Earth Hour Commentary

As I had hoped, the time spent in recognition of Earth Hour last night was very relaxing. Because my family and I are very energy conscious (e.g. all gadgets are unplugged when not in-use, etc.), the conversion to Earth Hour simply consisted of turning off the lights of the room we were in and lighting the candles we had around our condo.

So, beginning at 20:00 (8pm) MDT, we sat together in the soothing darkness. Toward the end of the hour, my daughter was nearly asleep so we put her to bed. My wife and I decided to just leave things as they were and spend the remainder of our evening enjoying the candle-lit darkness.

There was something deeply revitalizing in that darkness; a sort of connecting meditative state which brought our focus back to the human part of our relationship. We now plan to decrescendo in our sunless hours more consistently.


Earth Hour

In only 2 hours' time Earth Hour will arrive in the Mountain timezone. Today, people (even entire cities) all over the world - in the spirit of conservation and environmental awareness - have been shutting off their power between 20:00 (8pm) and 21:00 (9pm) local time.

Here's an excerpt from the official Earth Hour website:
It started with a question: How can we inspire people to take action on climate change?

The answer: Ask the people of Sydney to turn off their lights for one hour.

On 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour - Earth Hour. If the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney CBD during Earth Hour was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year.

With Sydney icons like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House turning their lights off, and unique events such as weddings by candlelight, the world took notice. Inspired by the collective effort of millions of Sydneysiders, many major global cities are joining Earth Hour in 2008, turning a symbolic event into a global movement.

I'm looking forward to what I'm sure will be a very peaceful evening with my family.


INDY Poll: When do you ride your bicycle during the year?

Today marked the first "official" day of my riding season. I had to start quite late this year because my bike was pretty banged up with how poorly I have been riding it for the past 3 years. Apparently, my taste for gears, which give me lots of resistance and speed, broke the rear axle and pitted the bearings like the repairman had never seen before.

I'm glad to be back to riding now. My primary purpose for bike riding is for commuting to and from work. I love the relaxing acceleration / deceleration to my days. This weeks INDY Poll is on the topic of bike riding. When do you ride during the year? I would ride year-round if I could, but - riding frequently with my daughter - I have to be more aware of the discomfort of inclement weather.

INDY Poll: When do you ride your bicycle during the year?
- Year-round! "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night..."
- As often as I can, except in inclement weather conditions.
- When I feel like it in good weather. (Commuting or for sport.)
- On the weekends for recreation or sport.
- I hardly ever have the chance, but I enjoy it.
- I don't enjoy riding. / I never ride.

I'm sorry I didn't have a poll last week. I honestly could think of any worth-while idea. In fact, I didn't even come up with this one. My wife did. :-)


Girl from 3AM ad backs Obama

Yesterday was a pretty busy day for me, so I'm a little late in posting about this little piece of political news. (As well as being late in releasing a new INDY Poll.)

Anyway.... Yesterday, the Hill posted a video of the girl from Hillary Clinton's 3AM ad (reference: "Comparing Clinton, Obama 3AM ads"). Apparently she was a little peeved about how the footage of her sleeping peacefully was used. Here's the video clip of her message to the public.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXmYVRIpu2w


INDY Poll Results: How green were (or will) you be on St. Patrick's Day 2008 (March 17th)?

I did (or will) wear something colored green. »» 87% (7 votes)
I did (or will) wear something "green" (environmentally friendly). »» 0% (0 votes)
I was (or will be) "green" (environmentally conscientious). »» 25% (2 votes)
None of the above. »» 12% (1 votes)

Total votes: 8

It's really too bad that 75% of the people answering the poll didn't even try to BE green for St. Patrick's Day. :-(

Richardson endorses Obama

The DCW definitely grabbed my attention today, bringing my focus to a significant endorsement for Senator Barack Obama: Gov. Richardson, formerly in the running for Democratic presidential candidate, endorsed Obama last night.

"Barack Obama, you are a leader who has shown courage, judgment, and wisdom throughout the years. You understand the security challenges of the 21st century. And you will be an outstanding commander in chief.

Above all, you will be a president who brings this nation together and restores American global leadership. Your candidacy - and this is an expression of your candidacy - is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our nation; and you are a once-in-a-lifetime leader.

