Thursday, December 25, 2008


Dan Pallotta, a schoolmate and friend of mine, has written a very interesting book called Uncharitable about the challenges of doing "charitable" work, especially when running a for-profit business. Please read an op-ed about it in the New York Times at:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Re: "A Progressive Case for Rick Warren"

A friend pointed me to the Washington Post article "A Progressive Case for Rick Warren". I agree with it.

Re: "Are you outraged by Rick Warren"

Regarding "Are you outraged by Rick Warren?", I am outraged that some people do not believe that all people should have the same rights. I strongly support gay rights and the right of gays to marry.

I'm also outraged that some people have little tolerance for engaging others in a dialog and want to shut out those who do not hold the same beliefs. I believe in diplomacy. We must bring different sides together to engage in discussion and reach a peaceful resolution.

Thus I believe Obama is right to have Rick Warren at his inauguration and to stick with this decision even though it outrages some. I still believe that Obama is going to be more centrist than many give him credit for. He needs to be a unifier to accomplish what the US and our world needs accomplished. We need a leader who can build trust among those who may disagree, not one who will force others to see it their way or the highway.

Obama knows what he is doing. Having Rick Warren give the inaugural invocation is a difficult yet good choice. It is time for us to move on and build bridges, not isolate each other and build more walls.

The time will come, hopefully sooner than later, when all will recognize that gays have a natural right to marry. That day will come sooner if more engage in dialog so that each recognizes others as humans too, instead of hate speech which brands one group or the other as this or that thus exchanging dialog for shouting matches where neither side can listen to the other.


Tim Oey

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama is Right -- Build, don't Destroy

See the NY Times article: Obama Pledges Public Works on a Vast Scale

Obama's approach is right on the money. We must build ourselves up to improve our country and our world -- instead of knocking others down as George W. Bush and the Republicans were fond of doing (as in Iraq).

Those "Borrow and Spend" Republicans deserve to be in the dog house for a very long time. Obama has tons of challenges ahead thanks to the multiple messes that the Republicans have created: The Economic Collapse, The Iraq Mess (due to lack of good regulation, over spending, over borrowing, making war on others, negative campaigning, etc).

Obama's team is looking very good and has been masterful in keeping a steady stream of positive developments flowing as he approaches the presidency. Obama built up more goodwill for the United States in the eyes of the world during his campaign then Bush did during his entire 8 years. Obama is getting more accomplished for the US in the time between his election and his inauguration than Bush did during his entire 8 years. If Obama keeps this up, he will be one of the best Presidents in US history.

The Shoe That Roared

The war in Iraq cost the US 2 trillion+ dollars and helped cause the current economic crisis (a bad role model of borrowing and spending immense amounts of money).

More Americans lost their lives in Iraq then due to all Al Qaeda terrorist activities combined.

The goodwill the rest of the world had toward the US after 9/11 and prior to the Iraq war reversed itself in disgust as a direct result of the Iraq war.

This one small act of defiance, resonates not just in Iraq but across the world.

Read more in the NY Times at: Iraqi Journalist Hurls Shoes at Bush and Denounces Him on TV as a ‘Dog’

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Iraq Rebuilding a Mess

We (the US) really stuck our foot in it. We should never have gone into Iraq.

See: New report slams U.S. reconstruction of Iraq: report

Clean Coal Not, Wind and Solar Yes

The viable energy alternatives analysis done by Mark Z Jacobson at Stanford looks great to me. Check it out at "Wind, water and sun beat other energy alternatives, study finds".

Silly Aussie Censorship

Sorry Australia. The Australian government plan to try do nationwide censoring of the internet is simply a bad idea. Parents themselves should be more responsible for their kids. The nanny government approach is fraught with problems and dangers.

Read more at in the Dec 11, 2008 NY Times article Proposed Web Filter Criticized in Australia.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I am aghast that the elected governor of a state would be so corrupt as to try to sell a seat in the US Senate -- Obama's former seat. One would have hoped that the process of becoming governor would screen out people prone to this kind of corruption.

Corruption is a huge problem worldwide. The US has some but relatively little overall. In many other parts of the world it is common place. If a system allows it to happen, or even worse encourages it, it will happen. Systems (political, financial, legal) must either be transparent or have a good mechanism of checks and balances to prevent or at least minimize corruption. The US has pretty reasonable political, financial, and legal checks and balances. Yet it still is not enough to completely stop corruption as evidenced here.

I'm happy that at least one serious academic, notably Larry Lessig, has decided to study corruption in detail. Although his focus is more on the everday sort of corruption vs the blatant corruption that is evident in the case against Illinois governor Rod R. Blagojevich.

Read more in the 12/10/2008 NY Times article: Illinois Governor Charged in Scheme to Sell Obama’s Seat.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Drew Gilpin Faust

Patty and I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust for lunch today at a Harvard alum gathering in Palo Alto. Drew is the first female president of Harvard. As one would expect from the top Havardian, she is incredibly articulate. But the thing that impressed me most was her groundedness. She is not an ivory tower academic.

In an earlier blog post I lamented the tendency for many to discount people who are well educated, particularly in politics. Well with more great role models like Drew Gilpin Faust and Brack Obama, I have hope that the class of well educated people will restore its good name. Well educated people are necessary for our country's future success.

Some highlights for Drew's speech [with a bit of commentary from me]:

Despite the economic downturn, Harvard will continue to provide generous financial aid to students. If you are qualified and admitted, you do not need to worry about affording a Harvard education. [I experienced this personally as it was less expensive for me to attend Harvard in the 1980's than it was to attend my state school.]

Harvard has some unique opportunities to foster cross disciplinary research between it's many schools. Rather than separate segments, Harvard is establishing networks connecting different disciplines. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Drew is coalescing "one" Harvard rather than letting the multiple "flat bottomed tubs" (schools) continue somewhat independently. [I believe we have reached some practical limits in what many separate disciplines can accomplish on their own. Cross-disciplinary teams are necessary to springboard to the next level.]

Further supporting cross-disciplinarian approaches, one of the challenges we face is figuring out how to better organize our knowledge -- keeping it in separate baskets does not work so well anymore. Harvard will play an important role in translating knowledge into the wider world.

Drew and others also commented on the greening of Harvard, the importance of Global Health, how we fund science appropriately in an era of decreased federal funding, the conundrum of mental health vs prisons, and studying abroad (becoming Global Citizens).

Drew is one impressive lady. I'm very glad she is the new president of Harvard. She is a breath of fresh air. [Speaking of which, you can hear her on her Jan 9th, 2008 "Fresh Air" interview.]


The George W Bush Presidential Library

I received the following in email. I tried to locate the source but could not find any reliable attribution so guess it must have been tossed into the public domain. It captures Geoge W Bush's legacy pretty accurately, unfortunately. Amusing but sad.

Dear Fellow Constituent

The George W Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages and accepting donations. The Library will include:
  • The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.
  • The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won't be able to remember anything.
  • The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.
  • The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in.
  • The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.
  • The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find.
  • The National Debt Room, which is huge and has no ceiling.
  • The Tax Cut Room, with entry only to the wealthy.
  • The Economy Room, which is in the toilet.
  • The Iraq War Room. (After you complete your first visit, they make you to go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth visit.)
  • The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.
  • The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.
  • The Supreme Court Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.
  • The Airport Men's Room, where you can meet some of your favorite Republican Senators.
  • The Decider Room, complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.
Note: The library will feature an electron microscope to help you locate and view the President's accomplishments.

