Welcome to the home of Donavon West. An independent consultant and Microsoft MVP. I'll be discussung things that are near and dear to me, including life, love, technology and politics. Are you looking for Donavon Stinson? Or possibly even Donavon Frankenreiter? (man, that dude is everywhere!)

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Revel Carlberg West was born at 7:07am on Christmas Day. He weights in at a respectable 8 lbs 7 ozs and 21 inches long. Both baby and Mommy are doing fine.  According to my count, he has 10 fingers and 10 toes, but we're having that looked into by a specialist. :)


Watch the Youtube video:


Microsoft Virtual Earth and MSNBC are changing the game this year when it comes to tracking Santa. You’ve all seen the NORAD Santa Tracker and while that’s been fun over the years, well, it has gotten a bit stale. So, a few of us here in the Virtual Earth Product Group decided it was time to spice things up and build a more immersive 3D tracking mechanism for Santa and his reindeer. Not only that, but we went ahead and recreated a 3D version of Santa’s Village at The North Pole.

read more on Chris Pendleton's Virtual Earth blog

run hope


One of the Obama posters that I designed and submitted to the website Design for Obama has been chosen to be featured in a gallery exhibit.  It's titled "run hope" and will be shown during the month of January 2009 at the Dissident Display Gallery in Washington DC. The exhibit will be rather timely with Inauguration Day coming on January 20th.

My day job is that of a computer consultant. I've never been involved with a gallery showing so this is not only unexpected and a great honor, but pretty damn cool!

President-elect Barack Obama plans to name former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack as his choice for Secretary of Agriculture at a news conference Wednesday. How is former Governor of Iowa qualified to be Secretary of Agriculture? He can see corn from his house!

From the Windows Live team log:

About three months ago, we released public betas of the Windows Live Essentials – our suite of downloadable programs for your Windows PC, including Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Writer, Toolbar, and Family Safety.

Windows Live Messenger Windows Live Mail Windows Live Photo Gallery Windows Live Movie Maker Windows Live Writer

Since then, we’ve received a ton of great feedback and we’ve been using that information to update these programs. We’re getting very close to the final release. But before we get there, we’re refreshing the beta versions one more time to make sure we’ve ironed out all the kinks. You can get the latest betas from: http://download.live.com/.

We’re working hard to get the final versions ready to go as soon as possible. So let us know what you like and don’t like, and if you’re running into any issues that we need to take care of before we take the “beta” tags off.

- The Windows Live team


Now cool is this!? [Source: Chunichi]

Researchers from Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have developed new brain analysis technology that can reconstruct the images inside a person’s mind and display them on a computer monitor, it was announced on December 11. According to the researchers, further development of the technology may soon make it possible to view other people’s dreams while they sleep.

The scientists were able to reconstruct various images viewed by a person by analyzing changes in their cerebral blood flow. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the researchers first mapped the blood flow changes that occurred in the cerebral visual cortex as subjects viewed various images held in front of their eyes. Subjects were shown 400 random 10 x 10 pixel black-and-white images for a period of 12 seconds each. While the fMRI machine monitored the changes in brain activity, a computer crunched the data and learned to associate the various changes in brain activity with the different image designs.

Then, when the test subjects were shown a completely new set of images, such as the letters N-E-U-R-O-N, the system was able to reconstruct and display what the test subjects were viewing based solely on their brain activity.

For now, the system is only able to reproduce simple black-and-white images. But Dr. Kang Cheng, a researcher from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, suggests that improving the measurement accuracy will make it possible to reproduce images in color.

“These results are a breakthrough in terms of understanding brain activity,” says Dr. Cheng. “In as little as 10 years, advances in this field of research may make it possible to read a person’s thoughts with some degree of accuracy.”

The researchers suggest a future version of this technology could be applied in the fields of art and design — particularly if it becomes possible to quickly and accurately access images existing inside an artist’s head. The technology might also lead to new treatments for conditions such as psychiatric disorders involving hallucinations, by providing doctors a direct window into the mind of the patient.

