October 30, 2008

Why I Voted Obama

1. Because I believe McCain plans to continue fighting in Iraq for as long as he can. Even Bush is looking at exit possibilities. McCain wants us there permanently. Obama's withdrawal plan won't happen as it was written, but at least he'll focus on having a plan.

2. Because it will be awesome to have a president that knows how to use the Internet to communicate.

3. Because Obama has demonstrated a deeper understanding of the issues than any Democrat hopeful in a long time.

4. Because other countries love him. This will be more and more important if things get worse for the U.S.

5. Because he's creative, and knows how to surround himself with creative people.

6. Because many closet racists will freak out. And I think this will be healthier than pretending racism doesn't exist.

7. Because he's skinny. As a skinny male, I'm hoping he makes skinny masculinity the new popular thing.

8. Because he's convincing. I have no faith in the Democrats, but I've become convinced Obama is for real.

9. Because none of the third parties have a chance of getting 5%. If Obama works out, I'll be sad that a third party has to wait until 2016, but we can't afford to wait until 2012 even. I'm taking a chance on Obama - NOT on the Democrats, although they are obviously helped by this vote. To 2016, independents! We have 8 years to plan a massive movement, and Obama has given us the example of how to do it.

10. Because Obama will support Internet neutrality, which will eventually enable us to build a movement that doesn't depend on either big party.

October 29, 2008

I'm calling West Virginia for Bob Barr

Captain Avenger pointed me to a terrific video of a county clerk demonstrating the complete fallibility of the ES&S voting machines in West Virginia. Thanks, Captain Avenger!

The moral of the story: be mindful of the stupid voting machine. Make sure it's recording things right, and always check the paper trail. Best of luck.

October 28, 2008

I will call you and remind you to vote

Seriously. If you haven't voted yet, I'll call you on election day.

Just get me your phone number.

If you prefer a text, that makes two of us. But I'll call if you want.

October 27, 2008

Obama 306, McCain 157

No, 306-157 is not the score of a long pickup basketball game between the Obama and McCain campaigns. It's the projected electoral totals, by "one of the more conservative electoral maps you can find," according to Mighty Rex.

That means Obama is projected at having enough electoral votes to win.

But don't get too excited, Obama fans. Forecast: a 100% chance of voter suppression.

It's going to be close. No one should be resting. Volunteer, blog, or just keep talking about it. It's all going to help.

October 22, 2008

Which Presidential Candidate is More Creative?

The U.S. has major problems. These problems are going to need creative solutions if we're going to see positive change within the next four years, or even within the next decade.

Which candidate is more likely to consistently produce creative solutions to problems? Let's consider the presidential candidates' campaigns....

(Candidates get credit for the creativity of their staff because good presidents know how to surround themselves with creative people.)

Obama took his campaign overseas in an actual demonstration of his desire to generate positive relationships with the rest of the world.

McCain has essentially adopted the same strategy that's been around for decades now: exploit differences in people.

Obama bought ads in video games.

McCain can't seem to think of anything more creative at this stage than smear tactics.

has used modern technology in original and unprecedented ways (for presidential campaigns, anyway), including text messaging.

McCain has admitted to having trouble just using a computer (source and source).

Obama's most creative gambit? It's too hard to choose between them.

McCain's most creative gambit? Telling everyone he was suspending his campaign so that he could have an interview with Katie Couric.

Subjective Summary: Obama seems to have beaten McCain to all the good ideas. And though Obama has a larger budget (probably due to his creative relationship building online apparatus), there really isn't anything he's done that McCain couldn't have done first, if only McCain had thought of it.

My position: Obama and the people he surrounds himself with are far more creative than McCain and his staff.

P.S. Obama gets bonus points for inspiring creativity in others, such as the folks who put together the attempt at a million dollar minute, and of course, the incredibly cheesy (but still a decent idea) Yes We Can YouTube video.

October 20, 2008

Which Candidate will Support Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality: A Brief Summary

As we all know (because we're so smart), net neutrality means we get equal access to Internet resources regardless of the source, ownership, or destination.

