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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Polly Tricks

Inboxes are coming alive with more political mail. Not complaining. I like that people get active in the processes of shaping understanding. I think it is undeniable that a lot of stuff in circulation has certain bias, sometimes it is good bias and other times it's just plain wonky. At the end of the day, none of us really know the whole truths of anything nor how an elected candidate will act on his/her new reality, once they "have the tiger by the tail".

A site that I have found pretty useful in working out issues in local government is Vote Smart. Go there and look up a candidate that you may be researching. Check out their stance and their voting record on the issues closest to your heart. Then check out to see if they balance out this position by defeating it with other measures. The site may probably be most useful in issues in local government but it certainly has value for candidates who are jockeying for national positions. (The fastest way to get info on an incumbent or candidate is to type their last name into the search box.)

Once you are there... on the main profile of your target (the way it is formatted now) there will be a picture of the incumbent and then a list of things such as "Biographical", "Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)", "Interest Group Ratings", and assorted other things. You can also check out how they voted or abstained on various issues. We are all aware that sometimes bills come about that sound like a good idea, but for example if you have a large population of people that would like to use their clout to control issues in an area affecting another group -- they are often guilty of heavily profiling that group and anyone that doesn't fit precisely into the literature's dogma, will be swept into the chaos. (this was a major area where proponents of Mandatory Spay and Neuter bills have totally taken leave of their brains. Give them a hammer and everything is a nail.) There are sometimes good reason for a candidate to not support a bill that appears to be something that they actually believe in and that really should go without saying, but I am increasingly made aware that certain classes of activists are little more than Barbie cheerleaders for a cause they little understand. Also at least among my acquaintances, many of us are not strict on our party lines -- for even the candidates themselves are not as simple as black and white.

Cheryl, a great gal, sent me this link that I hadn't seen before. It is kind of fun to do.
ABC has a test to see who's campaign statements, McCain's or Obama's, you agree with most.

They don't tell you who made the statements, of course, but a statement made by each candidate on the same topic (economy, immigration, judiciary, etc.) will be side by side. You just pick which statement you agree with and, after selecting all 13, you'll find out which candidate's philosophy you support (and you can hover over the checkmarks to see the statement again, if you've forgotten).

Try it at: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/MatchoMatic/fullpage?id=5542139

Although I had no issue with the result I got, it really is just another example of how survey design can sort people into categories based on the rules of that survey. While that may seem obvious with any survey, it actually takes place every time you read about a candidate. The literature all have their inherent biases.

And don't forget, when you get around to musing that "there ought to be a law about..." -- remember this-
"You should not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harm it would cause if improperly administered." Lyndon Johnson, 36th President of the U.S.
I'm still having fun with old pictures... :)
Ruya and Bella with Coco
A 2006 photo: In dog house is Ruya, and on the step is Bella. Looking up at them both is Coco.
I remember the moments of such photos as if they were taken yesterday. :)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/20/2008 05:31:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

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