Thursday, November 29, 2007

Made My Day

I got a phone call from a friend/former co-worker today that really made my day. It was good to hear from him, but that's not the part what was so cool.

My old company is centralizing some computer network functions that are currently decentralized -- specifically, they're centralizing the mail system. For what it's worth, I think it's a great idea... it will reduce the required amount of manpower and equipment significantly, and there will be fewer points of failure and better redundancy. In other words, they're doing more with less.

Part of this consolidation required the folks from corporate to go to my old job site and evaluate what's what. Apparently the folks from corporate were impressed with what I had built, and told my friend that my Active Directory Structure was the best they had seen at any business unit in the company. That's some pretty serious validation, considering that I built the structure strictly based on reading books... no formal training or education of any sort.

The nice part (from a builder's standpoint) is that I was able to build a new network from the ground up and forklift data from the old domain to the new forest, allowing me to custom-build things from scratch. The cool part is that I made things scalable, so it remained "the best network" even as we added new sites and changed functions. But like I said, I think the coolest part is that it's the best, a year and a half after I left, and almost five years after I started constructing it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Greenpeace Criticizes Microsoft, Nintendo

Who'd have thunk it? What's the world coming to when Greenpeace starts criticizing Microsoft and Nintendo? On the surface, the whole brouhaha appears to be over whether or not Greenpeace thinks these companies are green enough. The real reason is far more serious, according to my inside source.

It all started when what's-his-name, you know, the president of Greenpeace, decided that he'd like to raise Greenpeace's profile by having them featured in a video game. The plot line was really simple... save the planet. He had the entire story laid out... an opening movie that showed evil corporate fat-cats polluting the air and water while they sat in their board room and smoked cigars made with slave labor. From there, the player was recruited by Greenpeace and would take part in "peaceful" protests... freeing test animals from research labs, using boats to stop whaling, "clogging" polluting drainpipes with small explosives, and "borrowing" electric cars for the cause.

As a player successfully passed more levels, they would move up the Greenpeace ladder of leadership. (The ladder was made of hemp, of course.) If you failed, the evil corporations caused global warming of catastrophic proportions, leading to a cataclysmic explosion of our planet. If you won, the earth was saved, leading to a final Garden of Eden scene, complete with vegetarian people living in trees and wearing fig leaves, as they joined hands and sang Kumbaya.

Unfortunately for Mr. President-of-Greenpeace, the execs at Microsoft and Nintendo didn't buy the idea, figuring that the game wouldn't sell. This left Greenpeace no alternative other than to smear the good names of Microsoft and Nintendo by claiming they're "not green enough."

You heard it here first.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Hope He Knew

I got a call from RayRay last night informing me that one of my high school teachers died. It's kind of weird that I'd find this out one year to the day after writing about the passing of another favorite teacher.

Gil Lettow was my band teacher for four years, and I happened to be in school at the same time as his three kids. They were all overachievers and I consistently wondered how they did it. After graduating high school and looking back on things through older eyes, I realized that they excelled because of Gil's guidance... a guidance also present in his teachings.

Mr. Lettow was a teacher who always pushed you exactly one step further. Those who were ready excelled in areas far beyond music thanks to his tutelage, but he also realized that each kid was unique and not all were ready to be pushed. In their cases, he patiently awaited an opening, knowing that not all children were susceptible to his particular teaching method.

Gil was admired, liked and respected... not just by his students, but universally. There were always kids in the band area, many of whom were not music students. Mr. Lettow knew and liked even the non-band kids.

It's impossible to stick with a teacher for four years if you don't like them. It's equally impossible to have someone involved in your life for that long and not drop in from time to time. For several years, I made a point of dropping by the school to say hi to Gil, and listen to the latest crop of budding musicians. One day though, I dropped by and he was gone.

I never thought it would happen, and to this day I don't know why, but Mr. Lettow left Mason City. He was wildly popular, and well-respected throughout the state, but for some reason he packed up and moved to Texas. I made a couple of quick internet searches for him, but all of the hits pointed him back to Mason City.

