Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Liberal Democrats Sensational Surge in the 2010 British General Election: Multi-Party Politics in a Two-Party System


The following examines the Liberal Democrats (LD) role in the 2010 British general election. That year’s election is widely considered a remarkable event (Quinn, 2011, p. 403) with the surge, in the media, of the LDP. The party’s surge was triggered by unique events such as the country’s first-ever televised leadership debate, where LD leader Nick Clegg stood among the two other leaders of the UK’s main parties. Clegg made a good impression on voters, along with a sensational splash in the media. The leader’s approval ratings soared. The press was clamoring for or against the party and its leader. Thus the phenomenon of “Clegg-mania” started.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas With Zoroaster!


The late Freddy Mercury, singer of one of my favorite Rock bands Queen, has a heritage from the Zoroastrianism tradition. Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, died in 1991 due to the HIV virus. I was sad about this and in listening to the news regarding his memorial, it was reported that a Zoroastrian priest officiated over the service. I looked into the Zoroastrian faith and am struck with how similar it is to Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Amygdala: An “Exciting” Part of the Brain

"If I Only Had A Brain!"

The brain is usually referred to as if it were a single organ. However, the brain is a system with multiple and distinct components performing certain tasks for the body and mind. One such component, the Amygdala (amygdaloid nucleus), plays an important part in our emotional processes. It can jolt our bodies in fear, form emotional memories, helps us feel our dreams and can shape the effects of certain stress disorders and phobias. Indeed, the amygdala is where the excitement is at in our bodies.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Important News

One of the best meta-media names for the collaboration between Pat, Dave, Paul and I is "Sirvana". That said, Sir Paul McCartney is a really down to earth person. He's rock royalty too and with roots in the working class city of Liverpool. I could relate as Nirvana has roots in the US northwestern city of Inverness, Washington. 

Dave Grohl has been a frequent guest to the Obama White House. The Foo Fighters have rocked the executive branch of the US government many times. Still, I bet it irks Dave that the president hasn't knighted him. And Pat? Forget it -- he's half black and it distresses me that race is still an issue in American politics.

As far as names for the collaboration go, there is no consensus. It's been decided to call it "The Nirvana Reunion" and "Thee Beatles" -- to convey the project is something new and not a nod to musical endeavors past. It was initially thought to alternate between each name every other week. After many days of discussions, the lighting-quick pace of today's technology was considered and our plans changed. Instead, the two names will alternate every .0000012 of a second. This way web surfers have a good chance of seeing both names as much as possible. The algorithm for this exciting new technology is being coded as we speak, and if all goes well, it should be included on the next version of every major browser at the end of 2014 when the names are officially debuted.

At that time, any media using the new names will have to have their legal people contact our legal people -- for legal reasons. Any use on social media, blogs, SMS text etc. will have to be cleared for permission. This situation is a result of the 2010 "Citizens United" ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States. We have also filed the paperwork for a new super PAC called, "Americans For A Better America" that will make contributions to political campaigns in the US and United Kingdom.

That's it for now. More news as it happens. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What A Great Week!

It was a blast playing the 12.12.12 Sandy benefit show and Saturday Night Live with Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and Paul McCartney. I really liked jamming with Pat and Dave again -- and what a great experience playing with Paul!

The collaboration came out of the Sound CIty film that was produced and directed by Dave. He asked me if I wanted to play with him, Pat and Paul? I said YES! It was a wonderful day -- Paul came in with this cigar box guitar and started playing some mean slide on it. He said it was in a "D". Hearing that, Grunge instincts took over my left hand and I dropped the E on the bass to D. Pat and Dave got into it and the tune took shape. Paul flashed a riff and we picked it up. I busted another one out and everyone picked it up. Things started coming together.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Old Hickory

Old Hickory
Andrew Jackson was a populist president serving from 1829 to 1837. His election reflected the new phenomenon of universal white male suffrage. The common man could now vote and Jackson felt he spoke for ordinary people against special privilege. This perspective manifested itself with his administration’s policies - in some ways that proved tragic.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Planes, Amps & Transfer Values

I touch on three things in this post: The Super Vacuum Tube (SVT) bass amp, Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) avionics and the Single Transferable Vote (STV). These acronyms represent sophisticated systems that hold meaning in my life. And what the heck, I needed a theme for this week!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Digital Age Nominations

Unafraid of Digital Democracy
The Illinois Green Party is currently conducting it's presidential primary. What's exciting, for me at least, is how voters can participate online if they like. I wrote a guest blog for the last week where I shared examples of groups holding nominations outside of state controlled open primaries. The IL Greens are another example of how our democracy is transforming into the digital age.

