March 12th, 2020


Arts and Crafts Festival

One of my crafter friends mentioned that creative folks are upset because lots of events are shutting down. So we have crafters worried that they can't make sales, and shoppers frustrated because they can't get out to buy things. All we need to do is put the pieces together.

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Bad Public Transit

 ... is typical of local-America.

One reason is simply because so much of the space is already built up, which means building anything new usually requires destroying a whole lot of stuff already there.  Despite the challenges of obtaining cooperation from affected people, the alternative is worse: simply ousting people by force.  That's what the government usually does, and it causes problems, because now large swaths of the population -- black people, Hispanics, the poor -- hate both the government and mass transit. They'll fight back as best they can, and they certainly have a right to defend themselves.

Howbout this: for every housing unit destroyed, the city has to build two affordable housing units, and everyone whose home is destroyed gets the option of living in one for free, to make up for the imposition.   We could also take this opportunity to build housing immediately adjacent to mass transit.  There would still be protesters, of course, but they would get drowned out by all the folks stampeding toward the free housing.  It would be expensive, but it would be popular and it would get done.

Ranked Choice Voting

Here's a proposal to introduce ranked choice voting in Alaska.  This has many advantages. 

To avoid the problem of holding elections with only candidates of one party, you can:

* Use ranked voting to determine the candidate fielded by each party and then pit the party winners against each other in another ranked race.

* Require that races include at least 2 parties or 1 party candidate and 1 independent candidate.

* Lower or remove minimum requirements (e.g. number of signatures on a supporting petition) for minority parties.  If the dominant party needs 1000 signatures to put a candidate on the ballot, a minority party might need only 500 and an independent might need none.

* Make the dominant party fund its own campaigns but set aside funding for minority or independent campaigns
Require everyone to use only the allotted public funds for campaigning and divide those equally among all candidates.


Voting Rights

Know your theoretical voting rights.   What you can actually  do varies greatly, as America practices a great deal of voter suppression and abuse.  But it helps to have a copy of the official claimed rights.

I recommend that you:

* Check now whether you are registered.  

* If you are not, do so now.

* Know the election calendar for 2020.

* Study political parties in America.  There are parties to suit all tastes, but not all parties are treated equally.  

* Research issues and candidates.

* Agitate for fair voting.

* Don't expect anyone else to do their damn job right.  If you care about voting, go to your courthouse or election office in person and verify that you are registered to vote, when and where to do so, what the equipment will be and how to use it.  If you will need assistance, verify the process for that too.  Ideally, get it in writing, with a date and the name of the person helping you.  If they won't do that for you, write down the same information yourself.  This will be useful if someone later tries to screw you out of your voting rights. has more resources.  

Early Voting Problems

 A problem with early voting is that votes for dropouts are wasted, which penalizes early voters.  This disproportionately affects disadvantaged people.

We need to do one of these things:

1) Forbid candidates to drop out after voting begins (e.g. ballots are printed for mail-in votes).

2) Allow people to change their votes if their candidate drops out.

3) Instate ranked choice voting which will automatically accommodate dropouts by redirecting the vote to the next-preferred candidate.

Election Problems

"Everything that could go wrong" this is not, and in fact, overlooks some very serious problems already occurring.  These include, but are still not limited to, voter purges, restrictive ID, gerrymandering, disenfranchisement, discrimination, and lines so long people can't vote.

And let's not forget that voters decide nothing but who to get fucked by, because America is provably not a democracy, but rather an oligarchy and/or a plutocracy depending how to you prefer to define the people actually making shit happen.

So no, I don't really respect the system or expect it to deliver accurate election results.  This has nothing to do with outside agents and everything to do with America having its head up its ass.  I still vote, and encourage other people to vote, but that's more about making the bastards work for it than believing it's honest.  Would I wait through a long line?  No.  It's not worth enough anymore.  I can literally have more practical impact with storytelling.

However, if we work on the infrastructure, some of this shit can be fixed, and there are millions of people who want to make the election system work better.  Sometimes that pans out, so it's worth pursuing.

Poem: "Exist Without Permission"

This poem came out of the March 3, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from Anonymous, [personal profile] kengr, [personal profile] shadowdreamer, and [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "Clarify" square in my 3-1-20 card for the Food Fest Bingo. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Broken Angels thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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Climate Change

 ... is highly unpredictable.

What we know:
* The Earth is warming rapidly
* because of human actions
* which is a Very Bad Thing
* because it worsens things like wildfires, floods, and violent weather
* and we can't stop it
* because it's already here
* although we still have time to buffer it a bit.

What we don't know exactly what will cause tipping points, or where those critical thresholds are, or how fast catastrophic changes can occur.

I keep telling people not to be fooled just because the Earth is big and often slow.  It can move at blinding speed when provoked.  Predictive models are only as good as the data going into them.  They can help us identify trends based on what we know, but they can't tell us what we don't  know.

Expect the unexpected.

Poem: "Doing Business with Lead-Pipe Cruelty"

This poem came out of the March 3, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] kelkyag, [personal profile] chanter1944, [personal profile] shadowdreamer, and Anonymous. It also fills the "Blood Sweat & Tears" square in my 3-1-20 card for the Food Fest Bingo. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Broken Angels thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. It follows the story "Handshake Deal" by Dialecticdreamer, so read that first in order for this to make more sense.

Warning: This poem refers to serious lead contamination of public water supplies.

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Today's Smoothie

Today we popped open the bag of wild blueberries to make a smoothie with:

1 cup almond milk
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 banana
1/2 cup blueberries

It was pretty good.  Could use improvement but I'm not sure what I'd change.