Views on politics and current events

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Internet Can Be A Spooky Place

This post is not about any current event. It is about a strange occurrence happening right here, right on this blog, right at the top of the page above the title.

Take a look. Notice the 'Ads By Google' box? Funny, I never put it there. I used to have google ads on this blog, but I inserted that code myself. This 'other' google ad box just appeared one day. I removed the google ad code I had inserted, just to see if somehow the two were connected. No dice. The box at the top remains. Where did this nefarious Google Ad Box From Hell come from?

Why is it nefarious? Read on:

  • It is obvious to anyone that's read my blog very much that I am mostly politically liberal.
  • It is also obvious to anyone that has read my blog that I am pro labor union.
  • To those who do not know about Google Adsense, the entire premise is to get website and blog owners to install the code on their sites to help promote the advertisers that pay for google advertising. When someone clicks on the ad and visits the promoted site, a small sum is paid to the owner of the blog or site that hosted the Google Ad. Google has set this up so that most ads that show up on your site will be relevant to the content of your site.
Now that I've explained (or confused you), my question is: Why do the ads that appear in this Google Ad Box From Hell advertise Mike Huckabee's website, and an anti-labor union website? Not always. Sometimes there is an ad for Genuine Maytag Parts, which could be because of a few posts concerning the shutting down of the Maytag plant in Newton Iowa. But most of the time adds appear that are promoting things I am not in favor of. In fact, they are 180 degrees from what I agree with.

Relevancy as concerning the internet can be very broad. But I fail to understand how a an anti-union website is relevant to my blog, or how Mike Huckabee's website is relevant. And why is this Google Ad box even on this blog, when I never put it where it's at, or installed the code? I have no idea where the code is. I'm not very good at the code stuff, so it could be right in front of me and I don't know it. But I've looked.

So I can't remove the Google Ad Box From Hell. I've attempted to find out some info on Google's help page. No luck. Logged in to my Google Adsense account. More options for questions and help that boggle the mind, but I could not find out any information about which websites I've got Adsense on, just a total I've earned so far (65 cents). Looked and looked for someone to contact about my question. Forget it. The only option is the Google Adsense Forum. Uh, no thanks. I've already spent enough time on this.

Perhaps it's just me, but Google seems to not be very 'user friendly' about this specific problem. As this blog costs me nothing, I probably should not complain. I've thought about just closing down this blog altogether, or moving to another blog provider. But I nixed that whole idea. Ego aside, there's no great shakes about just leaving the damn blog up and running, no matter the ads at the top of it. But The Google Ad Box From Hell is still quite annoying. If anyone out there in the vast expanse of cyberspace has a clue about all this, let me know. I'd appreciate it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Random Thoughts On The Iowa Caucuses

After spending the previous evening watching the beginning of Campaign '08, I'm going to be a real wet blanket and ask "What the hell's the big whoopin' deal?"

First, the Iowa Caucus system itself. Perhaps we need a politician to be resurrected from the 19th century to explain it, because that's the kind of system it appears to be. Just a few tidbits about this caucus-come-fiasco:

* How in hell does an Iowan become a caucus participant? Register? Beg? Steal? Visit The Great Ear Of Corn in the Holy of Holies Corn Field to be anointed? All I've heard is that to become a caucus participant (caucuser?) ain't easy. 'Natch.

* People have to travel to the their caucus location.

* There are actually two caucuses (is the plural for caucus like the plural for cactus? Cacti, Cauci?) one for Democrats and one for Republicans. Each one is run differently than the other, just for the fun of it.

* A candidate needs 15% of the total votes for their votes to 'count'.

* If the candidate does not get 15%, they can 'give' their votes to someone else. Wait a minute, if that's the case, their votes do count. Just not for them. Sorry for the confusion.

* There are people standing in the corner of the room, trying to 'lure' people to their choice of candidate. What do they use for bait? Booze? Drugs? Money? A night on the town? A lollipop?

* Delegates that are elected (I think (?) there are delegates elected) are not obligated or bound to their candidate.

* There are Super Delegates. What makes them Super? Damned if I know.

* The population of the state of Iowa is right around 3 million people, with about 2.1 million registered to vote. There was an incredible amount of hooplah about how many caucus participants there were. About 210,000, last I heard. So all of the fireworks from politicians and the media because 10% of the citizens of Iowa participated? In a system that is not easy to participate in. In an antiquated system that gets a lot of publicity for being the 'first' caucus or primary, but in reality is mostly a revenue producer for the state of Iowa.

Iowa, like most of the rest of the states in this country is in pretty bad economic shape. If politicians want to go there and blow millions on a campaign, I'll not begrudge Iowa reaping a little monetary gain. But give me a break. You'd think the results were astounding, revelatory, incredible, or whatever other inane superlative the media mouth-jockeys said last night.

To be sure, the results are interesting, and I'm still thinking about all of them. But an earth-shaking thunder clap calling for change? Hardly. More like a fart from a tired old mouse in the corner. Nothing personal, my friends in Iowa, but I think your caucus system needs overhauled.

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