November 6 2012 General Election

On November 6 2012 at approximately 1215 PM local time, I voted in the general election at the First Presbyterian Church in Stillwater, Payne County, Oklahoma.  Here’s how I voted.

Electors for President and Vice President: I refused to vote for Barack Obama for reasons discussed here and, lacking minor party and write-in options, abstained.  Had either Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson been on the ballot, I would’ve voted for them.

United States Representative District 03: I looked up the website of Democrat Timothy Ray Murray and I couldn’t believe this was who we Democrats have going for us in Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District.  The website is just a mess and I can hardly make heads or tails of where he stands on any issue besides agriculture.  Just as bad, he uses the word “Democrat” as an adjective (e.g. “Democrat Party”), which as far as I’m concerned should be grounds for automatic disqualification from running as the Democratic Party nominee.

Judging from his website, independent candidate William M. Sanders is a much better candidate who takes liberal positions (despite his previous status as a Republican), and so I ended up voting for him.

County Clerk: At first I was going to abstain from this race because there really aren’t issues at stake in this race, and the differences between the two candidates are laughably miniscule.  In the end though, I decided that I should vote for at least one Democrat in this election, and that was Linda Hatfield.

Proposition No. 1: This would raise Payne County’s sales tax to pay for firefighting.  I voted Yes.

Proposition No. 2: This would allow alcohol to be sold in restaurants and bars on Sundays.  I voted Yes.

State Question No. 758: This would limit certain increases in property tax values.  I abstained because of lack of information.

State Question No. 759: This would allow affirmative action in certain cases: 1. where gender is a bonafide qualification 2. where court orders and contracts mandate it and 3. where federal funding mandates it.  While I’m not a fan of affirmative action, I thought it would be reasonable in these cases and I voted Yes.

State Question No. 762: This would shift decisions over parole from the Governor to the Pardon and Parole Board.  I was torn about this one.  While it was possible that such a change could lead to more fair decisions for parolees, I thought the Governor, as the state’s chief law enforcement officer, should still be a part of the process.  I also felt like I didn’t have the information I needed to make a good decision.  In the end I abstained due to my indecision and lack of information.

State Question No. 764: This would allow the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to issue bonds for a reserve fund.  I voted Yes.

State Question No. 765: This would abolish the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, the Oklahoma Commission of Human Services and the directorship of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, and would transfer their responsibilities to the State Legislature and any departments they might create.  I voted No.

State Question No. 766: This would exempt certain things from property taxation.  I abstained because of lack of information.

On all other contests (all judicial ones), I abstained because of lack of information.

I’ll post official results for these contests when they become available.

Advertisements

Political Endorsements for 2012 Election Cycle

The following are my endorsements for the 2012 election cycle.  Some of the races show the results of the elections, with the candidate’s vote share followed by the next highest or lowest vote shares.  When I have more time I will go back and add more results as to who won and lost.  As usual, most of my non-incumbent endorsees lost their races.

 

 Primary Elections

 Ohio (March 6 2012)

OH-9: Dennis Kucinich (Result: Lost)

 Illinois (March 20 2012)

IL-2 : Jesse Jackson Jr. (Result: Won)

IL-10: Ilya Sheyman (Result: Lost)

IL-13: David Gill (Result: Won)

 Pennsylvania (April 24 2012)

PA-13: Nate Kleinman

PA-17: Matt Cartwright

 North Carolina (May 8 2012)

NC-11: Cecil Bothwell (Result: Lost 30-55)

 California (June 5 2012)

CA-2: Norman Solomon (Result: Lost)

CA-15: Pete Stark (Result: Won)

CA-51: Denise Moreno Ducheny (Result: Lost)

CA-52 : Lori Saldaña (Result: Lost)

 New Mexico (June 5 2012)

NM-1: Eric Griego (Result: Lost)

 New York (June 26 2012)

NY-8: Hakeem Jeffries

 Michigan (August 7 2012)

MI-13: John Conyers

 Missouri (August 7 2012)

