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24Feb/08Off

Electability of Presidential candidates

Nader to Run Again [NYT].

Ralph announced today apparently. I am still on his mailing list from the last Presidential campaign and receive requests for contributions every few months so his announcement is no surprise to me. The usual "spoiler" talk will no doubt start again, which is shameful. If you prefer Obama, good for you, but don't belly-ache about Nader taking away votes that "belong" to other candidates. In the current campaign, the question of Obama's experience and record often arises, and it seems his popularity is riding a wave based on his powerful oratory and the nebulous promise of change. On the other hand, I have heard Nader speak, read his writings, and know that he is a tireless advocate for the common man as well as a fierce opponent of the war in Iraq. If I could single-handedly choose the next President, it would be Nader without question. A person could spend hours attending an Obama rally and learn barely anything about him, but I doubt one could say the same about Nader after watching An Unreasonable Man.

Nader is perpetually written off as "unelectable." Excellent name recognition, but puny war chest. Who knew who Bill Clinton was four years before he ran? Outside of Texas, Bush (Jr) was an unknown. Prior to 2004, I will bet very few outside of Illinois had heard of Obama. What made all of these other candidates "electable?" I am hard-pressed to come up with a better answer than "money." The question in my mind then becomes, "Do I relegate myself to voting for the best candidate that someone else's money can buy?"

I have often heard people bitch about the quality of their Presidential candidates, and my instinctive response is, "There are more than two choices." As long as people believe otherwise, however, we're gonna be in this rut. In the last election, the Democratic party filed suit to keep Nader off the ballot in several states. They sued to give voters fewer choices. How dirty is that? I told myself I would never vote for a major party candidate again. In 2004, the decision to vote for Nader was a no-brainer. Kerry refused to take a strong anti-war stance, and had I voted for him, mine would have truly been a wasted vote.

Another idea, however, dominated my thoughts. You must learn to walk before you can run. Without even 20% of the vote, a third-party candidate will likely be considered "unelectable." Before getting 20%, one must be able to get 10%. Before 10%, one must win 5%. I imagine we are nowhere close to getting a third-party President, not for a few more election cycles at least, but it has to start somewhere.

Not even closed to being finished. More later.

Filed under: Politics/War Comments Off
14Feb/080

Quit Your Job, Work Is a Sham

[Moved to a separate page to keep the page layout clean.]

Found this old article via Ted's blog. The punctuation and formatting in the originally transcribed version need work so I am cleaning this up as I read it. If you notice any errors, feel free to drop me a line.

Filed under: Humanity No Comments
4Feb/081

Print media, advertising, and recycling

If you are looking for a sweet deal on a NY Times subscription (non-subscribers for the last 90 days only), you can get 50% off the regular rate for 6 months. Best discount for the NYT that I have come across yet.

Convenient timing as I am ready to give up on the Houston Chronicle. It's a chore to recycle every day for one thing (think of the trees!). More importantly though, I don't find the content compelling enough, even at $100/year. My reaction to most stories is "meh." Sports coverage is its only advantage over the NYT, but with the end of football season, the most interesting page of the sports section is the Fry's ad on the back.

So why doesn't Fry's have that full page ad available online? A full page print ad has to be quite expensive, and most major retailers put their weekly ads online already. It's funny how much I look forward to the Sunday ads considering that I generally hate direct mail solicitations, non-preview movie ads (with the exception of the Cingular one with Sydney Pollack), and practically all TV advertising. Yeah, I could read most of the store ads online, but that is rarely as satisfying. Strangely, the same does not hold true for news content.

Filed under: Media 1 Comment
1Feb/08Off

Perl, PHP, and the PUC

Finally completed a web-based prototype this evening to replace the functionality previously provided by the Texas PUC Power to Choose web site. This was a programming exercise as well as an opportunity to brush up on my Perl, PHP, and MySql skills. The current provider lookup is rather user-unfriendly with its inability to sort data (download an Excel spreadsheet?!) and inflexible layout. The stylesheet I am using now could use some aesthetic improvements, but otherwise I am pleased with the result.

Tagged as: 1 Comment