The Lesser of two Evils is Still Evil

It’s an all-to common complaint, no doubt heard by everyone sooner or later. The complaint of a disinterested voter, saying that they don’t really like either of the candidates from the two major parties, but that they’re voting for one or the other because “they are the lesser of two evils.”

Maybe you’ve even had this thought yourself. I know it crossed my mind when I was younger. But before you commit yourself on Election day, consider this: the lesser of two evils is still evil. So why not take a principled stand and vote for a 3rd party candidate?

There’s really no reason not to – after all, if your reasoning has let you pick one candidate because they’re “not as bad” as the other one, then certainly one of the 3rd party candiates would be even less “bad” by that same reasoning. And wouldn’t it be nice to have some change for once?

I can hear your retorts already: “but voting for a 3rd party candidate is a waste of my vote!” Hogswash. A principled vote is never a wasted vote, for one thing, and need I remind you that the President is not chosen by popular vote? Go read up on how the Electoral College works and then see how you feel.

Of course, some people will argue that they don’t want “the other guy” to win – which tells me that they’re in a state that is pretty much assumed to give their Electoral College votes to one particular candidate. And sure, if your state instead gives its votes to a 3rd party candidate, that might mean one less Electoral College vote for one of the main candidates – which might be enough to give the lead to “the other guy.” It’s a possibility, for sure.

But consider this – this race is pretty close by all accounts. So the candidates need every vote they can get. But – and this is the important part – they need a majority to win. Not just the most votes out of all candidates, but more than 50% of all Electoral College votes. Just a few states giving their votes to 3rd party candidates – or even just one big state – could potentially rob both candidates of the necessary votes to win a majority.

Can you imagine the signal that would send to politicians everywhere in this country? Sure, the 3rd party candidate wouldn’t probably “win” (without a majority, the decision gets passed to the House of Representatives), but it would certainly shake things up a bit! It would break the strangle hold the two main parties of this country have on our government – bring a little “fresh air” into the process, so to speak. No longer could politicians just assume that all they have to do is beat “the other guy” – they’d have to work harder to keep their jobs, and that means they’d listen more to their constituents.

Just the idea of a little bit of a shake-up on that level gives me goose-bumps. And the best part is that it all starts with your vote. If you weren’t planning on voting (shame on you!), think about getting out there and voting – not for who you think has the best chance of winning, but for who you really want to win. In many places, a few extra votes could make all the difference.

That would be real change. So think about that before you make up your mind who you’re going to vote for in this election – and if you know someone who’s made the “lesser of two evils” argument before – maybe pass this on to them, and maybe they’ll join you in a principled vote. When a lot of people make principled votes, it’s no longer just principled – it’s real change. And isn’t that what we need right now?

Just get Firefox already, geez!

My attempts to urge Internet Explorer users to upgrade to something better.
If you are visiting this site with Internet Explorer 6 or 7, you will probably notice a large orange banner at the top that didn’t used to be there before, suggesting that you upgrade to Firefox.

Don’t be alarmed – this is deliberate.

I’ve seen it happen, time and time again. You’ve probably read about it in the news or heard about it on TV – you almost can’t escape it these days. Of course I’m talking about viruses, trojans, worms, botnets, spyware, spam, and identity fraud.

In a statistically significant portion of cases where people get these sorts of things, it is because they use Internet Explorer.

It is possible to get your computer infected by just reading an email (with a client that renders the email via IE) or by just visiting a web page. You don’t even have to click “Yes” to download anything in some cases. And although Microsoft has taken steps lately to improve the security of IE (IE 7 is much safer than IE 6), it is still much, much more vulnerable than Firefox.

So why take the risk? It only takes a few minutes to install Firefox.

Now, granted, some cases are due to user error – after all, the fake emails & fake websites that entice you to enter your password or bank number or whatever are getting better looking & more sophisticated every day – but using IE is like shaving with a straight razor – sure, it gets the job done, but if you mess up just a little bit – you’re dead! Firefox, on the other hand, is like a nice electric razor with the skin-softening gel. You won’t slice your jugular open and it even soothes away the minor irritation of an every-day activity!

