Barack Obama

Finally, the American democratic system has been able to elect a world leader who isn't a total fucking moron. And on streets around America, and even around the world, partying and celebrations were going on long into the night. But what is the cause for celebration?

You don't celebrate the starting gun of a marathon. Electing a competent leader is the fundamental base of a successful democracy. If the achievement of a basic fundamental leads to partying in the streets, it is just a celebration of the abolishment of absolute failures within the system previously. This election is merely laying down the foundations for a skyscraper. Running a marathon is good to look back on once you've crossed the finish line. But reaching that finish line bleeds pain and anguish. The way celebrations were carried out, you'd think that Obama had already achieved all that he has pledged. But you don't celebrate the starting gun of a marathon. To be a good leader, you make the right decisions. To be a popular leader you make the popular decisions. And these are not often one of the same. Something has to give. Does Obama want to retain his popularity, or does he want to make the right long-term decisions? This is the honeymoon period. Next comes the divorce.

Now I'm not trying to put a downer on everything. An election where Bush isn't elected, is no doubt cause for celebration because things will no doubt improve. But I do feel that the level of celebration is 8 years premature. People view Obama as some kind of saviour. But in a market, you can't keep everybody happy. And watching how people are celebrating, they aren't ready for the fact that Obama has tough decisions to make. He has decision that will leave demographics that were celebrating last night, crying into their Obama t-shirts. That's just the way of the systems that we live in, and I don't think that some people, many whom are ignorant enough to have voted Bush 4 years ago, are prepared for this. It is no doubt a world victory though.

I hesitate to crown Obama the first black president. I merely call him the first non-white president. He has a white mother and a black father. He's as white as he is black, so I don't personally think this should be the crowning achievement of this election as the media are claiming it to be. It's a further step in the civil rights movement, that a man without wholly white parents is elected into office. But would the predominantly white US public have elected Obama had his monther been black as well? There's no way to really know, but to me this isn't the end of the civil rights movement as many feel it is.

2008 US election results map And I also have to make the point that 21 states still voted republican. 21 states of America still felt that Palin could operate as the most powerful person on the planet. That to me is still very worrying. This is America's first steps subsequent to Bush, out of the wilderness of retardedness, with a majority vote making an intelligent decision. But with 21 states still thinking Palin could run the world; fuck me there's still a long way to go. I tend to address a country based on majority though. Seeing as a majority reelected Bush, I have held that abomination on every single American since. Now a majority has made an intelligent choice, I shall no longer refer to all of America as total fucking retards. Just a select 21 states. America as a whole has regained some credibility to the world. Though if they think that one election makes up for exercising 8 years of Bush on the world, they need to think again.

Another question that I have to ask in queery to the US political system, is why do we now wait until January 20th until Obama takes office? If another country listened to Bush prior to the election (which is a big if), then why would they now? Because in 10 weeks, a new man with a different perspective will be speaking for the US. It's essentially a 10 week period of political limbo now for the US. Bush has essentially lost all of his power on the world stage now his sucessor is in place, so for the next 10 weeks, the US has no impetus in international negotiations. It just seems a little unnecessary to me. In my opinion, the result of the election should only be announced as the new man is undertaking his post. If there is a transitional period, which there is no reason that there should be; it's not like Obama is a political novice who doesn't know the US's current policies, or have any idea how to address them, then don't announce the election result until Obama is ready to take office. There is now a 10-week hiatus where the US have no international metle.

Barack Obama

America is the land of opportunity right? Some people certainly think so: The following are a couple of screen shots that I took of eBay today. 2 lots... for yesterdays paper. That's right, papers you would've been able to buy at newstands for about a dollar yesterday.

November 5th Ebay auction for 2008 election Obama victory Chicago tribune

November 5th Ebay auction for 2008 election Obama victory New York Times

You still think that people aren't caught up in the moment of this election. Reality bites.