It seems that he somehow knew that he was supposed to return to Mason City; earlier this year, Mr. Lettow retired from teaching, moved back to Mason City and became administrator of Music Man Square, a fitting final chapter for the life of a man who lived and breathed the life of a bandmaster in the real River City.

I never had the opportunity to say goodbye to Mr. Lettow. I never thought he'd move, so I never thought "Gee, this time might be the last time I see him." But I hope that my actions spoke in place of my words. I pray that my occasional visits showed him how much of an impact he made on my life. Of this though, there can be no doubt -- Gil Lettow was an incredible human being, and I know that I'm not the only one who will miss him.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Interview With a Tree Sitter

This morning I read a news article about tree sitters in Berkeley; as I read, I kept wondering "What the fuck are these people thinking? Millions of people are starving, we're in a war, and these idiots are worried about a fucking tree?" Being the fair-minded guy I am, I figured the best way to find out was to actually talk to a tree hugger sitter and get their point of view first hand.

After diligently looking around for several milliseconds, I came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to find a genuine tree sitter, so the only remaining option was to imitate George W. Bush and completely fabricate the facts. So without further ado, here's my (mock) interview with a tree sitter.

Me: Hi. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.

Tree Hugger: I'm happy to do my part in spreading the message about tree conservation.

Me: How did you become a tree sitter?

Tree Hugger: Well, when I was a little girl, I always wanted a tree house, but my dad was constantly away on business trips. Eventually, I realized that it was the corporate machine's fault that I didn't get a tree house. When I heard about tree sitting, I quickly saw that this was my chance to live in a tree house like I've always wanted, and stick it to the man at the same time.

Me: Are you a student?

Tree Hugger: Yes.

Me: How does tree sitting impact your grades? After all, you're not supposed to come down from the tree, are you?

Tree Hugger: I'm failing all but one of my classes. I'm getting an 'A' in my botany class, but I'm not sure if that's because of my commitment to saving the trees, or because I slept with my professor, Miss ... oops, I wasn't supposed to say that.

Me: Isn't intimacy a little difficult in a tree house?

Tree Hugger: Yes, I have to concede that it is.

Me: Would you care to elaborate?

Tree Hugger: Well, after being in this tree for months straight, you might imagine that I don't feel quite as fresh as I used to. Fortunately, my partner doesn't care whether or not I shave my legs. She hasn't been around very much lately, but that may be because she has mid-terms to grade. She's always thinking about me though. She said she'd understand if I had relations with the tree during her absence.

Me: You had sex with a tree?!?

Tree Hugger: Oh yes, it's beautiful and natural, not like that weirdo who had sex with a bike.

Me: I noticed you made your tree house in the largest tree in the area. Was there a specific reason for this? Is this part of your political statement?

Tree Hugger: Not really. I figured that if I'm going to live in a tree that I wanted the biggest tree house in the neighborhood.

Me: Kind of like 'keeping up with the Joneses?'

Tree Hugger: Yeah, something like that. I've got the biggest tree house in the city.

Me: Does this mean that tree sitters living in smaller trees are less committed to the cause? What about the trees that are too small for a tree sitter?

Tree Hugger: Some pro-life tree sitters believe that a tree's life begins when the nut falls to the ground. I'm more pro-choice. It's not really a tree until it's big enough to host a sitter.

Me: A lot of people think your commitment to the trees, while honorable, is a little misguided. After all, millions of people throughout the world are suffering. Shouldn't we worry about people first?

Tree Hugger: Trees can't speak for themselves. Besides, you can't build a cool tree house like this on a person's shoulders.

Me: Since the tree can't speak for itself, how do you know that it wants you to live in its branches? How do you know that it's consenting to your 'sweet love?'