The Greens will also hold caucuses in conjunction with the online primary. I also find it compelling that IL Green rules allow folks 13 years and older to participate. This piqued my interest as the Grange, a group I'm a member of, allows full membership to 14 year olds. This is a feature of the Grange's mission to foster civic values.

Thumbs up to the Illinois Green Party for their leadership with inclusive democracy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bathers With Toy Boat

Girls With A Toy Boat 
In the late 1990’s I paid a visit to Venice, Italy and the Guggenheim Museum. It was there that I came upon Picasso’s Bathers With A Toy Boat. There was a lot of movement in the painting on both sides / shades of the beautiful blue horizon. Who and what was that strange creature peeking up from the edge of the world? The women, abstract impressions of the human body, were also fussing over a toy boat. Was that creature peeking a reflection of myself watching the action with the tiny vessel? All this amidst a clear blue sea and sky – a reflection, in my mind, of the tranquility I had experienced on the shores of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia. The work told me a story and much like a mirror, it seemed to be my own.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Digital Democracy’s Greatest Hits

The Next Big Thing?
The recent SOPA / PIPA protest was a milestone for the convergence of democracy and social networking. Let’s look at other important events along the path towards a breakthrough with American politics.

The Supply Side: Alternative Reform Approaches to Campaign Finance

Article On FairVote Blog About Election Reforms For The New Era.

by Joe WitteTyler Sadonis // Published January 26, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Citizens Unite To Engage Congress

"G is for Google"
It’s ironic that the biggest event during the two year anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling was citizens uniting with corporations to kill the SOPA / PIPA legislation in Congress. Do we really need to overturn Citizens United – a decision that lifted prohibitions on political advertising on television – when the information revolution is rapidly merging TV, computers, cell phones and other gizmos?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ads Should Reveal Individuals Funding Electioneering


The US Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2010),
Citizens United [the group] argues that the disclaimer requirements in §311* are unconstitutional as applied to its ads. It contends that the governmental interest in providing information to the electorate does not justify requiring disclaimers for any commercial advertisements, including the ones at issue here. We [the court] disagree. . . . At the very least, the disclaimers avoid confusion by making clear that the ads are not funded by a candidate or political party.**
I wrote last week about new rules in Washington State regarding disclosure with electioneering and how recent court rulings can be guides for greater transparency. Washington State laws require the sponsor of political ads appear in the media. The sponsor needs to be an actual human being and not a happy-name smokescreen hiding big money donors. This week I suggest how disclosure rules with federal races need to be modeled on Washington law.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Open Government Conference

The Washington Coalition for Open Government presents the 3rd annual

Open Government: Past, Present and Future

Saturday, March 10, 2012
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Women’s University Club
1105 Sixth Avenue, Seattle, WA

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bigmouths Funding Political Ads

By Krist Novoselic

Recent court decisions are providing a virtual template for increasing transparency in elections. If the courts say money is speech, and groups can make unlimited political contributions, these opinions support rules for election media to reveal the mouth behind the money.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Perspective: Parades and the Politics of the Street

Parades and the Politics of the Street
Festive Culture in the Early American Republic
Simon P. Newman, 1997 University of Pennsylvania Press


Freedom, democracy and equality — these are the basic ideals of the American way. They capture the imagination, yet also form the basis of our laws. These tenets dominated the struggle for American independence and endure in romantic notions of the revolutionary era. The reality of the period, however, reveals a discrepancy between principles and practice as freedom, democracy and equality were reserved for white men of means. In Parades and the Politics of the Street, Simon P. Newman’s research focuses on the 1790s and how social events and other rites of participation were an important forum of political activity for those excluded from the franchise of democracy.