Monthly Archives: August 2008

The Palin Bounce

If one poll is to be believed, then at the outset, McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin was ingenious. In the polls conducted during and just after the Democratic Convention, Barack Obama went from a tie with McCain to a solid 6-8 point lead in the polls.

Obviously it was McCain’s intention to stifle this bounce by announcing his running mate the day after the DNC ended. Most figured McCain’s choice would be anti-climatic, at least I did. But McCain surprised us all with the potentially race-changing pick of Sarah Palin.

Now the first poll post Palin has been released by Zogby, and the results are staggering. They have McCain/Palin up by 2 points on Obama/Biden. Wow. So, at least at first glance, it appears that not only did McCain successfully halt the convention bounce for Obama, but he received a good 4-8 point bounce himself. Couple this with the GOP Convention coming up and McCain could have a solid 5-9 point lead by next Sunday or Monday. Quite the position for the Republican in this election.

Here are the Zogby International poll results:

McCain/Palin: 47%
Obama/Biden: 45%


“Palin is not to be underestimated. Her real strength is that she is authentic, a real mom, an outdoors person, a small town mayor (hey, she has dealt with a small town city council – that alone could be preparation for staring down Vladimir Putin, right?). She is also a reformer.” “A very important demographic in this election is going to be the politically independent woman, 15% of whom in our latest survey are undecided.”

“In the final analysis, this election will be about Obama vs. McCain. Obama has staked out ground as the new JFK – a new generation, literally and figuratively, a new face of America to the world, a man who can cross lines and work with both sides. But McCain is the modern day Harry Truman – with lots of DC experience, he knows what is wrong and dysfunctional with Washington and how to fix it, and he has chosen a running mate who is about as far away from Washington as he could find.

“This contest is likely to be very close until the weekend before the election – then the dam may break and support may flood one way or the other.”

It will certainly be interesting to see what will happen, we have a long way to go and the race will be up and down and there will be an October surprise, but up to this point I don’t think the race could be more intriguing. But if the Democrats lose in November they may have to disband as a party. To lose in an environment this anti-Republican would be nothing short of disasterous.

I originally posted this article at instablogs.com.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Election 2008, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Politics, Sarah Palin

Vice President Sarah Palin?

According to at least Fox News, backstage sources are saying the Vice Presidential pick for John McCain is Sarah Palin. If so, this is a fantastic pick.

Sarah Palin is the current Governor of Alaska, a mid-40’s female, very attractive, a solid conservative, though environmental minded, and anti-corruption. She would be the best pick for McCain.

What Palin does for the ticket is soothes over conservatives who are concerned about McCain’s moderate stances, wins over many female Hillary supporters who are currently undecided, and potentially brings in the “Soccer Moms”. She is one of only two GOP potential veep selections that can get any where near Obama in terms of exciting the American people (the other being Bobby Jindal). So if this is indeed the pick look for McCain to 1. stifle any bump that Obama got from the convention. I am now fully behind McCain/Palin this year.

BREAKING- The campaign just confirmed the choice according to FoxNews!

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Filed under Conservative, Democrats, Election 2008, Politics, Republicans

Why did Obama wait so long?

Upon waking up this morning and checking the news I discovered that Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden to be his running mate for President.  Not a terrible pick, but not his best either.  But the question on the merits of Joe is not the question on my mind.  The question I have is why did Obama wait until the middle-of-the-night on a Saturday morning to announce his Vice Presidential selection?

Anyone who pays attention to the news is well aware that the weekend is the worst time to make an important, seemingly positive, announcement.  The only time politicians release news on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday is when it is something they hope to have forgotten and buried by Monday.  Even employers wait until Friday afternoon to fire people.

To make matters worse, they announced it in the middle-of-the-night.  Who made that genius decision?  “Hey I’ve got a good idea, lets make the biggest announcement of our campaign for President by announcing on a day and time when the news media and the voters are sleeping and will spend the day recovering from their hang-overs.”

I think the reason they did this was because they wanted to milk the anticipation, they wanted to keep the media focus on them.  They must have figured this was best done by leaking a little info each day, like Obama saying, ‘I know, but I’m not telling.’

Frankly, I think it was a terrible decision. One that will negate any sort of bounce as a result of Biden joining the ticket.  What they should have done is announced last Thursday or Friday that the Veep selection will be made before the convention so that bloggers, media, and everyone else could spend the weekend speculating who and when, on Monday or Tuesday use the ‘I know but I am not telling’ line, and then announced Thursday morning.   Then they would own the news cycle from Thursday through the convention, every pro- and anti- talk show on TV, radio, and internet would be talking about it and blocking any McCain news whatsoever, it would be like a 4-day news coup with at least two of those days being normal news days.

What I find most interesting about Obama’s campaign so far is that overall he has appeared to run a tight ship without any major and dire mistakes, but closer examination reveals little mis-steps, like this, that may not have a negative effect, but did not make the most out a particular situation.  So far these kind of things have been costing Obama at the polls and allowed McCain pull into a tie.  Obama will need to right his ship if he wants to have any hope of winning.  Perhaps the choice of Biden is the first step towards doing that.

Note: Also posted at swint.instablogs.com. Please go there and “star” it!

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Blackhat & DefCon

I spent the past week attending two sweet network security conferences in Las Vegas, BlackHat and DefCon respectively.  Essentially these are conferences for hackers.  It was a great time and revealing to say the least. 

First, you need to secure your networks and your computer.  Use anti-virus, firewalls, crowbars, chastity belts, or whatever it takes.  Check to see what ports are open on computer, and close all but the essential ones that you need.  Download tools to help you monitor your network traffic like Wireshark.  Avoid social networking sites, or at least clicking on videos or even images. 

However, all is not dire.  If you are sufficiently secured, you can still do all the fun stuff you like to do on the internet.  Additionally, things are getting harder and harder for hackers to force their way onto your system, arguably the most effective system intrusions occur by you “inviting” them…e.g. opening an infected video, opening an email attachement from someone you don’t know, or browsing to sketchy sites. Now, I am not an expert on network security in any sense of the imagination.  But I do know that simple defenses can make a world difference.  So apply them. 

So onto my observations from the conferences.  BlackHat and DefCon are two completely distinct and different conferences despite essentially covering the same information.  BlackHat is held at Ceasers Palace, costs an arm and a leg, offers training courses, and has a more professional feel.  It is marketed to professional network security people. 

DefCon, on the other hand, is exactly what most people think of when you think of hackers, or at least I do.  It is like a big party.  It is held in the Riviera Hotel, largely a dive of a hotel (although they did remodel the rooms and my room was quite nice, although my bathroom licked).  There were people walking around with full bottles of Jack Daniels, people straight out of the Matrix, presenters cursing at the crowd, and various hacking contests (which were pretty sweet!).  DefCon is perfect for people watching.  It is like having the locals of Santa Cruz all piled together in one hotel.  Oh, and DefCon is dirt cheap, only $250.00 for 3 days! 

I highly recommend these conferences to anyone who works in IT.  A whole week of this stuff was a lot, almost too much, but it was a great experience.  I learned more at BlackHat, but DefCon was way more fun. 

To the organizers:  Keep up the good work!  You do a fantastic job.

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