Other posts related to obama

Rejecting Solar Power

 | March 3, 2009 1:40 PM

Previously I wrote a post called Considering Solar Power.  Around November of 2008 I heard someone in my area was trying to pool people together to install solar electric systems to get a 10% group discount.  I contacted him and then the salesman but after speaking with my real estate broker who did not think it was worth the investment I decided not to do it.

After learning that the latest federal budget had more incentives for installing solar, I called the REC Solar salesman, Max Greenberg, again and we had a meeting where he presented his solar electric system proposal.

Max is an easy going guy and the presentation was interesting and informative.  Since my electrical needs are rather modest he proposed installing the smallest system their company typically installs.  Still the cost comes out to over $10K after state rebate and federal tax credit.  The federal tax credit will be going up with Obama’s proposals but that is offset by the state rebate becoming smaller since November.

The payoff period for my system is about 15 years.  According to the proposal the first year home value appreciation is $7500, based on $1 in energy savings equals $20 in resale value.  I am sure my real estate broker would disagree with this.

In the end I decided not to do it because I just did not feel it was worth spending over $10K to save less than $400 in the first year.  In my opinion it makes more sense trying to cut down our energy use which does not cost anything but could potentially save as much.

I think if the payoff period had been eight years or less I would have done it.  For others that is the case because they use so much more electricity and the local utility charges more per kilowatt the more you use.

Below is a satellite photo of my house with a sketch by the solar salesman of where the solar panels would be installed on my house.  Since my house does not have much south facing roof space, half of the solar panels would have to be placed on the west facing roof.  The salesman said though that the drop in efficiency from south to west is about 5%.

Satellite Photo with Proposed Solar Installation

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At the end of 2008 I was feeling pretty good about how I cut down my expenses.  Then I got hit by a staggering series of medical premium increases.

  1. 12/18/08 – 15% increase effective 02/01/2009
  2. 01/16/09 – 30% increase effective 03/01/2009
  3. 02/20/09 – 12.32% increase effective 04/01/2009

The net increase is 68% over three months.  To be fair the three inceases are somewhat coincidental.

  1. My premium had increased in 03/08 but I was not charged that until 02/09 because I had a 12 month freeze on rate hikes on my account.
  2. The 03/09 increase is the annual increase.  The amount of 30% is unprecedented but apparently it’s happening everywhere, possibly because the insurance companies are afraid of what President Obama’s administration is going to do to them.
  3. The 04/09 increase is because Ji Seon is moving up into the next age bracket.

And to top it off a brand-name drug deductible of $250 for 2009 was added.

I hope President Obama’s administration does come up with an effective, national, affordable health care plan.  Our family needs it.

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Obama and Abortion

 | February 9, 2009 9:29 AM

Many of Obama’s recent choices concerning abortion have led me to somewhat regret my support for him.  I feel somewhat ignorant and foolish for not having further investigated his pro-choice stance, which I knew was far left.   Maybe I should have read something like this page, Barack Obama on Abortion.

Some of the choices President Obama has made.

  1. “Struck down the Bush administration‘s ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information — an inflammatory policy that has bounced in and out of law for the past quarter-century.” – Obama reverses Bush abortion-funds policy
  2. Plan to lift the “the restrictions imposed by President Bush on federal funding for research on human embryonic stem cells.”  – Obama policy a lift for stem cell researchers

To be fair there has been debate about what impact the first decision made.  Some people argued that unfairly punished poor countries in need of these services.  And McCain would have also lifted restriction on federal funding for human embryonic stem cells.

What really bothers is Obama’s push for the Freedom of Choice Act.

When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for President to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law. When anti-choice protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only candidate for President who spoke out against it. And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.

Obama Statement on 35th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Decision

When I first heard about this I was disappointed because I felt that this went again Obama’s campaign promise to reduce abortions. But upon further consideration I recognize that in Obama’s thinking this does not necessarily conflict with trying to reduce abortion. Obama wants the numbers of abortions to be reduced but he obviously believes the right for a woman to choose is sacrosanct. I personally believe that the states should be allowed to choose and that passing the Freedom of Choice Act would be tragic.

One positive news on this front is President Obama expanding the faith-based office and laying out specific priorities for the office including reducing the number of abortions.  He also created a new advisory council that included the president of World Vision and other evangelicals.

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Happy Inauguration Day

 | January 20, 2009 10:32 AM

Obama

A day of history, summed up well by Secret Asian Man.

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Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao

As many of you know, I have been astonished and moved by Obama’s surge to the presidency.  But Anh “Joseph” Cao’s becoming a congressman is equally amazing.  Who would expect a refugee who grew up without his parents in a state that is known for its racism against Vietnamese would end up becoming a U.S. Representative for that state?  It boggles the mind and I wish him all the best.

