Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Politics & News


In line

In line.So I thought it would be interesting to see Barack Obama, the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, give a speech in Charlotte, NC.

I didn't realize how many other people had that idea, and how slow the lines would move... I arrived in Charlotte at 11.15 am. While I did see Mr. Obama in his car when he arrived, at 1.15 pm when the speech started I was about half way the line to the entrance gate. That was unfortunate, since Charlotte is 2,5 hours away from Durham. At the other hand, I had time for some good phone calls, now I've finally recharged my international calling card.


To Charlotte

I'm leaving to Charlotte in a little while.

Barack Obama is holding a public rally there today, and I thought it would be interesting to attend.

The rally is downtown. "For security reasons, do not bring bags and please limit personal items. No signs or banners permitted."


Attack ads

Attack ads.I've always found the emphasis on 'attack ads', political commercials that portray a political opponent in a bad light, a bit silly. How would any serious voter be influenced by a 30 second TV commercial?

I don't know much about North Carolina's politicians, but I've heard about Elizabeth Dole before; she's a senator for North Carolina and has a long history in national politics as well. Now, the first associations that I have with her name are "very ineffective" and "43 years in Washington DC". It may be completely unfair, but the first thoughts I have about Mrs. Dole are pretty negative -- a direct result of this TV ad that has been airing very frequently lately (there are on-line ads against her as well). I like to think I'm rational enough to ignore these associations and thoughts, but who knows?

On my way home from work I listened to the last 15 minutes of a debate between the two major candidates for Governor of North Carolina, Bev Perdue and Pat McCrory. Bev Perdue I know, but again the main thing I "know" about Pat McCrory is that he will "favor Charlotte over the other areas in North Carolina", because of an ad I heard on the radio once. Would it influence my vote? It's hard to tell, but I'm not so certain anymore that attack ads don't work.

On a related topic, Monday night at the Jaycees in Chapel Hill BJ Lawson spoke about why he his running for Congress. I don't think I've ever met an American politician before, and it was an interesting evening.


Conventions 2008

Conventions 2008.Since we came back from California it's been politics around the clock.

I watched quite a bit of it: the Democratic convention last week, Mr. McCain's announcement for a running mate and the following review of that surprising choice in the weekend, and this week the Republican convention.

This election year has been incredible so far. So many surprises, so many debates, so much going on. For many years I've enjoyed following the US elections (in 2004 watching the debates online, and watching the election results with friends). It's great to be in the USA and to experience this amazing election cycle from close.



What a pretty date: 8/8/08.

A nice date for the Olympic Games to start in China where 8 is a lucky number. In North Carolina 0.08 is the legal threshold of drunkenness and today there is a campaign against drunken driving.

The opening night of the Olympics didn't get much attention tonight, due to the shocking news about John Edwards. It's horrible what he did to his family, and it's absolutely incredible that he decided to run for President when he knew this sword of Damocles was hanging over his head.


Historic race

Hillary Clinton.Today Hillary Clinton gave the closing speech of her primary campaign.

An impressive speech, that makes you realize what an historic race this has been and will be in the next 5 months.

Barack Obama will be in Raleigh, North Carolina on Monday on the State Fair grounds.


Barack Obama nominated

Mr. Obama.Tonight Barack Obama officially secured the nomination for the Democratic Party, in a remarkable evening.

Five long months of primaries are now over, and it's on to the official elections.


Elections in North Carolina

Elections in North Carolina.Today were the primaries in North Carolina and Indiana. Mr. Obama won, as expected, in North Carolina, but with a surprisingly large margin.

With Indiana being so closely tied (52% to 48% for Clinton at the time I write this), this looks like a very important night for Mr. Obama. The mathematics have been very difficult for Clinton for about two months now. Tonight's lack of a convincing victory, even after all the Wright publicity, bode bad for Clinton.

There were lots of other elections today. Ms. Perdue and Mr. McCrory won their parties nominations for governor. Mr. Walter Dalton seemed to have benefited from his annoying commercials and won the nomination for Lt. Governor.


Primaries in North Carolina

Something that seemed quite unlikely only a few months ago is now true: the primaries in North Carolina will be quite important.

The race for the Democratic nominee is still not concluded, and after Pennsylvania the largest remaining state will be the Tarheel State. Mr. Obama has agreed to a debate in North Carolina, Mrs. Clinton has not committed to one yet.

For all North Carolian readers: today is the first day you can apply for an absentee ballot, and you have until April 11 to register, change your party affiliation or your address. More details on


Campaign videos

Campaign video.Most of you will by now have seen the popular Yes We Can video by about Barack Obama. The format of the clip is powerful but fairly straightforward, and it lends itself well to parodies. Here's on about John McCain for example: John He Is.

Of course, anybody can make these videos but there is now an official response by the Hillary Clinton campaign: Hillary for you and me.

From a public relations point of view this video is a remarkable failure. The comments on the video are all negative and the comments on YouTube have now been disabled after a flood of negative feedback. Even The Economist wrote: "Unfortunately, no one with any musical talent appears to have been involved in the effort. I must warn you, the following video is very creepy and probably shouldn't be watched if there are kids in the room.". Strange that a generally well-run campaign would release such a bad video.


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