Sunday, January 25, 2009

Instant Runoff Voting

I read a blog just a few minutes ago regarding the Franken/Coleman race, and how underserved we as voters are since a fraction less than 50% of the voters chose the winner.

I felt compelled to write a comment, which I've copied here:


As much as I would love to see instant runoff voting, and the power it would give voters, I don't think we'll see it anytime soon.

How great it would be to support a candidate who believes in your values but doesn't need to pander to the center/swing voters, or romance contributions from wealthy benefactors! Unfortunately, I think it's a dream.

Quite often we hear about people "choosing the lesser evil," because they know the candidate who most closely fits their ideals does not have backing of a major political party, or enough cash. Suddenly, the inherent power of IRV could allow anyone regardless of their fundraising ability to be elected. The media would recognize this, and we could see debates not between 2 candidates, but many. A man who has a meager bank account who shines at a debate could quickly gain momentum rivaling that of a major political party with very little amounts of advertising.

The new rules would have devastating effect to the standing Republican and Democratic parties by strengthening dark horse/unaffiliated candidates, and minor political parties in the US, seriously changing the political landscape. The two major parties in the US stand only to lose power power by instant runoff voting. The stability of their future would be greatly threatened. I would expect the most motivated people in American politics, those employed by the major political parties, to prevent this from getting on any ballot.

Unfortunately, politics is all about power and money in this country. And those who have it want it to stay that way.

Friday, January 23, 2009


In the space between yesterday and last July, I've met 5 Olympians.

4 triathletes
1 rower

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Announcement to the World

For the greater part of what I call my adult life, George W. Bush has been the leader of my country. I have been vehemently vociferous about my distaste for his actions and his policies.

Today that ended. It was a change I contributed to.

I have voiced my opinion to my newly elected representatives, and backed my voice with dollars.

I want a world where kindness is currency, and goodwill towards those with whom you do not identify is a noble act. Where protecting the innocent is just as important as transforming enemies into friends. Perpetuation of violence must be replaced by an expanding circle of forgiveness and brotherhood.

I will oppose incentives rewarding those that squander, destroy, and conspire. Conservation of our limited resources must instead be of primary importance.

I will push for a world that creates a sustainable standard of living for all of its residents, where political, economic, and social stability & and the ability to pursue health, knowledge, and happiness are birthrights for every human child.

I will be very critical of every single leader, republican or democrat, from Michele Bachmann to Barack Obama, who do not support my vision.


No idea created by man has ever been perfect.

But we always have Hope.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

the skier's dilemma

the more I ski
the more comfortable I become
and embrace greater speeds.

the faster I go
the sooner I approach the lift
and must wait to ski

Friday, January 2, 2009


I've always resisted the urges to be "a collector." In college, I had a roommate who collected Coca Cola memorabilia, something I really didn't understand. Like all college freshmen, I collected beer bottle caps. Until I was 21, when I threw them all away.

Now I have 4 bikes, but you could hardly call that a collection. All have their own utility (road,tri/TT,track/fixie, and mountain), and I only need 2 more -- a cyclocross bike and a junker for bar crawls.

As an apartment dweller, I really fight my nesting instinct. I also don't like having shit - when I was in college, I enjoyed being able to put every single one of my belongings into my chevy sedan and go wherever I wanted--the freedom was liberating. I dream of having a loft with minimalist decor -- a couch, a chair, a desk, a bikes, a bookcase, a guitar, photos & art on the wall, and luscious swaths of empty space. When moving into my future dream home, I expect to have one huge ass rummage sale, a week off from work for ebaying, and many subsequent trips to the dumpster.

Tonight I went to REI to find a messenger bag replacement for my leather bookbag. I came home with a backpack and a laptop sleeve.

And I came to terms with the fact that I'm a total slut for backpacks.

They have so much UTILITY! I bought a backpack tonight because I could bring not just my laptop with me, but my laptop, my DSLR, some books, and a snack. Fuck messenger bags--I've got what I need. (except I need to exchange the laptop sleeve, it's too small)

So now, here's my collection thus far, in order of acquisition....

