November 30, 2010

A little of this, a little of that

Returning well-rested from an extended holiday break, I thought I'd take a moment to catch up on the news of the past few days. Let’s begin.
  • The race for NY’s 25th House district is over, and Ann Marie Buerkle has defeated Dan Maffei. Buerkle had the support of Sarah margin of victory. Even she knows that it wasn’t so much that folks in the district were thrilled with her, but more that folks were disappointed with her predecessor. So, her plan?  Well, of course, she’s going to hold firm on her beliefs including de-funding or repealing health care reform, making the Bush tax cuts permanent, reducing regulation and taxes on business, doubting climate change, and getting rid of the Department of Education. I’ll have a few questions for Ann Marie later in the week.
  • The long-awaited Pentagon report on gays in the military has come out, pardon the pun, and I think as most folks realize, times have changed since Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was put into place back in the 1990’s. The report concludes that gays can serve openly without jeopardizing our safety, or the military as an institution. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others are in favor of a phased in approach after the law is repealed, vs. a court-ordered change which would likely be more immediate. We’ll see what the Senate does, once the anti-repeal holdouts (including John McCain) finish reading the study; the House has already approved repeal. The White House, in a weird round of political Twister, is both supporting repeal and fighting a court order to not enforce DADT. 
  • President Obama has proposed a wage freeze for civilian federal workers, but members of Congress and congressional workers would be excluded.  I know it seems like a token effort, and it will only save a few billion dollars over the next several years, but it’s something that many of us in the private sector have already been through and after all, these folks are paid with our tax dollars. The trick is, this can’t be the only effort the government undertakes, and it will be a test of our fortitude when we move from freezing wages to cutting services. Hold on to your hats, and be sure you have your scorecard handy to see which of your elected representatives are really serious about getting our financial house in order at any level of government.
  • Back here in NY, Governor Elect Andrew Cuomo’s video on the challenges we are facing together doesn’t seem to be getting a ton of attention. The video came out about a week after Cuomo slaughtered baseball-bat wielding Carl Paladino by something like a gazillion votes, but there hasn’t been much mention of it. I’ve signed on to get emails from Cuomo, but he’s been pretty quiet since the election. Hopefully things will start picking up as our Accidental Governor’s term winds down.
  • Oh, and that other thing, across the pond. Prince Wills gave Kate Middleton his mum’s engagement ring, the stunning sapphire and diamond number that Charles used to bribe Diana into producing an heir (and a spare). Seems like at least this time the Prince knows his future princess, and he can actually talk about being in love way less awkwardly than his father did. The nuptials are scheduled for April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey. Sadly, I have an appointment that day and will have to decline. Hopefully they won’t miss me too much.
What's been going on in your world?

November 23, 2010

Lovin', Touchin’, Squeezin’*

I have no plans to protest the new TSA “you make me weep, and wanna die” pat-downs or their “you’re tearing me apart” then reassembling me scanners tomorrow. (There’s some detailed coverage of the protest here). The only flying I plan on doing is around the kitchen getting things ready for Thursday, or around my keyboard on a pre-Black Friday shopping mission.  But I don’t believe the protests are a good thing, for a couple of reasons. 

The first reason is that it'll only make it harder for other people (many of whom don’t share the same view as the protesters) to get home to their families, which I think is a pretty rotten way to make a point.  It’s the American way, I suppose — some of our best points have been made on the backs of others.  But when we should be focused on counting our blessings and being generous to those less fortunate than us, making it harder for folks to do that seems pretty petty. 

I also think the protests are wrong.  Initially, when I first saw the scanner image of that mysterious naked man, I was appalled – no way was I going to put up with that!  And I’m not saying I’d like it if I were selected for the pat-down, and I feel sorry for the person who’s in the room when my back-scatter photo comes across the screen.  But the bottom line (pun intended) is I’ve come to accept that we have to do something, and this is what we have, so this is what we have to deal with.

