The Circus Continues

It’s odd to be a battleground state, but sure enough, Al Gore, Alexandra Kerry (daughter of John Kerry), and Dick Cheney will all be paying Hawai’i a visit.

Now, if we could only get them to pay attention to us when the electoral votes aren’t a toss-up…

Presidential Campaign Ads in Hawai’i

In an almost bizarre announcement, KITV is reporting that the Democratic National Committee and the Bush-Cheney Campaign will be buying TV commercials in Hawai’i in the final week before the election. Ads could appear as early as tomorrow.

According to Wikipedia, Hawai’i has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate every election since 1998, and has only voted Republican twice since statehood: for Nixon in 1972, and for Reagan in 1984. (Both were landslide victories for the respective candidates, in terms of electoral votes.)

Normally, Hawai’i is one of the most ignored states during election season. It’s the most isolated land mass on Earth, meaning it costs a lot of money to fly here, and it takes a big slice of time out of a campaign schedule that could better be spent in the lower 48 states. As a result, the only ads we see for President are on the national cable news channels.

However, the Honolulu Advertiser has calculated that (given an election sans Florida-style problems) there is a 1.5% chance that Kerry and Bush could be tied for electoral votes, compared with a 1.4% chance of the electoral votes being what they were in 2000. Numbers like this, combined with polls that say Hawai’i’s electoral votes are locked in a statistical dead heat, mean that Hawai’i’s four electoral votes have suddenly become crucial.

Since I’ve already cast my vote by absentee ballot, I have the liberty to sit back and watch with fascination at how the numbers will turn out. 2004 is going to be another close year.

Lose Weight, Save the Planet!

The Miami Herald (subscription site, no link) is reporting that heavier Americans are costing the airline industry millions in additional fuel. According to the CDC, the average American gained 10 pounds in the 1990s. The Herald says the extra weight adds up to 350 million gallons of extra fuel, and 3.8 million tons of released pollutants.

That’s a lot of CO2.

(Via Fox News Channel)

Reaction to the Second Presidential Debate

The second of three debates for the Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates ended moments ago, and I think John Kerry won. (Full disclosure: I am a likely Kerry voter for the November 2nd General Election.)

I don’t like either Bush or Kerry. They both have policies I strongly disagree with, and I agree with the sentiment of others who feel that they are just two sides of the same coin.

I think John Kerry gave more honest, open answers; provided strong rebuttals to President Bush’s comments; and provided a more solid plan for America’s future. He also defended the comments of the Bush campaign about his “wishy-washiness” with logical responses.

I don’t think either of these men are up to the job of representing me and the rest of America, but I will support John Kerry as the best alternate with a chance of winning.

Flash Video is Incredible

There are times I wish I was an artist.

I missed the announcement, but Flash MX Professional 2004 is out, and the hands-down best feature is Flash Video.

Most of us are familiar with Real, Windows Media, and QuickTime – the three primary streaming video packages available today. The problem with each of these is that they play video in boxy rectangles, just like TV and movies.

Flash Video apparently is treated just like the other vector graphics in Flash, and the results are stunning. Effects like wiping in video under a pencil eraser, seamless integration with sharp vector-based graphs, and more have all been done in the few weeks Flash has been out. I visited many of the sites in the Flash Video gallery (I highly recommend the IBM and Ben and Jerry’s examples), and never – not once – did any presentations skip. That impressed me. I’m on broadband, but I’m usually not that lucky.

Of course, you need some artistic skill, which I have (some, I mean – not nearly enough), but it looks like in the right person’s hands, the new version of Flash may just be a scalpel and chainsaw at the same time.