Thursday, October 23, 2014

Early Voting. And Dump The Ads!

I voted yesterday. What's your excuse?

It took two minutes. No exaggeration. If you count drive-time, it took five minutes. I did it while being nervous that it would make me late for class. I ended up getting to class ten minutes early for once.

Not registered to vote? You can register right there. Then it will take you three minutes.

In fact, early voting is such a breeze that I'm rather disappointed that I can only do so here in the suburb of Greenfield. Just for contrast, I want to purposely change my address to Milwaukee just so that I can experience what early voting is like when I have to fight downtown traffic to get to city hall and vote there. (Not that I'm advocating stuffing the ballot, or anything.)

So, if this wonderful new mechanism for getting out the vote works so beautifully, why are we still forced to hit the 'mute' button every time the local news breaks for commercials to keep us from being assaulted by whopper-lie-telling political advertisements?

Isn't that money better spent on buses and car pools?

Hey, here's an idea! Vote taxi! It could be free and available to all! All candidates have to contribute to it, then voters without transportation can book a time, get to the polls and vote!

I'm going to have to blog about that again!

Anyway, my ultimate point is simply this: The demographic in Wisconsin has not changed in the four years we've managed to survive Scott Walker. 45% of the state is infatuated with him. Another 45% can't stand the bastard. And it's no secret that I'm in the latter camp. Here on this blog I've insulted Walker with any number of creative nicknames. I've called him Little Boy Blue (because he's a former employee of IBM). I've called him the drop-out kid because he IS a college drop out. (Left Marquette, never even thought of completing his degree since. Dumbass.) I've called him slash-and-burn Walker, based on his track record of slashing and burning as County Executive of Milwaukee and his first (unbelievably disastrous) month in office as governor. I suppose the 10% of people in the middle would like to see Walker gone, but aren't too sure what to make of Mary Burke, either. 51% of Wisconsinites wanted Walker gone during the recall election of two years ago, but voted for him because they hated the politics behind the recall itself. I can only think that the disgruntled middle will swing the other way this time.

Current polls show that Walker and Burke are tied. But poll projections are based on two things: registered voters and likely voters. In both polls, it's still close, with Walker having a slim edge. Both registered voter numbers and likely voter numbers can swing dramatically democratic with a large voter turnout, because let's face it, Wisconsin is blue-purple. When people actually bother show up, Obama wins, Obamacare is approved of, and Planned Parenthood is fully funded. When people don't show up, the loud minority shoves right-wing crap down the throats of an unwilling constituency.

And we'll have deserved it, because we stayed home.

Back to my original point, not staying home and voting early is easy.

So don't stay home! Go vote, Wisconsin!

Quick, before they figure out a way to gerrymander the governorship as well.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Have you voted yet? Early voting is on, you know. If you haven't, do so. And here's a little added incentive in the form of my informing you what little tidbits are on this year's ballot which you might not have known about. Did you know there are some interesting referendums on the ballot this year? None of the referendums are binding, but at least the government will get some real feedback from its electorate for once. I will detail them for you, and give a little bit of my own input at the same time. But before I do, let me point out that I found these via my local municipality's website. The City of Greenfield, where I live, details everything which is on its ballot in .pdf format, allowing me to read up on who's who on the ballot itself. I can then research any names I don't know about and vote accordingly. It's a fast and easy way to stay informed. One quick internet search and your done. You don't even need to bother putting the news on your radio dial. (Although I recommend everyone stays informed.) And now, on to the good stuff:

First, the State of Wisconsin would like to know if you wish to create a transportation fund.  "Shall section (blah, blah) of article (blah, blah, blah) of the constitution be created to require that revenues generated by use of the state transportation system be deposited into a transportation fund administered by a department of transportation for the exclusive purpose of funding Wisconsin's transportation systems and to prohibit any transfers or lapses from this fund?"

Interesting. (Yawn!) Personally, I think that the odds of public transportation fees actually generating a profit are about as likely as aliens landing on top of the state capital.  But in the unlikely event that I'm wrong, I don't think those excess funds should be barred from being used to pay other debts. Money should be flexible, or it's not really useful. But that's just me.

Now things get more interesting. You get to vote on whether corporations are people! "Shall the United States Constitution be amended to establish the following? 1. Only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights, and 2. Money is not speech, and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech."

Well, DUH! Obviously, this is in retaliation for our generation's Dredd Scott case in the Supreme Court. What a shame this one isn't binding.

Here's another interesting one: "Shall the next State Legislature accept all available federal funds for BadgerCare to ensure that thousands of Wisconsin citizens have access to affordable health coverage?"

Translation: Will you Republicans stop fucking with Obamacare and let us have the damn money already? Hey, since it seems to finally be working, you might as well not kick the sick while they're down in order to play politics. That one should go without saying.

Next question: "Should the State of Wisconsin increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour?"

Yes, some make-work jobs will be lost by this move. But those who are forced to depend on minimum wage jobs will get their chance to improve their lives, and possibly even be able to invest in better education to better their lot in life. This will ultimately mean more real-wage jobs for everyone, long-term.  Don't worry, 2% inflation will restore even this wage hike to a non-living wage in about five years. Do nothing, and minimum wage goes from near-slavery to outright slavery.

And finally: "Should Wisconsin Statutes be amended to allow Milwaukee County to transition its management and administrative functions from an elected County Executive to a professional County Administrator?"

Fucking what? I'll admit, I had no idea what this question was meant to be about, either. But I did a little bit of digging, and here's what this referendum item seems to pertain to. Apparently, Chris Abele proposed a new law which would limit the governing powers of the County Board and turn some of those powers over to hired professionals instead. The board is bristling over this move, and is basically asking us to side with them in saying, 'Well, Abele, how would YOU like it?'

Personally, I'm voting 'no' on this one. Too many cooks spoiling the broth is disgusting enough at the national level. But when I see it at the local level, it makes me want to puke. We should have  no more than five county board members (like Los Angeles does!), and yet we are burdened with a whopping seventeen of them. Just shut up and collect your over-bloated paychecks already!

So that's it! Five referendum questions. Your government wants to hear from you for a change.