MO-1: William Lacy Clay, Jr. (Result: Won)

 Washington (August 7 2012)

WA-1: Darcy Burner (Result: Lost)

 Hawaii (August 11 2012)

HI-Senate: Mazie Hirono (Result: Won)

 Connecticut (August 14 2012)

CT-5: Chris Donovan (Result: Lost 32-45)

Wisconsin (August 14 2012)

WI-2: Kelda Helen Roys (see here and here) (Result: Lost)

 Arizona (August 28 2012)

AZ-1: Wenona Benally Baldenegro

AZ-9: David Schapira

 

General Elections

 

All those who won in their primary elections, plus the following:

 

CT-Senate: Chris Murphy

FL-9: Alan Grayson

MA-Senate: Elizabeth Warren

MI-11: Syed Taj

MN-8: Rick Nolan

NH-1: Carol Shea-Porter

NH-2: Ann McLane Kuster

NV-Senate: Shelley Berkley

OH-Senate: Sherrod Brown

VT-Senate: Bernie Sanders

WI-2: Mark Pocan

WI-Senate: Tammy Baldwin

 

California Ballot Propositions

 

Prop. 30 (raising income taxes on high earners and sales taxes): Yes

Prop. 32 (preventing unions from using payroll deductions for political contributions): No

Prop. 37 (requiring labeling of genetically modified food): Yes

Prop. 38 (alternate plan raising income taxes on high earners): Yes (unless it somehow conflicts with Prop. 30)

 

NOVEMBER 14 2012 UPDATE: Added Kelda Helen Roys and Mark Pocan.

Why I’m Not Voting for President Obama

Source: Reuters via The Atlantic

Four years ago I voted for then-Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.  I will not be voting for now-President Barack Obama this time around.  I could go into lengthy detail but I suspect no one wants to read that, so I’ll summarize by generally saying that I’m opposing Obama from the left (which I guess makes me a member of the “professional left”) and in general I think he’s been too conservative, and all too willing to perpetuate the status quo as far as corporate dominance of our domestic policy and a foreign policy that violates both foreign sovereignty and our basic civil liberties.

Here I’ll produce three bullet lists.  The first list is stuff that Obama (along with Democrats in Congress) has done that is as fine and good as conceivably possible.  The second list is the “well it’s okay, but it could’ve been a lot better/stronger” category.  The third list is stuff he did that’s just plain bad.  While I appreciate the good and okay stuff that Obama and other Democrats have accomplished and give them due credit for having done so, the stuff on the bad list is so bad that it outweighs the good/okay they have done.  In particular, there are two actions committed by Obama that I find egregious enough to disqualify him from my vote, and those two actions were committed on Obama’s own initiative, without overt Congressional pressure (and possibly with Congressional support).  I will point out those two actions in the “Bad” list below.

 

Good:

  • some rhetoric defending the role of government, and advocating for a more active role for government
  • a lot of communitarian “we’re all in this together” rhetoric, which leads to rhetoric as to why government has and should play an active role in national issues (e.g. “you didn’t build that”)
  • strengthening regulatory agencies, and generally running the government machinery in a competent fashion
  • student loan reform, which is awesome
  • some parts of Wall Street reform (e.g. the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
  • many parts of Obamacare (e.g. ending discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, young adults being allowed to stay on parents’ insurance plans, new medical loss ratio rules, ending lifetime caps on coverage)
  • budget passed in 2009
  • auto industry bailout
  • Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
  • CHIP reauthorization
  • DADT repeal
  • rhetorical support for same-sex marriage (though let’s face it, the Joe Biden interview forced his hand)
  • ending torture
  • ending restrictions on stem cell research

 

Okay:

