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Tag: Politics

Trump is acclimating us to pardons

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. – The US Constitution – Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 Wow, could the framers of the…

History is not kind to Bill Clinton

Im a progressive. When I look back at Bill Clinton’s presidency, all I see is bad policy and embarrassment. He was not a liberal and no friend to progressives. Here is a run down of his “accomplishments”: Defense of Marriage Act: Clearly on the wrong side of history. He legislated against gay marriage instead of standing up for their rights. Within 15 years, this law is overturned. Repealed the Glass-Steagall Act: This one action sowed the seeds for the 2007 financial collapse. It is one of the worst decisions in presidential history and still stands as the law of the land…

Facts, Fakes and Fox

English is funny. Spelled different, pronounced the same, spelled the same, pronounced different. It’s like English doesn’t want to be “understood”. It’s like the language itself it trying to obfuscate the truth. Why is phonetic not spelled phonetically? Language is behind this whole issue. Whether you are in the world of product development or politics, the facts are a tricky thing. I remember someone in a meeting once said loudly, “People don’t like it, that’s a fact!” As if speaking loudly and forcefully made them more correct. Example: Stephen Miller raising his voice to try to mask that he is wrong. I…

Obamacare is Terrible Branding

Medicare has a name. Medicaid has a name. Even unemployment insurance and Social Security benefits can be referred to with non-partisan labels. Names matter. The Affordable Care Act is a bill but if you have that health insurance, what do you have? You have ObamaCare. This is the stupidest branding move I can remember and it will affect tens of millions of people. Republicans originally started calling it ObamaCare because they wanted to make it partisan, but democrats started calling it the same thing shortly after. Why didn’t they give it a name like, “Medisure” or pretty much anything other…

Disturbing Trends

Not all trends are bad, but some really scare me. For example: Congress is supposed to pass laws. It’s kind of their job. I suppose I would rather no laws than terrible laws, but still, this is a disturbing trend. How about this one? The top 1% is earning more and more of the pie that is supposed to be shared. This trend got it’s first huge boost under Bill Clinton. Look at how the disparity is increasing below. Also, the wealth is being centralized in white hands. This is not because white people are “smarter”. This is systemic bias…

The Electoral College is Bad

I’ve complained about the Electoral College before, 12 years ago. This thing doesn’t make any sense in today’s world. From Wikipedia: Some delegates, including James Wilson and James Madison, preferred popular election of the executive. Madison acknowledged that while a popular vote would be ideal, it would be difficult to get consensus on the proposal given the prevalence of slavery in the South: There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no…

Election 2016

The election is over and the next President of the United States will be Donald Trump. To many people like myself, we imagine someone voting for Trump and it fills us with rage and frustration. However, with my empathy hat on, I know that the people who voted for him feel the same way about me. There is a huge gap between us. Its tempting to imagine our electorate as a normal bell curve. Left is liberal and right is conservative. However, the truth is that 50% of the voting public did not even vote, so this is just the top…

How are we so evenly split?

One of the strangest things in American politics is how evenly we are split between the two major parties. Look at the last few months of the popular vote between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Here is the same chart with % chance of winning The second chart at times looks like a landslide. However, the first chart is neck and neck. This is a poll for voting for two very different candidates. Whatever your politics are, I think you could agree that they are wildly different people with huge chasms in their policy objectives. How are we as a…

The Decline of Facts

I’m not looking forward to the presidential debates. The reason is that facts will not be part of the discussion. Imagine this fictitious argument: Fact Person: “The world is spherical.” Feelings Person: “I feel that it is flat.” Fact Person: “There are pictures, science, facts. It’s provable!” Feelings Person: “All of that is faked. Photoshopped. It’s all paid for by Big Round, the round earth lobby. Fact Person: “How can I prove to you that this is a fact.” Feelings Person: “You can’t. How can I prove to you the world is flat?” Fact Person: “What?? You can’t. It’s spherical!…

The Presidential Charisma Rule

Presidential Elections Rule #1: The one with more charisma will win. Since presidents have been using television to communicate with the people, the one with the most charisma has won. I’ll start conservatively with 1952, but it really was 1960 when television really took off. 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) – 442 Adlai Stevenson (D) – 89 1956 Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) – 457 Adlai Stevenson (D) – 73 1960 John F. Kennedy (D) – 303 Richard Nixon (R) – 219 Harry F. Byrd (D) – 15 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson (D) – 486 Barry Goldwater (R) – 52 1968 Richard…

Bernie Sanders is Larry David

I was watching some clips of the debate and Bernie Sander’s voice kept poking me in the brain. It sounded exactly like someone else. As if Bernie was doing an impression. Then it hit me. He was doing an impression of Larry David.  Check out these two clips. The first is Larry David on 60 minutes. You only need to watch the first minute or so. Then here is Bernie at the debate. His cadence is awesome. It has a comedic timing and rhythm that makes you want to listen to him. I think this was a smart move on…

