Thursday, December 21, 2006

The reason for the season

Up here on the Northern Hemisphere, this is the longest night of the year. It's time to reflect on the reason why celebrate and have festivals at all during these cold months. From Ramadan, Hanukkah, Solstice, Yule, Christmas, etc. we get together with friends and families, tell stories about the previous year and make plans for the coming year. What seeds will we plant in our lives, and what will we do differently this year than last year? What other lessons have we learned from mistakes we have made, and what went well that we may wish to repeat?

The 23° 27’ tilt of the earth creates this phenomenon, and the plants & animals have evolved to take advantage of it and thrive. The solstice is the point where the sun is at the far point north or south of the equator. In our hemisphere, the winter solstice is where the sun is as far away from us as it gets.

Why is the earth tilted? When our third generation sun ignited 4.57 Billion years ago from the collapse of the gas cloud, and the solar wind drove the smaller dust away, the planets had already mostly formed from the material they had collected. The inner planets like ours collected mostly heavier metals and minerals because the lower density gases couldn't stay in the center of that disc because it got too hot too fast. The outer planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune collected most of the material they could before ignition. Much of it likely disappeared into Interstellar Space, but there should be quite a bit hovering at the outskirts of our system.

The formation of the Earth was a process of getting slammed again and again and again with meteors and asteroids of all sizes. The last truely major punch was when Theia and proto-Earth came together, forming the Earth and the Moon. I personally believe that this was the point that the current tilt of the Earth's axis came from. So, by this hypothesis, we can thank Moon for the Solstice.

Thanks, Luna! And Happy Birthday, Sol!

Time to go out to dinner with my wife and enjoy a good meal with a good glass of wine. That's what life is all about. Or something...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cause I'm a Geek! Yeah, yeah., yeah

On December 17th, I received an email confirmation from Yahoo saying that my password had changed. It wasn't me. So, for the last 2 days, I've been bouncing emails back and forth with Yahoo trying to get access to my account. It got rather hairy.

They use a 'secret question' that you use when you first set up your account. For me and Yahoo, that relationship goes back years. Almost a decade. I created a Yahoo Mail account when they first launched the service way back when they first bought Rocketmail in 1997. So my question was based in an era that I no longer live in, and I couldn't remember it. And that's IF it was the same question that I originally used. The only other alternative was to remember the credit card number that I used to pay for the account, when I was paying for it. Three years ago. Don't ask how, but I remembered it.

So I got back in, and changed my password again. And part of the email confirmation that I got was the IP address to where I was. Which made me go back and look at the original confirmation, and yep, there was an IP address on that one too.

24.166.13.60

I did a quick search, and discovered that this IP address came from Indianapois, Indiana. Actually, coming out of the airport there, in fact.

So, after getting home, I dug a little deeper.

cpe-24-166-13-60.indy.res.rr.com

So, someone in Indiana using a Roadrunner account just before 11:26 AM discovered a password that I had set up almost 10 years ago, and decided to hack into the account. I'd like to think it was for fun, but I'm making quite a few waves in some circles. So, who knows. Maybe Karl's trying to find out what I'm up to. Good luck, Karl. You've already lost.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I'm running

Dear Members and PCO's of the 46th District Democrats:

I'm running for King County Delegate from the 46th at our next
Reorganization meeting, and I would like to ask for your vote.

Suzie Sherry has already asked me to take an appointed position as
'Chair' of the Rapid Response Committee, and I'm working with Rob
Dolin to improve the kcdems.org website. I was planning to run for
the Alternate position, but then Dean Fournier announced that he was
interested in stepping back. So I'm going to run for the full seat.

I'd like to gather ideas on how I can be effective in the Rapid
Response role, as well as be a communications link between the
activists in the 46th and the King County Executive Board as we move
into the 2007 and 2008 elections. I started working with the 46th
just before the Precinct Caucuses in 2004, and I've been on the
Executive Board of the 46th for the last two years, handling the
website and participating in whatever planning committees were needed
to get things done. I'd like to put that experience to work at the
county level, and be your voice on the King County Democratic Central
Committee.

If you have any questions or ideas, please let me know. I'm starting
this campaign at the Holiday Party, and the vote is on Thursday,
January 18th. I hope to hear from you, and I hope I'll earn your
vote.

Chad Lupkes
PCO, SEA-46-2324

http://www.dfalink.com/campaign.php?id=1715

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another way of looking at our US Senate wins.

Thought I would post a link to my personal site and the data work I've been doing.

http://www.seattlewebcrafters.com/politics/2006/USSenate2006results.php

This graph shows the results per Wikipedia, with Democrats in Blue, Republicans in Red and Independents in Yellow.

I'm working on maps for Washington State as well.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dear Mr. Lame Duck

You stupid idiot.

You damned fool.

Sure, you can fight fire with fire, if you're willing to watch the entire building or forest burn down. Sure, you can fight terror with terror, if you're willing to watch the Constitutional Rights of our people erode and disappear. But by saying that we can't leave Iraq until we "succeed", without giving a definition of success that all sides of the conflict can agree on, you're saying basically nothing.

