Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Rainbough's Stupid Quote of the Day

"The only people stupid enough to believe that Republicans are the party of small government are themselves Republican. That should tell us something."

-Yup I came up with the stupid quote all by myself.

My thoughts on Texas voting...

So on the way home from work today (that was at about 9 am for those of you who haven't heard), I stopped in at the Williamson county annex (which happens to be right down the street from where l live) and voted. Texas has what they call "early voting," something I never experienced in Georgia. Basically instead of having to wait until election day and stand in long lines at the polls, you can show up at a less convenient place to where you live (though obvioiusly more convenient for myself) stand in a shorter line, and cast your ballot a couple weeks ahead of schedule.

So thats what I did, and honestly WTF is up with Texas ballots? Okay they aren't confusing or anything like the whole "butterfly ballot" nonsense. They are fairly straight forward and easy to understand. So here's my problem:

1. Straight party ticket voting.

Fill in the oval next to the party of your choice if you would like to vote for all the nominees of a particular party. So in Texas I don't even have to read the names of those who are voting in particular races. I don't even have to find out what offices I'm voting for, all I have to do is get my ballot and fill in the oval next to the party of my choice and be done with it. Woohoo for partisan politics...

2. Marking political affiliation but not incumbency.

In Georgia if you don't like what's going on in your district you just go in and vote against the incumbent. Of course many people go in and vote for the incumbent figuring that they did a pretty good job, seeing as they haven't heard anything negative on the news about them. So I guess the whole marking the incumbent thing is a mixed blessing, nevertheless it'd be nice to know on the ballot who is the challenger and who is the incumbent. I guess I could be not lazy and figure out who is currently representing my little numerical corner of texas for district judge, state representative, constable etc., but seeing as I have the strong conviction that political offices are not meant to be careers, but temporary positions at best, it makes more sense just to vote against incumbents wherever I happen to find them. Guess I'll have to keep track of who the incumbent assistant deputy dog catcher for district 8 of williamson county is from now on.

3. Write-in candidates

So there is this message in the little booth/box that I voted in:

"The approved write-in candidates are... ...Don't bother filling in anyone's name that is not on the approved list. Absolutely nothing will happen. They will not be counted..."

WTF!!!!! The state has to approve who I write-in on the ballot. Okay I know georgia has this thing where a write-in candidate has to petition to get write-in status, but really that just means they will get added to a list that you will see in the voting booth, and you can write them in. If someone is not on the approved list in Georgia you can still write them in, but you would have to know their name and that they are running in advance instead of having that handy dandy information right there for you. In spite of the fact that Texas has paper ballots and that it would be very easy to write-in a candidate of your choice in the space provided, apparently the state of texas thinks it is more appropriate to ignore anyone that they didn't officially approve of as a "write-in."

Someone or something is going to have to go in and read all of those individual write-ins anyway doesn't it make more sense to just keep track of this stuff. I mean hello democracy? ...and we got 5 votes for micky mouse for president, 20 votes for nobody, 80 votes for Al Gore...

Obviously it won't be reported on T.V. during the prime time election coverage but this kind of crap is nice to know. "Oh Mickey mouse got more votes that Pat Buchanan... again. Fascinating." Sure its not that important as far as the reporting goes but it would be a nice symbol of the fact that we take democracy seriously, and that we live in a country where anyone really can run for office... imagine that. Democracy is supposed to be time consuming and inefficient, thats part of what makes it Democratic. If you're aiming for political efficiency (cause damnit having to record all these different votes is sooooo inconvenient) try fascism. I heard the fascists could even make the trains run on time... woohoo.

4. Write-ins part 2.

And I can only write-in a candidate in certain races WTF!!!! The only race on my ballot that even had the option of writing in a candidate was president (like a write-in is ever going to win president). See a write-in might actually be useful in the uncontested election for constable, or district this or that... you know assitant dog-catcher etc. Instead in all those uncontested races that I was supposed to cast a vote in (and honestly WTF is the point of that?!?) I couldn't even write-in "none of the above."

I mean I could have written it on the ballot, but there was no special space provided, and no oval next to said space to fill in that the device they are scanning these with might actually pick up on. Of course seeing as NOTA is not an officially approved candidate I guess that doesn't really matter cause they wouldn't count it anyway.

5. Paper ballots...

I know there is all this paranoia over electronic voting, but we just got electronic voting two years ago in Georgia, and its a hell of a lot better than this fill in the oval with the approved marker crap. Plus ironically its much more flexible. Even if I vote for lwkjeklrjelke and his pet dog Zeus for president the computers in the electronic voting machines can easily keep track of that. No one has to parse my hand writing or read every individual write-in.

The computer will immediately spit out when the votes are tallied:

"Write-ins: 50 votes al gore, 30 votes NOTA, 20 votes Mickey Mouse, 1 vote lwkjeklrjelke and his pet dog Zeus."