The UX of Donald Trump

I try incredibly hard to avoid saying someone is an asshole without further explanation. The reason is that the adjective lacks any specifics. It doesn’t help you understand WHY. When Donald Trump speaks, I constantly want to scream at the screen, “Shut up! You are such a dick!” This is when I catch myself and say, “But Glen” (speaking to myself, yes, I do that) “What specifically do you disagree with? Why is he a jerk?” The problem is that Donald Trump moves from topic to topic with lightning speed. He is like a comedian who is roasting someone, going…

Martin Luther King Day 2014

Racism is alive and well in the United States.  African Americans are at a disadvantage in many categories.  This includes how they are treated by the law, corporations and education.  Plenty of studies have proven that African Americans have serious disadvantages that come directly from government and legal policies.  (Example)  Racism isn’t as explicit as it used to be, but in many ways it is worse. Take this horrific example from Sarah Palin’s Facebook page. (no link on purpose) Sarah Palin clearly thinks that racism doesn’t exist (or wants to pretend it doesn’t).  I don’t see President Obama playing any…

As an American, I am willing to…

As an American, I am willing to live with… Reduction of the size of the military by 50%. The cost is enormous and we would be just fine with a reduction in forces to half of what we have today.  We would still be spending more on military than most other countries. Reduction of nuclear weapons to 20 ICBM missiles.  We currently have 2,468 Active missiles. (9,600 total)  I think 20 would absolutely do the trick of deterring enemies.  Even 50 would be acceptable, but seriously, 2,468 is just obscene. Increase in the retirement age to 70.  People are living so long these…

The UX of Mission/Vision Resolutions

I was listening to Barney Frank today on NPR.  He said, regarding the healthcare debate, that republicans and democrats are basically on the same page on the big picture.  They both believed there is a real issue that needs serious attention.  However, he described that when you went into the details, that ideology created huge riffs between the different points of view. They were on the same page in the big picture, but on different pages in the details. My suggestion to them, from a UX standpoint is to focus on a resolution declaring the mission/vision of what they want…

Reframing Gay Marriage

I just finished reading the very short (100 pages) book called Don’t think of an Elephant by George Lakoff.  I thought it was excellent and highly recomend it.  I want to try it out. Proposition 8 passed in California, unfortunately.  It banned Marriage for Gay/Lesbian couples.  It defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. I hard supporters of Prop 8 talk about the sanctity of marriage.  And how you could have “civil unions” which were the same thing.  I was thinking this morning what else people who voted for Prop 8 would support.  Especially when it…

Barack Obama Wins!

Yay for Barack Obama!  The first Hawaian in the White House.  I am extremely pleased.  Did you know I predicted Biden would go for president in 2008.  I predicted it in 2004!!!  Who is the man?! Yet, lots of other things did not go so well.  That horrible woman Bachmann won who said that Obama was un-american and that we need to bring back McCarthyism.  Ted Stevens, the Alaska felon, might win. (He is winning, but its a recount)  How the heck did that happen??  (He might be a felon, but he is our corrupt felon and he brings home…

Election propositions, 2008

Last year, I complained about too many California propositions and initiatives.  Clearly, no one was paying any attention.  There are a dozen new initiatives tomorrow.  The answer to most of them is “I don’t know!”  How am I supposed to know if the legislation will work?  So this year, I am making a stand and voting based on blind principle.  I am voting yes for anything “equal rights” or “energy” or “mass transit”.  Let’s see how that stacks up. Yes, mass transit. Yes, equal rights for chickens. Yes, equal rights for children. No, equal rights for teenage pregnant women. (I…

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

Wow, Tiny Fey did a great job mimicking Sarah Palin. The accent and the facial expressions were spot on. I thought Amy Poehler wasn’t nearly as good. I loved the line that accused Sarah Palin of wearing “Tiny Fey glasses”. I didn’t think about that before, but maybe Sarah Palin is doing her best Tiny Fey impression? Very funny. What is not funny is how the media keeps obsessing over stupid things.  Presidents decide lots of policies that affect our lives.  They are the representative of our country to the whole world.  These decisions matter.  Do you want a car…

Predictions: 2008/2009

Well, it’s that time of year again where I predict things and get them all wrong.  Here we go. Democrat VP Picks. I predict Caroline Kennedy.  I think Joe Biden would be solid too.  If its Caroline, then Joe will sign on for Secretary of State. Republican VP Picks. Joe Lieberman (Boo!).  Maybe Mike Bloomberg. 2008/2009 NFL AFC Champions. New York Jets.  I can’t bring myself to say Superbowl champs. The next president of the United States of America. Barack Obama.  My first rule of presidential politics:  Charisma wins, not policy. Feel free to second guess.

