Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bachman Watch

If you have not heard of Congresswoman Michelle Bachman (R-MN), do yourself a favor and look her up. She is insane. The DCCC (a few days ago) launched a new page called "Bachman Watch," I suggest you look at it (read it after you see the Wikipedia page on her -don't lie, I know that it is your primary source for information on a topic).

Some of the things this woman has said and done and believes in include (I got these from a variety of sources that are just a Google search away):
  • Tried to ban Disney's Aladdin from elementary schools because it promotes witchcraft and paganism
  • The (conservative, "family values") Family Research Council is the "front lines of defense for the American people"
  • Opposition to trade schools and on-the-job training for workplace skills
  • Sarah Palin "easily has more qualifications than Senator Obama and Senator Biden put together if you look at Executive Experience [emphasis added] She has been in the Executive position for two years! . . . She is one sharp lady! . . . She has made tough decisions all across the scene. And, I think women all across America are going to love what they see in Sarah Palin; I was taken with her and I know a lot of American women will be. She's very strong, very tough, a committed, loving mother. But, she knows how to be a good executive and how to take on her own party and how to make thing happen. There is no reason why people won't understand this once they understand that people in Alaska -85% of people in Alaska [emphasis added] have a positive approval rating for Sarah Palin."
  • [James Carville says to Larry King that he is astounded that this is the best pick that the Republican Party could come up with. Bachman finds it offensive to women.] "There are a lot of competent American women. Sarah Palin easily is a competent woman. She's proved herself in business; she's proved herself in politics. She has come up from nowhere to be somebody. And, she is someone we can all be very proud of. She is one competent, tough cookie. People are going to love her." [James Carville tells her that he supported a woman -Hillary Clinton- for President.] "And, with that, I think a lot of American women are going to be delighted with Sarah Palin because she exudes competence in everything she has ever done. She has a very good record and should be proud to run on that record. McCain really hit it out of the park with this pick."
  • Insertion of Creationism to public school curriculum
  • Wants to ban all gay rights. Also, LGBT people have "sexual dysfunction" or "sexual identity disorders."
  • Opposes minimum wage increases
  • Opposes online poker
  • "I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence." (The last time was actually under Gerald Ford.)
  • Believes that Congress should be investigated for those with anti-American leanings
  • Said that once argued that she couldn't support the economic recovery act because America was 'running out of rich people'

If you all think a commentary is needed, I'll do one, but I think much of this speaks for itself.

Yearbook photo and End of the Year Social!

Hey Everyone!

Hope you are all enjoying your last day of classes. We will be taking our club photo for the yearbook this Thursday, April 30th at 2:30 in McGinley Second. Hope you all can make it.

Also, a reminder that tonight is our End of the Year Social. We will be meeting at Walsh HALL Gate (Nnt the gate next to Walsh Library). We will then be walking down Arthur Ave. to Umberto's for some food, drink and celebration of all of our hard work, success and Obama's 100th day in office! Hope to see you all there.

Young Republican rates Obama

Please watch this video and then read my commentary below

This girl does not know what she is talking about.

Firstly, the President is not a celebrity. No one is a celebrity. Celebrity status comes from name recognition and prestige (mostly encouraged by the media -but that is a whole other discussion). So, the guy likes to go to the beach? Is that wrong? Is relaxing and having a good time suddenly a sign that someone is not fit to lead? He likes to play and watch basketball. I cannot name a single President that has not, in some way, not partaken in some sporting activities. The thing that I find funny is that this girl says that the President is not spending enough time working when the last republican president spent more time vacationing than working. If you look at the press releases, Obama is working during the day and relaxing at night. Wait, don't most normal people do that too? Jessica Simpson once called President George W. Bush "a normal guy," adding, "but he runs the country." Honestly, we must remember that all of our elected officials are humans and they have the same emotions, desires, and needs that each and every one of us has. So, to criticize a President for relaxing and having fun every now and then is saying that they must reject their humanity, which is just absurd.

The President himself did not sign-off on Air Force One flying by the Statue of Liberty (nor knew about it for that matter), his military liaison did. And, by all accounts, the President was 'furious' about what happened. (To be fair, NYPD and FDNY did know about it, but the public was not notified.) But what does police violence, if I may ask, have to do with this situation?

As for Guatanamo Bay, Obama had planned to close it since the campaign. In fact, John McCain said that he would close it as well. It was doomed no matter what.

