Mister Pterodactyl
Monday, January 23, 2006
Did I forget to mention
Iowa held it's midterm caucuses last week. I wanted to go to both parties', but they were held at the same time. The Democrats' caucus was more conveniently located, so I attended that. [No word on any Libertarian Party caucuses yet.]
Ho hum. Tables with letters from candidates, petitions for candidates to be added to ballots. Volunteers to help you register Democrat (they'll send in your registration if you join up, otherwise you have to do it yourself). I asked a couple questions and poked around. A local news channel had a camera set up, but they left about 15 minutes before the thing started.
I counted about 50 people right arund the (advertised) start time, but naturally a bunch of people arrived just prior and had to go through all the registering and reading and signing, so it started late. [The Republibots, I presume, start on time.] Fairly, shall we say, geriatric turnout, although there were a handful of kids (most of whom must have been there for a school project - no way were they old enough to vote). Maybe 120 attendees all told.
Speech by local official, henceforth to be known as the 'Republicans suck, Democrats rule, pass it on' speech. Various exhortations aimed, apparently, at increasing the number of people identifying Democratic in polls. Reminder to check Democratic on your tax return (what's that about? Stay tuned). Then: shall we read the submitted resolutions or would someone like to move that we send them to committee? Someone moves, someone seconds, and everybody says 'aye,' and it's time to break up into precincts.

I think, what resolutions? Can we get a look at the &%$#* resolutions? I ask around. The nice lady in charge of my precinct finds them for me and it's a good thing I didn't have mischief on my mind.

There were about a dozen people from my precinct; this is the part where people can 'stand up' for their candidate and they go through all that nonsense (short version: caucus results don't even reflect the preferences of the participants, much less the whole state), but it was quickly agreed that there wasn't much point. then it was mostly a matter of picking delegates to (I guess) the state convention.

Back to the resolutions. Members can fill out a form suggesting a resolution to be added to the platform. Of course there's an Impeach Bush and a couple withdraw from Iraqs. Among the more interesting ones:
-Remove the concept of 'corporate personhood,' which allows corporations to benefit by taking advantage of first amendment rights;
-Congress has a pretty nice health-care plan; it should be expanded to include all Americans;
-Use 'mean domestic payments' as a measure of the country's economic health instead of GDP. According to the resolution, MDP is a measure o the median household income and has been falling in the last 5 years while the GDP has risen;
-Withdraw from free-trade agreements until fair trade (referencing labor unions, safety, environment, etc) can be guaranteed.

Then, the woman moved to adjourn, a gent in the corner said 'what, we're not raising money?', the hat was passed and that was that. I bet these are more lively in presidential years.
I'll be checking on that tax-form thing and MDPs. If anyone's got anything, let me know.
Sounds just about as harmless as the Republican caucuses I've been to.

Last time around I didn't go, but I still was invited to go to the BPOU convention as an alternate delegate. Sadly, I had other plans.
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