Getting rid of net neutrality is a way that Internet providers can direct your browsing toward all kinds of evils, including more advertising and limitations on what you can viably access.

Want to go to a site that isn't connected to AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, or Time Warner? If net neutrality disappears, you'll probably have to pay more for that. Possibly, what you want could be blocked altogether.

McCain opposes net neutrality. He wants to let the free market sort the matter out.

Obama supports net neutrality. He wants to preserve the principle of net neutrality to ensure that the person with the best idea will have an equal chance of sharing it.


McCain: The free market wisely engineered our economic situation so well over the last few decades. Let's give it another shot.

Obama: Without the Internet, I couldn't have made it this far as a presidential candidate. You better believe I'll protect it.

October 15, 2008

Voter Supression Fun Facts!

There are many ways in which votes are suppressed, both intentionally and unintentionally.

1. Bogus information is distributed. Example: An anonymous flier warned that people with outstanding arrest warrants or even unpaid traffic tickets might be arrested at the polls. 2nd Example: Voters that filled out a voter registration according to the instructions apparently filled out the registration incorrectly.

2. Voter residencies are challenged. Example: A GOP plan to use foreclosure lists to limit voting despite the fact that a foreclosure notice doesn't mean the resident has moved out.

3. Machines don't record votes accurately. Example: Polls in Ohio in 2004 recorded far fewer totals than were realistically expected. I won't even bother telling you what was happening frequently in Florida that year.

4. Voter registrations are removed from the list. If this is done in the last 90 days before an election, it is illegal. Example: Nine states (many of them swing states) are potentially illegally removing voters from their registration lists.

5. Polling places don't schedule enough hours or get enough machines for everyone to vote. Example: Ohio in 2004 documented many polling places with too few resources to get the job done.

How to Fight Back

If you are wrongfully denied your right to vote, they will not figure it out later. If you are not able to resolve the problem by the time your poll closes, your vote will not be counted. Here's how to fight back.

1. For electronic ballot voters, make sure the summary of your vote at the end records your actual votes. Sometimes, for unexplained reasons, some machines switch your votes to other candidates, or simply drop them altogether.

2. If you are challenged, don't give up. At the very least: as long as you're arguing with the challengers, they won't have time to challenge anyone else.

3. Assume the challenger is a stupid jerk. They don't know shit. Get their name and what reason they have for denying your vote. Then proceed to step 4.

4. Use technology. Find someone with an iPhone nearby and ask them to look up the phone numbers of your county's election office. If that doesn't work, find the names of election officials and get their phone numbers. Keep calling people until someone acquiesces.

5. Use witnesses. Go to the polls with friends. After your friends have voted, ask them to speak in your defense. One supposed foreclosure on a list doesn't mean jack, legally. Four witnesses who say you live in a house is significant. At the very least, a lot more people will notice five people arguing than one person arguing. This might make people upset enough to join you. A whole district against one polling official? It could work.

6. Threaten to call the press. If all else fails, emphatically state that you have the right to vote, and since the polling place is denying your right, you will report this to the press.

7. Call the press. When you call them, be sure to share the facts: particularly that you are being wrongfully denied your right to vote. You must be calm and collected, or they'll drop you. If you seem reasonably intelligent and appear to have facts that support your case, you might have a shot.

8. Support others' right to vote! Defend them after your vote has been cast, but don't obstruct the voting of others while you do this. If you are working at a polling place, you do not have to close the
polling place when you are supposedly supposed to close - the people that show up to the polls before closing time have the right to vote, so extend your hours at least long enough to let those that made it in time cast their ballot.

October 09, 2008

Time to Make Sure You're Registered to Vote

Now is the time to make sure you are registered to vote at your current
place of residence. Many counties will confirm this on the Web.

Now is the time to make sure you are signed up for that absentee ballot.

is the time to make sure you know where your polling place is if you're not voting absentee (and get
this information from your county's election office--do not trust
random mail addressed to you).

Now is the time to make sure
you have scheduled enough time to vote if you're not sending in an
absentee ballot (Vote early! Many polls will be jammed with newly
registered voters and may not have the capacity to serve everyone!)

