politics & philosophy Archives
Election Slate June 2014 2014
Was hoping to get this up earlier but a combination of travel and headcold slowed me down. Fortunately it's all pretty straightforward this time.
Governor: Jerry Brown
This guy plays economic management on the hard setting and he still seems to be winning the game. Very interested to see what he can do with a few more years of turning things around.
Lietenant Governor: Gavin Newsom
Seems to be doing just fine and working well with Brown.
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
Seems to have done a good job in the State Senate.
Controller: Betty Yee
A fair, capable administrator.
Treasurer: John Chiang
Another sound fiscal adminstrator from whose good work the state can continue to benefit.
Attorney General: Kamala Harris
She's doing a good job, let's keep her at it.
Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones
Seems to be doing good work so far.
Member, State Board of Equalization, District 2: Fiona Ma
Though often too partisan in more politicized positions, Ma does have a sound financial background and we can hope will be able to carry on Betty Yee's good work.
U.S. Representative: Nancy Pelosi
She ain't perfect, but she's far better than the alternatives and I want to keep her strong voice in the House.
Member of the State Assembly: David Chiu
(his has been one of those campaigns where the larger pile of mailers with over-the-top photoshopped imagery indicates which side NOT to support. When this campaign season started I didn't see huge differences between David Chiu and David Campos, but the way Campos and his backers have conducted their campaign—with attack mailers, stretched truths, and sensationalism instead of a proven track record—makes it clear that they aren't the same kind of candidate at all. I'm sticking with someone focused on achieving results, through keeping his ass in his chair for Board of Supes meetings and compromising when necessary. I'm hopeful that Chiu will take on a bit more of Ammiano's progressive mantle as he moves to this larger stage where stubborn idealism is more needed than in heart-on-its-sleeve SF.
Judge of the Superior Court, Office no. 20: Carol Kingsley
All three candidates look pretty good, frankly, but Kingsley's experience stands out here.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson
Definitely don't want to give the privatization movement the boost Marshall Tuck would bring.
State Proposition 41: Yes
This is a small price for housing people, better yet that it helps homeless veterans.
State Proposition 42: Yes
Public information access needs to be protected from budgetary excuses. Pleasingly, this also creates incentives for local government to streamline their processes to keep their costs down while still providing the required access.
City and County Proposition A: Yes.
This is earthquake country. We cannot rely on century-old infrastructure to protect us and allow us to recover quickly. Bonds are a way better investment than the massive expense of lost income we'd see with greater damage and delayed recovery after a major quake or big fires.
City and County Proposition B: No.
This is a bad, sneaky proposal and an attempt to create loopholes for developers. Elections are not the place to conduct planning and evaluate environmental impacts. Why would we want to push these decisions into an arena which favors big money over community wishes? We know what elections are going to bring; piles of often-sleazy mailers attempting to manipulate opinion. Election mailers don't build community. Participation in the planning process can. Besides, aren't we supposed to be those liberal citizens that believe government can be a force for good? We have a public participation process; let's use it.
media I've enjoyed recently 2014
Advertising and Selling
- Morgan Spurlock: The greatest TED Talk ever sold (TEDtalks)
- Full Price Beats Penny Saved for Selling Some Items (60-second Science)
- Candidates Affect Viewer Reactions to Ads in Debates (60-second Science)
- Jacqueline Novogratz: Inspiring a life of immersion (TEDtalks)
- 100,000-Year-Old Art Studio Discovered (60-second Science)
- Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies (TEDtalks)
- Science Grad Students Who Teach Write Better Proposals (60-second Science)
- Doodles and Drawings Help Cement Concepts (60-second Science)
Food and Drink
- Student Researchers Find Secret Tea Ingredients (60-second Science)
- Molars Say Cooking Is Almost 2 Million Years Old (60-second Science)
- High-Pressure Food Treatment Can Kill Microbes And Up Nutrients (60-second Science)
Health and Growth
- Molly Stevens: A new way to grow bone (TEDtalks)
- Gamekeeper's Thumb Condition Outlives the Occupation (60-second Science)
- Test Tells Viral and Bacterial Infections Apart (60-second Science)
- Poultry Farms That Stop Antibiotics See Resistance Fall (60-second Science)
- Endurance Exercise Has Stem Cells Make Bone Over Fat (60-second Science)
- Carbon Nanotubes Impale Compulsive Cells (60-second Science)
