other about hunting. I won’t do it for it doesn’t interest me, but if others wish to, well c’est la guerre.
Bertrand took the boar meat and combined it with carrots, red wine, onion, celery, mushrooms, prunes soaked in alcohol (!) and many herbs. Cooked it for 4 hours. Also made potatoes mashed. Wonderful preparation. The lunch started with two bottles of Champaign and many toasts to Obama!. They love my rental car, a little Citron C1, complete with my last Obama/Biden bumper sticker stuck to the rear bumper. The French are absolutely geeked about the election results. Everyone’s just so freaking happy!! It’s suddenly a good time to be an American abroad in the world.
Nov 09 2008
Cross posted from WWL
Its pathetic when I start to think of 2000-2008 as halcyon days. Remember when all we could focus on is getting rid of the Bushites? We were united, man.
Predictably, I see the Left splintering, like children who, now that the evil stepmother has been banished argue about who gets the biggest piece of candy and who gets theirs first.
Not even a moment of awe at America electing a man of color, we cynically start complaining immediately about his lacks both real and perceived.
Imagine, if you can, had McCain won, how we would be acting, what would we be saying, if you would be renewing your passports… as he announced he was keeping Bush’s whole cabinet intact.
Rahm Emanuel has a lot of panties in a bunch, but hear me out, please.
Nov 07 2008
Now that we’ve had a couple days to rest up from the long presidential campaign, it’s time to get busy again. President-elect Obama is not going to govern from the left, or even that mythological “middle” everyone seems content to obsess over – he’ll govern from the hard right, only subtly, as Bill Clinton did. Those who thought to use him as a springboard to enacting progressive policy failed to understand that Obama is a user, not someone who lets himself be used. Let’s begin the work of making that fanciful notion so many of us held a reality.
I’ve done my criticism, and I’ll continue to criticize, because I take Theodore’s admonition regarding presidents to heart. But this entry is about offering up ideas and starting points; future ones shall be along this line of argument. We absolutely must organize, unite, and apply pressure before the tiny window of opportunity between now and January closes. We cannot afford a repeat of the Clinton years.
A good first step is in redirecting oil policy away from the industry and more toward independence – alternative, renewable sources of energy, naturally, but in other areas as well. The September-October issue of Science Illustrated contained a piece on bioplastics, that is, plastics made with chemicals derived from plant-based chemicals instead of petroleum. I wasn’t able to find a direct link to the magazine article, unfortunately, but I did locate links pertaining to the subject.
From the first link:
Scientists are one step closer to replacing crude oil as the main source for plastic, fuels and scores of other industrial and household chemicals with inexpensive, non-polluting renewable plant matter (Science, vol. 316. no. 5831, pp. 1597-1600, June 15, 2007). “What we have done that no one else has been able to do is convert glucose directly in high yields to a primary building block for fuel and polyesters,” says Z. Conrad Zhang, senior author who led the research and a scientist with the PNNL-based Institute for Interfacial Catalysis (UC; iic.pnl.gov). That building block is hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a chemical derived from carbohydrates such as glucose and fructose and that is viewed as a promising surrogate for petroleumbased chemicals.
Glucose, in plant starch and cellulose, is nature’s most abundant sugar. “But getting a commercially viable yield of HMF from glucose has been very challenging,” says Zhang. “In addition to low yield, until now, we always generated many different byproducts,” including levulinic acid, making product purification expensive and uncompetitive with petroleum-based chemicals.
Zhang, lead author and former post doc Haibo Zhao, and colleagues John Holladay and Heather Brown, all from PNNL, were able to coax HMF yields upward of 70% from glucose and nearly 90% from fructose, while leaving only traces of acid impurities. To achieve this, they experimented with a novel nonacidic catalytic system containing metal chloride catalysts in an ionic liquid capable of dissolving cellulose. The ionic liquid, enabled the metal chlorides to convert the sugars to HMF.
What this means is that scientists are making glucose-derived plastics a viable alternative to the petroleum-based variety we commonly use. As the first step toward moving away from reliance on fossil fuels, funding and regulations could be implemented so as to grow the bioplastics industry. Glucose can be gotten from straw and saw dust – waste products generated by the agricultural and wood industries – for example, meaning freeing up more farmland for food production.
Combined with passing laws raising fuel efficiency standards, improving public transportation, and creating advertising campaigns to promote carpooling and energy efficiency, pushing bioplastics may be used to start us on the road to energy independence. With fossil fuels dwindling, and wars to obtain control over sources increasing in frequency and intensity, this is a matter of genuine pragmatism and economic sensibility. It’s also something to press our elected officials over. President Obama will not be so stupid as to oppose his own political party if it passes progressive legislation.
Nov 07 2008
cross posted from The Dream Antilles
In Ireland, I am informed, they have some venerable traditions about drinking. When you go to a party, you bring two bottles: one for tonight, and one for the host at a later time. You uncork the one for tonight and throw away the cork. That way the bottle will have to be consumed tonight.
And so we celebrate the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States. Let’s drink the entire bottle. Let’s deal with the hangover. And then, let’s go back to work.
Join me with Advil below.