"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Update from Londontown

First week in the UK has been good. I've been finding a good groove of productivity in my timezone-offset haven, and enjoying the quasi-domestic ease of staying with Rina; cooking and cleaning up and stuff. Rina/Josh deathwatch day three: all quiet on the Western (London) front.

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This Is What Modern Class Warfare Looks Like

Since I'm over in London, I pick up on local news, which has been full of fallout from various austerity programs designed to roll back pensions, housing subsidies, etc. Firefighters, Tube workers, and BBC journalists are all threatening strikes. There's also been a lot of coverage of the widespread strikes/shutdowns in France.

At the same time, executive pay is up 55%!

Incomes Data Services, who conducted the research, said bonuses paid to directors of FTSE 100 companies increased by 34%, while basic pay rose by 3.6%. The amount of money waiting to be disgorged from long-term incentive schemes soared by 73%, to a total of £259m, and share option gains leapt by 90%.

The FTSE 100 rose by less than a fifth over the same period.

Steve Tatton of IDS said the report suggested that companies returned to "business as usual" once the recession ended.

This is an economics article, so it's important to note that the phrase "once the recession ended" refers to the technical end to contracting GDP. As we've increasingly seen by most other measures, the real impact of the "Great Recession" is likely to persist. Incomes for normal people remain depressed (or are falling) and unemployment is high. It is a "jobless recovery," and cold comfort indeed to anyone feeling the pain right now.

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Good Tidings We Bring

Brilliant wedding goodness out on Staten Island last night. Snug Harbor is a historical site, formerly a home for "old decrepit sailors" (literally, that's what the stained glass says) and now a great place to get married. It fit quite well with the signature style of Rachel and Jeremy; nautical themes, painted ceilings, and then finally a gorgeously art-deco ballroom for dinner and dancing. Very Gotham.

I know I don't blog very much that's exciting any more. In the nine years I've been writing here, my life has become significantly more routine. While I still find my own existence endlessly fascinating -- nobody ever went broke betting on narcissism -- I'm well-aware that these chicken scratchings have a limited audience.

But to the extent that this informational outpost serves a purpose of spreading news and rumor, it's a special pleasure to track the progress of my friends in life.

These kids are great together. Good things in their future, and good to see all the folks coming back together to send them off.

Oh and also, Nick Capodice is married, and his wife is a producer for RadioLab! That gave me a little celebrity thrill/crush.

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In Which I Trash-Talk Steve Jobs a Little

So, it's clear that Apple is starting to feel the heat from Android:

Steve Jobs doesn't usually make a guest appearance on Apple's post-earnings conference calls with analysts, but this time he made an exception, attacking Google for marketing its operating system as 'open' versus Apple's 'closed' iOS.

Jobs' points here are, not to put too fine a point on it, pretty weak. While Android isn't a utopian greenfield of openness, they are actually Open Source, and haven't pulled any crap like trying to dictate development tools. Steve's objection that vendors like Motorolla put some of their own secret sauce on top and "the user's left to figure it out" is also bogus. My Droid and my friend's HTC Incredible have subtle differences, but it's the same UI set. Moreover, users don't flit between these things. It's not confusing for them because they only have one phone, dude.

While I'm sympathetic to Jobs' point about the virtues of an integrated platform (e.g. there are some Android apps that have issues with the touchscreen keyboard on my Droid), I think he drastically overestimates his ability to anticipate what people want. The downfall of Apple is generally their ego. When they are wrong, it hurts them a lot, and they're slow to recover. In a fast-moving world, the open approach has a lot of advantages so long as you can keep the quality up.

I for one look forward to the Apple iPhone vs Android battle of the mobile Operating Systems. It's going to produce a lot more/better innovation than Windows vs MacOS. Neither company is currently dominant, and both are smart and creative and innovative. Should be good to watch what happens.

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Politics Is The Art Of Controlling Your Environment; Participate!

Re-registered and voted in person at city hall this morning. It was easy and fun. I got to vote for legalized weed and Nancy Pelosi, and the people down at the Election Office were really nice too. Big win.

