My Inauguration Post


You should also go see the picture of him fighting Darth Vader.

On a less satirical note, click the pic below to see an incredible interactive panorama of the swearing in.

Do try it the full screen option.

(Action figure seen at BoingBoing.  LDA sent me the link for the Obama-rama.)

And finally, seen from Janice Gelb, but we’re not sure who wrote it:

Dear World:

We, the United States of America , your top quality
supplier of the ideals of liberty and democracy,
would like to apologize for our 2001-2008 interruption
in service. The technical fault that led to this eight-
year service outage has been located, and the software
responsible was replaced November 4. Early tests of
the newly installed program indicate that we are now
operating correctly, and we expect it to be fully
functional on January 20. We apologize for any
inconvenience caused by the outage. We look forward
to resuming full service and hope to improve in
years to come. We thank you for your patience and

The United States of America

I Voted Today

I am grateful for early voting.  No lines.  Paper ballot.  Clean paper trail.  I’m sure something evil could be done but not as transparently as with touch screens.

From the tone of discussion here at Eat Our Brains, you can probably guess we tend lefty.

It probably came as no surprise that I voted for the “Tiger Woods guy.”

Now I have to spend the entire next week with my flimbers krossed.

Makes for tricky typing that.

Cause With This Economy

…you never know.

How to Live in Your Car – wikiHow

  • Once you find a spot, try to arrive late at night, and leave before 7am. This will draw as little attention as possible to yourself.

How to Live on the Street – wikiHow

  • Another place to sleep relatively safely at night are rooftops of public buildings.

How to Survive on the Streets of Manhattan – wikiHow

  • Avoid bumping into the New Yorkers. They will bump you back. It isn’t pleasant.

How to Survive on the Streets – wikiHow

  • Avoid wearing sandals or flip-flops, and high-hills. If, on your way there’s a rock, you may trip on it, fall or even die, hit by a car. USE TENNIS SHOES!

How to Be a Hobo with a Web Based Income – wikiHow

  • Buy backup batteries for your laptop to continue working until you can reach civilization.

How to Urban Camp – wikiHow

  • Showers!

How to Be a Street Musician – wikiHow

  • Be prepared for requests. People who request songs can be annoying, especially if you play originals, but they also tend to pay you. It’s good to know some covers, and if you can’t play the exact song someone requests, offer a similar tune or one by the same artist.

How to Survive in Dangerous Parts of a City – wikiHow

  • You might have to stop for directions. If you do, try to ask an elderly person, preferably a woman, because there is less of a chance an older person will try to rob or attack you.

How to Keep Chickens in a City – wikiHow

  • Are they all there? Count your chickens every day, especially if you have more than ten.

How to Urinate Outside Discreetly – wikiHow

  • If pants are equipped, carefully zip them once you are done. Careless zipper operation especially in males can cause great pain.

How to Survive a Super Comet Hitting Earth -wikiHow

  • Your Government will likely set up “public shelters” for people to ride out the impact aftermath. Do Not go to these shelters. They are a perfect place for disease to spread and crime will be rampant in these places. If however, you cannot be evacuated from near the impact site, you will have to go into a nuclear bunker that you may have to share. If you are far away from the impact, making your own shelter out of a windowless room in your house or out of a cellar is the best option.

Just sayin’.

Fun With (Electoral) Math; or, How Omaha Can Save the World

College Dean

Several different “Interactive Electoral Maps” for the 2008 Smackdown are available online . . . but my favorite is at  This one allows you to screw with the Electoral College in all sorts of ways, much as you probably did with your Actual College.

The best thing about this map, to me, is that it includes options for splitting up the Electoral Votes of Maine and Nebraska.  You see, unlike every other state in the Union, Maine and Nebraska do not have a winner-take-all policy regarding their Electoral Votes for President.  Instead, they use the “Congressional District Method,” in which the popular-vote winner of each Congressional District is awarded one Electoral Vote (just as each district has one Congressperson), and the state’s overall popular-vote winner is awarded the remaining two Electoral Votes (just as each state has two Senators).

So far, in actual practice, this has never resulted in a split Electoral Vote for either Maine or Nebraska.  But I want to believe that 2008 could be different, particularly in Nebraska.  For one thing, Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District is home to the University of Nebraska, where support for Senator Obama is reported to be strong . . . and the 2nd District is basically the city of Omaha, which (among other blue-leaning factors) is the home of billionaire, philanthropist, and Obama-supporter Warren Buffett.  (You can forget about the 3rd District, though.  They’re red ’til they’re dead.)

I’ve had a lot of fun playing Electoral God with the map as a whole, making swing-states like Ohio and Pennsylvania swing first one way and then the other.  But somehow I can never manage to convince myself, even for a make-believe moment, that Florida will ever wind up in the blue column.  (Comedienne Sarah Silverman thinks there’s a way it could happen, however.)

My favorite tweak of the map — and note that “favorite” doesn’t mean that I think it’s either likely or desirable, but wackily possible — gives WA, OR, CA, WI, MI, IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, VT, ME, RI, CT, DE, MD, NJ, HI,  and DC to Senator Obama.  Everything else goes to Senator McCain.

This results in a 269 to 269 tie, which throws the election into the U.S. House of Representatives.

Unless . . .

You click that tiny little box that represents Nebraska’s 2nd District, turning it blue.

And then, with its one Electoral Vote, OMAHA SAVES THE WORLD!!!

Well, I mean, jeez.

SOMEbody has to.

Haiti Needs Help!

Updated below.

The Caribbean island nation of Haiti has been hammered by Fay, Gustav, and Hannah. According to CNN, over two hundred are dead due to storms, and thousands are starving, in need of food and water, even as Hurricane Ike bears down.

Charity Navigator, an independent organization that rates charities, lists several organizations rushing to respond, here. I’ve chosen the American Red Cross for my own donation, but there are many other worthy organizations you can choose from.
Please help if you can. The need is urgent! Don’t delay. Online donation only takes a couple of minutes, and even a five-dollar donation can make a difference.

09 Sep 08 Update: Ike has passed over Haiti and more people have been killed. It’s a tiny, impoverished country, and the people have very little means to rebuild. The Caribbean is just getting hammered, folks. Please, do what you can to help.