  • 2009 stimulus, which was barely adequate but would’ve halted the economic downturn much more effectively had it been at least $400 billion larger than it was
  • some parts of Obamacare (e.g. Medicaid expansion, which could’ve been bigger)
  • much of Wall Street Reform was progress but still inadequate; we need an actual reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, which we didn’t get
  • Cash for Clunkers, which was good but could’ve lasted longer
  • unemployment insurance extensions (at least the ones that didn’t come with scummy tax cut deals), which were very important to me personally, but I feel like there should’ve been a more comprehensive safety net for the unemployed
  • Obama and the Democrats’ job initiatives in general were inadequate; what we really need is WPA-style direct government hiring like we had back in the Great Depression
  • pushing for climate change legislation (though I don’t like cap-and-trade, and would prefer cap-and-dividend)
  • pushing for immigration reform
  • Race to the Top (mixed bag with too much emphasis on charter schools)
  • Obama’s Supreme Court nominees

 

Bad:

  • rhetoric that echoes conservative anti-government themes (in weird contrast to the pro-government communitarian rhetoric he deploys at other times), for example see here
  • the individual mandate portion of Obamacare – President Obama ought to listen to Senator Obama.  I will add this caveat: My opposition to the individual mandate has lessened recently in light of promising new data coming out of Massachusetts showing premium growth slowing down.  I look forward to Obamacare’s full implementation to see if it can in fact control premium growth.
  • the lack of a public option in Obamacare
  • The way Obama handled his part on health care was just bad.
    • poor salesmanship and failing to effectively counter the conservative “I got mine so you’re on your own” frame that was applied to the debate
    • Obama’s flip-flops on health care, of which I have counted seven
      • was against the individual mandate, then was for it
      • was against taxing high-end insurance plans, then was for it
      • was for the public option, then was indifferent to it
      • was for publicly broadcasting negotiations, then was against it
      • was for transparency, then was against it and cut backroom deals (see below)
      • was for prescription drug importation, then was against it
      • was for prescription drug price negotiation, then was against it
  • refusal to push for the Brown-Kaufman amendment to break up too-big-to-fail banks
  • the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission, and contributing to deficit anxiety in general
  • budgets passed in 2010 and 2011 that cut spending
  • free trade agreements
  • wasteful war in Afghanistan – see Cenk Uygur’s and Keith Olbermann’s explanations
  • offshore drilling
  • cracking down on marijuana dispensaries
  • all the terrible people Obama picked for his administration (e.g. Rahm Emanuel, Larry Summers, Timothy Geitner, etc.)
  • the uncalled-for dismissal of Shirley Sherrod and Van Jones
  • a generally bad relationship with the “professional left” and a distorted, negative view of their criticisms
  • a total lack of transparency when it comes to deals that reinforced conservative policy
    • 2010 Bush tax cut deal
    • 2011 debt ceiling deal, which I opposed
      • the Social Security and Medicare cuts that Obama proposed way too eagerly (they were his idea; Republicans weren’t even asking for them)
      • health care deals
  • Obama has generally been a disaster on civil liberties
    • cracking down on whistleblowers
    • NDAA for FY 2012, which codifies indefinite detention of American citizens deemed by the Obama administration as “terrorists”
    • drone strikes
      • no, they don’t make us safer
      • no, they aren’t precise enough to avoid civilian casualties (unless you totally change the definition of “civilian” as the Obama administration did)
      • yes, they make life deadly and miserable for innocent people
      • yes, there is evidence that strikes may be deliberately targeting rescuers
      • yes, there is evidence that strikes are fomenting anti-American sentiment and helping with al-Qaeda recruitment
      • yes, Obama and his administration has failed to even clearly acknowledge, let alone explain the rationale for, these strikes and the innocent deaths they cause (as well as the other civil liberties violations they’re committing)
      • assassinations of American citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki, not to mention Americans killed as “collateral damage” or for no apparent reason at all (like al-Awlaki’s 16-year old son Abdulrahman) – this is the other really bad thing that makes me refuse to vote for Obama

