Politics Archive

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get Out and Vote, 2012

I Voted Today
Image Sourc: WPClipArt.com


I voted today. Now go and do it yourself if you haven't already.

Like I've said many times previously, I hardly ever vote a straight ticket, and this year was no exception. Granted, my ballot limited my choices on several of the races, but I still judged each of the candidates individually. For the record, I voted for 3 Green Party candidates, 4 Libertarian candidates, 7 Democratic candidates, and 9 Republican candidates (and only 2/3 of those Republicans were in uncontested races). That's actually 1 less vote than there were races on my ballot. One uncontested candidate I refused to vote for.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election 2012

PoliticsTomorrow is Election Day. Go vote and let your voice be heard. It's probably too late at this point to change many minds, but it's the obligation of bloggers to voice their opinions even when no one is interested.

I've already written about the Texas State Board of Education election in the entry, 2012 Texas SBOE Elections. Given the history of extremists on the Texas SBOE, make sure you vote for a reasonable candidate to avoid the types of shenanigans our school board became infamous for. If you live in my district, vote for Steven Schafersman.

I've also written before about Texas Republicans in general in the entry, The 2012 Texas Republican Platform. Go read that to see just how crazy some of their positions are. But just remember to judge each candidate individually. As I've mentioned before, I've never voted a straight ticket, and this year is no exception. There are one or two Republicans I'll be voting for.

If you're interested in general aviation, check out AOPA's 2012 Voter's Guide on GA issues in Congress.

And if you're still undecided on the presidential election, here's an interesting survey you can take:
I Side With...

They ask you a series of questions on different issues, and you give your answers along with how important that particular issue is to you. It then tallies up all your answers and gives you the candidates that match you the best. For the record, my best match according to that survey was Jill Stein, followed by Obama, then followed by every other major third party candidate, and finally with Romney as my worst match at something like 6%.

I've mentioned Romney a few times on this blog before. I won't link to all of those entries (just browse my Politics category if you're that interested), but here are a few of the more informative entries that have discussed the man.

While I may not be the biggest fan of Obama, for most of the issues where I disagree with him, Romney would be just as bad or worse. So, seeing as how third party candidates have pretty much zero chance of winning, I can only hope that projections such as the Five Thirty Eight Forecast are correct, and that Obama wins tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2012 Texas SBOE Elections

TEA LogoElection Day is soon to be upon us. In fact, early voting has already started. So, I figured it would be worth posting a bit about the school board election. I've written quite a bit about our State Board of Education (SBOE) in the past. For a pretty thorough listing, go to this entry, Texas Primary Results for SBOE, and scroll to the bottom for a list of all the times I've discussed our SBOE. To quote one sentence from that entry to describe the situation in the state, "An extreme right-wing faction has pulled some sleazy and dishonest stunts over the past few years, from last minute back door dealings that not all board members were privy to, to trying to inject creationism into science, to trying to change history standards to some alternative reality." Thankfully, many of those far right members were voted out in the last election, and some more lost in the primaries this year. But, the extremists didn't disappear. Some are still up for reelection, and there are some new ones on the ballot. So those of us in the state that care about our children's education need to turn out at the polls this year to ensure that good board members are elected.

I'll add that this isn't exactly a partisan issue. While all of the extremists are/were Republicans, not all of the Republicans are extremists. So look at the candidate's positions and vote for the ones that look to be the best qualified regardless of what letter appears behind their name.

For more information on the candidates, the best resource is the Texas Freedom Network. Here are links to a few pages on their site that will help inform you for the SBOE election.

I also found a right wing site that sent questionnaires to the candidates and got responses from mostly Republican candidates. If you navigate through that site, you can find their response.

If you're unsure of which district you're in due to the recent redistricting, there's a very hand online tool to help you out with that. You type in your address, and it will tell you your district and representative for U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, State Senators, State Representatives, and SBOE.


