Quotes of 2009, Part 1

I’m usually able to amass my entire collection of yearly quotes on my Facebook page in one go; However, this year I have seem to run out of space, so I’m having to clear it out early. Thus, you can enjoy my yearly quotes a bit early1. Also try to notice a theme; it’s subtle, but I think there is one (although it’s not present in every quote).

“Women. Can’t live with them…..they will not go out with me.” – Vork/Herman Holden, The Guild S2E102

“Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.” – Scott Adams

“But let’s remember who made that rule: Goliath. And let’s remember why Goliath made that rule: when the world has to play on Goliath’s terms, Goliath wins.” – Malcom Gladwell, How David Beats Goliath (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all)

“Attempt such great things for God that without His help, they are destined to fail.” – E.M. Bounds

“I work extremely hard doing what I love, mainly to ensure that I don’t have to work extremely hard doing what I hate.” – Hugh MacLeod, GapingVoid.com (http://twitter.com/gapingvoid/statuses/1521887425)

“Ideas are Almost Worthless. What you should be focusing on instead is Execution and Perseverance. A mediocre idea with fantastic execution and staying power is going to be an awesome success. A fantastic idea with a guy who cant hold a single thought in his head for five minutes and thinks of another great idea is not going to be anything.” – David Heinemeier Hansson

“Be true to your work, your word, and your friends.” –
Henry David Thoreau

“…honesty doesn’t have to look good.” – Becca Arrowsmith, http://beccarrow.blogspot.com/2009/02/back-from-break.html

“The core skill of innovators is error recovery, not failure avoidance.” – Randy Nelson, Dean of Pixar University

“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” – G. K. Chesterton

“I think my biggest problem is that I ask for competence in the people around me.” – Bill Wadman, http://www.ontakingpictures.com/2009/01/frustration.html

“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.” – Barack Obama

“Don’t undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.” – Edwin Land, Inventor of Instant Photography

“Talking to girls is lame. It makes my stomach hurt…because I can’t fart.” – Jacob


  1. Enjoy them early on my blog at least. They’re always available on my Facebook page. 

  2. Season 2, Episode 10 

Fitting

I think it’s somewhat fitting that the day after we celebrate a great black man with a dream, we celebrate the day that his dream takes another great step forward.

Source: http://www.africawithin.com/mlking/mlking.htm
Source: http://www.africawithin.com/mlking/mlking.htm
Source: http://www.getreligion.org/?p=2502
Source: http://www.getreligion.org/?p=2502

Ignorance

I recently received an email from someone. I’m not going to say whom; and if this person happens to read my blog: I’m not trying to point you out or pick on you. Promise.

The email essential asked me to sign an online petition to make Obama prove that he’s an American.

The above mentioned website states, in part, that:

There are numerous questions as to Obama’s citizen status raising suspicion and doubt about Obama constitutional qualification to be president. To settle these questions Mr. Obama must produce proof of citizenship!

It is reasonable that these documents should be produced considering that his father is Kenyan, his adoptive father is Indonesian, and his grandmother claims to have been present at his birth in Kenya. If he is a natural born citizen then producing these documents should not be any problem.

I’m not quite where to start on this one. I don’t know if this petition is being passed around because Obama is black or because people were upset John McCain didn’t get elected. Either way, it should not matter. Low-blow tactics like this are lame, ineffective, and divisive.

Just before the election, I heard of cases (and even received a text message) that said that due to the amount of people wanting to vote in this election, people wanting to vote for Barack Obama should vote on Wednesday, November 5th. I also saw a similar tactic used to ask McCain supporters vote the day after the election as well.

Now, I’m not a lawyer (IANAL), but I would suspect that making statements to that effect are illegal. If they’re not illegal now, I bet they soon will be. And in any case, I have incredible disdain for anyone who would post, publish, transmit, etc such a message. Like I said before, low-blow tactics like this are lame, ineffective, and divisive.

