Friday, June 13, 2008

Does Agent Orange Work On Mice?

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

click to enlarge
John McCain alerted us that he is computer illiterate. That is fine, there is no law stating one must know how to use a computer, my Grandmother can't use a computer - she never really cared to learn.

Kos has some reflections from an Atrios post...

Technology now infects every corner of our lives, from cell phones to computers to the internet. It has given us access to the worlds' libraries, empowering us with direct access to information. It has connected us with people all over this country and world, dramatically redefining what the word "community" means. It is dramatically reshaping entire sectors of our economy -- from the nation's thriving tech sector, to legacy sectors like publishing, music, motion picture, medicine, and retail. And how many workplaces remain without computers?

How can a candidate who admits he is stuck in the 20th century lead a country in the 21st, when he lacks even the most basic understanding of how this brave new century operates? He doesn't know how people interact and communicate. He doesn't know have the faintest idea of how they work. And this from the guy who once chaired the commerce committee!

Is it any wonder that McCain has been completely unable to adapt to the rigors of a 21st century campaign, in which YouTube and blogs can instantaneously expose every single one of his myriad flip flops and capture every one of his ghastly grins?

Technology touches every aspect of my life. My day job is running an ad agency - an interactive ad agency. It pays the bills and provides for my family. My work load (after drawing a tad of daily political insanity) is a whirl of Twitter, Second Life, email, BlackBerry iPhone, Google Maps, feeds, YouTube, Skype, IM - Hell, it seems everything I own has to boot and negotiate a network before I can use it.

I also run a charity, Books For Soldiers, that is 100% dependent on web communications. Soldiers hit the website, the order goes into the database and a volunteer with the book on their shelves sends it to the soldier. All of that, save for the actual shipping, takes place on the web.

Does anyone think the web will be less influential in the future? Will we be less networked (providing Bush doesn't nuke the planet) and less communicative in the next four years? I doubt it (but I don't doubt Bush's itchy nuke finger).

I have two clients with Clicks and Mortar businesses (retail store with an eCommerce solution) who are considering closing their retail store and just staying with their eCommerce website. I think as gas prices continue to rise, we will see more of this in the future - let UPS bring it to the doorstep. Yes, shipping charges will increase, but who wants to drive all around town looking for something when gas reaches $5 a gallon? Some areas have already hit that mark.

So when McCain says he is computer illiterate, I see that as an immediate disqualifier for the office of President. If he doesn't have a good grasp on economics, then his computer illiteracy will seal the doom of his Administration and, unfortunately, our nation will continue to suffer the idiocy of the Right. If you do not understand the web, you cannot possibly make any good decisions about fiscal policy.

Barack Obama is my age. We are the first generation that was raised on software. Our first exposure may have been in the form of a PONG machine or a Commodore 64 - maybe we rubbed elbows in the computer lab while slaving over an Apple ][. I remember when I started poking data into.... oh, never mind. The point is, we were the first to be raised on software. And it seems Obama has kept up with his use of technology. While on the road, he stays in touch with his family by using web chat. That makes me comfortable. So when Obama hears eBay was down for an hour, he will understand the multi-million dollar impact that has on small businesses.

This is not an age thing. There are plenty of senior citizens who are very web savvy. It is a competency thing. I wouldn't want anyone as President that never used a phone either. Phones and the web are both vital for daily life in America and the rest of the world.

McCain is simply compromised, incompetent and will never understand the saying, "you will take my laptop when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers."

SPECIAL REQUEST FOR TCD FANS: The San Francisco Chronicle is pondering the addition of new cartoons for their paper - a process that seems to be initiated by Darren Bell, creator of Candorville (one of my daily reads - highly recommended). You can read the Chronicle article here and please add your thoughts to the comments if you wish. If anything, put in a good word for Darren and Candorville.

I am submitting Town Called Dobson to the paper for their consideration. They seem to have given great weight to receiving 200 messages considering Candorville. I am asking TCD fans to try to surpass that amount. (I get more than that many hate mails a day, surely fans can do better?)

This is not a race between Darren and I, it is a hope that more progressive strips can be represented in the printed press of America.

So if you read the San Francisco Chronicle or live in the Bay Area (Google Analytics tell me there are a lot of you), please send your kind comments (or naked, straining outrage) to David Wiegand at his published addresses below. If you are a subscriber, cut out your mailing label and staple it to a TCD strip and include it in your letter.


David Wiegand
Executive Datebook Editor
The San Francisco Chronicle
901 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103