You will make every American proud to be an American. And I am very proud today, to endorse candidacy for President of the United States."

Here is the video clip of which I have transcribed above.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0uSgJSfwm0


Obama speaks about foreign policy

Yesterday marked the five year anniversary of Bush's invasion of Iraq. Since that time five years ago, the death toll has continued to rise, yet - according to polls - citizens of the United States are paying even less attention to the on-going and costly conflict.

Yesterday, many people tried to refocus national attention on Iraq and the decisions made by Bush those five years past. One of those people was Barack Obama, who made a speech yesterday about Iraq and about his ideas on foreign policy and the military.

As I had hoped in my previous post ("Barack Obama speaks about A More Perfect Union"), this speech seems to be the second in a series which I consider to be an abridged version of the chapters within Barack Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope". So, if you truly want to understand what Senator Obama has to say on the issues and where he will lead the United States of America, I encourage to watch these speeches and not simply rely on the quick blurbs or clips provided on prime time TV.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYBaiXQoI5Q


Barack Obama speaks about A More Perfect Union

Barack Obama spoke today in Pennsylvania about racial issues and building "a more perfect union" in the United States of America. (I've included the video at the end of this post.)

I was very happy to see Barack speak frankly about some of the issues which he so eloquently discussed in his book "The Audacity of Hope". I found his book comforting that he has thought through many of the hardest hitting concerns of our country. With each issue addressed, he lays things out with an open mind and a caring heart. If you haven't read his book, consider this speech an abridged version of the chapter devoted to Barack's discussions on the problems we face in regards to race.

Already this speech has had many people saying, "Wow! That's a good point!" or "He really knows what he's talking about." I hope that this speech is the first of many to bring to the masses that same clear and well-defined message delivered in his award-winning book.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWe7wTVbLUU


Obama Ad Contest from MoveOn.org

The Hill Blog (you guys rock!) has brought my attention to an ad contest being put on by MoveOn.org: Obama in 30 seconds. The winning ad will be used by MoveOn's ad national ad campaign on behalf of Barack Obama. The video I've included below has more details.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObOpIQksI0k

INDY Poll: How green were (or will) you be on St. Patrick's Day 2008 (March 17th)?

It's Friday and it's time for another weekly INDY Poll. This week's is pure fun and it should be an easy one to answer too! (2008-03-14@09:09:00 EDIT: I'm now making it multiple choice.)

INDY Poll: How green were (or will) you be on St. Patrick's Day 2008 (March 17th)?
- I did (or will) wear something colored green.
- I did (or will) wear something "green" (environmentally friendly).
- I was (or will be) "green" (environmentally conscientious).
- None of the above.

So, come on over to the INDY Blog and place your vote! (You can always change your vote later should your answer change.)

INDY Poll Results: Ditch Daylight saving time?

Yes. The benefits are lacking and the damages substantial. »» 60% (3 votes)
Yes, but I understand the needs stated by the opposition. »» 20% (1 vote)
Either way works for me. »» 0% (0 votes)
No, but I understand the needs stated by the opposition. »» 0% (0 votes)
No. The benefits are numerous and the complaints are few. »» 20% (1 vote)

Total votes: 5


Clinton's superdelegate dinner

Without finding the response she needs in the popular vote, Clinton is now turning to the one other place where she can get delegates: the superdelegates.

From the Washington Post article by Anne Kornblut:
New campaign finance laws may mean there's no more free lunch in Washington. But if you're an uncommitted superdelegate, you can get a free(-ish) dinner at Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's house in Kalorama tonight. Members of the elite -- and increasingly sought-after -- superdelegate universe are gathering at her home around 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., according to one Democratic aide. Unaligned Democratic members of the U.S. House and their spouses were invited, the aide said.

