wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
for MMORPG/MUSH types and those who'd get the humor:

US Democracy Server Patch Day

Heehee!
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
I reckon Obama's going to be no exception there. I'll be happy if there's just one appointee who sounds actually cool, honestly. Sigh.

Anyway, if you're actually interested in science and want to see this administration take it seriously--unlike Bush's administration who just wrote everything off to corporate interests--please read this Science Blogs post and then contact Obama to let him know he needs to get more serious about his appointees.

GAH

Nov. 3rd, 2008 10:00 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (obama-lgbt)
I WANT TO BELIEVE
but I'm afraid to

Tread softly, America, for you tread upon my dreams ... well, no, you tread upon the tiny, tattered shreds of my remaining faith in humanity, what very little is left of it.

In the meantime, I'll have to amuse myself with the horribly cynical political cards at Someecards.com, e.g. "Living a Godless Existence" and other somewhat topical cards. (Textually NSFW.)

And go to bed early, because the fact that [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor isn't feeling well was the deciding factor in my otherwise unending internal war between "I don't want it to ever be tomorrow!" and "Why can't tomorrow be over already?"
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Prop 1A (bullet trains): Y
Prop 2 (farm animals): Y (sorry, I wrote N by mistake)
Prop 3 (children's hospitals): Y
Prop 4 (abortion notification/waiting): N
Prop 5 (drug rehab): Y
Prop 6 (law enforcement): N
Prop 7 (renewable energy): N
Prop 8 (removing the right to marry): N!!!
Prop 9 (victims' rights): N due to [livejournal.com profile] chipuni pointing out this:

The legislative analyst says that in this proposition, "...crime victims and their families would have a state constitutional right to... (2) refuse to be interviewed or provide pretrial testimony or other evidence requested in behalf of a criminal defendant."

Yeah, I don't think so. You don't get to end-run the Constitution just because something terrible happened to you. Sorry.

Prop 10 (alternative fuel vehicles): N
Prop 11 (redistricting): Y
Prop 12 (veterans' bond act): Y

Local stuff:

Measure MM (hotel tax): Y
Measure VV (parcel tax): Y
Measure WW (extend parks bond): Y

If you're curious about my reasoning for any of these, feel free to ask, and I'll explain. :) I'd rather not argue, but if you want to hear why, I'll tell you.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
From Dr. Stephen Krashen, one of the most important researchers on how to effectively teach ESL (he didn't write this, but he sent it on to his mailing list):

"A disaster in any language"
By James Crawford and Edward Tabet
Published in the Statesman-Journal (Salem, Oregon)
October 29, 2008

Let's say your child faces a medical problem, or needs college
counseling, or just wants to get better at soccer. Would you seek help
from a doctor, counselor, or coach with no relevant training or
experience?

Of course not. But that's exactly what Bill Sizemore is counting on
Oregonians to do.

Sizemore doesn't pretend to have any expertise in education. Yet, as
sponsor of Measure 58, he would impose draconian limits on help for
children learning English in the public schools. While he claims to
favor teaching English rapidly and efficiently, the impact of his
initiative would be precisely the opposite.

Read more... )


(Remember, ESL education is one of those areas where common sense just doesn't apply. Language learning is an incredibly complex process that rarely behaves the way we think it ought to. Please don't vote on ESL-related laws based on your common sense, what "everybody else" says, or your single personal experience--it's really important to read the research before you vote.)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (ghibli-so cute-me)
It's kind of cute that you endorsed Pete Stark and sent me an e-mail recommending I help support his re-election, but he doesn't really need your help. Very sweet of you to think of it anyway, though. I'm sure he's touched.

Love,

Me.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
I know you are going nuts watching the US do stupid stuff, so here you can ... um, cast fake vote and feel better for a split second:

http://www.betavote.com/
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Let's Tap for Wii looks kind of cool! I don't know why they're featuring the least visually interesting of the games, but whatever. There's a video at the link--give it a look. I do think the Wi can open up new ways of gaming. Gimmick, schmimmick. And gamers who are turned off by the fact that a game console and some of its games are advertised occasionally with children can pretty much bite me. Games don't have to be dark and edgy to be fun.