So, in my ongoing mission to quash ignorance and I typed up a rather lengthy email and sent it back to this person. I now present to you an edieted version of my response:

I’m concerned by your potential motives and you lack of research. I suspect that you are not in favor of Barack Obama being elected President, which is fine. I’m not here to debate politics. What causes me concern is that you are willing to spread rumors or even lies because you do not favor Obama and without doing any research of the facts.

Now, let me stop for a second. Those are some serious charges that I’ve levied against you and I make them based on indirect evidence. It is easily within the realm of possibility that my allegations against you are false. If they are, it’s important that you let me know so that I can correct the record and apologize.

My request is that the next time you want to forward something, especially something as potentially divisive as claiming Obama may not be an American Citizen, I would strongly urge you to research the facts. Ignorance is a dangerous thing and I would encourage you to always seek the truth. Always.

Now, you would probably not be receiving this email if, in fact, the allegations held truth. However, they don’t. Here are a few links from reputable sources that I believe prove that President-Elect Obama is an American Citizen.

The first place I like to check is Wikipedia. And Wikipedia does confirm that that Obama was born in Hawaii: “Barack Obama was born at the Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu, Hawaii,[1] to Barack Obama, Sr., a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, Kenya, and Ann Dunham, a white American from Wichita, Kansas[2] of mainly English, Irish and smaller amounts of German descent.[3][4][5]” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama#Early_life_and_career)

However, Wikipedia, by itself, should not be considered an authoritative source. That is to say, just because Wikipedia says Obama is an American citizen doesn’t mean that he actually is. Fortunately, Wikipedia provides sources for their information. The [1] link refers to an article in the Washington Post, “Before crossing the overpass above the H1 freeway, where traffic zoomed east to body-surfing beaches or west to the airport and Pearl Harbor, he passed Kapiolani Medical Center, walking below the hospital room where he was born on Aug. 4, 1961.” (Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/23/AR2008082301620_pf.html)

More research leads to confirmation of these facts by the LA Times, “Well, the folks at FactCheck.org say they have seen the certificate, touched and vouched it — Obama is as American as baseball, apple pie and, these days, burritos, pasta and kung pao chicken.” (Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/08/mystery-solved.html) and provide an image of the actual birth certificate (Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/06/obama-birth.html)

The aforementioned FactCheck.org writes, “The director of Hawaii’s Department of Health confirmed Oct. 31 that Obama was born in Honolulu.” (Source: http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html)

The Associated Press confirms all of the above:
“State officials say there’s no doubt Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.
Health Department Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said Friday she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.” (Source: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iw1At-4G1xuE50oXVFRlBPfR3dqgD945OLU00)

I could probably continue to find proof of Obama’s American citizenship until the cows come home. But I think you get the point.

And lest you think that this entire email is from an overzealous Obama supporter, I did not vote for Barack Obama….although I have no way of proving that to you 😉

–End email–

So, let’s recap. Hawaii became a state in 19591. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. Barack Obama is, under Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, eligible for Presidency. If you have a problem with this, feel free to make “a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state, in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State.”2))3.))

Please tell me I’m not alone in my thoughts.


  1. I didn’t actually state this fact in my argument since I assume it’s an easily confirmable fact that is not subject to interpretation. 

  2. (8 U.S.C. 1481(a)(5 

  3. My point is not that you should renounce your citizenship because you don’t want Barack Obama to be President. My point is that you might consider renouncing your citizenship if you don’t want to play by the rules ((Staples, I’m suspecting you’ll want to argue this point. 

Talk to Your Parents About McCain, The Make-Believe Maverick

Please note that I’m not advocating voting for Obama as much as I’m imploring you to not vote for McCain.