I see news reports about things like the Storm worm and I just think of all those poor people, unwittingly taking part of botnet-type activities – DDOS, spam generation, and so forth.

In this day and age – with all these threats – with so many people getting their computers completely hosed on almost a monthly basis – and with so much of our lives (photos, emails, banking info) on our computers, there is just no reason to keep using a browser that is so potentially dangerous. Especially when the safer alternative is both free, easy-to-use, and available right now.

So stop procrastinating. Unless you enjoy living dangerously, just get Firefox already, Okay? You’ll be glad you did.

Make Mine Chocolate!

Please, please, please… think carefully before you buy a rabbit for your children for Easter. They are a big responsibility.
Make Mine Chocolate!

It’s getting towards that time of year again. And by “that time of year” I mean “Easter.” Which, coincidentally, is when we found Gus being abused by some neighborhood children in our parking lot, and took him into our home.

Please, please, please… think carefully before you buy a rabbit for your children. They are cute and adorable when they are little, but they can grow quite big (depending on breed) and require a lot of space. If you insist on keeping them in a cage, you must let them out to play at least once every day so that they can stretch their legs. And remember, a lot of people buy rabbits for Easter, but then get “tired” of them later on and dump them in shelters, where they will be put to sleep if they can’t get adopted.

So this Easter, if you must have a rabbit, consider adopting one instead of buying one from a pet store – and check out the Make Mine Chocolate link above to make sure you’re ready for a rabbit. And if you weren’t planning on getting a rabbit, but you find the idea of rabbits as disposable pets abhorrent (as I do), please help spread the word. The Make Mine Chocolate site has posters you can put up around your neighborhood – at the grocery store, at the pet store, at school, wherever.

All the rabbits whose lives you help save will surely thank you.

Rabbits as Indoor Pets

Surprise – rabbits actually make quite good indoor pets! They’re kind of like vegetarian cats… sort of.
People are often surprised when I mention that the bunnies live inside with me, and not in a cage of any sort. I think this stems from some common misconceptions of rabbits – the perception that rabbits are outdoor animals that somehow need to live in a cage. This, of course, could not be further from the truth.

Indoor rabbits are a lot like cats – or so I say to people who seem surprised when I tell them that my rabbits live inside. Some of the ways that rabbits are like cats are:

  • They can be litter trained – in fact once you spay/neuter a rabbit, getting them to go in one spot, in a litter box, is quite easy. They tend to go in one spot naturally, and you just have to put a box there and – presto! A litter trained rabbit.
  • They sleep a lot during the day. (While you’re at work, just like cats tend to do.) They also nap a lot, like cats.
  • They’re pretty self-sufficient – like cats, they need occasional brushing, and of course you have to feed them and change their litter, but other than that they can pretty much take care of themselves (especially if you have 2 rabbits together – if you only have 1 rabbit, you should spend time with it so it doesn’t get bored or lonely and start chewing on your furniture).
  • They can be destructive to furniture. Cats scratch things; rabbits chew them.
  • They have personality like cats – some rabbits just don’t like to be petted or stay on your lap. Others love it.
  • They groom themselves – just like cats do. (Maybe even more so!)

When you think about it, as indoor pets, rabbits are basically just vegetarian cats. So if you think that cats can live indoors with people, then rabbits can too. The only difference is that you have to trim rabbits’ nails – whereas a cat would NOT like you trying that! As long as you play with them (cats like to play with string, and some rabbits do as well, if you dangle it – Gus is particular to this when he’s in the mood for it) and give them attention and healthy food, rabbits can be just as enjoyable indoors as an indoor cat.

Just don’t put the two together – depending on the size of your cat or rabbit, one or the other might end up hurt. Even small rabbits can kick quite hard, and a cat will quickly learn to leave a rabbit alone if kicked once, but you never know – a cat with a full set of claws could also hurt a rabbit quite badly, or scare it out of its wits. (Although my mom’s cat seems to be terrified of my bunnies!)

So there you have it – a good rational for letting rabbits live indoors with you, the same as you would with a cat. Now if you don’t mind, Gus is demanding some attention – so until next time…!

UPDATE: You can follow the adventures of Gus and Betsy now on their own blog, The Life and Times of Bunnies!