Posts Tagged politics

I’m in San Francisco! You can tell by the ballot.

I have a chance to vote for “Starchild” who lists his/her profession as “Erotic Service Provider.” He/she is running for the Board of Education. His/her qualifications include “Former government school student (K-8th grade).” Somehow, I don’t find that terribly compelling, though I don’t know why that made the cut, given that there’s also a “BA in journalism from San Francisco State University” listed. But, he/she is endorsed by the Libertarian party, so that’s worth something, right? He/she promotes libertarian values, and my reading of this promotion makes me really want to argue with a libertarian right now.


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In which Leon is disappointed in himself and others

I’ve failed at democracy. There are 5 pages of ballot, and though I’ve worked my way through the state propositions, the state representatives, and most of the SF propositions, I have no idea what to do about the judges, or the school board members. I wish someone I could trust would just tell me which of them are worthwhile, because it’s not nearly as clear-cut as, say, the governorship. I might just not vote on things I don’t know about, but I feel bad about it. I am not the sort of educated public our great nation requires.

In other news, the Giants won the World Series. That was pretty nice, and it was good to see the city celebrating, but when they kept honking for 3 hours, and then broke bottles, burned mattresses, and generally disrupted the city. I mean, it wasn’t horrible, and was probably pretty tame compared to what could happen, but frankly I’m puzzled and disappointed in people. Why does celebration require destruction? What makes you want to ruin other people’s things? And how can you keep celebrating after, oh, 10 minutes or so? Doesn’t it get boring after a bit? How long can you wave an orange shirt in the street before thinking, “I need to figure out how to vote tomorrow!”

Also disappointing was the dancer tonight who said she went out and enjoyed the riot, and how nice it was to see some anarchy. She enjoyed the mattress-burning and the bus graffitiing. Does no one think of consequences? The same people who get worked up that bus fares are expensive and city taxes are high go around making the city worse?! Dammit, you are responsible for the effects of your actions.

The only good news of it is that maybe happy San Franciscans will vote tomorrow, and that’ll tip the scales for the causes I support, like “No on 23 and 26”, and “Yes on 19”, and “Make that Fiorina person shut up.”

The dance tonight had a definite shape. The beginning was pretty good, in the middle I sucked, and toward the end I was connecting with my partners pretty well. I hate every dance with a disappointed partner, though.

Okay, time to go finish working out my ballot. I’ll stay up as long as it takes, for tomorrow I vote!

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A wise take on socialized insurance

Dan Savage has written a very good post about why opposing health care for all is anti-family. I was impressed, and decided to share it here.


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Graduating from Electoral College

Today, I read (and posted in) this Slashdot article about Iowa and the Electoral College. Iowa has a plan to recruit some other states and force all their electors to vote for the winner of the popular election, thereby effectively making the president elected by popular vote. It’s a fantastic idea, as the Electoral College has done nothing but disenfranchise voters in both large and non-swing states.

But an astonishing number of Slashdot commenters defended the Electoral College system, saying it was a good idea! I find that entirely outrageous. Why should citizens of small states have votes that count more than citizens of large states?

So, what do you think? Are any of you Electoral College supporters? Alumni, perhaps?

Okay, here’s a poll. It doesn’t seem to show up correctly, but maybe it will, and you can answer it:

Do you approve of the Electoral College?


Yes, and no

This morning, I attended the inauguration viewing on Berkeley campus. It was amazing, with a tremendous crowd that cheered for Obama, laughed at Bush, and booed and hissed at gay-hater Rick Warren. I’m sure there’ll be pictures on the news (or at least some dude’s blog) somewhere–there were plenty of cameras out, so I didn’t bother to take any pictures.

The one thing that really changed the mood of the ceremony, though, was the presence of subtitles. Oh, the subtitles were welcome enough, but evidently the C-SPAN employee in charge of subtitles was an idiot, and he comically flubbed several lines.

When Dianne Feinstein said that this was a “real and necessary change,” the subtitles read, “real unnecessary change.”

Better yet, when Rick Warren (boo) said that “Dr. King and a great crowd of witnesses are shouting in heaven,” the subtitles read, “… witnesses are shopping in heaven.” Now, that’s just messed up. I don’t understand how anyone could mishear that phrase in that way.



On the chopping block

So, there’s a great interview with Palin here. It’s not what she says that’s so great, it’s the setting. It took me a while to figure out what that guy in the background was doing, but once I did it was funny. I particularly enjoyed the reporter’s question around 1:15 into the video.


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Brought to you by lunch break

You may be aware that McCain has been sticking his tongue out lately. For instance, at the last debate, there was this odd moment:

Well, people caught another one, and managed to caption it beautifully:


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Voting in CA is hard

Voting in California is hard. There are about 12 statewide propositions to vote on, and quite a few local ones, too.

Consider the Berkeley ballot measure LL, which changes the city law governing landmark preservation. Both proponents and opponents of the bill argue that their way will preserve historic buildings better. I, on the other hand, think that sucks. I don’t derive any benefit from historic buildings, and I’d gladly vote for the option that makes it easier to bulldoze them. I’m in favor of having pretty buildings, but in general keeping around crappy old buildings because someone famous once lived there is just silly. From a computer science perspective, the old buildings are like crufty old legacy code, and having to deal with unmodifiable buildings scattered through the area is an obstacle to redevelopment. You can argue that development is a bad thing, but you have to recognize that through the world, major cities are built on the ruins of older cities, and they wouldn’t be what they are now if people hadn’t knocked down the rickety old structures. San Francisco’s skyline wouldn’t be so majestic if the old saloons where gold miners once shot each other still cluttered the downtown.

Now, I’m not entirely heartless, and I think it’s worth having a few old buildings around. But in general, I think historical status is too easy to get, and there are some very questionable things taking up otherwise useful space.

Or am I alone in this? Do you get anything from historic buildings?

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Political Magic

On the group, posted a link to this set of political Magic cards someone wrote. It’s awesome, particularly if you’ve played Magic. I am amazed.