The library will also include many famous Quotes by George W. Bush:
  • 'The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.'
  • 'If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.'
  • 'Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.'
  • 'No senior citizen should ever have to choose between prescription drugs and medicine.'
  • 'I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.'
  • 'One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.'
  • 'Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.'
  • 'I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.'
  • 'The future will be better tomorrow.'
  • 'We're going to have the best educated American people in the world.'
  • 'One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.' (during an education photo-op)
  • 'Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.'
  • 'We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.'
  • 'It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.'
  • 'I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.'...George W. Bush to Sam Donaldson

Jack Abramoff, Co-Chair G.W. Bush Library Board of Directors

Adobe Layoffs

We all have up days and down days. Yesterday was a down day for me. Although I am still with Adobe, many of my friends and co-workers were laid off. I wish the best for all the great people my company lost today. Everything cycles. I hope to work with many of them again in the future.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Change is in the Wind

It is amazing what social networking can accomplish for our world. I use LinkedIn for professional connections and Facebook for fun.

But I'm now inspired by the social networking occurring on both and -- one in the nonprofit sector and the other for our US government. Both are engaging people directly to make a positive difference in our world and foster dialogs about improving our world and our government. I like this trend and have faith that it will continue to grow and blossom under Barack Obama's leadership. I hope those of you reading this will engage with both and

BTW, in my eagerness to send info about both to many friends, I inadvertantly conflated and together by accident. Sorry about that. All this positive change just got me too excited!


Barack Obama will be a surprising Moderate

In the election race, McCain, Palin and many both from the left and the right tried to force Obama into the traditional liberal mold. However, Barack Obama is going to surprise many people who thought he was a far left leaning liberal. In reality he is a smart articulate practical moderate. At least that is what I came away with after reading his book "The Audacity of Hope".

Just look at who he has appointed as his national security team (see: He took a centrist approach and picked the best qualified people from both sides. He wants to engage in dialog with other smart people, not just surround himself with those who are vulnerable to "group think." He is not afraid of differing opinions but embraces them so he can be in the best position to choose the best path, not the convenient path.

Wow, Queen Rania Really Rocks!

She is a queen, Muslim, sexy, AND articulate. Now if SHE could run for Vice President of the US, this is one lady I would vote for (in contrast to the painful Alaskan airhead who thankfully lost).

Watch Rania's videos and you'll know what I mean. Arabs, Muslims, Jews, etc, we are all real people.

For more, check out: + OpenID & Creative Commons

Obama's transition team is clearly thinking different -- and succeeding. Not only is supporting OpenID, it has also adopted a Creative Commons license for the content of Creative Commons is great alternative to relying just on traditional copyright. Creative Commons helps knowledge flow more freely and benefit more people.

So far, Obama is living up to his promise of change and it is a tremendous breath fresh air.

For more, read the 12/1/2008 NY Times article Obama Puts Under Creative Commons.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Google’s Gatekeepers

Who should determine what you can and cannot read on the internet? Governments? Which one(s)? Corporations? Your neighbor? At the moment, corporations such as Google and Yahoo are the primary censors.

Personally, I wish we had a better form of worldwide government that could govern the internet equitably and uniformly -- as long as they have strong protections for free speech similar to the US.

Here are a few quotes from this long but good article by the New York Times:

"Voluntary self-regulation means that, for the foreseeable future, Wong and her colleagues will continue to exercise extraordinary power over global speech online. Which raises a perennial but increasingly urgent question: Can we trust a corporation to be good — even a corporation whose informal motto is “Don’t be evil”?"

“To love Google, you have to be a little bit of a monarchist, you have to have faith in the way people traditionally felt about the king,” Tim Wu, a Columbia law professor and a former scholar in residence at Google, told me recently. “One reason they’re good at the moment is they live and die on trust, and as soon as you lose trust in Google, it’s over for them.” Google’s claim on our trust is a fragile thing. After all, it’s hard to be a company whose mission is to give people all the information they want and to insist at the same time on deciding what information they get."

For the record, I and a number of friends have suffered from both corporate and government censorship on the internet. The government censorship was overturned but some of the corporate censorship (by Yahoo) continues as of this blog post.

read "Google’s Gatekeepers" NYT Mag 11/28/2008 | digg story

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Proud to be an American!

I am proud to be an American! Obama won easily. We've made history.

John McCain gave a great concession speech saying "Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans."

Barack Obama gave a great speech that acknowledged the many challenges ahead of us. But "Yes We Can!"

It is the beginning a new age.

I voted!

Today is election day. I hope you vote. I did. I'm wearing my sticker on my shirt, on my blog, and on my Prius :-)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We want everyone to be well educated, yes?

Read "The Triumph of Ignorance: How Morons Succeed in U.S. Politics" and let me know what you think!

Don't Vote!

Please watch:

(Yes, don't vote, because my vote counts and yours doesn't if you don't vote ;-) )


Friday, October 31, 2008

Obama Yes! Prop 8 No!

Don't let the "my vote doesn't count" fallacy depress you, because it is not true. Every vote counts. Whether you agree with my position on candidates and issues or not, please vote.

I believe that Barack Obama is by far the best choice for President.

If you are in California, please vote NO on Proposition 8 -- everyone deserves equal protection under the law and this proposition actually strips civil rights from a class of citizens. Regardless of where you are, please donate funds to support the No on 8 campaign at


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nov 2008 CA Propositions – Who Supports What?

I remember seeing a comparison chart of which group supports which proposition but can no longer find it. Also, how do you know that it was assembled accurately?

As an alternative, here are some direct links to who supports what for this November 2008 election:

League of Women Voters:
Sierra Club:
Democratic Party:
Republican Party:
California Teachers Association:

Here are my personal viewpoints on the California propositions:

Yes -- Prop. 1A, Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train. Bond Act
Because we need a more sustainable transportation infrastructure.

No -- Prop. 2, Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Statute.
Because there are too many laws and people are trending toward better treatment (organic, etc) without legislation.

Yes -- Prop. 3, Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program.
Because our children are our future and it is worth it to have better hospitals for them.

No -- Prop. 4, Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Constitutional Amendment.
Because a minor who is old enough to have kids, is old enough to make this call within the current legal system.

Yes -- Prop. 5, Nonviolent Drug Offenses, Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Statute.
Because it is less expensive and conserves more resources to rehabilitate rather than incarcerate.

No -- Prop. 6, Police and Law Enforcement Funding, Criminal Penalties and Laws. Statute.
Because this puts too many constraints on state funding.

No -- Prop. 7, Renewable Energy Generation. Statute.
Because this is poorly written and partly works against renewable energy.

NO!!!! -- Prop. 8, Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Constitutional Amendment.
Because eliminating civil rights is un-American and wrong.

No -- Prop. 9 -- Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole. Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
Because this legislation goes too far and is not really needed.

No -- Prop. 10 -- Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Statute.
Because legislation is not needed here, people are doing this already on their own.

Yes/Neutral -- Prop. 11, Redistricting. Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
Because I'm willing to give it a try.

Yes -- Prop. 12, Veteran's Bond Act of 2008.
Because we must take care of those who we have asked to give life and limb for our protection.

Prop 8 is Hugely Wrong

For me the most significant proposition in the November 2008 election in California is Proposition 8. This is because it is a California Constitutional amendment to *eliminate* civil rights for a class of citizens.

Denying equal civil rights to anyone is un-American to the core.

When it harms no one else, everyone should have the right to choose what they want to do for themselves. So if you don’t believe in gay marriage, it is ok for you not to marry another gay person. t is ok for you to tell others that you don’t believe in it either. But it should not be ok for you to force your beliefs on others when it causes no harm to you but does directly harm them -- a whole class of human beings. This is just wrong!