Ahem. Sorry, where'd that soapbox come from?

([livejournal.com profile] wiifanboy is a good account to friend on LJ or add to your RSS reader if you want news on Wii games and stuff.)


Mint.com is out of beta and will now track your investments, 401(k)s, IRAs, etc. It'll even chart your investments against the S&P 500.

I almost wish there were a social aspect to Mint so you could see what your friends are doing. I know this is a HUGE taboo in American culture--god forbid you know about the state of your friends' finances--but I can't help but think that's part of why we tend to make such bad decisions. We don't have real people-like-us financial models other than our parents, who are obviously at different life stages and started working/investing in a different economy. So they're not even very good models, but they're often the only ones we have.


Stéphane Dion's accent is a little hard for me to understand, but I know the whole French-English thing is a complex sociolinguistic issue in Canada, so I'm not even going to speculate about whether it's a problem. But I hear that Harper kind of sucks, so ... good luck, Canada! I'd try to make more sense of it but I'm having enough trouble making sense of California's politics at the moment--there's a nation-worth of doublespeak right there.


Speaking of France, for those of you who went there recently, you can refresh your memory with Google Street View for France now.


Donations to No on Proposition 8 are being matched if you donate today--double your money!
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Printable No on Proposition 8 information in a few different languages:


http://www.noonprop8.com/page/?id=0007

Charity

Oct. 8th, 2008 10:15 am
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (gokusen-me)
Sigh.

Part of me likes to think that charities are charities first and politico-religious organizations later.

Part of me is stupid and naive. And also contradictory, because when you get down to it, I guess I really no longer trust any "faith-based" charitable efforts. I don't give to random religious charities that I see soliciting for pocket change because I don't know where the money goes. Well, I don't give to any unknown charity, but I'm increasingly suspicious of religious charities because the more I learn about them, the more I hear about organizations that actively discriminate. You want to help people? Then help people. Don't turn away gay people, single mothers, people from other religions, or whatever group you hate this week.

If religious groups want to do good, I feel they should just divorce their charitable efforts from their religion. People who are moved by their efforts will still probably be drawn to their religion through personal conversations if that's what they want. But if the goal is doing good, and not proselytizing or imposing their beliefs on others, then they need to quit dancing about and really just DO GOOD.

This message brought to you by the hateful, anti-family, anti-love, anti-marriage radio ad in favor of Proposition 8 that I heard this morning, which was partly sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.

I will never donate to any Knights of Columnbus fundraiser ever again.

Sure, they also do some good things, but you know what? There are OTHER organizations that AREN'T bigoted and ALSO do good works. You don't have to give to organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and the Salvation Army. They do good with one hand and practice bigotry with the other. You have a choice. Choose an organization that doesn't discriminate and add to hatred, discrimination, and bigotry.




(NB: It's not that I won't give to religious organizations at all. I will if I am assured that their good works are no-strings-attached. Otherwise, I'm not subsidizing their crusades.)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (potc-sulliedandunusual)
I read the ballot information handbook. (It is many pages long.)

Gah.

Propositions aplenty, and as usual, they're pretty confusing.

Also, they're all supported/opposed by equivalent groups of people:

PROP X is supported by The Former Commissioner of Something and Vice-Mayor of Somewhere and Some Judge.

PROP X is opposed by The Current Commissioner of the Same Thing and Assistant Controller of Somewhere and Some DA.

PROP Y is supported by Citizens For Nice Things and Against Evil Things.

PROP Y is opposed by Residents For Good Things and Against Bad Things.

PROP Z is supported by The Alliance of Fluffy Kittens.

PROP Z is opposed by Focus on Snuggly Puppies.

