Larry Hosken: New: Tag: choice

In the recent San Francisco District Attorney recall election, we found out many San Franciscans thought the D.A. has a lot more leeway than was true. And then there's this guy:
screen shot of tweet by @SFStandard: "The son of Hill Bros. coffee dynasty filed to run for San Francisco DA this week... But the run failed as he did not realize he needed to be an attorney to be DA."

Permalink
& Comments

San Francisco is getting new public trash bin enclosures. There are a few designs up for consideration. I visited one design today. It just plain didn't work. When folks tried to throw out their trash, it fell outside the bin (but inside the enclosure).

bottom of a trash enclosure with labeled trash: cups lids bags

You might wonder: How did this design make it so far through the approval process? This is under the purview of one of the city departments under FBI investigation for bribery and corruption. So… I guess that this enclosure's manufacturer hoped to bribe the right people; sell the city these shiny-but-broken-by-design things; then make even more money selling the city some kind of retrofit-trash-funnel in a few years.

Silver lining: I got to exercise my old-school image meme skills labeling this picture for the city's trash enclosure survey. (Yes, I installed the Microsoft Impact font on my Linux machine, and it was so I could make images like this.)

Permalink
& Comments

I'm filling in my ballot, scrolling through the California Voter Information Guide and got distracted by the candidate statements for California's Board of Equalization, 4th District (southern Cal). They were almost all revering Jarvis and protecting Prop 13; Democrat and Republican reaching across the aisle to agree that we mustn't tax rich property owners.

screen shot of voter guide

I was just trying to scroll down to the Superintendant of Public Instruction; I didn't mean to get distracted; I live in a totally different district from these bozos. Like, people say it's good to take a break from social media because social media thrives on outrage. But maybe outrage is just the normal effect of being informed?

Permalink
& Comments

Wow, that's the fifth email from the San Francisco Department of Elections asking me if I'll volunteer at the polls June 7th. Usually they email me just once per election. When someone from the department called me to ask about my June 7th availability (called on the phone, also unusual), I said I was willing to work just one election this year and asked which would be more helpful: June or November. The guy said November. So… are they anticipating being even more despera eager for November poll workers?

Anyhow, if you're in San Francisco and want to volunteer at the June 7th election, some nice folks would love to hear from you soon.

Permalink
& Comments

It's election day in San Francisco again, the second of four this year.* I wore my "I Voted" sticker today. I didn't see anyone else with a sticker. Now that California's a 100% vote-by-mail state, maybe the stickers are kind of silly; although today is election day, I sent in my ballot weeks ago.

an I Voted sticker affixed to a shirt

*Maybe half the city only has three? Today's election was a run-off for a state assembly district that covers roughly half of San Francisco; I don't know that the other half has an election today.

Permalink
& Comments

As I headed out on my exercise walk this morning, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. In a house garage that hosted a polling place for last week's election, there was still voting equipment piled up. That seemed strange—shouldn't the Department of Elections have picked it up by now?

Later, I walked past the library on Page Street. There was still a ballot drop box outside; but now it was covered by a padlock-secured bag.

bag-covered ballot box

In the past, the Department of Elections has removed ballot drop boxes between elections. But this time, they left the box there. Is it because San Francisco is holding four(!) elections this year? Maybe in such a year, it's too much hassle to un-bolt and re-bolt the boxes each time. Or maybe they wanted to leave the ballot boxes out in the past, but it took until now to sew up enough giant lockable bags?

Now I wonder the Department of Elections is just going to leave all that equipment in my neighbor's garage between elections.

Permalink
& Comments

Today's an election day in San Francisco. I wore my "I Voted!" sticker. On my morning exercise walk, I saw zero (0) other people wearing such stickers. I saw one (1) polling place volunteer wearing a polling place volunteer sticker. Maybe the stickers aren't so popular now that California's a 100% vote-by-mail state?

Shirt with affixed sticker

Permalink
& Comments

Book Report: America, Inc.

