Saturday, August 30, 2008

Weather Channel

Trying to get the word out about climate change? Send a link to this video. Maybe it will help.

I just got a look...

I love Gmail. I love the interface, the search ability, how save it keeps my computer from spam and viruses, and all the cool features.

I've been using it since early 2005, and I just noticed that I now have 80,210 emails in my inbox. "4496 MB (63%) of your 7083 MB".

I just told that to my wife, and she gave me that look again. She tries to keep her inbox with less than 50.

So I'm a geek. And?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We know the difference

Fierce competition is healthy sometimes. Survival of the fit, and thriving of the winners. Wars have been used throughout history to prove things to individuals and to entire nations. And competition is celebrated. Songs and ballads from all cultures celebrate great battles and wars that were won or lost. We celebrate sports victories, and the losers focus on getting better so they can win next time. It's healthy. Sometimes.

What I've seen over the last few months is why I think the United States can take our place as the moral leader of the world again. Instead of continuing to fight, to compete, the various candidates for office, from President on down to the local, have started to cooperate, and to be the leaders of their forces as we join forces to face a common foe. Right now (except in Washington where we have this top two primary BS) people who competed fiercely in the primaries are joining forces, combining operations, and facing the next hurdle. For the race to the future, as Gov. Schweitzer put it, we are now done with Stage 1. The primaries are over. Next comes Stage 2, the general election.

What I hope, and what I'll be working for, is that we can successfully maneuver through Stage 2 and get to Stage 3, which is where the real work begins.

Stage 1: Primary election
Stage 2: General election
Stage 3: Legislation

I think most Democrats and Progressives know when competition needs to end and cooperation needs to begin. The media is hyping that the Democratic Party is divided. False. If they want division, they should look at the Republicans and Conservatives. And it's sad to see. You'd think they would be honest about what they stand for.

After November, we'll be too busy trying to fix the country and save the planet to worry about little things like partisanship. Right?

We can hope.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Illegal People

Rich sent out a review of a book today.

Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants by David Bacon.

The only "illegal people" I see in our society are the people who ignore the constitution, break the law and then use their wealth, power and influence to get away with it. Those people are much more dangerous to America than anyone who is trying to feed their families by working under the table.

People working in the United States taking jobs away from US Citizens is a problem, but I believe that the problem is with the lack of enforcement of existing law and a poor policy of encouraging and enabling countries with poorly performing economies from taking effective measures to deal with their own level of poverty. We can solve this by enforcing existing laws that say we should be employing our own high school graduates at living wages instead of undocumented workers at lower than poverty wage, and creating trade policies that help raise all boats everywhere. No more letting the rich corporations float their boats while people drown in poverty around the world and increasingly within our own borders.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

King County Initiative 26

Here's my take, somewhat long winded.

At this time, most of the low level grassroots work for the partisan candidates is done by party members and volunteers. Without that backing, many well qualified candidates would be unable to compete with less qualified but well funded candidates. While James Madison begged us in the Federalist Papers not to form 'factions', he also foresaw the ability of accumulated financial capital to control our electoral process because that's what the American Revolution was fought against in the first place. He believed that factions would BE the accumulated capital that took control of our election process. He wasn't too far off base. With the laws as they stand today, much of the campaign financing is raised through the parties, or at least much of the promotion for a candidate or campaign. However not enough of it is raised directly by the parties to enable party members to hold candidates and elected officials to the party platform. The rest of the funds are raised outside of the party, putting candidates in the position of needing to support the positions of their financial backers, not the constituents they are supposed to represent. This was the threat described by Madison.

King County Initiative 26 as presented would cut the parties out of the loop almost entirely. Our platforms would drop in importance even more than they already have, as candidates would no longer be directly associated with the core party positions in the eyes of most of the electorate. I use a party label as the first step of knowing what a candidate stands for, which is what makes it so difficult for me in judicial races. But the real problem comes with the financing of campaigns. If I-26 passes, the amount of money needed to run a campaign and win will not go down, or have any limitations placed on fundraising or expenditures. Transparency would also not improve, because it is outside the scope of the initiative, managed by the PDC. So what it would do is put our candidates in thrall even more to the big money interests that the parties are right now supposed to be a bellweather against, because the parties are membership organizations of, by and for the people who show up.

My bottom line is this: Give us public campaign financing first, then we'll talk about non-partisanship. Let's take big money out of our campaigns first. Until we do that, the party label, and the party infrastructure, is the first defense against having our elected officials completely under the thumb of big money.

Chad Lupkes
PCO SEA 46-2324