Six Reasons for Shannon Phillips

My friend, Kim Siever, outlines six reasons why he’s voting for Shannon Phillips in the upcoming Provincial election on Monday.


Candidates Forum at the U of L

This is a bit old since it happened almost two weeks ago but I wanted to link to Jenn Prosser’s summary of the candidates forum at the University of Lethbridge.

She highlights my question to Jim Hillyer about the controversial fighter jets that the CPC is planning on purchasing. I think it’s funny that conservative supporters ask how the NDP can possible afford the millions of dollars it will cost for their social programs but I have yet to hear one questions the approximately $30 billion that will be slated for these jets. (It’s approximate because they haven’t told the public how much it will actually cost — some estimates predict it will be twice that price).

Check out Jenn’s great description of the night: A funny thing happened.


Polling the World of Warcraft

I suppose there are going to be selection bias issues when polling players in the World of Warcraft, but nevertheless, the results are interesting and as election day is upon us, let’s hope that the election polls match all of the other polls we’ve been hearing about.

Hit play or watch Election Duel! at Youtube.

Oh and if you’re an eligible voter in the US elections, and have not voted today, STOP READING THIS WEBSITE AND GO VOTE!


The Canadian Election 2008

I went to the Environment & Education Forum at the Lethbridge College yesterday evening for the “last chance to grill [my] federal election candidates”.

I was unimpressed with the fact that only three parties showed up to debate (how does the green party expect to be taken seriously, when their candidate doesn’t show up).

The NDP’s Mark Sandilands was clearly the top candidate, with his well considered responses and comprehensive knowledge of the issues.

Incumbent candidate Rick Casson on the other hand, did not fair so well. The other candidates, specifically Mark Sandilands, poignant questions had him stumbling time after time. I can’t believe the polls indicate that Casson is going to be re-elected, his campaign basically consisted of admitting that his party has made lots of mistakes and that, “that’s something we should do better at”. It’s like he’s not even trying because he knows that running in a conservative stronghold means it doesn’t matter what he says.

The Conservative Party is destroying our environment, wants to reduce funding to the arts, gives tax cuts to the rich, and they refuse to support the Kelowna Accord which was intended to improve the lives of aboriginal people.

And they don’t want to let the Canadian people know their plans, refusing to publish their platform until a week before the election. Local candidate Rick Casson told us last night, a week is plenty of time to talk about the plan, and besides, it’s basically like our previous plan anyway. He didn’t notice any changes worth mentioning. As I mentioned, tonight was THE LAST PUBLIC FORUM WITH THEM BEFORE THE ELECTION.

Why would the people of Lethbridge vote for such a callous uncaring party?

One more thing that bothers me is their desire to introduce copyright legislation that is harmful to everyday citizens making the copyright system here more like the one in the US—even though the US law is seriously out of touch. The new law would, among other things, bring into action a fine of up to $500 for copying legally purchased CD’s onto MP3 players, not to mention it would make it illegal to try and circumvent anti-copyright software, making it illegal to engage in the practise of Fair Dealing (Fair Use in the USA).

The conservatives want to remain in Afghanistan. In 2006 they made it a campaign promise to be out by 2009—I learned last night that they’re now planning to wait until at least 2012, even though the Senlis report on Canadian development in Afghanistan has stated that we are “making no headway. On the ground in Kandahar… CIDA’s efforts are non-existent.”

I could go on!

But I won’t. I’ll just hope that when Canada goes to the polls on Tuesday that we vote for the party most likely to beat out the conservatives.


The NDP Bike

Lethbridge artist and activist Andy Davies shows his support of local MP candidate Mark Sandilands with his modified bike.

Vote For Mark

Andy is a friend of mine and asked me to shoot a few photos for him.


Sarah Palin 1984 Miss Alaska Pageant

I came across a youtube video this morning that shows Sarah Palin (Sarah Heath) sporting a swimsuit in the 1984 Miss Alaska Pageant. The video was pulled shortly later, but in the meantime I contacted’s Andy Baio and he, having more foresight than me, made a copy and is now hosting it himself.

