Beyond the Cusp

June 10, 2012

We Need a None of the Above Election Ballot

There are two peculiarities about elections in the United States that have become evident over the years. The first is that less than half of the registered voters often actually vote and approximately half of those eligible to vote actually register. This means that a candidate who receives one fourth of the votes of people eligible to register can win an election. The other is when asked why people did not register, or when registered did not vote; the number one reason is neither, or none, of the candidates were appealing enough to be worth the effort to vote for them. When you figure in the number of people who vote and admit their vote was more of a vote against the other candidate than a vote for the candidate they supported then you see the real problem with politics in the United States. That is the second main problem, the real or perceived dearth of candidates who are worthy or can cause sufficient excitement as to be worth people’s time and efforts to support. For this reason, we would like to suggest a few changes which can be made by each state and with sufficient number of states adopting the None of the Above Over Fifty Percent Law, we could possible make this the method for all elections for any office in the land. Here is how this would work.

The first thing necessary is to make all elections for office require a candidate to receive over fifty percent of the votes cast. Secondly, the ballot would have one extra choice beyond the candidates listed for office which would be “None of the Above” and votes cast for such would count towards the total when figuring the required fifty percent. And, if we could add one last item it would be to simplify ballot access to be a candidate thus making it far easier to qualify for ballot access as the current laws are prohibitive both financially and set the bar almost beyond any possibility to reach. I can attest to this having actually qualified for an election and ended up spending more funds simply to qualify for the ballot than I had to use for the actual campaign. Granted, such a system for elections might also require holding the first ballot earlier in the year, probably the Tuesday after Labor Day in September. Should a ballot have more than two candidates running for office, then the top three vote recipients would then run in another election held one month later at the first Tuesday in October. If none of the three are able to surpass the fifty percent marker, then the top two get to run in another election two weeks later. Once the ballot reaches two candidates and should neither make the fifty percent mark then their parties would select two new candidates and another vote would be held one month later and from then on it would be, as it is sometimes quoted, rinse repeat as necessary. Hopefully we would eventually find a candidate that would receive sufficient support, otherwise that seat would go unfilled until a candidate was found that the people would support.

To make this workable, we would also need to make one adjustment for voting on legislation in any of our legislative bodies where in order for a piece of legislation to win passage it would require over fifty percent of the possible number of representatives possible if all seats were filled. Let’s take the United States House of Representatives as an example. The full House of Representatives has four hundred and thirty five seats. If after an election cycle only two hundred and fifty eight seats were filled while the rest were still going through additional votes in order to have a candidate be elected by a true majority, this situation would not affect the necessary votes required to pass a piece of legislation. Simply put, in order to pass legislation, the bill would require two hundred and eighteen votes in favor no matter the number of Representatives present at any session. Thus, if as in our example there were only two hundred and fifty eight Representatives elected at the start of a Congressional session, then any piece of legislation would still require the two hundred and eighteen votes in favor to pass thus allowing no more than forty votes against or not cast to pass. If thirty seven voted against and four Representatives were absent or abstained, then there would be no possibility for that legislation to pass despite having overwhelming support of those members of the House of Representatives who were currently seated. Such a change would protect those districts who had not found a candidate worthy of over fifty percent voter support. And anyways, would hamstringing government such that it became near impossible for them to pass even more legislation requiring even more regulations and other restrictions on our freedoms really be that bad of a situation?

I would even go as far as favoring a constitutional Amendment that except in cases of extreme emergency where the President had called the congress back for the necessity of the security and function of the country, the Congress would meet from January until the Ides of March (March 15th) every election year. This would restrict them to meeting for two whole months every other year. Under such restrictions, we could even make the positions honorary and only pay our Senators and Representatives a minimal wage set and paid by each state as they see deserved. With such a change we would open the position up to those who truly desire serving the people and not career politicians whose only real desire is to accrue great wealth at the people’s expense. These restrictions would very likely produce Senators and Representatives actually worthy of receiving that true majority vote and make the “None of the Above” vote on the ballot that much less appealing. Currently, I might be voting “None of the Above” on most of my ballots and I sure would like to be voting for a worthy and true public servant instead of these self-serving vermin who seek office currently.

