Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Last night was perhaps one of the most important speeches of this presidential election and it wasn't given by any of the people who will actually be elected to an office this fall. Hillary Clinton took the stage at a little past 10:30PM EST and although many believed she would play the good soldier, her actual mission was much more difficult than giving a simple speech supporting Obama. Her job was to convince all of her die heart supporters who, for some irrational reason, have come to the conclusion that since Hillary didn't get the nomination, John McCain would be a better choice than Obama. At first, such a claim seems so far fetched that it must be made up drama by the media networks, but alas it was not. Many Hillary supporters have openly said that they may or even would not support Obama and may even cross party lines to vote for McCain. During the brief respite between the end of the Democratic Primary in June till the Democratic Convention last night, Hillary has given several speeches in support of Obama, but none were heartfelt and always felt fake. All of that ended last night. 

Hillary took the stage and delivered what was probably the best speech of her political career. It not only made it clear that she strongly supported Obama, but that if any of her supporters did not do the same they were not only disappointing her, but themselves and squandering what they had all worked so hard for in the last year. She knows that on the vast majority of issues she and Obama are essentially the same candidate. Her main task was getting her supporters to finally see through their anger over the loss to this simple truth. 

Hillary's speech was easily divided into three parts. Part 1 was--here I am and I support Obama. Part 2 was--thank you as my supporters and all the hard work you have done. Part 3 was--deal with the fact that we lost and get in gear behind our candidate. I have to admit that in parts of the speech it felt like a school teacher reprimanding her star students for acting arrogant and reckless, but it was also clear that the message got across. Hillary clearly took the high road and may have just saved the Democratic party from the implosion that it was heading towards. After last night's speech no Hillary supporter can stand up and say "For Hillary I am not going to support Obama". Perhaps the strongest part of her speech was when she used simple logic. She point blank told her supporters, we may not like that we loss, but when it comes to living the next four years can we allow McCain to be president? Will that help you? Will that make things better? So much of the bad feelings between Hillary supporters and Obama has been over the loss of the primary elections and not the future. Last night Hillary turned that around and essentially put the past behind her. She cut down any leg her supporters could stand on when claiming they didn't support Obama and showed them that their current behavior was unacceptable and had to change. I think that her speech last night not only saved the Democratic party, but also have won her a lot of respect and support.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Old Democrats

So, last night I watched the first night of the Democratic National Convention and was actually quite impressed with Michelle Obama's speech last night. I thought she hit all of the key points she needed to as well as softened her image slightly which will hopefully help her with the media.

One of the big stories from last night was whether Clinton supporters will in the end vote for Obama. I think CNN spent more time showing Clinton supporters debating whether they would vote for Obama in November than actually asking why they refuse to support Obama now or what it is about Obama they can't support. I feel that if pushed in this direction, a lot of Clinton supporters would realize that Obama and Clinton are not really that different. Being a person who played sports, I understand the difficulty in accepting a loss, but part of being an adult is learning to accept what has occurred and moving forward. This Democrat really hopes that post the convention, the Clinton supporters will realize that in the end Obama offers them the best hope for getting the ideals that Clinton stood for past. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

World Community Grid

So for the last year I have been a part of a project called the World Community Grid. This project operates by using unused computing power to run programs that search for cures for diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer, MS, and hemorrhagic fever. Unlike past programs, such as the SETI client, the WCG actually does a great job at regulating its use of your computer so that it does not 1) run your computer so hot that you have to worry, 2) interfere with normal computer use since it constantly monitors what you are doing and only uses unused computing power, and 3) is really working towards great and useful causes. I highly recommend checking it out. In addition, it has lots of team competitions so if you want to join my team (we are the Elips Team) click on the link above. If you have questions about the WCG, post them in the comment section. 

Monday, August 18, 2008


So, it only took about six years but I have finally joined the modern world and joined Facebook. So far I have been adding friends which is an interesting process. If anyone has suggestions for things to do on Facebook let me know. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New York Mets Current Bullpen Woes

In the spirt of having diverse postings to this blog and because I am stuck at the Rochester Airport due to the wonderful air travel system that the United States has, I thought a post about sports would be in order. 

As of today, the Mets currently stand two games out of first place behind the Phillies. This is due in large part to the fact that the Mets bullpen appears to be incapable of getting the last 9 outs in a baseball game. For those fans, who like me, had to go through last year's September collapse, the current bullpen woes are eerily similar. In both cases, the Mets starting pitching is able to go 6 to 7 innings, the offense is scoring 4-7 runs a game, and yet regardless of the situation the bullpen appears to find a way to lose the game. The current slide of the bullpen became really apparent when closer Wagner went on the DL and many have said that as soon as Wagner returns all will return to normal. However, one has to wonder whether Mets fans are getting a glimpse of what is ultimately going to happen to this team as crunch time approaches.  

In an effort to confront the bullpen woes, Mets manager Manuel has come up with several creative solutions. The two current approaches appear to be using minor league relievers and moving starting pitcher John Maine to the pen. The use of the former is a sign of the desperation that the Mets are currently facing. Based on their performance so far the Mets minor league relievers are pitching exactly as they should be. The only problem is that means they are pitching like minor league pitchers in a big league game. It is clear that none of these players is ready for the major leagues yet and is only on the big league team because of the large number of injuries the Mets have suffered. As for moving Maine to the pen, in the short term it has many advantages, but I think these are outweighed by the long term realities. Here is the break down:

Positive: Maine has a rotator cuff injury that is best dealt with by either a complete shut down of his throwing activities or a throwing program that tightly controls how many pitches he throws. Thus, a move to the bullpen would suit Maine as it would shift is outings to 30-40 pitches as opposed to his 110-120 he has been averaging thus far. Assuming Maine is effective in the pen, and this is a big assumption, the mets are able to have a go to guy in the bullpen. 

Negative: This is at best a short term solution. Maine is clearly more valuable to the Mets as a starting pitcher than as a reliever. Plus the move is occurring because he is injured. Thus, there is a high probability that Maine could re-injure himself, leaving the Mets in the exact same situation they are currently in. Moving Maine to the bullpen permanently is not an option given the state of the Mets current starting pitching situation. As a result, moving Maine to the bullpen allows the Mets to ignore the realities that they have to add a bullpen arm via wavers if they are going to make the playoffs this year. 

If the Mets are going to make the playoffs they are going to have to find a way to add a bullpen arm, such as B. Fuente of the Rockies, via wavers. This will mean parting with their current prospects such as F. Martinez, but if they are committed to winning this year, fixing the bullpen has to be the highest priority.

VP Location for the Democrats

Today's post will examine, from an election math perspective, what region Obama's running mate should be selected from (will examine the Republicans tomorrow). In the recent election past, the democrats have selected running mates from areas in which either they have no chance of winning or from very safe states. For example, in 2004, John Kerry selected John Edwards from North Carolina (which Edwards was unable to deliver to the democrats) and in 2000 Al Gore selected Joe Liberman from CT (which was very safe for Kerry). My question is why the democrats insist on picking VP candidates from the Northeast or traditional south. In examining the current polling data it seems that the logical choice for Obama is a running mate from either a key swing state (FL, PA, OH) or the Midwest/Southwest. While clearly there are many other factors that go into selecting a running mate, in terms of ticket balance and my opinion, selecting a candidate from the Northeast or the South would be a large mistake. 


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