- Online Gamers Help Solve Protein Structure (60-second Science)
- Health Data Could Spot Genocide Risk (60-second Science)
- City Cyclists Suck In Soot (60-second Science)
- Rapid PCR Could Bring Quick Diagnoses (60-second Science)
- Pathogen Genomics Has Become Dirt Cheap (60-second Science)
- Kid Scientists Show Medicines Can Be Mistaken For Candy (60-second Science)
- Fever Increases Numbers of Immune Cells (60-second Science)
Nature and Sexuality
- Mole's Extra Finger Is Wrist Bone-us (60-second Science)
- Full Moon May Signal Rise in Lion Attacks (60-second Science)
- Send Ants to College (60-second Science)
- Sea Lampreys Flee Death Smells (60-second Science)
- Toxoplasma Infected Rats Love Their Enemies (60-second Science)
- Modern Rivers Shaped By Trees (60-second Science)
- Upright and Hairless Make Better Long-Distance Hunters (60-second Science)
- Electrolyte Balancers Set Stage for Multicellularity (60-second Science)
- Flesh-Tearing Piranhas Communicate with Sound (60-second Science)
Politics and Philosophy
- Jody Williams: A realistic vision for world peace (TEDtalks)
- Martin Jacques: Understanding the rise of China (TEDtalks)
- El Nino Ups Conflict Odds (TEDtalks)
- Steven Pinker: Violence Is Lower Than Ever (60-second Science)
Technology and Physics
- Johanna Blakley: Social media and the end of gender (TEDtalks)
- Medieval Armor: Was It Worth the Weight? (60-second Science)
- Traffic Cameras Save Millions in Canceled Crashes (60-second Science)
- Juno Mission Gets Goes for Launch (60-second Science)
- Channeled Chips Can Spot Substances (60-second Science)
- Smartphone System Saves Gas (60-second Science)
- Sound Sends Electron to Specific Location (60-second Science)
- Moon Not Made of Cheese, Physicist Explains (60-second Science)
Posted on February 21, 2014 at 01:38 PM in creativity, Food and Drink, health, linky goodness, politics & philosophy, school, sex, the big room with the blue ceiling, warnings & kvetches, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
The MetaGrrrl Slatecard for November 2012 2012
Here's my voting plan, ready to be put into action this afternoon or tomorrow morning:
President: Barack Obama
No president will ever be perfect, and there are things he's done with which I disagree, but they are far outnumbered by the things he's done which I like and which I think make our country and the world stronger, healthier, and smarter.
Voting for Obama over other liberal candidates is very important to me as I believe a strong show of support for rational, fact-based governance will help to continue moving future elections in the direction of better lives for all Americans. We don't go from 0 to 60 in one election, folks. Eyes on the prize and let's move the center back to the center.
U.S. Senator: Dianne Feinstein
Holding my nose here after her position on PIPA, but she's an important force for achieving actual results in the Senate.
U.S. Representative: Nancy Pelosi
No nose-holding here; Pelosi has been doing a good job.
State Senator: Mark Leno
Very pleased with his work.
State Assembly: Tom Ammiano
Board of Education: Garcia-Meza, Rodriguez, Norton, Haney.
Based on examination of their candidate statements and websites; good mix of administrative experience, realistic goals, and strong vision. Budget challenges favor those who have learned how to get their institutions through tough times, but good to bring in some fresh ideas too.
Community College Board: Leung, Berg, Ngo, Santos
BART Director: Tom Radulovich
Steady hand on the rudder; keep on keepin' on.
Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding
This is the good, smart approach to maintaining our educational system and, thus, the future of the state.
State Budget. State and Local Government
Adds needless bureaucracy and inflexibility to budgeting process and endangers environmental protections.
Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates
This is straight-up an effort to impede political participation by labor and other non-corporate voices.
Auto Insurance Companies. Prices Based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage
Follow the money here; insurance companies trying to use political process to create more ways to jack their pricing. Also, we voted against this in June 2010. Apparently we have to keep knocking them back in line.
The death penalty should be repealed; it's not an effective deterrent, it's more expensive than life imprisonment, and it's morally wrong. Let's put that money to better use solving unsolved murders and rapes.
Human Trafficking. Penalties
This seems like a fairly obvious Yes—I think human trafficking is bad—but people I respect find it shaky (and probably ineffective) as a legal matter. I'm leaning No at this point.
Three Strikes Law. Repeat Felony Offenders. Penalties
The 'strikes' right now are currently not required to be serious or violent crimes. This fixes the current problem of putting someone in prison for life for something as small as stealing.
Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling
While I do believe that it's important to understand where your food comes from, there are too many things wrong with this proposition. It adds a huge burden on producers and grocers to obtain written statements about the origin of every ingredient or product they use or sell. Many basic foods are already GMO—for instance 85-95% of the corn and soybeans grown in the U.S.—which would create a labeling cascade into any product containing some of these ingredients. Worst of all, enforcement is expected largely to occur through consumer lawsuits.
Even without all that weight on the No side of the scale, there is the further question of whether GMO foods actually represent a danger: "there is little if any evidence that changing a plant's or animal's genes through bioengineering, rather than through selective breeding, is dangerous to the people who consume it. In fact, some foods have been engineered specifically to remove allergens from the original version."*
Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs
This is the bad state budget proposal, put on the ballot to interfere with Prop 30. Vote Yes on 30, No on 38.
Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding
This closes a tax loophole and brings much needed revenue into a vital area for California's future (and continued good business environment). Has the potential to also create jobs in the state.
Redistricting. State Senate Districts
A yes vote keeps what we currently have (created by the commission we voted in in 2008) instead of indulging in more gerrymandering.
San Francisco Measures:
City College Parcel Tax
I am a big fan of community colleges as a means of helping maintain opportunity for all citizens. Though it sounds like City College could be better managed, I don't think taking away funding is the right way to achieve those improvements.
Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond
Great parks and playgrounds transform neighborhoods. Spending money on them pays itself back and more in revitalization of communities and individuals. This also includes needed seismic safety improvements, which will help avoid costs (and perhaps lost lives) in a disaster.
Housing Trust Fund
Cities need a diverse range of housing; this makes affordable housing an ongoing priority.
Consolidating Odd-Year Municipal Elections
Let's save costs, save everyone's time, and increase turnout by bringing all these elections together.
Gross Receipts Tax
Let's not penalize job creation, let's fund from those who can best afford it.
Water and Environment Plan
My smart friend Jennifer Granick said it well: "$8M for a study that is step one is draining Hetch Hetchy, the marvelous source of our pristine drinking water, brought to the City by gravity, without need for (polluting) electricity or filtration." (See the rest of her slate card here.)
G: no vote
Policy Opposing Corporate Personhood
Jennifer had a good answer here: "The same theories that give us corporate personhood give us First Amendment rights for unions and NGOs. When you figure out how to parse that under our law, I’ll read your ballot measure. Until then, you are wasting trees."
District 5 member of Board of Supervisors:
This election has gotten really ugly with infusions of money from non-local interests and just plain foul anti-local-candidate mailers. This is a position which should be supporting the interests of my neighborhood, so I am deeply suspicious of this influx of outside money.
First choice: Hope Johnson (real local energy, not someone trying to leapfrog to a higher position)
Second choice: Christina Olague (doing a fine job right now)
Third choice: Thea Selby (seems also be truly locally focused)
Want more background? Check out Kid Beyond's great notes on his slate (scroll down).
A Case Study of Republicans vs. Democrats on FEMA 2012
"The lesson here is simple. At a deep ideological level, Republicans believe that federal bureaucracies are inherently inept, so when Republicans occupy the White House they have no interest in making the federal bureaucracy work. And it doesn't. Democrats, by contrast, take government services seriously and appoint people whose job is to make sure the federal bureaucracy does work. And it does."
All Out 2012
Glad to hear Ukraine's anti-gay Law 8711 has been shelved—but it may be back in Sept. Keep the pressure on. #equality
Not paying forward 2012
RT @BarackObama: FACT: In 2010 and 2011, Romney paid less than 15% in taxes on $42.5 million in income—much less than what many middle-class families pay.
Can't help but think of this:
"Soldier" speaks of "putting to death" 2012
RT @aral: Salvation Army [Australia] official: non-celibate LGBT people should be put to death. I know who I won’t be donating to ever.
And the Salvation Army Australia official statement, which appears to be, in essence, look at what we do and don't listen to what some our representatives say.
Isn't it time to change the U.S. postal service? 2012
I'm shooting from the hip here, but think of what we could achieve if we repurposed it. Think of those 574,000 employees, many of whom have direct knowledge of each household in an area. What else could they be doing if they weren't spending all their time carting mostly junk mail to people's doors?
Suppose we start freeing up resources for more needed tasks by only delivering physical mail two or three times a week. Half or a third of the delivery effort could surely be done with two-thirds or half of the people and vehicles, probably fewer in urban areas.