Marriage has numerous tax, financial, societal, family, and legal benefits. Having 2 adults care for children provides a much more stable structure from which to grow a family. I am a married heterosexual but have many wonderful friends who are gay and who want to marry or have already married.

You should be free to practice whatever religion you wish and not have others force a religion on you. This is a key piece of American heritage that lead many to come to America before it was founded.

You should be free to vote. At one time women were not allowed to vote. Would it have been better to deny them voting rights? A basic civil right?

Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Hispanics, Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Indians, Blacks and more have all been persecuted at times and have had their rights limited. None of that was right.

If you vote yes on Proposition 8, it will be to deny a minority their civil rights. I will be extremely disappointed and will think less of you as a human. May you suffer some horrible discrimination yourself so you know what it is like to be a repressed minority. I have suffered such. Perhaps some of you have already as well. I am shocked and horrified that there are still so many bigots in our world.

Please vote NO on Proposition 8. Thank you.

Tim Oey

Friday, October 24, 2008

Support Civil Rights, Vote No on Prop 8

Proposition 8 in California, if passed, "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry". It is an outrageous bill that perpetuates bigotry. Note that Sarah Palin is in favor of Proposition 8.

Thankfully a number of responsible California businesses have come out against Proposition 8. Proposition 8 is very wrong. It denies people a basic civil right to marry whom they choose. Just as a black person and a white person have a right to marry, so do people of other colors, religions, races, or sexual preferences.

Here is what Apple Computer has to say about Proposition 8:

"No on Prop 8
Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees’ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8."

Other companies opposing Proposition 8 include Levi Strauss & Co., Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and Google.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama

An excellent endorsement and worth reading.

Powell said "I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Sen. Barack Obama."

Read more at:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Chicago Tribune Captured the Moment

The Chicago Tribune just published a remarkable endorsement of Barack Obama -- their very first endorsement of a Democratic candidate for President. The article really captures the moment in this time in history. This is a must read for everyone -- whether you support Obama or not.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain Hurts Himself

"The McCain campaign’s recent angry tone and sharply personal attacks on Senator Barack Obama appear to have backfired and tarnished Senator John McCain more than their intended target, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll has found."

At one time I had higher hopes for McCain. His earlier campaign in 2000 seemed to stick to higher moral grounds. This time the Republican machine that got Bush elected seems to have dragged McCain down into the muck as illustrated by this recent article.

Admittedly, McCain is out of options. Obama is better at public speaking, is better educated, has a better team, and has better coverage of the issues that matter. So McCain has been forced to use character assasinations and falsehoods to try to win.

Plus, if you have an ill trained attack dog like Sarah Palin on your team, well then, you get what you deserve. Choosing Sarah Palin was a clear indication that McCain was going down the wrong track.

I am pleased that Barack Obama has a cleaner image and is sticking more to the moral high ground.

For more please read the New York Times article "Poll Says McCain Hurts His Bid by Using Attacks".

Monday, October 06, 2008

Palin Failure

Palin failed at the recent VP Candidates debate with Biden. Check out this MSNBC news fact check of what Palin said at the debate:

I think there are two reasons the vast majority of the press have weighed in against Palin:
1) She is incompetent
2) She started attacking the press preemptively even before they had much to say about her

Desperate McCain Resorts to Smears

Since Obama/Bidin are winning so clearly on issues, in debates, based on qualifications, and in the polls, McCain/Palin have resorted to desperate smear tactics to try to take them down with false and misleading attacks Swiftboating style.

Palin is so poorly qualified and so extreme it is scary. Here is a great chart that shows how she approached the recent vice-presidential debate:

Fortunately both McCain and Palin have plenty of problems in their past which makes it easy for the Democrats to counter attack with relatively honest criticisms -- Keating Five, etc.

For more, please read:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

McCain vs Obama

When considering McCain vs Obama for President, I looked at major qualities and criteria to decide who I would hire for the job. I organized my criteria into 3 groups -- Character, Capability, and Issues. Here is how I think each candidate compares.


Honesty & Trustworthiness - Winner: Obama. While not perfect, Obama has done a much better job of being honest and truthful. McCain and Palin have both been caught by too many lies or bending the truth. Also McCain has changed his mind more radically, more quickly, and more whimsically than Obama. Obama has had a steadier hand and been more consistent. Finally, the Republicans in general have done some very ethically questionable things of late so I trust them much less. Biden has had some problems in the past but has been better of late.

Respectfulness - Winner: Obama. Obama was very considerate of both the moderator and of McCain in the first Presidential debate. Obama looked at McCain. I never saw McCain actually look at Obama. Palin smeared community organizers (most Americans) as well as Obama. Biden has been pretty quiet lately.

Friendliness - Tie: Obama & McCain. Both seem quite personable and friendly.


Experience - Winner: McCain. McCain does have more experience than Obama. Although Obama's experience is sufficient for the job.

Intelligence - Winner: Obama. Obama has shown a much better capability to think quickly and accurately than McCain. McCain has seemed slow on the uptake or bumbling and stuck on the same old saw much of the time. Palin has fumbled when she was not carefully prepped.

Schooling - Winner: Obama. He has excellent academic credentials having done well both at Columbia and Harvard Law. McCain and Biden are ok (whereas Palin pales in comparison to everyone else).

Communication - Winner by a long shot: Obama. Obama has shown he is an excellent communicator. Obama is clear, crisp, well spoken, and inspirational. Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope" is very well written and tells us more about who he is then we can know about just about any other Presidential candidate. McCain is more muddled and confusing when he talks. McCain uses lots of nice sounding words but ends up saying little of real substance. In the debate, Obama was much clearer on the issues. McCain kept trying to attack Obama's character and did not answer many of the challenges that Obama set before McCain.

Leadership - Winner: Obama. Not only has Obama shown himself to be a strong, consistent, reliable leader in the US, the rest of the world respects him as well so he can be a real world leader rather than someone who uses US military might to bully others. We need to have the rest of the world on our side willingly and not against us or only coerced to be on our side.

Health - Winner: Obama. The job of President is very physically demanding. It took a lot out of Bill Clinton. McCain is quite old and showing some physical vulnerabilities. Biden is older but not too old yet. Palin is quite healthy.

Balance - Winner: Obama. Obama is more of a centrist than McCain and especially than Palin. Read Obama's book, he is clearly a thoughtful centrist and not prone to make dogmatic statements or get stuck in dogmatic positions.


War & Peace - Winner: Obama. War is rarely justified and Peace should be the priority. I was strongly against the Iraq war and so was Obama. The Iraq war was a huge mistake and has been a huge waste of resources, money, and lives. Obama and Palin support the Iraq war, feel it is justified and can be won. (If you believe in War and might makes right, than vote for McCain.)

Economy - Winner: Obama. Obama recognizes that regular Americans are the backbone and strength of America. Obama wants to give these regular folks tax breaks rather than the wealthy. McCain says he supports regular Americans but plans to give the real tax breaks to the wealthy. Also McCain was one of the people who were around during the time we got ourselves into the financial pickle we are currently in. If his experience is so important, then why did he not succeed in doing more to prevent the current crisis? Also McCain has been wrong a number of times in the economic area -- saying "Our economy is fundamentally strong..." even though there has been horrendous financial mismanagement recently and now we are trying to rescue our economy from disaster. (If you believe in making the rich, richer, then vote for McCain.)

Education - Winner: Obama. Obama understands that education is fundamental for a strong nation and will strongly support it so our entire nation can be knowledgeable and strong. McCain and Palin seem to see funding education as socialism rather than an investment in our future. I believe that education is the best possible investment in our future that we can make. Our children are our future. Books not bombs. (If you believe in not spending money on education, then vote for McCain.)

