Archive for October, 2004

Continuing with the political posts…

My main qualm with the Electoral College is that technically the electoral voters vote any way they want. They are supposed to vote the way of their constiuents, yet they don’t have to.

For example in 1958 an alabama elector voted forJones (President) and Talmadge (Vice-President), two people who were not on the ticket. In 1976, a washington elector voted for Ronald Regan, he wasn’t on the ticket then either. In 1988 a west virginia elector voted for the Vice-President as the President and the President as the Vice-President.

Another problem is that there have been times when electoral votes aren’t even cast, thus making all the votes that that elector represented moot. This happened in 1820 when three electors died before casting votes. In 1832, 2 electoral votes from Maryland weren’t cast.

Finally, the electoral votes aren’t representitive of the people. In 1892 the People’s party candidate got 1,027,329 popular votes for President, yet no electoral votes. The winner, Grover Cleveland, got 5,556,918 popular votes and 227 electoral votes. In 1912, Republican Party candidate Taft received 3,483,922 popular votes for President and only got 8 electoral votes. The winner, Wilson, got 6,293,454 popular votes and 435 electoral votes. 1924, Progressive Party candidate LaFollette received 4,822,856 popular votes for President and a mere 13 electoral votes. The winner, Calvin Coolidge, got 15,725,016 poular votes and 382 electoral votes. Coolidge’s main opponent got 8,386,503 popular votes and 136 electoral votes. In 1980, Independent candidate John B. Anderson received 5,719,437 popular votes for President, but no electoral votes. Winner, Reagan, had 43,901,812 popular votes and 489 electorals. Lastly, the most recent example is Ross Perot. He’s on this list twice. In 1992, Ross, as an Indepedent, received 19,741,065 popular votes for President, but no electoral votes. Bill Clinton got 44,908,254 popular votes and 370 electorals. Then in 1996, Ross also received no elctorals, though he got 7,866,284 popular votes. Bill Clinton, this time, got 45,590,703 popular votes and 379 electorals.

In 1824, John Quincy Adams lost the popular vote and the electoral vote, however because neither had a majority, the choice went to the House of Representitives and John Q. Adams won over Andrew Jackson. Also in 1876, Rutheford B. Hayes lost the popular vote to Samual J. Tilden, yet won the electoral. And as well know, in the 2000 election, George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore, yet won the electoral. So not only does the electoral votes not always match up with the popular. But people who have won neither the electoral, nor the popular, have become preseident.

What is the point of all those statistics? The electoral college isn’t representitive of the American people’s will and should be removed in favor of a straight popular vote.

As all of you should know, the good ole’ American tradition of election is coming up in a week. I’m not sure why, but I’ve kept up more with this election than any other. Perhaps it is me maturing, perhaps I’m just bored and need something to occupy my time. The answer, whatever it may be, is irrelevent.

I have added a link on the right side of the page to Electoral-vote.com. This website keeps a daily tally of where the national election currently is. It bases its findings off of numerous published, national polls. It includes tons of information if you care to read it all. I usually just check to see how each state has changed from the day before. There is an interactive map of the U.S. that shows the current predicted percentage of the population for each candidate.

Indubitably, you’ve heard that this election will be close, if not the closest in U.S. history. This makes it ever more important to get out and vote. This is especially important for our age demographic: 18-30. I don’t know the exact statistic of how many in this demographic voted last year, but I do know that it wasn’t a whole lot.

If the majority of those in this demographic voted, it very easily could swing the election one way or another, specifically, but not limited to, the good ole state of Kansas. I recall reading some statistic that stated something to the effect of “less than 5% of people in this demographic voted in last years election.” Maybe it was .5%. The point is, it was one of the lowest in the country.

Even if you’re unsure of who to vote for president, there are state elections to vote for as well. Many times people feel the state elections are more important to them as they more directly affect them. This is sometimes true and sometimes not, but I think you get what I’m saying. Take for example the Kansas Board of Education (BOE) this year.

In 1999, the mostly conservative Republican Kansas BOE voted 6-4 to downplay the role of evolution in Kansas schools. In 2001 that vote was reversed by the then majority moderate Democratic BOE. This year, two conservative Republicans won their primaries on August 6th and are running uncontested. One of them is Kathy Martin of Clay Center. She is in favor of, again, down playing evolution and up playing (is that a word? well it is now …) Creationism. Which is insane her perogative. However, I, personally, vehemently disagree and will be casting a write-in vote for Bruce Wyatt, whom Martin beat in the primary. Wyatt, unlike Martin, does not believe evolution needs to be downplayed.