Beyond the Cusp

June 20, 2011

Modern Life and Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning may not appear to be a news subject, but have faith; I can make it into one. Over the past Memorial Day weekend we had our air conditioner have its annual compressor and main fan capacitor blowout some time Friday evening. Out in the middle of barely anywhere, my place of residence and hideaway, getting it looked at had to wait until the next Wednesday, they don’t come out this way on a whim. I fully realized the extent of the high temperatures as I noticed the cats had ceased chasing around the house and had basically stopped in place and moved only when absolutely necessary. I got to experience four and a half days in Dante’s Inferno and am only writing about the ordeal now as the heat rash has cleared and some semblance of sanity on the subject may be possible. Now, to make this into a news story.

My first observation was that life without air conditioning must have been awful back in the primitive Blistering Heat Days of Semi-Pre-History before airconditioning became one word. As you can tell from the first paragraph, I was alive in those borderline prehistoric times before universal airconditioning became as close as it ever should to a right in the United States and the civilized world. Believe me when I tell you there had not existed airconditioned places for those without it to seek shelter from the summer heat way back in the Blistering Heat Days of Semi-Pre-History like exist today. People actually had fans with wet towels in the rooms which were declared “livable” when the temperature climbed to abnormal heights, above 85 with over 75% humidity was the usual level depending on where one lived.

Since the onset of the age of airconditioning, the life expectancy has been raised by close to twenty years. Scientists and other considered experts attribute this to modern nutrition, health advances and generally better lives. I now contend it is solely due to universal airconditioning. Obviously, back in the Blistering Heat Days of Semi-Pre-History many people would expire in the summer heat before reaching their sixtieth birthday simply for lack of available cool shelter. There really should be a reassessment on the critical role airconditioning has played in the extension of life past seventy in our times. Airconditioning may come to be recognized as the greatest medical advancement for the aged given its proper due and study. I would gladly volunteer to be part of the control group on any study where the control group is the ones with guaranteed functioning airconditioners.

The one problem with bringing attention to the wonder of airconditioning would be the immediate reaction by that section of the environmental movement who desire making everybody else live as if they were still living in the Blistering Heat Days of Semi-Pre-History. There will be claims that airconditioning is a major cause of global climate change. They will claim that whether you selfishly close all your doors and windows thus keeping all the airconditioned coolness inside causing global warming, or contrarily, you leave a window open with the airconditioning running bringing on the next ice age, you are contributing to global climate change.

Then there will be those who will attempt to determine exactly how much electricity is used to run all these airconditioning units and call for saving the demands made on the power industry thus causing the increased use of fossil fuels and carbon output. Needless to point out, these studies will not take into account how much electricity was used to run ten, twenty, or how ever many fans with wet towels over them to make life almost bearable back in the Blistering Heat Days of Semi-Pre-History. Hopefully, somebody who, like me, actually finds these modern life expectancy boosting inventions to be a good thing will do a study that massages the numbers to make the use of fans over airconditioning more wasteful and save humanity from returning to living in the conditions prevalent in the Blistering Heat Days of Semi-Pre-History.

All things considered, here is to hoping I, and everybody else, never have to go through an extended weekend living in the Blistering Heat Days of Semi-Pre-History. Such suffering is completely inhumane and causes strange red itchy bumps that science had assured me had been eliminated from modern life. I believe the term used way back was ‘heat rash’. Whatever, it is a malady that should not be inflicted on anybody living where such can be avoided. I have learned my lesson and have now gotten a maintenance plan that comes with the top secret number that will provide a service person, at extreme cost, on any day of the year, even during three day weekends. I consider myself now privileged and was made to swear to never divulge the secret number unless tortured mercilessly. I plan to take that number to my grave, which will also have airconditioning, I hope.

Beyond the Cusp

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