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Author: Grant Henninger

STS 126 Landing

President
I’m voting for BARACK OBAMA. The reasons are many, order hospital you can read why I’m a Democrat generally, doctor but here are a few reasons why I’m specifically voting for Obama:

  1. Obama has provided a vision for what America can be, providing a long term goal for us to reach. I believe this is the most important role of the President.
  2. Obama’s rhetorical skills are at a level where he can inspire people with his vision and make people believe and have hope in the future of our country.
  3. Obama has shown a very metered response to the current problems facing our economy. He has worked to understand the issues and provide solutions that will work over the long term. McCain, on the other hand, has been completely reactionary, acting without a solid understanding of the impact of his actions.

United States Representative 42nd District
ED CHAU. Because he’s not Gary Miller.

Orange Unified School District,
Trustee Area 3

I’ve meet FLORICE HOFFMAN a few times, and she seems to be a reasonable and approachable person. I haven’t stayed informed on OUSD politics since graduating high school, so I don’t know what the issues of the day are for the district. On this one, I’m simply voting for the person I’ve meet.

City of Anaheim, Member, City Council
I’m voting for LORRI GALLOWAY and GAIL EASTMAN in this election. I truly support Lorri, I think she has the best interest of the City in mind when she makes decisions and she understands the implications of those decisions over the long term for the city. Gail, on the other hand, I’m voting for as the least bad of a bad set of candidates. She doesn’t have her own vision for the City, instead doing whatever Mayor Pringle wants. For the most part, I like the mayor, knowing him has served me well. His work has benefited the city greatly over the past six years, however, I worry about the long-term impact that work will have. In other words, I think many of his, and by extension Gail’s, priorities for the city are short sighted and will leave the city worse off in 50 years.

Prop 1A-Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act
I’m voting YES on Prop 1A. High-speed trains are the third most important item needed to indicate the future has arrived (after monorails and jetpacks, of course.) But more seriously, a high-speed rail that runs throughout California would be a boon to our economy, both in the short term and the long. Construction of the rail line would bring in billions of dollars of construction money into our economy over the next few years. Once the line is in place, it will enhance our economy by providing rapid transportation between the major cities in the state. It will be cheaper than flying and faster than driving.

I’m not a big supporter of bonds. However, Prop 1A is an investment in our infrastructure and it will pay for itself, ensuring we won’t have to raise taxes in the future to pay for this construction today.

Prop 2-Standards for Confining Farm Animals
After some hard thought on this proposition, I’ve decided to vote NO. This issue is too complex, and has too many far ranging impacts, for the voters to understand and make an informed decision. The voters have a poor track record on voting for complex issues. This is the main reason I don’t support California’s proposition system. I don’t have a good understanding of what this will do to California’s farming industry. More importantly, I don’t know what this will do to the world food market. There is a reason there are so many farms in California, it’s the best and cheapest place to produce food. If this proposition passes, it will likely make raising livestock more expensive within the state, which means that farmers will either leave, or things will just become more expensive. We’ve recently seen what happens, with corn based ethanol, when a law is passed that indirectly affects food prices, and how that effect ripples throughout the world. I’m not saying that will happen with Prop 2, I’m just saying I’m not well enough informed to know what the effects will be.

Prop 3-Children’s Hospital Bond Act
I’m voting NO on Prop 3 for a couple of reasons. First, much of this bond money will go into basic maintenance and upkeep of existing hospitals. This is something that needs to come out of on-going funds, not a one-time source. These types of activities simply aren’t an investment, and it’s not what we should spend bond money on. Secondly, California needs to invest in all of its hospitals, not just its children’s hospitals. I would be in favor of a bond measure that expanded California’s entire hospital system, but I’m not in favor of Prop 3.

Prop 4-Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy
Prop 4 is another attack on abortion rights, and I’m voting NO on it. This or similar measures have been on the ballot for years in California. The Pro-Life movement will continue put this legislation on the ballot until it passes and doesn’t get struck down as unconstitutional. This proposition needs to be defeated by a resounding margin so we aren’t faced with having to see this same issue on the ballot for the foreseeable future.

Prop 5-Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation
California does a poor job of deescalating criminal behavior. Prop 5 enables our justice system to treat non-violent drug offenders in a way that will help them get off drugs instead of falling deeper into crime, which is why I’m voting YES on Prop 5.

Prop 6-Police and Law Enforcement Funding
I’m voting NO on Prop 6. The voters of California have put many funding requirements on the state legislature, this is another one. These requirements, combined with the state’s inability to raise taxes, has made it increasingly harder to have a balanced budget or reasonable plan of spending for state services that don’t have voter mandated funding requirements.

Prop 7-Renewable Energy Generation
Prop 7 does two beneficial things: it evens the playing field between public and private utilities and it increases the amount of renewable energy that is generated within the state. That’s why I’ll be voting YES on Prop 7.

Prop 8-Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry
Marriage, from a legal point of view, is a contract between two people. As such, it needs to be open to everybody who wants to enter into that contract. That’s why I’m voting NO on Prop 8. Many people say that gay couples should be able to have “civil unions” that confer the same rights as marriage, but if they are the same in all but name there is no good reason to separate the two with a different name. As the Supreme Court said in Brown v Board of Education (1954), separate is inherently unequal.

Prop 9-Criminal Justice System. Victim’s Right. Parole.
Prop 9 makes many changes to the way inmates are handled during parole and after release from prison. The main factors that are leading me to vote NO on Prop 9 are: taking away parolees’ rights to legal council and restricting parole boards ability to release inmates early to relieve over-crowding.

Prop 10-Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy
Prop 10 is the exact wrong use of bond funds, which is why I’ll be voting NO. This proposition will allow the state to give rebates to Californians who buy alternative fuel vehicles. Hybrid and electric cars need to be able to compete in the market. Encumbering the state for 30 years to provide rebates for goods that will last ~5 years doesn’t sound like a good plan.

Prop 11-Redistricting
I support changing the way California draws its election districts every 10 years. However, I think this is the wrong change and so I’ll be voting NO on Prop 11. We need to have representatives we elect to draw the district map, we just need to give them some guidelines for what we expect to see from them and what they can and can’t do.

