Regarding John Edwards

I was in college from 1998-2002 - years in which the "we love John Edwards, the golden boy rising star of the Democratic party" hype hit a fever pitch.  He was elected to the US Senate in 1998, gave the (memorably bad) commencement address for my graduation in 2002, and more or less put North Carolina back on the national political map with his dashing charm, populist message, and rapid ascent within the Democratic party.

I had three friends from college that grew up in Robbins, NC - the hometown that John Edwards so frequently mentioned in his stump speeches.  At some point during my time as a UNC undergrad, all three of independently stated to me that:

  • John Edwards is a complete scumbag.
  • Everyone in Robbins hates him.
  • They are ashamed to share the same hometown. 

Turns out they were right.

Sarah Palin Book Signing Video

My friend Tom retweeted this video from Digg.  (That was a nerdy sentence, by the way.) 

Basically, a guy with a camera and a guy with a microphone interviewed people waiting in line outside of a Columbus, OH bookstore for a Sarah Palin book signing.  Enjoy.

A few thoughts:

1.)  My first reaction was laughter.  Regardless of your politics - some of this stuff is hilarious.

2.)  This video is unfair.  I'm sure that a Barack Obama book signing would have attracted a similar set of polictical savants.  There are just as many stupid, uninformed Democrats as there are stupid, uninformed Republicans.  I would LOVE to have a nickle for every person that voted for Barack Obama without so much as an inkling of his policy positions.

3.)  When you think about it - this video is really just sad.  I guess people have a right to be ignorant.  Just a shame that they'd rather exercise their right to ignorance over their right to be informed, participate, etc.

4.)  Daily Show fodder notwithstanding, I'm ready for Sarah Palin to go away.

God Endorses Obama

I can't believe how Coach Smith's endorsement stopped me in my tracks this morning.  Like so many North Carolina sons, Dean Smith and Tar Heel basketball are as much a part of my identity as my last name.

I can't really explain it - I feel proud, hopeful, excited...and wish that I could somehow volunteer to run suicides and 3 man weave drills for Coach Smith to show my support for the Obama campaign.

Kelly and I are enthusiastically voting for Barack Obama and we strongly encourage you to do the same.  North Carolina is without a doubt in play.  Our nation needs a new direction.

Full text of the email:
There is a point in every contest when sitting on the sidelines is not an option. That is why Linnea and I are writing to urge you to join Barack Obama’s campaign for President. There are pivotal moments in history when the right decision by a nation can change its course for the better — opening up new paths before us and providing future generations with opportunities that we had not thought possible. This coming election provides one of those moments. Linnea and I believe Barack Obama is the right leader at this critical juncture. I have written that when coaching a team, you must be prepared to make changes to meet new challenges and obstacles. We must be prepared to do the same as a nation. Now, it is the United States that needs a change in direction… and a change in leadership. Join Barack Obama today by volunteering in your corner of North Carolina:

Linnea and I respect all that Senator McCain has done for our country. However, we feel strongly that it is Barack Obama who offers the real leadership our nation needs to tap its potential as a land of opportunity — even as we face difficult times at home and abroad. Senator Obama is a patriotic American, a committed Christian, a good family man, and a man who shares the bedrock values that most North Carolinians have in common: fairness, hard work, respect for others, and personal responsibility. And he has the vision and judgment to help us push through this period of uncertainty to a time of greater economic stability and greater security from threats abroad. If you believe America needs to set a new course, then the time to join us is now. If you are already an Obama supporter, please step up to help our campaign. There are only about three weeks left before Election Day, and if we are going to move away from the failed policies of the past, then we need your help now. So we encourage you to get out there and get involved — talk to your neighbors and sign up to volunteer today.

Get involved now:

And pass this email along to those you think might be interested. This election is too important to stand on the sidelines and watch history pass us by. Thank you,

Coach Dean Smith and Linnea Smith
Chapel Hill, NC

Bob Young at UNC

Bert and I are at ibilio's Bob Young lecture at the Stone Center at UNC.  I've never blogged a live event and only have about 20 minutes of battery left - so this should be an enjoyable experiment. All quotes are paraphrased.

