Monday, June 9, 2008

Dunkin Donuts

Hear in New York City we now have a new law that says that restaurants need to post calorie contents on their menus. It would seem to be another example of big brother saving us from ourselves, but the law doesn't tell us what to buy.

Every day I go into Dunkin Donuts and buy a medium black coffee. It is a wonderful experience because everyone there knows me so all I have to do is get to the front of the line, grunt and stick out my two dollars and I get my coffee. My kind of morning communications. Occasionally if I am feeling sorry for myself I will buy a donut. I always feel guilty about this because I am a little chubby. (Actually the Wii fitness says I am obese.) Sometimes I will decide to be healthier and instead of the donut I will get an oatmeal raisin cookie or a poppy seed bagel. (Always poppy seed because of the opium) One of my favorite donuts is a Boston Cream. This is a delightful mixture of gently fried dough injected with a yellow gooey substance and than dipped in chocolate. It is so good it must be evil.

So, I went into Dunkin Donuts, and there on the rack of donuts and other goodies behind the counter is a label with the name of the item and the number of calories:
Boston Cream 280; Poppy Seed Bagel 370; Oatmeal Raisin cookie 470. Wow! Who would have thought that being bad had less calories than being good.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

One Less Vote for Obama

My daughter is going to vote for Barack Obama. Her vote used to count because she lived in Michigan. Everyone wanted her vote. Now she is moving to Massachusetts, no one wants her vote. Both Obama and McCain assume that Massachusetts will go for Obama, and because of the way the electoral college works, this means that Obama will get all of the votes in that state. He doesn't care if he wins by 10 votes or 10 million votes.

The reason the electoral college comes into the news is that it is possible to win the election and lose the popular vote. This happened in 2000 and it was awful. But this is not the worse evil of the electoral college. The worst part of it is that it distorts the campaign. Because of where the swing states are, you will hear a lot about NAFTA and immigration in this election. You will not hear about some of the issues that those of us in New York and Boston care about. The kind of issues that might get Obama 10% more of our votes. He doesn't care about that 10%. This means that we end up with a lot of issues that seem important, but are not as important as they appear.

One of the reasons we can't come up with sensible immigration reform is that the presidential candidates need to pander to the swing state. What if my vote counted and my daughters vote counted. I think that the debate would be seriously changed.

There may be a reason to keep some of the electoral college, but at the very least states should be giving out electoral votes in proportion to the popular vote. When you ask many politicians about this they seem to agree, but they do not protest enough about it. They don't because they are afraid of the difficulty and cost of running a national campaign. They like being able to pick states and figure out how to pitch to them. It's what makes the pros the pros. It is what makes the pundits the pundits. No one wants to lose this edge. No one really seems to care about the inherent distortion to the American political system caused by the electoral college. Those of us in the safely blues states should be mad. Those people in the safely Red states should be mad. We are disenfranchised.

After I wrote this I did some research and found that some states have passed legislation that says all of the state's electoral votes will go to the candidate with the highest popular vote. This legislation only takes effect if enough states also pass similar legislation. An interesting end around.