Friday, October 24, 2008

Please Read: An Email From Alaska About The Presidential Elections

Never in my lifetime has the presidential election been so exciting and never has the internet played such a huge role in disseminating information. From posts on Facebook, websites to rally around, and good old email, everything you need and want to know about is online.

How many emails have you received from friends and coworkers sharing their thoughts about this election? I've got quite a few!

Here I'm posting an email from an Alaskan named Elwood. Because of Palin I'm particularly interested in hearing the Alaskan opinions. I really liked what he wrote and want to share his email on my blog.

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I know it is virtually impossible to change ones political attachments, but for those who have not made up their minds on the coming presidential election, I submit the following. I decided to write my feelings and concerns rather than forwarding the work of others.

Sincerely, Elwood

The 2008 Election - Personal Reflections

I have never been that interested in politics and classify myself as a political independent. I am a physicist by education and find that political issues have many shades of gray that one cannot easily make good decisions. There are always pros and cons that make it difficult to decide what is right. Physics is different as there is usually only one answer, found by several approaches, and you can check to see if you are correct.

The invasion of Iraq, the first time we as a nation made a major first-strike attack, took me out of my political apathy and nudged me to communicate and express my view that the Iraq war is and was a mistake of huge proportions – both politically and financially. As we prepare to elect a new president, I increasingly feel obligated to express my views. There are characteristics of the present election that have made my decision, and I want to share my personal reasons for the choice.

The Obama-Biden ticket is the clear winner for me. As a concerned citizen it offers the best chance of regaining our national pride, sense of security, global consciousness, and financial well-being. Even though I personally believe that Congress should be making a larger impact on our nation, I realize that the executive branch of the government holds the reins and has great influence. We need a president and vice-president that will lead congress along a saner, safer and more worldlier path. My thoughts are as follows:

National Pride/McCain’s Platform: I have always admired John McCain. He is a great American and suffered on my behalf as a warrior and as a prisoner of war. I cannot thank him enough for that. However, John McCain is a military man, with a military bent. He is hot-tempered and not used to calm reflection and compromise. That is not what we need leading our country. We cannot be the world’s savior and protector. We have to choose our battles more carefully, less arrogantly, and with diplomacy. In this global world, we must work with other nations.

McCain is pro-life, and I am pro-life, all life. Since we cannot have everything we want we must choose the best compromise. No one likes abortion, and giving women the right to choose what they do with a difficult decision may result in unborn life being lost. But, sending our young men and women off to war has and will result in the loss of precious lives as well. I choose an administration that would look at the larger picture and minimize the loss of life as a totality.

Sense of Security/McCain’s Age: I am two years younger than John McCain, and still make part of my living as a glacier pilot in Alaska. I fly airplanes with old-style instruments, like McCain had in his aircraft. I find it difficult to learn and use the modern glass-panel cockpits that are now a normal part of aviation. John McCain would have the same problems learning these computer oriented systems. His brain, and mine, cannot grasp and use new concepts like younger brains. We grasp and work with what we knew best years ago. We must not accept that in any future president. The president must be capable of learning and intelligently using vast amounts of new material in a short time. McCain cannot do that and that is a huge negative. Age does make a difference.

Global Consciousness/Sarah Palin: As an Alaskan I have admired and respected what Sarah has done as Governor. My family and I met her at the Alaska State Fair last summer and she was lovely, gracious and wonderful. I was so pleased. Mostly I respect the fact that she removed herself from the republican in-crowd that was so closely allied with the oil companies. She recognized the graft and corruption immediately and detached herself. It is not her, however, that is responsible for the major fight to end corruption in her republican colleagues. The FBI has been here for years looking into the interaction between oil companies and legislators. The indictments that have occurred are due to their efforts, not Palin’s. Likewise, Palin did not reduce income taxes in Alaska. There are none to reduce.

Palin’s religious beliefs are of major concern to me. Palmer Baptist minister, Howard Bess, an old friend, says “She’s Jerry Falwell with a pretty face. The key to understanding Sarah Palin is to understand her radical theology.” Sarah’s religious and personal views are just now coming to light. Friends from Wasilla and Palmer, who have worked with her, are now telling of their experiences, and it is not exemplary. She has been videoed-taped saying that we are in Iraq due to God’s will. Even if you lump all Christian-based religions together, that leaves 70% of the world’s population, who worship differently, saying, “To what God is she referring?” She has tried to remove books from local libraries that she found against her beliefs. She has tried to have churches exempt from local building fees because they were of faith-based and she has tried to have building permit fees reduced for members of her church. Unlike her message that she is for the people, she supports her friends and attacks those who disagree with her like many other politicians. She has tried to solve her personal family problems by using government employees. This is small town politics and has no place in a national government.