You fight fire with water, in order to put the fire out. You fight terror with hope, in order to heal the people and the community.

The United States must leave Iraq. Whether that is immediately, on a specific time-table, or based on real and achievable milestones is up to the Iraqi people and the American people working together.

Go ahead. Stay on your high horse. Stay safe in your marble mansion. You have already lost this war. You have already committeed war crimes, and destroyed not one, not two, but three countries. Afghanistan, Iraq and the United States will be feeling the effects of the last 6 years for at least a century, and the entire world will suffer for it.

You're not a leader. You're a lame duck. Just go away.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, find me a match

A friend in Seattle has put together a fun little website that enables users to create Yes/No questions, answer other people's questions and find people that closely match their own answers.

Here's the link:

http://devil.m3047.inwa.net/matcher/

To create an account, you'll need an invitation. You can contact Fred, whose email is linked on the home page, or let me know that you're interested in and I'll send you one.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why politics is important

Thanks to Compaqdrew of Campaigns Wikia!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Progressive Alliance

A New Progressive Alliance



A Call for Unity between Secular, Spiritual, and Religious Progressives



June 3, 2006




Realizing that our shared commitment to human rights, religious freedom, and peace and social justice, significantly outweighs our differences; we the undersigned, comprised of both secular and religious progressives, declare an alliance between progressive, rational-minded people regardless of one’s spiritual, religious, or secular perspective.

While our beliefs about the existence of God may differ, progressive Americans share a common tradition of humanism dating back to at least the Renaissance. Many spiritual and religious thinkers have significantly contributed to the advancement of doubt, free thinking, and the sciences, laying the ground work for the Enlightenment and modernity. There is no “cultural war” dividing us.

While we make no apologies for the beliefs that have helped to shape our character, we acknowledge that neither faith in God nor atheism suffices to define one’s ethical character. We maintain that the character of a human being can only be defined and evaluated on the basis of one’s actions.

We agree that fanaticism, be it religious or secular, is the true enemy of reason and of human progress.

We therefore formally reject the proposition that one cannot be both religious and rational. And we patently reject the notion that people of faith are incapable of respecting modern science and evolution.

We equally reject the point of view that implies one must believe in God or hold a specific religious belief in order to be valued as a moral/ethical being.

We call upon our movements to unite for the betterment of our society and to reject the enmity of pundits who have made their careers out of promoting intolerance and hatred.

We affirm the plurality of our nation and the importance of maintaining the wall of separation between civic and religious authorities in order to preserve the democratic principle of freedom of and from religion.

Our nation has been carved into a maze of horrors: torture, war, poverty, gross spending on warfare, corruption, religious fanaticism, sexism, homophobia, bigotry and intolerance. Progressive people both with and without religious faith must work together if we are to correct these injustices.

We, the undersigned, agree that given our nation’s many ethical and societal challenges, secular, spiritual and religious progressives must set aside their differences to work together to create a better world.



To view the signatures, please visit their website.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Not abortion again...

Campaigns Wikia has a mailing list, and we broke into an abortion discussion today. Temporary, I hope. Here's my position today:

Doesn't the Bible teach that life begins at the first breath? Isn't
part of the mythology that Mary had to decide whether or not to end
her pregnancy? Or at least whether Joseph would stay with Mary until
the child was born?

If it is against the Western tradition to "kill babies" or (my
addition) allow them to be killed, why don't our laws require that all
children receive free health care paid for by the community from the
moment of conception to the moment of natural death? Why aren't we do
everything in our power to prevent abortions by teaching our teenagers
about birth control along side the "just say no" concept that is
failing us so badly?

I'll tell you why. Because the Catholic Church teaches that we will
pay for our sins in some future eternity, and that any suffering that
we have to endure in this life is insignificant. The same mentality
teaches radical Muslims that their reward in a future life will be
beyond their imagination if they create suffering for their enemies in
this life.

It's a lie. It's a tool used to encourage the domination of the many
under the hand of the few. It's a justification used to force people
to tolerate the intolerable, to allow the inexcusable and to
accomplish the unthinkable.

We have one world. This one. We have one life to have an influence
over. This one. The Bible tells us to be "fruitful and multiply".
It does not tell us to be fruitful and multiply to the point that our
population numbers make life unbearable and unsustainable. G-d set
the rules of the game, and has granted us with free will to play the
game. If we destroy the game board, G-d is not going to save us. He
will wait a few million years and try again with a new species. He
has all the time in the Universe. We don't.

I will agree to a 100% ban on abortions when we have completely
eliminated unwanted pregnancy from the earth. If we could work
together, we could do both. Big "IF", isn't it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My quote in the NYTimes

To those who have expressed concerns about my quote,

I was not speaking from the experience of someone who lost someone in the war. I was not speaking from that perspective. I can't. And none of the people that you have met would wish me to be talking from that perspective.

Let me give you the context for the word "fool".