Energy - Winner: Obama. Obama has a vision and a reasonable plan for energy independence. This must be one of our top priorities. McCain and Palin want to delay and mainly drill for more oil rather than solving the root cause. (If you believe we should just get more oil, then vote for McCain.)

International Policy - Winner: Obama. Experience is not everything. It also takes the right perspective and capability. The rest of the world recognizes Obama as someone they can trust and respect. (If you believe we are always right and should force other nations to get our way, then vote for McCain.)

Civil Rights - Winner: Obama. Obama knows that free speech matters. He also seems more aware of civil rights issues than McCain does. (If you believe our government knows better and should control our lives more, then vote for McCain.)

Right to Choose - Winner: Obama. I strongly believe in a woman's right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. It is a tough choice and she is in the best position to choose. McCain's side, and especially Palin, want to eliminate the ability for women to choose. (If you believe others should choose for women, then vote for McCain.)

Environment - Winner: Obama. Obama seems much more likely to be a good steward for our environment than McCain. McCain seems to more strongly support big businesses that are more likely to want to rape our earth than maintain and restore it. (If you believe the environment can take care of itself, then vote for McCain.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just about everyone recognizes Palin as bad choice

Earlier I noted that Sarah Palin is the bridge to nowhere and it looks like just about everyone else has come to a similar conclusion. See:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Palin is the "Bridge to Nowhere"

Sarah Palin openly lied about what she did regarding Alaska's "Bridge to Nowhere" in her speech at the Republican National Convention. She said:

"I told the Congress "thanks, but no thanks," for that Bridge to Nowhere."

But she never talked to Congress about it despite her claims. And she supported it until well after Congress rejected it. Only when there was no hope left for it, did she turn out the lights. Google this yourself to confirm what I've just said.

How can anyone trust someone who lies so easily and so publicly?

Oh, now I remember, Republicans find it easy to lie and then claim that others are lying to distract from their own lying.

McCain and Palin have a "Palin Truth Squad" to root out false attacks, rumors, and smears against Governor Palin. They should have this Truth Squad focus on Palin and McCain first to clean up their own act. But instead they are trying to shift the focus to others. This is hypocritical. But it does follow the traditional Republican pattern (do a bad thing and then loudly blame others). [Strangely during the 2000 elections, McCain did try to be truthful. Unfortunately he has changed his tune. It appears the other Republicans wore him down.]

Yes, this is just another in a long series of Republican lies and deceptions which include:
McCain: "Our economy is fundamentally sound" (stock market crashed just after he said this)
Bush 2: Guantanamo
Bush 2: Abu Ghraib
Bush 2: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (none were ever found, got us into the Iraq war)
Republican Party: "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" (not truthful at all)
Reagan: "Iran Contra Affair"
Nixon: "Watergate"
and many others.

While Nixon was impeached for Watergate, the "Iran Contra Affair", "Weapons of Mass Destruction", and the Iraq War should have easily been impeachable as major wrongs by the President during his administration. Wrongs that had real consequences for our country and for others. Why did Clinton face impeachment for a private sex affair which really only should affect his own family when these other significant events affecting our entire nation and real lives get off scot-free? It boggles my mind. But of course the Republicans are rich and much better at manipulating others behind the scenes using their money and power.

So back to Palin & McCain, they are clearly a bridge to nowhere and would lead our country to ruin (at least for normal folks maybe not the rich). Throw the lying bastards out.

Please vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. While not perfect, Obama and Biden are much more capable of leading our country and making all of us proud to be Americans again. Simply read Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" and you'll know Obama is capable, hard working, intelligent, truthful, and a centrist.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick

At a high level both Christian and Islamic extreme fundamentalists are similar:
- both are intolerant,
- both want their side to win at the expense of the other,
- both are willing to kill to achieve their cause, and
- and both believe God is on their side.

For lots more on this read:

We are in a fight between centrists (Obama/Biden) who will promote peace and extremists (Palin/McCain) who want to win wars.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


Sept 11, 2001 was a sad day. On that day many regular citizens were killed in four coordinated terrorist attacks.

To prevent such future tragedies, we need Unity.

From the 9-11 Commission Final Report:
"We call on the American people to remember how we all felt on 9/11, to remember not only the unspeakable horror but how we came together as a nation—one nation. Unity of purpose and unity of effort are the way we will defeat this enemy and make America safer for our children and grandchildren."

Lincoln said "United we stand, divided we fall." At that time he spoke of just one nation.

Today unity just in our nation is not enough. We as a world must follow this same mantra if we, humankind, are to ultimately survive.

I highly recommend that every US Citizen read and re-read the full 9-11 report. It has many lessons for all of us. It can be found at:

Tim Oey

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin: OMG, What a Liar!

News reports have been more polite in saying Palin "stretched" the truth. But my Mom, teachers, and friends would simply call me a liar if I'd stretched truth as far as Sarah Palin has.


The Republicans have long had trouble with truth. Nixon (Watergate), Reagan (Contras guns & drugs), Bush 2 (Weapons of Mass Destruction!, Terrorists in Iraq!). I'm astonished they can keep getting away with it (well mostly, Nixon didn't).

Unfortunately, Sarah Palin has been partly successful in castrating/discrediting the media:

Palin and McCain, like most Republicans, love labeling people so they label everyone who could get in their way, especially the press, as "liberals" -- trying to turn it into a swear word linked with the Democrats.

To help cover up all of Sarah Palin's own lying, what does she do? She loudly and promptly accuses her opposition of lying when they haven't been.

Don't you hate hypocrites who attack others for what they themselves are guilty of?

But of course, attacks are what Republicans do best. They attack others incessantly -- everyone else are bad guys -- including any foreign nations who have a different viewpoint then theirs.

The Democrats are just too darn educated, polite, and thoughtful.


Sarah Palin: Poster Child

In picking Sarah Palin as their Vice President candidate, McCain and the Republicans were clearly desperate. They knew if they picked a standard candidate, they would lose. So throwing caution to the wind, they picked a radical who had as many poster child credentials as possible while still having a bit of experience:
- former beauty pageant participant (capable of walking, talking, and being pretty)
- politician from a frontier state (Alaska)
- female
- hockey mom
- disabled child
- working mom
- teenage daughter who got pregnant on her watch
- son about to fight and perhaps die in Iraq
- sheer novelty and sensationalism of such an unlikely choice

By picking such an under dog (albeit a dangerous pit bull that wears lipstick), I think they are trying to gain as much of the sympathy vote as possible while making it hard for others to critique her while she in turn slams others around in an atrocious hardball manner.

If you look at her actual experience, it is quite small compared to everyone else. She has been the mayor of a small town in Alaska (population under 10,000) and the governor of a state with only 670,000 people -- about the size of the city of Charlotte North Carolina and smaller than 46 of the US states (only North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming are smaller).

Sarah Palin: Radical Right

Focusing on just Palin's own background, Sarah Palin is from the Radical Right.

She has not pushed it as governor of Alaska, but she during her campaign for governor in 2006, she thought creationism should be taught in schools (!!!!). See:

Sarah Palin is way too extreme to have her a heartbeat away from being President. And McCain would be the oldest President to have ever assumed office. Hopefully their winter-spring "romance" won't bear fruit.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Copyright Sanity

Thank God a judge has recognized there should be reasonable limits on DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) claims:
"A federal judge on Wednesday gave more weight to the concept of "fair use" when he threw a lifeline to a Pennsylvania mother's lawsuit against Universal Music."