Rather than cutting jobs—in a time when more jobs are needed—shift those jobs into roles with more of a social return. Peace Corps is another independent agency of the United States; what if we started to shift the USPS infrastructure toward support of economic and social good here in the U.S.? What if we made a concerted domestic investment in increasing productivity and self-reliance in our communities?
I would sure rather have that than the ability for some person to carry a piece of paper from my house to somebody else's house in a couple days for less than 50 cents (as cool as that is).
It's good to have an eloquent ally 2012
"you're afraid of that woman's voice & you don't think you can beat her intellectually without using a cheat code"
Let's keep focused on having the "what you did" argument with those who leave hateful comments, not the "what you are" argument.
Yo, Hank. 2012
RT @harikunzru: So Church of England opposed to 'redefining marriage'? Wasn't it created to do just that? Looking at you, Henry VIII...
Mmm, taxes. 2012
RT @atduskgreg: “I liked crowdfunding better when it was called taxation.” — @anildash
RT @ryanqnorth: Amazed these are books published today, and not 20 years ago. RT @chasingray: Dear @Scholastic you should be ashamed.
This doesn't seem a strong selling position 2012
"We have to get over this, as an industry." 2012
RT @jessajune: Can't We Discuss This Like Adults? / Fantastic rational criticism of the recent game trailer furor.
Drawing battle lines 2012
RT @BarackObama: Every GOP senator just voted against helping women get #EqualPay for equal work.
Voted. It took 4 minutes. #noexcuses
Not too happy with Ukraine right now 2012
Anti #gay crackdown in Ukraine during #Euro2012. Tell Merkel to dump the cup.
A reminder of what we're up against 2012
RT @BarackObama: Republicans have promised to block the Paycheck Fairness Act today—a bill that would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
Women of the U.S. (& men who believe in equality), it is time to punish Republicans at the polls. EVERY election matters this year. Vote.
Watching Wisconsin today 2012
RT @mc_frontalot: Wisconsin! You will note that in 100% of cases, a 'union buster' is an amoral thug owned by the plutocrats. Recall Walker Tuesday!
Isn't deliberately misleading a large number of voters about exercising their right to vote a crime? If not, why not?
little stuff matters 2012
(Great talk by Gawande, I should also note.)
my June 2012 voting slate 2012
Barack Obama, with great pride and pleasure.
28: Yes. Supported by folks I usually agree with.
29: Yes. Smoking creates expensive health problems which often create burdens for others beyond the smoker. Extra money for cancer research combined with higher costs that may reduce the number of smokers is a double win.
City & County Propositions:
A: No. I understand the garbage/recycling contracting could be improved in theory, but the reality is that a worker-owned, locally-based business that's doing a great job doesn't need to be messed with. (Also, support from Quentin Kopp is a great indicator of how not to vote.)
B: Yes. Let's keep this beautiful landmark preserved and available to the public.
Democratic Central Committee, District 17:
Zoe Dunning, who serves her country well.
Bevan Dufty, who is sometimes a bit preposterous but who I generally like and trust.
Matt Dorsey, who seems to have been doing well.
Petra DeJesus, ditto.
Scott Wiener, who I've been supporting for years with no regrets. Also, he's a big NERT supporter and that makes me really happy.
Alix Amelia Rosenthal, again someone I've had no regrets over voting for.
Gabriel Robert Haaland, ditto (plus congratulations on choosing a first name he really loves, something my also-trans pal Ashley has made me much more aware of lately).
Rafael Mandelman, ditto.
Carole Migden, hell yes. Let's keep those smarts working for us.
Justin Morgan, good endorsements and goals, plus we need more black male representation.
Hydra Mendoza, pretty sure I've voted for her in the past too and she has good endorsements.
David Campos, don't always agree with him (iirc) but good endorsements.
David Chiu, I've been really very happy with and continue to support strongly.
Leah Pimentel, pretty sure I've voted for her in the past too and she has good endorsements.
Dianne Feinstein, with frustration and reluctance due to her position on PIPA, but we need a powerful fighter for women's health and pay issues, which make more of a difference in more people's lives.
Nancy Pelosi, who has come out against SOPA. Good.
Mark Leno, who's continuing to do great work.
Tom Ammiano: ditto.
fix the broken process 2012
Anil's posts are reliably worth reading, but I think this may be one of his best yet.
Innovation is what we need right now 2012
Planning my vote & noting with concern @DianneFeinstein's apparent continued support of PIPA. RIAA shouldn't trump the rest of us & the web.
The slow, slow upward battle 2012
RT @BarackObama: FACT: On average, full-time working women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. #EqualPay