America, Inc is speculative fiction; but instead of the usual technology-speculation, it's organization-speculation. In the USA nowadays, corporations are people with free speech rights. This novel extrapolates: What if some folks formed a corporation to run for president of the USA? This sounds like the premise for some cyberpunk dystopia. As it happens, the USA's current political reality has sunk so low, dystopic-wise, that a corporate candidate is an improvement. This novel's a fun read so long as you concentrate on the novel and don't think too much about our actual situation.

Permalink
& Comments

Book Report: On the Plain of Snakes

The author traveled from the USA to Mexico. A famous author, he could access places you or I could not: Local writers gave him letters of introduction; but nobody knew what he looked like,* so he could go places looking like "just another old gringo."

He traveled along the USA-Mexico border, talking to migrant folks. In Mexico's interior, he visited a sort of sanctuary where migrants from the south and beyond Mexico could rest. And as he visited not-migrant Mexicans, he asked if they'd ever traveled to the USA to work (and a surprising-to-me fraction of them had). America's then-president was bleating that everyone crossing that border were thieves and rapists. But that then-president was a racist asshole grabbing at votes from America's most gullible racist assholes. This book gives a clearer picture of border-crossers: a few thieves and rapists; many upstanding people seeking work to send money home to their families; some people fleeing places taken over by bandits; some people fleeing countries taken over by USA-sponsored death squad bandits. Folks from the same town tend to migrate to the same far-away place, using connections established by previous migrants; folks from some towns might not migrate to the USA, but instead to Mexico City, which might seem about as foreign, depending.

But this book's author didn't just learn about migrant folks. He's an author. He talked to and about Mexican authors and artists. He taught a writing seminar in Mexico City and this gave him an "in" for meeting other artist/academic types around the country. So he did that. (I didn't pay so much attention to these parts of the book. The author really really doesn't like magical realism; I don't like it so much either, but don't have a professional obligation to read it and thus wasn't so interested to read a long explanation of why I needn't like it…) The author was more impressed with Francisco Toledo an artist who boosted his community.

Mexico's federal government is a mess that helps nobody. Whenever the author drove in Mexico City, some corrupt cop would pull him over to shake him down for a bribe. (When driving around the rest of the country, he encountered another kind of driving hazard: anti-government protests that blocked the road. But by the time he encountered those, he'd seen enough government corruption to know those protests were warranted.) Eventually, he made his way down to Chiapas in the south of Mexico. This area was (and is) under the control of the Zapatistas, not the federal government. This area is having a rough time; but its pretty clear that their government is, while not perfect, doing a much much better job than the Mexican feds.

Anyhow, it was an interesting read. Check it out.

*This is not 100% true; one person recognized him.

Permalink
& Comments

oh gee whiz this recruiting mail …We at the [San Francisco] Department of Elections thank you for your past service and hope you will be available to serve as a poll worker again in all four...

Permalink & Comments

On Tuesday, September 14 2021, I volunteered at a local polling place for the California Governor Recall Election. This was my third time working a polling place, so I didn't have a web page's worth ...

Permalink & Comments

My morning thoughts: Put Stacey Abrams in charge of the vaccine rollout. If anyone can organize that shit, she can. My evening thoughts: Put Stacey Abrams in charge of the Department of Homeland Sec...

Permalink & Comments

I figured some stuff out that I hope to remember the next time USA presidential primary season rolls around.* Leading up to the primaries, people argue about electability. Pundits use electability t...

Permalink & Comments

You might remember back in 2018, I volunteered at a polling place in a house's garage up in the hills. I'm remembering it because in today's news, Lisa Gautier and her excellent garage polling place ...

Permalink & Comments

#IVoted in person today. This might surprise my fellow Californians—California's dodging the pandemic by voting by mail this month. I was sent a mail-in ballot to fill in and return. But this m...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: The Vapors Once upon a time in the USA, gambling was illegal across the land. A few cities and towns went ahead and had illegal gambling. Those cities stopped one by one until just one was left: Hot Springs, Ar...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: One Person, No Vote It's a whirlwind tour of voter suppression in the USA. Nowadays, Depending on who you ask, North Carolina is no longer considered a fully-functioning democracy; how did we land in this situation? No...