I suspect that the meal will be as follows:
- Hors d'oeuvres: Political grand-standing from the original family of the Clinton-Bush dynasty.
- First course: Discussions on what Hillary can do for your pockets and political careers.
- Second course: The crazed eye-brows raised look from Hillary (you know the one), topped with a scripted poorly-delivered speech.
- Third course: Bill Clinton will remind everyone of the favors he did for them while in the Oval Office (but he'll be sure to gloss over that special favor which was done to him in the same location).
- Dessert: Hillary and her PACs and Insurance constituents will serve a Health Care cake they baked together. Hillary: "Not a fan of cake you say? Well, too bad! You'll eat it and you will like it!" (crazed look again)

Yes, I realize that was somewhat acrimonious. Humorous, but still acrimonious. I am just a little peeved that this is the place to which we are now seeing stoop Hillary Clinton stoop to in order to get votes. It seems that, to her, the superdelegates are just votes to be bought after-all. If that's the case, then let's hope that those superdelegates who do go to the Clintons' dinner get a really bad case of indigestion and get wise to the sour taste of Hillary's political game.

Bon Appétit!


Fort Collins CityWorks 101

Minutes ago I received an email confirming that I have been accepted into Fort Collins' CityWorks 101 program. The CityWorks 101 webpage describes the program as follows:
City Works 101 is an eight-week program, which will give residents a behind the scenes look at running a city. Participants will see first hand how the City makes decisions, allocates funds, and provides services.

I applied almost a month ago, having forgotten to do so when I first heard about the program last year.

I was beginning to worry that I had missed my chance or hadn't been accepted into the program. Now I am exuberantly excited to have a chance to learn about and get "behind-the-scenes" of the city I've learned to love and respect: Fort Collins, Colorado.


Indiana Jones 4 Movie Poster

The release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is soon to be upon us. On Valentine's Day I wrote my initial blog about the upcoming film, in which I included the trailer ("The Man with the Hat is Back.... again"). I hope everyone is gearing up for the next chapter in Indy's adventures! I'm including the release poster - made public today - below! (Thanks to the TheRaider.net for posting this!)


Adjustments to the INDY Polls this week

I've decided to extend the 2008 Democratic Candidate INDY Poll until the last of the states vote this season, rather than just having it used as a weekly poll. In order to change the title of the poll, I had to remove it and then add it back into the blog. I feel kind of bad because it had already started to accumulate votes, but I'm relieved to see that the votes are already coming back in. If you have not yet done so, I suggest you come on back and recast your vote.

In the place of the candidate poll, I placed a poll about Daylight saving time as the weekly poll. So, head on over to the INDY Blog and place your votes. Thanks!

Ditch Daylight saving time

I've been saying this for years, but I'm quite happy to see it gaining popularity in the mainstream: Daylight saving time is actually just a waste of time.

It was a National Geographic article which prompted my attention to this today ("Extended Daylight Saving Time Not an Energy Saver?"). In addition to the lack of energy saving, I have a few reasons for which I dislike DST. Rather than reiterate them here I'd encourage you to read the Wikipedia article on "Daylight saving time", in which the pros and cons are clearly stated and the many studies are cited.

Daylight saving time became even more of an annoyance for me when the Bush Administration decided to have it extended. Something which, the public was told, would help us to conserve more; when in fact it increases society's energy (e.g. oil, coal, etc.) and materials (e.g. shopping, services, etc.) consumption.

I realize that this post will fall on many a deaf ear. The falsities that DST "saves" energy, eases our sleep schedules, and boosts the economy are still firmly rooted in the mind of America. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the practice of moving the hands of the clock will stop in the foreseeable future. A sad fact, but - like the imperial measurement system or the combustion engine - it's a artifact of "tradition" that people just aren't willing to let go of, even if there is a cleaner and simpler option available.


SelectSmart your candidate

Over the years, I've used SelectSmart for the fun of seeing where I line up on a number of issues. However, my favorite use is still to see where I match up with political candidates.

If you're a resident of a state that is yet to vote and you're still unsure of where you should place your vote, I would recommend trying the 2008 Presidential Candidate Selector.

If you would prefer to go straight to a side-by-side comparison of the various candidates, you can visit SelectSmart's 2008 comparison of positions.

If you would prefer to just see an itemized list of the issues for the major players at this point in the 2008 primary season, here you go:
- Hillary Clinton
- John McCain
- Barack Obama

Remember, knowledge of where a politician stands on the issues is the key to selecting the elected official who will best represent your voice.

Introducing the Weekly INDY Poll

I've decided to begin posting weekly polls on the INDY Blog website. I will post the polls on Friday (when I am able) and the polls will close the following Friday at 6:00 AM MST (or MDT).