Now, don’t get me wrong: most the actions we’ve taken regarding airplane security since 9/11 have been reactive, not proactive. 
  • Some jerk sneaks something explosive on a plane in a couple of plastic bottles; we limit the size and content of the bottles people can bring on board. 
  • Some idiot tries to set his shoes on fire; we take off our shoes at security.  
  • Some moron sticks a bomb in his Fruit of the Looms; we have our naked, wrinkled, inglorious images displayed somewhere in a dark room, hopefully filled with barf bags.
  • The next ‘bomb scare’ will bring about the next ‘security intrusion’ as sure as Thursday is Thanksgiving.
And these steps do feel like intrusions to the American flying public, that’s true.  But isn’t the biggest intrusion of all the slime balls trying to take down the planes?  I expected our government to intrude to protect me from them and frankly if the government did nothing, I’d be up in arms, as would just about everyone else.  

Should the TSA discipline folks who are a little aggressive (or suggestive) in their approach? Yes.  Should they make sure employees are fully trained on all of the options available to passengers? Of course. Should passengers fully understand their rights regarding the new procedures?  Yep. And, importantly, should smart folks be constantly thinking of ways to get ahead of the nuts out there, so we’re not always playing catch-up?  Absolutely! But should senior citizens, nuns, children and others be given an automatic pass? Absolutely not.

If for some reason you prefer not to participate in the new procedures, "it won't be long, yes, till you're alone"...and rather than messing up other people's plans, you could always drive. 
Na na na na na na, Na na na na na, Na na na na na na, Na na na na na
*Journey’s Loving Touching Squeezing lyrics are the property of the authors.

November 21, 2010

Poll Watch 11/21/10: News, Voting Trends, and Body Scans

According to a recent Pew poll, Americans have some general knowledge of what’s going on in the news, but most don’t know very many specifics. For example, only 16% of know that more than half of the TARP loans have been repaid; and remarkably, only 53% of those surveyed know that unemployment is sitting at 10%.  Old folks are way smarter than young folks, getting the correct answer more often 10 of 12 times.  Yours truly is smarter than 98% of the rest of the population, getting the correct answer on 11 of 12 questions.

Asian voters are at least willing to consider Republican ideas, at least in California according to an LA Times/USC pollOn how to cut the massive deficit in the Golden State, more Asians (51%) than whites (46%) or Latinos (35%) said decreased spending was the answer, as opposed to tax hikes. Among the three groups, more Asians (38%) feel that same-sex partners aren’t entitled to any legal recognition, compared to 19% for Latinos and 12% for whites.

Last but not least, what about those full body scanners? According to a CBS News poll conducted this month, 81% of Americans say they’re OK.  The poll didn’t ask about the new enhanced pat-down procedures which are used by the TSA, either as an alternative to the scanners, or at airports where the scanners are not yet available; I suspect there's be a lower approval rate on that, but maybe not.  In the same poll, Republicans (46%) and Independents (40%) believe that racial or ethnic profiling at airports is justified, while (not surprisingly) Democrats (26%) tend to disagree.

What's your opinion?

November 18, 2010

Syracuse's bagel tradition coming to an end

I had an opportunity to chat briefly with the owner of a downtown Syracuse deli a couple of weeks ago. His place, The Bagel Shop, is one of a kind and it’s been around forever. When I worked downtown, I’d stop in at least a couple days a week; now it’s more like once a month or so, when I’m working in our satellite office a block away from the deli. 

In the past couple of years, there have been frequent rumors about his either having already closed (not true) or being on the verge of closing…and, sadly, this appears to be true.  Reliable sources are indicating that The Bagel Shop is closing for good this Friday.  

In real estate, everyone knows that it’s all about location, location, location. In this case, my favorite lunch spot is in the wrong, wrong, wrong location, and it’s become impossible for it to stay open. Why? The problem is, they’re on Warren Street, which unfortunately is not in Armory Square, where all of our downtown development attention has been focused for many years. 

Sadly, my company leaving downtown and moving to the 'burbs was a major contributor to the emptiness of Warren Street, but it was not the only one, or even the first one. Before we made our move two years ago, other companies in the center city had already had staff reductions or had left downtown entirely. When we moved over 800 people out – still a decision I disagree with, even though our new leased space is very nice - we left a huge hole in the middle of the block and in the middle of the bottom lines of downtown business, many of whom struggled to survive after we left. Some didn’t even stick around long enough to struggle.  