I love how on the first day of congress when Rep. Cao was sworn in he brought his two little daughters in beautiful Vietnamese clothing.

Interestingly enough Rep. Cao originally wanted to be a missionary but it seems God has called him to this.

Mr. Cao said that while he was studying to be a priest in the 1990s, he had “the great opportunity to work with the poor in conditions of extreme poverty” in Mexico and in Vietnamese refugee camps in Hong Kong — children playing in the slums, children behind bars. He wanted to be a missionary.

History and Amazement in House Race Outcome

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Election Day

 | November 5, 2008 10:37 PM

Frank: Ji Seon, are you going to vote today?

Ji Seon: I think so.

Frank: If you’re too busy, you don’t have to vote.

Ji Seon: Okay, I think I won’t vote.

[pause]

Frank: YOU HAVE TO VOTE!  It is our greatest privilege being part of the greatest democracy in the world.  We have to as Christians!

Ji Seon:  Okay, okay, I will.

Frank: 🙂

Ji Seon and I have laughed several times about this conversation.  In the afternoon we, the whole family, walked over to the voting station and Ji Seon voted while I waited and the kids played in the park.  I am happy Ji Seon and I participated in one of the most historic elections.

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Last night what happened was something I never thought I would see in my lifetime, an African-American becoming President of the United States of America.  Barack Obama’s victory speech was good though I must admit, I probably would have been more affected if I had watched it live instead of on the internet.  I am ashamed to admit I was so busy looking over how my fantasy basketball draft went that I forgot that Obama would be giving a victory speech.

Today I caught up on the emotion of the victory and I must admit I found it overwhelming.

In the newspaper I read quotes like this:

I called my mom – black woman born in the segregated South.  She is 76 years old.  She was born at a time in this country when it would’ve been dangerous for her to look a white woman in the eye.  I said “Mama, what do you think?”  She said, “Baby, I just got four words for you.  Glory Hallelujah!  Glory Hallelujah!”
– Bryon Pitts, CBS

I can’t think of another country in the world where you could have a significant minority that was once so maligned and so oppressed finally have one of its sons rise to this level. “I don’t care how you feel about him politically, on some level you have to say this is America at its grandest, the potential, the possibility, and what it says for our children.  Black and white, the image of Barack Obama and those little girls in the Rose Garden in these years to come.  I think it’s just stunning.
– Juan Williams, Fox News analyst, NPR

This is a man-on-the-moon moment.
– Keith Olberman, MSNBC

This is more than election night in America, this is a momentous night in the history of our people.
– Bob Schieffer, CBC

Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of watning to change the world for a better place.
– Nelson Mandela, South Africa

I found myself praising God for what he did.  He looked down and saw the plight of the African-Americans living in the United States.  He sent a modern day Moses, Martin Luther King Jr., who led the people out of their oppression and towards the promised land.  Like Moses, Martin Luther King never entered the promised land but today so many of his dreams are being realized in God’s time.

What made me most emotional, literally caused me to weep so much, were the photos of African-Americans crying, overwhelmed, amazed at what had happened.  I suddenly felt so much empathy for these people, all they had suffered.  I literally had to stop looking to stop crying.

Glory Hallelujah!  Glory Hallelujah!

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Election Eve

 | November 3, 2008 4:30 PM

It’s the night before one of the biggest election in this country’s history, certainly the biggest in my relatively short forty year life.  All the polls show Obama winning decisively yet.  McCain is forced to do his last-minute campaigning in former Republican strongholds.  On the other hand Obama has even campaigned in Arizona!  Yet I am still scared that it won’t happen, that when people are in the polling booths, they will say to themselves “I’m not voting for a black person for President!”

There have been some reports that Kerry enjoyed a similiar lead over Bush just days before the election.  But the data I see all shows that Bush led Kerry in almost all the polls leading up to the election.

It seems like this is the perfect storm for an African-American to become President.

  1. The economy is the worst since the Depression.
  2. The U.S. is in the midst of an unpopular war.
  3. The U.S. President is one of the more unpopular ever.
  4. The Republican candidate does not even have strong support from his own party, has a Vice-Presidential running mate who, for the first time that I can remember, is significantly costing her party votes (not even Quayle could do this), and in my opinion has run a poor, confusing campaign.
  5. Barack Obama is half-white and his ancestors were not slaves in the U.S.
  6. Barack Obama’s campaign has been near flawless and has used the internet to tremendous advantage.

In spite of all of this I am still worried that Obama will not win.  Whether it would be as extreme as voter intimidation and ballots being discarded or voters at the last minute turning away from Obama, if the result is a McCain victory I believe many people, especially African-Americans, will believe the election was stolen.  Already there are rumors in states where African-Americans have come out in droves to vote early that those ballots were discarded.

Tomorrow is going to be an incredibly exciting day!

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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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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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