Tuesday, March 29, 2016

marathon county, wisconsin

part of what i'm doing for my work on the sanders campaign is verifying polling locations in our database. this is a YUUUUUGE database of every honking polling place in every state and it is useful data for our phonebankers and for our canvassers and for our result reporters and checkers and all manner of things related to voting precints.

but somebody has to compare lists to current state and county publications and it can be stunningly mind-bendingly boring work. some rural towns pretty much don't bother to list their polling location, because the hundred or so people who live in town already know where the town office is.

last week in some other wisconsin county i had a given address for a polling place that didn't match up at all with the database and three different sources gave it as three different addresses, so i had a look at the addresses in google earth just to see what was what.

the most authoritative source gave an address that had nothing there but two mailboxes and a cornfield, so we speculated that perhaps this is the address the town gives for mail. somewhere buried on a town website in among the town hall minutes were directions to get to the town office, which appears to be in an outbuilding on a farm.

i understand this. a lot of my state is rural.

anyway, this morning i was working on marathon county, which is somewhat easier to verify because they have taken the trouble to put all of this information on their website, organized and formatted, and they don't seem to take for granted that everybody knows how to get to everything.

so i wrote them this note:

dear marathon county,

i'm working on polling place databases for a political campaign, so i see a lot of county websites.

yours is the nicest one i have yet seen. your information is beautifully formatted and easy to read and understand, and you have given your polling locations very specifically, which helps people a lot if they're new to town or new to voting.

particularly lovely is your inclusion of directions to get there. if i were a voter in your county, i would be pleased that you have taken the time to make my polling places easy to find.

i know this is not all information you are required to give, but it represents a dedication to serving the voters of your community and i just want to say well done, and thanks.

have a lovely day.

Monday, March 28, 2016

very important election TODAY

hey, guys?

the herpetological society of ireland is inviting the internet to NAME THEIR LIZARD.

aside from the obvious comedic value, we are very excited because our friend rapunsell thought up the name herp mcderp  and another friend of ours submitted it and IT'S ON THE BALLOT!!!

so go vote!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

open letter to senator bernard sanders

dear senator sanders,

i know you're busy these days. i just wanted to say i have been proud of you since i started voting for you in 1990 and i am prouder every day of you and your accomplishments and this crazy long-shot election.

i am STILL finding out things i did not know about you, how decent and hardworking you have been, supporting issues i care about since i was a baby. i only recently found out about your work in florida with immigrant workers when you were elected to the house.

i am so proud of you for being a representative for all people and not just the people who vote for you. you are a hero, senator sanders, and my second biggest wish right now is to shake your hand.

my first biggest wish is to see you president.

so i work the phones, knock the doors, give probably more money than i should because you don't get this kind of opportunity that often.

i don't know if this will reach you, but maybe if you're having a hard day, one of your staffers can forward it to you. i talk to a lot of vermont volunteers out here, senator sanders. when we work the phonebanks, we are proud to say to voters in other states "i am from vermont. bernie is my senator. we love him here, and we think you will love him, too." it's a little off script, but they like hearing that we voted for you already and would again. they ask us about your record and we tell them firsthand how fiercely you fight for all of us to have a voice in government and a chance in life.

normally i would close a letter to a senator i have never personally met  "with respect" or, if i really like them "with respect and affection" but this morning, senator sanders, i'll say


(my given name and address)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

write in votes

hey, gang.

i want you to hop over here http://writein2008.blogspot.com/search/label/Iowa and have a look at this.

it is a state by state listing of the write in requirements.

have a look at alabama, vermont, and iowa and then compare to nearly every other state.

it's very interesting from the persepctive of keeping outsiders out.

it's OUR government. why don't we have better access to it?

Monday, March 21, 2016

hi, everybody.

i'm still out here, and i'm ok.

i've been depressed, and that saps my energy.

today i feel so good that daily maintenance tasks are within my reach! i know, that shouldn't be a thing. but it is. meanwhile, most of the rest of the time i HAVE been getting up to do things, and i have had some time to write, but mostly i have been writing posts and tweets for the sanders campaign and sometimes picking up phones and calling voters in other states.

i get a lot of hangups, because the pattern is that everybody and his dog calls you if your state has a primary coming up but the darndest thing is that we are still reaching voters in the west and midwest who are unaware that senator sanders exists.

yesterday he spoke to three rallies attended by tens of thousands of people AT EACH and somehow none of the major networks thought that was worthy of note even though a trump event somewhere drew a couple thousand people and that was all over the news.

it's easy to fall into charges of conspiracy, but the main liberal media outlets (including twitter) are mostly owned by people who support secretary clinton, and the preferred media narrative has always been that senator sanders isn't a serious candidate.

the truth is that he draws YUUUUUGE crows everywhere he speaks, and he has received more donations from individual donors than any candidate in american politics, ever.