Prop 12-Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008
The Cal-Vet Home Loan Program does not cost tax-payers anything, which is why I’m voting YES on Prop 12. These bonds are used to provide inexpensive mortgages to veterans which they then pay back like a conventional mortgage. The benefit of doing this through a bond issuance is it enables the state to get a low interest rate that it can then pass on to the veteran home-buyers.

Measure J
This measure will increase the number of issues before voters, who I don’t believe make very good choices, so I’ll be voting NO on Measure J. We are a representative democracy, we should let our representatives vote on legislation instead of doing it directly.
A friend of mine sent me an article from today’s Wall Street Journal asking “Will Obama Gut Defense?” This article had many flaws, hair it is telling that military spending is equated with having a better military, hair without thought to what that money is being spent on.

What Sen. Obama has said is that we need to invest in our service members. That we need to do more to protect them while they are in the field and ensure they get the care, search both physical and mental, that they need when they return. This will ensure that more Solders, Sailors, Marines and Airmen can return to duty and be redeployed. It will also ensure that more Americans will be willing to join our armed forces.

Sen. Obama has not commented on the F-22, F-35, Future Combat Systems or National Missile Defense specifically, he has indeed been light on specifics which leaves open the opportunity to make the assumptions that the author does in this article. Even so, lets assume that the author is correct, and that these programs would be cut under an Obama administration.

First, lets focus on the Air Force. Nobody is denying the age of the Air Force’s current fleet of aircraft. The Air Force desperately needs to replace many of its air frames of all types. The question isn’t whether or not to replace these aircraft with fifth generation or nothing at all. The question needs to be: do we replace a handful of aircraft with fifth generation fighters or do we replace a majority of our aircraft with a new production line of our existing fourth generation fighters.

Looking at the F/A-18 E/F, the Marine Corps has the right idea. Upgrade our existing air frame designs with new avionics so we have a fleet of generation 4.5 aircraft. This could easily be done if the Air Force bought a new block of F-15s and F-16 at a substantially reduced cost from buying F-22s and F-35s.

This same logic holds true for all of the Air Force’s planes. There isn’t a huge need that isn’t being fulfilled by current tankers. The Air Force should buy new air frames of the current models, instead of developing something new.

Moving on to the Army, FCS does not fill any need that the Army currently has. In fact, it will likely do more harm than good, keeping the Army in a Second Generation model instead of moving towards the Third Generation of warfare. This is because the generals and commanders will be able to have more real-time information and be able to give orders while troops are engaged in battle. What the Army needs to do is rely upon the collective knowledge and insight of the troops who are doing the fighting to ensure the best decisions are made while in combat. Quite simply, instead of pushing the decision making to the lowest grunt in the field, that decision making will be concentrated at the top. This leads to slower decision making and an inability to adapt to new information quickly.

There are many other problems with FCS as well. The biggest other problem is the weight of the system. By adding all of this computer equipment, and the batteries to run it, we are weighing our Solders down with over a hundred pounds of gear. This limits their mobility and ensures they can’t be agile when responding to threats.

The Future Combat Systems also helps ensure that our Solders are more cut off and removed from the populations they have to interact with. In the types of engagements we find ourselves today, and that we will likely find ourselves in the future, this is a huge issue. Our troops need to be free to interact and build relationships with the populations they work in. It is the only way to win hearts and minds and to build legitimacy. Without doing that, we don’t have a viable exit strategy.

What all of this says, is that more spending does not directly equate to a better military. Our military needs to do more than blow things up, it cannot just be a gun that we point at what we want destroyed. Our military needs to be more nuanced, it needs to to be able to build bridges within the countries we are engaged, both literally and figuratively. Our military needs more smart people who are dedicated to improving the world in which we live.
Following the celebrations of last night, malady it is time to take stock of what has been accomplished, and what has yet to be done.  It is clear that Barack Obama had a stellar night.  He has won more electoral votes than George W. Bush did in either of his elections, although less than Bill Clinton did in his.

Initially, it didn’t appear that the Democratic Party had as good a night as Barack Obama. They were unable to achieve a 60-seat majority in the Senate, and they only picked up 20 seats in the House of Representatives. More importantly, however, the conservative movement ran the table on the social issues placed before voters as initiatives. The most talked about issue being gay marriage. But that’s the crux of why it only appears that the Democratic Party’s night wasn’t as good as President-elect Obama’s, our point of reference as moved, it has progressed.

Abortion is no longer the issue that divides this country. Abortion is no longer the lynch pin of the conservative movement. Abortion is no longer a winnable issue for the right. They have given up on abortion, they may still think that abortion is wrong, but it’s not where they are spending their time or money. Instead, they are spending their time and their money on gay marriage. They have conceded that abortion is here in this country to stay, and have redirected their energies elsewhere. And that, is progress.

November 4th, 2008 was a very good day for the Democratic Party, the United States of America, and the world. Americans will again believe that we, as individuals, can have a positive impact on the world. No longer will the American people be ruled by fear, instead we are filled with hope. No longer will we be withdrawn from the world, instead we are now empowered to engage with our communities, our fellow citizens and all our fellow travelers on this shinning blue ball we call home.
Following the celebrations of last night, malady it is time to take stock of what has been accomplished, and what has yet to be done.  It is clear that Barack Obama had a stellar night.  He has won more electoral votes than George W. Bush did in either of his elections, although less than Bill Clinton did in his.

Initially, it didn’t appear that the Democratic Party had as good a night as Barack Obama. They were unable to achieve a 60-seat majority in the Senate, and they only picked up 20 seats in the House of Representatives. More importantly, however, the conservative movement ran the table on the social issues placed before voters as initiatives. The most talked about issue being gay marriage. But that’s the crux of why it only appears that the Democratic Party’s night wasn’t as good as President-elect Obama’s, our point of reference as moved, it has progressed.

Abortion is no longer the issue that divides this country. Abortion is no longer the lynch pin of the conservative movement. Abortion is no longer a winnable issue for the right. They have given up on abortion, they may still think that abortion is wrong, but it’s not where they are spending their time or money. Instead, they are spending their time and their money on gay marriage. They have conceded that abortion is here in this country to stay, and have redirected their energies elsewhere. And that, is progress.