The Bagel Shop (and its previous incarnation Lox, Stox and Bagels) was a mandatory stop for travelers. I remember years and years ago when I worked at the Syracuse Chamber, a consultant from Colorado Springs had to stop on her way to the airport and take home a dozen bialys every time she came to town, caring not a bit how others on the plane would react to the strong onion aroma. Originally from Long Island, I remember, she had not been able to find anything close to a real NYC bagel shop in Colorado, and was thrilled we had one right here in Syracuse. More recently, we’d see folks from our regional Blue offices doing the same, taking a dozen home. 

When The Bagel Shop closes, there will be only a handful of businesses left on Warren Street, not one of which will be able to give me my favorite, everything-toasted-jalapeno-cream-cheese-on-the-side. 

It just won't be the same anymore.

November 16, 2010

No Rocket Science Required

Too often, when we’re faced with challenges, it seems we get stuck on the fact that if there was an easy solution, we’d have found it already…but since we’re still facing the challenge, clearly the only solutions must be up there in the realm of rocket science, right? 

Take Syracuse’s current situation, our string of violent acts going back to Halloween. Once we get past the shock – five blocks from my house four people were shot the other day! – and we start breaking it down, it doesn’t take too long to get to bad or non-existent parenting, poverty, abuse and neglect, the lure of gangs and drugs, bad schools, and so on as causes for the violence. These are the kind of things that didn’t start yesterday, and won’t end tomorrow; the issues are the boulder, and we are Sisyphus.  

I had a brainstorm today. It may be silly, and it may not work, but it might be worth a shot. And it's not rocket science.

I’m wondering what would happen if famous or semi-famous folks from all walks of life – elected officials like Stephanie Miner, Bill Magnarelli and John DeFrancisco; educators like Debbie Sydow and Nancy Cantor and Dan Lowengaard; businessmen like John Stage from the Dinosaur BBQ; media personalities like Matt Mulcahey, Sean Kirst, John Walsh, and Jim Reith; preachers from the local churches, and just plain folks created a whole mess of ‘stop the violence’ public service announcements? 

They could air on all of the local TV and radio stations; we could have billboards and bus cards and newspaper ads, donated or at reduced cost, and try to get the message out that violence doesn’t solve anything?

Call me crazy or idealistic or simple minded, but this wouldn’t cost millions of dollars, or take thousands of days, or require hundreds of studies, or need dozens of committees… it would take just one influential person to step up, call on their friends or call in some markers, and then it would start. School kids could get involved, and college students; parents and grandparents, and on and on.

Tonight, I reached out to one of those influential people, and asked for help for our city. I’ll keep you posted on what I hear.  Do you have any crazy ideas we can try?

November 15, 2010

Syracuse Police Chief Responds to Violence, Statistics

Coming on the heels of the recent rash of shootings, Saturday’s well-attended community meeting on how to stop the violence, shots being fired at a demonstration on Sunday lamenting the recent violence – seriously, I’m not making this up – today’s newspaper brought us a report commissioned by the Syracuse Common Council about the city’s police department and possible issues of racial profiling. 

The study shows that more blacks and Latinos are stopped, frisked, and released than are whites, so the 'obvious' conclusion is that the cops are biased against people of color. Or on the other hand, as Chief Fowler made clear, he deploys his officers where the crime is – and that tends to be in neighborhoods with higher populations of people of color. Frankly, isn't that where we want the police to be focusing their efforts? As the Chief says, his department does ‘criminal profiling’, which is not the same as racial profiling. 

Naturally, there are different opinions about the report. The local NAACP chapter offered this, according to the Post Standard: '“Actually, the study didn’t tell me anything we really didn’t know,” said Preston Fagan, president of the Syracuse/ Onondaga Branch of the NAACP. What it tells him, he said, is that more blacks are being stopped, searched and then let go because police can find no reason to hold them. The police have a job to do and most Syracuse police do theirs well, Fagan said. But it’s easy for someone who was not breaking the law to conclude that police stopped and searched them because they were black, young or fit some other profile, he said. That spawns resentment that ripples through the community, he said.'  He did suggest that the study be conducted more frequently, to 'track changes in behavior'.  

What an impact it could have had, if instead he had said “The report is interesting, and the SPD needs to be aware there's a perception in some parts of the city that there's racial profiling going on, but what’s much more important to our organization and our community is the fact that so many crime victims and the suspects involved are black. This is a huge concern and we will do whatever we can to support the police in their efforts to stop this senseless violence, even if that means putting up with additional attention from police in our neighborhoods."  

