00.07.16 - Mark
Somedays I'm amazed at the stupid things the local paper does on it's blog. Some threads they let dangle on into full blown flame wars with border line libel material (which they then inserted into the print edition), some times they'll kill a thread because it got too popular (and leave out comments they disagree with), other days they ask random questions and hope for an intelligent response like the latest post "Leap Year Babies!".
I'm fond of weird dates and offbeat holidays, but they're asking what leap year babies do for their birthdays (Feb. 29) It's a neat question, it even caused me to look up when leap year babies are considered a year older (most celebrate on February 28th, some pick their own date to celebrate, but the law says their legal birthday on non-leap years is March 1st)
However you really have to question why you would be asking a small audience (we'll be generous and say 1000 people read the blog) for a statistical minority (all things being equal - 1 in 1461 people) to step forward and describe their birthday plans two months in advance.
00.37.41 - Mark
Normally I only rant about national politics, but in the upcoming elections I'm really focused on the local races. My experience has always been that local elections suck. Low turn outs and few races, but for some reason what would normally be a pretty quiet low turn out local election has become a furious wave of ignorance and lies (and a fair bit of namecalling). If you're willing to stretch the truth it's almost as entertaining as a Californian gubernatorial race. We might not have a stripper, but one of the candidates is a belly dancer.
Like California's races, majority of the six candidates for the three city council seats are so ignorant of what their powers would be that it's downright scary, and the few that seem to have a clue about what is involved in city government are proposing ideas that are either totally dangerous dangerous, or your average political promise of change to gain a few votes.
One candidate has proposed closing down a water plant when our surplus of water (even in the current drought conditions) is one of the city's strongest economic selling points, while another (the only incumbent) is proposing an economic development czar, someone who would likely just wine and dine potential employers, when we already have a competent economic development partnership.
At the candidates forum a few weeks ago, many of these potential leaders were under prepared, from not knowing what roles council members play in relation to other boards and commissions receiving city funding. All but one (who lost in a primary election a week later) didn't have any idea about a referendum that would appear on the same ballot they would (those comments boiled down to "I support schools" and "I don't support taxes").
The only thing more frighting than the politicians are the supporters. While it's a little hard to get good information out of either local newspaper, the blog that the Surry Messenger is running makes for some amusing comments, from allegations that candidate A is incapable of working, to regular comments that voting for candidate C is a vote for business as usual. They're demanding the city being in jobs, water prices get reduced, cancer be cured and world piece established. The citizens, just like the candidates have no idea where limit of the government lies. City councilmen don't author the budget, they don't bring in businesses, they don't have much say in big projects. They make formal proclamations and approve rezoning requests (after being advised by the city manager). Their big decisions are about what bagels to order or who makes the first closing remark at the biweekly meeting.
If these supporters put a fraction of the effort they're exerting to elect so-so candidates towards effecting actual change it wouldn't matter if a dog was elected. I'm fairly convinced that Government doesn't solve problems, people solve problems.