Tree Hugger: I never thought about it like that. I'm a tree rapist! Oh, God, the guilt! I've got to get out of here! I've got to atone for my crime against arbor-kind! Will you help me climb down? I'm kind of scared of heights.

Me: Sure.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Playin' MY Game

Crazy Ex Wife called me last night ranting about how I'm undermining her authority. She came to this irrational conclusion based on two incidents...

-A couple of weeks ago, the little kid had her school conference. The kid started talking about what she'd been doing in school, and I asked her to wait until the Mrs. arrived to start talking about school. Crazy Ex Wife somehow determined that I had undermined her authority.

-Big Kid wants to go to a concert. I said that I'd take her, but that she needs to pay for her own ticket. Night before last, she said that her mom agreed to pay for her ticket, and Big Kid suggested that I pay for the ticket and have her mom pay me back. I declined. When the kid asked me why, I simply said that her mom isn't good about paying me back. Crazy Ex Wife somehow determined that I had undermined her authority.

Next thing I knew, Crazy Ex Wife had called to bitch at me about this; I tried to calmly discuss things but quickly realized that the bitch wasn't being rational and that a discussion was out of the question. I hung up on her.

She called back. I answered the phone by asking if she was ready to discuss, or if she was going to continue ranting. In short order, I told her that I was going to hang up and told her not to call back.

She called again, and I didn't pick up. She left a message, and I deleted it without listening to what she had to say.

She pushed my buttons and pissed me off, but I refused to play her game. I could have gotten into a shouting match with her. I could have yelled, screamed, told her that she's undermining herself just fine without my help, and pointed out all of the ways she's not doing what's best for the kids. But I'm not going to play her game.

You see, her game is drawing me into the eternal drama that is her so-called life. Her game is all about looking good in the moment. Her game is all about appearances. My game is about no longer allowing myself to be drawn into her little issues. My game is about doing what's right -- for the kids, the Mrs. and myself -- in the long haul. My game is all about substance. I'm not going to play her game. I'm playing my game.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Broad Side of a Barn

What do pheasants, clay pigeons and the broad side of a barn all have in common? It appears that I can't hit any of them. But considering that I haven't done any shooting in over 15 years, it's reasonable to expect that.

Greg's dad, Greg and I all went hunting yesterday -- the first time any of us had hunted in over 20 years. As you can imagine, our hunting skills were rusty enough to be non-existent, but fortunately we all remembered the important thing -- the pointy end kills -- or as we hunter-types prefer to say, gun safety.

The coolest part was our firearms... we all used vintage shotguns. My shotgun (shown in this picture) once belonged to my grandfather. It was made sometime in in the WWII era. It's seen its share of use, and it's not worth much money, but it's in good shape and I am proud to own this gun. The wife doesn't understand why I'm proud of this gun, even when I explain that it's more of an heirloom thing than a man with a gun thing.

But back to the hunting. We got a few shots off, but the pheasants were in no danger of losing their lives to us. To put things in perspective, we shot at clay pigeons before scaring up any live animals, and I had a hit ratio of about 20%. As for the barn comment... well, I didn't actually shoot at any barns; that was just me taking a little artistic license. (Barns aren't in season right now, and you need a special stamp for hunting them anyway.)

Either way though, it was fun to go hunting again, even though the only thing I got was a reminder that I need to re-learn how to shoot.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blue (and Pink) Beard -- or, Riffin' off RayRay

The kids were painting their hair the other night when the said "Hey dad, let us paint your beard. They wanted to cut and style it too, but that was a little too permanent for my taste. It kind of reminded me of RayRay's beard.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Change the Definition

... it depends on what the definition of is is...
-Bill Clinton

Leave it to the government. According to this AP article, congress is debating new rules for government eavesdropping. Part of the congressional deliberation process is listening to what people have to say about the issue, and according to Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence, the rules are fine. Instead, he thinks that we need to change our definition of privacy. According to Mr. Kerr, 'privacy no longer can mean anonymity.'

