aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Bush & Southern women
President Bush was here in Georgia today to talk about terrorism and raise money. He stumbled over some Georgia names, but the bigger news is in this AP story out of Macon, the red, red heart of Georgia:
President Bush’s once-solid relationship with Southern women is on the rocks.
“I think history will show him to be the worst president since Ulysses S. Grant,” said Barbara Knight, a self-described Republican since birth and the mother of three. “He’s been an embarrassment.”
In the heart of Dixie, comparisons to Grant, a symbol of the Union, are the worst sort of insult, especially from a Macon woman who voted for Bush in 2000 but turned away in 2004.
In recent years, Southern women have been some of Bush’s biggest fans, defying the traditional gender gap in which women have preferred Democrats to Republicans. Bush secured a second term due in large part to support from 54 percent of Southern female voters while women nationally favored Democrat John Kerry, 51-48 percent.
Of course I like this quote, which is true to my experience of many Repulicans here:
Sandy Rubin, a high school teacher in Macon, voted for Bush and said she’s also likely to vote for Marshall. Rubin said the GOP’s focus on issues that appeal to social conservatives, such as gay marriage and abortion, have turned her off.
Just this morning I saw a Macon lawn sign, “Support our troops, bring them home.” I’m not buying the storyline that Southern women have abandoned Bush, but there always has been more antipathy to Bush than the press would lead you to believe.
The father of Ubuntu
Mark Shuttleworth is rich enough to cause some havoc in the feel-good Linux community. In January 2000, at the peak of the dot-com bubble, Shuttleworth sold his South African security software firm, Thawte, to VeriSign for $700 million in stock. Shuttleworth cashed out almost immediately, walking away with the entire purchase price, just as VeriSign’s stock began its rapid descent. “Life has been kind to me,” he says.
But the 32-year-old has no children and doesn’t feel much need to hang on to his money. He spent $20 million in 2002 to orbit the Earth for a week in a Russian Soyuz. “I don’t intend to create a dynasty,” he says.
Instead, Shuttleworth wants to give back, by offering universal access to a free operating system to run PCs and servers. The world already has several “free” versions of the open-source Linux operating system, but Shuttleworth’s version, called Ubuntu, undercuts them all on price--and works better, according to many respected sources. [...]
Ubuntu now has 4 million users, half of which are governments, universities and a smattering of businesses. It adds new ones at a rate of 8% per month. After its public release in October 2004, Ubuntu quickly deposed Red Hat’s Fedora as the most popular version of Linux on DistroWatch, a Web site that caters to Linux users. Ubuntu works in 22 languages, and Canonical, the company Shuttleworth set up to distribute his software, will send a free Ubuntu CD anywhere in the world. New users rave about the simple user interface, which has gained recent converts in a couple of well-known bloggers who switched from Apple Computer’s (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) OS X. [...]
Canonical has burned through $15 million of Shuttleworth’s money in two and a half years. He says that it will take him at least another two years to even know whether it has a chance to become profitable, and that it may never return his investment. But that doesn’t matter. He’s paying all the bills either way, along with setting up a $10 million endowment for the Ubuntu Foundation that’s earning interest for a day when his attentions may drift elsewhere.