All posts by Adam

Izze Sparkling Pomegranate

Complete Score: 34 / 42 = 81%

Hmmm…sparkling pomegranates…hmmm!

The latest craze aside, I love the taste of pomegranates, they’re sweet but sharp and instantly refreshing. That’s why when I saw the Izze Sparkling Pomegranate Juice Soda, I had to give it a try.

Value

At $1 per 12 ounce bottle, IZZE is neither cheap nor expensive but rather middle of the range. It’s made from all natural ingredients and contains real non-refined sugar so at least it’s better than soda with high fructose corn syrup.

The nutritional value of this drink is low, as it contains 120 calories, 15 mg of sodium and 29 grams of carbohydrates, 26 of which are from sugar.

Score: 3 / 5

Hmm...pomegranatey
Hmm...pomegranatey

Quality

As noted above, Izze uses all natural ingredients in their drinks and it makes a difference as one glass of Sparkling Pomegranate juice delivers a sharp, sweet taste that pays homage to its name, while the lack of refined sugars and caffeine does not leave you feeling drained just a few minutes later. It’s a very refreshing beverage and the sparkling (carbonated) water is a nice touch that gives you that little bit of fizz action.

Score: 4 / 5

Innovation

This pomegranate soda is a unique drink that I’ve yet to see bottled by other companies. It’s flavored similar to pomegranate juice but also has a mix of juice from pineapples, apples, white grapes, lemons, and cranberries to balance out the flavor very nicely. Also note that the label on the Izze Sparkling Pomegranate bottle points out that the USDA recommends we get most of our fruit from whole fruits, and urges us to eat whole fruits! Imagine that, a company telling us the truth and recommending we buy a product they don’t make!

Score: 4 / 5

Social Benefit

Unlike the Hansen’s line of natural sodas we reviewed earlier, Izze’s natural flavored juice beverages come in glass bottles that make for easier recycling and a cleaner taste than aluminum cans.s Also, as noted in the innovation category, Izze recommends we eat whole fruits too, not just rely on their beverages for our daily fruit servings. It’s nice to see a company state health facts that don’t necessarily help their bottom line. The all natural ingredients round out a beverage that might not be good for us on its own, but is certainly much, much better for us and our society than the average High Fructose Corn Syrup laden sodas found on our shelves.

Izze also participates in their community, giving back some of their profits to help others, thus also helping to offset any negative externalities such as pollution from transporting the beverage.

Score: 4 / 5

Fizzy!
Fizzy!

Freestyle!

Simply put, pomegranates rock and the Izze Sparkling Pomegrante juice soda drink is uber tasty delicious!

Score: 18 / 22

Buy delicious Izze Sparkling Pomegranate Juice Soda online right now!

Complete Score: 34 / 42 = 81%

Kashi Margherita Tomato Garlic Cheese Thin Crust Pizza

Complete Score: 31.5 / 42 = 75%

Since our review of the Kashi Mediterranean Pizza, the company has come out with a new thin crust line of pizzas which look quite appetizing. I picked one of these up today and am glad I did, it was delicious!

Ooooh....thin!
Ooooh....thin!

Value

With Mr. Money’s tip about getting $2 off Kashi pizzas, I was able to grab the Kashi Margherita Tomato Garlic Cheese Thin Crust Pizza for only $4 and change. That’s a pretty good deal for an entire meal. Normally these pizzas run for $6 though so that is how we’ll rate them. Similar to the Kashi Mediterranean Pizza, these thin crust pizzas are a good but not great value.

Below are the nutritional facts pulled from the Kashi site. As with the Mediterranean Pizza, these values are per serving and list one pizza as 3 servings. You’ll likely eat the whole pizza in a sitting so just multiply the below by three.

Nutritional Facts

  • 260 Calories
  • 90 Calories from Fat
  • 9 g Total Fat
  • 4 g Saturated Fat
  • 0 g Trans Fat
  • 20 mg Cholesterol
  • 630 mg Sodium
  • 29 g Carbohydrates
  • 4 g Fiber
  • 4 g Sugars
  • 14 g Protein
  • 10% Vitamin A
  • 10% Vitamin C
  • 20% Calcium
  • 8% Iron

Pretty close in value to the Kashi Mediterranean Pizza. For the cost and considering it’s a frozen pizza you get a fair amount of nutrients for one meal.