the media narrative has always been:

how cute.
oh, he'll never get off the ground
yes, but he can't win any state that isn't vermont
yes, but he can't win any state that doesn't touch vermont
yes, but he can't win anything out of new england
yes, but he can't keep sustained interest

the narrative has always been that he is a non-starter. the truth is he is very much alive, very much bringing in record donations (at an average of $27 each).

this morning the mainstream media are running stories that he should step down because his candidacy is too costly to secretary clinton's nomination and her general election bid.

well, if secretary clinton were a stronger candidate, they wouldn't need to worry about this, would they?

sorry to postpone your coronation, democrats. run a better candidate or take risks that your poor candidate will crash and burn.

look. i've been voting democratic since mondale. i won't be voting for hillary, no matter what. the democrats already know their precious hillary is flawed and precarious as a candidate. if they insist on running her with the knowledge that many of us will not vote for her, that is their concern and none of mine.

Monday, March 14, 2016

hillary clinton and institutional sexisim

there's a fair amount of commentary these days about whether criticism of hillary clinton constitutes sexism.

if you are criticizing her for her clothing or for her hair or any other part of her appearance,  you are being a sexist asshole and you should stop. if you are criticizing her for her tone of voice or any other attribute that is associated with a gender norm, you are being a sexist asshat and you should stop.

if you are criticizing her about her record in office, in her speeches, as a member of the bill clinton administration, on her many large donors and conflicts of interest, on her lack of integrity and numerous flaws BECAUSE what you think is really wrong with her is that she's a woman, you are a slimy underhanded sexist asshole and you ought to be slapped.

if you are criticizing her about her record in office, in her speeches, as a member of the bill clinton administration, on her many large donors and conflicts of interest, on her lack of integrity and numerous flaws because you would criticize those things in any candidate, carry on.

concern that a former secretary of state may be indicted before the election is over is not a sexist thing. it is a reasonable concern and quite frankly i resent having my feminism credentials questioned because i don't support every woman candidate who happens to run.

some women are perfectly horrible people and do not merit my vote. for anyone to suggest that i ought to overlook a record that goes against my beliefs (supports the wars, supports surveillance, supported that horrible welfare "reform") or is ethically troubling (takes donations from wall street banks, fracking concerns, and NRA lobbyists) or downright illegal (personal email server to act as end run around FOIA and possibly cover up shady quid pro quo to private foundation) simply because "there is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women" is gender based bullshit of the first order.

so just cut that shit out, ok?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

sorry / not sorry

you both know that this blog is about whatever i'm thinking at the moment.

these days i am thinking and talking and writing almost entirely about politics, so if you only read me for updates about my craft projects, you should probably come back in july.

i'm going to give you a prĂ©cis of my assessment of this primary season so if you're still reading, you can be aware of my biases. i do not pretend to be a neutral,  and i think most people who are aware of the issues and pretend to be neutral are dishonest asshats.

for the record, there's a difference between "i'm neutral" and "i have an opinion but i am a news reporter or other public figure and do not wish to speak on my choices." that second thing is fair.

my take on the republican field: they range from moderate-sounding men who have dangerous views to dangerous-sounding crazy men who resemble 1939 hitler.

the democratic choices are more nuanced.

a long time ago (before the obama campaign) i looked around hoping to find a woman candidate who could maybe win the white house one day and i settled for a time on the rising career of hillary clinton.

but then the more i looked at her record and her donors and the scandals that were around her (even if none seemed to stick definitively, which *counghiran-contracough* is really no indicator of innocence, the more i started to oppose her candidacy under any circumstances.

you know that i grew up near burlington, vermont in the sanders-for-mayor era. i felt at first that he was a joke, and then an embarrassment, and then as i saw him speak and work he gained my respect and even love.

my antipathy for secretary clinton and my love of senator sanders are not related, although they do stem from the same fundamental beliefs.

and they are colliding spectacularly this primary season.

i was kind of not posting to this blog because this blog is not a politics blog.

but this blog is about what i'm thinking about and what i'm thinking about these days is politics.

so there's going to be a lot of that for a while.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

international women's day: mixed views

i'm not telling you which game this is, because i like that game.

but i woke up this morning to find that in honor of international women's day, the game had sent us all flowers. isn't that lovely?

well, it is, sort of. it's nice that they decided to notice it at all. but flowers in this game are ornamental. they have no function in the game.

for valentine's day we got flowers and some cute little buffs to increase production. for christmas we got buffs and cool stuff.

but for international women's day there are nonfunctioning ornaments. why not buffs, or bonuses, or some tools? how does something with only a cosmetic purpose further the equality of women?

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

this is why i love him

 you don't have to guess what he's thinking NOW. his positions don't change. he is not pandering to get votes.

some people want to make things better. others just want to be president.


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