ATR chief researcher Yukiyasu Kamitani says, “This technology can also be applied to senses other than vision. In the future, it may also become possible to read feelings and complicated emotional states.”

The research results appear in the December 11 issue of US science journal Neuron.

Google has of course bought the technology and is trying to figure out how to include AdSense. :)

This was the weekend that we do our annual Christmas cookie decorating and bake-a-thon. Here are some of the highlights (before you get too critical, there were children involved):



Today Microsoft released Oxite, open source blogging software built using ASP.NET MVC.

Oxite is an open source, standards compliant, and highly extensible content management platform that can run anything from blogs to big web sites. We know this because it runs MIX Online.

Oxite provides you with a strong foundation you can build upon - pingbacks, trackbacks, anonymous or authenticated commenting (with optional moderation), gravatar support, RSS feeds at any page level, support for MetaWebLog API (think Windows Live Writer integration made easy), web admin panel, support for Open Search format allowing users to search your site using their browser’s search box, and more

You can get a great overview from this video or check out oxite.net.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

For years now, Microsoft has been fumbling around trying to define to the world (and to themselves): "What is "Window Live?" Earlier this week, with the release of Windows Live Wave 3, they finally answered that question: "Windows Live is facebook" they seemed to say.


Windows Live as a whole is much more, but the new home.live.com looks a lot like being on facebook. You have the same idea of "friends" (or "people" in your "network as live calls them). You can upload pictures to share with your friends (which are now stored on 25GB of SkyDrive storage space, SWEET!). They even have a "wall" where people can leave messages (ok, they call it "notes").

You can also setup a list of "favorite things" like movie, book and music. As an experiment, I tried to setup "Diner" as one of my favorite movies. It asked for Name and a Web URL, so I pointed it to the product page on Amazon.com. And just for kicks, I thought that I would add my Amazon.com affiliate ID (so I could get a few cents every time someone bought the DVD on my suggestion). Well it turns out that on pressing Save live.com changed the Amazon.com URL, removed my affiliate ID and added theirs instead! (BTW, their Amazon affiliate ID happens to be windlive06-20). Now that Windows market share is down, it looks like Microsoft is out to supplement the loss of coin through affiliate IDs with Amazon.com. :)

Will Microsoft pull over the facebook crowd to join yet another social network? I doubt it. I for one found the whole "invite my friends on yet another network" thing a little tedious, which is why I only have a dozen people in my network on home.live.com (and most are Microsoft employees).

Overall, I do love the new home.live.com start page and applaud Microsoft's effort. But at the end of the day, everything that Microsoft does, whether it be a new facebook look or SkyDrive or whatever, they do to get people to start using Live Search.

Here is a YouTube clip showing our dog Merle in HD. It was taken with the new Flip Mino HD camcorder.

To watch this clip in true 720p HD on YouTube, click here. Note that all I did was add &fmt=22 to the end of the normal YouTube URL.

There has been chatter for some time about a new Home Server from HP code named Encore. MediaSmartServer.net is reporting that HP's website has two new models listed, the EX485 and EX487. Oops!


While I can neither confirm or deny this claim, it sure is interesting. :)

If you are looking to pump up your supply for Holiday songs and want to legally download some free Christmas MP3s, head on over to Amazon.com and grab a holiday sampler of Christmas favorites by Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Les Brown, The Beach Boys and the Roger Wagner Chorale.

Look at the video taken at the G20 Summit this week. As President Bush walked out for a group photo, everyone else was shaking hands, but (and it's not clear) no other world leaders would shake his hand or he refused to shake theirs.

How sad and embarrassing for the United States. Thank God we will soon have an intelligent leader that respects the rights of international law and basic human decency.

Even though I'm a Microsoft MVP, that doesn't mean that I completely drink the Kool-Aid. I use Gmail every day and prefer it over Microsoft's email offerings.

