Tag Archives: election

Devin

“That you are here — that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” — Walt Whitman

Four days after the election, still stunned by the news that Hillary would not be our president, I went to a funeral for a good friend of mine from middle school. Devin Kennedy-Puthoff was creative and passionate. He was really fun to be around. Though I lost touch with him as we grew up, I’m very thankful to have known him.

People pass in and out of our lives. The friends we have when we’re younger might not stick with us. We might have different friends in high school and college. And different friends again as adults.

That’s okay. We all need different things at different points in our lives.

Twenty-five years, thirty years… It’s a long time. Reaching back into the past so far, untangling the stories in our mind, leaves fragments. These memories aren’t complete or precise. They are less complicated and so in a way, more true.

A few nights later, magician David Blaine had a TV special on. I was thinking of a day when Devin and I were practicing magic tricks with quarters. Kids hanging out with nothing much to do, turning free time and a couple quarters into something.

To this day, when I see a magic show, I often think back to that moment. When I see a movie about magic, or teach my kids to make a quarter disappear, I think back to that moment with Devin when life was a little simpler.

At the funeral, I was wondering why that memory was so strong that it has stuck with me all these years. I think it’s because there was something pure about it. Time strips away everything in a memory that isn’t essential.

If you read every post on my blog for the last decade, you’ll know what I think about the tech world, but very little about my family. If you read every post from my private journal, you’ll know the rest. Taken together it might be too much. Too complicated.

Who we are is not just what we’ve done. Who we are is that moment that someone will remember later, as I remembered Devin, for years or decades. That moment that is so true because we’ve forgotten everything that doesn’t matter.

Timetable 27

Today I published a new episode of Timetable. It’s about Apple’s new design book but also about how social networks are broken, with a hint of what I think we can do about it. It’s just 3 and a half minutes long.

As I’ve written about before, Apple no longer needs us to defend the company. On the other hand, many good people work on Apple’s products and so criticizing the company can easily come across as criticizing those people. That’s not my intention, but I sometimes get that balance wrong.

I own dozens and dozens of art books, but I won’t be ordering this new Apple design book. It looks overconfident instead of nostalgic. It looks like it celebrates objects instead of people. It looks like a beautiful book for the wrong time.

Proud to have voted for Hillary

I couldn’t sleep. I woke up early the day after the election, thinking about my daughters, and cried. I had been so excited to celebrate our new president with them. I had been so excited to watch the returns with my kids, to share a moment of pride and optimism.

This wasn’t a normal election. This wasn’t just a debate over policy. It was much deeper. The world is already worse and darker for many people because of what happened.

There will be arguments over why the election went so wrong, but it’s more complicated than just one thing. There was the overplayed story about private emails. There was the FBI letter. There was the media treating Trump like a reality TV star instead of a threat.

Hillary did her job. She destroyed Trump in all 3 debates. She ran a solid campaign. But she has always been held to a different standard than everyone else. I’ll never get over that.

I’m proud to have voted for Hillary in the primary and in the general election, and I’d do both again. This election was very close. It was winnable. If we had ignored the polls and fought for every state, it was winnable.

Friday night, I went with a friend to see Trevor Noah’s standup show. It was great to laugh for a couple hours, about the election and everyday life. But then the night fades and we’re still in a nightmare.

After Hillary has had some time to rest, and reflect, and be her own person again, I hope she can find another cause worth fighting for. Let’s not forget that she did make history as the first woman to be nominated by a major party. She paved the way and reminded us how hard this is. That matters.

Daniel and I recorded an episode of Core Intuition the day after the election. We tried to capture that feeling of loss, and anger, but also of hope that we can have a renewed passion for our apps and ideas. Maybe some of our products have a place in the work to do before 2018.

Hillary said in her speech, the day after the election:

Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.

On this, I disagree with Hillary. Trump has already shown us who he is — someone who mistreats women, lashes out at his critics, and disrespects immigrants — and nothing he does in office will change that. The only thing we owe him is a short presidency.

This is Hillary’s week

The Democratic National Convention starts today and the latest round of polls are out. FiveThirtyEight’s polls-only estimate of the election now shows Trump in the lead. Just in case you think we can not vote or not volunteer, and Hillary will coast to a win anyway… we can’t.

As a long-time Hillary supporter — I recorded a podcast episode about the primary process back in 2008, which I’m still very proud of — I’m increasingly frustrated to realize how much damage has been done with the constant attacks against her character over 20 years. She’s held to a different standard of perfection than everyone else. But she’s a very good candidate and fundamentally honest.

Let’s not forget how historic this election is. From a New York Times profile by Gail Collins:

You can argue the pros and cons of Hillary Clinton’s character, or her potential to change the nation, or her position on trade policy. But you can never take away the fact that she was the one who made the idea of a woman becoming president so normal that many young women are bored by it.

If Hillary wins, future generations will grow up learning about how Republicans (and even some Democrats) threw everything at her for decades, and she never gave up on politics. Success isn’t just the best ideas, the best product, the best marketing. Success is perseverance.

There are many people alive today who were born before women had the right to vote. Trump is wrong about what makes America “great”. The country is great because it is progressive, even if progress takes a long time. Electing the first woman president isn’t supposed to be easy. Hillary is a strong Democrat, and her place in history is worth fighting for and celebrating.