"Life is, among other things, an elimination contest. We get eliminated from this and that and from them and him and her; and finally a germ or faulty pump valve eliminates them altogether. A few find the contest so disagreeable that they eliminate themselves. They are the 24-karat fools who miss the important point about it all; namely, that the major meaning of life is the opportunity to strive and struggle: an opportunity forever denied inanimate things. Striving and struggling implies that the striver is aiming to do something he is not doing now, or get somewhere different than where he is now."

Wayne Valdemar Brandon

Wayne Brandon was my grandfather. From when I was 6 years old to when I was 13, I lived with my grandparents. More than anyone else in my life, my grandfather taught me what values to live with. How to make decisions. What to care about. He came to the US from Sweden in 1923. He and my grandmother survived the crash, survived the Great Depression, survived the 2nd World War.

In 1991, during the first Gulf War, I was in the Navy. In Bremerton, Washington, with my ship in Dry Dock. I did nothing during that war except watch the clock. I didn't know about the damage done by the Reagan years. I knew that George H. W. Bush was my Commander in Chief. I was told by my officers that the Arkansas Governor, William Clinton, was incapable of doing the job. I voted the way I was told. I was a fool. A damned fool. And I learned.

People, individuals, deserve respect. And they have, do, and always will, get my respect, and my ear. But attitudes that deny the larger struggle, ideas that lose the path from where we are to where we should be going. Those I intend to change.

In order to stop the war, this president must be held accountable for his decisions. This will not be done if the Republican party maintains control of the House or the Senate. We must take both in the 2006 election. This is something that the most liberal, most progressive members of our House and Senate agree on.

All of the people that have been mentioned to me in emails and phone calls care about health care. So do you. So do I. All the people that have been mentioned care about the environment. So do you. So do I. The war is a node in a network, a nexus in a web of cause and effect. You know that. So do I. We must work to make sure that everyone is aware of the web.

To call people fools, without context on the front page of the most important national newspaper in the United States, was wrong. To have an interview with a reporter from that newspaper last 45 minutes so he could print 4 sentences is a poor way to show respect for mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, wives and husbands that have lost family and friends in this war. For that, I sincerely apologize.

Politics is about people. And it is about decisions that people make. And those decisions must be made with a full understanding of the consequences, and a full and complete understanding of the context. I did not have that understanding when I talked with the reporter, and I don't have it now. But I'm closer, thanks to all of you. Hopefully, the context that I have provided will also bring you closer.

My wife and I bought a documentary a week or so ago. "9/11", by Jules & Gedeon Naudet, and James Hanlon. It peels to the bone the illusions that those of us who were on the other side of the country had and have about what happened that day, and gave me a very interesting change in perspective to watch it for the first time while I was writing this response. I hope to ever have that kind of change in my perspective, whenever someone writes to me from theirs.

I am no longer defending myself from criticism. My statement was my opinion, based on my understanding. And we are 44 days from the election.

Chad

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Party Primaries

This is from a mailing list post I made on September 3rd. The question is raising its head again, and I wanted to put this somewhere I could find it quick.




I don't think it should matter whether we're talking about an Incumbent seat, a Challenged seat or an Open seat. Because what we're talking about is not specific details having to do with a specific race or a specific candidate. We need to nail our principles to the party door. And the principles that I would use to decide policy on Primary races come from the Charter of the Washington State Democratic Party.


We, the Democrats of the State of Washington, believe in the concepts expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States that all power to govern resides with the people. In accordance with the National Charter of the Democratic Party of the United States, we organized and pledge ourselves to promote a truly representative Party open to all who support its principles.



We further pledge to make every effort to encourage maximum participation in the political process and to protect individuals' rights, civil liberties, our environment and social and economic justice for all.




All power to govern resides with the people. To translate that into this discussion, all power to pick and choose candidates for office resides with the voters. And all power to decide who will best represent the principles and values of the Democratic Party reside with the grassroots activists and voters in the Primary election. Move the primary up to June, May, April, whenever we need to. My honest choice for a primary, especially when it comes to the 2008 Presidential Primaries, would be President's Day, the third Monday in February. To heck with this jockeying about who goes first, and no more influencing the grassroots with the claim "Well, they won in Iowa so they must be the best." Start the landslide nationwide with all 50 states on the same day, whether that be via Primary or Caucus.



We pledge ourselves to promote a truly representative Party open to all who support its principles. To be truly representative, the Party rules should be encouraging people to campaign, to run, to build support and campaign infrastructure. There should be standards and an instruction manual for candidates and campaign managers revised every year just as there is currently a PCO Handbook. It would explain how to file for office, what positions are partisan, and most importantly what the rules are for gaining access to whatever infrastructure the Party has available. This includes the Voter File, Endorsements, etc. The Candidate Handbook would also explain fundraising best practices, how to host a house party, how to get someone else to host a house party, and where and how to advertise. Every candidate that I've talked to outside Incumbents who have already learned these sorts of things by doing them tells me that everyone is on their own when it comes to building a campaign. This often means that people start really early, or they have to put lots of money into a campaign from their own pocket to make up the difference. Which means that if someone doesn't have a lot of money or enough time to really campaign full time, they might as well not bother.