That said, today I awoke to a new Gmail feature called themes and one of my favorite themes is called Ninja.



My friend Larry from Scottsdale, Arizona converted his pickup truck into, well, a convertible. It was captured on the blog The Dirty. Congratulations Larry on your 15 minutes of fame.

60 Minutes goes behind the scenes on election night to speak to the brains whose strategy propelled Barack Obama into the White House.

Watch the 13 minute video:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Microsoft's Scott Hanselman has put together a cool Deep Zoom project with 700 Obama newspaper covers from November 5th, the day after his historic Presidential victory. Scott even takes the time to explain the whole process. Very interesting.


Read more

Post election issues of newspapers and magazines around the country featuring Barack Obama sold out minutes after hitting the news stands. I myself struck out all day Wednesday looking for newspapers all over town.

Luckily, I found that I could order issues of some of them online:

Time Magazine 
Nov 5 Chicago Tribune 
Nov 5 Chicago Sun Times

The New York Times has an interesting interactive map showing voting trends for the major parties comparing 2008 voting to that of 2004. Basically all of the country except Appalachia (and some parts of Arizona) voted more Democratic the 2008 election than they did in 2004.


My friends Jill and David, who live in Baltimore, dropped everything to volunteer for the Obama campaign. They drove to Manassas, Virginia (2-3 hours away) each day for over a week during the waning days of the election to knock on doors and write letters designed to get out the vote.

Because of their dedicated work, the campaign staff gave them both VIP seating at the last Obama rally in Manassas Virginia on Monday night. Below is a picture of David taken by another Baltimore resident that they happened to meet on the way out of the event.

It is because of hard working people like Jill and David that allowed Obama to carry Virginia on his way to victory in the Tuesday election. They must feel very proud. I know that I am very proud of them.

(click to enlarge)

BTW, David and Jill were also at our election night party. David is the guy sitting in the red chair in the bottom photo and Jill is sitting across the room from him.

Alyssa and I had an election night party on Tuesday and at the stroke of 11pm EST (when Obama was declared President) we had a balloon drop.

Watch the video of the drop:

Here is our home made balloon drop device:

An overview of the festivities:

And this "action shot" was taken by Karen as she sat underneath.


My girlfriend and I just returned from voting here in Baltimore. The line was about 20 people long and we were in and out in about 15-20 mins. BTW, we both voted for Obama.

Alyssa and I with our "I Voted" stickers.

Here I am electioneering just beyond the point where I'm not supposed to.

Barack Obama defeated John McCain by a count of 15 to 6 in Dixville Notch, NH. The polls open in at midnight. Nearby Hart's Location reported 17 votes for Obama, 10 for McCain and two for write-in Ron Paul. Ralph Nader was on both towns' ballots but got no votes.

Read more


Barack Obama's grandmother dies at age 86, one day before election day. Here is the statement from the Obama campaign:

It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.

Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer.

My prayers go out to Barack, Michelle and the entire family.

After a mess of forwards, I received this email that I was disturbed to see originated from a good friend.


Having tossed and turned most of the night (not pretty at 7 1/2 months pregnant) grappling with disappointment, I finally drafted this response:

Tell me you are voting for McCain because you think his tax policy is better or because you agree with the direction he wants to take health care. Or maybe you really do believe in less diplomacy and more military involvement around the world. That is a line of reasoning on which we can respectfully talk and disagree because it is the heart of what we need to decide about where our country is going. But to get this email below through a bunch of forwards and see that you are persuaded by and are perpetuating this line of base campaign ugliness that stokes the fires of ignorant fears and suspicions is disappointing.