November 4th, 2008 was a very good day for the Democratic Party, the United States of America, and the world. Americans will again believe that we, as individuals, can have a positive impact on the world. No longer will the American people be ruled by fear, instead we are filled with hope. No longer will we be withdrawn from the world, instead we are now empowered to engage with our communities, our fellow citizens and all our fellow travelers on this shinning blue ball we call home.

Today Space Shuttle Endeavor unexpectedly landed at Edwards Air Force Base. Luckily, this web
we had enough warning to get up to Edwards for the landing. Here are a few of the photographs I took as the shuttle came in overhead and circled around where we were standing on its approach to the runway.

Yes We Did! What's next?

President
I’m voting for BARACK OBAMA. The reasons are many, order hospital you can read why I’m a Democrat generally, doctor but here are a few reasons why I’m specifically voting for Obama:

  1. Obama has provided a vision for what America can be, providing a long term goal for us to reach. I believe this is the most important role of the President.
  2. Obama’s rhetorical skills are at a level where he can inspire people with his vision and make people believe and have hope in the future of our country.
  3. Obama has shown a very metered response to the current problems facing our economy. He has worked to understand the issues and provide solutions that will work over the long term. McCain, on the other hand, has been completely reactionary, acting without a solid understanding of the impact of his actions.

United States Representative 42nd District
ED CHAU. Because he’s not Gary Miller.

Orange Unified School District,
Trustee Area 3

I’ve meet FLORICE HOFFMAN a few times, and she seems to be a reasonable and approachable person. I haven’t stayed informed on OUSD politics since graduating high school, so I don’t know what the issues of the day are for the district. On this one, I’m simply voting for the person I’ve meet.

City of Anaheim, Member, City Council
I’m voting for LORRI GALLOWAY and GAIL EASTMAN in this election. I truly support Lorri, I think she has the best interest of the City in mind when she makes decisions and she understands the implications of those decisions over the long term for the city. Gail, on the other hand, I’m voting for as the least bad of a bad set of candidates. She doesn’t have her own vision for the City, instead doing whatever Mayor Pringle wants. For the most part, I like the mayor, knowing him has served me well. His work has benefited the city greatly over the past six years, however, I worry about the long-term impact that work will have. In other words, I think many of his, and by extension Gail’s, priorities for the city are short sighted and will leave the city worse off in 50 years.

Prop 1A-Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act
I’m voting YES on Prop 1A. High-speed trains are the third most important item needed to indicate the future has arrived (after monorails and jetpacks, of course.) But more seriously, a high-speed rail that runs throughout California would be a boon to our economy, both in the short term and the long. Construction of the rail line would bring in billions of dollars of construction money into our economy over the next few years. Once the line is in place, it will enhance our economy by providing rapid transportation between the major cities in the state. It will be cheaper than flying and faster than driving.

I’m not a big supporter of bonds. However, Prop 1A is an investment in our infrastructure and it will pay for itself, ensuring we won’t have to raise taxes in the future to pay for this construction today.

Prop 2-Standards for Confining Farm Animals
After some hard thought on this proposition, I’ve decided to vote NO. This issue is too complex, and has too many far ranging impacts, for the voters to understand and make an informed decision. The voters have a poor track record on voting for complex issues. This is the main reason I don’t support California’s proposition system. I don’t have a good understanding of what this will do to California’s farming industry. More importantly, I don’t know what this will do to the world food market. There is a reason there are so many farms in California, it’s the best and cheapest place to produce food. If this proposition passes, it will likely make raising livestock more expensive within the state, which means that farmers will either leave, or things will just become more expensive. We’ve recently seen what happens, with corn based ethanol, when a law is passed that indirectly affects food prices, and how that effect ripples throughout the world. I’m not saying that will happen with Prop 2, I’m just saying I’m not well enough informed to know what the effects will be.

Prop 3-Children’s Hospital Bond Act
I’m voting NO on Prop 3 for a couple of reasons. First, much of this bond money will go into basic maintenance and upkeep of existing hospitals. This is something that needs to come out of on-going funds, not a one-time source. These types of activities simply aren’t an investment, and it’s not what we should spend bond money on. Secondly, California needs to invest in all of its hospitals, not just its children’s hospitals. I would be in favor of a bond measure that expanded California’s entire hospital system, but I’m not in favor of Prop 3.

Prop 4-Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy
Prop 4 is another attack on abortion rights, and I’m voting NO on it. This or similar measures have been on the ballot for years in California. The Pro-Life movement will continue put this legislation on the ballot until it passes and doesn’t get struck down as unconstitutional. This proposition needs to be defeated by a resounding margin so we aren’t faced with having to see this same issue on the ballot for the foreseeable future.

Prop 5-Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation
California does a poor job of deescalating criminal behavior. Prop 5 enables our justice system to treat non-violent drug offenders in a way that will help them get off drugs instead of falling deeper into crime, which is why I’m voting YES on Prop 5.

Prop 6-Police and Law Enforcement Funding
I’m voting NO on Prop 6. The voters of California have put many funding requirements on the state legislature, this is another one. These requirements, combined with the state’s inability to raise taxes, has made it increasingly harder to have a balanced budget or reasonable plan of spending for state services that don’t have voter mandated funding requirements.

Prop 7-Renewable Energy Generation
Prop 7 does two beneficial things: it evens the playing field between public and private utilities and it increases the amount of renewable energy that is generated within the state. That’s why I’ll be voting YES on Prop 7.

Prop 8-Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry
Marriage, from a legal point of view, is a contract between two people. As such, it needs to be open to everybody who wants to enter into that contract. That’s why I’m voting NO on Prop 8. Many people say that gay couples should be able to have “civil unions” that confer the same rights as marriage, but if they are the same in all but name there is no good reason to separate the two with a different name. As the Supreme Court said in Brown v Board of Education (1954), separate is inherently unequal.

Prop 9-Criminal Justice System. Victim’s Right. Parole.
Prop 9 makes many changes to the way inmates are handled during parole and after release from prison. The main factors that are leading me to vote NO on Prop 9 are: taking away parolees’ rights to legal council and restricting parole boards ability to release inmates early to relieve over-crowding.

