Category Archives: Politics

Did you vote? I did (maybe).

I moved to a new house not that long ago. A couple of weeks back, my wife and I went to the DMV and updated our driver’s licenses. While we were there, we both requested that the DMV update our voter registrations. Approximately one week ago, my wife got a card in the mail confirming her voter registration had been updated. I got… nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. I got busy fighting with HR and the insurance company trying to get my health insurance cards1.

Then today rolls around. On a break at work, I start checking the Internet to find out where I’m supposed to go and vote tonight. While I’m doing that I run across a link allowing Iowa voters to check their voter registration. I try it out and find that my voter registration did NOT get updated. Grrrr. Tonight after dinner (roughly 6:15PM), Ariesna and I head over to the polling place to vote. I tell the person inside the door that I need the provisional ballot. She tells me to tell somebody else after I’ve signed in. I sign in, get in line and then tell the pollworker who has the book of names. She looks confused and refers me over to my 3rd pollworker of the evening.

Again, I get to wait around for my chance to talk to her. I explain my situation, including the bit about already talking the county auditor’s office. Her eyes look a bit glazed over and she seemed pretty confused. She mumbles something and then brings me some paperwork to fill out. Then she goes to try help 3-4 other people, disappears for a while and eventually comes back to take my paperwork. I hand it over and she disappears again. I hear somebody mention that the phone in the polling place doesn’t work, so apparently she’s running around the building to another room to call the county auditor’s office. Of course, if she could have kept track of what I’d said she wouldn’t have had to do that…. Eventually she comes back, gives me one of the provisional ballots and lets me vote. Wheee!

Next year, I’m so totally going to sign up for the absentee ballot. It’s just so much easier than dealing with understaffed (one of the other pollworkers mentioned they’d all been there since 6AM) & undertrained people at the polls.

1 So far, I’m still waiting. *sigh*

Jon Stewart, Cynical Youth and Voting

A Washington Post columnist posted an article last Friday covering a bit of research claiming that Jon Stewart’s popular comedy/news show on the Comedy Channel may cause people to stop voting. The report’s title was not given, nor was there any link to the results. So we have no way to read the report for ourselves to judge the accuracy of the columnist’s claims and have to rely on the quotes from the report he gave us. Quotes like this one:

“Ultimately, negative perceptions of candidates could have participation implications by keeping more youth from the polls,” they wrote.

Maybe I’m just a bit cynical myself but I’d think there’s also the possibility these youth will start working the political scene to replace the loser candidates we have now with somebody who might actually represent their interests.

Bigots and Marriage

I had been considering righting up my feeling regarding this insane proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to steal the rights of a subset of American citizens. However I was catching up on the news in the blogsphere when I stumbled upon Mr. Scalzi’s discussion of the subject:

Why aren’t people asking the marriage bigots flat out what they have against marriage? Against married couples? And by what right are they able to say that couples who are already legally married should have their marriages declared null and void? This proposed amendment breaks up marriages. God damn it, people should be hollering this at the top their lungs every time one of those marriage bigots gets all sanctimonious about what marriage means. People ought to be getting these marriage bigots into a corner and getting them to admit that they need to destroy legal, loving marriages in order to accomplish their goals. We ought to be getting these marriage bigots admitting that they have to strip away rights these Americans already have to do what they want to do.

I highly recommend you read Mr. Scalzi’s post in full.

Update: The comment thread on Mr. Scalzi’s post is rather long. I hadn’t completed reading it yet, when I posted this article. Heck, I’m still working my way through it. However the reason for this update is one of Mr. Scalzi’s replies to a comment was so dead on that I simply must quote him again.

As I’ve said a number of times in the past, the most “activist” judicial ruling I can think of in recent times was Bush v. Gore, and I think it was wildly poorly decided. However, you don’t see me hopping up and down like a frog on a plate, bitching about that damned activist Judge Scalia, because in my opinion, regardless of whether I like the ruling or not, the judiciary was doing its proper role. So, basically, if I have to live with a piece of crap ruling like Bush v. Gore, my sympathy for boo-hoo conservates bitching about “activist judges” is around about zero.

