Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I do not believe it to be partisan either. I believe that if the tables were turned then Colman would also be suing. My point is the hypocrisy by the people that jumped up against the Bush administration on the eavesdropping policy. I want to know where those protectors of freedom and privacy are now.
As for if this is a privacy issue or not, it is unbelievable that anyone could argue otherwise. The right for me to vote without fear of persecution is fundamental in our country. The people that voted absentee had an absolute expectation of privacy. For anyone to infringe upon that is mind boggling.
What is going to happen here is that Franken and his goons are going to go pounding on doors and asking these people how they voted. I wonder, when they find out that some of these folks voted for Colmen, what will that say to them. “Sorry to bother you, we are glad you were disenfranchised.” I’m sure when they find the ones that voted for him they will assign them their own personal attorney to sue to have their vote counted despite the fact that they did not meet the basic legal requirements to vote absentee.
It is one thing to stand out side of a polling place and ask people how they voted. I have been asked that before, presumably a pollster. It is another thing for someone to come knocking or calling, knowing my name, knowing where I live, knowing who I am and then asking me.
What is next, candidates and their representative are going to be allowed to stand behind you at a polling place and ask you how you voted? Are they going to be able to follow you home or to work? This is 100% unbelievable and indefensible. Everyone should be outraged!!!!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Those of you that know me know that one of the things I hate most in this world is hypocrisy. So I must bring what little attention I can to the Minnesota Senate race in which Al Franken is suing Ramsey County in order to find out the names of the voters whose ballets have been rejected. He also wants to know the reason behind the rejection.
So apparently it is ok to blow privacy out of the water when you are a Democrat and you are afraid you may loose an election but it is not ok to eavesdrop on the telephone conversations of suspected terrorist.
For the record, I don’t believe it is ok to eavesdrop on an American Citizen without a warrant. But I just want point out the hypocrisy. I hope the same Democrats that berated the Bush administration will step up and condemn a member of their own party.
So let’s take inventory…
I have a home phone. (voice)
I have a cell phone. (voice)
I have this blog. (text,photo)
I have Picasa. (photo, movies)
I have 5 separate email accounts. (text)
I have a smart phone in which to receive those email’s. (text)
I have SMS on my phone (text)
I have Facebook (text, photo, voice, everything)
I have 3 instant messaging accounts (don’t really use too much) (text)
I have a web site which I need to update. (text, photos)
I have a Twitter account (text)
I have a BrightKite account (text)
I have a voice. (my all time favorite way to communicate, preferably with a beer in my hand).
So the next time someone tells me they were unable to get a hold of me, I will simply respond via 19 different channels.
Monday, November 10, 2008
So this year I decided to make my same argument for the Electoral College, but in writing for the entire world to see. I’ll try to be brief, but it is a complicated issue.
Most folks who do not understand the Electoral College (and some that do) believe that it should just simply be a popular vote by all Americans. I mean, who could argue. We certainly have the technology to count that high that fast, if we didn’t Simon Cowell would not be as rich as he is. So why don’t we just let the voices be heard? But let’s look at what that means.
This is where it gets complicated. Politicians are… well… politicians which means they are a self serving breed that will do whatever it takes to get into office and once there stay in office. We all know that today the candidates concentrate their money in the few places they believe they can win. This should be evident to everyone by the now house hold term “Red States/Blue States”. Once in office, they do the same thing, they work hardest to keep the “majority” of the people happy. Sounds great right? Let’s look at what the majority means.
We all know (I know, big assumption) that there are 50 states plus D.C. that vote to elect the President. But did you know that the majority of the population is centered in just 9 states?1 OK you probably figured that out, but I bet you didn’t know that it was only 9 and when you look at the percentage of the total it means that just under 18% of the states could decide what is best for 82% of the country. But let’s look at it bit deeper. A politician would only need to worry about the most populous metropolitan areas to get the votes needed to win. So how many mero areas is that? Would you believe that only 34 cities could decide who is elected? 2
Yes I know that would mean that every citizen in all 34 metro areas would not only have to vote, but vote for the same person. But the concept is what is important. The fact is that our country is concentrated in the big cities and utilizing a popular vote would give undue influence in those cities. Imagine if there were a government program designed specifically to garnish votes (hard to imagine isn’t it?). That program would not need to be made available to everyone, just the 34 or so most populous cities, leaving the rest of the country without. But more than that, it just isn’t fair. The fine folks in Wausau, WI and South-De Ridder, LA should still be represented. I think we all agree that problems in those places are not the same as problems in Los Angeles and New York.