Here goes...

Oh yeah, just in case you don't know - Bob Young is the co-founder of Red Hat, founder and CEO of LuLu, and owner of the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

I knew we were in the right place when I saw the guy with long hair wearing an ill-fitting suit and white socks. Most of the people here are engineers or computer science students. It's great to be in a room full of nerds again...

"If you work in technology, you have to spend 8 hours working and then another 8 hours working at home just so that you'll remain relevant when you go back to work tomorrow. If that 2nd 8 hours is a burden - then you should look into selling life insurance."

Bob and Mark Ewing started the Center for Public Domain because all of the money thrown at open source projects in the early '90s. In their opinion, it didn't make sense to "thank" the open source community with more money. Instead, they founded a non-profit to help influence intellectual property laws, which they saw as the most likely demise of the open source movement.

"Google wants to own the world just as badly as Microsoft does. They are the fastest company on the planet to go from a company that says "Do no evil." to a company that implies just the opposite. I love Google, they just have no idea about the evil things that do or might have to do."

The hardest part about turning his first ideas into real businesses:

- "Lulu has been the hardest."
- "Raising funds as a young entrepreneur. 'He's 26. He has no idea what the hell he's doing.'"
- "It takes time, vision, commitment to build a technology before you actually have the customers. It takes 6 months before you realized that you just wasted the last 6 months."
- "The be a successful entrepreneur - to be a successful anything - you have to be a good learner."

Bob's good-humored cracks at professors and university administration have been hilarious:

- "If these teachers knew so much about their field, then they'd be Bill Gates! Who are they to tell you what you need to know?"

- "If I wasn't such a terrible student and therefore constantly motivated to work hard to prove my teachers and classmates wrong, who knows, I might be the director of ibiblio."

"Love relates to other people; not to what you do. I love Linux and open source because of what it enables me to do."

"Patents should be limited to inventions, not ideas. One-click shopping is the worst patent ever. It's stupid no matter how you look at it - there are an infinite number of ways to code one-click shopping."

"Had there been Ritalin when I was a kid, I too could have gone to UNC Chapel-Hill."

Best line of the talk - very facetiously - "My failures? I haven't had any. Next question."

Great talk.

Why I Love Watching Carolina Games at the Dean Dome - Reason #389

#389 - Watching John Edwards glad-hand the entire arena.

During halftime of tonight's game vs. Penn, Presidential Candidate (and UNC Law alum) John Edwards made his way from his seat behind the UNC bench to Erskine Bowles' seat about 10 rows in front of mine.

Along the way, he pumped his fists to exhort the student section, shook hands with the ushers, took pictures with students, preened for ESPN's cameras, took more pictures with students, helped old ladies cross the street, negotiated a cease-fire in Tikrit, and took more pictures with students. Whatever it is, I'd say he has it. It was pretty cool to watch somone schmooze so naturally.

I wish I could have heard his conversation with Erskine, a former Leo McGarry, err, Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton. I'm guessing it was about Tyler Hansbrough's bullish tenacity under the basket...

Participatory Democracy

I participated in democracy today - right after I read this over my bowl of Cheerios this morning.

I usually read articles about asinine political posturing, make a few jokes about it to Kelly or whoever is around, and then forget about it. However, the concept of a $100 gas rebate check really frosted me.

(Without going into too much detail, let's just say that I'm mystified that a $100 rebate check is the pinnacle of good ideas...that someone actually thought of the idea...and that a group of politicians actually consider it a step towards a solution.)

So I picked up my cell phone and called Elizabeth Dole - one of the US Senators from North Carolina. Naturally - no one answered.

I left a pretty long voicemail - one of those voicemails you get where you start to fast forward and you're amazed at how much you have to fast forward to get to the end. I didn't really say anything profound other than my name, phone number, where I'm from, and that I think the whole idea is a joke.

I don't expect the Republican party to get their act together to the point that they'll actually pass the legislation. Nor do I expect a call back from Libby Dole.

But it sure felt good to rant on her office voicemail.