Oh wait, I have an opinion on that one.

But seriously ...

I have to say that I'm never impressed when the only arguments against a proposition are from "taxpayer" groups, because they're against everything. A proposition could involve spending $1 voluntarily to buy a prefab Shinkansen and they'd be against it. So if they're the only opposition listed, and the proposition otherwise looks good, I'll probably want to vote for it, haha.

Then there's Prop 12, the Veterans' Bond Act. From the info guide, there appears to be ONE GUY opposing it. That's impressive.

Anyway, as usual, many of the propositions seem tricky beneath the surface. It's very difficult to figure out what's worth voting yes on. And the official pro/con/rebuttal statements just infuriate me: they're like laundry lists of logical fallacies, bad writing, and shameless appeals to the lowest common denominator. They generally make me embarrassed to be considering voting for either side.

Here are my inclinations right now. I don't want to argue with anyone, but if you want to share supporting or opposing thoughts with reasons, I'll thank you for it. Most of these are first-read inclinations and highly subject to change.

Prop 1A (bullet trains): I am a True Believer. Bullet trains now! Likely yes.
Prop 2 (farm animals): Maybe yes.
Prop 3 (children's hospitals): Maybe yes.
Prop 4 (abortion notification/waiting): Likely no. (In a perfect world, yes, but this isn't that world.)
Prop 5 (drug rehab): Maybe yes.
Prop 6 (law enforcement): Not a clue. What's this all about really?
Prop 7 (renewable energy): Very confused by this one. Feedback?
Prop 8 (eliminates marriage rights): FIRM NO.
Prop 9 (victims' rights): See prop 6.
Prop 10 (alternative fuel vehicles): Maybe yes.
Prop 11 (redistricting): See prop 7, though the CATESOL lobbyist mentioned it favorably at our board meeting, I think. I could be hallucinating that though.
Prop 12 (veterans' bond act): Likely yes.

Local stuff:

Measure MM (hotel tax): Likely yes.
Measure VV (parcel tax): Likely yes.
Measure WW (extend parks bond): Likely yes. There's an AWESOME argument against this one, which states that since the park system has a lot of buildings that are in disrepair, they clearly can't be trusted with money for repairs. ?!?!

I know that anything I vote for that costs money or is perceived to cost money, no matter how little, is going to fail this year...
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Make a good-faith attempt to answer the question, or go home (and your opponent gets to speak unopposed for the remaining time).

And yeah, that goes for anyone from any party--while I maintain that there are important, critical, life-altering differences between the parties, all politicians are good at non-answers.

How does that sound?
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (potc-droppedmybrain)
This morning I had a non-standard headache (that is, a headache that didn't feel like a migraine, which is my standard headache). I took my temperature: 98.9. I took it again, because my temperature is never right the first time. 105.9! Gah! I took it again a few minutes later: 102.9! Yeah, time to go thermometer shopping. Now I have one that takes a reading in just a couple of seconds, with a nickel-sized, round display that lights up green, yellow, or red according to (conventional standards for) whether you have a fever. And my temperature is 98.7, thanks.


I think this is important: http://sharp.sefora.org/
They've sent science questions to congressional candidates (and Obama and McCain). Relatively few candidates have answered, but you can encourage your local candidates to fill out the form. Let them know that science is IMPORTANT.


Financial blogger is shocked that snacks at the movies are really expensive and turn an already pricey outing into a ridiculously expensive 120 minutes. Duh. Yes, if you're trying to be frugal, don't buy food at a movie theater! Sheesh.

Actually, I'm just redirecting my real outrage--the real reason I'm upset is that Portland apparently has at least 5 discount movie theaters. The Bay Area only has one that I know of, and it's far enough away that I'm not too interested in going. I would if I lived closer, because I've heard nothing but good things about it from [livejournal.com profile] mactavish and others. Milpitas used to have one--we went there once before it "closed for relocation" and never reopened. Sigh. A matinee here is around $8 and an evening movie is at least $10.