Prop 10-Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy
Prop 10 is the exact wrong use of bond funds, which is why I’ll be voting NO. This proposition will allow the state to give rebates to Californians who buy alternative fuel vehicles. Hybrid and electric cars need to be able to compete in the market. Encumbering the state for 30 years to provide rebates for goods that will last ~5 years doesn’t sound like a good plan.

Prop 11-Redistricting
I support changing the way California draws its election districts every 10 years. However, I think this is the wrong change and so I’ll be voting NO on Prop 11. We need to have representatives we elect to draw the district map, we just need to give them some guidelines for what we expect to see from them and what they can and can’t do.

Prop 12-Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008
The Cal-Vet Home Loan Program does not cost tax-payers anything, which is why I’m voting YES on Prop 12. These bonds are used to provide inexpensive mortgages to veterans which they then pay back like a conventional mortgage. The benefit of doing this through a bond issuance is it enables the state to get a low interest rate that it can then pass on to the veteran home-buyers.

Measure J
This measure will increase the number of issues before voters, who I don’t believe make very good choices, so I’ll be voting NO on Measure J. We are a representative democracy, we should let our representatives vote on legislation instead of doing it directly.
A friend of mine sent me an article from today’s Wall Street Journal asking “Will Obama Gut Defense?” This article had many flaws, hair it is telling that military spending is equated with having a better military, hair without thought to what that money is being spent on.

What Sen. Obama has said is that we need to invest in our service members. That we need to do more to protect them while they are in the field and ensure they get the care, search both physical and mental, that they need when they return. This will ensure that more Solders, Sailors, Marines and Airmen can return to duty and be redeployed. It will also ensure that more Americans will be willing to join our armed forces.

Sen. Obama has not commented on the F-22, F-35, Future Combat Systems or National Missile Defense specifically, he has indeed been light on specifics which leaves open the opportunity to make the assumptions that the author does in this article. Even so, lets assume that the author is correct, and that these programs would be cut under an Obama administration.

First, lets focus on the Air Force. Nobody is denying the age of the Air Force’s current fleet of aircraft. The Air Force desperately needs to replace many of its air frames of all types. The question isn’t whether or not to replace these aircraft with fifth generation or nothing at all. The question needs to be: do we replace a handful of aircraft with fifth generation fighters or do we replace a majority of our aircraft with a new production line of our existing fourth generation fighters.

Looking at the F/A-18 E/F, the Marine Corps has the right idea. Upgrade our existing air frame designs with new avionics so we have a fleet of generation 4.5 aircraft. This could easily be done if the Air Force bought a new block of F-15s and F-16 at a substantially reduced cost from buying F-22s and F-35s.

This same logic holds true for all of the Air Force’s planes. There isn’t a huge need that isn’t being fulfilled by current tankers. The Air Force should buy new air frames of the current models, instead of developing something new.

Moving on to the Army, FCS does not fill any need that the Army currently has. In fact, it will likely do more harm than good, keeping the Army in a Second Generation model instead of moving towards the Third Generation of warfare. This is because the generals and commanders will be able to have more real-time information and be able to give orders while troops are engaged in battle. What the Army needs to do is rely upon the collective knowledge and insight of the troops who are doing the fighting to ensure the best decisions are made while in combat. Quite simply, instead of pushing the decision making to the lowest grunt in the field, that decision making will be concentrated at the top. This leads to slower decision making and an inability to adapt to new information quickly.

There are many other problems with FCS as well. The biggest other problem is the weight of the system. By adding all of this computer equipment, and the batteries to run it, we are weighing our Solders down with over a hundred pounds of gear. This limits their mobility and ensures they can’t be agile when responding to threats.

The Future Combat Systems also helps ensure that our Solders are more cut off and removed from the populations they have to interact with. In the types of engagements we find ourselves today, and that we will likely find ourselves in the future, this is a huge issue. Our troops need to be free to interact and build relationships with the populations they work in. It is the only way to win hearts and minds and to build legitimacy. Without doing that, we don’t have a viable exit strategy.

What all of this says, is that more spending does not directly equate to a better military. Our military needs to do more than blow things up, it cannot just be a gun that we point at what we want destroyed. Our military needs to be more nuanced, it needs to to be able to build bridges within the countries we are engaged, both literally and figuratively. Our military needs more smart people who are dedicated to improving the world in which we live.
Following the celebrations of last night, malady it is time to take stock of what has been accomplished, and what has yet to be done.  It is clear that Barack Obama had a stellar night.  He has won more electoral votes than George W. Bush did in either of his elections, although less than Bill Clinton did in his.

Initially, it didn’t appear that the Democratic Party had as good a night as Barack Obama. They were unable to achieve a 60-seat majority in the Senate, and they only picked up 20 seats in the House of Representatives. More importantly, however, the conservative movement ran the table on the social issues placed before voters as initiatives. The most talked about issue being gay marriage. But that’s the crux of why it only appears that the Democratic Party’s night wasn’t as good as President-elect Obama’s, our point of reference as moved, it has progressed.

Abortion is no longer the issue that divides this country. Abortion is no longer the lynch pin of the conservative movement. Abortion is no longer a winnable issue for the right. They have given up on abortion, they may still think that abortion is wrong, but it’s not where they are spending their time or money. Instead, they are spending their time and their money on gay marriage. They have conceded that abortion is here in this country to stay, and have redirected their energies elsewhere. And that, is progress.

November 4th, 2008 was a very good day for the Democratic Party, the United States of America, and the world. Americans will again believe that we, as individuals, can have a positive impact on the world. No longer will the American people be ruled by fear, instead we are filled with hope. No longer will we be withdrawn from the world, instead we are now empowered to engage with our communities, our fellow citizens and all our fellow travelers on this shinning blue ball we call home.

