Tag Archives: Obama

I’ll Keep the Change

Yesterday, while I was writing my post about national debt, my brother called. He’s a conservative Republican. We couldn’t be more different politically and our conversations lately always lead to politics. Without even thinking of it, within minutes, we were both on the White House web site, downloading  summary of Obama’s FY2010 budget.

In my whole life I have NEVER actually looked at the federal budget, or even really thought about it too much.

Obama is the first president who is committed to using modern tools to promote information transparency. The site is great looking, useful and easy-to-use, designed to keep us connected and informed. On the most basic level this change inspires confidence. We’re busy people — we don’t have a lot of time to hunt down infomation —  easy access to the facts promotes informed discussions. Thanks President Obama!

whitehouse.gov screenshot

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Feed the Beast

PBS’s Frontline program Ten Trillion and Counting, sheds light on the enormity of our the national debt. In 2001 – when Bush took office, there was a surplus. Then 911 happened, they took us to war, then proceeded to borrow billions to pay for the war, while cutting taxes. His actions served himself and his administration politically, and not the country economically. I would have gladly paid more taxes, to keep us out of the mess we’re in now. They never reckoned where the money would come from to pay back the borrowed billions. During the 8 years George Bush was in office, the amount of the national debt doubled. On the day of President Obama’s inauguration the national deficit was $10,626,877,048,913.08. By the time he leaves office (if he’s in for 8 years) it will have tripled.

I have trouble imagining what a billion means let alone 1 or 10 trillion. It’s been said that our brains  have not evolved enough to really comprehend how much money that really is. In 1979 author Frank Trippit wondered: “…can any imagination get a practical hold on such a quantity? It is easy to picture the symbolic numerals: 1,000,000,000,000. Still, who can comprehend that many individual units of anything at one time? The number teases, dazzles the mind and even dizzies it, but that does not add up to understanding. Biology ought to find out what happens to the brain when it tries to visualize 1 trillion.” (Getting Dizzy by the Numbers, Time Magazine)

Fortunately, we have designers, developers and artists who can help us picture the incomprehensible. Mint.com created visualizations of 1 Trillion dollars, using examples to show how much the money is worth, such as “one trillion dollars can pay an additional 11 weeks of vacation for every American worker.” And here’s another that uses Google sketch that shows the physical scale of the actual dollars. Chris Jordan is making some great images which visualize  a specific quantity of consumables such as fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption).

I cannot comprehend Obama’s $775 billion stimulus package, and budget proposals that, if carried out, would produce a staggering $9.3 trillion in total deficits over the next 10 years. As much as I want to believe that Obama is doing the right thing, those numbers really scare me. How can we feed the beast, when we owe so much? Who’s gonna pay for all of this, when so much wealth has been lost and squandered already?

Holey Soles

I love this pic of Barak Obama (I wish I knew who to give the photo credit to!) It reminded me of another famous democratic presidential candidate, Adlai Stevenson, who said, “all progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.” Stevenson ran against Eisenhower unsuccessfully in 1952 and 1956. He was Governor of Illinois for one term, and also UN Ambassador from 1961 to 1965.

These are the shoes of a hardworking man, pounding the pavement, tirelessly delivering his message, in it to win it. No time to worry about such details, when you will soon be tasked with fixing an unprecedented global recession. While the majority  of consumers and corporations are scaling back and ‘making-do’, those holey soles worn by the democratic presidential candidate are a glaring contrast to Palin’s $150,000 new wardrobe, paid for with campaign funds.

Did you watch Obama’s infomercial last night? This morning, the Hollywood Reporter suggested that, “if Barack Obama fails to win the election, perhaps the networks should hire him to entertain viewers on Wednesday nights.” If he loses (god help us) the networks can buy him a new pair of shoes.

Obama Art

Plush Obama Originally uploaded by sharcardinal

Can you remember a time when a presidential candidate inspired art? Artists, designers, illustrators, are creating an incredible body of work. I came across this blog today that captures the Obama art movement. It’s called the Obama Art Report.

Obama imagery is showing up in the strangest of places. Last weekend, Dwayne and I went bowling at Sea Bowl in Pacifica. On the way out I spotted Plush Obama in in an arcade game.