Note: the address in the screenshot is not your polling place. It's my polling
place. It's also a confirmation that the election commission for my
county has the right information. For me. This is not confirmation for
you. You need to get your own confirmation. Now. Just in case.

Coming soon: Voter Suppression Fun Facts!

October 06, 2008

About that whole bailout thing...

First, it's somewhat similar to the S&L bailout, as many people have pointed out (think Keating Five).

Comparison: The U.S. taxpayers at first were on the hook for 3.4 billion dollars. But the eventual cost to the taxpayer wound up being nearly $125 billion. I hope the same markup won't apply to the $700 billion we're about to cough up (850 with extras).

The dollar comparison, though, isn't really as relevant as McCain's history of irresponsibly deregulating the lending process.

Meanwhile, Obama introduced legislation in 2006 "aimed at ending home loans based on fraud, abuse or excessive risk." He has also been aware of the increasing number of foreclosures since early 2007.

My position: Obama is the candidate best able to handle the U.S.A.'s credit problems.

October 02, 2008

Which Candidate Can Acknowledge and Understand Complexity?

Which Candidate Can Acknowledge and Understand Complexity?


Obama frequently mentions specific details that lend credibility to his position.

Obama is quick to point out how singular issues are related to other phenomena, how things are connected in a complex way.

Obama isn't afraid to talk about specifics related to the issue at hand, nor is he afraid to compliment opponents in areas where they are in agreement--he talks about the issue and stays focused on the issue.

National Security? Obama acknowledges how our relationships with other nations affect our national security.

Osama Bin Laden? Obama wants to target him more specifically with special strikes.

The War on Terror? Obama thinks it can be fought more effectively if we shift the war's geographic focus while at the same time improving our understanding of Middle Eastern tribal customs and history.

Plan for ending the war in Iraq? Over sixteen months, pull out of Iraq, shifting responsibility to the 400,000 Iraqi personnel we've trained there.


McCain frequently zeros in on one aspect of an issue.

National security? Iraq.

Osama Bin Laden? Iraq.

The War on Terror? Iraq.

Plan for ending the war in Iraq? Win it (whatever that means).


He can tell you who voted on what bill, and why. He can tell you the motivation behind the vote, whether it be political or personal. He can cite data that supports the Obama-Biden ticket's positions. He can cite references in both parties' plans and explain why the Obama-Biden plan is better.


She can't seem to answer a question.

My conclusion

Obama and Biden are more likely to create realistic solutions that take the complexity of an issue into account.

October 01, 2008

The Bill, be it Bailout, Rescue, or Sweet Love to Asset Owners Given Freely by the U.S. Taxpayers

The bailout bill is old news. Now it's called a rescue bill. And the new one does seem to have a few provisions that I think are decent, while in essence carrying out the general shmuckus of handing over tax payer money to whomever.

Nevertheless, while I'm still trying to understand the new bill, we can talk about the old bill(s)--and I'll be quick to say that I never felt comfortable with the old bill, and suspected treachery, perhaps just because that's what I've come to expect.

However, after days of asking questions and poking around and reading a bunch of stuff, Kendra finally forwarded me an opinion that my instincts agreed with.

Bankruptcy, not bailout, is the right answer, by Jeffrey Miron

I'll quote the really good stuff:

"Bankruptcy means that shareholders typically get wiped out and the creditors own the company. Bankruptcy does not mean the company disappears; it is just owned by someone new (as has occurred with several airlines)."

"If financial institutions cannot make productive loans, a profit
opportunity exists for someone else. This might not happen instantly,
but it will happen. Further, the current credit freeze is likely due to Wall Street's hope of a
bailout; bankers will not sell their lousy assets for 20 cents on the
dollar if the government might pay 30, 50, or 80 cents."

I was particularly never satisfied with anyone's positive reviews of the bailout plan just because not one person that I encountered had the time or knowledge to adequately explain how it would be a good thing. I'm glad I ran into someone who could adequately explain why it was a bad thing.

Now, hug your children tight. The credit will flow eventually, one way or the other.