I’ve noticed more and more that people who are becoming involved in this election process culminating this day, November 4th of 2008, are of the mind that our presidential candidate really drives where everything goes in this country. He/she bears the reigns of this superpower we call our United States of America.

I feel that people fail to notice that our government was multi-faceted in its conception for a reason. We have an executive branch to lead the military forces and oversee government organizations and committees as needed. We have a legislative branch to contrive and enact bills and laws to the needs and desires of this nation as a whole. Lastly, we have a judicial branch to serve to uphold or scrutinize the legislation produced by the legislative branch and approved by the executive branch. Each branch was given powers so that no one bore exclusive or indomitable power over the others, the traditional “checks and balances” we learned so long ago.

I bring this up because people appear to feel so strongly about some issue(s) that they are “forced” to vote for one presidential candidate, although that candidate may personally disagree with said person’s other less important values. I wholeheartedly disagree that this should be the thought and mentality about all this!

We need an executive leader to steer this country in the right direction, yes. At the same time, we need a strong voice in the representative branch of legislation in order to enact the laws and policies we want to see in place, despite what the executive branch may want. Congress does bear the ability to overturn a Presidential veto if he/she does not approve of the legislation. However, this will never happen if people don’t take the time to speak up to their Congressional representatives.

Make your voices known. Don’t compromise on most of your values for the greater good of a single value. The means by which the public can involve themselves in the greater good of this nation is multiple-fold. Don’t settle on one candidate simply because he/she bears a personal stigma such as race, age or religion. Don’t vote solely based on a pro-life/pro-abortion or to who gives you the bigger tax cut. If you’re taking the easy way out, thinking the President will be the end-all be-all of the direction of this government, then perhaps you should reconsider why you are voting.

If you’re not willing to explore all avenues for shaping this nation by your involvement, then what are you really accomplishing by participating in one active branch and not the others? Please, do not make this a half-assed endeavor (to put it bluntly).

Vote responsibly after deliberation on all the issues that matter to you. Make your opinion known to your representation in the legislative bodies so they know just how you wish to see this nation develop. Be aware of legislation that is being passed, especially if it directly influences those issues that matter most to you, and question it if needed!

I hope many of you that see this are voting today. I hope that among those that are, many are willing to flex their muscles of civic duty and participate to as much of an extent as they are able.

I really cannot wait until election week is over with. The asinine things that are happening all because of this election (or more accurately drawn out) have me just dreading this last week or two.

Is this a sign of things to come in future elections? If so, I’m not sure how long or to what degree of these shenanigans I will be able to withstand!

Bogus Robocall Tells Floridians They Can Vote By Phone:

“Another unknown group is distributing flyers (see the flyer after the jump) with official-looking letterhead around the area of Hampton Roads, Virgina that erroneously inform recipients that because of the crowds at the polls, the Virginia State Board of Elections is scheduling Republicans to vote on November 4th, and Democrats on the 5th.

(Via Wired.)

That shit don’t get much better than that…

Passing along some important information. Make your voice heard if you don’t approve of this folks! Especially after McCain’s disappointments Wednesday at CBS. I don’t think he’s in much of a hurry to go anywhere that important.

Image copied from DemandTheDebate2008 website to prevent secondary server burden

And so on that note, many people including myself are upset to see that none of the independent party candidates are going to be present at these debates. Looking into this a little bit, I saw what the requirements were for participation in these debates (my own bolding below):

Pursuant to the criteria, which were publicly announced on November 19, 2007, those candidates qualify for debate participation who (1) are constitutionally eligible to hold the office of President of the United States; (2) have achieved ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority in the general election; and (3) have demonstrated a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate, as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recent publicly-reported results.

The Board of Directors of the CPD convened today to apply the criteria with the assistance of the Editor-In-Chief of the Gallup Polling Organization, Dr. Frank Newport. Of the declared candidates, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain were found to have satisfied all three criteria Accordingly, Senator Obama and his running mate, Senator Joe Biden, and Senator John McCain and his running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, qualify to participate in the September 26 presidential debate and the Oct. 2 vice-presidential debate, respectively. No other candidates satisfied the criteria for inclusion in the September 26 and Oct. 2 debates.

Fifteen percent of the national electorate seems like a rather high number considering the partisan spreads in the elections. I personally feel this number should be lower (say perhaps 7-10% range) so that way these debates can be broached with more thinking outside of partisan alignments. Granted, that’s the way the debates should already be, but I feel that with the way this election campaigning has gone so far, the questions will be answered in order to polarize their respective parties as best they can (at least for the Republicans at a minimum) and not really be a genuine reflection upon the candidate’s true thoughts and feelings on the issue.

Next election, I’m going to try to make a mental note to see if there is any way the public can influence these requirements set forth by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Dakota Voice: Palin Caved on Vouchers: “As with any politician (or human being, for that matter), there will always be one or more issues where we may disagree.

As much as I like Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, I believe she caved on the issue of school vouchers.”

(Via The Dakota Voice.)

The basic lowdown of this article elaborates how Palin formally opposed the voucher system that McCain (and much of the Republican Party) support for the education system. After a discussion with the wife over dinner about some issues being maintained by the candidates, I was really hoping that she was still in disapproval of the voucher system so that the McCain campaign would have to rethink this issue.

It would appear that is no longer so. I’m no longer pleased with their stance on education reform if it potentially involves further undermining already struggling school systems and lending favor to private institutions. Oye vay…

Watching the Olympics this year has been more enjoyable than in years past (likely because I’m watching them in HD now, and I hardly watched them before), but also has been more frustrating now that I’m paying more attention to it. My complaints are not unlike many others out there in the blogosphere and Internet at large. Watching the women’s gymnastics are really where most of my gripes arose.

My largest complaint in watching the women’s gymnastics was the scoring discrepancies that seemed to occur. Granted, I’m not a professional judge by any means, but there were a fair share of cases where the scores did not match at all with other comparable performances. I heard it was more prevalent in the women’s than the men’s gymnastics, but that wasn’t my worst gripe about it all. It contributed to it, however. What really irked me was the means by which they’ve used to break ties in gymnastics.

The first tiebreaker I’m okay with. It seems a little arbitrary to just accept the deductions score for this, but that’s at least a judge of performance. The second tiebreaker kills me because it really favors gymnasts with split scoring. I’d be more inclined to just award a joint-medal as was done in the past. I wonder if the statistical ramifications of the scoring system have been considered before settling on these “standards.” I really want to rant more, but it’s no more than other people have already griped about.

My other gripe is the dilemma involving the Chinese gymnasts Kexin and Yuyuan. As I understand it, China has provided and demonstrated that their passports authenticate their ages. However, pre-existing information that was located on the Internet regarding local and regional competitions seemed to indicate the both of them are not even fifteen years of age. To make matters worse, it appears this information is disappearing even faster than it was discovered. Add on the fact that even a few sources were modified instead of being deleted, and it really starts to sound like a massive cover-up operation, especially when the NY Times is reporting on the same information.

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) official response to all of this has been that China provided the relevant documentation that establishes the girls’ ages. The insinuation has been growing that China could have forged these documents in order to allow them to compete. The hard part now is whether or not someone is willing to call China on it’s bluff, if they really have forged documents to their own personal gain. On top of that, it’s dubious just to what extent the IOC will go to validate this information. It shocks me that they are so avid in regards to drug testing and enforcing it, yet this debacle has hardly earned a second glance by the committee.

I really don’t want to blame China for all of this, but just by association they’re getting a bad rap in my personal opinion. How these pieces of drama continue to play out will ultimately determine how many a person will like view China in their further developing image.