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Independent Voter Report

So, I've decided that this week, every day, I'm going to make a post about a set of issues (Social, Economic, Foreign Policy, etc.) and talk about why I, as an Independent voter, have come to the conclusions I have on the current election cycle and what my research abut both major party candidates has shown.

For today, a little about why I'm an Independent voter, and why, in this cycle, I'm not going with a third party candidate.

Since I registered at 18, I've never had party affiliation. While I think organizing is important in the interest of getting things accomplished, something has always rankled me about political parties. I think good ideas are good ideas, bad ideas are bad ideas, and who comes up with them and how they identify are irrelevant. I've also never fit cleanly inside any particular party or ideology. I guess if I had to classify myself, I'd call myself a Constitutionalist, but really, I just prefer Independent.

As far as the third party issue, I've gone third party before and may someday again. As a voter in a predictable outcome state whose vote, in terms of the electoral college, counts for a small fraction of other American voters, but which counts for just as much in the popular vote, which determines future funding eligibility of a candidate, it's pretty safe for me to go third party. My hope is that America will eventually break out of the two party system, and when I can contribute my vote to that end, I make every attempt to do so.

In this election, though, I felt that both major candidates had a history of not feeling the need to adhere to party lines. I also believe that our country is at a huge turning point, domestically and globally, on a great number of issues, and I felt compelled to vote for a ticket that truly had a chance of attaining the presidency and being a part of the direction we take. Both major candidates are people that I've followed with interest and researched for several years, and I felt that both of them were the best candidate that their respective parties had in the race. I was pleased, at the end of the primary cycle, to see that this was the contest.

I feel that both candidates have had their ups and downs in the course of their campaigns. I neither agree nor disagree entirely with either of them, but I think they're both solid candidates. It was not without serious consideration of both of them that I came to the eventual conclusion that I will be voting for Barack Obama.

Tomorrow: Social Issues.
I really love hot dogs. The super cheap funny tasting ones I can do without, but I don't need anything too fancy (though "poshages," as I call them, can be nice on occasion, too). Just a standard beef frank is good enough for me. These days I like the ones from Niman Ranch, a local cruelty-free ranch that doesn't use hormones or antibiotics and uses vegetarian-only feed. Because apparently, the only living thing I'm willing to abuse in the consumption of my hot dog is myself.

At the ballpark or a street stand, I like them in a nice roll with mustard, onions, and sauerkraut, a.k.a. "The Make-out Dog," but my favorite way to fix them at home is to slice them up and saute them with stuff. Tonight it was sweet potato, red onion, and zucchini. Green beans and tomatoes with Italian seasonings is another good way to go, one of my favorite uber-authentic Mediterranean dishes.

I've read all of the cautionary literature about how even hot dogs that are cruelty-free/organic/all-beef/etc. are still 35% eyeball and 65% anus, and I know that's supposed to arouse some kind of disgust in me, but it just doesn't. As long as it's ground up and processed into an unrecognizable tube of meat paste, it's actually kind of reassuring to know that it's made up of all of the most repulsive parts of the animals involved. I feel like if the cow/pig/mystery creature had to die to provide me with food, I should at least give it the respect of being willing to make nutritional use of every piece of it. And if I can do so without ever having to look at that whole eyeball or anus and then put it into my mouth and bite down on it, chew it, and swallow it, it's a win-win.
You know what you have to love about the Oakland Raiders?

They've only won a total of 19 games over the last several seasons (for reference, the New England Patriots won nearly that many just last season), and yet...

That big-ass stadium is full of fans every game, decked out in all their Raider gear, cheering them on every single play. They're still losing badly as we speak, mind you, and it's pretty much because they're not playing very well. Also, I myself am not much of a Raiders fan. They're probably in my top five, but let's get real, my heart belongs to LaDainian.

Still, though. I just like to see people loyal to their team in good times and bad. It warms the cockles of my heart.

Take note: you may never again find a more comprehensive collection of irresponsible, do-nothing, non-leaders.

A non-pregnancy related Palin scandal.

Apparently, as Wasilla's mayor, Sarah Palin immediately fired nearly all of the city officials loyal to her predecessor, then tried to get the local librarian to ban books and threatened to fire the woman for not complying, and then, when the local press began to criticize her, she told city department heads that they were not permitted to talk to any reporters without first getting her permission.


Do not want, do not want, do not want. Oh, sweet Jesus, do not want.


I kind of like Sarah Palin. I disagree heartily with her on too many important issues to ever consider voting for her. She wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, ban gay marriage, increase off-shore drilling, institute the teaching of creationism in public schools, etc., all choices that bother me not even so much because I disagree with them but because I think they're patently unintelligent.

I don't mind liberal, I don't mind conservative, I just mind stupid.

But on the other hand, her support, both in actions and words, of ethical behavior, even when it was to her own personal detriment, and responsible spending and fiscal policy are big pluses. I appreciate responsibility, I appreciate good fiscal choices, and I appreciate people who make good on their words. As much as I may disagree with her, I can't find it in me to dislike her. Quite the opposite.

But I'll be damned if I don't find her VP selection to be the stupidest and most offensive maneuver of the McCain campaign.

The woman has been Governor of one of the least populated states in the country for two years. She has no experience on the national level and absolutely no foreign policy experience. None. Her education background is in journalism, a field she failed to attain any level of success in and chose because she "liked writing."

