21st Century Man / 2045

The two defining musical influences of my life are Prince and Public Enemy; that perhaps gives you a framework - a lens - through which to view my thoughts. Most of APAB has drawn from the Chuck D side of my philosophy, but the more hopeful side - the side that sees the issues we face today but believes we can surpass them on the way to a brighter future, just sent the below series of thoughts to the Obama/Biden campaign. Herewith, my attempt to define the future.

I believe Energy & Transportation must be the core focus area for this upcoming Obama/Biden Administration. A focus here would yield benefits in to many other areas, that it announcing plans on a scale even greater than Eisenhower with his interstate highway program, should form the tent pole of your first 100 Days.

For more than 10,000 years coal has been a source for fuel and it was the motivating force behind the steam engines that powered the start of Industrial Revolution in the latter stages of the 18th Century. That revolution brought us into the era of economic growth and since that time we have been burning carbon - first from coal, then expanding with oil and natural gas - in ways to generate more and additional forms of power. We use carbon to heat our homes, heat our water, to fuel our cars and to generate electricity.

And that worked so well for us for so long, that most people did not even think to look elsewhere.

But we know what burning carbon - whether from coal or oil or natural gas - has done to our environment. Today, we have rivers - too polluted for us to drink; today we have air - that when we breathe gives us asthma; and that is not the half of it. The "easy" seams of coal to mine have already been brought to the surface; to get what is left, we now do "mountain top removal", which dynamites mountains and shoves the resulting rock down into valleys and the rivers below.

Try hunting near one of those.

The point is this: carbon, as a source of energy, has become to costly to our health, our businesses and our society. Oil at $140 a barrel showed us that.

But we know what we need to do. The shortest path to more energy is to more efficiently use the energy we do have. That means smarter appliances that turn themselves off when not in use and less usage of incandescent light bulbs that generate more heat than light, but even this will not be enough.

We need to ignite the wind and solar power era.

We have enough wind off our Atlantic coast, to power heat and electricity for our homes and businesses and even our transportation up and down the population centers of our Eastern Seaboard. We have enough wind across our great plains to power the megalopolises of the Midwest and we have so many sunny days across our Southwest that our entire Western flank can be powered for heat and electricity with capacity to spare. And we can store solar power now, as thermal energy that we use to run steam turbines. And we can do the same with wind, by using excess electricity over current demand to heat molten salts, that again is used to power turbines when the wind slows. We can connect up these "power generation factories" off the Eastern seaboard with underwater DC cabling so that power generated in one place can be shifted to where it is needed. We can use underground DC cabling to connect our wind farms to our Midwestern cities and our solar farms to our Western cities.

And we can use this network of power to build a national power grid, so that we would have fail-over protection we lack today. And we can also use this network of power to connect our nation with high-speed rail links - all powered by clean, renewable electricity. With high-speed rail links connecting our major cities, air travel can be reduced to transcontinental and intercontinental use. This will take a major source of pollution down to almost a background level of emissions. With a network of national, regional and local rail lines, we can move people from where they are to their destination in an environmentally friendly fashion. And we will have the renewable forms of generating electricity that we can use to power the electric and gas-electric hybrid vehicles produced in our revamped factories.

No Nukes.

No Natural Gas / Oil.

No Coal.

These were the solutions of earlier generations and they served a purpose at the time. Our purpose has changed. We need to use forms of energy that are locally sourced, so that the money circulates within our economy and is not sent offshore to countries that seem to love our money, but us - not so much. We have a chance to lead the world in the generation of clean, renewable energies. Students will once again flock to our colleges; our teachings and our technologies will bring light and power to the world. And with those ties will come the search for common dreams, dreams that lead toward brighter tomorrow's and away from the sorrows of the past.