*checks Portland community college math/CS-teaching positions again*


Speaking of, um, other states: WSJ report on a study on personality trait distribution in the US. Yeah, I'm sure people will be punching holes in it ASAP, but it's kind of interesting. Click on the Interactive Graphics tab at the top for details (I have a feeling the resulting tables aren't screen-reader-friendly, sorry!).

Via [livejournal.com profile] geographile.


Via [livejournal.com profile] pegkerr: http://books4barack.com/
Authors can donate books to the fundraiser; readers who donate $250 to the Obama campaign will receive 5 books. Creative, I guess!


So tomorrow we're driving to Pasadena, leaving around 9:30. Of course, we'll get stuck with the horrible dilemma of WHERE TO HAVE LUNCH ON I-5. I imagine we'll get hungry somewhere north of Bakersfield. Sigh.

We'll probably have dinner in Alhambra or Pasadena. Our motel is in Alhambra, but we're thinking of going to the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena unless someone else has a better suggestion about how to entertain ourselves. We discussed trying to venture into LA proper and decided against it. We're also going to go to the Famima, of course.

If you have suggestions about where to eat around Alhambra or Pasadena, please let me know. Pasadena, not surprisingly, seems to have a lot of very good and very expensive restaurants that we can't afford (according to my stroll through Yelp).
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
A graphical guide to legal immigration from Reason magazine (which I don't know a darned thing about).
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (ueto aya-business-me)
That's PRIME MINISTER Rozen Aso to YOU, buddy.

Too bad he's, um, prone to ... er ... unfortunate remarks.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
I heard an explanation of McCain's health care plan on the radio the other day (during news, not talk) and just about lost it. Indeed, let's "trust the market" to make sure Americans have health care that's in line with the rest of the industrialized world. After all, it's worked SO well in the past!

For me, the best reason to consider leaving the country if McCain wins is that there are many, many other countries that will even give national health care to foreigners. I went for several years without health insurance and it was miserable and terrifying. I lost days of my life because I had migraines and couldn't do anything about them. I wouldn't be surprised if my long-term health and life expectancy were also affected. I am literally terrified of the thought of that happening again in the future.

So am I voting out of selfish reasons? Kind of. But I also have a lot more empathy for uninsured people than I did before I experienced it myself. I had no idea how hard it was to get health insurance, or how staggeringly expensive it was to get health care with no insurance. I wish more people really understood this (preferably without having to go through it themselves!).

I don't know if Obama can get national health care of any kind through--the resistance is huge, nasty, and motivated strongly by both money (shortsighted, I think, but that's never stopped big corporations from screwing their workers) and ideology. But at least his administration will likely try. So although I haven't previously espoused any of his campaign's "hope" rhetoric, I guess that's really a great deal of my motivation. With an Obama presidency, I have some small hope that a few things will change for the better. Not as many things as I'd like; not as far or as fast as I'd like. (I still firmly believe that he and Biden are NOT the truly progressive candidates that I long to see.) But with McCain I really see no hope of progress in those areas at all.

I still can't quite believe anyone is undecided at this point. (Obviously, people are, but it's hard for me to wrap my head around.)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (nicklylee-boxer-unfinis)
All the back-patting (mostly by white male political figures and commentators) about how FAR we've come and isn't this all MARVELOUS and *gush gush gush*.

I haven't heard a single person say what I've been thinking:

WHAT THE HELL TOOK US SO LONG?!

Seriously, tons of other nations have elected leaders who weren't from the majority ethnic group (or who weren't from the privileged ethnic group) and/or who were female. And never mind that there's still no chance of either party nominating anyone who's atheist or gay or Hispanic or ... yeah.

We have a LONG way to go, and we need to move a lot faster if we're going to catch up to where we should be!


(I promise I'll lay off the politics now. Just had to get that off my chest.)

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wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
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