Archive for October, 2008

Barack Obama for President

 | October 31, 2008 11:59 PM

It is no surprise I am sure that I am voting for Barack Obama for President.  I wanted to enumerate though my reasons.

  1. I believe in his character.  I believe he is a brother in Christ.
  2. I believe he is incredibly intelligent but also a man who seeks counsel and is willing to listen.
  3. I believe he sees the United States as an incredible, wonderful nation but one that is part of a global community, not above or against.
  4. I believe his ideas for how to lead the country economically, a bottoms up approach, makes much more sense.  I also trust him to surround himself with much better economic advisers than we have seen in the past eight years.
  5. I believe his ideas for a foreign policy that is humane and not just for self-interest is right and ethical.  I appreciate how he was the first (excluding the wonderful Senator Brownback) Presidential candidate to support the North Korean human rights group.
  6. I believe he understands technology better and how to benefit from it.
  7. I believe that the symbolism of electing an African-American as President will help to heal wounds and will be an inspiration for African-Americans and minorities.
  8. I believe that Barack Obama will be able to inspire Americans in ways that we have not seen for a long time.
  9. I believe that Barack Obama will restore the honor of the Oval Office which was disgraced by Clinton’s infidelity and never redeemed by George Bush.

I can also add my many reasons for why I am not voting for John McCain but suffice it to say that a man I once respected more than almost any other politician now strikes me as someone who will say whatever he can to be elected.

These are my concerns about Barack Obama and which I hope to track during his Presidency.

  1. Barack Obama is extremely pro-choice.  This one reason almost makes me vote for John McCain.  However I believe John McCain is only mildly pro-life and I do not expect his Presidency will result in any new legislation or a dramatic drop in abortions.  Barack Obama has repeatedly said he will try to reduce the number of abortions and I plan to hold him to his word.
  2. Barack Obama is more big government than I prefer.  I don’t believe in government’s primary role as the solver of our problems.  However John McCain is also recently sounding pretty big government and we know George Bush was pretty big government.
  3. Barack Obama is very smooth so I am interested in exactly how he follows through with his election campaign promises.  I am expecting Barack Obama will not do the middle class tax cut that he promised because I expect a much larger Federal deficit.
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The controversial Proposition 8 has been grabbing headlines for many months.  It is the simplest proposition on the ballot; amend the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

A few years ago a similar controversy swept through Massachusetts when it became the first state to legalize gay marriage.  Evangelical Christians and other conservative religious groups publicly spoke strongly against the ruling.  However internally within the Evangelical Christian community there was not uniformity.

When I first heard of the ruling I spoke to a few people and said that this ruling is a symptom of our society moving further away from God and traditional Judeo-Christian values.  And my belief, based on my faith, is that such a move will inevitably result in a fall of that society, just as I believe societies where Judeo-Christian values are growing will experience a rise in their society.  When I mean rise and fall I am talking about the standard of living and general quality of life.

Since the United States was once an exporter of Judeo-Christian values I believe the Christians in this country are somewhat responsible for this decline.  And one of those failings has been continually over-reacting and demonizing the sin of homosexuality.  While one can come to church with many different failings, homosexuality was usually not one of them.  This divide has led to a polarization between the Christian community and the homosexual community that continues to become more contentious.

As Christians we would agree that our goal is to create a society that reflects as much as possible God’s will.  But should the vehicle for that be legislation or outreach?  Is it better to legislate that homosexuals not become married and then go back to ignoring them?  Or is it better to recognize that we have not treated homosexuals fairly, that we have shunned them at a time when they may have most needed our love and instead found it within their community?  When the world sees us during these times of debate, do they see Christ?

I was watching a public debate between people on both sides of the gay marriage argument.  I was especially interested because a very prominent African-American pastor was in the audience.  He was eloquent, respectful and caring towards those that opposed him.  One woman, who was also gracious and respectful, asked him directly, does my marriage negatively affect you?  He said honestly “No it does not.”

I have realized that actively opposing gay marriage only hurts and does not bring any homosexuals closer to Christ.  In fact it repels them further.  From those days in Massachusetts I decided I would never actively oppose gay marriage.  And over the years I have also realized that the institution of gay marriage has not hurt traditional marriage, in fact it is no fault divorce and declining sexual morality that is destroying it.

When I first learned of Proposition 8 I assumed that I would vote YES because though I am against such efforts, I still agree that marriage should still be defined as between a man and woman.  But I changed my mind for several reasons.