This good news of yesterday, was overtaken in the UK headlines just as I was sitting down to write this blog, with the news of a 1.5% interest rate cut. This may be exactly what the economy needs, but fuck me a cut that big is bad news for me seeing as I go abroad in less than 2 weeks. As I currently sit on top of savings that I've accumulated for my travels, this now means that their value will increase at a slower rate. Bad news for me as this is a cut aimed I xe.com exchange rates on 06th November 2008 assume at helping out mortgage holders. Worse than that though, this rate cut will mean an even greater weakening of the pound. This is a screenshot I took at the time of writing from xe.com. You can already see that the pound is already way down on the CAD compared to where it was when I was celebrating $2 to £1, not too many blogs ago. Now I can expect it to get worse. It's not often that I hope to be proved wrong, but on this occasion, I hope that whenever I next look back at this blog, and look back at this shot from xe.com, it's a much prettier picture than I expect it to be.

Now how long ago was it that Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross making a prank phone call, was bigger news to the BBC than conflict in Congo? Was it about a week or so ago? Then tell me, how can the fact that Georgina Baille has now admitted that the punishments are far too severe for the crimes, not be headline news. In fact, just 8 hours after this article was published on the BBC website, it was not even on the main page. I'm not sure if it ever even made the main page at all. I only heard about the story from another source, and had to search within the BBC's archives to even find this article. Why is it that persecuting 2 essentially innocent victims, costing 3 people their jobs, is given priority in the news over a war? But an admission by the supposed victim to this crime that actually everything was taken too far, does not get on the front page? Can someone please tell me that? And to all those people who said that I was being an idiot for backing Brand and Ross, well fuck you! If the victim doesn't even feel victimised, then you haven't got a leg to stand on. This is the overreaction of the century, and in my opinion, if Brand and Ross felt the need to apologise to Sachs and Baillie over their actions, I think 42,000 people who complained owe both of them an apology. That would include the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. And the way that the supposedly impartial and unbias BBC attempt to hide this side of the story by not even making it headline news on their website is disgraceful to me. If I'd ever actually paid my license fee I'd have a good mind to complain. 42,000 times.

With all the news over the past couple of days, I've spent a lot of time immersed in various mediums. And there were a couple of other stories from the BBC that I thought worth mentioning. Do you belive that the freedom of religion is a good thing? Well read this story, and answer me that question again.

The other was this story eminating from France. America might be celebrating a civil liberties victory, but in France they're trying to remove peoples right to Internet. The big brother in France has decided that music piracy is such a crime that those proven to its guilt no longer have a right to Internet access. To me, a demonstration of a government helping the rich at the expense of the poor.

Let's look at movie piracy as an example. Now any idiot knows that abusing a monopolistic position in a market, is anti-competitive practice. It is an act that will ultimately cost the consumer. What are the characteristics of abusing this position though? Raising prices to consumers because they do not have an alternative choice. And in my opinion, the best way to determine if a company is acting monopolistically, is to examine how the market would act were there perfect competition. In the film industry, how is a film sold to consumers? First it's shown in cinemas. Then it's brought out on rental DVD. Then it's available to purchase on DVD. Then it's available to consumers on pay-per-view channels. Then it's available on movie channels. Then it's available on terrestrial channels. Next a director's cut surfaces, and this is viewable only by DVD rental. Then the director's cut is available to buy on DVD. Then the director's cut is available on pay-per-view. Then it's on movie channels. And finally it's on terrestrial. These are the gradual stages in which movie's are brought to consumers. At each one of these stages, the recording studios take their cut from the project. They sell the film to cinemas. Then they sell it to rental shops. Then they sell it to consumers. Then they sell (or rent) it, to TV stations. And you can go into this process in even greater detail as well. When it's first released on DVD, what is the price to consumers? Normally £14.99, something like that. 6 months later though, it'll be on sale at HMV for £2.99. And if that is all the product is actually worth, what does that tell you? It tells you that consumers were overcharged to pay for the DVD at £14.99. So why did they buy it? The marketing of the recording studios makes movies into must have products. If you haven't seen the film at work, or at school, you aren't the bollocks. Now the problem with the movie industry, is that each product is individual. You cannot make substitute goods. What is someone going to do instead of see Quantam of Solace? Watch Chuck Norris in The Octagon? Are you going to be able to talk to all your friends about The Octagon then? No. There is no product that can provide the same social benefits as actually seeing Quantum of Solace. So with each movie being absolutely unique, they are not really products. Products have substitute products, but for movies there are none. No, a movie is not a product, it is essentially a mini-industry. Each movie is an industry fully monopolised by it's recording studio. And within that industry, the abuse of that monopolistic position is taken to a level that far exceeds what would be allowed in any other industry. But because there are no substitute products available, they can get away abusing the position they hold, having marketed it as something of a social necessity. Were 5 film studios given the DVD rights to Quantum of Solace for example, would it be released into the market at £14.99? Maybe for a day. But if Universal released it at £14.99, Fox would come along and sell it at £13.99. Seeing this, Paramount would release the DVD at £12.99. MGM would then sell it for £11.99, and with market forces at work in this mini industry, the film would be selling just above the cost to purchase the rights of this film. Probably selling at about £2.99 by the end of the first day. This is what would happen if each movie was a competitive industry. But alas, it isn't. Each movie is viewed by competition autorities as an individual product in a competitive market. And as they are viewed as this, though in reality they are industries, film studios are allowed to abuse their monopolistic power over each movie, and as such, screw consumers by charging prices that will lead to profits significantly above cost. Now don't get me wrong, the film studios pay to produce these movies, and as such, should receive some financial reward for this investment if it proves to be successful. But there is receiving an adequate financial reward, and there is abusing a position of power to screw over consumers and maximise profits. Film studios are the latter. So do I feel guilt when I regulary watch pirated copies of movies? No. Because either I screw the film studios, or they will screw me. Selling the product as they do, they are the only possible outcomes. And I'm not in the habit of getting screwed over. If they charged a reasonable price, I would be more than willing to pay it. But seeing as their only goal is to screw over me, then I won't hesitate to watch a pirate copy at their expense. And the same principles apply in music.