Think about it. You can come up with a bunch of random associations and facts to create a story about anyone. Haven't there been people in your life who made judgments and assumptions about you based on specious facts that they were all too happy to whip up into an ugly picture of you? It is how slander and suspicion work and you know that. We could do the same about McCain. In his case, his close friendship with Charles Keating actually did influence him and how he legislated. However, there is absolutely no evidence in Obama's record that he has ever been influenced as a legislator, as a constitutional law professor, as president of the Harvard Law Review, as a Christian father and husband, or even as a candidate (he has run a campaign WITHOUT lobbyist money, he has not proposed a radical left wing agenda, he has never once attacked Republicans in general - only very specifically does he address the mistakes that Bush has made and how McCain has been complicit in those mistakes, and by the way, where are all of the scary Palestinian or Muslim groups or staff that should be funding and advising him if he were on some radical track?) There is no evidence in his record that he has actually been influenced to pursue some agenda that correlates in the least with the scary picture that this set of “facts” is trying to paint. Everything points to him as quite a level headed moderate who likes to seek consensus. Leading conservatives have been the first to point this out and, in fact, they seem to think Obama will be a disappointment to the more left leaning Democrats. Not since McCarthyism and the black list has it been a crime to 'know' people. Maybe, MAYBE, as I said, it would have some legs if he were more of a Sharpton or Farrakhan figure in general and we could find some relevance to how he has approached public service. But, it is irresponsible to go down this line of thinking when the man in question has lead nothing but a pretty honest life, particularly in public service and the kind of agenda he has pursued. Has any other candidate written himself about all of his own dirty laundry in two autobiographies? What could he possibly be hiding and why aren't you similarly worried about McCain, especially after his close ties to Keating and Liddy? And McCain actually has on staff a SLEW of lobbyists with agendas who actually DO advise him and will influence policy in ways we can only spin suspicious tales about. Which brings me back to the fact that anyone, ANYONE can be made into a suspicious or unsavory character if you try hard enough. Perpetuating this set of supposedly hard facts only serves to support the ugly and suspicious reasons people probably already won't support Obama. You call these facts as though it gives them some gravitas, but the reality is that you are using the facts to foster suspicions that have no basis in reality. There is a big difference there. And suspicions are a pretty thin way to make a decision about a president.  It is truly base behavior and just appeals to the ugly side of people. Again, I'm disappointed. I've respected your political opinions because I assumed your basic ideology just falls more in line with what McCain wants to do with our country. But I have no respect for this kind of suspiciousness. It sounds a bit like Oliver Stone or Michael Moore. Do you honestly believe that MANY conservatives who are much smarter and informed than either of us would embrace someone who has even the slightest hint of introducing Sharia law? Or of turning America into a Socialist state? In contrast, stop and think for a second about the fact that Gov Palin is ACTUALLY campaigning from an extreme, incendiary place, with comments about “pro-American” parts of the country and appealing to the right wing cultural conservatives regarding guns and abortion. No one denies that her role is to appeal to cultural conservatives and rally the hard right. Who is ACTUALLY more likely to push for radical cultural change? Which candidate seems to actually have an agenda that is at the far end of the political spectrum? It is suspect that you are more worried that Obama MAY be extreme when Gov Palin is ACTUALLY openly for a highly partisan agenda. Did you hear her say that she and McCain support the Republican platform? (This isn't true, as McCain himself does not...oops.) Have you read the Republican platform? It is pretty extreme and calls for a lot more radical changes to our country than you have ever heard from Obama. Point is, this ugly scary picture of Obama just doesn't bear out with reality. It is for people who want a reason not to support him and it leaves me thinking that you aren't basing your vote on policy but on something in your gut that is suspicious and primitive, not fair or rational. And that is the disappointing part.