  1. This is not a moral referendum.  This is a legislative act.  The government is choosing to define marriage and is entering unprecedented areas.  If the government can begin deciding on moral values that do not have clear societal protections, what will be next?  What if the government chooses to make illegal evangelism as has been done in Islamic countries?  What if the government chooses to make illegal the wearing of religious icons or clothing as has been done in France?  And why is the government defining marriage?  Is not marriage something between a man, woman and God?
  2. Gay marriage does not hurt traditional marriage, at least not as much as no fault divorce and growing sexual immorality does.  The church has to pull the log out of its eye and recognize that its divorce rate is as high as general society’s.
  3. Why do Christians insist on legislating against gay marriage but not for other Christian values?  Should all Americans be Christian?  Should divorce and adultery be illegal?  Should working on the Sabbath be illegal?
  4. If this Proposition fails, most people will continue on with their lives virtually the same.  But if this Proposition passes then many homosexuals will feel hated and homosexual couples that will want to marry will be deeply hurt.

The debate has brought out some ugliness on both sides.  The YES side has made several claims that I believe are misinformed at best and lies at worst.

  1. The YES side has said that churches will lose their tax-exempt status if they choose not to marry gay couples.  This is absolutely false.  Currently churches can choose for example not to marry formerly divorced people w/o any danger to the tax-exempt status.
  2. The YES side has tried to scare parents by telling them that schools will begin to teach about gay marriage in the school.  This is based on the fact that such material is taught in some parts of Massachusetts.  Being from Massachusetts I am pretty sure that this was taught in some very liberal suburbs before gay marriage became legal.  In California this could happen but it is not guaranteed and I imagine it will depend on the leanings of the areas.  I don’t imagine it happening in Sunnyvale anytime soon.

On the NO side there has been numerous reports of NO people stealing YES signs from lawns, vandalizing homes that have YES signs, etc.  In one case, two lesbians parked an SUV in front of a YES home with a message painted on the rear windshield that says: “Bigots live here.”

I fear that regardless of the outcome, the culture war will continue to become worse.  And the decline of American society will continue.

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Proposition IA
Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act
NO
A high-speed passenger train between SF and LA would be nice but honestly I would never ride it.  Because once you get to LA you will need a car again so might as well drive down yourself.  Proponents say Asia and Europe have it but those are old world cities with incredible population densities which makes public transportation efficient.  That kind of population density will probably never happen in California.  This bond could end up costing tax payers for decades without a high-speed line ever being built.

Proposition 2
Standards For Confining Farms Animals

YES
This measure is asking that “farm animals be allowed, for the majority of every day, to fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up and turn around.”  This is not only ethical but also healthier since the animals will be healthier and living in more sanitary conditions.

Proposition 3
Children’s Hospital Bond Act

NO
California is in serious debt.  In 2004 $750 million was authorized for children’s hospitals and $403 million of that is still available.  I think we should wait to see how the rest is spent before taking on another loan of $980 million.

Proposition 4
Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy

YES
A daughter under the age of 18 cannot get an aspirin from a school nurse, a flu shot, teeth pulled, or see a rated “R” movie without their parent’s permission.  For something that is much more important as an abortion parents should definitely be notified.  The horror stories that the opponents are trotting out are without any basis.  Over 30 states require notification including Massachusetts and I never heard of any horror stories while in Massachusetts.

Proposition 5
Nonviolent Drug Offenses.
Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation
YES
I was inclined to vote yes immediately because I disagree with today’s legal system that jails so many people.  The U.S. has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world and I think it is a symptom of our not wanting to deal with parts of our society.  I think incarceration in many cases is just sweeping a problem under the rug.  In my opinion I think that only legitimate threats to society should be jailed, not for example people who are caught using drugs.  However saying all that I wanted to be a little certain so I read the Yes and No sides.  I appreciated the Yes side’s rebuttal to the No side in their Myths page and that cemented my Yes vote.

Proposition 6
Police and Law Enforcement Funding.  Criminal Penalties And Laws.
NO
If I am going to vote YES on Proposition 5 then it does not make a lot of sense to vote YES to vote on Proposition 6 which wants to increase prison terms, put more people in jail, deny illegal immigrants parole, etc.

Proposition 7
Renewable Energy Generation
NO
Being an environmentalist one would assume that I would vote YES on Proposition 7.  But because of all the commercials I saw on TV from the NO side I was inclined to vote NO.  But after perusing the NO and YES sites, reading each side’s arguments, and because of my distrust of the big utility companies which are on the NO side I was going to vote YES.  However I finally started changing my mind because of my concern about the large the list is of small renewable energy companies that are against the proposition as well as so many other group.  I then read a few articles against Proposition 7 including this one by the Union of Concerned Scientists and this one in the LA Times.

