Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kelly's Recommendations for the Washington State 2012 Primary

Every election, my lovely and talented wife takes the time to read the voter manual and research the issues and the candidates for the obscure posts.  Then she tells me how to vote.  Rarely, I'll go a different way for one of the elections more in the news, but almost all the time, her recommendations are too sensible.

If you want a calibration, we're a bit to the right of the Democratic Party's centroid, at least on the libertarian scale; we are probably a bit to the left of that centroid on the militarism centroid.  However, her picks are generally based on which individual will do the best job without regard to party.

In any case, here are her picks (which I also voted):

King County Prop. 1:  Yes.  I'm a soft touch for a levy that appears to be for something pretty basic and necessary.

U.S. Senator:  The only candidates that look very serious to me are Baumgartner and Cantwell.  Either one looks very qualified.  Cantwell has the advantage of experience dealing with the Senate.  Baumgartner has the disadvantage of being associated with the Republican Party, but he seems smart and moderate and competent, so might still be a good choice.

U.S. Representative District 7:  McDermott again, unless you want to go with Goodspaceguy to promote orbiting space colonies.  Rivers, Hughes, Allen, and Bemis have enthusiasm but do not appear to have any legislative experience.  Sutherland appears to know more about green energy than about Congress.  And Bemis and Sutherland identify themselves as Republicans, so they can't be expecting to win in this district.

Governor:  Inslee.  He and McKenna both say they will find more funding for education, but neither is convincing to me.  But Inslee seems less waffley on the issues.

Lieutenant Governor:  Owen.  I actually think he has done a pretty good job.

Secretary of State:  Kastama.  He offers the clearest statement of what he would do in the job, without attaching a further political agenda.  Nickels would certainly be competent but he doesn't convince me that he really wants the job.  Wyman and Drew also appear to be qualified.  Murray wants to institute lots of reforms to the state voting system, some of which I like and some I don't.  Wright may or may not actually want the job.  He seems more intent on promoting his third party because he is fed up with Republicans and Democrats - which is a perfectly reasonable point of view, but I'm not sure it would help him to be Secretary of State.  It's interesting that Anderson refuses to identify with a party out of principle.  He seems to know a lot about the job, although his experience is mostly lobbying and campaigning.  And he has a good point - why is this a partisan office?

Treasurer:  McIntire.

Auditor:  Kelley, based mainly on the endorsement of Brian Sonntag who is retiring from the job and who I think has done a good job.

Attorney General:  Ferguson or Dunn, not Pidgeon.  I'm leaning toward Ferguson, but Dunn also has impressive credentials.  I wish this were not a partisan office.

Lands Commissioner:  Goldmark.  I don't know anything against him, and Didier is a tea party guy.  Sharon seems to be relying more on his environmental feelings than actual administrative experience.

Superintendent of Public Instruction:  Dorn or Hansler.  I think Dorn has been basically okay but uninspiring, so I'm inclined to go with Hansler just for a change.  I think he would try to head in a good direction with testing for example, but I don't know much about his administrative skills - but then Dorn is not so impressive there either.  Bauckman generally wants better education but his proposals seem very vague.  Blair wants to set up a kind of voucher system which might work but I don't trust it.  Higgins does not seem clear about what office he is running for.

Insurance Commissioner:  Kreidler.

District 43 Representative 1:  Pedersen.

District 43 Representative 2:  Chopp.

Supreme Court 2:  Owens.

Supreme Court 8:  Gonzalez.

Supreme Court 9:  I'm going for Hilyer.  McCloud and Ladenburg seem okay too.  Sanders continues to make public statements that make him appear clueless about some basic issues of justice, so I don't recommend him at all.

Appeals Court 4:  Cox.

Appeals Court 7:  Appelwick.

Superior Court 25:  I think I'll go for Schmidt.  Berns and Davidheiser also seem highly qualified, so I could be convinced to change my mind.

Superior Court 29:  O'Donnell

Superior Court 30:  North.

Superior Court 42:  Washington.

Superior Court 46:  I'm going for Ramseyer.  Ernsdorff also seems to have strong credentials, so might be a good choice too.

Seattle Prop. 1, Libraries:  Yes.  Unfortunately this may not be enough, it will also be a good idea to pester the city council to not cut general fund allocations for the library.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Take on the Higgs Boson Announcement 2012-7-4

Since I was fielding a lot of questions about the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson, I did some research, and here are the answers to the questions about it that I found interesting. Most should be understandable if you remember your high school physics; there are no equations.  At the end, I have some links to explanations that helped me.