Month: October, 2013


Expect a few changes in the coming weeks. I have teamed up with two other amateur writers to produce content for a new project focused on non-partisan politics. Invigorating stuff!

But, as it stands, I must continue to write here to fulfill requirements for my university course. So in the mean time I will still be posting here. I’m currently working on a post about first-ladies, as my girlfriend pointed out that I have neglected the most important demographic.


What I’m reading about today: Halloween Politics


Inefficient Ideas

The concept of inefficiency is nothing new to the American government –or the American people. Congress’s track record speaks volumes to that point. Why, then, is congress, despite its inefficiency, so necessary? …Is it necessary?

To explore this idea, one must take off the traditional/collectivist/nationalist hat and replace it with the hat of an unbiased individual interested only in the truth. In allowing yourself to wear a new hat you may find that it suits you much better than the old one.

I will focus primarily on the ways in which members of congress are voted in to office since that is where the power of the individual (who doesn’t hold a political office) is strongest (through voting). In America, every state except for Nebraska and Maine employ a winner-take-all system. This means that a candidate needs only a plurality of votes in order to win. It is for this reason, and the electoral college, that a candidate can become president despite losing the popular vote.

There are obvious problems with this system as portrayed in this Pre-Windows 98 info-graphic:



Though this may seem contradictory according to my last post about Political Monopolies, the winner take all system creates an objectively less democratic political atmosphere through the misrepresentation of the majority through the minority’s vote by a plurality. What I mean by the misrepresentation of the majority is that, in most elections, the majority of voters eligible to vote in said election don’t. The plurality that is responsible for electing a candidate into office, then, is not representative of even the majority of eligible voters, much less the majority of the governed. The contradiction becomes a paradox when you understand that the dilemma is not between two equally inefficient options: Winner-take-all and Proportional Representation.

The European response to winner-take-all is proportional representation which is self-explanatory: Congressional seats are divided according to the proportion of voters they are to numerically represent. This, too, has its own shortfalls. Some critics say that, as opposed to our current system of polarized parties, proportional representation would gridlock politics in semantics (too late) and fragment parties into, you guessed it, factions (too late, again).

But all in the name of increased representation/democracy, right?

The truth  is that the presence of factions lead to a more accurate representation of the electorate, but only by magnifying the political differences between citizens who are supposed to share a national identity. The absence of factions in Congress, however, leads to a false sense of compulsion to vote for on of two parties but a more stable and homogenized public atmosphere. Pick your poison.

The truly discerning reader will scroll to the top and find that one of my initial questions is whether congress is necessary to begin with. When this country was founded, its framers sought to fix a system they considered broken. There aren’t many who will argue that Congress is a well-oiled legislation creation machine, or that it operates remotely well. I doubt the founders would expect a nation of 300 million to remain complacent with such blatant inefficiency. To revolutionize the existing system or create an entirely new one would be a historically accurate continuation of our founders’  radical legacy. To completely reject the notion of government’s limiting constraints of both the individual and the collective, however, may be the most accurate continuation.


What I’m reading about today: The Senate’s Interpretation of The Constitution

Fashion App

Have you ever encountered the problem of wanting clothing that doesn’t meet the demands of your budget? Me too. That’s why I have devised an app that could potentially solve this issue (that and the fact that my professor requires it).

Say hello to Copy Catch, the app that identifies the low-priced doppelganger counterpart to high-end clothing items and accessories. Say you find a shirt at Barney’s that costs 350$, using Copy Catch you would post a picture of it, the price, and a link to where it can be purchased online. Once posted in the “Hunt” section of your Copy Catch profile,  a community of bargain hunters would hunt down a look-alike and post a picture of the shirt, it’s price, and a link to where you can purchase it.

The app depends on the power of crowd-sourcing, nothing new to social media driven retail (Groupon, Living social, Woot).

Here are some mock-up screen shots:

Home ScreenA user’s home screen would display a feed where they can browse the finds of those they follow.  Two pictures would be included in every post: one of the high priced item with the price and a link to where it can be bought online and one of the bargain priced item with the same information.

A user will probably follow individuals with a similar style so they may find articles they would be interested in. The feed is also where they can post new hunts; however, it is not where they would check the status of existing hunts. Hunts aren’t limited to expensive clothing in a store, a user may post a piece they see someone wearing on the street, at work, or at a political fundraiser…still a political blog.


On the Hunts screen, a user can sort through their unmatched pieces by different categories: brand, price, date, color, shirts, pants, etc. Listed in each category are two pictures: one of the expensive piece with the price and a link to where it can be found online and another with a searching icon and the desired or “Goal” price of the bargain piece. Once the bargain piece is found, the search icon will be replaced with the picture of the new item as well as it’s price and a link to where it can be bought online.

What I’m reading about today: Monetary Policy