Score: 4 / 5

Quality

This pizza was delicious! The crust was perfect and the cheese and toppings cooked and melted perfectly. Plus, since it’s thin crust it only takes 6-7 minutes to cook! There’s just the right amount of garlic, that amount that leaves you satisfied an hour or two later with the taste of garlic still hitting your taste buds but not overwhelmingly so.

Score: 4.5 / 5

Innovation

Well, the thin crust is a new addition for Kashi and one that’s rarely seen in the frozen pizza market so I’ll give them an extra .5 points in addition to their previous innovation score.

Score: 4.5 / 5

Hmmm...thin crust deliciousness
Hmmm...thin crust deliciousness

Social Benefit

We discussed the social impact of Kashi frozen pizzas before so let me just quickly state that they’re good for society in that they substitute for delivery pizza, which is often greasy and unhealthy. However frozen pizzas use a lot of salt to preserve themselves and are not exactly healthy, just healthier. If you really want to reduce your impact and increase your health make a pizza from scratch.

Score: 2.5 / 5

Freestyle!

For $4 it’s tough to beat this pizza. For $6, you’re better off making your own but if you’re crunched for time then it’s really tough to beat a pizza that cooks in under ten minutes.

Score: 16 / 22

Kashi pizzas are available at Stop & Shop and many other super markets.

Complete Score: 31.5 / 42 = 75%

My 2008 Voting Experience

Complete Score: 31 / 42 = 74%

Before we begin, let me make it clear I am reviewing my voting experience, not any candidate or the results of the 2008 elections. Rather, I’m reviewing my polling place, the ballot, and the general experience. Let’s begin!

Value

Around 3:00 PM, I walked downstairs, hopped on my bicycle and pedaled the few blocks to the Bellflower Apartments a few blocks away. Once there, I locked my bike up and headed inside. There was a line of 2-3 people on my side of the polling station (having voted there in ’06 I knew exactly where to go) but it quickly moved. A minute later I was standing at a polling booth with marker in hand ready to fill in the ovals next to my candidate and ballot choices (in Massachusetts we had three ballot initiatives, abolish the state income tax, decriminalize marijuana, and ban dog racing). I quickly filled in my choices for the major offices and ballot questions, pausing to Google a few of the candidates I did not see before via my iPhone.

Within a few minutes I was set and ready and walked over to the table next to the machine that accepts my ballot for a second check of my info. After watching the machine eat and process my ballot I walked out, unlocked my bike and pedaled home, arriving back before 3:15 PM.

All in all, the process was quite painless and certainly worth 15 minutes.

Score: 4 / 5

Quality

As far as I can tell, there were no voting irregularities and I did not experience any technical or registration issues at my polling place. The ballot was clear and ovals nice and big enough to mark easily. The paper ballot combined with a counting machine makes the process seem relatively straightforward and as tamper-proof as possible. The staffers were nice and the process went quickly.

Score: 4 / 5

Innovation

Here in Massachusetts we have a web-site devoted to telling voters where to go to vote and use paper ballots. Not sure about other states but the whole process seems as streamlined as possible. Personally, I believe we should move voting to the internet and release all votes anonymously so they can be independently verified but until such a day arrives the process here in Massachusetts, at least at my Dorchester polling station, is run well. It’s not really innovative but it is reliable and any voting process should focus on reliability first and foremost before attempting to innovate.

Score: 3 / 5

A paper ballot...how quaint!
A paper ballot...how quaint!

Photo credit to Andrew Teman.

Social Benefit

A quick, painless, easy and reliable voting procedure encourages citizens to vote and decreases the obstacles to voting. As such, the positive experience at this polling station helps our local community and society in general. Hopefully we improve voting methods across the country to be as smooth as it is here.

Score: 4 / 5

Freestyle!

No major complaints. In the end we don’t know if my vote was tabulated correctly but otherwise everything went smoothly.

Score: 16 / 22

I voted at the Bellflower Apartments at 24 Bellflower Street, Dorchester, MA 02125.