I also just finished reading a story in Rolling Stone called Make-Believe Maverick by Tim Dickinson. I thought it was an interesting piece and really left me with no plausible reason to vote for McCain. It’s a bit long, but, if true, provides a rather damning account of McCain’s life. Especially interesting to me was the section entitled “He is Hotheaded,” mostly because it shows how little McCain has changed and what a terrible President he would be:

At least three of McCain’s GOP colleagues have gone on record to say that they consider him temperamentally unsuited to be commander in chief. Smith, the former senator from New Hampshire, has said that McCain’s “temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind, it should disqualify him.” Sen. Domenici of New Mexico has said he doesn’t “want this guy anywhere near a trigger.” And Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi weighed in that “the thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded.”

I’d be curious to hear any rebuttals to the piece if anyone has one.

Barack Obama

I’m about a week late in blogging this, but such is the case when more important things arise. In any event, Obama was at the Colorado School of Mines last Tuesday. I managed to get four hours of sleep before I arose at the crack of 6am. I was on campus just before 7 and then proceeded to wait another hour and a half before we (the working press) were able to get in.

Kind of ridiculous if you ask me.

We finally did get in. I got setup and the waiting started. Several times, people would stand up and share some reason why they were going to vote for Obama and everyone would cheer and applaud. A woman, who I was told was part of the Avenue Q cast, also sang a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

The program finally got underway:
DSC_5270
Kyle Caskey, president of the CSM Young Democrats, lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

DSC_5285
Jacob Smith, Mayor of Golden.

DSC_5305
John Hickenlooper, Mayor of Denver.

DSC_5320
Bill Ritter, Governor of Colorado.

And then there was some waiting. We were running a little bit a head of schedule and Obama was running a little bit (well, 30 minutes actually) late.

DSC_5339
Federico Peña, former Mayor of Denver, filling the time.

Finally, the program got started:
DSC_5349
Peggy Roach, a local woman from Lakewood, has the pleasure of sharing her story and then introducing Senator Obama.

DSC_5373
Senator Barack Obama quites the crowd.

DSC_5411
Senator Barack Obama.

Don’t forget, there are always more pictures (and video) over at Flickr: Barack Obama at the Colorado School of Mines

Best guess is around 2300 spectators in attendence. Not terrible traffic. I had two classes canceled because of Obama and two more canceled because a professor missed his connection at JFK. Surprisingly, there were very few protesters.

See also: The Oredigger: Barack Obama at Mines

Ticket #9540124 is a Winner!

While the Colorado School of Mines isn’t sponsoring the event (as the Obama campaign paid for the use of the facility), Student Activities was able to get a hold of and raffle off 140 tickets to students this morning. On a whim, I put my name in the hat. And I won.

Ticket #9540124 is a winner!

But wait, didn’t you just write a scathing letter to the CSM president despising him for allowing this event to happen? you might ask.

I did. And I stand by that letter. However, when life gives me lemons, I try my damnedest to make lemonade. It’s an old cliché, but usually true. Tomorrow morning, I will be putting on my photography/press hat and taking pictures for the Oredigger, making the best of the circumstances.

It’s also worth nothing that a large part of my decision and ability to do this is the fact that my first class was canceled, which will help to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety of tomorrows hoopla. It’s still going to be crazy though.

An Open Letter to President Scoggins

Bill Scoggins, the President of the Colorado School of Mines, sent out the following email today:

Dear Mines Community:

I am pleased to report that Barack Obama’s campaign staff has rented Lockridge Arena in the Student Recreation Center for a community gathering, free and open to the public, on Tuesday, September 16. Doors will open at 7 a.m., and the program will begin at 9:30 a.m. We were in talks with the campaign for two days, and an agreement was reached Friday evening.

Since many national media representatives will cover the event, this is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our campus, students, faculty and staff–and the exciting work we’re doing here at Mines.

I am proud we were selected as the venue for this event, as it reflects our growing recognition as a leading, world-class research university. Tuesday’s event will increase our visibility even more. I am also proud that we were contacted by Senator McCain’s campaign staff earlier this summer. Although they chose another location for their event at that time, we welcome further inquiries from them about renting a facility at Mines. We should all be proud that our campus is a place where national policies are discussed.

