Friday, January 4, 2008

Blah blah random election stuff

Barack Obama's voting record!

Huzzah! More stuff to look at. I think I'm getting a little better at this "informed voter" thing. Still. This is a really really cursory glance, and I'm sure there's a lot that I'm missing. If I should be including something and it's not here, lemme know. Also keep in mind that I'm starting from Obama's and comparing other candidates with him. That's because at this point he's my pick, so you need to be aware that my perspective is revolving around evaluating him more so than the others.

From looking at this sheet (and the many times that Obama simply hasn't voted), my first thought is, "I wish he were more staunchly pro-choice." For example, I'd have wanted him to flat-out vote no to this bill trying to "adopt an amendment that prohibits funds in the bill from being granted to organizations that perform abortions when a woman’s life is not in danger, unless the organization is a hospital." Hospitals aren't the only places offering abortions, and many low-income women end up at places like Planned Parenthood.

He didn't vote on one of those wonderful alarmist bills based in the fear of "abortion predators," (itself based in assumption that older men impregnate younger women so that they can drag them across state lines and abort their babies). The idea is to keep kids from getting abortions without telling their parents. It's a noble goal, but it's based in utter bullshit, and I rather wish Obama had said no, because the damned thing passed. Hillary also said no, but McCain said yes.

However, Obama at least voted "to expand access to preventive health care services that reduce unintended pregnancy (including teen pregnancy), reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women's health care." Hillary also voted yes on this, but McCain voted no. Same deal for this one in favor of actual sex ed.

As far as education goes, Obama voted yes on an amendment that would increase the Pell Grant maximum scholarship (by only $200, but still). This amendment failed with Hillary's support, and McCain against.

Now about those detainees. Obama didn't vote at all on a bill that'd keep the detainees from ending up on American soil, even in detention facilities. McCain was in favor of it, and so was Hillary. However, this one passed overwhelmingly, so it's kinda to be expected. I just think it's odd that Obama didn't vote. He did vote to invoke cloture (limit further debate, forcing a vote on the issue) on an amendment to reapply the habeas corpus requirement to detainees in the US. Sadly it didn't pass and the amendment kinda died that time around, but at least this time he voted. He also voted to remove language from another bill that makes it harder for people to invoke that messy habeas corpus nonsense. At least, I'm pretty sure what this was about. Correct me if you've got a better understanding. I think that my interpretation might be right, because it's the kind of thing McCain would vote against, and he did. Hillary was for it.

He voted along with most of the senate on some more regulations on lobbying and donations where members of Congress are concerned. Hillary also was in favor, but McCain was one of 14 against.

Here's a real doozy. While I'd prefer Obama be a little more into the 2nd Amendment than he is, at least he voted against this little beauty. See, the whole reason for keeping the government from disarming private citizens is so that they can't declare a state of national emergency and suspend... well, our rights. This amendment says that in a state of national emergency, the government can't confiscate legally-owned firearms. Obama was okay with this amendment, and so was McCain. Hillary plays into my paranoid fantasies by voting no.

Obama voted against English as our national language, but for English as the common language. Hillary also voted no and yes respectively, while McCain voted yes and no.

Obama, Hillary, and McCain all voted to bar immigrants with certain criminal histories. This applies to "immigrants who have participated in criminal gang activity, or have been convicted of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment, human trafficking, obstruction of justice, domestic violence, or a felony count of driving under the influence." I mean, they're reflections of pretty common fears about immigrants and their families, but that doesn't mean these criminals suck any less.

Obama voted to increase the minimum wage. Hillary agreed and McCain didn't.

Iraq! Oh, shit. We've come to Iraq. I'll keep this one brief, since I don't want to end up rambling about this topic for a long while. There was a bill that apparently was in need of some cloture (instead of sitting and being debated forever) and Obama voted for cloture along with Hillary, while McCain didn't vote at all. This bill would give the DoD some more money, as well as setting some guidelines I bet Bush hated. Check the highlights to see what I'm talking about. Cloture wasn't invoked.

Obama said yes to embryonic stem cell research, as did Hillary and McCain. Unfortunately Bush vetoed, and the override vote failed. Damn.

As for Teh Gheyz, Obama not to invoke cloture on a bill that'd prohibit states from recognizing same sex unions. Hillary and McCain agreed.

Other articles about people's career history before the senate gigs.

In Trial Work, Edwards Left a Trademark

Mr. Edwards filed at least 20 similar lawsuits against doctors and hospitals in deliveries gone wrong, winning verdicts and settlements of more than $60 million, typically keeping about a third. As a politician he has spoken of these lawsuits with pride.


Indeed, there is a growing medical debate over whether the changes have done more harm than good. Studies have found that the electronic fetal monitors now widely used during delivery often incorrectly signal distress, prompting many needless Caesarean deliveries, which carry the risks of major surgery.

The rise in such deliveries, to about 26 percent today from 6 percent in 1970, has failed to decrease the rate of cerebral palsy, scientists say. Studies indicate that in most cases, the disorder is caused by fetal brain injury long before labor begins.

An examination of Mr. Edwards's legal career also opens a window onto the world of personal injury litigation. In building his career, Mr. Edwards underbid other lawyers to win promising clients, sifted through several dozen expert witnesses to find one who would attest to his claims, and opposed state legislation that would have helped all families with brain-damaged children and not just those few who win big malpractice awards.

Obama got start in civil rights practice

The firm of Miner Barnhill & Galland, many of whose members have Harvard and Yale law degrees, has a reputation that fits nicely into the resume of a future presidential candidate.

"It's a real do-good firm," says Fay Clayton, lead counsel for the National Organization for Women in a landmark lawsuit aimed at stopping abortion clinic violence. "Barack and that firm were a perfect fit. He wasn't going to make as much money there as he would at a LaSalle Street firm or in New York, but money was never Barack's first priority anyway."

As far as Hillary Clinton goes... I dunno about her career experience. Before doing some digging I can say all I've ever heard of her doing before her carpetbagging senate bid was plan dinner parties for her husband. Looks like she's done her work with children's and women's advocacy. This is an awesome thing to be doing, particularly if she's looking to justify the votes of feminist groups who're pushing for her election just to get a woman in office. At least she's got a good chance to do things those groups will want her to do.

I guess my objections to Hillary are harder to define. First off, it seemed like she was always pretty solidly in line with whatever Bush liked until it came time to make her own bid as a democrat. She goes with Bush on foreign policy (and hers looks a lot like what we've got now) but now all of a sudden this administration is some kind of common enemy for Hillary and a disenchanted population. Erm... What?

I just don't get good vibes from Hillary, and it's things like that. I know what kinds of things she says but I have no freakin' clue what the hell she wants.

So yeah. That's me sitting down for an hour or so and just looking at stuff. I don't know if that helps anybody or if I missed whole big spans of important material, but this is better than nothing.

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