Complete Score: 31 / 42 = 74%

Barack Obama: Marketing Hope to the Masses

Complete Score: 25 / 42 = 60%

Though I’m personally voting for Ralph Nader, there is much to respect in Barack Obama and how he’s ran his campaign. Say what you will about the man or his political stances but he’s clearly led one of the best campaigns in our modern history. Sure, the fact that Obama has much more financial resources than other candidates helps him push out this campaign, but his targeting and ability to motivate citizens to get involved is admirable. No matter your political affiliation, the fact remains that we will have a huge, huge voter turnout today and no doubt Obama is a big reason for that turnout. Though I see Barack Obama as being politically closely tied to John McCain, at least Obama has shown that he can lead, which with our current crop of candidates is a rarely seen trait. The only other person I would say has shown true leadership capability is Ralph Nader, though his campaign has not nearly been as well managed as the Obama campaign.

His politics are average but the man is damn charming...
His politics are average but the man is damn charming...

Photo credit to seiu_international.

Value

So Obama can get people motivated via his eloquent speeches, but in terms of bang for his buck, Obama is not the most efficient of candidates. That honor clearly goes to one of the third party candidates, who’ve compiled dedicated fan bases with little financial support. In terms of value he would provide to the USA, I find very little that differentiates him from his moderate comrade, John McCain. They’re both in favor of expanding the war in Afghanistan, increasing the wealth of health insurance companies, “clean” coal and “safe nuclear (empty rhetoric since coal is not clean and nuclear is not safe), keeping the Patriot Act, wasting taxpayer money on failing corporations (e.g. poor understanding of economics), increased corporate power, increased surveillance of the American public (FISA), and the list goes on.

Score: 2.5 / 5

Quality

If Obama runs the country like he’s run the campaign then we’ll be OK as Obama has shown he, unlike many of the other candidates for President, has some leadership characteristics and is able to organize and manage a large organization. On one side of the spectrum we have John McCain, who has proven that he is highly incapable of organizing, managing or leading a campaign, yet alone a country, on the other side of the spectrum we have Obama who has shown that he is more than capable of running a huge campaign and possibly a country. If nothing else you have to admire the man’s campaign and ability to capitalize on his strengths while cloaking his weaknesses. I might not agree with him on many of his political stances, but I sure am glad Barack Obama is an American and not running for president of some other country.

Score: 4.5 / 5

Obama's appeal ranges over a diverse spectrum
Obama's appeal ranges over a diverse spectrum

Photo credit to EricaJoy.

Innovation

Barack Obama’s internet presence is huge and rivals that of internet phenom Ron Paul. The social network aspect of Obama’s site has helped him create a grassroots movement that has since built up into a huge national collection of voters working and volunteering for Barack Obama. He’s also introduce legislation and ideas that would open up government for citizens to see what’s going on, which amazingly is innovative considering the immense secrecy of the Bush administration. If nothing else, we can say Obama is creative, though many of his progressive ideas do come from other sources (Nader amongst others), it again is innovative to listen to others instead of relying on your own secret sect for all solutions, ala the Bush administration.

Score: 4 / 5

Social Benefit

As noted in my review of Bob Barr, we need to recognize what’s happened over the last eight years and put in safeguards to ensure it does not happen again, not simply hit the reset button. Barack Obama however is a return to the moderate Democrat politics of Bill Clinton, not a progressive movement to improve this country. Voting for Barack Obama is quite literally like hitting the reset button and pretending that George W. Bush did not happen.

On too many issues Barack Obama has taken a moderate stance highly similar to John McCain. For instance Obama’s support of clean coal, safe nuclear are empty rhetoric as clean coal is not clean and safe nuclear is not safe. These stances lead me to believe that Obama cares more about businesses and less about what’s good for our society as a whole. We have the technology today to begin relying on cleaner energy from solar, wind, geothermal and tidal sources. It is time we leave behind coal, gas, and nuclear and progress towards an independent and clean energy future.

Score: 2 / 5

Barack Obama works the crowd
Barack Obama works the crowd

Photo credit to Allison Harger.

Freestyle!

