Thursday, January 15, 2015

In which the League of Women Voters sends Primo a survey that asks, "What is the meaning of life?"

Primo has been cranky all day, complaining about the darn surveys.

Moaning and groaning about the surveys.

Gnashing of the teeth. Tearing of the hair.

I got tired of it. Went to the gym. Came back. Still moaning. I offered cookies. Still moaning. 

Finally, I asked, "How hard can a survey be? Would you just quit whining and do it?"

I was thinking about some of the surveys he had gotten in the previous campaign, surveys that asked questions like
  • Do you hate puppies? What about kittens?
  • Are you in favor of children starving to death?
  • Are you for cancer? What about rape?
  • Do you think people should be able to shoot 20 people at a time without even reloading?
Easy, totally biased questions.

But then he emailed the League of Women Voters survey to me.

Read these questions and tell me what you think. First, are these the questions you ask of your political candidates? Second, how many people without a full staff of volunteers and researchers can answer questions like this?

  • Will you co-sponsor the Voting Rights Amendment Act, authored by Wisconsin’s Rep. Sensenbrenner to repair the damage caused by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder? Why or why not?
  • What do you believe the role of the US government should be in transitioning to clean renewable energy generation?
  • Most healthcare expenditures are for chronic illnesses. Would you support increased funding for prevention and public health? How can we reduce chronic illness?
  • There are two ways to balance a budget – by reducing spending and/or by increasing revenues. What is your approach, and how would you ensure the revenue required for needed services for citizens?

I messaged back:

  • Me

    More questions to add to the League of Women Voters:

    What is the meaning of life?

    Define a united field theory

    Solve Fermat's equation

  • Primo

    Can you see why I'm annoyed?

  • Me

    How would you bring peace to the Mideast?


    These are insane

    These are final essay qustions

    in a grad-level course

  • Primo

    I can talk about partisan political issues.

    How do we solve the world's problems?

  • Me

    Children are hungry

    How will you stop it?

  • Primo

    Zey are crying!
  • Me

    How can I eat all I want but still stay thin?

    Zey are 'ongry!


I started doing some research on medical funding so we could answer the third question. Then I realized that unless we were willing to spend our entire vacation doing the proper research - we are not - that getting down and dirty in the details is not the way to go. If you don't get all your details exactly right, you will be hammered. (The answers to these questions will be published.) Better, I thought, to take a high-level approach.

Then I reminded Primo that just because the League asked the questions does not mean he has to answer them. "This is your chance to talk about what you want to talk about," I said. "Do what all politicians do when they are asked a question: use it as a chance to address the issue that interests you."

We'll see if he bites. Primo is pretty rules bound, except when it comes to the speed limit, and thinks that just because someone expects something of him, even if he has never agreed to deliver, that he is obligated to meet their terms. Except with me, of course. He has no problems telling me "no." I keep telling him to think of all these campaign people as me so he can tell them he isn't going to do what they want.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

In which we all scratch our heads and say, "Huh?"

Primo wants to know (and so do I) who schedules an all-day political strategy session on the same day that the football team is in the playoffs. Football is religion here.