Obama: Snowy Washington Needs ‘Chicago Toughness’

Barack Obama discovers that Washington DC is not, in fact, in the Midwest:

Obama: Snowy Washington Needs ‘Chicago Toughness’ – washingtonpost.com.

“We’re going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town,” Obama said this morning. “I’m saying that when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things.”

Our new President is learning that DC does not have:

– Meijer

– Faygo

– Chicago Dogs, or the Detroit Implant, Koney Dogs

– People who can drive, let alone in snow

– Sense

However, it is full of crazy people. In BMWs.

Welcome to your new home, Mr. President.

Layoffs Financed by You and Me

This is a brilliant post from yet another happily sarcastic economist:

EconBlog Review: Pfizer Buys Wyeth: Layoffs Financed by You and Me.

Follow with joy how AFM turned into Wyeth because drug margins are so much better than pots and pans margins.  How TARP money went to financing this merger, how Pfizer will lay off thousands of people — funded by TARP! — to maintain its dividend.

It’s a laugh a minute.

Ruffle Scarf

I had these two balls of Patons Shetland Tweed that I bought from the craft store for one project that failed, and then tried it in another project that failed. I was determined to use it up in something and I was having a hard time finding a project I could whip out that made use of bulky yarn and didn’t require me to understand really fancy stitches.

I ended up using one of the free patterns off the Lion Brand Yarn web site. It is popular on ravelry so I figured I would try it. My general verdict is:

* A cool project that makes a nice scarf quickly that has some compelling texture to it. I really love how it curls and drapes.
* The Patons Shetland Tweed is definitely the right consistency but not the right color. A bright, homespun yarn with lots of fuzziness at a bulky (4) weight would give this scarf the right look and feel.

Next time I go to the craft store, I will pick around and try to find something happier and sunnier. I am going to skip the browns for now since they are clearly sweater colors.

Here is the Ruffle Scarf in Tweedy Brown on me. It does not go real well with the I Love Pirates t-shirt, but then again, who doesn’t love pirates? It would look great with a white or gold turtleneck — I have one, so I will try it tomorrow.

Inauguration Hat!

I can’t just sit on the couch and watch TV, even when it is Barack Obama being awesome. So I made a hat! I have all this awesome Lion Brand Micro-Fiber sports-weight yarn, and it was just ripe for hatting! I made a skull cap with a shell stitch out of bright green and attached a bright pink flower with some nice 3-D height to it. The pictures have me with no makeup on and sleepy, so I look kind of enh, but I grabbed some pictures:

Green hat is green.
Side view of Green Hat with nice big pink Flower.
Forward look of Greet Hat that is Green with Red Flower.

Now I am debating something new or Gameboy.

Whitehouse.gov and other stories

whitehouse.gov went off the air at around 11:45am this morning and came back up at noon. Other than now it has blogs, twitter feeds, RSS feeds, hosting for videos, and eventually the forums from change.gov. (I have already requested my username for the forums so I can complain about technology issues.)

But the big thing is this: the site is now indexable by regular search engines.

Under Bush, no web sites attached to the White House could be indexed by anything. There were 2400 exclusion rules to keep all index engines out which have now been lifted. I’m not sure why I feel this is such a momentous event, since it is just a web site. Clearly the tech team came in, unplugged the ancient Windows 2000 server running the old website, slapped in the new machine, turned it on, got all the systems booted, and were good to go. But it feels like, the first major event of the brand new Inauguration was to welcome the Administrative Branch to the 21st Century by sticking it online.

Inauguration

I didn’t go down to the Mall for a whole host of reasons but I am watching it on CNN HD on my couch. If we didn’t have Katie Rose I am sure I would have been down there yesterday and then been staking out my spot since 3am, but such is life.

For those at home who are watching on TV, the Washington Post is running a really magnificent article on Obama’s Journey from disaffected, angry 20-something who felt the need to give up a high paying New York job in International Banking to go beat the streets of Chicago to the President of the United States. It is worth a read if you are either waiting for things to happen or coming home and warming up from freezing for hours and hours outside.

Barack Obama is not just the first African-American President. He is the first African-American leader in the Western World. He is never going to be perfect. Like all American Presidents, we will never really be satisfied and Liberals, above all, like to grouse and whine and complain. But today is a day to step back, and simply marvel at the enormity of what has happened here. The country will never be the same. Yes, it will be a terrible haul, and yes, there will be massive mistakes, and yes, things will happen we don’t like. But the change is tangible and constant and a marker on American History. It is a seismic shift.

Although, in the end, we’ve hired a black man to clean up a white man’s mess.

And wow, the Mall on CNN HD looks cold and so packed no one can move.

Obama vs. George Bush’s Computers

I read this morning on Politico (sorry, I misplaced the link) that the Obama staffers have been informed that they are no longer allowed to use IM.  Obama himself won his fight of Treasury Department vs. Blackberry (although they are making him move to one of the Blackberries approved by the NSA and armored for in theater combat which, as a security nerd, I find totally cool but everyone else finds abhorrent) but now they cannot use IM.  For reasons that absolutely are beyond me, they apparently don’t have Microsoft Communicator IM server hooked up internally to their Outlook server, likely because no one knew they could do that.

But it’s worse than that.  Apparently, leaking out of the White House through disgusted Obama staffers, is that the machines themselves have not been upgraded since Bill Clinton left office.  The machines are largely running Windows 2000 and pre-2000 OSes that Microsoft no longer supports.

This actually explains an awful lot about the Bush Administration.  At their core, they were anti-science, anti-engineering, anti-technology, anti-21st century.  A complete Faith-based Administration.  They hated smart people, and smart people use computers, so they hated computers, too.  Thus the entire system is running on a creaky edifice.

I am looking forward to reports over the next month of the Obama people vs. the White House tech staffers and the new mandates for upgrades.  I can understand why, perhaps, they don’t let people get on external AIM but really, this is a new world and for god’s sake, let these people have their internal IM.  And yes I know there are issues with the Presidential Records Act but that is why the White House has lawyers.  It collects logs!  Automatically!  Sheesh.

Frankly, when I read this factoid this morning I laughed and laughed.  I look forward to battles over hardware acquisition and upgrades to *gasp* Windows XP.  The next few months are going to be delightful from a pure technology perspective.

Fuzzy Hat Goodness

I finished my first project. It is the same very simple hat pattern I made with my first test hat, but instead I used the Lion Brand Midnight Mohair (Rain Forest) yarn. I learned quickly that the mohair is sort of an intermediate-level yarn and I messed up the start, snipped it off, and started again. I did get the hang of working with it, but at first it was very slow going.

I am pleased with the results! The hat fits correctly, it holds together well, it looks nice and shiny, it’s warm, and it is appropriately hat-like. Thus I have successfully completed a first actual, wearable project and have determined I am reasonably good at this crochet thing. Although at this rate my house will fill with hats as I practice different patterns.

Some pictures:

The hat on me, sideways.
A dramatic picture of the hat on me from above. My eyes are weirdly green in this picture.
My considerably more attractive model shows off the hat.
The look of joy has me suspecting that the model will turn into a nefarious Hat Thief.

Quick note:

Down 29 this morning, about at every mile, signs are posted stating that 29 is closed to buses only on the 20th. I could not get to work if I wanted. Going home, the signs over the Beltway warned of Major Delays all around the Beltway starting this weekend. As much as I am an Obama-maniac like everyone else, he keeps stealing all the parking spots around here.