February 6th, 2008

And Then It Snowed

Deciding that our VP was unlikely to arrive early enough that going to the Loop for meetings today would be useful, I went to the Westchester office this morning. Actually, I would have just stayed home and VPNed in from my work laptop, but it's been so long since I used it that I couldn't manage to get that to work.

See, catalana needed to get back to the train to Champaign and Erica Stormbringer had outdone herself with the snowstorm that arrived to herald her departure. The roads were covered with a mix of snow and slush that made me nervous. daisy_knotwise has a minivan with ABS. I drive a Ford Five Hundred with ABS, traction control, and AWD. I know which vehicle is going to be safer to drive in today's guck. Add to that the concept that an accident in the minivan will include Gretchen and Katie, while an accident in the sedan will include me (no slight to Erica, who finds herself in the hypothetical accident in either case) and the potential guilt load for not being the car to drop Erica at the train station this afternoon gets just a bit too large to put up with.

This is not to say that my sedan is accident-proof (or that I am, for that matter), but if you've taken all reasonable precautions, you've done the best you can under the circumstances. Given the four or five accidents that I saw on the Tri-State on the way to Westchester (at least one involving a minivan), I think it was the right decision.

I called Gretchen from work and filed the altered plan, then tried to get some work and meetings out of the way before heading back home for lunch. We went to Sweet Baby Ray's, where the staff was -- as usual! -- enchanted by Katie. Then I dropped Gretchen and Katie off and Erica and I headed for downtown.

Traffic on the inbound Kennedy was slow, but moved pretty well. I don't know why someone would be traveling in the left lane with their flashers on, but some drivers are happily a mystery to me. I dropped Erica off to catch her train with an hour to spare and headed home on the much slower outbound Kennedy.

When I got home, I checked in with Doug and found out that our VP hadn't been able to get into O'Hare, so the meetings scheduled for the rest of the week have been pushed off for at least two weeks. Overall, this is probably a good thing.

After dinner, I took the snowblower to the driveway where it did a fair job, although I had to use the shovel to break up some of the packed snow. There appears to have been another inch or so of snow that's fallen since, but that should be fairly easy to clear tomorrow.

I've also found that using the noise-canceling headphones and the new MP3 player while snowblowing the driveway makes it a much more pleasant experience. :)

And Erica reports that she made it back to Champaign without incident, which is good and pretty much what we expected based on the better weather south of here.

There will eventually be more comments from me on the con, but probably not until tomorrow.

A Brief Political Observation

There are plenty of politicians that I consider idiots. I'm sure that there are plenty that you consider idiots too.

I get a bit distressed though when I see Party X characterized as being evil adjectives A, B, and C -- and I get distressed at seeing Party Y characterized as being evil adjectives P, Q, and R. There've been some pretty evil parties in the history of world politics (the National Socialists come to mind) and I'm sure we could find some pretty authentically -- although probably small! -- evil parties in U.S. politics.

Our two big parties in the U.S. each seem to pull roughly half of the votes nationally. Now if either of those parties were e-e-vil, then that would suggest that half of the folks in the country were evil bastards. And I don't believe that.

I think that the vast majority of people in this country are fundamentally good people -- possibly flawed in one way or another, but fundamentally good. But each of us has different priorities based on our history and position in society, so it's not surprising that we're going to see different solutions as being more or less desirable.

And I don't think that either party is right all of the time. To pick a couple of examples, I think that the Democrats are right that there should be an estate tax (although I might disagree on the percentage and where it should kick in) and I think that the Republicans are right about requiring a secret ballot to bring a union into a corporation (but would be happy to look at suggestions for ways to prevent the corporations from using unethical methods to keep a union out).

But primary season is particularly annoying, because that's when most of the moderates tend to stay home. Candidates tack to the left or right to try to get their party's nomination, then run frantically back to the center to try to collect the mass of voters in the middle who are going to decide the election.

With the length of this presidential campaign cycle, we're now in something like our fourteenth month of pandering to the fringes of each party with no near end in sight. And it gets tiresome after a while.