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A new day is dawning

The US needs to turn its attention to the South. It is the states of Brazil and India where some of the fastest economic growth is now occurring and even an African nation like South Africa too. Strengthening our alliances here - perhaps with a sister organization to NATO - would enable us to build the policy bridges we need to cross the challenges that lay before us. Furthermore, we should wipe away the debt of African nations and Caribbean nations like Haiti. It is unconscionable that the US finds itself as the collector of Haiti's international debt. This debt burden was applied by France initially, more than 200-years ago. Collecting this debt is akin to asking the sons and daughters of slaves to pay reparations to the sons and daughters of their former slave masters - for the loss of those slaves as a "business asset", no less! This is a crime. A crime that should no longer be tolerated. If we as a nation are going to stand forswear against paying reparations to the descendants of slaves, we must also stand forthwith against paying reparations to the descendants of former slave owners. Similarly, the debt of African nations was mostly incurred by dictators - empowered by our CIA - and party to our Cold War games against Russia. To ask the sons and daughters of people slain by dictators we installed to pay debt obligations on money stolen by those dictators, is unreasonable in the extreme. It is time for us to own up to our failures and not look for those whom we victimized to cover our tracks.

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October Surprise?

Lets see what we know:

  1. There is absolutely no reason to trust any statement made by any Bush Administration official.
  2. Corollary to Statement 1 - no reason to trust any statement made by any Bush Administration supporter.
  3. Any McCain campaign staffer must be considered as equivalent to a Bush Administration official, as well for indeed, some of them are former Bush Administration officials.
  4. McCain has at least one lobbyist on his campaign team, who "formerly" worked for Georgia.
  5. Former Nixon aide and current VP Dick Cheney, is traveling to Georgia, weeks before the election.
  6. Nixon created perhaps the first "October Surprise", with his back channel negotiations in Vietnam, to prevent Johnson from winding that war down in 1968 before the election and turning the tide toward the Democrats in that year, which - apropos of nothing - was the same year MLK and RFK were assassinated.
We also know that Reagan used a similar back channel negotiation with the Iranians - to encourage them to not release the hostages - much of which laid the ground work for arms sales to the Iranians through Israel as a cutout, with profits used to fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Many of those officials involved in the Contra program - Elliott Abrams, John Poindexter - saw their political fortunes rise with the return of the son of the former CIA Director (GHWB), George W. Bush to the White House.

Everybody all set on the players?


What does this mean?

Anyone - and I mean anyone - who does not think more stuff will hit more fans over the next seven weeks is beyond a delusional state and should not be consulted on the weather, much less the el ection. I expect to witness no less than the most amazing, death-defying, dazzling display of election theft and vote rigging ever attempted by man, woman or child.

I am predicting some turbulence, as we seek to re-establish government of the people, by the people and for the people - to this nation and perhaps to the world. Everyone, please buckle your seat belts and know that our captain has a plan to bring this baby home in one piece. Near as I can read my from my safety page from the seat-back pocket in front of me, we are instructed to:

and Communicate across every hill, dale and yonder with your neighbors, colleagues, coworkers and friends about the importance of this election and why it is requisite upon us all to cast our votes - by any means necessary.

Encourage every sentient being with whom you come into contact, to vote for Senator Barack Obama.

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Lies, Damned Lies . . . and Pollsters?

I am certain of an Obama victory come this fall; I am just as certain that the pollsters are either unable or unwilling to accurately gauge the electorate this year. Their inability to poll accurately became legendary throughout the Democratic Primary process and the erratic nature of the polls since only tells us that they have not gotten a handle on what to do.

Regardless of their intentions, their daily, weekly and monthly polls do have an effect on the voting populace. In a very real sense, they do not just report on how the electorate is feeling - they shape how the electorate feels.

They know (this) http://books.google.com/books?id=DdSPsxHX5BQC&dq.

This tells us that their actions are in furtherance of whatever their goals are. While we are not privy to their internal discussions, we can know this much for certain: their goal - stated or unstated - seeks to reduce the enthusiasm of the Democrats and increase the enthusiasm of the Republicans, in a pathetic attempt to prevent the change we as a nation seek to make from coming to pass.