And at least in the last election we were able to write in NOTA even in races that had no officially approved write-in candidates... imagine that. I can understand the concern over there being "no paper trail" for electronic voting, but there is also such thing as too much of a paper trail. 50,000 ballots with hanging chads come to mind.

6. And the rest of the ballot is where...

Okay maybe I shouldn't complain but where are all the referendums and crap on the ballot? I mean there is a huge state government not 20 miles from where I live. I live in a city with a government, a county with a separate government, and a state with obviously another government. Where are all the referendums and crap on funding x program, and building x school, and how about cutting taxes for this small group of farmers in x county? So maybe its a good thing to not have all that stuff on there. As a libertarian it could mean that there is less stuff we have to try and fight against. It could also mean the state, county, and local governments can do a lot more crap without having to ask for approval from the people (please tell me I'm not in a less democratic state than Georgia, I mean its Georgia its not any prop-312 recall election California, I'm not setting the bar that high). What's more likely to be the case is that all of those separate governments hold some of their elections separately. Great so how many times a year am I gonna have to do this?

The inefficient part is supposed to be because its democracy and you have to strive to make every vote count and every voice that wants to be heard heard. Its not supposed to be inefficient because the county decides to hold a separate election everytime they feel like taking more money from you.

In Georgia the local governments strive to get anything they can onto presidential ballots, mayors' races, sales tax increases, dog catchers. Maybe this is an indicator of a good thing, like that the local governments don't play well together. On the other hand there is that part of me that suspects that something more sinister is going on. This is the place where G.W. hails from after all. It can't be all good.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Man of Steel: Christopher Reeve 1952-2004

Man of Steel: Christopher Reeve 1952-2004 | PopMatters Film Feature

So I'm not paying attention for a week or two and Superman dies. Honestly I'm not much of one for the whole inspirational story blah blah blah... crap. I guess all that stuff gets kind of soppy after a while. Like we decide someone is special because they're disabled, and then anything they do is like that much greater. Obviously stuff is harder for them, and a quadriplegic lifting a finger would be a huge accomplishment as compared to me lifting a finger which I'm doing easily while I type this.

But I spent most of my life trying to keep people from seeing me different after they learn about my childhood. People always thought that I must be special because I had a rough childhood: "you must be so strong" "I can't believe how great you are after all you've been through." etc.

Suffering doesn't make a person special or great and neither does survival. Anybody who valued their life would fight terrible odds to survive, and merely the belief that there may be brighter days ahead can take people through extreme amounts of suffering. This isn't greatness (nor is it a bad thing) it is just part of being human.

Christopher Reeve was different. He wasn't fighting to survive. He was fighting to better his life, and pushing the bounds of known science and medicine in the process.

Everyone says he was "heroic" and "inspirational." In a way I kind of feel like they are missing the point. Superman was a role, but Christopher Reeve's life wasn't. I can say something about him that is far more powerful than any role he may have filled for others as a "hero" or "inspiration."

If Christpher Reeve had lived long enough he would have walked again. In my book that makes him a pioneering transhumanist and he'll be missed.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Job update

Okay its really weird jumping into a full time job after having not worked a regular job in about a year and a half, but that is what I've done. I've been working solid 8 and 9 hour days every day since last tuesday and I won't be getting a day off until Saturday.

My boss wanted to make sure I got plenty of training. Which of course is a good idea but I'm already starting to get that "oh do I have to go into work today" feeling that comes from working 10 days straight without a day off. I'm anxious to get into my regular schedule which is going to be night shift and give me 3 and 4 days a week off.

I've been driving everyone nuts asking for rides to work, and home (as I still have no vehicle), and I've already had a few days where I was stuck at work a couple extra hours because I couldn't get a hold of someone to pick me up. So I can't wait until I can drive myself. Thus far the big thing keeping me from buying a car (other than the obvious fact that I have no money) is that car insurance is so expensive.

As for the job itself its a nice job I think. I basically get to work as slowly and methodically as I like and do not have to work with any customers. I'm working in a "clean room" (clean because its supposed to be clean but really isn't).

We make stampers for cd's and dvd's. They are basically molds for cd's and dvd's that other people at the company stamp out thousands of copies from. Its actually kind of neat. The only downside is that the chemicals I've been working with have caused the skin on my arms to break out. Which led me to telling some of my friends at live oak that I was "allergic to work."

So I should be back to posting regularly once I get on my regular work schedule, that means after tomorrow. Woohooo!!!! Of course there is still that issue of needing to move in the next couple weeks but I guess I'll cross that bridge later...

And one other thing... is it just me or have the last two debates been rather sleep-inducing? Oh yeah and isn't it funny how both candidates have the exact same position on gay marriage?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

WooHOO!!!

Okay instead of ranting and raving about more corporate fuzzy personality tests I finally have something to celebrate. BilLee and I both got jobs!!! WooHooo!!! Last week everything seemed so bleak, now its like -Why was I worried?