Art Politics

Obama / McCain Wordle

I downloaded the transcripts of all of Obama and McCain’s speeches from their respective official websites from March 25th, 2008 to the present and then put them each into Wordle.

Obama / McCain Wordle

Wordle gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

I used 51 speeches by McCain and 61 by Obama.

McCain’s site only had transcripts from March 25th to the present and I figured that was plenty of data for my purposes.


2008 Democratic Primary in 8 Minutes

“In case you haven’t been paying attention…” here is Slate’s pleasant recap of the Democratic Primary in a mere 8 and 1/2 minutes 7 minutes.

I find it hard enough paying close attention to my own country’s politics, but this recap is nice because it succinctly summarizes the highlights of the race so far.


On Voting

I recently attended a forum for local candidates in the provincial election that is taking place tomorrow. I felt a little overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge of current events in the province and also by my confusion over what should make a candidate deserving of my vote.

Provincial Candidates for Lethbridge East and West

I have decided not to be apathetic though; I’ve decided to vote for Tom Moffatt of the NDP. I haven’t jumped to this conclusion lightly. Among other reasons, I’m voting for him because the NDP is a party that DOES NOT TAKE corporate donations—EVER. It’s a party for the people, one that has proven it can be trusted.

The other thing I wanted to bring up, is voter apathy. It’s become a big problem here, as in many western countries. My friend Andy wrote an article on the subject, Voting: part of a healthy democratic diet, that has been published in this weeks issue of The Meliorist (the student run paper at the University of Lethbridge). Seriously go read the article, it’s short and it very nicely sums up why people don’t vote, and why it’s important to take part in the selection of our government.

He states that one of the biggest causes of voter apathy is the lack of proportional representation. According to Andy’s article, I can see why the current party (the Progressive Conservatives) have nothing to gain and everything to lose from proportional representation.

The differences based on the last elections results would be as follows:

  • PC – would have 39 seats instead of 61
  • Liberals – would have 24 seats instead of 17
  • NDP – would have 8 seats instead of 4
  • Wildrose Alliance – would have 7 seats instead of 1
  • Green – would have 2 seats instead of 0
  • Social Credit – would have 1 seat instead of 0

Albertans are ready for a new government and if we had a more democratic way of getting the people we want into power, more voters would vote with their hearts and we’d see an even bigger shift away from the PC party.

Here’s hoping more people will vote for the party they believe in, despite a lack of proportional government, in the hope of moving our leadership in the direction the people want.


Obama for President

This electrifying speech by Oprah Winfrey solidifies my belief that nothing could be better for the United States and possibly the entire world, than Barack Obama as President.

[LA Rally: Oprah Winfrey – YouTube]

Here are a few stats from urbanfervor:

Obama has received, on average, 51.2% of the votes in each of the states to have held primaries through Super Tuesday yesterday. Clinton has, on average, taken 42.3% per state. Obama has won 70% or more of the vote in three states, Clinton has won 70% of the vote in none.

Obama has won 60% or more in 8 states. Clinton has won 60% or more of the vote in only Arkansas, where she was once First Lady of the state and a successful corporate attorney.

Obama won 80% of the vote in one state, Idaho. Clinton has not won more than 69% in any state.

Obama has won 10 states by at least 15 percentage points over Clinton. Clinton has won only five states by such margin, including Arkansas again, New York, where she currently serves as the Junior Senator, and Florida, which was uncontested and is virtually worthless delegate-wise.

In the states Obama has won, he has won by, on average, 25.5 points. In the states Clinton has won, her average margin of victory is 15.09 points.

Obama hasn’t just won more states by big margins, he’s won the most tight battles. In elections decided by five or fewer points, Obama has won 3, Clinton only 1.

A couple months ago everyone was penciling Clinton in as the nominee. Probably time to rethink that. I think a lot more people out there are a lot more excited about Obama than are for Clinton. The more we see him and get to know him, the more we like him. As the primaries continue on, with the money he has raised and the enthusiasm he has generated, I can’t see him not winning the nomination.

I hope he’s right. I’m tired of not loving the United States—the world is watching and hoping for change.

Here’s Obama himself, answering some questions at Google headquarters.

[Barack Obama: Q and A from Google employees II – YouTube]