It will not work.

They will not succeed.

Their attempts are growing more patently obvious by the day.

But all of that is mere words and in truth, purely preamble. Here is the analysis that proves the above hypothetical statements true.

From the latest AP Poll (http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com/), we see the following top-line numbers:

  • McCain - 48%
  • Obama - 44%
Looks bad for our hero, but those Hollywood serials would not have kept us on the edge of our seats if we could tell from jump that the good guy was going to win.

The first lie these numbers tell us is they are based on "likely voters". Now, every pollster has their own "secret sauce" for how they determine "likely voters", but suffice it to say for the external viewer that it consists of a formula based on previous voting experience; demographic data; and enthusiasm. Translated more directly (and we are family here, no?), that means newly registered voters have their responses discounted; impact of white voters is raised - due to their historically higher voting rate compared to other demographics; and adding Sarah Palin to the ticket has boosted Republican enthusiasm - which was beyond lackluster for John McCaain. Three debatable assumptions - as they look backward and not forward - that pollsters treat as gospel.

But there is more wrong with this poll:

View Picture 10 and you will see that the Democratic voters total out to 33% of the "likely voters" polled and Republican voters totaled out to 31% of the same population. Nationally, Democrats have a more than 11M - (according to the AP) http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iyCjg56QEYy3r8Gz2X09TnpaWOMwD9317JU00 - registered voter advantage over Republicans - and that is in states where registration also capture party affiliation. Other news sources (USA Today from 2004) http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnist/neuharth/2004-01-22-neuharth_x.htm say that the Democratic advantage is almost 20M - and that lead is only growing with each passing day, as the Obama campaign continues to press for new registrations. And as these folks are registering just for this campaign, they have to be considered more likely to vote! Any poll that does not show a Democratic lead in the poll responders, it flat out false.

But there is even more wrong with this poll:

View Picture 11 and you will see that of the likely voters questioned in this poll, a full 10% more voted for George Bush in 2004 than John Kerry! Now, we are all sad that Kerry lost, but he did not lose by 10%; in fact, his margin of defeat was a mere 2.4%. This means that what this poll is actually showing, is that some folks who voted for George Bush in 2004 are planning on voting for Barack Obama in 2008; I bet you did not see that in any headlines.

But there is still more wrong with this poll:

View Picture 12 and you will see that the pollster is once again forecasting 17% of the electorate will be in the under-30 voter group - which is what we saw in 2004. Ask yourself if you - the average observer of this year's political season - thinks that more, less or about the same number of voters in the under-30 demographic will hit the polls this November? You can take as much time as you like in answering this question and remember - this will count as 25% of your final score!

But there is yet one more thing wrong with this poll - and I am not even a statistician (although I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night):

View Picture 13; here you will see that the pollster is once again forecasting 7% of the electorate will be Hispanic/Latino, as it was in 2004. This almost goes without saying but the primary season alone showed a huge increase in the turnout of Hispanic voters. To believe that they have all decided to vote in the primaries - only to return to previous levels in the fall - is an assertion without evidence in support of it (others might call it an out and out lie, but I am too charitable for such strong language).

I hope this has shown that this latest poll from AP/GFK is more cotton candy than high cotton; I encourage everyone to go to the poll themselves and see just how many others holes are in this thing. All snapshots of poll data taken from the AP source data here: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com/pdf/AP-GfK_Poll_91208_Topline_findings_final.pdf.

For comparison, you can find details on the 2004 election here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2004.

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12 September 2001

I used to think that I would forever remember the events of 11 September 2001; now I am beginning to wonder.  Herewith are my recollections from that day.

6:00 AM: I had to go into the office this day; less because there was any actual work for me to do there (ah, the joys of being a consultant in-between gigs) and more because my sister was staying with me (she had moved out of her apartment in Queens, on her way to be married in a chapel at Howard University and a new home in Maryland) and I wanted to show her the route to the PATH trains into NYC.  Ezina was in town this week - in between performing gigs - and likely to be either in the apartment all day or perhaps off to the club to work-out.