And it is for these reasons, that I think the actions of the French Government as described in the article I linked to above, are absolutely disgusting. They are defending large companies who's only goal it is, is to generate excessive profits at the expense of consumers in an already faltering economy. And they are punishing the people who stand up to these profit-mongers. I have downloaded plenty of illegal content in the past, and as long as the market remains as it is, I will continue to do so. If anything, piracy helps the market to work efficiently. It is at least some form of competition to the film studios that will drive down prices. I would be willing to pay a reasonable price to download a movie, if it has the guarantees that it is safe. Because downloading pirate material, you just don't know what you are putting onto your computer. But the price that I am willing to pay to avoid this risk is a polar opposite to the prices that are actually charged. Piracy is in effect, a competitive force, which goes some way to preventing the abuse of a position of power by film studios. The actions of the French government to me here, therefore, are a disgusting attempt to make the rich richer, and keep the poor as servants. It is a rare instance where I back the stance of the European Union. The Internet has become as important a fundamental to free society as anything else. And to me it is a demonstration of government insecurities, as they gradually attempt to regulate how it is used. To regulate supposed free speech.

There's one other thing I've noticed in the media recently that worries me. It isn't a particular story, but a generalised change of attitude towards climate change that has me worried. It wasn't too long ago, that when the media addressed climate change, they addressed what could be done to stop it. That the consequences of the species that would be wiped out, and the natural disasters etc., were a cause worth fighting for. Now climate change is addressed as an issue, not to be fought against, but embraced. How can we make the best of it? What opportunities does climate change offer? I just find this change in attitude that I've noticed, to be very alarming. It's almost as if the few thousand people that will die annually as a result of natural disasters no longer matter. That the extinction of polar bears, and emperor penguins, and the melting of the polar ice-caps, are no longer a problem. How can we make the most of that? Well we can drill for oil there now. What about all the dead people? Who cares, look how tanned I'm getting. That's just an observation I've made. I find it worrying that people are being lulled into a state of acceptance about climate change though. If people think there's nothing that can be done about it, people will do nothing about it. Hopefully I'm wrong in this observation.

Now if you remember back to the end of the blog I wrote on the 16th October, I was saying I had a stalker... Well I still do. She won't stop Facebook messaging me, she's using my personal email address, and she even managed to search out and comment on what I think is the only picture of me naked in all of Facebook. The only one I'm aware UCH Sharks naked calendar 2008, University of Hull of anyway. When the football team did a team picture for the naked calendar probably a year or more ago now. I looked; do you know on what page of photos of me that this picture appears in Facebook? 37. She has looked through 37 pages of pictures of me to find the only one out of currently 1,518 where I'm naked. And... in one of the many Facebook messages and emails she's sent, she does go on to say how she's taken my mobile number off my Facebook profile. Seriously though, having someone in a tree with binoculars outside your room; that's cool. That's a good stalker. Having someone who sends you messages all the time: That's just weird! And looks through pages and pages of pictures of you. I know I'm beautiful, but 37 pages! No one's that hot.