That’s my two-bit rant about evolution in Kansas schools.

The whole point: go vote.

I don’t know what it is about political infographics, but damn I love them. I think it’s because I’m a visual person for the most part.

This cost of war infographic shows useful things that the U.S. could have spent their money on, had we not gone to “war” with Iraq.

(If you can’t tell, I don’t think we, as in America, should have gone to Iraq.)

Update: I added the picture that I mentioned below.

Today, as per usual for this time of year, the Gideon Invasion began.

The Gideons, with their perfect octogenarian strategery, amass themselves in force on important intersections across from the University. As is their custom, they give out these little green bibles to passersby free of charge. ‘Tis a gift. Now that I think about it, they were orange once, but it matters not.

I hate being a wasteful person, I really do. Giving me a Gideon bible is wasteful. I will not read it. I’m sorry, I just won’t. I’m not religious, I don’t feel as though I need religion. I believe in God, although not as most people do – most people believe in an omnibenevolent God, whereas I do not, but that’s neither here nor there. Consequently, I avoided the Gideon’s today. I went out of my way to do so, even. This act, in and of itself, is not typically me, but I figured it was better for both the Gideons and myself.

In a possibly related bit of entertainment, though I’m not sure if it actually was or not:

Flash forward to 11:30 a.m. I’m walking from my technical writing class to my physical anthropology lecture. I have to cross the quad – no big deal. As I’m making my short journey, I notice a girl yelling at people and waiving a large flag. Needless to say this piqued my interest. This fanatic very devout girl was screaming explaining in a loud tone that I, and every passerby, was going to hell. Talk about some bad news on a Wednesday morning. If you know me at all, then you know that I was laughing my ass off chuckling to myself. I then proceeded to continue to class.

It just made me think, though. Is that sort of fanaticism and condemnation of every living soul passing you going to convert someone? I mean, seriously, someone explain their logic to me, I’d love to hear it.

I took a picture of the girl with my cell phone camera, though I’m not sure if there is a free way to get it off and onto the internet. I know there is a service I can pay for, though I’m not so sure it’s worth it. I’ll look into it, worry not.

Here’s that girl:

Religious Fanatic

I was explaining this whole spectacle to classmates in my anthro class when one of them mentioned that it was gay-pride week or national come-out-of-the-closet week [or something to that effect]. That also made me wonder if the Gideons, and associated (or un-associated) crazy-ass people with flags, timed their Invasion to coincide. Perhaps so, perhaps not. Damn those Gideons and their impecable strategery.

Josh’s mom is my surrogate mother. She is the epitome of all things motherly. I have yet to see any other mother as motherly as she is. She has been this way as long as I have know Josh; I met Josh in 7th grade gym class. That was circa 1994, if my memory serves me correctly. In terms of friends’ mothers, I couldn’t have done better. She’s always treated me like a fourth son, which is nice considering my own mother for all intents and purposes, left my family around 1997 or so took a break from her motherly duties.

Today, after work, I stopped in at the Senior Center, where Josh’s mom works, to show Jamie, Josh’s mom, how to do some mail-merge stuff in Word/Access/Excel. They have a database of members in Microsoft Works. The Center is still stuck in 1998 and, as such, don’t use the newest of software. I comvinced Jamie it wouldn’t hurt to upgrade her copy of Microsoft Office, seeing as her Office 97 doesn’t do any of the stuff she wanted to do.

Enough of this wussy-crap though, the point of post was lemon poppyseed bread. As I was leaving the center, Jamie gave me five min-loaves of lemon poppyseed bread. Oh the joy! I originally got hooked on this bread by way of, who else, Jamie. She used to make it for Josh and me all the time.

Lemon poppyseed bread is so good, I’m surprised it’s not used as currency for small third-world nations. I feel as though it’s that good.

As I was driving back home from the center, I couldn’t help myself, I opened up the bag of bread and started eating a mini loaf. It’s a compulsion really, a compulsion I’m fully accepting of, though.