Look, I like Obama’s personality. He’s a very charismatic guy and will likely regain many of America’s allies. However, he is not a progressive figure and will merely steady this country, but not vastly improve it. I hope I am proved wrong but I find that Obama is full of hype and empty on true progressive substance. Many of my friends believe Obama will shed his moderate stances once in office and truly work to improve this country and introduce legislation to open up the political process, including making ballot access fair, allowing third party candidates to attend national debates, and empowering citizens to enact change and protect themselves. Obama would score much lower in this category if deep down I did not hold out hope that my friends are correct and that Obama truly is a progressive figure hiding in a moderate’s cloth, but that hope runs close to empty.

Score: 12 / 22

You can learn more about Barack Obama at Vote for Change.

Complete Score: 25 / 42 = 60%

Chuck Baldwin: Ron Paul’s Choice for President

Complete Score: 26.5 / 42 = 63%

Chuck Baldwin is running for president under the Constitution party, with a strong emphasis on governing under the powers allowed under the constitution, no more nor less. To any fans of Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin has many of the same platform stances, such as sound monetary policy, withdrawal of all troops and focus on actual defense, and a complete free market.

Value

Much like Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin represents a much better choice for conservative voters than John McCain. Chuck seems very, very genuine in his stances and truly does practice what he preaches (literally, he is a pastor at a Baptist church in Florida). Much in the same way that Barr would be a boost to the U.S. economy, so would Baldwin as they represent very similar stances in that they both place emphasis on free market solutions. Though I disagree that the free market can truly solve everything (for instance, it cannot be its own regulator for safety and fairness), it is a valid argument. Also, by limiting the federal government and its expenditures, Baldwin would return power to citizens and spur economic activity.

Score: 4 / 5

Chuck Baldwin & a fan
Chuck Baldwin & a fan

Photo credit to peace chicken.

Quality

Unlike Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin did stand with Ron Paul, Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney in a declaration that they are all united in four main goals and are all better choices than McCain or Obama. This decision proved hugely beneficial for Baldwin as he later earned the endorsement of Ron Paul. To me, a third party needs as many allies it can get and Barr oddly decided to cancel on Ron Paul and the other third parties and it’s hurt him dearly. I believe Barr might have gotten Ron Paul’s endorsement otherwise and thus received a huge, huge boost from Paul and most likely from Baldwin dropping out and endorsing Barr too.

Further, Baldwin has debated with Ralph Nader numerous times now and shown that and his vice-presidential candidate, Darrell Castle, are calm, collected and rational (unlike Wayne Allen Root). Showing that Baldwin can work with Ralph Nader to setup debates shows that he like Nader can co-operate and compromise and that is a much needed quality in any president or leader.

Score: 3.5 / 5

Innovation

Like Barr, Mr. Baldwin advocates a return backwards, to a time when Americans had more civil liberties. Though I agree with Mr. Baldwin that we need to remove the restrictions on civil liberties that President Bush has put in place, I believe that simply wiping out the Bush laws and signing statements will not ensure that a similar situation happens again. Mr. Baldwin does not seem to have a strategy for ensuring that we citizens have more power to prevent future government abuse.

Score: 3 / 5

Social Benefit

Though Chuck Baldwin’s stances on wiping out the Federal Reserve and the IRS would benefit our society, his pro-life, and anti-gay marriage stances will be an obstacle to moving this country towards a more progressive, diverse, and equitable country. To me freedom means allowing for freedom of choice on these issues, not restricting others on acting on their beliefs. Chuck also stands for greater energy independence but does not believe that humans are affecting the climate. To me it’s obvious that pollution is not a good social externality and that we should work to minimize our negative impact on the environment, whether or not climate change is affected by humans.

Score: 3 / 5

Freestyle!

Chuck Baldwin is a great choice for the socially and fiscally conservative voter. However, for voters like myself who lean towards social liberalism and fiscal conservatism, Baldwin’s social stances prove a bit too far to the right.

Score: 13 / 22

You can read more about Chuck Baldwin at Baldwin 08.

Complete Score: 26.5 / 42 = 63%

Bob Barr: An Old-School Republican in Libertarian Clothing

Complete Score: 23 / 42 = 55%

At first glance, Bob Barr seems to be a great choice for citizens disillusioned by the disappearing conservative values in the Republican party, but when you dig deeper it becomes more and more apparent that Bob Barr is not truly a viable choice. After watching the third party debate between Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin and Ralph Nader, it’s obvious that Barr is a better choice than John McCain as Barr exhibits true conservative values and is calm and collected and rational, but when compared to Chuck Baldwin, Barr loses much of his appeal.