The basis for his argument is that teens and 20-somethings are already giving up vast amounts of information to My Space and the like. Okay great. Hey Mr. Kerr, there are a lot of teens and 20-somethings who are binge drinking, engaging in unsafe sex, driving recklessly, abusing illegal drugs and even attempting suicide. Should I do that too?

Look dude, if someone in my family chooses to purchase something from the internet, knowing that the vendor will track personal information, that's not even in the same league as the government changing the definition of privacy and forcing me to give up all of my anonymity. At least with the private company, it's an individual choice whether or not to provide this information, and the individual gets something in return. If we went with your idea of privacy, I would lose anonymity under the pretense of additional security, because someone else chose to disclose personal information to a private company. And yes, the word pretense in that sentence is key.

Looking Forward - Global Stability

Today is the fourth installment of my Looking Forward series, where I make wild-ass guesses semi-educated predictions about our future based on today's global situation. This is my last planned installment, unless anyone has something else they'd like me to predict. As indicated by the title, I am going to wax philosophical on global security, referring to foreign and domestic governments and the military. I see three primary issues facing the world -- global warming, energy (primarily oil), and instability in the Middle East, which partially relates to the energy issue but merits discussion in its own right.

Global warming is a fact of life, and it's here to stay. The result that I predict is that some countries with plenty of food and/or water will find a chronic shortage of life's basic necessities. In other areas where food and water are in short supply, this shortage will disappear. This will cause political unrest, and I predict that many countries will find themselves utilizing their military for solutions. Those losing resources will attempt to expand into countries gaining resources. The U.N. will attempt to intervene, but will be unsuccessful. In fact, the U.N. as we now know it will likely cease to exist and several regional treaties will rise in its place. I suspect these regional agreements will be based on ethnic or religious similarities.

The next American election cycle will bring the Democratic party to power, and the Democrats will take this as a mandate to pull out of Iraq. As we begin our withdrawal, Iraq will become more unstable than it is now. There will be a short period of complete anarchy in Iraq as the Saudi and Iranian government both attempt to take advantage of the situation. The American government will see that complete withdrawal is not an option, but will be unwilling to re-increase our military commitment. The U.N. will step in, which will delay their demise, but their intervention will have limited success as regional fragmentation kicks in, caused by global warming.

Saudi and Iranian involvement in Iraq may temporarily cause crude oil prices to decline as they try to amass wealth for military incursions in Iraq. This will postpone our transition to alternate forms of energy (because it will seem less economically urgent to do so) but will also cause the supply to run short more quickly. From a governmental standpoint, this will cause further unrest in the Middle East. Sunnis and Shiites will fight for dominance. The U.N. will demand cessations to hostilities, but neither side will listen and the rest of the world will stand by and let them fight it out.

In other words, I see a decrease in global stability and an overall increase in fighting for a perpetually tight supply of natural resources. I don't see another world war, but things are going to get worse before they get better.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Looking Forward - Charity

Today's installment of my "Looking Forward" series started out as a simple reply to Sunny's comment from yesterday. My answer to her comment quickly became too long for a simple response , and evolved into a full-blown post of its own.

---Sunny's Comment---
...When did America start caring more about helping [people] from other lands over helping their own people?...
---End Sunny's Comment---

It's not as simple as that. As a society I'd like to think we're pretty generous. We think of ourselves as Rockefellers. He busted his ass made gazillions of dollars and eventually found himself so rich that he felt compelled to give back to society. But his donations seem to have been designed to help overall society, not individuals.

As Americans, we expect our people to succeed by our rules... hard work, not handouts. As an American society though, we think that giving food to other countries is a hand up, not a handout. And if you take things a step further, you realize that our aid to other countries almost always comes with strings.

At the individual level, I see your point, but I see the benefit of giving to the world as well. A lot of the time I think "What the hell are we doing giving millions and billions of widgets to Exampleistan? We keep saying 'do this and you'll get aid.' They keep saying okay. We give them aid, and they keep eating their dogs, forcing their cats to wear burquas, jailing their babies, oppressing their men, trading their food for more guns, and so forth. When are we just going to say 'fuck you' and take care of ourselves?"