We further pledge to make every effort to encourage maximum participation in the political process. How can we fulfill this pledge if we are from the onset telling people interested in public office that they are on their own?



Incumbent candidates automatically get extra help. They can call on the party to help them get the word out about an event, and more than likely get what they need quicker than a primary challenger seems to. If an Incumbent has screwed up somehow, by the votes they have cast or by not responding to grassroots pressure from within the party, the chair of that district or the state should be willing and able to address the concerns about that behavior to that elected official. That doesn't mean withdrawing support, it means the chair being accountable to the people that put them into office by raising concerns, and then reporting the response to the people who raised the concern.



Rodney Tom got the support of his district immediately, and the person who had already announced for that Senate seat, and had been building campaign infrastructure for several months, was asked to drop out. This was the person who had actually run against Rodney in 2004 for his House seat, with the support of her district. What's fair about that? I'm sure that he will do a great job in the Senate, but that's not the point. The point is that we drove off someone who had been building support within her district for 3 years, and probably drove off some of that support at the same time. That's in direct violation of our stated principles as a party.



About the Governor's reelection, I agree that the party should start now. And they should start with a simple question sent out to every Democrat on our mailing lists: "What do you want to see from a Washington State Governor, and will you help make sure that the Democratic Party candidate in 2008 will live up to your desires and expectations?" House parties should be happening every month at a Precinct or Area level (the 46th is divided up into 14 Areas of 10-15 precincts each). These parties don't have to be focused on the Gubernatorial race, they should be focused on the grassroots. What do we want from a Governor? What do we want from an Attourney General? What do we want from a Secretary of State? What do we want from a Lands Commissioner, a Treasurer, an Auditor, our Legislature, our county and city governments, our courts? What do the people, who are the source of everything else in this country and this party, want from our government? That is what we need from a political party wanting to be the party of the people.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Media!

Ok, I've had quite a week. Quoted on the front page of the New York Times on Tuesday the 19th, and then today I get on the Thom Hartmann show to hold myself accountable. I'll fill in the quote in a bit, so keep an eye out, but it's also on WashBlog.com and DailyKos.com if you can't wait.

As far as the radio goes, download the mp3.

Load the mp3, and scroll over to 2 hours, 34 minutes or so. It's about 5 minutes long.

Here's the quote:


" `Do you really want a Republican representing Washington?' That's the question she's asking," said Chad Lupkes, a Washington coordinator for Democracy for America.

In July, Ms. Cantwell hired two of her potential Democratic primary challengers, both critics of the war, to work on her campaign. The move drew charges from both sides that she was paying off opponents; one of those hired, Mark Wilson, is paid $8,000 a month. The other person hired was Dal LaMagna.

Mr. Wilson, now a Cantwell campaign outreach director, did not respond to a request for an interview. Mr. Lupkes said Mr. Wilson was far from a sellout. He said it had been "critical" for Mr. Wilson to join the Cantwell campaign.

"The progressives really want to learn how the system works," Mr. Lupkes said. "You've got a bunch of people who say that the war is their top, only issue. Those people are fools. They're going to vote for Aaron Dixon. Maybe 5 percent of the vote goes for him?"

Monday, August 21, 2006

It's not incompetence, it's intention.

When all things are considered, all evidence examined and the history is written, I believe that we will reach this conclusion:

It's not incompetence, it's intention.

They're not apologizing for mistakes, they're celebrating their success.

Nobody reaches the top levels of this government if they are completely incapable of following a plan. Which means to me that Iraq, Katrina, Kyoto, 911, etc. were not the result of mistakes, they were the results of intentional policies.

George Bush and the Republican Party leadership didn't make the mistake of not planning for louting and the insurgency, they intentionally planned to create the social and political enviornment where these things happen. George Bush and the Republican Party leadership didn't make the mistake of being unaware of the Hurricane bearing down on New Orleans. They were fully aware, and had made plans to take advantage of the devastation. George Bush and the Republican Party leadership are not unaware of climate change and the results of carbon emissions, they are making plans to make sure that nothing slows global warming because they see it as a good thing. George Bush and the Republican Party leadership were not unaware that our enemies were making plans to strike inside the United States. They were fully aware, and fully capable of stopping it. They didn't even try. They didn't want to try.

It's up to the American People to decide what we want from our government. Do we want a Congress and Administration that intentionally plans to allow people to be hurt or killed, whether those people are within our country or in other countries. Or do we want a Congress and Administration that does everything it can to prevent such things?

