The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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January 4th, 2009 · No Comments · General

Oh, hey. Happy New Year.

I’ve been on vacation for the past few weeks, but it’s back out into the Real World tomorrow, so expect blogging to resume shortly.

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Website eating comments.

November 16th, 2008 · No Comments · General

So I just noticed that a mess of comments got stuck in some sort of CAPTCHA-limbo. I have no clue what’s wrong. I’ll work on fixing it ASAP.

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Yes he can…

November 16th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics, Technology

…make me happy with his BlackBerry habits:

[Obama's text] messages to advisers and friends, they say, are generally crisp, properly spelled and free of symbols or emoticons.

Truly, the best kind of leadership for our times.

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Why today matters.

November 4th, 2008 · 8 Comments · Misc.

I’m in Moscow. I’ve had a shit day.

What follows features the sort of language I doubt is “Work Safe”. It’s not “funny profanity” either, so be warned.

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I have voted.

November 1st, 2008 · No Comments · Politics

I went out yesterday to do “in person absentee” voting. It took about 3 hours, not counting travel time. The line was fairly long, but certainly not long enough to be solely responsible for the type of waiting we endured. The process was woefully inefficient and I can only hope that Tuesday will run more smoothly.

On the plus side, I’ve never seen interest like that for ANY election before. Virginia doesn’t allow “pre-voting”, so these were all people who are simply going to be unavailable on Tuesday. I think Virginia is going to wind up being a fairly late-night call on Tuesday. We just don’t seem to be ready for the sheer volume of participants and I imagine the governor will have to extend voting in multiple areas.

If Election Day is ANYTHING like what I saw yesterday, bad trouble’s a-comin’ for a LOT of voters.

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October 29th, 2008 · No Comments · Misc.

At the behest of a friend, I typed “is ” into the google search box in Firefox a moment ago. It attempts to predict what you’re searching for based on current search trends, which can - at times - be very handy. Other times, it just provides a dark and horrible glimpse into the American psyche:

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Note to the Obama Campaign

October 27th, 2008 · No Comments · Misc.

Now that corrupt, evil Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens has been found guilty on all charges, you should relentlessly play the following footage:

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October surprise!

October 27th, 2008 · No Comments · Misc.

He ran a good campaign, but after this bombshell it’s hard not to believe that Obama is doomed (via Shortpacked):

Experience may be critical after all. You KNOW Patrick Leahy wouldn’t have made this sort of mistake.

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Obama Girl defects!

October 22nd, 2008 · No Comments · Gaming, Politics

At the 11th hour, she’s dumped that zero and gotten herself a hero:

Full disclosure, this is for an EA game and I’m 99% sure the video was my buddy Dave’s doing.

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Upgrading Update.

October 21st, 2008 · No Comments · Misc.

So… something broke like hell and everything’s buggy as hell now, so I’m just punting on my age-old WP theme to get things working again. Maybe I’ll go back and fix it later, but probably not.

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October 20th, 2008 · No Comments · General

FYI, I’m upgrading WordPress at the moment, so things may randomly explode for the rest of the night.

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Election Day blues.

October 20th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Politics, Rants

So it’s looking like I will be unable to avoid spending Election Day in - I shit you not - Moscow. Specifically, I will be in the AIR, flying to Moscow while It All Goes Down. Meaning that, in order to get word about the fate of Democracy and the future of America, I will need to find some way to extract it from the Russian media.

It also fucks up my Election Day Drinking Game plans. AND I’m gonna miss Guy Fawkes Day - AGAIN. The Brits even had fireworks this year, instead of road flares and kerosene.

Time to figure out how to absentee vote at the 11th hour.

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Hard hitting journalism.

October 19th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics

I’m not proud of the puns, but I won’t apologize for them either.

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Another thought.

October 19th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics

After tonight’s SNL, I hate Sarah Palin 300% less. When she raised the roof while they shot a man in a moose suit AND rapped about her husband, I may have… ya know… JUST A LITTLE BIT… sort of… KIND of… liked her.

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A thought.

October 18th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics

Guest-starring on SNL is what you do a few weeks before Barack Obama defeats you.

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October 18th, 2008 · No Comments · Movies, Politics, Rants

Annoyed to find out that Choke isn’t playing anywhere nearby, we settled for seeing Oliver Stone’s latest presidential film - W. Overall, I was generally unimpressed. It’s not a clever film. It’s not illuminating in any real way (or even in a “crazy Oliver Stone conspiracy theory” way). It’s not so much funny as it is ham-fisted and mean.

I will say this - Josh Brolin is excellent in the titular role of George W. Bush and Richard Dreyfus makes a damn fine Dick Cheney. After that point, the quality and believability of the performances declines rapidly (I love Rob Corddry, but he looks and acts less like Ari Fleischer than I do).