Taking things a step further, as a country, we can't afford to keep throwing money and aid around like we're doing now. Let's see, Social Security is going broke and uncounted amounts of kids don't have basic health care, but we keep sending money overseas. That's like me being maxed out on credit cards, virtually unable to make my house payment and on the verge of losing my car, yet still hosting an expensive block party in a transparent attempt to influence my neighbors.

At the same time though, I understand why individuals donate their money to overseas charities. I've been to third world countries. I've seen the poverty. It's enough to soften even my cynical heart. And then there's the return on investment. Why would I give ten bucks to an American bum who's homeless by choice, providing him one or two meals, when instead I could give an overseas charity the same ten bucks, which is enough to feed a kid in Exampleistan for two weeks? And I even get a pretty picture to commemorate my generosity!

How does this relate to "Looking Forward?" I'm glad you asked. I predict that our reduced status on the global stage will cause us to focus more inwardly. As our own standard of living actually goes down for the first time in a century, it will cause us to look around and re-evaluate how we're doing stuff. Collectively, we'll say "Hey, what's this? We can't take care of ourselves, but we're spending all of this money overseas!?! I don't think so." There will be less discretionary income overall, but as a society, we'll decide to take care of ourselves and leave the global generosity to others.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Looking Forward - Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness

Today is part three of my "Looking Forward" series. I was originally going to talk about what's next for Iraq, but I was asked to give my thoughts on homelessness and hunger, so I'll save my Iraq post for another time. Since there's really no way to discuss hunger and homelessness without bringing in the root cause for both -- poverty -- I've decided to cover that as well.

When I think of homelessness, I tend to think domestically. When I consider hunger I usually picture true famine and pestilence-related hunger, so I find myself looking overseas. Keep this in mind as you read what I'm about to write. I realize there's foreign homelessness and domestic hunger, but I am going to write based on what I know and understand.

I think I'll start overseas and work my way back home. I hate to say it, but I think that worldwide hunger is going to get worse, not better. Global warming is going to cause a shift in our food production. In the short term, some areas that are currently great for producing food will dry up and become unusable. Some areas that are currently not suitable for food production will become available, but there will be a perpetual lag between when we lose an area and when we find the next one.

As America loses clout in the global economy, our society will provide progressively less humanitarian aid -- another cause for the increase in global hunger. Other nations will eventually step in to fill our shoes, but not before a considerable number of people die of malnutrition and disease.

To complicate matters further, the world will continue to convert food to fuel at an increasing rate as oil prices rise still further. As we continue to convert food to fuel, there will be less and less food available to combat global hunger. Many countries with a small middle class and a large disparity between the rich and poor (think Mexico, Russia and China) will see a surge in hunger among the poorer citizens. This is already happening in Mexico. As hunger persists and worsens, many of these governments will become unstable due to rioting.

The final complication in global hunger is our birth rate. I predict little to no change in our overall population growth rate. More people + less food = more hunger. I think that we will one day accept genetically modified food, which will eventually alleviate this problem, but this is more than a decade away.

Bringing the focus toward our own borders, I predict a small, short-term increase in hunger due to my predicted stagflation, and the increased price of food caused by converting food to fuel. However, this will be short-lived as we decide to keep more of our own food instead of sending it overseas, and there will be a government-sponsored increase in food stamps.

I see no appreciable change in our homeless situation. In the short term, people will lose their homes, but most will retain enough employment to at least live in an apartment. In the long term, I see the pay gap between the rank-and-file workers and CEOs narrowing considerably over the next five to ten years. This will put more money in the hands of the middle class, which will grow and expand, but the rate of homelessness will remain essentially unchanged.