The United States has enemies. Of course we do. Where's the debate in that? The question is why, and what we're doing to change that. There are two ways to stop someone from hurting you. You hurt them first and remove their capability, or you change their mind so that they no longer want to. There are two ways to change someone's mind. You can either make them unwilling to take the risk due to the potential costs to themselves and their families, or you can change things so that they don't want to hurt a friend. There will always be people who disagree with you. And there will always be people who will not listen to reason and will try to hurt us, and some will succeed in hurting us no matter what we do. Those people are criminals, and they need to be found, brought to trial, and potentially locked away from society. If they are killed while we try to bring them to justice, at least we tried. But to go after people with the intention of killing them is against our core values as a nation. Or at least it should be.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Participatory Politics

I'd been working haphazardly on Wikia, trying to figure out what to do with the system. Wikipedia has become an invaluable tool, and I put together a set of articles on the upcoming elections in Washington State that I'm rather proud of. But it wasn't big enough, and I couldn't put my finger on what was missing.

The concept is participatory politics.

Wiki systems had been around for a few years before Mr. Wales started Wikipedia as an add-on to a similar but more closed project that he had been working on in 2000-2001. According to his description, they got more content posted in the first 2 weeks that Wikipedia was online than they had in the previous two years of the project. So he scrapped the original project, moved everything into Wikipedia, and let it roll. With 1.3 Million articles just in the English version, there's no stopping it now. As far as I can tell, this is the most comprehensive summary of human knowledge ever created. And the participation is amazing. As of today, nearly 2 million people have registered for an account, and you don't technically need an account to make edits. Hit Recent Changes, and you'll see that most of the people are logged in, but IP addresses are there as well. Wikipedia is a global community project to collect information about our culture. That's participation.

So, how do we translate that into the realm of politics? Pete Ashdown, the Democratic candidate for US Senate against Orin Hatch launched his wiki site on September 1st, 2005, and I launched in to help as soon as I found it in December.

Then I saw the Open Letter to the Blogosphere by Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia and Wikia. July 4th, 2006. That's a date that will live in memory for a while. Again, I launched in, and there's no escaping now.

Campaigns Wikia is the beginning of something new. It's still small, but we're building a solid foundation. We want to pick up where Wikipedia leaves off when it comes to the discussion of issues and political candidates, and we want to focus our attention on finding a way to get people involved. Not just in campaigns, not just with candidates, but with the global community that exists already but isn't self-aware. It's that self-awareness that we're striving for.

Create an account, check out the Voter Guide and the Electoral Calendar. Do some research on something you see missing, and post it. dKosopedia is another place you can help. Issuepedia is along the same lines, but focused on Issues. More Perfect invites us to edit legislation, post ideas and even suggest changes to the US Constitution. MediaWiki, the software engine that drives these sites, is only one of many.

The blogosphere is up and running. What's next? The wikisphere.

Let's roll!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Shut it down

Dear Democrats in Congress,

I've had enough. I've watched enough news, watched enough death, watched enough incompetence, enough, enough, enough.

Shut it down. I mean Congress. I mean the US House and US Senate. Obstruct everything. Stop everything. No more floor debates, no more back-room deals, no more legislation, no more purse strings, no more purse.

The Bush administration is destroying this country and destroying this planet. And they're doing it on purpose. They wanted this war. They wanted the destruction in the Middle East. They want the Constitution to go away. They don't want Democracy in Iraq, they don't want it in the Middle East, and they don't want it in the US. They came into office looking to create an Empire out of a Democracy. They came into office with the intent to destroy this country. They are all traitors, but they're the ones in power.

Stop this administration. I'm going to make this call. One last attempt to work within the existing political system. You have the power to shut the Congress down. You can call the question, filibuster, etc., etc., do all the tricks using Roberts Rules, give speeches to the press, etc. You can do this. Texas Dems showed the way. I hear Toronto is really nice this time of year.

However, I'm guessing you won't. You won't get this message. You won't hear the call. Bush will let Israel continue to destroy Lebanon and Syria, and then we will be going into Iran. And 1 Billion people will declare war on the United States from all over the planet. We're not fighting countries anymore. We're not fighting an Axis of known powers. Bush is fighting against the people of the Middle East and those people are not going to take it anymore. And we're going to pay the price.

You probably won't hear this call. And you won't shut down the Congress. And in November, 65% of voters will vote for Democrats, but 16% of those people will be removed from the voting rolls. And we'll lose.

So say goodbye to your children. Say goodbye to your country, say goodbye to the planet. By not stopping Bush, we will have destroyed ourselves. It won't be immediate. It will take decades. But it will be unavoidable.

When/If Jesus returns, he will return to a world with an average temperature of 150 degrees F, and he will have to go through a thousand years of detox before they will let him return to Heaven because of the radiation fallout.

Stop this administration. Now.

Chad Lupkes
Seattle, Washington

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Lemons wanting a Lexus

Gary Washburn has a good editorial in today's Seattle PI. He gives some history, including other teams around the country that have decided that they are too good for their communities, and have pulled up their roots and left town. And I really like his language. Does Seattle need a Lexus arena? Especially if the Seattle taxpayers will be paying for it, do we want a third sports venue?

I have some other questions as well. Questions I can't answer because I really am not interested in Sports except for their cultural value. I do think they're important, don't get me wrong. But I don't follow the teams, except to root for the home team when I hear good news or shake my head when I hear bad news.