Proposition 8
Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.
Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
NO
This Proposition is quite controversial and getting the most press and dollars next to the Presidential election.  I will write about why I am voting NO in a separate post.

Proposition 9
Criminal Justice System.  Victims’ Rights.  Parole.  Initiative Constitutional Amendment And Statute.
NO
This is proposed by the billionaire founder of Broadcom who was indicted on federal narcotics charges that include allegations he slipped ecstasy into the drinks of business associates, maintained a drug warehouse and concealed his illegal conduct with bribes and death threats.  It is expensive and does not necessarily do anything.

Proposition 10
Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy
NO
Again being an environmentalist one would assume that I would vote YES on Proposition 10.  But I am suspicious of the fact this Proposition was put on the ballot by a Texas billionaire oilman and is for subsidizing vehicles powered by natural gas.

Proposition 11
Redistricting
.  Initiative Constitutional Amendment And Statute.
NO
Sounds to me like just more bureaucracy, more government waste and no guarantee that the redistricting process will be fairer.

Proposition 12
Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008

NO
At first I was going to vote YES but I learned there is already a Cal-Vet loans program.  And while this program is only for people who actually fought, this new program is basically for anyone in the military.  I think the current program sounds good enough.

Measure A
Hospital Seismic Safety and Medical Facilities

YES
There is no opposition to it so who am I to oppose it?  However it does annoy me how much advertising the YES campaign has done, more than almost any other campaign.  It signals to me that a lot of money is being wasted now and will be wasted later.

Measure B
BART Extension in Santa Clara

NO
A 1/8 cent sales tax increase for the next 30 years to bring BART to Santa Clara does not seem like a bad idea.  However the question is is it still a wise use of money?  BART and VTA seem to be poorly administered.  VTA trains in this area always seem to run empty.  People love their cars, that’s why they are in Santa Clara and not in San Francisco.  It also bothers me that Measure A, which passed in 2001, did not result in bringing BART to Santa Clara.  If Measure B passed construction wouldn’t start until 2017 at the earliest though the tax wouldn’t start until ground is broken.  I have gone back and forth on this and right now I am on the NO side.

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My 2008 Election Ballot I

 | October 30, 2008 10:55 PM

This is my 2008 election ballot which I plan on mailing in tomorrow which should be enough time to get there by November 4.  Below I am listing my choices and some explanations for why I made my choices.  For choices that took more though I will write separate posts.

President and Vice President
Barack Obama and Joe Biden
Barack Obama for President

United States Representative
District 14
Anna G. Eshoo, Democrat
I had very little information to make this decision and it looks like it won’t matter, I see almost no resistance to the reelection of Anna Eshoo, Democrat.  Still I checked out SmartVoter.org’s District 14 info.  My thoughts after reading this site were that Ronny Santana, Republican, was too conservative, Brian Holtz, Libertarian, was too anti-religious, Carol Brouillet, Green, was too focused on impeaching George Bush.

State Senator
District 13
Elaine Alquist
I knew even less about this race and again relied on SmartVoter.org’s District 13 info.  Part of me just wants to vote out the current incumbent, Elaine Alquist, Democrat, because she has been doing such a terrible job.  However the opponents seemed less than appealing.  John Webster, Libertarian, wants to get rid of the public school system, seemed a little too radical to me.  Shane Patrick Connolly seems rather young and he is single.  His profile picture is so unprofessional, he has red eyes.  And though he has a domain, there is no website.  I really question Shane’s motivation.  Therefore because the other choices are so poor I will again vote Democrat.

Member of the State Assembly
District 22
Abstain
I have no idea what the State Assembly.  But this San Jose Mercury News article shows it doesn’t matter, the Democrat Paul Fong is running away with the race.  SmartVoter.org doesn’t even have an information on the Republican opponent, Brent Oya.

Judicial
Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 8
Lane Liroff
Thanks to SmartVoter.org, I learned and was impressed by Diane Ritchie’s record of defending workers in many class action law suits.  But in the end I liked Lane Liroff’s answers better to SmartVoter.org’s questions and his list of endorsements is impressive.

Santa Clara County Board of Education
Member, Board of Education Trustee Area 5
Anna Song
I watched a YouTube video interview of the two candidates but soon stopped when I realized that the total interview was about thirthy minutes.  My impression of Anna Song based on the video and on SmartVoter.org was a little more favorable because she has much more experience so she gets my vote over Carmen Montano.