I have to admit that I'm already cringing for the expected result for the SBOE representative for my district. Thanks to the redistricting and then a loss in the primaries, I'm no longer represented by Gail Lowe (one of the past extremists). But the candidate that looks poised to win the spot for my district this time around is Marty Rowley, who looks to be just as bad if not worse than Lowe. His website had the following statement that's a big red flag, "I support allowing our Texas teachers and schoolchildren to look at all sides of scientific theories, including evolution, intelligent design and global warming, without fear of recrimination." I've written about this issue before in Strengths and Limitations. It's not an attempt to provide the best information to students, but a type of weasel phrase that creationists/denialists use to try to teach discredited creationist/denialist ideas.

Even worse than his stance on science, when I looked at his answers to that Heritage Alliance questionnaire, I found this. In response to the statement, "It is the government's responsibility to be sure children are properly educated.", he disagreed. That is mind boggling. Out of all the possible roles government could have, this to me is one of the least questionable. A government of, by, and for the people should certainly ensure that the people receive a proper education. Democracy just doesn't work without a well educated citizenry. Our population is already ignorant enough. Does he want to leave education in the hands of the already ignorant?

Here are a few of the other questions/statements from that questionnaire. I'm sure that even without following the link to the Heritage Alliance site that you can guess how Rowley responded. "Biology textbooks which do not teach both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution should be rejected by the Board." "I support the History and Social Studies curriculum standards approved by the State Board of Education in 2010." "I support school counseling or teaching about homosexuality." "I support displaying the Ten Commandments in public school buildings." "Any teaching to children on sex education in public schools must include all contraceptive methods, and should not show preference to abstinence."

His opponent, the good guy, is Steven Schafersman. I've followed Schafersman's articles on the Texas Observer, and I think he would make a good member of the BOE. Unfortunately, he just doesn't have the support that Rowley has. I can no longer recall where I found it, but I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Rowley had raised significantly more funds for his campaign than Schafersman, and it's really no surprise which way this part of Texas leans.


So like I said already, research the candidates in your district, and make sure to get out there on Election Day and vote for the most qualified one. Our children don't need any more disservice like they've gotten from past extremists.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cynicism, Part III

PoliticsI was so disgusted by the lying the in first presidential debate this year that I only made it through 5 minutes of it before having to change the channel. For the second debate, I was a bit more prepared, and made it through 10 minutes. I blogged about both of those previously in the entries, Cynicism and Cynicism, Part II. This time, I watched about 10 minutes of the debate before changing the channel to something less frustrating. Just to continue the trend, here are some links to articles fact checking the debate. Like for the first two, neither candidate was completely honest, but one seems especially prone to lying.

During the few minutes that I did watch the debate, I heard a disheartening discussion. It shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone who reads this blog that I agree with Obama on many more issues than Romney. There are still several issues where I disagree with Obama, though. One of the biggest, which literally infuriates me, is Obama's use of the double tap drone strike (read a sober account of this on The Guardian, or a more colorful account on Pharyngula). This is practically comic book level villainy - attacking a target, waiting for emergency personnel to show up, and then attacking again. To be honest, if I had any belief that presidents would be held accountable, I'd like to see Obama and Bush both taken to the Hague over their actions in the fight against terrorism.

So when Bob Schieffer asked Romney, "What is your position on the use of drones?", Romney had the opportunity to call out Obama on this horrible practice. Instead, he said this (emphasis mine).

Well, I believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. And it's widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends.

So we have a sitting president committing acts that would have been labeled as terrorism just a few years ago, and his opponent enthusiastically agreeing that the President did the right thing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cynicism, Part II

PoliticsAfter the first presidential debate a couple weeks ago, I complained that I only watched about 5 minutes of it before getting so fed up with the lies that I had to shut it off. This time, my wife and daughter decided they wanted to watch a little bit of the debate. I think I made it through about 10 minutes this time before I convinced them to let me change it. So, for anyone more concerned with what our politicians have to say than how they say it, here are a few links fact checking the latest debate.

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