Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The High Cost of Victory

I'll bet Ed Stelmach didn't have to pick up his own signs

Spending numbers for the recent Alberta election have been released, and I had to laugh when I saw the results for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville: I was outspent by a factor of over 23 to 1. My campaign cost $5,500; Premier Stelmach spent $129,500 to defend his incumbency.

I honestly had to laugh when I saw this. Over $129,000 for a safe seat? I had no idea that the Premier felt so threatened.


AllanX said...

1) Right-wing politicians always have lots of money. Greedy, self-serving personality types tend to make's not really that hard and you don't need to be smart. You can go far quickly when you're unburdened by ethics or social responsibility.

2) Complete lack of any sense of the concept of proportion is a right-wing authoritarian hallmark. RWA describes nearly every conservative politician and their typical voter. Whether it's as trivial as disproportionate campaign expenditures, or as pathologically overdone as Curtis LeMay's firebombing of Tokyo. Zero-tolerance for non-violent crime, three strikes for minor offenses, no special cases for lawbreakers regardless of circumstances, declaring a national emergency at the glimpse of a nipple on TV, death penalty for children, Republican political operatives who believe it's not enough to mortally wound an opponent but to kick him to death when he's down, Shock and Awe, and the list goes on. Black and white brains. Vestigial evolutionary behaviour. Dinosaurs. Big house, fast car, huge-titted blonde trophy wife, power, power, power, money, money, money and fuck the rest of the world.

I'm sorry, are my political stripes showing? Good.

susan_rn92 said...

Ha! Mathematically if democracy was truely fair and Earl had equal funds this proves that Earl is the winner.

Cost per vote for Earl= $4.23
Cost per vote for Ed= $11.77

Votes that Earl would have gotten if he had $129,500= 30,614! Ed only got 11,000.


Anonymous said...

The way I see it, we are looking at Earl's non-win of the election as a loss. That's not true. By keeping Earl from elected office, he is released from many heinous burdens. Not the least of these include:

1) Naming Things After Friends. If Earl was in charge, his office would be inundated with calls from friends and family demanding easy, well-paying government jobs and to have edifices renamed in their honour. Albertans, not knowing the true extent of the situation, would be bewildered by suddenly having overpasses, hospitals, seniors' centers, shopping malls, skating rinks, and other landmarks named "Jeff" (seeing as Earl seems to know a lot of Jeffs).

2) Making That Big Speech.
For now, Earl won't have to make the traditional speech in Legislature that people expect when you win your seat. I hear it's a nerve-wracking experience. It's not uncommon to have to vomit just before the big moment. Not that Earl would have that problem, as he is self-assured and confident. Still, anything can happen, like an aide or intern accidentally loses his speech and Earl only realizes the gaffe a second or two just before he must speak.

There are the baleful, cyclops eyes of the news cameras as they swing towards empty-handed Earl, now standing in front of his chair in the baroque hall of Legislature. Furiously, his mind swirls to reconstruct his missing speech. He opens his mouth and intones:

"In accordance with the traditions of Starfleet and of Article 184 Starfleet Regulations, we are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet, in the midst of our sorrow it should be noted that this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world, a world that our beloved comrade gave his own life to protect and nourish. He did not feel that sacrifice a vain or empty one -- and we will not debate his profound wisdom, in these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this, that of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most -- human."

3) Having To Wear A Suit And Tie All Of The Time. Actually, I don't know about this. I do like to wear suits. I only wish that I had one of those really great gorilla suits you see from time to time. Have you ever priced one of those out? It's much less expensive to buy a formal suit than it is to buy a gorilla suit. Supply and demand, I guess.

4) Weekly Haircuts.
To be a MLA means that you have unlimited access to the private Legislature barber. You'd have to become one of those people that gets their hair done every week. I guess that would be okay, but what would bug me is that you would quickly run out of things to talk about with the barber. You would use up a year's supply of conversational gems before the first month was through. And then what? "That was a mighty purty speech you made about your dead Starfleet friend, Mister Earl." "Barber Jeff, that was last month already. Jeesh!"

Anonymous said...

Oh, and in Point #4, Jeff The Barber is wearing his traditional Alberta Legistature Private Barber's Gorilla Suit. I thought that should be common knowledge, but you never know.

Anonymous said...

The space probe was laid out on the white table in the sterile laboratory, and it shone with dazzling glory beneath the powerful lights. Power bus cables were clamped onto the body of the child-sized, boxy probe through secure conduits. A nearby computer console was relaying information to the probe, and as the probe digested the data, its internal status lamps glowed and flickered like firelights.

The two white-smocked scientists carefully watched the probe as it took on power and programming. The process was automated, yet this final step in the probe's development was crucial, and both men felt a strong need to be in the room with their creation.

"Doctor, you are certain we need to load the probe with this much information?"

The older scientist spoke with the authority one uses to correct a wayward child, "Of course. We've been through this before. We must load the probe with as much information as we can. That's why we increased its memory banks and shaved off the logic buffer. This is a deep space probe. It won't be expected to manuever or make sudden decisions. I doubt that it would even steer past a meteor if it found one. What it does require, however, is as large and as deep a knowledge base as we can provide for it. That is the best way for it to understand what it will find when it seeks out new life in the comsos."

"I suppose you're right, Doctor." The intern peered at the display on the main computer. A red flag was showing. "Hmm, that's not right."

The older scientist tapped at the keyboard. "Yes, there's a problem. I see it now. We have been downloading the entire Internet into the probe's module. However, there seems to be a section missing, or rather, it's somehow incomplete."

"I have the fault isolated, Doctor. It seems to be a blog of some sort. An on-line Internet diary, by someone named Earl. It look as if it had been abandoned, although there is clearly much more information that must be blogged."

The Doctor stroked his trim, greying beard with his hand, deep in thought. "We cannot delay the probe's launch. Yet, this incomplete blog is clearly missing information."

The intern frowned, concerned. "Well, what do we do now? If we wait for the blog to be finished, we will be too late to launch the probe. Yet if we launch with an incomplete data set, well, who knows what might happen?"

"I say that's a risk we must take. We will launch the probe with incomplete programming. What's the worst that can possibly happen? It's just one measly incomplete weblog. I am sure that the probe has enough of Earth's cultural data on board that if something catastrophic were to happen to it, it would never get confused, alter its own programming, and come back to Earth trying to exterminate us all."

The intern laughed as he uncoupled the cables from the gleaming flank of the space probe, accidentally nicking the shiny brass NOMAD name plate. "Ha, ha, your'e absolutely right, Dr. Roykirk. When you put it that way, the whole thing sounds absurd!"