It turned out that two different people at church were able to help us get jobs. My friend Leah recommended me to her employer who hired me and I will be starting tomorrow -er rather later today. Another of our acquaintances at Live oak happened to have just gotten promoted to hiring manager at his company and offered to hire BilLee as a vacuum salesman. Strangely enough we both seem to have found jobs that are good fits for our individual personalities, yet neither company required any sort of personality test... mmmhmmmm...

But enough about that its time I get some sleep.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Case in Point...

SignOnSanDiego.com > News > State -- SoCal peace activist launches anti-Nader hunger strike

Or we could write the headline like this: "Peace Activist desperate to disenfranchise other voters by further limiting candidate choice decides to conduct hunger strike."

It doesn't quite sound so gandhi-esque when you put it that way. This guy wants all those progressive voters out there with similar positions to his own who would otherwise vote for Nader to have no choice but to either vote for Kerry or stay home. It amazes me that more people don't find this guy downright offensive.

I mean if my choice were Nader for president (and its not but if it were) why would a self-described peace activist want to take that option away from me. Oh yeah so that I would vote for the guy that he wants to win. That's cute. I got an idea since solidarity is soooooooooooo important. I think Gore really divided the country in the last election. If the Democrats would just stop running candidates for president our electorate wouldn't be so divided. We should just have one candidate on the ballot. The Democrats afterall have no business running when all those voters out there would otherwise vote for Bush in an uncontested election.

From now on the office of President will be effectively decided in the Republican Primary that way we won't split the pesky American vote and thus take away votes from their rightful owners -the Republicans.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Ranting and Raving Yet Again

Okay I have two things to bitch about today. I've been trying to put up less of the "here are my complaints" blog entries because I honestly don't like stressing the negative. Its depressing. That being said I do have a few things that have been bugging me the last several days and since my blog isn't a captive audience it still remains the best place to put this stuff.

The first thing is that Bravenet is no longer allowing remote linking of images. This bugs me for two reasons. Number one is that the reason I choose to have my articles hosted on their site as opposed to the many many other free hosts is because they allowed remote linking of images. Unlike yahoo-geocities and a few other places who do not limit bandwidth but choose instead to block remote linking, bravenet seemed ideal because it simply limited the amount of bandwidth you were allowed to use in any one day. That way if I found an image I wanted to put up on blogspot which does not host images or a message board like The Ponderer's Guild I needed merely upload the image and remote link it to the site. If I exceeded my 17 megs of bandwidth in any one day the images would be blocked for the remainder of the day.

That seemed like a great system to me, meanwhile I have to look at their ads on my pages, and in my guestbook so it seemed like a good tradeoff. For some reason they decided to end this policy, and suddenly images I have had up for literally months are showing an image but not the one I put up. Instead the images says "remote linking not allowed." Now I understand that businesses occasionally have to change their policies, but it sure would be nice if they had some kind of grandfather clause. You know allow the people who have images from months and months back posted all over the web to continue on the old system at least for those old images.

What this means is that there is now probably several dozen small images on various sites with my name attached that say "remote linking not allowed." Having not kept track of everywhere I linked an image this is a real pain in the ass. It seems I'm going to have to find a new host for my images and articles. My bravehost guestbook seems to have become the tool of people who simply want to promote their website and not something that anyone uses who actually read or was interested in my site. Not that I mind people linking their sites in there. I guess I just come from an older "age" of the internet when you at least said a few things about what you liked about the site before your shameless self promotion. Like "that was a great site I really loved your poetry. My site is at www.crappyteenanxtpoetry.comnet. Now the most spammers put up is "nice site." Come visit mycrappypictures.net or somescandalIminvolvedin.net etc. So I guess its high time I got rid of that too. I've only had one "real" entry in all the months I've had it up.

You know this was a little long I think I'm going to save my latest rant on fuzzy personality tests for another post. Part 2 I guess.

All around the kerry-bush, the kerry bush...

I have one thing to say to all those anti-war democrats out there. The ones who felt disgusted and dismayed over Bush's decision to escalate the war in Iraq through what they considered to be preemptive warfare. The ones that claimed that war was never the answer and that preemptive warfare was not only a terrible precedent to set, but could never be justified, the ones that believe that because of bush's so-called "preemptive war" anybody is better than Bush, and our highest priority should be getting Bush out of the white house:

You're going to vote for a candidate in favor of preemptive warfare, you're going to vote for a candidate in favor of premptive warfare... you're going to vote for someone that just told the whole world on national television that when America feels threatened its okay to throw the first blow. You say "anybody but Bush" but Kerry is selling himself as Bush with greater media savvy, and better manners who is explicitly no different in all the ways that matter. Such as his position on preemptive warfare.

I don't think I'll take democrats seriously ever again.