Bob Barr
Bob Barr

Photo credit to Bob Barr for President.

Value

Barr would certainly make a good president for economic purposes. His position on limiting the role of government would allow private businesses to replace government and to flourish. His position on repealing the income tax and replacing it with a consumption tax would also help the average worker who chooses to save and thus provide capital for our economy, rather than punishing them as is done today. Barr is also in favor of drastically reducing government spending by decreasing military expenditures, eliminating pork, and cutting welfare benefits. Though I disagree with Mr. Barr that cutting benefits would be a good thing for our society (it would remove a much needed safety net, thus pushing people to get dangerous and illegal jobs) his stance on cutting government spending is correct and needed in our current climate.

Score: 4 / 5

Quality

Here, Wayne Allen Root [WAR], Bob Barr’s vice-presidential candidate, really hurts Mr. Barr and the libertarian party. Watching the vice-presidential debate this past Sunday, WAR come across as a used car salesman pitching us his latest lemon before we realize that this guy is just out to make a buck. Mr. Root constantly railed against the government as whole, proclaiming that anything the government touches turns to poop and that the less government the better. It strikes me as very disingenuous as Mr. Root is running for a government job. If he was truly interested in eliminating government he would be working to do so, not applying for a job! Further, humanity and our society have consistently proven that we need an intermediary to protect citizens from larger organizations and more powerful individuals. Mr. Root strikes me as the type of individual who would eliminate safeguards without ensuring that companies not take advantage of their customers, environment or other companies. A free market does not mean the government should back off, rather a free market needs a government to ensure that everyone is playing on the same field and no one is doing steroids to give themselves and unfair advantage.

Further Bob Barr has many of the same problems as Cynthia McKinney in terms of organizing his campaign and recruiting voters. For instance, Barr shunned Ron Paul and his attempt to unite third parties recently, thus losing many of the Ron Paul votes. Barr also did not attend the first third party debate but did attend a recent debate between Chuck Baldwin, Ralph Nader and Mr. Barr. Whereas Ralph Nader strikes me as someone who searches for the correct answer, Mr. Barr comes across as someone who searches for the answer that supports his libertarian platform.

Score: 2 / 5

Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root (left to right)
Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root (left to right)

Photo credit to Bob Barr for President.

Innovation

Well, by shunning Ron Paul Mr. Barr did find a new way to turn voters away from himself. Bob Barr had an easy play here, join with Ron Paul and gain access to Paul’s extremely devoted fan base. Instead Barr skipped out on Ron Paul at the last second, thus leading to Ron endorsing Chuck Baldwin over Barr.

Aside from this singular burst of creativity, Bob Barr’s platform is decidedly old-school. His platform contains many old Republican values, such as limited government and sound money policy. It’s innovative as the Republican party that championed many of these ideas (but never really instituted them) has mostly abandoned these very values but in the end it’s not quite innovative as much as practical. In our day and age though, being practical an rational is a fresh sight on the campaign trail so Mr. Barr gets some credit here.

Score: 3 / 5

Social Benefit

Unlike Chuck Baldwin, who is pro-life, and anti gay marriage, Bob Barr believes it’s simply no place for the federal government to be sticking their noses. I’d have to partially agree with Mr. Barr and believe states should be able to decide what they want to do here, as well as in many other instances. However, another part of me thinks that geography should not decide whether someone is treated equally based on sexual preference, or given access to a potentially life saving medical procedure. Though I lean liberal, I tend to agree with the conservative statement that life begins at the cellular level. It might be human life yet, but it is some form of life. It’s certainly not an inanimate object!

In either case, Barr’s belief that the federal government should get out of a private citizen’s life is a good stance, especially when it comes to our privacy and our civil rights that have been trampled upon lately. To me, Barr represents a step backward to before many of the Bush laws that took away our civil liberties, whereas Nader represents a step forward beyond the Bush laws. To me, the Nader stance seems more reasonable as it takes into account that Bush did exist. We need to recognize what’s happened over the last eight years and put in safeguards to ensure it does not happen again, not simply hit the reset button.