Again, all of this ties into poverty. I don't think there will be much change in overall poverty. Some third world economies will finally hit their stride (as China and India have in the last decade or two), and established economies will continue to expand (except for the U.S., who will remain essentially stagnant). But the poorest of the poor will remain left behind.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Looking Forward - The Economy

Yesterday, I made predictions for our next Presidential election. I may or may not be right, but it's my prediction and I'm sticking to it (for now). Today I'm going to talk about the economy.

Unless you've been deployed to Antarctica for the last year or so, you've heard about the housing bust and the credit crunch. The government, the Federal Reserve and the banks have been scrambling to tell us everything's going to be okay, while simultaneously warning us that things are going to get worse. I think this is truly the beginning of the end of American dominance in our global economy. The end of our dominance isn't necessarily a bad thing in the long term -- especially on a global level, but it's going to suck for us for the next two to ten years.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time explaining how we got here; that's what the professional economists are for. Besides, this post isn't about the past, it's about the future. If you are interested in what the pundits have to say though, I'm a big fan of Jim Jubak. He does a great job of analyzing what's going on with the economy as a whole, yet he puts the information out in plain English. Here's an index of his published articles. If you haven't checked him out, it's definitely worth a read. Now... on with the predictions.

First things first. I think we're in for a serious round of stagflation. The feds say that core inflation is under control, but that's not giving us an accurate picture. You see, "core inflation" doesn't factor in the costs we pay for food and energy because they're considered "too volatile" to provide an accurate measurement of inflation. There's an inherent problem with this measurement. The items being excluded from the core inflation formula are the same things that are skyrocketing in price, pinching the average consumer. Eventually, I believe that the inflation in food and energy prices will bleed into the rest of the economy, leaving the fed no choice but to acknowledge that we're experiencing inflation. But for now, they're perfectly content to sing their Pollyanna song and say there's a low risk of inflation. Mark my words though... inflation's here, and it's going to be here a while.

That covers the "flation" part of stagflation, but what about the stag? That's around the corner too, and it's being driven by the housing market and credit crunch. People are defaulting on their home loans left and right, which has the added impact of dragging down home values for all homeowners. The markets that saw the insane appreciation of home values are now seeing an equally crazy drop in value. This means that many homeowners owe more than their home is worth.

Psychologically, this means that homeowners see themselves as having less net worth, which means they're going to be less inclined to spend. Additionally, many homeowners would spend by borrowing, not by spending truly discretionary income. The problem is, banks are less willing to give out loans right now, so even those still inclined to spend may find themselves unable to do so. This is going to slow consumption, which will cause job loss, specifically in the housing sector and the automotive sector, which will have a ripple effect across the economy, making things worse.

The worst part is that these items are happening at the same time, and the fed can only address one of the problems. They can allow inflation to fight recession, or they can allow a recession to fight inflation. Based on historic trends, I expect the fed to fight a recession.

Another factor in our inflationary problem is the weakening dollar. Essentially, a weaker dollar means that it costs more to purchase goods from overseas. This includes oil, electronics and a plethora of other goods that help our economy go. The weak dollar will fuel inflation in the short term, but it will have a positive spin as well. American goods will cost less to our overseas buyers, which means that American exports will increase as imports decrease. It will take a while for this to play out though.

The final step in the shifting of our global economy will be a return to equilibrium. With a weak dollar and cheap American goods, there will be an increased demand for labor. And since other economies have expanded while ours has contracted, it will be relatively cheap for American labor. For example, the Chinese economy will grow, as will the wages of the average Chinese worker. This will allow them to buy more American products, which will create a demand for American labor. Some jobs that are currently overseas will return home because American work will be relatively cheap due to the weakened dollar. Our next round of expansion will begin from overseas consumption, but will take off because of new jobs and the relatively low cost of American goods vs. foreign goods.

When this all plays out though, don't expect us to be the economic powerhouse that we've been for the last century or so. Instead of being the dominant economic power, we will be one of many equals in the global economy. Over the short term, this will be painful for us, but in the long haul, this will benefit everyone globally.