West Valley-Mission Community College District
Governing Board Member
Trustee Area 1, Short Term

Chad Walsh
Again I have no idea and can only base my decision from info at SmartVoter.org.  Wade Ellis is the appointed incumbent and seems like a good guy.  But Chad Walsh seems to be the more passionate guy, with more precise goals and a nice website.

West Valley-Mission Community College District
Governing Board Member
Trustee Area 3

Chris Constantin, Kathi Tran
Using SmartVoter.org I saw that only Constantin and Tran responded to the questionnaires.

Santa Clara Unified School District
Governing Board Member
Trustee Area 2
Albert Gonzalez
I was surprised to see on SmartVoter.org that the incumbent, Don Bordenave, had provided no information. I voted for Albert Gonzalez because I liked what he said and he’s the only one nice enough to send me a post card. 🙂 Sallings and Mangla concern me with their talk about higher academic standards, I wonder if that translates to more homework and more stress for the already over-burdened and burnt out public school students.  I could have voted for more than one but only liked Albert.

Member, Board of Supervisors
District 3
Otto Lee
This is the only race outside of the Presidency that actually seems somewhat contested.  I see numerous Otto Lee signs and Dave Cortese’s campaign recently sent me a flyer.  In this San Jose Mercury News article (the San Jose Mercury News recommended Otto Lee) I liked how Otto Lee, Sunnyvale mayor, had “put Sunnyvale’s budget in the black” and about his ideas of “mixed-use development on part of the county fairgrounds to generate rental and tax revenue”.  Looking on SmartVoter.org, I am impressed by Otto Lee’s credentials.

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MacWorld recently had a Web Sites We Love series.

Web sites we love: Save money and time online

Web sites we love: Find creative inspiration online

Web sites we love: Expand your mind and impress others

Web sites we love: Great online distractions for any age

Of the sites they listed a few stood out for me.

MushyGushy.com offers funny animated cards featuring the head of someone you love (or hate).

The Consumerist is a great place to look before you buy to avoid bad purchases or suspect companies.

Parent Hacks offers practical tips and ideas from real parents.

Lifehacker hunts the Web for the best tips and tricks to make your life easier. Many of them focus on using your computer to be more productive, but you’ll also find ideas for taking better photos, creating a wall mural with chalkboard paint, and making your kitchen more functional.

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Why do Indians call me “Kim”?

 | October 29, 2008 4:10 PM

I just don’t get it.  It happens 90% of the time.  Indian people invariably call me “Kim”.  I have asked them several times why they do it and they don’t know why.  Today I was corresponding with the business representative at eBay.  He calls me “Frank”, the emails clearly show that my first name is “Frank”.  However when my case is given to the tech representative who is Indian, she calls me “Kim”.

Indian support people call me “Kim”.  Indian engineers I work with call me “Kim”.  Indians of every walk of life call me “Kim”.  Even when I correct them sometimes they can’t stop, they have to keep calling me “Kim”.

Once I asked if it had anything to do with Rudyard Kipling’s book, “Kim”, but they said no.  The mystery remains unsolved and I must again try to correct another Indian with regards to my name. 🙂

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The good news is that South Korea, under new Presdient Lee Myung-bak, is investigating human rights abuses in North Korea.  The bad news is that the gulags are still there and North Korea remains one of the most repressive and cruelest regimes in the world.

For a decade, North Korea has denied such accounts from defectors, and South Korea has shied away from them to maintain good relations with its wartime rival. But now, under new President Lee Myung-bak, South Korea is investigating alleged abuses, including the prison camp system. South Korea’s state-run human rights watchdog is interviewing defectors and is hosting a two-day international forum this week on the issue…

One inmate, Choe Kwang Ho, sneaked away from his work for 15 minutes to pick fruit. He was executed, his mouth stuffed with gravel to prevent him from protesting, Jung recalled…

Defectors describe executions, torture in NKorea – San Jose Mercury News.

Also in the news is the rumors that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is recovering from a stroke and might still be leading the country from a hospital bed.  Another rumor is that he had a ‘serious’ setback.

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Victoria loves 아빠 (daddy)

 | October 28, 2008 10:38 PM

http://kimplicity.com/photos/2008/Pages/Twin_Lakes_Beach.html#8

Victories loves 아빠 (daddy in Corean and pronounced “appa”).  It is not so much that she loves me but she loves the word.  Yesterday when she woke up no one was in the room so she started pleasantly calling out 아빠.  When she is wandering around the house she says 아빠.  When she is not doing anything she is saying 아빠.  That’s my little girl. 🙂

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