Wednesday, October 29, 2008

1 day for 300 million people to vote

According to Wikipedia, this is reason why we vote on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November of every year divisible by 4:

By federal law since 1792, the U.S. Congress permitted the states to conduct their presidential elections (or otherwise to choose their Electors) any time in a 34-day period[1] before the first Wednesday of December, which was the day set for the meeting of the Electors of the U.S. president and vice-president (the Electoral College), in their respective states.[2] An election date in November was seen as useful because the harvest would have been completed (important in an agrarian society) and the winter storms would not yet have begun in earnest (a plus in the days before paved roads and snowplows). However, the problems borne of this arrangement were obvious and were intensified by improved communications via train and telegraph: the states that voted later could swell, diminish, or be influenced by a candidate's victories in the states that voted earlier. In close elections, the states that voted last might well determine the outcome.[3]

A uniform date for choosing presidential Electors was instituted by the Congress in 1845.[4][5] The actual reasons, as shown in records of Congressional debate on the bill in December 1844, were fairly prosaic. The bill initially set the national day for choosing presidential Electors on "the first Tuesday in November," in years divisible by four (1848, 1852, etc.). But it was pointed out that in some years the period between the first Tuesday in November and the first Wednesday in December (when the Electoral College met) would be more than 34 days, in violation of the existing Electoral College law. So, the bill was amended to move the national date for choosing presidential Electors forward to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, a date scheme already used in the state of New York.[6] Many theories have been advanced as to why the Congress settled on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

As for the day of the week chosen, in 1845, the United States was an agrarian society. Most people traveled by horse and buggy. Farmers needed a day to get to the county seat, a day to vote, and a day to get back, without interfering with the Sabbath. So that left Tuesday and Wednesday, but Wednesday was market day. So, Tuesday it was.

I think as some point, we'll have to concede that 1 day is simply not enough for 300 million people to vote. I hope that day isn't November 5th 2008.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Odd case of statistics backing up anecdotal evidence

You know that nagging suspicion you had that Bush was the worst president ever? You were right! At least since 1929, the American economy has performed the worst under Bush (if you remove Hoover who had to deal with the Great Depression).


Keep this in mind as you go to the polls on November 4th.

Full article at New York Times

Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Really?

Why would you call your movie this title? I mean seriously, dude! That's just looking for trouble where that doesn't have to be any. That's like naming your son Adolf when your last name is Hitler. Sure your son isn't the second coming of the F├╝hrer but why saddle him with having to explain that the rest of his life?

http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/10/15/porno.film.ads.blocked.ap/index.html

Riddle: What happens when capitalism gets in trouble?

It calls on the family black sheep (socialism) for help! Turns out that we've all been paying lip service to the "capitalism is good and socialism is bad" world view. Capitalism is all good when we are reaping the financial windfall. But when excessive greed, lax govt oversight and an ingrained credit-based-live-above-your-means culture all combine to provide the inevitable economic bust...well then capitalism has to make way for a little socialism. God forbid we left the chips fall where they will. Instead let's reward those who have been playing Russian-roulette, those who have been buying more than they can afford (how stupid are you to think you can afford a house on minimum wage?). By default, let's punish those who have been buying only what they can afford and living within their paychecks. I guess if you are going to live irresponsibly it's good to time it right so it coincides with when the rest of the population are doing the same.

Can you imagine an American govt forcibly buying stock in publicly traded companies i.e. effectively nationalizing them? Let's just hope we do better than Mugabe did with Zimbabwean farms.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Proving yet again that it's about who you know

Otherwise how else does a 35-year old (Neel T. Kashkari) with just 6 years experience be tapped to oversee the disbursement of the $700 billion plan that'll save our country? Maybe he's a genius and will excel beyond all expectations and doubts. Or maybe he'll pull a Michael Brown (he of the FEMA fame).

If he succeeds, he'll be the true American story: son of poor Indian immigrants goes on to save our great nation.

If he fails, he'll be the next poster boy for nepotism.

Of course the irony of it all is that a self-described "free-market Republican" is oversee the govt bailout and possible takeover of companies, a decidedly anti-free-market endeavor. If we weren't on the brink of depression, I would be laughing.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Who's against company-provided health care?

Even if McCain gave each of us $5000, here's why you won't want to take it: employer-provided health care is better. Why? Because your premiums are based on the entire group. It's not based on each individual. What's the first question an insurance company asks when you request a quote for a new car or home insurance? They ask how many claims have you made in the last few years, right? Now imagine if your employer can provide you with group-based car insurance, don't you think you'll be paying less?

If you take McCain's health care, you better be ready to limit your trips to the doctor.

Is it really true?

That American workers are the best? the most innovative? the most importer and exporters? How can that be true when every little item comes from China? When most innovative scientific research are being done overseas when our kids can't even measure up in science and math? How can our workers be the best?

Sunday, October 05, 2008