Saturday, June 5, 2010

Primarily Broken - 400 words on Proposition 14 in California

Proposition 14: The End of Democracy or the Beginning of a New Politics?
by Joshua M. Patton

California is often said to be where new ideas are field-tested in America and an initiative to reform elections will be the next idea put to the test in the statewide election on June 8, 2010. Dubbed “Proposition 14,” the measure seeks to reform the way primary elections are decided in that state. By taking the power to elect away from political party nominating committees and placing it directly in the hands of the voters, the system mimics those used to elect officials in Los Angeles and bears striking similarities to the non-partisan blanket primary system currently used in Louisiana. This ballot-initiative is not without controversy.

That the controversy and hyperbole comes from the political party establishments that would no longer nominate a candidate is not surprising. What is unexpected however is that it seems the only thing that can unite Republicans, Democrats, and even the Green parties is the threat of a reduction in their power. According to the Los Angeles Times, this coalition referred to Proposition 14 as “the end of Democracy in California.”

One of the problems with primary elections is that typically only the fringes and more extreme supporters of the parties even participate in the vote. This formula can possibly result in the unfortunate circumstance of a candidate winning the primary that would most likely lose a general election match-up. Under the current laws, the party bosses could disregard the will of the voters and nominate whomever they think has the best chance of winning the general election.

Proposition 14 would give the power of nomination directly to the voters. The two candidates that receive the highest number of votes would go on to the general election regardless of their political parties. Similarly, the voters themselves could vote for any candidate regardless of their stated party or lack thereof. There are of course measures in place for runoff elections in the event of a tie. Still the debate rages on as to whether or not this will diminish the effectiveness of third parties or if it will allow one party to gain a stranglehold on the state. By June 8, the voters will vote to maintain the status quo or they will seize control of their primary and general elections from the hands of dealmakers in smoke-free backrooms.

400 More words on the LOST finale

Below is a "writing sample" I wrote and submitted to perhaps land an advertised gig, only to discover that they were willing to pay me all of $2.

Finally Finale
By Joshua M. Patton

On May 23, 2010, an era of television ended, perhaps for good. The series finale of LOST aired to a viewing audience of over 18 million people after six years of character-stories, myth, and mystery. Yet this day did not just mark the end of an ambitious and riveting television show, but perhaps marked the passing of the big-budget serialized-drama on the broadcast network. The LOST finale is on-track to be the highest-rated scripted finale this year, but was the profit high enough to justify the exorbitant price-tag of the show? The two-hour pilot of LOST was the most expensive in television history costing ABC between $11 and $14 million. Although HBO’s Boardwalk Empire may cost that network over four times that amount according The New York Post. The beleaguered broadcast industry cannot keep pace with creative spending of that magnitude.

However, throughout the season, LOST rarely beat American Idol in the ratings – a show far less expensive to produce or NCIS – a procedural police drama of self-contained episodes. LOST, like other critically-acclaimed darling, but ratings-failure Arrested Development, was not a show that the casual viewer could start watching halfway through a season. The plotlines of the show were interwoven with character vignettes that simultaneously advanced the greater story arc of the season. Still ABC made every effort to give the casual viewer a chance to glean all of the necessary information needed about the show to enjoy the finale by devoting their entire weekend to LOST.

On Saturday, May 22, 2010, ABC re-aired an enhanced version of the pilot episode of LOST. While the story played subtitled information about the characters, the mythology, and plot of the show relevant to the action like Pop-Up Videos for the BlackBerry and Twitter age. The following day, a two-hour series retrospective with interviews with the cast and creators of the show highlighted the story and some of the more iconic scenes from the series, such as when Terry O’Quinn and Matthew Fox argue over science and faith. Show-runners and head writers, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were on hand, but series creator and director of the pilot J.J. Abrams was noticeably absent. After the two-and-a-half-hour finale, Lost superfan Jimmy Kimmel dedicated his entire show following the finale to say goodbye to LOST and perhaps closing the book on the serialized drama on network television.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thoughts on the LOST Finale

As a fan of the show LOST, I discovered within that community a number of people who had a flair for writing that was fueled solely by their passions for the show. They provided theories and recaps of the episodes and helped those confused at the end of each week to put their thoughts in order....and also talked some major NONSENSE.

Still here is a collection of their thoughts, but be warned the first guy on there is really long-winded.

Enjoy and Namaste.

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