Score: 3 / 5

Freestyle!

Bob Barr is certainly better than John McCain, but I do not believe he’s the best presidential candidate.

Score: 11 / 22

You can read more about Bob Barr at Bob Barr 2008.

Complete Score: 23 / 42 = 55%

Ralph Nader: Uber Citizen, OK President

Complete Score: 30 / 42 = 71%

In the interests of full disclosure, please note that I will vote for Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez on November 4, 2008. Having gotten that out of the way, it’s clear that I believe Ralph is the best presidential candidate, but by no means does that mean Ralph is a perfect candidate, or even a great one at that. In my personal humble opinion, he’s the best candidate in this field because his stance on the issues is closest to what I think the correct course of action is. Even if elected, Ralph might not be a great president, as some of his ideas would prove difficult to enact without the full support of congress and the American people (though of course if elected it would show there is a large amount of support for him, which would in effect greatly change our political landscape for the better).

Value

If Ralph Nader’s record has proven anything, it’s that he would clearly be the most valuable president ever (if his past performance extends through to his presidency). As a private citizen Ralph has helped enact more laws than many career politicians. Ralph has pushed congress to enact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Wholesome Meat Act, Freedom of Information Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act, and the list goes on and on. He’s helped start and organize over 100 non-profit organizations designed to help consumers and citizens. He’s done all of these good things for our country as a private citizen, imagine if he was paid to lead this country how much more he could accomplish.

On a value principle, Ralph Nader would clearly return more bang for our buck than any other presidential candidate. Whereas in my review of Cynthia McKinney I argued that she is too abrasive to work with others to enact actual legislation, Mr. Nader has proven over and over again that he can work with everyone in order to better this country. Over the years numerous organizations, corporations and individuals have tried to shut Ralph down but every time he’s overcome these obstacles to continue fighting. Assuming Ralph continued working hard once President, the amount of positive, progressive change he could enact is mind boggling. The only reason Mr. Nader does not receive a perfect score here is because past performance does not predict future returns. There is a chance that once elected Mr. Nader would for once in his life relax, though it seems highly unlikely.

Score: 4.5 / 5

Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader

Photo credit to ragesoss.

Quality

Charisma and the ability to inspire and motivate people is a big part of leadership. Having taken a graduate level leadership course at the University of Massachusetts, I know that in the end leaders simply do not have that big of an impact on the individual nor the organization. Instead leaders can guide an organization, good leaders take the group in the right direction, while bad leaders get the group lost. However, in the end the followers all have a choice whether to follow the leader or not, and because of that choice leaders simply cannot have a huge impact (at least not huge enough to rationalize some CEO’s salaries) and followers cannot shirk responsibility for their own actions, or inactions as the case may be.

Sure, George W. Bush and countless other leaders have shown that one man can poke a lot of holes in a ship, but to sink it all by oneself is an extremely difficult task. We the people are responsible and complicit for many of Bush’s actions. By not actively fighting and protesting and lobbying, we all must take some responsibility for the decline of this country. We all have jobs and families to attend to that prevent us from actively participating in our own government but that does not excuse our responsibility.

To bring this tangent back to Ralph Nader, my point is that good leaders, via their charisma or knowledge, will guide followers down a correct path. Ralph has proven that he is capable of using his intellect and strong beliefs to aid Nader Raiders to help others and themselves. So the question is not whether Ralph Nader has what it takes to be a great leader, for he has already proven he does, but whether he has what it takes to be a great national and international leader. It is here that the potency of a Ralph Nader presidency begins to unravel. As much as I agree with the majority of Mr. Nader’s platform, he simply is not charismatic in a mainstream sense. To a certain extent, Matt Gonzalez compensates for this weakness inherent in Ralph, but the true public face of a Nader administration would be Ralph so there is only so much Matt’s charisma can do.

Watching a recent debate between Chuck Baldwin and Ralph Nader, and other public appearances, it became clear that Ralph is showing the wear and tear of decades of public service. He’s overly arrogant and is simply not as sharp as he once was. The gravity of our current economic and political situations, and the fact that Ralph has long argued we were heading this way, seems to weigh heavily on Ralph now. I cannot blame him, but the one thing the Obama campaign has gotten correct is that this nation does need an injection of hope. In the immortal words of Red from The Shawshank Redemption, Hope is a dangerous thing, but as Andy points out, it is also a good thing, and right now this nation needs some good. It also needs a realistic and critical look at itself, which Ralph provides but he lacks the charisma to energize an entire nation.

