June 14, 2006

The one you wanted to have a beer with, part II 

posted by Paul Smith @ 11:06 PM

Capt. Phineas Q. Douchebag is up to his wacky old tricks again!

Bush apologizes to vision-impaired reporter

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush, who often teases members of the White House press corps, apologized Wednesday after he poked fun at a reporter for wearing sunglasses without realizing they were needed for vision loss.

The exchange occurred at a news conference in the Rose Garden.

Bush called on Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Wallsten and asked if he was going to ask his question with his "shades" on.

"For the viewers, there's no sun," Bush said to the television cameras.

But even though the sun was behind the clouds, Wallsten still needs the sunglasses because he has Stargardt's disease, a form of macular degeneration that causes progressive vision loss.

The condition causes Wallsten to be sensitive to glare and even on a cloudy day, can cause pain and increase the loss of sight.


June 06, 2006

Electoral politics, meet Skype 

posted by Paul Smith @ 3:43 PM
Today I placed calls as a volunteer of MoveOn.org on behalf of Francine Busby, the Democrat running in the special election for the Dukestir's seat, the California 50th. (The Fightin' 50th!) For about an hour I called voters in the district and reminded them to get out to the polls. I have a mobile phone but no landline, and I don't particularly like my mobile, so I went with Skype and it's newly free service, SkypeOut, which lets you call plain old telephone numbers in the U.S. from your computer. MoveOn presents you with a nice web application that guides you as you go through each call, a page for each voter with name and number, along with buttons to follow if they respond, if you reach an answering machine, if there's no answer, et cetera. I simply cut'n'paste the phone number for each voter into Skype, no tedious manual dialing like a sucker. In fact, MoveOn could make it even easier if they included Skype's callto:// links right in the voter info pages (for instance, 202-456-1414), so that you could just click and Skype will make the call. But that's easily fixed: if Firefox is your browser, and you have the Greasemonkey extension, this user script will convert phone numbers into SkypeOut links.

I might do another round to catch the nine-to-fivers coming home. Then sit back and watch the results. Should be an interesting night.

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