Every day begins in a normal, mundane fashion.  It is only after awakening that the importance of any individual day becomes clear and the little decision trees on the paths taken and not grow or recede in importance.

8:15 AM: With a loving adieu to Ezina, Denise and I hit the trail for the big island - Manhattan.  First we must sojourn over to Journal Square to pick of the PATH and it is here we must make our first choice: WTC train or 34th Street.  I worked in Midtown in those days, so my normal selection is the 34th Street train; Denise worked at the Empire State Building then, so we had to at least consider the WTC.  No direct trains from the WTC to the ESB - and the 34th Street train always seemed to come with a higher frequency - so the choice was an easy, if fortuitous one.  This - E, A, C, 2, 3, 1, 9, N, R - is my list of WTC trains, which I memorized with a little tune sung to the beat of some long forgotten rap, most likely by Black Sheep.  Either way, I was pretty good on the Midtown and West Side trains - the ESB was some old East Side route that would just get me lost, regardless of the 8 years I spent in and around NYC.  So by 0830 hours, Denise and I were Midtown bound on the 34th Street PATH train.

8:45 AM: I walked toward my uptown train, while Denise headed above ground to walk from 6th Avenue eastward to the ESB on 34th.

8:55 AM: Lets say it was the C train that took me to the Rockefeller Center stop, but regardless of the train, I always rode toward the front car as I could then exit at about 50th Street and I still needed to head a few blocks north to 55th, where the Accenture office was located.  And it was here, coming above ground that I noticed today was not an ordinary day.

For rising into the sunshine of was seemed to be a glorious September morn, I witnessed a most incredulous sight: New Yorkers standing stock still on the sidewalk, peering southward through the buildings for a glance at . . . what?  I had no idea and I did not care, so I brushed past the folks pretending to be tourists in a classic, "I'm a New Yorker and only newbies from the sticks gape"maneuver, as I made my way to my office.

9:00 AM: Second sign - the receptionist on the third floor was staring, mouth agape, at something on her computer screen as I walked by and she said to me, "A plane just crashed into the WTC!"

It is possible that my first reaction was to laugh, but I do recall that I was sure it was some dunce in a propjet, who lost control of his plane in a stiff breeze and was pushed into the one of the towers.  I headed for my desk to boot up my computer and get on the internet to see what I could see.

9:02 AM: Passing a colleague in the hallway, he also mentioned the WTC being struck, but added that the second tower had been hit too; and it began to dawn on me that this was some sort of attack.  Reaching my desk, I attempted to call my sister to see if she was okay - but all of the circuits in Manhattan were busy.  I attempted to call Ezina and see if she were still at home, but lines to Jersey City were tied up as well.  The only person I could reach was my Mom - who had seen more of the attack than I had since she was watching television in Pittsford, NY that day - and I was able to convince her that Manhattan was a big island and that I was no where near the WTC.  No mean feat.  I explained that I could not call Denise - and I think she had already spoken to her - so I asked her to call Denise back and ask her to meet me on Sixth Avenue at 34th Street, so we could head back to Jersey City.  Certain that this plan would work, I began to leave work almost as soon as I arrived, feeling more than a little uncertain and with less surety to my step.

9:30 AM: Passing people in the hallway - some still arriving to work, others now leaving - it was clear that a consensus on what to do next had not yet developed.  I said my goodbyes as I headed for the elevator, still wondering where Ezina was and how I was ever going to find Denise in a city of 8 million people.  Little did I know that Denise had turned around even faster than I had, as the ESB was being evacuated upon her arrival there.

Everyone that more attacks were on the way and that the ESB was next.

