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i’m famous

October 26th, 2004 | Comments Off | Posted in Yahoo! Related

posting from NYC… just noticed my ysearchblog.com entry went out. welcome to all newcomers!

the ideal vote

October 19th, 2004 | Comments Off | Posted in Politics

With all the current discussion of abolishing the electoral college and the nightmare scenarios that could arise come November 2nd, I thought I’d throw out my ideas for the ideal voting setup.

My perfect vote is simple: proportional electoral college allocation in every state, combined with instant runoff voting (IRV). It would work like this:

  • Voters rank the candidates in order of preference on the ballot.
  • Electorates (the count of which continues to be determined by representation in congress) are allocated proportionally for each state based on voters’ initial preferences (their number one choices).
  • If no candidate has a majority, the candidate with the least number of electoral votes is removed from consideration and the vote of any person who ranked that candidate as their first choice are reallocated to their second choice.
  • Electorates are reallocated based on the new votes and the process continues until one candidate has a majority.

Sounds more complicated than it is, but the basic idea is simple. Essentially, you rank which candidates you want, and then your vote will be cast for the first guy in your list who has a shot at getting 50%. Here’s why I like this system:

  • Small states maintain their increased representation by still getting slightly more electoral votes than they would based solely on population.
  • Swing states are eliminated; since electorates are now split along the lines of the vote, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania no longer control the election. Accordingly, presidential candidates will be more inclined to politick in all states and be forced to listen to all their constituents instead of just those that throw the election.
  • Voting for a third party candidate no longer throws away your vote (or even worse, helps your least favorite candidate). Ralph Nader could be on the ballot without fear that voting for him will help elect Bush, since you can still rank Kerry above Bush.

Make sense? I think so. And even if you disagree with keeping the electoral college or dislike proportional representation, it’s hard to find any argument against IRV. It has been implemented with a large success in Berkeley and San Francisco, and is simply a better method of choosing a candidate.

That said, this is really really hard to implement. The swing states won’t want proportional representation, but that’s not so bad because 44 states would benefit from that change and only 38 are needed to ratify an amendment. No, the hard part is that the two major political parties don’t want IRV because it opens the door for third party candidates. Truly a shame.

Comments?

fear mongering

October 18th, 2004 | Comments Off | Posted in Politics

Bush has accused Kerry of using scare tactics with regard to Bush’s social security policy and the draft.

In other news, the Bush Administration would like to remind your that THE THREAT LEVEL IS CURRENTLY YELLOW. Please be prepared to die a fiery death if Kerry is elected. That is all.

steward of the land my ass

October 11th, 2004 | Comments Off | Posted in Politics

I’m used to politicians stretching the truth, taking statements out of context and misrepresenting themselves and their opponents. So used to it, in fact, that it usually bothers me much less than it should; I just take a look at FactCheck to figure out who’s spinning what (here’s their analysis of Friday’s debate). But when, during the course of the second presidential debate on Friday, Bush referred to himself as "a good steward of the land" — with a big shit-eating grin on his face, no less — I almost sprayed my beer all over my apartment. I mean, I understand he can’t just come out and say "hey, we think the economy is more important than the environment", since he is trying grab swing voters like any good politician. But it seems like there should be some rules against just plain lying. Ooh, now that’s an idea… imagine a live fact-checking panel of experts, present during the debates. Anyways, I digress… back to the environment. Every conservationist group in the country agrees that this administration has the worst environmental record in modern history. Take a look:

  • The National Resource Defense Council says "this administration, in catering to industries that put America’s health and natural heritage at risk, threatens to do more damage to our environmental protections than any other in U.S. history". Take a look at their analysis of the Bush environmental record. And here’s a nice printer friendly version of the Bush Administration’s crimes against the environment.
  • Here's the Sierra Club Magazine’s full coverage of the Bush environmental record.
  • The same thing from the Wilderness Society.
  • Environment2004 is blatantly partisan (and includes on its board former members of the Clinton administration) but the facts are layed out here nicely.
  • A scathing op/ed piece from Republican Russell E. Train, administrator of the EPA during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Hosted at the website of Republicans for Environmental Protection.

I could keep going all day, but I think I’ve made my point. Mr. Bush, you are entitled to the belief that the economy should completely trump the environment. But don’t embarass yourself and every other American by claiming to be an environmentalist.

still twitterpated

October 7th, 2004 | Comments Off | Posted in Music, Personal, Politics, Yahoo! Related

…but eking out my measly pies. Developments galore, folks. It’s been a crazy couple weeks. Peaks and valleys, floods and droughts. But that’s life.

Politics

Well both the first Presidential and only Vice-Presidential debates have come and gone. I thought Kerry edged out Bush in the first prezzie debate, but I’m pretty biased. It just seemed that Kerry was consistently talking about his plan and simultaneously exposing the failures of the Bush Administration (and he was suprisingly succinct and clear), while Bush simply attacked Kerry’s character over and over. I’d like to hear Bush attempt to talk a bit more about what his administration has done, mainly because I think it’s all horrible.

As for the Veep debates, I thought that one was a draw. Edwards was charismatic and all, but he avoided a number of key issues and didn’t rebutt a few of Cheney’s more damaging points (such as Cheney’s distortion of his senate voting and attendance records). And Cheney (while a total douchebag in the sense that I disagree with him on just about everything) at least gives you the impression that he knows what’s he’s talking about.

Music

The current playlist looks like this:

  • Brian WilsonSmile
  • Charles BisselLive at Schubas
  • DungenTa Det Lungt
  • Fiery FurnacesGallowsbird’s Park
  • InterpolAntics
  • PinbackBlue Screen Life
  • Rogue WaveOut of the Shadow
  • Saturday Looks Good To MeAll Your Summer Songs
  • The ShinsChutes Too Narrow
  • Viva VoceThe Heat Can Melt Your Brain

Went to the Muffs show on Tuesday, they were pretty good but played a little too long. What’s crazy is that there was like no one there… the first time I saw the Muffs was at the Fillmore in the mid 90s and it was packed, and Tuesday they played BotH and it was empty. How the mighty have fallen.

More good shows coming up in October:

  • Oct 11 – Dirtbombs
  • Oct 15 – Fiery Furnaces
  • Oct 17 – Hot Water Music
  • Oct 28 – Metric
  • Oct 29 – Britt Daniel / Nedelle

Yahoo! Stuff

All hail the arrival of My Yahoo! Search!! This product is the result of over a year’s work from tons of people on this team, myself included. Nice to have it out, finally. Let me know what you think.

We launched a new huge image index on Yahoo! Image Search. It totally rocks.

Personal Junk

This week has been… intense. I’ve done a few things I didn’t think I’d ever do; I think I was so intent on getting what I wanted that lost sight of where I was. I’m ashamed, and happy, and ashamed that I’m happy. Live and learn, I guess. And at least it’s been exciting.

Tommorrow Landis and I are throwing a debate party for anyone who wants to come and watch. Should be fun.

I’ll leave you with these verses from the Arcade Fire record that have been ringing in my ears this last week:

they say a watched pot won’t ever boil
well i closed my eyes and nothing changed
just some water getting hotter
in the flame

it’s not a lover i want no more
and it’s not heaven i’m pining for
but there’s some spirit i used to know
that’s been drowned out by the radio