In unrelated news, I love this latest OK Trends Post about gay vs straight sex. Thanks for busting myths with math, yo. I really love what those kids are doing with all their data. Feels like the future. Suck it, e-harmony.

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Brace Yourself

It's about to get ugly.

Because of a recent Supreme Court decision, Corporate interests are now able to spend freely and without transparency running political advertisements. They're going with it.

At the same time, weirdo billionaires have been bankrolling the "tea party".

Obama is not doing so well, and congressional Democrats are polling very poorly. The economy sucks, and nobody cares about campaign promises (kept or broken) when they don't have jobs. The fact that this is in large part due to malpractice from banks is a forbidden subject among the Elite.

I think it's looking pretty grim for politics this election. The reactionary tide is running strong, and absent some game-changing shift (certainly possible, but not likely to come from the main players at this late date) we're set for more Bread and Circus while inequality continues to widen. Terrible way to run a country.

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Words of Advice for Young Men

I find this sort of thing kind of baffling:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday there was no timetable for wrapping up an investigation of an Internet report that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre sent racy text messages and lewd photos to a former New York Jets game hostess.
Deadspin reported the voicemails include a man asking to meet with Sterger, who now is a TV personality for the Versus network. The website posted a video that contained those messages and several below-the-waist photos - said to be of Favre - that were allegedly sent to Sterger's cell phone.

Now, let's be clear. I don't really care whether or not Brett Farve did some douchy things or not, but the article caused some resonant vibrations and it's a good jumping off point. Every time I read something like this, I feel the sense of a gap between me and other men. Maybe it's generational, maybe it's sensitivity or awareness or just having strong women in your life. I feel like i know a little something, and this is an opportunity to put some things out there that I think are good for people to grok and understand.

To wit: if you're a young man, or just a man who doesn't (yet) know much about women, here's something to chew on. You like to look at stuff to get turned on, females typically don't. A picture is worth a thousand words:

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Pacific Northwest Drupal Summit Video

Ego trip alert!

I don't know that there's anyone other than my mom who would watch me talk on the internet for 55 minutes, but just in case here you go. This is my keynote from the 2010 Pacific Northwest Drupal Summit:

Also, props to the fine folks from Carlson Media for doing the taping and picking a really flattering key-frame image. And of course many thanks to the wonderful organizers, and the people of Vancouver "Don't Call It The Coove" BC:

Infographic credit: @awesome (aka Stephanie Vacher).

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Here's How To Do It

Back in Mighty Oregon's race for Governor, the consensus is that my man Kitzhaber housed his basketballing opponent in their debate. Kitz is behind in the polls, so let's hope people were watching. This is a good close:

I particularly like the "I'm asking for your vote" line. G-Dubs did it and it was savvy. Be direct; it works. Even more important is the way in which he addresses the fundamental reality that things are bad and we need to do something.

This is in stark and disappointing contrast to the President, who still seems to think that he'll be judged on his campaign promises, all of which were made before the biggest financial collapse in 70 years, and that what he needs to do is defend his past two years. If Obama is going to be a net asset in this midterm election, he needs to communicate to people that there's a lot more to be done, and he's the man for the job.

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The Big Coove

I really enjoy Vancouver. To me, it's like NYC and Portland had a really polite, clean baby. They have a thing now (leftover from the olympics) where they close one of the main downtown streets to cars and leave it for foot traffic. Also, poutine.

The conference has been great. Excellent job organizing from the group, and a lot of fun and good vibes all around. I got to have a pretty good rockstar moment — being "edgy" while talking about "the enterprise" — doing the Sunday morning keynote address.

Josh Koenig (@outlandishjosh)

I wish I could stay longer. Got to watch the 4th quarter of the Ducks game at the bar and that was fun, and people seemed to be surprised I was still out at 11:30 with a presentation to make in the morning — which I found amusing. I would have stayed out later if I could.

So, here's hoping I can make it back sometime soon with a more relaxed agenda. I seem to be saying that a lot lately, but c'est la vie I suppose.

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