To date, corporations had shown little restraint in filing DMCA based copyright infringement claims willy nilly without considering whether they are reasonable or not. They have thrown all sorts of infringement claims at others whether or not they were valid. Most people so threatened have not been able to protect themselves and so simply backed down even though they had not done anything wrong. Corporation with deep pockets were able to get away with being copyright bullies with no adverse consequence if they were wrong.

Now corporations will need to be more careful and considerate. Copyright has distinct limits and it is important for those limits to be better understood, recognized, and enforced.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Identity is Crucial

“On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog”

Currently this is a mixed blessing. And it needs to be fixed in a way so that we can have both anonymity when we need it as well as identity. At the moment, the identity side of the equation is the one in most critical need of work.

There are many times when we want others to know it is really us and we want to know that others are really who they say they are -- like our friends, our family, and our bank.

We are facing an identity crisis. Most of us are drowning in user IDs and passwords -- hard to track, hard to remember, or often too easily exposed. A recent New York Times article trumpeted Information Cards as the solution and dissed OpenID. The article is worth reading and clearly illustrates the problems with user IDs and passwords but it missed some aspects of the final solution.

The guy who seems to have gotten it fully correct is Kim Cameron in his post at Please read it.

I agree with him that OpenID (allowing multiple providers and relying parties to work together) along with Information Cards will provide a much better identity solution for all of us. I can’t wait.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

McCain's Hypocrisy

Something that gets me very riled up is hypocrisy. Especially when one side tries to nail others for misdeeds that the accuser is more guilty of doing than the accused.

Take John McCain for instance. He accuses others of missing votes and asks them to get to work when he has missed more Senate votes than any other Senator. (!!!!!!!)


Why would we want a President who is absent most of the time? Oh wait, maybe that's why the Republicans support McCain. :-O

Privacy -- Do We Want It Anymore?

Much of the privacy to which we've been accustomed is no more. Scott McNealy said "You have no privacy. Get over it." The former has become true, but should we just get over it?

In the past we have been able to move and live with few knowing where we've gone, who we've visited, what we've purchased, and what we've done

Those days have come to an end. We can find out what "crimes" anyone has had in the past, who all of your relatives are (including your mother's maiden name), your date of birth, your current and historical addresses, your phone numbers, an aerial view of your house, a street view of your house, and much more. Digital still and video cameras monitor us just about wherever we go. Our computer use is tracked, our phone use is tracked, our location based on a cell phone signal is tracked.

In the past, what we've done in "public" was essentially private, but no more. And just about everything we do is visible in "public". What is left that is private? Not much.

How "safe" do we want to be? How much do we need to know? We're living in a brave new world and 1984 has arrived. Everything has a cost.

We are at a tipping point where we must actively decide what privacy we want to have, or lose it. We no longer have the luxury of virtual privacy happening naturally.

What kind of world do we want to live in?

Copyright Voice of Reason Muffled

I was dismayed to learn that William Patry, a well known authority and articulate voice of reason regarding Copyright, has chosen to end his blog at Please read Bill's blog for his reasons. Luckily he has recognized there is value in his past blog posts and is working to make an archive of these available.

My Dad gave me a sign for my desk that says:
"Illegitimus Non Tatum Carborundum"
Translation: "Don't Let the Bastards Wear You Down."

Let us hope the bastards, don't wear the rest of us down.

[Update: Thankfully, as of 8/8/8 the archives of William Patry's most excellent Copyright blog have been restored so others can now read and learn once again.]

Paris Hilton For President?

In response to McCain's attack ad comparing Obama to Paris Hilton, Paris has posted a video of her own that shows she has a sense of humor and some brains in addition to a pretty face. See:

Friday, August 01, 2008

McCain Takes the Low Road

It looks like McCain and the Republicans continue to use pages from Bush's playbook -- repeat untruths many times so others might believe them eventually. Hopefully the American public is more savvy this time. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Do you still believe there were "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq?

McCain promised to run a "respectful campaign" a few months ago, but is now running disrespectful attack ads. Can you say "flip flop"?

McCain calls Obama "Out of Touch" when it seems that it is really McCain who is out of touch (with reality).

McCain attacks Obama's popularity as a bad thing. But it really shows that more people are paying attention to the real contender to be President. Democracy is about empowering the people to decide. But since it is not going McCain's way, it seems like McCain would like to toss that democracy thing out the window.

McCain likens Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears -- huh??? How is that? Just because many like reading about some people does not make automatically make the popular people similar in other ways. To think it does is very flawed logic. But McCain is desperate to smear as much as possible in the hopes that something will stick.

Yep, McCain is desperate. And it shows.

Here's to Obama in 08 -- a man who is proving day by day that he is THE ONE who is best qualified to be the President of the United States. (Geez, even McCain knows Obama is "The One.")


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ban plastic bags? I've got a better idea...

Plastic bags, or better yet, all disposable bags should be TAXED not banned.

Both plastic and paper bags (all disposable bags) are bad for the environment. It is unclear which is worse. They both seem equally bad. Yet both are sometimes needed. So rather than out right banning one or the other, it would be better to use strong economic incentives to reduce their use and encourage reuse/recycling. Plus we could use the extra money to balance our state budget.

If it cost 5 cents for each disposable bag and you could get 2 cents back for each one turned in, I bet there would be close to zero bags blowing around.

For more see the San Jose Mercury News article (July 29, 2008) at:

"Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry."

Gay-marriage opponents are upset because on the November ballot the Proposition 8 introduction will say "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry."

I say "call a spade a spade." This is exactly what Proposition 8 is going to do in face of the CA Supreme Court decision to protect this right. There is no need to mince words or use euphemisms. Better to just cut to the chase.

For more see the front page San Jose Mercury News article (July 29, 2008) at:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Obama's Foreign Policy Ability Looking Good

Not so long ago Obama was criticized by the Republicans and McCain for a lack of foreign policy experience. Yet his recent trip through Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, France, and England shows he is better at Foreign Policy and Diplomacy than McCain, Bush, or any recent US President I can recall.

In just this one pre-election trip he already has the endorsement of the current Iraqi government, Obama's troop withdrawal plan is aligned with what Iraq wants, he is hanging tough regarding Afghanistan, and he articulated a compelling position in Germany to a live audience of 200,000 (!!!!) that helps rebuild America's tattered world image.

If he can do so much before becoming President, just imagine what he could do after becoming President.

Plus Obama appears much more Presidential than McCain or even our current President Bush. Obama is measured, he is balanced, he is poised, he is inspirational, he is reasonable, he is mature, and he is being a true leader. In contrast McCain seems whiny, shrill, clumsy, ill-spoken, prone to error, out of touch, and over the hill.

I hope all of you will support and vote for Obama when it's time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Citizen Voter Registration Blocked

Who gains the most from this? Probably the current Republican administration.

On July 19th a San Jose Mercury News article entitled "County Voter Drive Blocked" ( noted that the Department of Homeland Security was making it harder for new citizens to register to vote.

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters had found an easy way to make good use of slack time during naturalization ceremonies to fill out paper work so it could be submitted immediately after each person became a citizen. The Department of Homeland Security decided it was not appropriate to prepare such paperwork ahead of time.


I disagree with Homeland Security here. We should work to make our processes more efficient and effective rather than putting unnecessary bureaucracy in the way.

U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Salinas, said "It's ironic that the agency tasked with promoting citizenship in our country would throw up obstacles to voting, one of the fundamental actions of a citizen." "DHS should be trying to make the process easier, not harder."

I fully agree. Registering to vote should be an automatic part of becoming a new citizen for everyone.