I also have to remark about this Socialist nonsense. Please educate yourself on the progressive tax system and the fact that we have had it in our country for a very long time. It was advocated by McCain's hero, Teddy Roosevelt. McCain himself has defended it. Again, the fact that you are being influenced by this stuff concerns me because it is simplistic and appeals to the “let’s label people with scary words” instead of engaging in conversations that are a little more difficult and less dramatic. In fact, when pushed, none of McCain's surrogates will actually call him a Socialist - they say Liberal instead - because they know it just isn't true. By the way, is any state more “Socialist” than Gov Palin's? The reason she is/was so popular is because she wrangled another $1200 check for every Alaskan citizen from the oil companies, above and beyond the $2100 they already get. That is quite literally the definition of the most extreme, Marxist form of socialism. She actually took money from the rich and gave it directly to the masses. It wasn't invested in infrastructure or common development the way that taxes are supposed to be used. (She actually bonded that out, borrowing to fund infrastructure, putting her state in debt, like the rest of the fiscal conservatives seem to be doing these days.) Do I think she is a Socialist? Of course not, but that pesky "fact" about how she has actually governed (not how she MIGHT govern without any basis in reality) can be used to make her sound like one if I were so inclined. The progressive tax system doesn't take from the rich and give to the poor. The progressive tax system takes from everyone and uses that money to HELP everyone, particularly the rich. Don't the rich benefit equally if not more from bridges and roads and airports and beaches and parks and education and all of the wonderful things we decide as a country that we want for everyone? And don't the rich benefit most from ensuring a healthy and educated and productive middle class to work in their companies and buy their goods? No one, NO ONE is taking from the rich and giving to the poor (ok, except Gov Palin). Again, it is irresponsible to just throw this Socialist label around to make him sound radical - it bears no relationship to the reality of the tax system Obama proposes which is fundamentally in keeping with what we have done for decades. So don't worry, you can vote for him without worrying he is a Socialist.

If you want a president who tells the truth, I'm not entirely sure how the McCain-Palin ticket fits that definition. It doesn't take much fact checking to find various ways they have tortured the truth in order to rally the base. I'm not saying Obama hasn't tweaked a few facts either. The line between spin and lying can become fuzzy. But enough people have actually said that McCain is capital "L" lying that if "speaking the truth" is really your measuring stick, you haven't exactly gotten it from McCain or Palin, either.

I do believe people from both sides of the aisle can be friends and even talk politics, when it is responsible, respectful and rational. But I have no idea what to do with this email and how you believe it is part of responsible discourse. And it would be irresponsible of me not to call you out on it.

I'll admit that I'm no Brad Pitt, but Jonah Goldman from Election Protection has to be the ultimate "live in his parent's basement 40 year old virgin". He's not nearly as sloppy now as he was a few weeks ago in the YouTube clip (as shown from the capture blow taken today).


Watch him in this YouTube clip from  MSNBC.

Alyssa and I are putting the finishing touches on preparations for tomorrow night's Obama, um, I mean election party.

Here I am piping the Obama cookies.

Alyssa adding the sprinkles to the mini-bama cookies.

These are some of the cookies that we made for the party.

And the room decorations (we still have to add the balloon drop).

The election is almost over and the McCain supporters can read the writing on the wall. Just read some of the comments that people are leaving online:



Obama doesn't even care about his brother living in proverty and an Aunt and a Mother that he rarely sees. But he wrote abut all of them in a book along with Rev Wright the man that was his inspiration.

Are you a complete idiot? Obama's mother is dead and his half brother chooses to live in Kenya.

Obama wants the middle class to be the new POOR.

Do you actually think he wants the middle class to be poor? Who would want hard to become a group of people, besides the evil character from a Bond movie or perhaps Dick Cheney? :)

My family is very close. McCains tax plan will help the middle class more than Obama. Now tell me what has Obama done, not talked about doing but has actually done

Have you actually looked at Obama or McCain's tax plan? If so, how can you say that McCain's tax plan will help the middle class. It won't. Plug in your data at http://taxcut.barackobama.com and see for yourself.

Hillary supporters NOW it is pay back time. Pay this radical and his racist hate filled wife and preacher back with a vote for McCain and Palin in 2008 and then Hillary in 2012 !!! Its the right thing to do for your country and its payback to the MEDIA for shoving this Pied Piper down our throats. MSNBC needs to be shut down after this and that psycho Keith Olbermann committed to an asylum !!! Vote AGAINST No-BAMA and lets make Michelle REALLY MAD and push her back to her crime ridden city of Chicago !!! Say NO to OBAMA PELOSI REID AND BRAZILE!!!!