-a drawstring bag from a 1997 state swimmeet. Used frequently as a carry-on at airports, and a very low profile daypack while travelling. It rolls up very compactly into my bigger pack after I pick up my luggage.
-Old yellow Eddie Bauer schoolbag backpack. It's tattered, yet not ready to fall apart. Usually used as a gym bag
- a Wilson Leather messenger style bag. Its falling apart.
-a Camelbak, which is used frequently while mountainbiking, downhill skiing @ altitude, and XC skiing
- an extended trip internal frame REI Mars pack. Used for extended backpacking, and the only luggage I need for air travel.
- a mesh Pigman triathlon half ironman schwag bag. it' mesh, perfect for holding onto swim gear, since it breathes. No moldy swim trunks!
- an Ortovox ski mountaineering pack. I got it to replace the yellow EB pack, and for future backcountry skiing/summitting. It has loops for skis, ice axe, and crampons. Also works well for triathlons--Loops for my helmet and straps for the wetsuit. Suh -weet.
- an amphipod neoprene holster. Just big enough to hold keys, an ID, a few bucks, and clips inside your waistband - perfect for a quick run. Not technically a backpack, but awesome all the same.
- the latest. An Arc'teryx technical daypack. It will fit my laptop, my DSLR, a legal pad and some paperbacks(and probably more). It's extremely light, can hold a water bladder, and will work great for biking my camera & computer around town & probably on very long rides.Perfect.

Why I believe celebrities are generally excellent choices for Political office.

I've been a big Franken supporter/fan since before he announced his intention to run for US Senate. I also liked Jesse ventura as Governer (even though I was only a MN resident for a couple months he was in charge), and I don't think Arnold is a horrible governer either, given his affiliation with the Republican party.

Given a celebrity has a basic understanding of civics, economics, and public policy; I would generally favor them over career politicians. I urge you to see things the same way, no matter your political stance.

What? Are you f*cking nuts?

No. This is all about a matter of motivation.

As a general rule, I will favor just about anyone running for public office over a businessman-turned-politician running for office. Businessmen are motivated by one thing -- their own (and their friends') personal profits. Expect them to make actions that will put money in their own bank accounts and the accounts of those who helped get them into office. Some people might call huge campaign donations "investments." This is described in more succinct terms as "corruption" and "cronyism."

I recall a story about guitar god Tom Morello, who after getting his political science degree, worked for a (I can only assume liberal) politician. He became quite disillusioned with the process, given that this politician spent 80% of his day begging rich people for money. So he could get re-elected.

Conversely, celebrities generally already have their own money. Lots of it! In addition, the sheer "star-factor" of a celebrity can inspire people to donate cash. This is the same reason you see celebrities taking up charities - they can use their influence to raise cash. (If they're not willing to tap into their own bank accounts, as many are) In this case, the tax deductible charity that they are promoting is your political party of choice.

In addition, everyone who even considers running for public office has an ego to feed. However, celebrities are megalomaniacal--they listen to one person. Themselves. Lobbyists will have a very difficult time influencing someone who already has an ego AND retarded amounts of cash. In fact, they'll probably heard, "don't call my fucking phone again" more often than not from Jesse Ventura.

Celebrities by definition are already public figures-just like politicians. However, people seem to act surprised when politicians get wound up in scandals?

Which one of the following statements should you not be surprised by?

a) Governer Spitzer flew a ridiculously expensive hooker to his hotel room in DC.

b) Police broke up a party at Senator Charlie Sheen's house, where they found 2 kilos of cocaine, 16 hookers, and a half ton of whipped cream.

c) Senator Larry Craig tried to solicit sex from a male cop in an airport bathroom.

Answer: You should not be surprised by any of them.

NEWSFLASH: People with tons of money and power, no matter who they are, regularly do things that are far more fucked up than the weirdest porno you've ever seen. My point here----there's no difference. Ironically, it is the non-celebrity politicians who are putting on an act.

So I agree that the Arnolds, the Al Frankens, and even the Charlton Hestons should be running for public office. They have nothing but motivation to advance thier ideas. They will spend most of their time pursuing them during their time in office.