That's the kind of statement all community organizations should be making, but I won't be holding my breath waiting for them.

Gun violence shatters Syracuse's nerves

Yesterday, sitting in the gazebo in My Sweet Baboo’s garden (one of the most peaceful places I know), it was hard to comprehend that only about five blocks northwest of us, four people were shot last week while playing cards. And a couple dozen blocks northeast of us, two more teenagers were shot last Thursday. Coming on the heels of two shootings on Halloween, these incidents have really challenged the Syracuse community.

Many of these crimes involve people who know each other – they’re retaliation for some real or imagined slight – and most of them involve shooters and victims no older than their early twenties – in some cases, considerably younger than that.

Citizens, including local notable Mary Nelson, are reaching out to help; Nelson’s nephew was one of the victims on Halloween. One of the messages coming out of Saturday’s community meeting was very simple, very clear, and right on the money:  If you see something wrong, report it. Kids loitering, drug sales, people hanging around the neighborhood who don’t belong, comings and goings from the wrong places at the wrong times – call the police.

We have to get to a point where people are more concerned with what’s going wrong than they are fearful of calling for help. For one reason or another, whether based on a real or imagined bad act by police, some folks simply won't call the cops. (Witness the reaction to possibly putting cameras up in certain crime-prone neighborhoods.) The intent is not to spy on people, and it's not to identify illegal immigrants, it's to help deter crime.  In fact, it was because of a camera that someone was arrested in a recent murder.

Sadly, but not unexpectedly, the folks who complain about the police are the ones who tend to live in higher crime areas, so it’s a ‘cutting off the nose to spite your face’ kind of situation. At the same time, police need to respond when things are reported, and create a pattern of responsiveness which will encourage people to call.

Frank Fowler, the police chief, needs to be front and center with his men and with the community, making it clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that the police are here to protect all of our citizens – rich and poor, white and black, Asian and Hispanic, young and old - equally and without delay.  It needs to be equally clear, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the police will act within the law while they enforce the law.

Where possible, we need more police on the streets, out of their cars, walking the blocks, keeping an eye on things. I may be old-school, but it makes me feel better when I see cops walking around the neighborhood. (Seeing them drive by too fast for me to flag them down if I needed them is somehow not as comforting). We know where the crime is happening, and that’s where we need the police to be.

What else can we do? There are those that would say we need more programs for at-risk kids, so they don’t become shooters or victims, but of course programs need funding, and there’s no extra money to go around. We need fewer abandoned houses (we have more than 1000, I think) and more people living in the city, so the tax base is stronger, but it’s a tough sell lately to convince folks to move into the ‘hood. We also need fewer people pushing their own agendas which only distract us from the real issues.

We need parents to parent, we need fathers not sperm donors, we need adults having babies not babies having babies, we need the churches to kick it up a notch with their congregations and get them more active… it’s almost an endless list, and that makes it hard to figure out where to start. Some of this stuff is sytemic; it didn't fall apart in a day, and it won't be corrected in a day.

But hopefully what comes out of the meetings and discussions and the horrors of the past two weeks will be one community focusing on one big problem – guns and kids.

November 14, 2010

Point/Counterpoint: Two Tokes

Dateline The Netherlands:  Police and municipalities in Rotterdam and The Hague this week mailed 30,000 scratch and sniff cards that give off the pungent odor of cannabis plants to help people identify and report marijuana plantations, according to a story in the Washington Post. The campaign, sponsored in part by energy company Stedin, aims to weed out (pun intended) and put a stop to illegal pot plantations, in part because growers sometimes steal the power necessary to keep the lights on.   

Dateline Arizona:  Voters barely approved a medical marijuana initiative this month; the margin of victory was about 4300 votes out of 1.6 million cast. "Voters in Arizona have sided with science and compassion while dealing yet another blow to our nation's cruel and irrational prohibition on marijuana," said Rob Kampia, Marijuana Policy Project executive director. Some 120 clinics could be established under the law; for folks living more than 25 miles from a clinic, home grown’s alright for them.

November 12, 2010

Onondaga County well represented in Cuomo's transition

Seems like we’re going to have a voice in the formation of the Cuomo administration, which is a very good thing. 

