June 30, 2005

I'm Pro-American but Anti-Electoral College

Okay, I've been stewing about this for a while, so I thought I should finally come right out and say it: It's time to eliminate the Electoral College from the US Constitution. It no longer serves the purpose for which it was designed, it is has been outdated by mass communications, and in fact it is damaging to the majority of Americans.

As I understand it, the framers of the Constitution intended the EC as regulating device, to prevent the masses from being duped by a manipulative political elite:

"The people are uninformed, and would be misled by a few designing men." -- Constitutional Convention Delegate Gerry, July 19, 1787.

Their thought was, by distributing electoral votes throughout the nation (each state gets at least 3 votes, no matter how tiny their population), the concerns of the entire nation would be taken into account, and a team of "designing men" couldn't dupe a large population in one part of the country into voting for their particular candidate. However, it hasn't worked out that way. These days, presidential campaigns focus on a few critical "swing states" and pander to the needs and desires of the tiny fraction of voters in those states who can swing the electoral vote one way or another. The majority interest is not taken into account-- it's all about mining for the electoral votes you want in whichever state you can get them.

The recent development of mass communications has also rendered the EC obsolete. One of the primary reasons the framers of the Constitution created the EC was their concern that voters in remote parts of the country would have a difficult time learning about presidential candidates:

"The extent of the country renders it impossible, that the people can have the requisite capacity to judge of the respective pretensions of the candidates." -- Consitutional Convention Delegate Mason, July 17, 1787

Remember that the EC was designed in the late 1700s, when sending messengers on horseback or by sailing ship were the primary means of communication. The telegraph wasn't even invented yet, let alone the telephone, television, or the Internet. Lack of communications between candidates and potential voters was a legitimate concern in 1787, but not 2005.

We should eliminate the EC because it's harmful to the lives of most Americans, who now live in urban and suburban areas. It no longer makes sense to give more electoral power to a rural voter in Montana than to an urban voter in D.C., especially when the vast majority of Americans live in or near cities. Right now we're diverting billions of tax dollars generated largely by urban workers to subsidize the infrastructure of rural America. Meanwhile our cities and densely populated states face massive budget shortfalls. This rural welfare program deprives American cities of critical ingredients (mass transit, affordable housing, schools, recreation) that make cities so liveable elsewhere in the world.

Posted by todd at 10:50 AM

June 28, 2005

Pico on my shoulder

We have a new theory about Pico: he is secretly a Smurf. We need to get some little white pants for him.
Posted by todd at 11:06 AM

June 23, 2005

Current listening meme

Here are some albums I've been listening to in the studio:
  • Cativo 3 Seconds is now techstep
  • Dieselboy et al DungeonMaster's Guide... dnb
  • Snow Patrol Final Straw poprock? Emo?
  • Luke Eargoggle Audio Warriors Electro
  • Freaky Chakra Lowdown Motivator trance?
  • Augustus Pablo East of the River Nile dub
Posted by todd at 12:55 PM

June 21, 2005


Mango and Tammy hanging out. Mango has been a little stressed lately.
Posted by todd at 09:44 AM

June 20, 2005

Revived my ye olde photo gallery

I finally revived my online photo gallery. Click the photo of Lori at Roscoe's to see it!
Posted by todd at 03:59 PM

June 17, 2005

Errol Morris on Intentionality in Art

Errol Morris continues to blow my mind using such simple, subtle means: Yet another instance where the Question of Intent in Art pops up
Posted by todd at 07:36 PM


At RiteSpot last night, JD was suddenly angered by a small chocolate cake with stars on it.

Posted by todd at 04:08 PM

June 13, 2005


Last night's sunset over Reykjavik...Just a couple hours before sunrise. That shadowy figure is Patrick.
Posted by todd at 01:50 PM


From the old graveyard in Reykjavik. Evidently there was a time when gravemarkers shaped like tree trunks were very popular.
Posted by todd at 01:42 PM


Out for drinks at Kaffibarrinn
Posted by todd at 01:39 PM

Pearl skylights

"The Pearl" is a Reykjavik landmark: a giant dome atop four large cylindrical tanks. I guess it used to be a hot water storage place; now it houses the Saga Museum and a fancy eatery. These dome skylights lead into the bowels of the building and poke up through the front lawn.
Posted by todd at 02:01 AM

June 11, 2005


This is shortly before sunrise (1:30). A beautiful clear night here.
Posted by todd at 07:09 PM


We saw this lil guy at the local zoo. He's so cute you can't stand it!
Posted by todd at 12:14 PM


It was 5am in Reykjavik and pretty much everyone over the age of 13 was out on this street doing the "Runtur"- basically cruising back and forth, stopping in various bars for drinks and dancing.
The locals were very friendly, especially after we told them we were from San Francisco. One dude ended up guiding us around a bit and making us drink and stuff.
It was just amazing to be wandering the streets all night with the sky as bright as...dawn? with half the population of Reykjavik.
Posted by todd at 06:36 AM

June 10, 2005

Big ol' church

Hallgrim's church is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Reykjavik, and the views from the top are great. The strangest thing about this church can be summed up with this phrase: modern gothic protestant church. There's absolutely no extraneous decoration inside or out.
Posted by todd at 10:16 AM


One of a couple waterfalls we visited yesterday. The countryside just outside of Reykjavik is amazingly beautiful in a bleak way.
Posted by todd at 09:50 AM

June 06, 2005

Crater lake again

A very cool place
Posted by todd at 03:21 PM


Tammy in front of one of the largest crater lakes in Iceland. Yes, it's partially frozen-over year-round. Yes, we were both freezing our asses off. Yes, the view was totally amazing.
Posted by todd at 03:18 PM

Akureyri town

This is the town we're staying in right now. It's about 25k people, and all of their power and heat are provided by geothermal steam. It's a cute little town, and they're supposed to have one of the best public baths in Iceland: we're heading there now.
Posted by todd at 10:52 AM

June 05, 2005

Cruisin' Akureyri

We arrived last night in Akureyri, which sits at the end of a beautiful long fjord, and there was still a ton of snow on the surrounding plateau. Our guesthouse is in the center of town, and we went out exploring to find food. It must've been 30F outside and all of these local teenagers were out doing what teenagers everywhere do on a weekend night: cruising around town in their cars eating ice cream.
Posted by todd at 10:37 PM

Flying over Greenland

We've just now arrived in Keflavik. Woo!
Posted by todd at 07:57 AM

June 04, 2005

Travelling to Akureyri

This will be the next place we'll find a warm bed, in the far north of Iceland. I'll post more blog entries during our travels.

Demo KABLOG mobile photo blogging software for Nokia / Series 60 phones.
Posted by todd at 09:55 AM

June 02, 2005


Got a new camera phone, and fixed KABLOG to work with it.
Posted by todd at 09:27 PM