Ranked Choice Vote Works! Maine 2018

Finally, finally, a success for Ranked Choice Vote in the United States. After decades of struggling against the disastrous first-past-the-post voting system, we finally get a real step towards voting that actually works.

(Seriously, first past the post is horrible, and stuff like the 1998 Minnesota Governor Election shows exactly why. Only five states—Washington, California, Louisiana, Georgia (<3), and Maine—avoid this massive problem that has plagued the country for ages.)

ranked choice vote only in maine
Pathetic

Finally, in 2016, Maine approved instant runoff voting for all its statewide elections—or, in other words, Ranked Choice Voting. And in 2018, we finally saw it in action for the first time.

Ranked Choice Vote

voting precinct

If you aren’t familiar with Ranked Choice Voting, here is the way-too-simple explanation. Instead of choosing one candidate to vote for, you take all candidates on the ballot and rank them from top to bottom. Then, when all ballots are counted, if nobody reaches 50% on the first round, the worst scoring candidate is eliminated, and anyone who had the worst candidate as their #1 will then transfer to their #2, and then so on and so on.

Read more about it and other electoral reform topics on FairVote.

It’s not a perfect system, but literally anything is better than first-past-the-post. And Maine is the first state to show it off… And to show that it really works!

Maine Paves the Way

Despite constant repeal attempts over the past few years, Ranked Choice Voice has survived and thrived in Maine, and in 2018 we got to see it in action. People voted, the system didn’t collapse in on itself, and the votes came in just as planned.

In fact, in the second district, we actually saw our first case of multi-ballot voting. In the first round, the Republican candidate led, but only with 46%. After the lower-ranking candidates were eliminated, the Democrat was declared the winner with 50.6% of the vote.

It all went very well. And it showed that Ranked Choice Vote is a viable voting system that will hopefully replace first-past-the-post in many more states.

On the ballot in November, voters in Alaska and Massachusetts will decide on Ranked Choice Vote. And starting next year, New York City will conduct its biggest local elections with the system. If all of that goes as well as Maine, we could see a really big revolution in voting in the 20s. All thanks to 2018!

And in extremely recent news: Maine will vote for President with Ranked Choice Vote for the first time ever in American history! Yay!

For more another blog post on news & politics, read about the GOP’s disastrous anti-transit tactics in the early 10s.

Artificial Shortages of Every Single Nintendo Product Ever Made [2012-2019]

Here is a brief history of Nintendo’s undying love for artificial shortages.

Nintendo got cocky from the Wii. It sold out really badly in its first Christmas season; nobody could get one, and everyone wanted one. It created a fire that fueled the console’s amazing success in the years to follow. Possibly thanks to its incredible scarcity, the Wii quickly took off to become the second-best-selling console of all-time.

So when the Wii U stalled out of the gate and did NOT sell out in Holiday 2012, Nintendo apparently took the lessons of the Wii’s success, assumed that scarcity was the only way it succeeded, and decided to redo the same exact same strategy with every stupid piece of hardware they ever released!

Xenoblade Chronicles (2012)

tiny xenoblade

Nintendo decided to hang the game out to dry with not a single clue that it could ever succeed. This made no sense because Xenoblade was already a critically acclaimed smash in Japan and Europe, but Nintendo of America just had no confidence here. It suffered stock shortages in the UK because it was so popular… And yet they still did it!

It was a Gamestop exclusive, so its copies were already going to be sparse. A major example of artificial shortages if there ever was one. But when it inevitably earned its status as a modern classic, Gamestop decided to go even further into craven business practices by causing an artificial price boost to its own copies.

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Living in Florida: The Month of S [2018]

I didn’t plan on living in Florida, but somehow it happened. If you want to talk about really badly planned events that went extremely well, you want to talk about the time in 2018 when I moved to Florida for a couple months.

Waiting for JET

Because I had just gone and assumed I’d be accepted for the JET Program after applying in 2017, I decided not to renew my lease in Seattle. I would quit my job at the end of May 2018, then spend time with my Dad’s side of the family, then my Mom’s side of the family, before I moved to Japan for several years.

It was a very solid plan—June in Florida, July in Georgia, then August and beyond in wherever JET sent me, hopefully Aichi Prefecture. The only problem was that I didn’t get accepted. I got waitlisted.

I feverishly tracked the JET Program Reddit to find out the status of waitlisted candidates to see my chances go down, and down, and down.

In April when the real acceptances were picked, some obviously had to decline and then more alternates would be picked to fill those slots. That never came.

In May I waited for the college graduates who got a sweet offer at their Dad’s firm and decided a $70,000 base salary was better than their presumed year-long vacation to Japan. That never came.

In June I waited for those last emergency dropouts for people who got arrested or had health problems or simply got wet feet. That never came.

I mean, I know I bombed the interview really badly, but I felt so confident that I looked great on paper. I studied in Japan for a year and had Japanese as a minor, I had experience as a teaching assistant, I had a degree in Writing & Linguistics and knew a lot about the English language… It genuinely hurt me to find that I had been completely passed over.

It hurt me even more to know that I had already set the plans in motion to go and could not stop them under any circumstance. Already having subleased my room out, already having put in my notice at work, already having bought plane tickets to Florida, it was beyond too late to reconsider. And it really sucked, but I decided to make good use of it anyway!

This is actually a pretty happy story, I promise.

(Also, spoiler alert, but I DID get accepted to the JET Program months later in one of the most fateful freak accidents the world has ever given me. I’ve been grateful ever since.)

Continue reading “Living in Florida: The Month of S [2018]”