As I said, this will play out over the next two to ten years. I think the worst of the pain will occur in the two-to-five year timeline, and the recovery period will be five to ten years out. The big question is how to minimize your own exposure during this time. Unless you're independently wealthy, you're likely to experience some pain from this, but there are some things you can do now.

Pay off any outstanding debts that you have, specifically credit cards and car loans. This will free up discretionary income, which you'll need during a credit crunch.

If you invest, I recommend looking overseas, and do it now. Our stock market is already running on borrowed time. I was relatively fortunate. I saw the inevitable housing bubble, but was a little off in my timing. I was exposed when the bubble popped, but moved a large portion of my money when things temporarily recovered after the fed 1/2 point rate cut. That move has helped preserve my long-term investments.

I am not recommending that you move everything overseas, because that's just as risky as keeping the money in your mattress. But I am predicting that the overseas market will do just fine while we flounder. I plan to remain heavily invested in overseas markets for a year or so, and re-evaluate from there. This, of course, is subject to change. I watch consistently for trends, but don't actually change my allocation more than once or twice per year.

After a year or so, I suspect that our domestic stocks will have hit bottom, which means it will be time to bring the money home. Furthermore, I suspect that foreign stocks will start lagging around this time, because the pain of our recession will start being felt in the overseas markets because we are purchasing fewer of their goods.

I see a rise in domestic commercial property values -- specifically apartment buildings. As people lose their homes, they're going to need somewhere to live. This will cause a demand increase in apartments, which will cause rent to rise, increasing profit for the companies that own apartment complexes or their associated property.

In summary... I think that in the short term, we are going to experience something new to Americans... an actual reduction in our standard of living for the next two to five years. In the next five to ten years, our standard of living will once again increase, but at a slower rate as the rest of the world catches up.

Note: These predictions are not to be taken as financial advice. I'm telling you what I've done, and you can choose to do the same or not... it's your money, so it's your risk.

What would you like me to talk about next? Iraq?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Looking Forward

I've been following our politics and our economy for quite a while. Economics and politics both fascinate me. I'm more informed than most people on the global front as well, but I won't say that I'm an expert. In fact, I won't claim to be an expert at all, but over the next few days I am going to make some predictions for our nation's future.

Today, I'm going to make some predictions for our next presidential election. It's a no-brainer that the Democrats are going to take the White House. The nation is sick of Bush, and for better or worse, when we think Bush, we think Republican. I also believe that even hard-core Republicans are divided, ambivalent, or downright disgusted with their party.

But wait, there's more -- a spoiler named Ron Paul, who has generated a lot of buzz over the grassroots following he's generating. He's not going to win the Republican nomination, but he's generated enough excitement that he could run as an Independent and drive the final nail in the Republican candidate's coffin.

Here's my prediction for the actual contest.
Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, and she will ask Barak Obama to be her running mate.

Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination, and he will ask Fred Thompson to be his running mate.

Ron Paul will leave the Republican party and run as an independent.

The race will be closer than most people expect, and it will be schizophrenic. Lots of Democrats will vote Republican because of personal biases. Lots of Christian Right voters will vote Democratic because they'd rather vote for a bad Christian than a good Mormon. As I said before, Ron Paul will siphon many votes from the Republicans. He will make a better showing than people expect.

When I say that the race will be closer than most people expect, I'm not necessarily saying that it will be close. I think that the masses expect a Democratic landslide. They will win by a wide margin, but it won't be as wide as people expect.

Here's how I think the voting will break down.
Popular Vote:
Clinton/Obama - 55%
Romney/Thompson - 35%
Paul - 10%

Electoral Vote:
Clinton/Obama - 60%
Romney/Thompson - 40%
Paul - 0%

I think the Democrats will retain the House and Senate. At the state level, I think that Republicans will regain some of the ground they've lost in the last couple of years.

What do you think? Am I full of crap?

Tune in next time, for my economic predictions.