I’m supporting Hillary, again

As Iowa kicks off the election today, I thought I’d offer my 2 cents on the campaign. I’m a strong Hillary Clinton supporter.

Dave Winer writes that Hillary is what we need right now in terms of projecting a stable image to the rest of the world:

“At this moment, we need a solid hitter, someone who the rest of the world is comfortable with, and who a deeply injured Republican Party can work with.”

It’s great to see the passionate Bernie Sanders supporters, too. I was fired up for Howard Dean in 2004, so I remember what that excitement is like. But I believe Hillary would be a great president.

Eight years ago I put together a short podcast episode about the campaign, trying to capture something from 2008. You can listen to it here. My daughters — who were 7 years old at the time — make an appearance at the end of the episode. Now, of course, they’re 15, and the weight of time passing couldn’t be more clearly felt.

There’s a good line from Hillary in one of the first Democratic debates in 2015:

“I’m a progressive. But I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.”

I think that sums up what we can expect from a Hillary Clinton presidency. I have no idea what a Bernie Sanders presidency would look like — what it would accomplish — and I’m not sure he does either. My concern isn’t in the ideas, but in the execution against a politically calculating, Republican congress.

Bernie and Hillary share something in a fighting attitude, though. Neither candidate will let the Republicans walk over them. If you don’t think Hillary’s got this, re-watch her speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Hillary podcast

About once a year I like to put together a podcast episode around a theme, and this weekend that subject is Hillary Clinton. I think I’ve prepared it with fairness and respect, so even if you disagree please do the same. It’s both a personal expression and a way of capturing a moment.

» Download (MP3, 6.2MB)

» Subscribe in iTunes

It’s about 13 minutes long. Enjoy.

Animation podcasts for a Super Tuesday

Need something to listen to on your iPod while waiting in line to vote today? Try out these fantastic recent episodes of two of my favorite podcasts for animators and animation fans.

“Spline Cast with Ed Catmull”:http://splinedoctors.blogspot.com/2007/11/original-spline-doctor.html. I’ll be honest, I’ve followed the careers of John Lasseter and Steve Jobs a lot closer than I have for Ed Catmull, but this podcast shows pretty clearly the depth of impact Ed Catmull has had on the computer industry and the Pixar culture. It’s a great listen not just for anyone who cares about animation, but also for entrepreneurs who want a look into how you stay successful year after year.

“Animation Podcast with James Baxter”:http://animationpodcast.com/archives/2008/02/04/james-baxter-part-one/. There are many great animators, from well known independents who receive Oscar recognition to those who work 12-hour days in relative obscurity at a big studio, but there are only a handful of true masters of the art form. Baxter is one of my favorites. The powerful sequence with Moses and the burning bush and the mannerism of Belle fixing her hair were both always really memorable for me.

Enjoy! Happy Super Tuesday.

Why I support Hillary

Obama is passionate, thoughtful, centrist enough for broad appeal, and a brilliant speaker. If he’s the nominee I’ll support him fully with every bit of strength I have. There is something special about him, and it comes around rarely in a candidate.

“Dave Winer wrote”:http://www.scripting.com/stories/2008/01/08/gluedToTheTv.html: “Obama, like Carter in 1976, may be our pennance for having re-elected Bush in 2004. We’re taking the medicine we deserve for having been crazy enough to re-elect someone who was so bad for us.”

But what about Hillary? She’s part of the establishment, and I volunteered heavily for the Howard Dean campaign. Could I support someone as traditional as Hillary? As “Mike Cohen said”:http://mcdevzone.com/2008/01/08/bad-news-from-new-hampshire: “I oppose her very strongly, not only because of all the baggage she brings, but for her anti-progressive record.”

And yet.

“I posted to Twitter”:http://twitter.com/manton/statuses/578006692 on election night that something had changed between the Iowa vote and New Hampshire: Hillary had found her voice, and it surprised me. Turns out she knows what is at stake. I always knew she was a fighter; after 2000 and 2004, we need the Democrats to show some backbone again. But I think she’s been underestimated even more deeply than that, in her ability to speak to the core Democratic base while drawing upon her new experience and record in the Senate that most people aren’t familiar with yet.

And then there is the woman factor. Some people will say this matters but they don’t really understand unless they have daughters of their own, daughters who will grow up and become teenagers, the defining moment of their lives, during a woman presidency. This is both personal and huge and it could spread like wildfire. For me, it tips the balance.

My family is throwing its support — our money for donations, our phones for getting out the vote, and our voice — behind Hillary. Thank you New Hampshire for making this a real primary election again.

Five years later

I couldn’t let the 5th anniversary of September 11th pass without saying something. On Friday the Senate intelligence committee released a report showing that there was no link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. That isn’t news. What is news is the details: that Saddam actually distrusted Al Qaeda and tried to capture Zarqawi. The simple truth is that terrorist organizations are a threat to any government, even ones we have disagreements with.

If that doesn’t make you sick, here’s another one that I haven’t heard mentioned yet. Sometime next year the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq will surpass the civilian deaths on September 11th. (September 11th = 2973, Iraq as of today = 2661)

The level of incompetence in our President, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and their advisors reaches new heights. What can we do? Five years ago we were uneducated and scared, and even two years later we could easily be led by fear alone. Now, just stay angry. Change starts in November.