Obama on Defense

President
I’m voting for BARACK OBAMA. The reasons are many, order hospital you can read why I’m a Democrat generally, doctor but here are a few reasons why I’m specifically voting for Obama:

  1. Obama has provided a vision for what America can be, providing a long term goal for us to reach. I believe this is the most important role of the President.
  2. Obama’s rhetorical skills are at a level where he can inspire people with his vision and make people believe and have hope in the future of our country.
  3. Obama has shown a very metered response to the current problems facing our economy. He has worked to understand the issues and provide solutions that will work over the long term. McCain, on the other hand, has been completely reactionary, acting without a solid understanding of the impact of his actions.

United States Representative 42nd District
ED CHAU. Because he’s not Gary Miller.

Orange Unified School District,
Trustee Area 3

I’ve meet FLORICE HOFFMAN a few times, and she seems to be a reasonable and approachable person. I haven’t stayed informed on OUSD politics since graduating high school, so I don’t know what the issues of the day are for the district. On this one, I’m simply voting for the person I’ve meet.

City of Anaheim, Member, City Council
I’m voting for LORRI GALLOWAY and GAIL EASTMAN in this election. I truly support Lorri, I think she has the best interest of the City in mind when she makes decisions and she understands the implications of those decisions over the long term for the city. Gail, on the other hand, I’m voting for as the least bad of a bad set of candidates. She doesn’t have her own vision for the City, instead doing whatever Mayor Pringle wants. For the most part, I like the mayor, knowing him has served me well. His work has benefited the city greatly over the past six years, however, I worry about the long-term impact that work will have. In other words, I think many of his, and by extension Gail’s, priorities for the city are short sighted and will leave the city worse off in 50 years.

Prop 1A-Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act
I’m voting YES on Prop 1A. High-speed trains are the third most important item needed to indicate the future has arrived (after monorails and jetpacks, of course.) But more seriously, a high-speed rail that runs throughout California would be a boon to our economy, both in the short term and the long. Construction of the rail line would bring in billions of dollars of construction money into our economy over the next few years. Once the line is in place, it will enhance our economy by providing rapid transportation between the major cities in the state. It will be cheaper than flying and faster than driving.

I’m not a big supporter of bonds. However, Prop 1A is an investment in our infrastructure and it will pay for itself, ensuring we won’t have to raise taxes in the future to pay for this construction today.

Prop 2-Standards for Confining Farm Animals
After some hard thought on this proposition, I’ve decided to vote NO. This issue is too complex, and has too many far ranging impacts, for the voters to understand and make an informed decision. The voters have a poor track record on voting for complex issues. This is the main reason I don’t support California’s proposition system. I don’t have a good understanding of what this will do to California’s farming industry. More importantly, I don’t know what this will do to the world food market. There is a reason there are so many farms in California, it’s the best and cheapest place to produce food. If this proposition passes, it will likely make raising livestock more expensive within the state, which means that farmers will either leave, or things will just become more expensive. We’ve recently seen what happens, with corn based ethanol, when a law is passed that indirectly affects food prices, and how that effect ripples throughout the world. I’m not saying that will happen with Prop 2, I’m just saying I’m not well enough informed to know what the effects will be.

Prop 3-Children’s Hospital Bond Act
I’m voting NO on Prop 3 for a couple of reasons. First, much of this bond money will go into basic maintenance and upkeep of existing hospitals. This is something that needs to come out of on-going funds, not a one-time source. These types of activities simply aren’t an investment, and it’s not what we should spend bond money on. Secondly, California needs to invest in all of its hospitals, not just its children’s hospitals. I would be in favor of a bond measure that expanded California’s entire hospital system, but I’m not in favor of Prop 3.

Prop 4-Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy
Prop 4 is another attack on abortion rights, and I’m voting NO on it. This or similar measures have been on the ballot for years in California. The Pro-Life movement will continue put this legislation on the ballot until it passes and doesn’t get struck down as unconstitutional. This proposition needs to be defeated by a resounding margin so we aren’t faced with having to see this same issue on the ballot for the foreseeable future.

Prop 5-Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation
California does a poor job of deescalating criminal behavior. Prop 5 enables our justice system to treat non-violent drug offenders in a way that will help them get off drugs instead of falling deeper into crime, which is why I’m voting YES on Prop 5.

Prop 6-Police and Law Enforcement Funding
I’m voting NO on Prop 6. The voters of California have put many funding requirements on the state legislature, this is another one. These requirements, combined with the state’s inability to raise taxes, has made it increasingly harder to have a balanced budget or reasonable plan of spending for state services that don’t have voter mandated funding requirements.

Prop 7-Renewable Energy Generation
Prop 7 does two beneficial things: it evens the playing field between public and private utilities and it increases the amount of renewable energy that is generated within the state. That’s why I’ll be voting YES on Prop 7.

Prop 8-Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry
Marriage, from a legal point of view, is a contract between two people. As such, it needs to be open to everybody who wants to enter into that contract. That’s why I’m voting NO on Prop 8. Many people say that gay couples should be able to have “civil unions” that confer the same rights as marriage, but if they are the same in all but name there is no good reason to separate the two with a different name. As the Supreme Court said in Brown v Board of Education (1954), separate is inherently unequal.

Prop 9-Criminal Justice System. Victim’s Right. Parole.
Prop 9 makes many changes to the way inmates are handled during parole and after release from prison. The main factors that are leading me to vote NO on Prop 9 are: taking away parolees’ rights to legal council and restricting parole boards ability to release inmates early to relieve over-crowding.

Prop 10-Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy
Prop 10 is the exact wrong use of bond funds, which is why I’ll be voting NO. This proposition will allow the state to give rebates to Californians who buy alternative fuel vehicles. Hybrid and electric cars need to be able to compete in the market. Encumbering the state for 30 years to provide rebates for goods that will last ~5 years doesn’t sound like a good plan.

Prop 11-Redistricting
I support changing the way California draws its election districts every 10 years. However, I think this is the wrong change and so I’ll be voting NO on Prop 11. We need to have representatives we elect to draw the district map, we just need to give them some guidelines for what we expect to see from them and what they can and can’t do.

Prop 12-Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008
The Cal-Vet Home Loan Program does not cost tax-payers anything, which is why I’m voting YES on Prop 12. These bonds are used to provide inexpensive mortgages to veterans which they then pay back like a conventional mortgage. The benefit of doing this through a bond issuance is it enables the state to get a low interest rate that it can then pass on to the veteran home-buyers.