As for signing bills, I am not sure if this girl knows the difference between a bill and an Executive Order. He has not signed that many bills (the biggest is the Stimulus Bill), but he has done a lot of Executive Orders (which can be overruled by Congress). If this young woman wants to change policy, why doesn't she just write to her representatives (or is that too hard)?

I guess this is another manifestation of how uninformed the American populous is.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Web Site Transitioning

Last night, I had to transition the CUA College Democrats' website and Facebook to reflect the new Executive Board (a transition that went far from smoothly). During the process, I asked myself how Macon Phillips (White House Director of New Media) transitioned the White House site to reflect the new president and redesign. Thinking about it, my respect for Phillips grew.

Websites work like this:
Each website has a domain name (like and the domain name stands in for what is called an IP Address, which is like a phone number for the Internet. However, remembering IP addresses is not easy (one could be something like 209.63.739.610). So, to ease one's memory, things called Domain Name Servers (DNS) exist. They, when there is a site requested, change the URL to the IP address of the server in which the web page resides.

So, my guess on how Phillips transitioned is that he simply had a site ready on a new server and then had the record on the DNS change to reflect the new server.

If only my website transitions were so simple.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Hypocricy of the Tea Parties

It's funny that the Tax Day Tea Party Protests only happen now, under Obama. Apparently Obama is a socialist because he wants to return tax rates for the highest-income bracket of Americans to 10 points below the rate under the Reagan Administration? In addition, the majority of Americans want MORE, not less, government intervention in this recession. Economists on both sides of the aisle have long been admitting that increased government spending is not only necessary, but the best way to get us out of the Recession. I'm sure none of these Tea Party protesters ever said a word when Bush created the biggest national debt in decades with his unnecessary spending and wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It's too bad these protesters are going so far to the fringe that they don't even reflect the beliefs of Main Street. According to

A new Gallup Poll finds 48% of Americans saying the amount of federal income taxes they pay is "about right," with 46% saying "too high" -- one of the most positive assessments Gallup has measured since 1956. Typically, a majority of Americans say their taxes are too high, and relatively few say their taxes are too low...

The poll also finds 61% of Americans saying they regard the income taxes they have to pay this year as fair. There has been very little change on this measure in the last six years...


As the remaining U.S. tax filers prepare to send their income-tax returns before the April 15 deadline, Gallup finds Americans' views of their federal income taxes about as positive as at any point in the last 60 years. This may reflect the income-tax cut that was part of the $787 billion economic stimulus plan, as well as a continuing sense of patriotism with the country fighting two wars.

If we want to get back on our economic feet, we're going to need to spend now, shake up the economic system, and get it built on some solid bedrock. No need to go repeating the mistakes of the past.

And really? Tea-bag the White House? Do none of you really know what that means?

Matt Cashman is an agitated political ecologist who likes to blog from a lake-side log cabin.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Some News That Most of You Will Not Care About Reading

Most of you will not care for this, but I do, so I will report it. As some of you may know, I attended Xavier High School in Manhattan, which was founded by Fordham Jesuits (originally as a college, but there were a lot of changes that occurred over the years, which, I will not get into). Obviously, you cannot tell one school's story without the other.

Some new additions and old members to/of Xavier's Board of Trustees:
  • Rev. Joseph A. O'Hare, S.J. (President Emeritus of Fordham) -old
  • Rev. Robert Grimes, S.J. (Xavier Class of 1970) (Dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center) -old
  • Jennifer Mussi (Assistant Dean for Student Leadership and Community Development at Fordham)
Also, a recent addition to Xavier's Hall of Fame is Professor Constantine "Gus" Katsoris (Xavier Class of 1949), who is a professor at the Law School and one of the longest serving faculty members in Fordham history (and a rather good friend of my family's).

I know that just about none of you will care about this, but I do, so back off! (To sort-of quote Billy Madison).