That just doesn't make sense. If you are a Hillary supporter, then you probably have nothing against Pelosi or Reid. The country is excited about Obama and the media is reporting this excitement.

Obama Halloween Pumpkin

We carved this Happy Halloween Pumpkin with an Obama logo last night sitting outside on the front stoop waiting for trick-or-treaters. Go-bama!

Obama Halloween Pumpkin

I am sad to report that only two people "got" my Halloween costume. I went as the crazy McCain supporter that faked an attack my a 6'4" back man and carved a backwards "B" in her face. Lucky for me, of the two people who got it, one was dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz (complete with ruby slippers and a very short shirt).

I guess I watch too much MSNBC.


Last night was Chili night at our house. To support my candidate, I topped my chili with an Obama logoed cheese garnish. BTW, I make a killer chili!

Sarah Palin obviously didn't get the memo from the McCain campaign, or chose to ignore it as she already starts her run for 2012.

Watch as they contradict each other on cutting defense spending:

It turns out that I am responsible for Barack Obama's loss to John McCain by one vote. Watch this video that was sent to me by a friend:

Create a video and send it to your friends at cnnbcvideo.com.

Lately McCain has been blasting Obama with his pathetic finger quoted "spread the wealth around" comment and calling him a socialist. But back in 2000, while appearing on Hardball, he defended the progressive tax system.

Everyone who knows anything about government will tell you that's what government does. Do you know those "Got Milk?" commercials? They are paid for my government subsidies. What are government subsidies? They "spreading the wealth around".

And what about Obama wanting to "raise taxes"? He is simply reversing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy 2% of Americans when Bush "spread the wealth around" to rich people. Obama is simple, putting the wealth back where is was in the first place.

Is the average person reading this blog going to see a tax increase under President Obama? No. But you would never know that listing to a John McCain commercial or stump speech.

I guess desperate times call for desperate actions.


Sarah Palin's own Anchorage Daily News yesterday came out in support of Barack Obama.

Gov. Palin's nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency -- but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

Read more

Have you heard of the musician Pete Yorn? He has remained well played on my iTunes ever since I heard his album "Music for the Morning After" (or more appropriately: "musicforthemorningafter"). Not only is this the coolest title ever for an album, but the music is great.

He has a new video out titled American Blues Vol. 1. On his myspace page he says:

I wrote American Blues Vol. 1. on the 4th of July after reading the morning paper. It's unlike any song I've ever written. I was moved by how much negativity I was reading about and how even groups were boycotting Independence Day because they were so disgusted with the state of our Nation. I was hoping things would improve...they obviously haven't yet...but I know they will in time. I sent the song to some friends and one of them (a really old friend of mine who is actually a huge reason I didn't give up on a musical career back in 1998) was really affected by the message. He always has had an unwavering faith in America and has always been able to laugh when times got tough. The video for American Blues Vol. 1 was made by this friend of mine. He is not a video-director...just a guy from New Jersey who wanted to put images to a song that hit home for him. He wanted me to share it.....so here is American Blues Vol 1.

Patriotism is not a conservative/Republican only value. Don't let them scare or shame you into thinking that it is.

Watch the video:

Listen to other Pete Yorn songs, courtesy of last.fm.

McCain plays the "Dead Hooker" card

The McCain campaign is on the ropes. With less than 10 days left until the general election, John McCain is down in the all of the polls and in the state-by-state electoral map.  In a last ditch effort to grab the presidency from Barack Obama (the all but certain victor), John McCain recently played the only card left to him: the "put a dead hooker in Obama's trunk" card.

Obama is airing this 2 minute commercial "Will our country be better off four years from now?". In it Barack Obama looks straight into the camera and explains how he would solve the issues that face the country.