This woman is so patently unqualified to an executive position of national government that it's not even funny. In fact, it's severely unfunny. Because what John McCain, a 72-year-old candidate, just did was show how dangerously uncommitted he is to responsible governing in favor of shallow electioneering. This is who he thinks should be a step away from the presidency (because, honest to god, that would be her only real job) in a time where we are at war and facing tremendous, potentially dangerous shifts in the geo-political environment? A Governor who had to be filled in on basic facets of her own state's constitution in order to make executive decisions, and who publicly stated that she didn't understand the office of the Vice President and would need to have it explained to her before she could posit on whether or not she would accept it? That level of candor is refreshing in a new, not-yet-seasoned Alaska Governor and pretty horrifying in a potential Vice President to a 72-year-old man.

And yet we all know why she was picked. Because she has a vagina, and secondarily because she's young. I wouldn't even mind that blatant political manipulation so much if I felt she was qualified and had a vagina, or had a moderate stand on the issues that differed from McCain's in order to attract centrist voters and a vagina. But as things stand, the only thing that really adds to this ticket is her vagina and possibly her youth, and that's pretty insulting. To her, and to the American people. I don't mind people making politically savvy choices. It's the only realistic way to get things done. I mind when they make politically savvy choices that also happen to be completely irresponsible. And frankly, I think it says something pretty embarrassing about John McCain and the precedence of his vanity over his good judgment.

Jul. 27th, 2008

This song has been following me.

It kills me. Every time.

I really love the Jeff Buckley version, but it's not letting me imbed;


There are 7-8 recorded verses in different versions, but some people claim to have seen 15. Leonard Cohen says he's written over 80. Neither Buckley nor Damien Rice (nor Rufus Wainright, whose version I also love) do the original last verse, though, which is one of my favorites;

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah.
Hallelujah, hallelujah.
Hallelujah, hallelujah.

Beyond borders.

Senator McCain has very thoughtfully alerted the country to the fact that there are serious problems in the Iraq-Pakistan border.

The only problem is that there is no Iraq-Pakistan border.

Now, some people have posited that this gaffe raises some sort of need for concern about McCain's fitness to lead, either because he doesn't firmly grasp the basic geography of the area of the world that is arguably most important in terms of American security and foreign policy, or because he's old and a little senile. Some say that, along with his recently repeated belief that there is a country called Czechoslovakia, despite having visited the Czech Republic twice since it's creation, there are decided signs of ignorance or at least an out-of-date mind set on the part of Mr. McCain when it comes to foreign relations.

I think these allegations are patently false. I feel that when it comes to an accomplished statesman like Mr. McCain, there are only two explanations for his remarks;

1) Like President Bush, it is his plan to treat the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan as interchangeable concepts when it comes to anti-terrorist foreign policy.

The Iraq-Pakistan border, as you can see, is now clearly visible.

2) Facing down one of the greatest foreign policy questions in recent years, i.e. what to do about the increasingly threatening nation of Iran, Mr. McCain has made the bold decision to take the time honored disciplinary technique of the silent treatment and escalate it to a whole new level. Until Iran can stop acting up, Mr. McCain is just going to pretend it's not there.

That'll show them. And just look at how beautifully Iraq and Pakistan would now fit together. There's a little notch in southern Pakistan where that little tab in southern Iraq will fit perfectly. And when you look at it that way, the Iraq-Pakistan border is now, once again, a clearly discernible entity.

When will people stop underestimating this political visionary?

Regional terminology meme

Stolen from neebs

Age: 25
Raised by: Midwesterners, a Californian, a Southerner, and a Latino.
Raised in: California.

What do you call:

1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks.
A creek.

2. What the thing you push around the grocery store is called.
Shopping cart

3. A metal container to carry a meal in.
Lunch box

4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in.

5. The piece of furniture that seats three people.

6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof.

7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening.
Porch or patio

8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages.

9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup.

10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself.

11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach.
Trunks or board shorts

12. Shoes worn for sports.
Athletic shoes or running shoes

13. Putting a room in order.
Picking up

14. A flying insect that glows in the dark.

15. The little insect that curls up into a ball.

16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down.

17. How do you eat your pizza?
With hands, halfway from tip in, then crust, then remaining cheese-and-topping part

18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff?
Garage sale

19. What's the evening meal called?

20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are?

21. What do you call the thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places?
Drinking fountain

Why I chose today to renew my paid account.

When my paid account lapsed due to my having changed banks between last March and this March, I got hit with ads. Why, you ask?

Well you see, this company Livejournal that I patronize, typically, at least a few times daily, is not a non-profit organization. They are a business. A business that provides me with a service. A service that I enjoy and find a lot of worth in. It costs them money to provide me with this service, and the fact that I understand and appreciate what they do is why I was more than happy to be a paid user at their very low, very reasonable prices, and why I was not at all put out by their choice to put ads up when I was temporarily no longer paying.

These ads were not foisted on me. I had a very simple and affordable method available to me to make them go away. The freedom of choice was entirely mine. Not that I needed the ads as a motivation to pay. I have always been more than happy to contribute to the success of Livejournal because I want them to remain in business so I can continue to patronize them.

Furthermore, I want to support them since I think they're a great company that provides a great service. Just like the way I will happily pay my $10 for a ticket to a movie that I want to see succeed at the box office, because I enjoy it and want for those kinds of movies to continue to be successful so they can continue to be made. Just like the way I shop at farmer's markets because I appreciate local farmers and their goods and want their work to continue to be profitable so I can continue to benefit from their goods.

So in response to a completely asinine "strike" scheduled today by users with either overwrought senses of entitlement, or tremendous propensities to make mountains out of molehills, or both, I have chosen this day to renew my very affordable paid account and let Livejournal know that I appreciate their services enough to support them in continuing to provide them to me. If you use Livejournal regularly and are not yet a paid customer, I encourage you to become one. Not only do you get to do your part to support LJ, you get lots more icons, which, as we all know, is what Livejournal is all about.