The film is intended to fill in the “gaps” in the story of George W. Bush’s life and rise to power. Oddly, Stone’s trademark use of alternate history and conspiracy mongering is utterly absent, leaving behind an extremely thin and largely underwhelming portrait of Bush 43’s hypothetical motives and behavior. Whereas Stone’s previous presidential films have been profoundly weakened by his affection for fringe paranoia, W. would have been well-served by a decent injection of creative tin-foil hattery.

The audience we watched the movie with was made up - almost exclusively - of middle-aged people who - due to the demographic make-up of the area - were almost certainly devout Democrats. Unsurprisingly, murmurs rose from the crowd repeatedly along the lines of “he’s so STUPID” or “that’s SO true!”

They also seemed confused about what, exactly, the film was trying to do. The ads for the film make it seem like a satirical skewering of George W. Bush and it might have been more interesting had that been the case. Instead, it’s a weird mix of dark tragedy, melodramatic hypothesis and hackneyed slapstick. The crowd continually laughed at times that - to me - seemed profoundly dark and unsettling and I got the distinct sense that they were desperately trying to WILL the picture into becoming a 2-hour-long Daily Show sketch.

Let me be clear - this is not a comedy and I don’t believe Stone intended it to be one.

(spoilers happen from this point on)

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I love Warren Buffett…

October 17th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Politics

…because he says stuff like this:

A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.

His NTY op-ed on the current economic climate is the perfect distillation of what folks need to know right now:

A little history here: During the Depression, the Dow hit its low, 41, on July 8, 1932. Economic conditions, though, kept deteriorating until Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933. By that time, the market had already advanced 30 percent. Or think back to the early days of World War II, when things were going badly for the United States in Europe and the Pacific. The market hit bottom in April 1942, well before Allied fortunes turned. Again, in the early 1980s, the time to buy stocks was when inflation raged and the economy was in the tank. In short, bad news is an investor’s best friend. It lets you buy a slice of America’s future at a marked-down price.

Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.

You might think it would have been impossible for an investor to lose money during a century marked by such an extraordinary gain. But some investors did. The hapless ones bought stocks only when they felt comfort in doing so and then proceeded to sell when the headlines made them queasy.

Today people who hold cash equivalents feel comfortable. They shouldn’t. They have opted for a terrible long-term asset, one that pays virtually nothing and is certain to depreciate in value. Indeed, the policies that government will follow in its efforts to alleviate the current crisis will probably prove inflationary and therefore accelerate declines in the real value of cash accounts.

Equities will almost certainly outperform cash over the next decade, probably by a substantial degree. Those investors who cling now to cash are betting they can efficiently time their move away from it later. In waiting for the comfort of good news, they are ignoring Wayne Gretzky’s advice: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”

It the next President doesn’t tap him for Secretary of the Treasury, I’m going to be SUPER-pissed.

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I’ll admit it…

October 14th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics

…if the current market turmoil destroyed Venezuela while leaving Capitalist economies largely intact, I’d be more than a little amused.

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Virginia is definitely a battleground.

October 11th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics

Aubrey and I took a drive south to visit a winery. Upon leaving Northern Virginia, the signage along the roads rapidly switched from heavily pro-Obama to almost exclusively pro-McCain. By the time we were about an hour south of Fairfax County, we’d officially entered some sort of Bizarro GOP Wonderland. I am not making the following things up:

- The only interruptions in the McCain/Palin support came when we passed vineyards. We’d usually see a small Obama/Biden sign next to each vineyard’s entrance.

- We passed a small shack-like building along the highway that had two HUGE signs - one for McCain/Palin, the other for discount Glock handguns.

- About 30 miles away from the winery we were visiting, we passed - I kid you not - a man on horseback, riding down the highway median, waving a giant American flag, wearing a red, white and blue cowboy outfit with “McCain/Palin” emblazoned on the back. He looked like Howard W. Campbell Jr., but… ya know… with fewer swastikas.

- We spent four hours at the winery and, shortly after leaving, passed the red white and blue cowboy who’d apparently spent the preceding hours riding his Freedom Steed deeper into McCain Territory.

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Why I’m voting for Barack Obama.

October 10th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics, Rants

My opinion at the start of the campaign-proper, when Obama and McCain had secured their respective nominations, was as follows:

“Neither is great, but both are definitely better than Bush.”

I was satisfied with both options and confident that, regardless of who won, we’d see improvement over the next four years. As such, I was able to take a step back from the precipice of desperation (where I WOULD have been had Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani or some other fanatical reptile gotten a nomination) and resist reactionary endorsement.

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