Newt: I Dont Care About Puppies

Yesterday, Newt Gingrich said on ABC's This Week that he finds the story about the puppy Malia and Sasha Obama got (as promised by their father on election night) to be irrelevant. Those of you that have not heard, the new first dog named "Bo" was revealed to the public over the weekend. Even though it is not a political story, it is still relevant. It is a feel-good story. We have all heard enough about terrorism and the economy, why not a story on how the President kept the promise that he made to his kids as a change of pace. It was sweet of Senator Kennedy to give the dog to the Obamas. Though Newt may not be interested in the story, some people may find it interesting. Newt is out of power, so why do people find what he says to be relevant?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

How to Save Money in These Trying Times (A Nerd's Perspective)

With the economy the way that it is, there is a easy way to save money that can range from a few hundred to a few million dollars. This would be great for so many organizations *cough* State of New York *cough*.
Open Source

switch to Linux, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL database, PHP, and Open They are all open source (free) alternatives to proprietary products like those from Microsoft (and are traditionally more efficient).


Google offers free versions of their products like GMail, Docs, and Chat that are specific for governments, schools, and nonprofits. With 7GB worth of memory for email, there is no reason to complain about server space limitations on emails.


Everyone with a braincell has realized why Firefox is superior to all other browsers and has switched. But, not enough use Thunderbird (an alternative to Outlook).

If you all are unfamiliar with any of the aforementioned products, Wikipedia them. Honestly, some organizations spend millions on program licenses, this could solve financial problems in just a few clicks. Sometimes I wonder why so many CIOs are so in love with Microsoft. I guess the reason is because they were raised on it (as was I). But with operating systems that cost $300, how can that devotion be justifiable? This economy has caused us all to make changes, why not change our favorite operating system or word processing program?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Explain This To Me

My dad did my taxes for me the other day. To put it simply, this will be the first year that I do not get money back due to the State of New York. Though I am a bit upset about it, I do not mind really. I am considered an upper-echelon on the NYS tax bracket. I believe that the rich should pay more in taxes. The rich have more to lose if the government does badly:
The rich are the CEO-types. A lot of their money is in the stock market. If the stocks do poorly, they lose money. If the stocks do poorly, who also loses money? The government (that is why NYS has so many problems right now). If the CEO-types stay responsible with their companies (unlike Enron or Bernie Madoff with other people's funds), that company does better, hence, the economy does better, hence the government does better. In all, it keeps everyone honest.
Now, I may not be a CEO-type, but if I espouse that the belief, I cannot complain about my tax returns. I debated this subject with some CR friends of mine and, even though they did not fall into my category (and also do not believe in a progressive tax), they did not agree with progressive taxes. I am saying that I am being hurt by a progressive tax and, yet, believe in it and they say it is wrong. It makes no sense to me. Someone explain it to me.

Now, I know conservatives believe that progressive taxes lead to communism/socialism, but are leftist ideals all that bad? Truly speaking, communism is the best form of government because it is a lack of government. As John Locke would put it, it is the State of Nature. Everyone serves everyone else; economy is based on bartering; but, there are no set rules and everyone is judge and jury for each other (and since there would be no unbiased punishments, government was created). As long as justice is truly fair, the State of Nature is perfect. It is the ideal "I scratch your back and you scratch mine." We all help each other for the betterment of society and we see that the better we work, the more we can accumulate in other goods and that wealth is shared. People argue that it goes against human nature, but if we are made in God's image, we are, by nature, good and loving. So, where does this selfishness come from? I don't know. Someone explain that to me as well.

A Return to Justice

Yesterday's Justice Department decision to drop the prosecution of former Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) was something that illustrated the essence of postpartisan change that President Obama promised he would bring to Washington.
Some on the left may view this decision as the administration capitulating on the pledge to crack down on corruption and change the culture of Washington. After all, Stevens certainly was involved in some shady dealings. His guilt is very possible in this case. However, the charges against him are not what determined the importance of Wednesday's decision by Attorney General Eric Holder. Rather, the acknowledgement of government misconduct in the investigation and trial demonstrate the commitment of the Obama administration to turning the page on politically motivated decisions at DOJ.
So maybe a weathered, corrupt member of the Republican old guard walks free. But this is not Ted Stevens vindication, but rather a sign that the administration is doing just what Obama has for so long told us we must: acknowledging that government is not the instrument with which political grudges should be settled. While perhaps a downer in terms of galvanizing his party for the political games many have grown accustomed to our leaders in Washington being little more than generals of, Holder's decision emphasizes the importance of fairness at the Justice Department, a welcome change of course from the Ashcroft/Gonzales/Mukasey years. After all, a government that seeks to fulfill its duty to the American people rather than serve as a battleground for partisan warfare, something that the Obama brand has always been about, is a change that's tough to believe in until we see it. Let's hope this is just a preview of that.