Score: 3 / 5

Matt Gonzalez: A Big Reason Why I'm Voting for Ralph Nader
Matt Gonzalez: A Big Reason Why I'm Voting for Ralph Nader

Photo credit to 1115.

Innovation

A big flaw in Nader’s campaign is a lack of creativity. For instance, Ralph has constantly berated the two party system, especially the lack of equal and fair access to debates. However, only recently has Ralph helped organize an alternative debate to the mainstream one. If Nader had begun debating his fellow third party candidates earlier in the election season all of them would have received more attention and gained more voters. Instead, Ralph has proclaimed that the current debate system is flawed and corrupt, but continued to try to gain access to it rather than working from the start on an alternative.

Still, his campaign has show spurts of creativity. For instance he recently broke a Guinness World record for most campaign stops in one day here in Massachusetts, which earned him plenty of attention in the local mainstream media and some national attention too. He also stood in unison with Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Cynthia McKinney to support their commonalities. He’s also shown lots of innovation in his approach to solutions to our issues, such as a derivatives tax that would easily pay for the recent bank bailout. Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez are creative individuals, and would surely be innovative leaders, I just wish they brought more of that creativity to their campaign.

Score: 2.5 / 5

Social Benefit

Ralph has continuously proven through his career as a private consumer advocate that he can impact society positively. We’ve discussed above the legislation Ralph helped pass, but he’s also started a ton of non-profit organizations and encouraged others to do the same.

Many people cite Ralph Nader as a reason why Al Gore lost the 2000 elections but such a statement is ignorant and rash. Al Gore himself has stated that Gore is the reason the Democrats lost, not an outside party. Consider that over 200,000 registered Democrats in Florida voted for George W. Bush and the few votes Nader got in the state become to pale in comparison. I’ve said many times that blaming Nader for Gore’s loss is like blaming the Green Bay Packers for the New England Patriots loss to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

Besides, Al Gore cost Ralph Nader the election.

As an Arab-American, Ralph Nader has an intimate understanding of some of America’s most challenging foreign policy issues. His ethnic background could play a key role in helping repair our poor relationship with some Middle Eastern countries. Nader’s platform is also closely tuned into what the real problems are in the United States of America and the world and solid solutions to those issues. He’s against “safe” nuclear and “clean” coal because those technologies are dangerous and dirty and no amount of empty rhetoric will change that fact. Instead Nader favors investment in wind, solar, geothermal and tide energies to increase their efficiencies, thus weaning America off foreign fossil fuels and protecting the environment. Other important issues are opening up the political process to all parties and people, impeaching Bush and Cheney, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and instituting universal health care.

Score: 4 / 5

Freestyle!

Overall, Ralph Nader has already accomplished enough for this country to be named one of Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential Americans of the 21st century. He’s already accomplished more good for this country than John McCain could ever hope to, and is the progressive proletariat that Obama claims to be. Simply put, Ralph Nader has the correct stance on the most important issues of our time, unfortunately he does not have the charisma and corporate connections to catapult him into the spotlight to make an effective run at the presidency.

Too many people incorrectly blame him for Al Gore’s loss in 2000, and too many people think voting for a third party is a wasted vote. In a truly democratic and free society, Ralph Nader would have debated Barack Obama and John McCain in national broadcasts and would easily obtain at least 10-15% of the national vote. Unfortunately for Nader and ourselves, our society is simply not truly free and democratic.

Score: 16 / 22

You can read more about Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez at Vote Nader.

Complete Score: 30 / 42 = 71%

Affiliate & Disclosure Policy Updated

After a few e-mails from our readers and a discussion amongst the team here, we’ve decided to update our disclosure and affiliate policies. Going forward we will not mark our affiliate links. The process is simply too onerous and our readers have noted that it’s actually distracting rather than helpful. We will not cloak or hide our affiliate relationships in anyway, but neither will we explicitly note each iteration either.

As always, feel free to send us an e-mail if you have any questions, comments, requests or concerns.