Several locals, including County Executive Joanie Mahoney, Common Council President Van Robinson, businessman and former state Republican Chair J Patrick Barrett, and economic development promoter Rob Simpson, head of CenterState C.E.O. (the organization formed when the Chamber of Commerce and Metropolitan Development Association merged) were chosen to help with the transition itself (Mahoney is one of the co-chairs), the Committee of Economic and Fiscal Advisors (Barrett) or the Committee on Economic Development and Labor (Robinson and Simpson). 

There are other solid representatives of Central and Upstate NY, including Danny Wegman, Buffalo mayor Byron Brown, and of course Lt. Governor-elect Robert Duffy, who’s currently mayor of Rochester.  I can’t remember for sure who was on Steamroller Spitzer’s team, and of course our lame duck Accidental Governor David Paterson didn’t really transition so much as he had his feet pressed into the fire -- but I suspect our neck of the woods hasn't been this well represented in previous transitions in quite some time.  

The teams are a mix of Dems and Reps, government and private sector, union and business, and include regional, ethnic and gender diversity. I would have preferred not to see the ever-colorful Ruben Diaz - I'm not sure what he really brings to the table - but in the overall scheme of things, it looks like a reasonable team.  After all, the Reverend Al was complaining about it before it was even announced – so it can’t be all bad.  

And to those who complain that Joanie Mahoney is abandoning the Republican Party or trying to feather her own nest,  you're missing the point, and the benefit, of having her involved.  We need a voice – any strong voice – that can have an impact on reducing the burden that state government places on local governments. We need an advocate for bipartisan collaboration and cooperation to help set the tone for the new administration. Heaven knows we’re not getting it from Senators DeFrancisco and Valesky or the rest of the local legislative contingent.

We’ve got some great representation with the folks Cuomo selected; now it’s up to them to rise to the occasion and take advantage of the opportunity to make a difference in how the new administration governs us for the next four years.

November 10, 2010

PPOD 11/10/10: Please. Put us out of her misery.

A while back, I wondered why it is that we Dems seem to shoot ourselves in the foot by continuing conversations that are long past done, or by beating drums that no one’s listening to, or by in general acting poorly in some way shape or form.  At the time, the national issue was our bad reaction to Joe Wilson, the moron who yelled “You lie!” during Obama’s joint address to Congress last September.

This time around, the chief moron is Nancy Pelosi, who thinks it’s in our best interest to have her continue in a leadership role in the House.  After the beating taken last Tuesday, when the House pendulum took a huge swing to the Rep side of things, pretty much everyone assumed that Madame Speaker would leave, get out of the way and let someone else try to lead us from the abyss.  Sadly, we were wrong.  And where does that leave us now? 

Shooting ourselves in the foot.  While the Reps blabber on about their ‘mandate’ and try and figure out what the heck they’re going to do with the Tea Party, Dems are trying to figure out how to politely get rid of Pelosi while pretending they support her.  Private whispers, public votes, inner and outer turmoil – these are exactly the things we don't need to be worrying about right now.  And the more time we waste on this, the more we show that we're not capable of leading the real conversations we need to be having...the economy, jobs, war, health care, immigration, and on and on. 

But alas, we’re Dems, and we simply can’t get out of our own way. And that's my Pet Peeve of the Day. 

November 9, 2010

A Lover's Lament

He was the silent, sophisticated type, and I worshipped him from both near and far. It was hard for me to be near him without feeling an overwhelming sense of longing. Even as a young woman, I knew he was the one for me, that I’d never find anyone more perfect than him.  

Over the years, even though I tried to stay away from him, even though I knew it was wrong, there were times when I just couldn’t stay away, when I had to be with him, when I just had to take him home with me. We’d steal a few hours here and there, when we could, when no one else was around. 

Curtains drawn, we’d sit by the fire, and I’d indulge in him, consume him, taste him, and it was always perfect. We never argued – we didn’t have time for arguments. We had frenzied moments, where I couldn’t get enough, couldn’t be satisfied, when I’d take and take and take all he could offer.

And then, embarrassed and disgusted by my lack of control, I’d swear I’d never do it again.  I’d keep him at arm’s length, I’d refuse to make eye contact when we were in the same room, I’d do everything I could to maintain my composure. Ah, it was so hard, he was so perfect, and I was so much in love.