As she used to work on Sixth Avenue, she was already headed towards me, thinking she was going to stop by her old colleagues and make sure they were okay.  We must have met on Sixth Avenue, just south of 42nd Street.  The sidewalks were full of people, the police were out in the streets and everyone was asking to borrow everyone else's cell phone.

I think the Nextel Direct Connect phones were still working; all I know is I could not call Denise and she could not call me - but we could each reach Mom.

Denise and I began to head west, so that we could reach the ferries heading back to New Jersey.  Thousands of people were migrating the same way, so we ducked into a bodega to get some water - just in case we were on the streets for awhile.

It never connects in one's mind that Manhattan is an island - until getting off it becomes of supreme importance and the roads and the rails are blocked off.

10:30 AM: As Denise and I finally reached West End Avenue, we still could not see the entrance to the ferry way.  Instead, all we could see was a massive line of people and like the good former public school children we were, we blended in with the line, secure in the knowledge that it would take us to our destination.

11:30 AM: We could tell those who were coming up from the site of the WTC, as they were covered from head to toe in dust and still had the shell-shocked look of a survivor that we had previously only viewed from the safety of our television screens in some Hollywood blockbuster.

12:30 PM: Most of the folks in line only had rumors as too what was going on.  Denise and I heard tales of other planes going into other buildings across the country.  The Sears Tower was high on everyone's lips and of course, the Pentagon.  I began to recall the one Tom Clancy novel that ends with a pilot crashing a plane into the Congress and I wondered if we were going to see that occur in real-life.

1:30 PM: Denise and I begin to be able to view the actual ferries boarding, so we know it will not be long now.  To this point, our only view of downtown has been blocked by buildings and smoke, so we cannot yet add our names to the rolls of eyewitnesses to the calamity, at least.

2:00 PM: At last, we board a ferry heading to Hoboken, but instead of straining westward, my eyes are drawn back to the southeast.  Where the towers had stood for decades, there was nothing, save for smoke and flames.  Overhead, flew F-16s or some other fighter jet - on patrol and searching the sky for targets.

Jets that appear friendly and welcoming at an air show, become terrifying when you know that it is seeking something to kill.

2:30 PM: Finally, back ashore in New Jersey - but we are not home yet.  We still need to find a bus that would take us back to Jersey City from Hoboken.  Thankfully, there are people around who point us in the right direction and we load up on a bus and await departure.  I think the woman sitting next to Denise is carrying some sort of dead animal with her - for what reason I cannot begin to fathom.  All I want to do is get home.

3:00 PM: Denise and I finally arrive back home in Palatine and I am at last reunited with my wife.  We place calls to our parents and let them know we are all fine.  And then - Ezina lets loose with the stir craziness that has enveloped her day and starts to talk about getting her hair done.  Denise encourages this sort of talk with comments like: "I really need my hair done too".  So together they depart for the Newport Mall in Jersey City, in the hope that it remains open.

I am unable to leave - after having spent hours attempting to get home, it will take more than a hair appointment to pry me away.

4:30 PM: Denise and Ezina return as they left; the shops at the mall having closed long ago.

I have no idea what happened on 12 September of 2001 and only fragments of the rest of the month. I know by the end of the month I am on a plane again, returning to Miami for my project at Ryder.  I know that this plane is sparsely populated by wary travelers - each of us eyeballing the other and assessing our odds on whether we could take them - should it come to that.

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Methinks the lady doth protest too much

All of this analysis was merely preamble to this prescription:

"A good start would be for Obama to apologize to Clinton supporters for not coming to her defense during the primaries and helping her battle a torrent of sexist media criticism."

It seems that what has really gotten stuck in Ms. Urbe's craw is the thumpin' her candidate took at the hands of this impetuous upstart. You see, according to Ms. Urbe, it is not the voters who select presidential nominees, no - that prerogative belongs to the media elite. The fact that Senator Obama would deign to go over her head and speak directly to the people is - in her eyes - just more proof of his elitism!

"How dare he!, she cries, "How dare he!"

No, Ms. Urbe, how dare you.

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