Permalink & Comments

I wrote some notes about working the recent election. People wail and gnash their teeth about changes in election technology, but I was really glad to be using plastic security seals that I could clo...

Permalink & Comments

On Tuesday, I'll be volunteering as a poll worker at the site of a 2-Tone Game puzzle. Yes, I'll be working on an election at a place that I turned into a puzzle. This will be so very on-brand for me...

Permalink & Comments

Today I walked over to City Hall and voted. I didn't vote in the usual San Francisco way (marking pieces of paper with a pen). Instead, I used a ballot-marking device (BMD)—I interacted with a ...

Permalink & Comments

I got some snail-mail from Mike Bloomberg. I opened up the envelope, but there was no check inside. I don't understand his strategy as well as I thought I did, I guess. ...

Permalink & Comments

At today's Poll Worker training class, the instructor said that 80% of us volunteer election clerks would never see a ballot marking device (BMD) in action. That's too bad, since my curiosity about t...

Permalink & Comments

“Freedom isn't free.”    –Guy who went to City Hall to vote early and left his bus pass by the metal detector. ...

Permalink & Comments

Risk-Limiting Audits The new hotness in election integrity is Risk-Limiting Audits. I'm going to ramble a bit about them here because so far I've pretty much missed the point of what the "Risk-Limiting" phrase means. But...

Permalink & Comments

Clerk Life I volunteered as a poll worker in the recent election; you can read my notes about it. Spoilers: I got a lapel pin, much snazzier than a mere "I Voted!" sticker; a bird flew into our polling place bu...

Permalink & Comments

I survived my day as a precinct poll clerk volunteer. Did civilization survive? I don't know, I mostly kept my phone off. ...

Permalink & Comments

If you're in the USA, #BeAVoter . Vote tomorrow if you haven't already. Even if you and I don't agree on things, I want you to vote. Seriously. I'd rather that you vote than that you give up on the ...

Permalink & Comments

If you live near SF and are interested in election machines and/or election security, you might want to visit the SF Poll Worker Practice Lab on Nov 4 where you can set up, tear down, and operat...

Permalink & Comments

San Francisco Voter Guides Sparing you a google web search and rummaging around: SF Dept of Elections voter info, CA voter info. Candidate statements, arguments for & against propositions. SF League of Pissed-Off Voters....

Permalink & Comments

Californians, Don't vote for Mark Meuser I'm researching the California election. There are two candidates for Secretary of State, the incumbent and the challenger. The challenger wants me to know that California elections are in sorry shap...

Permalink & Comments

I'm researching the California election. There are two candidates for Secretary of State, the incumbent and the challenger. The challenger wants me to know that California elections are in sorry shap...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: October A history of the months between the overthrow of the Tsar and the rise of Lenin, as told by China Miéville taking a break from writing science fiction long enough to untangle this mess such that one ...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Confessions of a Political Hitman Autobiography of a guy who did political opposition research back when that meant travelling to county seats and looking at old voting records on microfilm or somesuch. He mostly worked for right-win...

Permalink & Comments

Today in 2017 Congress-calling history: I spoke to a live human. Not a voicemail, not a web form, a human. June seemed like a nice lady. She totally didn't make fun of me for hesitating while I waite...

Permalink & Comments

Link: Inside the Recount Pretty interesting article about the 2016 Presidential Election recount efforts: New Republic | Inside the Recount https://newrepublic.com/article/140254/inside. The story as I understood it before r...

Permalink & Comments

Huh. Neither of my senators' voicemail boxes were full this morning. Maybe I should start leaving longer messages. ...

Permalink & Comments

Link: Obama's Lost Army After Obama was elected, some of his campaign folks wanted to set up tools and organization to foster grassroots civic participation. The DNC saw this as competition and shut it down. If you wonder w...