Of course, an event such as this will cause some inconvenience to our Mines community. I feel it’s worth it and think you will agree. We expect 2,000 guests, plus media and VIPs, on Tuesday morning–with everything back to normal by noon. For those morning hours, however, you can expect parking to be a challenge. Please plan to walk, bike, carpool, and get an early start to campus that day. And plan to be patient.

I know many of you will want to attend the program. We have been given a limited number of tickets. This is not a Mines event–the Barack Obama campaign has rented space on our campus to host a public event. Information about the limited tickets provided to Mines will be announced via email later today or early tomorrow morning.

Together we will make this a positive, memorable event.

Thanks for your support,

Bill Scoggins

Initially, I was rather ecstatic to have a major political candidate on our campus. However, after reading Mr. Scoggins email and finally letting the reality of the situation set in, I realized this was bad. This was very bad. I’m going to vent in this open letter, because frankly, I don’t know what else to do.

Dear President Scoggins,

I do not agree with you. I think this event will cause quite a bit more than “some inconvenience to our Mines community.” And I do not feel it is worth it.

And lest you think that the rest of this letter is a rant from some Republican who just doesn’t want to see Mr. Obama on our campus, I can assure that this letter is not that (nor am I a Republican). My political standpoint has nothing to do with my frustration with your decision, nor should it.

I believe you showed an incredible lack of good judgment in bringing the Obama campaign to campus.

While you believe that this is “a tremendous opportunity to showcase our campus, students, faculty and staff – and the exciting work we’re doing here at Mines” and to tout us to the “many national media representatives [that] will cover the event,” I cannot fathom the horribleness that awaits me and my fellow students on Tuesday.

Are you completely blind to the amount of pressure and stress we’re under already? I have 19 credit hours with 10.5 hours of class on Tuesday, I’m going to have a freaking aneurysm.

We do not need the added stress of having to deal with the logistical issues associated with bringing the next potential President of the United States of America to our campus with less then two months until the election in a swing state. Secret Service, national media, local media, VIPs, the 2000+ people that will be flooding our campus. Need I continue?

Let me give you a picture of what I see: CSM is a school of about 3300 undergraduates. Now, for about 5 hours on a Tuesday morning, we’re going to instantaneously increase the number of people on campus by almost 60%. That’s 60% more cars, which we don’t have parking for and cannot handle. That’s 60% more people walking around campus. That’s 60% more commotion while I’m trying to freaking study!

Our school cannot simply absorb that many people and still function as a school!

Please tell me again how this is a good idea?

And then there’s the fact that all of this went down on a late Friday evening and not an official word about it until Sunday morning? Why was there such pisspoor communication? Why was the student body not consulted before hand? Should we expect more disruptions like this in the future?

I fear that making amends will be tough on this one. Yes, the ideal thing to do would be to cancel Tuesday’s event. But we both know that probably won’t happen. I honestly think the next best thing to do is cancel school for at least Tuesday morning and have classes resume around 1pm. While I’m not a fan of this solution, I believe it is the one that will cause the least amount of stress and disruption for all parties involved.

Cordially,

Andrew Ferguson

Obama Coming to Colorado School of Mines

I shit you not, the Barack Obama will be giving a speech at the Colorado School of Mines (yes, my Colorado School of Mines) THIS Tuesday at 9:30am.

From my.barackobama.com:

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
EVENT WITH BARACK OBAMA
Colorado School of Mines
Lockridge Arena
1651 Elm St.
Golden, CO
Doors Open: 7:00am MDT
Program Begins: 9:30am MDT

This is pretty cool and I’m going to try and attend, but I have to ask: How is our school going to conduct classes with all the security that Obama now has? Also, why hasn’t the school sent out an email about this?

Hat tip to Tim Weilert for posting a note on Facebook pointing this out.