How many of the players in the Sonics or Storm teams grew up in the Seattle area? What about the Mariners or Seahawks? Given how far afield we go to find players that can help the team win, can we really say that these are community teams? How many of these players come from the minor leagues? Where ARE the minor league Football or Basketball teams? I know we have the Everett Aquasocks for Baseball, and probably some others that might play every once in a while, but they get almost no promotion to the general community, at least not that I can see. Make these teams community based and open up their "clubs" to investment by people like me, and they'll get more support than they can possibly imagine.

About these players, how much money do they make per season? Talk about a Lexus, some of these players that the media crows about make hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts that guarentee that any child they have can pay for the most expensive colleges on the planet, along with the biggest house, whatever model of Lexus they want to drive, etc. These players are not average folk. They're the elite, and they seem to know it. Do I know them? No. I haven't seen one of them show up to any of the meetings that I attend while trying to make the world a better place. They might get my respect if they did.

Is #350 million dollars for teams that have consistently lost money a good price? That's what Clay Bennett and his cronies from Oklahoma City paid Howard Schultz and the "Baseball Club of Seattle" to take control of the team. Does Mr. Bennett care about Seattle? Does he love this city so much, or is he just making an investment above the heads of 99.99% of the people in this country? "We are very bullish on the NBA and its future." ([source]) They're impressed with the marketplace. They're approaching this as a business. Oh, and they want to give the fans value. Isn't that nice. I don't believe him.

They're demanding that the people of Seattle help pay for a new stadium. I'm still supporting I-91. If Mr. Bennett wants to approach this team like a business, I wonder if he could make something called a "profit" from ticket sales and marketing, and give Seattle something to really be proud of. Right now, we have a lemon that wants a Lexus.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Earthlink's broken connection with customer service.

My wife wrote this up to send to Earthlink:

I called Earthlink on 4/21/06 to sign up for the DSL/Local/Long distance package for $69.95 a month that was being advertised. The rep said that we would not have to change phone numbers to do this, which was one of our main concerns, then took me through all of the initial questions and we’d spent a good 15 minutes or so on the phone before she told me that this service wasn’t available at our location. She suggested I call back every day to check and see if it was.

After hanging up, I realized that no, I was trying to buy something from Earthlink, and if they wanted to sell it to me, they need to call ME when it was available, especially since I’d been getting email and hard-copy offers, and that would constitute false advertising. So I called Earthlink on 4/22/06, explained what had happened and that I wasn’t ready to call every day to check on something I was offered, and the rep said that what I’d been told was wrong. It was available in my area, it’s just that since I already had Earthlink DSL service, I needed to talk to a different part of the sales team to set it up. They also mentioned that the full 8 Megabit service was not available on our phone line, but that they could get the speed up to 6 if that was ok with us. It was, and we were told that upgrades would be made to the physical phone lines as time went by. We placed the order and were told we would be receiving our modem within 10 business days, and everything would start when we got the modem hooked up.

I called again on 5/9/06 to find out where the modem was and was told the service couldn’t be started because we had a local exchange freeze on our phone that had to be removed. I asked why we hadn’t been informed of this so we could get it done, and Karen explained that they were going to call, just hadn’t gotten to it before I called. (Doesn’t good customer service mean you call BEFORE promises are broken?)

I called Qwest and had the freeze removed, order # R54524479, to be done by 5:00 5/10/06, then called Earthlink and let them know. This new customer service rep said that the notes indicated that this had needed to be done before 5/6/06. Since it wasn’t, the order was cancelled. I asked why we hadn’t been called or informed of any of this and she said she didn’t know, but there were no notes indicating anyone had tried. But the order was cancelled anyway. She said I would have to place a new order. I sat on hold for over 10 minutes, waiting to go through the initial setup process for the third time, and finally hung up because I cannot take that kind of time while I’m at work.

I asked Chad to call and he said he was told that another order can’t even be started until the freeze is removed, which again is different from what I was told. So we had to call back the next day and the day after, and go through the process again whenever the freeze is taken off.

Chad called on the evening of 5/12/06, well after the change was removed, and started the reorder. He stopped when the rep said she would have assign us a new phone number, and… Chad interrupted her and said we were told we would not need a new number. She said we were told wrong and that she had to give us a new number. We told her no thank-you and cancelled the order.

On 5/15/06 Chad tried one more time, thinking that instead of a new telephone number for us, they could use the new phone number for the DSL connection and let us keep our current phone number. The rep he talked to said that this was indeed possible, but because Earthlink only leases the lines and doesn’t actually own them, we would have to call Qwest to have a second phone number set up, contact Earthlink with that new telephone number, and they would then create a new account for the new DSL and move our phone number over to the VOIP system. The process as described could take up to 10 days, during which time we would have neither DSL or a phone. This is unacceptable.