Hurray for Stephanie Lenz and EFF

Corporations and other large moneyed interests want to control as much as they can. Their goal is to maximize profit and not watch out for the rights of regular folks unless it makes them more money. (That's just the nature of the beast, although every now and then there are exceptions like Ben and Jerry's.)

Luckily there are some brave souls who stand up for their rights and in so doing protecting those rights for the rest of us. People like Stephanie Lenz. Universal Music was a bully and forced YouTube to take down a short 29 second baby video just because it happened to include a snippet of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy".

Universal Music should have applied a reasonableness test to this before making the request. Likewise, Google and YouTube should have used better common sense in reviewing the situation before taking the content down as well. But it is usually cheaper and easier to stick it to the little people rather than push back on other corporations. Money talks.

Thankfully EFF (whom I support) stepped into help Stephanie and they have taken the fight back to Universal Music. Hopefully this will make corporations more careful about respecting the rights of others rather than trampling them willy-nilly.

For more information on Stephanie's case, please see:

Basically corporations will do whatever they can get away with, even if it is not right or legal.

For more information on EFF and their work to protect free speech from copyright and trademark abuses, please see:

Friday, July 18, 2008

U.S. and Iraq Agree to Goals for Troop Cuts, Bush shifting

Wow, President Bush is actually changing his mind about troop withdrawals from Iraq! I'm glad he is finally listening to the overwhelming majority of the American public who want us out of Iraq.

And I'm glad he listened to the Iraqi government when it requested "a time frame for the complete transfer of the security responsibilities to the hands of the Iraqi security as preface to decrease the number of the American forces and withdraw them later from Iraq."

I've been participating in peace rallies since the Iraq war began over 5 years ago and I'm getting a bit tired of it. I'll be happy when I can stop hanging out on street corners to remind the US to pursue peace not war.

read more | digg story

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Europeans love Obama

The NY Times Op-Ed "Obama at the Gate" by the German author Christoph Peters nailed Bush and promoted Obama -- mirroring the sentiment of all the Europeans I talked with on my recent 3 week visit to Italy, Austria, Croatia, and the Netherlands.

Says Christoph: "George W. Bush’s contempt for the rules and institutions of international politics, his revival of preventive war, with all its unforeseeable consequences, his abrogation of the rule of law in his own country, and his ignorance of every issue related to environmental conservation have become, for me and for the vast majority of Germans, synonymous with a high-handed, ugly America. This state of affairs has provoked not only rage and horror, but also great sadness, for the United States has always been the symbol of freedom, democracy and law."

I completely agree.

The wonderful and remarkable thing is, as I've experienced first hand in talking to Europeans, Obama is doing more to restore the world's faith in the United States then any recent US President -- and he is not yet the US President even! The United States with its vision of equality, freedom, and civil rights is a hero to many -- when we actually practice those virtues.

I sincerely hope Obama does become President and is able to finish restoring the trust others want have in the US as a government that supports life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -- for all.

read more | digg story

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Doing what is right, rather than what is easy...

It is not a sin to learn from mistakes and move forward.

It seems that many consider it a weakness to admit a mistake. Rather than use new information and do a course correction, some leaders double-down and refuse to even consider a change in direction. There is a perception that to be a strong leader you must never be wrong. I've seen this tendency in many recent leaders. Perhaps you know a few. Remember the story about the emperor who wore no clothes? <>.

Sticking to your guns regardless, rather than being a strength, is sometimes a sign of weakness.

It is important to have a balance between when to make a stand and when to change positions. Sticking to either extreme is flawed -- it takes good judgement to "know when to hold them and know when to fold them". This is true in cards, it is true in stock trading, and it is true in life in general.

Two recent news stories demonstrate the importance and honor of learning and changing your position, even though it may surprise former allies and pit you against strong opposing forces. Sometimes you just need to do what is right rather than what is easy.

In the first case, Scott McClellan, a former White House press secretary under President George W Bush, discovered that he was mislead by the Bush administration to perpetuate lies. He documents this in the recently published book "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception." When he learned more, he changed his position from supporting the current administration as a strong loyalist to speaking out against these wrongs.

Please read the book and various news articles to learn more, in particular the New York Times article at:

In the second case, Massachusetts state Rep. Paul Kujawski went from opposing same-sex marriage to voting to allow it, despite major pressure from others. As he learned more about gays who wished to marry, he moved from a position opposing same-sex marriage to one willing to allow different strokes for different folks. Did allowing same sex marriage materially damage his own marriage? -- No. Did allowing it materially help others? -- Yes. So Paul left behind his former beliefs and reached a new, better informed position that allows more people more freedom in an area where it benefits those people and does not harm others.

Please read more in the San Jose Mercury News at:

When knowledgeable, well respected stalwarts flip sides, everyone should take note because this is not done lightly. Both men considered their respective situations carefully and thoughtfully before making their final decisions.

I am in a similar position with regard to freecycling. There was a time when I was a strong proponent of The Freecycle Network (TFN) and helped in many ways as an inside member of its core team. But when I realized that TFN had made some major mistakes that harmed many innocents, I was compelled by my sense of honor to do what was right rather than what was easy.

For details and references please see:

Luckily, I am not alone in my observations and trying to right wrongs. Many, if not most, of the original freecycling leaders likewise left TFN before, during, and after I left for similar or related reasons. These people include Nancy Castleman (original head of the modsquad forum), Judy Ruzich (original head of the GOAs), Pastor Ken Hedden, David Neeley, Karen Welliver, Charlotte Hess, Karen "caveguru" (original author of the TFN moderator manual), Elva Hesting, Rob Robertson, Robin Brown, Eric Snyder, Kelly, Deanna, Lorretta Woodbury, Eric Burke, Lynnie Jones, Cynthia Armistead, Linden R. Gibson, Nora Child, and many others.

Note that while I no longer support TFN, I (and these others) continue to strongly support freecycling.

Tim Oey

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I want to be proud to be an American again!

Don't you just hate hypocrites? I do too. And we're not alone. People elsewhere in the world don't like hypocrites either.

Unfortunately recent US policies like the Iraq war, unilateral military action, ignoring international treaties, and saying we support human rights while at the same time backing repressive regimes has made a big hypocrite of the US. Even some in Washington DC now realize this.

Please read:

I want to be proud to be an American again! I hope our next US President and Congress will be true to American ideals so we can again be a role model to look up to instead of a fool, albeit a fool with a big stick, in the eyes of the world.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Look on the bright side of cracks and flaws...

Chinese Proverb:

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?"

"That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them."

"For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

SO, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Take Me Out© to the Ballgame®

"The biggest fantasy was Major League Baseball’s claim that its fans should pay to talk about fantasy baseball."

"In recent years, corporations have been aggressively pushing the bounds of intellectual property — extending the length of copyrights to unreasonable lengths, for example, and patenting seeds."

Although not mentioned in this article, corporations have also gone to great lengths to use trademark claims to bludgeon free speech as well. For instance, here are some words in popular use that the "owner" would like to have exclusive use of: freecycle, bakeoff, captcha, bandaid, rollerblade, frisbee.

Here are some older examples that I think don't matter as much as there are popular alternatives: xerox (photocopy), kleenex (tissue), hoover (vacuum).

And finally, here are some that lost trademark rights due to genericide: escalator, yo-yo, zipper, aspirin, and linoleum.

Unfortunately for most regular people, corporations with lots of money can often buy the legal outcome they want. Thankfully in the case of Major League Baseball, free speech won out.

I myself was involved in a case where a corporation claimed it was trademark infringement to use the word freecycle. Luckily the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that using the word freecycle generically is not trademark infringement, that saying freecycle is generic is not trademark infringement, and that encouraging others to use the word freecycle generically is not trademark infringement.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Contour lines in Google Maps!

