Ben Langhinrichs

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September, 2008
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.

Tue 30 Sep 2008, 06:43 AM
These are scary times for all of us.  Scary not just for those of us in the U.S., as the global economy is highly interwoven these days.  But here in the U.S., we are in the middle of an election campaign.  Barack Obama and John McCain are vying for the leadership of the U.S., and this is the great real life chance to prove their stuff.  So far, I'd give a slight edge, but only slight, to how Barack Obama has handled the crisis, because he has mostly stuck to trying to calm people down while still emphasizing the seriousness of the situation and letting the people actually in charge do their job.  But things have changed now.  The people in power have pretty much failed to either convince the rest of us that they know what they were doing, or to even agree amongst themselves of a single flawed plan they could stand behind.

We now face a leadership crisis.  The existing leadership, especially that of President George Bush, has demonstrated its inability to cope or handle the crisis.  The potential leaders, Barack Obama and John McCain, now have their chance to show their stuff in a real debate that matters.  I wish one, or preferably both, would stand up and promote an Obama Plan and a McCain Plan that would:

a) clearly explain to the people why this was a crisis we must face now;
b) describe in three to six pages an actual plan with specifics;
c) accept the full responsibility for the plan.

This would be politically risky, especially for Barack Obama who is currently well ahead in the polls and could just avoid the risk.  He shouldn't.  

It would be difficult, especially for John McCain who would have to convince a majority Democratic Congress to allow him the leadership credit.  He could do it, but it would take great force of will and an openness to truly understanding and accommodating both sides.

It would be scary for both men to accept that they could be forever associated with the success or failure of their plans by intentionally naming it after themselves.

It would show true leadership.  The time is now; the opportunity is here.  Who will seize it?  Will anyone?

Update: While neither Barack Obama or John McCain has gone as far as I suggest, both seem to have recognized more fully the necessity of getting strongly behind a bail out rescue plan.  For example, Barack Obama has taken to actually trying to educate people about the issue, and it appears that both Barack Obama and John McCain have gotten behind the idea of raising the FDIC limit to $250,000, which would make a lot of people with small businesses or ad-hoc retirement accounts rest more easily.  Both are still trying to pin the blame for the crisis on the other, but I think both have at least kept that at a low key and turned up the effort to actually get a bill passed.  Let's hope that the bill they pass is a more reasonable alternative, probably phased in at lower amounts and with more oversight.  A guy can hope, as least.

Copyright 2008 Genii Software Ltd.


Mon 29 Sep 2008, 10:48 PM
I decided that I'd much rather just be an attendee this year, so I didn't submit any abstracts, and thus don't have to worry that any will be accepted.  What a wonderful feeling of freedom!

Now, I just need to head off to IdeaJam to vote on whose sessions I would like to see

Copyright 2008 Genii Software Ltd.


Mon 29 Sep 2008, 10:31 PM
On a day when the U.S. House of Representatives demonstrated that not all nonsense in the real world is funny either, I thought I'd share my not-so-funny nonsense poem which was awarded first place today in a "Nonsense Poetry" contest.

<poem deleted for later publication>

Copyright 2008 Genii Software Ltd.


Tue 23 Sep 2008, 09:06 AM
This proposed bailout just has all the feel of The Sting, with Henry Paulson as Robert Redford.  I wish I wasn't so sure that we were the fall guys.

Copyright 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

Fri 19 Sep 2008, 09:12 AM
We released Version 4.10 of both the Midas Rich Text LSX and Midas Rich Text C++ API on our website today.  A more complete announcement will be made, probably Monday, but one notable point is that while Version 4.10 officially supports R5 to ND8.x, it also has been updated and tested on Notes/Domino 8.5.x!  Official support cannot be given until Notes/Domino 8.5.x is gold, since IBM could theoretically change something at the last minute, but you should be fairly safe using Midas 4.10 with Notes/Domino 8.5.x.

Copyright 2008 Genii Software Ltd.


Tue 16 Sep 2008, 12:05 PM
Obviously, the silly season is fully upon us:
He [McCain senior domestic policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin] added, though, that McCain — who has struggled to stress his economic credentials this cycle — did have experience dealing with the economy, pointing to his time on the Senate Commerce Committee. Pressed to provide an example of what McCain had accomplished on that committee, Holtz-Eakin said the senator did not have jurisdiction over financial markets — then held up his Blackberry, telling reporters: “He did this.”

“Telecommunications of the United States, the premiere innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create,” said Holtz-Eakin. “And that’s what he did. He both regulated and de-regulated the industry.”
Now, before any Republican readers breathlessly point it out, I'll readily admit that Senator McCain did not make this statement, it was made by his "senior domestic policy adviser", but it is entertaining given that RIM is obviously not even an American company.  At the very least, I'm sure that Al Gore will enjoy the irony.

Update:  Sure enough, the McCain campaign, which must have had similar visions of Al Gore, quickly repudiated the claim:
Matt McDonald, a top McCain aide, said the candidate "laughed" upon hearing Holtz-Eakin's claim.

"He would not claim to be the inventor of anything, much less the BlackBerry," McDonald said. "This was obviously a boneheaded joke by a staffer," McDonald said. 
Which shows, among other things, why Senator McCain may be wiser than Al Gore, who kept trying to "explain" what he meant as opposed to just dismissing it as a joke from the beginning.

Of course, it is still a bit unclear why Senator McCain's advisor would be cracking jokes at such a serious matter.  I think the McCain people meant something closer to "a boneheaded comment" than "a boneheaded joke", but we can give him the benefit of the doubt.  The bigger question remains, what does Senator McCain plan to do for the economy?  Same question for Senator Obama.  We, the people, need more serious answers and not flippant and idiotic remarks.

Copyright 2008 Genii Software Ltd.