Measure J
This measure will increase the number of issues before voters, who I don’t believe make very good choices, so I’ll be voting NO on Measure J. We are a representative democracy, we should let our representatives vote on legislation instead of doing it directly.
A friend of mine sent me an article from today’s Wall Street Journal asking “Will Obama Gut Defense?” This article had many flaws, hair it is telling that military spending is equated with having a better military, hair without thought to what that money is being spent on.

What Sen. Obama has said is that we need to invest in our service members. That we need to do more to protect them while they are in the field and ensure they get the care, search both physical and mental, that they need when they return. This will ensure that more Solders, Sailors, Marines and Airmen can return to duty and be redeployed. It will also ensure that more Americans will be willing to join our armed forces.

Sen. Obama has not commented on the F-22, F-35, Future Combat Systems or National Missile Defense specifically, he has indeed been light on specifics which leaves open the opportunity to make the assumptions that the author does in this article. Even so, lets assume that the author is correct, and that these programs would be cut under an Obama administration.

First, lets focus on the Air Force. Nobody is denying the age of the Air Force’s current fleet of aircraft. The Air Force desperately needs to replace many of its air frames of all types. The question isn’t whether or not to replace these aircraft with fifth generation or nothing at all. The question needs to be: do we replace a handful of aircraft with fifth generation fighters or do we replace a majority of our aircraft with a new production line of our existing fourth generation fighters.

Looking at the F/A-18 E/F, the Marine Corps has the right idea. Upgrade our existing air frame designs with new avionics so we have a fleet of generation 4.5 aircraft. This could easily be done if the Air Force bought a new block of F-15s and F-16 at a substantially reduced cost from buying F-22s and F-35s.

This same logic holds true for all of the Air Force’s planes. There isn’t a huge need that isn’t being fulfilled by current tankers. The Air Force should buy new air frames of the current models, instead of developing something new.

Moving on to the Army, FCS does not fill any need that the Army currently has. In fact, it will likely do more harm than good, keeping the Army in a Second Generation model instead of moving towards the Third Generation of warfare. This is because the generals and commanders will be able to have more real-time information and be able to give orders while troops are engaged in battle. What the Army needs to do is rely upon the collective knowledge and insight of the troops who are doing the fighting to ensure the best decisions are made while in combat. Quite simply, instead of pushing the decision making to the lowest grunt in the field, that decision making will be concentrated at the top. This leads to slower decision making and an inability to adapt to new information quickly.

There are many other problems with FCS as well. The biggest other problem is the weight of the system. By adding all of this computer equipment, and the batteries to run it, we are weighing our Solders down with over a hundred pounds of gear. This limits their mobility and ensures they can’t be agile when responding to threats.

The Future Combat Systems also helps ensure that our Solders are more cut off and removed from the populations they have to interact with. In the types of engagements we find ourselves today, and that we will likely find ourselves in the future, this is a huge issue. Our troops need to be free to interact and build relationships with the populations they work in. It is the only way to win hearts and minds and to build legitimacy. Without doing that, we don’t have a viable exit strategy.

What all of this says, is that more spending does not directly equate to a better military. Our military needs to do more than blow things up, it cannot just be a gun that we point at what we want destroyed. Our military needs to be more nuanced, it needs to to be able to build bridges within the countries we are engaged, both literally and figuratively. Our military needs more smart people who are dedicated to improving the world in which we live.

2008 General Election Guide

President
I’m voting for BARACK OBAMA. The reasons are many, order hospital you can read why I’m a Democrat generally, doctor but here are a few reasons why I’m specifically voting for Obama:

  1. Obama has provided a vision for what America can be, providing a long term goal for us to reach. I believe this is the most important role of the President.
  2. Obama’s rhetorical skills are at a level where he can inspire people with his vision and make people believe and have hope in the future of our country.
  3. Obama has shown a very metered response to the current problems facing our economy. He has worked to understand the issues and provide solutions that will work over the long term. McCain, on the other hand, has been completely reactionary, acting without a solid understanding of the impact of his actions.

United States Representative 42nd District
ED CHAU. Because he’s not Gary Miller.

Orange Unified School District,
Trustee Area 3

I’ve meet FLORICE HOFFMAN a few times, and she seems to be a reasonable and approachable person. I haven’t stayed informed on OUSD politics since graduating high school, so I don’t know what the issues of the day are for the district. On this one, I’m simply voting for the person I’ve meet.

City of Anaheim, Member, City Council
I’m voting for LORRI GALLOWAY and GAIL EASTMAN in this election. I truly support Lorri, I think she has the best interest of the City in mind when she makes decisions and she understands the implications of those decisions over the long term for the city. Gail, on the other hand, I’m voting for as the least bad of a bad set of candidates. She doesn’t have her own vision for the City, instead doing whatever Mayor Pringle wants. For the most part, I like the mayor, knowing him has served me well. His work has benefited the city greatly over the past six years, however, I worry about the long-term impact that work will have. In other words, I think many of his, and by extension Gail’s, priorities for the city are short sighted and will leave the city worse off in 50 years.

Prop 1A-Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act
I’m voting YES on Prop 1A. High-speed trains are the third most important item needed to indicate the future has arrived (after monorails and jetpacks, of course.) But more seriously, a high-speed rail that runs throughout California would be a boon to our economy, both in the short term and the long. Construction of the rail line would bring in billions of dollars of construction money into our economy over the next few years. Once the line is in place, it will enhance our economy by providing rapid transportation between the major cities in the state. It will be cheaper than flying and faster than driving.

I’m not a big supporter of bonds. However, Prop 1A is an investment in our infrastructure and it will pay for itself, ensuring we won’t have to raise taxes in the future to pay for this construction today.

Prop 2-Standards for Confining Farm Animals
After some hard thought on this proposition, I’ve decided to vote NO. This issue is too complex, and has too many far ranging impacts, for the voters to understand and make an informed decision. The voters have a poor track record on voting for complex issues. This is the main reason I don’t support California’s proposition system. I don’t have a good understanding of what this will do to California’s farming industry. More importantly, I don’t know what this will do to the world food market. There is a reason there are so many farms in California, it’s the best and cheapest place to produce food. If this proposition passes, it will likely make raising livestock more expensive within the state, which means that farmers will either leave, or things will just become more expensive. We’ve recently seen what happens, with corn based ethanol, when a law is passed that indirectly affects food prices, and how that effect ripples throughout the world. I’m not saying that will happen with Prop 2, I’m just saying I’m not well enough informed to know what the effects will be.