So, the popular vote doesn’t really seem all that fair if you want to represent everyone? But is the EC any better? A little, but not much, for instance it takes a minimum of 11 states to win the necessary 270 EC votes. However, if you look at the most populous metro areas necessary to win those states, you will see that those metro areas’ populations spread into 33 states. And while states such as California and New York can be won by just campaigning in just 1 or 2 cities, other states such as Florida and Ohio would need multiple metro areas spreading the influence into the smaller communities.
But really what it boils down to is the way our government was set up. We are a group of states that have a federal system designed to do what is necessary to keep those states united. Without going into if that is a bad thing or a good thing here, it means that the States have rights granted to it by the Constitution. It was set up that way because the folks that settled in Delaware didn’t really agree with the folks that settled in Georgia. This holds pretty true today. The folks in Montana certainly have different values than the folks in Rhode Island. Our form of government means that for the most part, the folks in Montana can hunt their elk and fish their trout without having to worry about a law passed in Rhode Island prohibiting guns or fishing from ditches. Personally I think this works. So our very smart Founding Fathers gave it their best shot and came up with a way for the small states have a little more influence than their population would reflect. For example California has over 36 million people and 55 EC votes which is 664,604 people per electoral vote. Oklahoma has just 3.6 million and has 7 EC votes giving it 516,759 people per vote. This means that a person in Oklahoma has roughly the same amount of influence as the person in California. But it also means is that Oklahomans don’t need to worry about the wacked out laws that Californians tend to enact.
OK, I know it is still not perfect and it doesn’t really matter. Since it would take an amendment to the Constitution to change it, the likelihood that it will ever change is just about zero. So how do we make it better? More fair?
Part of the whole States Rights thing is the ability to decide how to “elect” the Electoral College. OK for those of you that don’t know, when you vote for President you are not actually voting for that person. You are voting to select a person who has pledged to vote for the candidate you favor. But the states get to decide how those folks are selected. Most states (48) have laws that select the entire allocation of EC representatives that a pledged to the candidate that receives a majority or a plurality of the popular vote of that state. However there are 2 states, Nebraska and Maine, that have a system that awards the EC votes based on congressional districts with two votes (representing the Senators) as a state wide vote. For example, Maine has 4 electoral votes. Two of those go to the candidate who wins the popular vote state wide. The other two go to the candidate who wins the popular vote within the congressional district they represent.3
To me, this is the way to go. So a congressional district in a Red state whose beliefs are more Blue are now represented in the selection of the President and of course vice versa. This means that the candidates would have to pay attention to just about every state and every area of the country. The Republicans would show up in New York and the Democrats would actually visit Texas. This to me seems the best and it would simply take a law change in the states to accomplish this. And as a bonus, a third party candidate might actually have a chance to make an impact as well.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
But then I read this article on the law in Nebraska that apparently allows you to drop off a child of any age. As I said above, I thought it was a joke. I saw the headline and funny one lines started appearing in my head. “I wonder if the hospital helps with homework, if so can I get a frequent abandoner card?” But in this case mothers are actually dropping off teenagers and leaving them for the state to deal with.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the poor child to have to deal with a parent that doesn’t want them. However I am extremely offended that the State of Nebraska allows parents to do this without consequences. That child is toast. She will never be the same. The odds that this child will be a successful contributor to society as an adult is very slim. We can only hope and pray that some couple is out there that will adopt an older child and all of the emotional baggage that comes with them. But those are all things that would happen even if the parent is held accountable. But what is different about this law is that the parent is protected from consequences of being a shitty parent. These parents need to be held accountable. Thankfully, the Nebraska Legislator is taking up the issue and will likely add an age limit to the law.
The sad thing is that these parents will likely want their child back and the state will likely give them back. I have said it many times, if all parents had to go through the vetting and BS that we had to go through before adopting, the world would be a better place.