I am EXTREMELY disappointed with how all of this has been mishandled, and frankly am very worried about trusting Earthlink with my business. The first responsibility of any business is to provide the best customer service possible. Not having the right information available to every rep at every stage of the game caused the story to change constantly, and every step of the way there was a new complication that required us to jump through another hoop. As the customer, it seems very strange to have to jump through hoops to try and give a company our business. It should be the other way around. In such a competitive phone service market, efficient and competent customer service is the most influential aspect of a business that can convince people to continue to purchase products and services from that company. I hope that we will see an improvement in your customer service going forward.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

10 things I would love to hear

I was asked last month to throw out 10 points that a candidate should use when trying to earn my support. Here's the list I came up with:

If elected, I will:

1. tell you the truth.

2. earn your trust.

3. work hard to make sure that when your great grandchildren turn on the lightswitch, it works.

4. work hard to make sure that our people have jobs that give them the life that they want to live.

5. create a way for people to take their sick children to the doctor whenever they need to.

6. make sure that people who have done their share of the work to build this country get to enjoy what they have built.

7. follow the law and uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States.

8. make sure that the voting process is fair, transparent, and open to all.

9. make the United States a strong nation again by putting forward this vision as an example for other nations to follow.

10. never give up.

Chad Lupkes
Seattle

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Right to privacy

Amendment IV. --> The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrents shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE IS NO RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN THE US CONSTITUTION?!!!!

Amendment IX. --> The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

In other words, if the Constitution doesn’t say it, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, and it does specifically say that the rights that are not specifically stated are RETAINED BY THE PEOPLE.

Let me put something else on the table:

Article III, Section 3. --> Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

The Bush Administration has levied a war against the will of the people through the manipulation of intelligence and lying to the American People and Congress. They have adhered to Achmed Chalibi, a man suspected of working for Iran. They have given Aid to the Taliban and Al Qieda in the 1980’s to help them build up their arsenal in order to fight off the Soviet Union, and provided the very weapons to Iraq that we were looking for when we invaded.

Let us draw our own conclusions based on the evidence presented. My conclusion is that George W. Bush and Richard Cheney are traitors to the Constitution they swore to uphold.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The movies this summer

I saw Underworld: Evolution last night. Loved it. After all the debates about Cantwell and Wilson, it was nice to watch a movie where the enemy is identified and torn to shreds.

However, before the movie started there were about 5 different previews for the movies that will be coming out this summer. Every single one of them was a Horror movie. Not that much of a surprise, but these were over the top. And I mean completely designed to capitalize on the fear that is being pushed on us by our civil situation. And they were bad. Really bad.

Let me tell you one of the scariest movies that I remember. It was "Enemy of the State", about the exact NSA spying program that is underway in America right now. Go see it. No blood, no rising of the dead. Just ordinary people breaking the law and getting away with it from inside the US Government. And it's a fun movie to watch.

But this horror junk? I hope they all flop.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Replace or reform? I say reform.

Regardless of who is currently in charge of the infrastructure of the Democratic Party, the fact is that there exists a strong brand and a strong political infrastructure. I would be interested in reading about the collapse of the Federalist Party and the Whig party, but since the 1860 electoral victory of President Lincoln, no third party has ever entered the scene on a national scale and been successful. We came close in 1912, but it never had the long term committment necessary.

The effort to create the missing infrastructure has been started several times, and the movement is completely splintered on how to do it effectively so it has always failed. The last really successful effort in this area was the Black Panthers, under the guidence of Aaron Dixon. They got things done, but they did not engage in electoral politics. By thinking of a third party or replacement party effort, you are acknowledging that electoral politics needs our attention as much as issue-based politics. The current efforts of the Libertarians and Greens are bound to fail. They always have, and although the Libs have a national effort ongoing to get them engaged and successful in electoral challenges, I don't expect it to succeed. The Greens are divided among themselves worse than the Democrats are. And the 'Progressive Party' is made up of people who got sick of being silenced within the Dems and left to form their own party that they dream about being equal to the Vermont Progressive Party, which is current the most successful third party in existence in the US. Their main problem is that they are based in high density urban areas instead of rural areas which proved to be the successful breeding ground for the current Progs in VT and for the Farmer/Labor Party that exists in Minnesota as the leftovers of the original Farmer's Alliance, Populist movement and progressive movement of the late 1800's. I've been doing a LOT of reading about political parties and our history.

Most of the available party labels have been sequestered by others, but could be rehashed. Examples: Reform Party from '92 and '96, Independence Party is a possibility because that's what gave Jesse the Governor's mansion in Minnessota, the Eagle party is an effort on Wikicities to develop a platform that gets no attention or help. My vote for something new would be either Progressive Party or Independence Party. But then you get to the rules of the House and Senate. Unless the Democratic Party is completely wiped off the face of the map, which is not going to happen, any third party members that take a numerical majority away from the D's helps the R's keep control over the committee structure and what comes out for a vote. We are not a coalition-based pariliment. The rules of Congress are designed around a two party system, and neither of the two parties are open to changing those rules.

The local party organizations follow the same pattern. Anyone using a label other than their own is not only not welcome, but actively driven out. One of our local elected officials gets no time on our agenda because in 2000 he expressed support for Nader's right to run. The only way that we're going to be able to change that is by having progressive members of the E-board that show up to a Program Committee meeting and bring Peter up as a motion and vote down the people who want to keep him away from the microphone. The only other thing that we can do is provide him with a way to talk to the Progressive Caucus, which we have done and will continue to do.

