February 5th, Super Tuesday

Feb 05, 2008 in Kamil, Politics

So go out and vote if you live in any of the 24 states that are holding primaries today.

Below are a couple of videos featuring Barack Obama. First is the video featuring Jesse Dylan, Will.i.am, Common, Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Adam Rodriquez, Kelly Hu, Adam Rodriquez, Amber Valetta, Eric Balfour, Aisha Tyler, Nicole Scherzinger and Nick Cannon. It’s basically the words from the Barack Obama speech that he gave after coming in 2nd place in the New Hampshire primary put to music. Granted that entertainers are hardly an authority on politics and the main purpose behind this effort is to mobilize young voters to vote for Obama but guess what, it works and the music is decent. I thought it was a pretty good video and I think that the speech itself was superb and as some in the media have called it, memorable.
I was not around when JFK was running for the White House or when he was the president and I’ve only heard his speeches in historical context but I can imagine that the feeling of inspiration listening to JFK speak at the time was very similar to the one I experieced when listening to the speech Obama gave. Real or not Obama brings hope, energy and excitement to the politics that this country desperatly was searching for after 8 years of The Dunce at the helm. Whether he brings substance with it remains to be seen.

Yes We Can – Barack Obama Music Video

The 2nd Video is the New Hampshire speech in its entirity. I have to say that it sounded much better on the radio when I listened to it live for the first time, perhaps because imagination has more room to play without the visual cues that a video puts right in front of you. I still think it’s a very inspirational speech and that Obama has great oratory skills and talented speech writers :).

Barack Obama: Yes We Can

I’ve resurrected this one. The third video is a bit “lighter” and older clip by Obama Girl – “I got a crush on Obama”. Hey B. it’s me, and the chorus … Barack Obama, bama, ama ama… funny stuff. My only comment – Some people have too much free time… but at least it’s pleasant to watch.

“I Got a Crush…On Obama” By Obama Girl

For the record I don’t consider myself ideologically aligned with left or right, Democrat or Republican or any third party but rather subscribe to the idea of aurea mediocritas. I would probably be labeled a conservative on some issues like the immigration, economy and education where as I might be called a liberal when discussing foreign policy or other social issues besides the ones mentioned above. It really really bothers me however when someone is a mouthpiece for one side or the other and tries to make money off the controversy they create (on purpose or through ignorance). I put the next person in the same category as the environmentalists that threathen lawsuits or boycotts as a form of blackmail to get ransom from corporations or govermnets. I found the next clip when looking through the website that produced the Obama Girl music video.
The source aside I feel pretty strongly about this subject as it has been bothering me for a while. For those of you outside US or who don’t know her you can read about the “heroine” of the next song here. Some of the things she says I might have said myself while trying to be an a-hole or play devil’s advocate in a classroom or dorm argument but to actually think there is someone out there that holds a combination of opinions as skewed as she does and says all of these things with a straight face, meaning every word she utters is at the very least scary. And even scarier is the fact that the media gives this nutcase airtime. Not independent media, mostly Fox News but still airtime is airtime… I guess sex sells all kinds of merchandise including ideas (and her books) otherwise limited to fringes of society. On that thought, perhaps someday Ms. Coulter is going to have her own Sturmabteilung Barbie doll to peddle.

Perfected: The Ann Coulter Song

Election in Poland and other thoughts

Oct 25, 2007 in Kamil

Last weekend parliamentary elections took place in Poland. Normally we would have attended but Ania had her wisdom teeth pulled on Friday so we ended up staying home for the weekend. As for the results, I think that both choices were bad each for its own reasons but we will see the consequences in a couple of months. Here’s some useless info for the non-Polish speakers out there: the departing prime minister’s last name can loosely be translated as “Duck” (the quack quack kind) and the incoming prime minister’s first name is Donald. I think a “coop” d’etat has taken place. (yea, I know, it’s a pretty bad joke but c’mon I just made it up…).

As to the changes that have already taken place, when we were in Poland in June 2007 the magnitude of improvement since 2002 has been amazing. A significant percentage of people we talked to were finally optimistic (complaining is probably a Polish national sport that’s why this is noteworthy).

The last 3 years have been amazing for the Polish stock and real estate market. Almost every mutual fund comprised solely of small to medium Polish companies recorded gains of 180% to 300% in a period of the last 3 years. Due to Poland joining the EU in 2005 the real estate market has skyrocketed. I do not have exact figures but I can give you an example.

In 2002 we were looking at buying a condominium in, at the time still under construction, a “luxury” condo building Lucka City in Warsaw. The place is located downtown Warsaw and has all modern amenities including a swimming pool and a gym (if I remember correctly from the pre-construction sale brochures). I say “luxury” because I do have to say that the outside of the building looked much better in a model scale than it does in real life (it is really UGLY). In 2002 the asking price per m2 was $1,008 or at the 2002 prices around 3,800pln. Today, condominiums on the 5th floor (the lower the cheaper) in the same building are selling for 14000pln+/m2 or around $5300 USD. That is 500% increase in 5 years in USD (thank you GWB… NOT!!!). Of course not all real estate markets in Poland have appreciated at the same amazing rate and most notably the eastern part of the country has been gaining at a slower pace but this example gives you a general idea.