Prop 3-Children’s Hospital Bond Act
I’m voting NO on Prop 3 for a couple of reasons. First, much of this bond money will go into basic maintenance and upkeep of existing hospitals. This is something that needs to come out of on-going funds, not a one-time source. These types of activities simply aren’t an investment, and it’s not what we should spend bond money on. Secondly, California needs to invest in all of its hospitals, not just its children’s hospitals. I would be in favor of a bond measure that expanded California’s entire hospital system, but I’m not in favor of Prop 3.

Prop 4-Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy
Prop 4 is another attack on abortion rights, and I’m voting NO on it. This or similar measures have been on the ballot for years in California. The Pro-Life movement will continue put this legislation on the ballot until it passes and doesn’t get struck down as unconstitutional. This proposition needs to be defeated by a resounding margin so we aren’t faced with having to see this same issue on the ballot for the foreseeable future.

Prop 5-Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation
California does a poor job of deescalating criminal behavior. Prop 5 enables our justice system to treat non-violent drug offenders in a way that will help them get off drugs instead of falling deeper into crime, which is why I’m voting YES on Prop 5.

Prop 6-Police and Law Enforcement Funding
I’m voting NO on Prop 6. The voters of California have put many funding requirements on the state legislature, this is another one. These requirements, combined with the state’s inability to raise taxes, has made it increasingly harder to have a balanced budget or reasonable plan of spending for state services that don’t have voter mandated funding requirements.

Prop 7-Renewable Energy Generation
Prop 7 does two beneficial things: it evens the playing field between public and private utilities and it increases the amount of renewable energy that is generated within the state. That’s why I’ll be voting YES on Prop 7.

Prop 8-Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry
Marriage, from a legal point of view, is a contract between two people. As such, it needs to be open to everybody who wants to enter into that contract. That’s why I’m voting NO on Prop 8. Many people say that gay couples should be able to have “civil unions” that confer the same rights as marriage, but if they are the same in all but name there is no good reason to separate the two with a different name. As the Supreme Court said in Brown v Board of Education (1954), separate is inherently unequal.

Prop 9-Criminal Justice System. Victim’s Right. Parole.
Prop 9 makes many changes to the way inmates are handled during parole and after release from prison. The main factors that are leading me to vote NO on Prop 9 are: taking away parolees’ rights to legal council and restricting parole boards ability to release inmates early to relieve over-crowding.

Prop 10-Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy
Prop 10 is the exact wrong use of bond funds, which is why I’ll be voting NO. This proposition will allow the state to give rebates to Californians who buy alternative fuel vehicles. Hybrid and electric cars need to be able to compete in the market. Encumbering the state for 30 years to provide rebates for goods that will last ~5 years doesn’t sound like a good plan.

Prop 11-Redistricting
I support changing the way California draws its election districts every 10 years. However, I think this is the wrong change and so I’ll be voting NO on Prop 11. We need to have representatives we elect to draw the district map, we just need to give them some guidelines for what we expect to see from them and what they can and can’t do.

Prop 12-Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008
The Cal-Vet Home Loan Program does not cost tax-payers anything, which is why I’m voting YES on Prop 12. These bonds are used to provide inexpensive mortgages to veterans which they then pay back like a conventional mortgage. The benefit of doing this through a bond issuance is it enables the state to get a low interest rate that it can then pass on to the veteran home-buyers.

Measure J
This measure will increase the number of issues before voters, who I don’t believe make very good choices, so I’ll be voting NO on Measure J. We are a representative democracy, we should let our representatives vote on legislation instead of doing it directly.

A Crisis of Trust

Space Needle at Dusk
Note: This post is the result of a conversation I had a couple of nights ago that really made me examine and articulate the reasons I’m a Democrat.

There are fundamental differences between the assumptions made by the Democrats and Republicans.  It is these assumptions that inform the policies of each party.  Two of these differences are what I’ve always focused on in determining my party affiliation and what policies I support.

First, rx the Republicans believe that perfectly efficient markets are achievable; the Democrats on the other hand believe that, glands even in a free market, there are no perfectly efficient markets.  These differences date back to, and are best defined by, the debates between Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes.  Inefficiencies in the market are most often seen in the employment market, where they also have the largest impact.  These inefficiencies in the labor market arise from two places: labor comes in whole units (i.e. you can’t employ half a person) and there are labor contracts, so companies can’t change wages or let people go as soon as the market changes.  This is not to say that the amount of employed labor does not change with the market, there is simply a delay in realizing that change.  This is, by definition, an inefficiency in the market.

This differing view of the world has huge implications on what economic policies work for controlling and moderating the economy.  These two different assumptions lead to completely different theories on how money moves through the economy.  In a perfectly efficient market, the Trickle-Down Theory works at stimulating the economy.  However, it has been shown repeatedly that this is not the case.  Even so, the Republican Party continues to believe in an economic theory that has been shown to be fallacious. The Democratic Party subscribes to a theory that works fairly well in predicting the outcomes different stimuli on the economy.

That is the first difference between the worldviews of the two parties.  The second is also related to economics, but informs social policy to a greater extent.  The Republican Party believes that the world is a zero-sum game, that if somebody else has something they are taking it away from me.  Conversely, the Democratic Party believes that we can create more by working together than we would have working independently.  In other words, Republicans are about getting a bigger slice of the pie, while Democrats are interested in making a bigger pie.

This difference greatly affects social policies.  By helping the least fortunate in our communities, the Democrats attempt to help people become more productive members in our society and economy.  The Republicans believe that without government help others in the community will come forth and voluntarily help those less fortunate.  Unfortunately, in my experience, I’ve never met anybody who has made this argument and also put their money where their mouth is.  Instead, they seem to want to just lower taxes so they can have more and do nothing to help others.