So, the barriers to replacing the Dems from the outside have been tried and have yet to be successful. The barriers to reforming the Dems from the inside boil down to time and continuous pressure, which is ongoing.

Howard Dean looked at these choices in early 2005. And he jumped into the belly of the beast to do his best to reform from the inside. It's hurting him and those of us who followed his lead. But it's working, slowly. And the best way to prevent his corruption and the corruption of those who followed him is to continue to stand on our own principles and looking to the long term. Do we have the time available before the end to spend doing this? I don't know. But I honestly think it has a better chance of succeeding than the replacement scheme.

The problem is not Maria Cantwell. It's us.

It seems like there is not enough of an understanding of where people are getting their passion for changing things. I've said many times that I am not anti-Maria. I am upset at some of her votes, but I think she has done a great job. What I hear too often is that she has done a good enough job and should be reelected. To my mind, that's hogwash. Every election is a test of the vision of the party and the people who work towards the goal of creating a society they can live in. Every reelection is by definition an evaluation of the incumbent and a test to see of the incumbent deserves another term in office.

We hit the Hubbard Curve in December of 2005. I'm convinced of that. The glaciers are melting at an increasing rate. Pollution is killing people. Depleated Uranium is spreading around the globe from the Middle East. We are held in the grip of world wide terror by the people we call our leaders. And too many of us are lemmings headed towards the cliff. If we don't change course, the children that we are bringing into the world are going to die in the world we have created. We have to face up to that fact, and be ready for the changes it will require.

It's not enough that one out of every 10,000 people start riding their bicycles. We have to stop driving cars. It's not enough that we're planting some trees to replenish what we have cut down for profit. We have to stop clearing our forests. It's not enough that we allow the teaching of evolution in schools. Every girl needs a full understanding of all the methods of birth control available to her, and the right of a woman to make her own choices when and how to have children must not be regulated by any government. And I'm not talking about the US. I'm talking about the world. In the US, we have revolutions every two years on a national level. They're called elections. That kind of revolution is needed in every country on every continent, and it has to come with the price of a full education for all people everywhere on what our choices are and how to make those choices.

That is the kind of change that the Progressive Movement is demanding. We must stop moving towards that cliff, because it is all or nothing. We either all change course, or we all go over. It can either be a gradual change, or it can be a sudden change. But change must happen. There is no other choice if we want to survive as a country, as a society, and as a species.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Abortion

I hate this topic.

I hate the fact that Abortion procedures sometimes need to be done. I hate the fact that women are raped. I hate the fact that sometimes going through the birth process would kill the mother. And I hate the fact that we are having a political debate about such a sensitive and terrible subject. But what I hate keeps staring me in the face, and we have to deal with it.

Abortions are performed for lots of reasons, and every single one of them is a sad and terrible choice for the mother who is losing a child, a family that has to deal with the emotional fallout, and a society that has to deal with the legal battles. Every case is different and deserves it's own battle in the minds and hearts of the people directly involved. And when the choice is made in either direction, we should be there to support the woman so she can either prepare her life for a new child or deal with the result and get back to building the life that she chooses to lead.

Rapists deserve jail time. Lots of it. We don't want them in our society. But putting a future father in jail means that there will not be half the hands building the home that the child will be growing up in. If the health of society is more important, and I think in cases like this it is, then society must provide the resources that the father who is in jail cannot. Or, society must provide an 'out' for the woman who had no choice in the first place, and is trying to find a way to recover the life that she lost. Her own.

Doctors see death every day, even if they don't deal with it every day personally. Whether it is someone coming in who was recently diagnosed with cancer or a woman who is dealing with the terrible choice of ending a pregnancy, it is hard for our doctors to deal with. But the purpose that all doctors have is to preserve lives. Sometimes that means recognizing that a woman's life is something that can be saved while sacrificing another life. Those doctors try their best to leave the decisions up to the people whose lives are directly affected by them. And those doctors need our sympathy as much as the mother. Being hated for saving lives is the ultimate nightmare for any doctor. As a society, we must stop the hate.

Few, if any, of us are pro-abortion. It's a terrible thing. Killing another, at any stage of life, is something that we really need to think about. But we do kill. We kill our miners by not providing them with enough safety equipment. We kill ourselves by putting pollution into our atmosphere and water supply. We kill our enemies on the battlefield. We kill those who have killed others themselves. And we throw justifications everywhere to try and cover it up.

If we want to look at the big picture, if we want to really think globally about all of this, let me ask this question. How many more of us can we bring into the world before our environment is incapable of sustaining life? And by bringing child after child into a world with limited resources, are we not killing ourselves by not making plans to care for those children, and instead letting them deal with a harsh and cruel world without a strong foundation to stand on?

Abortion may be a terrible thing, and it is. But the alternatives are thousands of times worse.