ORGANIC STANDARDS UNDER ATTACK!

The Organic Trade Association and food processors are asking Congress to change the Organic Foods and Production Act (OFPA). This could allow synthetic substances in products labeled “organic” and could weaken organic dairy standards. These amendments were introduced on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Sept. 19, and may be voted on as early as today. Please call your senators NOW!

Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA)
(202) 224-3744
email: chuck_grassley@grassley.senate.gov

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
(202) 224-9369
email: tom_harkin@harkin.senate.gov

Representative Jim Leach (R-02)
(202) 225-6576
email: http://www.house.gov/leach/email.htm

Representative Leonard Boswell (D-03)
(202) 225-3806
email: rep.boswell.ia03@mail.house.gov

Representative Jim Nussle (R-01)
(202) 225-2911
email: http://nussle.house.gov/email.htm

If you’re not sure which congressman represents your district, please refer to the Congressional Districts map at www.legis.state.ia.us/redist/congress-color.pdf PDF File

*TALKING POINTS*
Note: When calling, speak respectfully. Staffers answering phones don’t need to hear rants. State who you are and a few short words about your relationship to organics (“I’m a member at a natural foods co-op in Iowa City”). Be concise, make the point or points that matter most to you, then sign off with a thank you to the person who takes your call.

The Main Point: “I’m calling to ask the senator to vote against the organic rider on the Agricultural Appropriations Bill. This amendment to the Organic Food Protection Act is unacceptable because it could:
a) permanently allow synthetic processing aids and food contact substances in foods carrying the USDA organic label
b) leave unresolved whether young dairy cows could be treated with antibiotics and then converted to organic after twelve months.
c) create a dangerous loophole in which organic ingredients could be substituted with non-organic ingredients based upon ’emergency decrees’.”

“Furthermore, this amendment is an unacceptable end-run around due process because:
a) it undoes court decisions that have already ruled on these matters.
b) it shuns public comment from organic consumers, who are the ultimate judges of any organic label’s integrity.”

“The strongest aspect of the USDA organic program is its integrity. Please vote against this amendment, Senator.”

Want to learn more?
Organic Consumers Association
Cornucopia Institute

[Editor’s Note]: Ariesna got this information comes from the New Pioneer Coop member’s newsletter.

2005 Inaugural Celebration

After doing a bit of house-cleaning1 and trying to fix a problem with Ariesna‘s computer2 when I decided to take a break and read some blogs off my portal page. At AWelkin‘s page, I ran across this link: 2005 Inaugural Celebration.

Estimated cost of the 2005 Presidential Inauguration celebration: $40 million
Amount currently pledged by the United States to aid victims of Sunday’s tsunami: $35 million
….
I read that the cost of your upcoming inauguration has surpassed $40 million. I also read this morning that the tsunami death toll has reached 114,000, and that more than 1,300 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq since our 2003 invasion. I know too that many Iraqi civilians have suffered this past year.

I think it would be a magnanimous and inspiring act of Christian goodwill and worldwide solidarity if you were to forgo the planned inaugural celebrations this year and instead pledge those funds to worldwide disaster relief and the rebuilding of civilian infrastructure in Iraq. I think it would be a gesture that Americans, and indeed, the world, would never forget.
….

I thought that was rather inspired and stopped a moment to do the same. I post about it here to try spreading the word to encourage others to do the same.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I hope you all have a happy, safe & properous new year!

1 Stop that sniggering! Everybody has to clean their place some time and while I dislike doing it; sometimes the mood hits me. Today it hit me because I was drying a rug on the shower curtain bar and the water that came out of it was funny colored. It rather resembled the cat vomit that hit the rug last night; hence my desire to clean the tub before using it today.
2 Sorry dear, it’s still not working. I’ve got an alternative plan in mind now but it’s ugly. Tell you about it later.

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