The deal with the hospital lobbyists and the assassination of American citizens are just so wrong on so many levels. (I focus on the hospital deal in part because it got even less attention than the similar pharmaceutical deal, but yes you can throw in the pharma deal as well.) The hospital deal represents the worst of politics – the President making decisions in secret with unelected, unaccountable actors whose clout rests almost entirely on the fact that they have tons of disposable money to throw around.  The assassination of American citizens (heinous terrorists or not), without trial or even rigorous public justification, represents a fundamental violation of our civil liberties, and it expands on an already-existing precedent for dismissal of Constitutional concerns.  In both cases, the acts themselves are matched by the lack of transparency surrounding them, and the seeming lack of concern for the negative implications involved with those acts – in fact, if anything Obama is boisterously proud of the assassinations he’s ordered.  And then Obama and his associates lambaste his critics on the left for being dissatisfied.

So who am I gonna vote for instead?  Mitt Romney?  Ha!  If you’re complaining that your steak is too dry, you do not follow up by asking for a shit sandwich instead.

In California there is usually the choice of voting for a Green Party or Peace and Freedom Party candidate, but this time I’m voting in Payne County, Oklahoma.  I looked at the sample ballot provided for Payne County, and much to my annoyance there is no other option besides Obama and Romney.  I’m not even given a space to write-in someone.  So I’m just gonna have to honorably abstain from this presidential election.

NOVEMBER 5 2012 UPDATE: I should note that there are two outstanding minor party candidates running to the left of Obama this year, Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party.  Both would make terrific Presidents (head-and-shoulders above Obama) and I would be happy with either of them in office.  They seem to be very close to each other on the issues, and because I don’t have the time right now to really parse out what I would assume to be the very minute differences between the two, I’m gonna do a bit of a cop-out and offer a double endorsement.  I endorse both Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson for President of the United States.

Life Update, November 3 2012

So, what’s happened over the last two years?  I’m working on writing more briefly, so let’s give it a try.

From December 2010 to May 2011, I continued volunteering at the Clark Lab and the California Wolf Center. (See Moving Out, and Moving On.)

From May 2011 to August 2011, I worked with the Clark Lab on two field projects, one studying rattlesnake-ground squirrel interactions at Blue Oak Ranch Reserve in eastern Santa Clara County (near San José), and the other studying rattlesnake-kangaroo rat interactions at Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County in southeastern California.  Both were awesome experiences and I may write more about them sometime in the future, but for now I point you to two blogs: Snakes in the Grass on BORR’s Director’s Blog, and the always entertaining Strike, Rattle, & Roll by Bree Putman, the graduate student I worked with.

From August 2011 to April 2012, I moved back to San José and applied for jobs and graduate schools (Master of Science programs).  Bolstered by my recent field experience and my work with the CWC, I got closer to landing a job than I ever did before, but still didn’t get any offers.  I was more successful on the grad school front.  I got four offers: the Ophir Lab at Oklahoma State University, the Moffatt Lab at San Francisco State University (co-advised with Jan Randall), the Rowe Lab at Sam Houston State University, and the Mitchell Lab at Indiana State University.  All of these offers except the Mitchell Lab one were for M.S. programs.  Though all of these people would’ve been great advisers, I ended up choosing the Ophir Lab for several reasons.  First, I’ll admit it – the OSU offer provided the best funding level.  Second, I met with Professor Alex Ophir and found that we shared a passion for studying animal behavior, and I felt that he would provide the dedicated mentoring I would need.  Third, though I didn’t have much background with the neurophysiological aspects of animal behavior the Ophir Lab specialized in (something that made me very hesitant to join the lab at first), I thought it would be very good for me to be more immersed in that side of biology that I was less strong in, to make myself more well-rounded.

From April 2012 to July 2012, I moved to a house owned by my parents in Fairview (near Hayward) and managed properties owned by them and some of their associates for a living.

In late July 2012, I moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma (that journey could make for a whole blog entry in itself!) to begin my graduate education at Oklahoma State University, and I’ve been here ever since.