There really is nothing to actually report in this blog about my travelling, which is a little concerning seeing as it's now less than 2 weeks until I leave. The only minor thing to say, is "fuck!" I completely forgot about the NFL's flexible scheduling when I booked my bus down to Seattle for the Redskins game in a couple of weeks. It's a way of ensuring that there is a "big game" played in all of the Sunday time slots. I would hope that a game involving Seattle couldn't be classed as a "big game" seeing as we're 2-6. But playing the NFC East Skins, it's a possibility. And the way my luck has been going recently, it'll probably be one of the games that gets moved, making the bus tickets to Seattle all out-of-whack, and probably costing a hefty transfer fee. I won't get pissed off until I actually hear about a move, because it is unlikely. But I'd completely forgotten it was a possibility at all. I should know within 5 days.

There's been no significant site updates in the past couple of days either (what the fuck have I been doing for 2 days?). The one thing to note is that another alter-ego, Andy, has been added to the forum. I want to encourage people to disagree with me, because I like intelligent debate, and I like confrontation. So Andy has come in as the politically correct alter-ego. He's already started a topic complaining about a joke I make about Jade Goody on the homepage. I've now responded to that, and I'm not sure he'll be making another forum appearance. He might be so disgusted with the website that he doesn't come back. I need some entertaining topics to add to the forum though. I've been raking my brain for days trying to come up with things that me and my alter-egos can discuss to set a good tone to the forum and encourage people to sign up, but I can't think of any. And it's really hard writing in a different personality as well. People always tell me that I have quite a distinctive writing style, so when my alter-egos are writing, I really have to try and write like a retard so people don't suspect it's me. Ah well. I'll think of something interesting. Maybe just like a "favourite jokes" topic or something. Just something to get the forum in use. Now that I've developed the illusion that the forum does actually get used though, I almost regret taking it off the top blue button line of buttons on the main pages. Maybe I'll swap it around with the hostels page to encourage people to use it. And if I can find a decent image, I might add a "Visit the forum" part to the homepage; just like there's a "Sign the guestbook" part. I need to find the right image for that though, and although I have an idea of what I want, I haven't found anything yet.

I may not have updated this website, but my laptop is running a lot better than it was a couple of days ago. The way I see it, I'm not going to need the thousands of university pictures I have stored on my laptop when I'm travelling. Nor am I going to need the pictures from Mexico. And seeing as I very much doubt that my laptop will last the rigours of travelling, this trip will most likely be it's final assignment, so I'm streamlining her to work as well as possible when I'm travelling. That means deleting all files and programs I won't be using. Making the sole use of my laptop pretty much the Internet, this website, and photos and videos. I'm not really going to need anything else. So all of these photos have been copied onto DVD and removed from the laptop. More worryingly though, so has all my porn. I couldn't force myself to delete my porn recently, but I had to be strong. I have it on DVD and I have hand-held porn on my mp3, so I was able to pluck up the courage to make my laptop porn free in the name of travelling. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But I now have a fast-running, efficient, space-laden laptop for when I start travelling. Space to expand this website. But more necessarily, space to store all the 1,000's of photos and videos I plan on taking. And I'll be taking a full CD wallet of blank DVDs with me, so I guess I'll be copying them and sending them home once I've done what I need to with them, namely adding them to this website.

And that really has been my last 2 days. When I write it down, I realise I've really done nothing. And to all those of you on Hotmail who've had your account updated, I strongly encourage you to complain to Microsoft. They have claimed they have improved hotmail. That's bullshit. They have just changed the layout to give less room for reading emails, and more room for advertising. I have sent one complaint which probably isn't suitable for children. And I'll be sending more and more and more. And I encourage other people to do the same. Do Microsoft really need the revenues of increased advertising? Do they fuck. Thieving bastards.

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