I loved the old Mr. Peanut. I really did. And then they went and made him look like Al Roker… and they made him talk… and they ruined it for me!

November 5, 2010

Poll Watch 11/5/10: Is Anyone Even Listening?

Here's what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) had to say about Tuesday's election results: “Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office,” Mr. McConnell says. “But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things. We can hope the President will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday’s election. But we can’t plan on it.”    

Here’s what Americans actually said in exit polling shared by all of the major news networks and conducted by Edison Research in 26 states. 
  • 52% of us view the Republican Party negatively, compared to 53% who similarly view the Dems.  Of the folks who view the Reps unfavorably, only 75% voted for a Dem, 23% still voted for the Republican.
  • On health care, 48% say repeal the legislation, but an almost equal percent say minimally leave it alone (16%) or even expand it (31%). 
  • On what the priorities should be, an almost equal number (37%) say the focus should be on spending to create jobs as say reducing the deficit (39%) should be the focus.  
  • When asked if ‘one reason’ for voting was to express support for Barack Obama, to express opposition to Barack Obama, or Barack Obama was not a factor, an equal number (37%) said to express opposition as said he was not a factor.  
  • It’s almost a dead heat on whether the stimulus helped the economy (32%), hurt the economy (33), or had no impact (32%).  
  • And on the Bush-era tax cuts, 39% said continue them for everyone, 37% said continue them only for those families earning $250K or less, and 15% said let them expire for everyone.   
I wonder who the heck Mitch McConnell's listening to?

November 3, 2010

Shots Fired: Election Edition

“As you heard me say last night, we are humbled by the trust that the American people have placed in us and we recognize this is a time for us to roll up our sleeves and go to work on the people’s priorities: creating jobs, cutting spending and reforming the way Congress does its business. It’s not just what the American people are demanding – it’s what they are expecting from us. And the real question now is this: are we going to listen to the American people…?" --House Majority Leader-elect John Boehner, who will replace Nancy “Pole-vaulting” Pelosi. 

"The time for politics is now over. And now that Republicans have more members in both houses of Congress, they must take their responsibility to present bipartisan solutions more seriously. Simply saying 'no' will do nothing to create more jobs, support our middle-class and strengthen our economy. We must spare no effort to get back to work immediately in order to restore the American Dream for …all Americans." --Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who won a contentious race against Tea Partier Sharron Angle. Across Nevada, 64.5% of all eligible voters turned out. 

“We overcame great obstacles to get this far, and I could not be any prouder of the race we ran. I gave it my all and so did you. We came up short, but certainly not for lack of hard work, determination and a clear vision for making our state better…The journey is ending, but the mission is not. We did not achieve the victory we worked so hard for, but that is not a reason to give up on what’s most important. We love California and we still believe our state can be a better place.” --Meg Whitman, who lost to former Governor Jerry ‘Moonbeam’ Brown after spending $140 million of her own fortune.  

"I have a message for Andrew Cuomo, the next governor of New York...I've always said my baseball bat is a metaphor for the people who want to take their government back. But this isn't my bat after all. As our next governor, you can grab this handle and bring the people with you to Albany. Or you can leave it untouched and run the risk of having it wielded against you, because make no mistake: You have not heard the last of Carl Paladino." --From the concession speech by baseball-bat-wielding, raunchy-joke-spreading, self-imploding Tea Partier Carl Paladino, who lost by more than 1.1 million votes to Andrew Cuomo in NY’s gubernatorial race.

November 1, 2010

Tomorrow's Election Day -- you know the drill

Last year on Election Eve, I posted a message encouraging folks to vote.  At that time, the big race in the area was to replace North Country legislator turned Secretary of the Army John McHugh.   This year, of course, all seats at the state level are up for grabs, including Governor and Attorney General.  There are also a number of races at the local level across the state, and of course the Big Enchiladas, the US House and Senate.  

I thought it was worth taking another look at that post, which included several encouragements on why voting is the right thing to do.  Take a look.

Please. Vote. I don't care if you're a Tea Partier, a Libertarian, a Green, or even a Rent is 2 Damn High-er.  Let your voice be heard. Don’t sit idly by and let everyone else determine your fate.