At the same time, John McCain is airing his 30 second “vote for me or you will die” commercial. It features Joe Biden (in his own words) stating that a new president will be tested. The McCain campaign took no time to turn those words against Obama.

But wait... Didn’t Joe Lieberman (a McCain supporter) make the same statement back in June on Face the Nation? Why didn’t the Obama campaign jump all over this? Because they aren’t desperate like the McCain campaign. Democrats have certain moral standards, unlike the Republicans.

Inspire or fear and hate? Hmmm. You decide.

Watch Obama’s commercial:

McCain’s "vote for me or die" commercial:

And watch Joe Lieberman make the same statement as Biden:


Though not a ringing endorsement, conservative Ken Adelman explains why he is voting for Barack Obama. He gives a truthful and honest assessment of Obama vs. McCain for President.

Adelman was a key part of George Bush's defense agency and has held senior policy positions under Presidents Reagan, Ford and even Nixon. He's a staunch conservative, though he has broken with Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld over the handling of the Iraq war.

He recently wrote an article for Huffington Post titled "Why a Staunch Conservative Like Me Endorsed Obama". Here are a few quotes:

Granted, McCain's views are closer to mine than Obama's. But I've learned over this Bush era to value competence along with ideology. Otherwise, our ideology gets discredited, as it has so disastrously over the past eight years.

McCain's temperament -- leading him to bizarre behavior during the week the economic crisis broke -- and his judgment -- leading him to Wasilla (Palin) -- depressed me into thinking that "our guy" would be a(nother) lousy conservative president. Been there, done that.

Nonetheless, I concluded that McCain would not -- could not -- be a good president. Obama just might be.

Read more

Our dog Merle (who is very much a non-hunter) came to the door with this. We think that he caught a dead squirrel.

Watch little Ron Howard, Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler show their support for Obama.

Yesterday, October 22nd, my fiancĂ© and I went to a Barack Obama concert rally in Leesburg, Virginia. It was rather short notice, but we hopped in the car and set out on the hour and a half drive from Baltimore.  It was a cold fall day, but the sun was out. That coupled with the excitement made it feel 10 degrees warmer.

We arrived at Ida Lee Park about 10 minutes after the gates opened, but we were still too late to get a parking space in any of the lots. The lines just to get past security snaked for what seemed like miles. It was like waiting in line for a ride at Disney World x 1000.

The crowd was estimated at 30,000, but I can tell you first hand that it felt like twice that.

more from CBS News, Washington Post, and again, Richmond Times.

(if you're having problems viewing the slideshow you can view the images directly here)

*** Update ***

Channel 7 news in Washington DC is reporting that 35,000 showed up for the rally. Watch:


I thought that I would just go ahead and get this blog posting out of the way now. I mean why wait until November 4th? With just 14 days until the 2008 elections, all metrics point to an Obama victory or possibly even an Obama landslide victory. After a few drinks, even those inside the McCain camp will tell you that it's all but over for John McCain.

Pollster.com shows Obama with 313 electoral votes, McCain with 157 (you need 270 to win). The Gallup daily tracking poll has Obama with 52%, McCain with 41%. Intrade betting has Obama with 364, McCain with 174.

In the weeks following an Obama victory, when we look back and ponder "What was the pivotal moment that lead to an Obama win?", I think we will find that it came down to seven words: "The fundamentals of the economy are strong".

During the opening stages of the recent economic meltdown, and even after it was painstakingly obvious that things were looking pretty bad, McCain blindly repeated these words over and over. After a while, he then tried to put a spin on it saying that by "fundamentals", he was referring to "the American workers". No one with half a brain bought that lame story (except of course Palin).

BTW, picking Sarah Palin didn't help either. She has turned out to be nothing more than comic relief and caused many, many, many, many, many people to question McCain's judgment.

On January 21st, President Barack Obama with the help of Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Treasury Secretary Mike Bloomberg will set out to steer this country back on course after eight long years of disastrous policies.