Household Income, 2006

This is an update to my post previously about income in the United States.  Based on 111,617,402 households in the US as of 2006. Household Income, 2006 Total People Percent Less than $49,999 57,218,480 51% $50,000 to $74,999 21,221,889 19% $75,000 to $99,999 13,214,551 12% $100,000 to $199,999 16,145,482 14% $200,000 or more 3,817,000 3% It’s not much different than before.  82% of people make less than 100k in the household.  Of course, in some locales, 100k is plenty to thrive.  However, 200k+ is not all that much.  To have only 3% make that much, even including two parents working,…

The UX of Web Reading

Rachel Luxemburg was kind enough to forward me this report from Jakob Nielsen on how people read on the web. I have always known that people do not read a web page the way they do a book or email. On the web, people will skim. They will pass whole blocks of text. Their eyes will jump around like mad. There have been slews of authors who point this out, like Steve Krug with “Happy Talk Must Die“. This article brings much needed statistics to the discussion. Some takeaways I get from it. The report itself is too long. I…

Barack Obama = Bill Bradley?

I remember the 2000 primaries.  Al Gore was battling Bill Bradley.  I don’t remember all of the details, but specifically, I remember feeling guilty after the election.  I thought, Bill Bradley would have been a better candidate. Right now, I am having deja vu.  Is Barack Obama the new Bill Bradley?  Will I feel remorse after the fall and think, “Ahh, Obama would have been a better candidate?”  Of course, he is no Biden, but that this point it is a three way race.    I still will vote for Biden if his name is on the ballot, but if…

Bush v. Clinton

The Dow Jones Industrial Average took a plunge this morning.  It got me thinking.  I wonder what the Dow looks like for the last 16 years.  8 years of Bill Clinton and 8 years (almost) of Bush.  I used data/sceenshot from Investor.com Notice how the Bush years aren’t quite as good as the Clinton years.  Bush was touted as a business man when he was elected.  An energy guy too.  It was thought, incorrectly, that he would be able to implement a sensible energy policy and the Dow would do well. I think Bush is not incompetent.  I think he…

The UX of Crying

Hillary Clinton is a genius. I never thought of this, but she just pulled out the unbeatable strategy. Crying. Think about it. When a man cries, he is not strong and usually ridiculed. When a woman cries, men immediately give up and woman bond together. I think it’s from some evolutionary gene or something. Crying is the nuclear bomb of arguments for women. I swear, I could be 100% right, but when Katie starts crying, I have to give up. Hillary was losing New Hampshire. She got on TV and flashed a few tears. BAM! The next thing you know…

The UX of Primaries – Part II

Ok, so now we have a second data point after Iowa.  New Hampshire, which was a dead-even race for Clinton and Obama now has Obama ahead by 13 percentage points. It is riddiculous to say that New Hampshire was taking into account the “retail campaigning” that happens in Iowa because New Hampshire gets it just the same.  You can’t say that New Hampshire care what “white Iowa voters” thought about Obama because New Hampshire is mostly white as well.  The only explanation for a 13% overnight swing is simple: People like to vote for the winner. This is the reason…

The UX of Primaries (except for Iowa)

Primaries suck.  I want to vote for Joe Biden.  A bunch of local yokels in Iowa voted for Barack Obama and now he is “unstoppable”.  Are you kidding me?  Who cares what Iowa thinks?  I don’t!  I want to vote for Biden and he has no right to withdrawn his name so quickly.  Primaries suck.  The talking heads on TV just blabber on and on about how they are positioned and what kind of money they have or spend or what kind of ads they run.  Who cares if Mike Huckabee has a Christmas commercial?  I understand that its hard…

The UX of California Propositions

California is a pain in the ass.  They have these propositions and initiatives and special elections ALL THE TIME.  Every single time we have to vote, they ask us questions that we can not answer.  It is terribly designed user experience.  Never ask a question that has significant implications that the user has no way of knowing.  It makes it so that they can not effectively answer the question.  Example: Prop 92 This proposition is to lower the cost of community college.  I went to community college and really appreciated what it did for me.  I support higher education for…

Gore for Nobel President

If Al Gore wins the Nobel prize, he should run for president.  I am convinced that he would win.  The country feels guilty about the 2000 election.  We know Gore won, but we let it slide and let Bush take the prize.  In hindsight, that was a really shitty decision.  The Supreme Court is now packed with right-wing nutjobs.  The country is spewing CO2 like crazy.  The disparity between rich and poor is greater than ever.  We are mired in an unwinable war and are rolling back social programs and civil rights.  I think the country feels guilty and would…

Candidates + Issues Matrix

I filled out this MSNBC Candidates/Issues Matrix. Looking carefully at the positions of all the candidates, I rated them all.  As I expected, Hillary Clinton is not as progressive as I would like her to be.  Mike Gravel has some good positions, but he seems “a few kb short of a meg” to me.  The guy I was most inline with is Joe Biden.  Joe is the man.  He reminds me alot of Paul Kaplan. On the other side of the spectrum is Tom Tancredo.  Tom is a bonafide wack-a-doodle.  Nutjob.  Crackhead.   He’s insane.  No seriously.  Really.  Look at his…