I'd been wishing for contour lines in Google Maps for a long time and then suddenly yesterday (June 3rd), I saw them in the terrain view. Excellent!!! Thanks Google!

Apparently they were added in April 2008 and I just hadn't gotten the memo.

More info at:


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ex-prosecutors embrace courts for terror cases

Attorneys Richard Zabel and James Benjamin concluded that civilian courts are able to produce just, reliable results while protecting national security after examining 123 terrorism prosecutions. Their examination, entitled "In Pursuit of Justice," comes as Mohammed faces a military commission trial at Guantanamo Bay.

I agree. The court system works. It has stood the test of time and is core to how our system of government works. Use it. Don't waste resources on a new unproven solution in this case. Reduce, reuse, freecycle.


read more digg story

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Senators: No need for paper e-voting trails, 'electronic' OK

Wrong!!! Numerous real *computer* experts have reached the conclusion that paper is the best option. Why do politicians think they know better? I'm a computer professional and once thought that it would be better to go all electronic. But after looking into it more carefully, I realized that my first impression was wrong. Paper is an excellent technology to use for voting in this case. Paper ballots and trails don't require that much in resource use and voting is critically important to get right. Get rid paper use elsewhere in government but use paper where it makes sense. Trust the majority of experts.

read more digg story

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Obama Connection - Relationships & Networks

Barack Obama’s grasp of Internet-driven networking comes from his conviction that in a globalized world sociability is a force as strong as sovereignty. Obama and his campaign understand the power of the internet more than any others currently running for President. They also understand that the internet is a game changer.

Many are encountering "Future Shock" as the internet continues to change the world. Things that were impossible before are now easy. Information that once seemed innocuous as public information can now seem invasive when every move one makes in public can be tracked so exactly that people no longer have the semblance of privacy they once enjoyed. Getting information on all subjects and connecting across the globe is now easy -- for better (democracy) or for worse (terrorism). Free speech is also on this cutting edge. Whose law applies to your speech? The law that governs where you write? Or the law that governs where people read?

Obama and his team are further down this new path than any others. Obama is better positioned to lead us in this new age than any other.

"It’s the networks, stupid, and the generations that go with them."

read more | digg story

Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain

One of own strengths is that I like to think outside the box and make different kinds of connections between information. Often others have trouble keeping up with me and wish I would focus more. But as it turns out this "weakness" is actually one of my "strengths" as described in the recent research described in this article.

“It may be that distractibility is not, in fact, a bad thing,” said Shelley H. Carson, a psychology researcher at Harvard whose work was cited in the book. “It may increase the amount of information available to the conscious mind.”

"A reduced ability to filter and set priorities, the scientists concluded, could contribute to original thinking."

"Jacqui Smith, a professor of psychology and research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the current research, said there was a word for what results when the mind is able to assimilate data and put it in its proper place — wisdom."

read more | digg story

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blind Win Court Ruling on U.S. Currency

A federal appeals court ruled that the United States discriminates against the blind and those with limited vision because its paper currency is all the same size. It is time for US money to be Section 504 compliant.

I was "blind" to this situation until I heard about it in the news today. Now that I've read through what the situation is with US currency, it seems blatantly obvious to me that our currency must be changed to make it accessible. I'm surprised something was not done sooner.

Some references on this subject:
Currency Features for Visually Impaired People


read more digg story

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thank God All People Can Be Treated Equally

I’m a happily married heterosexual Christian who is relieved and pleased that gays and lesbians will soon be able to marry legally in California (May 15, 2008 ruling by the California State Supreme Court).

Now my many heterosexual and homosexual friends can benefit equally from the institution of marriage for their families, relationships, and children.

The United States was founded on the basis of equality for all humankind. We continue to discover and benefit from the natural, but sometimes slow to arrive, consequences of this simple yet momentous premise.

Declaration of Independence:
.... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...

US Constitution:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...

Safe Cycling

Many believe that bicycling is unsafe and that cyclists are more often at fault than motorists. However both are untrue. A recent article on SF is somewhat more accurate in discussing the risks of cycling and who should become more educated.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Just Imagine What Positive Work We Could Do With...

Just Imagine What Positive Work We Could Do With...

4000 living young American men and women,
1001 living American contractors,
29,000 unwounded young American men and women,
90,000 living Iraqi Civilians,
500 Billion US dollars,
and 5 Years...

With those resources we could have reduced global warming, saved millions of lives, fed billions, and ended illiteracy worldwide. ( , , , )

Instead, this is what President Bush and his supporters chose to spend starting and waging war in Iraq. And the war is not over. The United States is likely to spend many more years, countless more lives, and around 2 trillion US dollars, perhaps more, on this war.

What a horrendous waste of resources.

What do you think works better to reduce terrorism?
1) Killing the friends and families of others? Or,
2) Educating others so they can live decently with their friends and family?

Tonight I spent 2 hours with 50 other peace loving patriots at a vigil in Mountain View, California to honor the 4000 American soldiers who have died so far in Iraq. We spent 30 minutes reading aloud each name of the over 400 Californian soldiers who have died in the past 5 years.

This evening I met Karen Meredith whose only son Ken Ballard died on May 20, 2004. Please read more about Ken at

Five years ago my father, an ardent peace activist, died just as the war began. Please read what I said during his memorial service on March 23, 2003 at

Finally, Greg Mortenson worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan, could see a catastrophe about to happen, and saw the best way to prevent terrorism permanently. To learn more about his work please read the book "Three Cups of Tea"

Just imagine what Greg could have done with the resources that have been wasted on the war in Iraq. He could have really ended terrorism instead of creating conditions that generate more terrorism.

I hope each of you who read my message here will do your own small part to end this war, save lives, and save our world.

Thank you.

Tim Oey

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Whistle-blowing site Wikileaks gets its domain name back

The judge who closed the Wikileaks domain reversed his decision. is a whistle-blowing site that focuses on posting leaked documents. Wikileaks alleges that the documents in question show that the Swiss bank, Julius Baer, supports the "ultrarich's offshore tax avoidance, tax evasion, asset hiding, and money laundering.

"The court denies the motion for preliminary injunction, and the court hereby dissolves the injunction against (domain name registrar) Dynadot, and the litigation may now proceed," said U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in reversing his earlier ruling.

I'm glad that Public Citizen, the California First Amendment Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Project on Government Oversight, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation were all able to help turn this around.

read more | digg story

Additionally, as of March 5, CNN reports that the Swiss bank has now abandoned its lawsuit. As mentioned in an earlier post, this lawsuit clearly backfired as it drew far more attention to the documents it was trying to "hide" than if it had done nothing. For further details, please read:

Friday, February 22, 2008

EFF: Lawyer Trademarks "Cyberlaw" Threatens Legal Action

"I wish I could say I was surprised by this one, but such overreaching invocations of IP rights are all too common -- even where, as in this case, there are no actual "rights" to speak of. But an IP lawyer should know that courts...."

Yes the trend continues, some businesses want to own language and prevent others from speaking by misusing trademark law -- from freecycle to cyberlaw. See also:,0,1813223.story

read more | digg story

Obama: America must talk with enemies; Clinton won't budge

As the Democratic CNN/Univision debate kicked off Thursday night, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) faced off over Cuba, with Obama reiterating his position that America "has to talk with its enemies," with Clinton holding to an earlier position that no president should meet with Cuba's new leader unless conditions are met.