Palin has a BA in journalism – no honors, no scholarships and five different colleges. In high school she excelled in sports. She does not have the higher education that would prepare her to understand world situations with learned perspective. Her faith in God is what she relies on, and that is not sufficient at the national level. We are a nation whose constitution does not even mention God. The framers drafted a constitution which is secular, and I believe for a good reason.

Taxes and financial well being: My conservative friends all fear that Obama will raise taxes on the wealthy. My liberal friends wonder who will pay for the Iraqi war. We are almost three trillion dollars in war debt, and it continues to rise. Our national budget has a five hundred billion dollar deficit. Taxes must be raised, regardless of who wins the election. The question is who best can afford the burden? None of us wants the problem, and it is not fair to pass it on to our children. I would choose to offer relief to the middle class. America is uniquely strong, in the world, because of a strong middle class. I personally have lost a large percentage of my retirement as a result of lowered interest rates enacted to bail out large financial institutions. I was fiscally conservative in my spending and saving, and now I have to pay for the wealthy corporations to be bailed out. I find that unfair. The greater portion of the burden must be paid by the wealthy, if for no other reason than they can. I see no virtue in people acquiring more money just for the sake of having it in the bank, or living in a mansion beyond their needs. Those that already have more than they can use in a lifetime should take on the greatest taxation. This position may be unpopular but I see no alternative. It is the best compromise. Those who made the most during the past eight years should be willing to get us out of what the last eight years has led to.

I encourage you to make Obama and Biden your choice for President and Vice President as well.
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Thank you Elwood for writing these thoughtful words. - Stephanie

I Left My Heart in San Francisco - Strait People for Equality - No on 8

The last time I checked, the world needs more love, not more hate. I cannot think of anything more hateful than pointing a finger in a group of human being's faces and telling them that they are evil.

I find this christian hate video to be completely laughable. Don't you people have better things to do with your time? Can't you go help some homeless people or drug addicts? Or do you just like to feel righteous and spread hate?

I myself am a married strait woman. I see the real legal inequality for same sex couples every year when I do my taxes. A marriage immigration visa allows my British husband to actually be here with me, and would never be granted to same sex couples. In my mind, this unfairness in our laws actually diminishes my marriage. I don't feel special, or sacred just because I'm strait. I just feel hurt for my friends in San Francisco.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Baltimore Open Studios 2008

I was really inspired with last weekend's Baltimore open studios. It's great to be in a city where I can meet such interesting, warm, and talented individuals. It was also interesting to compare San Francisco open studios to Baltimore's. Overall there were a lot less artists participating, but the caliber of the work in Baltimore is impressive. Artists here seem a bit more comfortable being themselves, which comes through when you speak to them. Everybody was really friendly and very open.

This is my favorite piece,

Imaginary Security by Dave Foust

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just A Rant About A Sequoia Falling

Are web companies reacting stupidly to the credit crunch? Already I've been hearing rumors from my internet friends about how start-ups are reacting to VC tightening.

Venture capital slashed $476 million in quarter
Deborah Gage, Chronicle Staff Writer

People are saying, time to cut the designers. Why? Why cut the people who can help you plan? Help you strategize? Who help you measure and gauge the success of your website? Why cut the people who are the most obvious and direct connection to your customers?

Let me just say to every User Experience professional... this is BS, and you should not believe it.

If any business is going to succeed then they will do so by practicing good experience. They will succeed with thoughtful planning and strategy. By giving users carefully designed products that they really want.

If anything this economic downturn will be a great time for innovation. It might empower more designers to rise up and do more meaningful work.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Times are Bad but Times are Good!

I don't really know what's going on with this economic meltdown but just posting to say that times are good! I've been busy and have set up my freelance work so that I'm pretty unaffected by the market and all this economical BS. I do think things will be rocky for web designers over the next 6 months. I'm really glad I slashed my overhead. If things slow down for me I will finally have some time to redesign my website, learn some new skills, and ask everybody I know to read Deep Economy. Hopefully I'll be able to afford Creative Suite 4.

Anyway, I can't really post anything to my blog right now for several reasons. Most of my life is under NDA, and the only interesting thing I have to rant about are the elections. Since I have clients in Alaska I have to be a blog diplomat so I'll keep my political & philisophical rants to FB.

If you're a web designer post a comment about your approach to this downturn!