One common theme between these two differences is that Democrats, by and large, change their view based on facts and experience, while the Republicans continue pursuing their policies based on faith.  This single difference runs through every major difference between the two parties.  One party is based on empirical evidence and science, while the other rejects it.

It is for these reasons that I’m a Democrat.  I don’t believe in every policy that the party supports.  And I definitely don’t agree with the partisan politics that play on people’s emotions to convince them of voting one way or another that both parties pursue.  However, I do agree with the basic assumptions that the Democratic Party makes and how they approach policy.
Over the past three decades, sickness these United States have experienced unbridled prosperity. We were told that this rising tide would lift all boats. However, many boats must have had holes in them, because millions of Americans are now underwater. They are having their homes foreclosed on and they are declaring bankruptcy.

The prosperity that America has seen has been an unequal one. We have heard that the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, and it is true. There has been a level of inequity in this country not seen since the turn of the last century, when the Robber Barons concentrated more wealth in their few hands than in the rest of the country combined.

Now that we are facing a crisis in the financial markets, the effects will be just as unequal. This crisis we find ourselves in will reign in the excesses of Corporate America and Wall Street. But it will have a much smaller effect on Main Street and the American worker.

This is not to say that there won’t be pain enough to go around. We are in the middle of an economic slowdown, a contraction, a recession even. Everybody at every level of the economic spectrum will feel some pain. Whether it is the cost of food and fuel raising, loosing a job, or seeing your retirement savings shrink by half. Whatever pain the poor and the middle-class feel, it will be ten times worse for the rich, but we should not put our good money after their bad.

The true threat of our current crisis is to the credit market. The seizure of the credit market is what brough the economy to a halt during the Great Depression. Something needs to be done to ensure this doesn’t happen again, but a contraction of the credit markets is not necessarily harmful. Cash has been far to cheap for far too long, through both Democratic and Republican administrations. Cheap money has both lead to this crisis and contributed to the government inability to respond to it.

It has been cheap cash that has lead to the government, corporations and individuals to live far beyond their means. The growing debt and inability to repay loans is what started this crisis. It has been the low interest rates that have hindered the government’s fiscal policy tools. They have simply been unable to lower the interest rate enough to affect this crisis. Instead, what is happening is that we have turned to giving away money, effectively having a negative interest rate so the money will never have to be repaid.

Up to this point, the government has tried to solve this crisis by putting more money into a system that is failing under the weight of too much money.  The availability of capital isn’t the problem, plenty of institutions have the ability to lend money.  The problem is that they don’t trust anybody except the government enough to pay them back.  This is a crisis of trust.

Instead of handing out money to try and staunch the bleeding, the government needs to pass regulations to force companies to disclose their positions in these secondary and tertiary markets.  The best case for this is made in this past weekend’s This American Life entitled Another Frightening Show About the Economy.  Transparency, and not liquidity, is needed now, something Wall Street and Washington are scared of providing.

Differing Worldviews: The Foundation of Our Two Party System

Space Needle at Dusk
Note: This post is the result of a conversation I had a couple of nights ago that really made me examine and articulate the reasons I’m a Democrat.

There are fundamental differences between the assumptions made by the Democrats and Republicans.  It is these assumptions that inform the policies of each party.  Two of these differences are what I’ve always focused on in determining my party affiliation and what policies I support.

First, rx the Republicans believe that perfectly efficient markets are achievable; the Democrats on the other hand believe that, glands even in a free market, there are no perfectly efficient markets.  These differences date back to, and are best defined by, the debates between Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes.  Inefficiencies in the market are most often seen in the employment market, where they also have the largest impact.  These inefficiencies in the labor market arise from two places: labor comes in whole units (i.e. you can’t employ half a person) and there are labor contracts, so companies can’t change wages or let people go as soon as the market changes.  This is not to say that the amount of employed labor does not change with the market, there is simply a delay in realizing that change.  This is, by definition, an inefficiency in the market.

This differing view of the world has huge implications on what economic policies work for controlling and moderating the economy.  These two different assumptions lead to completely different theories on how money moves through the economy.  In a perfectly efficient market, the Trickle-Down Theory works at stimulating the economy.  However, it has been shown repeatedly that this is not the case.  Even so, the Republican Party continues to believe in an economic theory that has been shown to be fallacious. The Democratic Party subscribes to a theory that works fairly well in predicting the outcomes different stimuli on the economy.

That is the first difference between the worldviews of the two parties.  The second is also related to economics, but informs social policy to a greater extent.  The Republican Party believes that the world is a zero-sum game, that if somebody else has something they are taking it away from me.  Conversely, the Democratic Party believes that we can create more by working together than we would have working independently.  In other words, Republicans are about getting a bigger slice of the pie, while Democrats are interested in making a bigger pie.

This difference greatly affects social policies.  By helping the least fortunate in our communities, the Democrats attempt to help people become more productive members in our society and economy.  The Republicans believe that without government help others in the community will come forth and voluntarily help those less fortunate.  Unfortunately, in my experience, I’ve never met anybody who has made this argument and also put their money where their mouth is.  Instead, they seem to want to just lower taxes so they can have more and do nothing to help others.

One common theme between these two differences is that Democrats, by and large, change their view based on facts and experience, while the Republicans continue pursuing their policies based on faith.  This single difference runs through every major difference between the two parties.  One party is based on empirical evidence and science, while the other rejects it.

It is for these reasons that I’m a Democrat.  I don’t believe in every policy that the party supports.  And I definitely don’t agree with the partisan politics that play on people’s emotions to convince them of voting one way or another that both parties pursue.  However, I do agree with the basic assumptions that the Democratic Party makes and how they approach policy.

Family Vacation, Yosemite, CA

This past week on Smart City they spent the first half of their program talking about City Magnets.
In case it wasn’t clear, anaemia my redesign has been aborted for the time being. Since I hadn’t saved my previous design, I have gone back to the default Movable Type 3.0 theme. Once I get some more time and motivation I will redesign it again.

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I realized I never posted my Yosemite photos from a few months ago. I didn’t take as many as I have in other places, mainly because I didn’t want to slow down everybody else that much. However, I did get a few pictures I liked from what I did take.