I am considering offering other - longer running - polls for either larger issues or site suggestions as well, but before I proceed down that path I want to test the waters with these weekly polls.

This week's poll is on a subject which is driving much of my posts recently: the 2008 Democratic nomination. I have included all candidates who are still running active campaigns.

Thank you in advance for your participation!


Is McCain really the McSame as Bush?

John McCain has an upstanding military record, he has had to stand firm against the criticism of both Republicans and Democrats, he has a strong environmental policy, and he tries very hard to weigh out his options before making a decision. He is a successful middle-right candidate and some people would find him preferable to Hillary Clinton (if she were to win the Democratic nomination).

I'm not going to even think of what choice I would make, if I were stuck choosing between either Clinton or McCain at this point. (Especially since I stand firmly by the side of Barack Obama.)

However, I will say that I'm a little uneasy with how McCain has supported and assisted George W. Bush in moving things the direction they have been taken these last 8 years. And, apparently, I'm not the only one, as demonstrated by the Campaign to Defend America ad which I've included below.

I am no fan of negative campaign ads, and I will heartily call out those who would demean someone simply for personal or political gain. So, I scrutinized this ad before choosing to post it. Therefore, I discerned that because this ad stayed focused on the specific political issues on which McCain has agreed with Bush and it did not attack his character as an admirable individual, I will let it through. (Plus, as an AV guy, I'm impressed by how the ad has visually shown what would possibly be the political result of such similarities between McCain and Bush.)

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN10_6pyshQ


Clinton wins Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas Primaries

Last night Hillary Clinton won the Ohio (54% to 44%), Rhode Island (58% to 40%), and Texas primaries (51% to 47%). (The results are still coming in for the Texas caucus.) Barack Obama has - thus far - won Vermont (60% to 39%). (The numbers are still coming in for Vermont as well.)

I'd recommend taking a look at my spreadsheets directly ("2008 Primaries Current Standings"), but - for quick reference - here's a screen capture of the main page for my Democrats spreadsheet (as of 2008-03-05@09:45 MST).

As someone who very carefully chooses where to place my vote. Based on a politican's record, character, and kindness, it has been very tempting for me to become depressed by last night's results. In fact, I won't say that I haven't lost heart for a few moments over the last couple of hours. It has been very rough seeing Clinton's recent negative campaign tactics yielding an increase in her votes. I had thought Americans had learned to see past those underhanded overused and politically meaningless insults. But, it is no matter. I still have HOPE! And the same hope I hold to is shared by millions of other people around the globe.

The people of the United States of America are awakening. The power is with us - the people. We are saying "Yes, WE Can", not "Yes, she will" (new Clinton chant heard in Ohio last night) because the change must come from the people, of the people. And WE the people of the United States of America, want to see someone who will stand for us in Washington DC.

So, now our eyes now turn to Wyoming. This Democratic primary has given every person a voice. The votes of every state have made a difference. So, please, don't just watch while the people who should echo your voice throughout the globe are chosen for you. Make your voice heard and make your vote count. No matter who you support. It is you who decides who governs the USA.


Obama Final Ohio Ad

The Hill Blog has brought my attention to "Obama’s Closing Pitch in Ohio" [The Hill Blog]. Tomorrow could end up being the deciding factor in the delegate numbers for Clinton and Obama.

Here are the number of pledged delegates at stake for each state voting tomorrow:
Ohio: 141
Rhode Island: 21
Texas: 193
Vermont: 15
Remember, you can get all the current delegate standings and voting results from the spreadsheets I put together. (Visit this post for more information: "2008 Primaries Current Standings")

I've included Obama's ad below:

URL: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid353515028/bctid1438426726


Comparing Clinton, Obama 3AM ads

As I have done previously ("Mud-slinging should be a thing of the past"), I would like to show you another set of ads from Clinton and Obama. Clinton released hers earlier this week, propositioning that only she has the skills to handle a global crisis. Obama has responded today with his own ad, pointing out the differences in the judgments both he and Clinton have made regarding international calamities.

Clinton ad:

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M70emIFxETs

Obama ad:

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=879o1_pxO0c