I believe that everyone should be willing to talk and keep talking. It is the only way to understand each other's position so that war, bloodshed, and terrorism can be averted.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wikileaks shutdown causes opposite effect

In an ironic twist, the "shutdown" of by Judge Jeffrey S. White and the company Julius Baer Bank to reduce distribution of certain documents has probably caused more publicity, focus, and re-publication of the alleged infringing documents than if the site had been left alone. Oooops!

For more details please read:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tour of California Prologue Was a Hit!

The prologue in Palo Alto, CA for the Tour of California bicycle race was very popular with large crowds, bell ringers, and even valet bicycle parking. Bicycling is obviously very popular in California. See the longer story from the "read more" link.

I was there in person too. I helped park bikes at the SVBC bike parking facility in down town Palo Alto and then watched the race itself and got a cowbell to clang for the racers. It was an amazing time.

read more | digg story

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Consumer Reports

The magazine and web site provide the best independent expert advice for consumers in North America -- from money to health care to cars to consumer products. Their articles are not always perfect but they are far, far better than advice from just about any source (especially better than random anecdotes from friends). And when they make a mistake, they admit it and publish a correction.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sheldon Brown R.I.P (1944-2008)

Sheldon Brown, a legend in the bicycling community, passed away on February 3, 2008. He was a friend and will be greatly missed.

read more #1 | read more #2 | read more #3 | digg story

The Universe Is Conspiring to Help Us

Kevin Kelly is a guy who really understands the nature of giving. He says "I've only slowly come to realize that good givers are those who learn to receive with grace as well. They radiate a sense of being indebted and a state of being thankful." Please read his essay for more.

read more | digg story

Monday, February 04, 2008

Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Philip Zimbardo discusses his new book "The Lucifer Effect" on NPR's "It's Your World". In this talk and book, Mr Zimbardo shows us "It's the system, stupid!" Many systems corrupt the otherwise good people within them -- from Genocide to Abu Ghraib.

This is a must listen (and read) for today's world citizens. Philip Zimbardo has really hit the nail on the head. This explains much of the behavior within The Freecycle Network and other systems that have taken good people and some how caused them to do wrong. It also is a reminder that we must all do more systems thinking. The notion that an individual (a scapegoat) is at fault is often wrong. It is too easy to blame an individual rather than look at the circumstances in which the person or people are operating.

read more #1 | read more #2 | digg story

Barack Obama's response to Bush's final State of the Union

Barack Obama's response to Bush's final State of the Union was well spoken. Not only is Barack Obama intelligent, rational and eloquent, I think he is going to be the next President of the United States. Barack has the magic as illustrated by the ObamaGirl videos and the video. Check them out. Barack Obama is a new man for a new age. He is on a roll.


read more | digg story

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Clinton and Obama Positive Role Model in Debate

"In their Jan 31, 2008 presidential debate, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama debated the issues rather than deriding each other. They answered questions on health care, Iraq and even the possibility of an Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama ticket in the general election."

Now this is how all debates should be. Focus on the issues instead of berating the other candidate. It makes me feel much more positive about the future of our society when rivals can also be friends. It also makes me very inclined to donate to BOTH of their campaigns. I am very in favor of an Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama ticket. At this point I don't really care which one it is as I think either would be an amazing matchup that would accomplish wonders and turn world opinion about the US around.

President Bush has trashed the US's reputation as viewed by the rest of the world by being a hypocrite, bully, liar, and general bad example.

It's time for the US to turn this around. New positive leadership is a prerequisite for this.

read more | digg story

Afghan Student Sentenced to Death After Downloading Report

A 23-year-old student journalist in Afghanistan has been sentenced to death for downloading and distributing a report that is critical of the oppressive treatment of women in some Islamic societies.

My perspective: This is a tragedy and an outrage. It shines a poor light on Islam and on Afghanistan and on the US to allow such a thing. If a religion or government cannot tolerate the exercise of free speech, then it is too oppressive and deserves the ridicule it receives. It is most unfortunate that George Bush and his kind support this behavior by condoning this type of behavior and being intolerant of civil liberties.

read more | digg story

Saturday, January 26, 2008

One more freecycling free reason

freecycle being free is a major benefit for both The Freecycle Network (TFN) and non-TFN groups. For TFN it removes the taint of being a trademark bully (aren't they supposed to be charitable?), allows members and moderators to do what comes naturally, and makes the whole freecycle arena much bigger with TFN already owning some of the choicest domain names in that space. For non-TFN groups, it removes the cloud over the word so they can breath easy and just use what is the most natural word to use. It helps re-unite the freecycling grass roots movement again so we all can focus on making the world a better place rather than beating each other up.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

freecycle, let me count the ways...

Why should freecycle be free? Let me count the ways...

1) freecycle is a great new word that accurately describes a popular activity (to reuse/recycle by giving trash away to someone who actually wants it and can use it rather than putting it in a landfill)
2) freecycle is either a compound word combining "free" and "cycle" or it is a portmanteau combining "free" and "recycle"
3) no other word accurately describes the act of freecycling and words by their very nature must be free for all to use
4) giving, is just giving and has no connotation of environmentalism or recycling, freecycling is a specialized form of giving
5) recycling is recycling -- reusing materials, freecycling is a variation on recycling
6) reusing is reusing -- and does not necessarily mean giving away for reuse
7) gifting is usually associated with purchasing and giving something valuable to someone special, it has no connotations regarding recycling or environmentalism or that you have trash you will dump if no one wants it
8) regiving is not a regular "official" word and also implies giving again -- when you have purchased something you could then freecycle it but regiving makes less sense
9) regifting is a popular well known activity -- after you've received a gift you don't need or don't like -- but this does not capture what freecycling is really about
10) freesharing, freeusing, etc are all new constructs that do not have the same ring or popularity as freecycling and also do not as naturally capture the nature and spirit of freecycling
11) freecycle was freely given away hundreds of thousands of times by the people who created it and popularized it and when you give something away, you should be generous and allow people to keep the gift, right?
12) the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, San Jose Mercury News, Grist, and many other news organizations have all used "freecycle" as a word and if they can, why not everyone else?
13) Goodwill Industries feels no need to corner the market on goodwill, so why should The Freecycle Network be the only group that can engage in freecycling?
14) the very nature of freecycling encourages the word to be freely freecycled too, right? does it hurt if there are as many freecyclers in the world as possible? isn't that the whole point of the freecycling grassroots movement?

(A word to the wise: If you want to trademark something, don't invent a new word and expect to control it. Rather invent a new word and let it be free. Then pick a separate mark that can be protected by being a trademark. This is why drug companies ALWAYS have a generic name in addition to a brand name for their medications. Otherwise your "mark" will just go the way of yo-yo, escalator, etc)

How many ways are there to freecycle stuff? Let me count the ways...

1) leave stuff on the curb with/or without a "free" sign -- this is a classic method.
2) give stuff away to neighbors or relatives (although you usually don't give them the really trashy stuff)
3) freecycle with a free post on Craigslist
4) freecycle with a free post in the local freetrader (paper or electronic)
5) freecycle by dropping stuff off at Goodwill or Salvation Army and not bother with a tax receipt
6) freecycle by dropping off at your favorite local charity who can use it
7) freecycle by leaving something in the freecycle zone at a dump
8) freecycle by posting to a neighborhood or city email list
9) freecycle through the groups or services listed at
10) and
11) and
12) and
13) and
14) and
15) and
16) and
17) and
18) and
19) and
20) and
21) and
22) and
23) and
24) and
25) and
26) and
27) and
28) and
29) and
30) and
31) and
32) and
33) and
34) and

Wow! There sure are a lot of ways, aren't there?