Permalink & Comments

USA congress-callers, bills to support/oppose Some more bills you might be for/against to keep in mind when you call your senators/reps for things which you already heard about on 5 Calls or One Thing You Can Do or wherever: HR. 804 "To a...

Permalink & Comments

USA congress-callers, interesting bills If you're already calling your US senators and/or representatives, maybe nudge them to support: Senate bill 200 H.R. bill 669 These bills say that the President can't do a nuclear first strike on...

Permalink & Comments

USA congress-callers, you have other sites If 5 Calls isn't working for you today, here's a similar site: The 65. It doesn't conveniently show you your senator/rep's phone # on the same screen as info about the issue… but you...

Permalink & Comments

CA congress-callers, you have 2 senators I love reading tweets&posts from my friends calling their congress critters. The 5 Calls web site is pretty excellent for keeping track of issues to call about; and I see a lot of folks are using...

Permalink & Comments

I've been lurking on some right-wing websites, hoping to get a view outside my bubble. I was especially curious about voter fraud. There are some specific things that keep coming up—maybe the f...

Permalink & Comments

Hoo boy, political argument at the big family Thanksgiving dinner. We just couldn’t agree on what the worst thing about Trump is. ...

Permalink & Comments

Walking around my neighborhood today, I see 100% grim faces. It reminds me of hallways in companies facing multiple layoffs. ...

Permalink & Comments

San Francisco peeps who haven't already voted: Hoodline's Election Guide is a darned handy collection of slates. ...

Permalink & Comments

It's a double do-gooder shirt sticker day. (#IVoted a couple of weeks ago, but waited until today to affix the sticker.) ...

Permalink & Comments

SF folks, what excellent voter recommendations/endorsements am I overlooking? I'm looking for such that explain their thinking, not just say Yes on this, No on that. Here's the stuff I'm slogging thr...

Permalink & Comments

Comic Report: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye This comic is funny. I say that right away because when I tell you the premise, you'll be tempted to click away thinking "oh that is some fauxlitical artsy-fartsy bullroar to be purchased by earnest ...

Permalink & Comments

Ever since that convention kerfuffle, I've been trying to remember this cold-war era movie quote: Student Journalist: As your party's leading presidential candidate, you are a staunch advocate of n...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Lean In I heard a bunch of bad things about this book. I read it so that I could make fun of it. But now that I've read the book, the bad things I've heard seem like they were about a strawman version. I'll ...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Give and Take This book makes the case that you can behave nicely and still get ahead in business. Is this surprising? Does this need saying? Maybe; the author says that many folks don't think they can give others...

Permalink & Comments

Link: Law Offices of Lowell Finley If you're into election technology, a new blog to follow: Law Offices of Lowell Finley. Remember when California was reporting folks trying to sell us so-bleeding-edge-it-aint-really-working-right-ye...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Dataclysm The OKCupid blog is pretty amazing. Way back when, it caused a stir talking about trends in USA interracial dating. Plenty of USA folks say they don't care about race. But when the OKCupid folks look...

Permalink & Comments

This evening's Adventure Design Group was the San Francisco Institute of Possibility. This was about as far from puzzlehunts as you can get—they run events that might be described as awesome pa...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Everything is Bullshit The Priceonomics blog wrote a book with a rude name. It's pretty interesting; a lot of it was stuff that I'd already read. (I wasn't subscribed to the blog, but other folks kept forwarding links&hell...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: A Fighting Chance It's an autobiography by politician Elizabeth Warren. Before she w19as a politician, she was an academic. She studied bankruptcy. When she started, there was received wisdom around bankruptcy: people...

Permalink & Comments

Link: MAY ONE Who doesn't want anyone to study climate change? Wyoming's governor, that's who. Wyoming mines a lot of coal. If your re-election money comes from coal, you imagine a federal "war on coal." Most peop...

Permalink & Comments

If you lost count of the recent NSA citizen-snooping outrages but figure there are enough to justify nudging your legislators, The Day We Fight Back is a web site to guide you through that. ...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Griftopia We've had a chance to reflect on the financial disasters and bailouts of 2008. What have we learned? We learned that America's most successful bankers aren't those who are best at computing loan risk...