Since the Fall 2012 semester started in August, I’ve been super busy balancing research (which up to now has been training, project development, and grant application writing), coursework, and the most time-consuming responsibility of all, teaching (as a teaching assistant) a monster of an introductory biology laboratory course called BIOL 1114.  The first part of August, when I didn’t have to deal with classes and TAing, now seems like a dreamy, worry-free past by comparison.  So I haven’t had time for much else, and I’m reactivating this blog mainly because there are some must-post entries, primarily revolving around the upcoming election, I want to get in soon.  Until winter break comes in December (and man am I looking forward to it!) I’ll post only sporadically and when it’s timely.  I am planning on starting a weblog revolving around my research work and interests; I’ll have a link up for that when it’s set up.

liberalmaverick’s Xanga Table of Contents V

 

Wow, I have not updated this blog in almost two years. Needless to say, a lot has happened since the last post on December 22 2010, and I’ll cover it briefly in the next post.  Here’s the Table of Contents covering January 22 2010 to December 22 2010.

For entries dating from December 24 2009 and earlier, see liberalmaverick’s Xanga Table of Contents IV, from January 21 2010.

 

 

2010 Massachusetts Senate Special Election, General Election: January 22 2010

 My Thoughts on Health Care, Part V: January 25 2010

 My Thoughts on Health Care, Part VI: January 27 2010

 2010 Illinois Senate Election, Democratic Primary: February 2 2010

 I’m Back!: March 20 2010

 My Thoughts on Health Care, Part VII: March 23 2010

 My Thoughts on Health Care, Part VIII: April 26 2010

 Medicare for All Whip Count, April 27 2010: April 27 2010

 2010 Ohio Senate Election, Democratic Primary: May 4 2010

 2010 Pennsylvania Senate and Gubernatorial Elections, Democratic Primary: May 182010

 2010 California’s 36th Congressional District House Election, Democratic Primary: June 5 2010

 2010 California’s 50th Congressional District House Election, Democratic Primary: June 6 2010

 2010 Arkansas Senate Election, Democratic Primary: June 7 2010

 June 8 2010 Primary Elections: June 8 2010

 2010 California Gubernatorial Election, Democratic Primary: June 9 2010

 2010 California Senate Election, Democratic Primary: June 10 2010

 DEWmocracy: June 14 2010

 July 2 2010 Update: July 3 2010

 2010 Colorado Senate Election, Democratic Primary: August 9 2010

 Democracy for America Heroes & Villains: September 8 2010

 Protect Social Security!: September 9 2010

 Am I Completely Missing Something About the Politics of the Bush Tax Cuts?: September 28 2010

 President Obama and the Professional Left: October 1 2010

 Moving Out, and Moving On: October 6 2010

 Jerry Brown Is a Buffoonish Clown: October 9 2010

 2010 Wisconsin Senate Election, General Election: October 13 2010

 Are (Some) Democrats Just Brainless Tools?: October 23 2010

 2010 Pennsylvania Senate Election, General Election: October 26 2010

 2010 North Carolina Senate Election, General Election: October 27 2010

 2010 Alaska Senate Election, General Election: October 28 2010

 2010 Illinois Senate Election, General Election: October 29 2010

 2010 West Virginia Special Senate Election, General Election: October 30 2010

 2010 United States House of Representatives Elections, General Elections: October 31 2010

 2010 California Gubernatorial Election, General Election: November 1 2010

 November 2 2010 General Election: November 2 2010

 November 2 2010 General Election, Proposition 19: November 6 2010

 2010 California Senate Election, General Election: November 7 2010

 2010 House Minority (Democratic) Whip Election: November 16 2010

 The Asshole-in-Chief: December 11 2010

 The Obama-GOP Bush Tax Cut Deal: December 12 2010

 Bill Clinton Visit to White House: Is Obama Borrowing His ‘Triangulation’ Strategy?: December 13 2010

 WH 2012: The professional left better learn to live with disappointment: December 14 2010

 Blowback on the Individual Mandate: December 15 2010

Blaming Ralph Nader: December 21 2010

Movies Can Be As Frustrating As Politics: December 22 2010