Permalink & Comments

I listened to the "Famine Game Reaping" snoutcast and then posted a question in the form of a personal failure of imagination: What if you were a GC running an application process and you wanted some...

Permalink & Comments

A day late, I figured out my Hallowe'en costume. On me, it's pretty scary. On someone of your sterling judgement, dear reader, it would be less so. ...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Broken Ballots A few people want to steal elections. A few billion people want fair elections. How do you make an election un-stealable? It's not easy. Elections do't run themselves; we need election officials. Fol...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: All the President's Men I didn't think I'd learn anything from this book, but I was wrong. I thought everybody knows the story of All the President's Men: Plucky reporters Woodward and Bernstein investigate Watergate; they ...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Republic, Lost When Solyndra was falling apart, Republicans were screaming: these green companies were just boondoggles, false fronts to scoop up government money. It's easy to dismiss their complaints as a bunch o...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: The Evolution of Cooperation It's a book by Robert Axelrod, who set up some groundbreaking game theory experiment/contests back in the day. He set up a computer program that would run other computer programs. Specifically, it ra...

Permalink & Comments

The Wooly Pig Cafe is better than Ike's (Sorry, out of towners, this blog post is only of interest to San Franciscans.) The best sandwich place in my neighborhood is the Wooly Pig Cafe. They put together some awesome sandwiches from ingre...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Too Big to Know We know a lot, and nowadays we know that we know a lot. I read a lot of books. But I read only a teeny-tiny fraction of the books that get published. And books are, in turn, just a teeny-tiny fractio...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Super Crunchers It's a book about working with Big Data. Considering some of the projects I've worked on, you think I'd be pretty excited. But my experience made me kind of picky about the details. At first, this bo...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Waltzing with Bears This book's subtitle is "Managing Risk on Software Projects" and it's written by the Peopleware guys. OK, nobody's reading this blog post anymore; the non-computer folks have clicked away to find som...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Priceless Yesterday, I dodged Black Friday, but didn't quite make it through Buy Nothing Day. I bought a streetcar ride and then a train ride down the peninsula. How much were those worth? I don't know. I k...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Predictably Irrational A series of musings about how people really behave. Or, rather, how they misbehave. Describes experiments about placebos, cheating, and other circumstances in which people lie to themselves and to o...

Permalink & Comments

Zine Report: Giant Robot #57 The Obama posters say "HOPE", but when Obama himself picks people... well, he undercuts hope. It's like he scraped my old book reports, looking for books about USA politics with villains and chose th...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Sources of Power This book came out ten years ago. It discusses how people make decisions. Not necessarily how people ought to make decisions--but how they do. It does have some advice on how people can make bette...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Pirate Freedom If you travel through time, are you free? Or are you hemmed in by predestination? (Postdestination? What do you call destiny when time travel is involved?) That's a complicated question, and fort...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: How to Rig an Election This morning, I'm munching my breakfast, reading Slashdot's feed and I see a name I recognize. The strange part: the name is that of a politico, not a computer programmer. The Slashdot post is point...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Gaming the Vote I know what I can say about BANG 19 preparations. It's necessarily vague, in the name of seekricy, but it's heartfelt. Thank you you past Game Control folks who have shared advice, "war stories", a...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Deliver the Vote Deliver the Vote is a history of crooked elections in the U.S. of A. It doesn't try to describe all crooked elections. Just some good stories, just enough to fill up a few hundred pages. George Wa...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: The Wisdom of Crowds Ron and Sua were in town on Friday. That's why I was stuck on a train. I'd had dinner with them on the peninsula, caught the train back, blammo. But it was good to see Ron, good to see Sua. This ...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: What's the Matter With Kansas? Thomas Frank, a member of the liberal intellectual elite wrote this book for other members of the liberal intellectual elite to tell them that the formerly-liberal working class is tired of liberal ...

Permalink & Comments

Tags